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Thread: The Iranian nuclear deal

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    The Iranian nuclear deal

    The negotiating parties have agreed on a draft agreement:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32172301

    President Obama has hailed a deal restricting Iran's nuclear programme as a "historic understanding" which, if implemented, will make world safer.

    The framework agreement, struck after intensive talks, aims to prevent Tehran making a nuclear weapon in exchange for phased sanction relief.

    Iran and the six world powers involved must now finalise the deal.
    According to "parameters" of the agreement published by the US state department, Iran must reduce the number of its centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium into a bomb by more than two-thirds.

    It also has to redesign a power plant so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, be subject to regular inspections, and agree not to enrich uranium over 3.67% - far less than is required to make a nuclear bomb - for at least 15 years.
    People are celebrating on the streets in Iran. But it's not there yet.

    The parties have set a deadline of 30 June to reach a comprehensive pact, but these negotiations are expected to be tougher than those that led to the framework agreement.


    Meanwhile, this deal was agreed when approximately 29% of Americans and somewhere around 45% of Republicans actually wanted to initiate military action against Iran, according to a CBS poll. No, given the current situation in the Middle East, that is not a remotely intelligent tactic.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/doc...nal_032615.pdf

    There are also other nutty ideas, like the push for getting boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria and the notion that the campaign against Da'esh goes badly (the main risks are other factors than Da'esh), both being particularly popular among Republicans. Evidently, with Obama's "don't do stupid sh*t" policy falling out of favour, Republicans are itching to do some fresh, steamy, suicidally stupid sh*t.

    Because there is no other way to interpret a wish to attack an ally of the Iraqi government and to start a ground campaign against Da'esh at the same time.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The history behind the talks:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/jul...tions-lausanne

    The town of Lausanne was a perfect place to make peace. Prosperous, orderly and beautiful from every angle, looking up to the Alps or down to Lake Geneva, it is a living advertisement for the benefits of 170 years without conflict.

    Lord Byron came to Lausanne to write, and Coco Chanel lived out her last years here. The Swiss lakeside town represented another end of the world from the violence now engulfing the Middle East and a constant reminder of the alternative to war. The aim of the intense negotiations here over the past two weeks over Iran’s nuclear programme was to provide that alternative.

    Locked for much of the time in conference rooms in the nineteenth century Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel, the negotiators tried to make the most of the extraordinary setting. On most days, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, dressed from head to toe in black lycra and went for a bicycle ride along the lake shore. As soon as he arrived on Sunday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, put on a jogging suit and ran along the same route. More sedately, Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif would take morning walks by the placid waters, trailed by his entourage and a swarm of cameras. The Russian delegation would gather each morning on the hotel terrace to smoke, chat and gaze at the snow-capped peaks to the east.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Here is an interesting although not very surprising analysis of who won and who lost because of the deal:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ers-and-losers

    These are the winners and losers from the Lausanne nuclear deal, announced on Thursday. If the agreement is derailed before being finalised at the end of June, however, the tables will be turned: winners will become losers and losers will become winners.
    Some notable comments about Nobel Peace Prizes:

    John Kerry

    The US secretary of state has been under fire at home for having devoted so much of his time and effort to the Iran nuclear issue, which his critics claimed was a fool’s errand. The Lausanne deal is his response. It is already being hailed as one of the most significant diplomatic achievements in a generation or more, and makes him a leading contender for the Nobel peace prize overnight.
    Mohammad Javad Zarif

    Iran’s foreign minister, who returned home to a hero’s welcome in Tehran on Friday, has made the deal the overwhelming focus of his role, delegating many other duties to deputies.

    Failure to clinch an agreement – and lift the burden of sanctions on his country – would have spelt the end of his political career. For Zarif, it is all or nothing. If the full agreement is signed in June, he could be sitting alongside Kerry in Oslo receiving that Nobel.
    And not much attention has been given to the role of the convener so far in most media:

    Federica Mogherini

    The Italian former foreign minister’s timing was impeccable. She took up the role as convener of the six-nation group as the talks were beginning to gather momentum.

