“You know, 2 Jews, 3 opinions. Here you have 8 million Jews, almost one opinion”

July 19, 2015

Tom Gross writes: This cartoon from the Saudi paper Al-Watan (one of many such cartoons in past days in the Arab world) shows Iran funneling billions more to terrorist groups, as it reaps the rewards of the nuclear agreement. Iran is acknowledged by almost all international intelligence agencies to be the world’s largest funder of state-sponsored terrorism, from Thailand to Argentina to Bulgaria to Lebanon. In one “small” overlooked incident this week, an Iranian-sponsored group slit the throats and shot dozens of prostitutes in Baghdad.

 

* Update: There is another dispatch on the Iran deal here: Above a children’s store called Mummy & Me (& Jon Stewart: “Sounds like a good partner for peace”).

 

KHAMENEI IN MAJOR TELEVISED SPEECH YESTERDAY: “YOU CHANTED ‘DEATH TO ISRAEL’, ‘DEATH TO AMERICA.’ WE ASK ALMIGHTY GOD TO ACCEPT THESE PRAYERS”

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

Yesterday in Tehran, in a major speech to mark the end of Ramadan, and just four days after Iran and some world powers signed a “peace deal,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hailed the “magnificent Iranian people” for demanding the destruction of Israel and America, and said he hoped that Allah would soon answer their prayers.

Referring to last week’s Al-Quds day rallies, Khamenei said yesterday: “You heard the chants of ‘Death to Israel’, ‘Death to the US.’ You could hear it… So we ask Almighty God to accept these prayers by the people of Iran.”

You can watch the lengthy speech here with a translation courtesy of the Iranian government’s Press TV.

In later stages of Khamenei’s speech, which was broadcast live on state television, it was punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

 

“FATHER OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR BOMB” TO ENJOY SANCTIONS RELIEF

Reports indicate that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is to enjoy full sanctions relief.

Fakhrizadeh is a senior officer in the elite Revolutionary Guards and is the driving force behind Tehran's nuclear bomb program. Western intelligence officials say he enjoys the full support of Ayatollah Khamenei, that he has three passports and travels widely (to Russia, north Korea and elsewhere) to obtain the most up-to-date know-how on the international nuclear black market.

The IAEA report in 2011 identified Fakhrizadeh as the central figure in suspected Iranian work to develop technology and skills needed for nuclear bombs.

“If the IAEA had a most-wanted list, Fakhrizadeh would head it,” Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank in London, said.

 

“8 MILLION JEWS, ALMOST ONE OPINION”

Some of President Obama’s spin-doctors continue to put out the myth that the only opposition to his Iran deal comes from Republicans and the Israeli right.

In fact, virtually the entire Israeli political spectrum has come out harshly against the deal.

For example, Tzipi Livni (who is a fierce opponent of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on other issues) told Foreign Policy magazine: “The Iran agreement is terrible not only because of what it includes but also what it does not.”

Opposition Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog said the deal is so dangerous that he will now work with Netanyahu to try and block it.

Israel’s third opposition leader, Yair Lapid, said: “We thought it was a bad deal, but it is in fact a terrible deal. This agreement allows Iran to continue developing nuclear weapons, only this time with the help of the international community.

New York Times Jerusalem correspondent Jodi Rudoren and others re-tweeted Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz: “You know, 2 Jews, 3 opinions. Here you have 8 million Jews, almost one opinion.” (There are in fact about 6.2 million Jews in Israel, but Steinitz’s point is nevertheless well taken – TG)

The vast majority of Jews around the world, as well as a clear majority of American non-Jews (and possibly Europeans too) also oppose the deal, in spite of the claims being made in a multimillion dollar advertising and PR campaign launched by the anti-Israel Jewish lobby group J Street.

Newspapers around the world are far from supportive. Many have run editorials opposing it. For space reasons I include only a few of them below -- from the London Times (“A reckless gamble”), the London Daily Telegraph (“Peace in our time? Not with this shoddy agreement”) and The Guardian. But many other pieces opposing the deal have appeared in other European and international papers.

And the Canadian government has announced it will keep its sanctions against Iran despite Obama’s deal, as The Globe and Mail (Toronto) reports.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said Canada “will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words.”

 

WESTERN COMPANIES RUSH TO TEHRAN

Before the UN has even voted, the sanctions are collapsing,

For example, Iran’s Press TV reports that a 60-strong German trade delegation led by German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel arrives in Tehran today. Representatives from car manufacturers Volkswagen and Daimler will accompany the delegation.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Josè Garcìa-Margallo y Marfil announced that he will visit Iran to look “for business opportunities in the country.”

Iranian car manufacturers Iran Khodro and Tisser have signed a trilateral agreement with Italian car designer BDI to establish a car manufacturing corporation.

 

9 AM – MONDAY, IN AN ATTEMPT TO OVERRIDE U.S. DEMOCRACY

The U.N. Security Council resolution vote on the Iran deal is set to be rushed through tomorrow, Monday, at 9 am.

An announcement by the New Zealand delegation which assumed the monthly rotating UNSC’s Presidency for July reads: “The Iran JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) resolution is now under silence and its adoption has been scheduled for Monday 20 July at 9 a.m.”

(“Under silence” is diplomatic jargon for a rarely used procedure in which there is no debate and a resolution is automatically passed if the UNSC votes for it.)

In other words, the U.S. has circulated a vote that would make it legally binding as far as possible on the U.S. before Congress has even had time to debate it.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that by having the Iran deal incorporated in a UN Security Council resolution, President Obama could tie the hands of future presidents, legally obligating them to abide by the Council’s resolution.

There is fury in Washington among both Republicans and Democrats about this. (I attach some of their statements below.)

The chairman of the Senate’s foreign relations committee on Thursday wrote a letter to President Obama saying, “We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.” (Letter below.)

