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Iran Nuclear Deal Tag

A quote from Lenin that's been running through my head, post Iran deal: "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." There are economic ramifications of the Iran deal, particularly to Europe. Europe was chomping at the bit to get access to trade with Iran, and for many Europeans sticking it to Israel into the bargain would be a feature rather than a bug. Russia was already about to trade with Iran, as announced in April. But the reason Russia was going to do this was that the Iran deal was already in the offing, and Russia knew sanctions would be lifted and wanted to get the jump on the action before the West did. The missiles Russia proposed to sell Iran are defensive in nature only, but:
...[T]he Kremlin is lifting a ban on selling a powerful air defense system to Iran that would render an airstrike on Tehran’s nuclear weapons facilities nearly impossible. The delivery of the new weapon, called the Almaz-Antei S-300PMU-1—known as the SA-20 Gargoyle in NATO parlance—would effectively force the U.S. to rely on its small fleet of stealth aircraft to strike targets inside Iran in case the mullahs make a dash for the bomb. But even those aircraft might have a difficult time.

The Obama Administration is busy running a full court press on behalf of its terrible nuclear deal with Iran. Yesterday, the President sat down with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times for a softball interview, and today, he hosted a press conference to answer critics' concerns about the contents of the deal, and the Administration's posture toward Iran's overall behavior. https://youtu.be/SzBlcd4n73g?t=1h8m1s Via Fox news:

President Obama defended his deal to Iran to Thomas Friedman of The New York Times yesterday. It was a bad deal and it represented a retreat on nearly every single element of the deal. In any case this is what Obama told Friedman:
“We are not measuring this deal by whether it is changing the regime inside of Iran,” said the president. “We’re not measuring this deal by whether we are solving every problem that can be traced back to Iran, whether we are eliminating all their nefarious activities around the globe. We are measuring this deal — and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu — Iran could not get a nuclear weapon. That was always the discussion. And what I’m going to be able to say, and I think we will be able to prove, is that this by a wide margin is the most definitive path by which Iran will not get a nuclear weapon, and we will be able to achieve that with the full cooperation of the world community and without having to engage in another war in the Middle East.”
And what about the opposition to the deal?

I can't recall an event since I started this website in 2008 that has been as historically consequential as the nuclear deal the United States and five other countries just struck with Iran. It is the sweep of history. The deal is Obama's deal. He drove it, he crafted it with John Kerry as the scrivener, and he pulled the other powers along with it. The defects in the Iran nuclear deal are being exposed in great detail. Those problems are serious and real. But what has troubled me the most as I read through the varied technical analyses is the same thing that has bothered me since June 2009, when the Iranian people rose up against the Mullah regime after fraudulent elections. Obama was silent for weeks in the face of brutal regime oppression and repression, and then structured a response designed to keep the Mullahs in power. [Video of the Rooftop Revolution in Tehran, June 9, 2009] I wrote about it at the time, Negotiations Preconditioned On Mullah Rule:

This morning, news broke confirming what conservatives have been dreading for weeks---Obama finally got his bad Iran deal, and is now threatening to veto any action by Congress that would derail it. Iran is, of course, celebrating: Israel, on the other hand, is predictably and justifiably furious about the west's capitulation. PM Netanyahu's tweets speak for themselves:

The Obama administration with the help of the so-called P5+1 has reached a nuclear deal with Iran. Not all the details will be made public, but those that have been made public make a mockery of the promises of full, unfettered inspections, sanctions relief based on Iranian performance, and quick "snap back" of sanctions for violation.

President Barack Obama has, at least since 2012, claimed that he has Israel's back regarding his engagement with Iran. But as the Iran nuke negotiations move closer to an agreement, with reports it could happen by tomorrow, it is clear that Obama's words are empty rhetoric. In May ahead of his talk at a Washington D.C. synagogue, Obama said it once again, telling Jeffrey Goldberg, "It’s because I think they recognize, having looked at my history and having seen the actions of my administration, that I’ve got Israel’s back..." Events of this past week gives lie to Obama's contention. No this deal won't make Israel safer. But let's check what Iranians are saying. Last week, for example, Iran's former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, someone often called a "moderate" and an ally of current president, Hassan Rouhani, threatened to "wipe Israel off the map."
In response to a question why the Zionist regime has done its best to prevent the path for reaching a nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said that even Tel Aviv knows well that Iran is not after acquiring nuclear weapons.

As time goes on, and the Iran nuclear negotiations continue, it's hard to escape the thought that the Obama administration is becoming more and more desperate for a deal. Any deal. Here are recent developments: John Kerry, in his usual clear-as-mud manner, says that "We will not rush and we will not be rushed." On the other hand, negotiations “will not be open-ended.” What does that tell us about how close the parties are to an agreement? Nothing. He also said the agreement needs to “withstand the test of time,” and that “It’s a test for decades.”
ABC US News | World News

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that that the Obama administration is willing to do whatever it takes to prevent a veto override when Congress votes on the Iran deal. This morning, CNN hosted a veritable White House press conference about the subject. Former State Department Iran negotiator Hillary Mann Leverett and Obama shill and Haaretz contributor Peter Beinart were anchor Chris Cuomo's entire panel. One point that Beinart made that deserves examination is his assertion that “Iranian dissidents want this deal to go through,” on the theory that opening up Iran will lessen the regime’s human rights abuses. He’s made the same argument here, and we're likely to hear it again in the coming weeks. It's worth asking, then, whether the human rights situation in Iran stands to improve. To begin with, Beinart is being disingenuous when he says that dissidents support the deal. Eli Lake documented in 2013 that, while some support it, many others do not.

