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After the deal
Administration: Iran Missile Test Violates UN Sanctions

Last weekend, Iran test-launched a long-range ballistic missile and today President Obama’s Administration has shot back—with a complaint lodged in the UN. The AP reports:

Iran’s recent ballistic missile test was “a clear violation” of U.N. sanctions, and the United States will seek action from the Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Friday.

Power said that after reviewing available information, the United States has confirmed that the medium-range ballistic missile launched on Oct. 10 was “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.” She said this violated a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted on June 9, 2010 which imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.

It was Iran’s first missile test since the historic nuclear deal reached July 14 between Iran and world powers. While condemning the ballistic missile test, the Obama administration made clear that it is “entirely separate” from the nuclear deal, which is aimed at preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons.

The Administration, then, is hanging its hat on the difference between the deal and the implementing resolution; ballistic missile testing, it argues, are covered by the latter but not the former. On the one hand, the decision to do even this much is welcome—many expected the Administration to basically say “nothing to see here” and move on. On the other, it now remains to be seen what, if anything, U.S. officials will do beyond lodging this protest.

Overall, this underlines the increasingly apparent reality that the Iran deal isn’t making foreign policy easier for President Obama—and that is normally what we mean by calling something a foreign policy success. Both Iran and Russia seem to enjoy more freedom of action and more options after the deal than before, and they’re not using those options to cooperate with the U.S. In fact, as Lara Rozen reported in Al Monitor, diplomatic contact is set to drop off sharply:

[A]fter two years of negotiations at which large US and Iranian delegations were meeting almost every month at a high level, often at the ministerial level, it seems that the tempo, seniority and range of diplomatic contacts between the United States and Iran in the implementation phase could be reduced for now to what is anticipated to be quarterly meetings of the Joint Commission.

At the end of the day, Iran sees the deal less as a stage in reconciling with the U.S. than as a platform for intensifying its effort to remake the region, an effort that necessarily involves actions opposed to American, and Israeli, interests. That means less talking, and more missile tests.

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  • JR

    “At the end of the day, Iran sees the deal less as a stage in reconciling with the U.S. than as a platform for intensifying its effort to remake the region, an effort that necessarily involves actions opposed to American, and Israeli, interests.”
    Heckuva job, Barry!!!!

  • Blackbeard

    Obama’s reaction signals Iran that they are free to do as they like. Up to the moment they detonate a nuclear device nothing will be deemed a violation of the nuclear deal. To do so would tarnish Obama greatest foreign policy achievement.

    History will not be kind to country that twice elected a man like this.

    • JR

      And don’t think that that collection of genetic defectives known as 42 Senators that voted against bringing this bill to the floor will be absolved of their part. Their names will be there as well. Good luck getting re-elected with that legacy.

  • Jim__L

    No Red Line here, nosirree…

  • Matt B

    Obama has openly stated that the Iran deal represents his signature foreign policy achievement, his legacy. Compare this to what Jimmy Carter accomplished at Camp David: bringing Egypt into the sphere of American influence and establishing a basis for regional peace that lasted for 30 years.

    That was a true foreign policy achievement, one that Carter’s harshest critics will acknowledge. Even so, calling someone “another Jimmy Carter” is recognized as an insult, even among Democrats.

    Obama’s only hope is that in the 10-year term of his deal, relations between the US and Iran will be transformed somehow, and Iran will become our partner in peace. The deal itself has obviously done nothing to move us in that direction.

    This administration will indeed leave a powerful legacy that will influence American politics for decades. It will be a talisman of naïveté, arrogance and failure.

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