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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

President Obama said last September, “I was elected to end wars, not start them.” Unfortunately, dozens of U.S. senators believe they have a different mandate.

In the aftermath of the historic preliminary nuclear deal forged between Iran and six world powers, lawmakers in both the United States and Iran are doing their best to stop any permanent progress.

A Senate bill supported by 15 Democrats — including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Casey (D-PA) — along with 19 Republican co-sponsors would implement new sanctions on the Persian nation if it doesn’t immediately abandon all uranium enrichment, even for peaceful purposes.

Proposed legislation in the Iranian parliament would immediately increase enrichment beyond terms set in the temporary agreement if new sanctions go into effect.

Threatening to double down on sanctions would make sense as punishment for negotiations failing, but these senators are issuing a punishment for Iran coming to the table and making its first agreement with the international community in years.

“Members of Congress pressing for this bill are effectively choosing to close the door on diplomacy, making it far more likely that we’ll be left only with a military option,” an administration official told the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent. This contradicts claims from the right that the pressure of more sanctions will force Iran to make an agreement.

While Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued that Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” his country’s own intelligence suggests otherwise. “Expert analysis does not view Rouhani’s election as a deception by Khamenei intended solely to mislead the West, but rather as an authentic leader who is creating an independent power center,” reports Haaretz’s Amos Harel.

Hardliners could seize on new U.S. sanctions as proof that the outreach of their new president is doomed, ending this historic opportunity.

The end of negotiations may lead to the collapse of the fragile international sanctions regime, leaving America with only two options: military action or containment.

Those demanding an immediate end to enrichment would likely be unsatisfied with any continuation of Iran’s military program, making an attack inevitable and only an invasion could prevent the regime from eventually reconstituting and building a weapon, experts including Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution argue.

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • sigrid28

    This bill represents the same kind of saber-rattling with respect to Iran that accompanied the president’s success in waiting out his critics to finesses a bloodless resolution to the problem of chemical weapons in Syria–it might even be part of his plan. The Senate passes a bill, maybe even the House, and he vetoes it as he said he would, given what his administration has said in negotiations with Iran greater credence, until the nuclear threat is averted, diminished, and then disappears. This administration is expert at letting the forces of both sides play out in predictable ways and then proceeding to do what it thinks will bring about a decent resolution, based on expert opinion and intel, not public opinion. These Democrats seem more worried about re-election than strife in the Middle East, while the Republicans who aren’t just being oppositional are showing their allegiance to the discredited polities of the neocons.

  • Sand_Cat

    To answer the title, because they’re lily-livered idiots who haven’t the guts to question
    the prevailing opinion ginned up by the opposition and the president himself.

  • idamag

    War mongers know no party. Hotheads know no intelligence. Those senators won’t have to send their sons and daughters to endless deployments. They won’t have to see their sons and daughters suffer form PSTD. They won’t have to welcome them back minus limbs, and sight. They don’t think about war having a negative impact on anyone who fights in it. They don’t think about the negative impact on the economy.

  • barneybolt12

    A quote from R.W.Emerson “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”

  • howa4x

    This represents the fusion of war hawk republicans like McCain and Graham with senators from states with large Jewish populations who follow the lead of Netanyahu who is drumming up the dark vision of a Iranian first strike against Israel. Even Israeli’s don’t want to start a war with Iran. We can’t afford another war on the credit card since we are still involved with Afghanistan. Where are all the republican deficit hawks? They have to realize that wars run up the red ink. Our military doesn’t want this conflict either so these senators seem to be hearing the beat of a different drum. I would hope Obama will let them know that more sanctions are DOA on his desk.

    • sigrid28

      They were informed the minute the bill came together.

  • Kurt CPI

    Well folks, here’s some late breaking news – it’s all about the oil!. Iran is like the NFL team that can’t make it into the playoffs even if they win all their games, but can dash the hopes of teams who do have a shot by defeating them. Instability in the Middle East has a direct bearing on the oil supply and, make no mistake about it, the US along with most other industrial nations, cannot function with out it. If there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of a politician it’s being blamed for a short supply of energy, or being accused of not taking action to prevent it. Everything you and I do, all day long, every day – from the minute we press the snooze button on our alarm clocks – involves oil in some way or another. The nation building, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and support for Israel are all about insuring that the flow of oil doesn’t cease.

  • Just why are an overwhelming number of Democratic and Republican senators willing to push for more sanctions? Let’s see, Rouhani tweets out Iran has fooled the West on the deal; Iran hasn’t released one political prisoner or halted any more public hangings; Iran continues to fight in Syria and support Hezbollah; and wait, it added more hardliners to its negotiating team! Come on people, it’s a government who’s constitution grants supreme veto powers to the religious head! That’s like having the President answer to the Pope, in this case, the Pope wants nukes. If Iran makes no concrete and overt act to demonstrate it has changed its tune, then why all of the sudden the rush to embrace Rouhani simply because he smiles and has a Twitter account (a social media service by the way that ordinary Iranians are BANNED from using!)?