But the recent leak, attributed to the Israeli government by Obama administration, makes the extent of that capability at least somewhat clear, indicating that the US is now prepared to allow Iran to keep upwards of 6,500 of its current 10,000 operation uranium enrichment centrifuges.
The Obama administration has objected to the leak for mischaracterizing the situation and not taking into account the types of centrifuges, the level of enrichment to be permitted, and the verification procedures that would be imposed to check Iranian compliance.
Hot Air agrees that “the key is verification,” but it adds that the currently proposed deal is a weak agreement even if fully verified, and still virtually all critics of the Iranian regime expect it to try to obstruct verification in order to continue enriching uranium to the fullest extent possible. Furthermore, Hot Air speculates that in the interest of avoiding the conflict that would inevitably result from the revelation of such Iranian cheating, the Obama administration and some of its allies may even disregard outside intelligence regarding suspect nuclear sites.
Such allegations reflect deep conservative resentment of Obama’s apparent weakness on this issue. Some opponents of the Iranian regime believe that the threat of military action, or at least the threat of much more damaging economic sanctions, would be necessary to compel the regime to make serious sacrifices to its nuclear program – a program that Hot Air notes has been a mark of prestige and defiance of the West for the last 13 years of the Islamic Republic.
In light of the Obama administration’s soft approach to Iran, the US military threat is generally no longer seen as being on the table, although the Israeli threat remains viable for the time being. It is increasingly clear that Tehran itself is aware of the limited range of options being kept on the table by the Obama administration.
At the same time, some in Tehran have certainly interpreted this as outright permissiveness and even desperation for a nuclear deal. For instance, at the beginning of February, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Basij civilian militia, was quoted as saying “the Americans are begging us for a deal on the negotiation table.”
This perception apparently relates not only to nuclear negotiations that have resulted, according to Israel, in the US accepting 80 percent of Iran’s demands, but also to President Obama’s offers of coordination with Iran in the fight against the Islamic State, and also a general atmosphere of permissiveness as Iran expands its influence across the Middle Eastern region.
On Tuesday, The Guardian elaborated on both this atmosphere and Iranian awareness of it, noting that a report from the Iranian Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research found that the West had been consciously tolerating the transfer of Iranian arms to Iraq despite the fact that this violates United Nations resolutions. And according to the report it is not only arms shipments that are being tolerated but also the presence of the IRGC’s Quds Force.
The Guardian notes that some Western media outlets have even sought interviews with Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, who is designated as a supporter or international terrorism and is technically barred from crossing national borders by the US, but has reportedly passed between Iran, Iraq, and Syria amidst the ongoing conflict with the Islamic State.
At the same time that the Expediency Council bulletin describes Western permissiveness as a “positive event of major importance,” it also urges expanded involvement in Iraq and Syria, and resistance to international pressures that might loosen Iran’s sectarian hold over those theaters of conflict.
The report warns of the possibility of Turkey and Saudi Arabia emerging as alternative financiers of opposition to the Islamic State, and it expresses opposition to a plan, supported by the United States, to develop a Sunni national guard in Iraq as a way of taking back some power from the Iran-backed Shiite interests currently dominating the government in Baghdad.