Monday, August 31, 2015

Citizens of Israel - say no to the Iran deal - Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, rally September 9, 2015 , 5:30pm - 10:30pm

What I really do not understand is how come when the question was the price of cottage cheese there were thousands demonstrating in Tel Aviv, whereas here we have the survival of the whole country but so far in two days only 160 people have said they would come!. Perhaps people do not believe that there is anything they can do, but anything that can sway the opinion of those Democratic senators and member of the House is worth the effort.

What is going on?  Are they unaware of this Hinge of Fate moment?  Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis  of 1962 was so much at stake and which depends on the decisions of just a few people. 

I can understand that the Americans are apathetic and disinterested, but Israelis? What is going on?  I hope it will better in a few days. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Restoring American Exceptionalism

President Obama has dangerously surrendered the nation’s global leadership, but it can be ours again—if we choose his successor wisely.


In 1983, as the U.S. confronted the threat posed by the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan explained America’s unique responsibility. “It is up to us in our time,” he said, “to choose, and choose wisely, between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.” It was up to us then—as it is now—because we are the exceptional nation. America has guaranteed freedom, security and peace for a larger share of humanity than any other nation in all of history. There is no other like us. There never has been.

Born of the revolutionary ideal that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights,” we were, first, an example to the world of freedom’s possibilities. During World War II, we became freedom’s defender, at the end of the Cold War, the world’s sole superpower. We did not seek the position. It is ours because of our ideals and our power, and the power of our ideals. As British historian Andrew Roberts has observed, “In the debate over whether America was born great, achieved greatness or had greatness thrust upon her, the only possible conclusion must be: all three.”

No other nation, international body or “community of nations” can do what we do. It isn’t just our involvement in world events that has been essential for the triumph of freedom. It is our leadership. For the better part of a century, security and freedom for millions of people around the globe have depended on America’s military, economic, political and diplomatic might. For the most part, until the administration of Barack Obama, we delivered.

Since Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed us the “Arsenal of Democracy” in 1940, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have understood the indispensable nature of American power. Presidents from Truman to Nixon, from Kennedy to Reagan, knew that America’s strength had to be safeguarded, her supremacy maintained. In the 1940s American leadership was essential to victory in World War II, and the liberation of millions from the grip of fascism. In the Cold War American leadership guaranteed the survival of freedom, the liberation of Eastern Europe and the defeat of Soviet totalitarianism. In this century it will be essential for the defeat of militant Islam.

Yet despite the explosive spread of terrorist ideology and organizations, the establishment of an Islamic State caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and increasing threats from Iran, China, North Korea and Russia, President Obama has departed from this 75-year, largely bipartisan tradition of ensuring America’s pre-eminence and strength.

He has abandoned Iraq, leaving a vacuum that is being tragically and ominously filled by our enemies. He is on course to forsake Afghanistan as well.

He has made dangerous cuts to America’s military. Combined with the sequestration mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011, these cuts have, according to former Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, left the Army as unready as it has been at any other time in its history. Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert has testified that “naval readiness is at its lowest point in many years.” According to Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, the current aircraft fleet is “now the smallest and oldest in the history of our service.”

For seven decades, both Republican and Democratic presidents have understood the importance of ensuring the supremacy of America’s nuclear arsenal. President Obama seems not to. He has advocated cutting our nuclear force in the naïve hope that this will persuade rogue regimes to do the same. He has imposed limits on our ability to modernize and maintain nuclear weapons. He has reduced the nation’s missile-defense capabilities.

He says that he is committed to preventing nuclear proliferation. For more than 45 years, presidents of both parties have recognized that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is vital in this effort. Signed by 190 countries, including Iran, the NPT has been arguably the single most effective multilateral arms-control agreement in history. President Obama stands ready to gut it. Among the many dangerous deficiencies in his nuclear deal with Iran is the irreversible damage it will do to the international nonproliferation regime contained in the NPT.

Allowing the Iranians to continue to enrich uranium and agreeing to the removal of all restraints on their nuclear program in a few short years virtually guarantees that they will become a nuclear-weapons state, thus undermining the fundamental agreement at the heart of the NPT. President Obama is unraveling this international structure as part of an agreement that provides a pathway for the world’s worst state-sponsor of terror to acquire nuclear weapons.

Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false. He has said it will prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, but it will actually facilitate and legitimize an Iranian nuclear arsenal. He has said this deal will stop nuclear proliferation, but it will actually accelerate it, as nations across the Middle East work to acquire their own weapons in response to America’s unwillingness to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

President Obama told us he would never accept a deal based on trust. Members of his administration, including his secretary of energy and deputy national-security adviser, said the nuclear deal would be verifiable with “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Instead, the Obama deal provides the Iranians with months to delay inspections and fails to address past clandestine work at military sites. Inspections at these sites are covered in secret deals, which is historic, though not in the way the president claims. Under the reported provisions of the secret deals, the Iranians get to inspect themselves for these past infractions. Inevitably these provisions will be cited by the Iranians as a precedent when they are caught cheating in the future.

The president has tried to sell this bad deal by claiming that there is no alternative, save war. In fact, this agreement makes war more, not less, likely. In addition to accelerating the spread of nuclear weapons across the Middle East, it will provide the Iranians with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which even the Obama administration admits likely will be used to fund terror. The deal also removes restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program; lifts the ban on conventional weapons sales; and lifts sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, on the Quds Force, and on Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. Under Mr. Soleimani’s leadership, the Quds Force sows violence and supports terror across the Middle East and has been responsible for the deaths of American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A vote for the Obama nuclear deal is not a vote for peace or security. It is a vote for an agreement that facilitates Tehran’s deadly objectives with potentially catastrophic consequences for the United States and our allies.

The Obama nuclear agreement with Iran is tragically reminiscent of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich agreement in 1938. Each was negotiated from a position of weakness by a leader willing to concede nearly everything to appease an ideological dictator. Hitler got Czechoslovakia. The mullahs in Tehran get billions of dollars and a pathway to a nuclear arsenal. Munich led to World War II. The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East and, more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The U.S. Congress should reject this deal and reimpose the sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place. It is possible to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, but only if the U.S. negotiates from a position of strength, refuses to concede fundamental points and recognizes that the use of military force will be required if diplomacy fails to convince Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons.

As America faces a world of rising security threats, we must resolve to take action and shouldn’t lose hope. Just as one president has left a path of destruction in his wake, one president can rescue us. The right person in the Oval Office can restore America’s strength and alliances, defeat our enemies, and keep us safe. It won’t be easy. There is a path forward, but there are difficult decisions to be made and very little time.

We are living in what columnist Charles Krauthammer has called “a hinge point of history.” It will take a president equal to this moment to lead us through. America needs a president who recognizes that everything the nation must do requires having a U.S. military with capabilities that are second to none—on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace. The peace and security of the world and the survival of our freedom depend on it. We must choose wisely.

