Just when President Obama's signature health care law, his supposed legacy, fails miserably he manages to make a deal with Iran on their nuclear development. His is the "first administration in decades" to negotiate successfully with Iran. But is it a good deal and what will the cost be to the United States?
The United States currently lists Iran as a state sponsor of international terror. Iran is a self-sworn enemy of Israel and has vowed more than once to "wipe Israel off the map." For several years they have ignored U.N. demands to curtail their program to refine nuclear material for the purpose of building weapons of mass destruction. And now, with a deal that lifts sanctions and increases money flowing into the country, we're going to trust them to do an about face?
"Iran is an enemy," former Senator Joe Lieberman said on Monday. "tthere is American blood on Iranian hands" going back to the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983 by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant organization. "The Iranians have a terrible record of not keeping agreements and frankly of lying. This deal sends a signal to the world to start doing business with Iran again."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal is "a historic mistake" and has vowed to protect Israel from Iran at all costs.
U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser, Tony Blinken, said "Israel is right to be skeptical. An Iranian bomb would present an existential threat to Israel, and we have exactly the same goal, which is to prevent Iran from getting a bomb," Blinken said. "There may be tactical differences in how we get there."
Even prominent Democrats are criticizing the deal.
"Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions," Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said over the weekend. "That is not a proportionate agreement."
Lindsay Graham, (R) South Carolina, said "we had the chance to deliver a body blow. The sanctions actually worked but this interim deal gives the Iranian's $7 billion in cash and leaves in place one of the most sophisticated enrichment programs around," Graham said.
Defending the deal, Tony Blinken went on to say "if we could have gotten an entire freeze of their program right away in one fell swoop, of course, we would have done it. But the Iranians were not prepared to go there. It would take a long time to negotiate that," he told CNN. "Indeed, that's what we're trying to get to. In the interim, what we didn't want to happen was for the Iranians to be talking to us and the rest of the international community and using the cover of talks to keep advancing their program. This shuts down the program for making progress. It rolls it back."
He added, "we are not taking the sanctions away. The existing sanctions will continue to be implemented," Blinken said. "And indeed, the amount of relief that Iran gets during the six-month period will be dwarfed by the sanctions that accumulate during this period. So the pressure on Iran is not going away. To the contrary, it's going to grow during the six months.
When Democrats criticize the President, as has happened quite a bit in the last week or so, you know there's a problem. Iran continues to claim that its nuclear program is for energy only but only a handful of people, including our president, it seems, believes them. President Obama once said Iran has a right to develop nuclear energy. Really? Who gave them that right? Iran has a history of violence, a history of oppression, a history of lying and a history of threatening to destroy Israel. It seems to me, given that long and sordid history, they've given up the right to develop an energy source capable of wiping out a small country.
Even as a bipartisan group of Senators is drafting new and increased sanctions against Iran, President Obama has defended his deal saying "we cannot close the door on diplomacy. Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it's not the right thing to do for our security,"
I've got news for you, Mr. President. Allowing Iran to attain refined nuclear material capable of becoming a nuclear weapon isn't "the right thing to do for our security" either.
One can't help but wonder if this bad deal is an attempt by President Obama to add to his legacy. Like the bad health care law, he may see a bad deal as better than no deal when it comes to his legacy. It's the first time in over 30 years that an American administration has negotiated a deal with Iran. But this deal is reminiscent of the deals we made with the Soviet Union on arms limitation, even as the Soviets continued to increase their stockpiles and move them around strategically. If we learned nothing else from the Soviet deals it should be that bad guys don't keep their promises.
But wait... just last week we learned that President Obama doesn't either.