Iran

Is Iran rational and would that be good enough?

Featured image Fareed Zakaria argues that (1) “at the heart of the concerns surrounding the deal with Iran is [the] simple question [of] whether Iran is rational” and (2) Iran’s foreign policy has, for decades, been rational. Zakaria also takes critics of President Obama’s “deal” to task for claiming both that Iran is not rational and prescribing a policy — racheting up pressure — that presupposes Iran’s rationality. Zakaria’s analysis is shallow »

Overheard high on Foggy Bottom

Featured image We understand that Secretary of State John Kerry placed a frantic call to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Zarif yesterday after the Supreme Leader’s speech on the occasion of National Nuclear Technology Day. According to the partial transcript provided to us, the conversation went down like this: John Kerry: Mohammad, your Supreme Leader is killing us! We understand he might have gotten carried away in the spirit of the day. »

Marie explains, in words you can understand

Featured image Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz collaborated on a devastating Wall Street Journal column (accessible here via Google) criticizing the pending arrangement with Iran. Asked about the column at a State Department briefing, department spokesman Marie Harf demonstrated that she may not have learned everything she needs to know in kindergarten. Her response had a sort of na-na-boo-boo quality to it: “I didn’t hear a lot of »

A word from their Supreme Leader

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to comment on the Supreme Leader’s speech today, posted here by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: Just making sure that you had Khamenei’s speech from today [linked above]. It was a barn-burner generally – he ruled out cooperation with the US and downplayed the prospects for a nuclear deal – but those parts won’t be any more problematic than his “Death to America” chants, which »

Mock this

Featured image In looking online this morning for the White House fact sheet (sic) on the arrangement with Iran, I found the image posted below on another White House page summarizing the framework of the arrangement. The White House is making an important point here, of course, and the Times of Israel expertly decodes it: “US mimics Netanyahu cartoon bomb to sell Iran deal.” For “mimics,” I’d read “mocks,” as the text »

Coming soon: sanctions relief

Featured image The lifting of the economic sanctions that have brought Iran to the table over its nuclear program necessarily constitutes an essential element of the deal, if and when it is reduced to writing and subscribed by the parties. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the current framework that is written in the hearts of the parties does not address specifically address the timing of sanctions relief. According to the “parameters” »

Huge loophole belies Obama’s sunny claims about his Iran “deal”

Featured image President Obama is pitching his impending nuclear deal with Iran on the theory that it will enlarge the mullah’s “breakout time” from two or three months to a year, for a decade. I’m skeptical enough about expert opinions, especially in a highly politicized context, to wonder how seriously we should take these breakout time estimates. Do we really know how soon Iran could obtain a nuclear device under hypothetical circumstances? »

Military sites will be off-limits to inspectors, Iran announces

Featured image We can add a new item to the list of issues as to which Iran’s stated view of the nuclear “deal” differs from President Obama’s claims. The list already included such matters as when sanctions will be lifted, centrifuges, enrichment, and even plutonium — all key components. Now, says Michael Rubin, there is disagreement about whether inspectors will have access to major sites where work is conducted to further the »

Marie clears it up

Featured image Omri Ceren emailed another update on the pending arrangement with Iran yesterday afternoon. If you’ve been following Omri’s comments here, this should be of interest: Just wanted to make sure you had the full text of President Obama’s interview in your inbox [omitted here]. There’s a particular quote that has gotten a lot of attention, and which was the source of a bit of confusion at today’s State Department press »

Obama bargains against his alleged self

Featured image The Washington Post’s editors point out that President Obama’s hard sell of a “deal” not yet reached with Iran might well weaken the U.S. negotiating position. Obama says that important details remain to be worked out. They include the connection between implementation by Iran of its promises and the lifting of sanctions; how inspectors can obtain access to new suspected nuclear sites; and how they can get answers to questions »

The case of the missing fatwa, take 6

Featured image The invaluable MEMRI observes: In President Obama’s announcement of the joint statement following the conclusion of the negotiations in Lausanne, he again mentioned the nonexistent fatwa, stating as fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.[1] This assertion by the president is not true. Such a fatwa has never been issued, and to this day no one has been able to show it, »

The gospel according to Tom

Featured image I can’t find a transcript of the apostle Tom Friedman’s interview with his lord and master Obama, the video of which I posted yesterday in “Fatuity and fatwas.” However, the Times has published an expanded version of Friedman’s account online in “Iran and the Obama doctrine.” It captures key quotes from the interview with one exception. The pending arrangement with Iran is Obama’s devoutly wished consummation of a one-sided love »

The Iran deal: It’s settled science

Featured image Back in the United States, Omri Ceren continues his reports on the pending deal with Iran. Today he comments on one of the Obama administration’s themes supporting the deal. It seems to have something in common with the administration’s take on global warming climate change. I thought readers who have been following this series might be interested in this report as well: According to the weekend reports – and based »

Of fatuity and fatwas

Featured image President Obama sat for an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Saturday. When it comes to Obama Friedman is no doubting Thomas. He is the Apostle Tom. He believes in what he views to be “the Obama doctrine.” This is the gospel according to Tom. Friedman brings up the lurking issue of “red lines” at about 34:00. It’s Senator Cotton and his 46 colleagues who have crossed »

When their Supreme Leader disagrees with ours

Featured image Following the announcement of the Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) with Iran in November 2013, disagreements emerged regarding the terms of the deal represented in public by Iran and the United States. Insofar as could be determined by reviewing the terms of the JPOA itself (as opposed to some secret protocol), I found the Iranian representations to be consistently more reliable than those of the United States. The announcement »

Bill Kristol: Kill the deal

Featured image Bill Kristol has posted a special Weekly Standard editorial on the framework agreement with Iran. We’ll have more to say, but Bill presents with an action item: Commentators have exposed how bad the Iran deal is in various ways; the point, however, is to kill it. Why? Because the deal can’t be fixed. Even if sanctions relief were somewhat more gradual, even if the number of centrifuges were somewhat lower, »

Iran hedges on adherence to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty’s “additional protocol”

Featured image In my view, the Iranian nuclear “framework” would be inadequate even if it contained air-tight verification procedures. The deal doesn’t shut down key facilities; it permits Iran to keep enriching uranium; and it comes with an expiration date. Be that as it may, no one disputes the need for strong verification procedures. Even President Obama has insisted that he’s relying on verification, not mere promises by the Iranian regime. As »