DEAL!

Middle East
on 122 Comments

“This has been a long time coming,” President Obama just said in the Rose Garden in celebrating a “historic” deal between world powers and Iran that will make the United States and the world safer.

“Today after many months of tough, principled diplomacy, we have achieved the framework of an agreement. And it is a good deal,” the president said, saying that the deal precludes war.

“The issues are bigger than politics. These are matters of war and peace,” the president declared. “If Congress kills this deal.. then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.”

His comments follow the announcement today by the EU and Iran of a historic agreement on principles to allow a civilian Iranian nuclear program and the lifting of sanctions against the country. At a triumphant news announcement in Lausanne, the Iranian Foreign Minister and EU High Commissioner said that the United Nations would end sanctions against Iran and the U.S. will lift secondary sanctions immediately. As the action moves to Congress.

Obama said that the scrutiny of Iran’s program is unprecedented for any country undertaking nuclear enrichment.

“If we can get this done,” the president said, “we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security and we will do so peacefully.”

“Through dialogue and engagement with dignity,” an enthusiastic Iran’s FM Javad Zarif said, the parameters have been worked out, and Iran will continue a civilian nuclear program.

US cable commentators are impressed by the details announced in the agreement, which will be spelled out in specifics in the next three months. “Remarkably detailed,” Jim Sciutto of CNN says. Iranian actions will precede the lifting of sanctions, including destruction of the core of the reactor at Arak… Inspection protocol for the next 25 years, surpassing the expectations. “Nothing with the level of detail announced today,” Hala Gorani of CNN says.

Obama slammed “the inevitable critics” who want another war in the Middle East. The Israel lobby in the U.S. is digging in to fight, scoffing at the deal. Iranian reporters applauded the announcement. Everyone is looking at the American hardliners. Gloria Borger of CNN avers that the American people don’t trust Obama to cut a deal on his own. Jake Tapper on CNN warns that Chuck Schumer has been skeptical of the deal, but Bob Menendez has been taken out of the picture. “There is a lot of celebration going on” among world leaders, he says.

Obama reached out to the Iranian people in his speech today, looking forward to Iran fully rejoining the community of nations. He also confronted Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. “It’s no secret that the Israeli Prime Minister and I disagree.” He said he will call Netanyahu later today. But he already spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia.

John Kerry spoke in Switzerland, and championed the details of  the agreement:

We… have arrived at a consensus on the key parameters of an arrangement that once implemented will give the international community confidence that Iran’s nuclear program will remain exclusively peaceful… There will be no sunset to the deal we are working to finalize.

Iran’s nuclear stockpile will be reduced by 98 percent for 15 years, Kerry said. It will cut the number of its centrifuges by 2/3 for 10 years.

“[Obama] is going to have to sell it to the Israeli government, to the Saudis, to the Emiratis… It’s a major diplomatic push,” Wolf Blitzer says.

“This is big,” Christiane Amanpour says of the deal; saying there are real concessions for real relief.

Israeli intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz condemned the deal. “The celebrants in Iran are disconnected from reality, in which Iran refuses to make concessions…. We will continue our efforts to explain and convince the world [that] it’s a bad deal.”

Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council is jubilant and warns of the battle ahead:

“I cannot describe to you how happy I am! I – like you – have waited for this moment very long. In fact, for too long….

As experts hammer out the details of this agreement over the next couple of months, Netanyahu, AIPAC, and Congressional hawks are going to throw everything they have at defeating the President and killing this agreement.

In 12 days, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to pass outrageous new legislation that would give Congress the power to abort a comprehensive deal by preventing the President from suspending sanctions.”

Original post:

Reports out of Lausanne are that the P5+1 are inching toward a purposely-vague statement of agreement. Tass says today’s deadline for the talks has been extended another 24 hours. Jim Sciutto of CNN says that the talks are likely to produce only a pledge to negotiate details over the next three months.

David Sanger of the NYT said this morning on WNYC that the likely deal will be “vague” and lacking in detail, putting John Kerry in a difficult position visavis the Congress in weeks to come.

Josh Block of the rightwing Israel Project also says that the talks are going to produce a “press statement” without filling in the details. From the other side, the site Iran Nuclear Energy agrees that we will see a press statement:

DFM [Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas] Araghchi: Drafting has begun and working documents exist. However, no annexes will be released with press statement.

On MSNBC Andrea Mitchell says the likely-classified elements of the deal will permit its critics to “distort” and “cherrypick” details; and Rep. Adam Schiff promptly fills such a role, complaining that ten years is not long enough for such a deal.

There is obviously plenty of support for a deal round the world: “We love you John” — in Lausanne today. While reporters complain about the endless wait; Lausanne is in “deep ambiguity;” and photographers stalk the grounds for any sign of Kerry’s white coif. And the State Department briefing won’t be happening this afternoon in D.C.

Trita Parsi says the deal is inevitable and the next step is Congress:

Looking forward to details of the agreement. Next step: Defend it against warmongers in Congress. This is just the beginning

On Democracy Now, Parsi said the Senate will start marking up any deal, in an effort to interfere in the negotiations,

it seems they are going to be able to walk away with something that would enable the U.S. team to come back and resist the pressures from Congress. The next step then would be to continue the negotiations and work out a real framework, a real final deal with a deadline of June 30…on April 14, it is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate. This is what is called an oversight bill, but in reality it contains measures that is more of an interference in the negotiations than mere oversight.

John Hudson of Foreign Policy also says the ball is about to land in Congress’s court:

[email protected] [of Brookings]: The unity of the P5+1 is “remarkable” and “a-historical in many respects.” Congress doesn’t “appreciate” this

Parsi says on Democracy Now that Israel’s machinations have backfired:

The Israelis have put on an enormous amount of pressure from the very first minute that President Obama came into office and declared that he wanted to pursue diplomacy, but I would, frankly, say that the Israelis have less influence right now than they could have had had they played their cards differently. The very, very aggressive tone of Prime Minister Netanyahu, this very clear cut attempt to try to sabotage the talks, has actually pushed Netanyahu further to the margins, and has given him less opportunities to be able to sabotage it. But, make no mistake, the Israelis are very much against this deal and are trying to do everything they can do to stop it, but there is an air of inevitability, right here in Lausanne, that something is going to come out of these talks.

Netanyahu came out against the talks again this morning with yet another statement professing knowledge of what is being discussed in Switzerland:

“a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East, and the peace of the world… Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest.”


Senator Chuck Schumer, the likely new minority leader of the Senate, is also positioning himself against the deal. He signed on to that congressional bill to review the deal, which the Obama administration opposes. Hardball focused on Schumer last night; Politico reports on Schumer’s balancing act:

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Schumer is “in a tough spot” on Iran.

“New York is the mother ship of the American Jewish community,” said Kirk, a lead sponsor of another bill to impose new sanctions on Iran.

Schumer is also close with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby that has raised serious concerns about the emerging deal with Iran and six world powers, including the United States.

Jonathan Tobin at Commentary says that Schumer will back Obama and the deal over the Israel lobby:

All the news stories about Schumer having “very, very heated” conversations with White House officials on Iran and Israel won’t mean a thing if, when the president requires him to produce the votes he needs on these issues, Schumer complies, as he almost certainly will do. Any Senate leader must watch the back of his president. Though he will claim he can go on dancing at two weddings, the odds of him choosing support for Israel over the political necessity to back Obama are slim.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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122 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    April 1, 2015, 1:42 pm

    Some sort of deal looks almost inevitable. However, unless it guarantees the immediate dropping of ALL UN sanctions, it would seem very one-sided. I’m sure the Iranians know this, of course, and won’t settle for much less, but maybe they’ll agree to some ‘gradual’ dropping of the sanctions which to me would be a recipe for more disappointment and ill-feeling.

    • Krauss
      April 2, 2015, 3:34 pm

      There’s a pretty good summary here:

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4643896,00.html

      It seems that despite all the rhetoric, Iran actually bent quite a bit in the end. I’m surprised how good the terms are for the West.

