Pletka: We’ve Reached a ‘Nuclear Framework’ with Iran. So Now What?

In the Washington Post, AEI’s Danelle Pletka wonders what kind of agreement is contained in the ‘nuclear framework’ recently announced by the White House.

The outlines of a “comprehensive” deal with Iran to slow its quest for nuclear weapons are now public. Almost every previously “unacceptable” aspect of the program has become acceptable, and the Islamic republic will continue to enrich uranium, operate and modernize its heavy-water reactor, likely conceal the military dimensions of its program and stonewall the IAEA on key issues, all with the blessing of the United States.

Other than the obvious outcome — an Iran with nuclear weapons at some point in the not-too-distant future — two points bear noting: The first is that, for an administration that professes its affection for international law and regimes, this agreement will signal the death knell of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran used the treaty’s terms to pave the way toward nuclear weapons status, successfully defied the treaty’s enforcement agency and the U.N. Security Council and will not be held accountable for violating its international obligations. By acquiescing in Iran’s use of the treaty to facilitate nuclear weapons proliferation, the administration is effectively signing off on a road map that others in the region — led by Saudi Arabia — have made clear they intend to follow to protect themselves from the Iranian nuclear threat.

The second is that the artificial deadline the administration imposed, at least in part to deflect congressional efforts to impose additional sanctions on Iran, had the perverse effect of pressuring President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and not the Iranian government, to make concessions. On almost every key issue, the Iranians won the day. The entire infrastructure of the Iranian nuclear weapons program (not to speak of its terrorist apparatus or efforts to destabilize the Middle East) remains intact. And the irony is, this administration has decided to throw in its lot not with the representatives of the American people in Congress or our allies in the region but with the leadership in Tehran. As Kerry said, a “big day” indeed.

-Originally published in the Washington Post