Obama struggles to defend Iran deal

Matthew Lee:
The Obama administration is in a bind. Between Iran and a hard place.

As it seeks to implement, preserve and strengthen the landmark nuclear deal it negotiated with Iran, the administration is being buffeted by criticism from all sides: Iran, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, not to mention members of Congress, including some who supported the agreement.

Eager that a successful deal and a new era in the U.S.-Iran relationship be part of President Barack Obama's legacy, his administration finds itself encouraging foreign trade with Iran even as it forbids most American commerce with the Islamic Republic. Those efforts are complicated by the fact that the United States continues to condemn and try to punish Iranian actions in non-nuclear arenas such as Tehran's support of terrorist groups and belligerence toward Israel.

Under the nuclear deal that took effect in January, Iran curtailed its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Iran has complied with its obligations to date.

But Iran says the economic boon isn't enough because of remaining U.S. economic penalties for its other behavior, and some officials have threatened to walk away from one of Obama's chief foreign policy achievements — the other is the rapprochement with Cuba

Asian and European government and companies, primarily banks, are balking at doing now-legal business with Iran, because of uncertainty over those remaining sanctions. They want written clarification about what current U.S. laws and financial regulations allow them to do. Essentially, they want a promise that the U.S. will not prosecute or punish them for transactions that involve Iran.

Adding to their unease is the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in which the top Republican prospects have pledged to rip up the nuclear deal.

At the same time, Israel, its supporters and Arab nations are crying foul over Iran's continued testing of ballistic missiles as well as its ongoing support for Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and Yemen's Houthi rebels.

They say Iran is as dangerous as ever. Many members of Congress agree and are demanding new sanctions.
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There is more.

Obama is in a bind because Iran continues its aggression and thumbs its nose at the US and its allies.  Ted Cruz looks like the intelligent one in saying that he will rip up the bad deal.  Obama never really had political support for the arrangement so he has little support for further concessions to the Islamic religious bigots who rule Iran and who continue to support terrorism.  What he has done is funded their effort to attack us and our allies with nuclear weapons when the agreement on weapons expires in a few years.

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