On April 2, US President Barack Obama issued a statement on the “framework to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
The commander-in-chief was positively cheerful when he took to the podium in the Rose Garden to announce that a framework for a deal between the P5+1 countries and the Islamic Republic had finally been reached, “after many months of tough, principled diplomacy.”
He then went on to assure the American people that “it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”
He described it as an agreement that “would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon,” claiming, “Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”
In the same vein, Obama depicted the many “achievements” of the framework agreement in a positive light, and declared that it was going to make the whole world, including Israel, more secure.
Before he and his European counterparts had a chance to pop the cork, however, the leadership in Tehran was calling the American version of the framework forged in Lausanne that day utterly false. Indeed, on every single point, the Islamic Republic had a completely different interpretation from the West of the “fact sheets.”
This is just as well, since even the deal as presented by the US is a disaster. Still, it does impose some restrictions on Iran’s ability to build an atom bomb out in the open.
It is impossible to ascertain which side in this farce is lying and which is engaged in wishful thinking, but it doesn’t take an Iranian rocket scientist to make an educated guess. One thing we do know is that the US president is still spreading the following fabrication: “Since Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa [religious Islamic degree] against the development of nuclear weapons, this framework gives Iran the opportunity to verify that its program is, in fact, peaceful.”
This is not the first time that the West has pointed to this so-called fatwa to allay concerns about nuclear power in the hands of the mullah-led regime whose Revolutionary Guard generals continue, even now, to issue threats of annihilating Israel and infiltrating the United States. For the past decade, prior to every summit held with and about Iran, it has been used as a tactic by the Islamic Republic and a straw at which the West can grasp.
Yet the Middle East Media Research Institute has written six exhaustive reports – the most recent of which was released a few days ago – proving that such a fatwa does not exist. This point of Islamic law would not be the least bit relevant to international relations if it weren’t viewed as evidence that ultimately Iran can be trusted not to develop, and certainly not to launch, nuclear weapons.
Of course, this is precisely why Obama included it in his statement about the framework agreement. His intent was to say that even if the details of the agreement with Iran haven’t been finalized, and even if the US has to concede a bit further (for example, by lifting all sanctions immediately, before forcing Iran to demonstrate it is abiding by other clauses), we can all sleep soundly at night.
Realizing that Israel has been getting no shut-eye whatsoever, and worried that the Jewish state – whose elimination was called “non-negotiable” by a top military man in Tehran a couple of weeks ago – might be preparing to take action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Obama went on a defensive “charm offensive.”
In an April 5 video interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, Obama said, “What we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there.”
Aside from the fact that Iran and others in the region have been “messing with Israel” on a regular basis, always spurring the White House to urge Israeli “restraint,” these words from Obama are telling. They reveal his awareness that there is no fatwa, or if there is, it is irrelevant where global war is concerned.
Translated into both Farsi and Hebrew, the president’s performance constituted a wink to Iran that a deal can and will be reached, come hell or high water.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to all of this has been to take to the American airways and warn against a “bad deal.”
The trouble is that any deal with Iran, by virtue of its regime’s overt hegemonic intentions, will be a bad one. From the outset, the US should have given Iran an ultimatum, not treat it as an equal. But Obama made it clear from the outset of his presidency that America needed to relinquish its superpower status.
And now it is too late for talk.
Obama has said that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons “on his watch.” He might be right, though it is doubtful, considering his tenure doesn’t run out for another two years.
But so what? All it means is that the Islamist regime is being given more time to hone its skills and hide additional facilities.
If, as many Israelis believe, Netanyahu is not going to initiate an attack, the result is a foregone conclusion.
And no fatwa, phony or otherwise, is going to provide protection.The writer is the editor of Voice of Israel talk radio (voiceofisrael.com) and a columnist at Israel Hayom.