However, while UN and other international sanctions will then be lifted before any Iranian compliance with the deal, if Congress rejects the deal and President Barack Obama’s threatened veto is overridden, separate U.S. sanctions on Iran wouldn’t be lifted.

The Obama administration is turning up the heat on the many Democrats who oppose this deal and I don’t believe lobbying attempts by allies of Israel will succeed. Indeed, I believe that the myth of an “all powerful Israel lobby” – often propagated by borderline (and not so borderline) anti-Semites in the mainstream media – is just that: largely a myth.

And for some in the liberal media it is all about attacking America’s ally Israel (see for example, this cartoon in the San Francisco Chronicle) rather than looking at the dangers of the deal and why it loudest cheerleaders are groups like Hizbullah (“the party of Allah”) and Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad, who will now be given billions of dollars more by Iran to continue his near genocidal war on Syria’s majority Sunni population, in which he continues to use chemical weapons on civilians.

Indeed I find it disappointing that Samantha Power (who says she went into politics to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing), will be the U.S. ambassador to support this deal at the UN tomorrow, a deal that will provide Assad with more tools to carry out his slaughter. It is a deal by the Obama administration which takes no account whatsoever of human rights.

 

KERRY-NETANYAHU TAKE TO THE AIRWAVES

The face-off between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the nuclear deal will dominate U.S. networks this morning (Sunday).

Kerry is set to appear on morning shows on four U.S. networks, including ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Netanyahu, meanwhile, will be interviewed right afterward on the ABC and CBS shows, where he will try to counter Kerry’s arguments.

 

ASSAD’S “MAN IN WASHINGTON” TO GET HIS NOBEL?

One should not forget about Kerry’s poor judgment over the Middle East in the past. It was not for nothing that he was known as Assad’s man in Washington as he repeatedly apologized for the Syrian dictator. (As chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry even reportedly had Assad on his speed-dial.)

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on Wednesday nominated Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe they will get it. But then Yasser Arafat was also given the prize, just months before he launched his war of suicide bombers on Israelis.

 

SAUDI ARABIA’S LEADING DIPLOMAT: “THIS DEAL WILL WREAK HAVOC IN THE MIDDLE EAST”

A number of pieces, letters and statements are attached below.

There are extracts from some of them first, for those who don’t have time to read them in full. (The authors of most of the pieces below are subscribers to this email list.)

(I have been travelling and was unable to send some of these pieces in a dispatch earlier this week, but if you “like” and visit my public Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia you can see some of these and other Mideast items when they appear.)

-- Tom Gross


CONTENTS

1. Extracts to pieces: including the former Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, and Haaretz writers Ari Shavit and Anshel Pfeffer
2. U.S. will train Iranians to counter any sabotage attempts on its nuclear facilities
3. Corker, Cardin urge Obama to postpone United Nations vote
4. Democratic Whip Hoyer: UN vote should wait for congressional review period
5. Joe Lieberman: the administration needs to regather the P5+1 and get a better deal
6. Saudi’s leading diplomat: This deal will wreak havoc in the Middle East
7. “A reckless gamble” (Lead editorial, Times of London, July 15, 2015)
8. “Peace in our time? Not with this shoddy agreement” (Daily Telegraph, July 14, 2015)
9. “We should not let euphoria about the Iran nuclear deal cloud our judgment” (By Michael Herzog, The Guardian, July 14, 2015)
10. “Israeli labor opposition leader: Iran deal will bring chaos to the Middle East” (The Atlantic, July 16, 2015)
11. “Obama’s false Iran choice” (Wall St Journal editorial, July 16, 2015)
12. “Worse than we could have imagined” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, July 16, 2015)
13. “The best arguments for an Iran deal” (By Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2015)

 

EXTRACTS

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who until last year ran Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service (and before that served as ambassador to Washington for 20 years), writing in The Washington Post:

Pundits are saying that President Obama’s Iran deal stirs deja vu of President Clinton’s 1994 North Korean nuclear deal. I humbly disagree. President Clinton made his decision based on a strategic foreign policy analysis, top-secret intelligence and a desire to save the people of North Korea from starvation induced by its leadership.

It turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong. If Mr. Clinton had known about the major intelligence failure, he would have made a different decision. Mr. Obama made his decision on the Iran nuclear deal aware that the strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information and intelligence from U.S. allies in the region predict a worse outcome than in North Korea…

***

Tom Gross addsAnother senior member of the Saudi royal family, former intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, told the BBC that if Iran is being allowed by the world to develop atomic fuel, then “Saudi Arabia would then seek the same right, as would other nations.”

 

Leading Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit:

Experience reveals a yawning gap between the way the United States and Europe understand the Middle East and the way the Middle East understands itself. Here on the ground, between Casablanca and Kabul, the Vienna agreement could be perceived as evidence that America is in retreat, Europe is declining and Shi’ite power is on the rise.

Hence the concern that in the long run a nuclear arms race will develop around us, in the short run a conventional arms race will emerge, and in the intermediate term neighboring powers like Hezbollah will strengthen and feel that their time has arrived. The move that is intended to bring peace for our time may lead to the opposite…

[The threat from this deal is not only nuclear.] Iran’s military-industrial complex has few parallels in the world. Some 50,000 skilled and creative Iranians have learned to make satellites, missiles, sophisticated ships and drones. Iran, even when it stood on the brink of bankruptcy, built its own defense industry, including its own aircraft industry. The injection of tens of billions of dollars into Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s R&D labs and assembly lines could take us back 30 years: a semi-existential threat by conventional weapons.

(For space reasons, the full piece is not attached below.)

 

Haaretz correspondent Anshel Pfeffer:

If Ali Khamenei had a button which he could press in order to make all the citizens of Israel perish, would he push it?

