TEHRAN, Iran — Much has been said regarding the Iranian nuclear arms deal. Indeed, it may go down in history as one of President Obama’s landmark decisions during his tenure in the White House.
A recent article in USA Today depicts a self-assured President Obama who states, “International inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program because Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”
Unfortunately for President Obama, there are thousands of people who do not feel nearly as confident in the deal as he, nor have the political capacity or desire to even fake it. Chief among these critics is none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.
Audacity, however, is not something that Prime Minister Netanyahu lacks. He boldly told NBC, “I’m not trying to kill any deal; I’m trying to kill a bad deal.”
The controversial leader is not alone in his pointed assertion. Within the borders of the United States at least, congressional Republicans are singing a similar tune. Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, vowed to support legislation that would require both the House and Senate’s approval.
Given President Obama’s current approval rating, this may be a damning move for him if it goes through. With Republicans controlling Congress and Gallup’s estimated 46 percent approval for the second week of April, his odds of having the nuclear deal approved may have to rise considerably in a very short interval of time.
Even Jews, who have historically supported his work more than the average American, are becoming harder sells. While the average rate of approval hangs just below 50 percent, Jews are hovering just above. Given that more than three out of every four Jews supported President Obama at the time of his inauguration, that statistic begins to sound particularly bleak.
Of course, the deal also has its supporters. According to the results of a March 25-29 poll, 49 percent of Americans approve of nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran, with the understanding that Congress would be given the authority to approve agreements rather than President Obama alone.
Even Vice President Joe Biden has gotten himself caught up in the speculation. On April 23, he risked his reputation as a clearly delineated advocate of Israel in order to defend the president.
Despite the fact that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are at an impasse on this deal, Vice President Biden stood up at an event celebrating Israel’s Independence Day and said of President Obama, “He understands the need for Israel to have a right and a capacity and the capability to defend itself. At the same time, he says we have Israel’s back, and you can count on that.”
Unfortunately, Vice President Biden’s bold words imply that Prime Minister Netanyahu, by virtue of opposing President Obama’s decision, neither understands Israel nor cares about its national defense. Already there are rumors of the two political leaders struggling to get along and the vice president’s words may only add fuel to a rapidly building fire.
Still, whatever comes of this deal, one thing that everyone can agree on is that the decisions made within its context will be momentous in their implications and long lasting in their impact.
– Leah Zazofsky