Iran

Why Are Republicans, Israeli Officials Upset About the Iran Nuke Deal?

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Credit: Zxctypo/wikimedia

Republicans are not happy about the deal relating to Iran's nuclear program that was announced over the weekend. The deal includes, among other things, Iran halting uranium enrichment above 5 percent and neutralizing "near-20% enriched uranium".

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has expressed concern about the enrichment allowed in the deal, saying "Loosening sanctions and recognizing Iran's enrichment program is a mistake, and will not stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) has a statement on his website that reads in part:

By allowing the Iranian regime to retain a sizable nuclear infrastructure, this agreement makes a nuclear Iran more likely. There is now an even more urgent need for Congress to increase sanctions until Iran completely abandons its enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says that he agrees with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the deal "a historic mistake." A statement from Sen. Cruz begins:

According to the interim agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program that was reached this weekend in Geneva, not one centrifuge will be destroyed. Not one pound of enriched uranium will leave Iran.

So, what is all this fuss about uranium enrichment, and why does it matter?

Less than one percent of natural uranium is uranium-235, the isotope needed for nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Enriched uranium is uranium that has had the percentage of uranium-235 increased, which can be done by using centrifuges.

Low-enriched uranium (3.5 percent to 5 percent) can be used for nuclear power. In order to develop a nuclear weapon highly enriched uranium (about 90 percent) is needed. With this in mind, it initially seems that the requirements that Iran halt enrichment at 5 percent and dilute or convert uranium enriched at 20 percent greatly reduces the risk of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.

However, the deal only requires Iran to not install any new centrifuges, not have them destroyed. This means that Iran could renege on the deal and work towards a so-called "nuclear breakout." According to David Albright, president of the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security, once the enrichment conditions of the deal are met "the breakout time—how long it would take Iran to produce sufficient highly-enriched uranium for one atomic bomb—would lengthen from at least 1-1.6 months to at least 1.9-2.2 months if the Iranians used all their installed centrifuges."

The New York Times has a good graphic illustrating the deal and its impact on uranium enrichment, which can be seen here

The fact that Iran could still develop a nuclear weapon through aggressive uranium enrichment once the new deal is implemented is what has Republicans, not to mention Israeli officials, concerned. An unnamed official from Netanyahu's office summarized the concerns as follows, "The agreement makes it possible for Iran to continue enriching uranium, permits Iran to keep centrifuges that would allow it to create fissile material for nuclear weapons." 

Yesterday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country would never seek a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu and some Republicans may not be happy with the deal, which has not eliminated the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon. That said, the diplomats involved in the deal deserve some praise for managing to come up with any deal at all given the far from ideal relationship between Iran and the West, particularly the U.S. 

It should not be surprising that Netanyahu isn't a fan of the recent deal. It is very unlikely that there are any conditions under which Israel and Iran would realistically be able to meet to discuss Iran's nuclear program, especially given that Netanyahu has said that Israel is willing to "act alone" to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and has called President Rouhani a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

That Republicans are critics of the deal should not be a surprise, there is a Democrat in the White House. As Fred Kaplan has rightly pointed out, "Had George W. Bush negotiated this deal, Republicans would be hailing his diplomatic prowess, and rightly so."

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33 responses to “Why Are Republicans, Israeli Officials Upset About the Iran Nuke Deal?

  1. It is very unlikely that there are any conditions under which Israel and Iran would realistically be able to meet to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, especially given that Netanyahu has said that Israel is willing to “act alone” to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and has called President Rouhani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

    So enemies can never meet and talk? What does that paragraph even mean?

    The fact that Iran could still develop a nuclear weapon through aggressive uranium enrichment once the new deal is implemented is what has Republicans, not to mention Israeli officials, concerned.

    If they can still do it, then how does the deal accomplish anything? Please explain what the world got out of this agreement other than a promise not to develop the bomb? They could have had that any time. So what if they agree not to build anymore centrifuges? You just admitted they don’t need any more.

    Iran is going to take the reduced sanctions and then go on ahead and produce what they need. And it is not like it is hard to hide what they have. Who is to even say they will dilute all they have?

    1. Well who is to say anyone is ever going to do anything they promise ever.

      That’s not a very good criticism, John.

      1. Actually it’s a perfectly legit criticism of these types of treaties with regimes that only know how to lie.

        2/10. Seriously, you’re getting weaker.

        1. All regimes only know how to lie. Even ours.

      2. Well who is to say anyone is ever going to do anything they promise ever.

        Very easily, when you no longer have the ability, then there is no worries of you doing it. That is why you make them destroy their centrifuges and buy their uranium from an outside source rather than produce it. If you don’t take away their ability to enrich, the deal is worthless.

        If we trusted them and were not worried about them building a bomb, their promise not to would be enough and there wouldn’t be any sanctions in the first place.

        1. How exactly are we supposed to make them? We’ve been sanctioning the hell out of them for years and that hasn’t gotten us a whole lot of positive outcomes. In fact I’d contend sanctions make things worse as they give hardliners an enemy on whom to blame their troubles. They sure haven’t worked in Cuba or North Korea either. It seems like what we are really talking about is getting some excuses together to invade.

          You keep talking about the Iranians not being trustworthy. If I were the Iranians, I wouldn’t trust us. We have placed at least on paper U.S. allies on both their eastern and western borders and have the capability to deploy troops for an invasion very quickly. I can’t blame them for being paranoid.

          Furthermore, I’m still baffled as to why it is the business of the United States as to whether or not Iran has enriched uranium or not. Israel and Saudi Arabia certainly have enough money, troops, and clout to work against a nuclear Iran. I’m kind of tired of risking United States’ troops and treasure in war with despotic sandboxes on the other side of the globe, and don’t give me the “IT”S HITLER ALL OVER AGAIN!!!” line.

          1. How exactly are we supposed to make them?

            That is a good question. Perhaps you can’t. So why bother with this at all?

            Unless we are willing to act militarily, all of this is worthless. And saying it is Israel and Saudi Arabia’s problem is a perfectly reasonable position. If Reason took that position rather than blowing smoke up my ass claiming this worthless deal is somehow worth something, I would have more respect for them even if I didn’t agree with them.

            1. I agree with you there. In fact, let me say that I have a lot of respect for you to be willing to engage in actual dialogue, even when you disagree. It’s quite refreshing.

              I tend to think most diplomatic deals aren’t worth a damn, especially when they are made at least partially at the point of a gun.

            2. Seriously, John, this is how you establish legitimacy. You point out that you’ve bent over backwards in order to accommodate the other party, and they still refuse to comply.

              The deeper your body of broken promises and the thicker your paper trail, the better your case for using force when necessary.

              you’re basically saying there’s no reason for diplomacy ever.

            3. It’s going to be an interesting problem for them. For one thing, what sort of early warning systems do KSA, Israel, or Iran have? Do they have anything like the DSP/SBIRS satellites? Or are they relying on a ground-based system?

              It really makes a difference in how much warning any of the sides will have. A lot of the doctrine the USSR and USA developed during the Cold War was predicated on having ~30 minutes or so of time to realize an attack was ongoing and to try and retaliate. Shrink the warning time to the—WAG—3-5 minutes a depressed trajectory IRBM shot would give, and the feasibility of a decapitating strike goes up. Which will have the effect of lightening everyone’s already-hair triggers, once KSA and Iran demonstrate they’ve the Bomb.

              One reason we didn’t get blown to oblivion in 1983 was that Stanislav Petrov had the time to rationalize that, if the US were going to strike the USSR, they’d do it with more than the dozen or so missiles on his screen. With 3-5 minutes to react, his equivalent in the present day NCAs for those MidEast countries aren’t going to get that time.

              Of course, with a pre-placed device, any available warning time may very well be zero. Should make for an unstable, ‘interesting’ situation.

          2. Free trade with Cuba now!

        2. If I’m not mistaken, the Iranians originally attempted to pursue nuclear energy using enriched uranium purchased from outside sources but the US blocked any attempts by them to do so, and that’s what led them to pursue their own enrichment program.

  2. Wingnuts live in Opposite World.

    Markets at record highs? Proof the Obama is a socialist.

    Energy production at record highs? Proof that Obama won’t let us drill here.

    No war in Syria or Iran? Proof that Obama is a diplomatic failure.

    (and many of those wingnuts post here)

    1. Palin’s Buttplug|11.25.13 @ 5:02PM|#
      “Wingnuts live in Opposite World.”

      How much is cherry-picking paying these days?

    2. I’ll bite =

      Ok shithead, since every now and then you pretend, utterly unconvincingly, to have even the slightest knowledge of financial markets and their dynamics =

      When did the progtarded brain suddenly decide to start equating “equity index performance” with “Obama’sPro-Capitalist policy objectives”? (un-named)

      re: Energy ‘production’ = via fracking, which Obama and State Democrats can’t scramble fast enough to try and ban wherever they can!

      Your examples are in fact ALL “Despite” the president, not “because of”

      Or, did Obama NOT desperately *want* to intervene in Syria, only got completely shut down and made to look like an idiot by the UN and Russia?

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ought-out/

      The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee says President Obama’s decision to draw a “red line” when it came to Syria using chemical weapons “was not well thought out.”

      “I don’t think you draw a red line like that, that is not well thought out,” Smith said during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday. “You do not say, ‘If you step across this line, we will commit U.S. military force,’ unless you really mean it, unless you know the full implications of it.”

      Smith also accused the administration of not working with Congress on foreign policy and of making it look like it was developing that policy “on the fly.”

      FOREIGN POLICY GENIUS!@!

      1. Obama has not tried to ban fracking at all.

        As far as the indexes – Obama policy has had a direct benefit on the big indexes.

        IE, early on Obama/Geithner required the banks recapitalize – which restored the credit market to full health.

        1. He hasn’t banned fracking. Great. He hasn’t supported it, therefore he doesn’t get any credit for it increasing energy production.

        2. Obama has not tried to ban fracking at all.

          Except on federal lands, where drilling and exploration of any kind have gone down substantially. Obama doesn’t get to take credit for land owners in the Dakotas selling their rights to oil companies that are striking it rich despite the government’s best efforts.

          Oh, also, the reason the stocks are higher is because of the 3 or 4 trillion new dollars circulating. Prices on pretty much everything else but housing are also way up. Which is weird, because inflation is only like .0003%…

    3. “Proof that Obama is a diplomatic failure.”

      “By using poison gas against his own people, Bashar al-Assad has achieved two goals. First, he has humiliated the United Sates and Europe. He proved that Obama’s “red line” policy was meaningless and that Western nations were unable?or unwilling?to intervene in the conflict. This, incidentally, strengthened the regime’s feeling of impunity. It also enhanced the perception among the rebels and their supporters?e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar?that the West had no intention of siding with them.

      The second goal Assad achieved was to become, once again, a primary interlocutor for the international community that has sought to isolate him. Since he agreed to dismantle his chemical arsenal under the supervision of the OPCW, his regime has become by default the UN’s contact for the undertaking. Moreover, he can now present himself as a reliable partner, “willing to cooperate,” to paraphrase the words of OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu.”

    4. No, markets at record highs in the absence of actual growth shows evidence of a price bubble. The proof that Obama is a socialist is in the policies he advocates, which involve taking from the productive to give to others. That’s the definition of socialism.

      Energy production at record highs has everything to do with fracking, a source of oil that Obama has never supported and in fact has opposed. In other words, production is high in spite of him, not because of him.

      Obama was beating the hell out of the war drum on Syria and stepped forward with his sword raised, only to discover that everyone else was at his back giving him the finger. He backpedaled and was given a diplomatic out. As for Iran, we haven’t gotten a war yet. Only time will tell if this ends up as a Bush-style “they’re developing WMD!! Invade!! Invade!!” exercise with this agreement as an excuse to go in.

      Seriously, as someone who has addressed a somewhat hostile crowd or two, let me give you some advice: when you start talking, try not to sound so damn ignorant.

      1. The proof that Obama is a socialist is in the policies he advocates, which involve taking from the productive to give to others.

        Then all presidents are socialists since the advent of the 16th Amendment. And namely Bush was by far the biggest socialist since he raised spending the most by far.

        No, markets at record highs in the absence of actual growth shows evidence of a price bubble.

        Again, you are wrong. GDP has been positive since mid 2009. Exports and profits are also experiencing record growth.

        1. “Then all presidents are socialists since the advent of the 16th Amendment. And namely Bush was by far the biggest socialist since he raised spending the most by far.”

          Your first sentence makes no sense. Several presidents have decreased the income tax during their tenure, so I’d say that means they aren’t socialists, unless you mean that because they didn’t repeal the amendment (how they’d do that I don’t know) that means they are socialists.

          Bush was a socialist. What’s your point? The fact that Obama also sucks is not made less of a fact by pointing out that Bush sucked too. That seems to be your whole argument every time someone brings up something bad Obama does. “But Bush did it too!” or “Bush was worse!” does not mean that Obama is good. If Bush was in office, I’d be opposing him. He’s not, therefore I’m opposing the current guy with the same or worse policies.

          “Again, you are wrong. GDP has been positive since mid 2009. Exports and profits are also experiencing record growth.”

          GDP is a very poor indicator of how the economy is doing, in part because it includes government spending as one of its major components. There are also a number of other problems with it. As to your other points, the growth of stock prices has outpaced corporate growth (and GDP for that matter) in aggregate. The prices are therefore based on the assumption of future continued growth, not on actual value of companies. What about that is inconsistent with a bubble?

        2. Bush was by far the biggest socialist since he raised spending the most by far.

          If you attribute 800 billion dollars of spending passed by congress and signed into law by Obama as Bush spending…

          Also, the national debt increased by more during Obama’s first term than in both of Bush’s. So, uh, yeah, you’re a enormous dildo.

    5. With respect to inflation, the DOW would have to rise more than 150 more points to reach a real record. Energy production has increased due to tracking on private land and not because of Obama. Obama is a diplomatic failure throughout the “Arab Spring” starting with his failure to back Iranian students, continuing on with his backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with his contribution in the Libyan calamity. Obama’s failure to take a “Libyan” stand with respect to the “reformer”, Assad, only showcases the Obama disjointed, and feeble foreign policy. The Russians have already struck a deal to supply Egypt with Sukoye fighter planes. We will no longer be able to temper Egyptian policy with our threats to cut military aid. Our loss. Another Obama “trophy”!

  3. “Who gives a shit, as long as the newspapers stop putting “Obamacare Even Worse Than Imagined In Darkest Nightmares” on the cover every day?”
    /democrat

  4. I wonder if Cantor, Cruz, etc read the agreement?

    Iran has committed to neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium:

    ? Dilute below 5% or convert to a form not suitable for further enrichment its entire stockpile of near-20% enriched uranium before the end of the initial phase.

    ? Not install additional centrifuges of any type.

    ? Not install or use any next-generation centrifuges to enrich uranium.

    ? Leave inoperable roughly half of installed centrifuges at Natanz and three-quarters of installed centrifuges at Fordow, so they cannot be used to enrich uranium.

    ? Limit its centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines, so Iran cannot use the six months to stockpile centrifuges.

    ? Not construct additional enrichment facilities.

    Iran has committed to halt progress on the growth of its 3.5% stockpile:

    ? Not increase its stockpile of 3.5% low enriched uranium

    Iran has committed to:

    ? Provide IAEA access to centrifuge assembly facilities.

    ? Provide IAEA access to centrifuge rotor component production and storage facilities.

    ? Provide IAEA access to uranium mines and mills.

    ? Provide long-sought design information for the Arak reactor. This will provide critical insight into the reactor that has not previously been available.

    ? Provide more frequent inspector access to the Arak reactor.

    ? Provide certain key data and information called for in the Additional Protocol to Iran’s IAEA Safeguards Agreement and Modified Code 3.1.

    1. Yeah, yeah, Chamberlain was promised a lot of things, too.

      1. Godwin? Godwin?

    2. They will continue to chug along on their quest. This agreement does not stop them. Their stockpile of Uranium can be cheaply turned into an Oxide which is not covered, and then cheaply transpformed back to the enriched product in a back room. A SHAM!

  5. Conversion of 20% enriched uranium to the oxide form does nothing, because the process can quickly be reversed. Which the author would know, if he had bothered to do any research.

    Iran is allowed to continue to enrich and is on track to build a considerable inventory of 5% enriched uranium. That is the heavy-lifting, time-consuming part.

    Attack Iran and do it soon. Take out their oil export facilities and the regime will quickly collapse, much less continue to subsidize their nuclear program and terrorism.

  6. Iran is not a monolithic regime, there are lots of factions internally. What matters is how the deal will affect Iran’s internal affairs.

    Not that I can tell you that, however.

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