As citizens, we have another obligation. We have a duty to protect our ideals and our freedoms by safeguarding our history. We must ensure that our children know the truth about who we are, what we’ve done, and why it is uniquely America’s duty to be freedom’s defender.

They should know about the boys of Pointe du Hoc and Doolittle’s Raiders, the battles of Midway and Iwo Jima. They should learn about the courage of the young Americans who fought the Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge and the Japanese on Okinawa. They should learn why America was right to end the war by dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and about the fundamental decency of a nation that established the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They need to know about the horror of the Holocaust, and what it means to promise “never again.”

They should know that once there was an empire so evil and bereft of truth it had to build a wall to keep its citizens in, and that the free world, led by America, defeated it. They need to know about the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, the courage of the first responders and the heroism of the passengers on Flight 93. They should understand what kind of world militant Islam will create if we don’t defeat it.

They should learn about great men like George C. Marshall andDwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. We must teach them what it took to prevail over evil in the 20th century and what it will take in the 21st. We must make sure they understand that it is the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces who defend our freedom and secure it for millions of others as well.

Our children need to know that they are citizens of the most powerful, good and honorable nation in the history of mankind—the exceptional nation. They must know that they are the inheritors of a great legacy and a great duty. Ordinary Americans have done heroic things to guarantee freedom’s survival. Now, it is up to us. Speaking at Omaha Beach on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings, President Reagan put it this way, “We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”

Mr. Cheney, former vice president of the United States, and Ms. Cheney are the authors of “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America,” from which this article was adapted; the book is being published Sept. 1 by Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How to put some teeth in to the nuclear deal with Iran

By Dennis Ross and and David H. Petraeus

Dennis Ross, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, was special assistant to President Obama for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who retired from the Army in 2011 after commanding U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was director of the CIA from September 2011 to November 2012.

Many members of Congress continue to grapple with the nuclear deal with Iran — and so do we. Like us, the undecideds see its benefits: The deal would block the uranium enrichment, plutonium separation and covert paths to a nuclear bomb for the next 15 years. Compared with today, with an Iran that is three months from break-out capability and with a stockpile of 10 bombs’ worth of low-enriched uranium, there can be little doubt that a deal leaves us far better off , producing a one-year break-out time and permitting the Iranians less than one bomb’s worth of material for the next 15 years . We also don’t believe that if Congress blocks the deal, a better one is going to be negotiated. Will the other members of the P5+1 be ready to return to the table because Congress says no? Will they even know who defines the U.S. position and what it is? We doubt it.

So if the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has clear benefits and there is no obvious negotiated alternative , why are we still undecided? Put simply, because the deal places no limits on how much the Iranians can build or expand their nuclear infrastructure after 15 years. Even the monitoring provisions that would continue beyond 15 years may prove insufficient as the Iranian nuclear program grows. And Iran’s ability to dramatically increase its output of enriched material after year 15 would be significant, as Iran deploys five advanced models of centrifuges starting in year 10 of the agreement.

In terms of the size of its nuclear program, Iran will be treated like Japan or the Netherlands — but Iran is not Japan or the Netherlands when it comes to its behavior. It is, after all, one of three countries designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism. Perhaps in 15 years we will see a very different Iran — not a sponsor of terrorism, not a threat to its neighbors, not led by those who declare that Israel, another U.N.-member state, should be eliminated. But, while we hope that Iran may change, we cannot count on it.

The fact that President Obama emphasizes that the plan depends on verification — not trust — also means that he is not assuming Iran will change. But verification means only that we can catch the Iranians if they cheat; what matters even more is that the Iranians recognize that they will pay a meaningful price when we catch them.

In other words, deterrence is the key to ensuring not just that the Iranians live up to the agreement but also to preventing them from developing nuclear weapons. Iran must know that we will not permit it to become a nuclear weapons state ever.

Now is the time to make it clear that there will be a firewall between Iran’s threshold status and its having a nuclear weapon. Now is the time for the Iranians and the world to know that if Iran dashes toward a weapon , especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force. At that point, it would be too late for sanctions to preempt an Iranian nuclear fait accompli.

It is critically important for the president to state this clearly, particularly given his perceived hesitancy to use force. Indeed, were Obama to be unequivocal about the use of force should Iran violate its commitment not to seek nuclear weapons, the international community would accept the legitimacy of military strikes in response.

In a letter to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Obama takes account of the importance of deterring Iran “from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Even more significantly, he says that his administration “will take whatever means are necessary ... including military means” to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That is an important statement, but it is followed by devaluing language: “Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond.”

Surely if the Iranians are dashing toward a weapon, especially after year 15, there is a need not to speak of our options but of our readiness to use force. The threat of force is far more likely to deter the Iranians.

The Iranians also should know that if they produce highly enriched uranium — for which there is no legitimate civilian purpose — that we would see that as an intention to make a weapon and would act accordingly. There is no mention of highly enriched uranium in the president’s letter. Although Obama speaks in the letter of providing the Israelis with the BLU-113, a 4,400-pound “bunker buster” bomb, it would not be sufficient to penetrate Fordow, the Iranian enrichment site built into a mountain. For that, the Israelis would need the 30,000-pound massive ordnance penetrator (MOP) and the means to carry it. While some may question whether we would act militarily if the Iranians were to dash to a bomb, no one questions whether the Israelis would do so.

Bolstering deterrence is essential in addressing key vulnerabilities we see in the deal. A blunter statement on the consequences of Iran moving toward a weapon and of producing highly enriched uranium would allay some of our concerns. Providing the Israelis the MOP and the means to carry it would surely enhance deterrence — and so would developing options now in advance with the Israelis and key Arab partners to counter Iran’s likely surge of support for Hezbollah and other Shiite militias after it gets sanctions relief.

Deterrence would be more effective — and full implementation of the agreement more likely — if the Iranians understand that there will be a price for every transgression, no matter how small, and that we will raise the cost to them of de-stabilizing behavior in the region. The president’s letter to Nadler was useful but fell short of addressing our concerns. It is still possible for the administration to do so.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Should Netanyahu suspend Israel’s confrontation with Obama?

The reality is that the US administration is entering into a pact with a terrorist state that is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel.

The US-Israeli tensions that have escalated over the Iranian issue during the past month have led to waves of criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yet in reality, Netanyahu has proven to be an impressive statesman. His address to the joint meeting of Congress, though initially harshly condemned, was far from being a disaster and served to establish the parameters of the debate. His widely disseminated statements articulating the case against the Iranian deal resonated widely among the American public and he is due much of the credit for persuading the majority of Americans to oppose the disastrous capitulation to Iran.

It is surely absurd to suggest that out of deference to a delusional American president, Israel’s prime minister should tread softly when his country faces an existential threat as the US empowers our most dangerous Islamic terrorist neighbor to become a threshold nuclear state. All the more so when some of its leaders are undeterred by mutual assured destruction and are even now reiterating their determination to wipe the “cancer” Israel off the face of the earth.

