Bill Kristol, chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, has released a statement calling on senators to strengthen the Corker-Cardin Iran bill:
"The Emergency Committee for Israel supports efforts by several senators to strengthen the Corker-Cardin bill. That the legislation needs to be strengthened is clear from today's statements by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, who has obviously been assured by Secretary Kerry that Iran need not worry about the Corker bill in its current form. But if Iran need not worry, then the Corker bill as currently drafted, and the process it envisions, is not only toothless but worthless.
"The Emergency Committee for Israel also strongly objects to efforts by Senators Corker and Cardin to stifle debate and prevent votes on the various amendments that have been offered. Senators Corker and Cardin are engaged in various parliamentary maneuvers to prevent votes on important and germane amendments. What are they scared of? And what are the outside groups that support a no-amendments strategy trying to accomplish? Their efforts, if successful, would ensure passage of a bill that both President Obama and the Iranians are confident will have no effect in blocking a bad deal later.
"But passage of a toothless bill is not assured – as is suggested the desperate efforts of its sponsors, the Administration, and the Iranian government to shut down criticism and debate. It's understandable that the Iranian government loathes debate and prefers the blocking of votes. It's unfortunate that the Obama Administration and the sponsors of this bill seem to agree."
Kristol is, of course, also editor of this magazine.
In a preview of Barack Obama's interview with Vice, the president of the United States says he's "embarassed" Republicans sent a letter to Iran:
"I’m embarrassed for them," says Obama in the preview. "For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah — who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is, 'don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement.' It's close to unprecedented."
Last week, the Obama administration succeeded in pressuring Democrats to insist there not be a vote on the Senate floor in support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 until after the March 24 deadline for negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons program. Lacking the votes in the Senate to impose cloture, Republicans had little choice but to go along. But the delay is unfortunate.
In John Kerry's statement on President Obama's Cuba policy changes, the secretary of state doesn't simply suggest the policies in place for five and a half decades are outdated. He seems to be suggesting they were a failure from the start. And in doing so, he apparently misstates his own age at the time President Kennedy made one of the most well known presidential addresses in our nation's history, and certainly the most notable regarding Cuba.
Imagine for a moment that you are a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli. Your main national security worry these days is Iran—Iran’s rise, its nuclear program, its troops fighting in Iraq and Syria, its growing influence from Yemen through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.
Foreign Policy reports that the U.S. believes Iran is cheating on U.N. nuclear sanctions. "The United States has privately accused Iran of going on an international shopping spree to acquire components for a heavy-water reactor that American officials have long feared could be used in the production of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium," reports Colum Lynch.
It's heartening these days to see an outbreak of bipartisan seriousness, given how rare those instances have become. Herewith some excerpts from a statement delivered by Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the committee’s December 3 hearing on “Dismantling Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program,” which The Scrapbook enthusiastically cosigns:
How to explain America’s failure, after 20 years of efforts, to impose genuinely crippling sanctions on Iran? Start with the penchant of the executive branch—from Presidents Clinton to Obama—for excluding Congress from the process.
At the White House Wednesday for bilateral talks with President Obama, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rather publicly reminded the president of how seriously Israel takes the threat of a nuclear Iran.