The Iran Deal Is Not Actually a Deal (Yet)



President Obama announced yesterday that the United States, in conjunction with five other nations, had reached a "historic understanding" with Iran over its nuclear program. This agreement is widely being referred to as a "deal" with Iran. But it's not. Not yet, anyway.

Over at The Washington Post, Dan Drezner makes a bunch of good points about the ways that yesterday's nuclear deal with Iran could still fall apart. But the most important point he makes is just to stress, in his opening, that the "deal" everyone is talking about isn't really a deal at all. Here's Drezner:

One implicit assumption I do see in a lot, though not all, of the instant analysis is the assumption that the hard work has been done, the train has left the station, and that there will be a finished deal come June 30 — or Sept. 30, when the inevitable three-month extension is added. This is likely based on the fact that relative to expectations, the joint announcement was surprisingly detailed.

Right, what was announced yesterday was, at most, a precursor to a possible deal—an agreement to make an agreement, with some possible specifics attached. The State Department released a sheet outlining the basics, in a document titled "Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program," but even those details haven't been formally codified in any way. The document is just the State Department's public summary. 

As the BBC notes, the "deal" is so far "an unwritten understanding, not a formal agreement." There's yet another deadline, sure to be extended, for coming to an actual, final deal.

Put another way, the "deal" we have with Iran right now isn't a deal to do the stuff in the State Department's summary. It's a deal to make a deal to do the stuff in the State Department's summary, or something that resembles it.

That of course doesn't mean that no deal is coming, but it does mean that the terms as we understand them right now could change, and that a final, actual deal is far from certain. The deal remains, as Obama said, an "understanding," and not much more. 

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  1. I have said it before but it is worth saying again. Obama is so incompetent, he can’t even successfully surrender.

    1. I dunno, he’s gotten most of his agenda through on nothing more but intimidation, Obamacare being the only (kind of) legitimately enacted policy.

    2. He certainly made clear from early on that he was desperate for a deal, any deal, no matter how bad. Seems like a bad way to tip your hand to the other side. The Iranians knew they could win all sorts of concessions.

      Especially considering that our sanctions appeared to be causing Iran real pain, it’s astonishing that we managed to give them the leverage in the negotiations. Or, it would be astonishing with any other president.

      1. exactly what concessions are outlined in tbis agreement do you take issue with, other Jim?

        1. I’m no nuclear expert, but I gather the deal being contemplated would allow Iran to keep many (or most?) of its centrifuges running, and also to keep most (or all?) of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in the country. My (admittedly layman) understanding is that Iran might convert that stockpile into a form of uranium that isn’t bomb-grade. But it also sounds like that process can be reversed, or simply evaded if inspections aren’t strong enough.

          These sound like big wins for a country that doesn’t need nuclear power, given that it has vast natural gas reserves that could easily power many conventional power plants. Especially a country that has sought to develop ballistic missiles that serve no purpose without a nuclear warhead. Also, I gather that Iran is not answering many of the IAEA’s questions about its past weapons-related nuclear work. At one point, Obama said this was a requirement, but from what I’ve read recently, that’s not going to happen.

    3. Neville Chamberlain!!!!

    4. I’m sticking by my opinion that it’s malevolence and not incompetence.

      1. What’s the gain for him to be malevolence?

        1. The fuck does that mean?

        2. Just ideology. Obama wants to take the US down a few notches, thinks Muslim nations need to be more powerful, history of colonialism, blah blah blah.

          1. Careful Papaya, the last guy to say that was convicted by the FEC for illegal campaign contributions.

            1. Come and get me, copper!

          2. Yep got to take down the new bourgeoisie. The United States, western civilization, the white man, Christianity, the Patriarchy, etc.

            The Marxists may have changed their language a bit but they still think the same.

    5. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing

  2. When you’ve lost the French in a treaty….

  3. Obama is playing hard ball. He wants the insider recipe for chelow kabab.

    1. I make a better lamb koobideh than any white house chef could. All I need is a good recipe for gormeh sabzi and geimeh and I’ll be set.

  4. In the world of negotiations, we call that a nonbinding letter of intent. Best practice in the corporate world is to not issue press releases on LOIs. Better to wait until a binding agreement has been executed.

    1. Pro Libertate|4.3.15 @ 2:22PM|#
      “In the world of negotiations, we call that a nonbinding letter of intent.”

      This seems to be an “Understanding” to develop a “road map” so that we might have “frank discussions” which perhaps might lead to an “agreement” to hold “talks”.
      IOWs, it’s bullshit from end to end.

      1. It sounds more nonbinding than even a nonbinding LOI. Not much of a foundation to pat yourself on the back about, is it?

  5. By the way, the Obama Administration fully intends to strike a “deal” on climate change in Paris this December.

    A compulsory “deal” that somehow doesn’t require the approval of the Senate:

    “WASHINGTON ? The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

    In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.”…..reaty.html

    This is typical of Obama.

    He’ll want the full cooperation of Congress, right up until he realizes he can’t get it, and then it’s all, “Do you know who the fuck I am?!”.

    1. If he does that, I will buy the nastiest diesel car I can find and spend all of my net worth on running kerosene through it.

      1. I’ll do you one better, buy all the coal, and steel that you can, and then use them to start forging AK receivers. Quench in used motor oil, and then just give the receivers away to anyone that wants one.

    2. It’s not enforceable law without Senate ratification.

      1. Well, we need to see the terms of the deal, first, but I think we’re probably talking about stiff penalties imposed by other nations against us if we don’t comply.

