Two articles appearing today require addressing the looming deal with Iran: one by Roger Cohen in the Times and the other by one of my ideological heroes Andy McCarthy at National Review. Mr. Cohen, like many writers at the Times of course, are openly supportive of the broad Obama agenda, and reaching an agreement with Iran is consistent with their collective vision. Mr. McCarthy comments on a letter Sen. Ben Sasse has written to the President which conflicts with the bizarre bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Bob Corker regarding how Congress will "review" the agreement once it's concluded.
I'm quite certain I have written an earlier post on a column written by Cohen. He seems hell bent on trying to find the most obscure ways of rationalizing an agreement with Iran, but today's column is bending into territory that twists fact and reality. He claims that an earlier, preliminary agreement between the U.S. and Iran on nuclear matters has effectively limited nuclear development and been honored by the Iranians. This is patently untrue. One need only follow the link Mr. Cohen provides from an earlier "news" report by the Times to see how faithless his argument is. The article is from November 2013, and it reports that the accord is scheduled to last 6 months and it requires Iran to prove, according to John Kerry, that its nuclear program really is for "peaceful" purposes. He said the accord would insure that Iran would not be able to create a nuclear weapon and that it would "make Israel safer".
Regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, I would hope we would all agree: Iran will obtain nuclear weapons and whenever that happens, Israel will not be safe.
So, fundamentally, Cohen's contention that this interim accord of 2013 enjoyed some measure of success is inherently false. It accomplished nothing, except bringing Iran to the table. And that's not a bad thing. It's what's happening at the table - right now - that is a bad thing.
The article goes on to say that the Iranians have agreed to inspections at Natanz and Fordo on a "daily" basis to inspect film to insure no cheating occurs. We now know Ayatollah Khameini has prohibited this. Cohen seems to believe that the Ayatollah will buckle on this demand and that Obama cannot conclude an agreement without it. Who will end up blinking in the final hour? I suspect - again - regardless of where we stand, we know the answer. Obama and Kerry have banked so much capital on this legacy agreement, have given away so much to even reach this point, it is difficult to imagine an announcement will contain any surprises.
Which leads us to McCarthy. He expresses curiosity about Sen. Sasse's sudden concern that the looming agreement requires the U.S. to prove Iran's noncompliance rather than the other way around. This could be the defining example of irony since Senators Sasse and Corker have abrogated their constitutional authority in return for getting Democrats to agree on any Congressional oversight of this agreement. As usual, this was an unnecessary and repulsive capitulation by Republicans. They control the House. They control the Senate.
This agreement should have been subjected to the "advice and consent" powers of the Senate and the President should have been compelled to find a 2/3 majority for approval. As it stands this Sasse-Corker bill is a showpiece. Regardless of Congress' vote, the President will get his agreement because he can simply veto the passage of Sasse-Corker and his agreement passes into law. That's why he agreed to it. Whether Roger Cohen or any of us see "unambiguous acquiescence to full site access". There is reasonable skepticism that Kerry will walk if he is unable to negotiate this.
Cohen calls us "unserious critics". I call him naive, dangerous and someone who refuses to acknowledge that "Death to Israel" is more than some rhetorical chant following Friday prayers.