01:12 GMT28 January 2020
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    In his latest column for The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan slammed hawks complaining that Washington had 'given away the store' in the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran, he notes, negotiated in good faith, showed that they weren't lying about their weapons program, and proved that they don't want a suicidal war with the US or its regional allies.

    The more radically-minded elements of Iran's leadership may very well be grumbling about the Iranian nuclear deal, Buchanan suggests. "For while American hawks are saying we gave away the store to Tehran, consider what [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei] agreed to."

    "Last week, he gave his blessing to the return of 10 US sailors who intruded into Iranian waters within hours of capture. He turned loose four Americans convicted of spying." Moreover, "ordered by the US and [the UN] Security Council to prove Iran was not lying when it said it had no nuclear weapons program – an assertion supported by 16 US intelligence agencies 'with high confidence' in 2007 – the Ayatollah had to submit to the following demands:"

    "Decommission of 12,000 Iranian centrifuges, including all the advanced ones at Fordow, ship out of the country 98% of its enriched uranium, remove the core of its heavy-water reactor in Arak and fill it with concrete, and allow UN inspectors to crawl all over Iran's nuclear facilities for years to come."

    Likening the Iranian leadership's agreement to Western demands to a "capitulation," and pondering why Tehran may have agreed to such conditions, Buchanan challenged his hawkish colleagues' answer, which is that Iran did it "to get $100 billion."

    The reality, the analyst suggests, is that "the money Iran is getting back belongs to Iran. It is not foreign aid. The funds had been frozen until Iran accepted our conditions. The sanctions worked."

    Moreover, "there is another reason Tehran may have submitted: When Iran said it did not have a nuclear bomb, it was telling the truth. Indeed, it is Iran's accusers, many from the same crowd that misled and lied to us when they said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, whose credibility is in question today."

    "Iran's accusers," Buchanan argues, "should produce their evidence, if any, that Iran had, or still has, a nuclear bomb. Otherwise, they should shut up with the lying and goading the US into another war that will leave us with another trillion-dollar debt, ashes in our mouths, and thousands more dead and wounded warriors."

    As to "why" Tehran does not have the bomb, the answer, the analyst suggests is that "Iran concluded, years ago, that an atom bomb would make it less, not more secure."

    "For as soon as Iran tested a bomb, a nuclear arms race would be on in the Mideast with Saudis, Turks and Egyptians all in competition. The Israelis would put their nuclear arsenal on a hair trigger. And most dangerous for Iran, she would find herself confronting the USA."

    "No matter how much the mullahs may hate us," Buchanan writes, "they are not stupid, and they know a war with America would leave their country, as it left Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, smashed and broken. Iraq is today splintered into Sunni, Shiite, Kurd and Arab. And Iran, after a war with the USA, could decompose into a tribalized land of warring Persians, Arabs, Baluch, Kurds and Azeris."

    And so, "if a war with America would be a disaster for Iran, détente with America might bring a time of peace that could enable the largest nation on the Persian Gulf, with 80 million people, and an ally now of its old rival Iraq, to achieve hegemony in the Gulf."

    Likening Ayatollah Khamenei to Chinese reformer and peacemaker Deng Xiaoping, Buchanan suggests that Iran, like China, "seems to have concluded that the path to power and performance of the regime lies not in conflict with the United States, but in avoiding conflict."

    "President Hassan Rouhani, who also sees Iran's future as best assured by resolving the nuclear issue and reengaging with the West, described his triumph to the Iranian parliament: 'All are happy except Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the US. The rest are happy.'"

    And "if this deal is truly in the interests of the United States and Iran, whose interests would be served by scuttling it? Who seeks to do so? And why would they want a return to confrontation and perhaps war?" Buchanan concludes.

    A veteran political commentator, columnist and writer, Pat Buchanan was also the White House Communications Director for the Reagan Administration, and a former Republican Party presidential candidate.


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    detente, warmongering, Iran nuclear deal, nuclear deal, negotiations, Pat Buchanan, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, United States
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