    • Rob Roy
      April 3, 2015, 3:02 pm

      MaximusDM, I agree.
      Obama: “…we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security” Poohy. Iran has never been a threat to our security and both Obama and Netanyahu know this. They have never attacked anyone, unlike Israel and the U.S. who attack anyone anytime illegally.
      “Gloria Borger of CNN avers that the American people don’t trust Obama to cut a deal on his own” What an odd statement. Obama is NOT cutting a deal on his own. “The U.S. is not the world,” said Zarif. It’s five countries plus one who are cutting a deal.
      “[Obama] is going to have to sell it to the Israeli government, to the Saudis, to the Emiratis… It’s a major diplomatic push,” Wolf Blitzer says.” Ridiculous. Obama doesn’t have to sell a deal to anyone except Iran. Once the 5+1 sign an agreement, it doesn’t matter whatsoever what the Israelis, the Saudis, the Emiratis or anyone else thinks. The agreement can’t be dismissed by our Republican congress, nor even modified.
      “Yuval Steinitz condemned the deal. “The celebrants in Iran are disconnected from reality, in which Iran refuses to make concessions” Good grief. As always when two sides with unequal power negotiate, the one with lesser power (Iran) gives and gives and gives and the more powerful side takes and takes and takes. Steinitz obviously is spreading hasbara, but, hey, that no longer works. Iran should demand complete lifting of sanctions immediately, not some “gradual” process that keeps on screwing the Iranians who’ve been illegally sanctioned for years. And, oh, yes, they should demand to see the signing countries’ nuclear warheads; plus mention constantly Israel’s.
      “a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East, and the peace of the world… Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest.” Reign of terror? Subjugation? The terrorists are Israel’s IDF (the subjugators..of Palestinians..and warmongers determined to bomb an innocent country) and the U.S. who has done everything it can to create chaos throughout the entire middle-east for it own neoliberal, neocon purposes. Results: terrorists that, believe it or not, our government/military complex actually support….soooooooo much money to be made.

  2. Karl Dubhe
    April 1, 2015, 1:44 pm

    I suppose that Congress could pass a declaration of war against Iran.

    Other than that, what could they really do? It’s not a treaty they’re signing, is it?

    • MRW
      April 1, 2015, 9:29 pm

      You’re right. It’s not a treaty. By the constitutional separation of powers, the House and Senate can huff and puff all they want. The executive can write Agreements without any interference from Congress. Foreign affairs are the President’s job.

      What Congress can do is hold up the easing of sanctions, but I don’t know if the Office of the President can override it with the tools available to it.

    • MRW
      April 2, 2015, 3:40 am

      I spoke too soon. Read Justin Raimond’s When War Comes We Know Who To Blame
      “Yes, Congress, I’m looking at you …” by Justin Raimondo, April 01, 2015.
      http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/03/31/when-war-comes-we-know-who-to-blame/

      Yes, the President can lift some of the sanctions unilaterally, but not all of them. More importantly, the War Party has arranged for a way to get around a presidential waiver and scotch the deal before it is even reached in the form of legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Bob Corker and co-sponsored by 8 Senate Democrats.

      The “Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015” forbids the lifting of sanctions for 60 days after a deal is reached. So any deal would not be implemented without a vote in Congress. It also requires the President to submit the agreement to Congress for its approval within 5 days. [See article for links to sources.]

      His tag line:

      When the body bags come home, and the war comes home in the form of economic collapse – astronomical oil prices will hit us like a ton of bricks – we can always look at the names on the Cotton letter, and the roll call of Democrats who voted for Corker, and “thank” them in the only way they deserve to be thanked. [Link US Code on Treason.]

      • Annie Robbins
        April 2, 2015, 11:37 am

        mrw, even if congress isn’t behind it, if kerry/obama sign this deal additional sanctions would be worthless imho because without the rest of the world following suit sanctions would be toothless. this is an agreement along with other world powers. what’s to stop those other world powers from carrying thru any agreement? US congress cannot demand china sanction iran, or russia or the EU. if the US pulls out due to congress it will merely demonstrate how the US is losing power in the world. are we going to strong am china into folding on their agreement? how? are we going to then sanction all the countries who don’t follow our rules? how would we enforce that without isolating ourselves internationally?

      • Taxi
        April 2, 2015, 4:49 pm

        annie,

        It’s the height of folly to pull out now – if (BIG IF) we pull out, we stand to lose mega industrial contracts for building up and modernizing all Iranian industries laid close to dormancy after 30 years of no fresh oxygen and foreign investments. In other words,i Iran is a giant industrial project, fertile with unique monetary promise for decades to come. All the nuclear jargon and details we’ve been hearing about lately – well those notes are ticked and sealed. What the P5+1 will be talking about at this stage of negotiations is who gets what slice of the Iranian Project pie. There are magnificent economic benefits for each of the P5+1 – no they didn’t really just do all that mindf*ck work, with isreali breathing sulfur down their necks, for the sake world peace. Economics was a major motivator for holding these negotiations in the first place. And if we pull out at this stage, well… we don’t get no pie and everybody else does.

        I know fiscal Republican citizens are seeing the Iran deal through that lens. Problem is, how many true fiscal Republicans exist in congress these days? We’re about to find out.

      • lysias
        April 2, 2015, 4:57 pm

        Taxi, notice how the business wing of the Republican Party is now beating the social conservatives over the state religious freedom laws.

      • Taxi
        April 2, 2015, 5:22 pm

        Yeah Lysias – they’ve needed a sobering slap or two for some time now – and who better to deal it?!

        A collection of articles on P5+1/Iran here: https://platosguns.wordpress.com/

      • Annie Robbins
        April 2, 2015, 7:12 pm

        taxi, i totally agree! been in my garden for a few hours and find out there’s a deal! it’s so fantastic!

  3. eljay
    April 1, 2015, 1:48 pm

    Netanyahu: ” … campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest.”

    Those six words describe Zio-supremacism and the supremacist “Jewish State” project quite accurately.

  4. Nevada Ned
    April 1, 2015, 1:51 pm

    I have no inside information about the agreement with Iran.

    But I want to draw the attention of MondoWeiss readers to an important development last week, the formation of a China-backed new international bank that competes with the World Bank and the IMF. This is a sign of the waving influence of the US-backed World Bank and IMF.
    It also signifies that the US may run into real difficulties enforcing trade sanctions against Iran. After all, Iran wants to export oil, China imports oil. A strong common interest!

    So China does not want a US blockade of Iran to be successful.

    The US may have wanted to use the negotiations with Iran as a way of manufacturing a justification of an economic blockade, weakening Iran. Anyone who knows the history realizes that similar economic blockades were used by the US to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980’s, and the democratic socialist Allende government in Chile in 1973, and Iran in 1953. So the economic blockade (“sanctions”) have worked in the past. But I think they won’t work now. The US is relatively isolated politically, and the formation of the new China-backed bank is a serious blow to US hegemony.

    • Nevada Ned
      April 1, 2015, 4:37 pm

      Woops, meant to say “waning” influence, not “waving”, in the 3rd sentence.

    • marc b.
      April 1, 2015, 4:53 pm

      NN, I believe that the US was recently pushing for Russia to be booted from the SWIFT system as well (like Iran)l, but had to walk that back. (Ironically, Russia got a seat on the board of directors last month due to its SWIFT traffic.) Unfortunately I expect a whole lot of myopic, weapons-fortified crazy from the US in the immediate future. We built alot of hammers in search of nails.

    • Giles
      April 1, 2015, 5:10 pm

      I think lots of businesses — including American ones — want to deal with Iran.

      Just goes to show you who is calling the shots in America these days.

    • Abierno
      April 3, 2015, 9:26 pm

      This is simply the ip of the iceberg. While Netanyahu excoriates Obama, claiming this deal severely jeopardizes the existence of Israel, he and his financial advisors have applied to be founding members of the Chinese Asian development bank as have several US European allies. He has also allied its and supported the BRICS and their bank as well. Why is this important? First, China holds a huge amount of our treasury bonds which they will dump as soon as these banks are operational. These bonds represent trillions of US debt. They were purchased when the US dollar was a stable reserve currency. Given the disastrous run up of the debt during the most recent Bush administration, it is no longer stable and will shortly be dropped as a reserve currency. The result – devastating austerity, unemployment, and social disruption. In the ensuing chaos, the US will become far less powerful at which time, Netanyahu will simply imprison or deport all non Jewish denizens of Greater Israel. Those who resist will be killed.

      I suspect Obama is fully aware of the broad range of Netanyahu’s perfidy toward the US. That he and the republikuds are urging war with Iran only accelerates this process. Simply stated the US is too broke to fight any major wars – we are doing it all curtesy of Chinese credit, bills that will soon come due. Meanwhile, Bibi is laughing all the way to the bank – we are paying him 8.7 million dollars per day to
      do this.

  5. CitizenC
    April 1, 2015, 2:47 pm
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 1, 2015, 5:19 pm

      Gareth Porter is one of the best writers on the Iranian nuclear hysteria. His book, ‘Manufactured Crisis’, is excellent.

      Reading tweets from Lausanne — not sure how reliable they are – I’m less optimistic than I was only a few hours ago. It seems the Iranians have made all sorts of concessions and accepted huge limitations to what was a legal programme, but the P5 are giving very little in return. It’s all give and no take, as usual, for Iran.

