Eric Cantor Girds His Iran War Loins

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is leading the counter-attack against the Administration’s opening door to a peaceful agreement with Iran. His strategy to scuttle any permanent rapprochement with Iran on behalf of his neocon and Israel/Saudi lobby benefactors is transparent: treat the initial six-month confidence-building measure — a voluntary cessation of uranium enrichment above five percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief — as if it were a Chapter VII UN Security Council Resolution.

Cantor’s intent is to treat the temporary voluntary cessation of Iran’s right to peaceful enrichment as if it were a permanent, legal resolution by the international community backed by the threat of force. After establishing this fallacy as fact — the media has been helpful to this purpose — he intends to proceed with additional confidence-undermining sanctions legislation in the House in attempt to goad the Iranians into backing away from negotiations and returning to their (legal) levels of enrichment (and restarting centrifuges along with work on the heavy water reactor at Arak).

He will at that point likely introduce legislation authorizing force in response to Iran returning to the status quo ante (i.e. enrichment that is fully legal according to the NPT) in the face of US bad faith and provocations.

The game has already been played out in 2003-5 when Iran voluntarily observed the additional protocols of the NPT as a sign of good faith only to receive nothing in return but new condemnatory UN resolutions.

According to an “Alert” sent out by Cantor to Republican Members, acquired by RPI, the Majority Leader is ready to put his plan into play:

From:
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2014 2:34 PM
Subject: McCarthy: WHIP LD ALERT – January Agenda

(Courtesy of the Majority Leader)

MEMORANDUM

TO: House Republicans
FR: Eric Cantor
DT: Friday, January 3, 2014
RE: January Legislative Agenda…

Iran remains perhaps the most significant national security threat facing the United States and its closest allies. Its determined pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and support for terrorism and instability must be stopped. It is my hope that the House, in a bipartisan manner, can express our concerns about Iran’s aggression and state our position on what a comprehensive settlement of the nuclear issue should look like.

According to The Hill, Cantor is seeking a new resolution on Iran which would “call for new sanctions if Iran reneges on its commitments and demand that Iran not be allowed to enrich uranium as part of a final deal.”

This would of course produce a diplomatic dead letter, sending Iranian negotiators back to Tehran and leaving Iran’s moderate leadership to face the wrath of hardliners who warned that the Americans could not be trusted to act in good faith.

Oh, it would also send Cantor’s AIPAC sponsors into joyous paroxysms after a rather glum few months on the sidelines. The games are about to begin.

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5:29 pm on January 3, 2014