Josh Rogin reports: “In an interview with Iranian television, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator says Tehran can resume enriching uranium to 20 percent levels within one day if it so desires. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said this week that if Iran decides to resume enriching uranium to levels prohibited by the new nuclear deal, it could begin to do so in one day’s time.” There are several take-aways from this.
First, Iran can’t resist humiliating the president and boasting that it has gotten the better of President Obama. In making a deal that lifts sanctions and provides for ephemeral limits on nuclear activities, Obama has proven Iranian President Hassan Rohani right once again: The United States can be lulled into a sweetheart deal.
I’ve long maintained that what the administration fears more than the conditional sanctions that would go into effect if Iran cheats or doesn’t reach a final deal is the outline of what is an acceptable final deal. So long as it is clear and generally accepted what the bare-minimum deal can be, Obama is prevented from making a final deal that is incomplete or reversible — one, in other words, that allows Iran to keep its enrichment capability and centrifuges. Discrediting in advance the Obama end-game in a sense has already occurred. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Dems have already let it be known that a “keep your enrichment” deal will be unacceptable and hence trigger either U.S. sanctions (or possibly Israeli action).
Moreover, we see now how Obama’s policy has morphed into containment. He’ll be happy to let Iran keep all it needs to reignite its nuclear capability in a day or a week, lift sanctions and declare success. That leaves Iran with its nuclear capability. How would we “contain” Iran at that point? We aren’t containing Iran now. In fact, it is using the threat of failures to rub our noses in the deal and heighten its support for Hamas, make a show of solidarity with terrorists and bolster Iran. We do nothing because Obama is afraid to “blow the deal.” Imagine then how tentative he will be when there is “peace in our time” with an Iranian regime only a screw-turn away from a nuclear bomb.
Pressure may finally get to the Senate majority leader for a vote. The six months may run with no deal in Geneva. Either way, a sanctions vote becomes unavoidable. But then again the Dems could lose the Senate; then there is no more stalling and no flunky like Harry Reid to gum up the works on sanctions. As with immigration reform and so many other things, if the Dems see a thumping coming up in November they might just get reasonable; 2014 could be the last year of the Obama presidency in which Congress can run interference for him.