The bottom line on Lausanne, pace all those diligent analysts who thought they could uncrew the inscrutable “framework,” was best expressed by the Red Queen: “Everybody has won and all must have prizes.”
But there’s really only one winner, and the Red Queen will announce his name. When the time comes. Which is not before the end of June, and probably afterwards. If at all.
Got that? I hope so, because that’s all there is. The single most surprising outcome of the very long diplogame was revealed by Amir Taheri:
First, we have a joint statement in English in 291 words by Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif and the European Union foreign policy point-woman Federica Mogherini, who led the so-called P5+1 group of nations including the US in the negotiations.
Next we have the official Iranian text, in Persian, which runs into 512 words. The text put out by the French comes with 231 words. The prize for “spinner-in-chief” goes to US Secretary of State John Kerry who has put out a text in 1,318 words and acts as if we have a done deal.
As a general rule, these statements are crafted in English and then translated into other languages, and the translations invariably run longer than the original. All the translations of my books are longer than the originals, sometimes significantly. Yet in this case, the English version of the “framework” runs some seven times the length of the French, the Farsi text is nearly three times as long, and the American English version is four to five times the length of the EU-Iranian English version.
That surely means that there was no agreed-upon agreement, on whose basis the various versions were written or translated. Everybody won, so everybody produced his preferred language. So ignore the texts. Just listen to what Zarif said to the Iranian people, namely that nobody signed anything, that whatever may have been agreed has no legal standing, and that the only thing that matters is yet to come, which may well be very different from whatever was agreed in the agreement.
So now what? The short answer is “same old, same old.” They all keep talking. Perhaps some day there will be a real agreement.
What else? Now we get to the real issues, and they are three, which correspond to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s conditions for the grand bargain Obama is trying desperately to forge between the United States and Iran:
● First, all sanctions must end. All sanctions, all together. That is why Zarif keeps saying that the lifting of all sanctions was agreed;
● Second, Iran is not going to stop its nuclear program. Never mind the details. The march toward nuclear Iran will continue, both in Iran and, apparently, in North Korea and perhaps also Syria;
● Third, Iran must be recognized as the dominant power wherever it chooses to advance, whether that be the Middle East, Africa, or South America. Today. And, no doubt, elsewhere tomorrow. The Iranian messiah, aka the Twelfth Imam, isn’t just a local hegemon, he will lead a global jihad.
Those are the real issues. There’s now a substantial cottage industry micromanaging every little detail of the nuclear “agreement,” but it’s an industry without a product, aside from yards of ink and hours of talk. It’s interesting sometimes, but it really can’t be sustained. Sooner or later Khamenei’s three damands will have to be addressed. This hapless administration would no doubt like to just say yes. But, judging from the domestic and international fireworks all across the political horizon, it doesn’t seem likely to be approved.
Which is a good thing. Maybe it will occur to the next president that the only acceptable response to the three demands is one of our own: regime change in Tehran.