No one has ever accused John Kerry of being smart. His schtick is speaking slow and sounding profound, a defense mechanism he developed early in life to mask a room temperature IQ and a lackwit’s infinite credulity. These talents made him the perfect point man for Obama’s Iran nuclear negotiations. Yesterday, however, he outdid himself. Kerry, who was the shameless cheerleader of Obama’s failed negotiations with Iran, gave a press conference in Geneva extolling the benefits of “the paper which bears his name.” The press conference is notable for Kerry’s egregious disregard for the truth. Virtually any paragraph you point to contains at least one demonstrably false statement. The one I want to deal with is “breakout time.” He had this to say:
It also guarantees that Iran’s breakout time – the time it would take for Iran to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon – that time will increase to at least one year for a period of at least 10 years.
This statement is equal parts a lie and balderdash.
First, the lie. Back on April 7, POLITICO reported on the testimony given by Obama’s energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, on the subject of Iran’s breakout time:
U.S. officials say those restrictions, along with limits on centrifuges and research and development, push Iran’s “breakout” time — the time needed to dash to a bomb — from two to three months to one year.
In the interview, Moniz called that figure “very, very conservative,” noting that it describes only the time it would take Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb if it chose to do so, but does not include the technical work of building a device.
Perhaps the most common misconception about breakout capacity is that it refers to the time it would take to actually build a nuclear weapon. Though Iran’s estimated breakout time is now about two months, if Tehran tomorrow embarked on a headlong effort to build a weapon, the project would take much longer than two months.
So in April, that would be three months ago, Iran’s breakout time in a ‘very, very conservative’ estimate was two months. Iran was engaged in negotiations with the West. Iran was not subject to any meaningful monitoring. There is no way any agreement, especially one that is based on a complete dearth of information about what Iran has done up to this point and on the inability of IAEA inspectors to visit research facilities, can un-ring this bell. Prudence dictates that we assume Iran has already achieved nuclear breakout. To do what the administration claims, Iran would have to cooperate fully and in good faith with the IAEA. That is not going to happen.
The second part is balderdash. Sadly, it is balderdash that Kerry acts like he believes. Breakout time cannot be “one year for a period of at least 10 years.” Breakout time is “one year.” The only way the “at least 10 years” can be correct is if Iran stopped all nuclear enrichment activity. It hasn’t. It won’t.