    But the fact that Mogherini was the one to first announce the Lausanne accord was not just a matter of luck. She won high marks from all sides for chairing some of the tougher late night sessions, and for instilling a team spirit among those who work for her.
    Try to guess who are called the losers of this deal.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/inte.../02-959146370/

    Don't be deterred by the Fox News link. The details of the provisional agreement are summarised in this highly useful fact sheet:
    - Iran must remain a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty;
    - Iran's breakout time must become at least a year and remain like this for ten years;
    - Iran will reduce its number of reactors to less than one third of what it has now for ten years;
    - Iran will only use its first generation (IR-1) reactors for ten years;
    - Iran will only use one uranium enrichment facility, the one at Natanz, it will decommission the Fordow facility;
    - Iran's nuclear programme, including its former facilities, will be supervised by the IAEA with increased access granted to supervisors;
    - Iran must not build any new heavy water reactors or uranium enrichment facilities for fifteen years;
    - If Iran complies with the stipulations, the US' and the EU's sanctions will be lifted, if Iran reneges on its promises these will go into force again.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    How implausible are the views of the deal's critics? This article does not conclude that, but if you do not engage into the critics' "king under the mountain" thinking the answer is obvious: extremely.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/6/8354057/...cans-netanyahu

    The ink on the framework deal with Iran was barely dry when Sen. Tom Cotton began trying to tear up the agreement. "I'm going to do everything I can to stop these terms from becoming a final deal," the author of the now-infamous Senate Republican letter to Iran told CNN on Friday.

    Cotton is hardly alone. The reaction from congressional Republicans to the nuclear deal has generally ranged from skeptical to furious. And in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly said he's trying to "kill a bad deal."

    There are number of specific provisions of the framework deal that these critics dislike. Behind these concerns is something more fundamental: a sharp disagreement with the Obama administration about the nature of the Iranian regime.
    The deal's most vocal critics see Iran differently. They see it as essentially malevolent; a government that's fundamentally hostile to the United States and Israel by virtue of its very identity as a theocratic Islamist state. This regime will game any compromise to its advantage, pursuing a nuclear capability and violent foreign policy so long as it's able.

    This isn't a fringe position. You hear it from rank-and-file Republicans on the Hill as well as presidential candidate Ted Cruz and likely presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Netanyahu will tell it to anyone who listens.

    If you see Iran in this light, then there's only one real alternative: crush the Iranians. Cotton has argued American policy in Iran should be "regime change." Netanyahu's vision of a "better deal" depends on Iran being so beaten down by sanctions that it's essentially willing to give up everything to see them relaxed.


    How the deal happened: http://www.vox.com/2015/4/6/8344403/...l-breakthrough

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Republicans attempt to sap the nuclear deal via the NDAA:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...r-against-isis

    Another element of the national defense authorization act (NDAA) seeks to undermine the Iran deal. It would authorize a “Sense of Congress” that dangers posed by Iran, to include sponsorship of terrorism and the fomenting of regional instability, will “likely increase under a Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action”.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Bipartisan hawks hover over the nuclear deal:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33269405

    Former senior advisers to US President Barack Obama have expressed concern at the emerging deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme.

    In an open letter, the security and foreign policy experts say it "falls short of meeting the administration's own standard of a 'good' agreement".

    They call for fewer concessions on international nuclear inspections and on research and development activities.
    In Iran, Khamenei has put the deal in danger by formulating hard-line demands:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/op...oice.html?_r=0

    In the 13 years since Iran’s nuclear program was discovered, the Iranians have worked to keep the program alive and the major powers at bay. Now they are jeopardizing the nuclear agreement that would benefit them and the security of the region. The agreement, under negotiation with the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, is supposed to be completed on June 30, though a delay is now considered likely.

    The latest comments by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on whether Iran finally accepts a deal to curb the nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions, appeared to stiffen his hard line against concessions. He said on Tuesday that he would not abide any long-term freeze on Iran’s sensitive nuclear work and again ruled out foreign inspections of Iranian military sites. He also insisted that all economic sanctions be lifted immediately once a deal is signed and that verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency of Iran’s obligations under the deal would not be allowed.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The negotiations are now planned to go beyond the original deadline.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33304417

    Iranian nuclear talks are set to go on beyond Tuesday's formal deadline for a deal, a senior US official says.

    The admission came as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif prepared to fly back to Tehran from Vienna, Austria, where talks are taking place.

