This may sound far-fetched but it really isn’t: At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton may be the only person who will decide whether to make or break a deal with Iran. This isn’t a job she might willingly take upon herself but it may simply be a case of being at the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time.
Check out this scenario and then make up your own mind.
Now that the deal is inked…
On July 14th, Kerry and Zarif finally reached a formula that seemed mutually acceptable to both sides. The number of centrifuges, the levels and percentages of uranium enrichments, the protocols of access to IAEA inspectors, blocking the plutonium route etc…Pages upon pages of details meant to block Iran from making a nuclear bomb and meant to unblock money from sanctions. Both sides shook hands, smiled for the cameras and then headed home.
Based on the aftermath of earlier deals both in Geneva and in Lausanne, the two diplomats will now have to focus on pking holes in the agreement in an effort to “sell the deal” to their people. Concessions will be made to seem smaller, details will become ambiguous, conflicting fact sheets will be circulated and accusations will be heard around the globe.
Meanwhile, the deal will be placed before the Majlis in Tehran and before Congress to be ratified:
- Whether the Majlis will sign on the deal or not is unknown since it depends on one person, Khamenei, who is less than happy in regards to the deal since it is bound to not fit into all his red lines: immediate removal of sanctions, continued enrichment beyond 5%, no inspections in non-nuclear bases etc…
- Back in Washington, the picture is, at this stage, simpler: A Republican led Congress is bound to vote against the deal as it has repeatedly stated over the past few months. Once this happens, all eyes will turn towards Obama to see if he will use his presidential veto to overturn Congress’s decision and save his legacy as a peace-maker with Iran.
Will Khamenei council the Majlis to sign or not? Will Obama veto or not? Time will tell. If either one doesn’t, the deal dies. But if both do, they will have to deal with Hillary.
After Obama vetoes congress…
This may be enough for Iran since the Majlis will back Khamenei in any case but this may not be enough for the US since Congress can overturn Obama’s veto with a majority of two thirds.
In comes Hillary Clinton and all the evidence point to the fact that she will probably place her weight to sway congress to veto Obama’s veto. Here are a few reasons why:
- A “deal” and not a “treaty”: The negotiations are set to deliver a nuclear “deal” with Iran and not a “treaty”. This isn’t simply an issue of semantics: A deal is binding to the current administration, a treaty is binding to future administrations. If Hillary becomes president, she can decide whether to back the deal or not anyway.
- It’s personal: The relationship between Hillary and Obama is strained, to say the least. Insiders say that Hillary is blaming Obama for leaking her e-mails which turned into a media sensations. Blocking Obama’s veto may be sweet vengeance for Hillary.
- Pro-Iran & Pro-Israel: Although Obama claims to “have Israel’s back”, the whole issue of a nuclear deal with Iran was definitely a slap in the face to Tel Aviv. Hillary, on the other hand is much more pro-Israeli and much less pro-Iranian.
- The elections are coming: Hillary hasn’t won the elections yet but there doesn’t seem to be a Republican candidate who will give her a real fight. Obama, on the other hand, is on his out of the White House. Approving a deal may antagonize some democrats but squashing a deal will rally support from the Jewish electorate as well as from some Republicans who might find her more appealing than Jeb Bush.
If the deal does ever get into Hillary’s hands, there is a good chance that she will send it crashing down in the hope of gaining more support in Congress and in the streets for her elections. Makes sense?