Iran nuclear: Obama faces sceptics in Congress

 
President Barack Obama talks to UK Prime Minister David Cameron (21 Nov)

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The White House read-out of the half-hour call President Obama made from Air Force One to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pretty bland. You have to imagine the exasperated silences, the raised voices, the emphasis yourself.

I don't know, of course. Maybe it was perfectly amiable. But there is a cadence to the text that suggests otherwise. "President Obama called... The two leaders reaffirmed... The President noted... The President told..." and "The President underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be sceptical about Iran's intentions."

Israel is, according to reports, cross that it was kept in the dark about the secret talks between the US and Iran. There is no doubt this deal makes history. It is the first agreement between the US and Iran since the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis of 1979-80. That alone is enough to alarm some at home and abroad.

The deal itself is modest enough. It in effect freezes Iran's nuclear programme, in return for the lifting of a handful of sanctions, making it easier for Iran to sell cars, oil, petrochemicals and gold.

Congress is very sceptical about the deal. Many are suggesting that they should push for fresh sanctions even though the White House has claimed this could shatter the agreement.

Obama will probably get some breathing space, and any new sanctions might not kick in for six months. He could also veto anything Congress passed. But menacing squawks from a hawkish Congress could encourage Iranian hardliners to dig their claws in too.

Some have vociferously protested Iran gets more out of it than the West. This is probably correct, and those who say this is largely a confidence-building measure are almost certainly right.

But it is the next step that worries people.

The constant critics who see Obama as weakness personified trot out "Munich" and "deal with Hitler". Some point out that what can be frozen can be thawed - in other words, it is pretty easy for Iran simply to re-start its programme once the sanctions have disappeared.

The Saudis are unhappy that Iran's influence may grow. Perhaps they would rather have that country as a dangerous pariah than see it accepted as a legitimate player in the region.

Others are concerned it is part of a wider trend of US disengagement from the Middle East.

If Iran does give up on the weapons programme it says doesn't exist, Israel might find itself under greater polemical, if not actual political, pressure to give up its own undeclared nukes.

This may be a historic deal; it is what sort of history it leads to that is really important.

 
Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 304.

    sieuarlu@300
    "tolerant of criticism"

    All "intolerant" backs to the wall, living in fear & greed even amongst 'fellow-subjects' of Mammon (not citizens), with millennia of 'reasons' for hate, revenge, shame & fear of 'retribution' for deeds or crimes 'of poor fathers'. The litany of lies not just 'from abroad', but driven into our heads by what controls politics, education & media: private capital

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 303.

    298"The last world statesman was Gorbachev who ended the cold-war sooner than put up with yet more dumb jingoism by Reagan pandering to his right wing zealots."

    Absolute fabrication.USSR was bankrupted by Reagan ramping up the arms race.Soviet generals reacted to the numbers game.Gorby tried to save the USSR using Dubcek's tactics.Hard liners revolted and staged a coup d'état, a putsch.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 302.

    #300 sieu

    "Jews might be more tolerant of criticism if it were based on all of the true facts in context.Instead it usually starts with a litany of lies,"

    ´WEST BANK GARDEN OF TEAR GAS GRENADES

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-photos-west-bank-garden-tear-gas-grenades

    (6 photos)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 301.

    291 MK ‘Its (sic) amazing how liberal (sic) will appease anyone that thoughful (sic) conservative and great public servants like GWB and Dick Cheney’ (sic)

    Translation anyone? (Into English)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 300.

    292Jews might be more tolerant of criticism if it were based on all of the true facts in context.Instead it usually starts with a litany of lies, facts out of context, distortions and draws a conclusion which can only be called hate speak. Anyone treated that way would be intolerant of it. The fact is that those who hate America, hate Israel, hate Jews, hate America's support are invariably liars.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 299.

    #298 Chris A

    "The last world statesman was Gorbachev who ended the cold-war sooner than put up with yet more dumb jingoism by Reagan pandering to his right wing zealots."

    --and gave the world to them ?

    --within 20 years they destroyed everything !

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 298.

    The last US statesman was JFK who with statesman Khrushchev averted certain nuclear war!

