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Deal or No Deal
Ayatollah Warns US As Iran Deal Hangs By a Thread

As the White House and Congress gear up for a showdown over the extension of sanctions on Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei is sending a warning to Washington. Reuters:

Extending U.S. sanctions on Iran for 10 years would breach the Iranian nuclear agreement, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday, warning that Tehran would retaliate if the sanctions are approved.

The U.S. House of Representatives re-authorized last week the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, for 10 years. The law was first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry and deter Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The Iran measure will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed. The House bill must still be passed by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama to become law.

The White House has already said President Obama will veto the bill reauthorizing sanctions if it lands on his desk. GOP leaders in Congress clearly see this coming: in a new public letter to the president, Paul Ryan and others warn Obama against making “concessions” to Iran before Donald Trump takes office. But this advice will likely fall on deaf ears. President Obama has no interest in scuttling one of his major foreign policy deals, so long as he can help it.

Still, the current drama over Iran shows once again how precarious Obama’s foreign policy legacy is. As with the toothless Paris climate accord, Obama failed to marshal bipartisan Congressional approval for the nuclear deal. Rather than pursuing formal Senate ratification of the treaty, which would require a two-thirds majority, the White House squeaked the Iran deal through with an arrangement that would require a two-thirds majority to reject it. That was a clever maneuver at the time, but it means that the unpopular Iran deal lacks formal treaty status, and can be unraveled fairly easily by the next administration.

Will Donald Trump scrap the deal outright? That is still an open question, and even some critics of the deal, in Israel and the U.S., have been urging caution. But as the Ayatollah issues public broadsides against the U.S. and a Republican Congress squares off against Obama on the issue, pressure for a hardline stance on Iran may grow.

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  • Dhako

    In one word, he will not abrogate the deal. But of course, he will huff and puff, so that the Iranian’s ruling Mullah will cut him a better deal than the one they have had with Obama. Also the Congress (and the Israeli’s amen corner in the Republican circles) will scream blue murder at his prevarication on this deal. But at the end of the day, he will simply ignore them, since to back out of the deal, will simply means others (in Europe, China, and Russia) will simply not going to allow their financial and economical relationship with Iran to be jeopardize on the account of heavy lobby from the “usual suspect” in the Belt-way, who were always hostile to the very idea of having Iran returning to the world’s engagement and coming in from the cold.

    Moreover, Mr Trump, has no desire to start a war on Iran, which will be the only way to stop Iran getting her bomb, if this deal is scrapped. Hence, I very much suspect, that he will create some of “verbal optics” of the kind that plays well with his “fly-over-voters” in the US’s heart-land. And such optics, will probably include a bit of blood-cuddling tough talk against Iran if she doesn’t honor every word, comma, dot of the deal.

    But other than that, he will not tore up the deal. Although, it may be possible that he will add one or two US-specific amendments just to mollify his right’s flank in Congress. And even that, I am not sure the Iranian will go for it. Since, they suspect, not unreasonably, that Mr Trump, egged on by his Israeli-influenced Republican Congress, may come back for more bite of the cherry, if they concede to him the first bite of the cherry, along the line of allowing him to have one or two amendments added to deal.

    All in all, knowing how he is – shall we say – in cahoot with the likes of Putin’s Russia, and knowing how he has a good smelling nose in sussing out a bad move that has all the down-side and nothing on the up-side, I suspect this deal will be one in which he will not try to abrogate in its entirety. And this in turn will mean like many of his campaign promises, this vow to get rid off this deal will be one of those of things that will be left behind in the heady daze of the campaign, and it will not be brought forward into the White-House.

    • JR

      Asking Iran to honor the deal will make them go away from it. Sanctions get re-applied and Iran continues to suffocate.
      Don’t you get it yet? All we need for this deal to go away is to actually enforce it. Don’t they teach you anything in Chinese propaganda schools or are you just slow?
      Also, brevity is a soul of wit.

      • Dhako

        Is not going to be happening. That I can assure you. Also, the idea that says US will be in a position to re-impose an international sanction on Iran, is for the birds. Of course, the US can unilaterally impose her sanctions, but that is nothing, since, US and Iran were never a business partners to begin with. Also, if US unilateral sanction has any teeth to likes of Iran, it would have stopped already the likes of North Korea.

        Furthermore, you may still thing that the US call the shot around the world, but, likes of China, will never, ever, go along with any stupidity of the kind you are absurdly telling your self, And, if US want to start trade war with China on the account of US Sanction on Iran, who then could spill-over to Chinese companies doing business in Iran, then two can play this game of sanctioning each other companies till cows come home.

        Hence, keep telling yourself, that the fate of Iran deal – at least on international basis – is depending on what US decides, and soon as Mr Trump assumes power, you will see the absurdity of that assertions.

        • JR

          You missed the part where it will be Iran walking away from the deal.
          But glad you were able to sneak some Chinese propaganda in there. Good move.

          • Dhako

            Iran will not move away from the deal, so long as the likes of (Russia, China, and the EU) are not going to re-impose a US-inspired sanction on Iran, particularly through the UNSC. And so long as that is the case, the US can abrogate the deal on her part, re-impose her unilateral sanction on Iran. but that is all is going to be.

            And no other takers (least of all China and Russia, who are planning to make money over fist from this deal with Iran) are going to go along with any absurdity Mr Trump may gets up to towards this already consummated international deal.

            Hence, you better tell the Israeli’s lobby in the Congress, that other nations have their interest. And there is no way, they will cut that interest (or abrogate) just to support the likes of Mr Netanyahu and his hired lobbyist in the US’s Congress as well as the within wider Republican’s circles.

