WithAmerican and Iranian negotiators streaming into Geneva for the next round of nucleartalks, there's been no shortage of official rhetoric coming from Washington.The Obama administration argues that the deal wrests real concessions from theIranians in exchange for only modest sanctions relief.
As the United States and other worldpowers resume nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva, Barack Obama's administrationis pushing hard not only to wrap up a short-term nuclear deal with the roguenation, but also to dissuade Congress from imposing any new sanctions on theIranian nuclear program.
Congresshas spent the past three years imposing tough sanctions on Iran that aredesigned to cripple its economy and force Tehran to abandon its nuclearambitions. In recent weeks, a parade of congressmen and senators have demandedthat those sanctions stay in place, never mind the nuclear talks betweenWashington and Tehran.
While lawmakers are still debatingthe merits of the interim deal with Iran, Washington seems to agree on at leastone thing: sanctions work. The U.S. program to cut Iran off from theinternational financial system is widely viewed as successful -- the onlydebate in Congress is whether to ratchet up sanctions now, or later.
From Ian:Bayit Yehudi's Ben-Dahan: Kerry giving legitimacy to terror, not a worthy mediatorBayit Yehudi deputy minister Eli Ben-Dahan lashed out at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday night, saying that he had given legitimacy to terror and was not worthy to serve as mediator to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Here Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warning the North Koreans today, saying they must stop with the provocative acts. They fired artillery into South Korean waters, which prompted an artillery response from South Korea today.
So I see that Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to brief the Senate on why it should cool it with the Iran sanctions did not go terribly well. At all. Republican senators sharply criticized the administration’s closed-door presentation to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, an appeal that was designed to convince them to hold off on a new round of sanctions against Iran.
I think it's safe to say that the Middle East is in flux. It's during moments like these, when uncertainty seems to be pretty high, that a grand strategy is useful. A key point of a good grand strategy is to guide action when new circumstances present themselves.
The world's nuclear weapons proliferators watch each other. Theylook for warnings and opportunities in how their peers are treated. Iran haltedits nuclear weapons development after Saddam was toppled for several years.Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi also got cold feet.
The latest round ofnuclear negotiations with Iran, the April 8-9 talks that just concluded inVienna, marked a midpoint between the interim accord of Jan. 20 and the July 20date to sign a permanent deal.
Three top senators, including two Democrats, have beguncirculating a draft of a new Iran sanctions bill that critics say couldviolate the terms of an agreement struck between Iran and the United States in Geneva last month. The bill, set for introduction by the Democraticchairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, alongwith top sanctions hawks Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.
Barack Obama'sadministration is under the gun to produce a "final" agreement justifying its six-monthsweetener for Iran. In return for cessation of progress in the country's nuclearprograms, Iran has received some sanctions relief.
From Ian:Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians' "Anti-Normalization" MovementPalestinian Authority security forces used force to disperse and arrest Palestinian activists who tried to prevent Indians from performing a dance in Ramallah on April 12.
Commenting on last weekend's Iran deal, today's New York Times reports: White House officials suggest that the president always planned to arrive at this moment, and that everything that came before it -- from the troop surge in Afghanistan to the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden -- was cleaning up after his predecessor. Let's consider that claim.
A few weeks ago Zbigniew Brzezinski, responding to another anti-Iran NY Times editorial, mused to his Twitter followers, "Do our Middle East "allies" really have our best interests at heart when they clamor for us to go to war for them?" Those allies are are Israel, Saudi Arabia and it's Gulf satellites and Turkey, all with their own national interests and obviously the answer to the question is "
GENEVA - The historic nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and five other world powers early Sunday morning represents the biggest gamble of President Barack Obama's presidency, and the success or failure of that bet will have serious repercussions for the administration's standing on Capitol Hill, Washington's relationships with Israel and other Middle Eastern allies, and the national
China's unilateral declaration of an air defenseidentification zone (ADIZ) over waters and islands claimed and administered byboth Japan and South Korea has prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo, Seoul,Canberra, Taipei, and other regional capitals. Statements by U.S. Secretary ofState John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asserting that Beijing'sannouncement will have no impact on U.