Trying Their Hand at Diplomacy

Barack Obama has been negotiating with Iran for a potential deal that would delay their nuclear ambitions while lightening sanctions. We’ve been debating the wisdom of this in the comments for a while. The Republicans oppose any deal without more sanctions and invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the President, an unusual move (although I found Netanyahu’s speech itself to be reasonable and conciliatory).

But this week, things took an interesting turn:

A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.

Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.

“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

As a matter of law, the Republicans are right. Any deal will not be a formal treaty ratified by Congress. As a matter of practical politics, however, I find this meaningless. If, two years from now, Iran is violating the terms of the deal, there will no problem in revoking it. However, if the deal is working, I don’t see how a Republican President could possibly revoke it and basically put Iran on a faster path to a nuclear weapon. If we were to unilaterally back out, Iran would be able to resume a nuclear program without international sanctions, which is a worse situation than we have right now. In fact, I would argue that issuing this threat at this time is likely to make the Iranian situation worse. Doug Mataconis:

First of all, as several observers have noted since the letter was released yesterday, the threat that an agreement reached with the Obama Administration might not be honored by the next President, or that it could be undermined by Republicans in Congress through a variety of methods is likely to reinforce the position of Iranian hardliners who are against any agreement at all. This letter reinforces exactly what they already believe, that the United States cannot be trusted and that Iran must move forward with a nuclear program to protect its national interests. Second, the current sanctions regime is working largely only because the other major nations in the world are on board with it because they believe that it will help in the ongoing negotiations in Geneva to persuade the Iranians that there could be a benefit to agreeing to limits on their nuclear program, namely the gradual lifting of sanctions. Even the Russians and Chinese have signed on to this strategy, for now. If these other nations start to see the U.S. as taking a hard line position that makes diplomacy impossible, though, it’s unlikely that they are going to stick with the program or that they will agree to the kind of tougher sanctions that Republicans, and the Israeli Prime Minister favor. If the international sanctions regime is undermined, then there goes the pressure on Iran to come to the negotiating table. Finally, the simple fact of the matter that these Republicans seem to be ignoring is that Iran is not going to give up its nuclear program the way that nations like Libya and South Africa, to pick two examples that Senator Cotton cited this morning, did simply because history has shown them what happens to regimes who give up their WMD programs, such as Libya and Iraq, and those that do not, such as North Korea. Rather than aiming for an impossible objective, then, it strikes me that the best alternative is to try to get the Iranians to agree to confine their research to peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Senator Cotton and his colleagues just helped to undermine that objective.

I would also add that it endangers the cooperation Iran is giving us in fighting ISIS, which I regard as the greater of two evils at the moment.

Iran’s foreign minister has responded to the letter quite forcefully, indicated the letter is having the effect of encouraging Iranian hardliners. And parts of the Left Wing is accusing the Republicans of sabotaging Obama on foreign policy. I’m inclined to somewhat agree.

Foreign policy is one of the few arenas where the President has primary authority. Congress has some say — funding the President’s initiatives and ratifying treaties and so on. But it is not the job of Congress to act like amateur diplomats. Acting like amateur diplomats is the job of Obama’s bumbling State Department. I said as much when Nancy Pelosi went to Syria to meet with Assad: that was not her damned job. It was not the job of Congressmen to undermine the President’s foreign policy then; it’s not the job of Congressmen to undermine the President’s foreign policy now.

As is their wont, the Left is taking a reasonable point and becoming absurd, accusing the Republicans of “treason” for this. This isn’t treason, no matter what you think of it. I’d reserve that to … say … a sitting Senator negotiating with a hostile foreign power to influence an American election.

It’s one thing for Congress to influence policy through the power of the purse or the power of law. But this sort of direct communication with a foreign government during negotiations is a bridge too far. They need to cut it out. If they want to cancel any deal with Iran, they can try to pass a law over Obama’s veto. Or they can the election in 2016 and abrogate it then. But they need to leave off the theatrics. The situation with Iran is delicate enough without 47 senators barging into it.

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  1. CM

    Iran’s foreign minister has responded to the letter quite forcefully, indicated the letter is having the effect of encouraging Iranian hardliners. 

