Other Iran experts agree that this sends the wrong message at the wrong time. Michael Makovsky, chief executive of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), tells me that “it certainly is not constructive at a very sensitive time in the talks with Iran, when we need to be seeking a significant reduction if not elimination of its existing nuclear program, which remains the most pressing issue.” He adds, “It undermines the P5+1 unity, and reduces Iran’s isolation. Indeed, as the Obama Administration offers more and more concessions to Iran in the nuclear talks, while seeming to realign US foreign policy in the Mideast toward Iran and away from our traditional Israeli and Arab allies, we must expect a loosening of this unity.”
It comes as no surprise then that Iran isn’t inclined to give up its nuclear ambitions. The Post reports, “Talks resumed Tuesday in Oman’s capital, Muscat, with various envoys after meetings that included Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. A senior State Department official described the tenor of the Kerry talks as ‘tough, direct and serious’ but declined to characterize them as productive. The official said, however, that negotiators still think it is possible to reach a comprehensive accord before the deadline.”
Unfortunately, our Iran policy is not tough, direct or serious. The president is so desperate for a deal that Russia is in effect placing a bet with Iran and helping to relieve the pressure the P5+1 needs to obtain its stated goal. The president insisted for six years that containment was not our policy. But this is in effect what we are seeing. Iran gradually wears down the West, escapes from economic and political isolation and keeps its nuclear capability. A nuclear-capable Iran will haunt the region for years to come, probably spur an arms race and cement the view that no matter what the American president says, he can be had.