Kerried away

In touting the “Joint Plan of Action” agreement with Iran that the United States engineered in Geneva John Kerry repeatedly says the thing which is not, to borrow the term from Gulliver’s Travels. (The White House, by the way, has posted a handy fact sheet on the agreement.)

In his interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC This Week yesterday, Kerry said: “The fact is that Iran’s ability to break out, George, will expand under this program.” Now this is true but not what Kerry meant to say.

Kerry added: “Therefore, Israel will be safer, the region will be safer, Iran’s 20 percent uranium will be destroyed, therefore they are safer.” If Israel were safer, it would support the agreement. Iran’s (known) 20 percent uranium stockpile will not be destroyed. Why does he say that? It is subject to the provision that Iran is to “retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%.”

Kerry also said: “Iran’s 3.5 percent uranium stock will be frozen at its current level and the centrifuges will not be able to be installed in places that could otherwise be installed and advance the program.”

Iran, however, continues uranium enrichment under the agreement. The agreement provides: “Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.” Newly enriched uranium is to be converted to oxide under another provision of the agreement. As Fred Fleitz explains, uranium oxide can be readily converted back into a uranium compound that can be further enriched to weapons grade.

The agreement, you might say, as Iran’s President Rouhani says with somewhat more justice than Kerry has in his case, inherently recognizes Iran’s right to enrichment.

Kerry described Iran’s nuclear program as “extraordinarily constrained.” This is Kerry in his kerried away mode, as in his description of the then desired attack on Syria as one that would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” It would be more accurate to say that Iran’s nuclear program will be “unbelievably constrained” under the agreement.

Kerry said said “they will not grow the program” and “What we have done, absolutely, unequivocally, allows us to get into Fordow, know what they’re doing in that enrichment, stop the enrichment.” Again, flatly false. See agreement footnote 2: “At Fordow, no further enrichment over 5% at 4 cascades now enriching uranium, and not increase enrichment capacity” (sic).

Kerry makes another point that reveals the animus underlying the agreement. Kerry made it in Geneva when he announced the agreement and again yesterday with Stephanopoulos: “Now, the choice people have is, do you want to sit there and argue that you have to dismantle your program before you stopped it and while you’re arguing about this dismantling it, they progress. In 2003, Iran made an offer to the Bush administration that they would, in fact, do major things with respect to their program, they had 164 centrifuges. Nobody took — nothing has happened. Therefore, here we are in 2013, they have 19,000 centrifuges and they’re closer to a weapon.”

The proposition that the Iranians made an offer to the Bush administration in 2003 is a pro-Iranian, anti-American talking point (roughly as Danielle Pletka put it in a conference call with reporters on the agreement yesterday). In the American Thinker column “Did Iran offer a ‘grand bargain’ in 2003?” Steven J. Rosen explores its origin and demonstrates its falsity.