      That said, I think Kerry really does want a deal and at the end of the day, only Iran and the US count. So maybe best to stop reading tweets and just wait it out.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manufactured-Crisis-Untold-Story-Nuclear/dp/1935982338

      • John Fearey
        April 1, 2015, 7:23 pm

        I haven’t read Manufactured Crisis, but personally I don’t think Netanyahu gives two sh-ts about Iran having a nuclear capability with one big caveat. The best estimate I’ve seen is that Israel, not a signer of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, along with our good friends Pakistan and North Korea (and India), may have 80 or more warheads. But we don’t know for sure because Israel won’t tell us. So, let’s say they have 40 ready to go which would probably be conservative.
        Right now, no Arab state has any nuclear weapons.
        If Iran in x years were to develop a few nuclear weapons, is the Israeli concern that Iran would use them for a first strike against Israel and thereby condemn itself to nuclear annihilation in about 30 minutes. I don’t think so.
        What I do think is that Netanyahu just likes having Iran suffer under economic sanctions indefinitely (which of course hurts not only the Iranian government, which no doubt sincerely hates Israel, but also the Iranian population who may or may not have feelings one way or the other about Israel).
        But hurting Iran economically is right up there with encouraging the U.S. to invade another big bad powerful neighbor, namely Iraq. The horror of the Syrian civil war was largely I suppose self inflicted, but having major Arab countries in flame or economically crippled and/or inundated with refugees would seem quite convenient for Israel.
        So that’s why I don’t think Netanyahu loses much sleep about Iran’s nuclear potential…with one big caveat. If Iran or any othe Arab country has nukes then Israel can’t fire off its nukes without worrying that it would face reprisals, i.e., it loses its monopoly in the area. But who introduced nuclear weapons in this area in the first place. Israel did.

      • Teapot
        April 1, 2015, 7:29 pm

        @John Fearey

        I agree. Netanyahu isn’t scared of an Iran armed with nukes, he’s scared of an economically strong Iran. This isn’t about Israel’s safety but Israel’s hegemony in the region.

      • Citizen
        April 2, 2015, 6:08 am

        I agree, for Israel, it’s all about maintaining hegemony in the Middle East. As for Israel’s supporters in the US Congress, I don’t know if they believe Israel’s security is actually threatened by potential Iranian nuke in any significant way,but I believe they fear AIPAC and want AIPAC-orchestrated dollars to keep or get office.

      • just
        April 2, 2015, 10:33 am

        +1, John and Teapot!

  6. just
    April 1, 2015, 4:04 pm

    The good thing about this is that the Republicans, many Democrats, and The Lobby (whichever of the many acronyms you want to insert) have been exposed right along with Netanyahu and The 95%.

    A ‘deal’ with Iran will be most welcome and is terribly overdue. Rapprochement, any normalization of relations, and sustainable peace are an obviously completely alien concept for Israel and for many Americans, both in and out of Congress.

  7. ToivoS
    April 1, 2015, 4:22 pm

    It seemed clear that at least by February, 2012 Obama had decided to reach an agreement with Iran. At that time it was clear that he would have to wait until after his reelection to do so. It has been a long and slow process but it does look like something will come from this.

    It looks like Netanyahu in his efforts to derail this agreement has made it easier for Obama and Kerry to conclude one. For once Obama played the politics well. He succeeded in turning most of the Democratic Party and progressive Jews against Netanyahu thereby making it very difficult for right wing and pro-Israel democrats from siding with Netanyahu against Obama. It will be very difficult for Shumer to sabotage this agreement in Congress (i.e. not supporting a veto over-ride, at least if he wants to become the next minority leader after Reid retires). It is also very interesting to see how that has played out. A secondary consequence of this is that the Palestinians are also in a position to gain from this dispute.

    Still the deal is not made. I would have hoped that Kerry could have concluded the agreement this week. Allowing this to fester will give the neocon opposition more time to rally their forces. Also, Obama has to come out with a strong statement about why it is now incumbent on the US to normalize relations with Iran. That is something that he will have to do to mobilize support from those of us who support this agreement today.

  8. eGuard
    April 1, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Got the impression today that France and England are more pessimistic. Probably Netanyahu is working them vigorously to break any deal.

    • ToivoS
      April 1, 2015, 5:32 pm

      French diplomats might be cautious but France is one country that wants the sanctioned ended. Before sanctions 5% of Peugot’s sales were to Iran. Their automotive industry was not happy with those sanctions from day 1. And wasn’t it a French bank that was fined $5 billion dollars by the US for violating banking sanctions? The French were not happy about that. One of the pressures against continued sanctions against Iran is coming from France. Even if there is an influential Israeli lobby in that country they are countered by some powerful business interests.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 1, 2015, 5:38 pm

        Juan Cole wrote a piece recently about how he thinks the EU countries are sick and tired of the sanctions and if this deal does not go through, will blame it all on Bibi and end the EU sanctions anyway. China has mostly been ignoring UN sanctions and has significnatly increased trade with Iran over the past decade.

        Hard to know what to make of any of it. Reports from Lausanne suggest the French are being ‘hardline’ but that could be mere posturing. Seems the talks will continue for at least one more day, which could be good or bad, depending on how you interpret it. I do think that in the final analysis, only 2 countries count – the US and Iran. The others are really just there to make up the numbers.

      • RoHa
        April 2, 2015, 7:24 am

        European countries are fed up with the sanctions on Russia as well. The sanctions hurt them more than they hurt the Russians. The U.S. pushes the sanctions hard, but doesn’t suffer from them.

        Does anyone know whether the U.S. is still buying Russian rocket engines?

  9. ivri
    April 1, 2015, 5:06 pm

    It is a complex dance here. Netanyahu is playing the (ever ungrateful) “bad cop” role (together with local Republicans) and the soap-opera of the “personal distaste” between him and Obama (the “good cop”) makes the cops-array more effective – the bigger is the apparent distance between the cops the more effective it is. Both the US and Israel want (and need) Iran to fight ISIS, which is now the regional trouble-maker, and doing that is crucial for Iran too so the fundamentals for a “deal” are indeed there. The Saudis are also on both sides of the game – they too dislike ISIS and fear Iran`s influence.
    So , indeed (as the title says), some deal is inevitable, but then this is Iran, the mother of the (carpet) Bazaars and therefore some hard-bargaining is inevitable too – coming with profuse ritualistic “walk away” threats, “critical” deadlines and alike.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 2, 2015, 6:20 am

      ”then this is Iran, the mother of the (carpet) Bazaar”

      Any other tired orientalist cliches about shifty Persians that you’d like to throw in?

      • seafoid
        April 2, 2015, 10:38 am

        Iran is the land of Rumi.
        What transcending poetry did Zionism ever produce ?

      • just
        April 2, 2015, 10:50 am

        None that I am aware of.

        Really.

      • gamal
        April 2, 2015, 11:27 am

        Israel is the land of Yona,

        she once said “After Jesus there must come Yona, thats obvious” she died 10 years or so ago.

        the poem below was a cause celebre long ago. She was the last of the “Hebrews” quite a transformation from the first, Bialik, she writes better stuff but is best known for the below, a proper poet, crazy wild child vortex of a woman.

        Tefillin- Yona Wallach

        Come to me Let me do nothing
        You do it for me
        Do everything for me
        Everything I start to do
        You do instead
        I will lay tefillin I’ll pray
        You lay the tefillin for me
        Bind them on my arms
        Play with them inside me
        Pass them delicately over my body
        Rub them against me
        Arouse me everywhere
        Make me faint with sensations
        Run them across my clitoris
        Tie up my hips with them
        So I can come quickly
        Play with them inside me
        Tie up my hands and legs
        Do things to me
        Against my will
        Turn me over on my stomach
        Put the tefillin in my mouth a bridle bit
        Ride me I am a mare
        Pull my head back
        Until I shriek with pain
        And you are pleasured
        Later I will pass them over your body
        With unconcealed intention
        Oh, how cruel my face will be
        I will pass them slowly over your body
        Slowly slowly slowly
        Around your throat I’ll pass them
        I will wind one end a few times around your throat
        And tie the other to something stable
        Something very heavy perhaps rotating
        I’ll pull and I’ll pull
        Until your last breath escapes
        Until I strangle you
        Completely with the tefillin

      • just
        April 2, 2015, 12:05 pm

        shazbot!

      • RoHa
        April 3, 2015, 7:29 am

        Hmmm. I think I’ll stick to Rumi and Hafiz, to Sadi and Khayyam, Attar and Firdawsi, if you don’t mind.

