The Obama administration thought that it was sitting across the negotiating table from the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian negotiators understood that they were sitting across a poker table, trying to bluff out an opponent who was holding the stronger hand.
Evidently, they succeeded. The administration put a large number of chips into the pot. Among them, Iran’s access to tens of billion dollars, Iran’s ability to trade with the rest of the world, Iran’s eventual access to nuclear weapons, America’s relationship with Israel, Israel’s national security and eventually the security of the world.
With all that at stake, holding the better hand, the great Obama, timorous negotiator that he was, folded his hand and declared that he had concluded a successful negotiation. He must have thought to himself that at least he got to keep Valerie Jarrett.
And now, to the amazement of all, even The New York Times, the Iranians are doing a victory lap. They are positively gloating over their victory over the Great Satan. They do not want anyone to doubt the nature of the game and the identity of the victor. Their behavior is becoming more stridently anti-American, thus dashing the hopes of those who foolishly imagined that the nuclear deal would usher in a new era of comity between the nations.
The Times reports:
TEHRAN — Anyone who hoped that Iran’s nuclear agreement with the United States and other powers portended a new era of openness with the West has been jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings over the past few weeks.
On Tuesday, the eve of the 36th anniversary of the student takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, state television announced the arrest of a Lebanese-American missing for weeks — after he had been invited here by the government. He has been accused of spying.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, said the “Death to America” slogan is eternal. New anti-American billboards in Tehran include a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph that symbolized Marine sacrifice in World War II. And an Iranian knockoff version of K.F.C., the chicken chain widely associated with the United States, was summarily closed after two days.
“It feels like a witch hunt,” said one Iranian-American businessman in Tehran, who dared not speak for attribution over fear for his safety. “It’s pretty scary.”
Anyone who hoped that the outcome would be different is a bigger dupe than John Kerry.
The Times continues by trotting out the fiction that the foreign policy elite hold to. It's all the fault of the hardliners:
Many proponents of the nuclear accord, in both countries, have suggested that a gradual improvement in relations was inevitable. Some even foresaw a shift in the region, shaped by collaboration between the United States and Iran to bring peace, coupled with an eased enmity that could embolden President Hassan Rouhani to open up the country.
While Mr. Rouhani promised more freedoms when he was elected two years ago, he has taken only a few cosmetic steps.
Now, as the autumn leaves are falling in Tehran, there are no signs that bolder changes are coming. On the contrary, a backlash appears to be underway, promoted by Mr. Rouhani’s hard-line adversaries in the government who are deeply skeptical of the United States and its allies.
It seems that hard-liners, using the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, have started rounding up journalists, activists and cultural figures, as a warning that the post nuclear-deal period cannot lead to further relaxation or political demands.
Doubtless, Obama will declare that a new era of freedom is dawning in Iran and that the Republican presidential candidates could never negotiate as well as he has. After all, having shown himself to be a world class bumbler in his dealings with Vladimir Putin Obama had the audacity to say recently that Republicans would not be up to the task.
Meantime, the Iranian regime is doubling down on its anti-Americanism:
On Wednesday, Iran will loudly celebrate the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover of the United States Embassy, with a state-sponsored rally in front of the building, commonly known as the den of spies.
To help promote the proper mood, the municipality has erected billboards showing a young man wearing a baseball cap spray-painting the words “down with America.”
Another billboard on Tehran’s central Vali-e Asr Square satirizes the flag-raising at Iwo Jima, where many Marines died, showing it planted atop a pile of bodies symbolizing historic “wrongdoings by the Americans.”
Some Americans understand what it all means. It means that Iran won and that we lost. It was not a negotiation. It was a poker game. We walked away from the table while holding the winning hand.