October 24, 2014

Iran Could Win Major Post-Election Concessions From Obama

The president’s “inherent resolve” against Iran’s nuclear program may be weakening.

While U.S. boots in the air conduct airstrikes in Operation Inherent Resolve against the ISIL shadow state, the Obama administration’s resolve against Iran’s nuclear program may be weakening. The self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for this round of negotiations with Iran and the world powers of China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the United States approaches. And Barack Obama is reportedly amenable to a deal that would allow Iran to more than triple the number of centrifuges it has in operation, as well as allow a suspension of economically crippling sanctions.

Needless to say, Israel objects to the idea. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “We are standing before the danger of an agreement that will leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges through which Iran can manufacture the material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time.”

The leader of the free world was blunt in his assessment. “This is a threat to the entire world,” Netanyahu said, “first and foremost to Israel, and it is much worse than the threat of Islamic State.”

Indeed, a nuclear Iran is in no way desirable, and Congress would likely balk at any attempt to negotiate away sanctions without conclusive proof Iran has terminated its nuclear ambitions once and for all. But a recent hush-hush Treasury Department report indicated Obama can suspend many of the sanctions imposed on Iran, at least temporarily, without going through Congress.

Word of that report outraged Congress and sent White House mouthpieces to the microphone to deny everything. “The notion that we are trying to avoid congressional consultation and input on this is preposterous,” sputtered White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “We will continue to consult with Congress heavily.”

The Obama administration has since made a show of trying to win over Congress and U.S. allies to a potential deal.

But Obama has a track record of working outside normal channels and absent congressional approval on a host of domestic issues like ObamaCare and immigration. It’s not too much of a stretch to think he’ll take advantage of some post-midterm “flexibility” to anger both Congress and our more resolute allies in these negotiations by giving away a bargaining chip or two. Especially given that the agreement won’t be a treaty requiring congressional approval.

We’d have to agree with the assessment of Ali Younesi, senior adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Obama is the weakest of U.S. presidents.”

Meanwhile, with Israel threatened by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, we have to ask the question of whether a capitulation to Iran will be followed by Israeli military action. Such a strike may trigger a wider war that would make the ISIL offensive look like a Sunday picnic and make a lot of nations strange bedfellows. Given the twin prospects of executive-ordered amnesty and executive-enabled nuclear Iran, the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress should be an interesting one.

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