Echo Chamber Redux
The Shameful State of Debate on the Iran Deal
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  • KremlinKryptonite

    Well there’s a ton of pressure of the GCC states as well as Israel, in particular, but also from other actors of course, to rewrite the deal to cover ballistic missile programs, sponsorship of certain terror groups, and even human rights within Iran. The deal covers none of those things at all. That’s why we are in this awkward situation with the US telling Iran it’s not abiding by the spirit of the deal, and vice versa.
    The reality is, the deal does NOT cover any of those things, so Iran is not obliged to stop, at least not by JCPOA, but on the same token, the US has 100% freedom to keep sanctioning those specific activities. It’s just a weird deal. Really seems like folks got lazy.

  • Gary Hemminger

    Obama wanted a deal at any costs. When you want a deal at any cost, you get a bad deal. Trump campaigned on getting out of this bad deal. We are going to get out of the deal. Then we will see what happens. I am sure that the world won’t end one way or the other. And when have we ever had an actual debate about anything like this? I don’t recall. All I recall is a bunch of hot air. Maybe not from TAI, but from our politicians just hot air.

  • sacip

    WOW, a serious, well argued piece on American foreign policy and a quote from “The Answer”, Allen Iverson. Many thanks Mr. Bernard. Your Espy is in the mail.
    Awaiting Dennis Rodman’s views on North Korea.

  • WigWag

    “…it’s difficult to recall such a major shift in American foreign policy that involved such little outreach to the public, to U.S. allies, or to Congress.” (Andrew Bernard)

    That’s not true, Andrew. Donald Trump could not have been more animated during the presidential campaign when it came to the JCPOA. He promised to decertify the agreement over and over again at almost every campaign stop he made. His supporters knew that’s what he was planning to do, his opponents knew that was what he was planning to do, the Europeans knew that was what he was planning to do, members of both Houses of Congress knew that is what he was planning to do and the Iranians knew that was what he was planning to do.

    Now its entirely possible that everyone who heard him just assumed that when Trump entered the Oval Office that he would do what most politicians usually do; revert to the mean and ignore every promise that they made when they were running for Office. For better or worse, Trump doesn’t plan to break his campaign promises about the JCPOA. People of good will can disagree about whether what he plans is smart or foolish, but its impossible to argue with a straight face that Trump is making this decision while barely reaching out to the American public, American allies or the American Congress.

    • Rusty Jones

      remember when Obama campaigned in 2012 and later spoke to a joint session of congress about how important it was that the USA re-balanced it’s foreign policy portfolio away from Israel and the GCC’s towards Iran (with a boat load of cash to boot)??


      “…it’s difficult to recall such a major shift in American foreign policy that involved such little outreach to the public, to U.S. allies, or to Congress.” (Andrew Bernard)

  • FriendlyGoat

    Iran is a pain in the butt. Iran will almost certainly get its nukes one way or another. They know it. The more you thwart them, the more they want them. This is a permanent situation.

  • D4x

    Certification is NOT part of the JCPOA. Certification is required by U.S. Law: 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, known as Corker-Cardin. All of the following citations actually state this FACT, and offer clear & coherent support for POTUS Trump’s strategy.

    Need a short-cut? Iran is NOT in compliance with this one page of the JCPOA: Annex I – Nuclear-related measures p. 27 Section T

    After all, everyone knows Iran already has operational ballistic missiles, although not yet inter-continental in range:

    Oct. 4: “Designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization could put pressure on the regime.”
    by Eli Lake ‎October‎ ‎04‎, ‎2017‎ ‎2‎:‎25‎ ‎PM

    Online Oct. 9: “Getting to No: How the Trump Administration Decided to Decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal” From the Oct. 16, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.Oct 16, 2017 | By Stephen F. Hayes and Michael Warren

