Thursday, July 16, 2015

From Ian:

David Horovitz: No, we don’t want war. And yes, there was a better deal
Three months ago, defending what he called the “historic” framework understandings reached with Iran in Lausanne over its rogue nuclear program, US President Barack Obama planted a false and highly unpleasant insinuation. “It’s no secret,” the president declared in an April 2 address, “that the Israeli prime minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue.” The nasty implication? That while America favors diplomacy to thwart Iran’s march to the bomb, Benjamin Netanyahu wants war.
In the House of Commons on Wednesday, a day after the US-led world powers had signed their comprehensive accord with the Islamic extremists who rule Iran, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond escalated that false narrative by another few degrees. “The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv,” Hammond said in Parliament, and then continued, despicably, “The answer of course is that Israel doesn’t want any deal with Iran.”
Finally, later Wednesday, Obama cemented the foul misrepresentation of Israel’s stance. “There really are only two alternatives here,” the president correctly asserted at a press conference. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war. Those are the options.” So far, true enough. But he went on to claim that the accord signed Tuesday was the best that could have been achieved — and that critics such as Netanyahu had failed to present viable alternative conditions. “What I haven’t heard is, what is your preferred alternative?” claimed the president, his voice full of injured good intention.
The consequence of all this disingenuous oratory: The United States and its partners have concluded a dreadful agreement with a treacherous regime in Tehran — an agreement that places Israel, but emphatically not only Israel, in considerable danger. And they are now busily compounding their failure by misrepresenting what has unfolded, and pointing some of the blame, thoroughly unjustifiably, at what Hammond so charmingly called “Tel Aviv.”
Countering Obama, Israel says it offered alternative to Iran deal
Israel forcefully rejected Thursday US President Barack Obama’s assertion that critics of the nuclear agreement with Iran have failed to present better options, arguing that a good deal is still possible if the international community, led by Washington, maintains the sanctions regime on Tehran.
“We have consistently laid out an alternative, which is a better deal that actually blocks Iran’s path to the bomb and links the lifting of restrictions on Iran to tangible changes in Iranian behavior,” a senior Israeli official said Thursday.
The official also disputed Obama’s contention that the entire international community backs the Vienna agreement, which the United States and five world powers signed with Iran on Tuesday. He also indicated that the Israeli government is convinced it can persuade US lawmakers to oppose the deal. “We believe we can win on the substance,” he told The Times of Israel.
Obama Defends Nuclear Deal: Either My Deal Or War With Iran
President Obama challenged critics of his newly minted Iran nuclear deal, asserting that his agreement was the only one that would prevent the country from getting a nuclear bomb.
“The facts are the facts,” he insisted, saying his argument was “hard to dispute” by critics who’s arguments he asserted “defies logic” and “makes no sense.”
He also mocked some critics, suggesting that they were unfairly raising concerns about Iran “taking over the world.”
“I say that not tongue in cheek, because if you look at some of the statements by some of our critics, you would think that Iran is, in fact, going to take over the world as a consequence of this deal, which I think would be news to the Iranians,” he said.
Obama held his press conference this afternoon in the East Room of the White House instead of the briefing room, the first time in that location since the aftermath of the November 2014 elections.
His overall argument rested with the message the administration has been sending for months – that his deal would be the only way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon – using the phrase “nuclear weapon” 28 times. He added that the international community would be able to catch any “funny business” if Iran tried to cheat the inspectors.
Barack Obama Makes Case Against Iran Nuclear Deal

Poll: 74% of Israelis say deal won't stop nuclear Iran
The first poll taken in Israel following the Iranian nuclear deal found that 74 percent of Israelis do not believe it will prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, 10% think it will and 16% do not know, according to the survey taken Wednesday by the Sarid Institute for Channel 10.
The poll, of a statistical sample of Israelis, found that 69% are against the deal, 10% are in favor and 21% do not know. One-third of respondents said Israel should attack Iran in the wake of the deal, 40% said they were against an Israeli strike and 28% do not know.
Channel 10 did not provide the sample size or margin of error.
Asked whether Israel should lobby Congress against the deal, 59% said yes, 23% no, and 18% do not know.
Iran nuclear deal: What exactly does Iran want with all that enriched uranium?
It’s worth recalling how we got here. Iran built a massive programme designed to give it nuclear weapons capability, entirely in secret, then it got caught red handed. Instead of dismantling its illegal facilities, it just kept on developing them. It was ultimately forced to enter negotiations only because of tough sanctions.
