The Fictional Iran Deal
I can’t tell you just how shocked I am that a wannabe fiction writer, currently posing as the Deputy National Security Adviser, inserted his own fictional material to market the Iran Deal -- otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- to the media and public.
Many in the media went ballistic at Mr. Rhodes, and the author of the New York Times Magazine article that broke the news, for Rhodes’ confessions about deceiving the public to sell the Iran deal. I am not one of them. If anything, I believe this is all very appropriate. This whole Iran deal is, more than anything else, a totally fictional ‘deal’ that came out of a totally fictional process, and is being fictionally followed by Iran. It is also a complete and utter fiction for anyone to believe that the ‘deal’ will stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. So, doesn’t it make sense for a fiction writer to insert some fictional material to propagandize for it?
There is no common ‘deal’ between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. has a document of 159 pages, that it claims details the ‘deal.’ Iran, meanwhile, rejected that text. Instead, the Iranian majilis approved their own version of the JCPOA, more than 1000 pages long, which, among other things, strips the U.S.’ ability to “snapback” sanctions, forbids inspections of Iranian military sites, bars International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) interviews with Iranian military officers and scientists, calls on Iran to strengthen its military and missile arsenal, makes conversion of enriched uranium conditional, and calls for the dismantling of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Leader Khamenei has endorsed this new version of the JCPOA, to which he attached some additional conditions.
Even if there was one document, there still wouldn’t be a real deal. According to the Obama administration, the JCPOA is a set of “political commitments” and not a treaty, an executive agreement, or even a legally binding document. That is because said document was never signed by both parties. If this doesn’t make it a fictional deal, I don’t know what would.
The congressional "passage" of the deal was ridiculous too.
The Obama administration promised that it would wait for the Congress to consider the ‘deal’ before it went for a vote at the UN. That was a fictional statement. The administration quickly rammed it through the UN, prompting even some Democrats to express outrage.
President Obama also forced an entirely fictional process on Congress to implement the ‘deal.’ He didn’t use the one mentioned in the U.S. Constitution – the treaty process. He knew he would lose the battle to get two-thirds of the U.S. Senate vote. He also didn’t use the executive agreement route. Instead, the president and his allies conned the Congress into creating a new way, through the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, i.e., the Corker legislation. This process allowed Obama and his allies to turn the constitutional procedures on their heads, requiring opponents of the ‘deal’ to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House.
One reason many opposition senators signed onto this Corker legislation was that it required the president and his team to reveal to them the entirety of the Iran ‘deal.’ This promise, it turns out, was another fiction. At least two side deals were never revealed by the administration. They only came to the public’s attention when they were accidently revealed to visiting American lawmakers. Thus, the Corker legislation was violated. Not that this negated the Corker process, which went ahead anyway. Therefore, the Corker legislative process became fictional, and there was no real buy in by the Congress for the Iran ‘deal.’
Speaking of the U.S. Congress, the entire debate period when the House and Senate were supposedly considering the merits of the ‘deal’ was largely fictional too. While there were exceptions, many, especially on the Democratic side supporting the ‘deal,’ voted for it because the Democratic president told them to, and if that wasn’t enough, probably threatened them politically as well. Watching pro-‘deal’ senators and congressmen lambast the ‘deal’ for its many faults but then lamely praise it as the only option should make this quite clear to any objective observer.
As most of us suspected, Iran’s promises to keep to the ‘deal’ have proven to be entirely fictional as well. For example, Iran refused to fully cooperate with the IAEA investigating its Possible Military Dimensions (PMD). During the PMD investigation, Iran enabled the IAEA to draw partial conclusions only on two of the 12 alleged elements. In five cases, the IAEA noted that PMD occurred despite Iran’s claims to the contrary. Nevertheless, the PMD investigation was closed. Also, Iran continues to produce heavy water at Arak in violation of the JCPOA, which forbids Iran from stockpiling more than 130 tons of it.
And these are just the Iranian violations we know about.
Of course, the biggest fiction of all is that this ‘deal’, even if followed, will actually stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. It won’t. It was just a way for President Obama to get his legacy.
I actually feel a little bad for Mr. Rhodes, whose critics have labeled him a “failed” fiction writer. Considering that the fictional material he produced helped to ram the fictional Iran ‘deal,’ which will not really stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, through a fictional Congressional buy in process, and the ‘deal’ is now only being fictionally adhered to by Iran, I would have to disagree. Ben Rhodes has been a tremendous success in the world of fiction.
Adam Turner is the General Counsel & Legislative Affairs Director for the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).