More than 20 years ago, on October 21, 1994, President Bill Clinton announced that the United States had reached a Framework Agreement with North Korea on its nuclear program. Clinton assured the American public that it was a “good deal.”
You can watch Clinton’s statement here:
“This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world. It reduces the danger of the threat of nuclear spreading in the region. It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community,” Clinton said.
Sound familiar? Obama used similar language when he announced the Framework Agreement with Iran earlier this month.
We all know what happened with Clinton’s “good” deal. On April 23-25, 2003, during trilateral talks in Beijing, North Korea told the U.S. delegation that it possessed nuclear weapons. This constituted the first time that Pyongyang made such an admission. More than two years later, on October 9, 2006, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test near the village of P’unggye.
Last night, news broke that Chinese nuclear experts have informed their American counterparts they have increased their estimates of North Korea’s nuclear weapons production well beyond most previous U.S. figures. They now suggest Pyongyang can make enough warheads to threaten regional security for the U.S. and its allies.
Wall Street Journal reporters Jeremy Page and Jay Solomon reported that China had informed U.S. nuclear specialists that North Korea will have 40 nuclear warheads by the end of 2016 and potentially over 75 by the end of the decade. North Korean engineers have apparently miniaturized them and can mount them on their KN-08 long-range missiles, which can reach California.
The news has alarmed U.S. lawmakers, who say that it must have implications for the current talks with Iran about its nuclear program. Republican lawmakers said the pending deal with Iran could mirror the 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea.
“We saw how North Korea was able to game this whole process,” Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran had its hands on the same playbook.”
In fact, it goes further than Iran having its hands on the same playbook.
In every meaningful sense, the North Korean nuclear program is an Iranian nuclear program, albeit beyond Iran’s territorial borders. The Iranians pay for the program. The Iranians receive knowledge and technology from the program. The Iranians are on hand to observe every major nuclear and missile test.
But there is more.
Take, for example, the parallels between the deal with North Korea and the current negotiations with Iran. The Agreed Framework with North Korea was negotiated by Wendy Sherman, and the Iran deal is being negotiated by the same Wendy Sherman. The Agreed Framework lasted a decade, and the Iran deal is slated to last a decade. The agreement with North Korea relied on IAEA verification, and the Iran deal relies on IAEA verification.
But now, the North Koreans have a full-blown nuclear arsenal that the Americans didn’t even know about. U.S. officials reportedly expressed surprise when they were briefed on the Chinese information.
Defiant Iranian Statements
Meanwhile, Iran continues to issue defiant statements about the Framework Agreement with the six world powers and the current negotiations about a final agreement.
A top Iranian commander said Iran will never permit inspection of its military sites.
“Not only will we not grant foreigners the permission to inspect our military sites, we will not even give them permission to think about such a subject,” the Fars News Agency quoted Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as saying on a live television broadcast last Saturday.
“They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams,” he added.
He also said that a harsh response awaits anyone who talks about such inspections.
“Visiting a military base by a foreign inspector would mean the occupation of our land because all our defense secrets are there. Even talking about the subject means national humiliation,” he added.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said that U.S. officials should “stop their silly demands from Iran.”
Fars News reported that Khamenei blasted the US and Europeans and their “puppet regimes’” media hype and allegations that Iran had sought to acquire nuclear weapons, and said: “Today, the most vital threat posed to the world and the region is the US and the Zionist regime which meddle (with other nations’ affairs) and kill people anywhere they deem to be necessary without any control or commitment to conscience or religious principles.”
Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs, demanded again that sanctions imposed on Iran should be immediately lifted when an agreement is signed, not when Iran’s compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) demands is certified.
The IAEA reported earlier that no significant progress had been made in the talks with Iran about access for inspectors to military sites.
During a military parade on Army Day in Iran last Saturday, a truck carrying a massive banner reading “Death to Israel.” was seen. A televised broadcast of the parade was punctuated by repeated cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
Warnings to Obama
Dr. Mahmoud Moradkhani, an Iranian expat and a nephew of Ayatollah Khamenei, wrote an open letter to President Obama in which he warned not to trust the Iranian regime. He told Obama that Khamenei is lying in negotiations, practicing the Shia doctrine of taqiyya in which it is permissible for Muslims to lie to the infidel for the advancement of Islam, and asked the President not to pursue his nuclear deal with the regime but to focus on Iran’s expansion policies and abysmal human rights record. Moradkhani is the son of Sheikh Ali Teherani, who married Khamenei’s sister.
Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker joined George Schultz and Henry Kissinger in demanding a much better deal with Iran. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he wrote that the current Framework Agreement “needs lots of work.”
“Our P5+1 partners should understand that if we can’t trust Iran to stick to its promises during negotiations, we cannot trust that it won’t resume its nuclear-weapons program after a final deal is reached.
“Only after we have the necessary support from the P5+1 should we resume our discussions with Iran. And then, only after the Iranians have been told in no uncertain terms that we have reasonable specific demands they must meet. Let Iran and the world know what those demands are. If Iran balks at such an arrangement, then it will be that country’s fault that the talks broke down,” Baker wrote.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth