This is a serious question: Is the Iran Deal even a real thing? I mean, it had a hashtag, it had a Twitter account, criticizing it is a clear violation of the Logan Act, and we were told it is very tough on Iran and will prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It’s got to be legitimate, right?
Well, the State Department says it’s not legally binding and Iran didn’t even sign it, so there’s that.
“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,” wrote Julia Frifield, the State Department assistant secretary for legislative affairs, in the November 19 letter.
Frifield wrote the letter in response to a letter Pompeo sent Secretary of State John Kerry, in which he observed that the deal the president had submitted to Congress was unsigned and wondered if the administration had given lawmakers the final agreement. Frifield’s response emphasizes that Congress did receive the final version of the deal. But by characterizing the JCPOA as a set of “political commitments” rather than a more formal agreement, it is sure to heighten congressional concerns that Iran might violate the deal’s terms.
If someone is not legally bound to keep up their end of a deal – if they didn’t sign it whatsoever – how on earth can we expect them to have any sort of incentive to uphold it? It’s not like many Republicans had high hopes of this anyway, but it’s one thing to have a piece of paper with Iran saying they’re going to do something because they reached an agreement. It’s another to have a piece of paper where Iran does not in any legal sense say they’re going to do it. That piece of paper is not worth the ink used to print it out.
But, then again, it was pretty much expected that this wasn’t a serious endeavor at limiting the nuclear capabilities of Iran. It was meant to show Obama can do something on foreign policy and just ignore whatever actually happens because that is totally Iran’s fault and (likely) the fault of the next (Republican) president who comes along when the deal goes south.
Essentially, this deal is a lot like the stopgap measures produced by Congress in recent years. Just have a piece of paper that will last until the problem comes up again. If Iran proudly boasts a nuclear weapon before January of 2017, then Obama has a problem. He’s praying Iran will wait until someone else is in charge for this to blow up on.
If a Republican were this reckless with foreign policy… just kidding. No Republican would be this reckless with foreign policy.