Deal Not Bonded

Bill Neinast

Some years ago, Germania Insurance Company distributed prints of a painting entitled “The Handshake,”  An insurance salesman is depicted outside of his one-seat coupe in a field shaking hands with a farmer behind his mule drawn plow.

In the era reflected in the painting, that handshake was as binding as a Notary Public’s signature and seal on a written document.  As my father said frequently, “A man’s word is his bond.”  The handshake was the seal.

That belief has never been the norm in international relations. Treaties and custom are the basics of international law.  The best current example of customary international law may be the condemnation of genocide.

As is common with the constant media criticism of our President, this little detail is never mentioned with the condemnation of his withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear “deal.”

Under international law, there is no enforceable agreement.  There is no custom on the subject and no executed treaties.

As noted by CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta on January 24, 2014, “The interim nuclear deal with Iran and six other world powers was never signed by the representatives who brokered the agreement last November, leading one top Republican House leader to complain it allows Iranian leaders to ignore parts of the agreement, though the Obama administration said concern is unfounded.

The congressman, who only agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity, said the lack of actual signatures could be seen as a way for Iran to ignore provisions that offers Iran modest relief from some international sanctions in exchange for freezing and scaling back parts of its nuclear program.…

“A senior Obama administration official confirmed to CNN that there are no signatures on the deal but said it is a non-issue….

“‘The Iranians are well aware of what happens if we can't conclude a comprehensive agreement,’ the official said.

“Earlier this week, top Iranian officials accused the White House of overselling what Iran has agreed to do as part of the interim deal.

“‘White House tries to portray it as a - basically, a dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. That is the word that they used time and again,’ Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto.

“‘But we are not dismantling any centrifuges. We are not dismantling any equipment,’ Zarif added.”

So what is this “thing” our President has repudiated?  

It definitely is not an enforceable treaty.  A treaty would have required ratification by the Senate, and Obama knew ratification was not possible.  Too many senators on both sides of the aisle had criticized the proposal as one that is not in the best interests of our country.

It is not an Executive Order or Agreement because even Obama did not or would not sign it.  

Obama, however, was willing to send a plane load of billions of U.S. dollars to buy the release of some Americans being held by the Iranians.  

Compare that ransom with the release of the three Americans from a North Korean prison that our President negotiated with Kim Jong-un in the proposals to denuclearize North Korea.

Not only did we pay through the nose to appease the Mullahs in Iran and permit other countries to flood the broken economy with money, Obama agreed to proposals with huge holes.   

For example, Iranian military installations are off limits to inspectors and a 24 day notice is required for inspectors to enter any facility that is not on the list in the proposals. 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is the official title of this proposal, was a major coup for Iran.  A life line of commerce was opened for its failed economy and billions of dollars were flooded in to support its meddling in other countries.  In return, Iran said it would temporarily halt its nuclear research, but would not dismantle the research facilities.

So here’s the perspective.

The old American principle that a man’s word is his bond is not applicable in international relations.  International law requires  properly executed treaties as bonds.

As there is no treaty between Iran and any other country concerning the development of nuclear weapons, our President broke no law or bond when he withdrew the United States from JCPOA.  He merely corrected a bad mistake made by Obama.

If Germany and France do not stand in his way, he may engineer a turnaround in Iran as he has done in Korea.

Let’s give him a chance.


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