I don’t have any actual proof of course, but I’m pretty sure he would. Check out his track record, his quotes and bear in mind what men with titles like “Supreme Leader” have done in the past. Barack Obama has said he believes that despite their virulent anti-Semitism, the Iranian leaders are also pragmatic people who wouldn’t act against their national interest. But then Obama thought that his administration could “re-set” relations with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin and that the former KGB officer would play by the rules.

How have Iran’s supreme leaders, be they the Ayatollahs or the Shahs, been working in their nation’s interests? Has any nation been so short-changed by its leaders? This is Khamenei who signed off on the 1994 AMIA operation in which 85 people were killed in an Iranian-directed bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. This is the leader who is propping up a murderous regime in Syria, which is responsible for the deaths of over 300,000 people and the displacement of millions more.

Yes, he’d push the button.

(For space reasons, the full piece is not attached below.)

 

Lead editorial, Times of London:

Few gambits are more seductive to an American president than the grand realignment of relations with a hostile regime. As time passes, Nixon’s opening to China has come to define his legacy even more powerfully than Watergate. It is no wonder that Obama has tried the same tricks with Castro’s Cuba and fundamentalist Iran, but to pull it off takes more than America’s inimitable optimism. It requires Kissinger-style worldliness as well…

Bedazzled by the idea of a deal, the US and its partners, Britain among them, have settled for a bad one… Obama’s gamble will make life more dangerous for Iran’s neighbours and more difficult for future US presidents.

 

Daily Telegraph (London): Iranians have long enjoyed a reputation for being wily negotiators, but the outcome of the marathon talks that concluded in Vienna amidst a fanfare of mutual congratulation will have surpassed even their wildest expectations.

 

Guardian (London) op-ed piece: While the negotiators in Vienna celebrate the nuclear deal, across the Middle East there is an atmosphere of gloom. In Israel, coalition and opposition -- who rarely agree on anything -- are now united in deep concern about the long-term implications for Israel and the region... In Teheran, flags of the US, Britain, and Israel were burned in the streets, followed by chants of “death to...,” and a new video game was unveiled simulating an Iranian missile strike on Israel.

 

Claudia Rosett (Forbes magazine):

With implications reaching far beyond the Middle East, the Iran nuclear deal opens the gates not to a safer world, but to proliferation on a scale likely to defy any peaceful efforts at containment. With the fatally flawed bargain announced Tuesday in Vienna, the U.S. and its negotiating partners have underscored, bigtime, the sorry lesson of the series of failed nuclear deals that helped sustain North Korea’s regime all the way to the bomb: In a game of nuclear chicken, the U.S. will flinch. In the post-Cold War era, nuclear blackmail works.

Iran had before it the example of North Korea’s successful nuclear extortion. Now comes the example of Iran.

Welcome to a mafia world in which the rules of the game increasingly favor the worst actors and penalize the most decent. That message will be read into this deal not only by Iran’s near-neighbors, but by nations around the globe, from Asia to Africa to Latin America.

(For space reasons, the full piece is not attached below.)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/claudiarosett/2015/07/16/nuclear-extortion-pioneered-by-north-korea-perfected-by-iran/

 

William Tobey, the former deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration (Wall Street Journal):

In the months leading up to Tuesday’s announcement of a nuclear agreement with Iran, American proponents and skeptics of the deal at least agreed on one thing: the importance of “anywhere, anytime” inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

On the Obama administration side, there was Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in April saying, “We expect to have anywhere, anytime access.” And Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also in April saying: “In the first place we will have anytime, anywhere access [to] nuclear facilities.”

Yet in announcing the deal this week, President Obama said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency “will have access where necessary, when necessary.”

Note the distinction: Agreeing on what is “necessary” is going to be a preoccupation of the new inspections regime. No wonder Mr. Rhodes was on CNN on Wednesday denying that negotiators had ever sought anytime, anywhere inspections…

A successful Iran nuclear agreement would have required far more than anywhere, anytime inspections, let alone the delayed, managed access with a 24-day duration provided under the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama hailed on Tuesday. What was essential is now conspicuously missing: Tehran’s submission of a complete and correct nuclear declaration, and the regime’s cooperation with IAEA efforts to verify it. Anything short of that is an illusion.

(For space reasons, the full piece is not attached below.)

 

Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic):

Last December, when I interviewed the leader of Israel’s left-leaning Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, he said, in reference to nuclear negotiations with Iran: “I trust the Obama administration to get a good deal.” In a telephone call with me late last night, Herzog’s message was very different. The deal just finalized in Vienna, he said, “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children. There are clear risks to Israel’s security in this deal.”

For Obama, Netanyahu is a permanent adversary, but Herzog is a respected friend – one who could do damage to the administration’s cause on Capitol Hill, if he so chooses.

 

Wall Street Journal editorial:

Obama knows there has always been an alternative to his diplomacy of concessions because many critics have suggested it. It’s called coercive diplomacy, and it might have worked to get a better deal if Obama had tried it. A bipartisan majority in Congress was prepared to impose more sanctions this year, but Obama refused as he rushed for a second-term deal.

Obama’s policy opposite of coercive diplomacy, which shows determination so an adversary under pressure concludes that it must make more concessions. This is the diplomacy Ronald Reagan practiced with the Soviets, refusing to budge on missile defenses at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit. The Soviets were soon back at the negotiating table.

 

Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post:

When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong…

The most serious issue is not Iranian exports but Iranian imports – of sophisticated Russian and Chinese weapons. The net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but also to endanger our own naval forces in waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half-century…

The other major shock in the final deal is what happened to our insistence on “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Under the final agreement, Iran has the right to deny international inspectors access to any undeclared nuclear site. The denial is then adjudicated by a committee – on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits. Even if the inspectors’ request prevails, the approval process can take 24 days… Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably… Obama has laid down his legacy, and we will have to live with the consequences for decades.

