Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was correct when he said on April 9 that the White House was lying about what the Americans call a framework agreement regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
Obama is untruthful when he repeatedly claims that Iran has agreed to a detailed and comprehensive nuclear framework agreement. Iran has never signed or agreed to the framework agreement. The framework agreement, with its many specific numbers, productions limits and specific deadlines, is an Obama and Kerry wish list of their own best case scenario of a futuristic agreement.
Two documents were produced in Switzerland on April 2. The first document is a detailed US fact sheet titled, "Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program," which the Americans refer to as "The Framework Agreement," which Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the media have repeatedly discussed.
The second document is a thin, page and a half statement read jointly by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, which lacked any of the details, numbers, and deadlines mentioned in the framework agreement. Those two documents contradict each other on many points and reveal Obama and Kerry's dangerous lies.
As David Ignatius, a well- known columnist for the Washington Post, wrote: "The late-night sessions and threats to break off the talks weren't enough to get Iran to commit formally to the terms the United States laid out in a meticulous, four-page list of 'parameters' for a binding 'joint comprehensive plan.' The Iranians instead postponed that sign-off to another day, after the final, final negotiations." He concluded that the framework agreement "looks like a pretty good deal. I just wish it were signed."
It seems that after failing desperately for months to convince the Iranians to agree to any concessions on an interim nuclear deal, Kerry and Obama decided to create something from nothing and to sell it to all as if the Iranians agree to it.
Sadly, the majority of the world, including the US and Israeli media, lacking any journalistic integrity, chose to trust and adopt the Obama and Kerry version and applauded it as a detailed, comprehensive and "better than expected deal," while ignoring the Iranian version.
On April 2, an hour or so after Obama began distributing the framework agreement, calling it "an historic understanding with Iran," Zarif, the main Iranian negotiator, contradicted the Americans in several posts on Twitter.
"There is no need to spin using 'fact sheets' so early on," he wrote in one. In another tweet, he suggested that sanctions would have to be lifted far earlier than one might think listening to Kerry, saying that ,in essence, all the economic sanctions would be lifted once a final agreement was signed. At another point, Zarif cautioned that no one had signed anything in Lausanne, Switzerland and "nobody has obligations now" and that would come after a final agreement.
Even the New York Times, two days after applauding Obama's efforts, had to acknowledge that "one problem is that there are two versions. …which have raised the question of whether the two sides are entirely on the same page, especially on the question of how quickly sanctions are to be removed."
The New York Times reported that "Obama administration officials insist that there is no dispute on what was agreed behind closed doors. But to avoid time-consuming deliberations on what would be said publicly, the two sides decided during Wednesday’s all-night discussions that each would issue its own statement," and that "American officials acknowledge that they did not inform the Iranians in advance of all the 'parameters' the United States would make public in an effort to lock in progress made so far, as well as to strengthen the White House’s case against any move by members of Congress to impose more sanctions against Iran."
Ironically, even setting the Iranian version aside, the Obama’s version is a very bad and weak deal. The framework will leave in place the Iranian nuclear program including all their nuclear facilities and the underground facilities they build illicitly as well as thousands of spinning centrifuges which are enriching uranium. But comparing it to the Iranian version is much more telling about the likely final deal.
The framework discuses in 17 sentences the different plans and procedures of inspections and transparency of all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and all elements of its nuclear chain for 25 years and different bans on Iranian reprocessing of uranium, plutonium and building reactors. But the Iranian version only states in one general sentence that "the International Atomic Energy Agency will be permitted the use of modern technologies and will have announced access through agreed procedures including to clarify past and present issues."
The framework discusses the suspension of US and EU sanctions and the convoluted "snap back" provision that would allow sanctions to be re imposed if Iran were found to be cheating. But the Iranian version talks in great detail only about the "termination" of all nuclear related sanctions by both the EU and the US simultaneously once the initial compliance of future agreed terms is verified by IAEA and the "snap back" is not mentioned.
In reality, the Iranians could start cheating the moment the sanctions are lifted and will be able to begin building a bomb immediately. Contrary to Obama’s spin, both documents do not even mention a gradual lifting of sanctions.
It is quite pathetic that the president, for the sake of achieving any foreign policy success, has been willing to blatantly lie about such a dangerous issue and it is worrisome as to what will he be willing to do and say when he needs to finalize the deal by June 30.
Consequently, the American Congress and public should not trust such an untrustworthy and desperate for a deal president. The Democrats and Republicans in the Congress must insist on reviewing and verifying any future final deal to guarantee its authenticity, validity and enforceability.
Moreover, if the Iranians had a problem agreeing to an interim agreement, it is doubtful that they will agree to any final deal unless it includes all their demands. Those Democrats and American Jews who encourage the president to use the months ahead to forge a much tougher and more effective final agreement are delusional.
The framework is the best and toughest deal the US will ever get. The final agreement will be much weaker. Diplomatic negotiations in the Middle East are not much different than bargaining in a Middle East bazaar. You always restart from the most recent diplomatic concessions of your enemy in the previous negotiation. Many eager Israeli governments on the left experienced such endless and fruitless negotiations with the Palestinians.
Obama, by lying so effortlessly, showcased his desperation, untrustworthiness, and weakness. Now the Iranians will exploit it even more to get further concessions or continue endless negotiations while finishing building the bomb.
Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney. Her blog can be found here: www.shoularomanohoring.com .