    Totally. Hardliners provoking and enabling hardliners. Dumb.

    This isn’t treason, no matter what you think of it. 

    Ah, but how can you be sure there isn’t sufficient evidence (that you don’t know about) to prove that it IS treason?! ;-)

    But this sort of direct communication with a foreign government during negotiations is a bridge too far. 

    Does that not apply to inviting Netanyahu over to say “if you won’t do something about it, we will” (knowing full well that a POTUS cannot leave Israel to wage war alone) during negotiations?

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  2. richtaylor365

    Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership

     

    Not true, Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not sign the letter.

    If, two years from now, Iran is violating the terms of the deal, there will no problem in revoking it.

     

    How would we know if they are violating the terms? Seriously, when have they ever negotiated in good faith or kept up their end of any agreement? Even the IAEA inspectors are dubious. Expecting transparency from a nation with zero history of transparency, quite a leap.

     if the deal is working, I don’t see how a Republican President could possibly revoke it and basically put Iran on a faster path to a nuclear weapon.

     

    I could easily see a GOP president seeing this facade for what it is, a mockery of good faith negotiations. He could want weapons and missile advancement to be part of a new agreement, he could want a cap on centrifuge spinning, he might not believe that the Iranians are as open to inspections as they should be. There are any number of scenarios where he could see this as too weak  and open ended for something as serious as the number one sponsor of terrorism getting their hands on nuclear weapons.

     

     that it could be undermined by Republicans in Congress through a variety of methods is likely to reinforce the position of Iranian hardliners who are against any agreement at all. 

     

    They are all hard liners, united in their goal to establish a world caliphate and in their hatred and call for destruction of Israel

    .  Second, the current sanctions regime is working largely only because the other major nations in the world are on board with it because they believe that it will help in the ongoing negotiations in Geneva to persuade the Iranians that there could be a benefit to agreeing to limits on their nuclear program, namely the gradual lifting of sanctions. 

    See, I am of the opinion that the other world leaders are on board, not because they know this is a good deal, it’s not, but because with this weak lackluster uninspiring slug of a president,, they know this is the best he can do. With an actual leader at the helm, one who understands loyalty to our friends, that understands the craven duplicity so far exhibited by the Iranians, and understands what high stakes this is and the potential for disaster if we get it wrong, I think the other world leaders would be persuaded to stand up to the mullahs.

     

    I would also add that it endangers the cooperation Iran is giving us in fighting ISIS, which I regard as the greater of two evils at the moment.

     

    I really need convincing on this. I see them as two heads of the same snake, either would gladly bring their Jihad to America if given the chance. You should know that Iran is not helping  out of any sense of charity or good will,  Their very presence in Iraq, no matter what they are doing there, is bad for America and it’s own interests.

     

     

    Having said this, I think the letter was a really stupid move, generated primarily to grand stand. I like Tom Cotton, a lot, but going on the talk shows on fox and talk radio , saying the same thing, reminding the folks that yes, Supremo Presidente Obama thinks he is dictator, but the Constitution says otherwise, would have the same effect.  Although it did not damage the deal, Obama wants it for his legacy and the mullahs want it because it is a license to steal, it probably alienated a number of Democrats,  Democrats that are already fed up with the Obama antics and who were already eager to push back the executive overreach. 

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  3. CM

    Even theIAEA inspectors are dubious.

    Link?

    I could easily see a GOP president seeing this facade for what it is, a mockery of good faith negotiations.

    Are you basing that opinion on what’s happened previously? What does that mean – that no deal should ever be attempted with Iran? When did they burn so badly over a deal last time? Your own politicians (wearing your stripes) are suggesting to Iran that they’ll be the ones who’ll likely get burnt here. Good old hardliners, helping each other out (the Iranian reformers think Netanyahu sounded just like one more Iranian hard liner). Anyway, how is Hal’s actual point wrong – how does a more hawkish GOP POTUS wanting those things (and doing something about it) not speed up the likelihood of Iran getting an n-bomb?

