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Media Split on Iran Nuclear Deal | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Media Split on Iran Nuclear Deal




Meeting at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva

John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speak at nuclear talks in Geneva. (Reuters/Jean-Christophe Bott)

Twenty-four hours after the big announcement, the editorials and punditry have started to appear, and I will be charting it all here.

At the same time, I’m sure what will not appear: apologies from Bill Keller and Nick Kristof of The New York Times and other liberals for urging US bombing of Syria two months ago—which would have killed (besides a lot of civilians) any Iran deal. Of course, we should also recall that President Obama himself planned to bomb but was deterred by popular protest, and then had the courage to change his mind.

With the Iran deal, we’ll start with the New York Times editorial, posted late Sunday, and add others below. For broad range of Israeli analysis and opinion, go to Haaretz.   And don't miss Thomas Friedman ripping Israel, Israeli lobby and U.S. congress members.

From the Times:

The interim nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers is an important step toward resolving the increasingly dangerous dispute over Iran’s progress on production of a nuclear weapon. President Obama and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran deserve credit for resisting fierce domestic opposition and a 30-year history of animosity between the two countries to get to this point….

As with any deal between adversaries, caution is warranted. Iran kept the nuclear program secret for nearly two decades before it was uncovered in 2002 and has resisted full disclosure of its activities. But the interim deal has protections that should make cheating harder, including unprecedented daily inspections of enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo by United Nations experts.

Inevitably, here’s the take from The Wall Street Journal, which titles it “Iran’s Nuclear Triumph”:

President Obama is hailing a weekend accord that he says has “halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program,” and we devoutly wish this were true. The reality is that the agreement in Geneva with five Western nations takes Iran a giant step closer to becoming a de facto nuclear power….

Mr. Obama seems determined to press ahead with an Iran deal regardless of the details or damage. He views it as a legacy project. A President has enormous leeway on foreign policy, but Congress can signal its bipartisan unhappiness by moving ahead as soon as possible to strengthen sanctions. Mr. Obama warned Congress not to do so in his weekend remarks, but it is the only way now to stop the President from accommodating a nuclear Iran.

John Judis at The New Republic reminds us about our 1987 nuclear pact with th Soviets:

Conservatives denounced Reagan for the pact. National Review called it “Reagan’s suicide pact.” Henry Kissinger charged that it undermined “40 years of NATO.” But, of course, the treaty turned out to be a prelude not only to more comprehensive arms agreements, but to the end of the Cold War.

The hawkish Washington Post says this effort is worth making but, of course, raises many warning signs with Israel, guess what, at center stage.

The first is a rift with Israel and Saudi Arabia and other U.S. Arab allies, which objected to an interim arrangement that would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure mostly untouched and which strongly oppose allowing Iran permanent enrichment capacity.

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Eli Lake at The Daily Beast calls the deal highly “dangerous.” Chicago Tribune: “hope has triumphed over experience.” USA Today: Yes, there are risks, but this sure “beats the alternative.” Peter Beinart: No, Bill Kristol, this is not another Munich.

Bob Dreyfuss calls the US-Iran deal a “historic first step” in the peace process.

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