President Obama promised during his announcement of the Geneva deal with Iran that “for the first time in a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.” Add that one to the growing list of Obama promises of dubious credibility such as “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Period.” How long before Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who was the chief U.S. negotiator, are back-peddling on what is the real meaning of “halted” and which parts of the Iranian nuclear program were “rolled back"?
Unlike Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a nation that is literally within minutes of nuclear obliteration by the Iranian mullahs who have stated over and over, in public and private, their determination to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth. Netanyahu cannot afford to play politics with the Iranian nukes issue. His assessment is brutally frank: "What was concluded in Geneva [Saturday] night is not a historic agreement, it's a historic mistake. It's not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place."
Why is the world less secure now? Because, as Netanyahu added, “for years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment. Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium." Not only has the international community consented, it has also formally agreed to begin handing away the economic sanctions that played a crucial role in pressuring the Iranians to sit down in Geneva in the first place.
Iran will not abide by the Geneva deal because it provides no credible verification regime. That much is clear from Obama’s statement that “new inspections will provide an extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.” Note Obama’s careful use of the word “extensive” rather than “unlimited” or “comprehensive.” Without unobstructed access, there is no way to verify Iran’s actions with regard to the Geneva agreement.
Because there is no credible verification process, Obama’s claim that the international community will now use “the time and space over the next six months” for further negotiations “to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program” is magical thinking. That statement no doubt inspired howls of laughter in Tehran for two reasons: First, without a credible verification process in place, only the Iranians will know whether they are complying with the agreement.
Second, the Geneva deal has demonstrated to the Iranians that they get relief from economic sanctions and accumulate security against a U.S. military attack by duplicitously participating in negotiations. Obama sought to assure that “if Iran does not meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure.” If the Iranians are shaking in their boots, it’s not because of fear.