- - Thursday, July 16, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There is a difference between engaging and capitulating. President Obama’s deal with Iran opts for the latter.

In 2008 Mr. Obama warned Tehran: “We will present a clear choice. If you abandon your dangerous nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives — including the lifting of sanctions … If you refuse, we will ratchet up the pressure.” In 2012, Mr. Obama called on Iran “to give up its nuclear program … to re-enter the community of nations.” These were principled, responsible demands.

But in 2013 Mr. Obama abandoned those demands — and the leverage of six U.N. resolutions supporting them — by conceding Iran’s right to a uranium-enrichment program in the interim agreement he secretly negotiated with Tehran.

Now, just a few months after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “death to America” to a large crowd in Tehran, and mere days after millions of Iranians chanted “Death to America! Death to Israel!” in rallies across the country, Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have negotiated a deal that will grant Iran more than $100 billion in up-front sanctions relief. This will fund Iran’s terrorist proxies including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, bolster the Assad regime in Syria (a regime that has slaughtered more than 200,000 people) and further entrench the mullahs in power in Tehran. It will also end U.N. restrictions on Iran’s conventional-weapons and ballistic-missile programs.

In return, Iran conceded only temporary limits on its nuclear program. The deal won’t destroy a single centrifuge or close any of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran will retain its impenetrable Fordow underground facility and continue enriching uranium and developing advanced centrifuges and ballistic missiles. Mr. Obama himself conceded in April that by “year 13, 14, 15” of the agreement, Iran’s breakout time for covertly making a nuclear weapon will shrink “almost down to zero.” And in a mere decade, Iran can fulfill Khamenei’s demand that it have 190,000 centrifuges — enough to manufacture nuclear weapons on an industrial scale — without even violating the agreement. This is a bad deal.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

San Francisco

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