Hillary Clinton Corrals Dems on Iran Deal

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Presumptive Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton is working to ease concerns among many Capital Hill Democrats about details of the recently announced deal with Iran.

“I am still studying the details, but based on the briefings I received and a review of the documents, I support the agreement because it can help us prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Clinton said in a written statement.

Her statement on the deal struck by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry comes as Democrats in Congress express serious skepticism about the deal.

“Verification, verification, verification, verification,” Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester said. “That’s the big thing. Look, I don’t trust these guys, I want to make sure that whatever we’ve agreed to, we’ve got verification that’s going to happen.”

Notwithstanding the required leap of faith that Iran will actually abide by the terms of the deal, the specific details themselves are murky. Politico described the deal as a piece of “diplomatic abstract art.” The deal, it says is “so complex it lets each side see what it wants.”

There are only two salient pieces of information necessary to evaluate this deal. First, the deal was almost scuttled at the last minute by Iran’s demand that it include a removal of a decades-long arms embargo on the rogue nation. This arms embargo had nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program but was instituted in response to the country’s continuing support of terrorism around the world.

The fact that the deal includes some kind of process to lift this arms embargo is a major concession to Iran. It also sets a powerful precedent that almost any activity can be overlooked or forgiven if a country threatens to develop a nuclear weapon. The mere threat of developing a nuclear bomb is the ultimate trump card in any international negotiation.

The second relevant piece of information is that the Obama Administration now has to “sell” this deal to its allies in the region. Obama is dispatching Defense Secretary Ash Carter to the Middle East next week to “reassure” allies that the U.S. is still committed to security in the region.

The world is generally a better place when our allies don’t need to be reassured that we are acting in our, and their, best interest. If an ally of the U.S. needs to be “reassured,” it’s a clear indication that trust in our foreign policy is no longer assumed.

Hillary’s entrance in the debate will not only get Democrats to fall behind the deal, but also make sure they are all on the same page when defending it. Freshman Virginia Representative and longtime car salesman Don Beyer went on MSNBC Tuesday to push the preferred Obama’s Administration talking point.

“Iran’s nuclear program will be under lock, key and camera 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Beyer said. “The eyes of the international community are on every centrifuge, every ounce of uranium, in all of Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

As Jim Geraghty at National Review points out, this is completely false. It is a sign, though, of the lengths Democrats will go to preserve Obama’s “legacy.” Hillary, whether reluctantly or not, is now the point person for that effort.