United States takes a ‘new path’ forward in the Middle East!

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Foreign Minister Zarif and Secretary of State Kerry shake hands

Foreign Minister Zarif and Secretary of State Kerry shake hands

An historic deal, a giant shift in the US relationship to the Middle East, and there is jubilation around the world.

The Iranian President is proud, restrained, but sees a new way opening for his country.

The White House put out this photo of the president announcing the deal.

Obama announces the historic deal

Just now on MSNBC Chuck Todd said this could be a “crowning achievement” of the Obama administration, though the domestic fallout will be a big problem. Domestic fallout means: the lobby.

The Obama administration is releasing the president’s statement in tweets that are aimed at the skeptics, emphasizing that this is a deal to stop Iranian nukes. But also, joy:

A sense of the moment here:

Kerry just spoke in Geneva.


Gharib tweeted this photo of Zarif hugging France’s Laurent Fabius, the strongest advocate for Israel at the talks.

Zarif hugs Fabius

Zarif hugs Fabius

Netanyahu’s twitter account is silent.

Ambassador Ron Dermer, crickets.

Here’s the joint statement from Zarif and Catherine Ashton of the EU. Bland. Though: “Today’s agreement is a significant step towards developing our relationship in a more constructive way.”

Other reaction on twitter:



A lot of talk about the lobby’s failure

Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation says to “ignore Israel’s warnings” (but to trust and verify). She is also jubilant:

  More cracks at the lobby:

Ari Fleischer is going nuts.

More rage from Ari Fleischer.

Jubilation from Zbig Brzezinski:

And a foolish response to Brzezinski from Jeffrey Goldberg:


But Goldberg is afraid to criticize the deal. Josh Block of The Israel Project isn’t.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is being judicious, uncritical.

More lobby laughs.


More jubilation, from Scott Roth, who wrote, This is MOMENTOUS:


More about the historic moment:

Omri Ceren says that Parsi’s organization should be registered as a foreign agent, and Jeffrey Goldberg retweets.

This is a calumny. Why? Because unlike AIPAC and the AJC and the ADL, the National Iranian American Council are critics of the Iranian regime.

Now here is a statement from the National Iranian American Council’s Trita Parsi, warning about the opposition that will now arise in the U.S. to the deal. Notice the reference to human rights in Iran.

“Diplomacy has delivered the U.S. and Iran from the brink of a disastrous war and placed the two countries at the beginning of a brighter, more sustainable path forward. NIAC congratulates Presidents Obama and Rouhani, Secretary Kerry and Minister Zarif, and all of the diplomats involved in breaking the paradigm of enmity that have undermined both country’s interests…

“Ultimately, it is the Iranian people and the American people who deserve the most credit. Both are responsible for this initial victory by rejecting defeatists who said that a brighter future was not possible, diplomacy could not succeed, and that the only viable options were antagonism, rejectionism, threats and military contingencies.

“This is the beginning, not the end of the process. The U.S. and Iran must continue vigorously pursuing a long-term agreement that can put the two countries on a sustainable path forward to peaceful relations. Many obstacles and potential spoilers remain. Hardliners in both countries will work harder than ever to sabotage this pivot towards a diplomatic path. Those whose only currency is confrontation will search for any opportunities they can find to undermine and sabotage this interim deal.

“In the U.S. Congress, there are threats to move forward with sanctions that would unravel the delicate diplomatic process and, ironically, likely unravel the international sanctions at the same time. It is imperative that moderates in the U.S. and Iran prevail, and it will take the continued strong support of the American and Iranian people for compromise and negotiation to succeed.

“If this path continues, the biggest winners will be ordinary Americans and ordinary Iranians….

“Iranian Americans, who overwhelmingly oppose war and broad economic sanctions, and who have suffered under the standoff between the two countries, want to see a future in which the U.S. enjoys positive relations with an Iran that truly represents its people. Today, that future appears more possible than ever.

“It is critical that, with negotiations progressing, human rights are made a priority and that meaningful dialogue on human rights is made a centerpiece broader negotiations. Iranian Americans want peace and diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran, but such a relationship must also not turn a blind eye to the plight of ordinary people at the hands of their government. Just as is the case with resolving the nuclear issue, diplomacy remains the best tool for advancing human rights.”

J Street, the Israel lobby group that pushed the deal, celebrates it too, and doesn’t mention the hardliners. It’s trying to sell the deal to lovers of Israel:


J Street welcomes the agreement reached today in Geneva by the P5+1 and Iran as a significant first step in efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon…

Secretary of State John Kerry, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and their negotiating partners deserve our thanks for their clear-eyed pursuit of a diplomatic resolution, which remains the most desirable way to achieve the shared goal of the US, Israel and all parties with a stake in the security and stability of the Middle East…

We urge Congress to get behind this agreement and continue to give our negotiators the time and space they need to complete a comprehensive and verifiable agreement with Iran that will lift the nuclear threat from the region and the world. Congress should heed President Obama’s call to hold off from enacting new sanctions now so that the international community can test Iran’s sincerity and work to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran that will lift the nuclear threat from Israel and the world.

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