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Iran nuke deal will end like Syria chemicals deal – Western blind eye to non-compliance

Iran nuke deal will end like Syria chemicals deal – Western blind eye to non-compliance

Fear of total non-cooperation paralyzes inspection process.

We are told that the Obama administration, its successor and European governments will strictly enforce Iran’s adherence to the nuclear deal.

Put aside for the moment the problems with the deal, and focus on compliance. Put aside also that Iran has a history of cheating on nuclear issues.

We have a recent example of how the West will become complicit in non-compliance. In Syria, The Wall Street Journal reports, Mission to Purge Syria of Chemical Weapons Comes Up Short (paywall):

…. One year after the West celebrated the removal of Syria’s arsenal as a foreign-policy success, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn’t give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.

An examination of last year’s international effort to rid Syria of chemical weapons, based on interviews with many of the inspectors and U.S. and European officials who were involved, shows the extent to which the Syrian regime controlled where inspectors went, what they saw and, in turn, what they accomplished. That happened in large part because of the ground rules under which the inspectors were allowed into the country, according to the inspectors and officials….

Demanding greater access and fuller disclosures by the regime, they say, might have meant getting no cooperation at all, jeopardizing the entire removal effort.

That is a key point with Iran too — the fear that Iran will simply back out of the agreement by claiming Western non-compliance will cause the West to back away for fear of losing all compliance.

The WSJ article continues noting that control on the ground gave Syria a huge advantage, and Russia ran interference for Syria (as it will do for Iran on compliance issued):

Because the regime was responsible for providing security, it had an effective veto over inspectors’ movements. The team decided it couldn’t afford to antagonize its hosts, explains one of the inspectors, or it “would lose all access to all sites.” And the inspectors decided they couldn’t visit some sites in contested areas, fearing rebels would attack them.

Under the terms of their deployment, the inspectors had access only to sites that the Assad regime had declared were part of its chemical-weapons program. The U.S. and other powers had the right to demand access to undeclared sites if they had evidence they were part of the chemical-weapons program. But that right was never exercised, in part, inspectors and Western officials say, because their governments didn’t want a standoff with the regime.

Russia, Mr. Assad’s longtime ally, had used its clout at the U.N. and the OPCW to limit the mandate of the inspectors, preventing them from accusing the regime directly of using chemical weapons, such as in the 2013 sarin attack.

The U.S. and U.N. inspectors suspected non-compliance all along, but didn’t press the issue for fear that Syria would withdraw any cooperation:

The big question looming over the whole operation was how forthcoming the regime had been about the scope of its chemical-weapons work. As the inspections were beginning, in private briefings for U.N. and congressional officials, U.S. intelligence agencies gave the regime an informal grade of B-plus for truthfulness, according to U.S. and U.N. officials….

When U.N. officials pressed the matter, the Syrians said they had destroyed hundreds of tons of mustard agent in fire pits before agreeing to the inspections. The inspectors were skeptical, noting that it had taken other countries decades to destroy similarly large stockpiles….

Members of the inspection team didn’t push for answers, worried that it would compromise their primary objective of getting the regime to surrender the 1,300 tons of chemicals it admitted to having. “It was a question of priorities,” says one team member.

Obama continues to obfuscate, even as U.S. intelligence agencies are convinced of Assad’s non compliance (quote from WSJ):

Earlier this year, American intelligence agencies tracked the regime’s increasing use of chlorine-filled bombs. The weapons-removal deal didn’t curtail the work of Syria’s weapons scientists, allowing the regime to develop more effective chlorine bombs, say U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence. The regime denies using chlorine.

The CIA had been confident that Mr. Assad destroyed all of the chemical weapons it thought he possessed when the weapons-removal deal was struck. In recent weeks, the CIA concluded that the intelligence picture had changed and that there was a growing body of evidence Mr. Assad kept caches of banned chemicals, according to U.S. officials.

The WSJ article has enormous detail, it’s a shame it’s behind a paywall, but that’s its business model.

The Syria experience will be positive relative to what we can expect in Iran, where there will be business interests on top of fears of non-cooperation.

Already, European governments and businesses are fighting to be first to feed at the Iranian trough funded with over $100 billion influx into the Iranian economy through lifted sanctions.

The Iran nuke deal will end the way the Syrian chemical weapons deal ended. Badly.

[Featured Image: Obama announcement of Iran nuclear deal.]


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Sammy Finkelman | July 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Demanding greater access and fuller disclosures by the regime, they say, might have meant getting no cooperation at all, jeopardizing the entire removal effort..

This precedent is a very good point, better than even the history of the North Korean nuclear program because Iran and Syria are tied together and it can be presumed that all this is being done with the advice and consent of Iran.

Obama and Kerry seem to be showing total unawareness of this point when they try to sell the deal. And I don’t know that they got any questions about it either.

Sammy Finkelman | July 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

The big question is: If a violation of the agreeement is detected, is President Obama prepared to declare Iran in violation, or would he try to re-negotiate the agreement?

The agreement has be analyzed under the assumption that you have to be prepared for Iran to violate the agreement, or declare it void at any point in time.

You’ve got to be prepared for a violation that happens at Point A, at Point B, at Point C and at Point D and have a game plan for it that makes sense.

And if it is to be assumed Iran will keep it, or mnioght keep it, it has to make sense for Iran to keep this agreement at every point in time.

    A) A violation will never be detected by the administration.
    B) In the event a violation occurs that exceeds the administration’s ability to ignore it (i.e. a mushroom cloud) Iran *might* be declared in violation of the agreement, but the administration will waffle worse than breakfast in order to keep from re-applying any sanctions.
    C) The agreement will never be renegotiated by this administration because it is perfect, without flaw or error, and any suggestion to the contrary is only the result of Badthink, which shall be punished to the full extent of the media and the government, regardless of any actual ‘law’ violated by the criticism.

    It’s starting to look like our president will be the only Nobel peace prize holder to have a radioactive crater named after him.

Sammy Finkelman | July 24, 2015 at 12:26 pm

The precedent of nuclear arms agreements with the Soviet union is no argument, because they were all fairly limited, and it did make sense for the Soviet Union to continue keeping the agreement, or violating it only slightly, at every point in time.

Here, Iran’s chief motivation is getting sanctions relief, which gives them a great deal they can pocket, so Iran doesn’t have that much of a continuing need to adhere to the agreement or keep the United States satisfied. (unless there is maybe a real threat of the use of military force)

The sanctions won’t snap back very easily, and then only if the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the EU agree (although any extra sanctions imposed only by the United States, which may not be all that trivial when you think about the banking sanctions, could snap back unilaterally) and if they did snap back, it wouldn’t take away any money they got initially, or cause the cancellation of contracts, and so it would take maybe at least a year or two to get Iran back into the same position they are in now, in terms of economic pressure, if the exact same sanctions and no more were re-applied.

What used to be called “the Free World” now depends for rational conduct on tiny, besieged Israel.

Helluva a deal…

Henry Hawkins | July 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

The media will obediently spike Iran deal stories in very short order – down the memory hole.