  10. hophmi
    April 1, 2015, 8:54 pm

    I guess you guys should call yourselves PEI, Progressive Except Iran. Of course, most of you are not progressive to begin with, so that’s probably a misnomer. No, you should just call yourselves SFA, Soldiers for the Ayatollah.

    Don’t understand why any progressive would support the Ayatollah regime, which suppresses the will of its own people, kills dissident, discriminates against minority faiths, and fund terrorism all over the world.

    • MRW
      April 1, 2015, 9:37 pm

      which suppresses the will of its own people, kills dissident, discriminates against minority faiths, and fund terrorism all over the world.

      So do we.

    • just
      April 1, 2015, 10:47 pm

      You’re dissembling and falling apart in front of everyone. Have you no shame?

      “Don’t understand why any progressive would support the Ayatollah regime, which suppresses the will of its own people, kills dissident, discriminates against minority faiths, and fund terrorism all over the world.”

      I’ll speak for myself if you can handle it.

      I’m not supporting anything or anyone except rationality, fairness, more than a bit of the knowledge, and a lot less hasbara/propaganda. Iran should be, and is, a natural ally of the West. Maybe not of Israel, but then again, Israel is NOT the West. It’s also not a democracy and is an apartheid state. The will of Iranian people is repressed because of the odious designation of “the enemy” implacably placed by the West under the influence of Ziocaine. Now on to the killing of “dissidents”. Does America and Israel kill, kidnap, and incarcerate (torture) dissidents and enemies? Yes. Ask the Iranian Jews and Christians how miserable they are in Isfahan/ Esfahan or anywhere… they aren’t. As for your allegation that they “fund terrorism all over the world”…….zzzzzzzzzzz!

      Give it a rest. Iran has a historic and deep claim to their land and it ain’t based on a book. The same goes for Afghans, Iraqis, and Palestinians, etc. America and Israel are the neophytes and want hegemony over the region and its resources. I know I want that to end, and for the end to result in amicable, fair, and just relationships with the countries and people in the region.

      That’s progressive.

      • RoHa
        April 2, 2015, 12:12 am

        “You’re dissembling and falling apart in front of everyone. ”

        Dissembling and disassembling, then.

        “Have you no shame? ”

        C’mon! We’ve all seen hophmi repeatedly ignore argument and evidence, and simply trot out his tired old Hasbara lines without any support for them.

        So do you really have to ask?

      • marc b.
        April 2, 2015, 11:48 am

        roha, the US imports Russian coal for East Coast consumption, and imports are up, because Russian coal emits less sulfur, thus burners have an easier time meetings emissions requirements. and there are a whole host of other EU/Russian, US/Russian energy ventures that one would assume would have been nixed by the sanctions regime. just like the hypocrite Israelis and their need for Iranian pistachios and other Persian goods, the beat goes on.

      • lobewyper
        April 2, 2015, 8:53 pm

        Well said, just.

      • Mooser
        April 3, 2015, 10:31 am

        “You’re dissembling and falling apart in front of everyone. Have you no shame?”

        Shall I post the beginning of the end, Hophmi’s definitive analysis of a man he never met, “The Phils will Fall Away”?

        And heeeeeere’s Hophmi:

        “This analysis is nothing new. It is typical of Phil’s writing, which suggests, as it always does, the Phil has internalized anti-Jewish hatred, and like those secularist Jews in Europe who looked down upon their brethren or converted to Christianity to escape their Judaism, Phil adopts the classic tropes of the self-hater.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/hophmi/69#sthash.1qGBuRqg.dpuf

        “Self-hatred is a disease. It is a sad disease borne of many generations of persecution, but it is a disease. And Phil is afflicted with it, as many Jews have been in the past. And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/hophmi/69#sthash.1qGBuRqg.dpuf

        “The Phils will fall away, as they always do.”

        Gee, Hophmi, if the Phils Phall Away, where will you publish your screeds? Be careful what you wish for!

      • Mooser
        April 3, 2015, 4:47 pm

        Hophmi is really much too modest about that “fall away” post, it’s all brilliant! And I’m sure he stands by every word, today, and always.

        Perhaps Hophmi is too reserved, too refined, too aidel gepotchket to advertize his brilliance in the analysis of the mind, but I’m not.

    • ziusudra
      April 2, 2015, 2:11 am

      Greetings hophmi,
      …the Ayatollah Regime…..
      Iran doesn’t use its resources for what you mentioned. It’s that puny pariah Likud regime Israel in BB’s control that does. Your Diklum (state & repeat till it becomes fact.) is as weak as BB’s.
      ziusudra
      PS Pssst hophmi, how many Israelis cannot afford a normal life for rent, food & schooling in Israel? That’s reality in Israel, not some peeaboo non existing enemies. Maybe BB will give you some of his ice cream?

    • justicewillprevail
      April 2, 2015, 3:59 am

      Hop, maybe you just don’t have any idea what progressive means. Give it up, you can’t even raise an insult above the level of a feeble, playground taunt. SFA – what is funny about that is its common use, which would describe exactly what you have to offer (hint for the challenged: begins with sweet).

      • gamal
        April 2, 2015, 4:46 pm

        well the FA is still a touch ambiguous, following the old cockney usage, well here is a lesson in that expletive’s use by the great Ian Dury,

        the line “followed by builders and bells” manages to be hilarious and poignant all at once, its an idiom like septic for American (Sceptic Tank=Yank) i think he did Spasticus Autisticus in Nassau with Sly and Robbie. The linked track could be Phineas’ boy’s theme tune.

        here endeth the lesson

        https://youtu.be/1kFnHPHBcb4

    • eljay
      April 2, 2015, 7:49 am

      || hophmeee: Don’t understand why any progressive would support the Ayatollah regime … ||

      I don’t “support the Ayatollah regime”, but I support its NPT right to enrich uranium.

      || hophmeee: … which suppresses the will of its own people, kills dissident, discriminates against minority faiths, and fund terrorism all over the world. ||

      1. Sounds like Israel.
      2. These are all acts of injustice and immorality for which the Iranian government / Iranian leaders must be held accountable.
      3. None of these acts justifies the existence of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine or any of its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 2, 2015, 11:52 am

      hops doesn’t understand why any progressive would support the Ayatollah regime however he won’t be claiming it’s a call to genocide the iranian people. but when ahmadinejad said the regime ruling Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time all the hasbrats (including him i presume tho pardon me for not doing a search) claimed it was a call to wipe israel off the map.

      so hops, i don’t understand why any progressive would support wiping iran off the map. why are you calling for the genocide of the iranian people? and wrt sanctions, since we’ve learned from criticism of the bds campaign sanctioning israel it’s really about ending israel’s existence, why do you want to end iran’s existence? how could any progressive support that?

    • bryan
      April 2, 2015, 3:01 pm

      Hophmi – you might just find that your arguments are even more irrelevant than they were before because the world is now freed from American-Israeli hegemony. The world economic superpowers have just made an agreement that makes it irrelevant what the lobby says, Bye bye US power, the emerging world of Europe, Russia, China and Iran has sorted this one out.

    • piotr
      April 2, 2015, 4:05 pm

      The mental framework of anti-progressives and progressives is so different that I do not know where to start an answer to hophmi.

      Perhaps with the fact that we should deal with the world as it is, rather than as it should be. Any country has its list of imperfections, and U.S.A., Iran and EVEN Israel have their lists.

      The second is that very, very few wars improved the world, and decreasing the restrains on the movement of people, ideas, goods and funds, more often than not, has positive effect.

      Thus avoiding the “military option” and decreasing the restraints on trade through diplomatic effort is a-priori a good thing, and one needs very solid arguments to object.

      Going away from sweeping generalities to the concrete case at hand, hophmi argues that the singular iniquity of the regime in Tehran should make us cheer all attempts to replace it, be it sanctions, confiscations of property, and outright war, and jeer all attempt to liberalize trade, return confiscated property and eschew war. In the same time, apart from Israel, the closest allies of U.S.A. in the region (warmly courted by GoI) are Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A short explanation how government of Iran is worse than the governments in Egypt and KSA would help understanding hophmi argument.

      Otherwise, my tentative diagnosis is that to hopmi, ‘good’ means unconditionally supporting Israel, or at least cooperating on the most crazy schemes and priorities, and ‘bad’ means critical of Israel, and any of the schemes and priorities of GoI, however vile or insane. Whenever GoI and KSA agreed on something, without fail it was something like that.

  11. MRW
    April 1, 2015, 9:39 pm

    This is the standout comment:

    [email protected] [of Brookings]: The unity of the P5+1 is “remarkable” and “a-historical in many respects.” Congress doesn’t “appreciate” this

    P5+1 is in control, not Congress.

