Monday, June 1, 2015

Is the Iran deal good for the US?

The crux of the debate is Dubowitz’s argument at 34:00-41:00

the transcript

Mark Dubowitz:
I’m going to discuss the emerging deal’s seven deadly flaws. I support a good deal, but this is not a good deal. I’m also going to suggest to you that this deal will make war more likely, not less likely.
And I’m going to actually take Phil up on his challenge, and I’m going to sketch out what a better deal looks like. The seven deadly flaws: First of all, President Obama and his administration only about 18 months ago committed to, quote, unquote, “Dismantle substantial portions” or “a lot” of Iran’s nuclear program. This deal will leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure virtually intact. And Iran will be a turn of the screw away from developing a nuclear weapon, only a year’s breakout from that weapon. And that year breakout will only last for 10 years. Thereafter, the breakout time will diminish significantly, and by year 15, Iran will have zero breakout, that’s undetectable breakout. Number two, the administration gave up on long-standing U.S. policy and multiple UN Security Council resolutions, and they gave Iran domestic enrichment which is the key element it needs to develop a nuclear weapon. Now, that was fine, except this most valuable concession wasn’t given up at the end of the negotiation in exchange for other valuable concessions.
No, this was given at the beginning of the negotiation, before Iran had really done anything significant. And now we’re in a situation where Iran is going to have significant enrichment capacity. The administration started off by offering 500 centrifuges. Now Iran’s going to have 6,000 centrifuges. That’s a 1,200 percent increase in the course of these negotiations. Well, here’s a fun fact for you: 6,000 centrifuges, woefully inadequate if you want peaceful nuclear energy. But it’s exactly what you need if you want to weaponize uranium. Number three, we’ve heard about missiles quite extensively from the folks over here. Let me just talk about an ICBM, an -- intercontinental ballistic missile is not for putting monkeys into space. It is for delivering a warhead to New York City. And the Iranians said that this was non-negotiable. The administration said, “Fine. We’ll take it off the table.” Number four, the Fordow enrichment facility. This is an enrichment facility that is buried under a mountain on a Revolutionary Guard military base. The administration promised to dismantle it, then to shutter it.
And now it’s going to be left open for 15 years to develop medical isotopes. It’ll be the most heavily fortified, heavily guarded medical isotope facility in the Milky Way.
And the problem is, in 15 years’ time, the Iranians can reconvert it to do advanced centrifuge powered enrichment in a heavily guarded, underground bunker underneath a mountain. Number five, and this is the serious issue with this deal. It’s the poison pill. Many of the restrictions on this deal are going to start sunsetting, in other words, disappearing, after year 10. And by year 15, most of these restrictions are going to go away. Iran is going to have an industrial sized military program, with unlimited centrifuge capacity, zero breakout, multiple heavy water reactors, and the ability to actually develop a program that is widely dispersed and very, very difficult to verify. This deal would have converted this Iranian regime, this regime, from a nuclear pariah into a nuclear partner.
Let me talk about verification and inspection because I believe our opponents are going to bet their debate and bet the security of the United States of America on verification and inspection. This is the idea that we will have unprecedented inspections. Well, the problem with unprecedented inspections is that Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, just last week said, “You are not getting into my military bases, into my Revolutionary Guard bases.” [unintelligible] Revolutionary Guard commander said anybody who tries is going to be met with hot lead. I looked up “hot lead” in the dictionary. It means a bullet. Now, that’s a serious problem because this is a bet on verification and detection. And let’s talk about the U.S. track record in detecting and stopping countries from going nuclear. We missed the Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea. We underestimated Saddam’s program in 1990. Then we overestimated his program in 2003 and went to war to stop a nonexistent WMD program. We have a lousy record of detecting when countries go nuclear.
And this is going to be a massive program on a territory more than twice the size of Texas. That is what the IAEA will have to verify, particularly when this is an industrial sized program. Number seven, and finally, the IAEA doesn’t enforce. They verify, they monitor. The United States of America enforces. Now the only way we’re going to enforce this deal peacefully is through economic coercion, what is known as snapback sanctions. Here’s the problem with snapback sanctions. They don’t snap back very well. Iran will have a powerful economy in 10 to 15 years. They’re going to get hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief. They’re going to be increasingly immunized against future economic pressure. We’re going to end up in snapback disputes with the Russians and the Chinese at the Security Council. In fact, we’re going to end up in snapback disputes with the Europeans when we try snapback sanctions against our French and British and German friends. We will hit a wall of intransigence at the Security Council, and we will hit a wall of human greed in the marketplace.
And the problem is as we give up our peaceful enforcement mechanism in order to enforce the deal, this is going to make war more likely, not less likely. Iran will be able to creep out, or inch out, or sneak out, or they’ll wait patiently until many of these restrictions disappear. And if we are lucky enough to detect an Iranian sneak-out or breakout, war will be our only option. And when that war comes, Iran will be much stronger, and the consequences will be much worse. Now, what about a better deal? Well, let me spell out a better deal in seven quick points. Number one, no sunset provision based on arbitrary time period. Iran should have to be certified by the IAEA as having a peaceful nuclear program without any clandestine nuclear facilities. Number two, no long range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a warhead. Number three, shut down the Fordow facility. There’s only one purpose, and that is for weaponization. Number four, go anywhere, go any time, snap inspections into any Revolutionary Guard base.
Number five, Iran has been stonewalling the international community on its possible military dimensions of its program. Iran should come clean before the deal, not after a deal, and certainly before we give them hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief. And number six, economic leverage. It should not be dependent on sanctions. President Obama said no deal is better than a bad deal. That is not this emerging deal. Let’s take time to negotiate a better deal. Why are we rushing towards a bad deal? My bet, compared to Obama’s deal, Hillary’s deal will be much better. In fact, compared to Obama’s deal, the leading Republican contenders will have a better deal. Hillary and the Republican contenders are the ultimate snapback. That’s why you should vote against the proposition that Obama’s deal is good for America. Thank you.