The reality is that the US administration is entering into a pact with a terrorist state that is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the US will be releasing over $150 billion into its coffers, which the Iranians openly boast will be employed to bolster terrorist activities by its surrogates against Israel. For Netanyahu not to oppose such a policy, irrespective of the outcome, would have been unconscionable and a dereliction of his responsibility as head of the Jewish state.

As further horrific details emerge of the ineptitude and immorality of the US administration in its negotiations with Iran, some of Obama’s former Democratic supporters have begun to publicly question his rationality. That the US agreed to cede responsibility to the duplicitous Iranians to selfcheck compliance in lieu of an independent body is mind-boggling. This highlights the delusional nature of the administration and exposes Obama’s duplicity when he assured the world that compliance would be rigorously monitored. It exemplifies the farce of this utterly sordid “deal” capitulating to genocidal Islamic terrorists.

Obama’s betrayal was further compounded when it was recently disclosed that he had already secretly offered concessions (which were rebuffed) to the satanic, genocidal then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That was long before the “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani, who this week accused Israelis of killing and raping women and children, assumed office.

Clearly, Obama’s long-term strategy from the outset was to create a realignment in the Middle East through a US engagement with the most dangerous Islamic rogue state and thus abandon Israel, the only genuinely democratic ally in the region.

Obama’s commitment to ongoing military cooperation and repeated assurances that he “has Israel’s back” cannot be relied upon following his failure to provide political support for Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. In that war, he repeatedly condemned Israel for lack of proportionality, applied moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas and even withheld arms shipments to Israel. This follows a clear pattern in which Obama has consistently ignored Palestinian incitement and terrorism, reneged on the Bush endorsement of Israel’s retention of the major settlement blocs and defensible borders, and has threatened to abrogate the US veto at the United Nations, enabling the Security Council to apply sanctions against Israel. It was also despicable to see a US president repeatedly humiliate and denigrate the Israeli prime minister while simultaneously groveling and capitulating to the Iranian ayatollahs.

The extent of Obama’s frenzied efforts to appease the ayatollahs despite their repeated calls for death to America was exemplified in his hysterical personal attacks and intimidation of those urging Congress to reject the deal. He was especially vicious in relation to Jewish opponents, whom he went so far as to accuse of warmongering, providing legitimacy to the hoary allegations of dual loyalties, extended in the past by traditional anti-Semites.

Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the few Democratic legislators courageous enough to oppose Obama, was accused of dual loyalties and subjected to unprecedented anti-Semitic venom. Obama’s hysteria even stunned some of his own Democratic supporters, who urged him to restrain himself and avoid using “anti-Jewish incitement” to promote his position.

This was also a turning point for the Jewish leadership. It is regrettable that until last month, the vast majority of normally robust American Jewish organizations, fearing a confrontation with Obama, remained silent – with the exception of the Zionist Organization of America and a number of small groups. Had they spoken up a year ago, they would be in a much stronger position today.

With Israel confronting an existential threat from a country calling for its annihilation, at long last the major organizations have joined with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in urging Congress to oppose the current deal. The exceptions include the Reform movement which, to its shame, refused to adopt any position.

The percentage of American Jews opposed to the deal has increased dramatically over the past few weeks as they absorbed the extent of Obama’s betrayal of Israel and the global erosion of the United States.

But there are still vocal elements in the Jewish community strongly supporting Obama’s disastrous policy, including, to their shame, many Democratic Jewish legislators. Their behavior is reminiscent of that of Jewish leaders headed by Rabbi Stephen Wise in 1943 who sought to placate President Franklin Roosevelt rather than demand action to save Jews during the Shoah.

Obama’s Jewish supporters comprise diverse groups. The hardline ideologues can be viewed as successors of the now defunct communist Left who defended and even applauded Stalin’s persecution and murder of Jews. They were supported by “fellow travelers” who believed that by supporting the Soviet Union, they were being progressive. Their counterparts among the liberals today shut their eyes to the existential threats to Israel posed by Obama’s policies.

Others are well-meaning liberals, blindly committed to Obama and the Democratic Party and psychologically unable to alter their allegiance even when the future of the Jewish state is in jeopardy and they are aware that the vast majority of Israelis, both in government and in opposition, are desperately opposed to this deal.

There is also a revival of the alienation from particularism or nationalism that dominated the Reform movement until the 1940s. There are groups of rabbis who, in their zeal to display their universalism, have created a diluted version of Judaism in which Israel is either ignored or demonized.

The founder of the Reconstructionist movement, Mordecai Kaplan, would turn in his grave at the shameful attitude toward Israel displayed by many of his 21st-century disciples.

More importantly, there is an increasing number of secular Jews who have effectively no contact whatsoever with organized Jewish life communally, culturally or religiously. Many have gentile spouses and subconsciously identify Judaism with liberalism, automatically supporting the Democratic Party.

Yet the vast majority of committed Jews – including non-Orthodox rabbis unaffiliated with J Street – with any understanding of the dire situation in the Middle East are now passionately opposed to Obama’s capitulation to the genocidal Iranians, and polls indicate that two-thirds now oppose the Iran deal.

Where is all this leading to? Netanyahu’s Jewish critics accuse him of constantly undermining the US-Israel relationship and predict that Israel will pay dearly in the future when Obama uses his last year in office to seek revenge and vindictively try to impose indefensible borders on Israel and abandon it at the United Nations.

That may well occur. But Obama’s loathing of Netanyahu unquestionably predates the Iran issue and would in all likelihood have still applied even if Israel had abandoned its opposition. The fact is that, largely thanks to Netanyahu, even if Obama succeeds in vetoing congressional opposition, public opinion has turned against him.

Indeed, there is a strong probability that Netanyahu has succeeded in creating the climate in which Obama’s successor – Democrat or Republican – will be under increasing pressure to oppose Iranian hegemony in the region and seek to forestall its emergence as a full-blown nuclear state.

Contrary to critics of Netanyahu, in the context of an increasingly lame-duck president and with looming elections, an environment is emerging that may in fact inhibit Obama from promoting his anti-Israel agenda.

The ongoing campaign therefore remains extremely important and a congressional repudiation of the deal, even if subsequently vetoed by the president, may serve to encourage the post-Obama administration to backtrack, review US foreign relations and revitalize the crucial US-Israel relationship.

The writer’s website can be viewed at He may be contacted at ileibler@


Bravo! Calm, logical and sweeping in its facts about the events that document Obama’s betrayal
From negotiating with the leaders undeterred by mutual assured destruction, already with Ahmadinejad in 2012, Iran’s selfcheck compliance , applying moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas in the 2014 Gaza war and demonstrating that Obama’s commitment to ongoing military cooperation and repeated assurances that he “has Israel’s back” cannot be relied upon.
One of the most concise depictions of the dire situation Obama has pushed us into.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thinking About the Unthinkable: An Israel-Iran Nuclear War

The signing of a Munich-class agreement with Iran that hands it more than it ever hoped to pull off represents a shocking, craven American capitulation to an apocalyptic crazy state: a North Korea with oil. Nothing in Western history remotely approaches it, not even Neville Chamberlain's storied appeasement of another antisemitic negotiating partner.

