I have been trying to provide you, my readers, with sufficient solid information on the Iran deal so that you can grasp its horrors – without overwhelming you with enormous technical minutiae, which can make the head spin.
However, every time I think I have provided enough, some other fact is exposed that simply must be written about. And here we are again today. Here, once more, we have Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, who cites BBC:
“Zarif said that restriction on Iran’s missile programme has been removed from Chapter 7 of UN Resolution 1929 and ‘has turned into a non-binding restriction.’”
And, says Ceren, “he’s absolutely right about how the new United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR)…turns what used to be a total ban on ballistic missile development into a ‘non-binding restriction.’” (“Emphasis added here and following)
“Here is the now-outdated UNSCR 1929, which used mandatory language that ‘Iran shall not undertake’:
‘Decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities;’
“Here is the new UNSCR 2231, which uses non-binding language that ‘Iran is called upon not to undertake’:
‘Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.’”
Try to wrap your heads around this, my friends. It was already a disaster that Obama went along with removing the UN sanctions against Iranian use of ballistic missiles. The point has been made repeatedly that this should not have been part of the deal at all, because the negotiations were about nuclear development not conventional weapons. In the end, Obama tried to soften this by representing it as a victory because there was an eight-year delay in Iran’s ability to use ballistic missiles. But as it turns out, this is a lie. Iran just may have the leeway to start now.
ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) picked up similarly hedged wording yesterday. In a press release, ZOA asks, “Deal Repeatedly Refers to Iran’s ‘Voluntary Measures.’ Does Iran Have No Real Obligations?” (emphasis added):
”Virtually every treaty and agreement contains language clearly binding the parties to definitive terms, such as ‘the parties agree to the following terms.’ However, the Iran deal – formally called the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ (or JCPOA) – is different. Strangely,supposed obligations are merely called ‘voluntary measures.’
“It is frightening and of great concern that even the minimal supposed obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this disastrous, lopsided deal may not be binding on Iran.
“Right at the outset, the introduction to the Iran deal’s provisions calls these provisions ‘voluntary measures.’ At the end of the introductory ‘Preamble and General Provisions,’ which is immediately prior to key Section A (entitled ‘Nuclear’), the JCPOA states:
“’Iran and E3/EU-3 [that is, P5 + 1] will take the following voluntary measures’ within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA and its Annexes.
“The phrase ‘voluntary measures’ is also repeated elsewhere in the JCPOA….
“The JCPOA also uses the terms Iran’s ‘intention’ and ‘plan’ and ‘voluntary commitments’ in other key paragraphs. ‘Intentions’ and ‘plans’ and “voluntary commitments” do not have the force of binding agreements. For instance:
“The very title of the deal, “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – merely indicates a plan – not a binding agreement. The term JCPOA is used throughout.
I have the feeling that this whole fiasco is imploding. What P5 + 1 has is not a “deal” with Iran, a binding accord, but a whole lot of words that sound technical but are merely cover to present to the world, while allowing Iran to do pretty much as it pleases.
And Iran is not even pretending to be conciliatory – not playing the game. Yesterday, for the first time, Kerry alluded to the hostile tone of the statements of Iranian leaders, and declared himself bewildered:
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said, referring to a recent statement by Khaminei that “Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change.”
“It’s very disturbing,” admitted Kerry.
Then we have the comment yesterday by Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran’s paramilitary Basij Force, that, “Any Iranian who reads the Vienna documents will hate the US 100 times more…All paragraphs of the resolution that the US proposed to the UNSC are full of enmity towards Iran and show the US deep grudge against the Iranian nation.”
Obama and Kerry have shown endless readiness to make concessions to Iran, likely assuming that this would bring them closer to Iranian officials, in a spirit of goodwill. But here is the lesson, writ bold:Concessions made in the Persian bazaar invite contempt, not gratitude. Big concessions yield huge contempt.
Will Congress tolerate this attitude? The American people?
I want to remind one and all to contact their elected members of Congress, if they have not done so yet, and to attend a “Stop Iran” rally, if possible. More information follows below.