Recall that Iran has no domestic need for uranium enrichment. It is one the most oil and gas rich nations in the world. Its one nuclear power plant can use Russian fuel only. In the words of US Iran expert Ray Takeyh, Iran is like someone who buys a gallon of petrol every day but does not own a car. The obvious question is, what does it want with all that enriched uranium?
The US and its allies started out with the goal of getting Iran to dismantle the facilities it built illegally. The Iranian goal was to get rid of the sanctions and legitimise what it had built. In the long run it is clear. Iran has achieved its goals.
So will the Iranian regime’s penchant for radical sectarian power projection evaporate once it has renewed the right to sell lots of oil and buy lots of arms? It would be nice to think so, but no one has offered a single convincing reason why it would.
It is extremely important now that the US, Britain and their allies reinforce deterrence, and convince Iran that if they cheat on the deal or abandon it, as they have so often in the past, they will pay a very heavy price. At the same time, they need to open a close dialogue with their allies in the region, both Israel and the Sunni Arab states, about how to prevent Iran from using the deal to advance its destabilising policies.
How to Con America - And Get a Nuclear Bomb!
How to Con America and Get a Nuclear Bomb in 4 easy steps. How did Iran manage to dupe America to be set firmly on the road to nuclear weapons? What happened to the ironclad deal America had insisted on. It seems Iran cleverly dodged inspections, refused to close nuclear facilities, increased their centrifuges and continue to enrich uranium. No deal is better than a bad deal. Stop a Nuclear Iran.

Netanyahu and Hammond spar over Iran nuclear deal at joint press conference
Netanyahu took issue with Hammond's assertion that, according to the deal, sanctions relief for Iran would be dependent on the Islamic Republic's behavior.
"There is no requirement for Iran to change its behavior and that's what makes this deal fundamentally wrong," Netanyahu told Hammond.
Netanyahu praised the UK's efforts to fight anti-Semitism, but asked Hammond why Britain was not condemning Iran for a rally in which crowds chanted "Death to Israel," just days before the nuclear deal was signed.
"We will judge Iran not by the chants on the streets of Tehran, but by the actions of its government," Hammond answered.
Netanyahu replied that Iran and its proxies have hundreds of thousands of missiles pointed at Israel, so it actually was more than just chants, it is actions.
Hammond said that Israel has legitimate concerns about a nuclear Iran, but that the deal would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. "We would not have agreed to the deal unless we were sure we had robust measures in place to control Iran's nuclear program," he claimed.
Obama and Kerry crossed every one of their own red lines
Critics characterize the Iran deal as the worst diplomatic bargain since British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeased German Chancellor Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II.
The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens explained, “In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear.”
Kerry’s deal goes farther, and approaches that of his predecessor Frank B. Kellogg, who, in 1928, crafted a pact to ensure “the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy.”
Indeed, even before finalizing the agreement, Kerry told The Boston Globe over the weekend that a nuclear deal could open new doors to a broader Middle East peace:
“I think that there’s an opportunity here to galvanize people.” Members of his negotiating team already reportedly talk about who might play them in a future movie.
For his efforts, Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize — but he also laid the groundwork for a world war. Blinded by a noxious mix of ambition and naïveté, Kerry and, for that matter, Obama may not be so different.
Mark Steyn: Obama, Neville Chamberlain Comparison Is 'Unfair To Chamberlain'
Mark Steyn blasted President Obama for agreeing to the Iran nuclear deal, telling Sean Hannity Tuesday a comparison between Obama and former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is “unfair” to Chamberlain.
According to the conservative commentator, while Chamberlain was wrong to sign the Munich Agreement and hand over chunks of the Sudetenland to Czechoslovakia to appease Adolf Hitler, he was an “honorable man.” On the other hand, Steyn says Obama’s agreement with Iran is “significantly worse” than Chamberlain’s decision, saying he is facilitating Iran’s “re-entry into the global community.”
Steyn added further that the “horrors of Germany” were unknown to Chamberlain, unlike Obama while considering this deal with the Iranians.
“I think actually that’s rather unfair to Neville Chamberlain,” Steyn told Hannity. “He got the central question of the 1930s wrong, but he was an honorable man who believed he was acting in the interests of his country and the British Empire which he loved.”
“When Churchill became prime minister he kept Chamberlain on and had him chair the War Cabinet in his absence,” Steyn said. “And Churchill wept over Chamberlain’s funeral casket, and claimed he was an honorable man who just happened to be wrong.”
Mark Steyn Weigh In On Iran Nuclear Deal - Hannity

Israel: Inspection clauses in deal ‘worse than worthless,’ actually help Iran
The nuclear deal’s inspections regime, much hailed by the Western powers that negotiated the agreement with Iran, is “worse than worthless” and actually helps Iran more than the international inspectors, a senior Israeli minister charged Wednesday.
