Iran

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 »

How Rouhani Explained the Nuclear Deal to Iranians

Featured image Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani went on state-run television today to explain the deal that has been reached (in principle, at least) to the Iranian people. FARS News describes the speech: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani underlined on Friday that all the UN and economic, financial and banking sanctions against Iran will be annuled the moment a final nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers goes into effect. This was »

The obvious alternative to Obama’s Iran “framework”

Featured image In defending his framework for a deal with Iran (or whatever one wants to call it), President Obama challenges opponents to say what their alternative is. It’s telling that he seems to be relying so heavily on this defense. If one makes a good deal, one touts the deal. One doesn’t plead that there were no better alternatives. In any event, it’s no challenge to say what the alternative to »

The Shanker scenario

Featured image The Boston Globe has given over space on its editorial pages to Secretary of State John Kerry to tout the “framework” written variously in the hearts of the parties negotiating in Lausanne with the Islamic Republic of Iran about Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry’s column is headlined “A critical deal with Iran, but more work to be done.” Kerry writes: On Thursday, the United States, Iran, and our negotiating partners from »

Losin’ in Lausanne (8)

Featured image Omri Ceren writes from Lausanne to put today’s announcement of a “framework” for an agreement in perspective: Zarif just finished his speech, and there’s a break while the President speaks back in DC. But some of what Zarif revealed has already generated controversy. There was a lot of braggadocio in the speech: no closing of facilities, R&D will continue on Iran’s scientific schedule, enrichment will continue, the heavy water at »

Quotable quotes on a deal with Iran

Featured image Tom Gross provides Mideast media analysis at his self-named site. He has added a set of quotes on the deal in process with Iran to his Mideast Dispatch Archive here. While we wait for the news from Lausanne today, I thought it might make sense to post a few of these quotes for your consideration along with links to the original sources: * Defecting Rouhani aide speaking in Lausanne: “The »

How Republicans can give Obama leverage against Iran, whether he wants it or not

Featured image Negotiations between Team Obama and the mullahs of Iran failed to result in an agreement before the supposed deadline. However, to no one’s surprise (except the Washington Post) the parties will continue to negotiate. White House spokesman Josh Earnest intoned that “it’s time for Iran to make the serious commitments that they know the international community is expecting them to make to reach an agreement.” Actually, it’s past that time. »

A blast of truth

Featured image Prime Minister Netanyahu has made a statement on the ongoing negotiations with Iran. The statement is a clarion call with the blast of truth. In it, Netanyahu refers to the statement by the Iran militia chief stating that Israel’s destruction is “non-negotiable.” The statement is reported here by the Times of Israel. The video of Netanyahu’s statement is below. The Washington Free Beacon has posted this transcript: Yesterday an Iranian »

The capitulationist

Featured image In his weekly Wall Street Journal column yesterday (accessible via Google here), Bret Stephens compiled quotes from President Obama setting forth his previously stated demands of Iran in connection with its nuclear program. Here is how Stephens’s column opens: For a sense of the magnitude of the capitulation represented by Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy, it’s worth recalling what the president said when he was trying to sell his interim nuclear »

Losin’ in Lausanne (7)

Featured image Following his messages summarizing the status of negotiations with Iran on the verge of yesterday’s purported deadline, Omri Ceren arranged a conference call with former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen. On the technical issues Heinonen knows what he is talking about. Having sat in on the conference call, I thought it might be of interest to readers who have been following this series and trying to understand what we »

“If You Like Your Peace In Our Time…”

Featured image In Lausanne, talks with Iran continue past the supposed March 31 deadline. This is no surprise, since the deadline was wholly arbitrary. The Washington Post reports: Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program blew past a Tuesday deadline, U.S. officials said, with diplomats struggling to reach consensus on the difficult issues of sanctions, enrichment research and future limits. … The decision to keep talking suggests negotiators believe an accord in some form »

Losin’ in Lausanne (6)

Featured image Omri Ceren writes by email from the negotiations in Lausanne: After a bruising week for the Obama administration – where literally every news day started with a scoop about another Western concession or Iranian backtrack – things are limping to a close. The AP says there will be something by tonight, which the wire gingerly describes it as “a statement that lacks specifics[.]” It’ll take about 7 seconds for today’s »

Iran moves the goal posts again

Featured image In negotiations, parties tend to moderate their positions as the deadline for a deal approaches. Sometimes, though, the parties (or at least one of them) aren’t willing to compromise. Instead, they continue to insist on the positions they have maintained throughout the process. What’s quite unusual is for a party, at eleventh hour, to insist on a position it hasn’t previously taken. When this occurs, it means one of two »

Americans Support Nuclear Deal With Iran?

Featured image The Washington Post reports that a “clear majority” of Americans support President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran: By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds. As always, we need to know what question was asked. Here it is: Q: Thinking now about »

Deal With Iran? It’s In Allah’s Hands!

Featured image John Kerry is in Switzerland, negotiating with (or on behalf of) the Islamic Republic of Iran. On Friday, a reporter asked whether a nuclear arms deal can be reached by tomorrow’s deadline. Kerry’s reported reply: “Inshallah!” “Allah willing!” #pt kerry said 'inshallah' holding up both hands with his fingers crossed — Laura Rozen (@lrozen) March 27, 2015 God help us. »

Losin’ in Lausanne (5)

Featured image Omri Ceren emailed two reports from Lausanne overnight. Here is the first: The P5+1 meeting with Iran got out a little while ago. Total running time: 1 hour, 14 minutes. Functionally nothing happened this weekend from a news perspective – very little came out of talks, foreign ministers were still en route, etc. – which gave people plenty of time to muse over the Iran talks debate in the broadest »