Iran nuke deal yes no

“He [Jacques Audibert], basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,” [Loretta] Sanchez told me in an interview. “He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.”

Supporting this deal doesn’t make you Neville Chamberlain; opposing it doesn’t make you Dr. Strangelove. Both sides have legitimate arguments. But having studied them, I believe America’s interests are best served now by focusing on how to get the best out of this deal and cushion the worst, rather than scuttling it. That would be a mistake that would isolate us, not Iran, and limit our choices to going to war or tolerating an Iran much closer to nuclear breakout, without any observers or curbs on the ground, and with crumbling sanctions.

How Obama Should Sell the Iran Deal


LONDON — IN the long run-up to Tuesday’s nuclear agreement with Iran, the Obama administration repeatedly suggested that the accord was part of a larger strategic shift in Washington’s approach to Iran. Past experience with arms control debates during the Cold War demonstrates that this is a big mistake that could jeopardize hard-won security gains.

The administration should now seek to justify the deal exclusively on narrow national security grounds.

Although President Obama and his advisers have recently begun to change their tune, they have repeatedly, over the past few years, characterized the nuclear talks as part of a more comprehensive administration strategy to establish “a new equilibrium” between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

The unfortunate consequence of these and other exaggerated claims was the alienation of moderate Republicans and friendly Arab leaders, many of whom supported steps to reduce the risk from Iran’s nuclear program but opposed any attempt to improve relations with the Iranian government.

As recently as April, when the framework for Tuesday’s deal was announced, Mr. Obama was emphasizing the idea that as the United States reduces its presence in the Middle East, better relations with Iran could help establish a new balance of power there. In an extensive interview with The New York Times’s Thomas L. Friedman at the time, Mr. Obama envisioned a nuclear accord and sanctions relief changing Iran’s overall approach, and “then what’s possible is you start seeing an equilibrium in the region, and Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Iran” would begin to consider reducing their tensions.

These and similar statements have become fodder, among some observers, for a heroic narrative that Mr. Obama has achieved a rapprochement with Iran comparable to Richard M. Nixon’s breakthrough visit to China in 1972. Indeed, in another interview with Mr. Friedman, on Tuesday, Mr. Obama repeatedly invoked President Nixon’s historic diplomacy with China and promoted the idea that Iran “will be and should be a regional power” — precisely the kind of thinking that drives away potential supporters of a more limited approach. This is unfortunate, because the Iran deal is a solid achievement in terms of nuclear arms control — not a geopolitical watershed.

The accord simply offers sanctions relief in exchange for extensive limits on Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, which is the hard part of building a nuclear weapon. By limiting the equipment that can be used for this purpose, it will be far more difficult for Iran to transform its civilian nuclear program into a weapons program. In exchange, and under tight controls, financial sanctions and the ban on oil sales will be lifted, allowing Iran much-needed access to frozen funds and Western investment.

The accord’s benefits far outweigh its costs. While the agreement will not prevent a determined Iran from building a nuclear weapon, it will make doing so much harder, and the extensive verification and inspection procedures will make it much easier to discover any such attempt. The easing of sanctions, and the ease with which they can be reimposed, provides a powerful incentive for Iran not to take that risk.

In addition to worrying allies abroad, the other problem with linking the nuclear accord to improved American-Iranian relations is the fact that ties may not get better, especially if Iran’s regional policies — like providing life support to Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria and supporting terrorist organizations — become more aggressive.

No one knows if the nuclear agreement will be followed by a more moderate Iranian approach to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. I suspect it won’t be, because the Revolutionary Guards remain at the core of the Supreme Leader’s coalition and they, not the moderate foreign minister, are the crucial advocates of an aggressive stance in the region. It’s far better to explain how the accord advances American national interests, whether or not Iran changes its regional policies.

The best analogy for the deal with Iran is the arms control agreements of the Cold War. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) limited Soviet modernization of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and granted the United States an unprecedented degree of access to a closed society.

SALT I and SALT II drew strong opposition in Congress when the agreements were seen as part of a broader improvement in American-Soviet relations. In fact, SALT II was never ratified, partly because the Senate debate was hijacked by other foreign policy problems, including the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and its deployment of troops in Angola and Cuba.

The fact that American military and intelligence agencies supported SALT II was forgotten in the larger political firestorm. Only because President Ronald Reagan decided to continue American compliance with the treaty’s main numerical limits was the steady increase in Moscow’s overall number of missiles and launchers halted.

Like the earlier agreements with the Soviet Union, the deal reached with Iran on Tuesday substantially reduces the potential nuclear threat from an adversary and provides access to a relatively closed society. But Iran’s program will not be completely abolished, as many wished.

To maximize congressional and international support, Mr. Obama must now focus on the national security benefits of this accord and avoid any new suggestions that the deal was intended as part of a grand strategy for the region.

American-Iranian relations may one day improve when Tehran’s destabilizing policies in the region change.