 

Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal:

But the hope that Iran is the new China fails a few tests. Mao faced an overwhelming external threat from the Soviet Union. Iran faces no such threat and is winning most of its foreign proxy wars. Beijing ratcheted down tensions with Washington with friendly table-tennis matches. Tehran ratchets them up by locking up American citizens and seizing cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Deng Xiaoping believed that to get rich is glorious. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, a supposed reformer, spent last Friday marching prominently in the regime’s yearly “Death to America, Death to Israel” parade.

Maybe we’ll get lucky again. Maybe Iran will change for the better after Mr. Khamenei passes from the scene. Maybe international monitors will succeed with Iran where they failed with North Korea. Maybe John Kerry is the world’s best negotiator. Or maybe we won’t be lucky. Maybe there’s no special providence for nations drunk on hope, led by fools.


FULL ARTICLES AND STATEMENTS

U.S. WILL TRAIN IRANIANS TO COUNTER ANY (ISRAELI) SABOTAGE ATTEMPTS ON ITS NUCLEAR FACILITIES AND SYSTEMS

http://www.scribd.com/doc/271540618/Iran-Deal-Text (scroll down to 142 to find the section).

10. Nuclear Security

E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices. Cooperation in the following areas can be envisaged:

Co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems;

Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.

 

CORKER, CARDIN URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO POSTPONE UNITED NATIONS VOTE ON IRAN DEAL UNTIL CONGRESS CONSIDERS THE AGREEMENT

http://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/corker-cardin-urge-president-obama-to-postpone-united-nations-vote-on-iran-deal-until-congress-considers-the-agreement

WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to President Barack Obama today, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (Republican -Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (Democrat -Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the administration to postpone a United Nations Security Council vote on the Iran deal until Congress considers the agreement. The mandatory 60-day congressional review period does not begin until all documents associated with an agreement are submitted to Congress, along with assessments on compliance and non-proliferation.

Text of the letter is included below and in the attached document.

Dear Mr. President:

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a bill which 98 Senators and 400 Representatives supported and you signed, established a 60-day period for Congress to consider the nuclear agreement. We are deeply concerned that your administration plans to enable the United Nations Security Council to vote on the agreement before the United States Congress can do the same.

Doing so would be contrary to your statement that “it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal…our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.”

We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker, Chairman
Ben Cardin, Ranking Member

 

DEMOCRATIC WHIP HOYER: U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL VOTE SHOULD WAIT FOR CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW PERIOD

Democratic Whip Hoyer: U.N. Security Council Vote Should Wait for Congressional Review Period
For Immediate Release: July 17, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of the letter by Senators Cardin and Corker urging President Obama to delay the U.N. Security Council’s vote on the Iran deal until after Congress has reviewed the agreement: “I agree with Senators Cardin and Corker that the U.N. Security Council should wait to move ahead with a resolution implementing parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until after Congress has completed its review of the agreement with Iran. I believe that waiting to go to the United Nations until such time as Congress has acted would be consistent with the intent and substance of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.”

http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/hoyer-un-security-council-vote-should-wait-congressional-review-period

***

Related reading:

[1] http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/248228-senators-balk-at-un-action-on-iran
[2] http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/congress-responds-to-obamas-un-move-on-iran-deal-120257.html
[3] http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/15/obama-turns-to-u-n-to-outmaneuver-congress-iran-nuclear-deal/

 

JOE LIEBERMAN: THE ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO REGATHER THE P5+1 AND GET A BETTER DEAL

Former Democratic Vice-presidential nominee and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (who is a long time subscriber to this email list) writes:

The agreement announced today, temporarily delays, but ultimately allows Iran to become a nuclear weapons state and indeed legitimizes Iran's possession of the nuclear capabilities that it has built up, much of it covertly in violation of international law and in breach of its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

I know there will be some who will try to convince members of Congress that if Congress rejects this deal, the result will be catastrophic. Some may try to intimidate and demonize critics of the agreement by arguing that a vote against this deal is a vote for war. Those are false arguments and I urge you to reject them…

If this agreement is rejected by Congress, nobody can predict what will happen, but I would say that I would hope that the administration would try to regather the P5+1 and basically go back to Iran and say we couldn't sell it. We got to do a better deal here, and again, I believe that Iran needs a deal much more than we do.

 

SAUDI ARABIA’S LEADING DIPLOMAT/INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: THIS DEAL WILL WREAK HAVOC IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Letters to the Editor
Why the Iran agreement is worse than the U.S. deal with North Korea
Washington Post
July 16, 2015

Pundits are saying that President Obama’s Iran deal stirs deja vu of President Clinton’s 1994 North Korean nuclear deal [“A landmark nuclear pact with Iran,” front page, July 15]. I humbly disagree. President Clinton made his decision based on a strategic foreign policy analysis, top-secret intelligence and a desire to save the people of North Korea from starvation induced by its leadership.

It turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong. If Mr. Clinton had known about the major intelligence failure, he would have made a different decision. Mr. Obama made his decision on the Iran nuclear deal aware that the strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information and intelligence from U.S. allies in the region predict a worse outcome than in North Korea – and Iran will have access to billions of dollars.

This deal will wreak havoc in the Middle East, which is already a disastrous environment. Iran is a major player in the destabilization of the region. Why would Mr. Obama go ahead with such a deal with Iran? It is definitely not because Mr. Obama is not smart enough, because he is. He must believe that what he is doing is right. Still, I am convinced that my good friend Henry Kissinger was correct when he said, “America’s enemies should fear America, but America’s friends should fear America more.”

People in my region now are relying on God’s will and consolidating their local capabilities and analyses with everyone except our oldest and most powerful ally.

Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The writer was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from 1981 to 2005.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-iran-agreement-is-worse-than-the-us-deal-with-north-korea/2015/07/16/7d7747f4-2b0d-11e5-960f-22c4ba982ed4_story.html

 

A RECKLESS GAMBLE

A Reckless Gamble
Nuclear negotiators have chosen a weak deal with Iran over longterm security
Lead editorial
The Times of London
July 15, 2015

Few gambits are more seductive to an American president than the grand realignment of relations with a hostile regime. As time passes, Nixon’s opening to China has come to define his legacy even more powerfully than Watergate. It is no wonder that President Obama has tried the same tricks with Castro’s Cuba and fundamentalist Iran, but to pull it off takes more than America’s inimitable optimism. It requires Kissinger-style worldliness as well.

Without that balance the risks are high. In the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5 plus 1 group they are unacceptable. An unreconstructed theocracy has won concessions on sanctions that enable it to tighten its grip on power and enrich its hardliners, including those who sponsor international terrorism. In return Iran has agreed to limits on its nuclear ambitions that are in principle tighter than previous schemes. In reality they are weakened by loopholes that could all too easily be used to outmanoeuvre weapons inspectors. Bedazzled by the idea of a deal, the US and its partners, Britain among them, have settled for a bad one. They should have resisted the temptation.

Ostensibly the 20-month negotiating marathon that ended yesterday in Vienna yields progress on two fronts. In practical terms, assuming Iran acts in good faith, two thirds of its enrichment centrifuges will be removed and 98 per cent of its enriched uranium diluted or shipped abroad. A stockpile big enough for ten bombs would shrink to less than enough for one, and aspects of the new inspection regime will stay in place for a quarter of a century.

On the political front, supporters of this deal argue that it will strengthen the relatively reformist Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and embolden an emerging generation to demand full-blown Iranian glasnost. It is more likely that having accomplished the mission of getting sanctions relaxed Mr Rouhani will now be dispensable. Worse still, the compromise over military site inspections thrashed out in the final sessions of the Vienna talks gives far too much away.

For a watertight deal such inspections should be possible without notice, at any time. Instead, inspectors will have to give warning, show grounds for suspicion and if challenged by Tehran, persuade a panel of representatives from the P5 plus 1 that the inspection is needed. This gives Russia, a determined pro-Iranian maverick, a potentially decisive say whenever Iran chooses to drag its feet. At the very least Iran has been granted a means to delay inspectors’ access long enough to hide whatever they hoped to inspect.

The point of this deal was to deny Iran the capacity to build nuclear weapons, for the sake of regional security and above all for the sake of Israel. That it has been condemned by Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and welcomed by Syria’s President Assad hardly inspires confidence. It has further been rejected by every Republican presidential candidate to have expressed a view. This reflects the depth of opposition in Washington to what most American friends of Israel consider appeasement for the sake of a presidential legacy.

Mr Obama has gambled that a changing Iran will respond to his opening by backing reformers against the clerical elite. It is a gamble that will make life more dangerous for Iran’s neighbours and more difficult for future US presidents.

 

PEACE IN OUR TIME? NOT WITH THIS SHODDY AGREEMENT

Iran nuclear deal: Peace in our time? Not with this shoddy agreement
By Con Coughlin, Defence Editor
Daily Telegraph (London)
July 14, 2015

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11739683/Iran-nuclear-deal-Peace-in-our-time-Not-with-this-shoddy-agreement.html

You only had to look at the beaming smiles on the faces of the Iranian negotiating team to see who had emerged as the undisputed winners of the drawn-out negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iranians have long enjoyed a reputation for being wily negotiators, but the outcome of the marathon talks that concluded in Vienna amidst a fanfare of mutual congratulation will have surpassed even their wildest expectations.

Tehran entered these talks, let us not forget, out of sheer desperation to escape the crippling effects of the economic sanctions imposed by the West in retaliation for Iran’s less-than-forthright disclosures about its nuclear activities.

These included building a heavily fortified underground uranium enrichment facility at Natanz (whose existence was exposed by the Iranian opposition in 2003) and a similar establishment built deep within a mountain at Fordow (whose existence was exposed by British intelligence in 2009).

Iran’s obsession with acquiring the ability to enrich uranium well beyond the level required for civilian and commercial applications, as well as its concurrent investment in building ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, has led Western intelligence to conclude – not unreasonably – that Tehran has been working on a clandestine atomic weapons programme.

 

WE SHOULD NOT LET EUPHORIA ABOUT THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL CLOUD OUR JUDGMENT

We should not let euphoria about the Iran nuclear deal cloud our judgment
By Michael Herzog
The Guardian
July 14, 2015

While the P5+1 negotiators in Vienna celebrate the nuclear deal with their Iranian counterparts, across the Middle East there is an atmosphere of gloom. In Israel, coalition and opposition – who rarely agree on anything – are now united in deep concern about the long-term implications for Israel and the region.

Israel was not a participant in these negotiations, but its national security will be impacted more than anybody else’s. After all, Iran combines ideological commitment to Israel’s destruction with nuclear ambitions and the ability to project violence and instability through proxies on Israel’s borders and around the world. It is Israel whose elimination the Iranian supreme leader proudly tweets about. It is Israel that is targeted by tens of thousands of rockets supplied by Iran to armed groups on our borders, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

How will the agreement impact on these intentions and capabilities? As these lines are written, the full details of the deal still need to be digested. Not everything is yet clear, and questions abound regarding inspections, R&D, addressing the military dimensions of Iran’s programme and sanctions relief. Nonetheless, the main contours are known.

True, the deal pushes Iran back from the ability to quickly “break out” to nuclear weapons, and is likely to reduce its incentive to do so, for the next decade or so. However, in the second decade Iran is legitimised as a nuclear threshold state, by allowing it to expand and upgrade its enrichment programme and reduce the breakout time almost to zero.

