A predominantly one-topic blog: how is it that the most imminent and lethal implication for humankind - the fact that the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" will not work with Iran - is not being discussed in our media? Until it is recognized that MAD is dead, the Iranian threat will be treated as a threat only to Israel and not as the global threat which it in fact is.
A blog by Mladen Andrijasevic
Friday, May 4, 2018
Martin Sherman: Iran & the chilling significance of the “No Alternative” argument
The attempt to justify the 2015 deal with Iran, as being the only
viable alternative to allowing it to develop nuclear weapons, is both
infuriating and disingenuous.
The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it, I think he’s
made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you
present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon?
And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.Barack Obama, on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Office of the White House Press Secretary, April 11, 2015.
President Obama has been crystal clear. Don’t rush. We’re not in a
rush. We need to get the right deal…No deal is better than a bad deal. And we
are certainly adhering to that concept. Obama’s
Secretary of State, John Kerry, “No deal is better than a bad deal”, Politico,
Nov. 10, 2013.
Why would the mullahs cheat on a deal as good for them as this
one?…Simply put, this is one terrific agreement for Tehran. And Iran is likely
to have no interest in violating it…It’s the cruelest of ironies that Iran is
reaping huge rewards for giving up something it wasn’t supposed to be doing in
the first place. Aaron David Miller, “Iran’s Win-Win…Win
Win Win Nuke Deal”, Daily Beast,
July 20, 2015.
nuclear deal, concluded in July 2015, was catapulted back into the headlines on
Monday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the Israel
intelligence services had managed to spirit away a huge trove of documents from
the heart of Tehran to Israel.
A dodgy deal, born of
documents prove that, in contradiction to public declarations of it leaders,
Iran had, indeed, planned to produce nuclear weapons, to develop the ability to
deliver them by means of ballistic missiles, and had secretly stored the
information in an undisclosed location—presumably for use at some future date,
chosen by the Iranians. After all, if this was not the Iranian intent, why
bother to store them at all—never mind surreptitiously conceal such storage?
to Netanyahu’s exposé ranged from the fervently enthusiastic to the
dismissively blasé, with opinions being roughly divided between those who
opposed the 2015 deal; and those who endorsed it—the former seeing it as a
telling endorsement of their prior position, the latter, refusing to be moved
by the revelations.
would attempt to diminish the significance of the remarkable intelligence coup,
by claiming that what Netanyahu revealed produced nothing substantially new, or
anything demonstrating that Iran had breached the 2015 deal, largely miss the
it is difficult to know what is worse—whether these claims by the deal’s
adherents (or more accurately, apologists) are true, or whether they are not.
they are true, then the deal was signed with the co-signatories fully aware
that the the deal was “born in sin”, and based on blatant deception and deceit
on the part of the Iranians—to which they were willingly complicit.
Alternatively, if they are not true, then the co-signatories were blatantly
hoodwinked by Tehran, and are now disingenuously trying to deny their
incompetence and gullibility.
“…the cruelest of
real point brought home by Netanyahu’s revelation is not that the deal has been
violated, but that it should never have been made in the first place. As former
senior State Department official, and today Vice President at the Woodrow Wilson International
Center, Aaron David Miller, points out,the absurdity of the deal is
that it awards “Iran … huge rewards for giving up something it
wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place” (see introductory excerpt).
if anything, Miller understates the absurdity.
fact, the deal does not really require Iran to “give up something it wasn’t
supposed to be doing in the first place”, but merely to suspend it. Worse, under the
terms of the agreement, Iran was essentially allowed—even empowered—“to
continue doing things it wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place”—like
developing ballistic missiles to carry nuclear war-heads, fomenting and
financing terror across the globe, and effectively annexing other
countries–either directly (as in Syria) or by tightly-controlled proxies (as in
Lebanon). In light of all
this, the two major claims advanced by the deprecators of Netanyahu’s exposé
—i.e. (a) that they heralded nothing new; and (b) indicated no breach by
Iran—appear to be specious indeed.
Premature and prejudicial
all, since Netanyahu divulged only a small fraction of the seized material, it
is somewhat premature and prejudicial to determine whether there are any new,
previously unknown elements of any consequence in it.
as it stands at the moment, it is impossible to know whether Iran is adhering
to the deal, or violating it. For it is precisely in those locations, where
such violations are likely to take place—its military sites—that Iran has
refused to allow inspections!
according to an August 2017 report by Reuters, Iran brusquely dismissed a U.S.
demand for nuclear inspectors to visit its military bases as “merely
ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, pressed the IAEA to seek access
to Iranian military bases to ensure that they were not concealing activities
banned by the 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer
Nobakht, rejected this outright: “Iran’s military sites are off
limits…All information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow
given the telling evidence provided by Israel that Iran lied consistently about
its weapons program in the past, and given the faulty inspection regime in
place today, the cardinal question should not be whether there is any
compelling proof that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal, but whether there
is any such proof that it is in compliance with it.