But it also augurs the possibility of a nuclear war coming far sooner than one could have imagined under conventional wisdom worst-case scenarios. Following the US's betrayal of Israel and its de facto detente with Iran, we cannot expect Israel to copy longstanding US doctrines of no-first-nuclear-use and preferences for conventional-weapons-only war plans. After all, both were premised (especially after the USSR's 1991 collapse) on decades of US nuclear and conventional supremacy. If there ever were an unassailable case for a small, frighteningly vulnerable nation to pre-emptively use nuclear weapons to shock, economically paralyze, and decapitate am enemy sworn to its destruction, Israel has arrived at that circumstance.

Why? Because Israel has no choice, given the radical new alignment against it that now includes the US, given reported Obama threats in 2014 to shoot down Israeli attack planes, his disclosure of Israel's nuclear secrets and its Central Asian strike-force recovery bases, and above all his agreement to help Iran protect its enrichment facilities from terrorists and cyberwarfare – i.e., from the very special-operations and cyber forces that Israel would use in desperate attempts to halt Iran's bomb. Thus Israel is being forced, more rapidly and irreversibly than we appreciate, into a bet-the-nation decision where it has only one forceful, game-changing choice -- early nuclear pre-emption – to wrest back control of its survival and to dictate the aftermath of such a survival strike.

Would this involve many nuclear weapons? No – probably fewer than 10-15, although their yields must be sufficiently large to maximize ground shock. Would it produce Iranian civilian casualties? Yes but not as many as one might suppose, as it would avoid cities. Most casualties would be radiological, like Chernobyl, rather than thermal and blast casualties. Would it spur a larger catalytic nuclear war? No. Would it subsequently impel Russia, China and new proliferators to normalize nuclear weapons in their own war planning? Or would the massive global panic over the first nuclear use in anger in 70 years, one that would draw saturation media coverage, panic their publics into urgent demands for ballistic missile self-defense systems? Probably the latter.

The Iranian elite's ideology and controlling political psychology is inherently preferential towards nukes and direct population targeting as a way to implement Shi'ite messianism and end-times extremism. Iran is a newly nuclear apocalyptic Shi'ite regime that ranks as the most blatantly genocidal government since the Khmer Rouge's Sorbonne-educated leaders took over Cambodia in April, 1975. Senior Iranian officials have periodically tied nuclear war to the return of the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi, which Iran's previous president anticipated within several years. This reflects not just the triumphalist enthusiasm of a new arriviste nuclear power that just won more at the table than it dared to dream. It also reflects a self-amplifying, autarchic end-days theology that is immune to both reality testing and to Western liberal/progressive tenets about prim and proper nuclear behavior.

Admittedly, Iranian leaders have lately resorted to envisioning Israel's collapse in more restrained terms through Palestinian demographic takeover of the Israeli state and asymmetric warfare. Still there remains a lurid history of Iranian officials urging the elimination of Israel and its people, of allocating their nukes to Israeli territory to maximize Jewish fatalities, of Iranian officials leading crowds in chants of “Death to Israel!” Iran's government also released a video game allowing players to target various kinds of Iranian ballistic missiles against Israeli cities – this as part of intensive propaganda drumming up hatred of Jews. A more recent video game envisions a massive Iranian ground army marching to liberate Jerusalem. In all, Iran's official stoking of genocidal Jew hatred is far beyond what Hitler’s government dared to advocate before the 1939 outbreak of World War 2.

The deliberate American silence over Iran's genocidal intentionality sends an unmistakable signal to Israel that the US no longer recognizes a primordial, civilizational moral obligation to protect it from the most explicit threats imaginable. It is truly on its own, with the US in an all-but-overt alliance with its worst enemy. The shock to Israel's leaders of this abrupt American lurch into tacitly accepting this Iranian intentionality cannot be understated. Iran is violating the core tenets of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, a US initiative after the Tokyo and Nuremberg war-crimes trials to codify genocide as a crime against humanity. Now the US is silent.

But this shift is also recent. Every US government prior to President Obama would have foresworn nuclear talks with such a psychopathic regime or would have walked out in a rage upon such utterances. Yet Iran's genocidal threats have had no discernible effect on Obama's canine eagerness for a deal. It's as if 75 years ago a US president had cheerfully engaged in peace talks with Hitler and his SS entourage despite learning the details of the Nazis' secret Wannsee Conference where Hitler signed off on the Final Solution for the Jews. But whereas Hitler had the sense in that era to keep that conclave secret, Iran's Wannsee intentionality toward Israel and world Jewry has for years been flamboyantly rude-and-crude and in-your-face. That this Iranian advocacy of a second Holocaust drew no objection from the US negotiators of this deal should make moral pariahs out of every one of them – including our president and Secretary of State.

These two factors alone, especially the abrupt evaporation of the US's ultimate existential bargain with Israel through Obama's de facto alliance with the mullahs, would drive Israel to the one attack option it can unilaterally use without running short of munitions and experiencing the massive US coercion embedded in that dependence. But there are other reasons why early Israeli nuclear pre-emption is not only justified but almost mandatory.

First, it is too late to stop Iran's bomb-making momentum with conventional weapons or sanctions. That nation's science and technology base is robust and improving. It has learned to domestically produce high-performance gas centrifuges whose uranium gas output is such that smaller numbers of them are needed for breakout. The US spent decades and many billions at labs like Oak Ridge National Laboratory on composites, software-controlled magnetic bearings, gas flow separations, thermal controls and ultra-precision manufacturing for these thin-wall, very-high-speed devices. Yet Iran has come up the centrifuge learning curve with surprising speed. Its metallurgists are familiar with a novel aluminum forging method that may yield nanophase aluminum shells so strong that they approach the centrifugal strength usually associated with more demanding composite-shell gas centrifuges. Also, Iran's bomb engineering and physics can tap the sophisticated bomb designs and re-entry vehicle (RV) skills of North Korea, which is reducing the weight and mass of its H-bombs to fit on ballistic missiles and whose collaboration with Iran reportedly included Iranian technicians at North Korean bomb tests.

Other technology sources in the Nuclear Bombs R Us cartel for wannabe proliferators set up by rogue nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan of Pakistan include China, Russia and Pakistan. Worst of all, under the US-Iran deal, Iran's ballistic missiles can improve their reliability, accuracy, throw-weight and their post-boost RV-release thrusters.

