The Iran nuclear deal, authored by former President Barack Obama, was predicated on one crucial aspect that, according to the agreement, “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”
There’s only one problem, reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a dramatic presentation on April 30 citing Israeli intelligence’s success in obtaining tens of thousands of documents. The documents prove Iran has always had a nuclear weapons program since at least 1999, and never disclosed its existence under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal. It lied.
“[T]hese files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program. The files prove that,” Netanyahu said, stating that Israel had “obtained half a ton of the material inside these vaults. And here’s what we got. Fifty-five thousand pages. Another 55,000 files on 183 CDs.”
Meaning, the deal was entered into by Obama, and authorized by Congress in 2015, under false pretenses. Iran denies to this day that it ever had a nuclear weapons program as the program was concealed from negotiators of the Iran nuclear agreement and perhaps more importantly, from the American people.
It is hard to believe that Netanyahu would have come forward now unless the U.S. intended very much to vouch for the material. Sure enough, within hours of Netanyahu’s briefing, White House and other U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo confirmed the materials are authentic.
At a press conference immediately following Netanyahu’s statement, President Trump said that if the U.S. leaves the Iran nuclear deal, it would help the U.S. end the nuclear weapons program in North Korea. “I think it sends the right message,” Trump said. He’s right.
If the U.S. were to remain in the Iran nuclear deal after May 12, it would effectively be admitting that it’s okay to lie to the U.S. government about nuclear weapons in a disarmament deal. Trump cannot possibly afford to be in that position when he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this year. There has to be consequences for not dealing honestly in the U.S. In the case of Iran, that has to mean no more deal.
The fact is, if everything outlined by Netanyahu had been known in 2015, the Iran nuclear agreement would have never been authorized by Congress — because Obama would have never dared to submit it. He might have still unilaterally rescinded the sanctions against Iran, which was always his prerogative under U.S. law — agree or disagree with Congressionally enacted sanctions, but they do in fact grant the President a lot of discretion to levy or lift sanctions — but there never would have been widespread Congressional support.
In the least, the U.S. must now confront Iran with this new material that proves there was and is a military nuclear program and hold Tehran accountable. If the Iran agreement was supposed to produce complete, irreversible disarmament, then clearly we are still a ways off. And unlike in North Korea, there is no comparable partner like South Korea in the negotiations with an equal stake in the outcome.
Iran retains the capability and intention to develop nuclear weapons, in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Netanyahu stressed, adding, “We’ve known for years that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program called Project Amad. We can now prove that Project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons. We can also prove that Iran is secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.”
Why is Iran storing its original plans and blueprints, Netanyahu asked: “So in December 2015, the IAEA published its final assessment of what it called the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. This is the report. This was Iran’s chance to fully come clean to the IAEA. They could tell the truth, they could say, we had this program, this secret program, it’s over, we shelved it, it doesn’t exist, we destroyed the material. Here’s what Iran actually told the IAEA. It said, Iran denied the existence of a coordinated program aimed at the development of a nuclear explosive device, and specifically denied, get this, specifically denied the existence of the Amad plan.”
Which is why Prime Minister Netanyahu is now leaving President Trump with little choice but to leave the deal and reinstate sanctions. Trump might seek to issue an ultimatum beforehand, but it is clear that — as nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea are about to proceed — the U.S. must not and cannot afford to tolerate Iran’s deliberate obfuscation of its nuclear weapons program.
The consequences are clear, Netanyahu said, “The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear pass to an atomic arsenal. It does so because it gives them the three components that are necessary to produce this arsenal. First, unlimited enrichment in a few years. And they plan to do that. They plan to have several hundred thousand advanced centrifuges with which they can enrich mountains of uranium for that core that I showed you before. For many, many such cores. Second, it completely fails to address Iran’s continued development of ballistic missiles. And third, and this is new, it completely fails to address Iran’s secret nuclear bomb program and its advanced work on weaponization.”
And now, the credibility of the U.S. is at stake. If President Trump wants to make a deal with Kim Jong Un on nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula, he needs to demonstrate that there are real consequences for Iran lying about nuclear disarmament. Leaving the ill-conceived Iran nuclear deal and reinstating sanctions accomplishes that. It sends the “right message” in President Trump’s words to Kim Jong Un, which is that there can be no deals with liars.