State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf thinks you’re an idiot, because she thinks you will buy her line that President Obama was not saying something he clearly was saying.
The president, in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep this week, blundered into the truth, saying that Iran could under the deal essentially become a nuclear state at around year 13 of the agreement, when “the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
Over at the State Department, spokeswoman Marie Harf said Obama wasn’t talking about the Iran deal when he said that “in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
Well here’s the transcript, fully in context. Judge for yourself.
Obama first addresses a concern with the deal about uranium concentrations but says that “what is a more relevant fear” is what happens in the latter years. It’s crystal clear he is comparing two aspects of the deal, not discussing, as Harf insists, a hypothetical situation in 13 years under which there is no deal. He even notes that “we’re purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year,” clearly contrasting that with the possible zero breakout time that occurs afterward.
And if there is no deal and no military action, Iran, which has been allowed by Obama to creep to within a two to three month breakout time NOW, will get to zero far sooner than in 13 years. So why would he use 13 years as a hypothetical?
Even the White House didn’t try to make this argument. They just dodged the question.
Next time it rains I’m calling Marie Harf so she can tell me it’s sunny. I’ll just believe her and we both can just make pretend and feel better about stuff.
Inskeep: Most of (Iran’s) enriched uranium is supposed to be set off to the side and diluted; it may, however, remain inside Iran. Eventually, the deal expires. Perhaps the uranium is still there, which is why…
… where the regime changes is a significant question.
Obama: Actually, that’s not how it works, Steve, because once you’ve diluted a process or . . . stockpiles have — have maintained at 300 kilograms or below, they’re not going to have been able to horde a bunch of uranium that somehow they then convert to weapons-grade uranium.
What is a more relevant fear would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.
Keep in mind, though, currently, the breakout times are only about two to three months by our intelligence estimates. So essentially, we’re purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year … that — that if they decided to break the deal, kick out all the inspectors, break the seals and go for a bomb, we’d have over a year to respond. And we have those assurances for at least well over a decade.
And then in years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter, but at that point we have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves. We have much more insight into their capabilities. And the option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished.
Here’s a look at Obama’s statement and Harf’s explanation.