CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 5, 2015 – Imagine what the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland were like, when a table filled with liars attempted to “negotiate” a legitimate nuclear arms agreement.
It must have been like the old television show To Tell The Truth on steroids.
President Barack Obama went to the Rose Garden of the White House last week to announce a landmark deal with Tehran, assuring the American people that if Iran cheats, the sanctions will come roaring back.
The renewed sanctions will probably appear in the vicinity of those three red lines Obama drew in Syria.
Iran responded to Obama’s glowing pronouncement by calling the president a “spin artist and a liar,” saying that Iran will not shut down its facilities and will continue full steam ahead.
Obama is long on hyperbole and short on substance. Why should this deal with Iran be any different?
Tehran has a great deal of experience at concealing its nuclear program. It has shown itself adept at hiding its facilities, its progress and its intent.
Iran knows which countries it can exploit. Its leaders have another key asset that the West, particularly the United States, does not have: patience.
Other than his incessant prevarications, nothing is more maddening about Obama’s management style than the insouciance with which he handles every issue. Nothing is ever urgent with Obama unless it has political implications that matter to him, or unless there is a tee time waiting.
Iran has been only “months away” from obtaining the bomb for years, but giving it the opportunity to build a nuclear device cannot be a good thing for global security.
Between the time the draft was written with disappearing ink in Lausanne, and the time that the final agreement is signed in July, more negotiations will take place. High level negotiators on both sides must iron out the intricacies by the end of June. More time has been bought by Iran to protract the negotiations while they continue to become “cool hand nuke.”
If U.N. inspectors eventually do gain access to Iran, Tehran will hold back critical information and personnel; that is, there will be more delaying tactics.
Given the added time, Iran can easily make nuclear progress by building its arsenal in small, unnoticeable increments. Thus the West gets lulled into a false sense of security and, with no new crisis on the horizon, the John Kerry agreement will appear to be holding firm.
Following Obama’s announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif immediately tweeted that the president lied. “The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” wrote Zarif. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
It was a classic case of liars accusing liars of lying.
The problem for most Americans is that it is impossible to determine which “whopper” is closest to the truth. Under normal circumstances we would automatically side with our own government, but we have been snookered so often that the Iranians might actually be more truthful.
Iran’s denials of the U.S. statements are a familiar pattern, which is also typical of any negotiation process with an Islamic faction.
Zarif was quoted as saying, “None of these measures include closing any of our facilities. We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”
Chances are good that Western negotiators did believe the tentative agreement was close to what they announced. It would be foolish to boast of the accomplishment if it were not true. On the other hand, believing there is common ground when the other side says that it sees that ground differently is also part and parcel of Middle Eastern “talks.”
It is rather like picking up a pumice rock only to discover you have a hand full of ashes.
While Kerry makes empty boasts, Alfred Nobel is probably turning over in his grave. After six years of Barack Obama, they don’t call him “spinning Alfred” for nothing.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod