by Majid Rafizadeh


Prez Barack Hussein Obama

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have significantly moved away from their original objectives on the nuclear talks aimed at resolving the Islamic Republic's nuclear defiance and its threat to the region and world.

The policy of the administration has changed frequently. The current agenda and policy of the Obama administration is to contain Iran's nuclear program so that Iran's ruling clerics will be one year away from obtaining nuclear bombs. Therefore, Iran can sign the final nuclear deal and the sanctions can be removed as long as Iran promises that it is one year away from becoming a nuclear state. This also means that Iran can decide to break out of the final nuclear agreement at anytime it desires.

There are several crucial problems with this one-year break out policy. First of all, this policy would permanently keep the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat to the region and the world. In other words, Iran's nuclear threat will not be resolved forever and the final nuclear deal is in fact not "final." The administration is dodging the problem rather than addressing it seriously. It is also leading to a more dangerous platform by depicting the deal as "final."

The threat of becoming a nuclear state is more significant when it is merged with ideological Islamists, and religious motives, as well as regional hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs.

In addition, the ruling Ayatollahs of Iran can breach and walk away from this final nuclear deal at anytime they decide and restart their efforts to become a religiously-driven nuclear state. Logically, after the ruling clerics make sure that all the United Nations Security Council's economic sanctions are removed against them, then they can easily break out of the contract.

As a result, such a final nuclear deal falls right into the interests of the Iranian politicians. The one-year break out will leave the world, and particularly regional countries, to be permanently concerned about when the Islamic Republic will reinitiate its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons in full speed. Iran's nuclear threat will always remain intact.

The second unnoticed technical issue is linked to the effectiveness of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Many do not question the IAEA's capabilities and some might believe that IAEA is infallible, fully competent, and foolproof. Even if one believes that the one year policy is effective, the question is whether the IAEA will be capable of fully inspecting Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement.

Although President Obama trusts the IAEA inspections to keep the world safe from the religious clerics obtaining nuclear bombs, history has shown that the IAEA has failed several times and the Islamic Republic has frequently evaded inspections, built several clandestine nuclear facilities, continued enriching uranium at high level and built more centrifuges. The IAEA has repeatedly failed to completely monitor Iran's nuclear program. In such a vast country in which clandestine activities are the cornerstone of politics, IAEA inspectors cannot ensure that Iran is not moving forward to obtaining nuclear bomb. As Henry Kissinger pointed out "Nobody can really fully trust the inspection system or at least some may not. This is something I would hope gets carefully examined before a final solution is achieved."

In fact, all the UNSC sanctions on Iran were due to the fact that the IAEA failed in effectively monitoring all aspects of Iran's nuclear program, along with revelations of new clandestine underground nuclear sites by independent or governmental institutions or figures. Leaving everything to the IAEA is a big mistake.

The third issue is related to the security in the region and the efforts of other countries in the region to buy or obtain nuclear bombs if they see that the Islamic Republic is only a few months away from turning into a nuclear state.

Obama's Obsession with Setting Records

President Obama has always been driven by the idea of adding records to his foreign policy or domestic accomplishments even though these records are always questionable and could leave the world in a more dangerous condition. One of the issues that Obama would like to add to his accomplishments is striking a nuclear deal with Iran which would be cited as historic.

As a result, he has made several crucial concessions to President Rouhani, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif, even writing a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei in order to keep the clerics pleased and make sure that Iran will sign the final nuclear deal.

But at what cost? Should it be at the cost of leaving the world in a much more dangerous situation when a "final" nuclear deal is reached? Are personal achievements more important than the safety and security of the world?

The primary objective of the nuclear negotiations was to completely dismantle Iran's nuclear program in order to remove the threat of Islamists obtaining nuclear weapons. Iranian leaders came desperately to the nuclear negotiations due to the decades of economic sanctions which were endangering the hold on power of the ruling mullahs. This was the period in which the Obama administration should have set the terms and taken leadership.

However, when Iranian leaders realized that President Obama is more desperate than Iran to get a nuclear deal at any cost, Tehran began dictating and setting the terms in the talks, shrewdly threatening Obama to walk away from the talks if they are not satisfied. Gradually, Obama changed his stance in order to keep the ruling clerics pleased. The aim to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure changed to only containing Iran's nuclear program to be a year away from becoming a nuclear state.

In the next few months, Obama is likely to give more concessions. The question is whether Congress will act immediately and stop President Obama from leading the world in a much dangerous direction.

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at This article appeared February 17, 2015 in Frontpage Magazine and is archived at

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