The Shanker scenario

The Boston Globe has given over space on its editorial pages to Secretary of State John Kerry to tout the “framework” written variously in the hearts of the parties negotiating in Lausanne with the Islamic Republic of Iran about Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry’s column is headlined “A critical deal with Iran, but more work to be done.”

Kerry writes:

On Thursday, the United States, Iran, and our negotiating partners from the UN Security Council and European Union agreed on the parameters of a plan that, if finalized and implemented, will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Let’s call this talking point one:

Is there anyone who seriously believes this? President Obama (his statement is here) and Secretary Kerry repeat this talking point (and all the rest) like synchronized swimmers performing a routine. The fact that they do so in light of what they have wrought demonstrates two things: (1) they will say anything in the service of a bad cause, and (2) they think we’re really, really stupid.

Referring to the “parameters” to which Iran has supposedly subscribed in the framework written in the hearts of the negotiators, Kerry explains what they have achieved. Let’s call this talking point two:

The result would be to increase Iran’s breakout time — the time it would take for Iran to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon — to at least a year. That is as much as six times what it is today and what it has been for the past three years.

Talking point one does not even comport with talking point two. They are not internally consistent.

Add the fact that the sanctions regime is to be repealed at a time — we’re not exactly sure what is written in the hearts of the negotiators — but some time near the outset of the final agreement. As a result, at all times Iran is abiding by the ultimate agreement, assuming all goes according to plan, Iran is perhaps a year away from the ability to generate the fissile material for a nuclear weapon and enhances its economic position with the relief of sanctions.

Given the duration of the limitations, Iran would be one year away for some ten years. But if it chooses not to abide by the terms of the agreement once the sanctions regime is abrogated, Iran can break out to obtain the necessary fissile material in as little as a year with a vastly enhanced economic position.

At no point is Iran “prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

In his dystopian comedy Sleeper, Woody Allen inserted a joke about the devastation that took place “when a man by the name of Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.” Shanker was only the politically incorrect leader of a militant teachers’ union.

Now we are to acquiesce in, and facilitate the acquisition of, nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs have been at war with the United States since 1979, have a lot of American blood on their hands, and continue to call for “Death to America.” Who in his right mind, with the best interests of the United States at heart, thinks that relenting in our opposition to the mullahs’ acquisition of nuclear weapons is a good idea?

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