One might hope that a President of the United States would at least get a written agreement from the leader of a country that chants "Death to America" on any nuclear deal. But President Obama is not just any President of the United States. And his quest for a second term legacy accomplishment may just force America into a handshake agreement on Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The New York Times reports:
If an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear capability is reached by deadline in the next seven days, one thing may be missing: an actual written accord, signed by the Iranians.
Over the past few weeks, Iran has increasingly resisted any kind of formal “framework” agreement at this stage in the negotiations, preferring a more general statement of “understanding” followed by a final accord in June, according to Western diplomats involved in the talks.
For anyone who has been following the negotiations between the Obama administration and the Ayatollah Khamenei regime, this minor "there will be no actual written agreement" detail should come as no surprise. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has been downplaying the supposed March "deadline" for months. His response to a question last Friday about what happens if there is no deal by the end of March was typical:
One thing I do want to clarify about one aspect of your question, though, is what we would anticipate at the end of this year is essentially -- or at the end of this month, pardon me -- at the end of this month, we would anticipate a political agreement. And what that means is it means some very specific commitments from the Iranians about their nuclear program and about how some of their nuclear facilities are run. It would also include very serious commitments by the Iranians to agree to a set of historically intrusive inspections. ... What, however, we’ll be required though is then for the technical experts to get together and to talk about how those political agreements are technically implemented. ... And so what we have said is that we would anticipate that those technical negotiations and discussions would also take a little bit of time too, but that we would anticipate that those kinds of technical conversations would be resolved by the end of June.
(emphasis added) So whatever the Obama administration announces in the coming days won't be a real written binding agreement at all. Instead, it will just be a "political" document for domestic consumption here in the United States. In fact, the NYT reports, the Khamenei regime doesn't even acknowledge that the March deadline exists:
A senior administration official who was in Lausanne for the talks last week told reporters there that the United States still hoped to agree on specific limits by the end of March that define the parameters of a more detailed, comprehensive agreement that is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.
That is essentially what Mr. Kerry had envisioned last November — a two-step process that would demonstrate concrete progress to Congress and keep the process with the Iranians moving. At the time, the Iranian negotiators seemed on board.
But in early February, Ayatollah Khamenei, who has taken his own negotiators by surprise several times, said there would be only one agreement. That left the United States and its allies — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — in an uncomfortable place. What was the March deadline all about if it was no longer a deadline in the Ayatollah’s eyes?
What the March deadline is all about is giving Obama the opportunity to declare victory on "ending" Iran's nuclear before any actual deal is made. The liberal media can then all heap praise on Obama and accuse anyone who questions the deal of wanting war with Iran. Then by the time the actual agreement is signed in June, Obama's legacy will be far too tied up in its "success" for any Democrat, even Hillary Clinton, to oppose it.