Friday, March 27, 2015

Iranian-U.S. Deal Days Away

The betting is that the Obama administration will declare a deal with Iran by March 31, even if it is a very rickety “framework.” After resets with Russia, Red Lines with Syria, a decimated al Qaeda and a “JV” Isis, the administration has run out of friends who will excuse errors or opportunities to declare big wins 21 months before departure – This is it!

The administration has been busy countering opposition, especially from Israel and Republicans, and applying carrots and steaks with Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a special problem for the administration. His audacious and high-profile speech, with the administration’s petulance helping heighten it’s visibility and drama, was a major blow. And, Obama’s clear hostility to Netanyahu’s re-election and now “reassessment” of the relationship indicates just how important the Iranian deal is to him and the Israeli relationship is not.

It’s questionable if Obama can on his own reassess or rearrange the alliance with Israel. The New York and California Democratic delegations will, along with the establishment of the party, have views on that. But it is useful carrot for Iran. And the Senate’s insistence on reviewing the agreement can be considered a stick. Sanctions are not going away without a generally perceived good deal.

Since it still appears Iran wants this deal, expect late movement to provide sufficient justification for a round of drinks in Lausanne.

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