Michael Ledeen replies: There never was an Iran deal
Please, no more about “Iran is a civilized outpost.” It has the highest execution rate in the world, mass rape in prisons, and so forth.
Returning to the topic: The question was, has Obama’s zeal for an Iran deal cooled? I don’t think so. Not at all. I still believe his fondest wish is to fly into Tehran, walk down the red (maybe green) carpet and embrace Khamenei. Like Nixon in Beijing, you know. It would, he believes, put him in the Pantheon of great strategists.
Maybe he is losing faith that the deal is doable. I have written–dozens of times–that Khamenei does NOT want a deal with America. Indeed the very idea upsets him. He does not want to go down in Islamic history as the ayatollah who came to terms with the Great Satan. That’s a serious matter for him.
So why did he approve the negotiations? First, because Rouhani and Zarif convinced him that Obama was willing to make all kinds of concessions, and that if Khamenei would let them talk, they’d cash in on Obama’s desperation for a deal. They’d get rid of sanctions without giving up the nuclear weapons program, and wouldn’t have to sign anything. Khamenei said ok.
i don’t think anything will be agreed by the end of June. I think the Iranians are going to say “hey, this would have to be approved by Parliament, and we’ve got elections in six months. So let’s keep talking and let’s see what the new Majlis looks like…”
and between one thing and another we will be in the American election campaign, and they’ll all have to wait for the new US president.
So there. Keep in mind that I’ve collected lots of free lunches for quite a while by betting there wasn’t going to be a deal. Any new takers?