The Associated Press has filed a report on the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and it’s a remarkable piece of work. Rarely will you see so much partisan political spin packed into so few column inches. Headlined “US faces last best chance on Iran nuke deal,” the ostensibly objective article depicts heroic efforts by the administration to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb “before skeptical Republicans who will control Congress next year can scuttle it.” There’s not a bit of skepticism on the part of the Associated Press about the proposed deal, which we are told “would deliver a foreign policy triumph for the White House,” so the reader is left to surmise that those dastardly Republicans would rather imperil world peace than allow the president a political victory.
This will be the official version of the story, as well, but only for so long as it suits official purposes. The article helpfully explains that the administration is hoping that its soaring rhetoric and charming nature will have fully pacified Iran after 35 years of its relentless belligerence by Nov. 24, because that’s when an agreed-upon “deadline” for negotiations occurs, but given the flexible nature of diplomacy and the administration’s disregard for deadlines in presenting its legally-required budget proposals or implementing Obamacare the authors don’t bother to deny that the real cut-off date in the negotiations coincides with the installation of a Republican Senate majority on the third of January. Until then, the White House will be counting on such sympathetic press coverage to sell the idea that whatever it gets out of its many months of desperate pleading is some sort of deus ex machina that must be ratified by a lame duck Senate right this very moment before Republican skullduggery or some other pesky sort of public scrutiny blows the historic opportunity for a lasting peace with the Islamic Republic.
Afterwards, though, the official version of the story will likely be that we should learn to stop worrying and love the Iranian bomb. The president’s apologetic public pronouncements and private correspondence to the Iranian regime have been met with rhetoric more contemptuous that anything even the most “tea party” Republican muster, the Iranians seem to have figured out that the threatened sanctions only last until they agree to continue the endless negotiations, there is no worry that the administration will support any popular uprising that might result from the country’s economic woes, America clearly poses no military threat to the regime for at least the next two years, administration officials have boasted of restraining an Israeli threat and would clearly intervene against any threats by the Sunni and Arab nations who feel threatened by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, so it’s hard to see why the Iranians would suddenly be inclined to cut a deal favorable to the interests of the Great Satan. Nor is there any reason to believe the Iranians can be trusted to follow through on any concessions they might make, as their long history has apparently continued right through the last round of negotiations. Nor is there any reason to believe that the administration really cares what happens after a deal is reached so long as they can get one in time for the Associated Press and like-minded media to proclaim it a foreign policy triumph.
The president continues to insist that “Our number one priority with respect to Iran is making sure they don’t get a nuclear weapon,” and is quoted saying so without any apparent skepticism in all the stories, but the position is never fully explained. He’s already acceded the Iranian regime the right to enrich uranium and pursue a civilian nuclear program in its oil-rich country, apologized for America’s alleged misdeeds against the Islamic Republic, carefully avoided any mention of Iran’s many misdeeds against America, declared to the assembled United Nations that no nation has the right to dictate to another, saved his administration’s foul-mouthed insults and dictates about housing policy and other internal matters for Israel, so it’s hard to imagine his rationale for denying one of the wretched of the earth a mere nuclear bomb or two. He’s also failed to explain exactly what America will do about it if the Iranians persist in building a nuclear weapon, and we have no confidence the Iranians are cowed by the prospect of a more sternly worded speech.
Any deal that emerges from this hurried mess of dealing from weakness will warrant far more skepticism than the Associated Press can muster. and should be subject to a sufficient period of public deliberation. Iran must promise a complete halt to all of nuclear weapons research and development, completely reliable verification systems must be established, a threat of force if all conditions are not met must be included, and some explanation for why such an inexplicable breakthrough has occurred other than the irresistible appeal of Secretary of State John Kerry must be offered. Otherwise, we’re siding with those dastardly Republicans who would rather imperil world peace than allow the president a political victory.
— Bud Norman