Saturday, August 29, 2015

Robert Satloff’s 10 Questions to President Obama about the Iran Deal

Robert Satloff’s 10 Questions to President Obama about the Iran Deal:

1. You have argued that the Iran deal enhances Israel’s security and those of our Arab Gulf allies. At the same time, your administration has offered the Gulf states a huge security package by way of compensation and you have expressed frustration that the government of Israel has not yet entered into discussions with you to discuss ways to bolster its security. But isn’t this a paradox? If the Iran deal bolsters their security, shouldn’t their security needs be going down, not up?

2. It is surely legitimate for you to argue that the Iran deal enhances U.S. security but it certainly seems odd for you to claim to understand Israel’s security needs more than its democratically elected leaders. Are there other democracies whose leaders you believe don’t recognize their own best security interests or is Israel unique in this regard?

3. Constructive, respected, well-informed observers, like your former [National Security Council] Iran policy advisor Dennis Ross, have urged you to propose transferring to Israel the “mountain-busting” Massive Ordnance Penetrator as a way to boost Israel’s independent deterrence against Iran. But you have not done so. Instead, in your letter to Congressman [Jerrold] Nadler, you highlighted your administration’s plan to send Israel a much less capable weapon. Why are you reluctant to send Israel the best item we have in our inventory to address this profound threat?

4. You have said that the Iran nuclear agreement provides a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Would you agree, therefore, that the pursuit of an independent nuclear option by another Middle East country—say, Saudi Arabia—would be clear evidence that the Iran deal had failed?

5. In your letter to Congressman Nadler, you refused to spell out the penalties Iran would suffer for violations of the agreement, saying that “telegraphing in advance to Iran the expected response for any potential infractions would be counterproductive, potentially lessening the deterrent effect.” On the surface, this is difficult to understand—after all, as a constitutional law professor, you can appreciate that having clarity in terms of penalties for lawbreaking is a basic element of our legal system. If you aren’t willing to publicly spell out this approach to penalties, can you guarantee that the United States and its European partners have already agreed, in writing, on precisely what actions they will collectively take in response to different types of infractions? Will you share these details with at least the leaders of the relevant committees in Congress? Or is the real reason you aren’t willing to “telegraph” these penalties in advance [is] because we and the Europeans can’t agree on them?

6. In your letter to Congressman Nadler, you also said you “reserved the right to deploy new sanctions to address continuing concerns.” Can you spell out what sort of new sanctions you have in mind? Specifically, wouldn’t it make sense for you to ask Congress to articulate new sanctions now that would come into effect if our intelligence agencies reported that Iran was using its sanctions-relief windfall to transfer large sums (or expensive weapons systems) to its allies and terrorist proxies?

7. You have argued that the global sanctions regime falls apart if Congress rejects the Iran deal. But the key variable here is not Europe, China or some other foreign country—it’s the United States. Specifically, the sanctions regime only collapses if the U.S. stops enforcing the sanctions with the same vigor it has enforced them [with] in recent years, and instead goes back to the policy of the Clinton and Bush administrations, which refused to enforce ILSA [Iran and Libya Sanctions Act] despite overwhelming votes for that law in Congress. In the event of a “no” vote, can you promise that your administration will expend the same effort and resources to enforce U.S. sanctions laws against Iran as has been the case the last few years? And if that’s the case, what’s your explanation for how or why sanctions will collapse?

8. The supreme leader clearly wants the benefits of the deal—both in terms of sanctions relief and the international validation it brings for Iran’s nuclear program. Yet you seem to bend over backwards to be wary of saying things that might upset him. (Given the supreme leader’s continued hostility toward America, this is a characteristic that he doesn’t seem to share.) Specifically, in your letter to Congressman Nadler, why did you resort once again to the “all options are on the table” formulation in the event Iran dashes toward a bomb? Since a “dash” implies Iran would be hell-bent toward achieving its goal, why not state bluntly that we would use force to stop them? If they are dashing, haven’t they already violated the core commitment in the Iran agreement not to pursue a weapon? If they are dashing, the threat of renewed sanctions surely isn’t an effective deterrent. Wouldn’t candor produce more deterrence than subtlety?

9. In your American University speech, you said the Iran agreement produced a “permanent” solution to the threat of the Iranian nuclear bomb. But just a few months ago, you told an NPR interviewer that Iran’s breakout time toward a bomb “would have shrunk almost down to zero” when restrictions on centrifuges and enrichment expire in after 10-15 years. Can both statements really be true?