        The most obvious way to accomplish that would be doing it through something like the WTO dispute resolution body–if not the WTO dispute resolution body itself.

        The nations meeting in Paris are presumably also members of the WTO.

    3. He’ll want the full cooperation of Congress, right up until he realizes he can’t get it, and then it’s all, “Do you know who the fuck I am?!”.

      Elections have consequences. Well, only those elections that happen every four years where people who couldn’t name the VP, let alone a single USSC justice, are empowered to steal all your fucking money you evil uppity white cishetero christian man.

      1. Honestly, trying to circumvent a core constitutional process like this should lead to impeachment and removal from office. You want a metric of how far gone we are, that’s a good one.

        1. Our only two impeachments were on way shakier grounds.

          1. To be sure, this country has impeached officials far, far, far less than it should have. I don;t recall the numbers off the top of my head, but it’s something like 20-30 impeachments ever, with maybe a third of those resulting in convictions. And most of those were judges, because God forbid we kick out a president, bureaucrat, or member of Congress.

            Liberty fades when you refuse to use it.

    4. So he’s making a law with no actual ability to be enforced because it’s not passed through congress and there’s no money budgeted for its enforcement.

      But it makes left wingers feel good, and isn’t that really what matters?

      1. See what I wrote above about enforcement.

        I keep hearing people saying that things aren’t enforceable because Congress matters, but I keep reading elsewhere about executive orders and…

        What do you guys think the chances are that this Iran treaty is going before the Senate? It isn’t going to happen, right?

        That’s the way republics die.

        The executive stars doing things that only the legislature is supposed to do–and people just get used to it. They want that!

        I know there are still people walking around today (some of them may even be in this thread) who think that you can’t fight a war without an authorization from Congress.

        I don’t know why they think that. Presidents keep sending troops to various places and telling them to fight, and the troops keep going and fighting like they’re told. It must have happened a dozen times since the Korean War!

        It’ll be interesting to see what the Supreme Courts says about those ObamaCare subsidies. I don’t suppose the Republic is dead yet, but we can all see which way it’s trending.

        1. But with no congressional approval there’s no way for Obama to insure the next president abides by the terms he laid out. Literally the day he is elected President Scott Walker can say ‘Fuck this’ and renege on the deal entirely.

          1. I suppose so.

            On the other hand, as long as some president has done it before, it won’t be unprecedented.

            How many times have we heard progressives justify some god-awful thing the Obama Administration is doing with the observation that Bush did it, too.

            I don’t imagine Obama holding himself back from doing something on climate change (or anything else) for fear that whomever succeeds him won’t do the same thing.

    5. Ken strikes on the real issue here – the executive attempting to take Treaty powers from congress. Just like they took war powers, etc.

  6. No deal, and no alt-text. DOUBLE FAIL.

    1. We should start doing alt-txt caption contests everytime we are denied alt-txt. My submission:

      Persian Larry David (center) will not let the fact that this isn’t a deal yet curb his enthusiasm.

      1. Thank you – that helps.

        *alt-text withdrawal shakes subside*

      2. Three out of three beards agree it’s a deal.

  7. And ,as usual ,western powers are making a ‘deal’ that other countries in the region ( Israel,Saudi Arabia, Gulf states,ect) are being told to live with,with out their input. Seems like they haven’t learned a thing in the last 100 years.

  8. “President Obama announced yesterday that the United States, in conjunction with five other nations, had reached a “historic understanding” with Iran over its nuclear program.”

    There are a number of things historic about that understanding.

    Having come to that understanding in conjunction with five other nations is nice, but I thought treaties required two-thirds of the Senate for approval.

    Oh, that’s right. That was before 47 Senators were denounced as traitors for trying to weigh in on the issue!

    Who cares about the approval of 47 traitors?!

    “That of course doesn’t mean that no deal is coming, but it does mean that the terms as we understand them right now could change, and that a final, actual deal is far from certain. The deal remains, as Obama said, an “understanding,” and not much more.”

    Didn’t Obama go to war in Libya under such an understanding?

    And while the terms of an “understanding” might not be exactly what they would be if this were an “agreement” (or even a treaty!), chances are the terms are not going to move more against Iran, right?

    If the “understanding” becomes an “arrangement” (which never becomes a treaty but gets treated like one), then the chances of Iran having their right to enrich their own uranium enshrined and legitimized in that arrangement by Obama’s sheer magnificence are extremely high. Isn’t that right?

    1. Hell with the senate,making a deal and leaving out all the other countries in the region is a fool’s errand. It’s not just Israel that hates and fears Iran. Why can these people not see that all players need to be involved? Let the sort it out .

  9. Why are we lifting sanctions on the #1 state sponsor of terrorism? Oh, that’s right, the administration “forgot” to include them on the list last time.

  10. You know who else made a deal that wasn’t actually a deal…

    and with that Godwin I’m outta here. I want everyone to have a good weekend filled with frivolity, booze, and naked people of your preferred gender.

      1. did Blofeld make a deal, or do you prefer to see him naked?

    1. My weekend will be filled with naked people of all genders and sexual orientations, thank you very much, since I’m just a bit more progressive than you and don’t practice discrimination in any aspect of my life, you cishet hatemonger.

      1. You could’ve just said STEVE SMITH.

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  12. “Iran gets to do all the things that they did before, but we get tougher inspections”

    Well, there it is.

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    ? ? ? ? LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY ? ? ? ? ?


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