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Six More Months – or More – for Iran Nuclear Negotiations?

White House paves way for more time by waxing about Tehran's "surprisingly favorable" record, while Hill critics say no way to regime "ploy."

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 16, 2014 - 3:56 pm
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WASHINGTON — The White House wouldn’t definitively say that it would extend the July 20 deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran, but seemed to be laying a groundwork of justification by highlighting what it says was good behavior by the Islamic Republic during the six-month interim agreement.

In a brief statement to reporters early this evening, President Obama did a rapid-fire hit on four foreign policy areas: Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Russia, the last of which is now eligible for new sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Reports emerged today that the P5+1 negotiators in Vienna were focusing on an agreement for an extension of the talks.

After admitting that “very real gaps” remain in nuclear negotiations, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled back to Washington from Vienna “to consult with the president and to begin consulting with members of Congress about the way forward,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today.

Obama said he received Kerry’s update, after which “it’s clear to me that we’ve made real progress in several areas, and that we have a credible way forward.”

“Over the last six months Iran has met its commitments under the interim deal we reached last year, halting the progress of its nuclear program, allowing more inspections and rolling back its most dangerous stockpile of nuclear material,” Obama said. “Meanwhile, we are working with our P5+1 partners and Iran to reach a comprehensive agreement that assures us that Iran’s program will, in fact, be peaceful and that they won’t obtain a nuclear weapon.”

He said as the July 20 deadline approaches, “there are still significant gaps between the international community and Iran and we have more work to do.”

“So over the next few days we’ll continue consulting with Congress and our team will continue discussions with Iran and our partners as we determine whether additional time is necessary to extend our negotiations,” Obama said.

It’s been Congress’ complaint throughout the six-month process, though, that they’ve not received the promised close consultations from the administration.

Earnest painted the talks in a positive light.

“Over the last six months since the joint plan of action took effect, we’ve made tangible progress on a range of key issues in our negotiations with the Iranians. All of the parties to those talks, both the Iranians and the United States and the other members of the P5+1, have made good on the joint plan of action and that means that progress on Iran’s nuclear program has been halted and rolled back in some key respects. And we have been negotiating in good faith to try to reach an agreement,” Earnest said.

“There are some gaps that continue to remain and part of Secretary Kerry’s consultations with the president will involve a discussion about the path forward, which reflects the fact that some gaps remain here just four days before the preset deadline for these negotiations to end.”

Earnest said it was “clear” that Iran’s “track record over the last six months, I think many people would acknowledge has been surprisingly favorable.”

“There were a lot of people who were pretty skeptical about that six months ago. That skepticism was justified, so I don’t mean to be criticizing it in any way, but the fact is there have been constructive conversations,” he said.

But that skepticism hasn’t eroded among some Senate Democrats, including Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who on the floor of the upper chamber yesterday noted the “same obfuscation, same Iranian tactics we’ve seen for decades … that’s not an endgame – that’s a nonstarter.”

Menendez stressed that the only acceptable agreement is one that would set off alarm bells if Iran tries to attain nuclear weapons capability over the next 20 to 30 years.

Along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Menendez has been circulating a letter to President Obama around the Senate this week to gather signatures on the need for a tough stance against Tehran.

“As we wrote to you last March, we continue to believe that Iran must dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure, including the Fordow enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water reactor, such that Iran does not retain a uranium or plutonium path to a weapon,” states the letter. “Any deal must also fully resolve concerns about military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program; provide a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime and a vigorous enforcement mechanism, that includes the snapback of sanctions should Iran fail to keep its commitments.”

Requirements of a final deal, they said, must include “a robust inspections and verification regime” at least 20 years long, “full disclosure by Iran on possible military dimensions of the nuclear program” with access given to inspectors “to the materials, documents, records and any staff involved in order to better understand Iran’s capabilities,” and any sanctions relief “phased in over a lengthy period of time.”

“Iran’s 20-year history of deception compels the international community to be vigilant to ensure no path to a nuclear bomb is possible,” the letter says.

Multiple groups stepped in as the letter was leaked beyond Congress to defend the Islamic Republic and decry the “hawks” in Congress, including Iranian media.

The National Iranian American Council sent its own letter to senators urging them to not sign the Menendez-Graham letter “that will complicate the talks and risk derailing negotiations during the most critical phase.”

“By sending this letter at this time and potentially playing spoiler, Senators risk sending the signal that the United States is the inflexible party that has undermined the diplomatic process,” NIAC continued.

