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The Nuclear Negotiations
Groundhog Day in Vienna
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  • Fat_Man

    “We still don’t really know what the Iranians want.” Yes we do. They don’t keep it a secret. They want Death to America and Death to Israel.

    • Andrew Allison

      And the bomb.

    • f1b0nacc1

      You forgot, ‘dominance over the middle east’

  • Greg Olsen

    Since the administration is not signaling its willingness to walk away without a deal, the Iranian negotiating team obviously is assuming they will get the best deal as January 20, 2017 approaches. I am sure that they, like the rest of the punditocracy, assume that Obama is searching for a legacy here and will do anything for a deal.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Perhaps the administration would LIKE to do that, but I wonder if they can. Once we get into 2016 (not that far off now), a lot of Democratic senators are going to be up for reelection who won’t want to vote to defend an unpopular deal and a lot of Republican senators are going to oppose it anyway. More to the point, Hillary might just find it in her interest to cross Obama on this, as it would help her put some daylight between them, and on an issue that Obama is on the wrong side of anyway. Finally, even for those who aren’t actively involved in the voting (such as the House of Reps), there is a lot of advantage to be had from talking down any agreement that Obama begs for, which would make it even harder to pass. None of this suggests that it is impossible (I am cynical), but the longer this goes on, and the worse Obama looks as he pleads for a deal the lower the chance of getting it through the Senate.
      I will offer a prediction….if it goes past Jan 1, it won’t happen. If it goes past Labor Day, it is unlikely to happen.

  • Mike M

    Once again, Mead (whom I’ve met and am always impressed with his candour and breadth of intellect) can’t see the forest for the trees here. Every step of the process has NOT weakened America’s position, but of course it depends on what you define as America’s position. Clearly, the US is not alone is not wanting Iran to develop nuclear weapons — none of its allies or Russia or China want to see this happen — nor can the US alone prevent Iran from doing so, nor can the US alone put adequate pressure on Iran. The sanctions in place are a mish-mash but they do seem to have had a significant impact on Iran’s economy. But a) for how long? and b) to what end? The next logical step is to enter into negotiations to deliver some sort of settlement that the world’s major powers can collectively develop and collective hold Iran’s feet to the fire. An impossible task? Maybe. I fail to see how Iran’s position has been bolstered along every step of the process — how have they benefitted? Weakened sanctions? Nope. And we can’t make a final opinion on the process until the end settlement is released (if there is one). Dealing with Iran is extraordinarily difficult, no doubt, but to say that the US has screwed it all up at every point is … well … hyperbolic to say the least.

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