John Kerry gaslights the media on Iranian compliance

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while on Capitol Hill in Washington
This rogue regime we suffer under has acquired several trademarks. It is unconscionably vicious towards dissent, it is monumentally incompetent, and it is a master of gaslighting. I’ve touched on this latter theme before, as a refresher

Gaslighting: a form of psychological manipulation that occurs when an abuser makes a victim doubt their own perceptions, memories, and sanity.

The 1938 stage play Gas Light, known as Angel Street in the United States, and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944 motivated the origin of the term because of the systematic psychological manipulation used by the main character on a victim. The plot concerns a husband who attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment, and subsequently, insisting that she is mistaken or remembering things incorrectly when she points out these changes. The original title stems from the dimming of the gas lights in the house that happened when the husband was using the gas lights in the attic while searching for hidden treasure. The wife accurately notices the dimming lights and discusses the phenomenon, but the husband insists she is imagining a change in the level of illumination.

One of the underlying principles of the Iran nuclear negotiations has been that Iran had to fully disclose the full parameters of it nuclear research. This is to include the military dimension. Iran has balked at that and now the administration has decided that disclosure was never really a requirement and that if it was a requirement that the US had “absolute knowledge” of their actions.

 Kerry suggested that Iran would not have to fully account for any past atomic weapons research as part of reaching a nuclear deal, affirming earlier reports that the U.S. wouldn’t make that a condition.

The U.S. has for years pressed Iran to come clean about the “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program, while Iran insists the program is entirely peaceful.

“The possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another,” Kerry said. “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way.”

Kerry said the talks, which have a deadline of June 30, “remain tough,” but insisted the United States had not changed its position “one iota” in recent months.

This could actually be a vignette from Orwells’ “1984.”

Last week the AP confirmed last week that the P5+1 has collapsed on the demand that Iran come clean about its past atomic work. Without this baseline of knowledge there is no way any verification regime can work. The verification process is based on trusting Iran as they’ve said they will not tolerate no-notice inspections of civilian facilities or any inspections of military facilities. Unless they reveal their research there is no way of confirming they’ve stopped it. Absent verification there is no way he can know if the activities have stopped and without good faith cooperation by the Iranians he can’t have “absolute knowledge.”

Back on March 23, Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the agency responsible for verifying Iran’s compliance had this to say:

“[W]hat we don’t know whether they have undeclared activities or something else. We don’t know what they did in the past. So, we know a part of their activities, but we cannot tell we know all their activities. And that is why we cannot say that all the activities in Iran is in peaceful purposes”.

This is not an anomaly, just last week he said:

 “[T]he Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities”.

What we don’t have “absolute knowledge of.”

1. How far Iran got on testing nuclear detonators;

2. If Iran maintains the infrastructure to do further tests and build on that work;

3. If Iran diverted nuclear material, including enriched material;

4. What nuclear assets and knowledge Iran acquired from North Korea and is keeping on the shelf;

5. Ditto from Russia

6. How Iran evaded inspectors and sanctions in the past; and

7. What the Iranians destroyed when it demolished the Parchin nuclear site where it did nuclear work.

Now, thanks to Bob Corker, Obama is free to pursue his nuclear deal without requiring the Iranians to do anything whatsoever. But it doesn’t matter because we never cared anyway and besides that we know all we need to know.