What they’re saying about the Iran nuclear deal

The nuclear deal that the international community has struck with Iran is being met with mixed reactions around the world, and here at home.

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

John Boehner“The interim deal has been and will continue to be met with healthy skepticism and hard questions, not just of the Iranians, but of ourselves and our allies involved in the negotiations. Iran has a history of obfuscation that demands verification of its activities and places the burden on the regime to prove it is upholding its obligations in good faith while a final deal is pursued.

“The Administration and its negotiating partners claim that a final deal can be completed that affirms Iran does not have a right to enrich and permanently and irreversibly dismantles the infrastructure of its uranium and plutonium nuclear programs. That is a goal the House shares. The lingering question, however, is whether the negotiating partners will work equally hard to preserve the strong international sanctions regime until that goal is achieved. Otherwise, we will look back on the interim deal as a remarkably clever Iranian move to dismantle the international sanctions regime while maintaining its infrastructure and material to pursue a break-out nuclear capability.

“The House looks forward to the Administration providing a briefing on the interim deal and the next steps.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

Nancy Pelosi“Last night’s agreement is an essential step toward meeting our ultimate objective: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. President Obama, Secretary Kerry, their team, and our allies are to be commended for their successful efforts to hash out a deal that advances national, regional, and global security.

“It is clear that tough, far-reaching sanctions, enacted by Congress and enforced by the Obama Administration, enabled world powers to reach this point and freeze Iran’s nuclear development. But let there be no doubt: America’s commitment to the security of Israel and our allies across the region will stand firm; majority of our sanctions structure remains in place; and if Iran fails to live up to its obligations, the United States will not hesitate to reimpose, deepen, and expand our sanctions regime.

“This announcement marks a necessary bridge to further negotiations on a lasting, long-term, and comprehensive agreement. Through diplomacy, engagement, and unity among our allies, we must continue acting to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program once and for all.”

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I support the agreement reached today between the P5+1 countries and Iran, which I believe is a significant step toward solving one of the most difficult security challenges facing the world today.

“The six-month agreement puts in place strict controls on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran must halt uranium enrichment above 5%, neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium (by either reducing to 3.5% or converting to uranium oxide), halt the installation of any additional centrifuges of any type, freeze the size of its 3.5% stockpile at current levels (converting any newly enriched 3.5% to uranium oxide), halt production and testing of fuel for the Arak heavy-water reactor, halt installation of any components for the reactor, not transfer fuel or heavy water to the site, share the reactor’s technical design with P5+1 countries and dramatically increase international inspections of all nuclear sites.

“In return, the sanctions relief for Iran is limited, estimated not to exceed $7 billion, which leaves more than $100 billion frozen.

“If Iran violates this agreement, it ends and we will know diplomacy is no longer an option. But if the terms are upheld, we will know that Iran is serious about reaching a final agreement.

“By any standard, this agreement is a giant step forward and should not be undermined by additional sanctions at this time.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)“On tonight’s announcement from President Obama on the deal with Iran regarding their nuclear program, we must note the significance, but also recognize that there are challenges ahead.

“This is indeed a triumph for diplomacy, and I’m pleased that President Obama reasserted Congress’ role in these negotiations.

“It is my hope that this deal is a step towards a more peaceful and secure world.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    I am highly skeptical about any deal involving Barack Obama and John Kerry. It may be just a deal for the sake of a deal for the consumption of the home front. Remember when Clinton made a similar deal with the North Koreans and they went merrily on with their weapons program? Don’t be surprised if history repeats itself.

  • JohnW

    This is not so much a deal as it is an agreement to make a deal but freezing things in Iran while that plays out. We risk nothing but the possibility that we might actually be able to avoid having to choose between (a) war or (b) Iran getting nukes.

    DiFi’s comments are about right. “If Iran violates this agreement, it ends and we will know diplomacy is no longer an option.” In the meantime, sanctions are being relaxed to only a very limited extent. This is nothing like what happened in North Korea.

    The Obama administration has been working on this for years. They organized the international community to double down on the sanctions. Iran’s economy is a mess. So far at least, it appears that may have paid off. They’ve also proceeded with development of higher-power bunker-buster weapons in case diplomacy fails.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    This so-called deal slows down Iran’s push for a bomb. The US gains nothing. If Iran really wants to make sacrifices to gain nuclear weapons, this deal won’t prevent it.

  • Elwood

    Rumors persist that Nancy Pelosi is Satan and Obama is her imp.

  • JohnW

    Yes, slows it down or freezes it while we take 6 months to work on a comprehensive deal for them to stand down for real on nukes. It may not work. If it doesn’t we won’t have lost anything. They won’t be further along than they were before the interim deal The case for ratcheting up sanctions to even higher levels will be stronger than ever, and we’ll be one step closer to the Neocon, Likud wet dream of bombs away. Not that the latter will accomplish anything more than slowing things down.

  • Elwood

    OK, I’m way past skepticism of this “deal”. We’ll know we’ve been had when Iran tests its first weapon in the not too distant future, showing Kerry and Obama to be the asses I know they are.

  • Elwood
  • JohnW

    So, President Elwood, what is your preference for dealing with the Iran nuke situation?

    If your prediction that Iran is close to testing a weapon is true, that would be a pretty good indication that the sanctions weren’t working, right?

    The sanctions, which mostly remain in effect, were killing the Iranian economy, to be sure. But there is no evidence that they were slowing down Iran on nukes, or that they ever would. North Korea’s self-inflicted economy is about as awful as it could get, and that hasn’t affected their nuke program.

    This is a truce, not a deal. If the talks don’t bear fruit, we can go back to full sanctions. In the worst case, we can’t get all the countries involved to go back to full sanctions. That still leaves us and Israel with the option to take unilateral military action. In the meantime, we will have inspectors inside. Iran will be enriching at the non-weapons 5% level and temporarily diluting the existing 20% level enrichment.

    Charlie Rose had the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (talk about oxymorons), Rep. Rogers of Michigan on. I’ve watched Rogers quite a bit. He is former FBI, and I generally respect his intellect and knowledge. However, Charlie Rose, who does not normally go after his guests, was very aggressive in challenging Rogers’ criticisms of the deal.

  • JohnW

    A poll just out shows that the American public supports this deal by 2 to 1, even though they express little trust in Iran. You can’t get 2 to 1 unless a significant number of Republicans are on board. Do favorable polls mean this is good policy? Of course not. But it does show that people don’t think the administration is not out there on some deceptive Munich appeasement trip.

  • Elwood

    No, John, what the poll shows is that people want peace. It is not an expression of support for this deal, which may be worse than no deal at all, depending on whether the Iranians follow the lying precedent set by N. Korea. Man they sure suckered Big Dog. Look for history to repeat itself.

  • Elwood

    “If the talks don’t bear fruit, we can go back to full sanctions.”

    And to what purpose?

    Your post points out the ineffectiveness of sanctions.

  • JohnW

    Well, you’ve got me there. Although the sanctions do seem to have brought Iran to the table. How that turns out remains to be seen. But I’m still interested in knowing what course of action President Elwood proposes at this time.

  • Elwood

    It might be interesting to see how our latest bunker buster bombs would work on their underground facilities.

    I’m sure the Israelis would be interested too. They might even make the delivery.