When it comes to questioning whether or not we need the Iran Deal, we didn’t need new evidence saying it got sold on Iranian lies. We didn’t need more proof that the status quo before the deal was better than a lousy deal. And we didn’t need Israel to smuggle hard evidence out of Iran to know the full scope of Iran’s lies.
But we’ve been supplied more evidence, from Israeli spies operating in Iran. And that evidence underscores the lies and state-sponsored manipulation used to force the deal on the United States.
Detractors say that Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu gave us nothing new in his speech, which outlined the Iranian information dump his intelligence gifted the United States. But that’s flatly untrue.
Iranians are fond of claiming that they’ve never been interested in pursuing nuclear warheads. On April 22, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said to CBS News that “Iran was never racing towards a bomb and it will not be racing towards a bomb.”
But earlier in the interview, when asked what Iran would do if President Donald Trump left the JCPA, Zarif gave a different answer:
[W]e have put a number of options for ourselves and those options are ready, including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities.
We already know the bomb line was utterly false because the evidence of Iran rushing to gain nuclear weapons goes back decades. Part of the treasure trove of information from Israel is the depth of knowledge Iran has on nuclear weapons.
And even though they paused a push towards nuclear armament, spooked by the Iraq war in 2003, they retained all the information they had on nuclear arms.
The fact that they preserved information for a nuclear program is critical. If Iran were truly peaceful, they wouldn’t maintain storehouses of information on how to ramp up weapons production. As Eli Lake astutely observes:
If verified, the intelligence also reveals Iran’s intention to eventually build a nuclear weapon. “The most significant thing is that this is a warehoused collection intended to be used later for reconstitution,” Albright said. “They could have destroyed these documents. But these were being carefully protected and hidden with the intention to reuse them when they launch their weapons program.”
When you combine Iranian intentions with their push towards testing ballistic missiles and sneaking around inspections, you get the failure that is the Iran Deal. And it makes Iran’s threat that they could ramp up faster ominous.
It’s fair to ask why Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu are revealing the information now to the United States. The primary reason is straightforward, the latest six-month recertification of the Iran Deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA), is back before President Trump.
The new evidence provides ammunition to the Trump administration to, at a minimum, tighten the screws on Iran, or scrap the JCPA altogether.
The evidence also comes to light at a time when Israel and Iran are engaging in an increasingly hostile proxy war in Syria. Iran has moved troops, terrorists, and military equipment into Syria to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and provide a launch point for Hezbollah. Israel, in turn, has launched air strikes to counter buildup in Syria that threatens their borders.
The lone silver lining from the Iran deal was that it theoretically slowed down the Iranians from building and using nuclear weapons by a decade. That extra time gave Israel time to prepare for a region with a nuclear Iran.
But when you combine growing war between the two, mounting evidence that Iran ignores the JCPA, and the new threats from Iran that they’re capable of speeding up nuclear activities they claim they don’t have, you understand Israeli anxiety over the looming threat.
Obama’s Professional Liars
While Trump and Netanyahu weigh the consequences of various military options, former Obama administration officials are trying to derail everything by restarting their famed Iran “echo chamber.”
Here’s a pro-tip on all Iran coverage: If a former Obama administration official claims that Trump or conservatives only want war with Iran, you know you’re dealing with a professional liar.
The head of all the professional liars surrounding the Iran Deal is the failed novelist Ben Rhodes, who bragged to the New York Times about how he duped experts and journalists into repeating propaganda to sell the deal.
He lavished praise on himself for building a so-called “echo chamber” that drowned out any and all criticism of Obama or the JCPA. Rhodes and his administration cronies repeated this exercise when Politico correctly reported that the Obama administration prevented the FBI and CIA from attacking Iran’s state-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah.
And now Rhodes and his cronies are back, claiming that Trump and the Israelis faked the intelligence trove to make Iran look bad.
This stupidity got cooked up by Tommy Vietor, a former spokesperson for Obama’s national security council. As Armin Rosen deftly points out at TabletMag, this is breathtaking anti-Semitism from people who spend their days accusing Trump and his supporters of being Nazis.
If you support the JCPA because you think the world is a safer place for it, that’s fine. There are unquestionably people in the Trump administration who believe this fact.
But what we’re witnessing from Vietor, Rhodes, and other Obama acolytes is a smear campaign. Their desperation to protect anything from the Obama-era — even when a mountain of new evidence gets gift-wrapped to the United States — overrides any sense of duty to country or ally.
We cannot afford a world where Iran becomes North Korea in the Middle East. The US can’t afford it. Israel can’t afford it. The world can’t afford it.
Iran lied before, during, and after the JCPA. Obama’s staffers are now lying about the new Israeli evidence.
Why would we ever believe either of them?