Iran: Unilateral Concessions As ‘Negotiations’

dunce-capAs breathtakingly stupid headlines go, it’s hard to beat this one from the Los Angeles Times:

New Iran sanctions could push U.S. toward war, White House warn

WASHINGTON — The White House warned Congress on Tuesday that slapping new sanctions on Iran could sink international negotiations to curb Tehran’s nuclear program and send America on a “march to war.”

Oddly enough, the Times doesn’t mention that, as reported in The Daily Beast sanctions had already been relaxed prior to the “negotiations” with Iran:

The Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran’s new president in June, months before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva or the historic phone call between the two leaders in September….

A review of Treasury Department notices reveals that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June.

Back to the Times article (emphasis added):

In the latest ratcheting up of the administration’s effort to stop Congress from adding to existing sanctions, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Americans are in a deeply antiwar mood and implied that voters might turn their anger on lawmakers if a failure of diplomacy leads to military action to prevent Iran from getting the bomb.

So it’s politics, pure and simple? Good to know.

“The American people do not want a march to war,” Carney told reporters.

Would they prefer that Iran obtain nuclear weapons?

“The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it’s achieved, has the potential to do that,” he said, referring to the deal that the U.S. and five other nations have been negotiating with Iran. “The alternative is military action.”

I could have sworn the Iranians already told us to pound sand.

The Times again (emphasis added):

The administration has been lobbying against new sanctions on Iran since last summer, contending they could drive Tehran from the negotiating table or splinter the international coalition that has been cooperating on sanctions, which are designed to convince Tehran it should to accept limits on its nuclear program. New economic penalties, on top of years of earlier sanctions, could also strengthen hard-liners in Tehran who want to see the collapse of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s diplomatic initiative, officials warn….

Again, no mention of the relaxation of previously-existing sanctions.

Many U.S. lawmakers of both parties have spurned the administration’s appeals. Some members of Congress believe that the two rounds of international negotiations since mid-October have shown the administration is ready to accept too lenient a deal, and they want to sharply step up pressure on Iran.

The administration intensified its lobbying effort this week. Vice President Joe Biden called Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Secretary of State John F. Kerry plans to meet in closed session Wednesday with members of the Senate Banking Committee, which is weighing legislation that would mirror sanctions approved by the House in August.

Kerry will ask for a “temporary pause” in sanctions to make sure that “our legislative strategy and our negotiating strategy are running hand in hand,” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday.

The good news is, the French can hand over their “surrender monkey” albatross to the Obama Administration.

And the Los Angeles Times just keeps on digging.

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