Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Another Iran Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry, having helped negotiate  a preliminary deal with Iran on its nuclear program, tried to be conciliatory in interviews regrading the role of Congress to weigh in on any final deal, saying that he welcomed the opportunity to let it do so.  Alas, he got his wish.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee. unanimously voted to forward to the full Senate a bill that gave Congress to look at the final Iran deal and, if it does not like it, reject it, and President Obama pledged not to veto it.  Also, it calls for a 30-day review period to prevent the White House from lifting sanctions he imposed on Iran through executive order, as opposed to the originally proposed 60-day period.
Although this compromise allowed the bill authorizing congressional review of the Iran deal to proceed in a bipartisan fashion, I'm not sure it will work out satisfactorily.  A congressional vote against the deal would be nonbinding and could still be vetoed by Obama, but sanctions on Iran imposed by Congress are unlikely to be lifted, which, I presume, would theoretically undermine any deal that would be finalized by June 30.  Congress is controlled by a majority of folks who want to undermine the President and, for all I know, want to avenge the 1979-81 hostage crisis, or like Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a Democrat, just don't trust Iran.  Although the deal is based on such distrust, many Republicans believe the deal gives Iran too many concessions already, and Schumer, who is Jewish, must clearly be afraid of Iran's growing influence in the region and its effect on Israel.
But, mostly, it's about reactionary Republicans who to deny the President a foreign policy victory.  Obama's foreign policy approval rating is still low, and the Republicans would like to push it even lower.  Gee, a black President scoring a nuclear deal with an Islamic republic, possible peace with Cuba - what's next,  stabilization of Iraq?  That would be a calamity - there's no money in it!
I don't know how any of this is going to play, and with regard to Iran, I think it's possible that the deal can still be derailed - like so many other of Obama's initiatives, both foreign and domestic, have already been.  But I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

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