As expected, the United States announced a weak nuclear agreement with Iran that should earn John “I was in Vietnam” Kerry a Nobel Peace Prize, according to the TV pundits.
Also as expected, Iran announced that it had won everything it wanted from the U.S., a bit of news that reportedly had Iranians dancing in the streets of Tehran late into the night.
And then — again, as expected, at least by this cracker-barrel commentator — the lead Iranian negotiator promptly accused Kerry of lying about their agreement.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a professionally semi-scientific, off-the-cuff prediction come true.
Those wacky Iranian negotiators are nothing if not predictable.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif bragged the United States had agreed to let Iran continue to enrich uranium, which is key to producing a bomb, and to conduct nuclear research.
He added that Iran would not be forced to shut down any of its nuclear facilities and that all nuclear-related sanctions would immediately be lifted when the agreement is signed.
After a victory lap around the hotel in Switzerland, as Zarif was sipping mint juleps poolside while being attended to by 72 rent-a-virgins, Kerry then gave his press conference, which included a fact sheet that said that sanctions would be lifted incrementally, as Iran verifies its compliance with the agreement.
Zarif did a spit take on that one, then tweeted his disapproval: “The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
(Presumably spinning later on would be OK.)
He then challenged Kerry’s statements that sanctions would be phased out upon verification that no nuke work was being done.
“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” Zarif tweeted furiously.
Then came the new demand that will no doubt lead to another evening session: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”
At his earlier press conference, Zarif revealed the extent of the damage from Kerry’s negotiating skills: “None of those measures (in the agreement) include closing any of our facilities,” he said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development. … Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility. We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”
Zarif added that the agreement will allow Iran to sell enriched uranium on the world market and “hopefully making some money.”
For the Obama Administration’s part, the president was touting the agreement as the best deal money could buy. Here’s what he said (president’s thoughts in italics):
“It is a good deal — a deal that meets our core objectives (another Nobel Prize for me, maybe one for Kerry). This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon (except the direct route). Iran will face strict limitations on its program (no more casual Fridays, it’s strictly professional business mufti; and workers must wash their hands after using the bathroom), and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history (it’s almost as transparent as my Administration). So this deal is not based on trust, it’s based on unprecedented verification. … If Iran cheats, the world will know it (just like when I ratted out kids in grade school). If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.”
Well, I’m reassured.