10. In your final debate with Mitt Romney in October 2012, just before you came before American voters for the final time, moderator Bob Schieffer asked you specifically what sort of Iran deal you would accept. Your response was: “The deal we’ll accept is that they end their nuclear program.” Notwithstanding the significant achievements of the Iran agreement, it clearly falls short of “ending their nuclear program.” Moreover, you and your spokespeople regularly disparage as warmongers those who advocate what you once called for. Why did your own position in 2012 become warmongering by 2015?

To read Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic referencing these questions, click here.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

No, Mr. President, Iran is not the Soviet Union

No, Mr. President, Iran is not the Soviet Union

By Prof. Jay Bergman

Connecticut Jewish Ledger, August 26, 2015

At his press conference on July 14 defending the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement (JCPOA) with Iran, President Obama made the obvious and indisputable point that "deals" in international affairs are made between adversaries, not allies. Implicit in what he said is that, despite their divergent interests, adversaries sign such deals to advance an interest they share - in the case of the JCPOA, a commitment to peace.

To prove his point, the president cited the arms control agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But any analogy between these agreements and the JCPOA cannot withstand even the most cursory examination.

The agreements the United States signed with the Soviets during the Cold War - the two SALT Treaties in 1972 and 1979, the Vladivostok Accord in 1974, and the INF Treaty in 1987 - were bilateral. They involved two countries, not seven, as does the JCPOA (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany plus Iran). As a result, the United States could respond in whatever way it wished in the event these agreements were violated, which they were. In the case of the JCPOA, because it is a multilateral agreement, responding unilaterally is more difficult politically, and less likely to have the intended effect.

No less important in assessing the president's analogy is that the Soviet leaders during the Cold War were not like the mullahs in Iran today. They wanted to live. The mullahs, while perhaps not actively seeking to die, are aware of the advantages of doing so, which include gaining access to the 72 virgins the Koran and the Hadith promise Muslims upon arrival in Jannah, the Muslim equivalent of Heaven. In addition, nuclear war carries with it the likelihood of collective martyrdom, to which the Shiite Muslims in Iran, in particular, aspire. In light of this, the statement in 2001 by then Iranian president Rafsanjani that destroying Israel would be worth losing the lives of millions of Iranians in any Israeli nuclear counter-attack is readily comprehensible.

Whatever their monstrous crimes, the Soviets had no such eschatological vision animating their actual policies. While Soviet generals such as Marshal A. M. Sokolovskii, chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces during World War II and minister of defense in the late 1940s, seriously contemplated nuclear war with the United States, they did so not because they wished to die in fulfillment of an ideological imperative, but because they believed the Soviet Union could fight and win such a war: the Soviet population was still predominantly rural, and thus sufficiently dispersed to survive even multiple nuclear strikes by the United States. Similarly, several in the civilian leadership prior to Khrushchev, notably Beria, Malenkov (until 1954), and Stalin himself, thought that somehow only capitalist countries could be destroyed by nuclear weapons. However ridiculous, this caused them to believe that in a nuclear war the Soviet Union would not only survive but emerge victorious from it.

This is very different from seeking nuclear war so that millions will die.

It is essential to remember that the eschatological vision the Iranians embrace does not allow for the peaceful-coexistence Soviet leaders from Khrushchev onward declared to be their policy towards the United States and the West. To be sure, "peaceful co-existence" was not always peaceful. While precluding direct military confrontation between the superpowers, it allowed their proxies, such as Israel and its Arab enemies, to fight one another periodically. Nor was it meant to be permanent, or to signify a change in how the Soviets viewed the course of history. Capitalist countries, including the United States, were destined to collapse.

But for the Iranians, peaceful coexistence, even with the limits the Soviets placed on it, is a theological impossibility. While the mullahs may be capable of using nuclear weapons the way the Soviets used them during the Cold War, namely for the political benefits that accrued from threatening non-nuclear countries with total destruction, their apocalyptic theology would seem to require them, at some point, to attack their enemies with nuclear weapons. The fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, and that Sunni Muslim regimes, in their fear of Iran, will soon acquire them, may actually make the Iranians more likely, rather than less likely, to do this.

In short, the paradoxical logic of nuclear deterrence - the concept of MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction - that kept the nuclear peace for the duration of the Cold War is sadly inapplicable to the Middle East today and for the foreseeable future.

