Both Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have sought to reassure that the United States won’t be fooled by Iran, never mind that both served as chairmen of the honorary useful idiot caucus when they served together in the Senate.
Let us hope that their judgment is sound, and they will not let their ambition to preside over a deal trump the responsibility to verify Iranian sincerity every step of the way. Already, it looks like the Islamic Republic is backtracking, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declaring Iranian nuclear enrichment non-negotiable.
Such insincerity and doublespeak increasingly seem the rule rather than the exception. Take this speech, which Rouhani delivered at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, on February 9, 2005, in which he embraced a doctrine of surprise:
…An important factor in the defeat of the plots of the enemies of Islam and the victory of the Islamic revolution was the principle of surprise. The surprise was that the enemy knew nothing of the plans and programs of the revolutionaries and the nation of Iran and did not think all the people would come out on the scene in a revolution or a movement…
Because the West had not correctly predicted the power of leadership, had not properly understood the tie between the nation and the leadership, had not recognized the revolution’s organization and because of the principle of being taken by surprise it was obliged to accept defeat…
Even after the victory of the revolution – in all phases – the plots and plans they had designed against the revolution or against the development of the regime and the nation were defeated. Why? Again it was because they were taken by surprise. The actions of the regime took the world by surprise and they were usually unpredictable. One of the reasons for the world’s anger at the Islamic Republic of Iran regime is that they do not have the power to make predictions about this regime. They do not know what we will do a month from now. The only structure that is unpredictable for the world where they are unable correctly to predict the developments and power is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Midway through his address, he turns to the importance of surprise in Iran’s nuclear program. Referring to feigned flexibility as a nuclear negotiator, he describes how he used it to derail sanctions:
In any case the surprise that was achieved here was that the Americans fell into the weeds of passivity and they were unable to do anything in the months of March and June, even though they did not allow the agreement between us and Europe to take hold. It is correct that with their steadfastness and opposition and the pressure they put on the Europeans, the Americans did not allow the agreement between Iran and Europe to become operational, but their own plan did not become operational either…
Rouhani then explained the goal of his engagement:
Therefore what we were able to do was to make the opposite of whatever America predicted occur. In the course of these initiatives we always had another plan, which was both victorious and unpredictable for them as to exactly what direction we might take. Today we have reached a sensitive point and this is heavy for America. These talks are not just about how the nuclear issue will end; they go far beyond these things. We want to see how Europe will transfer advanced technology to Iran, how the barriers to Iran’s exports will be lifted, how economic relations between Iran and Europe should be strengthened…
I believe what the Islamic Republic of Iran has done in this period has been a great and complex task. Iran was alone and no one supported it. Despite all this we were able to show this power of maneuvering to the world and with divine grace and power we will continue the rest of the way with the wisdom, measures and the initiative of the support of the people.
And, he acknowledged, the fact that the technology Iran seeks the international community to bless is dual use:
The basis of the discussion is that a nation that has the power to prepare nuclear power plant fuel also has the power to produce an atomic bomb. All the conflicts are about the fact that these resources can have dual uses.
Kerry and Hagel may say they will not be fooled by Iran, and they should not be. Rouhani has made very clear what his plans and tactics are. Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Hagel, be prepared for a surprise, one that will not reflect well either on your legacy or on American national security.