President Barack Obama will not seek Congressional approval for any deal his negotiator Wendy Sherman might reach with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Teheran's nuclear weapons program, The New York Times reported.
The U.S. is negotiating with Iran as part of the P5+1 talks— the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany— in Vienna that are scheduled to conclude on Nov. 24.
A spokesman for EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton-- who is not known for her Zionist sympathies -- said the talks had reached a critical point.
On Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a prospective agreement might leave Iran with the capacity to build nuclear weapons on short notice. "This is a threat to the entire world, and first and foremost to us. This threat is far more serious than that posed by the Islamic State," Haaretz reported.
The anti-Netanyahu tabloid Yediot Aharanot claimed there was no basis to Netanyahu's concerns. That's because no one at Yediot read the Times story and because their dislike for the mercurial Netanyahu clouds their ability to report the news.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted that Iran must expand its nuclear enrichment program.
Any Iran deal would likely involve the gradual lifting of sanctions. Obama can do this without congressional approval. "We wouldn't seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years," a senior official told the Times.
Sherman has been briefing key congressional committees on the talks, the Times reported.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that "If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state," the Times reported.
If no agreement is reached by Nov. 24, Menendez has proposed tightening sanctions on Iran.
"Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99 to 0 vote," in 2010 said Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, the Times reported.
The president's goal "between now and 2017" is to avoid having to bomb Iran or having Teheran announce that it has an atomic bomb, said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The talks are expected to be extended should no agreement be reached, according to the Times.
I've been saying for years that the U.S. would not take out Iran's nuclear facilities. A large part of the reason is that Washington exhausted itself in Iraq. A war with Iran is not something American public opinion would tolerate.
Obama's tenure has been a disaster for Israel though on Iran -- given the mess George W. Bush left in the Middle East -- I doubt a Romney presidency would have been any different.