“Actually, you have here a mechanism that instead of serving the inspection is serving the deception,” said National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unofficial point man on Iran and nuclear affairs.
By instituting a mechanism that gives Iran close to a month of advance notice to conceal any illicit nuclear activity before it needs to grant access to inspectors, the agreement renders useless any intelligence suggesting that Tehran is violating the deal, Steinitz contended. Indeed, the agreement would have been better without its inspections regime, he told reporters during a briefing in Jerusalem.
U.S. circulates United Nations resolution ​Iran nuclear deal
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power distributed a draft U.N. resolution on Wednesday to members of the Security Council to implement the agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
The draft resolution will terminate all seven U.N. resolutions that had been in effect since 2006 -- resolutions that put sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program -- upon receipt of the International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran has complied. Those resolutions could be reinstated if Iran does not comply with the terms of the agreement. It also leaves in place, for a limited period, the arms and ballistic missiles embargo, for five and eight years, respectively.
Last week, Power said the new resolution was being submitted on behalf of the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany along with the European Union.
CBS News received a copy of the resolution, which lays out all the aspects of the Iran deal that were announced on July 14. The resolution was circulated to Council members on the same day that President Obama held a press conference to address concerns about the agreement.
Obama Turns to U.N. to Outmaneuver Congress
On Capitol Hill, there are currently two schools of thought about the wisdom of taking a resolution to the U.N. Security Council prior to a vote in Congress.
For some Republicans, the move is a dangerous subjugation of U.S. sovereignty and an insult to Congress’s oversight role.
“Given that huge bipartisan majorities in both houses voted for legislation to prevent the president from implementing the agreement before congressional review, I think members from both sides of the aisle will see this tactic as an end run on Congress,” said Jamil Jaffer, a Republican and former chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Others, even those skeptical of a deal, prefer that the U.N. take action first so that Congress can better understand the accord it’s approving or rejecting.
“It actually makes sense that we would go second because then we’ll know what we’re voting on,” said a congressional aide who focuses on the Iran nuclear portfolio. “If we went first, we’d be in the uncomfortable position of approving something that could change depending on what’s agreed on at the U.N.”
Indeed, the United States and its negotiating partners have not included some of the most controversial provisions — for instance, a decision to lift an embargo on conventional weaponry in five years and ease restrictions on the development and import of ballistic missile technology in eight years — in the nuclear accord that will be reviewed by Congress. Instead, those provisions are embedded in the new U.N. Security Council resolution, which congressional critics of the deal will have no power to block.
The new draft resolution provides weaker restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program than those contained in previous resolutions, which banned Iran from undertaking “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” The draft under consideration would only “call upon” Iran not to engage in such activities. It also includes no explicit prohibition on Iran’s development or import of conventional missile technology. That means Iran can continue to advance its conventional ballistic missile program without violating the terms set by the U.N. Security Council.
Meet the 16 Democratic Senators Who Can Scuttle ObamaDeal
Opponents to the agreement with Iran are lacking approximately nine Democratic senators to override a Presidential veto of its rejection, but the truth that is an opposition victory might have limited meaning.
Congress cannot strike down the agreement, which was made along with five other Western powers. All it can do is block President Obama’s agreement to lift U.S. sanctions.
Doing so would be very significant, both politically for President Obama and the Democratic party as well as for American’s relations with the other P5+1 countries and Iran.
There are seven undecided Democratic senators, according to a tally by the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips.
If all of them turn against President Obama, it will be easier to convince a couple of others whose positions are not yet known.
Obama adviser: We never sought ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to Iran sites
A top adviser to US President Barack Obama claimed Tuesday that the US had never sought co-called “anytime, anywhere” inspections of all suspect Iranian sites in the newly signed nuclear accord. His comments came in marked contrast to statements he made to Israeli television in April.
“We never sought anytime/anywhere inspections,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN’s Erin Burnett in a televised interview defending the new Iran nuclear deal.
Pressing Rhodes on his response, Burnett asked him, “But the bottom line then is, you’re saying you never went for anytime, anywhere?”
“This has the most robust inspections and verification regime that we’ve ever had in this time of agreement that we’ve negotiated,” Rhodes said of the new deal, without directly answering her question.
'Iran Was on the Verge of Giving Up Nuke Program'
An Israeli official argued to Israel Radio on Thursday that with just a little more pressure, Iran would have given in completely on its nuclear program.
But, the United States and its international partners failed by not being tough enough on Tehran, and conceding too many points too quickly.
