They're blowing past deadlines with zero consequences and making excuses for Iran's noncompliance with the terms of various existing interim agreements, so what's the point of erecting meaningless deadlines at all? It's becoming increasingly clear that the Obama administration will secure a deal with Iran -- no matter how watered down its requirements may be and regardless of how long the process takes. It's come to this:
International powers negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran failed to meet another deadline on Tuesday, the second missed target in a week, raising the prospect of an open-ended diplomatic process over an issue on which President Barack Obama has staked his foreign-policy record. Senior administration officials in Vienna and Washington said progress was still being made and negotiators “have never been closer” to a comprehensive deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. Mr. Obama has said talks would end in a deal that reflects a framework reached in April, or with no agreement at all. But with negotiations making little headway, the White House on Tuesday laid the groundwork for a third outcome: continuing talks while keeping in place a November 2013 interim agreement that provided Iran with limited sanctions relief in exchange for rolling back parts of its nuclear program. Such an outcome would allow Mr. Obama to avoid alternatives to diplomacy to confront Iran’s nuclear program, such as military force.
Obama lacks the will to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, despite years of hawkish rhetoric. Clinging to a failed diplomatic "solution" allows him to punt the hyper-serious threat to future leaders while pretending to have achieved something (see, for instance: Syria). Obama "has said talks would end in a deal that reflects a framework reached in April, or with no agreement at all," but Iran has directly challenged and rebuffed American descriptions of the April framework. And the regime's program has been left largely intact -- and has expanded in a key respect -- over a period in which it was supposed to be "halted" and scaled back. Meanwhile, how close are the parties to striking an accord? And what would that agreement entail? Don't ask our friends the Israelis, who arguably have the most at stake in this dangerous game:
The American negotiating team at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna has not updated Israel on developments in the talks in nearly two weeks, Israeli and American officials acknowledged Tuesday. The officials did not agree on the reasons for the failure, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. In a briefing to reporters in Vienna, senior American officials said that Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who has led the Iran talks for the US, tried to contact Israel’s National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen three times over the past ten days, but scheduling conflicts prevented the calls from going through. A senior official in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the last update from Sherman took place 12 days ago, but insisted, “we have not declined any offers for further updates.” High-level contact between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations has all but ceased as the Iran negotiations entered their critical final phases in recent weeks, the newspaper reported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not spoken once with US Secretary of State John Kerry since the latest round of talks began in Vienna. The result, according to Israeli officials, is that Israel has only a very partial understanding of what is taking place in the negotiating room.
Justifying the slippery treachery of our sworn enemies, while keeping our close allies at bay. It's alarming, and not just to partisan Obama critics. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez isn't mincing words, slamming the White House by invoking cutting "red line" imagery:
It is remarkable and frightening how far Tehran's negotiators have dragged these talks in their direction -- and now Team Smart power is reportedly contemplating giving them even more rope:
Parting reminders: Even if Obama gets the deal he says he wants, it would barely put a dent in Iran's breakout timeline, according to experts. And by Obama's own admission, even if Iran didn't cheat on their obligations (for once) they'd still be a threshold nuclear state after the agreement's automatic expiration dates lapse over the coming decade-and-a-half.