    Oct. 11: “Ending America’s Paralyzed Iran Policy: Decertifying the nuclear deal without walking away gives the Trump administration an opening to confront the Islamic Republic’s foreign meddling.” Jonathan Schanzer | Oct 11, 2017
    [Warning: The Atlantic’s commentariat prefer to listen to ObamaBenRhodes, refusing to consider what Schanzer clearly explains]

    #1 hit google news”JCPOA” Oct. 9, JewishPress knows how to tag!
    “Why Trump Will Decertify The JCPOA Iran Nuke Deal This Week”
    By Jeff Dunetz – 19 Tishri 5778 – October 9, 2017
    cross-posted from Jeff Dunetz’s blog:

    Dunetz also blogs at Liberty Unyielding, which is where I read about JCPOA: Annex I – Nuclear-related measures p. 27 Section T, where retired USN Intel J.E. Dyer is outstanding, but gets no echo. She has three posts on Iran-JCPOA-strategy: Oct. 5 is the one to read.

    September 27, 2017 “IAEA chief has just given Trump a way ahead on the ‘Iran deal’” J.E. Dyer

    October 5, 2017: “Positive move: Trump reportedly to decertify Iran’s compliance with nuclear ‘deal’ J. E. Dyer
    “…Specifically, the IAEA is unable to monitor Iran’s activities to develop a nuclear detonation device: i.e., the mechanism that
    would trigger a nuclear warhead upon delivery. …this deficiency is certainly a – well, a deal-breaker. …

    This is especially true given that Iran has continued developing and testing ballistic missiles, in defiance of the JCPOA’s intent.

    As of now, the only component of a nuclear weapons capability that is under some form of monitoring in Iran is uranium enrichment. Neither missile development nor warhead development is under monitoring. …The U.S. should pursue a dispute resolution under the JCPOA on the matter of monitoring nuclear warhead development, for which the JCPOA’s “Section T” contains the
    relevant criteria and performance factors.

    To ensure that this isn’t just an open-ended paper chase, President Trump needs to decertify Iran’s compliance in his quarterly report to Congress, and make the continuation of any sanctions waivers contingent – at the very least –
    on resolving the Section T monitoring issue. …” Links to: Annex I – Nuclear-related measures p. 27 Section T

    October 6, 2017 “Quick action: Trump moves to decertify Iran; Iran suddenly open to negotiating missile program” J.E. Dyer
    Links to:

    September 20, 2017 Remarks Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State Hilton Midtown Hotel New York City
    “…I did just come from a meeting of the parties responsible for the JCPOA, the Iranian nuclear deal. This was a ministerial-level meeting
    that the EU high commissioner convened so that we could have an exchange of views
    around the table of all the parties to the agreement as to how implementation is performing.
    It was not a technical discussion; it was a political discussion of the political aspects. …

    We clearly have significant issues with the agreement. The President’s been quite clear and articulate as to his concerns …They have
    aggressively developed and tested ballistic missiles in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, thereby threatening the security of the United States and the stability of the region. …Iranian JCPOA, which by its title is a joint
    commission plan of action. It doesn’t even contain the word “agreement” in its title, and this is one of the challenges.
    So what we really have is a plan that was – that then was agreed and memorialized. …”

    Oct. 10, “Special Briefing on U.S. Efforts to Counter Hizballah Nathan A. Sales Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism; Nicholas J. Rasmussen, National Counterterrorism Center Director”

    Read the JCPOA here: JCPOA TEXT in .pdf:
    All JCPOA docs:
    “On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany,Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclearprogram will be exclusively peaceful.”

    I could repeat more primary sources from President Trump, Sec Tillerson, and Sec Mattis, but, Andrew Bernard still refuses to read
    1) the State Department website,
    2) read-outs of the many phone calls and bi-laterals on Iran, since January 21, 2017,
    3) AB’s own comment threads, and
    4) here cites CNN, NBC, Haaretz, and the NeverTrumpers at WSJ, NOT one single source of the Trump echo chamber

    Anyone wanting to actually understand what is going on, despite the power of BenRhodesEchoChamber (clever for AB to expose them first, so he can cling to his disdain of TeamTrump), can read J.E. Dyer’s Oct. 5 citation above, and remember to listen for
    “SECTION T” and Hizbullah, maybe IRGC, in the next few days.