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Over 6 months ago when diplomats said they were going to negotiate with Iran and have a deal at the end of 6 months, did anyone believe them?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
As one of the few people still around who attended—albeit very much by accident when I was a small child—the funeral of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed for giving America’s atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets, I believe that Judge Kaufman’s sentencing statement is as applicable today to Barack Obama as it was back in April of 1951 to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (just change the word “Soviet” to Iranian and “Korea” to Middle-East):

“I consider your crime worse than murder. Plain deliberate contemplated murder is dwarfed in magnitude by comparison with the crime you have committed. In committing the act of murder, the criminal kills only his victim. The immediate family is brought to grief and when justice is meted out the chapter is closed. But in your case, I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country.

“No one can say that we do not live in a constant state of tension. We have evidence of your treachery all around us every day--for the civilian defense activities throughout the nation are aimed at preparing us for an atom bomb attack. Nor can it be said in mitigation of the offense that the power which set the conspiracy in motion and profited from it was not openly hostile to the United States at the time of the conspiracy. If this was your excuse the error of your ways in setting yourselves above our properly constituted authorities and the decision of those authorities not to share the information with Russia must now be obvious . . .

“In the light of this, I can only conclude that the defendants entered into this most serious conspiracy against their country with full realization of its implications . . .

“The statute of which the defendants at the bar stand convicted is clear. I have previously stated my view that the verdict of guilty was amply justified by the evidence. In the light of the circumstances, I feel that I must pass such sentence upon the principals in this diabolical conspiracy to destroy a God-fearing nation, which will demonstrate with finality that this nation's security must remain inviolate; that traffic in military secrets, whether promoted by slavish devotion to a foreign ideology or by a desire for monetary gains must cease.

"The evidence indicated quite clearly that Julius Rosenberg was the prime mover in this conspiracy. However, let no mistake be made about the role which his wife, Ethel Rosenberg, played in this conspiracy. Instead of deterring him from pursuing his ignoble cause, she encouraged and assisted the cause. She was a mature woman--almost three years older than her husband and almost seven years older than her younger brother. She was a full-fledged partner in this crime.

“Indeed the defendants Julius and Ethel Rosenberg placed their devotion to their cause above their own personal safety and were conscious that they were sacrificing their own children, should their misdeeds be detected--all of which did not deter them from pursuing their course. Love for their cause dominated their lives--it was even greater than their love for their children.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Talk, talk, Muslim taqiyya talk.....just gives our Muslim enemy, in this case the Iranians and their nuclear bomb quest....more time for their research and development of their nuclear warheads.

We should stop participating in this lethal charade and instead work to contain and isolate the Iranians.

They're not going to stop wanting us dead.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (18)
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So, the administration has spent countless months and years negotiating with the Iranians over their Nuclear plans, and the result of all that effort is....
Lies, Lies, and more Lies.
From the Iranians we expect lies, from our own side, not so much.
And we're supposed to be thankful, and positive over this result?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
plenty of time to perfect the nuclear warhead
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our radical moslem leader, Barack Hussein Mohammed al-Obama will singlehandedly ensure that Iran gets the BOMB.

The Olympic grade self-promoter won't stop until they put his effigy inside the Black Tent at Mecca.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it be great to get a gig that pays for total failure, such as Secretary of State? You get to travel around, have people take your shoes off, get you the gourmet meal of your dreams 3 times a day, all the booze and celebrity parties you can stand.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it be great to get a gig that pays for total failure, such as Secretary of State? You get to travel around, have people take your shoes off, get you the gourmet meal of your dreams 3 times a day, all the booze and celebrity parties you can stand.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't believe the Iranians will ever get the bomb. Israel will see to that.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
As soon as the mullahs get their nukes on-line, Obama will declare a negotiations success with the achievement of nuclear parity.
The media and academic Marxists will grovel to him again, and we will be screwed.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The negotiations will be over when Iran blows off their first nuclear bomb, either in the empty desert as a test or in a city in the USA or Israel. Obama will express shock and say he had no idea they were that close until he read it in the paper, but will still do nothing.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
and libs and the media love to give prisoners time off for good behavior, as if not committing murder and crimes should be that difficult when locked up in a cell.

So under the threat of more penalites Iran was good for a while, biding their time, and this is good behavior.

Even a little child knows to be good in December if he thinks Santa is coming
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Iran has a friend in the White House.... the de-facto president... a very special envoy of the Muslim Btotherhood and all around great progressive....

....let's all put our hands together for Valerie Jarrett!!!

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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