…when they said the Obama administration lied about its deal with them.
It’s a sad thing that, on hearing those Iranian claims, I was already inclined to believe their version more than Obama’s. That’s how little meaning his word has these days. And now the WaPo, not known for dissing Obama, has published an editorial that begins:
The fact sheet distributed by the Obama administration about the nuclear agreement with Iran is notable for its omissions.
I suppose Obama misspoke again, because somehow the WaPo manages to write the entire piece without once directly accusing him of lying, and also without once citing the Iranian claims of mendacity that almost certainly sparked the WaPo’s examination of the terms of the agreement.
Here’s the way the editorial deals with the central issue of enrichment:
Though White House officials and Secretary of State John F. Kerry repeatedly said that Iran’s assertion of a “right to enrich” uranium would not be recognized in an interim deal, the text says the “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters.” In other words, the United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing U.S. demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned.
But that’s not even the worst of it, according to the WaPo:
The most troubling part of the document provides for what amounts to a sunset clause in the comprehensive agreement. It says the final deal will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon,” and that once that time period is complete, “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party” to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran thus could look forward to a time when there would be no sanctions and no special restrictions on its nuclear capacity; it could install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.
Administration officials say they regard Iran’s agreement to the words “long-term” in the sunset clause as a significant concession. In theory, this might mean 15 to 20 years. Iran, however, has proposed a far shorter period; we are told it was three to five years.
The piece is so delicately and carefully worded to avoid accusing Obama of actually lying that it seems to have been composed by diplomats itself, rather than being an editorial about diplomacy.