In speaking with your Congresspersons and Senators, or their aides, remind them that the Founders of the United States envisioned three branches to the government, so that there would be checks and balances. If the elected officials on Capitol Hill merely cave to what the man in the White House wants, they are failing to fulfill their responsibilities as outlined in the Constitution. If America is to stay strong, this cannot be allowed to happen.
Carolyn Glick, in her column today, expresses the opinion that it may be possible for Congress to kill the Iran deal. What she writes ties directly to the issues I’ve been raising (emphasis added):
”As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now that the UN Security Council has anchored the agreement in a binding resolution and so given the force of international law to a deal that guarantees Iran will receives the bomb and $150b., the deal is done. It cannot be walked back.
”But this is not necessarily true. Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.
”Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations last Tuesday, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.
”Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.
”Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.
”Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.
”In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.
”When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.
”As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.
”Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days. Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.
”Dan Darling, foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul wrote Monday that senators can use Senate procedure to force the Foreign Relations Committee to act in this manner. Darling argued that House Speaker John Boehner can either refuse to consider the deal since it is a treaty, or insist on passing enabling legislation under normal legislative procedures.
”Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.
”Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.
”The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.
”To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.
”If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.”
I have asked New Yorkers to contact their Senator Chuck Schumer, and urge him to oppose the Iran deal. Now I have acquired phone numbers, to simplify the process for you:
There are two rallies scheduled in California for Sunday, which is Tisha B’Av:
July 26, 2015, 2:00-4:00 pm at the Federal Building (Veteran and Wilshire)
July 26, 2015, 2:00-4:00 pm at Balboa Park (Park Boulevard and President`s Way Lawn)
I was particularly glad to share information today that had been put out by ZOA, for yesterday I mentioned EMET and AIPAC, which are both doing lobbying on the Hill with regard to the Iran deal, and inadvertently left out ZOA, which has been doing this work of lobbying on behalf of Israel longer than either of the other organizations. For this omission – startling because my co-chair in Legal Grounds Campaign is Jeff Daube, who heads the ZOA office in Israel – I sentenced myself to ten lashes with a wet noodle.
I close here with two items that are more upbeat in perspective:
Here we have Shabtai Shavit, who was director of the Mossad director from 1989 to 1996, voicing the opinion that the current situation brings with it the possibility of enhanced relationships with the Sunni Arab states of the region – notably Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt.
“I believe that in the present time there is a widow of opportunity for Israel in order to try and pursue a new order in the Middle East.”
He’s not the only one saying this. Perhaps a glimpse of a silver lining in the morass we must currently contend with.
And then, a most interesting perspective from Shoshana Bryen, who is currently Senior Director of the Israel Policy Center, and formerly served as Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs). This is “Israel: Security Asset for the United States” (emphasis added):
“…there is a reason military-to-military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has remained almost untouchable, and the American military proudly touts its relationship with Israel.
“With the President of the United States behaving as if Iran can be an ally and a pro-Western player, it might help to recall the ‘quick reference guide’ to the capabilities Israel brings to U.S.-Israel security cooperation, first published by JINSA in 1979…”
I am not going to reproduce the entire list here, but suggest you look at it. It will boost your morale. Included are such items as:
 A secure location in a crucial part of the world
 A well-developed military infrastructure
 The ability to maintain, service, and repair U.S.-origin equipment
 Multilingual capabilities, including facility in English, Arabic, French, Farsi and the languages of the (former) Soviet Union
 Combat familiarity with Soviet/Russian style tactics and equipment
 The ability to assist U.S. naval fleets, including common equipment
 The ability to support American operations and to provide emergency air cover
Noting that “In 1996, R&D capabilities and intelligence cooperation were added. Post 9-11, urban counterterror training was added….Nothing has been deleted,” Bryen shares something she wrote in 20016:
“In a volatile region so vital to the U.S., where other states cannot be relied upon, it would be foolish to disengage — or denigrate — an ally such as Israel. The war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them will be long and hard, and success will depend in no small measure on the allies who stand with us and with whom we stand.”
She says “the message is better yet in 2015.”
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.