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Michael Swartz / Jun. 26, 2015

Iran Deal Is Nothing but Legacy for Obama, Kerry

Good deal, bad deal — it doesn’t matter so long as there is a deal.

If you think we’ve seen this all before, you’re probably correct. As the deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran looms, the diplomats wring their hands about the pitfalls of missing this date before conceding that still more discussion is needed and another few months will finally — finally — bring about the agreement they seek.

Unfortunately, the real question is whether the deal Barack Obama and John Kerry are working toward is one with which the U.S. can actually live. Senator and presidential contender Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was prescient when he said, “I think this deal is deteriorating before our eyes. If something doesn’t change, this is a disaster in the making.”

While Kerry is getting predictable praise in leftist quarters for going the extra mile to secure a deal, there are a lot of concerns about what Iran is getting. First of all, the Iranians insist that all sanctions be “lifted immediately” upon acceptance, while the other P5+1 nations are promising Iran the newest in nuclear technology in order for Iran to maintain a peaceful program. Though the non-proliferation treaty more or less requires that technology agreement even for problem nations like Iran, this concession guarantees some nation(s) will have a vested interest in keeping things going even if/when Iran violates the agreement and edges toward joining the nuclear weapons club.

It’s also worth pointing out that we’ve reached agreements with other nations only to drop the ball on ensuring compliance by the other side. The Wall Street Journal cites a Government Accounting Office report on our successes with a 2006 non-proliferation agreement. Needless to say, the success is lacking: “GAO found that State had failed to establish a basic process to meet its obligations under the 2006 Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act,” they wrote. Additionally, they note this from the report: “‘Prolonged delays in eventually imposing INKSNA sanctions could erode the credibility of such threats and INKSNA’s utility as a tool in helping to curb weapons of mass destruction proliferation,’ GAO concluded. State knew of 23 people involved in sanctions-busting activities in 2011 but only imposed sanctions last December.”

So the Obama track record on enforcement is lacking already, and Iran is practically double-dog-daring him to sign an agreement because the mullahs know as well as we do that Obama’s and Kerry’s legacies are at stake. Any fallout (and we use the word intentionally) from this bargain will likely occur after Obama and Kerry have left their respective offices.

And thanks to the ill-considered Corker-Cardin deal, the Senate will have a hard time stopping any bad pact. That’s doubly worrisome given that even some Democrats are expressing skepticism of the deal because international inspectors won’t be allowed on Iranian military sites. But while Democrats may privately fret about losing a few votes back home, they dare not cross their president on such a key legacy issue. A bad deal isn’t a big deal when the alternative is the loss of their last seat of power.

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