When President Obama announced in late November that a deal between the United States and Iran had been struck that would effectively halt Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, supporters of the current administration hailed the success of diplomacy. “Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure, a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.” Mr. Obama declared.
Many at the time offered a different assessment of the president’s nuclear deal with Iran. It was deemed naive, short-sighted, and consistent with Mr. Obama’s penchant for seeing potential in the empty rhetoric of less-than-trustworthy adversaries. Time, and the Iranian government itself, is validating that criticism.
Following a recent interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the intransigence of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani caused even the CNN host himself to characterize the Iranian nuclear deal as a “train wreck.”
In the interview, following a question posed by Zakaria concerning the dismantling of existing centrifuges, Rouhani emphatically stated that no such dismantling would occur “under any circumstances.”
The disconnect between what Obama administration officials have declared the Iranian nuclear deal to mean and what the Iranians themselves have articulated the agreement to mean, is both stark and disturbing.
It should really come as no surprise, however. Be it Afghanistan, troop withdrawals in Iraq, or the Iranian nuclear deal, the Obama administration appears as much enamored with pursuing popular agreements for the sake of having “achieved” them as it does with actually realizing the long-term national security objectives of the United States.
President Rouhani ascended to office having departed from the inflammatory rhetoric that defined his predecessor, Mahmoud Admadinejad. At the United Nations last year, Rouhani stated that, “Commensurate with the political will of the leadership in the United States and hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.”
He also promised that “peace is within reach.”