Iran talks 'deadline' as meaningless as Obama's Syria red line

With breathless TV news coverage and Marie Harf temporarily relocated to Lausanne, the looming “deadline” for the Iran nuclear talks appears to have lots of drama.  Tick, tock, will they make the deadline?

Except that the deadline is meaningless.  Susan Crabtree reports in the Washington Examiner:

With just a day left to meet the new deadline, the White House and State Department are still focused on reaching a deal but also are emphasizing that the interim agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Plan of Action, will still be in effect until the end of June.

That original agreement halted some aspects of the nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, and a missed March 31 deadline would not impact it in any way.

"So that remains until that time, in any event," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told the Washington Examiner.

Marie Harf is bravely insisting that the deadline matters:

"The choices the Iranians have to make don't get any easier the longer they wait," Harf said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "So we have been very clear. We're not going to take a bad deal. And we don't know if we can get there in the next 24 hours."


Asked if she is suggesting that the talks won't get extended if there is no agreement by the end of Tuesday, Harf equivocated.

"I think if we can't get to an understanding by the end of March 31st, which we said is a real deadline, we have to look at where we are," she said. "And we have to look at what the path forward looks like when it comes to these talks."

More meaningless prattle:

Harf also appeared to downgrade the goal to be reached by midnight Tuesday Swiss time, calling that the deadline for hashing out an "understanding" rather than for reaching a political framework.

"If we can't get to an understanding by tomorrow night, we have to look at the path forward and where we are," she said. "But I would remind people that the JPOA, the conditions of it, were extended — at the — the last extension time until the end of June.

"So on April 1st, it's not like something happens, right, because it's already been extended until the end of June in terms of the JPOA, and it's still being enforced," Harf continued. "I just want to make that technical point. But obviously, we will have to look at where we are and see what it looks like, and make a decision."

These are supposed to be serious people, entrusted with the fate of the nation.  The latter is true, unfortunately, but the former isn’t, also unfortunately.

Hat tip: Instapundit

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