    They are all hard liners, united in their goal to establish a world caliphate and in their hatred and call for destruction of Israel

    Nonsense. The hardliners in Iran are even being teased by Iran’s former President.

    http://www.juancole.com/2015/03/netanyahu-influential-hardliners.html

    not because they know this is a good deal, it’s not

    Which specific part of the deal is not good? Can you provide specific wording?

     

     

     

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  4. CM

    Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:

    “The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

    He might be lying, but you can’t ignore that this is publicly stated Iran policy.

    http://www.juancole.com/2015/03/bombing-happen-their.html

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Does that not apply to inviting Netanyahu over to say “if you won’t do something about it, we will” (knowing full well that a POTUS cannot leave Israel to wage war alone) during negotiations?

    No. Netanyahu is a head of state, designated by his people to represent Israel’s interests. If he thinks Israel is about to become a sacrificial lamb in a US-Iran deal, it’s his obligation and duty to say so.

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  6. richtaylor365

    CM, just because you are laughably naive, were born yesterday or fell off the turnip truck yesterday (pick any euphemism that suits) does not mean the the rest of rational world is, I suppose you believe Obama slowed the rise of the oceans and healed the planet, giggles.

    No matter what Obama does, no matter whether his silly agreement is reached or not, none of this matters a twit as to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Sure, they would like an agreement to get those sanctions lifted, but whether lifted ,or not, whether they get the world’s seal of approval or not, their stated goals re: a world caliphate and the destruction of Israel remain the same stated goals. Muhammad said it, they believe it, end of discussion. You can delude yourself into believing that once Iran has nuclear capabilities and the weapons system for delivery, that the supreme leader would shun it’s use simply because he thinks his religion considers using them a sin, yeah, sure.

     

    Tell me, you think Ali Khamenei is just as squeamish about using chemical weapons as he is nuclear weapons? What is his religious stand on the use of these? Iran has massive stockpiles of these chemical weapons (blister,blood and nerve agents) has used them in the past and even sent some to Syria to be used by Assad against his people.A willingness and history of using chemical weapons, but a hesitancy about using nuclear weapons, and this makes sense to you? Astounding. Naturally, the extent of their chemical weapons program, nobody knows, because like their nuclear weapons program, we only learn after the fact and only what they want us to learn, nothing more. But you go on trusting them.

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  7. CM

    CM, just because you are laughably naive, were born yesterday or fell off the turnip truck yesterday (pick any euphemism that suits) does not mean the the rest of rational world is, I suppose you believe Obama slowed the rise of the oceans and healed the planet, giggles.

    Still waiting for you to provide the specifics of the deal that you know all about. Is that drivel your alternative?

    no matter whether his silly agreement is reached or not

    It would be an international agreement (something the Republican’s who sent the letter don’t seem to understand). How is the agreement “silly”? Which specific parts?

    Sure, they would like an agreement to get those sanctions lifted, but whether lifted ,or not, whether they get the world’s seal of approval or not, their stated goals re: a world caliphate and the destruction of Israel remain the same stated goals. Muhammad said it, they believe it, end of discussion. 

    It might be the end of YOUR discussion. The rational world will get on with reality, and the least-worst option of attempting to negotiate.

    You can delude yourself into believing that once Iran has nuclear capabilities and the weapons system for delivery, that the supreme leader would shun it’s use simply because he thinks his religion considers using them a sin, yeah, sure.

    I’m not under a delusion. That COULD happen. However negotiations can significantly slow down the inevitable, and will provide many more points where new assessments can be made and new decisions made (and provides significant legitimacy if action is ultimately taken, if Iran has failed to live up to it’s obligations). The alternative is bombing, which is likely to lead to outright war, which is no good for anyone (and very few people have the appetite for another large-scale war in the Middle East).

    http://www.juancole.com/2015/03/bombing-happen-their.html

    Unless you have another alternative (perhaps since you know all the details of the current negotiations you also know about Bibi’s better alternative and how that would work?).

