Monday, August 03, 2015

Congress Inspects Iran Deal

Iran's Closed Covenants - Editorial 

U.S. diplomats are often involved in secret diplomacy, but we can think of no instance in U.S. history where the results of so consequential an agreement were closed to public inspection.

No U.S. secrets are at stake, yet the Administration insists on briefing Congress on the Iran-IAEA deal only in closed session.

It's nearly a century since Woodrow Wilson insisted, as the first of his Fourteen Points, on "open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in public view." 

(Wall Street Journal)  

A Deeply Flawed Deal - Emily B. Landau

The narrative of "no alternative" to the Iran deal never was an accurate description of reality. It was always a political tactic that worked especially well with populations that are so frightened of the short-term implications of any military threat that they are willing to close their eyes not only to the problems with this deal, but to the vastly more dangerous longer-term implications of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran was successful in achieving its goals in the negotiation - namely, to lift all sanctions, retain its breakout capability and gain international recognition and legitimacy for its vast nuclear program - in large part because it stuck to its narrative and its red lines. Iran simply refused to budge on anything of true significance. The U.S. feared that if the P5+1 were tougher with Iran, the talks would have collapsed. But Iran was at the table because it desperately needed sanctions relief; therefore, it would not really have let the talks collapse.

Now U.S. officials are again twisting the facts and the alternatives, presenting its concessions as nonconcessions. 

If Congress does voice its opposition, it would be a strong message that this is indeed a bad deal, and that in turn could perhaps garner support for efforts to at least improve mechanisms of dealing with Iranian violations.
The writer is head of the Arms Control Program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
(National Interest)

The Pitfalls of Snapback Sanctions - John R. Bolton

If Iran is caught transgressing, President Obama's plan is to apply "snapback sanctions." Yet in two provisions of the deal (Paragraphs 26 and 37), Iran rejects the legitimacy of sanctions coming back into force. "Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA."

Thus the pattern will not be: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran resumes compliance. Quite the reverse. The far more likely future is: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran tells us to take our deal and stuff it - but only after Iran had reaped the economic benefits of having its assets unfrozen and the sanctions ended. 
The writer, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was the U.S. ambassador to the UN (2005-2006).
(New York Times)

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