Second, Iran's underground nuclear targets are likely harder than American and Israeli hard-target munition (HTM) developers have assumed. Why? Because Iranian engineers have perfected the world's toughest concrete, developing mixtures using geopolymers, quartz powders (called fume) and metal and ceramic fibers. The result is hardness levels reportedly up to 50,000-60,000 psi in experimental samples. This means that even shallow “cut and cover” hard targets like the Natanz centrifuge enrichment plant, an armored complex in an excavated pit that is then covered, can resist destruction by the US's most lethal hard-target bomb: the 30,000-lb “Massive Ordnance Penetrator.” Only the B-2 and the B-52 can carry the MOP. Yet while the MOP can penetrate ~200 ft into 5000-psi targets, it only reaches 25 feet into 10,000-psi concrete – and Iranian cement for new or up-armored underground bunkers has likely progressed well beyond that.

US and Israeli HTM alternatives include staged-warhead penetrators and – high on the wish list – novel energetic chemistries with orders-of-magnitude more power than current HTMs. Tactical HTMs with up to four sequential warheads use precursor warheads to blast an initial opening for larger follow-through charges to destroy tanks, fortifications and bridge piers. But these impact at slow speeds compared to what's needed to kill deep hard targets. The latter need superhard casings (probably single-crystal metals) and packaging to keep their sequenced charges intact during violent impacts of thousands of feet/second (fps). One benchmark is the Department of Energy's Sandia lab's success years ago in firing a simulated hard-target RV into rock at 4400 fps. Similarly, reactive-material (RM) munitions and next-generation HEDM (high-energy-density material) explosives and energetic chemistries with orders-of-magnitude more power look promising for the future. But these require years of iterative fly-redesign-fly testing to assure they'll survive impact with their deep targets.

Bottom line: with even the US's best non-nuclear HTMs marginal against Iran's critical deep targets, Israel's HTMs probably wouldn't do the job either, being lower in kinetic energy on target. Alternatives like using HTMs to destroy entrances to such targets and ventilation shafts may work – but unless Iranian military power and recovery are set back months or years, this damage would be repaired or worked round. Moreover, nuclear facilities tunneled into mountains would be almost impossible to destroy with conventionals.

Still, the brains behind Iran's nuclear bomb, missile and WMD is concentrated in soft targets like the Iranian universities run by the IRGC (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps), custodian of the bomb program). These can be hit by conventionals under a Peenemunde targeting strategy to kill as many weapon scientists and technicians as possible. (This recalls Prime Minister Winston Churchill's directive for British bombers to target the residential housing on the small Baltic island where Hitler had sited his V-2 rocket program.) Alternatively, conventional or nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or HPM (high-power microwave) weapons could destroy for months all the computers and communications that support university-hosted bomb work. This would keep these scientists and surrounding urban populations alive.

Third, Obama's decision to provide Iran “training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems” is the clearest indicator that this accord is aimed squarely at Israel. Why? It eliminates the sole option Israel has left now that it lacks the US-supplied conventional HTMs to destroy unexpectedly hard deep targets, forcing it at best into a slow-motion conventionals-only campaign. This would expose it to brutal political and military blowback by Iran and its Chinese, Russian and European suppliers – and by an enraged American president. In essence, it appears that the Obama regime has under the accord deliberately stripped Israel of every option except nuclear pre-emption – which Obama, in typically liberal-progressive fashion, assumes would never happen. Ergo, Israel would be forced to accommodate Iranian military supremacy.

Fourth, what may drive an early Israeli nuclear attack are two considerations: (a) Russian S-300 ATBM/SAMs (anti-tactical ballistic missile/surface-to-air missile) in Iranian hands; and (b) Hezb’allah's thousands of missiles. Russia's agreement to supply Iran four batteries of its fearsome S-300 by late August for defending priority targets would make it very difficult for Israel to mount the complex precision bombing strategies needed for tough targets. The S-300, the world's best, can knock down high-speed aircraft from near ground level to almost 100,000 feet. It can also engage some ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, Hezb’allah's arsenal of more than 60,000 rockets (by some estimates) is a much greater threat to Israel, especially its air force, than is appreciated. Hezb’allah has retrofitted an unknown fraction of these missiles, whose range now covers almost all of Israel, with GPS and precision guidance, allowing them to hit critical targets. Unfortunately, Israel's Iron Dome and David’s Sling interceptors were designed on the assumption that most incoming missiles would be inaccurate and so the interceptors could be saved only for those approaching critical targets. The result? Hezb’allah rocket campaigns targeting Israeli airbases and other military targets could quickly run Israel out of interceptors. Iran could easily order such a campaign to throw Israel off balance as it focuses on the deadly US-abetted nuclear threat from Iran.

An Israeli nuclear pre-emption is thus eminently thinkable. Every other option has been stripped away by Obama's decision, concealed from Israel, Congress and our allies until it was too late to challenge, to let Iranian bomb-making R&D run free and to harden Iran's bomb-making infrastructure against Israel – while imposing lethal restrictions on Israeli countermeasures and forswearing any US and allied military attacks, such as B-2's and B-52's dropping MOP bombs.

The die is now cast. Nuclear pre-emption becomes attractive to a nation in extremis, where Israel is now:

...Israel needs to impart a powerful, disorganizing shock to the Iranian regime that accomplishes realistic military objectives: digging out its expensive underground enrichment plants, destroying its Arak plutonium reactor and maybe Bushehr in the bargain, killing its bomb and missile professionals, scientists and technicians, IRGC bases, its oil production sites, oil export terminals and the leaders of the regime where they can be found.

...its initial strike must move very fast and be conclusive within 1-2 hours, like the Israeli air attack opening the 1967 Six-Day War. The goal is to so stun the regime that Israel controls the first and subsequent phases of the war and its ending. This means that Israel must hit enough critical targets with maximum shock – and be willing to revisit or expand its targets – so as to control blowback and retaliation from Iran's allies. In essence, this involves a very fast-paced Israeli redesign of the Middle East in the course of a nuclear war for survival.

...what is poorly appreciated is that nuclear weapons from 10 to 300 kilotons (KT) – depending on accuracy – can destroy deep hard targets to 200+ meters depth by ground coupling if they penetrate merely 3 meters into the ground (Effects of Nuclear Earth Penetrators and Other Weapons: National Research Council / National Academy Press, 2005, pp. 30-51). Israel could lower bomb yields or achieve deeper target kills by its reported tests of two-plane nuclear attacks in which the first plane drops a conventional HTM like a GBU-28 to open up a channel; the second plane drops its tactical nuclear bomb into that 'soft' channel for greater depth before bursting. This unavoidably would produce fallout on cities downwind. Fortunately, the same medical countermeasures used for radiological accidents (Chernobyl accidents, etc.)  – potassium iodide pills (available domestically from – can be airdropped for use by exposed urbanites.

...the more important objective, however, is decapitation and economic paralysis by EMP and HPM effects that destroy all electronic, electrical and electromechanical devices on Iranian territory. While a high-altitude nuclear burst would affect most of Iran's territory, it may not be necessary if smaller, lower-altitude weapons are used.

