The State Dept. admitted on Tuesday that it doesn’t even know if and when the six-month interim deal with Iran will start amid contradicting interpretations by Iran and the United States on their agreement.
In a remarkably candid remark reflecting ignorance of “who is on first,” State Dept. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki answered a reporter’s question concerning when the interim period begins by stating, “That’s a good question.”
She tried to explain that it depends on “technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement.”
That is “spokesmen’s language” for “we signed on the dotted line without making sure that both sides understood what was being signed.”
The ink was barely dry on the agreement when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave totally opposite answers on the matter of uranium enrichment and on the construction of the heavy water plant in Arak.
Kerry said on Sunday, “there is no right to enrich. We do not recognize a right to enrich. It is clear in the NPT, in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it’s very, very clear, that there is no right to enrich.”
Iran’s government mouthpiece Press TV reported the same day , “Rouhani said the enrichment right of the Islamic Republic has been ‘explicitly’ stated in the deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.”
The White House stated that the agreement, or so-called agreement, stops progress on the heavy water reactor that could be used to produce plutonium for use in a nuclear weapon.
Not so, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who gave his interpretation on the word “progress.”
“Capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there,” Zarif said in comments to the parliament and reported by Press TV.
It also quoted Rouhani as saying, “The Administration of Hope and Prudence seeks to create an atmosphere of trust between the Islamic Republic and countries that are interested in having friendly relations with this great nation.”
Now that the Obama administration knows the Islamic Republic is the “Administration of Hope and Prudence,” why doesn’t it know when the six-month clock starts ticking?
The answer to that question was published here, somewhat prophetically last week, in a Jewish Press blog that in essence states what the people in Foggy Bottom, and the foggy White House, have not learned: An agreement with Arabs, or in this case with Persians, is simply a basis for another argument.
But the Obama administration, being the nice and honest Americans that they are, are already keeping up their end of the deal by putting into place the easing of sanctions, even though Iran has not done anything except to say that Washington does not understand what it signed.
The last word can be given to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said last year that the problem with the Obama administration is that it does not talk the same language as Iran.
Truer words never were spoken.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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