Pardon me, but this deal gives me a stomach ache. It is really an issue of fundamental trust. Have to watch out who you get in bed with. Anyone care to make a little wager?
I thought that this Amy Goodman interview with Flynt Leverett was interesting. He is an ex senior analyst at the CIA, Middle East specialist for the State Department, and was senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council. Long thought to be Teheran's man in Washington. Extremely anti Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the pending Iranian nuclear deal being sought by the international negotiators. This is what he said.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: [translated] Iran does not hide its intention to continue its murderous aggression, even against those with which it is negotiating. Perhaps there is somebody among the powers who is willing to capitulate to the reality that Iran is dictating, which includes its repeated calls for the destruction of Israel. We will not accept this.
AMY GOODMAN: Flynt Leverett, your response?
FLYNT LEVERETT: Well, I mean, certainly no surprise that Prime Minister Netanyahu would say that. You know, America’s traditional allies in the region—Israel and Saudi Arabia—both have been working to undermine a deal. Even if they are not able to stop a deal—and I don’t think they will be—they are working very hard to put as much pressure as possible on the United States so that a nuclear agreement doesn’t become a critical first step in a broader realignment of U.S.-Iranian relations.
My own view, my wife and I, both in government and in the years since we left government, have argued vociferously that, for its own interest, the United States desperately needs to come to terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, this increasingly important power in the Middle East. It needs to balance its traditional, but increasingly dysfunctional, relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia with strategically grounded engagement with Iran. This nuclear deal could be a critical first step in that direction. It’s one of the reasons that I’m here, to try and help make that argument.
But, you know, there are a lot of pressures on the Obama administration, and I’m not sure there’s a real consensus within the administration to use a nuclear agreement, which, as I said, I think we will get here within relatively short order—I don’t think there’s that kind of consensus within the administration to use a deal as the springboard for what I think is an imperative realignment of U.S. relations with Iran. The U.S. needs to revamp its approach to the Middle East. And a critical, essential step in that revamping will be realigning U.S. relations with Iran.
AMY GOODMAN: The Republican majority is expected to vote against the deal and to try to convince at least 12 Democrats to join their ranks in an attempt to defeat a presidential veto. Flynt Leverett, explain what has to happen in the United States for the U.S. to approve this. What is the voting that will take place?
FLYNT LEVERETT: Yes. Both houses of Congress will have 60 days to review the agreement once it’s finalized. I think it is quite possible, if not likely, that a simple majority of members in each house will vote a so-called resolution of disapproval in regard to the agreement. At that point, President Obama has said that he would veto those resolutions of disapproval. And at this point, the White House seems pretty confident that they have the votes, at least in the Senate, and perhaps in the House, as well, to sustain President Obama’s veto. So, they are confident that if you can get to an agreement here in Vienna, that it will ultimately get through the congressional review process and will go into effect.
But obviously, during the next—you know, the 60 days following a conclusion of an agreement, the Israelis, the Saudis, their friends and allies in the American political system, others who don’t want to see this agreement go forward are going to be working very hard, trying to turn public opinion against the deal and trying to build congressional support to maximize the vote against the deal.
Public opinion polls would show that Americans are open to supporting this deal, but one of the things I really worry about is that President Obama himself has not really made the strategic case for why doing this deal and for why building a different kind of relationship with Iran is so strongly in America’s interest. He either talks about this as a kind of narrow arms control agreement, but Iran is still this very bad actor, or he talks about it in terms of it being an opportunity for Iran to rejoin the international community, as he puts it. This is not the way to sell this deal to Americans. Americans understand that what the United States has been doing in the Middle East for the last decade and a half has actually been profoundly against American interests. It’s also been very damaging to Middle Easterners. But it has been profoundly damaging to America’s position in this critical part of the world and globally. President Obama has a chance here to begin to turn that around and put U.S. policy toward the Middle East on a more different and more productive trajectory, but he is going to have to make the strategic case—
AMY GOODMAN: Flynt Leverett, we’re going to have to—
FLYNT LEVERETT: —spend the political capital necessary to make the strategic case.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there, but we’ll continue to follow this, of course.This has been the goal of many in the State Department and Obama White House for years. Time for a reset in the middle east. Israel, you are now officially out. Saudis, 'bout time you built your bomb.
|Iranians walk by former U.S. Embassy (Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images)|
Our objective was to have the nuclear program and have sanctions lifted. At first they wanted us to have 100 centrifuges now we will have 6,000. They wanted restrictions of 25 years now its 8. First they said we could only have IR1 centrifuges, now we can have IR6, 7, and 8, advanced centrifuges. Heavy water plant at Arak had to be dismantled but now it will remain with heavy water under conditions. Fordo had to be closed now we will have 1000 centrifuges there. President Hassan RouhaniYou really showed them, Barack.