    • MRW
      April 3, 2015, 1:45 am

      [After the deal.]

      As I said… This is what ruled.

      Not Congress.

  12. michelle
    April 2, 2015, 12:52 am

    .
    if i were Iran i would
    suggest that there may or may not already be wmd
    and if there are they would be in storage gathering dust
    and any more details are not available
    .
    any country who has wmd has some nerve telling other countries
    that they can’t have any of their own
    .
    doesn’t make sense if anyone wanted wmd they could have them
    it’s just not that hard to do
    .
    i have the feeling that Iran has no interest in owning such poison though they
    might need to get some just to shut up overbearing countries like America
    after all what can be done after the fact
    .
    the kind of mental to have wmd is beyond my scope
    that such people are leaders is beyond reason
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  13. mcohen.
    April 2, 2015, 2:36 am

    woke up this morning…….and the word “gevurot” kept repeating itself over and over in my mind…not sure what it meant so i googled it

    http://www.learnhebrewpod.com/jewish-prayers/Gevurot

    not sure what it means but this weekend the 4 th april could be important…in my mind gevurot and saturday the 4 th are connected

    anything is possible….i wish jews around the world a happy passover

    3 companions,7 falling stars,the earth shall open,an ancient stream shall flow.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 2, 2015, 11:41 am

      so, do you think baruch goldstein may rise from the dead?

      • just
        April 2, 2015, 11:47 am

        lol!

        (G-d forbid!)

      • mcohen.
        April 2, 2015, 5:30 pm

        only jerry garcia gets the honour

      • Mooser
        April 3, 2015, 10:39 am

        “3 companions,7 falling stars,the earth shall open,an ancient stream shall flow.”

        As for me an my House, we will put our faith in smoke detectors, and common-sense fire safety. Thus saith the Lord: “Do noteth leaveth operating appliances unattended.”

    • Mooser
      April 3, 2015, 10:45 am

      “3 companions,7 falling stars,the earth shall open,an ancient stream shall flow.”

      ‘Barleycorn, barleycorn, injunmeal shorts,
      Spunkwater, spunkwater, swaller these warts!’

  14. Kay24
    April 2, 2015, 10:08 am

    Hey look it is McCain and his rendition of BOMB, BOMB IRAN AGAIN!

    They simply cannot wait, they salivate to bomb Iran.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-rainwater/mccain-joins-bolton-invit_b_6973978.html

    • just
      April 2, 2015, 10:38 am

      And here is the OAF’s response to McCain and Bolton:

      “‘First-strike capability’ still an option for Israel, air force chief says

      Gen. Amir Eshel stressed that Israel Air Force has to be ready to act against neighboring states and beyond – without specifying Iran – adding that such a strike would need international support.

      Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said on Wednesday that Israel’s ability to launch a surprise attack on its enemies is still relevant. The commander compared the 2015 model to that of 1967, when Israel started the Six-Day War.

      “Some claim that because the enemy can better attack Israel’s home front, the issue is more relevant than ever,” he said, at a Tel Aviv conference held by the Kinneret Center on Peace, Security and Society.

      Eshel highlighted a number of changes the air force has undergone since 1967. First, he said, there’s the strategic question: Does Israel even have the legitimacy to strike preemptively?

      “The State of Israel, in contrast to that period, is perceived as strong. Israel’s military actions require international legitimacy,” he said. “A surprise action – is it deemed legitimate? I think it’s a significant change. Then, we were weak. Today, we are in a different place.””

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.650192

      Note that this will irritate many, many people: “… 1967, when Israel started the Six-Day War.” Another truth stumbles out into the sunlight…

  15. just
    April 2, 2015, 12:10 pm

    In other news about restoring relations:

    “Tunisia restores diplomatic relations with Syria

    The foreign minister told journalists that Syria had responded positively to the suggestion to restore relations, which were cut in February 2012.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.650280

  16. NickJOCW
    April 2, 2015, 12:16 pm

    It seems to be advancing just fine. It should proceed at its own pace. It would be counterproductive to rush it. There’s a great deal more being explored here than just Iranian nuclear activities as Netanyahu knows and fears.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 2, 2015, 12:21 pm

      Seems there will be an announcement at 19.00 Swiss time, ie, under an hour from now.

      It’s not clear how much detail will be made public – there were indications previously that we will only get a brief ‘framework statement’, and that the real deal will only happen in June. Let’s see!

      • just
        April 2, 2015, 12:53 pm

        Crossing my fingers here.

        (‘Swiss time’~ lolol !)

      • Kay24
        April 2, 2015, 1:28 pm

        This article shows why Obama pushed for this, and I still think only a miracle will make this happen. The article was wrong about one small fact:

        “The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are a different matter. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.”

        It was not “longtime foreign allies” BUT ONE SO CALLED ALLY, WHO SABOTAGED, DERAILED, CONNIVED WITH AMERICAN TRAITORS, JUST TO PUSH FOR IT’S OWN AGENDA – WAR.
        WAR THAT WOULD COST US AMERICAN LIVES AND RESOURCES. Other heads of nations did not make an idiot of themselves behaving like a crazy old person.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-obama-chose-the-iran-talks-to-take-one-of-his-presidencys-biggest-risks/2015/04/01/403b7a06-d7af-11e4-ba28-f2a685dc7f89_story.html

  17. jahan
    April 2, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Influencial Israeli’s have proposed that Israel nuke Iran’s nuclear sites if there is a bad deal. Trade the nukes at the table, not in the air. The President has stated “all options are on the table” and asked Netenyahu and Congress for a “viable alternative”. Congress with Netenyahu’s approval ought to specify exactly the future prohibitions on Iran. Secretary Kerry then invokes the “special relationship” to trade reduced Israeli nukes for Congress’ desired prohibitions. Thus we present Iran with a carrot. Ah, the stick would be to prod our ally into reducing its nukes and accepting inspections. With regard to proliferation, it is a win-win solution.

  18. Boomer
    April 2, 2015, 1:15 pm

    Is this an April Fool’s day joke? The picture makes it seem so. .

  19. Kay24
    April 2, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Any bets that Beebs already knows details of the deal? Surely his spies would have done the dirty work for him? Any bets the Beebs is NOT going to like ANY part of the deal, and will slam it within minutes of being revealed? Any bets the Congress will once again betray their own President and show support for the butcher of Gaza’s stance on this deal.

    RIght now on CNN, there is a congress servant of Israel attacking the Iranians and remind us so nicely that the Ayatollah has been negative and even called for the death of America. Hold it there, Ed Royce (R), what the heck do you think Netanyahu and the Boehner bunch have been doing all this time, threatening, wanting to bomb Iran, and insulting the nation? They are worse than the Iranians. What about McCain and others who keep wanting to “bomb Iran”?
    Hypocrites.

  20. Kay24
    April 2, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Great news about the deal. It seems the UK, France, China, US, Germany and Russia, ALL agree with Iran. Everyone seems satisfied with it. What a minute, not every one. Far, far, away, in a different galaxy, one alien named Naysayer yahu, will be growling with anger and find fault with the deal, criticizing it, and saying Iran got everything it wanted. Aw someone is feeling left out, and cannot stand the thought of Iran having sanctions lifted….he looks a loser right now, and should slink into the darkness, cartoon bomb and all. Heh. None of his ugly manipulative actions seems to have worked.

  21. just
    April 2, 2015, 2:09 pm

    Life on this planet just got better!

    Congratulations to everyone who worked for peace and long overdue rapprochement with the people of Iran!

    • Annie Robbins
      April 2, 2015, 7:22 pm

      YEAH! i am so happy!

      • Mooser
        April 3, 2015, 5:10 pm

        And, of course, Israel is complaining like hell, but this deal obligates Israel to nothing in regard to its own illegal nuclear arsenal.

        Who was it who titled a book on Israel “Beyond Chutzpah?

      • Philemon
        April 4, 2015, 8:16 pm

        Some guy called “Norm” something?

    • Kay24
      April 3, 2015, 5:30 pm

      CNN just had Rep. Eliot Engel, and you can tell within seconds he is just parroting the Netanyahu talking points. It was all about how dangerous Iran is, and that old worn out card about people in Iran wanting Israel wiped out/death to Israel tripe. Notice that it is one of the hasbara talking points, and they so kindly make sure they quote a nasty line thrown against the US too (as if to remind us why we should be mad at them)….no mention of Americans calling Iran the axis of Evil, nor a single word about Netanyahu holding a cartoon bomb and lying about Iran being only a few months away from THE bomb. I mean surely those who interview them can remind them about the rhetoric from Israel too? How about the bomb, bomb Iran song by McCain?

