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    Iran Nuclear Deal Tag

    Last week President Obama finally stated openly what everyone, including the Iranians, has known all along – that he is simply not willing to use military force to stop Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon. Those of us with common sense and reason also know that his negotiations with Iran might delay, but will not stop, that country from attaining a nuclear weapon. We know this both because Obama himself told us so in an interview with NPR, and because once a military option is clearly off the table, Iran has no incentive to make concessions in a negotiation and no reason to comply with a negotiated agreement. With no US-sponsored military solution, at least for the remainder of Obama’s term, and no diplomatic solution, there are still two things left that the US can do. First, we can refrain from criminalizing the actions of other states for whom military action against Iran would be considered both reasonable and necessary. Second, we can, at the very, very, least, refrain from funding Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear bomb ourselves.

    If you were looking for a monument to supreme egotism, you would have to go far to beat Obama's statement in this interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg:
    “Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this,” he said, referring to the apparently almost-finished nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of world powers led by the United States. “I think it’s fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down.”
    I rack my brain to think of another president in our history---or another statesman or even another prominent politician---who would think to say "trust me, because my ego is riding on this." What on earth does ego have to do with judgment? In the calculus of what are the most important considerations about any Iran deal, the most important would be "our profound national-security interests" and those of the entire world. That's what's riding on it, that's the reason to "lock it down" (odd phrase for negotiations). The state of Obama's personal reputation ought to be so low on the list of things to think about that it shouldn't even be on his radar screen at this point, much less ours. Obama says he's got a special personal interest in "locking this down." But an agreement on nuclear weapons with Iran is not merely a question of applying oneself. Obama may think there's no limits to his powers, but sizing up Iran and negotiating with a country which is essentially an aggressive, repressive, fanatical enemy isn't just a matter of trying hard enough and thinking you're the smartest guy in the room. Even if it were true that Obama wanted and even needed to negotiate a good deal for the US in order to protect his precious reputation, that doesn't mean he has a clue how to get there from here, or that it's even possible to do so.

    Leave it to the good ol' Ayatollah to tattle on U.S. officials. If Atatollah Khamenei's Twitter feed is any indicator, Iran is not too keen on the idea of nuclear inspections. Early this morning, Iran's Supreme Leader tweeted: The New York Times Ayatollah Khamenei, "ruled out inspections of Iranian military sites and interviews of Iranian nuclear scientists in any potential deal on its nuclear program," at a graduation speech Wednesday.

    A bill ensuring Congressional oversight on any proposed nuclear deal with Iran is headed to the President's desk. The bill passed through the House 400-25 after a hard-fought battle in the Senate earlier this month. It imposes a 30 day buffer preventing the President from waiving any congressional sanctions against Iran while Congress reviews the deal; additionally, if Congress disapproves of the deal, the President will be unable to waive certain congressionally-imposed sanctions. Opponents of the bill maintained that its provisions were not strong enough to provide an adequate buffer between the Obama Administration and a nuclear Iran; its supporters, however, argued that the bill would be the best chance for the American people to weigh in on the controversial impending nuclear deal. The legislation eventually passed the Senate 98-1, with only Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton objecting. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, giving Congress the power of initial rejection but ushering in a new round of contentious negotiations over the nuclear deal itself. The House vote came as Obama met with the leadership (though not necessarily the figureheads) of leading Persian Gulf states in a series of meetings "designed to narrow differences" over the impending nuclear deal:

    Today the Senate passed a bill that would give Congress the authority to review the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. The bill---and the vote---was controversial, with many Republicans arguing against final passage; those who opposed sending the bill to the House argued that it was not strong enough, and would not provide a big enough buffer between the Obama Administration, and a nuclear Iran. Fox News explains why Senate leadership pushed so hard for the passage of the bill:
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill "offers the best chance for our constituents through the Congress they elect to weigh in on the White House negotiations with Iran." Added Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee: "No bill. No review." The legislation would bar Obama from waiving congressional sanctions for at least 30 days while lawmakers examine any final deal. The bill would stipulate that if senators disapprove of the deal, Obama would lose his current power to waive certain economic penalties Congress has imposed on Iran.
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