In seeking public support for the JCPOA, President Obama would do well not to invoke misleading historical analogies that demonstrate his ignorance of history. The agreement with Iran must be considered on its own terms, both as a means of serving American interests and of protecting the American people, and for its likely effects on America's allies and America's enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere.

At the same time, one can fairly wonder why an American President so deficient in his knowledge and understanding of history should be given the benefit of the doubt in his predictions of the future.

Jay Bergman is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and the author of Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov (Cornell University Press, 2009).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Latest SLANT on the Iran Deal

Thank you to Nate Salant, who wrote the following analysis and gave permission for it to be posted here.


Much has been made about J.J. Goldberg's recent article "The Game-Changing Report that Bibi Fears," since it was printed in THE FORWARD (August 21, 2015), which claims that all sorts of current and former intelligence and military staff disagree with the Israeli Prime Minister vis-a-vis the Iran agreement.
Goldberg, an editor at THE FORWARD (which was once the leading Jewish newspaper in the USA, but is now a left-leaning shell of its former self), has been running a barrage of articles aimed at persuading Jews that many Israelis oppose Netanyahu's position.
Martin Kramer has come up with an amazing response to Goldberg, and I'm reproducing parts of it:
1) A real expert, Emily Landau (at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv) has already taken Goldberg to the woodshed about the retired professionals (Goldberg has a weird predilection for calling them “spooks”). Landau, without naming the names of these “experts,” points out that Iranian politics and nuclear issues are well beyond the expertise of most of them. Not everyone with a pension and an opinion is equal. And most of those who think that Israel should back off a fight over the deal still think it’s a bad one. They just argue that it’s inevitable anyway, so why provoke Barack Obama? This isn’t support for the deal, it’s resigned acquiescence. (The military correspondent of The Times of Israel did a parallel debunking, after the White House began to tweet similar claims.)
2) Yes, the intelligence assessment is that Iran won’t be able to build a bomb under the terms of the agreement. (That is, if Iran doesn’t cheat—the assessment says the mechanisms for inspection are flawed.) Iran might even show short-term restraint over support for terror, to consolidate its gains from sanctions relief. But the estimate also holds that when the agreement expires, Iran will be only weeks away from a nuclear breakout. In the meantime, Iran gains undeserved legitimacy from the deal, which provokes Arab states to stock up on conventional weapons and accelerate their own nuclear programs. Some of these programs could be militarized over time. The bottom line of the assessment, as reported in the press, is that the risks of the deal outweigh the opportunities. (This formula appears in more than one press report. Goldberg omits it.)
3) The reason that this “game-changing” assessment isn’t turning the world upside-down is simple. It isn’t “game-changing.” Goldberg’s headline announces that it’s the report “That Bibi Fears,” for “defying the gag order.” But I doubt that Netanyahu experienced even a moment’s discomfort upon hearing it, and it hasn’t been “game-changing” or even especially noteworthy in Israel. Leave it to Goldberg to cherry-pick a few bullet points from the assessment and inflate the whole thing into some sort of insurgency. He’s counting on readers of the Forward not to know any better.
4) Yossi Melman, Israel’s best-regarded intelligence correspondent (and no admirer of Benjamin Netanyahu), has written this in response to Amir Oren, and it could just as well be taken for a reply to Goldberg:
There is almost no expert or researcher, junior or senior, serving in military intelligence, the Mossad, the general staff or the different branches of the IDF, the National Security Council, or the Ministry of Intelligence Affairs, who thinks that the agreement reached between the powers and Iran is positive. The grades they give to the agreement range from “awful” to “not good” to “bearable” to “we can live with it.” But there is no enchantment with the agreement, even if it has some positive clauses…. There is also almost total consensus that it was possible to achieve a better agreement…. In this respect, there is a convergence of opinion, with different emphases, among the political echelon led by the prime minister, the intelligence community, and retired senior officials, that a different agreement would have been preferable to the one that was signed.
Melman has heard criticism of Netanyahu’s tactics vis-à-vis Obama, but that’s already politics. On the agreement itself, according to Melman, the views cover a narrow range, and are close to unanimous.

THERE IS A LOT MORE IN THAT ARTICLE BY KRAMER, AND YOU SHOULD READ IT - and pass it on to those who are using the Goldberg piece to lobby for the agreement.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Responding to "Some senators wrongly support 'warmongering' Israel"

The following was sent to the executive editor of the New Haven Register after that newspaper published a letter that should never have despoiled the pages of a responsible newspaper.