    Observers said Mr Zarif probably needed to seek guidance over a stumbling block in negotiations - how much access Tehran will grant to nuclear monitors.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    There has been a lull in the talks:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33473407

    Iran's foreign minister has accused world powers of making it harder to reach agreement at nuclear talks in Vienna by taking different positions.

    Mohammad Javad Zarif said "several countries" were also making "excessive demands". His UK counterpart said the process was proving "painfully slow".

    The so-called P5+1 - US, UK, Russia, France, China and Germany - said talks would go on until at least Monday.

    The powers suspect Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, which Iran denies.

    Iran says its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes.

    The sides have been holding marathon negotiations to reach a long-term agreement and have missed successive self-imposed deadlines.

    Both Mr Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry said though that they would not be rushed into making a deal.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Netanyahu is making splashes. That is a good sign an agreement is reasonably close.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/13/8947033...-deal-freakout

    The negotiations over Iran's nuclear program in Vienna appear to have reached a critical point — the latest, from the Washington Post's Carol Morello, describes a deal between world powers and Iran as "imminent."

    So naturally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — one of the most prominent critics of President Obama's outreach to Iran — has been throwing a public fit. Though his hysterics probably can't stop a deal now, there's a point here: one that's perhaps best understood by looking at what Netanyahu's domestic opponents are saying.

    Netanyahu declared, on Monday morning, that some of the negotiating countries (a clear reference to the Americans) were "willing to make a deal at any price."
    But Beauchamp makes a fair point that this isn't just Bibi who drank bad wine; his opponents on the centre-left play a fiddle from the same workshop.

    But there's a real point to Netanyahu's rhetoric, ridiculous as it is. The best way to understand it is to look at what Netanyahu's political opponents are saying about an Iran deal.

    Isaac Herzog, head of the center-left Zionist Union and Netanyahu's chief rival for power, called the deal "terrible" for "Israel's security interests" on Monday. "Netanyahu will pay for all the mistakes he made in managing this crisis. The strategy he chose has failed," Herzog added.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    This is an interesting observation about attitudes to the U.S. in Muslim countries in the Middle East.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/12/8933915/iran-middle-east

    The US-led nuclear deal is just about Iran's nuclear program and will not resolve any of the larger issues with Iran and its relationship to the rest of the world. Still, debate about the deal has, with merit, repeatedly turned to the question of Iran's place in the Middle East. After all, the country is increasingly assertive and influential in the region — it's also by far the country whose foreign policy is most hostile toward the US and its allies.

    Iran hawks say that for this reason, any nuclear deal can only embolden and enhance Iran's menacing stature. Proponents of a deal sometimes argue that this could be an important first step toward removing the hostility between Iran and the rest of the world, thus encouraging a more conciliatory and productive Iranian foreign policy.

    Both arguments almost certainly overstate the effects of this nuclear deal, but they're circling around an important question: Will Iran's hard-line anti-Western foreign policy change? Can it? And if so, how?
    In other words, America's Middle Eastern allies are mostly countries where authoritarian rulers impose deeply unpopular pro-American policies. Our greatest enemy is a country where authoritarian rulers impose unpopular anti-American policies. It doesn't sound like a situation that's particularly stable, either for us or for the Middle East itself, and indeed it's not.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    It's a trap fact: there is an agreement on Iran's nuclear programme.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...nced-in-vienna

    A comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme has been reached, bringing to an end a 12-year standoff that had threatened to trigger a new war in the Middle East, and potentially marking the beginning of a new era in relations between Iran and the west.

    A formal announcement on the agreement was due to be made at a press conference in Vienna at midday (11am BST), after a final plenary meeting at 10.30am. At some point it is expected that the US president, Barack Obama, and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, will make statements from their capitals.

    The deal follows 17 days of almost uninterrupted negotiations in Vienna involving foreign ministers from seven countries – Iran, US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

    The talks only came to an end in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and diplomats stayed up through the night “scrubbing” the text, looking for mistakes and discrepancies.

    It is expected that the estimated 100 pages of text – including five annexes – that make up the agreement will be published in the next few days. The agreement will be made official when it becomes an attachment to a planned UN security council resolution later this month. However, the operative parts of the resolution, lifting sanctions, for example, will be suspended for a few months.
    An earlier interview with a pundit was that the consequences would be key rather than the breakout time. Countries with illegal nuclear weapon programmes, India, Pakistan and Israel, faced hardly any consequences for their transgressions.