Iran, according to the official, was seriously “on the skids" - bankrupt to a degree far greater than Westerners realized.
Nearly a decade of sanctions had taken its toll, and without a lifting of the sanctions, the government there realized it would soon be likely swept away by angry Iranians, who, leaders estimated, were desperate enough to rebel even given the country's repressive political system.
J Street launches campaign backing Iran deal; AIPAC calls for rejection of accord
AIPAC called on Congress to reject the Iran nuclear deal, saying it does not meet critical markers that the influential pro-Israel lobby outlined in recent weeks. But the liberal Jewish Middle East lobby J Street announced a multimillion-dollar campaign to support the agreement.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee made its case against in a statement Wednesday delivered after President Barack Obama conducted a news conference of more than an hour defending the deal achieved a day earlier.
“We strongly believe that the alternative to this bad deal is a better deal,” AIPAC said in its statement. “Congress should reject this agreement, and urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.”
J Street, announcing its campaign on Wednesday, said it will make the case to lawmakers that the agreement “advances both US and Israeli security interests.” The lobby has raised $2 million thus far for the drive, a source said.
“J Street wants Congress to know that, despite some loud opposition to the deal coming from Jewish organizational leaders, our polling suggests that a clear majority of Jewish Americans agrees with us and backs the deal,” the group said in a statement.
The campaign will launch this week with a 30-second TV advertisement highlighting the unprecedented inspections and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear and military sites under the agreement, along with more broadcast and print ads over the next 60 days.
Khamenei: Some of the Members of the P5+1 Are Not Trustworthy
The cautious comments by Khamenei, the ultimate authority on matters of state in Iran, were in sharp contrast to praise lavished on the accord by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif since it was struck on Tuesday.
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.
In a letter to Rouhani and quoted by Reuters, Khamenei wrote: "Reaching a deal is a significant step, but the text of the deal should be carefully scrutinized and the legal procedures should be taken so when the deal is ratified the other side cannot breach it."
"Some of the members of the P5+1 are not trustworthy," he said, referring to the six world powers, in the letter.
Arab League Demands Israel Nuclear Deal
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Wednesday a historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is a first step to ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.
The head of the Cairo-based pan-Arab bloc expressed hopes the accord reached on Tuesday would usher in "stability and security" in the volatile region, according to AFP.
Arabi also called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to declare that it has nuclear facilities.
The nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers in Vienna was a "first step to free the Middle East from weapons of mass destruction," he said in a statement.
"It's time for the international community... to stop its policy of double standards and to undertake its responsibilities by pressuring Israel to join the non-proliferation agreement as a non-nuclear state," he added.
Obama: As World Lifts Iran Arms Embargo, US Should Work With Israel, Gulf States to Stop Iranian Arms Shipments
Though the nuclear deal with Iran calls for a lifting of international arms sanctions against Iran after 5 years, President Barack Obama on Monday said the U.S. should double down with its allies in the Middle East to prevent Iranian arms shipments to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Obama said the U.S. had mechanisms at hand under international law to prevent arms shipments from Iran to its proxies in the region. The president said he had discussed increasing defense ties with U.S. allies in the region, such as Gulf states and Israel, to interdict weapons shipments.
Defending the nuclear deal, Obama insisted that having struck the agreement between world powers and Iran, the U.S. had a freer hand to work closely with Israel and Gulf states to contain expanding Iranian influence.
Top Obama Official Admits That Iran Will Likely Use Sanctions Money To Fund Terror
Some of the $150 billion that Iran will receive from sanctions relief as part of its nuclear deal with the U.S. will likely be spent on terrorism, National Security adviser Susan Rice admitted on Wednesday.
“Once they start getting that money are there any restrictions on how the Iranians can use that money? Obviously they can use it to build schools and highways, but they could use it to support international terrorism, right?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Rice.
“It is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now,” said Rice, who is most well known as the public face of the Obama administration in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2012, attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Wolf Blitzer Makes Fool of Susan Rice on Iran Funding Terrorists

Elliott Abrams: Iran Got a Far Better Deal Than It Had Any Right to Expect
Of course Obama has a theory: The main problems in world politics come from American militarism, aggression, bullying, and the like, and if we open our “clenched fists” to embrace Iran, it will respond in kind. We’ve seen the results of such policies in Russia and North Korea, and most recently in Cuba. In fact Obama’s Iran deal is based on his “Cuba model”: Hand a lifeline to a regime in deep economic trouble and ignore the population of the country and their quest for human rights and decent government. Call it a historic achievement, and above all don’t bargain hard for recompense. For, you see, in these openings to Iran and Cuba we are only righting the historical wrongs America has committed and for which we need to apologize.
