News & Politics

Obama Cites 'Smart Diplomacy' in Gaining Hostages' Release

More like, “brilliant” diplomacy” — if he were working for Iran.

Alas, he’s supposedly working for the United States, which makes him our problem. I really hope the president decides to work for a used car dealership in the Chicago area after he leaves office. Given what we know about his negotiating skills, I could probably walk off the lot with a runner after he paid me to take it off his hands.

So why does the president believe the Iran deal proves “smart diplomacy” works?

ABC News:

President Barack Obama on Sunday heralded the release of Americans held prisoner in Iran and the full implementation of a historic nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic, holding both up as a victory for “smart” diplomacy and fulfillment of his pledge to deal directly with enemies of the United States.

“This is a good day,” Obama said in a statement from the White House. “When Americans are freed and returned to their families, that’s something we can all celebrate.”

The president spoke at the close of an extraordinary weekend that saw back-to-back the release of five imprisoned Americans and the termination of billions in international sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear accord.

Yet underscoring the strain that continues to exist between the U.S. and Iran, the Obama administration also announced new penalties Sunday on 11 individuals and entities involved in Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

“We will continue to enforce these sanctions vigorously,” Obama said. “We are going to remain vigilant about it.”

For Obama, the diplomatic breakthroughs are a validation of his early promise to deal directly with nations such as Iran, one that his political opponents continue to staunchly oppose. The U.S. and Iran broke off diplomatic relations after the 1979 hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

“America can do — and has done — big things when we work together,” Obama said. “We can lead this world and make it safer and more secure.”

What’s scarier? The fact that he actually believes the world is “safer and more secure” or that he knows how bad things are and refuses to take responsibility for it?

The president also announced the imposition of sanctions on Iran — after a fashion.

Within hours of the release of the Americans, the U.S. imposed sanctions against those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program as a result of Tehran’s firing of a medium-range ballistic missile.

U.N. experts said in a report in December that the missile test in October violated sanctions banning Iran from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

A U.S. Treasury official said Iran’s ballistic missile program poses “a significant threat to regional and global security.”

In another development Sunday, Obama announced that the U.S. and Iran had settled a long-standing financial dispute over $400 million in Iranian money that dates back more than three decades. Iran also got $1.3 billion in interest, which Obama said was much less than it had sought. Administration officials said the U.S. faced the prospect of having to pay billions of dollars more if the case had continued.

A sure sign of how bad that deal is for the U.S. is the bragging about how much more Iran wanted in interest. And speaking of interest, Iran wasn’t the only entity that had its assets seized. Following the 1979 revolution, Iran seized the assets of dozens of American companies. I await with bated breath news that Iran is going to reimburse our companies.

So how smart is Obama’s “smart diplomacy”? The president claims that talking with our enemies led directly to a nuclear agreement and the release of the hostages. In fact, the U.S. was always willing to talk to Iran — just as soon as they stopped enriching uranium. That had been U.S. policy — indeed, international policy — for more than a decade when the president threw it under the bus in favor of negotiations that allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium while under a weak inspections regime.

How soon will Iran replenish its supply of U.S. hostages with which to extort concessions from us? We probably won’t have long to wait.

That’s “smart diplomacy” for ya.