'Instead of opining on the proposed deal with Iran taking shape in Geneva, let's decode it.
From the reported outline of the proposal, we learn four things:
1) Iran remains intensely committed to achieving a nuclear weapon.
Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, promised his countrymen relief from international sanctions. Since coming into office this summer, he has made various conciliatory noises. Was he readying Iran for a real deal?
The message of Geneva is: No, no real deal.
Iran's red line at Geneva, the thing it would not trade away, was a capacity to continue and resume nuclear bomb development at any time. Iran's offer at Geneva amounted to a six-month delay of its nuclear program that will not in any way impair its ability to get back to bomb-making at any time.
Iran won't neutralize or surrender any of its fissile material; that is, material used to fuel reactors—or nuclear bombs. It won't disable any of its nuclear facilities. It will only pause. Economists use the phrase "revealed preference" to describe the way in which our actions indicate our priorities. Iran's priority remains gaining a weapon; post-Geneva, there can be no doubt about that.
2) The Iranian economy has collapsed into desperate condition.
At Geneva, Iran gained a promise of the potential release of $3 billion in frozen international reserves and the right to import potentially up to $9.5 billion of gold. For a major oil producing nation, these should be petty sums. (Iraq's oil revenues amounted to about $7 billion per month in 2013.)…
3) The Obama administration wants an Iranian nuclear deal more than Iran does.
By most reports, it was the United States that came to Geneva armed with proposals, and Iran that did most of the refusing.
As Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in the Daily Beast last week, the Obama administration began relaxing sanctions simply to get talks started. Iran, by contrast, has offered no such concessions to the United States….
4) America's allies are not deferring to American leadership on this one.
It's not only France that has rebelled against the outlined deal in Geneva. Israel is protesting vocally and publicly; America's Gulf Arab allies are protesting less publicly, but nearly equally vocally. On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Kerry insisted that there was "zero gap" between the United States and its regional allies. Then he immediately got on a plane to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, presumably to try to upgrade his Sunday talk-show words into something closer to reality…'