...A small number of nuclear weapons (10-15?) may suffice: one each for known underground hard targets, with one held in reserve pending bomb-damage assessments; several low-yield bombs for above-ground bomb-related depots; and low-yield neutron weapons to hit IRGC and regime targets while avoiding blast and fallout. Reactors can be hit with conventional HPM pulse weapons to burn out electrical, electronic and electromechanical systems for later reactor destruction by Special Forces. A targeting priority (using antipersonnel conventionals) would be university-hosted bomb/missile scientists.

...Israeli F-15s and F-16s provide the most accurate delivery for the initial phase – assuming that the S-300 batteries can be decoyed, jammed or destroyed (where Israeli air force experience is unmatched). The small stock of Jericho-2 ballistic missiles probably would be held in reserve. They can't be used against buried targets unless their re-entry vehicles (RVs) are fitted with penetrator casings and decelerators like ribbon parachutes (used to slow down US test RVs for shallow-water recovery at Pacific atolls) to avoid disintegrating on impact. (Both methods require flight-testing, which is detectable.) Israel's Dolphin subs in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean can launch nuclear or (probably) conventional cruise missiles with cluster munitions for IRGC targets.

The final issue is how Israeli and US leaders would operate in these conditions. An Israeli decision to go nuclear would be the most tightly held decision in history, given the prospect of out-of-control blowback by our current president if that was leaked. Still, Israel sees itself being driven into a Second Holocaust corner, possibly within weeks as the S-300s begin deploying around Iran's nuclear targets. Once it decides nukes are its only way out, it would simulate and map out all possible event chains and surprises once it launches. Unavoidably, it would also have to decide what to do if it learns the US is feeding its pre-launch mobilization information to Iran, using its electronic listening posts and missile-defense radars in the region. It may have to jam or destroy those US sites.

For the US, however, this no-warning nuclear war would land like a thunderbolt on an unprepared White House that would likely panic and lash out as Obama's loudly touted “legacy” goes up in smoke. The characteristic signatures of nuclear bursts would be captured and geolocated by US satellite. The commander of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs would call the White House on the famous red phone. (As one of the few civilians who sat through a red phone alert at NORAD in July 1982, after a Soviet missile sub launched two test missiles off the Kamchatk Peninsulaa, I can testify it is a frightening experience for which nothing prepares you.) Given the psychology of our current president and his emotional investment in his Iran deal, what might follow could challenge the military chain of command with orders that previously were unthinkable.

Now retired, John Bosma draws on a 40-year background in nuclear war-gaming and strategic arms control (SALT 1 and 2, Soviet arms-racing and SALT violations, US force upgrades) at Boeing Aerospace (1977-1980); congressional staff and White House experience (1981-1983) in organizing the “Star Wars” ballistic missile defense (BMD) program and proposing its “defense-enforced strategic reductions” arms-control model adopted by the Reagan State Department; military space journalism (1984-1987); and technology scouting in conventional strategic warfare, rapid (1-2 hours) posture change in space, novel BMD engagement geometries with miniature air-launched interceptors, counter-WMD/terrorism, naval BMD and undersea warfare. Clients included DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Missile Defense Agency, the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, the Navy and the  He follows Israeli forces and BMD and has studied Iran's nuclear R&D programs. All of his work is open-source


I was shocked when I read this article. Let’s hope it will not come to this.The impact of this article is enhanced by the revelations Barak: Netanyahu wanted to strike Iran in 2010 and 2011, but colleagues blocked him

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Left Is Desperately Trying to Discredit the AP Story on Iran Inspecting Itself

I wrote on NRO this morning about an important story by AP reporter George Jahn giving details of how Iranians will conduct inspections for the IAEA as part of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Jahn’s article attracted widespread media attention and sparked outrage by critics of the nuclear agreement.

It seems this story’s publication struck a nerve, since supporters of the Iran deal have been subsequently engaged in a campaign to discredit the piece and its author.

IAEA director general Yukiya Amano issued a statement today in response to the AP story that said:

“I can state that the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way. The Road-map between Iran and the IAEA is a very robust agreement, with strict timelines, which will help us to clarify past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”

Supporters of the Iran deal are claiming Amano’s statement discredited Jahn’s story. However, Amano did not dispute its specific details on how Iranians will collect nuclear samples for the IAEA. I believe the IAEA issued this statement in response to pressure from the United States because of the backlash it sparked from U.S. opponents of the Iran deal. It’s also no surprise the IAEA chief is defending an agreement that he helped negotiate.

At today’s daily State Department press conference, spokesman John Kirby responded to questions about the Jahn story by saying Amano’s statement indicates “the IAEA is giving over nuclear inspections to Iran” and that the United States is comfortable with the IAEA’s arrangements to verify the nuclear agreement. However, Kirby also refused to dispute the details of Jahn’s article or to say the Obama administration believes any aspect of it is false.

After a version of Jahn’s piece was published late yesterday that omitted some details of the original story, several Iran-deal supporters claimed the AP retracted said details because the Amano statement proved they were false. By midday today, those who made this claim had egg on their faces — the AP had posted an abbreviated version of Jahn’s story last night for space reasons and subsequently reposted the original text.

J Street, a far-Left group funded by George Soros, sent an e-mail to congressional offices today disputing the Jahn story with the laughable claim that inspections of the Parchin site by Iranians concern Iran’s past nuclear activity and are “a completely separate issue from the unprecedented and rigorous inspections and monitoring regime that the P5+1 agreement with Iran will put in place to ensure Iran is not developing a weapon now or in the future.” J Street also stressed the Iran is not conducting its own investigation or testing of samples, points that were not made in Jahn’s article.

Max Fisher, a stalwart liberal defender of the Iran deal, made similar arguments in a rambling piece on Vox today. Fisher repeated the false claim that the AP had withdrawn parts of the Jahn story and cited liberal arms-control experts such as Jeffrey Lewis, who told him there is nothing for the IAEA to discover at Parchin “because we know what they did there.”

Like the Amano and Kirby statements, the J Street and Fisher responses did not dispute the specific details in Jahn’s piece on how Iranians will collect nuclear samples for the IAEA. Moreover, both responses coincide with efforts by the Obama administration to write off the past “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program. They also ignored the likelihood that resolving questions about Iran’s past nuclear weapons work and nuclear activity at Parchin were moved to secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA because U.S. negotiators were unable to resolve these issues during the nuclear talks.

The J Street and Fisher attacks on the Jahn article also sidestepped the belief of many experts that it is crucial to conclusively resolve the possible military dimensions issue to establish a baseline for verifying the Iran nuclear agreement. Former Department of Energy official William Tobey explained this in a July 15 Wall Street Journal when he wrote “for inspections to be meaningful, Iran would have to completely and correctly declare all its relevant nuclear activities and procurement, past and present.”