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/khrushchev/1962/10/26.htm

    The last world statesman was Gorbachev who ended the cold-war sooner than put up with yet more dumb jingoism by Reagan pandering to his right wing zealots.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 297.

    Me – ‘...implying Obama is anti-American’

    287 Lucy ‘May as well call a spade a spade’

    A typically tasteful choice of words.

    It appears that you may just lack the capacity to grasp that someone can have different beliefs than yours and still be a patriotic American.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 296.

    #292 JFD

    "As well as being evil this is dangerous. The day may come when ‘anti-Semite’ will come to mean ’questioned Israel’."

    --Has been that way for around 30 (?) years --after they sabotaged the first agreement with the Palestinians.

    --still continuing.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 295.

    292. John - ’questioned Israel’ has been reacted too as anti-Semitism, period, since the 2006 Lebanon destruction by Israel, which was a war crime!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 294.

    ref #293

    No Kofi annan, George Galloway and every member of an islamist organization are the war criminals
    The Three former U.S Statesman have done more than for humanity than phonies like Desmond Tutu and Al Gore

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 293.

    291. You just love the word 'appease' don't you (any idea what it means?). Almost fell of my chair laughing at "Its amazing how liberal will appease anyone that thoughful conservative and great public servants like GWB and Dick Cheney" - "thoughtful and great public servants" - hilarious as this twofer were the worst criminals in US history since Nixon! War criminals allowed to walk by Obama!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 292.

    There’s a familiar tedious theme here eg
    Obama – always wrong
    Repubs – always right
    Israel – always right
    Anyone who dares question this – anti-Semitic and/or a terrorist or [if Jewish] a self-hating Jew

    As well as being evil this is dangerous. The day may come when ‘anti-Semite’ will come to mean ’questioned Israel’. Which would be good news for real anti-Semites...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 291.

    ref #288

    No Iran is just rabid.

    Its amazing how liberal will appease anyone that thoughful conservative and great public servants like GWB and Dick Cheney

    Your predecessor would have been part of the crowd call churchill an alarmist

    Iran is ytoday Nazi's threat. But you want hide your heads in the sand

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 290.

    One cannot deny that ´hatred´is the driving force behind many Israeli actions and reactions

    While a society can manage those on on individual or ´small group´ basis, it is a different matter when the government of elected officials are elected using ´hatred´ as an ideal.

    Having witnessed difficulties that even children of some Holocaust survivors suffer -

    - Mental instability is the rule

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 289.

    286. sieuarlu
    "Come to think of it, that's how America became independent too".

    Errrm,it was the French who won you your independence.

    WHAT? those cheese eating surrender monkeys,

    Yep, the very same.

    What help from the US did they get when they needed help with their revolution,

    Errrmm,

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 288.

    274. The Republicans/Neo Cons cranked the notion after 9/11 and Bush Jr. implemented PNAC on 9/12/01 as US foreign policy, with disastrous results for the nation's credibility and finances due to preemptive war on Iraq. Iran is the rabid right's raison d'etre currently. Kennedy, as Eisenhower, knew: "to condemn as "nonsense" the right-wing notion that "peace is a sign of weakness." We must resist!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 287.

    John: The usual snidery implying Obama is anti-American

    May as well call a spade a spade

    John: Presumably they're happy with the deal

    Actually France was quite upset at the beginning
    with UK and Germany also questioning such

    But Israel doesn't have many friends

    China, etc will benefit also as with this deal they can buy Iran oil at good price

    So there is something in it for them

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 286.

    284 " ‘a rabidly partisan organization that attacks just about anyone who dares to criticize XXXX on any grounds"

    Isn't that how Ireland threw off the yoke of British colonialism and became independent? All with the help of the IRA. Come to think of it, that's how America became independent too. Hale Patrick Henry, Thane of Camden New Jersey.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 285.

    ref #284
    Or ‘a partisan operation that suppresses its perceived ideological adversaries through the sophisticated use of McCarthyite techniques’
    __
    Just like the Human Rights council of the U.S. Al Jazeera, the Guardian editorial board

 

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