July 20, 2015

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Time for the Iran agreement to get comments from some of our favorites. John Podhoretz starts us off.

The president gave a press conference today in which he spent, by my calculation, almost 45 minutes talking about the Iran deal. He knows it inside and out and he and his people have clearly spent days if not weeks pre-sculpting arguments against its weaknesses. He droned on, wouldn’t allow many questions, and was very boring and repetitive, but in an essential sense, he was effective in laying out the case — not for the deal itself exactly but against those who are against it. It boils down to this (these are my words, not his): “We wanted to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. We’ve done it. And if you say otherwise, you either don’t know what you’re talking about or you want war.” …



Charles Krauthammer is next.

When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong.

Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?

When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.

Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?

Because Iran, joined by Russia — our “reset” partner — sprung the demand at the last minute, calculating that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were so desperate for a deal that they would cave. They did. …



Jennifer Rubin says the prez is an expert at enraging congress. 

The Obama administration made clear Wednesday that after years of negotiations with Iran it would not wait for the 60-day consideration period it agreed to give Congress to vote up or down and instead would go first to the United Nations Security Council.

“This certainly violates the spirit, if not the letter of the Nuclear Agreement Review Act,” says sanctions guru Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The president, Dubowitz says, “should explain to the American people” why the UN gets first crack at the deal.

The Nuclear Agreement Review Act plainly states that “during the period for review provided in paragraph (1), the President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law or refrain from applying any such sanctions.” But that is precisely what the president is doing when he goes to the U.N., gets the international community to lift sanctions and then tells Congress it must approve the deal or put the United States at odds with the international community. He is attempting to box in Congress after previously agreeing to give its members time to fully consider the deal. …




Rubin also wonders how many times obama will con the Dems on Iran. 

The Democrats in Congress need to recover their self-esteem. They’ve been played for fools and directly misled time and again by the White House.

The president signed the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act and spoke about the importance of Congress fully participating in the approval process. Then along comes negotiator Wendy Sherman in a press conference: “Well, the way that the U.N. Security Council resolution is structured, there is an interim period of 60 to 90 days that I think will accommodate the congressional review. And it would have been a little difficult when all of the members of the P5+1 wanted to go to the United Nations to get an endorsement of this since it is a product of the United Nations process, for us to say, ‘Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.’” Joke’s on you, Democrats.

The president and administration officials said dozens of times that they would get anywhere/anytime inspections. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says now they never sought that. Wendy Sherman calls it a rhetorical flourish. Silly Democrats, you should have known better. …



Peter Wehner calls it obama’s worst mistake.

I wanted to add my voice to those who have already written about the deal between Iran and Western powers, led by the United States. It is an agreement that is likely to set in motion a terrible chain of events — reviving the Iranian economy while simultaneously putting Iran well on the road to gaining nuclear weapons and triggering a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Iran’s behavior is likely to be more, not less, aggressive, from threatening other nations to supporting terrorist organizations. Our allies can only conclude that the United States is unsteady and unreliable, having cast its lot with the most destabilizing regime in the world today — one that is an existential threat to Israel, and where chants of “Death to America!” can still be heard at prayer services every week. Historians may well consider this date to be a time when, as Max Boot put it, “American dominance in the Middle East was supplanted by the Iranian Imperium.” …




Matthew Continetti sums it up.

… The Iran deal is a fabulous artifice, an intricately woven shawl that masks its real intent: the avoidance of military confrontation with Iran and the rise of Persian regional hegemony. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation,” President Obama said at his press conference Thursday, “or it’s resolved through war. Those are the options.” He presented his diplomatic resolution as a fait accompli, as the best America could ever hope to do. If the deal favors Iran, which it unequivocally does— without so much as closing a nuclear facility this rogue regime gets cash, legitimacy, and an end to U.N. bans on sales of conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology—it is because Obama wanted desperately to pursue the diplomatic option and prove its validity. …

… The Iran deal isn’t an accomplishment. It required no sacrifice. Both sides wanted a deal: Iran to receive sanctions relief and assert its national pride, Obama to forestall having to take action, to prove diplomacy can work, to entertain the possibility of true détente with a longtime adversary. And both sides got what they wanted: Iran its money, weapons, missiles, and nuclear infrastructure intact, Obama a “legacy” item that allows him to smear Republicans and Israelis as warmongers. Obama says he’s aware of the nature of the Iranian regime, but he chooses to ignore that nature if it wins him plaudits from the international left and breathing room before an Iranian bomb. The deal is a finely wrought escape pod for Obama and Kerry: get out of town in 2017 on your high horse, your sanctimony and idealism unblemished.

Willfully optimistic about Iranian intentions, knowingly blind to Iranian malfeasance, to Iran’s murder of our soldiers, its imprisonment of our citizens, the deal is a rather stunning example of the lengths to which our elites will go in order to preserve the fiction of common interests, of the “international community,” of the power of engagement to liberalize autocracies. Media and cultural institutions will reward Obama and Kerry and Rouhani and Zarif for upholding the shibboleths that rule the world: give peace a chance, jaw jaw is better than war war, we’re all in this together, put yourself in the mullah’s shoes, Kennedy and Reagan negotiated with a superpower so why can’t we parody their example by kowtowing to a two-bit fundamentalist regime on the verge of bankruptcy whose shrinking population is addled by drugs and venereal disease. Meanwhile Iranian centrifuges will spin, Iran’s proxies are sowing chaos, its missile program is active, its adversarial posture toward Israel and America and the West is unbroken, and, as Jim Webb put it, “After a period of 10 years they are going to be able to say that they can move forward with a nuclear weapons policy with our acceptance.”

What we have in the Iran deal is another instance of the ruling caste distorting reality to suit its ideological preferences. …

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