Iranian shadows

Secretary of State John Kerry testified yesterday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an appropriations subcommittee. The Washington Post covers his testimony here. The Post reports:

Much of the questioning was about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry denied media reports here and in Israel that negotiators are considering a plan to limit Iran’s nuclear activities for 10 years, with sanctions gradually eased over that period.

Kerry appears to deny the accuracy of the recent article on the negotiations by the AP’s George Jahn and Bradley Klapper: “Historic US-Iran deal could be taking shape.” In response to a question premised on one prong of the AP article, Kerry responded: “The answer is the proverbial ‘don’t believe what you read. I’ve told you it’s not true. But secondly, I’m not going to go into what is or isn’t the situation.”

Why is our current offer to the mullahs a secret from the American people? Kerry didn’t say.

Here I will digress and simply note that the Obama administration has not been a good source of reliable information on our negotiations with Iran. The AP in general and Jahn in particular have been relatively reliable sources, and so have the mullahs. The latest word from Tehran, picked up by the Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, is that American negotiators are “begging [the Iranians] for a deal.”

The Iranians have Obama’s number. They aren’t stupid. This past October Kredo reported that the Iranian president’s senior advisor has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of US presidents” and described Obama’s tenure in office as “humiliating[.]” Humiliating, of course, to the United States — another point on which the Iranian regime is completely reliable.

Back to the Post report. As we have noted previously, the Obama administration intends to present the agreement it will reach with Iran to the American people as a fait accompli:

In both hearings, Kerry defended negotiated, verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear activity by saying that the previous administration, under President George W. Bush, turned a blind eye to prohibited uranium enrichment by Tehran.

Kerry also rejected congressional demands that lawmakers be given veto rights over the agreement, saying their only opportunity to approve or reject it would come with a decision on whether to lift congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran.

The Obama administration will present the agreement as a fait accompli and a famous victory. Thus Kerry’s reference to “verifiable limits” and the obligatory insult to President Bush.

Thus also the Obama administration’s continuing disparagement of Benjamin Netanyahu New York Times reports Obama National in light of Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress on the coming deal with Iran; Netanyahu objects to the terms of the coming deal and will make it difficult for Obama to present it as a famous victory for the United States. The New York Times reports that Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice disparages Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress in “Obama aide calls Netanyahu’s planned visit ‘destructive’ to US-Israel ties.”

The Obama administration continues to hurt the friends and promote the enemies of the United States. It’s almost enough to make you wonder whether the president loves his country.

NR picks up Charles Krauthammer on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier last night, passing judgment on the coming deal with the mullahs: “It is an unbelievably bad deal.” Krauthammer speaks for me.

Three footnotes to this update on the Obama administration and the mullahs. First, the Post report also includes this complication:

As Kerry testified, an Iranian exile group claimed that a secret plant in suburban Tehran has been enriching uranium since 2008 at an underground site, named Lavizan-3. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, which has a mixed history of questioning Tehran’s nuclear program, showed satellite images of a large, walled complex of buildings. The group also exhibited photographs — purportedly taken inside tunnels where the clandestine labs are supposedly located — showing a steel door that it said was lined with lead to prevent radiation leaks.

“It’s absolutely senseless to continue negotiations and decide the number of centrifuges you’re going to have if we have these serious issues lingering out there,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the group’s Washington office.

Monday, when the group said that it would expose the site’s existence, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied the allegations, calling them “a big lie.”

Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow with the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said the allegations should be investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s facilities.

Adam Kredo elaborates on the group’s disclosure here in a Free Beacon article with much more background.

Second, Emanuele Ottolenghi briefly summarizes the history of the IAEA’s difficulties with Iran’s nuclear program in the column “Why the US can’t trust Iran and its nuclear plans.” The mullahs traditionally characterize information regarding its nuclear program as “fabrications.”

Third, don’t miss Tom Joscelyn on a related point in the Weekly Standard article “Doomed diplomacy”

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