  22. michelle
    April 2, 2015, 2:13 pm

    .
    P. Obama is doing things that make me wish i had voted not that he needed it
    Cuba was a great move
    and now Iran
    this may well bring balance then maybe even peace for the M.E.
    .
    Iran will become more mainstream with or without America
    better for America to be on board with this reality
    .
    i wonder if he sees any hope for talks with North Korea
    .
    working with rather than against that is true leadership
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  23. Kay24
    April 2, 2015, 2:29 pm

    From one sore warmonger:

    “Benjamin Netanyahu put out a statement on his Twitter feed, moments before Iran and international negotiators in Switzerland were expected to make a statement on Thursday.
    He says: “Any deal must significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear capabilities and stop its terrorism and aggression.”

    Speak for your Beebs, speak for yourself…..the entire world knows all about the way you terrorize the civilians in your neighborhood, and your unstoppable aggression, that has brought world condemnation on yourselves. So do stop with the hypocrisy, and name calling, and let’s all take a good look at Dimona next, okay?

  24. Rodneywatts
    April 2, 2015, 3:14 pm

    DEAL! – HALLELUJAH!

    Whatever the fruitcakes say in your Congress or in Israel, the World is now a safer and saner place. There is no way that we in Europe or other members of the negotiating team will countenance the stupid threats by part of the American political establishment. If Congress does somehow manage to maintain USA sanctions, then I’m sorry but American business and its workers will be the losers.

    Now we can move on to serious sanctions wrt Israel, and start asking what we can do about Israel’s nukes and its abhorrent treatment of Palestinians.

  25. HarryLaw
    April 2, 2015, 3:19 pm

    The worry is that Congress will try and block the lifting of sanctions, or those sanctions which only they can lift. On the other hand, once it is seen by the International community that trade can commence without the US Treasury Department trying to strong arm them, then the floodgates will open, the only ones to lose out in the rush for this lucrative trade will be US business, especially the oil companies, who will not be happy bunnies.

    • ToivoS
      April 2, 2015, 4:36 pm

      Important point. There were many indications over the last year or so that Europe was getting impatient with those sanctions. Kerry was faced with the prospect of lifting sanctions through negotiations or seeing them dissolve in Europe without US approval.

      I suspect that the Iranians understand this better than we do. They know that the US Congress is controlled by Israel and they are probably willing to accept that US sanctions will not be lifted. But this deal, if I read it correctly, means that the US is lifting secondary sanctions against nations entering into economic deals with Iran. There is nothing Congress can do to change that. They also have no influence over the UNSC once those sanctions are lifted.

      Russia, China, India, Europe and the rest of the world will be completely free to trade with Iran. I suspect Iran is willing to accept that even if it means that American oil companies and internet providers are excluded from their market. I guess they will be even willing to accept they will not get back the US pistachio market they lost in 1979 (they once had over 80% of sales but after the sanctions California farmers have filled the void).

  26. lysias
    April 2, 2015, 3:54 pm

    In 12 days, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to pass outrageous new legislation that would give Congress the power to abort a comprehensive deal by preventing the President from suspending sanctions.”

    There may be majorities in both Houses of Congress to pass such legislation, but will there be the necessary supermajorities to override Obama’s veto?

    If Schumer supports this legislation, or opposes Obama on the deal with Iran, I think that would put in doubt his succession to the leadership of the Democrats in the Senate in 2017. The leader will then be chosen by the caucus of Senate Democrats. Will a majority of them be willing to vote for someone who opposed Obama on something as important as this?

    • lysias
      April 2, 2015, 4:09 pm

      By the way, Menendez just stepped down from his position as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because of his indictment. He is being replaced by Sen. Cardin of Maryland, who has said he supports Obama over Iran.

    • piotr
      April 2, 2015, 4:12 pm

      Perhaps giving Schumer a strong chance at the leadership is more astute than I have previously thought. Schumer can sound like (former senator) Lieberman at times, but he cherishes his place in party hierarchy.

      And it is not like his most beloved constituency, the financial industry, is gung-ho for WWIII.

      PS. Lieberman gave impression that given a choice of following the needs of insurance companies (big thing in Connecticut) and Israel, he would not hesitate for a microsecond. And do not even ask about the considerations important to ordinary voters.

    • ToivoS
      April 2, 2015, 4:14 pm

      That is Schumer’s dilemma. Support Bibi and lose his leadership position or support Obama and disappoint his financial backers. What is the lobby going to do?

      It looks like Nethanyahu’s alliance with Congressional Republicans has created a political situation where Obama’s veto for any efforts to sabotage this deal will not be over ridden in Congress.

      • piotr
        April 2, 2015, 5:16 pm

        If financial industry was dead set against the deal with Iran, there would be no deal with Iran. I would not worry about the future funding support of Schumer.

        While many harp on “Jewish influence” in finance, the attitude of tycoons like Bloomberg to Israel is quite nuanced. At the end of the day, Israel for them is a cherished hobby, but they also need to make a living.

  27. lysias
    April 2, 2015, 4:23 pm

    Can we call this the “Holy Thursday Deal” (like the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland)? Or would that offend the Iranians?

    • amigo
      April 2, 2015, 5:08 pm

      “Can we call this the “Holy Thursday Deal”.” Lysias.

      We could call it a ” Hail Mary , full of peace” or maybe that would offend Nietanyahu.

      Obama, apparently took the thirty pieces of plutonium and sold Israel out.

  28. Citizen
    April 2, 2015, 4:49 pm

    Reuters: The framework is contingent on reaching an agreement by June 30 and all sanctions on Iran remain in place until a final deal is reached, after a 12-year nuclear standoff between Tehran and the big powers.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said the outcome was a good deal, comparing it to nuclear arms control deals struck by his predecessors with the Soviet Union that “made our world safer” during the Cold War.

    “Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he declared.

    Under the outline deal, Iran would shut down more than two-thirds of its centrifuges producing uranium that could be used to build a bomb, dismantle a reactor that could produce plutonium, and accept intrusive verification.

    More: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/04/iran-nuclear-talks-150402172642660.html

  29. Citizen
    April 2, 2015, 5:03 pm

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/126783/World/Region/Israeli-options-limited-despite-warnings-on-Iran-d.aspx
    Some analysts warned Israel needs to stop looking at the Iranian issue in isolation.

    Yehezkel Dror, a political science professor at the Hebrew University, said Israel was making “a severe mistake” in considering the peace process with the Palestinians and the Iranian issue as separate.

    “If there will not be progress toward a peace accord that would look reasonable to the US and others — and which would enable more cooperation with other anti-Iranian Arab states in the region — our standings won’t improve,” he said.

  30. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    April 2, 2015, 5:04 pm

    Parties on the streets of Tehran and Isfahan!

    It’s not often that news from the Middle East makes me smile, but this has!

    The minute I saw that ‘cat that got the cream’ smirk from Zarif, I knew this was going to be a good day!

    Bibi – nil.

    Humanity – ten.

    • just
      April 2, 2015, 5:15 pm

      +100!

      I admire Mr. Zarif for his diplomatic acumen and his knowledge of international law. I also admire Mr. Kerry’s persistence in the cause of peace first.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 2, 2015, 5:50 pm

        Yes, I was thoroughly impressed by Zarif – by his intelligence, eloquence – in a foreign language – and by his persistance in advocating for Iran’s legitimate rights.

        And I’ll also admit, reluctantly, that I was impressed by Obama and Kerry. And I’ve never ever been a fan of either. Obama’s speech was the best I’ve heard him give: I think he made it very hard for the GOP and Bibi to scupper this deal, though naturally they will try.

      • lysias
        April 2, 2015, 6:00 pm

        In his speeches the past few years, Obama has just been going through the motions, saying things that other people had written for him that he didn’t really feel deeply and often didn’t believe at all. So there was very little affect in his voice. It was like Bush II in his last few years as president.

        I got the impression that this time Obama really meant it.

  31. Mooser
    April 2, 2015, 5:05 pm

    Look, I enjoyed all the April Fool’s Day articles as much as the next person, and even the guy after him, but really, isn’t this article taking the April 1st revelries just a little too far?
    I’ll have to admit, you did have me going there for a minute!

    • Mooser
      April 3, 2015, 11:34 am

      Sorry, sorry, looks like I was wrong again! It is really happening, and that’s great! G-r-r-r-eat! As Tony the Tiger might say.

