No ''Trump'' Sign on Obama's Ziggurat


26 December 2016

By Amir Taheri

An old Persian proverb says: If the first brick is badly laid, the whole wall will rise to the heavens slanted. This is what is happening with the so-called nuclear deal that President Barack Obama claims he has concluded with the mullahs of Tehran. The whole thing started as a political lie to build a papier-mâché ziggurat of diplomatic deception. It now risks full exposure because the man who orchestrated the swindle is leaving the White House. Obama's successor, Donald Trump has indicated that he will not continue the outgoing president's game of deceit.

This means that the so-called ''Iranian nuclear problem'' which began over a decade ago remains intact, still begging for a solution. Obama and his Sancho Panza, John Kerry, are trying desperately to foment a fog of confusion under which they could head for the exit still claiming a great diplomatic victory, leaving their successors with the task of defusing what is a ticking bomb. For their part, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and his ''New York Boys'' are also trying to prevent full exposure at least until after next spring's presidential election in Iran. They are also trying to cast ''Supreme Guide'' Ali Khamenei as their partner in deception despite the fact that he repeatedly warned against ''hasty and imprecise arrangements.''

Just as Rouhani is trying to implicate Khamenei, who has also been deceived by him and his ''New York Boys'', Obama is trying to put a ''Trump'' sign on his ziggurat.
In his meeting with the President-elect last month, Obama spent half of the time trying to sell the so-called ''nuke deal'' to Trump.

Obama made that clear in a long interview published on 28 November by the New Yorker Magazine. In it he admitted that the ''deal'' had not changed ''some of the more obnoxious behavior of Iran'' and cited two ''reasons'' why Trump should let the ''deal'' stand.

The first reason that Obama cited was what he claimed was ''over a year of proof'' without specifying of what nature and in what context. He cannot have meant any ''proof'' furnished by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which only last month reported that Iran had broken the limit set for its ''heavy water'' accumulation.

In any case, the IAEA isn't in a position to certify Tehran's full compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), not to mention the seven resolutions of the United Nations' Security Council all of which Tehran has declared to be null and void. In the past year, IAEA inspectors, though carefully approved by Iran to make sure there are no citizens of ''hostile powers'' such as the US, the UK and Canada among them, have been allowed access to only six of Iran's 32 listed nuclear centers.

Iranian officials repeatedly assert that the Obama'' deal'' has made absolutely no difference to the nuclear project. ''All we did was to agree not to do what we did not want to do, weren't doing and couldn't do any way,'' says Ali-Akbar Salehi the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency. ''Our project will be in full gear with the turn of a screw.''

Rouhani, for his part, lied to the Iranians by telling them that ''all sanctions will be lifted'' on the day that the ''deal'' starts. The truth is that no sanction has been lifted, although some have been suspended by Obama's presidential decree. The second ''proof'' Obama cited was the ''Israeli military and intelligence community'' supposedly ''acknowledging that the deal has worked.''

This is rich coming from a man who has been claiming for years that the Israelis were trying to ''mislead opinion'' about Iran's nuclear ambitions. Obama does not say what that ''community'' consists of and why it has the authority to approve or disapprove of US policy. It is also interesting that the President of the United States is unable to cite his own country's ''military and intelligence community'' in support of his diplomatic folie.

Finally, Obama claims that his ''deal'' means that Iran does not now have ''breakout capacity'' – the ability to build a weapon in a ''short window of time.'' Obama's babbling is etymologically challenged. How could a window be short? And how short is a ''breakout capacity'' to make a bomb?

Having woven that cobweb of deception, Obama makes a sales pitch worthy of any peddler of snake oil. He says ''So, given that proof, I don't think that it is inconceivable that Republican leaders look and say: 'Obama is no longer in office. This is not something that our base is hankering to undo, and we may quietly leave it in place'.''

In other words, Republicans, especially President Trump might endorse the fiction that Obama composed and imposed on the world, becoming his partners in deception.

Rather than fudging the Iran nuclear issue, however, the world should try to find a true solution to the problem in the interests both of the people of Iran and the outside world.

The first step in that direction is to accept that the problem remains intact and that the ''deal'' Obama is so desperately trying to sell to Trump does not exist except in his imagination.

The second step is to expose the full-scale of the deception and the fact that the P5+1 group that supposedly negotiated the deal with Tehran has no legal existence and no authority to make any deal and are answerable to no one.

The third step is to make it clear that no one has signed anything and that the so-called Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (CJPOA), a press release issued last year in Lausanne, has many versions full of contradictions.

The fourth step is to publish all the secret and confidential memos and additional notes associated with the murky deal, something that President-elect Trump has promised to do.

Once Obama's ziggurat is pulled down, one could initiate a process based on transparency, goodwill and international law. The seven resolutions of the Security Council provide an excellent framework for such a process. They demand that Iran does a number of things in exchange for which the international community will take corresponding steps in favor of Iran.

Trump should avoid falling into the trap of making this a problem between Iran and the United States. It is a problem that Iran has with the entire international community. The US, to be sure must play a leadership role in whatever process emerges but not in Obama's style of shady bazaar deals.

Amir Taheri was born in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, and educated in Tehran, London and Paris. He was Executive Editor-in-Chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran (1972-79). In 1980-84, he was Middle East Editor for the Sunday Times. In 1984-92, he served as member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI). Between 1980 and 2004, he was a contributor to the International Herald Tribune. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Times, the London Times, the French magazine Politique Internationale, and the German weekly Focus. Between 1989 and 2005, he was editorial writer for the German daily Die Welt. Taheri has published 11 books, some of which have been translated into 20 languages. He has been a columnist for Asharq Alawsat since 1987. Taheri's latest book "The Persian Night" is published by Encounter Books in London and New York.
 

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