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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress,”

Iranian leader Rouhani makes a point about the tussle between President Obama and Congress over the nuclear negotiations with Iran.  He says, “We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress.” 

On a private email exchange,  some colleagues who include international relations professors have been discussing this point.  While the U.S. has taken the lead in the negotiations with Iran, its partners in the discussion are Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.  One professor pointed out that if the U.S. could not make a deal with Iran, it is possible that the other five participants could make a treaty without the U.S.  In fact, Russia has already lifted a sanction against Iran and has decided to resume supplying air defense missiles to Iran according to an agreement that has been held in suspension.  

Russia and China, some discussants point out, are very willing to proceed on the world stage without the U.S.  When the 47 senators signed a letter telling Iran that any agreement made with the Obama administration could be easily overturned by a new president, they in effect dismissed the other participants in the talks.  One writer said he heard that participants from Britain, France, and Germany were deeply offended by the dismissive letter and made overtures with Russia and China to proceed with an agreement without the U.S., if necessary.

Obama is concerned in these later years of his presidency with his legacy of accomplishment.  The GOP members of Congress which are so intent on obstructing him and destroying any claims to accomplishment seem unaware that in trying to take Obama down, they are taking the country down.  They have raised a serious question about America's fitness to have a leadership role in the Iranian nuclear negotiations.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States