Iran

Tom Cotton: Obama’s no Chamberlain

Featured image Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg sought out Senator Tom Cotton for an interview on Obama and Iran. The Atlantic has posted the interview under the heading “Obama’s Iran deal may lead to nuclear war.” Goldberg presses Senator Cotton on each of the administration’s talking points supporting the arrangement in process. Goldberg sounds like a true believer, or he may be drawing Senator Cotton out. In either case, it seems to »

Shut up, he explained

Featured image The Supreme Leader’s speech on National Nuclear Technology Day last week has created certain public relations problems for the Obama administration. The Supreme Leader insists that Iran is to be afforded sanctions relief upon signing a final agreement. The United States insists that sanctions are to be lifted as Iran complies with its commitments under a final agreement (details to be determined). Who ya gonna believe, our Supreme Leader or »

Uncommon Knowledge with Tom Cotton

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton recently sat down with Peter Robinson in Washington to record an interview for Peter’s Uncommon Knowledge series (video below, 39 minutes). The interview focuses on questions of national security and offers cogent thoughts on the cause of the present discontents. The video is also posted here under the auspices of the Hoover Institution. I’m posting the interview this morning in the hope that readers can make time »

Evolution of the Will

Featured image In late 2013 George Will wrote a disappointing column on the Obama administration’s interim deal with Iran. The problem with Will’s column was its assumption that Iran can be contained/deterred. Will assumed without argument that doctrines of containment and deterrence were viable in the case of Iran; he assumed what was to be proved, i.e., he begged the question. Two fundamental problems undermined his assumptions. First, Iran’s acquisition of nuclear »

Mullahs undermine Obama’s “framework” PR campaign

Featured image President Obama’s nuclear “deal framework” with Iran received strong initial approval from the mainstream media. The Washington Post news pages, for example, included several favorable accounts in the days just after word of the framework came down. Critics of the framework were slow off the mark, it seemed to me. Many consider the negotiations, as Obama has pursued them, so self-evidently misguided as to eliminate the need for analyzing in »

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 »