  32. Citizen
    April 2, 2015, 5:08 pm

    Fox news show The Five is doing its right now best to tear the deal apart. They are saying it looks great but how will it will be verified? What’s changed in the verification process? Also note EU will drop sanctions first, and it will be hard to get them ever to agree to them again.

  33. JLewisDickerson
    April 2, 2015, 5:14 pm

    RE: “Today after many months of tough, principled diplomacy, we have achieved the framework of an agreement. And it is a good deal,” the president said, saying that the deal precludes war. ~ Weiss

    HASBARA: OMG, the sky is falling! ! !

    First Jimmy Carter gave away OUR (Panama) CANAL!
    GAVE AWAY OUR CANAL!
    GAVE AWAY OUR CANAL!
    GAVE AWAY OUR (PANAMA) CANAL!

    Now Barack Obama is ‘giving away the (whole, damn) store‘ to Iran!
    GIVING AWAY THE STORE!
    GIVING AWAY THE STORE!
    GIVING AWAY THE (WHOLE, DAMN) STORE TO IRAN!

    • JLewisDickerson
      April 2, 2015, 5:33 pm

      P.S. Duck everybody, the BS is really going to start flying! ! !

      FROM MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM (huckster) :
      huckster
      noun | huck·ster \ˈhək-stər\
      : someone who sells or advertises something in an aggressive, dishonest, or annoying way

    • JLewisDickerson
      April 2, 2015, 9:44 pm

      P.P.S. The Republicans bitched and moaned for decades because the Carter Administration correctly agreed that the U.S. would give up the Canal Zone at the expiration of its 99 year lease (i.e., the U.S. agreed not to overstay its lease).
      Just like the Likudnik Israelis, the Republicans, and quite a few pro-Israel Democrats will bitch and moan endlessly about the P5+1 having reached a very good agreement with Iran!

      “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” ~ Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1849
      Literally translated as: “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”
      Commonly translated as: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

  34. joer
    April 2, 2015, 5:35 pm

    I wonder how this deal will affect the Palestinians. Probably not in a good way, at least in the short or medium term. First of all, there is probably some type of deal or understanding that because of this concession-for lack of a better word- by Israel, that they will have a free hand in the occupied territories, especially because of the heightened focus on security. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are large scale expulsions and land seizures because-you know, these suicidal Iranian puppets might try to smuggle an atom bomb through one of the tunnels. On top of that, whenever Netanyahu needs to gain some prestige he kills a bunch of Palestinians. So he is probably looking for an excuse to look tough now.

  35. Citizen
    April 2, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Primer on the Iran Deal:
    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8337831/sentences-iran-nuclear-deal
    It’s the subject of call-in show on CSPAN right now.

  36. RoHa
    April 2, 2015, 8:26 pm

    I’m delighted a deal has been reached, but I’m disappointed that a deal was deemed necessary.

    “His comments follow the announcement today by the EU and Iran of a historic agreement on principles to allow a civilian Iranian nuclear program ”

    That programme was already allowed under the principles of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Imposing sanctions and extra requirements on Iran seems to me to be a breach of that treaty.

    “If we can get this done,” the president said, “we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security and we will do so peacefully.”

    Iran never was a threat to American security.

    Phil’s article is a bit of a disappointment as well. Not a single mention of reactions to the deal in the European powers, Russia, China, or other major countries, and barely a whisper about Iran itself.
    Just the U.S. and Israel.

    • just
      April 2, 2015, 9:07 pm

      Totally agree, RoHa!

      (This was an updated article, though. I think we’ll have to wait for a new and more comprehensive one)

      O/T but what a dangerous arse:

      “An hours-long search for an Israeli presumed missing in the West Bank concluded on Thursday evening when he was found alive near the town of Kiryat Arba.

      The case was initially being treated as a kidnapping, but the army later described the incident as a “prank.”

      Starting in the afternoon, security forces combed the area of Beit Anun, near Hebron, where Nir Asraf, a 22-year-old resident of Be’er Sheva, was persumed missing. IDF special forces units were deployed in the area as well.

      Asraf’s whereabouts were discovered after a friend who reported his disappearance admitted during questioning that he was lying.

      The search efforts focused on the villages in the area east of Hebron. The IDF uitilized the extra forces stationed near Hebron because of the Passover holiday…..

      ……Asraf’s friend, whose initial testimony turned out to be false, phoned the police at 4:17 P.M. and told them that they had a flat tire between Kiryat Arba and Beit Anun. He told the police that Asraf had entered the village to get tools to change the tire, but never returned.

      A police source tells Haaretz that the vehicle had no flat tire and that the missing person didn’t go into Beit Anun to get tools. Security forces at the time said that the incident may be related to criminal activity.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.650305

      It was a ‘prank’ that could have caused Palestinian deaths. I’m sure that the IOF forces, Border Police, police and the Shin Bet terrorized many.

      • amigo
        April 3, 2015, 2:28 pm

        Just , this minor event was reported in the Irish Times yesterday.I am awaiting an update that includes how the Palestinians had their homes force ably entered and the usual ransacking by the IOF.

        I will not hold my breath.Jewish lives are clearly more valuable than Palestinian lives.Israeli Jews carry out a prank and cause distress for Palestinians but that is not news.

      • just
        April 3, 2015, 2:52 pm

        It’s thoroughly disgusting, amigo.

        “Friends who faked West Bank kidnapping ‘for romantic purposes’ to be tried

        The plan: to stay ‘kidnapped’ for several days, before claiming to have escaped his Palestinian captors and winning back his lost love.

        Israel Police extended the remand on Friday of the two men who caused a nationwide security scare by staging a prank kidnapping in the West Bank on Wednesday.

        Niv Asraf, 22, was found hiding “with a sleeping bag and canned food” on Thursday near Kiryat Arba, after the friend who first reported his disappearance on Wednesday admitted during questioning that he had provided a false account of the events. The friend, Eran Nagauker, originally told police that they had a flat tire between Kiryat Arba and the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, and that Asraf had entered the village to get tools to change the tire – and never returned.

        Asraf was announced as missing, and the case was initially treated as a kidnapping. A manhunt was quickly launched, with large contingents of military and police put to the search.

        Asraf’s plan, according to investigators’ findings, was to ‘go missing’ in order to reignite a recently terminated romantic relationship. His chosen method of winning back his love interest’s affections, apparently, was to stay hidden for a few days – and then claim he had been kidnapped but heroically managed to escape his captors, who had held him in a cave. Nagauker claimed during his questioning that he aided Asraf only because he was afraid his friend would commit suicide if he didn’t assist him.

        The judge noted his decision to extend the remand was due to the “shocking degree of irresponsibility” displayed by the two friends, when “only recently, teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the very same area where the event took place.”

        Asraf and Nagauker – who is currently serving in the IDF – are suspected of fabricating evidence, interfering with an investigation, causing public disorder, and interfering with the work of a policeman. Asraf was brought before a judge in Jerusalem on Friday, and the military plan to try Nagauker for providing false reports – over a period of several hours – to investigators.

        According to a statement issued by the Judea and Samaria police district, “After an intensive investigation by the Israel Police, the Shin Bet security services and the IDF, Niv Asraf was found in a wadi near Kiryat Arba, equipped with a sleeping bag and canned food.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.650412?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

        They mention the inconvenience to the Occupation “security forces”, but not. one. word. about. the. Palestinians, except to describe the village as Palestinian, and the fictional “captors” as Palestinians.

        Not here, either:

        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193635#.VR7hNPnF-So

      • just
        April 4, 2015, 10:08 am

        amigo, The Guardian finally mentioned the “frightened” Palestinians:

        “Two Israeli men have been remanded in custody after allegedly raising a false alarm of a possible kidnapping by Palestinian militants in the West Bank to impress an ex-girlfriend.

        The hoax report centred on the same area of the occupied West Bank where three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered less than a year ago.

        It sent hundreds of soldiers, police and agents of the Shin Bet security agency hammering on the doors of frightened Palestinian villagers as they searched house-to-house in the hills around Hebron.

        …The village became the focal point of the Israeli search, with troops flooding into the area to search homes and fields and set up roadblocks, an AFP journalist at the scene said.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/03/israel-lovesick-kidnap-hoax-west-bank-hunt#comment-49926577

  37. Kay24
    April 2, 2015, 10:06 pm

    I hope the President told Bibi off, and told him despite his interference, spying, manipulations, and war mongering, Obama has got one of the best deals anyone could ever get, all this agreed to by the rest of the other nations involved. Bibi looks like he is wrong, and simply a trouble maker, right now.

