(Naples, Florida) — President Obama made three key points regarding the Iranian nuclear threat in his State of the Union address.
First, the President believes his policies are working to prevent Iran from advancing its highly-dangerous nuclear program. “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material,” the President declared.
Second, the President believes that a truly good and effective diplomatic deal with Iran is not only possible but within reach. “Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies — including Israel, while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict,” he told the Joint Session of Congress and the nation.
Third, the President vehemently opposes any effort by Congress to impose new economic sanctions on Iran in order to increase the pressure on Iranian leaders to give up their nuclear-weapons ambitions. “New sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails — alienating America from its allies; making it harder to maintain sanctions; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again,” Mr. Obama insisted. “It doesn’t make sense. And that’s why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.”
The President is wrong on each and every point — the President hasn’t halted Iran’s nuclear progress, the Iranians have made it clear repeatedly they have no intention of signing an agreement giving up their nuclear program, and the only hope for a peaceful settlement of this issue is torqueing up economic sanctions to try to force Iran to give up its program.
Even the liberal media is pointing out the utter nonsense of the President’s claims. And now — despite the White House’s declaration of war not on Iran but on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — bipartisan support for new and tougher economic sanctions on Iran is growing.
Consider the following:
- The Washington Post fact-checked the President’s speech and gave him “three Pinocchios” for saying his policies have “halted the progress” of Iran’s nuclear program. “Words have consequences, especially in a State of the Union address,” noted the Post. “The president could have claimed that we’ve slowed the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of the most dangerous nuclear material.’ But instead he choose to make sweeping claims for which there is little basis. Thus he earns Three Pinocchios.” The Post noted that Iranian uranium enrichment has continued to grow every year Mr. Obama has been in office. Iran now has enough nuclear material to produce eight atomic bombs. (see chart)
- Ten Democrat Senators sent the President a letter on Tuesday, January 27th, saying they fully support a new sanctions bill and want the President to sign it. “We remain deeply skeptical that Iran is committed to making the concessions required to demonstrate to the world that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful by March 24 – the deadline agreed upon for a political framework agreement,’ the Senators wrote. “Considering Iran’s history in nuclear negotiations and after two extensions of the Joint Plan of Action, we are concerned that Iran is intentionally extending the negotiations to improve its leverage at the negotiating table….We are Democratic supporters of the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2015 – a bill that would impose sanctions on Iran…if Iran fails to reach a comprehensive agreement by the June 30 deadline….We believe that this bill, as introduced, is reasonable and pragmatic, respects the nuclear negotiating timeline, and sends a strong signal to Iran and to the international community that endless negotiations under the interim agreement are dangerous, unacceptable, and could leave Iran with a threshold nuclear weapon capability.”
- The Senate Banking Committee passed the Iran Sanctions Bill on Thursday by a bipartisan vote of 18 to 4. Twelve Republicans and six Democrats on the committee voted for the very bill the President threatened to veto.
- There is a growing sense on Capitol Hill that Democrats support this sanctions bill, and that even if the President vetoes it, there may be 67 votes to override his veto. Republicans have 54 votes in the Senate and they seem unified at this point (though Sen. Rand Paul has not been good on this issue in the past). The GOP would then need 13 Democrat votes. With ten having signed the letter to the President, only three more would be needed. Senator Bob Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is a co-author of the bill, says a vote should be taken soon if Iranian leaders drag their feet and aren’t willing to sign a serious deal. What’s more, he told reporters that if a vote is held at the right time, “I believe it would have broad bipartisan support.” As one reporter put it: “The 18-4 committee vote suggests there may be the 67 required votes in the chamber to overturn a veto.”
- The President refusal to increase pressure on Iran is precisely why he opposes Netanyahu addressing a Joint Session of Congress on March 3rd — but it is a patently hypocritical position given that the President just deployed British PM David Cameron to lobby Members of Congress to vote against new sanctions. Consider this article that explains how the President is working to sabotage the sanctions bill.
The President does not understand the gathering storm that is building in Iran. He is enraged by Mr. Netanyahu, not by a Radical Islamic power building nuclear weapons capability. Let us pray his eyes are opened soon. The stakes are very high.
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