Ever since President Obama and new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had a little phone call and Twitter flirtation, things have been looking up for their relationship. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva to join his Western allies and Iranian counterpart — another promising sign — in hopes of hashing out a breakthrough agreement on the world's least favorite nuclear program. But Israel is having none of it. "It's a very bad deal," said Israeli Prime Minister and master underminer Benjamin Netanyahu, calling it "the deal of a century for Iran" but a "very dangerous and bad deal for peace."
"Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge," he said. "But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years."
Under the basics of the agreement, as they stands so far, Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity and destroy the enriched uranium it already has (along with some other baby steps away from destroying the world) in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions.
Obama has insisted that "core sanctions" will remain and there will be "very modest relief": "So that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we're trying to resolve some of these bigger issues that they're backing out of the deal, they're not following through on it, or they're not willing to go forward and finish the job of giving us assurances that they're not developing a nuclear weapon," he told NBC, "we can crank that dial back up." But there is some cautious optimism, with observers calling the potential deal "stunning."
Still, "I want to emphasize: there is not an agreement at this point in time," said Kerry today. "There are still some important issues on the table that are unresolved." But he's also asking Israel to chill out a bit and see what happens: "The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos," he told Israeli and Palestinian reporters. "I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?"