People who do not live in and bicycle around in Lausanne or Vienna, but rather try to survive in Israel and the Persian Gulf countries, understand all of this. Iran has won a great victory: A weak country has outmaneuvered and outnegotiated the United States and the EU. Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will probably share a Nobel Peace Prize, which is disgraceful, but Zarif does deserve recognition for producing a far better deal for Iran than he had any right to expect. He owes a huge debt of gratitude to Barack Obama and his view of the world. For the rest of us, the rise of Iran means great danger ahead.
Mordechai Kedar: The End of an Era
For the past 226 years, the 14th of July has been commemorated as "Bastille Day", the day that the infamous Parisian prison fell into the hands of the people who, rebelling against King Louis XVI, stormed its gates during the French Revolution of 1789. The fall of the Bastille symbolizes the fall of the French monarchy and its despotism, and the establishment of the Republic, the nation of the people, based on liberty, equality and fraternity. This is France's national holiday. The French Revolution became a model for many other peoples who took their destiny into their own hands, and it is therefore fitting to view the 14th of July, 1789, as the day that ushered in the democratic era, the rule of brave people who defeated despotism, destroyed a dictatorship and founded the democratic framework in which a citizenry runs its own affairs, with liberty and freedom for all.
On the very same day, 226 years later, the 14th of July 2015, representatives of several democracies – one of them France – together with representatives of less democratic countries, Russia and China, signed an agreement in which the democratic world capitulated to the despotic dictatorship that is Iran. The world, in effect, authorized Iran's plans to achieve regional, and possibly greater than regional, hegemony, while ignoring the destructive role the land of the Ayatollahs plays in countries like Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
Worst of all, ethically speaking, is the Syrian scenario: Iran supports Assad publicly, in fact the commander of the Iranian Quds force is in charge of the fight to save Assad's regime and in command of all the forces fighting for the Syrian regime – Hezbollah, the remnants of the Syrian army and Afghan "volunteers" forced to come to Syria from Iran. The world hears the sounds of the mass murders of Syrian citizens carried out by Iran and sees them on its screens, but the world is silent. The signed agreement does not even mention the Syrian tragedy in which Iran is the main protagonist.
Michael Lumish: Mort Klein is not a Happy Man
At the end of the day, US president Barack Obama got precisely what he wanted, a piece of paper with a Persian signature. What it means beyond that is difficult to see. At the beginning of the negotiating process Obama told the American people that it was US policy to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weaponry.
The purpose of "the deal" was not to get a piece of paper with some signatures on it. The purpose of the deal was to fulfill the US foreign policy goal of preventing an Iranian bomb. The deal does not do that, thus it is yet another Obama foreign policy failure.
On the very outside, we will likely see an Iranian bomb within ten years, maybe fifteen, but my guess is considerably closer to five. What this means is that the Obama administration has sold us all down the river.
Jews. Arabs. Australians. Americans. Europeans. All of Asia.
We are about to embark upon a brave new world wherein a highly bigoted Persian Shia government, that despises Jews and westerners, and maintains resentment from 1953, will now control the world's most dangerous weaponry. This is going to change the face of the Middle East and, perhaps, the world, more generally.
Once Iran gains the bomb the western powers will have no ability to curb its behavior. Iran will place a nuclear shield around its partnerships and interests, as any country would do. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, Iran's partnerships and interests include Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis in Yemen. Iran opposes the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but that is primarily because ISIS is a significant inconvenience on Iran's intentions toward Iraq.
Iran Deal Is Obama's Middle East Exit Strategy
Of all of the surreal moments Tuesday in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, the most bizarre was the conclusion of U.S. President Barack Obama's address from the White House. After touting the pact's promises of greater monitoring and transparency, and the limits it places on Iran's nuclear enrichment, Obama appealed to the importance of American global leadership.
"History shows that America must lead, not just with our might, but with our principles," Obama said. "It shows we are stronger, not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together. Today's announcement marks one more chapter in this pursuit of a safer and more helpful, more hopeful world."
These are pleasant and unremarkable words. But they are also deceptive. The agreement ironed out in Vienna is not a chapter in America's long tradition of pursuing a safe, helpful and hopeful world. Rather, it's an abandonment of traditional American leadership in the Middle East and in the areas of nonproliferation and terrorism.
To start, the agreement will end up unfreezing around $150 billion in assets to a regime that has neglected its own domestic economy so it could prop up a Syrian dictator at war with his own citizens -- to the tune of billions of dollars. The initial reaction from America's traditional Middle Eastern allies has been a combination of shock and horror. Just as they see an Iran more brazen than ever, Obama is talking about the possibility of a new relationship with their archenemy.
