The Real Reason Obama Did the Iran Deal

(Daily Beast) Leslie H. Gelb - According to top administration officials, Mr. Obama has always been after something much bigger than capping Iran's nuclear program, and he got it - the strategic opportunity to begin converting Iran from foe to "friend." Iranian negotiators understood well what's been driving the U.S. president, and they have used the prospect of becoming "a friend" as their best bargaining card. For over a year now in small private conversations and strolls, they have been painting rosy pictures of Iranian-American cooperation. The Iranian list of possibilities goes to most of Washington's principal worries in the Middle East. They would step up their fighting alongside Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State in Iraq. And they would do much more in Syria to go after the forces of ISIS there. They spoke of finding "solutions" to the civil war in Yemen. They raised hopes of forging better relations with America's "partners" in the Gulf. However, they said little or nothing about Lebanon, so as not to jeopardize the strong position there of their Hizbullah allies, or about their backing of Hamas in Gaza. And U.S. diplomats couldn't get anything positive from them about Israel, the country that feels greatly threatened by Iran. The writer, a former senior State and Defense Department official, is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

2015-07-16 00:00:00

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