President Obama now has more than the 34 votes he needs to ensure he would be able to override a congressional vote that rejects the Iran nuclear agreement. Well, he has the votes he needs from the Democrats, but there won’t be many others joining the celebration. This is not much of a victory. As much as the Obama administration tries to put lipstick on this disaster via typical praise from its own hired hands — such as U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and Secretary of State John Kerry — some candid statements from the Iranians highlight the deceit, denial and downright foolishness of what the Obama administration likes to claim is a “historic achievement.”
Most recently, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that he did not even want Iran’s parliament to hold a vote on the nuclear agreement, forthrightly announcing that, “If the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is sent to (and passed by) parliament, it will create an obligation for the government. . . . . Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?” In other words, Rouhani opposes adding any obligation or legitimacy to the deal. Interesting. While President Obama was desperately seeking out enough votes from his fellow Democrats to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive, the Iranian president was scoffing at the very notion of doing anything that would strengthen or formalize the agreement.
And the Iranian regime continues to toy with the Obama administration. It sends out mixed signals and its generals taunt our allies. Just yesterday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that he is advocating for a vote on the nuclear deal in the Iranian parliament — but reiterated his position that “If the sanctions are not removed, there will be no deal.”
Meanwhile, Iranian generals are making statements that are wildly at odds with the Obama administration’s explanation of the inspection regime that is supposed to keep the Iranians from cheating. As Politico reported, “General Ahmad Reza Purdastan, the commander of Iran’s ground forces, has stressed, ‘We will by no means allow inspection of military centers and sites.’” How is any of this supposed to inspire confidence that the Iranians will stick to their word? What will Obama actually do if they are not in compliance? He’ll help with the coverup; he won’t do anything to punish them.
What a disaster. What should the American people believe? The outright candor from the Iranians about all the things they will and will not do? Or the desperate, untethered statements from the Obama forces, as they try to reassure us not to worry, that they’ve got this?
All of this has reminded me of the intensity that surrounded the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977 and 1978. President Jimmy Carter, who was nothing if not forthright and willing to work hard in Washington, stood up and declared he would return the Panama Canal to Panama via a bold call for a treaty, which would need to pass Congress. With a lot of expert orchestration and by effectively courting leadership from both parties, that treaty passed in the Senate by a vote of 68-to-32. It’s an embarrassing contrast, and Obama’s Iran deal is going to have a much more consequential effect on much more of the world for a much longer time to come. I call it “Obama’s Iran deal” and not “America’s Iran deal,” because by a wide margin, Americans are opposed to this agreement, as are their elected representatives.
But here we are. How much more damage can be done in the 503 days remaining in Obama’s term?