Does Obama have Iran's back?

Ari Yashar of reports that the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry requires the United States and the other non-Iranian signatories to provide “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.”  If Israel is about to take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure and related targets, will the Obama administration use this language in the agreement to claim that the United States is required to warn Iran of the impending attack and provide Iran with sufficient information to thwart it?

Yashar reports:

One particularly interesting detail: Tucked away near the very end of the deal’s massive text is a section entitled “Nuclear Safety, Safeguards and Security,” which stipulates that the West will train Iran to thwart sabotage against its nuclear facilities.

According to text, Iran will learn how to secure its controversial and covert nuclear program from all threats thanks to training by the “E3/EU+3,” another designation for the P5+1 countries consisting of the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, as well as the EU.

The section seemingly begins benignly enough, with a clause saying that “E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran to establish a Nuclear Safety Centre in Iran, engage in workshops and training events in Iran.”

But then things take a turn, with the same world powers obligating to “co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.”

Leaving no doubts about the intentions, the text then promises “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.”

Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon adds this:

The language was viewed as disturbing by analysts and experts who said such cooperation could help protect Iran against efforts by the Israelis or other countries to sabotage the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in the future.

“The United States and its partners have just become the international protectors of the Iranian nuclear program.  Instead of rolling back the Iranian nuclear program, we’re now legally obligated to help the Iranians build it up and protect it,” said one Western source present in Vienna and who is apprised of the details of the deal.

Long before this agreement was negotiated, it was reasonable to assume that President Obama would warn the Iranians of an impending Israeli attack.  The language agreed to by President Obama and Secretary Kerry could be used to justify such a warning.  Although the “co-operation” to protect Iran’s nuclear program is to be “through training and workshops,” we can reasonably anticipate the disingenuous argument that such co-operation is not limited to training and workshops, and that the primary intent of the parties to the agreement was to co-operate with Iran in the protection of its nuclear program.  Thus, the argument will conclude, a warning to Iran of an impending Israeli attack is required.

We have seen examples of United States Supreme Court justices, and other judges, perpetrating much more extreme distortions of language in order to arrive at desired outcomes, at the expense of plain meaning.  Many lawyers do this every day for the highest bidder.  It will not be a surprise if President Obama and Secretary Kerry use the same tactic to stab Israel (and the rest of the free world) in the back.

Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles.  His website is  James Fernald and Mr. Favish have co-authored a book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland, entitled Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).