    Khamenei has approved the deal, despite last-minute grandstanding:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...preme-decision

    Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has weathered some critical moments over the last quarter of a century - the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 when Tehran feared it would be the next target, the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which shook the legitimacy of his rule and the acrimonious years that followed as sanctions hit the country’s economy.

    Perhaps the biggest decision of his career, however, was the one he had to make this week. The historic deal struck in Vienna could not have happened without Khameni’s blessing. He has the final say in all state matters in Iran and his decision may define his leadership.

    On one side of the negotiating table of the 22-month talks sat seven parties struggling to secure a formula that would allow a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Tehran, which will have profound implications for the Middle East. On the other side, there was one man not actually present but whose view was decisive. No one doubted who that person was.

    Khamenei knows only too well the weight his verdict carries. He wants to go down in history as the man who persuaded the west and the US in particular to “recognise the Islamic republic’s right to a peaceful nuclear programme” against all odds, and despite numerous UN security council resolutions demanding a complete halt to its nuclear activities.

    He is determined not to be cast as the leader who yielded to sanctions and drank from the “poisoned chalice”, a term Khamenei’s predecessor Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini used when he agreed to sign a UN-brokered truce to end the country’s eight-year war with Iraq in 1988.
    The Guardian is positive about it as expected:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...h-of-diplomacy

    The deal with Iran over its nuclear programme finalised in Vienna today is a victory for patient diplomacy. For the past 13 years, the standoff between Iran and the US, backed by its European allies, has threatened to escalate into war. In his 2002 state of the union address, George W Bush lumped Iran in with North Korea and Iraq as part of the “axis of evil” and later heightened tensions further by increasing naval deployments to the Gulf. For more than a decade, Israel, with its own undeclared nuclear arsenal, has regularly warned that it was prepared to mount a pre-emptive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    The strained relationship between Washington and Tehran did not begin with the 1979 Iranian revolution. But the storming of the US embassy and the taking of American hostages scarred US attitudes in the decades that followed. The prospect of conflict heightened in 1988 when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing 290. Tensions rose again in 2002, the genesis of the present crisis, when the Iranians were found to be withholding the truth about their nuclear programme, with the discovery of two previously undisclosed facilities at Natanz and Arak, giving rise to fears that Iran was hell-bent on securing a nuclear weapon.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The Guardian lists some winners and losers of the non-proliferation agreement:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ers-and-losers

    Negotiating an international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief has been a high-stakes preoccupation for leaders around the world. The Guardian ranks the main winners and losers in one of the most significant diplomatic deals of modern times.


    This agreement is very beneficial for the United States and Obama:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8337347/iran-deal-good

    When Aaron Stein was studying nuclear non-proliferation at Middlebury College's Monterey graduate program, the students would sometimes construct what they thought would be the best possible nuclear inspection and monitoring regimes.

    Years later, Stein is now a Middle East and nuclear proliferation expert with the Royal United Services Institute (as well as the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Atlantic Council). And, in April, he told me that the Iran nuclear deal, the broad strokes of which had just been announced, looks an awful lot like those ideal hypotheticals he'd put together in grad school.

    "When I was doing my non-proliferation training at Monterey, this is the type of inspection regime that we would dream up in our heads," he said at the time. "We would hope that this would be the way to actually verify all enrichment programs, but thought that would never be feasible.

    Stein concluded it would make "an excellent deal" — if the negotiators could turn those broad strokes into a formal, finalized agreement. This week, they did exactly that.


    This agreement is very disadvantageous for Netanyahu:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/16/8974949...deal-netanyahu

    What the Iran deal means for Israel is a matter of debate: Proponents of the deal say it will keep Israel safe from Iran ever getting a nuclear bomb, whereas critics worry that the deal could fail, and that even if it doesn't it will distract from Iran's non-nuclear aggression. It is, and will continue to be, a legitimate and important policy debate.