Dear Mr. Brackenbury:

Having recently had a letter published in the New Haven Register, I am not writing a letter for publication in response to the letter from George Veronis, "Some senators wrongly support 'warmongering' Israel," published Friday. However, I found the letter disgraceful, disgusting, offensive and libelous to the point. It crossed lines which should have prevented it from being published in any respectable newspaper.

I do not write that lightly. Let me explain.

It libels unnamed senators by questioning their patriotism, claiming they are putting the interests of another country above America.

It subtly uses anti-Semitic stereotypes as well as possibly libeling other senators in accusing them of "succumbing to the financial support of the pro-Israel lobby."

It doubles down on both disgraceful accusations in its closing sentence.

It is also both offensive and factually incorrect in referring to Israel as "a warmongering country that has done nothing to reach a peaceful settlement."

Israel made enormous concessions, including the return of the Sinai and giving up valuable oil fields it had developed, to reach a peace settlement with Egypt. Israel also made significant territorial concessions in the Arava to reach a peace settlement with Jordan. It has also undeniably made enormous, irreversible and unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinian Arabs in its effort to reach peace and has offered additional enormous concessions, but has repeatedly been rebuffed.

Hence, the assertion that Israel "has done nothing to reach a peaceful settlement" is undeniably factually false.

Any of the above libels and factual errors should have been enough to disqualify Veronis' letter from publication, or at least elicited an editor's comment disassociating the New Haven Register from the factual errors and libels.

The reference to Israel as a "warmongering country" could be considered opinion, although certainly offensive. Indeed, while as a patriotic American I am offended by what Veronis wrote about some unnamed senators, as an Israeli citizen I am offended by the vicious adjective he applies to Israel.

Many of my Israeli friends have wistfully recalled the days when the treaty with Egypt was signed and their hopes at the start of the now failed Oslo process, when they hoped their children would never have to serve in the army they way they had. Some of them now have grandchildren being drafted and they feel hopeless and powerless. They may differ about what policies Israel should try to reach peace and how much they would be willing to give up to reach peace, but they all want peace and nobody wants war. Unlike parents in Gaza, they don't send their young children to summer camp to learn how to become jihadists and suicide bombers.

As an American, I look at the JCPOA at best slightly delaying Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, but enabling them to have a more robust program when they cross that line, with its provisions lifting the embargo on ballistic missiles helping them develop their ability to send nuclear warheads to the east coast on the ICBMs they are developing. From purely American self-interest, I look at the JCPOA as a disaster, taking a difficult situation and making it worse.

As an Israeli, I also look at the JCPOA's strengthening Iran economically, especially the signing bonus, giving it more resources to transfer to it terror proxies. My home in Netanya is already within range of an estimated 100,000 missiles Iran has transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as many of the tens of thousands of missiles Iran has helped provide Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in Gaza. Thanks to the JCPOA, my home will be in the sights of even more missiles. The last thing I want is to see those missiles launched at my home, as they certainly will if there is any war with Iran. Israelis overwhelmingly oppose the JCPOA because they don't want war are strongly believe the JCPOA makes war more likely.

This is why I find the reference to Israel as being "a warmongering country" offensive, although I recognize it's not necessarily irresponsible to publish offensive letters. However, I do believe it's irresponsible to publish letters libeling United States Senators and even subtly using anti-Semitic stereotypes and, in so doing, either deliberately or inadvertantly, subliminally appealing to anti-Semitism in readers.


Alan Stein, Ph.D.

Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts and PRIMER-Israel
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting

Friday, August 21, 2015

We Shall Overcome

Dear Friends,

Thank you deeply for the incredible interest my last Newsletter evoked.

I received several suggestions on the need of spreading the message. In most cases I rely on our readers that they will forward the message to their friends and acquaintances and urge them to spread it to their reading circle. Of course, the wider the readership the better.

Several people asked me whether I noted any serious impact on readers. I must admit this is difficult to tell. One lady wrote that in her home they now have only one kind of soda, and that is Sodastream.

Experience taught me that "some people stop at nothing" - meaning that they will do nothing whatsoever which doesn't agree with their opinion, taste and outlook, no matter how it effects nation, state, economy, or the globe's ecology.

