New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, announced last week that she will vote in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement. What we find most disturbing – aside from her coming out on the wrong side of the issue, of course – is that she has yet to adequately explain away the mountain of evidence that the proposed inspection program, key to the detection of Iranian violations, would be wholly ineffective, requiring inspections by appointment only and a 24-day notice to Iran.
And then there’s the wholly unworkable procedure to evaluate suspected violations; inspection rules that are so secret, even the U.S. government is not privy to them, though Iran is; obvious escape clauses for Iran to legally pull out of the deal even after sanctions are lifted; and the limited duration of the so-called solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. What is downright infuriating, however, is that her statement seems to both acknowledge these problems while papering them over.
In her statement, she said the agreement “has produced an unprecedented combination of ways to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Just as important, inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s facilities, so that we can better understand Iran’s capabilities…and be better prepared to detect any covert activity….[W]e will have better intelligence as a result of this deal…”
But “unprecedented” and “better” are not the same as “effective” and “adequate.” It just means perhaps more than before. It is all relative. Does Sen. Gillibrand really believe she has addressed the fears that most Americans seem to have about the agreement? Will we really be able to detect Iranian efforts to build nuclear weapons? Is the president’s abandonment of an “any time, anywhere” inspection regime of no moment? Does the 24-day lead time before inspectors can inspect undermine the whole notion of inspections?
We suspect that Sen. Gillibrand’s decision will not stand her in good stead with our community. This is a time for elected officials to straightforwardly think a most serious issue through rather than woodenly following lines scripted for them by Obama Central. And she failed miserably.