    “Netanyahu to Obama: Iran framework threatens Israel’s existence
    In phone conversation, Obama tells Netanyahu that progress in nuclear talks doesn’t diminish U.S. concerns over ‘Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and threats toward Israel.” Haaretz

  38. just
    April 2, 2015, 11:17 pm

    I wish that this had been published last week, last month, last year, or 10 years ago:

    ‘Israeli expert on Iran: Claim of existential threat a fig leaf for occupation

    Q&A with Prof. Haggai Ram, head of Middle East Studies Department at Ben-Gurion University.

    Q. You have researched Israeli-Iranian relations for nearly 30 years. When did the “Iranian threat” become part of the Israeli discourse?

    Ram: It started in the ‘90s. The first prime minister who exaggerated Iran’s capabilities was actually Yitzhak Rabin. As the Oslo Accords coalesced, the Rabin government began marking Iran as threat No. 1 on Western civilization and its outpost in the Middle East, Israel. Oslo followed years of pumping us with “you can’t make peace with Arabs.” Suddenly it turned out to be possible. I don’t know if it was done conscientiously, but they needed to find something else, and Iran was very ripe for Israeli leaders. Basically, since 1996 they have warned us that in a year, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.

    Let’s assume they are on the way. Are they intending to use nuclear capabilities to destroy Israel?

    In my opinion, the answer is a sweeping and unequivocal no. Most historians of the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979 point out that Iranian policy is not dictated by messianic or religious considerations but rather pragmatic ones based on state interests.

    Is Israel at all in Iranian consciousness? We believe that we keep them very busy, of course, but is this true?

    The generation living today in Iran didn’t know Khomeini and didn’t live through the Iranian revolution. It is sated with conflicts and slogans. They had a bloody war with Iraq that, not through any fault of their own, left behind a scorched earth in everything tied to society and economy. What the young generation and the middle class really care about is the economic situation, their future and taking care of Iran’s burning problems, which don’t have a thing to do with Israel.

    Listen, with all due respect, they are not our friends. They support Hamas and Hezbollah. Now they are stirring revolution in Yemen. It’s no Switzerland.

    Clearly. Iran does not feature among the Zionist supporters. But there is a huge distance between this and the way we built this straw man. We should not overstate Iran’s involvement with the Shi’ites in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Those who are determined to put a heavy Iranian shadow over these places are doing so mainly for political reasons. Iran’s involvement in Yemen is immeasurably complex. The Iranians deny involvement, but it is clear Tehran is assisting the Houthi rebels. Intervention in Lebanon, Iraq and now Yemen derives from utilitarian considerations. I see it as part of an effort to restore the Islamic Republic’s status as a regional power to be respected. It is certainly not tied to a revolutionary Shi’ite passion, or imperial ambition and certainly not to any desire, which is mainly imaginary, to destroy Israel.

    … where is the mistake?

    It is in the ethnocentric approach that somehow everything is tied to us, which confuses and distracts from the main principle. To say Iran poses an existential threat to Israel is wrong, if not a deception. Israel has bigger and more dangerous enemies. Pakistani nukes, for example, worry me personally much more than Iranian nukes. Pakistan is an unstable country. It is fertile ground for the growth of Islamic radicals. And if its nukes all in these hands it will be bad and bitter.

    Iran serves as a fig leaf to the real danger to Israel’s fate – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even Ehud Barak told Haaretz in an interview when he was defense minister under Netanyahu that he encouraged him to keep negotiating with the Palestinians – not for the sake of negotiations themselves but rather that in the end, if Israel decided to attack Iran, the pressure and criticism against Israel would be reduced because Israel would be seen as seeking peace. The whole Iranian issue, be it with Ariel Sharon, Barak or Benjamin Netanyahu, is meant in the end to distract attention from Israel’s central problem – the occupation and the defense budget.

    Did you see Netanyahu’s speech in Congress?

    It was totally clear that the speech was spin. Anyone who knows Netanyahu says he is terribly complicated and very clever, and that he examines things at depth. I may be speaking out of ignorance, but he looked like a very uncomplicated man, let’s put it that way. As someone who is an expert in Iran, it strikes me as ridiculous. Netanyahu makes a complete analogy between the Palestinians, ISIS, Iran and Al-Qaida. So, either he is an ignoramus who doesn’t recognize the political and historical reality as it is, and doesn’t understand the different political and historic phenomena that are changing, or he is a cynical ruler who is exploiting these things for his goals.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.650322?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    • MRW
      April 3, 2015, 1:49 am

      I wish that this had been published last week, last month, last year, or 10 years ago

      It was. In 2007 English Israeli papers. Have a copy on other computer. It was the report of an Israeli security meeting.

      • just
        April 3, 2015, 2:39 pm

        I meant splashed on front pages everywhere!

        ;)

  39. MRW
    April 3, 2015, 1:54 am

    Just listened to a live report on BBC with a participant from the Lausanne talks (an insider not in the news). The BBC reporter dutifully questioned how Netanyahu would react. The Lausanne participant to these talks dripped with derision while trying to remain diplomatic.

    I was unloading groceries and couldn’t rewind. I just stared at the radio. I have never–I mean, not ever–heard a government official emote such disgust for an Israeli PM.

    My initial reaction? Someone needs to sit down with Netanyahu, and give him the same speech many are giving Mike Pence. These people are not living in our time.

  40. MRW
    April 3, 2015, 1:58 am

    Yubba-Dubba-doo, Barney!

  41. yonah fredman
    April 3, 2015, 2:21 am

    This is the third most historic day in the historic Obama presidency: First election day 2008. Second: Passage of the affordable care act. Third: this pact with Iran.

    Next: “Tighten your seat belts it’s going to be a rough ride.”

    (Excuse me if I am speaking as if I am an expert, when I’m not. I assume that some of the commentators here are closer to expert status than I am and others are actually further from expert status than I am and that doesn’t stop them from commenting.)

    The deal seems decent for the first 10 years. After that it seems like a very mediocre deal.
    (The US shot its wad in fighting the war against Iraq in 2003. This deal reflects American fatigue on the international scene. Those pro Israel people who pushed for the war against Iraq in 2003 have now been proven wrong, because Iraq was a tiny threat in 2003 compared to the threat that Iran will be in 10 and 15 years. The stupid war against Iraq was the cause of this mediocre treaty.)

    Will congress pass sanctions in reaction to this pact? Yes. Will the president override those sanctions? yes. will congress override the president’s veto? Time to start counting heads.

    Where will Hillary come down on this? This will play a large role in 2016.

    • yonah fredman
      April 3, 2015, 4:57 am

      that was my first reaction. then i read barak ravid in haaretz and he says it’s not a bad deal (long range) and i trust ravid.

      • Mooser
        April 3, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Amazing how many misconceptions, wrong conclusions and upside down reasoning you get through in a day.
        Until the ‘trustworthy’ Barak Ravid calms you down.

    • piotr
      April 3, 2015, 7:23 pm

      The “deal” has a potential of improving Iran’s economy, but also the economy of Pakistan and also India. Congress can sabotage lifting unilateral American sanctions, but it cannot re-impose multi-lateral sanctions, and those are the only sanctions that matter. USA was imposing unilateral sanctions on Cuba with rather small effect.

      Iran will play a larger role as a result, and this disturbs Israel, because it improves the position of so-called “resistance” in ways that are TOTALLY unrelated to nuclear weapons.

      Thus the interests of Israel would be served better if there was no deal, even if the deal would include Iran totally dismantling of everything that even smells “nuclear”. And the current sketch of the deal indeed includes deeper Iranian concessions than expected, and the government of Israel opposes it, as it would oppose any conceivable deal. However, it stands to reason that regardless of their preferences, government of Israel has to find a way of satisfying the security needs in a way that would not contradict interests of every single permanent member of Security Council.

      That leaves Plan M, which is coming of the Messiah, but Plan M can succeed whether Iran has nukes or not. Consequently, GoI should restore the role of Torah studies to its previous position, and the new members of the Israel Cabinet will have many constructive suggestions how to do it. By the way, Iran has Plan HI (return of the Hidden Imam) which is quite similar, and this is precisely why it does not pursue nuclear weapons.

  42. just
    April 3, 2015, 8:11 am

    “Israeli security cabinet ‘united in opposition to the deal reached with Iran’

    …Upon the conclusion of the three-hour meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a short statement stating that the cabinet is “united in opposition to the deal reached with Iran.”

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to convene the cabinet for a special session only hours before the Passover seder was made following a difficult overnight telephone conversation he held with U.S. President Barack Obama. During the conversation, Netanyahu told Obama that any final deal struck with Iran and based on the agreements reached on Thursday would pose an existential threat to Israel.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.650420?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=dlvr.it

    They’re always united when it comes to peace~ they’re against it!

    Sick.

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