|We are this close - NOT|
No Iran Nuclear Deal - Jay Solomon & Laurence Norman
[A]n extension looks headed for stiff resistance from both Democratic and Republican U.S. lawmakers, who are questioning what the White House believes it can achieve in a few additional months of talks that they couldn't in a year.
Obama administration officials increasingly are questioning whether Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has empowered Iranian negotiators to make the necessary concessions for a deal.
(Wall Street Journal)
Don't Dismantle Sanctions - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
If for any reason the United States or the other powers agree to leave Iran with that capacity to breakout, I think that would be a historic mistake. Not only because it endangers my country, Israel, that Iran's ruler, the Ayatollah Khamenei, vows to annihilate, but also because I think it would endanger the entire Middle East and the world.
Why in heaven's name does Iran need intercontinental ballistic missiles? They don't need those missiles to reach Israel. They need them to reach Europe and the U.S., and the only thing you carry on intercontinental ballistic missiles are nuclear warheads. So the issue here is not merely Israel, but everyone, the entire world.
Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself against any threat with its own power.
(ABC News-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Mr. Obama Needs a Tougher Deal - Editorial
Arab officials are saying that a deal that allows Iran to preserve a nuclear infrastructure will prompt a race by rival states to match that capacity. The U.S. should be seeking to weaken and roll back Iran's influence in the Middle East and to eliminate - not temporarily freeze - its capacity to build a nuclear arsenal.
The agreement the administration appears to be contemplating could solidify Iran's power.
"Americans Surrendered to Iran's Might"
The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said: "The Americans have very clearly surrendered to Iran's might and this is obvious in their behavior in the region and in the negotiations."
Israel Relieved - William Booth
[A] decision to extend negotiations between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program was greeted in Jerusalem with relief. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the BBC: "The fact that there's no deal now gives [the U.S.] the opportunity to continue the economic pressures that have proven to be the only thing that have brought Iran to the table." Netanyahu said he thought the current sanctions against Iran should not only be maintained but tightened in the coming months as talks continue with a new deadline of July 2015.
AIPAC Urges New Sanctions
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said that with the extension of the deadline for nuclear talks, "It is now essential that Congress take up new bipartisan sanctions legislation to let Tehran know that it will face much more severe pressure if it does not clearly abandon its nuclear weapons program."
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, suggested that he would back a bid to pass new sanctions. "The cycle of negotiations, followed by an extension, coupled with sanctions relief for Iran has not succeeded....I intend to work with my Senate colleagues in a bipartisan manner in the coming weeks to ensure that Iran comprehends that we will not ever permit it to become a threshold nuclear state."
Iran Cheats - Bret Stephens
Does it matter what sort of deal - or further extension, or non-deal - ultimately emerges from the endless parleys over Iran's nuclear program? Probably not. Iran came to the table cheating on its nuclear commitments. It continued to cheat on them throughout the interim agreement it agreed to last year. And it will cheat on any undertakings it signs.
(Wall Street Journal)
The Pro-Sanctions, Anti-Iran Contingent Grows in Senate
- Jennifer Rubin
With a new Senate, the pro-sanctions, tough-on-Iran group will grow. Seven of the 12 new senators voted for the House version of the Iran sanctions measure. The remaining five Republicans all ran against Obama's Iran policy.
Once the new Senate arrives, there will be no Majority Leader Harry Reid to quash sanctions votes. That should free up at least 11 Democrats to join Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in sanctions legislation.
Iran Is no China - Caroline Glick
The Obama administration will never abandon its courtship of Iran. On the eve of the extended deadline in the US-led six-party talks with Iran regarding Teheran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, the one thing that is absolutely clear is that courting Iran is the centerpiece of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. Come what may in Geneva, this will not change.
To be clear, Obama does not seek to check Iran’s rise to regional hegemony by appeasing it. None of the actions he has taken to date with regard to Iran can be construed as efforts to check or contain Iran.
Their goal is to cultivate a US alliance with Iran. As Obama sees things, Iran for him is what China was for then US president Richard Nixon. Nixon didn’t normalize US relations with the People’s Republic of China in order to harm the Chinese Communists. And Obama isn’t wooing Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries in order to harm them.
Unfortunately for the world, China is not a relevant analogy for Iran. Nixon sought to develop ties with Beijing because he wanted to pry the Chinese out of the Soviet orbit. Courting China meant harming Moscow, and Moscow as the US’s greatest foe.
There is no Moscow that will be weakened by the US’s empowerment of Tehran. The only parties directly and immediately harmed by Obama’s policy of courting Iran are America’s allies in the Middle East. The Allies’ appeasement deal with the Nazis in 1938 had three victims: Czechoslovakia, the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world.
Obama’s policy of courting Iran also has three victims: Israel, the Sunni Arab states, and the rest of the world.
According to press reports of the content of the negotiations, the US has already abandoned its major red lines. It has abandoned its demand that Iran dismantle its centrifuges. Late last week the US was reportedly about to abandon its demand for Iranian transparency to the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its past work on atomic bomb development. In other words, the deal the US was hoping to conclude this week with Iran, and will now continue negotiating next month, involves taking no serious action to curtail Iran’s progress in developing nuclear weapons.
As the Americans have engaged in obsessive-compulsive nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Iranians have divided their attention between nuclear development and regional expansion. In September they took over Yemen.
As the Obama administration has erased red line after red line in the nuclear talks, and sided with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Iranian Sunni allies against US allies, Iran’s leaders have gloated that their hegemony over Yemen raises to four the number of Arab states under their dominion, that list including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
One of the many eyebrow raising aspects of Obama’s courtship of Iran is that it isn’t tied to a US retreat from the region. The US isn’t retreating.
Obama has ordered hundreds of air strikes on Islamic State targets to date, and more will undoubtedly follow. The US participated in the NATO overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. US power remains a major factor in regional affairs, and Obama has not shied away from using it during his tenure in office.
The problem is that in all cases, his use of US power has helped Iran more than it has helped US allies. And in the case of Libya, US power has directly threatened US allies and empowered al-Qaida and it associates.
With the rise of China today, some US analysts question the wisdom of Nixon’s opening to Beijing. But there is little argument that his China gambit caused strategic damage to the Soviet Union and contributed to the US victory in the Cold War.
Not only will Obama’s Iran opening not redound to the US’s benefit in the short term. Its inevitable result will be a decade or more of major and minor regional wars and chronic instability, with the nuclear-armed Iran threatening the survival of all of America’s regional allies. It will also lead to shocks in the global economy and massively expand Iran’s direct coercive power over the word as a whole.
Not only is Obama no Nixon, compared to him, Neville Chamberlain looks like a minor, almost insignificant failure.
[Jewish World Review]