With less than two weeks remaining before the nuclear deadline of June 30th, the progress between the six world powers (known as the p5+1; the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, plus Germany) and the Islamic Republic appears to be on the rise and auspicious for the involved parties.
The prospect of a final nuclear deal has prompted a race among several countries to benefit from the easing of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. A competition to secure trade with Iran has already been initiated. And Russia, a long-term strategic ally of the Islamic Republic, would not desire to fall behind.
The most serious challenge to the nuclear deal may be that it does not at all address the human rights record of the Tehran theocracy or statements challenging the legitimacy of Israel. However, from the perspective of the Obama Administration and most U.S. allies, the nuclear deal is seen as a first step in empowering a more progressive trend with Iran.
A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences -- casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.
As the deadline for the final nuclear deal between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic becomes closer, and as the world powers appear to be softening their demands on Iran's nuclear capabilities, Netanyahu's fear in the signing of a final nuclear deal and his objective is to postpone this process between Iran and six world powers.
For congressional hawks claiming to take a tough line against Iran's nuclear program, cutting off funding for enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency inspections over that program seems like an odd approach. Yet a new bill introduced by the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would threaten to do just that.