Via the Free Beacon, “snapback sanctions” are what’s supposed to happen under the deal if/when it’s proved that Iran has been caught cheating. Obama’s proudest moment at that presser he gave two weeks ago was when he noted that the U.S. can invoke “snapback sanctions” unilaterally under the agreement, without the approval of the UN Security Council. Never mind that no one thinks European countries will observe those sanctions once they’ve got money flowing in from Iran again. Never mind that sanctions are an inherently ridiculous penalty insofar as they’d punish Iran’s betrayal of an international accord by simply returning them to the status quo vis-a-vis the U.S. Snapback sanctions are Obama’s big I-mean-business talking point.
But he doesn’t mean business. And, apparently, he wants our partners on the deal to know that. New from the desks of Marco Rubio and Mark Kirk:
If the White House didn’t mean to say that foreign companies doing business with Iran will be exempt from future sanctions, what exactly did they mean? And why would Obama give assurances like this at all? Given that the U.S. already has so little commerce with Iran, the real lure for Tehran in sanctions relief is getting access to European and Chinese markets again. If those markets are sure to stay open even if Iran cheats, with only American businesses affected by the “snap back,” what incentive does Iran have not to cheat? Here’s a terrible thought: Maybe, like everyone else, Obama thinks it’s so unlikely that Europe and China will follow America’s lead on snapback sanctions that he’s making this offer to them as a sort of half-a-loaf compromise. Maybe, if he promises exemptions for all companies doing business with Iran at the time the snapback sanctions are imposed, Europe and China will be willing to limit any new business with Iran beyond that. This is what the most powerful country in the world’s reduced to in the name of slowing down — not even stopping — a bunch of Shiite fanatics from building a nuclear bomb.
Oh, and speaking of new business with Iran, go read this report from the JPost on Russia selling Tehran S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, exactly the sort of system the Iranians would need to make a U.S. or Israeli air attack even riskier than it is now. From Obama’s perspective, though, that’s probably more of a feature than a bug: Preventing war, not preventing an Iranian bomb, has been the prime goal of these negotiations from the beginning, and now war is less likely than ever. Exit question: Is today’s Iran news reason enough to become a Trump supporter? If our political class is going to make deals that let rogue regimes inspect themselves for nuclear violations and tout penalties like sanctions that they’ve preemptively defanged, why not give the nationalist a crack at running things? When Trump inevitably promises to kick the UN out of the U.S. and turn its HQ into a luxury hotel, adorned in only the classiest gold leaf, he might actually mean it. If we’re headed for a dark age of nuclear proliferation by loose cannons, we might as well meet fire with fire.