Shock, shock. Two days ago, the headlines were full of the majority building in the Senate for tightened sanctions on Iran. A 59-vote majority looked like becoming filibuster-proof, at the very least, if not veto-proof. (The latter requires 67 votes.)
As Benjamin Weinthal pointed out, the Senate’s concern is with the “massive loopholes” in President Obama’s non-deal Iran “deal.”
You may have thought that Iran agreed in November to restrict uranium enrichment to a purity level of no more than 5 percent, to dilute her stock of 20-percent-enriched uranium, and to put on hold the introduction of new centrifuge arrays. The Western media misleadingly portrayed what happened in November in just those terms. Western companies, along with various national governments, mounted a surge to resume business with Iran; Iranian oil exports spiked in December.
But Iran didn’t agree to those terms in November. Iran only signified in November that she was probably willing to keep talking about such an agreement. The outlines of the potential agreement – for which consideration Iran would get her financial assets unfrozen and sanctions partially lifted – were not too repulsive for Iran to contemplate continuing to talk about them.
Iran has shown up in Geneva a couple of times since, to continue the dialogue. This past week, however, the U.S. Senate got within one vote of being able to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill tightening sanctions, in the teeth of strenuous opposition from the Obama administration.
See the rest On the QT…