The Iranian Deal -- Who's to Blame?

Many have said that the Iranian nuclear deal is a disaster. It allows for Iran to have sanction relief, inspection of its own Parchin nuclear weapons research site, uranium enrichment, a ballistic missile program, the ability to buy conventional weapons, fund terrorism, and have a near zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb. Yet, those against the deal failed in an attempt to derail it. American Thinker interviewed several officials about why the deal succeeded.

Part of the reason this deal became a reality is that the American Jews were not united. There were those who saw Israel’s survival and America’s national security as the upmost importance. But there were also those who take every opportunity to criticize Israel. Take, for example, Rabbi Ron Stern from Stephen S. Wise Synagogue in Los Angeles who delivered a sermon on empathy. He did not speak of empathy with fellow Jews in Israel who fear for their very survival because of this deal.  Instead, he called Israel racist for their migrant detention facilities, which by the way no longer exists. 

Unfortunately, it appears that the Jews are ignoring what the words “never again” mean and instead have the attitude “forgot again.”  A poll showed American Jews are much likelier than non-Jews to back the Iran nuclear deal. Jewish support for the deal was 20 percentage points higher than for Americans overall. A separate question found 54 percent of Jews saying Congress should approve the deal, while 35 percent want Congress to block it. 

Maybe the Jews who approve the deal should recall a prayer said on the Jewish New Year about the sounds of the Shofar. “What is wrong with our ears, O G-d, that we cannot hear the history of our people in the sound of the Shofar?  What smugness do we use to screen out the calls of the past… and stir within us renewed devotion to the land of Israel.”

Yet, President Obama also must be blamed for leading from behind as he has given into all of the Iranian demands. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State authored the book Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America. They point out that the Iranian deal succeeded because of President Obama’s policies that did not recognize “Iran is America’s enemy and that its objectives are inconsistent with peace, stability, and security in the Middle East.” Vice-President Cheney told American Thinker that the president has “taken us down a very dangerous road by making a deal with the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism.  He has set up a process that ultimately will enable Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and might need force to act upon. It is a very weird concept of our national interest. The president came into office saying that he would not put any preconditions with these talks. It turned out there were, but on the part of the Iranians.” 

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agrees with the Cheneys. He sees the current president as weak who wanted to get a deal with Iran at all costs. The senator believes, “the reason Russia and China have been allowed their unchecked aggression is because President Obama wanted a deal so badly. He has been a weak opponent of evil and a poor champion of freedom. The president either won’t articulate the threats, ignores them, or undersells what they actually are. He has a way to put a rosy picture on every disaster.”

But the division in the Republican Party also hurt. There were those like Senator Graham who spoke out loudly and frequently against the deal.  He even went as far as launching the nationwide No Nukes For Iran Tour, holding Town Hall meetings, which attempted to explain what was wrong with the deal, and to encourage members of Congress to vote against it. 

However, other Republicans seemed risk averse. For example, why wasn’t the nuclear option invoked to stop the deal? Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) spoke to American Thinker in pragmatic terms, “possession is 9/10ths of the law. Whoever occupies the White House holds a tremendous amount of discretion. The nuclear option needs 51 Senators and ignores the rules as it was written. Many conservatives would find it unsettling. If we invoke the nuclear option the most we would get out of it is to pass a resolution of disapproval. After the president would veto it the Iran deal would still take effect because we cannot override it.”

Another mistake by the Republicans was supporting the Corker Bill, known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Andrew McCarthy, a Constitutional expert and writer believes the Republicans were snookered since it gave President Obama a path to making this deal binding. Remember the Senate Democrats successfully filibustered several Republican attempts to pass resolutions against it. McCarthy noted the “Republicans claimed it would compel Obama to disclose the agreement, but he has predictably withheld key parts, so far, with impunity. Republicans claimed it would put Democrats on record supporting the Iran deal, but Corker allowed Senate Democrats to use the filibuster to avoid such accountability, and there was little value in it anyway since Corker’s rigged process assures that Obama would win the vote if there were one.”

A Republican Congressional aide told American Thinker that the Obama lobbying was more effective than those in the Jewish community. She has a good point considering that the following Senators Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-Minn), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), supported the deal while reports said they all received numerous sums of money from the Iranian American Political Action Committee.

While Democrats such as Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Brad Sherman, and Congressman Ted Lieu should be applauded for standing firm, others saw the issue in purely partisan terms. In fact, a Democratic Congressional aide told American Thinker, many Democrats voted for the deal because “the Republican presidential candidates made it a campaign issue, and they didn’t want to be seen siding with Republicans over the president.” Too bad they never heard of something called bi-partisanship.

Many Democrats drank the Kool-Aid. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) believes this agreement will prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear bomb and wants to rely on intelligence to make sure Iran complies. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FLA), who spoke with American Thinker, concurred when she stated, “we believe strongly that this is the most likely way of Iran not achieving a nuclear weapon. Yes, they are going to cheat, which is why there are extensive and the most intrusive monitoring inspections that has ever been agreed to in any international agreement.” But Chad Sweet, a national security expert, pointed out the U.S. got it wrong regarding Syria’s nuclear reactor and explained, “I know as someone who worked for the CIA that intelligence is an art and not a science. With the Iranian regime we cannot have full faith and confidence that we know what the checks and balances will be.”

Democrats also are trying to spin the blame game by claiming the Bush administration is at fault. This is a ridiculous argument since Obama has been president for over six years. This is apart from the fact that the Bush administration secured five of the six UN Security Council Resolutions against Iran. When Bush left office there was a historically stringent set of sanctions working with private business and banks around the globe to shut off Iran's access. Yet, President Obama put it on hold when he began his engagement policy with Iran.

Unfortunately it appears this deal will be implemented.  Those to blame may look back and regret their choices, but will it be too late. As former Ambassador Michael Oren reminds people, there were six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, and there are six million Jews who live in Israel.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.