There are plenty of reasons to believe that Iran is not seriously interested in a deal on nuclear weapons. Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent reiteration of his call for “Death to America” ought to be evidence enough of that, but even if it was just some red meat for the domestic audience without larger implications, as the Obama administration says, we have ample evidence more directly related to the nuclear talks on which we may make the same conclusion. The latest comes from the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano. In a recent interview, he noted that Iran has replied to only one of a dozen questions about the “possible military dimensions” of the country’s past nuclear activities. He believes that the six powers negotiating with Iran in Switzerland ought to demand unfettered access to the country’s nuclear sites, a key tenet of the IAEA’s policy since it failed to detect Iraq’s nuclear weapons back in the 1980s. Iran ended its compliance with that protocol in 2006. In particular, Amano identifies the Perching complex as being problematic for inspectors:
Amano said that near the top of his list of unanswered questions about possible military dimensions of Iranian nuclear activities was the Parchin military complex. He said that the IAEA has information that Iran conducted experiments in a high-explosive chamber there.
“We would like to have access, and we would like to clarify,” Amano said. He said Iran had twice given IAEA inspectors access to the base, but he added that Parchin “is a huge area with many buildings.” Now, he said, the IAEA thinks it has identified “the right place to visit,” but its access has been blocked.
After the agency requested admittance to that area in late 2011, it observed by satellite extensive landscaping, demolition and new construction there.
Amano said that looking at sites with military nuclear potential was “like a jigsaw puzzle.” He said, “As we have a better understanding of one issue, we have better understanding of another issue.”
Furthermore, Amano notes that, while Iran has declared 18 sites to the IAEA, the agency has no way of verifying that there are no other sites being used for nuclear activities in the country.
If the United States was serious about negotiating a proper deal on Iranian nuclear sites and activities, one would expect our diplomats to press the Iranians especially hard on a crucial issue like this. However, all the evidence we’ve been given so far is that the Obama administration just wants a deal, any deal, done so he can add that to his resume. Indeed, if one high ranking Iranian military leader is to be believed, Obama is “begging us“* for a deal, while Iran is feeling no such similar compulsion. You could dismiss this as Iranian propaganda were it not such an apt description of the administration approach.
Getting no deal out of these talks is better than a bad one, but all appearances suggest the Obama administration is prepping us for the latter. For one, the State Department’s now infamous Jen Psaki refused to promise details on the deal before it is “signed, sealed, delivered” over here in the states.
All of this means we must make sure the Senate knows that this deal is unacceptable. Obama’s past actions have shown us that he has no strong inclination to respect the law or the Constitutional process when it disagrees with him, so we mist make sure that Congress does everything it can to prevent thus deal from being enacted, whether it’s rejecting it in the Senate, denying it funding through the power of the purse**, or stalling the legislative process on Obama’s other pet projects.
*=”Us” being the Iranians, of course.
**=Even on an issue with such bipartisan support as rejecting the Iran deal, we ought to know well by now that Congress is very wobbly on asserting the power of the purse, to its detriment, thanks to the leadership of [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ].