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Hoekstra, Fleitz: Iran Nuclear Deal as Deceptive as Obamacare

Image: Hoekstra, Fleitz: Iran Nuclear Deal as Deceptive as Obamacare
Secretary of State John Kerry and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman in Geneva on Nov. 8 on the second day of talks with Iran.

By Pete Hoekstra and Fred Fleitz   |   Friday, 08 Nov 2013 02:43 PM

One day after President Barack Obama offered a pseudo-apology for misleading the American people on Obamacare, his administration is about to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program that is just as dishonest.

The stakes are much higher on this reported offer to Iran since it would only have at best a marginal effect in slowing Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons while loosening trade sanctions.

This is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly condemned the potential accord as a bad deal and said Israel will not be bound by it.

The United States had a weak hand going into this week's multilateral talks with Iran. Iranian officials know well that President Obama has been eager to strike a deal with them ever since he took office. They know he desperately needs a political victory right now since he has been weakened at home due to the growing Obamacare debacle.

The president's erratic Middle East policies toward Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iran have also undermined his standing in the region, especially with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Producing nuclear weapons fuel is the most difficult step in constructing a nuclear bomb. What Obama's diplomats reportedly are offering is to lift some trade sanctions against Iran if it will agree to suspend its enrichment of uranium to the 20 percent uranium-235 level, which can be turned into weapons-grade nuclear weapons fuel in about a month.

The problem is, most of Iran's enriched uranium stockpile is reactor-grade (3 to 5 percent U-235), which takes only a few weeks longer to convert into nuclear weapons fuel.

While Iran could make enough nuclear fuel for one weapon from its 20 percent uranium stockpile if further enriched, here's the problem: It could make enough bomb-grade uranium for seven to eight nuclear weapons using its larger stockpile of reactor-grade uranium.

The agreement also reportedly will not require Iran to shut down any of its 18,000 uranium centrifuges — a program that is steadily expanding — or its heavy water reactor in Arak, which will be a source of plutonium when it starts operations in about two years.

The wrong-headed offer allowing Iran to continue uranium enrichment at the reactor-grade level was first made to Iran during multilateral talks in Baghdad in May 2012. This represented a reversal of years of Western insistence that Iran halt all uranium enrichment.

The re-emergence of this offer this week has been couched by Obama officials as a first step toward halting Iran's nuclear weapons program. But Iran isn't being asked to make any significant concessions toward this goal and continues to insist it will never agree to halt uranium enrichment. There is no reason to believe Iran will not simply pocket this concession by the West and refuse to agree to any steps in future negotiations to slow or halt its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The offer to Iran is very similar to the deceptive promises made by President Obama on Obamacare. Just like the president's claim that Americans can keep their own healthcare plans and doctors, the Iranians are effectively being told that under this nuclear disarmament plan, they can keep their own nuclear weapons program.

The difference is, Iran is wise to this deception. It is the American people who the president hopes to fool once again.

On an issue as dangerous as Iran's nuclear program, a bad deal may be much worse than no deal at all since it will rob America of vital support from regional states and possibly lead them to pursue unilateral policies that could greatly increase instability. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states could respond to this deal by starting their own nuclear weapons efforts.

The deal may also greatly increase the chance of an Israeli air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

What we're seeing in Obama's foreign policy is sad and frightening. Secretary of State John Kerry and Under Secretary Wendy Sherman are flailing about, trying to cobble together an agreement, any agreement, to provide President Obama with a political boost at home. Congress must put a stop to this foolishness by strongly opposing any agreement with Iran that does not, at a minimum, call for a complete halt in all uranium enrichment and move all of Iran's enriched uranium stockpile out of the country.

Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who served in Congress from 1993 to 2011, was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently Chief Analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media's global intelligence and forecasting service. Click HERE to read LIGNET's latest analysis.

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One day after President Barack Obama offered a pseudo-apology for misleading the American people on Obamacare, his administration is about to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program that is just as dishonest.

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