Media Refs Should Call Foul on Bogus Arguments Against Iran Deal

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Media Refs Should Call Foul on Bogus Arguments Against Iran Deal

It's the responsibility of the media referees not to enable opponents of the deal to introduce irrelevant criteria into the debate. (Screenshot via CNN)

The deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program and lifting sanctions is done. Bernie Sanders called it a "victory for diplomacy." Hillary Clinton backed the deal. So did the Congressional Progressive Caucus. So did Pope Francis.

Congress will have about 60 days to review the deal and, if it wishes, vote on a resolution of disapproval and pass such a resolution or defeat it. If Congress passes a resolution of disapproval, President Obama is sure to veto it. Congress could then, if it wishes, vote on whether to override the President's veto, and it can sustain the veto or override it. Few expect Congress to have the votes to override a Presidential veto, but supporters of the deal will be working overtime for a much better outcome than narrowly sustaining a Presidential veto.

A key point of dispute, as Congress reviews the deal, is sure to be whether this is a "good deal" or a "bad deal." Of course, some people are openly against any deal, ever; some people openly admit that they want war, not diplomacy.

But the "swing voter" will be someone who claims that they are not against any deal ever and do not want war, someone who claims that they want a deal, but are not sure that this is a "good deal." So the question of whether this is a "good deal" will be crucial.

And of course, if the question of whether it is a "good deal" is crucial, then the question of what are the criteria for a good deal is crucial.

Obviously, if opponents of the deal were allowed to introduce irrelevant criteria into the debate, then they could rig the debate for their side. Thus, it's the responsibility of the media referees not to enable opponents of the deal to introduce irrelevant criteria into the debate.

The following fact will be key: this multilateral negotiation, which was started by the George W. Bush Administration, has always been about Iran's nuclear program and nothing else. It's not about Syria. It's not about Yemen. The Iran deal will not make you look five pounds thinner, as Gil Scott-Heron might have said.

You want a validator on this? How about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee? AIPAC published a list of five criteria for judging the deal. In the wake of the deal, AIPAC is standing by its list of criteria.

People will dispute whether the deal effectively meets AIPAC's stated criteria. People will dispute whether AIPAC's criteria were realistic criteria for "a good deal that eliminates every Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon."

But here's what nobody can dispute: AIPAC's five criteria were all about Iran's nuclear program and nothing else.

So, anyone who now claims that the deal should have dealt with something else besides Iran's nuclear program is staking out a position well to the right of AIPAC. And that's Obama-was-born-in-Kenya territory.

Win Without War and CREDO are leading a big campaign of many groups to support the Iran deal. You can add your voice here.

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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