Obama’s Iran Deal Filibuster
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.”
The key to understanding the president’s argument is his conviction that the Iranians will hold to its terms, and that the methods it lays out to ensure it holds to the terms are sufficient to make them do so even if they want to cheat. The key to understanding the opposition to the deal is that those of us who are dismayed by it do not believe the Iranians will hold to its terms; do not believe its enforcement mechanisms will prevent them from doing whatever they feel they must.
There is literally no way to resolve this difference. That’s why the president can and will argue that, hey, it’s at least worth a try; someone else can bomb them later, and that someone will have more international support if he or she does. Nor does it speak to the fear that Iranian cheating may lead to an expansion of secret facilities which would make any military option far more difficult.
The Deal Wasn’t About Iran’s Nukes
If you think the United States just struck a poor nuclear deal with Iran, you’re right; but if that’s your key takeaway, you’re missing the point. Iran’s nuclear program was last on the list of the Obama administration’s priorities in talking to Tehran. The administration readily caved on Iran’s nukes because it viewed the matter only as a timely pretense for achieving other cherished aims. These were: (1) preventing an Israeli attack on Iran; (2) transforming the United States into a more forgiving, less imposing power; (3) establishing diplomacy as a great American good in itself; (4) making Iran into a great regional power; and (5), ensuring the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace.
The administration has always viewed Israel as an intractable troublemaker and the main catalyst for the region’s woes. An Israeli strike on Iran, especially if supported by the United States, would have been yet another display of destabilizing Israeli aggression that put Middle East peace further out of reach. Barack Obama, therefore, repeatedly warned Israel against attacking Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu complied, and for his compliance White House officials taunted him in 2014 as a “chickenshit” whose window of opportunity had closed. That window is now barred. The Iran deal states that the U.S. will train Iranians to counter any sabotage attempts on its nuclear facilities and systems. This is aimed at frustrating Israeli action.
Obama came to office promising to limit American action as well. In his standard progressive view, the United States has been too eager to throw its weight around and impose its norms on other countries without giving sufficient thought to the resentment it might sow. He ended the war in Iraq and sought to remake the United States as a humble power. “Too often the United States starts by dictating,” he told a Saudi news outlet soon after being elected. He, by contrast, would do a lot of “listening.” The Iran negotiations became Obama’s magnum opus on the theme of listening. Americans listened to Iranians dictate terms, shoot down offers, insult the United States, and threaten allies. America has been humbled indeed.
The Worst Way to Defend Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal
But, as Fisher indicated, George W. Bush’s treaty with the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi provides perhaps the best model for how to draft a nuclear treaty with a rogue state. The world was stunned by the speed with which, in the immediate wake of Saddam Hussein’s ouster, Gaddafi surrendered his country’s nuclear weapons capabilities. When America was leading from behind in the skies over Libya in 2011, the New York Times reporter David Sanger offered belated praise for Bush’s 2003 accord with Libya noting that it had rendered the regime in Tripoli far less dangerous.
“The cache of nuclear technology that Libya turned over to the United States, Britain and international nuclear inspectors in early 2004 was large,” the New York Times reported, “far larger than American intelligence experts had predicted. There were more than 4,000 centrifuges for producing enriched uranium. There were blueprints for how to build a nuclear bomb – missing some critical components, but good enough to get the work started.” Libya, a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, had been subjected to an international inspections regime for years before it surrendered its unexpectedly sophisticated capabilities. The IAEA inspectors that tasked with verifying Tripoli’s compliance found their work surprisingly unimpeded and productive in the wake of Gaddafi’s about face.
In 2004, George W. Bush flew to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee where he was photographed touring the spoils of those centrifuges Libya surrendered. President Obama could only wish for a nuclear deal that also provided him with a victorious photo opportunity as he stood triumphantly over neutralized Iranian enrichment materials.
“The point is that, if you grew up in the Bush family, you are immediately related to some people who can tell you first-hand how awesome it is to negotiate nuclear deals with dictators, and have very strong track records to back that up,” Fisher rightly averred. That is undoubtedly correct, and a cursory review of the effect of those deals reveals how well-crafted they were. They stand in stark contrast to an arrangement many believe will leave Iran a much richer, better-armed, threshold (if not outright) nuclear state within a decade. Conservative opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran should be praising Fisher for citing splendid examples of how the work of nonproliferation and disarmament is done correctly.
