Roger L. Simon

Munich, Anyone? Obama's Iran Agreement in Translation


When Barack Obama told us on dozens of occasions that we could keep our previous health plan and doctor under the Affordable Care Act, he was doing it for one of two reasons.  Either he was ignorant of his own legislation (unlikely) or he was deliberately lying to get it passed. He knew best what was good for us and if he had to prevaricate, so be it.

The so-called  framework agreement on Iranian nuclear activities is almost exactly the same.  Obama again believes it is best for us, but if we are to believe Amir Taheri (and I do), this “agreement” (that the Iranians are calling merely a press release) is understood completely differently by both parties.  We have been told another series of lies in order to get something passed — or in this case not to oppose it. 

Only there is one huge difference. Obamacare is reversible.  Nuclear armageddon is not.

Taheri (bilingual in Farsi and English)  has extensive comparisons between the Iranian, American and Europeans versions of what was supposedly agreed to.  A sample:

The Iranian text opens by insisting that it has absolutely no “legal aspect” and is intended only as “a guideline for drafting future accords.”

The American text claims that Iran has agreed to do this or that, for example reducing the number of centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,500.

The Iranian text, however, says that Iran “shall be able to . . .” or “qader khahad boud” in Farsi to do such a thing. The same is true about enrichment in Fordow [underground reactor]. The Americans say Iran has agreed to stop enrichment there for 15 years. The Iranian text, however, refers to this as something that Iran “will be able to do,” if it so wished.

Sometimes the two texts are diametrically opposed.

The American statement claims that Iran has agreed not to use advanced centrifuges, each of which could do the work of 10 old ones. The Iranian text, however, insists that “on the basis of solutions found, work on advanced centrifuges shall continue on the basis of a 10-year plan.”

The American text claims that Iran has agreed to dismantle the core of the heavy water plutonium plant in Arak. The Iranian text says the opposite. The plant shall remain and be updated and modernized.

It goes on.  It’s worth reading it all, if you haven’t. It’s almost like an episode of Fawlty Towers.

What we have here is not “a failure to communicate,” but Obama’s moral narcissism gone berserk.  Forget his former proclaimed views on Iran.  Driven by his need for legacy and his conviction that “he knows best” about world peace, the future, whatever, he has reversed course and powered through to what he thinks, or  wants us to think, is the framework for a deal that would prevent Iran from fabricating nuclear weapons.   Only — as in Gertrude Stein’s Oakland and Amir Taheri’s translations — there’s no there there.

But never mind.  His troops seem to be rallying. Democrats who were initially skeptical are apparently folding in and  Senator Menendez, Obama’s greatest thorn on the Democratic side, is currently and conveniently being hounded out of office and possibly into prison.

Meanwhile, Dianne Feinstein — whose greatest worry is making sure her and her husband’s hundreds of millions are kept legally separate — is telling Benjamin Netanyahu — whose greatest worry is a second Holocaust —  to “contain himself.” (Anyone who thinks a new Holocaust unlikely should read Howard Jacobson’s magnificent new J: A Novel.)

And Iran, the mending of whose evil ways was never addressed by the negotiators, is up to its usual mischief, not just expanding across the Middle East from Iraq to Syria to Yemen (we know that), but now — at the same time Obama has told his lap dog Thomas Friedman that America “has Israel’s back” — is making a new alliance with Hamas:

Iran has sent Hamas’s military wing tens of millions of dollars to help it rebuild the network of tunnels in Gaza destroyed by Israel’s invasion last summer, intelligence sources have told The Sunday Telegraph.

It is also funding new missile supplies to replenish stocks used to bombard residential neighbourhoods in Israel during the war, code-named Operation Protective Edge by Israel.

Munich, anyone?

(Artwork created using multiple elements.)