The Big Deal on The Road to War
Schumer doesn't like the "historic" deal with Iran--it doesn't seem proportional to him--and Menendez insists that new sanctions are on the way. Two Democrats, not notoriously leading neocons, both warning that the agreement may be a hard sell to Congress. But then, Obama may not ask them for approval, so then what? That would give the Iranians multiple coups:
--First and foremost, money, which they badly need. According to my sources in Iran, Iranian industry overall is currently at twenty percent of capacity, the regime's blank check for supporting Assad in Syria has drained the treasury, and the country is down to something like two-to-three months' hard currency supplies.
The "money coup" is even better than that for the regime, because, as numerous smart people have noted--and as my colleague Mark Dubowitz warned well before the deal was agreed on--this step offers Tehran the real possibility of an end to sanctions altogether. That's because Iran will now be able to offer foreign countries and companies the chance to make big bucks, and the companies and countries will become de facto lobbyists for ending sanctions.
Rouhani knows this, and has bragged in a tweet to Supreme Leader Khamenei that the process for ending sanctions has now begun.
--Second, a clear, explicit commitment that Tehran is permitted to continue enriching uranium. Kerry and Obama have said--and will no doubt continue to say--that we have not recognized an Iranian "right to enrichment," but the text of the agreement says that Iran can keep enriching (to 3.5%) and that the final agreement we say we want will provide for "a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program."
If that's not recognition of a right to enrich, I need remedial English. And for those of you who think "well, what's the big deal about a measly 3.5%?" it's quite a big deal. From there to weapons-grade uranium is a question of a few months. And under this deal, Iran gets to keep plenty of 5% uranium.
--Third, yet another devastating confirmation to the regime's internal opposition that the West is not prepared to seriously challenge the regime. In case they had any doubts, which they shouldn't, and by and large didn't.
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