Shameless Iran cheating while talking
Iran seems to have perfected the art of shamelessness. It's been widely reported that Iran has been blessed with a near straight flush of concessions from John Kerry and the other P5+1 powers in the Vienna talks supposedly designed to prevent the Islamic Republic from getting the bomb. Now, "a senior Iranian official speaking on condition of anonymity" blamed the West for "shifting their positions and backtracking" on the April 2 "interim agreement" for having "red lines." Iranian foreign secretary Javad Zarif agreed, claiming that the P5+1 has "excessive demands." For his own part, Secretary Kerry praised the "constructive atmosphere" in Vienna, wherein he agreed to the third extension in three weeks to work out a deal – apparently, any deal at all – over inspections, sanctions, and answers to pending mysteries about Iran's suspicious activities.
Meanwhile, crowds of Iranians turned out in the streets this week for "Qods Day," otherwise called "Death to Israel day," maniacally shouting slogans about the Great Satan.
But the real shamelessness isn't even with Iran's past efforts at getting a nuclear weapon, but its current, ongoing efforts to get a nuclear weapon.
We probably won't hear much about this from the Obama administration, but Germany's domestic spying agency last week released its own intelligence estimate of the situation, called the 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution: Facts and Trends. As the Report summarized:
The regime has so far not been able to rebut claims that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons. Despite official avowals to the contrary, Iranian agencies are extremely interested in pursuing their illegal attempts to procure proliferation-relevant material in Germany. In particular, they are interested in items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.
Germany noted Iran's willingness to pay a spectacular price for violating its promises and guarantees to the West about its nuclear program, describing it as "a quite dramatic collapse in the country's economic performance on account of sanctions imposed against its nuclear programme." Not only is the government of Iran attempting to buy banned technology from German companies at an ever-increasing rate, Germany's intelligence agency verified, but the clear thrust of the attempts is always nuclear.
It is almost as if Iran is in a race to get the nuclear know-how, which perhaps explains its endless stalling in the Vienna negotiations. The German BfV's report describes "increased" attempts in the last year by Iran to get useful and illegal technology not only for its missile programs, but also for missiles that specifically could carry nuclear weapons. The report concluded that "Germany anticipates that Iran will continue its intensive procurement efforts in Germany (especially via covert structures)."
British foreign secretary Phillip Hammond describes the Vienna talks as "painfully slow," while Iran continues to enrich uranium. Perhaps the overriding mystery is why the Obama administration seems unable to see any connection between the two behaviors. Iran is there to wear us down.
Christopher S. Carson, an attorney, is formerly with the American Enterprise Institute.