The Big Cave In: How US negotiators gave in to almost every single Iranian demand to get a deal
Max Fisher writing at Vox gets the prize for the most incredibly stupid defense of the Iran nuclear deal: "This is an astonishingly good Iran deal."
As Fox News points out, what was truly astonishing about the deal was just how far US negotiators went in accommodating the Iranian positions.
U.S. negotiators reportedly lowered the bar for their own goals during talks over Iran's nuclear program in response to resistance from the Tehran team. And, on the heels of a framework deal being announced in Switzerland, France's top diplomat on Friday admitted his country had initially held out for firmer terms.
The emerging reports indicate the U.S. team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, gradually backed down over the course of the talks as Iran's delegation dug in. The Wall Street Journal, citing current and former U.S. representatives at the discussions, claimed the White House had initially hoped to persuade Iran to dismantle much of the country's nuclear infrastructure when talks started in late 2013, only to be told categorically that Iran would not do so.
The Journal reported that one Iranian diplomat called the nuclear program "our moon shot," comparing it to the U.S. space program in the 1960s as a symbol of national pride and advancement. From that point, the Journal reports, the U.S. accepted that any possible deal would likely enable Iran to continue to enrich some uranium to produce nuclear fuel and turned their focus to extending Iran's so-called "breakout time" or the minimum period that Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon.
However, not all of the Western powers appeared completely pleased with the agreement. On Friday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio that France had rejected an original of the deal outline as "not solid enough", and had held out for firmer conditions. However, Fabius told the radio station that the Iranian delegation had responded by threatening to walk out of the talks.
The French delegation was considered by observers to be one of the hardest bargainers of the P5+1 countries, a group which also included the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia and China. Fabius told Europe 1 that France wants a firm deal "to prevent other countries in the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia from embarking on nuclear proliferation."
As for the framework itself, Fabius called it a "very important" step, but noted that "the end of the road is the end of June."
You have to admit that the Iranians played on fears of the failure of talks by the US perfectly. In the end, it's clear that Kerry had little interest in keeping the Iranian nuclear program from making a bomb, and was more concerned about keeping them talking. Concession after concession after concession must have pleased the Iranians greatly.
You have to wonder if the French will blow up a final agreement by walking out of the talks before the July 1 deadline. There was really no reason to strenuously object to a framework deal. Better to try and give Kerry and the US a backbone so that they stand up to the Iranians as details of a final agreement are hashed out.
But a final agreement is assured. There's no way that President Obama, after basking in the lavish praise of the press for his "historic" agreement, will ruin his legacy by not giving the Iranians everything they want.
This deal is going to get a lot worse before a final agreement is reached.