Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The leaders of Iran didn’t go to Columbia in the early 1980’s and didn’t dabble in the arms control movement. Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rouhani had different formative experiences, ones that involved using arms, not trying to control them. They hanged political opponents by their necks from cranes, built a terrorist organization in Lebanon that murdered and abducted Americans, fought a war with Iraq, and carried out assassinations in Europe against regime opponents and bombings in Argentina against Jews. Obama wants to give peace a chance; the Iranians are giving victory a chance.
◼ Yoko Ono vs. Ayatollah Khomeini - Noah Pollak/Weekly Standard
Obama has been mostly concerned with the possibility that the Senate may adopt a bill that would slightly tighten sanctions on Iran after one year’s time, but only if Obama somehow proves unable to talk the Iranians into surrendering their nuclear program peacefully. All options really are on the table for the president when it comes to the threat from the Senate: he warns he’ll use the veto, he accuses members of his own party of warmongering, he says he’ll blame the failure of the talks – and the failure of peace itself – on supporters of the bill, and he’s daring senators like Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker to declare openly that they’re trying to start a war with Iran.
A lot of sound and fury, but it doesn’t signify nothing. It tells the Iranians that the thing the president values most is the talks themselves – not stopping their nuclear program, not cutting their regional ambitions down to size, not defending American allies. The Iranians understand that Obama’s greatest desire is to be able to say that his central foreign policy promise – that he can settle conflicts through diplomacy – is finally, five years on, being fulfilled.
For their part, the Iranians know that with the talks set to begin, they have what amounts to a blank check from the White House to make mischief. They know that Obama will now say and do little lest Iran play its trump card – leaving the talks. Obama is thus playing cuckold, willing to absorb repeated public humiliation so long as his partner doesn’t leave him.
The Iranians know it and they feel it, and so they’re taking advantage of every bit of the latitude Obama’s desperation provides...
◼ Iranian General: America Pursuing Diplomacy Because They Cannot Defeat Us Militarily - Truth Revolt
On Tuesday, Iranian news agency FARS reported the comments of Iranian Army Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi, who stated that the United States and Israel had no capacity to defeat Iran militarily. “Had the enemy been able to confront us militarily, it would have already taken action,” Salehi stated. He said that the talks proved that the West was unwilling to confront Iran: “Given their weakness in the military dimension, they have opted for the political arena and we will certainly succeed in this area too.”
◼ Secret Deals With Our Enemies: Just Give Peace A Chance - Trevor Loudon/New Zeal
◼ Is Iran Trying to Sabotage the Nuclear Deal? - Breitbart
Iran's extreme gestures since the Geneva nuclear deal was finalized Sunday--calling the deal a "surrender" by world powers, and visiting the grave of the terrorist behind hundreds of American deaths in Beirut--seem calculated to inflame U.S. public opinion and humiliate President Barack Obama (or both). There seem three possible explanations: one, sheer triumphalism; two, an attempt to appease Iranian hard-liners who oppose any negotiation; three, an effort to provoke Congress to back new sanctions so Iran has a pretext to back out.
The last explanation certainly seems possible. There are 59 co-sponsors of the bipartisan Senate bill for new sanctions, and as many as 77 "yes" votes, a veto-proof majority. President Obama has urged Congress not to pass any new measures---even ones that, like the bill in question, only become active if the interim deal fails. However, Iran's rhetoric will create new pressure on Congress to do something in response. Iran could then complain that the U.S. had failed to keep its word on sanctions relief--as it did last last year--and walk out.