Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska says the deal President Obama is currently negotiating with Iran is akin to “getting your lunch money taken in an alley.”
In a simple video clip posted on Sen. Sasse’s website last week, he argues the administration is “moving the goalposts against our own objectives and interests.” Sasse says the Iran deal, which is still shaping up, is aimed at “explicitly tolerating a renegade nuclear program,” rather than eliminating it as has always been U.S. policy. It’s a deal so bad, Sasse says, he doesn’t “think even Jimmy Carter would make” it.
Sasse opens the clip by noting that Iran has recently expressed interest–once again–in destroying Israel and that it recently played a role in a coup in Yemen which caused the U.S. and other nations to remove their diplomats. Later, Sasse describes Iran as “the undisputed, largest state sponsor of terror in the world.” Given this backdrop, Sasse suggests any policy that softens our approach toward Iran is a mistake, one likely to lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
According to the AP, the as-yet-unfinished deal would attempt to limit Iran’s ability to quickly build a nuclear weapon in the next decade. However, the deal would not prevent Iran from running centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Rather, it would limit the number and design of such centrifuges.
President Obama has long claimed that he would not accept a policy of containment when it comes to Iranian nuclear weapons. He told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in March 2012 that he opposed such a concession. He also explicitly rejected containment in a speech given at the UN a few months later in 2012. But after the AP story with outlines of the deal appeared Tuesday, even Jeffrey Goldberg said, “If this AP story is correct, then the U.S. seems to be edging, over time, to a policy of Iran nuclear containment.”
As to why the President would negotiate such a seemingly bad deal with an undeniably bad actor on the world stage, Sasse says, “We have a President who sadly appears more interested in the idea of burnishing his legacy than in doing the hard work of admitting that we have a jihadi crisis in the Middle East.”