Ivan Sheehan

John Adams once remarked, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Since the P5+1 Joint Plan of Action on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program was signed in Geneva in November, the White House has encountered two difficult truths about the Iranian regime.

Rouhani’s clever manipulation of U.S. negotiators ended Tehran’s isolation and secured valuable time and resources in return for empty promises designed to further the regime’s nuclear objectives.

And the mullahs have no intention of dialing back their nuclear weapons program.

As the White House rolls the dice on a permanent pact and embraces the failed strategy of appeasement, Congress would be wise to place a check on the administration’s naïve unwillingness to acknowledge the facts.

A nuclear compromise with Tehran will surrender the peace, not secure it.

The President’s recent State of the Union address was full of calls for action, but not on Iran where he signaled the possible failure of ongoing negotiations and channeled Jimmy Carter by treating the regime as a fixture of the Middle East landscape.

The remarks reinforced an emerging consensus in Washington that Obama is being outmaneuvered and will bequeath his successor a new nuclear power.

Fareed Zakaria noted last year that the American public has generally given the president high marks on global matters but questioned the character of Obama’s foreign policy:

“Most Presidents gain fame and respect in this realm because of some large-scale project... While Obama has accomplishments to his credit, the signature trait that has helped him steer the country well – and receive credit for it – is what he has not done.”

The U.S. policy of engagement with the Iranian regime at the expense of concerns raised by key allies – including Israel and Saudi Arabia – has chilled U.S. relations with global partners and strengthened Tehran’s hand in ongoing discussions with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

Iranian interpretations of the interim agreement have somehow preserved the domestic perks of the arrangement – including access to currency and the lifting of sanctions – while necessitating few of the actual obligations that would serve regional security interests.

Almost three months after signing the interim agreement, the Iranian nuclear program is not “halted” as the president suggested in his SOTU speech. Nor is it required to “eliminate” its stockpile of 20 percent-enriched Uranium.

In fact Uranium enriched at under 20 percent weapons grade levels is likely to grow in the short term and the regime continues to advance their nuclear infrastructure while world powers dither.

Ivan Sheehan

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is director of the graduate programs in Negotiation and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore.