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Mideast Scholar: Obama 'Appeases' Iran in Nuclear Talks

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 06:42 PM

In pursuing a negotiated deal to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama has adopted a policy of appeasement, and is abandoning the harsh sanctions that brought Iran to heel in the first place, says a Middle East scholar and political scientist who grew up in the region.

All the concessions in the U.S.-led talks with Iran are being made by Obama, not the Iranians, Majid Rafizadeh, president of the International American Council, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday, joined by author and commentator Linda Tirado.

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The level of the concessions is "unprecedented," said Rafizadeh, a board member of the Harvard International Review, an academic foreign policy journal.

"He doesn't want to go to war, so he appeases," Rafizadeh said of Obama."He gives concessions, compromises, and he wants to save face."

With the U.S. leading the way, the world has grown progressively more tolerant of Iran's destabilizing nuclear ambitions, said Rafizadeh, who grew up in both Iran and Syria before emigrating to the United States on a Fulbright teaching scholarship.

"We started with six U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding Iran stop its uranium enrichment," he said, "and now look at the deal that the U.S. and Iran are working out."

Rafizadeh said the U.S.-brokered agreement taking shape now would allow Iran to retain "thousands" of centrifuges for enriching uranium — ostensibly for peaceful nuclear energy production, but still a precursor step to creating weapons-grade fissile material for warheads.

"First it was 500, then President Obama increased it to 3,000, then he went to 4,000 and now they're talking about 6,000," he said. "And more recently there is news leaked about a sunset clause. … Basically after 10 years, Iran is allowed to enrich as much [uranium] as it can."

Iran is also balking at the proposed 10-year restriction on nuclear activities. But Rafizadeh said that even if Iran signed the agreement as it exists in draft form today, "it still scores a big victory."

But the deadline for a deal is still weeks away, and until then Iranian negotiators are "playing hard to get more concessions and to whittle down the remaining restrictions on their program," he said.

Rafizadeh and Tirado also discussed the speech to Congress on Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared Iran a threat to Israel's existence and warned against trusting diplomacy alone to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

"Anybody who thinks that they can trust Iran clearly has never raised small children — when we know that people are hiding things and lying about things," said Tirado, a blogger and author of "Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America."

"But when I was watching the speech, I didn't see any alternative," said Tirado. "What I was heard was Netanyahu saying sanctions won't work, inspections won't work, this deal won't work, and we have to do something. And there was absolutely nothing that I heard besides going to war and a lot of very martial rhetoric that would solve this problem."

Tirado said that while listening to Netanyahu, she felt "this sounds an awful lot like the rhetoric we heard out of George Bush in the run-up to Iraq."

"As an average American who does watch politics fairly closely, I'm willing to bet that there is more room at the table than the options that we're discussing," said Tirado. "Simply because this deal isn't to everybody's taste doesn't mean that we can't come up with something that is. And that's entirely the point of negotiations, to say, 'Okay, this won't work for us. That will.'"

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In pursuing a negotiated deal to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama has adopted a policy of appeasement, and is abandoning the harsh sanctions that brought Iran to heel...
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2015-42-03
Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 06:42 PM
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