Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

New Einhorn Report on Final Iran Deal Focuses Debate

LobeLog

Robert Einhorn, who served as the State Department’s special advisor on non-proliferation and arms control under President Barack Obama until less than a year ago, has issued an important report, “Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement,” which no doubt reflects much of the thinking of the administration’s main negotiators. It was presented at the Brookings Institution, Einhorn’s current employer, with reactions from Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near Policy (WINEP) and Frank N. von Hippel of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend but I just noticed that an audio recording of the session is available here

For the short version — the report is some 56 pages long — you should read the Introduction and Summary (pp. 4-10), but Barbara Slavin also published an article about the report on Al-Jazeera America if you want to read an even shorter account that summarizes the main points, highlighting what are likely to be the more contentious provisions. Hopefully, we will be able to offer a real expert’s analysis of the report’s recommendations on the blog by the weekend. Laura Rozen also wrote up a summary on her blog for Al-Monitor.

While, as Einhorn acknowledges, his recommendations could prove problematic to the Iranians, the fact that the ongoing negotiations appear to be proceeding smoothly clearly suggests that the basic elements that he lays out as part of an eventual agreement are not deal-breakers. Indeed, I’m pretty certain the U.S. negotiating team has already put much of this on the table, and the Iranians clearly haven’t rejected any of it.

That said, I find one recommendation particularly objectionable; specifically, one related to actions designed to “convey clearly to Iran’s leaders that any attempt to abandon constraints and pursue nuclear weapons would be met with a firm international response that would be highly damaging to Iran’s interests” in the event that a comprehensive agreement is reached.

The Congress should take legislative action to give the president prior authorization to use military force in the event of clear evidence that Iran has taken steps to abandon the agreement and move toward producing nuclear weapons.

In other words, as part of the process of sealing a comprehensive accord that would also see Congress lifting nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, Einhorn is calling for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to be given to the president — any president, presumably, for the life of the accord. While this may help undermine opposition to lifting sanctions as part of a final agreement, I have serious questions about its wisdom under any circumstances. Not only would the Iranians consider this a highly aggressive gesture comparable to putting a “gun to [their] head,” but anyone — especially Democrats — who remembers the uses to which the October 2002 AUMF were eventually put by George W. Bush must surely find this a rather frightening prospect.

Imagine if Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz is sitting in the Oval Office. Besides, look what happened to the proposed AUMF on Syria. Will an AUMF really be politically necessary to get enough support to lift nuclear-related sanctions if a comprehensive agreement along Einhorn’s thinking is reached? And think of all the potential provocateurs — Israel’s right-wing leadership and its backers here, Saudi Arabia, the MEK — who would be lining up to try to blow up an agreement by, among other things, offering doctored evidence of non-compliance to a nervous or complicit White House. While most of Einhorn’s proposals recommendations appear on their face (at least to a non-technical person) to be reasonable, an AUMF just seems irresponsible.

Jim Lobe blogs about foreign policy at www.lobelog.com

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary group Blackwater, continues to sell security services around the world as controversies over his work—including in China and the Middle East, and his alleged involvement in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—grow.


Gina Haspel is the first woman to hold the position of director of the CIA, winning her confirmation despite her history of involvement in torture during the Iraq War.


Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) is a pressure group founded in early 2019 that serves as a watchdog and enforcer of Israel’s reputation in the Democratic Party.


Richard Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany for the Donald Trump administration, known for his brusque and confrontational style.


Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


While Michael Cohen mesmerized the House of Representatives and President Trump resumed his love affair with North Korea’s Kim Jong, one of the most dangerous state-to-state confrontations, centering in Kashmir, began to spiral out of control.


The Trump administration’s irresponsible withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement undermined Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and emboldened hardliners who accused him of having been deceived by Washington while negotiating the agreement. However, the Iranian government could use the shock of Zarif’s resignation to push back against hardliners and take charge of both the domestic and foreign affairs of the country while Iran’s foreign opponents should consider the risks of destabilizing the government under the current critical situation.


Europe can play an important role in rebuilding confidence in the non-proliferation regime in the wake of the demise of the INF treaty, including by making it clear to the Trump administration that it wants the United States to refrain from deploying INF-banned missiles in Europe and to consider a NATO-Russian joint declaration on non-first deployment.


The decline in Israel’s appeal to Democrats is directly related to the wider awareness of the country’s increasingly authoritarian nature, its treatment of Palestinians, and its reluctance to take substantive steps toward peace. Pro-Israel liberals face a fundamental paradox trying to reconcile Israel’s illiberalism with their political values.


RightWeb
share