  • Joseph DeMarzo

    The problem is that, as the author states up front, that the deal is so bad that there is little, if anything, that can be done at this point. Obama provided the financial benefits up front and did not condition payments upon Iranian compliance over time. Who would pay a contractor for a major renovation 100% up front, without any hold backs for performance. He also did not tie sanctions relief to Iranian behavior or missile development.

    So decertification is likely symbolic, at best. And do not complain that DT is feuding with Corker. The latter enabled Obama and paved the way for the deal, and DT is no doubt frustrated by a Republican acting in such a fashion and putting him is such a bad spot.

  • Fat_Man

    “the unspoken but no less critical component of the deal is the naive
    hope of its proponents that it will lead to a fundamental transformation
    of the Iranian regime by empowering the supposed “moderates.””

    I think the word you were looking for is delusional.

    We are reading the William Manchester biography of Churchill. The second 800 page volume covers the 1920s & 30s. The congrunce between Obama’s foreign policy ideas, and those of Neville Chamberlain is spooky. Sadly, we have no Churchill in sight.

    Marx said that history repeats itself, first as a tragedy, and second as a farce.

    Pray to the Creator for mercy on us poor sinners.

    • bff426

      Sadly, the only Churchill in sight is later years Randolph, insane and wracked with syphillis. At least he didn’t tweet.

  • D4x

    Translation? Corker-Cardin needs a rewrite because it is a waste of time to have to certify stuff that is not as important as , oh what difference does it make…
    12 October 2017, 10:07 pm “At 12:45 tomorrow, the president will deliver remarks announcing the strategy to the country,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

    Trump’s speech will outline specific faults in the accord
    but also address an array of Iran’s troubling non-nuclear activities, officials
    told the Associated Press. Those include its ballistic missile program, support
    for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group and others that destabilize the region.

    The officials were not authorized to publicly preview the speech and spoke on condition of anonymity. They said that Trump will not call
    for a re-imposition of nuclear sanctions but urge Congress to pass legislation that will complement a new US approach to Iran.”

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    So the goal is, and always was, “keeping Iran nuke-free for a few more years”? Really? That’s it? I don’t recall that being the way Rhodes and Obama sold it.

    So the upshot is that Obama went Chamberlain one better: “Peace in our time and not a second longer.”

  • D4x

    “October 13, 2017 Remarks by President Trump on Iran Strategy The White House Diplomatic Reception Room
    12:53 P.M. EDT …1:11 P.M. EDT”

    In related Real News, in reported sequence:
    10 12 2017 “US must prevent Kurd-Iraq conflict under Iran influence: Ex-ambassador”
    10 12 2017 “Abadi says won’t fight Kurds, but Shiite cmdr says ordered to be on alert”
    10 13 2017: “PM Barzani calls on world to prevent war between Erbil and Baghdad”

    10 13 2017: “UK MP: West must check Iran pushing Iraqis and Kurds towards war”
    10 13 2017: Updated all day: “Peshmerga Command: ‘Foreign-backed’ Iraqi army, Shiite forces prepare to attack Kirkuk”

    03 20 2017 President Donald Trump meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
    [caption from "US President Donald Trump has question Iran nuclear deal amid a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."]

  • Proud Skeptic

    The time for an intelligent, honest debate on the merits of this deal was back when it was forced on us. Now, the only issue remaining is whether it is worse to remain in a bad deal or accept the consequences of the bad deal as the least dangerous option.

  • It should remain. Of all the world leaders, only Netanyahu is praising us for trying to forcibly remove it, this will not bolster international isolation of Iran, but will rather pave the way instead for international isolation of America.

    • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

      Surely you mean American isolation of the international community.

      The fact is that they need us far, far more than we need them.

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