Bear with me as I once again quote myself. This is a point I made Tuesday night and Wednesday morning:
Parting thought: Given Obama's knee-jerk rejection of electoral thumpings, Tehran should consider adding some big demands to their list. Who knows what O might be willing to agree to, out of spite for Israeli voters, Bibi and the Cotton 47? Gulp.
A wounded Obama is on the warpath against our Israeli friends, and one way he intends to extend his middle finger to them is by doubling down on the terrible Iranian nuke deal. Since his ego is clearly wrapped up in his 'deal at any cost' posture, Tehran should squeeze every last concession they can out of Western negotiators. Just how far O is willing to go? The regime might as well prod for the answer to that question. Which is precisely what they're doing:
Tehran’s negotiators in Switzerland, according to these diplomats, have hardened their position that United Nations sanctions on their country be repealed at the front end of any deal reached this month with the U.S. and other global powers. The U.S. and its European allies are demanding the U.N.’s sanctions be suspended or terminated in a phased time-frame over years. They believe sanctions relief should only come after Iran addresses concerns about its past nuclear work and is given a clean bill of health by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Iranians “say it’s a deal breaker. They don’t want it at all,” said a senior European diplomat involved in the Lausanne talks, referring to Iran’s position on the U.N. sanctions. “There’s no way that we would give up on that…. No way.”
Tehran has reportedly already gotten the US to agree to conferring international legitimacy on their rogue nuclear program, allowing Iran to keep 6,000 centrifuges spinning (above the threshold believed to be necessary for a bomb), permitting them to keep their intercontinental missile program intact -- all while attaching no meaningful requirements that Iran cut off its uniquely malignant facilitation of international terrorism, cease its destabilizing aggression in the region, or end its egregious human rights violations. And the deal's restrictions sunset after a decade. Now Iran has added a precipitous lifting of all sanctions, the effects of which forced them to the bargaining table in the first place, to their demands. Before demonstrating a single shred of compliance. Remember, this is a regime that has already violated the current interim nuclear agreement, which allowed the talks to be extended. They've also flagrantly broken UN arms restrictions. And that's just in the last year. In fairness, Obama's petty antics may not have anything to do with Iranian negotiators' sudden insistence upon rapid sanctions relief. Ed Morrissey notes that this is how they roll: "Iran pretends to negotiate for a while, and then finds reasons to stall talks and blame the West for the impasse. Then, while the West spends several months trying to find incentives to restart the process all over again, Iran has time to continue its progress on developing nuclear weapons." Congress doesn't like what it's seeing. Some Republicans are moving to defund the negotiations:
Congressional leaders have begun pressuring their colleagues to cut off all U.S. funding for the ongoing talks with Iran over its contested nuclear program as the Obama administration rushes to hash out the details of a deal in the coming months, according to multiple sources and a letter that will be sent next week to appropriators in the House of Representatives. With the deadline approaching, congressional Republicans have been exasperated by the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent them from having any oversight over the deal. Reps. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) and Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) are now petitioning their colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to prohibit all taxpayer funding for the talks, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. This would purge all U.S. funds available to Obama administration officials for travel abroad, hotel stays, and any other activities related to the P5+1 talks with Iran.
I'm not quite sure how this would work in practice, or if it even passes Constitutional muster (not that such niceties ever seem to stand in Obama's way). Regardless, the legislative branch is obviously furious over the administration's decision to cut them out of the loop. The administration won't even commit to making the deal public after it's struck. Republicans aren't alone in their opposition. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has been harshly critical of the administration for months, dozens of Democrats are expected to align with the GOP to form potentially veto-proof resistance to Obama's position, and a liberal California Democrat is rejecting White House talking points as "preposterous:"
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on Thursday slammed the Obama administration for arguing that a diplomatic pact will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, calling it a “preposterous argument.” Sherman’s remarks came during an exchange in Congress with Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken. The lawmaker said Iran had proven itself untrustworthy during previous nuclear negotiations. “Obviously, they’re willing to break the law,” Sherman said, noting Tehran’s repeated violations of past U.N. mandates and diplomatic treaties.
Yes, obviously. On a somewhat related note, I'll leave you with the latest insanity from the group to whom Obama, in a fit of pique, is threatening to cut Israel loose:
Surprise: UN body condemns 1 member state for violating women's rights. Not Saudi, not Iran, not Syria…but Israel. http://t.co/Gf0yYYgNYK— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 20, 2015
UPDATE - Fabulous catch by Philip Klein here:
Obama wants to punish Israel for Bibi’s pre-election comments — but why wasn’t Rouhani punished for his? http://t.co/6ETkzZ5gvF— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) March 20, 2015
Obama reportedly dressed Netanyahu down provocative pre-election remarks (which Phil contextualizes in the piece) in a "congratulatory" phone call, but was quick to offer an 'attaboy' to Iran's new president, who boasted of...manipulating international nuclear negotiators prior to "winning" his "election."