Will time bought by the deal serve to positively change Iran’s current policies or will it instead empower them? Most Middle Easterners assume the latter and refuse to bet on the former. While the clock is ticking down until Iran can expand its uranium enrichment capacity, the impact of the deal will likely pour fuel on the fires of the region.

First, the lifting of financial and trade sanctions is likely to empower Iran, both politically and economically, in pursuing its radical and sectarian agenda. This includes arming and bankrolling designated terror organisations, propping up Bashar al-Assad in Syria (Iran has already spent billions of dollars on that under sanctions), fueling the sectarian conflict in Iraq, arming rebels in Yemen, and threatening the security of a number of Gulf Arab states.

Second, the legitimising of Iran’s nuclear threshold status threatens to spark nuclear proliferation across the region, with other states seeking the same status as Iran.

Third, the financial windfall coming to Iran may spark a conventional arms race. Iran will invest more in its arms industry, and with sanctions on arms sales to be lifted within five to eight years, it can be expected to go on a major shopping spree, with Russia as a willing supplier. Gulf states will not stay left behind.

As gloomy as this prospect is for those of us on the sharp end, now is not the time to despair. The closing of the agreement is a dramatic watershed, but not the final word. The international community must now focus on two vital issues.

The first is the rigorous implementation of the deal itself. The P5+1 powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), and especially the US, must ensure that effective measures will be taken against any kind of violation. Iran must get the message that it will pay a swift and heavy price if it tries to cheat, as it has so often in the past.

Second and no less important is re-establishing effective deterrence against Iran’s dangerous non-nuclear policies which are outside the scope of the agreement. Since the deal focuses on nuclear issues to the exclusion of all other aspects of Iran’s dangerous policies, the distinction should be maintained in the post-deal reality. This means confronting such policies rather than turning a blind eye to them for fear of upsetting the nuclear deal.

On Friday, in the run-up to the deal, Iranians celebrated “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) day,” an annual holiday devoted to Israel’s destruction. Flags of the US, Britain, and Israel were burned in the streets, followed by chants of “death to...,” and a new video game was unveiled simulating an Iranian missile strike on Israel.

Israel and its Arab neighbours are alarmed by the huge contrast between these scenes and the euphoric celebrations surrounding the deal. They expect friends around the world not to be blinded by their euphoria, and to work together to contain an emboldened Iran.

 

HERZOG: OBAMA HAS LEFT ALL ISRAELIS – OF THE “LEFT, CENTER, AND RIGHT” – FRIGHTENED

Israeli labor opposition leader: Iran deal will bring chaos to the Middle East
By Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic
July 16, 2015

Last December, when I interviewed the leader of Israel’s left-leaning Labor Party, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, he said, in reference to nuclear negotiations with Iran: “I trust the Obama administration to get a good deal.”

In a telephone call with me late last night, Herzog’s message was very different. The deal just finalized in Vienna, he said, “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”

Iran, he said, is an “empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region,” adding that, under the terms of the deal, Iran “will become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Iran will take its post-sanctions windfall, he said, and use the funds to supply more rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, more ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.”

Herzog, who lost a race for the prime ministership in March to the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu, had mainly kind words for his archrival, and he even invoked an expression popularized by Netanyahu’s ideological guide, the founding father of right-wing Zionist revisionism, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, to describe what he sees as Israel’s next, necessary step: “We have to build an iron wall to protect Israel. There are clear risks to Israel’s security in this deal.”

The Iran deal represents one of those rare issues that has unified Israelis of most political parties. Herzog and Netanyahu agree on very little – not on a whole basket of social and economic issues, and certainly not on the need for territorial compromise to advance the cause of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. But Iran, Herzog told me, has Israelis – of the “left, center, and right,” he said – frightened.

Netanyahu appears eager to bring Herzog, the official head of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset, into his government as foreign minister. This makes good sense from Netanyahu’s perspective – he knows that he has burned bridges with the Obama administration, and he needs an interlocutor who could gain access to the West Wing. Herzog wouldn’t tell me the status of his talks with Netanyahu, though he said he believed he could do a more effective job critiquing the Iran deal from outside the government. And this is where things gets complicated: When I asked Herzog if he would be lobbying Congress to disapprove the deal (AIPAC, I’m told, has invited him to do so), he said he wouldn’t. “I think it’s a bad deal, but I’m not going to lobby, I’m not going to tell senators what to vote. I think what I need to do is explain the weak points and have them understand our concerns. I’m taking the practical approach.”

Isn’t that a description of lobbying? “I don’t intend to hide my feelings. Most of the Israeli body politic is worried about the agreement, and people need to understand our worries. The world doesn’t fully understand the fact that we are left here alone in this neighborhood, that there is a Shia empire that is trying to inflame the region with a heavy hand. But I don’t intend to clash with the administration. We’re very glad for all that the Obama administration has done for us. We have respect for the United States, for this great ally and friend, and we don’t want to be in a confrontation or clash. But we have to let people know that we think this is a dangerous situation.”

Herzog’s militancy on the subject of the deal places the Obama administration in an uneasy position. While the administration can – and has – dismissed Netanyahu as a hysteric, the eminently reasonable Herzog, who is Secretary of State John Kerry’s dream of an Israeli peace-process partner, will find receptive ears among Democrats for his criticism. Herzog’s critique of the deal also places American Jewish organizations in a curious dilemma. It will be fraught for liberal Jewish organizations to endorse the Vienna agreement if both the right-wing government in Jerusalem, and its center-left opposition, are so vehemently opposed to it. (The only major Jewish organization to line up with the Obama administration so far is J Street, which describes itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace,” but which is keenly interested in advancing Obama administration interests, whether or not Israelis agree with them. “Our No. 1 agenda item,” its founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, once said, “is to do whatever we can in Congress to act as the president’s blocking back.” Herzog, J Street’s natural ally in Israeli politics on matters of the peace process, is putting the group in an uncomfortable position. It can’t be easy to be a self-described pro-Israel group that is lobbying for a deal that the large majority of Israelis loathe.)