“Obama chose to ignore the
assessment is underscored by an opinion piece just published by nuclear
expert, Ephraim Asculai, formerly of the International Atomic Energy Agency
today a senior
Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. He observes: “…the “deal” with Iran dealt only
partially and temporarily with the issue of preventing Iran from accomplishing
its original program”, noting
that “[although]… much of the information disclosed
by the prime minister was known –now it is authenticated.” According to
Asculai, “Former US President Barack Obama chose to ignore
the potential… But the looming crisis did not disappear. When the term of the
[deal] is up in a few years, Iran will legally resume its enrichment activities.” He warns: “The
deal was not a good one. It left Iran with the potential to resume its weapons
development program at will, did not really deal with the issue of the
development of the nuclear explosive mechanism, did not deal with the issue of
missile development, and the verification mechanism is an inefficient one,
dealing only with limited issues and not using all available inspections powers.”
acknowledges the value of Netanyahu’s presentation: “The
presentation did a very important thing: it presented evidence of the technical
details of Iran’s past program…that includes designs, locations and probably
stocks of materials…” explaining
that: “This evidence is essential if the IAEA
inspectors want to verify that these are no longer active, that the materials
are all accounted for and the staff are all interrogated and prove that they
are not engaged in the new project.”
Aiding and abetting Iran’s
goes on to address Netanyahu’s critics: “From the first international
reaction we learn that the general opinion was that there was no proof that
Iran violated the agreement”
and asks, pertinently: “[B]but is that the real issue?” For, as he
correctly notes: “Had Iran wanted to prove it had abandoned any
nuclear weapons-related program it should have consented to opening up its
archives, sites and materials to international inspections. It
did not do this because this is not its intention”.
berates detractors of Netanyahu’s presentation and their attempt to dismiss its
importance, accusing them of aiding and abetting Iran in its quest for
weaponized nuclear capability: “By stating that Iran did not do
wrong, these deniers are becoming accessories to its nuclear ambitions”, asking in exasperation: “Is
this what they really want?”
concluding his article, Asculai calls on Netanyahu to map out alternatives: “The
prime minister should have presented the possible solutions,” and urges: “It
is not too late to do so”.
the alleged lack of an “alternative” has constituted the major thrust of the
criticism of the proponents of the deal, echoing Obama’s 2015 dismissal of Netanyahu’s rejection
of it: “The Prime Minister of Israel is deeply opposed
to it. I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked, what is the
alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get
a nuclear weapon, and I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.”
attempt to justify the deal with Iran as being the only viable alternative to
allowing the Islamic Republic to develop nuclear weapons is both infuriating
infuriating because the very acceptance of the 2015 deal flies in the face of repeated prior commitments by the Obama
administration to eschew bad deals. Indeed, as John Hannah pointed out in a scathing appraisal of the process led by
Obama that culminated in the deal: “…the mantra guiding his Iran policy all along has
allegedly been ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.”
the claim of “no alternative’ is disingenuous because it was none other than
Obama, who laid out the alternative to the current deal – which assures Iran’s
weaponized nuclear capability, permits the production of missiles that can
threaten European capitals, provides funds to propagate terrorism and to
destabilize pro-US regimes.
all, in Obama’s own terms, the alternative was “no deal”!
that opponents of the deal did not offer cogent alternatives.
that the proponents designated–and apparently still designate—anything that
Iran did not agree to as “impractical” or “unfeasible”. Clearly, if the
underlying assumption is that the only “practical” option is a consensual one—i.e. one which Tehran
willingly accepts; rather that a coercive one—i.e. one which Tehran
is compelled to accept, say, by intensified sanctions, backed by a credible
threat of military action – then the proponents of the deal might be right that
there was no “available” alternative. Making abrogation inevitable
this, they are cutting the ground from under their own feet—and the very logic
underlying the deal they endorse.
the very assumption that if the deal is abandoned, Iran will acquire nuclear
weapons, virtually ensures that it will.
the Iranian leadership believes that co-signatories were unwilling to confront
a weak, impoverished, non-nuclear, pre-deal Iran with a convincing coercive
threat, why would it possibly believe that they would be willing to do so with
a greatly empowered and enriched, near-nuclear, post-deal Iran?
if the US and its allies were not willing to confront Tehran with a credible
specter of punitive, coercive action, which will compel it to abandon its
nuclear program, then clearly there is no inducement for it to adhere to the
deal – making its future abrogation inevitable…at any time Iran deems expedient.
the true—and chilling—significance of the unfounded contention that there is
“no other viable alternative”.
Excellent analysis apart from one point – why is Bernard Lewis’s warning about Iran and Mutually Assured Destruction never in the picture?
Bernard Lewis says
that if the Iranian mullahs get the bomb they will use it undeterred. When a
leading scholar of the Middle East tells you that “Mutually Assured
Destruction” for the Iranian regime “is not a deterrent — it's an inducement”,
we should take notice, ask for clarification, organize a meeting of scholars of
Shi'a Islam, but not ignore the warning.
After the Mossad coup, the
world cannot claim that Iran does not want the bomb. But what the world still
believes is that even if Iran does get the bomb, so what, they will be deterred
just like the USSR, China had been all these years of the Cold
War. But this is simply not true. That Bernard Lewis’s warning never ever
enters the equation is just mind-boggling. Quoting
Bernard Lewis is essential to making the world understand why preventing Iran
from getting the bomb must be foolproof.