Deadline Hours Away: No Pact But War To Sell Nuke Deal To Congress Has Begun

The deadline for completing a nuclear deal with Iran is  the end of the day on July 7th.  But already the Obama administration and the Democratic Party political machine has been waging attacks and making threats in order to sell the a deal that so far is nonexistent.

There are many different scenarios for what will result by (or soon after) the deadline, no agreement with talks breaking off, no agreement with negotiations extended for a month or two, or a total agreement with everything worked out.  None of those scenarios are likely to occur. Most likely is there will be a “sort of” agreement, where the parties announce they’ve resolved all outstanding issues but they still have to fill in some details.

This will enable the talks to meet the congressional deadline of July 9th. If a deal is announced by the 9th congress will get 30 days to analyze and vote on the pact. After the 9th they get 60 days.

With the “sort of” scenario the P5+1 and Iranians would move in parallel to implement various commitments, the Iranians would have to work with the IAEA on its unresolved concerns regarding Iran’s weapons program (PMDs). By the winter time the IAEA would provide a face-saving way for the parties to declare Iran is cooperating (just like they did with the yellowcake conversion).  This scenario would be very attractive to the Obama administration because it puts off granting Iran sanctions relief until the IAEA makes some noises about the Iranians cooperating, and after congress votes. Obama will  tell Congress that “of course PMDs will be resolved before any sanctions relief is granted”  and after Congress votes the lawmakers will have no leverage to stop the administration from caving.

Even without a deal the battle to get it through congress has begun.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that CREDO Action, a progressive group linked to the Obama Administration,  “and claiming to work for dozens of like-minded groups” is threatening to “punish congressional Democrats who fail to line up behind any deal sealed between the West and Iran.”

“Democrats in Congress are the only remaining obstacle to finalizing today’s historic deal,” Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO, said in a statement emailed to reporters on July 2, along with a note that details of the email were not to be published until a deal was actually announced. “Every Democrat should go on the record right now in support of the deal, and pledge to defend it from attacks in Congress.”

“Republicans will try to sabotage the deal and take us to war, but they can’t do it without Democratic votes,” Matlz wrote. “Progressives will hold accountable those Democrats who vote to help Republicans sabotage the deal and start a war.”

A western source monitoring the Vienna talks told the Free Beacon that such tactics are in line with White House efforts to dampen criticism of its diplomacy with Iran.

The bottom line is the White House have already made too many concessions to be able to deliver to congress what it promised back in April, so it is going to try raw political bullying to shove the bill through congress.

Foreign Policy wrote about the administration’s public relations fight to convince Democrats in congress that the deal is a good one. The Obama White House has been especially touchy about covering up Iran’s failure to covert its uranium overages as directed by the JOPA

James Jeffrey, a career diplomat and former ambassador during the Obama administration, said he has been put off by what he considers the highhanded tone and contradictory explanations from the White House.

“It’s this arrogant, you-just-don’t-know attitude that is taken by the administration,” Jeffrey told Foreign Policy.

In their zeal to defend what has already been agreed under an April framework accord, U.S. officials have sometimes gone out of their way to defend Iran, insisting Tehran is abiding by its promises, Jeffrey said.

The Obama Administration has created a false choice, which is accepted by many in the mainstream media that America’s only two choices are agreeing to a deal or waging war against Iran. This forgets that the sanctions were crippling the Iranian economy.

Foreign Policy believes there is no way that enough Democrats would vote against a presidential veto to overturn any Iran deal.

Although a short-term political victory seems assured, even supporters of a nuclear agreement worry that the absence of any bipartisan consensus could create risks down the road — particularly if a Republican president is elected to succeed Obama in 2016.

Ilan Goldenberg, a former Pentagon and State Department official in the Obama administration, said the White House has successfully made a case for the deal so far, with polls showing solid support among American voters for nuclear diplomacy.

But he said more should have been done from the outset to build up support among members of Congress.

“I think they could have been better in the last few years in reaching out to [Capitol] Hill and building a better relationship with the Hill,” said Goldenberg, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

In such a fraught, partisan climate, a small group of scientists with expertise in nuclear weapons find themselves in high demand and at the center of the debate. The technical specialists, some of them former U.N. arms inspectors and scholars in the field of nuclear proliferation, bring instant credibility to discussions about uranium enrichment and the time it could take Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

Both sides have tried to recruit these experts as “validators” to reinforce their public arguments for or against a potential deal. But some of the scientists have rejected overtures from the administration or from opponents of the talks, insisting on maintaining their independence.

David Albright, a physicist who leads the Institute for Science and International Security and who has been tracking Iran’s nuclear program for years, said he has been unfairly labeled by the administration as an opponent of an accord. He complained that a “war room” mentality has taken hold inside the White House and warned against taking a black-and-white view of the tentative deal emerging from the talks in Vienna.

“I’m very frustrated,” Albright said. “I’m seen as a hardliner or a critic or a skeptic.”

It certainly looks as if for Obama’s legacy’s sake, the administration and it’s allies are looking to complete and shove down congresses throats a deal negotiated out of desperation and weakness. Our leaders would do  very well to remember the words of Ben Franklin in his 1773 letter to Thomas Cushing

But our great security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain, when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you.