The White House can hope that will happen but should not expect it. Whether it occurs is irrelevant to the wisdom of Tuesday’s arms control agreement.

James P. Rubin was the assistant secretary of state for public affairs from 1997 to 2000, under President Bill Clinton.

Trudy Rubin

Obama makes unconvincing case for Iran nuclear deal
Originally published July 15, 2015 at 4:43 pm Updated July 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm

The flaw in the president’s case revolves around the fact that he has sought to separate the nuclear issue from Iran’s behavior in the region.

President Obama needs to do a much better job of explaining why the Iran nuclear deal makes good sense.

The case can be made, barely, but the president didn’t make it on Tuesday.

For one thing, the administration has yet to clarify the still murky details about how Iran will be prevented from cheating.

For another, Obama didn’t allay the fears of Israel and Sunni Arab states that the deal signifies his acceptance of Iran’s ambitions to dominate the region — efforts that are fueling the Islamic State’s expansion. The president denies any such intent, but no one in the region believes him, including Tehran.

U.S. policies in Syria and Iran feed the belief that we have consigned the region to Iranian dominance. Unless Obama can convince Mideast leaders that they misunderstand his position, the nuclear deal will create more security problems than it resolves.

The flaw in the president’s case revolves around the fact that he has sought to separate the nuclear issue from Iran’s behavior in the region.

At one level that is understandable: Before these negotiations began, Iran was well on its way to becoming a threshold nuclear weapons power (although it denied any such intention). Tehran had 19,000 centrifuges spinning, more advanced ones on the way, and 10,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, with additional stocks enriched to a capacity closer to bomb-making level.

The president sought to stop the program before it produced enough fissile materiel for a bomb and triggered a nuclear arms race in the region.

So Obama’s strong point is that the deal stops Iran’s nuclear progress for the next 10 to 15 years — by sharply curbing the number of Iran’s centrifuges and limiting Iran’s fissile material to 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. It also heads off a potential plutonium route to an Iranian bomb.

If this deal now collapses, Iran can spin its centrifuges unhindered toward “breakout” capacity. The international sanctions regime would likely collapse, as Russia and China blame Washington for the failure. Those who opposed Tehran’s nuclear program would have to decide whether it is worth bombing Iran’s facilities and starting another unpredictable war.

To solidify this case, the administration will have to spell out the details of the program to verify Iranian compliance. Congress should push the White House to clarify several worrying details.

First, contrary to the president’s earlier claims, Iran will not have to come clean to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors before a deal is closed about past military aspects of its program. The new deadline is Dec. 15, but it isn’t clear whether Iran will grant the inspectors access to key nuclear scientists and military sites. Sanctions relief depends on the IAEA confirming that Iran has met its basic obligations. It should not occur before Tehran clears up its suspect past.

Second, the mechanism to “snap back” sanctions if Iran stonewalls or cheats is clumsy and bureaucratic. Any complaints would be referred to a “Joint Commission” composed of Russia, China, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union that would hear complaints.

The good news: The committee will operate by majority rule, which means neither Iran, Russia, nor China can prevent snapback. Still, it’s easy to imagine how Tehran could maneuver over and over to drag the process out and wear the inspectors down.

So, administration officials must do a lot of explaining about how Iran can be kept on the straight and narrow. But — even assuming they make a convincing case — Obama must spell out how he intends to prevent a sanctions-free Tehran from further destabilizing the Middle East.

In his Tuesday remarks, the president said, “We must be willing to test whether this region is willing to move in a different direction.” He said the deal offered Iran an opportunity “to move in a new direction” away from a “policy based on threats to attack your neighbors and annihilate Israel.”

Yet Iran’s leaders have repeatedly made clear they have no intention of changing their hostility toward America or Israel. By holding out false hopes, Obama convinces the region that he is naive or a secret backer of Tehran.

Meantime, Iran is the main supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and is backing Shiite militias in Iraq who are driving Sunnis into the arms of the Islamic State. Far from providing a partner in future U.S. efforts to degrade the Islamic State, Iran’s Shiite-centric policies ensure the current U.S. strategy will fail.

The president must explain why he caved in accepting a provision to lift an arms embargo on Iran in five years and an embargo on sales of ballistic missiles in eight years. He must also explain how he means to convince Iran that he isn’t its patsy.

Unless Obama can take off his blinders, this deal will encourage Iran to become even more aggressive in the region. It may also encourage Sunni Arab states to develop nuclear programs in an effort to match Iran.

Obama can’t make a convincing case for an Iran deal until he brings his Mideast policy in line with facts on the ground.

Iranian General: We Hate US 100 Times More For the Nuclear Deal

Commander of Basij Force says Iran deal increases Iranian hatred of the US, UN approval of it is ‘full of enmity towards Iran.’

Would Congress killing Iran deal play into Putin’s hands?

About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
This entry was posted in Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


four − = 2

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>