Does the proposed deal with Iran actually prevent the Mullah's from ever developing a nuclear weapon?
Or does it merely delay them for a period of years? That is the key question that has not yet been clearly answered.
In his statement on the deal, President Obama seemed to suggest that Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. He said that this "long-term deal with Iran... will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon." He then repeated this assurance: "because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon." These seemingly categorical statements were intended to assure the world that President Obama would keep his earlier promise that Iran will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
But is that what the deal itself does? Or, as stated by its critics, does it actually assure that Iran will be allowed to develop a nuclear arsenal after a short delay of several years? That is the key question that the Obama administration has refused to answer directly. It must do so before Congress can be asked to buy a pig in a poke for the American people.
There is an enormous difference between a deal that merely delays Iran's development of a nuclear arsenal for a period of years and a deal that prevents Iran from ever developing a nuclear arsenal. Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and many other critics of this deal describe it as merely a delay, while the Obama administration seems to be suggesting by its rhetoric that the deal will prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The devil is not so much in the details as in the broad outlines of this deal and its understanding by the parties. Does it or does it not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons after a relatively short moratorium? Iran certainly seems to believe that it does, Israel certainly believes that it does, and many in Congress-both Republicans and Democrats-- seem to believe that it does. But the President seems to be telling the American public and the world that these critics are wrong: that Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon under this deal. Yet, just a few months ago, he seemed more cautious and candid in discussing his "fear" that "in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero." He also said that we have assurances of a yearlong breakout time "for at least well over a decade," implying that after that indeterminate time frame, the assurances will no longer be in place.
Obama's statement, despite its confusing and ambiguous context, has raised deep concerns among critics of the deal. Moreover, the text of the deal includes time frames of 8 Yi years, 10 years and 15 years, which also generates confusion at a time when clarify is essential.
So which is it? Congress has a right to know, and so do the American people. Is it a postponement for an uncertain number of years - 8 Yi, 10, 13, 14, 15-of Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon? Or is it an assurance that "Iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon?"
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