Another day, another deadline busted. Officials attending nuclear policy talks in Vienna announced today that the deadline set by negotiators has been extended three days to July 10. This is the third time in a year that officials have blown past a deadline, but spokespeople from various parties blame this failure to agree on several "thorny" issues that appear to be hanging in the balance between total failure and...well, whatever level of "failure" will be represented by whatever terrible deal eventually emerges from this mess. Via the Wall Street Journal:
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters the two sides weren’t formally extending the deadline but would effectively stop the clock on the talks. “The news is, we are continuing the negotiations in these hours. You might see some ministers leaving in the next hours and then ready to come back in the coming hours and days,” said Ms. Mogherini, who chairs the six-power group. “We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. That does not mean we are extending our deadlines,” she said, adding that “we are interpreting” the July 7 end-date “in a flexible way.” Ms. Mogherini said the negotiations have hit the most difficult and sensitive final issues, but that sealing a nuclear agreement “is still possible.”

Adam Kredo of the Free Beacon obtained an e-mail threatening Democratic legislators who have doubts about the nuclear deal with Iran that the administration is negotiating.
“Democrats in Congress are the only remaining obstacle to finalizing today’s historic deal,” Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO, said in a statement emailed to reporters on July 2, along with a note that details of the email were not to be published until a deal was actually announced. “Every Democrat should go on the record right now in support of the deal, and pledge to defend it from attacks in Congress.” “Republicans will try to sabotage the deal and take us to war, but they can’t do it without Democratic votes,” Malitz wrote. “Progressives will hold accountable those Democrats who vote to help Republicans sabotage the deal and start a war.”
The Free Beacon cited a source who observed that this kind of political threat was consistent with the administration's mindset.
“This is exactly what you’d expect from the deal-at-any-cost lobby,” the source said. “The White House lied to Congress about what it would deliver and doesn’t have anything left than its raw political power.”
The Free Beacon report comes just after Bloomberg reported that an effort to promote a nuclear deal with Iran has been funded with millions since 2003.

Two recent articles document the multiple American capitulations to Iran in pursuit of a nuclear deal. One is Friday's column by Charles Krauthammer, which showed the numerous retreats the administration has taken from ensuring that Iran will stick to an agreement. Another is by Lee Smith, who earlier this week covered a number of retreats the administration took in allowing Iran to maintain its nuclear infrastructure. The administration's goal seems not to be preventing Iran from making a nuclear weapon but to making a deal. Iranian TV is talking tough: Krauthammer summarizes how the administration backed down from inspections, Iran's having to account for its past illicit nuclear research, as well as its generous application of sanctions relief. The matter of past nuclear work is necessary (and it's something that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refuses discuss) in order to know the full extent of Iran's nuclear program. Here's what happened:

The arbitrary deadline to come to a nuclear agreement is less than a week away. Yet again, Iran's Supreme leader took to Twitter to make his demands -- demands not congruent with previous agreements. The New York Times reported Tuesday:
In a speech broadcast live on Iran state television, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, demanded that most sanctions be lifted before Tehran has dismantled part of its nuclear infrastructure and before international inspectors verify that the country is beginning to meet its commitments. He also ruled out any freeze on Iran’s sensitive nuclear enrichment for as long as a decade, as a preliminary understanding announced in April stipulates, and he repeated his refusal to allow inspections of Iranian military sites. American officials said they would not be baited into a public debate with the ayatollah, who has the final word on nuclear matters. But with Western foreign ministers already hinting that the negotiations may go past the June 30 deadline, both American and European officials have said in recent weeks that they are increasingly concerned about the possible effects of the ayatollah’s statements.

Last week President Obama finally stated openly what everyone, including the Iranians, has known all along – that he is simply not willing to use military force to stop Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon. Those of us with common sense and reason also know that his negotiations with Iran might delay, but will not stop, that country from attaining a nuclear weapon. We know this both because Obama himself told us so in an interview with NPR, and because once a military option is clearly off the table, Iran has no incentive to make concessions in a negotiation and no reason to comply with a negotiated agreement. With no US-sponsored military solution, at least for the remainder of Obama’s term, and no diplomatic solution, there are still two things left that the US can do. First, we can refrain from criminalizing the actions of other states for whom military action against Iran would be considered both reasonable and necessary. Second, we can, at the very, very, least, refrain from funding Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear bomb ourselves.

If you were looking for a monument to supreme egotism, you would have to go far to beat Obama's statement in this interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg:
“Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this,” he said, referring to the apparently almost-finished nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of world powers led by the United States. “I think it’s fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down.”
I rack my brain to think of another president in our history---or another statesman or even another prominent politician---who would think to say "trust me, because my ego is riding on this." What on earth does ego have to do with judgment? In the calculus of what are the most important considerations about any Iran deal, the most important would be "our profound national-security interests" and those of the entire world. That's what's riding on it, that's the reason to "lock it down" (odd phrase for negotiations). The state of Obama's personal reputation ought to be so low on the list of things to think about that it shouldn't even be on his radar screen at this point, much less ours. Obama says he's got a special personal interest in "locking this down." But an agreement on nuclear weapons with Iran is not merely a question of applying oneself. Obama may think there's no limits to his powers, but sizing up Iran and negotiating with a country which is essentially an aggressive, repressive, fanatical enemy isn't just a matter of trying hard enough and thinking you're the smartest guy in the room. Even if it were true that Obama wanted and even needed to negotiate a good deal for the US in order to protect his precious reputation, that doesn't mean he has a clue how to get there from here, or that it's even possible to do so.
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