The deal has been done for probably a week or two with the great drama being acted by some of the most consummate political dramatists on the face of the earth, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani whose fame he credits to his ability to glad-hand and smile disarmingly while negotiating earlier nuclear talks and simultaneously increasing the number of centrifuges by a factor of hundreds, Iranian Foreign Minister and lead negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif whose charms have been regularly reflected by the dreamy looks pooling in the former European Union Foreign Minister Lady Catherine Aston, and finally United States Secretary of State John Kerry who in his foremost starring role before the United States Senate where he adamantly swore that his fellow soldiers in Viet Nam had committed crimes and swarmed across the nation and “razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” These men along with a stellar emphasis to everything being played by the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei who echoed the chanting crowds in Tehran this week in their carefully choreographed performance shouting in response to his lead in their weekly performance of “Death to America.” All this theater will climax culminating next week, which would not be complete without the man who made all this possible by directing the American surrender point by point, President Barack Obama, whose entire schedule has been cleared past Monday in preparation of a signing ceremony. All this was made clear by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest who stated, “The president’s schedule for the rest of the week actually remains pretty fluid.” When pressed for further information he coyly replied, “We’ve got some more details on the schedule that need to be hammered out.” As if this was sufficient high drama, a British diplomat told reporters on the sidelines of negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, “We have made substantial progress in a number of areas but there are still important issues where no agreement has so far been possible. Our task, therefore, for the next few days is to see if we can bridge the gaps and arrive at a political framework which could then be turned into an agreement.” Such high drama it makes one’s head spin almost twisting it off but simply making the reader dizzy.
All this drama has had a price, a price which was paid by one side taking a grand and novel approach to negotiations which was explained not long ago as the instructions given to the United States negotiating team that when meeting Iranian resistance to any proposal to simply agree to put that item aside and pursue the next point all in order to emphasize those things the two sides were in agreement on so as to have a favorable report of accomplishments which could be presented to the media and to move the talks forward. This plan was to set the stage for final negotiations on the remaining subjects which were considered important enough to readdress. This leads one to question as to what percentage of the bypassed subjects where Iran showed any amount of opposition were left bypassed and what percentage were considered worth readdressing and pressing for a workable compromise short of a complete surrender. Another point which is as preposterous an idea as any I have heard is the ten year expiration date on the agreement after which the Iranians would no longer have any restrictions they would have to abide and could move full speed towards the manufacture of as many nuclear warheads of any designs including multiple warhead, thermonuclear warheads, Super EMP warheads which the Russians have informed they gave to the Iranians, tactical nuclear warheads deliverable by moderate range ballistic missiles or even artillery or any other designs they may have developed with no restrictions on total numbers. One can only guess how many warheads the Iranians might produce in the first few years after the agreement expires after a decade. What is surprising is that the length of the agreement was not closer to four or five years thus just long enough that the next President would be facing a very brief period in which to press for a new treaty but would be restricted on the means to pressure Iran as economic sanctions would be off the table until the treaty expired and then would not be sufficiently successful in pressing Iran to negotiate for probably three to five years during which they would be producing as many warheads as they were capable. No matter which way one looks at the coming agreement, there is no way to give it a favorable reality.
Still, President Obama has assured us that there is no way we can know what will come to pass in the decade respecting the governance of Iran. He offered the supposition that within the decade there was a good possibility that Iran would become a functioning government which would eschew nuclear weapons and decide that being accepted within the community of nations and having favorable standing while pursuing trade relations with the western nations as well as in Asia and the rest of the world giving up on their desire for nuclear weapons. While in a decade’s time the United States may have elected their second or even third President succeeding President Obama and who knows how much they may change the nation but we can probably safely bet that Iran will have a very similar governance as they currently possess with the only likely change being their President and their parliament while they might also have some new faces on the Assembly of Experts of the Leadership and a new set of leaders sitting on the twelve member Guardian Council of the Constitution but they are also very likely to still have as their Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei. In the event of his death, then we will see a similar new Supreme Leader where the greatest change will not be in his views and policies he will execute but maybe his name will show a greater degree of change than Khamenei differed from his predecessor Khomeini. The continuity of the policies under Khomeini and then followed by Khamenei differed not much more than their names sounded different, in other words they were equally obsessed with exporting the Shiite form of Islam, gaining superiority over the rest of the Muslim world, especially over Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the rest of the oil producing Gulf states, the death and destruction of Israel as well as the United States, leading the Muslim world and sweep across Europe and seeking hegemonic preeminence over as much of the world as they prove capable with some claiming that there might even be a special desire to swarm marauding over the Greek Islands as revenge for Alexander the Great’s crushing victory over the Persian Army at the Battle of Gaugamela, some national pride demands holding grudges a little longer than others, but all the way from 331 B.C. seems a bit much. The best bet is that Iranian governance will not be changed in the near or foreseeable future which makes the making an agreement with a sunset clause all the more problematic, yet the Iranians are threatening to sink the negotiations as even that decade is too long for them to wait to claim their ultimate weapons.
There have been reports that the French, yes, the French, are the most skeptical of the terms of the agreement and as we mentioned just a few days ago, the French may be the world’s last hope of forcing the negotiations to produce a better deal or possibly blowing up the negotiations completely if the Iranians demand that the deal they have accepted be signed or they will take their ball and go home without any deal. That there might be no deal, though I would bet that President Obama would sign any deal with Iran all by himself even if all the other P5+1 nations, France, Britain, Germany and even unbelievable as it is, Russia and China, all refused the deal brokered each for their own reasons. President Obama has proven to the Iranian leadership through actions and even inactions, words and silence, and in every way possible and even some thought impossible, that he desperately not only wants but must have a deal with the Iranian signature next to his signature just as badly as did British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain desired a treaty signed by he along with a reluctant French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier and principally German Chancellor Adolf Hitler along with Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini who was of lesser importance in Munich with the completion of the Munich Agreement of 1938 which sacrificed Czechoslovakia and led near directly to World War II. Let us pray that the agreement with Iran does not similarly lead to Iran swarming across the Gulf oil kingdoms and then on to the Sudan and into Egypt and Libya as well as Jordan and even Turkey.
That brings us to the recent war of words with Turkey recently complaining that Iran was attempting to dominate the Middle East which drew a response from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif accusing Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of fomenting all of the strife in the Middle East likely referring to the rumors that Turkey is financing ISIS and permitting infiltrators desiring to join ISIS to access Syria by crossing the Turkish-Syrian border unopposed. Add to this the Saudi airstrikes on the presumed Iranian supplied and tactically aided with intelligence Houthis who have taken control of the capital in Yemen and are attempting to push further across Yemen unseating al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and giving Iran a southern border threat against Saudi Arabia. As to this the active support Iran provides for Syrian dictator al-Assad, their supplying both Hamas and Hezballah presumably to threaten Israel and prevent the Israelis from striking the Iranian nuclear sites and potentially beyond that and striking their command and control, military bases and even the halls of power attempting to decapitate the Iranian leadership and finally aiding Iraq fighting ISIS to the point that Iran now appears to be taking the lead in this defense of Iraq and may be a card played by Iran at the nuclear talks. There have been indications, though no actual smoking gun proof, that Iran, possibly through Hezballah from the tri-border area camps, may have ordered or even actually committed the murder of Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Sometimes it is almost like one needs a program with maps and a decoder ring just to get through any of the goings on originating just from the nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). All of this and we did not even go into the Israeli-Arab (Palestinian) tangled imbroglio. Perhaps that can wait until tomorrow if events prove such necessary. Meanwhile, who’s on first and what’s the name of the second baseman, I give up; he’s our shortstop.
Beyond the Cusp