Sunday, April 19, 2015

Is Obama laying the groundwork for a cave-in to Iran?

In Obama's latest press conference, in response to a question about the Iran negotiations and the obvious conflict between Obama's claims that sanctions would only be phased out over time contrasted to Iran saying all the sanctions had to be lifted on the first day of signing the deal, Obama said there "would have to be some creative negotiations".
For those who need the translation,  based on Obama's history,"creative negotiations"  means figuring out a way make concessions to Iran and then try and lie about it to everyone else by pretending they're not concessions just so he can claim he made a deal. 
Obama knows he's not going to fool the Ayatollah and the Iranian leadership with "creative negotiations" that are less than what Iran has insisted on publicly.  For Obama, coming up with "creative negotiations" is more about trying to fool the Washington press corps, members of congress, the American people or groups like MoveOn, Daily Kos and ThinkProgress who are the easiest for him to fool. 
Iran has said clearly they will accept no deal unless all the sanctions, all of them, are lifted immediately, on day one of signing the deal. Nothing less. They also made it clear from both their political and military leadership that there will be no unfettered inspections and military sites will be off limits. Those inspections are supposed to determine if Iran is complying with the agreement which are supposed to be tied to the lifting of sanctions and are to take place anywhere at any time. Iran has said they will never agree to that. 
 So what does Obama have in mind by "creative negotiations"?
The term " creative accounting"  comes to mind,  a wink and a euphemism for a sleight of hand or something of borderline legality.  Or creatively trying to circumvent reality and the truth. 

There are no creative ways around reality.  Creativity is all about bringing new ideas into reality. Not lying about failed ones.
And any  thought that Iran's defiant position on sanctions and inspections is only for public consumption in Iran as some have suggested,  is preposterous. The Iranian leadership doesn't have to worry about a free press or free elections or public opinion.  They are accountable to no one.  

When they make statements as unequivocal as their stated positions on the framework,  it's because they have no intention of backing down and looking weak and foolish to the world and home. 

A red line could have been drawn from the beginning so Iran always knew that sanctions would be  phased out only gradually over time based on Iran's compliance.  And to insure compliance there would have to be unfettered inspections anywhere any time since Iran had been caught lying and cheating before.   Iran could have been told those terms were non-negotiable.  Maybe don't call it a red line since Assad already knows what  that means coming from Obama and so does Iran.  But the terms of  lifting of sanctions and the inspections should have been a non-negotiable part of any agreement from the beginning,  not as Kerry once called it,  "sticking points".
Iran is not going to sign any deal that does not lift all the sanctions immediately. And they are not going to agree to unfettered inspections to insure they are complying. Which means that unless Obama is willing to walk away from the deal or pressure Iran into accepting his terms, (okay everybody can stop laughing  at that one) Obama is liable to try and pull the same  kind of bait and switch he did with healthcare reform and pave the way for a cave in to Iran.  Then try and claim it's not a cave in at all but a  good deal and "all" and "at once" "immediate" and  "unfettered" are just semantics. Obama will claim the deal does everything he wants. 

 The last time Obama claimed he got everything he wanted was in an interview with Jim Leherer on PBS after the Obamacare vote when Leherer reminded him that there was no public option and Obama lied and said " I never campaigned for the public option".
So be prepared for " I never said all the sanctions had to stay in place until Iran proved they were complying." And, " I never said Iran had to agree to completely unfettered surprise inspections". The one promise Obama seems willing to stand by is " if you like your nuclear reactors you can keep your nuclear reactors."
Unlike Nancy Pelosi who went along with the bait and switch on healthcare, this congress isn't going to let that happen with just as many Democrats as Republicans refusing to go along with any "creative negotiations" which tries to call concessions to Iran anything other than what they are.  Which means congress has a veto proof majority to refuse to go along. 
So when the senate bill  on the Iran negotiations which passed in committee 19-0 is passed by the whole senate, it might be a good idea for some in congress to publicly make clear what Obama wont -- that there will be no lifting of congressional sanctions immediately upon signing an agreement and since Iran has been caught cheating before, unfettered inspections to make sure Iran is complying is non-negotiable. If Iran wants the sanctions lifted, if they are being truthful that their nuclear program is only peaceful, they should have no problem with  agreeing to any of that. If. 
And that would actually help Obama  in the negotiations.  Iran would know that if they want a deal that eventually lifts all the sanctions it's congress they have to satisfy not Obama.  And unlike Obama, there won't be any "creative negotiations"  with congress.  That would save everyone a lot of time.  And Obama's face. And convince Iran that their current positions won't get them the results they want. And it will also tell Obama that trying to pave the way to make concessions to Iran just to say he made a deal  isn't going to work either. 


Anonymous said...

tdraicer: Alas, if Iran is determined to get the bomb, it will. There is no military solution short of conquering Iran, and that isn't going to happen. So there is no alternative to trying to strike a bargain, and that is going to inevitably leave open the possibility of Iran going back on its word. I'm not happy about that, but let us not pretend that Israeli or US airstrikes can solve this problem. They can't.

Marc Rubin said...

"So there is no alternative to trying to strike a bargain"

Obama actually did a bit of saber rattling the other day when Carter said the U.S. had bunker busting bombs that could penetrate Irans underground facilities and destroy them Of course the last time Obama made a threat was to Assad and he added " and as everyone knows I dont bluff" and as everyone knows he does. But the alternative to striking a deal is no deal. The sanctions are killing Iran's economy and they want the sanctions lifted more than they want a bomb. They just think they can put it over on Obama like Putin did. If the U.S. walks away from anything less than no sanctions lifted except with continued proof of full compliance Iran will eventually give in. But so far Iran sees its the U.S. who wants the deal the most so they are willing to hold out.