Finally, some supporters of the deal took to Twitter today to attack Jahn’s competence as a journalist and to accuse him of being a tool of the Mossad and AIPAC. Such reprehensible personal attacks are a continuation of the scorched-earth tactics Iran-deal supporters have used to smear opponents of the Iran deal such as congressional Republicans and senators Schumer and Menendez. I’ve had the privilege to meet George Jahn. He’s a class act and a talented and respected journalist.  I have relied on his high-quality reporting of IAEA and nuclear issues for many years.

The attacks on the Jahn article are entirely false. It is my hope that the news media will stand by him and not fall for this desperate effort to disprove his important story about the absurd plan to allow Iran to collect its own nuclear samples for the IAEA.

Krauthammer on Iran Self-Inspections: "Scandalous," This Kind Of Naiveté Shows How Bad They Want A Deal

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is truly shocking. We're talking about the Parchin facility which the Iranians have said will never be inspected and that we have said had to be inspected because of the thought sort of the suspicion everywhere that Parchin was used for Iran to test nuclear detonation devices. This is extremely serious stuff. We were assured that accounting for this activity was center to this agreement. And we know why the administration kept it secret. They kept it secret because nobody can believe that the inspection will be carried out by Iran itself. it would supply the inspectors, it'll will do the photography, it will do the sampling.

So, the administration now says, in its defense, well, this is routine of the IAEA. It is not. Oili Heinonen, the deputy director of IAEA for five years in charge of inspections, has said that he can think of no instance in which a regime was allowed to inspect itself. And Obama had said in April, this deal is not based on trust, it's based on unprecedented verification.

This is a deal with it's obvious when you see this kind of naïveté and this kind of capitulation you have to say to yourself the administration orders were a deal no matter what. The idea that if you oppose this you favor war I think is preposterous. This is actually quite scandalous...

It's Obama's own argument. He says this deal is better than no deal because it doesn't depend on trust. And now we hear that the Parchin inspection is 100% trust. And look, the results are already predetermined because the reason they're inspecting Parchin is because Iran has to account for past military activity. In other words, we have to know what was done, how far they got with the weaponization in order to know how to look for it in the future and to have a baseline. So this is why it's a critical issue. We're not going to have that now.

The Iranians have said all along they never were intended on making a bomb. There has never been any military activity. That's written in the agreement. Iran says it was always a peaceful activity. So we know in advance that the self-inspection will yield a conclusion that there was no weaponization happening. That's already done. The IAEA will report in December after that the agreement is implemented, this is wired in advance, and that's what makes it important, scandalous and farcical all at once. It's hard to know what further could have been done to make the deal as scandalous as it is.

Full text of secret deal between Iran and IAEA on inspections

Officials confirm draft does not differ from final, confidential deal between UN nuclear watchdog and Tehran

VENNA — The following is a transcript of the original draft agreement between the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran covering inspections at the Parchin military site, where Iran has been accused of pursuing nuclear weapons development a decade ago.

This agreement is separate from the much-broader Iran nuclear deal signed by Iran, the US, and five other world powers in July. Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Associated Press that this draft does not differ from the final, confidential agreement between the IAEA and Iran.

The AP was not allowed to have a copy of the draft but was allowed to transcribe the entire text, and it appears here:

Separate arrangement II agreed by the Islamic State of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 July 2015, regarding the Road-map, Paragraph 5

Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:

1.    Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

2.    Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

3.    Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.

4.    The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency’s containers and seals.

5.    The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.

6.    Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.

For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards

For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs

Whip count: Where the Senate stands on the Iran deal

The Washington Post

Congress has until mid-September to review the nuclear deal President Obama just reached with Iran. Lawmakers will vote on a yes-or-no resolution that could give the deal the go-ahead -- or halt it at least temporarily.

Obama has vowed to veto any "no" vote or effort to dilute a deal that he says will keep Iran from building a bomb. But because an agreement was reached just before the August recess, opponents of the agreement have two months to rally support for their side and try to gather the two-thirds majorities required to overcome that veto.

Which is where we come in. Will Congress get the two-thirds it needs? At least in the Senate, we can glean something of an idea of where things stand.

So we've begun monitoring all the senators' comments on the issue and classifying them accordingly. Be sure to bookmark this page for the latest updates. We'll update this whip count regularly.
And if we miss anything or classify a senator wrongly, make sure to let us know via e-mail.

Current state of play

(Updated 8:46 p.m. on Aug. 19)

Yes or leaning yes (34 needed to uphold veto, keep the deal): 31

No or leaning no (67 needed to override veto, kill the deal): 57

Unknown/unclear: 12

And now, the 100 senators ...

Yes (25)

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.): “I’m proud that America led six countries toward an historic international agreement with Iran."
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.): "If this agreement is what the Administration says it is, it is a major, historic diplomatic breakthrough.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): “This deal is not about trusting the Iranian regime, but instead working with our allies on comprehensive, verifiable restrictions to block Iran's pathways to a nuclear bomb without precipitating another war in the Middle East" he said Aug. 14.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.): "Despite having questions about Iran’s intentions, I am willing to give this agreement the opportunity to succeed," he said in an Aug. 19 statement.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): "The United States, working with our allies, has reached a historic agreement with Iran that, according to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I commend our negotiators for this critical effort. Finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): "I stand behind the U.S. negotiating team and will support this agreement in the Senate."
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.):"This agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon anytime in the next 15 years. It does so by imposing a series of physical limits on Iran's nuclear program, especially its production of the fissile material it would require to make a bomb," he wrote in a CNN op-ed Aug. 13.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote on Medium Aug. 6 "Why I'm supporting an imperfect Iran deal", saying "Iran made essential concessions in the deal" and " this deal will provide international nuclear inspectors with access that they otherwise would not have had."
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.): "[T]he numbers under this deal look a hell of a lot better than what we got under the previous policy," Heinrichtold Politico.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): "While this agreement is not perfect, it has gained broad national and international support, including 29 top American nuclear scientists, of which six are Nobel laureates," she said Aug. 18.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.): " I think if it matches the April 2 framework and there is a solid verification and inspection regime, I think it’s going to be good for our national security," he said on PBS July 15th.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): In a statement Aug. 10, she said the deal is imperfect but it offers the "best available option to put the brakes on Iran's development of a nuclear weapon," according to the AP.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.): "we thought we were negotiating in good faith and we'd have a deal. If we walk out now, many of these countries are going to say, 'okay, you're in it by yourself,'" he said Aug. 5.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.): "This agreement is far from perfect and carries risks. But I believe our negotiators achieved as much as they reasonably could, and that if strictly implemented, this plan can be effective," he said Aug. 19.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.): "I've said for some time that the best way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy, not war. And after very thoughtful consideration over the past several weeks, I believe that more than ever," he said in an Aug. 5 press release.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.): "Unless there is an unexpected change, I will support the nuclear agreement," he said Aug. 4.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.): "If Iran cheats, they will be isolated, international sanctions snap back, and we will have better intelligence, a broader coalition, and a stronger case for swift, forceful action," said the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee on Aug. 18.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): "So I think we go as far as we possibly can in trying to give peace a chance, if you like. Trying to see if this agreement will work. And I will support it," he told CBS's Face the Nation Aug. 7.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii): "Despite the partisan rancor in Washington, the vast majority of experts believe this is a worthy deal," he said in an Aug. 10 statement.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.): "I've concluded this is the best available option we have for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," she said in an Aug. 6 statement.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.): "This is a historic moment. This agreement has profound impact if we approve it and - make no mistake - if we fail to approve it," he said in a July 30 speech.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): "The question now before Congress — the only question before Congress — is whether the recently announced nuclear agreement represents our best available option for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” she said in a statement to The Boston Globe. “I am convinced that it does.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.): "Short of war, with all its dramatic uncertainties and terrible costs, I do not see another pathway to impose a nuclear weapons-free Iran," he said Aug. 18.

