- - Monday, July 27, 2015


First the Obama administration denied that any secret side deals were made when they negotiated the agreement that they insist us will prevent Iran from producing and deploying nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Kerry assured us that it was a “fantasy” to believe there could have been a better deal, and the president said the only alternative is war.

Then National Security Advisor Susan “Ms. Benghazi” Rice admitted that there were two secret deals and that the administration would brief some members of Congress on them. But when the congressional folks asked to see the side deals, Ms. Rice admitted that the U.S. government doesn’t have copies of them.

And just a couple of days ago, Mr. Kerry — according to one congressman who attended a classified briefing — told lawmakers that he had not read the side deals. Like Ms. Rice, he never possessed a copy of them. But, Mr. Kerry said, he approved the nuclear agreement without knowing their details.

That’s not “trust, but verify.” It’s the diplomatic equivalent of Alfred E. Neuman saying, “What, me worry?”

And there’s more. The agreement’s effectiveness relies entirely on inspections of Iranian nuclear sites carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s purblind nuclear watchdog that (under an earlier boss, Egypt’s Mohammed al-Baradei) spent 10 years helping Iran cover up its nuclear program. There will, under the deal, be no American inspectors allowed. And now we know that the agreement says that the samples of soil and other forensic evidence taken by IAEA inspectors will be at all times under Iranian control.

That’s the equivalent of letting Hillary Clinton select the emails turned over to the State Department.

From disclosures made by Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, and Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, who met with IAEA representatives in Vienna, we know that the two side deals between Iran and the P4+1 (the P5+1 negotiating group minus Mr. Kerry) address at least two topics.

The first side deal covers the huge Parchin nuclear research facility southeast of Tehran at which Iran has conducted extensive research into the use of high explosives to trigger nuclear weapons. The second covers “possible military dimensions” of the Iranian nuke program, apparently meaning disclosure of the details of how far Iran has gotten in researching and developing nuclear weapons.

Those are the side deals Mr. Cotton and Mr. Pompeo were able to discover. There may be others.

None of this should surprise anyone because the original deal with Iran that Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry negotiated in 2013 also had a secret annex to it. That one was never made public and may not have been disclosed to Congress. Reports in April of this year indicated that there would be at least one secret part of the 2015 deal.

We forget, at our peril, that the Iran nuclear deal is not only President Obama’s idea. The fact that it was reached under the auspices of the U.N. Security Council is his idea as well. Yes, the so-called “P5+1” group, the U.N. Security Council’s permanent five members (China, Russia, Britain, France, and the United States plus Germany) have been trying to negotiate with Iran for almost a decade. But it was Mr. Obama’s consent to the U.N. group’s leadership that enabled them to make the agreement and the secret side deals.

Since the U.N. was established shortly after World War II, the left has dreamed of the time when an American president subordinated American foreign policy and national security to the whims of the U.N. That moment has arrived.

The U.N. Security Council’s unanimous approval of the Iran deal — U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power voting for it — means under Article 25 of the U.N. Charter that every member of the U.N. agrees to carry out its terms. In effect, Mr. Obama has engineered an outcome that makes the Iran deal part of international law.

International law “experts” will argue that the U.N. Security Council’s approval of the deal binds the United States to it regardless of the U.S. Constitution. But, as the Supreme Court has held many times over the past 234 years or so, no treaty can override the Constitution. If only the Corker bill hadn’t forfeited the Senate’s duty to ratify or disapprove international agreements such as Obama’s Iran deal.

The U.N. Charter, and the Corker bill — passed to supposedly give Congress a right to approve or disapprove the Iran deal — thus combine to neuter Congress and empower the U.N. as American liberals always hoped it could be.

The Corker bill says that there will be a simple majority vote on the Iran deal in both houses of congress. After which, obviously, Mr. Obama can veto any bill disapproving of the deal and congress will have to get a 2/3 vote in both houses to override it. That stands the Constitution upside down, reversing the burden of a 2/3 positive vote from Mr. Obama and to Congressional Republicans to obtain a 2/3 negative vote to override the veto.

That will never happen because Mr. Obama will be able — probably without breaking a sweat — to muster enough votes to prevent a veto override in the House or the Senate, and maybe in both.

How good a bet is it to believe that senators like Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer won’t support Mr. Obama or that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won’t get enough House votes to sustain an Obama veto? What, me worry? Yes, we all should.

Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration. He is a senior fellow of the London Center for Policy Research and the author of five books including “In the Words of Our Enemies.

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