The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for November 12, 2010.

  • Commentary: Commentary Magazine executive editor Jonathan S. Tobin, hits back against a column by Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former consul general in New York. Pinkas wrote on Politico that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pro-Republican leanings, yet again illustrated by Bibi’s remarks at the General Assembly of North American Jewish Federations, undermined bipartisanship, including his callfor the U.S. to assert a threat of force against Iran. Tobin says that “such arguments are nonsense” and “by decrying the claim of some Republicans that some Democrats have been unsupportive of Israel, all Pinkas is doing is demonstrating that he dislikes the GOP and sympathizes with the Democrats.” Tobin contend both Democrats and Republicans have made pledges that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons, and “[c]ontrary to Pinkas’s assertion, accountability is the one thing all friends of Israel should welcome.”
  • The National Interest: Heritage Foundation fellow Ariel Cohen has an NI piece opposing ratification of the New START treaty. He argues that restrictions on ballistic missile defense (alleged), ambiguous language, and a “significant degradation of the START verification regime” will ” limit U.S. defense options not vis-à-vis Russia, but North Korea, China, and in the future, Iran.” Cohen asserts that New START is a result of “Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons,” and “there is a significant probability that if Obama allows Iran to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and possibly Turkey will develop their own nuclear weapons.” Cohen has advised the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a neoconservative organization that helped distribute the Clarion Fund‘s Islamophobic “Obsession” film.
  • Foreign Policy: Former AIPAC spokesperson Josh Block writes: “The rise of Iranian influence in Lebanon is particularly dangerous at this moment, when moderate Arab countries are desperately looking for the United States to contain Iran.” The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a court set up by agreement between the UN Security Council and the Lebanese government, is investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri and is expected to indict members of Hezbollah. Block warns that “Hezbollah will stop at nothing to prevent indictments from being handed down.” Block urges the the United States to “ensure that the Special Tribunal goes forward, prosecuting those it indicts.” as well as supportg pro-democracy civil society and media. He concludes: “[T]he administration must make a clear public signal that the United States will not sit on the sidelines while Iran, through its satraps Syria and Hezbollah, successfully exports the Iranian revolution to Lebanon.”
  • The Washington Times: Shaun Waterman reports on how the incoming Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee will pressure the Obama administration on the implementation of sanctions against Iran, thus underminng Obama’s attempts at diplomatic outreach to Tehran. Waterman quotes Foundation for Defense of Democracies‘ Mark Dubowitz, who predicts “we can expect a very relentless and determined focus on holding the administration’s feet to the fire.” Dubowitz adds: “It is useful for the administration to have Congress play the bad cop” in its dealings with Iran.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.