Herzog would not tell me when he’s arriving in Washington to launch his non-lobbying lobbying campaign, but I expect he will arrive soon, and I expect that he will find himself the target of a great deal of lobbying as well; from the administration’s perspective, Netanyahu is a permanent adversary, but Herzog is a respected friend – one who could do damage to the administration’s cause on Capitol Hill, if he so chooses.

 

THERE WAS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO HIS DEAL. HE NEVER PURSUED IT

Obama’s False Iran Choice
There was a better alternative to his deal. He never pursued it.
Wall Street Journal editorial
July 16, 2015

The debate is raging over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, and Mr. Obama held a rare press conference Wednesday to say that “99% of the world community” agrees with him. Then why bother with a press conference? Mr. Obama made other claims we’ll address in coming days, but for today it’s worth rebutting his assertion that “none” of his critics “have presented to me or the American people a better alternative.”

Specifically, Mr. Obama resorted to his familiar default of the false political choice. “There really are only two alternatives here. Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war. Those are – those are the options,” Mr. Obama said. He added that no better deal was or is possible than the one he has negotiated.

Mr. Obama knows there has always been an alternative to his diplomacy of concessions because many critics have suggested it. It’s called coercive diplomacy, and it might have worked to get a better deal if Mr. Obama had tried it.

Take the sanctions regime, which finally started to get tough in December 2011. By 2013 Iran had an official inflation rate of some 35%, its currency was falling, and its dollar reserves were estimated to be down to $20 billion. Mr. Obama had resisted those sanctions, only to take credit for them when Congress insisted and they began to show results in Tehran.

Yet Mr. Obama still resisted calls to put maximum pressure on Iran. He gave waivers to countries like Japan to import Iranian oil. He was reluctant to impose sanctions on global financial institutions that did business with Iran (especially Chinese banks that offered Tehran access to foreign currency). The U.S. could have gone much further to blacklist parts of Iran’s economy run by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. A bipartisan majority in Congress was prepared to impose more sanctions this year, but Mr. Obama refused as he rushed for a second-term deal.

Mr. Obama now argues that the sanctions could not have been maintained, and that they are sure to collapse if Congress scuttles his deal. But there was no sign sanctions were collapsing as long as the U.S. continued to keep the pressure on. And to the extent support did weaken, one reason was the momentum of Mr. Obama’s negotiations. The more the U.S. gave the impression that it desperately wanted a deal, the more other countries and businesses began to maneuver for post-sanctions opportunities.

This is the opposite of coercive diplomacy, which shows determination so an adversary under pressure concludes that it must make more concessions. This is the diplomacy Ronald Reagan practiced with the Soviets, refusing to budge on missile defenses at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit despite pressure from 99% of the world to do so. The Soviets were soon back at the negotiating table.

Mr. Obama could also have pressured Iran on other fronts, the way Reagan did the Soviets by arming enemies of its proxies. The U.S. could have armed the Free Syrian Army to defeat Iran’s allied Assad regime in Damascus, and it could have helped Israel enforce U.N. Resolution 1701 that imposes an arms embargo on Hezbollah in Lebanon.

On Wednesday Mr. Obama conceded that Iran supplies Hezbollah and Assad, while implying he could do nothing about it. The truth is that he chose to do nothing because he didn’t want to offend Iran and jeopardize his nuclear talks. Instead he should have increased the pressure across the board to assist the negotiations and get a better deal.

As for Mr. Obama’s false choice of war and diplomacy, the truth is that war becomes less likely when diplomacy is accompanied by the credible threat of war. The President removed that credible threat from Iran by insisting war was the only (bad) alternative to his diplomacy, as well as by threatening force against Syria only to erase his own “red line.” In May Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted that the U.S. military “can’t do a damn thing” against Iran. He understood his negotiating partner all too well.

Mr. Obama is now presenting his deeply flawed deal to Congress and the public as a fait accompli that must be embraced or war will result. Congress shouldn’t be any more impressed by his false ultimatums than the Iranians were by his weak diplomacy.

 

“HE HAS LAID DOWN HIS LEGACY, AND WE WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES FOR DECADES”

Worse than we could have imagined
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post
July 16, 2015

When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong.

Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?

When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.

Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?

Because Iran, joined by Russia – our “reset” partner – sprung the demand at the last minute, calculating that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were so desperate for a deal that they would cave. They did. And have convinced themselves that they scored a victory by delaying the lifting by five to eight years. (Ostensibly. The language is murky. The interval could be considerably shorter.)

Obama claimed in his news conference that it really doesn’t matter, because we can always intercept Iranian arms shipments to, say, Hezbollah.

But wait. Obama has insisted throughout that we are pursuing this Iranian diplomacy to avoid the use of force, yet now blithely discards a previous diplomatic achievement – the arms embargo – by suggesting, no matter, we can just shoot our way to interdiction.

Moreover, the most serious issue is not Iranian exports but Iranian imports – of sophisticated Russian and Chinese weapons. These are untouchable. We are not going to attack Russian and Chinese transports.

The net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but also to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf. Imagine how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half-century.

The other major shock in the final deal is what happened to our insistence on “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Under the final agreement, Iran has the right to deny international inspectors access to any undeclared nuclear site. The denial is then adjudicated by a committee – on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits. Even if the inspectors’ request prevails, the approval process can take 24 days.