Clearly leaning yes, reserving final judgment (2)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.): "The most critical element of the deal for me is likely to be our ability, and the ability of the world, to verify strict Iranian compliance with the agreement."
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.): "Today's announcement is a significant milestone in the effort to preclude Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.... The devil is in the details."

Leaning yes, but hesitant (3)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): "I have not made a decision about whether I will vote to reject the agreement or not. And I think that there are weaknesses in this agreement. The president has said, he's right, no agreement is perfect," he told constituents in Connecticut in August.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): "We might get a deal that’s a good deal," Reid said in March, urging his colleagues to wait on passing the law allowing them to have a vote on the Iran deal. When he was majority leader, he blocked Republican attempts to impose more sanctions on Iran, which Obama warned would have derailed negotiations.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.): "I believe that American strength is rooted in both military might and diplomacy, and I am pleased that we have given diplomacy a chance. However, we still need to look at the agreement in its entirety before passing judgment."
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.): The moderate Democrat was consideringco-sponsoring the Iran review bill but ended up not for fear of scuttling the negotiations. "I’m making sure I’m going to make the right decision, not when I’m going to make it," she told Politico. "It's hard," she added in a separate interview. She showed signs she's leaning yes on Aug. 9 on NBC's "Meet The Press," saying: "What happens if we don't do the deal? Will Iran get this money anyways? And I think that's something to consider," adding "It's not a perfect deal. We don't trust Iran."

Purely undecided (8)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.): "The stakes are high, and the details of this deal matter."
Sen Cory Booker (D-N.J.): "I will hold this deal to a very high standard and in reaching any conclusion," he said.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.): "There's a lot of questions," the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee said  on NPR on July 14. In his opening statement of a July 23 hearing on the deal, he said, "Our negotiators got an awful lot, particularly on the nuclear front."
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) "Over the coming days, I will be conducting a thorough review of the agreement to evaluate whether it protects our national security interests," but in November, he urged his colleagues on the banking committee to impose more sanctions on Iran, saying he had little faith in interim negotiations, which "simply allowed more time for the Iranian regime to continue its efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability."
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.): "I am a Democrat, and I would like to be able to support this agreement. But I have serious reservations about it," he told Politico.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.): Heitkamp was a co-sponsor of the Iran review bill Congress passed in May. Her staff says she is still reviewing the deal. "We must prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb – period. That is our priority and where our focus should remain. And we must avoid lifting any sanctions without verifiable actions so Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon," she said.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.): Peters was an original co-sponsor of the 2015 Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions bill that Obama said would put unnecessary pressure on the negotiations.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): "“I will review this agreement with the utmost attention to detail, given the incredible importance of getting an agreement of this magnitude right."

Leaning no (36)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.): "We have a responsibility to ensure that Iran never achieves its goal of becoming a nuclear power. This deal give us little confidence that we will be successful in this regard."
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.): " Regardless of what the president has concluded and what he tries to sell, we need to individually take a real hard look at this and make our own decisions because they are going to have immense consequences for the future."
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.): "Iran cannot be allowed to gain nuclear weapons capabilities, and I am skeptical whether the agreement reached by the Obama administration is truly verifiable and enforceable."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho): "The consequences of a bad deal are monumental," he said in May.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.): He signed a Republican human rights letter to Secretary of State John Kerry saying "we are concerned the Obama Administration is failing to recognize the inherent danger of engaging in nuclear negotiations with this particular regime given their appalling record on human rights."
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): She gave an April floor speech declaring a deal should only lift sanctions if Iran abandons support of terrorism.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.): "I have often stated that I believe this negotiation was lost from the start.... That said, I will carefully review the details before rendering my final judgment."
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Sen. Jerry Moran  (R-Kan.)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): "If today’s agreement is ‘historic’ as some are claiming, it’s still very much unknown if the history being made is positive or negative."
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.): "It is important that any deal is enforceable so that we can keep Iran accountable," he said in May.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.): "“It’s hard to make a good deal with bad actors."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.): " I was skeptical that Iran’s leaders would agree to dismantle their nuclear weapons program and I have questions about whether this agreement accomplishes that, particularly in light of Iran’s history on this issue."

No (21)

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): "Rather than end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrializes the program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism," The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote Aug. 17 in a Washington Post op-ed.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): "If this deal is approved, it will represent a historic defeat for the United States."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.): The Senate Foreign Relations Committee member said Aug. 15 the deal's benefits "are outweighed by severe limitations the (agreement) places on Congress and future administrations in responding to Iran's non-nuclear behavior in the region,
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.): "This deal is unwise. For the sake of the region, and the sake of the world, it must be rejected."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.): "This agreement will enrich and empower Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism."
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): Menendez co-authored a bill that would have put sanctions on Iran if negotiations failed by June 30 and was the second prominent Democrat to come out against the deal. "If Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it," he said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.): "“This deal won’t protect Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state—it just delays it."
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho): "This deal falls disastrously short of what the Obama Administration originally promised and gives the Iranian government what it desires."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "I expect that a significant majority in Congress will share my skepticism of this agreement and vote it down."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "The Administration just lit the fuse for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East."
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): The likely next-in-line Democratic leader and ally of Israel said Aug. 6 he cannot support the Iran deal. "In the first ten years of the deal, there are serious weaknesses in the agreement," he wrote on Medium. His "no" vote is a big loss for Obama and deal supporters.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) "The Iran deal enables a terrorist machine," he wrote in an Aug. 3 op-ed.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.): "When you’re dealing with somebody, you consider the past conduct of who you’re negotiating with … the people in charge of Iran have shown no indication that they’re trustworthy," he told WAPT News Jackson on Aug. 18.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.): "This agreement is a really, really bad deal for America, for Israel, and for freedom."

Unknown / Unclear (4)

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): She's approved tough sanctions on Iran in 2012 but has been quiet on the deal so far. On July 23 she told Politico: "It’s a really busy time around here and people are trying to do other things. And so if you don’t have to decide in the next two days, then people will take their time."
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.): A leader in the Democratic Party told Politico it "would take us all a while" to decide.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Fix. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from Boston and Taiwan.