The Lie that Europe Cares About Human Rights
Once upon a time, the European Union prided itself on human rights a “core aspect of European identity.” When Klaus Kinkel became Germany’s foreign minister on May 18, 1992, he declared promotion of human rights to be a top priority, at least rhetorically. Behind-the-scenes, though, Kinkel seemed to salivate at the Iranian market. By 1987, Germany already accounted for more than a quarter of Iran’s total imports, but Germany wanted more. Iran, after all, was an impressive market; oil-rich and in desperate need of investment after eight years of a devastating war. So, the Clinton administration promoted “Dual Containment,” Kinkel and his European colleagues argued that Iran was simply too important to isolate.
On December 12, 1992, the European Union endorsed Berlin’s proposed “critical dialogue,” in which European governments would correlate trade with Iranian improvements on human rights and Tehran’s conformity with international norms of behavior. The European Council declared, “The European Council reaffirms its belief that a dialogue should be maintained with the Iranian Government. This should be a critical dialogue which reflects concern about Iranian behavior and calls for improvement in a number of areas, particularly human rights, the death sentence pronounced by a Fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini against the author Salman Rushdie, which is contrary to international law, and terrorism.” Just as Obama does today, European officials assumed that increasing trade would strengthen the hands of pragmatists. Simply put, Berlin believed it could achieve more by dialogue than coercion.
Analysis: German-Iran business ties complicate relations with Israel
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution – wrote in a report in June, “Germany anticipates that Iran will continue its intensive procurement efforts in Germany” in connection with illicit nuclear and missile technology.
The German government seem to be discounting the relevance of the intelligence data.
A flourishing German-Iran business relationship complicates relations between Jerusalem and Berlin. After all, many of the new deals could involve dual-use goods, which can be used for both military and civilian purposes. Germany has a long history of selling chemical agents to Bashar Assad’s regime, as well as dual-use technology to Iran’s regime, including surveillance equipment. Assad reportedly used German chemicals for his sarin gas bombs employed in the Syrian civil war.
Given the gold rush to penetrate Iranian markets, it will be a herculean task for Berlin to ensure that the Islamic Republic will not use German technology against Israel.
The issue of Iran securing revenue, particularly from energy sales, from Germany and using the money to step up terrorist attacks against Israel via Hezbollah and Hamas is another story.
 MEMRI: Iranian President Rohani In Address To The Iranian Nation Following The Announcement Of The Iran-P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: The Superpowers Have Recognized A Nuclear Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rohani delivered an address to the Iranian nation on July 14, 2015, immediately after the announcement earlier that day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna. The following is MEMRI's translation of his address from the original Persian as published by the Tasnim news agency on that date. All emphases below are in the original.
Hostage's Wife: Iran Deal Makes It 'More Difficult' To Free My Husband
While the Obama administration continued to tout the Iranian nuclear deal Wednesday, the wife of one hostage is critiquing the deal as it fails to bring home the four U.S. citizens being held hostage by Iran.
Reacting to President Barack Obama’s press conference, Nagmeh Abedini, the wife of Saeed Abedini, said the deal struck Tuesday by Iran, the U.S. and American allies makes it “more difficult” for the safe return of her husband.
“Well, I am one of the families that he did meet with in January of this year, and I saw sincerity and concern when we did meet,” Abedini told CNN’s Pamela Brown. “He got to meet my two kids, that he would try everything to bring Saeed and the other Americans out. He promised me that. He said he did it with the Cuban prisoner and he would do it for my husband.”
“I think the nuclear deal would make it more difficult,” Abedini argued. “I’ve never asked for Saeed to be part of the deal, but I’ve hoped that on sidelines, as discussed before, that he would — that his release would be secure as we still have some leverage with the Iranian government, and that has been my hope that his release would have been secured even on the sideline.”
MEMRI: In Gulf Press, Fear And Criticism Of Iran Nuclear Agreement: Obama Is Leaving The Middle East A Legacy Of Disaster
The announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 has sparked widespread reactions in the Gulf states. The leaders of most of these countries, with the exclusion of Saudi Arabia, issued official responses that included congratulatory letters to Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, expressing hope that the agreement would promote stability in the region.
In contrast, Gulf newspapers were filled with editorials and op-eds expressing apprehension and concern about the agreement, and terming it "a disaster for the Middle East," saying that it would "open the gates of evil," and calling it "an historic gift" from the Obama administration to Iran. They also said that it would "change the Middle East forever."