And what do you think will be left to be found, left unscrubbed, after 24 days? The whole process is farcical.

The action now shifts to Congress. The debate is being hailed as momentous. It is not. It’s irrelevant.

Congress won’t get to vote on the deal until September. But Obama is taking the agreement to the U.N. Security Council for approval within days. Approval there will cancel all previous U.N. resolutions outlawing and sanctioning Iran’s nuclear activities.

Meaning: Whatever Congress ultimately does, it won’t matter because the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran will have been dismantled at the Security Council. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably.

Even if Congress rejects the agreement, do you think the Europeans, the Chinese or the Russians will reinstate sanctions? The result: The United States is left isolated while the rest of the world does thriving business with Iran.

Should Congress then give up? No. Congress needs to act in order to rob this deal of, at least, its domestic legitimacy. Rejection will make little difference on the ground. But it will make it easier for a successor president to legitimately reconsider an executive agreement (Obama dare not call it a treaty – it would be instantly rejected by the Senate) that garnered such pathetically little backing in either house of Congress.

It’s a future hope, but amid dire circumstances. By then, Iran will be flush with cash, legitimized as a normal international actor in good standing, recognized (as Obama once said) as “a very successful regional power.” Stopping Iran from going nuclear at that point will be infinitely more difficult and risky.

Which is Obama’s triumph. He has locked in his folly. He has laid down his legacy, and we will have to live with the consequences for decades.

 

“DRUNK ON HOPE, LED BY FOOLS”

The Best Arguments for an Iran Deal
The heroic assumptions, and false premises, of our diplomacy.
By Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
July 14, 2015

In formal rhetoric, prolepsis means the anticipation of possible objections to an argument for the sake of answering them. So let’s be proleptic about the Iranian nuclear deal, whose apologists are already trotting out excuses for this historic diplomatic debacle.

The heroic case. Sure, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is an irascible and violent revolutionary bent on imposing a dark ideology on his people and his neighborhood. Much the same could be said of Mao Zedong when Henry Kissinger paid him a visit in 1971 – a diplomatic gamble that paid spectacular dividends as China became a de facto U.S. ally in the Cold War and opened up to the world under Deng Xiaoping.

But the hope that Iran is the new China fails a few tests. Mao faced an overwhelming external threat from the Soviet Union. Iran faces no such threat and is winning most of its foreign proxy wars. Beijing ratcheted down tensions with Washington with friendly table-tennis matches. Tehran ratchets them up by locking up American citizens and seizing cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Deng Xiaoping believed that to get rich is glorious. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, a supposed reformer, spent last Friday marching prominently in the regime’s yearly “Death to America, Death to Israel” parade.

If there is evidence of an Iranian trend toward moderation it behooves proponents of a deal to show it.

The transactional case. OK, so Iran hasn’t really moderated its belligerent behavior, much less its antediluvian worldview. And a deal won’t mean we won’t still have to oppose Iran on other battlefields, whether it’s Yemen or Syria or Gaza. But that doesn’t matter, because a nuclear deal is nothing more than a calculated swap. Iran puts its nuclear ambitions into cold storage for a decade. In exchange, it comes in from the cold economically and diplomatically. Within circumscribed parameters, everyone can be a winner.

But a transaction requires some degree of trust. Since we can’t trust Iran we need an airtight system of monitoring and verification. Will the nuclear deal provide that? John Kerry will swear that it will, but as recently as January Czech officials blocked a covert $61 million purchase by Iran of “dual-use” nuclear technologies. A month before that, the U.S. found evidence that Iran had gone on an illicit “shopping spree” for its plutonium plant in Arak. That’s what we know. What do we not know?

Also, how does a nuclear deal not wind up being Iran’s ultimate hostage in dictating terms for America’s broader Mideast policy? Will the administration risk its precious nuclear deal if Iran threatens to break it every time the two countries are at loggerheads over regional crises in Yemen or Syria? The North Koreans already mastered the art of selling their nuclear compliance for one concession after another – and they still got the bomb.

The defeatist case. All right: So the Iran deal is full of holes. Maybe it won’t work. Got any better ideas? Sanctions weren’t about to stop a determined regime, and we couldn’t have enforced them for much longer. Nobody wants to go to war to stop an Iranian bomb, not the American public and not even the Israelis. And conservatives, of all people, should know that foreign policy often amounts to a choice between evils. The best case for a nuclear deal is that it is the lesser evil.

Then again, serious sanctions were only imposed on Iran in November 2011. They cut the country’s oil exports by half, shut off its banking system from the rest of the world, sent the rial into free fall and caused the inflation rate to soar to 60%. By October 2013 Iran was six months away from a severe balance-of-payments crisis, according to estimates by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. And that was only the first turn of the economic screw: Iran’s permitted oil exports could have been cut further; additional sanctions could have been imposed on the “charitable” foundations controlled by Iran’s political, military and clerical elite. Instead of turning the screw, Mr. Obama relieved the pressure the next month by signing on to the interim agreement now in force.

It’s true that nobody wants war. But a deal that gives Iran the right to enrich unlimited quantities of uranium after a decade or so would leave a future president no option other than war to stop Iran from building dozens of bombs. And a deal that does nothing to stop Iran’s development of ballistic missiles would allow them to put one of those bombs atop one of those missiles.

Good luck. Americans are a lucky people – lucky in our geography, our founders and the immigrants we attract to our shores. So lucky that Bismarck supposedly once said “there is a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”

Maybe we’ll get lucky again. Maybe Iran will change for the better after Mr. Khamenei passes from the scene. Maybe international monitors will succeed with Iran where they failed with North Korea. Maybe John Kerry is the world’s best negotiator, and this deal was the best we could do.

Or maybe we won’t be lucky. Maybe there’s no special providence for nations drunk on hope, led by fools.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.