Muftic: Critics strike fast against Iran nuke deal |

Muftic: Critics strike fast against Iran nuke deal

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Nearly all of the GOP members in Congress and their presidential contenders came out swinging against the Iran nuclear arms control deal before they even read the text, having chosen to be deaf, blind, and intentionally dumb to the details of the provisions and the repercussions of killing the deal. Congress will have 60 days to become educated, though the GOP’s pre-conceived notions seem already set in concrete.

Democrats swing back harder and now turn to keeping enough Senate Democrats in line to protect their president’s’ veto without GOP votes.

Public rebuttals and counter rebuttals have begun. Key administration arguments for the deal are that the effectiveness of verification measures make us safer than a powerfully sobering result if the deal is killed. There would be no sanctions, no monitors by inspectors, a likely outbreak of war soon, a chance the U.S. could be dragged into another Middle Eastern war to support our allies, a nuclear arms race in the region, and knowing Iran would be free to make a bomb in a very short time.

If war now is considered better than the deal, the president pointed out, Iran’s nuclear program would only be set back temporarily with conventional means. Bunker busters cannot wipe out their scientists’ knowhow. The deal requires monitored mothballing of two-thirds of their centrifuges and limits enriched uranium to 3.67 percent of stores for 15 years, making a bounce back difficult if impossible.

Even President Obama agrees there are short term risks of beefed up hostilities from Iran’s surrogates due to Iran’s improving economic conditions and with the conventional arms embargo lifted after five years, eight years for missiles. Separate UN resolutions forbid Iran arming surrogates. Israel and our Gulf allies have already been offered more military aid to offset any threat.

But are the provisions for verification good enough to block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons?

To answer GOP charges that Iran could develop weapons in 10 years, their R&D continues, and the administration is naïve, the administration is pitting their experts against the GOP’s that the deal will block the path. The administration’s lead technical negotiator, a hardly naïve Energy Secretary Ernest Muniz, is one of the world’s top nuclear expert scientists.

Republicans criticized the 24-day notice for Iran to approve inspectors to visit suspected cheat sites, noting approval could still be delayed for months. Scrubbing sites in a short period is impossible, per Muniz. Tell-tale nuclear residue lasts for years. Military installations are subject to inspections, but the GOP claims monitoring provisions are vague. The deal includes monitoring the entire supply chain of nuclear materials that will provide evidence of hidden cheating to be pursued by inspectors for the next 25 years.

Some in the GOP want to double down on sanctions to change Iran’s behavior instead. The administration countered that the purpose of sanctions was to force Iran to negotiate. If Congress kills the deal, the sanctions’ purpose, leverage to force Iran to renegotiate, and an effective sanctions coalition evaporates. U.S. leadership becomes untrustworthy. If the deal survives, “snap back” provisions obligate the signers automatically to reinstate sanctions if Iran is caught cheating.

For sources tapped for the column, visit

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