    But even if the deal does end up being good on net for Israel, there is just no debating that it is a complete disaster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    This deal is a huge policy failure for Netanyahu, who in recent years has staked ever more of his legacy and political reputation on stopping it — even at the cost of setting back Israel's relationship with the United States. Now he has nothing to show for it but a giant political embarrassment that his opponents on the right and left are already using against him.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Michael Oren (former Israeli ambassador to the United States and the guy who aired dumb speculations about Obama's psyche) has shown his alternative to the world and behold, it is no alternative at all.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/23/9016971...l-michael-oren

    In the weeks and months before world leaders completed the Iran nuclear deal, I did not make a secret of seeing the case for a deal as stronger than the case against, but I also tried to highlight the case against. There is no such thing as a perfect solution to the Iran nuclear problem, and a number of critics were making salient and important points about the downsides.

    Since the deal was announced, though, many of those criticisms have declined from salient to overheated, or downright odd. And, bizarrely, critics of the deal who so often insist there is a better plan for peacefully limiting Iran's nuclear program never seem to put forward such a plan. This is too bad; having critical voices can be helpful in spotting problems and improving policy.

    So I was glad to see a headline pop up last night on Politico, "What a Good Iran Deal Would Look Like." Finally, a critic of the Iran deal presents a complete, robust alternative, one that will ground us in a more rigorous policy discussion.

    But I got nervous when I saw the byline: Michael B. Oren. Until recently the Israeli ambassador to the US and now an Israeli legislator, Oren has been on a very weird media tour that's included arguing that President Obama's childhood instilled him with a secret desire to appease Muslims. When I opened up the article and read it, though, it was so much worse than I'd anticipated.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    American public attitudes toward the agreements are notoriously shifty, with a lot of the poll results depending on the wording. Unfortunately the potential for devious misinformation by Republicans is quite high for that reason.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/27/9049839/iran-deal-polls

    It matters what Americans think of the Iran deal. Congress has a chance to vote on whether to kill it. The next president will have a say in executing it. And this thing could be around for 25 years, during which time Congress will likely continue trying for some kind of role. Lawmakers and politicians, in determining how to approach the Iran deal, will almost certainly consider public opinion.

    So what does that public opinion look like? So far, polling results on the Iran deal, on their face, are baffling. Here are a few of the key polls so far:

    Pew: 38 percent of American who are aware of the deal approve of it; 48 percent disapprove.

    YouGov: 43 percent support the deal; 30 percent oppose.

    PPP: 54 percent support the deal; 38 percent oppose.

    Washington Post/ABC: 56 percent support; 37 percent oppose. Interestingly, though, 52 percent said they disapproved of Obama's "handling of the situation with Iran." And 64 percent said they were "not so confident" or "not at all confident" that the agreement will succeed in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
    British and German electorates are much more supportive of the deal, according to the YouGov poll:

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/07/21...servations-us/

    A historic deal lifting economic santions on Iran in return for limits to its nuclear activity has been unanimously approved by the UN. The deal, reached by six world powers last week, still has to pass through America's Congress – but international approval moves things one step closer to full approval, and the UN's endorsement toughens the reinstatement of sanctions if Iran fails to keep its side of the bargain.

    New YouGov polling in half of the countries party to negotiating the deal finds the British and German public strongly in favour, with 66% and 62% in support and 9% and 17% in opposition, respectively. Americans also tend to support the deal, but to a lesser extent (43% support, 30% oppose). In all three countries around a quarter of people are unsure, however.
    I wonder how French opinion is on the matter. Probably it doesn't differ a lot from Germany and the UK.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The British embassy in Tehran has reopened.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34031615

    The British embassy in Iran has reopened, nearly four years after it was closed.

    Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is attending a ceremony in Tehran with Iranian diplomats to mark the reopening. Iran is simultaneously reopening its embassy in London.

    The UK embassy was closed in 2011 after it was stormed by protesters during a demonstration against sanctions.

    Mr Hammond is the first UK foreign secretary to visit Iran since 2003.

    The visit comes weeks after Iran reached a deal with six world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear programme.

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    American conservative waffling heads have rallied behind a new lie about the agreement with Iran.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/8/19/9176415...ctions-24-days

    The debate over the Iran nuclear deal may now have its own version of "death panels," a provision that is both a point of overwhelming criticism and largely fictitious.

    "Particularly troublesome, you have to wait 24 days before you can inspect," Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters last week, explaining why he is opposing the deal.

