The deadline for reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear program expires today without the parties having reached a negotiated agreement. The negotiating period will be extended until July 1 of next year.
This development is being reported as “no deal,” but there actually is a deal of sorts here. According to the British foreign secretary, Iran will receive about $700 million per month in frozen assets. In exchange, it makes no concessions. Instead, the status quo is maintained with regard to Iran’s nuclear program.
In all likelihood, then, Iran’s economy will continue to expand. No longer will it experience the severe bite that caused it to come to the negotiating table. Thus, Iran will have even less incentive to make concessions than it has had in the run-up to the current stalemate.
Meanwhile, Obama will feel pressure to make additional concessions. Clearly, he wants a deal; otherwise he would have walked away in the face of Iran’s intransigence.
Obama wants a deal for his legacy. Two of the three major components of that legacy — Obamacare and Obamnesty — are subject to possible reversal. The third component — pulling out of Iraq — has exploded in his face.
Obama also wants a deal to reduce the likelihood of Israel attacking Iran. Short of a deal, Obama needs the negotiating process to continue for this purpose.
Finally, Obama envisages some sort of mega-deal with Iran, pursuant to which the mullah regime helps bring stability to the region. Iran’s posture in the nuclear negotiations would persuade anyone but a fool or a blind ideologue that a meaningful “grand bargain” is not to be had.
I’ll leave it to the reader to say which of these descriptons fit Obama.
Obama’s desperation has already driven him to make a series of concessions. Lee Smith catalogues them.
Among the concessions are these:
1. Obama has offered Iran a 10-year sunset period. After 10 years, any deal would be void.
2. Obama has given up on its demands that Iran enrich no uranium at all.
3. Obama has abandoned the demand that Iran must dismantle its centrifuges.
According to Smith, there are also reports that Obama may have given up on demanding that Iran fully disclose its past activities, including possible military dimensions of the nuclear program.
No wonder Iran wants to keep Obama at the negotiating table. The mullahs are in a win-win position. Either the status quo continues and Iran prospers or Obama eventually gives away the store.
The mullahs lose only if Israel attacks. Neither side wants that, so negotiations, such as they are, will persist.