- - Wednesday, September 23, 2015


If there’s a market for black satire, Barack Obama and John Kerry have a future in the movies. They have outdone Peter Sellers and George C. Scott in the 1960s dark comedy, “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” The deal the president and his sidekick made with the mullahs in Iran is worthy of similar giggles, or would be if we were not talking about real life — and death. Astonishing details of the pact trickle out day by day, loopholes worthy of the imagination of Hollywood’s most creative minds.

Our Rowan Scarborough and Guy Taylor report that Iran could, without violating anything in the pact, outsource parts of its nuclear and missile development programs to North Korea or another rogue nation. The pact contains no language that would prohibit the two regimes from collaborating on nuclear weapons development, so long as it is not conducted within Iran. CIA Director John O. Brennan says there is no current evidence of mischief, and the agency is on the lookout for just such an eventuality. This is taking comfort like that of a man who falls from the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper and reassures himself, as he zooms past the 55th floor, “so far, so good.” Iran can use the $150 billion in frozen assets the deal liberates to pay the North Koreans or a half-dozen other nuclear states for their help.

Mr. Brennan’s remarks follow those of R. James Woolsey, a former chief of the CIA, who wrote in an op-ed in this newspaper in July that the financial windfall in the pact “could be used to sponsor unprecedentedly destructive terror attacks worldwide — and perhaps to purchase nuclear weapons from North Korea, Iran’s strategic partner by treaty.” Moreover, the nuclear deal contains no prohibition against Iran test-firing ballistic missiles, enabling the Islamic regime in Tehran to build a rocket system to use as soon as it gets a nuclear weapon.

Though U.S. satellite intelligence may successfully detect North Korean nuclear activity, the United States has little leverage in altering behavior in Pyongyang. The Six-Party talks designed to coerce North Korean nuclear compliance failed six years ago. Billions of Iranian dollars will be more persuasive than appeals to the mullahs to live up to the spirit of the agreement.

Messrs. Obama and Kerry left a devastating loophole to enable this threat from a ruthless rogue nation. Collaboration between international bad actors renders meaningless all the reassurances the president and the secretary of State offer. It’s akin to putting a merciless killer behind bars and relying on his honor and not a locked door to keep him there. The mullahs, in fact, have much in common with merciless killers, having conspired to kill Americans. The Pentagon has confirmed that Iran was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 500 American soldiers in Iraq between 2005 and 2011, mostly by supplying fellow Shiites with the makings of roadside bombs.

President Obama expects the mullahs to honor their commitment to building a bomb without requiring any record of compliance. It’s a sick joke that only someone with a taste for satire can appreciate. Peter Sellers does it better.

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