What Do You Think About the Deal With Iran?

The negotations with Iran over its nuclear development policy are teetering:

World powers failed to reach an interim deal with Iran over its disputed nuclear program after lengthy talks in Geneva despite days of encouraging signs from the White House that a deal was imminent.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, said talks will resume on Nov. 20 in Geneva.

Ashton said there had been, “concrete progress but some differences remain,” BBC reports.

The news came as Secretary of State John Kerry was joined by foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany to hold a series of meetings with each other and with Iran’s delegation, headed by Zarif.

France in particular objected to the proposed deal, questioning whether it would go far enough to limit Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, AFP reported. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Iran’s continued operations at its Arak nuclear reactor and its enriched uranium stockpiles should be addressed to remove Iran from the path of developing the capability to build a nuclear weapon without detection

I think it’s refreshing that we’re not the bad guy in this. The French have taken up that role. I think that John Kerry is an idiot and anything with his fingerprints on it is automatically suspect. I also think that our policies with respect to foreign policy, nuclear proliferation, and Iran’s nuclear development program in particular have been wrong-headed—simultaneously too bellicose and unconvincing.

I’m struggling to form an opinion on the emerging deal with Iran. What do you think?

13 comments… add one
  • michael reynolds Link

    Well, we don’t have a deal yet, so it’s hard to judge. But in general it’s a good idea.

    There’s nothing necessary or useful in our mutual distrust and hostility with Iran. They are a real country, unlike many in the neighborhood, with an educated populace ready to make nice with the West. They have a legitimate right to be seen as a regional power. And as bad as they are — hanging gay kids, using brown shirts against protesters, backing Assad and Hezbollah — they are an oasis of human rights and democracy compared to Saudi Arabia.

    Right now we are pretty squarely positioned on the Sunni side of the street (Hah!) by way of our close relationship with Saudi Arabia and their various vassal states. But that’s a thousand year sectarian war and we don’t have a dog in that fight.

    We do have a close relationship with Israel, and Israel – at least Likud – clearly wants us to start a war with Iran. I don’t think we want to do that, in fact I’m sure we don’t.

    In the end Saudi and Israel don’t have a second choice for Superpower Sponsor. There’s us, and then there’s nobody. The Chinese don’t play those games, and the Russians are a weak alternative with no history of liking either government. So Saudi and Israel have a choice: they can have a Pax Americana in the Persian Gulf – if we pull this off – or they can storm off and pout.

    Peace in the Gulf is obviously good for business, may have some positive effect on human rights, and would make our bases and interests more secure.

    But to circle back, it all depends on the nature of the deal. If Iran is looking for a way to draw the line at “potential weapons capability” rather than “actual weapons capability,” and stick to the deal, great. If they’re just playing us and going ahead with building the potential for weapons, then we have an arms race and that’s not great.

  • they are an oasis of human rights and democracy compared to Saudi Arabia.

    The choice is between vampires and the Mafia. How do you go about making a determination as to which is worse?

    Since the Iranian Revolution the government of Iran has murdered more than 4,000 male and female homosexuals and at least 10,000 political opponents. I think that dwarfs whatever total the Saudis have been able to rack up.

  • jan Link

    The ethnically-Persian Iran created the game of chess, and it has been inferred that the U.S. only knows how to play checkers. In other words, we are easily duped and very unsophisticated (gullible) in how to deal with the wily negotiations of a nation such as Iran.

    President Obama, though, has been open to establishing a friendlier alliance with Iran since he entered office. Now that Rouhani has become the new, milder face of the government, this ‘openness’ has evolved into an eagerness — something very apparent during that much highlighted phone call between the two leaders recently. However, many don’t share the same optimism about Rouhani, and view his demeanor as being superficial, not sincere, in order to get what he wants — sanctions either reduced or entirely removed, as they continue on with their goals of uranium enrichment and accessing nuclear weapon capability. This realization was speculated last month to be maybe only a month away, while the Obama Administration is estimating the same eventuality to be in one year’s time.

