Diplomacy

Major Newspapers Blast President Obama’s Opposition to Bipartisan Iran Legislation

The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal editorial boards responded with skepticism over President Obama’s opposition to new conditional legislation that could impose economic pressure on Iran. Both pieces take aim at President Obama’s logic for threatening to veto legislation that would only take effect if nuclear negotiations fail while claiming that the bill itself would undercut the nuclear negotiations.

In its editorial piece on Sunday, the Post wrote, “The logic of that argument has always been a little hard to follow, since the measure the Senate is likely to take up… would mandate new sanctions only if Iran failed to accept an agreement by the June 30 deadline established in the ongoing talks.”

At his press conference on Friday, President Obama said that Iran could interpret new legislation as a violation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) which might result in a collapse of the negotiations.  However,  the Post  challenged this view, asserting that “Common sense suggests the certain prospect of more punishment for an already-damaged economy would make the regime of Ali Khamenei more rather than less likely to offer the concessions necessary for a deal.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote (Google link) that “Passing the bill now could help persuade Iranian negotiators that they cannot string the West along indefinitely without paying a price. Would that cause Iran to walk away from negotiations? That’s a strange argument coming from an Administration that boasts that Iran agreed to the interim deal thanks to the bite of strong sanctions.”

At the press conference, the President also expressed concern that the current sanctions imposed could unravel if talks were to collapse, which he claims would happen as a result of the new legislation. Obama said that America’s partners might not be willing to continue implementing sanctions.  The Journal responded with, “As for Western unity, it must not be all that firm if it would collapse following a display of Congressional support for the very goal the P5+1 claim to favor. Russia didn’t walk away from Iran negotiations even when it was hit with Western sanctions, so why would it do so on behalf of Iran?”

The current legislation to increase the economic pressure on Iran enjoys significant bipartisan support.

[Photo: The White House/ Youtube]