Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said President Obama is effectively siding with the Iranian mullahs over Congress by opposing new sanctions Friday on Special Report.
Krauthammer was not surprised at reports saying Iran plans to build new centrifuges considering there was nothing in the Geneva agreement precluding Tehran from producing more uranium.
President Obama's refusal to use Congress' relentless pursuit of new sanctions as leverage with Iran indicates "a total lack of seriousness" from the president, Krauthammer said. The Fox News contributor questioned why President Obama is criticizing Congress when he could use its aggressive posture as a "good cop, bad cop" strategy with Iran:
SHANNON BREAM: And Charles, the news today, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency saying uranium enrichment is progressing and new centrifuges are being built. He calls them "a new generation of centrifuge" he says, are now under development. Does that square to you with what was negotiated in the short-term deal?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. The only surprising thing here is that the Iranians are so confident about how supine Obama is on this, is that they stick their finger in his eye and announce it publicly. There is nothing in the agreement that stops the Iranians from producing more uranium, or from producing the machines that enrich the uranium.
That was the problem at the beginning, that's what made the agreement a farce at the start. Unless you go after the uranium enrichment, unless you curtail or destroy the machines that enrich the uranium, you have done nothing to stop the progress of Iran. So at the same time there are reports of Iran using loopholes in the agreement to get all kinds of new commerce going, we know there are Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Russian, and even European concerns that are now talking with Iran about a wide range of relations. They know the sanctions have been weakened and Obama speaks as if he can turn them on at will. And he can't. And for him to take the side of the mullahs against the Congress, if he really was serious about this, then why wouldn't he use the fact that Congress is being tough and say the Congress is the "bad cop."
You go to the Iranians and say "look I'm trying to be reasonable but the Congress is out of control and they want to wreck your economy unless you shut down your program. I can't hold them back. So are you going to negotiate seriously or not?" But instead of doing that, he's arguing with the mullahs against the Congress and that shows to me a total lack of seriousness which is what the gulf Arabs and the Israelis have seen at the beginning of the process. The president is simply not serious and the Iranians know it as well.