Several readers called my attention to one of BDS's last stunts when it tried to prevent the well-known American-Jewish singer, Matisyahu's appearance at the Spanish festival in Valencia this week until he signs a statement denouncing Zionism in agreement "with the BDS political agenda". The singer refused and ultimately the Spaniards reversed their decision and allowed his appearance. Halleluyah!!! A rare victory.

One family member asked me if it wouldn't be fair to let it be known that Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of Sodastream is my son. The truth is that even if Shloimi Pupik, or Judi Spitzl were the CEO, I would try to passionately persuade my fellow brothers and sisters, and everyone ready to listen, that the Israeli economy, including Ahava and Sodastream and Israeli universities and academic and technological institutions need our support and our defense from the satanic and lying BDS. Wherever only possible it is time to counter the destructive BOYCOTT by BUY-COTT (in the words of the Canadian Labor Minister Jason Kenney following his last visit to Israel).

A lady from New Zealand called to my attention that BDS is also extremely active in Australia, South Africa and Japan.

My dear friends, this long-neglected issue needs our full attention and urgent action to make up for the time when we sat with hands folded. (As the famous Yiddish song from the Shoa period plaintively said: "Un ir shtet un kukt azoi tzi mit farlegte hend"). Remember, the BDS is not only out to do us harm, but - as its leaders repeatedly insinuate - they are out to destroy Israel.

Let us then be up and doing, in an arena in which we could be VERY effective. You are not being asked to climb Himalayas. You are asked to buy Ahava, and buy Sodastream, and see entertainers who defy the BDS boycott.

Join the Soldiers of defense of the Israeli economy. If we shall act in unison,


Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum

Wake Up!!!

Dear Friends,

I am turning to you, dear friend and reader, with the urgent call: WAKE UP!!!

I am calling on you to shake yourself loose of your stupor, apathy, indifference and “gemutlichkeit” (lassitude) that hold us in their iron grip of doing the same thing, of thinking the same way, today as we did yesterday, because the future and destiny of our nation and people depend on our finally waking up.

I am calling on you to WAKE UP, and to wake up urgently.

WAKE UP to the greatest threat facing the State of Israel and the Jewish People at least since the Shoa. And if you think that I am a Jewish alarmist, let me call to your attention a caption from the “Washington Post” from the middle of July :“Fighting the Economic War On Israel”. The prominent paper calls to its readers’ attention a significant hearing that is to be held by a special committee on Capitol Hill on the issue that threatens one of the closest Allies of the USA.

Indeed, the meeting of the “Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform” took place on Capitol Hill on July 28, 2015. The Committee invited four witnesses to testify: (1) Prof. Eugene Kantorowich, lecturer at Northwestern University, School of Law, frequent witness in Congressional proceedings; (2) Mark Dubowitz. Executive Director Of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C., Senior Research Fellow at the University of Toronto, lawyer, Advisor to U.S. Administrations and Congress; (3) Matthew Duss, who seems to be a senior representative of BDS; (4) Daniel Birnbaum, CEO Sodastream, representing the State of Israel.

Daniel Birnbaum has been invited as the sole representative of Israel not only because he has repeatedly proven a good spokesman, but because from the very start Sodastream was designated by BDS as its main target. When other Israeli products are demonstratively swept off shelves In consumer outlets throughout the globe, BDS outcries of joy cannot be compared to their triumphant celebrations when they succeed paralyzing a Sodastream outlet in Brighton, England, Rome, or Trieste in Italy, Oslo, Norway, Ahlen, Sweden, and more (Denmark, Canada, London, France, Seattle USA, and much more)

We should switch to Sodastream not only to begin shaking our fist back at BDS and show them that we Jews shall back up our product against all antagonistic and competitive elements. We also MUST begin seeing and internalizing the overall alarming threat that BDS and its eager sympathizers pose to the WHOLE Israeli economy. One of the top economic analysts of Israel, Sever Plotzker, stated in yesterday’s Hebrew press: “In the course of the last two years Israel declined from FIRST place in productivity among the OECD countries to one of the last, If not actually to the very LAST place (אם לא האחרון ממש)”.

The reason for this sudden and dangerous decline to the Israeli economy is due to the slippage of Israeli exports in manufactured goods and services in the first half-year of 2015 by 8.6% as compared to 2.7% in the preceding half-year. In agricultural products Israeli exports fell in the last half a year by 10.9%. In diamonds exports fell by 26.7% in the same period. This is quite alarming. We do not have to be experienced economists to realize that as exports fall, productivity declines and the country faces a crisis of substantial proportions in employment, in the value of the Shekel, and in the status of the nation – all that due to the success of BDS.

