The Corner

National Security & Defense

Hillary Backs the Iran Deal, Tries to Make It Sound Better Than It Is

Below, I noted that Hillary Clinton’s staff is waffling on whether she backs the deal with Iran. Clinton has now officially endorsed it, in a long statement detailing how hard she’ll try to enforce the deal and other ways in which she’ll try to strengthen our relationship with Israel (where the government and the opposition vehemently oppose the U.S.–Iran agreement). The statement:

A few things worth noting: The “sanctions for terrorism” and “non-nuclear sanctions” she says should remain part of our strategy and must be vigorously enforced are substantially weakened in the deal. It’s fine if Hillary thinks that’s the price worth paying for the deal, but it will be hard to strengthen, say, an embargo on conventional-weapon exports to Iran when you’ve agreed to lift said embargo in five years.

“At the outset, we must see the verified roll back of the Iranian nuclear program required by the agreement,” she says, but this is just a rhetorical demand. There’s nothing in the deal that will allow, at the outset, the U.S. to hold back its concessions if it thinks Iran isn’t living up to its promises. She says that “the response to any cheating must be immediate and decisive,” but that, also, isn’t really provided for in Obama’s deal, which requires a complicated process to reinstate sanctions. Under the deal, the “immediate and decisive response” available will be reinstating only U.N. sanctions (not the tough multilateral ones) after more than a month, only if Germany, France, Britain, and the EU decide that a violation has occurred.

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.

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