    Nonetheless, there are suggestions that deals or assurances have already been secretly made with Iran, that we are willing players to address their sanction requests, as long as they at least slow down (freeze) their nuclear program, in exchange for the U.S. lifting it’s sanctions. This is viewed as only a meager ‘time out’ by many ME analysts — nothing really gained in the deal for us, but a lot for the Iranians, in lieu of the duress their economy is experiencing under the U.S. imposed sanctions. It is further said that if such a pseudo agreement is reached, pleasing Obama, it will not necessarily go over well with other ME countries or allies — especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are even rumors percolating that the Saudis are trying to purchase their own nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Other nations, in the area, are said to likely follow suite, just to stay on par with the ME bully, Iran. So, ultimately, this agreement-in-the-making, emphasizing peace and supposedly stemming nuclear proliferation, may actually have the unintended consequences of being a catalyst for the opposite outcome — increasing nukes in the ME region.

  • Michael Reynolds Link

    Iran has a much bigger population and we don’t know what’s going on in the KSA because they have nothing close to a free press and have outlawed all non-conforming faith groups which might otherwise provide a check. Iran votes, has relatively equal rights for women, elements … But yeah not nice people.

    As usual…never mind, it’s pointless.

  • jan Link

    BTW, after the Geneva P5 + 1 negotiations were suspended, without any agreement being forged, Sen. McCain tweeted “Viva La France!” giving the French credit for having the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement from happening with Iran. Apparently, it was France, not Kerry representing the U.S., who voiced concerns about Iran’s lack of ‘guarantees’ in the agreement. In return Iran called France a ‘spoiled sport’ for their firm and cautious intervention.

    I think that John Kerry is an idiot and anything with his fingerprints on it is automatically suspect.

    I second that comment. Kerry is nothing more than a hero-want-to-be. He stumbled, giving Russia the idea of how to lead the U.S. out of it’s star-crossed “red line” blunder with Syria. And, now both him and Obama are spinning it as some kind of ingenious machination of theirs, rather than a redirected flub giving Putin, not only the lead, but also more credibility (as Obama & the U.S. got less), and a better world image to boot! How is the chemical clean-up going in Syria, anyway? One hears very little about that ravaged country, anymore.

    However, I’m sure the inability to make nice with Iran was pretty disappointing for Kerry/Obama, as it put on hold the opportunity to hurry over to a microphone with glowing words about our “growing and improved relationships with Iran,” dismissing any down-stream ill effects such an ill-conceived plan may have on our allies, or in the near future of a nuclear-Iran world.

  • jan Link


    When you start thinking you’re invincible is the point when you’re not.

  • steve Link

    “Kerry is nothing more than a hero-want-to-be.”

    More demeaning of a guy who actually served during a war, under hostile fire? Swift Boat just won’t die.

    Back on topic, there is no deal so hard to form an opinion. I think we should put our interests first, and we need to stop acting as a client state for Israel. Iran doesnt have mad mullahs. It plays by Cold War proxy rules. I have a hard time seeing them as anymore of a threat to us than was Iraq.


  • I have a hard time seeing them as anymore of a threat to us than was Iraq.

    Other than they’re not Arabs, they have tremendously more social cohesion than Iraq ever had, and Iraq was never on the brink of having nuclear weapons, that might be right.

  • steve Link

    They have been on the brink of having nukes since the 1990s. At any rate, nukes have not been used since Japan as an offensive weapon. They are a deterrence weapon. Given what happened in Iraq, Iran should want them. It would keep a US president from attacking them for trumped up reasons. (Let’s face it, the only country likely to invade them is the US.) We shouldnt want them to have them since we are better off if there are fewer nukes around. Their incentives for wanting them are existential, ours are political. Unless we are willing to invade and occupy Iran, it seems inevitable they will have them if they want them. They will want them as long as the US remains hostile.


  • michael reynolds Link


    That’s well put.

