Obama Believed that Any Deal is Better than No Deal

Obama knew exactly what he was doing.

Ted Belman,

OpEds Ted Belman
Ted Belman

Some of the media have suggested that US President Barack Obama was naive or misguided - or a poor negotiator -  and therefore ended up with such a bad deal.This would be true if one believes that Obama really wants what he said he wanted. I,however, don't believe that anyone could be so inept. I must conclude that he has lied all along about what he wants and was merely saying what he said as a cover for his true goals.

At one point in the negotiations, Iran was down for the count. Rather than delivering a coup de gras by tightening sanctions, Obama released sanctions and money, thereby resuscitating Iran.  Who does that? Certainly not someone who wants to win.

We must conclude that the most important thing for Obama was to reach a deal, any deal, no matter what.

The Interim Agreement signaled his capitulation. The rest was deception and theater.
Here's the time line. Beginning in December 2006 the UNSC passed a resolution calling for sanctions on Iran and kept tightening and expanding those sanctions until 2010 at which time they were beginning to bite, but insufficiently so.

President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, six months after the US joined the talks with Iran for the first time. Before the end of that year, his administration was already having direct talks with Iran.

In January 2012, the IAEA said Iran was enriching to 20 percent at its mountain facility near Fordow. The European Union then froze the assets of Iran's Central Bank and halted Iranian oil imports. Then the sanctions really began to bite.

Negotiations were restarted between Iran and the six world powers but went nowhere. By the summer secret talks between US and Iranian officials were taking place to see if diplomatic progress was possible. A year later, after Iran elected a new President, Hassan Rouhani, President Obama spoke to him directly in September 2013.

Two months later, Iran and the six powers announced an Interim Agreement that moved the goal posts of what was being demanded and unfroze some Iranian assets worth billions. The deal set the stage for extended negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear capitulation.

This capitulation included an agreement to provide “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.”  So now America has become Iran’s protector rather than Israel’s protector.

Obama must have concluded that a deal was not available on US terms and that the US had no alternative to reach an agreement except on Iranian terms. The Interim Agreement signaled his capitulation.  The rest was deception and theater. If Obama was still pursuing a tough deal, the Interim Agreement would never have been made.

No matter how egregious, Iran's conduct was, Obama had concluded that any deal is better than no deal. Two other circumstances favoured such a policy, namely Obama wanted Iran's help in subduing ISIS and Europe was experiencing tough economic times and wanted to do business with Iran who was getting an infusion of about $150 Billion in sanctions relief. Slowing Iran's rush to the bomb had a low priority and protecting allies like Israel and the Gulf States, no priority at all.

Beyond that Obama has decided that he can work with Iran in the interests of America.  He sees Iran as a regional power with America's assistance. Iran can help stabilize Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. He sees this relationship as a godsend, pardon the pun. Unfortunately this deal will cause America more grief and little if any benefit.

While the EU and the US bent over backwards to give Iran what it wanted, they doubled down on their demands of Israel to stop construction of any kind east of the 1948 Armistice Lines and to accept a Palestinian state with borders based the '67 lines plus swaps.

Thus they are showing great flexibility to Israel’s arch enemy, giving them most of what they want and no flexibility to Israel, giving them nothing of what they want. The US is also pressuring her to concede to the PA's inflexible demands.

Now the battle to approve or reject this agreement will be fought in Congress in the next two months.  Obama will be playing his double game. He will offer Israel all kinds of security guarantees, military equipment and money so that Congressmen and Senators who are concerned with where this agreement leaves Israel, will be mollified.

Had Hillary Clinton chose to back the rejectionists, it would have been a game changer.  Instead she backed the deal and suggested that she will build a coalition to stop Iranian bad behavior in other areas. Sorry Hillary, the horse is out of the barn.  The time to curb Iran’s bad behavior is before you give them what they want including $150 Billion.

Sen Chuck Schumer is in a hot spot. He is a long-time supporter of Israel and a high ranking Democrat. How he votes could well determine whether the 2/3 majority will be reached.

Meanwhile, Israel has to decide whether such Obama gifts or bribes will or should impact her decision on whether or not to attack Iran. If she decides to attack Iran in self-defense, she will do so in the fall.