White House pushes for Iran filibuster

The administration seeks to tamp down expectations, but the numbers of supportive Senate Democrats are adding up. Politico.com By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Burgess Everett 8/27/15 President Barack Obama’s almost certain to get the Iran nuclear deal — but whether he … Continue reading

My phone call from “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran”

By Russ Phillips

Yesterday I received a phone call from “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran” (CNFI) and was asked, “Do you trust Iran to live up to the agreement?”

The caller said he would report my answer to my Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and then corrected himself and said Senator Joe Donnelly (IN). He did not mention Senator Dan Coats (IN), I assume, because he has already announced his opposition to the Iran Deal. I informed the caller I was very familiar with contacting my congressman and would register my sentiments directly to them.

Instead of answering the question, I asked several of my own. I wanted to know more about this advocacy group. After several of my questions the caller ended the conversation, still without my answer.

To help me be more informed about the issues on this topic I began some online research.

CNFI is “…dedicated to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.” (Source)

 Evan Bayh, previously governor of Indiana and served two terms in the U.S. Senate, serves on the CNFI Advisory Board. (Source)

A recent Washington Post article, “Anti-Iran deal groups firing on all cylinders in massive lobbying push,” helps to understand the effort underway to undermine the Iran Deal.

The Historic Deal that Will Prevent Iran from Acquiring A Nuclear Weapon,” as presented by the White House and including a video (4:37) by President Obama addresses some of the most common criticisms of the Iran Deal.

For anyone seriously interested in this matter this is just a start. Best wishes in your journey of discovery.

Readers React to Republicans’ Letter to Iran

The New York Times
By Nancy Wartik
3/17/15

An arcane, never-applied law, passed in 1799, was on many New York Times readers’ minds when they commented on a March 9 story about the 47 Republican senators who published an “open letter” addressed to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

An article by the reporter Peter Baker described the letter, written by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as a “rare direct congressional intervention into diplomatic negotiations.” The communiqué trumpeted to the leaders that any nuclear agreement reached with the Obama administration during the current negotiations could be undone “with the stroke of a pen” by the next president.

Among the more than 3,500 reader comments that came in (minus 1,000 that weren’t publishable), was this one…
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Opinion: War with Iran is probably our best option

Opinion

The Washington Post
By Joshua Muravchik
3/13/15

Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

The logical flaw in the indictment of a looming “very bad” nuclear deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered before Congress this month was his claim that we could secure a “good deal” by calling Iran’s bluff and imposing tougher sanctions. The Iranian regime that Netanyahu described so vividly — violent, rapacious, devious and redolent with hatred for Israel and the United States — is bound to continue its quest for nuclear weapons by refusing any “good deal” or by cheating…
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Foreign Policy: Israel, Netanyahu, Iran, Nuclear Deal, Congress, Obama

The U.S. is in the midst of negotiating an Iran nuclear deal. In recent days there have been several related developments. Several snippets of information follow with links for more extensive reading.

*Israel remains the leading recipient of U.S. foreign military financing (FMF), receiving over $20.5 billion since 2009. The United States in Fiscal Year 2014 provided Israel with more security assistance funding than ever before. In Fiscal Year 2016, which marks the eighth year of a 10-year, $30 billion Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel, we have asked Congress for $3.1 billion in FMF funds for Israel. (Source: “5 Things You Need to Know About the U.S.-Israel Relationship Under President Obama,” National Security Council)

*Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday [February 25, 2015] declined to “get into” what negotiators are proposing to the Iranians in the nuclear talks, and defended the president’s authority to execute foreign policy, saying he did not believe a negotiated agreement should go through a “formal approval process” by Congress. (Source: “Kerry: Congress Has No Role in Approving Iran Nuclear Deal,” CNSNews.com)

*In an interview with Reuters on Monday [March 2, 2015], President Barack Obama said Iran should commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years in its nuclear activity as part of any final agreement. “If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist … if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. (Source: “What’s in the Iran nuclear deal,” CNN.com)

*WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced bipartisan legislation requiring congressional review of any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 would mandate the president submit the text of any agreement to Congress and prohibit the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days. During that period, Congress would have the opportunity to hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. (Source: “Corker, Menendez, Graham, Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,” U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress Tuesday [March 3, 2015] about the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. Here is the full transcript: (Source: “Transcript: Netanyahu Speech to Congress,” Time.com)