I wrote about a year ago that I was withholding judgment on the Iran nuclear deal since we did not know at that time what it consisted of. I also wrote that I opposed the letter sent by members of Congress informing the mullahs in Tehran that no such deal need be respected by the next president. I said at that time that I thought the president was entitled to pursue negotiations without interference from members of Congress. Now that process is nearly finished, the details (most of them) have become public, and it is time to take a position.
On balance, I am convinced that the Iran nuclear deal is a bad one, and should be rejected. That it has already been rejected by a large majority of the American people is clear from the polls. Without wishing to go into details of my position, let me make two or three larger points to illuminate it.
First, it is now clear that the inspection regime outlined in the treaty is inadequate, to say the least. The concept of anywhere/anytime on-site inspections has become requests for inspections, giving the Iranians at least three weeks to respond, though this period would only begin after a lengthy discussion in which the Iranians have a leading role. But beyond that comes last week's revelation that a secret side deal between Iran and the UN's nuclear enforcement agency, the IAEA, requires no on-site inspections at all. Rather, and incredibly, the Iranians are tasked with taking and turning over their own soil samples to the IAEA for analysis. More stupid a plan than this cannot be conceived. Obama maintained throughout the negotiating process that we could not trust the Iranians; now we learn that we are giving them the exclusive right to choose their own soil samples for testing! Someone pointed out that this would be like asking a professional athlete to provide his own urine samples for drug testing analysis. If we can't trust the Iranian regime -- and we can't -- how can we possibly allow them to decide which soil samples to turn over for testing? (To my mind, this is rather like trusting Hillary Clinton to decide which emails to turn over and which to destroy.)
But beyond this, it is true, as the Israeli prime minister stated, that the deal guarantees Iran a nuclear weapon, even if it adheres strictly to its terms. In ten or fifteen years (depending on who you believe), Iran will get a nuclear weapon. In the meantime, it will get sanctions relief and some 150 billion dollars to spend as nefariously as it will. Obama, with typical vacuousness, argued that the regime would not spend that money on terror, because the Iranian people, exhausted by years of sanctions, would demand that it be spent to better their lives. Since when, in history, has an oppressed people demanded anything from their dictators? And these dictators are medieval-minded clerics who believe that God has commanded them to destroy Israel and Western Civilization, as the Great Mufti Ayatollah said in his very recent book.
But consider this for a moment, if you will: Donald Trump has declared that he will build a wall on our southern border, and that the Mexican government will pay for it. For this outlandish statement he was roundly mocked. However, the Iran nuclear deal means that the mullahs will get an atomic weapon, and the West will pay for it. So Trump's claim no longer seems so outlandish, does it.
Finally, in a last-minute capitation to the Iranians, John Kerry and his feckless posse of negotiators agreed to lift the ban on Iran acquiring conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. So, Iran gets 150 billion dollars, nuclear weapons in ten or fifteen years, and ballistic missiles in the meantime. And they continue to insist that their God-imposed intent is to destroy Israel and the West. Now we must ask ourselves: What do we think they will do with those nuclear weapons when they get them? They will, of course, do exactly what they have always said they would: use them to destroy the enemies of God. And we are they, that is us.
My final point is this: Everyone agrees that we cannot trust the Iranians; even Obama, who never had any intention of walking away from the table, has said so. I don't trust them either. But neither do I trust Obama. And that, for me, is the final straw. And so, I have concluded that this is a bad deal, and ought to be rejected.