This plan would also arguably constitute a significant concession to Iran’s insistence that any final agreement must provide sanctions relief well ahead of any demonstration of Iranian compliance with its obligations under the deal. Since shortly after the announcement of a framework agreement on April 2, the US and Iran have been at odds with their statements on the content of that agreement regarding such issues as whether sanctions will be removed immediately or gradually.
The notion of a signing bonus still falls short of Iran’s insistence upon the complete removal of all sanctions the day after the final deal is signed, but nothing has been agreed yet and the Washington Free Beacon points out that the proposal is only the latest in a series of recent concessions, which critics of the Obama administration fear will lead to still more in the coming two months.
This Lawrence Haas of US News and World to argue that “Iran is already winning” the nuclear negotiations and that the world community has effectively signed away its means of stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Hot Air adds further criticisms of the Obama administration, alleging that it has all but willingly created this situation by repeatedly varying his sense of urgency about the nuclear deal as a matter of political convenience.
Hot Air suggests that Obama has at times agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assessment that Iran was a few months away from a nuclear weapon, and that he has downplayed that intelligence to prevent harsh action on the issue before upselling it to create a sense of urgency for his own diplomatic agreement.
Hot Air and Haas both indicate that in his desperation to keep Iran at the negotiating table, Obama has refused to commit to the phased sanctions relief that is considered fundamental to a deal by many who are skeptical of Iran’s intentions. Obama has instead chosen to focus on the idea that sanctions would snap back into place in response to Iranian cheating. But critics including Hot Air and Haas consider this to be unrealistic, noting that any such process would likely be time consuming and that some governments and businesses would actively push back against re-imposition of sanctions once they get the idea that Iran is a viable market.
This distrust of Obama’s realism and political strategy contributes to the urgent demand by some analysts and commentators for a congressional role in US policy toward the Iran nuclear program. This demand was expressed on Tuesday in a Wall Street Journal blog post that expressed skepticism about the emerging nuclear deal but suggested that congressional oversight could help to check Obama administration overreach, convince the Iranians that the terms of a deal must be palatable to a broader selection of Americans, hold Iran to its terms well beyond the end of the Obama presidency, and outline harsh consequences possibly including military action in response to Iranian cheating.
But other commentators are far more skeptical and are inclined to reject the notion that the emerging nuclear deal is salvageable. Thus, the editors of the National Review argued on Tuesday that Congress should make every effort possible to destabilize the nuclear negotiations and prevent an agreement that appears to be getting worse all the time.
Very often, these sharp criticisms are based on more than just the perceived lack of constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. And the possible 50 billion dollar signing bonus is an example of this in that it has returned critics’ attentions to the broader character and activities of the Iranian regime. The Washington Free Beacon points out that if this proposal goes forward, it will be “the largest cash infusion to a terror-backing regime in recent memory.”