A U.N. Vote Is Irrelevant to the Iran Deal
The Security Council can’t stop the U.S. from using force to protect itself from anyone’s nuclear weapons.
JOHN BOLTON in Wall St. Journal March 16
Press reports that President Obama will enlist the U.N. Security Council to bless his imminent nuclear agreement with Iran have unleashed considerable controversy. Many worry council action would bind the U.S. to the deal, circumventing congressional scrutiny. Moreover, Iran may see U.N. action as protecting it from a subsequent change in U.S. policy.
There is no need for worry. The Security Council can do nothing to limit America’s freedom to break from this agreement or take whatever action it deems necessary to protect itself.
First, even the U.N. will require Iran to comply with any commitments made to the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany. Bureaucracy-loving diplomats and Secretariat personnel will probably create a council committee to monitor Iran’s performance, but neither the U.S. nor any other U.N. member must accept the committee’s judgment that Iran is in compliance when it has contrary information. Washington can act on what it knows, whether or not it discloses the extent of its knowledge.
Given Iran’s dismal performance in living up to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and existing resolutions requiring that it cease all uranium-enrichment-related activity, Tehran will almost certainly begin violating the deal before the ink is dry. Security Council committees will be bystanders, and the U.S., Israel and others threatened by a nuclear-capable Iran will rely on their own intelligence to detect Iranian cheating.
The gravest danger during Mr. Obama’s remaining two years is that the White House and State Department will ignore, play down or suppress information that Iran is breaking the deal. Ignoring palpable treaty violations is built into the DNA of many arms-control theologians, and this administration will insist that the bureaucracy follows the party line that Iran is complying.
(Amb. Bolton address to PJTN in Nashville, Feb. 23, 15)
Congressional committees (intelligence, armed services, and foreign affairs) will have a critical role in overseeing White House efforts to minimize dangerous Iranian behavior.