    Conservative media have hammered at this idea: that nuclear inspectors must wait 24 days before visiting any place in Iran that is not a declared nuclear site. Sometimes they imply or outright state, as in the case of this staggeringly misleading but representative Fox News story, that the 24-day wait applies even to known nuclear sites.
    This kind of panicked lie is exclusive to American conservatism. I haven't seen anything like it among conservatives in other countries that are party to the deal (maybe you get similar nonsense in Israel, but it is absent in the UK, Germany and France, though in two of those countries conservatives are (part of) the establishment).

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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The Republicans' initiative to scupper the nuclear agreement is unlikely to make any headway.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/8/29/9222771...al-senate-vote

    As Congress's vote on a resolution to disapprove the administration's nuclear deal draws ever nearer, the math for President Obama is looking better and better.

    The magic number of Senate supporters the president needs to ensure that the deal stands is 34. Currently, he has 30. So he needs to pick up just four more to preserve the agreement — and there are still 14 remaining undecided Democrats in the chamber, several of whom have already made positive comments about the deal. So Obama has a lot of options.

    And tellingly, after a month of intense criticism of the deal from the right and from pro-Israel groups, only two Senate Democrats have been swayed to oppose the deal so far: Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. They'll be joined by, it appears, every single Senate Republican.
    Now that the deal looks so likely to be upheld, the new question is whether Democrats can save President Obama from having to veto it in the first place.

    There wouldn't be any policy stakes here — achieving this would simply save the president from the embarrassment of Congress passing a resolution condemning his administration's foreign policy.

    For that to happen, 41 Senate Democrats would have to vote to filibuster the GOP's planned disapproval resolution — meaning Obama would need to win over 11 of the remaining 14 undecided Democrats in the chamber. That's a tall order, but given that only two Democratic senators have opposed the deal so far, it doesn't seem completely out of the question.

  19. #19
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Most in the higher echelons of the Israeli security sector sharply disagree with Netanyahu on his behaviour towards the United States and oh boy Bibi's fanboys and -girls are pissed.

    http://forward.com/opinion/319890/ne...syndrome-iran/

    In real estate, they say, it’s location, location, location. In policy, especially military policy, the secret is timing.

    Let me explain. Lately there’s been a mini-hubbub on the Web, aimed at discrediting my coverage of the Iran nuclear debate. My critics keep claiming I said something I never said: that Israel’s security establishment likes the Obama deal. Then they prove it’s untrue, thus presumably discrediting me. Their larger goal is to debunk something I actually did say: that the generals are at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    My point has been that the generals are unhappy with Netanyahu’s scorched-earth war on the Obama administration, not whether they like the deal. Some do, some don’t, though almost none thinks it dooms Israel. But that’s not the urgent matter. Long-standing Israeli security consensus says relations with the U.S. administration are Israel’s top strategic asset. Hence Israel should be working with, not against, the White House. Much can be done to tighten the deal. Obama keeps offering. Netanyahu refuses. He’s going for broke.

  20. #20
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The saga that has been referred to in the previous post has continued, here's the latest part of it.

    http://forward.com/opinion/320107/ho...truth-on-iran/

    “A lie,” Winston Churchill once said (some say it was Mark Twain), “gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

    As Exhibit A, I submit Martin Kramer’s August 24 blog post on the Commentary website, in which he lambasted me for a claim I never made, namely that Israel’s military and intelligence establishment is endorsing the Iran deal that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been fighting to kill. Kramer, who is president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, referred readers to a “real expert,” nuclear proliferation scholar Emily Landau of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, who had taken me “to the woodshed” in an August 3 blog post at the Times of Israel. She argued that the people in Israel who know what they’re talking about all agree with Netanyahu on the main issue, that the deal is a bad one. Where they disagree is over his strategy of fighting it in Congress and battling the administration, which she said is not the important issue. And she noted that retired generals who didn’t deal with the Iran nuclear portfolio aren’t necessarily “authoritative” judges of the issue.

  21. #21
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The Obama administration only needs one more Senator to ward a rejection of the nuclear agreement off.

    http://forward.com/news/breaking-new...nators-needed/

    Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey said on Tuesday he would support the nuclear deal with Iran, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, putting the White House within a hair of ensuring Congress cannot block it.

    “I believe that this is better for our security and better for Israel’s security, without a doubt, short term and long term,” the Pennsylvania senator told the newspaper.

