In numerous areas of the proposed Iranian nuclear deal, the high bars President Obama said the Islamic Republic needed to clear have disappeared.
Look at his G20 speech in September 2009, when Obama said Iran would have to "come clean" on its nuclear secrets. Now, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Bret Stephens writes, the White House is letting that parameter go:
"Under the new plan," The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Laurence Norman reported last week, "Tehran wouldn’t be expected to immediately clarify all the outstanding questions raised by the IAEA in a 2011 report on Iran’s alleged secretive work. A full reckoning of Iran’s past activities would be demanded in later years as part of a nuclear deal that is expected to last at least 15 years."
Obama made repeated assertions during a December 2013 forum with Haim Saban about what Iran clearly did not need to have a "peaceful nuclear program."
"We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful nuclear program," Obama said. "They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program. They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program."
Hardly more than a year later, on the eve of what might be deal-day, here is where those promises stand:
Fordo: "The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites."—Associated Press, March 26.
Arak: "Today, the six powers negotiating with Iran . . . want the reactor at Arak, still under construction, reconfigured to produce less plutonium, the other bomb fuel."—The New York Times, March 7.
Advanced centrifuges: "Iran is building about 3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges, the Iranian news media reported Sunday, a development likely to add to Western concerns about Tehran’s disputed nuclear program."—Reuters, March 3.
Obama also spoke about verification at that forum, saying of any nuclear deal, "We can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections."
But on March 24, the Associated Press reported "an Iranian official rebuked the chief of the U.N. atomic agency for demanding snap inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, saying the request hindered efforts to reach an agreement with world powers."
Obama's promised over and over, even in State of the Union addresses, that his goal was to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Now, even members of his own party acknowledge what they're negotiating for is to extend Iran's nuclear break-out time to one year.
"The clock is ticking," Obama said sternly during his foreign policy presidential debate with Mitt Romney. "We're not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere."
Those words look more and more hollow with each new meaningless deadline. The Washington Examiner reports the State Department has admitted there really weren't any ramifications if a final deal wasn't reached March 31. After all, there weren't when one wasn't reached in November, either. Or last May.
[H/T Bret Stephens]