These opinion pieces questioned Iran's honesty and argued that the agreement greenlights its ongoing interference in the internal affairs of its neighbors, its efforts to destabilize them, and its cultivation of terrorist groups in the region as well as in the West. They also claimed that, contrary to the stated goal of the superpowers, which is to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program, the agreement actually gives Iran the legitimacy, strength, and funds to continue developing its program undisturbed, and paves the way to a nuclear arms race in the Gulf.
Some of the pieces stated that Iran must now prove that its intentions towards the countries of the region are peaceful, and that it has abandoned the "role of villain," as a precondition for the Gulf states to reassess their attitude towards it and to consider dialogue with it.
Saudi Cartoon Makes Clear Statement On Iran’s Intentions After Sanctions Relief
Saudi newspaper Al-Watan published a cartoon Wednesday suggesting Iran will use sanctions relief from the nuclear deal to pump money into terrorism.
The cartoon depicts Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei turning the dial on an oil pipeline labeled “nuclear agreement.” Money, marked with the U.S. dollar sign, funnels into the mouth of a dark-clad figure labeled “terrorism.”
As the dominant Sunni Gulf state, Saudi Arabia sees Shiite Iran as a threat to its leadership in the region. This is particularly in view of Iran’s increased military presence in the region, supporting the Syrian regime, Shiite militias in Iraq and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Iran and six world powers reached an agreement in Vienna Tuesday, placing restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program for approximately 10 years. In return, Iran is expected to receive more than $100 billion in frozen assets from the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Here’s How Iran’s Neighbors Feel About The Nuke Deal In Five Comics
Asharq al-Awsat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, showed America’s Uncle Sam and an Iranian figure sprinting over a giant labeled “the Middle East” in pursuit of a nuclear deal. It appears to make a statement about U.S. realignment in the region to partner with Iran over traditional allies.
Iran and six world powers signed an agreement to limit Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions in Vienna Tuesday.
When the Iranians came to Jerusalem
The first wave of Iranian immigrants to reach Jerusalem arrived in 1886, inspired by the revered Rabbi Aharon HaCohen. Most of them came from the city of Shiraz, and had made the month-long journey to the port at Bushar by foot, on camels and atop donkeys, women and children riding in pack saddles on either sides of the same beast. Once they arrived, they waited for a ship that would take them to their yearned-for destination.
After disembarking in Jaffa, and kissing its “holy” ground with gusto, they traveled to Jerusalem. The city’s two established communities – Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim from Eastern Europe and Ladino-speaking Sefaradim from Spain and Portugal – had a hard time believing that the newcomers, with their strange language, exotic customs and dark skins, were actually Jewish. Unfortunately, while Ashkenazis and Sephardis had already set up bustling neighborhoods for other immigrants, they felt no obligation towards these newcomers from the east.
Too poor to buy property or to build homes, the Parsim squatted on an empty plot next to Mishkenot Sha’anamim (the first Jewish neighborhood outside the Old City walls). But their shacks and tents created such an eyesore that they were soon evicted and they ended up in a make-shift transit camp. Lacking building materials, penniless, they took enormous, empty tin gasoline cans, separated the sides, smoothed them out and stood them up to form walls. That’s why their earliest neighborhood, officially called Shevet Tzedek, is known far and wide as the Tin Neighborhood.
PreOccupied Territory: Rabbinate’s Kosher Supervisors Qualify As Iran Inspectors (satire)
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced today that in keeping with the leniency shown to Iran under the recent Vienna agreement, inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities would be performed by kashrut supervisors from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, which have a reputation for exactly the kind of token, ineffective supervision the world powers are looking for.
IAEA spokesman Bishul Nokhri told reporters that in the agreement’s spirit of placing only minor obstacles in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, the agency would use inspectors with a proven track record of focusing attention on only certain details of the facilities they inspect, while ignoring far more egregious and problematic questions that make the efficacy of the entire inspection regime questionable at best.
“Rabbinate mashgihim have demonstrated the exact set of skills we are looking for,” said Akkum, using the technical term for a kashrut supervisor. “Whether it involves showing up maybe a handful of times a year and staying long enough only to check the garbage can and collect a check, these inspectors are perfect for the type of verification the P5+1 powers have shown they are comfortable with.”
Moreover, said Akkum, the typical Rabbinate mashgiah has been conditioned to give the benefit of the doubt to the institutions undergoing inspection. “In complete violation of everything Jewish law says about reliability and objectivity, the structure of the standard supervision arrangement with the Rabbinate is that a specific inspector is assigned to the restaurant or other establishment, and the business directly pays the mashgiah for his services – thereby making the mashgiah beholden to the business for at least part of his livelihood and compromising his objectivity. That is exactly the kind of half-assed regime we intend to run, given the other free passes Iran is getting under the agreement.”

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