    Tell me, you think Ali Khamenei is just as squeamish about using chemical weapons as he is nuclear weapons? What is his religious stand on the use of these? Iran has massive stockpiles of these chemical weapons (blister,blood and nerve agents) has used them in the past and even sent some to Syria to be used by Assad against his people.A willingness and history of using chemical weapons, but a hesitancy about using nuclear weapons, and this makes sense to you? Astounding. Naturally, the extent of their chemical weapons program, nobody knows, because like their nuclear weapons program, we only learn after the fact and only what they want us to learn, nothing more. But you go on trusting them.

    It wouldn’t simply be a matter of trust though (not even close), that’s the problem with your argument. Nobody is saying anything close to “let’s just trust them”. That would be the “do nothing” option. Nobody is advocating “do nothing”.

    Iran is changing, there are reformers there. It’s not Iraq under Saddam.

    In late 2013 a leaked report from Israel’s military intelligence revealed that Israel’s “[e]xpert analysis does not view Rouhani’s election as a deception by Khamenei intended solely to mislead the West, but rather as an authentic leader who is creating an independent power center,” and that “a deep strategic change was being played out in Iran, expressed in [Rouhani’s] election victory.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/03/benjamin_netanyahu_did_president_obama_a_big_favor_the_israeli_prime_minister.html

     

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  8. Balthazar

    Doesnt this have to go thru the Senate anyway after its agreed to? It is a treaty and all treatys, internation agreements etc have to be ratified by the Senate dont they?

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  9. Iconoclast

    Tom Cotton: The Most Powerful Man in Washington

    What is really happening is the Democrats were attempting to allow Iran to build up a nuclear program without anyone noticing. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Sen. Tom Cotton shed light on the Democrats’ plan. The Democrats were left scurrying about like roaches with the light turned on. They do not like it.
    The net result of Sen. Cotton’s actions has not been an indictment of 47 Republican senators. Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry had to admit President Obama’s negotiations with Iran were non-binding and unenforcible. But for Sen. Tom Cotton, America would never have gotten that admission. It makes the senator one of the few people in Washington who has been able to throw Barack Obama off his game.

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  10. Iconoclast

    The “most powerful man” didn’t realize this wasn’t a Treaty?

    He simply reminded/enlightened all concerned parties that it wasn’t unless his chamber said it was.

    Which it would never do as long as Obama was Prez.

    And, since it ain’t a Treaty, it ain’t binding.  And the non-Treaty “agreement” would effectively go tits up the moment Obama moved his sorry ass out of the WH.

    The point, which you seem hellbent on dodging, is that Biden admitted as much himself, on behalf of the Administration.

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  11. CM

    LOL, hellbent? WTF are you talking about?

    It was never going to be a Treaty anyway, regardless of what the Senate says, at any point.

    But I’m sure the Democrat senators are pleased that when there is a GOP President, they’ll get to dictate foreign policy.

    OBAMAHITLER!

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  12. Iconoclast

    It was never going to be a Treaty anyway…

    Then why bother?

    But I’m sure the Democrat senators are pleased that when there is a GOP President, they’ll get to dictate foreign policy.

    What utter nonsense.

    OBAMAHITLER!

    Uh-huh…..

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  13. Iconoclast

    …the letter (oozing condescension and pitched just right to cause maximum irritation) …

    Just like the majority of your posts.

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  14. Iconoclast

    From the lawfare cite:

    This is a technical point that does not detract from the letter’s message that any administration deal with Iran might not last beyond this presidency.

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  15. CM

    Just like the majority of your posts.

    Yet again you’re the one who starting swinging first (accusing me of being hellbent on ignoring the fact that Biden said it wasn’t a Treaty). Prior to that Rich came out swinging with a tirade of personal abuse (they usual thing here – if people disagree it’s because they must be idiots).

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  16. richtaylor365

     Prior to that Rich came out swinging with a tirade of personal abuse

    Calling you naive translates into personal abuse? My, aren’t you the dainty one

    (they usual thing here – if people disagree it’s because they must be idiots).

    The usual thing here, if people disagree because you say something dopey, you just dismiss it as them being the narrow minded ideologues, has nothing to do with what you actually wrote, right?