    Minutes later, Democrat Chris Coons said on Tuesday he will support the Iran nuclear deal, the Washington Post said, leaving the list of senators backing the agreement just one shy of the 34 needed to ensure it will survive congressional review.

    Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, holds the Delaware U.S. Senate seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden. He was due to discuss his position on the Iran deal on Tuesday at the University of Delaware.

  22. #22
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Obama can now securely block any Republican attempt to thwart the deal with a veto.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34131315

    US President Barack Obama has secured enough support in the US Senate to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal will go into effect.

    Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th senator to back the deal on Wednesday.

    US Congress could still oppose the deal, but Mr Obama has now enough votes to override any resolution of disapproval.

    He has said the deal cuts off "every pathway to a nuclear weapon" for Iran.

  23. #23
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    With the agreement secure from American parochial partisanship, the pro-Israel lobby will secure a prominent loss. The largest, AIPAC, will not be affected negatively, but one may sincerely hope some of the others take recoil damage for their hypocrisy. Netanyahu's tooth-and-nail fighting was an important trigger in energising the lobby.

    http://forward.com/news/320320/was-b...-or-epic-flop/

    The TV ads attacking the Iran nuclear deal are still being aired in dozens of states, voters are still organizing congressional call-ins and hundreds of top pro-Israel activists still plan to fly into Washington for a last-minute push when Congress returns from recess.

    But the fight is over.

    With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s September 2 announcement that she will back the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama now has the votes he needs to sustain a veto of any move by Congress to disapprove the controversial agreement.

    That spells the end of the largest and most expensive pro-Israel campaign in American history, one that placed Jews in an uneasy position on the frontlines against the president’s top foreign policy priority.
    Some of the organisations that were involved in the campaign have been rankly hypocritical. What to think of the Anti-Defamation League, supposed to be an organisation to combat anti-Semitism, pushing for unrealistic conditions in a pro-Israel lobby campaign?

    [...] AIPAC launched the most expensive foreign policy advocacy campaign in recent history. Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, a subsidiary group the lobby established, was immediately able to secure a reported campaign chest of up to $40 million, though Patrick Dorton, the group’s spokesman, put the sum at about half of that.

    This money, all deployed in the compressed period between the deal’s announcement in mid-July and the mid-September congressional votes, went primarily to TV ads in 40 states that sought to influence wavering lawmakers to oppose the deal. The campaign also included online ads targeting specific senators and representatives. AIPAC also conducted intense direct lobbying, from constituent pressure to high-level visits to Capitol Hill by major donors with close ties with lawmakers.

    And that was not all. Opponents of the deal succeeded in getting a majority of Jewish organizations to join, with major players such as the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League speaking out against it. An additional push came from 21 Jewish federations across the country that called on their members to lobby against the agreement.

  24. #24
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    The arithmetic for circumventing the Republican motion altogether doesn't look too good:

    http://forward.com/opinion/320418/ir...-obama-senate/

    Now that President Obama has more than the 34 Senate votes needed to uphold a veto and save the Iran nuclear deal, the fight has moved to another, less critical but highly symbolic threshold: winning over 41 senators to filibuster the Senate approval/disapproval vote. That would block the upper chamber from voting on the Iran deal altogether and save the president from having to use the veto.

    A filibuster would deny the Republican-controlled Congress the chance to dissociate itself from the administration’s diplomatic achievement. On a symbolic level, it would prevent the nation’s legislative body from announcing formally to the world that the president is on his own at this historic juncture and doesn’t have the backing of the American people.

    The odds aren’t on the president’s side, though. The White House has 37 Senate votes in the bag, so it needs four more senators to block cloture, the strange Senate rule that requires 60 votes to bring a bill to the Senate floor for a vote. As of this writing, eight senators haven’t announced a position on the deal, including seven Democrats and a lone Republican, Susan Collins of Maine. (The seven Democrats are listed at the bottom.)

  25. #25
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    Re: The Iranian nuclear deal

    Obama won't face any contest that would require a veto any more. He has enough Democratic backing in the Senate, killing any Republican motion off.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34191033

    Democrats in the US Senate have gained enough votes to block the passing of a resolution against the Iran deal, fighting against Republican opposition.

    Four Democrats added their support to the deal on Tuesday, denying the Republicans the 60 votes they need to move forward with a vote against it.

    It means President Barack Obama would not have to use his veto.

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