"Iran Nuke deal quietly collapses" by Amir Taheri in The N.Y. Post Dec 16, 2013
Less than a month after it was hailed as “a great diplomatic coup,” the so-called Geneva accord to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions seems to have come unstuck.
The official narrative in Tehran is that Iran signed nothing. “There is no treaty and no pact,” says Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham, “only a statement of intent.” Originally, Iran’s official media had presented the accord as a treaty (qarardad) but it now refers to a “letter of agreement” (tavafoq nameh).
Translated into plain language, the new Iranian narrative is that talks about implementing an accord that is not legally binding have collapsed and that, in the words of the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, Ali-Akbar Salehi, there is no change in the rhythm and tempo of Iran’s nuclear project. “Our centrifuges are working full capacity,” Salehi said last Thursday.
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Having claimed that he had halted Iran’s nuclear project, Secretary of State John Kerry might want to reconsider. He and his European colleagues, like many of their predecessors, may have fallen for the diplomatic version of the Three Card Monte played by the mullahs since they seized power in 1979.
The tactic of delay has several advantages for the mullahs. First, hopes of a negotiated solution make it more difficult for anyone to advocate military action to thwart Tehran’s ambitions. As long as talks are going on, “all other options”, the cliché favored by President Obama, remain off the table.
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Endless talks also force Iran’s adversaries are forced to sacrifice policy to process. Under the Geneva deal, for example, the US and its European partners not only set the military option aside, but also undertake not to impose additional sanctions. Instead of hiring expensive lobbyists in Washington, the mullahs can use Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry to lobby Congress on their behalf.
The mullahs have reaped other benefits from their three-card trick. The perception that the crisis is cooling down has already halted the Islamic Republic’s economic free fall. The national currency, the rial, lost 80 percent of its value over four years, but now appears to have stabilized.
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The mullahs also use the prospect of normalization, especially with the United States, to divert attention from their increasingly repressive rule. While Iranians are bombarded with talk of President Hassan Rouhani’s “diplomatic miracle,” an average of 10 people are executed in Iran every day.
Here is how Khamenei’s daily mouthpiece put it Sunday: “If our centrifuges do not continue to turn, no other wheel shall turn for our dignity, independence, power and security.”
The message from Tehran to Washington is clear: You talk, we act.
Read full "Iran Nuke deal quietly collapses" article by Amir Taheri in The N.Y. Post