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  17. CM

    Calling you naive translates into personal abuse? My, aren’t you the dainty one

    Fine, we’ll stick with “oozing condescension and pitched just right to cause maximum irritation”.  Which was Iconoclast’s stunningly hypocritical claim. I then tried to answer the actual substance of your post.

    The usual thing here, if people disagree because you say something dopey, you just dismiss it as them being the narrow minded ideologues, has nothing to do with what you actually wrote, right?

    What did I say that was dopey (rather than something you just disagree with)? Was it where I ask how you know so much about the specifics of the deal to the point where you can make definitive claims about how badly Obama sucks this particular time?

     

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  18. Xetrov

    The Constitution did not explicitly give me power to bring about the necessary agreement with Santo Domingo. But the Constitution did not forbid my doing what I did. I put the agreement into effect, and I continued its execution for two years before the Senate acted; and I would have continued it until the end of my term, if necessary, without any action by Congress. But it was far preferable that there should be action by Congress, so that we might be proceeding under a treaty which was the law of the land and not merely by a direction of the Chief Executive which would lapse when that particular executive left office. I therefore did my best to get the Senate to ratify what I had done.

    Since this President has a history of not really understanding where his powers end, I don’t have a problem with the Senate basically saying that his potential agreement with Iran is not a treaty, and will not be treated like one.

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  19. richtaylor365

    CM, aside from nuclear proliferation in the ME (for that matter, world wide, other countries are paying attention) what exactly do you see this deal accomplishing? You can’t say it will stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we know it does no such thing. You can’t say it will bring their nuclear research out in the open, they will show us only what they want us to know. You can’t say that the deal gives them a seat at the adult table and they will behave themselves like other adult nations, they still sponsor terrorism (despite the State Dept.’s latest placation), they still prop up dictators and supply them with chemical weapons to kill their people. You can’t say it makes the world safer, you would be hard pressed to prove that.

    You mentioned “current sanctions”, granted all we ever know is what we read since we are just spectators , but current sanctions are nothing compared to what could be ratcheted up, real painful sanctions. There are lots of alternatives besides bombing/war.

    What do you think of Obama cutting out Congress in what is probably the most important negotiations this century? You heard he wants to bypass Congress entirely and take his case to the UN? what a world citizen he is, so progressive.

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  20. Iconoclast

    …accusing me of being hellbent …

    I made no such accusation; you really really really need to familiarize yourself with the definition of the word “seems” sometime, cupcake.

    Even if it were a Treaty, it appears that the letter (oozing condescension and pitched just right to cause maximum irritation) would have been wrong:

    Not where it matters — the author of your cited web page even states as much.  And, for the record, the letter covers both treaty and non-treaty agreements, so your snarky little “The ‘most powerful man’ didn’t realize this wasn’t a Treaty?”  question is a non sequitur.

    As Rich and Xetrov point out, the issue here is Obama’s incessant attempts to be Emperor instead of President, trying to bypass Congress on a regular basis.  The letter was simply a reminder to all concerned parties.

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  21. CM

    I made no such accusation; you really really really need to familiarize yourself with the definition of the word “seems” sometime, cupcake.

    Wow, it was only 5 minutes ago that you missed a qualifier and launched into it, and you’re already on your sanctimonious high horse about missing a qualifier? (No wonder you appear so hellbent on missing the embarrassment of making an error while purporting to teach a constitutional lesson).

    Those sure are some large balls in your pants.

    Cotton seems to have since gone on to express concern that Iran has control of their own capital….

    It made no sense anyway. Where did I deliberately keep ignoring that Biden said it wasn’t a treaty? How exactly did you reach this ‘perception’?

    As Rich and Xetrov point out, the issue here is Obama’s incessant attempts to be Emperor instead of President, trying to bypass Congress on a regular basis.  The letter was simply a reminder to all concerned parties.

    According to that dailysignal link,  executive agreements have made up a substantial portion of all international agreements in modern history (94.3% since 1939).

    At the end of the day the Iranians seem to have seen the letter for what it was. The letter echoes the grimacing and stamping of feet of another set of hard-liners opposed to negotiations — the ones in Iran. And if an agreement is made and is seen to be working, the Republicans surely aren’t going to risk touching it.

