Roger L. Simon

Bait-and-Switch: Will Obama Still Back Suicidal Iran Deal?

Ayatollah Khamenei is doing everything in his power, through extreme demands, to quash the Iran nuclear deal, which has a deadline of tomorrow night. The question: Will Obama cave anyway? Perhaps Khamenei should ask for everything the U.S. gives Israel, including its own Iron Dome system. Obama would likely do it.

In the latest mullah bait-and-switch, the Iranians are now, at the last minute, refusing to give up their enriched uranium stockpile. Don’t believe it? Well, it’s being reported by Obama’s best loyalists, the New York Times:

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

For months, Iran tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia, where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program. But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.

“The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas Araqchi, told the Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”

Western officials confirmed that Iran was balking at shipping the fuel out, but insisted that there were other ways of dealing with the material. Chief among those options, they said, was blending it into a more diluted form.

Depending on the technical details, that could make the process of enriching it for military use far more lengthy, or perhaps nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, the revelation that Iran is now insisting on retaining the fuel could raise a potential obstacle at a critical time in the talks. And for critics of the emerging deal in Congress, in Israel and in Sunni Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of leaving large amounts of nuclear fuel in Iran, in any form, is bound to intensify their already substantial political opposition.

You have to hand it to the ayatollah. He has played the American team to a fare-thee-well.

But can the Americans be that stupid? Yes, they can. Desperation for a deal turns you into a moron. All this talk of “blending” and “dilution” is absolutely absurd, and even the NYT is saying the administration is doing damage control. As Omri Ceren puts it in his invaluable newsletter from the negotiations:

Either way — downblending or oxidation — makes it difficult to see how the parties could stretch Iran’s breakout time to a year. Combine this new position with the Iranians’ demand to keep their fortified underground enrichment bunker at Fordow open, and the administration’s sales pitch on the Hill becomes that much harder.

I’ll say. For a member of Congress to sign on to this deal, he or she would have to be either a complete nincompoop or a total administration prostitute — most likely both. Those, like Michael Ledeen, who predicted the Iranian leadership didn’t want a deal in the first place and the entire negotiations were a charade are looking better and better.