    Neither the KSA nor Iran is a threat to us. Either could be a threat to oil supplies or to Israel, but neither threatens us directly. But the more dangerous country is easy to point to: Saudi Arabia. That’s where Al Qaeda comes from. That’s where Al Qaeda gets their religious, ideological and financial support. Iranians did not fly jets into the World Trade Center, Saudis did. Iran doesn’t ban Jews or Christians, the Saudi Arabia does. Iran doesn’t force half its population to wear pup tents, the KSA does. Iran’s record on gays is despicable, but so is Saudi Arabia’s.

    Iran borders Afghanistan and Pakistan – both major trouble spots. Iran could be helpful. They could also be helpful in Lebanon and by extension Israel. A real detente with Iran would mean we could draw down forces in the Gulf. It would lessen tensions in Bahrain.

  • Red Barchetta Link

    “When you start thinking you’re invincible is the point when you’re not.”

    I wonder if Michael knows that your skepticism, jan, is very similar to that expressed by Leon Panetta, whose views Mr. Obama deemed worthy enough for him to be his CIA and Defense head. Maybe Mr. Obama made a mistake, and should have appointed Michael (snicker).

  • jan Link

    I think that both Steve and Michael are coming down with the Ostrich flu, causing them to put their heads in the sand when guesstimating what kind of a threat Iran poses, not only to us but to the stability of the world.

    The Washington Institute for Near East Policy posted this less-than-encouraging analysis of Iran last year. It goes into a retrospective observation of their past aggressive involvements with terrorism.

    Iran has backed not only militant groups in its Persian Gulf neighborhood but also radicals and armed groups
    in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, by providing funds, weapons, training, and safe haven.
    Among the many groups that Tehran sponsors are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC), Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas, and Iraqi Shia militias. Other relationships are less well known. Consider, for example, Iran’s ties to Somalia’s al-Shabab.

    It was a well known fact that Iran armed rebels in Iraq, creating immense stumbling blocks for Americans in their post-Saddam Hussein era of attempting to bring order, free elections and stability to the country. In fact, with Hezbollah acting as their terrorist proxy, their fingerprints are found almost anywhere a terrorist act is committed. Currently their presence is growing and spreading in Africa, with emphasis on “proselytizing and recruitment, and arms smuggling.” Do you really want to suddenly change course, extend trust and take away the only tool that has held Iran more in bay — economic sanctions — with such a long term, aggressively militant agitator and promoter of terrorism?

    Last year even Canada’s PM Harper severed diplomatic ties with Iran, citing them as being a sponsor of terror:

    “This is a regime that, among its many wrongs, does not respect normal practices of diplomatic immunity,” Harper told reporters today in Vladivostok, Russia, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. “The risks to our diplomats just keep going up, so ever since last year, we have been scaling down our presence and I think this is the best decision in terms of our ability to protect our people and conduct foreign policy.”

    However, Michael seems to think “There’s nothing necessary or useful in our mutual distrust and hostility with Iran.”, which Steve augments by saying, ” I have a hard time seeing them as anymore of a threat to us than was Iraq.” As for us being called a “client state” for Israel — they are at least steadfast allies surviving as a democratically-run country, in the midst of Islamic chaos.

    As an aside, even though Syria seems to be out of the headlines these days, according to long-time ME independent reporter, Michael Yon, the war there is far from deescalating .

    The Syrian war is still growing and spilling over. There is no end in sight. At this rate, this war will come to bite Europe and possibly the United States in a big way. Syria is on course to becoming a “Taliban Afghanistan” on the Med.

    Over a hundred journalists have been killed or vanished. I am staying with about a dozen Syrian “revolutionaries” in Turkey near the border. Al Qaeda has been closing in on the border, and threatening attacks inside Turkey. This is massively complex.

  • TastyBits Link

    Iran is going to have nuclear weapons and regional delivery systems if they want them. It is in their best interest to have them. Now is the time for people to come to terms with this.

    I forgot about Saudi Arabia’s other option. Go nuclear. They have invested heavily in Pakistan’s nuclear program, and they can have nuclear weapons quickly.

    They may also decide that they want to actively support terrorist groups as Iran does. The Middle East would become a smaller version of the Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The nuclear armed principles would use terrorist proxies.

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