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  22. Iconoclast

    Wow, it was only 5 minutes ago that you missed a qualifier and launched into it, and you’re already on your sanctimonious high horse about missing a qualifier?

    As long as you accuse me of making “accusations”, then yes, absolutely I will “climb on to my ‘sanctimonious’ high horse” — nothing at all “sanctimonious” about making unfounded accusations, after all,, is there?

    Those sure are some large balls in your pants.

    He said while obviously staring into a mirror…

    How exactly did you reach this ‘perception’?

    Your snark “accused” Cotton of not knowing the agreement wasn’t a Treaty, completely irrespective of the fact that my second cite was all about Cotton’s getting the Administration to admit the agreement wasn’t binding, and irrespective of the fact that the letter never assumed it was a Treaty in the first place.

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  23. Iconoclast

    … another set of hard-liners

    It’s very poor form to use a subscription site as your cite.  If I have to shell out cash to read your supporting documentation, then I can simply dismiss it.

    As far as your banging on about “hardliners” is concerned, just what is an Iranian “non-hardliner”, anyway?  How do you know that these “non-hardliners” don’t still chant “Death to America” after their Friday prayers?  How do you know they aren’t just being more deceptive than your so-called “hardliners”, who are simply more honest about their hatred of America?

    I suspect that all Iranian parties, whether “hardliner” or “moderate” (wholly western labels, for the record, which may have absolutely no real meaning when applied to Islamists), want to see sanctions lifted off of their economy, but simply disagree on how that should be accomplished.

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  24. CM

    It’s very poor form to use a subscription site as your cite.  If I have to shell out cash to read your supporting documentation, then I can simply dismiss it.

    Oops, apologies. For some reason it opened for me, but i don’t have a subscription. Won’t now though. Perhaps it’s some sort of ‘first 3 are free’ thing. I didn’t see anything to suggest that though.

    As far as your banging on about “hardliners” is concerned, just what is an Iranian “non-hardliner”, anyway?

    Rouhani would be but one example.

    As quoted earlier:

    In late 2013 a leaked report from Israel’s military intelligence revealed that Israel’s “[e]xpert analysis does not view Rouhani’s election as a deception by Khamenei intended solely to mislead the West, but rather as an authentic leader who is creating an independent power center,” and that “a deep strategic change was being played out in Iran, expressed in [Rouhani’s] election victory.”

    How do you know that these “non-hardliners” don’t still chant “Death to America” after their Friday prayers?

    I don’t. But I’m sure Israel’s military intelligence don’t just give Iranians the benefit of the doubt very easily or often. Usually it’s better to rely on intelligence rather than mental masturbation.

    I suspect that all Iranian parties, whether “hardliner” or “moderate” (wholly westernlabels, for the record, which may have absolutely no real meaning when applied to Islamists), want to see sanctions lifted off of their economy, but simply disagree on how that should be accomplished.

    Based on what evidence though? Where is the evidence that the moderates and non hard-liners are just being deceptive (i.e. Israeli military intelligence is just flat-out wrong)? Or is it not based on evidence?

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  25. Iconoclast

    Rouhani would be but one example.

    Rouhani is an example of a “moderate”?  This Rouhani?

    In the lead up to his 2013 election victory, Hassan Rouhani gave an interview in which he pushed back against the suggestion that as Iran’s nuclear negotiator during the 2003 to 2005, the program was suspended under international pressure.

    An angry Rouhani shot back and described how Iran was able to manipulate international negotiations and ultimately advance the program.

    “The Tehran Declaration was supposed to outline the resolutions and suspensions,” he said. “We didn’t allow it. We only halted the gas supply for those 10 centrifuges in Natanz.”

    Though negotiations with European countries began in October 2003, he said the overall nuclear program expanded. “Do you know when heavy water was developed? Summer of 2004. Do you know when we developed yellowcake? Winter 2004,” Rouhani said. “Do you know when the number of centrifuges reached 3,000? Winter 2004.”

    “We halted the nuclear program?” he asked the interviewer rhetorically. “We were the ones to complete it!”

     

     

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