(JNi.media) As President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu were fighting for media attention over the Iran deal on Wednesday, one statement by Netanyahu seemed to cut through the verbiage. Criticizing the 24-day notice inspectors would have to give before entering to inspect Iran’s nuclear sites, Netanyahu told NBC’s Lester Holt:
“You don’t have inspections within 24 hours—you have 24 days before you can inspect any site that you find suspicious in Iran. 24 days. Can you imagine giving a drug dealer 24 days’ notice before you check the premises? That’s a lot of time to flush a lot of meth down the toilet.”
Besides revealing that he is probably a fan of the series “Breaking Bad,” Netanyahu also put his finger on the very essence of the deal’s faults, putting into simple words the deep mistrust many have felt regarding the efforts of the 5+1 negotiators to present it as comprising a reliable concession on the part of the Islamic Republic.
The image of Iranian scientists flushing down their yellowcake while IAEA cops are waiting outside could easily go as viral as the poster of an ACME style bomb Netanyahu presented in his UN speech last year. And the 3-week wait period before inspections will undoubtedly become a central talking point for critics of the deal, inside and outside Congress.
AIPAC, which on Wednesday finally took a stand urging the defeat of the deal, and risking its relationship with the White House for a long time to come, ran the quality of inspections as two of its top talking point:
“The proposed deal does not ensure “anytime, anywhere” short-notice inspections.
“The proposed deal would disconnect and store centrifuges in an easily reversible manner, but it requires no dismantling of centrifuges or any Iranian nuclear facility.”
In defending the White House’s position to its followers, J Street’s Iran Deal Facts, while warning against “powerful forces” that “have lined up in opposition; not just fighting against this deal, but against any realistic option with Iran short of all-out war,” also centers on the issue of reliable inspections.
On its website, the group announces:
“Opponents of this agreement say Iran will cheat their way to a nuclear weapon — Not without us knowing in time to stop them. That’s why this deal is so important: by subjecting Iran to the most intrusive inspections regime in history, it leaves nothing to trust.”
And, the J Street promise is:
“Inspections at all nuclear sites. 24/7/365 monitoring. Tracking every ounce of uranium. It all adds up to unprecedented assurance that Iran cannot cheat their way to a weapon undetected.”
How does that statement sit with the Netanyahu meth inspection metaphor? J Street does not answer directly, but links to three outside sources, all of which agree with Netanyahu that unannounced inspections are not included in the deal, explaining why that’s not a bad thing.
J Street links an article titled “Inspecting Iran anywhere, but not anytime,” by Mark Fitzpatrick, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
You should read the entire article, whose gist is that it’s unreasonable to expect that Iran would allow undeterred, continuous access to its facilities. “As much as one might aspire also to seeing ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections in Iran, unconditional demands are unrealistic,” Fitzpatrick writes.
If you read the entire piece, which is an apologia for the White House and for Iran’s nuclear ambitions (“No sovereign country, especially one under the repeated threat of airstrikes, would willingly expose its defenses.”), you’ll get to the final paragraph, which would have made a great SNL sketch:
“Iran has suggested that the IAEA could be allowed to take environmental samples near the desired location, while not being permitted to actually go to the location. This may be Iran’s alternative to an IAEA request for base access. Sampling close enough to the facility in question may allow officials to determine whether any activity took place using nuclear materials.”
It’s like taking soil samples from under the meth makers’ caravan…