Framework ‘deal’ more like nuclear Rorschach test

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Something unusual happened last week: President Obama told the truth. But don’t worry, the State Department quickly told a lie to cover it up.

The short version is this: The president said that in the 13th year after the nuclear “deal” with Iran, the Islamic republic will be able to build a nuclear bomb virtually on demand.

Wow! Scary! You might almost question whether the United States has any idea what it is doing in the nuclear negotiations with Iran if that is the expected outcome.

In fact, a reporter did question just that on Tuesday, and was told by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf that the president never said what he plainly had said on video.

“I think his words were a little mixed up there... but what he was referring to was a scenario in which there was no deal. If you go back and look at the transcript, I know it’s a little confusing... it’s my understanding that he was referring to — even though it was a little muddled in the words, too — a scenario in which there was no deal... It was more of a hypothetical... He was NOT indicating what would happen under an agreement in those years...”

Well, let’s roll the tape. Or “go back and look at the transcript.” I did, and oops the president DID SO indicate what would happen “under an agreement” in those years.

In the interview with Steve Inskeep on National Public Radio, Obama didn’t leave any room for interpretation. Inskeep was questioning the president about the proposed Iranian deal, and pointed out that “People are asking, ‘What will happen in 10 or 15 years as the deal starts to expire?’”

Inskeep then specifically asked President Obama about the deal’s apparent intention to leave enriched uranium inside Iran rather than moving it to a neutral country where it could be monitored closely.

The president dismisses Inskeep’s concern, and then says, “What is a more relevant fear [than Iran holding on to its current stockpiles] would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

Breakout time is “nuke negotiator” lingo for the time it would take to create an atomic bomb starting from today. 

The president went on to explain that, “currently, the breakout times are only about two to three months by our intelligence estimates. So essentially, we’re purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year... — that if they decided to break the deal, kick out all the inspectors, break the seals and go for a bomb, we’d have over a year to respond. And we have those assurances for at least well over a decade.”

It’s of course no accident that the president is referring to “year 13, 14 and 15.” That is clearly “year 13” of the deal. It is meaningless otherwise to use the phrase.

And despite Marie Harf’s best straight-faced lie, the president’s truth is there for all to see. You just have to think for yourself instead of being told by Marie that the so-called “muddled” words don’t mean what they plainly say.

Again, let President Obama tell it for himself:

“...In years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter, but at that point we have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves. We have much more insight into their capabilities. And the option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished.”

Clearly, Obama is acknowledging that in years 13 and 14 of the treaty, the breakout times may be a month or less if Iran backs out of the treaty. We know that he is talking about the treaty because he points out that as a result of the treaty we now “have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves. We have much more insight into their capabilities.” That insight exists because of the weapons inspections that the United States and its partners would have been carrying out for 10 or more years.

Much more concerning even than the president’s inability to communicate clearly with his own State Department is the complete breakdown in communications between the United States and Iran over just what the nuclear “deal” consists of. How you can even call it a “deal” is a mystery when the two sides seem to be looking at two completely different, contradictory and mutually exclusive documents.

Heck, within hours of the framework “deal” being announced on April 2, both sides were calling each other liars. Virtually no significant point of the deal was seen the same way by both the Iranians and the United States. 

We said the sanctions would be gradually lifted based on Iran’s performance in allowing inspections and taking other treaty-mandated actions. Iran said the sanctions would be lifted immediately without Iran performing any task.

We said Iran was going to allow inspections at its secret military facilities. They said no inspections would be allowed at any military facilities, secret or otherwise.

We said Iran has agreed to stop using advanced centrifuges. They said “work on advanced centrifuges shall continue on the basis of a 10-year plan.”

We said Iran had agreed to dismantle the core of the heavy water plutonium plant in Arak. They said, “No way!”

It is hard to know how to assess a deal that is put together like a Rorschach test. You know, the psychological test that features an ink blot that could be interpreted as anything from a sexy woman to a hedgehog, depending on the predilections of the observer. 

What is apparent to any observer, however, is that the American negotiators are either the worst negotiators of all time or outright liars. The deal they got in their own minds justifies President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, but the deal they really got apparently justifies locking them up as the biggest con men since Bernie Madoff.

One person who thinks so is the Supreme leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, who broke his silence this week to categorize the Obama administration as “lying,” “deceptive” and “devilish.” 

Well, we know one thing for sure: One of them has to be lying — President Obama or the Ayatollah Khamenei. So let’s look at the record.

This is not the first time that the veracity of the president has been questioned. Consider Benghazi, Bowe Bergdahl, Fort Hood, Libya, Obamacare, Fast and Furious.  And remember when President Obama drew a “red line” in Syria and said that if Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, he would pay a terrible price? Assad used the weapons, and Obama’s word proved to be good for — nothing.

On the other hand, the ayatollah has declared “death to America” and vowed to see the annihilation of Israel. Step by step, year by year, he moves toward those goals.

So who ya gonna trust? The ayatollah may be on to something. 



Frank Miele is the managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana.

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