|Posted on September 1, 2015 at 7:50 PM|
United States, Al-Monitor
Congress is getting mixed messages from Americans who’ve battled Tehran. American veterans are increasingly joining in the Iran deal fight as the debate turns from its technical merits to concerns about empowering a US foe.
Original publication date: 9/1/2015
Critics of the nuclear agreement say states have it in their power to kill it, but do they really? US critics of the nuclear agreement with Iran are turning to the 50 states as it becomes increasingly obvious that Congress won’t be able to kill the deal.
The new Saudi king will use his first official visit to the White House this week to make clear that his country’s lukewarm support for the nuclear deal with Iran comes with strings attached.
King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s three-day visit, strategically scheduled just days before Congress votes on the agreement, offers the Saudi leader a powerful platform to insist that the United States help combat Iranian “mischief.” The king is seeking assurances in the fight against Iran’s proxies across the region, as well as with elements of the nuclear deal itself. The visit “underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Aug. 27. (8/31)
Ali Larijani, the powerful speaker of the Iranian parliament, praised President Barack Obama for being “wiser” than his predecessor in negotiating a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, but warned that if Obama’s successor does not fully implement the deal, Iran won’t either. [...] Larijani said that Iran is seeking “lasting security in the region” and that US allies such as Saudi Arabia are the ones that are fueling instability and extremism. He criticized the Saudis for bombing Yemen, comparing the onslaught to the Bush administration’s pre-emptive invasion of Iraq in pursuit of what turned out to be nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. “What [the Saudis] did was wrong and it was supported by the Americans,” Larijani said.
However, he dodged questions about why Iran has intervened on the side of the Houthis in Yemen, a country that does not border the Islamic Republic and with which it has no special historical ties. Larijani also offered no new formula to pacify Syria and repeated Iranian talking points about favoring a “political solution” and a government of national unity — outcomes that look unobtainable at present. (2/9)
Strategic policy analysts in the State Department are dealing these days with the ramifications of the Iran deal on regional stability. A senior State Department official, who is part of Middle East policy planning, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the US administration intends to use the Iran deal for policy initiatives on regional issues: "We plan to exert pressure on the Iranians to halt inflaming the region through their assistance to Hezbollah and Hamas. In parallel, the US will strengthen its cooperation with pragmatic Sunni countries — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, perhaps also other Gulf countries, and Jordan. This has to be viewed as an incremental process, as we view the relationship with Tehran. We have given the Iran agreement at least 10 years; a parallel time frame may be necessary to stabilize the region and to implement the two-state solution."
Key takeaway: The Office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a statement reiterating Khamenei’s comments on the nuclear deal. IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari echoed the regime’s fears of “soft war” in the post-nuclear deal environment.
The Office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published a statement asserting that Khamenei has “made clear-cut, transparent, and explicit comments” on the nuclear deal. The statement stressed that “anything attributed to the Supreme Leader outside this framework is invalid.” This statement is likely a response to comments made by Hossein Shariatmadari, the managing editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan, who asserted that Khamenei clearly opposes the nuclear deal.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari rejected the notion that the West’s enmity towards Iran has decreased following the nuclear deal, claiming that the West’s “tools…are being channeled towards soft war.
Key takeaway: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani expressed his approval for the nuclear deal. The “Power of Sarallah” military exercises began in Tehran.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that he considers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) a “good deal” in an interview with CNN. Larijani suggested that the agreement is a “beginning for a better understanding” with the U.S. Larijani also acknowledged that he cannot say whether the deal will be approved or not.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari commenced the “Power of Sarallah” military exercises. Twenty-three IRGC “cultural cyber-space” battalions from the IRGC Mohammad Rasoul-Allah unit are also holding cyber security drills in the exercises.
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