So I am now calling on you, ladies and gentlemen, WAKE UP !!! No. we cannot help the one and only Jewish State on the globe in 2,000 years by producing better and more effective missiles. No, we cannot help the Jewish State by mounting satellites that will help you and me to colonize the moon, or Mars, or Jupiter and plant the blue-white flag there. No, we cannot help Israel by a combined valiant effort to slow the icebergs from melting in the Antarctic or on the North Pole.

But YES, we COULD definitely help Israel by switching from habitual products of old standing to which we got used to in the course of many years and decades, and learn to develop new tastes and likes so as to help Israel – even if it entails initially some sacrifice.

When you give up on something that you learnt to like in the course of many years and do or try something new and Israeli, raise your fist heaven-ward and whisper (or shout): To hell with you BDS and all your fanatical cohorts!!! You will not defeat us with all your lies and misrepresentations. We, Jews, shall stand united on the economic battlefield as our sons and daughters stand on the ground. We shall face your legions in all countries, as our children face them on our beleaguered borders. It took us a long time to get where we are. But you may as well know, that we shall stand united against all your underhanded efforts to defeat and destroy us economically.

Together we shall stand – STAND WITH US, each one of you.

With warmest best wishes,
Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum

Friday, August 14, 2015

Make Diplomacy Work with Iran

Make Diplomacy Work with Iran

Alan Stein

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have made many wise observations about Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons. These include:

•Diplomacy is our best option for ensuring Iran doesn't obtain nuclear weapons.

•You can't trust Iran, so any agreement has to be verifiable with an airtight procedure to ensure they don't cheat.

•Iran must come clean about its past nuclear activity.

•Sanctions relief must be phased in slowly and sanctions must be able to be instantly snapped back if Iran cheats.

•Every pathway for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons must be closed off.

•No deal is better than a bad deal.

It's hard to argue with those sentiments of our leaders.

As Congress prepares to vote on the treaty which was negotiated, our representatives need to consider how it compares to the red lines put forth by the administration and determine whether this deal is better than no deal and whether we will be worse off if Congress accepts or rejects the deal.


The IAEA has "anywhere/anytime" access to "declared" nuclear sites, but it only gets "managed" access to undeclared sites, precisely the places where Iran is most likely to cheat. Only if the IAEA suspects non-compliance can it even request access to undeclared sites. If Iran objects, the request ultimately goes to the eight member "Joint Commission," of which Iran is a member. Since Russia and China will almost certainly side with Iran, approval for the inspection will require agreement by the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. Under EU regulations, that approval can only be given with the unanimous agreement of all 28 member states, many of which will be reluctant to jeopardize lucrative commercial relations with Iran.

Even if we successfully navigate the roadblocks, Iran will have had 24 days to hide the evidence. Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director, has said that while it may be difficult to sanitize a large site in 24 days, that's not the case with small, clandestine sites.

Iran has also clearly stated, JCPOA notwithstanding, it will never grant access to military sites. There are also at least two secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA - in Senate testimony, even Secretary of State Kerry acknowledged he did not know their details. It's been reported one contains provisions for Iran to give the IAEA soil samples from its Parchin military base. This makes about as much sense as asking a suspected drug user to FedEx a urine sample.

The verification procedures are clearly far from airtight.

Past nuclear activity:

The treaty is ambiguous, although the Obama administration recently said it's unlikely Iran will "admit to having pursued a covert nuclear weapons program, and that such an acknowledgment wasn’t critical to verifying Iranian commitments in the future." ("Lawmakers Say Iran Unlikely to Address Suspicions of Secret Weapons Program," Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2015)

The IAEA has asked Iran twelve questions about its program. Of those questions, Iran has only partially answered one. The agreement is unclear about whether the IAEA will have access to various facilities needed to determine Iran's past activity. The JCPOA states "requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities, but will be exclusively for resolving concerns regarding fulfilment of the JCPOA commitments and Iran's other non-proliferation and safeguards obligations." This gives Iran an excuse to use whenever it wants to deny any access to the IAEA.

It's unclear whether there will be any consequences if Iran doesn't come clean, but without a detailed, reliable knowledge of Iran's past activity, it will be difficult to determine when Iran cheats in the future.

