“May fall short”

If one takes the purported rationale of the imminent deal with Iran seriously, the deal is absurd. It will facilitate Iran’s development and acquisition of nuclear weapons. It will promote the nuclearization of the region, and this while the Islamic Republic of Iran remains both an avowed and an active enemy of the United States and its allies.

President Obama must have some other object in mind than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Doesn’t anyone inside the Democratic Party or inside the Obama administration notice or care?

By signing this open letter commenting by implication on the absurd deal in process, five former administration officials have taken baby steps away from it. (The five are joined by 13 other signatories.) In today’s New York Times David Sanger reports “Ex-advisers warn Obama that Iran nuclear deal ‘may fall short’ of standards.” Sanger writes:

Five former members of President Obama’s inner circle of Iran advisers have written an open letter expressing concern that a pending accord to stem Iran’s nuclear program “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement” and laying out a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to in coming days for them to support a final deal.

Several of the senior officials said the letter was prompted by concern that Mr. Obama’s negotiators were headed toward concessions that would weaken international inspection of Iran’s facilities, back away from forcing Tehran to reveal its suspected past work on weapons, and allow Iranian research and development that would put it on a course to resuming intensive production of nuclear fuel as soon as the accord expires.

One has to read deep into his story to discover the names of the five signatories to whom Sanger refers in his opening paragraph:

Among [the signatories are] Dennis B. Ross, a longtime Middle East negotiator who oversaw Iran policy at the White House during the first Obama term; David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director who oversaw covert operations against Iran until he resigned two years ago; and Robert Einhorn, a longtime State Department proliferation expert who helped devise and enforce the sanctions against Iran.

Also signing the letter were Gary Samore, Mr. Obama’s former chief adviser on nuclear policy who is now the president of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, and Gen. James E. Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an architect of Mr. Obama’s effort to build up military forces in the region.

Omri Ceren comments by email this morning:

Depending on how you read the letter, it’s either a list of minimum requirements for a good deal or a rundown of how American concessions to Iran have gutted the possibility of a good deal. The authors lay down six minimum conditions for an acceptable deal. They’re what you’d expect, but recent reports have already revealed that the administration is not going to secure any of them.

If it was not obvious from the outset, it has been obvious for some time now that the deal in process cannot possibly achieve its announced objectives. Something else is going on. Even Ray Charles could see that.