The Real Reason for Netanyahu’s Iran Deal Criticism

A recent DEBKA article suggested that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had a change of heart regarding President Obama and the Iran nuclear deal:

Netanyahu has switched tactics for his struggle against the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers… Instead of an all-out effort to block the deal’s passage through Congress, Netanyahu will propose to Congress new laws to specify the issues on which Iranian violations would make US administration penalties mandatory. In Tehran, the Guards chief has rejected the UN resolution as “crossing Iran’s red lines.”

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Cartoon courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles: http://cartoonkronicles.com/

It looks like Netanyahu only wants to criticize the plan. By doing so during the negotiations he increased the leverage the allies had over the Iranian and by doing so now he decreases the probability that Iranians will reject it as a concession to the “Little Satan.”

However, now he sees a possibility that Congress might actually do what ostensibly he had been asking them to do — reject the treaty — and even Netanyahu does not want that. (I cannot avoid thinking of the analogy of a dog chasing after a car. The dog would not know what to do if it actually “caught” the car.)

Those who prefer how things were last month with sanctions to how things will be in the future with a treaty are just engaging in wishful thinking. We cannot turn back the clock. International sanctions are already scheduled to expire if Congress rejects the treaty. The coalition we formed included countries like Russia and China who are basically sympathetic to Iran and would feel betrayed by the U.S. Any new sanctions would have to be unilateral and would likely be no more effective in bringing Iran back to the table than the unilateral Cuban sanctions were in toppling Fidel Castro.

In short, rejecting the treaty would undo all of the progress we have made in recent years in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, and it would deny the us the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to require Iran to turn over 97% of its existing stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, as well as its most effective means of generating more while putting the remainder of both under the constant monitoring of the inspectors, like those who successfully kept Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from getting a bomb. Despite his earlier rhetoric, it seems that Netanyahu knows this and is now acting accordingly.

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