          • Fat_Man

            Dhako is probably just a bot. There is no point in arguing with it.

          • JR

            I doubt that he is. From his previous posts, he is a Chinese propaganda hire, in the vein of Kev being a Russian propaganda hire. Sometimes it is quiet educational to see how they think.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You have to admit, he has FG beat….

  • Proud Skeptic

    Trump has been a better negotiator in ten days as president elect than Obama was in eight years as president.

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  • Fat_Man

    The real problem is that the US can no longer bomb Iran without Russian permission.

    • Jim__L

      I don’t think that that, in the end, is true.

    • f1b0nacc1

      While Israel would have major problems, the US (which would be bombing from the Gulf and the Indian Ocean) would not. Just as the Russians can count upon the Americans not to interfere with their fun and games in Syria, the US can be fairly sure that the Russians wouldn’t start shooting at American aircraft.

      As a secondary matter….why would the Russians want to interfere? Oh, they might do a bit of early warning of course, but other than that…why would they object?

  • Frank Natoli

    the White House squeaked the Iran deal through with an arrangement that would require a two-thirds majority to reject it.
    What is the American Interest editorial rule for calling something a “treaty” versus a “deal”?
    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I find no Constitutional Article or Amendment that mentions “deal”.

    • f1b0nacc1

      This is nothing more than big talk from the White House, which has a very, very poor record of having its prognostications survive court scrutiny….

  • FriendlyGoat

    Obama has no reason at all to scuttle his own deal. Trump can create whatever crisis he wants on his own time next year.

    • JR

      Getting rid of this deal will be extremely easy. Just enforce it and watch Iran walk away. Or submit it to the Senate to see if it passes the required majority to be an official treaty.
      Same with Paris deal. Submit it to Senate. Follow the rule of law. You, an opponent of nullification, will undoubtedly welcome the rule of law being followed.

      • FriendlyGoat

        The problem with getting rid of the deal is the obligation to do something else that is “fantastic”—-the favorite Trump word.
        Stay Tuned—–on all issues. Your side suddenly owns them all.

        • Tom

          I intend to take as much ownership of what happens over the next two years as y’all did.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I was proud of Obama for doing what we expected of him for the most part given the Congress he had. You are in the different reality of what was promised vs. what is possible even with the Congress at his back. Good luck with internalizing the results.

          • Jim__L

            It’s not always a good thing to do what’s expected of you, when what’s expected of you is to make really poor decisions… kinda like Obama did.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If you are unwilling to opine on what Trump should do with Iran, why are you here? The point is that Obama has a deal and Trump does not. When we see the future decisions on that and other matters, then you can compare them to those made by Obama. “Really poor” is quite an empty term when you have absolutely nothing of a tangible nature to compare Obama decisions against.

          • Jim__L

            My opinion? Any president has to go through the Senate and get a 2/3rds vote, to get a binding treaty through.

            Simple, really.

            It’s not even an opinion, it’s more of a plain reading of the US Constitution.

            Do you really want me to go through the litany of Obama’s poor decisions? Have a look at my favorite political YouTube clip, below. =)

          • ljgude

            The late Barry Rubin of the GLORIA Centre In Israel laid all this out as it was happening. He pointed out that the Egyptian democrats were unorganised and ineffective although the Western left saw the fall of Mubarak as a triumph or democracy or Twitter or something. Rubin pointed out that the only two political players in Egypt were the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. He predicted that one or the other would prevail. While the US administration was getting Tom Friedman and his ilk to write stories about how the Muslim Brotherhood would soon moderate because they would have to shoulder the responsibilities of government such as fixing pot holes, the Brotherhood proceeded with its agenda as the founding organization of Islamism. Their ideology came first, last and always and they made the economy and the dependence of imported food worse. Soon the military took over again. Ferguson’s observations are much the same. Al Sisi has emerged as perhaps the most outspoken Muslim leader against Islamism but as far as I know the Obama administration is still cool toward al Sisi. It seems to me that this attitude is just a unjustified by the realities of Middle Eastern politics as Bush’s belief that democracy was just the ticket for Iraq.

          • Tom

            And that explains so much. A man with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and a large enough majority in the House that he can get a bill through against bipartisan opposition, and that’s what you go with?
            Me, I knew the next four years were going to be rough, no matter who won. I went through the five stages of grief back in the spring.

          • JR

            I can’t wait to start blaming Obama for things. Even more exciting is the though of laughing at all the Left-wingers with their situational ethics.

          • Jim__L

            It’s amazing how many things are cool again among the bien pensants, now that Trump is the president-elect.

            Dissent… Constitutional limits on the power of the presidency… Investigative journalism… making jokes about the president…

            http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/11/donald-trump-just-made-10-things-cool/

          • f1b0nacc1

            This has been my point for months now….Trump will actually have to contend with a congress and media that actually cares about the separation of powers and limits on executive overreach….

            Twits like FG simply want to pretend that they can take credit for success and be absolved of any responsibility for failure. Fortunately most of the population isn’t quite that silly…

          • Will

            They had ethics?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, if they didn’t have double standards, whey would have no standards at all…

        • JR

          Yes, only republican presidents get blamed well into 2nd term. Do you really believe Obama will bear no responsibility at all? After he blamed Bush for 4 years? That’s genuinely funny.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Responsibility is not a funny matter. That’s the thing. It’s not about the blame. It’s about getting there and flipping from campaign rhetoric to realities. This is why most of the Trump promises will likely be abandoned. Stay Tuned.

  • LarryD

    Again, what deal? Last I heard, Iran signed nothing. The document is just a fig leaf for Obama’s unilateral concessions.

  • Will

    He’s pissed he won’t get his ass kissed.

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