The timeline of Obama's Iran capitulation

Some suggest that President Obama was naïve, or misguided, or a poor negotiator to end up with such a bad deal.  Normally this would be true – if one believed that Obama really wanted what he said he wanted.  But I don't believe that anyone could be so inept.  I must conclude that he has lied all along about what he wanted and was merely saying so as a cover for his true goals.

At one point in negotiations, Iran was down for the count.  Rather than delivering a coup de grâce by tightening sanctions, Obama released sanctions and money, thereby resuscitating Iran.  Who does that?  Certainly not someone who wanted to win.

We must conclude that the most important thing for Obama was to reach a deal, any deal, no matter what.

Here's the timeline.

  • Beginning in December 2006, the UNSC passed a resolution calling for sanctions on Iran and kept tightening and expanding those sanctions until 2010, at which time they were beginning to bite, but insufficiently so.
  • President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, six months after the U.S. joined the talks with Iran for the first time.  Before the end of that year, his administration was having direct talks with Iran.
  • In January 2012, the IAEA said Iran was enriching up to 20 percent at its mountain facility near Fordo.  The European Union then froze the assets of Iran's central bank and halted Iranian oil imports.  Then the sanctions really began to bite.
  • Negotiations were restarted between Iran and the six world powers but went nowhere.  By the summer, secret talks between U.S. and Iranian officials were taking place to see if diplomatic progress was possible.  A year later, after Iran elected a new president, Hassan Rouhani, President Obama spoke to him directly in September 2013.
  • Two months later, Iran and the six powers announced an Interim Agreement that moved the goal posts of what was being demanded and unfroze some Iranian assets worth billions.  The deal set the stage for extended negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear capitulation.
  • This capitulation included an agreement to provide “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.”  So now America has become Iran’s protector rather than Israel’s protector.
  • Obama must have concluded that a deal was not available on U.S. terms and that the U.S. had no alternative to reach an agreement except on Iranian terms.  The Interim Agreement signaled his capitulation.  The rest was deception and theater.  If Obama was still pursuing a tough deal, the Interim Agreement would never have been made.

No matter how egregious Iran's conduct was, Obama had concluded that any deal is better than no deal.  Two other circumstances favored such a policy: namely, Obama wanted Iran's help in subduing ISIS, and Europe was experiencing tough economic times and wanted to do business with Iran, who was getting an infusion of about $150 billion in sanctions relief.  Slowing Iran's rush to the bomb had a low priority, and protecting allies like Israel and the Gulf States, no priority at all.

While the EU and the U.S. bent over backwards to give Iran what it wanted, they doubled down on their demands of Israel to stop construction of any kind east of armistice lines and to accept a Palestinian state with borders based the '67 lines plus swaps.

Thus, they are giving Israel’s archenemy what it wants while at the same time denying Israel what it wants and pressuring Israel to concede to inflexible demands.

Now the battle to approve or reject this agreement will be fought in Congress in the next two months.  Obama will be playing his double game.  He will offer Israel all kinds of security guarantees, military equipment, and money so that congressmen and senators concerned with where this agreement leaves Israel will be mollified.

Meanwhile, Israel has to decide whether such Obama gifts or bribes will or should impact its decision on whether or not to attack Iran.  If Israel decides to attack Iran in self-defense, it will do so in the fall.

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