Sanctions relief:

Virtually all the nuclear-related sanctions will be end in an estimated six to nine months, when the IAEA verifies Iran's implementation of certain nuclear-related measures. With the elimination of restrictions on its access to financial accounts, Iran will have an estimated $150 billion "signing bonus."

Iran will not only get relief from sanctions imposed because of its illicit nuclear weapons program. Under the JCPOA, the international arms embargo for conventional weapons will be ended within five years and restrictions on Iran's ballistic missiles will be gone after no more than eight years. Russia has already lifted its self-imposed ban on the sale to Iran of its sophisticated S-300 missile and is reportedly modernizing the system.

Annexes to the agreement contain long lists of individuals and businesses previously sanctioned for violating United Nations resolutions, including terrorists responsible for the murder of American citizens, who will be freed from those sanctions.

Iran is being richly rewarded for its illicit nuclear weapons program, giving an incentive to other countries to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

If Iran violates the agreement, there is an elaborate, 60 day long, bureaucratic procedure which must be followed before sanctions can be reimposed. As with inspections, approval by five of the eight members of the Joint Commission would be required. Because Iran, Russia and China would almost certainly oppose the reimposition of sanctions, getting the other five votes would require unanimous agreement of all 28 members of the EU.

This clearly is not an automatic "snap back."

But it's much worse than that: any contracts Iran has negotiated in the meantime would be grandfathered in, making the reimposed sanctions meaningless.

Closing off every pathway to a nuclear arsenal:

Rather than dismantling its nuclear infrastructure, Iran is merely required to mothball most of its centrifuges. Arguing Iran will only be permitted to use some of its centrifuges, the Obama administration boasts Iran's "breakout time" will increase from a current 2-3 months to a year. One can be certain Iran will quickly reconnect those centrifuges when it decides to break the agreement and sprint to a bomb, so its breakout time would really be no longer than now. Other provisions of the agreement actually shorten it.

We are committed to help Iran modernize its nuclear infrastructure, with the result Iran will have more efficient centrifuges ready to spin. We are also required to help Iran secure its nuclear infrastructure, making it much harder for others to protect the world from an Iranian bomb.

Instead of an enduring agreement, or one whose termination depends on a fundamental change in Iranian behavior, many of the important restrictions on Iran will end in a decade and almost all will be terminated within fifteen years. President Obama has said Iran's breakout time will effectively vanish in thirteen years. We've been trying to stop Iran for much longer than that already.

Iran even has the right to back out of the agreement at any time. It just has to claim non-performance by the other parties, go through a bureaucratic charade and then say it's not satisfied with the result.

Most likely, Iran will adhere to most of its obligations long enough to get its $150 billion signing bonus, watch the sanctions collapse, have its economy recover and put in place enough contracts to make the "snap back" of sanctions meaningless. It may adhere long enough to take advantage of our technical assistance to substantially modernize and secure its nuclear infrastructure. When it feels it has benefitted sufficiently, Iran will come up with a pretext for backing out of the agreement.

When that time comes, Iran will be far better positioned than it is today, with a breakout time close to zero. If we tried to rebuild the sanctions regime, we'd be starting from scratch, with Iran able to present us with a fait accompli and have a massive nuclear arsenal before the sanctions can have any effect.

The bad behavior of Iran goes far beyond its nuclear weapons program and the fact that, for many of its leaders, including the Mahdists who believe they can bring about the messianic era by destroying the world, what was referred to during the Cold War as "mutual assured destruction" is an incentive rather than a deterrent.

Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and a prime mover behind the explosive volatility of the Middle East. It has been the leading, indispensable funder of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and numerous other terror groups which have murdered thousands of civilians, including Americans.

The economic bonanza it will receive with the lifting of sanctions will not only make its economy almost immune to the reimposition of sanctions, but will greatly increase its ability to fund terror groups and further destabilize the Middle East. The treaty will also strengthen the stranglehold of the ayatollahs on Iran, ensuring Iran will remain an enemy of America and the rest of the civilized world for many more years.

The JCPOA is being handled as an executive agreement rather than as a treaty. Congress is now studying it and must vote by September 17. For most members of Congress, this will be the most important vote they will ever make. While listening respectfully to the arguments of both supporters and critics, they must determine for themselves whether this agreement makes the world a safer place or a more dangerous place.

If they do that, they are bound to come to the conclusion that this bad deal is worse than no deal.

They must judge the deal. And history will judge them.