One definition of a successful negotiation is when both sides are equally unhappy with it.
By this measure, Mr. Obama's agreement with Iran appears to be a good one. Republicans in Congress, and not a few Democrats, are furious that Mr. Obama is lifting sanctions on Iran, letting them buy aircraft, technology, even weapons, which has been internationally banned for decades.
On the other side, Iran's parliament is aghast at any suggestion of international inspectors of their nuclear facilities - which, from the point of view of the rest of the world, was the whole point. Last month, they passed a law forbidding that from happening regardless of what's signed on paper.
So what's the reality? Let's see what the Economist has to say:
...The negotiators have compromised over allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium, concluding that complete dismantling of its huge infrastructure was unrealistic. However, they sought strict limits on Iran’s enrichment programme, the redesign of a plutonium-producing heavy water reactor under construction and a highly-intrusive inspection regime to prevent cheating. Their aim has been to extend Iran’s “breakout capability”—the key yardstick of the time needed to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon—from the current estimate of a couple of months to at least a year, and to maintain it there for a decade. In years 10-15, the breakout period is expected to reduce to six months and less thereafter as limitations fall away.
In other words, this is supposed to make it so that Iran can't get a nuclear bomb within a year without our knowing about it, at least for the next decade. After that, though, all bets are off.
Why does this sound familiar? It's right out of the Koran!
...Based on the ten-year treaty of Hudaibiya , ratified between Muhammad and his Quraish opponents in Mecca (628), ten years is theoretically the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels (as indicated earlier by the Encyclopaedia of Islam). Based on Muhammad's example of breaking the treaty after two years, by citing a Quraish infraction, the sole function of the "peace-treaty" (hudna) is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup for a renewed offensive. [emphasis added]
Now we begin to glimpse the truth: This is no peace treaty, it's just Mr. Obama punting a world threat down the road to somebody else.
The religious dictator of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, underscored the fact that nothing has changed from their point of view:
“Our policy regarding the arrogant U.S. government will not change,” Mr. Khamenei said in a televised address to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim feast day at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. “We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the U.S. on different issues in the world or the region.”
“Whether [the deal is] ratified or not, we will not give up on our friends in the region,” Mr. Khamenei said.
Khamenei didn't specifically endorse or condemn the deal; he was much more subtle than that. He simply condemned the United States and its allies.
We know for a fact that there's no way Iran will ever give up its nuclear program, no matter what they may say. The Mullahs can sign this agreement with a clear conscience: the duplicitous Prophet Mohammed set an example of strictly adhering to the text of treaties signed with infidels while keeping a close eye out for any technical excuse to break them. In a sense that's an improvement on Hitler, who needed no excuse to disregard "scraps of paper" he'd signed only months before, but it's hardly reassuring.
So, if America and the West have gotten nothing more than a brief, theoretical delay in Iran's nuclear capability, what does Iran get in return?
Well, the full text of the deal is secret, but the general belief seems to be that Mr. Obama will suspend the sanctions on Iran. At least, that's what the big money in the know is acting like:
U.S. firms will now be allowed to sell or lease commercial passenger aircraft to Iran, as long as they procure licenses from the U.S. government, giving companies such as Boeing an opportunity.
The deal also allows the U.S. government to license foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to operate in Iran, which was banned by Congress in 2012.
There are still American laws in place banning many companies from doing business in Iran. That no longer applies to the rest of the world:
With the ink barely dry, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is set to visit Iran for three days starting tomorrow with a "small delegation of industry and science representatives". His ministry said there was "great interest in normalising and strengthening economic relations with Iran".
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi also plan to visit Iran.
In short, Iran seems to be getting the opportunity to fully replace its capital stock, bringing their national infrastructure and equipment up to modern standards. It's not as if they don't have the money: the deal seems to finally allow Iran to sell its oil, and there will be no shortage of eager buyers with cash on the barrelhead.
What doesn't the US get? For one thing, it doesn't get Americans being held hostage in Iran. In fact, Nancy Pelosi didn't even think that was relevant:
"Do you think the four American hostages being held in Iran should be released as a precondition to any deal made about Iran?" asked a reporter at a briefing.
"No," Pelosi answered quickly. "It would have been good, but it's just—no. This is a nuclear deal."
It's a sign of the depravity of the national media that the Washington Post supports this deal despite the fact that one of the American hostages held prisoner in Iran is a reporter for that very newspaper. It can't help but be a sign of the depravity of our government when the State Department, on being asked why we didn't do anything to get the hostages back, simply argued over terminology:
“Did the hostages ever come up [during nuclear talks] or were they only a sideline issue?” a reporter asked during the State Department press briefing.
“Well the Americans, we probably legally would not call them hostages,” Sherman instructed the reporters. She suggested the term “detainees” instead.
No doubt this comes as an enormous relief to Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedni, U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson: they're not hostages at all, merely detainees!
So once again, we return to the perennial question: what is President Obama thinking?
But if he were a closet Muslim fifth-columnist, intent on the defeat of America and the West by the barbaric forces of Allah... it's hard to imagine what he'd do much differently.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.