With the Supreme Leader Khamenei drawing unrealistic red lines and the deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers come and gone – if the press and think tanks are any indication – has evaporated some of the hope that a beneficial agreement can be reached. Such views were expressed in recent weeks in a spate of articles and op-eds expressing concern over the talks, in some cases reflecting a surprising about-face in the mainstream media’s stance on the deal.
The catalyst for these articles was not just the latest extension, but also a recent statement issued by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In this statement, described by one reporter as an “open revolt” during a State Department press briefing last week, former administration officials expressed a “rare bipartisan consensus” over fears that the agreement reached in the talks would “fall short” of the administration’s own standards and objectives by giving short shrift to key issues, such as access to nuclear and military sites.
Copious criticism could be found elsewhere in the media, too: a Business Insider article attributing US President Barack Obama’s seeming indifference to the Syrian civil war to his “determination to secure a nuclear deal” with Iran; a Wall Street Journal ascribing Washington’s willingness to downplay Iran’s terror links, still going strong, to the talks as well; and a Sun Sentinel op-ed by Ted Deutsch suggesting that though the talks had been extended under the pretext of ironing out technical details, it was actually “matters of great consequence” that still remained unresolved.
The Globe and Mail, meanwhile, opined that there was “no need to rush” on the Iran deal. In a similar vein, over at The Washington Post, David Ignatius warned that the “red lines” set down by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offer a basis for a deal that is “fatally flawed.” His warning drew support from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who tweeted that “if Iran sticks to the red lines announced by Khamenei, there should be no deal.” Slate had an equally bleak view on the likelihood of the talks succeeding, but gave the Iranian and American administration some credit for refusing to leave the table “until all hope has been lost – maybe even longer.” Have the talks already reached that stage now, or is the press simply no longer sanguine about them?