Secretary of State John Kerry released the following statement today, which has resulted in a very distraught Paul Ryan, because nothing scares Republicans more than rapprochement with an Islamic state:
I hereby confirm that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran has fully implemented its required commitments as specified in Sections 15.1-15.11 of Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The U.S. sanctions-related commitments described in Sections 17.1-17.5 of Annex V of the JCPOA are now in effect.
In fact, today Ryan released the following statement on implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement:
Today, the Obama administration will begin lifting economic sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. As the president himself has acknowledged, Iran is likely to use this cash infusion—more than $100 billion in total—to finance terrorists. This comes just weeks after Tehran’s most recent illegal ballistic missile test, and just days after the IRGC detained ten American sailors. A bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject this deal in the first place, and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent a nuclear Iran.
However, speaking from Vienna Saturday, Kerry said,
To get to this point, ladies and gentlemen, Iran has undertaken significant steps that many – and I do mean many – people doubted would ever come to pass. And that should be recognized, even though the full measure of this achievement can only be realized by assuring continued full compliance in the coming years. In return for the steps that Iran has taken, the United States and the EU will immediately lift nuclear-related sanctions, expanding the horizon of opportunity for the Iranian people. And I have even tonight, before coming over here, signed a number of documents over those sanctions that the State Department has jurisdiction over in order to effect that lifting.
In the words of the agreement itself, today – January 16th, 2016 – we have reached implementation day. Today marks the moment that the Iran nuclear agreement transitions from an ambitious set of promises on paper to measurable action in progress. Today, as a result of the actions taken since last July, the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of a nuclear weapon has been reduced. Today we can confidently say that each of the pathways that Iran had toward enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon has been verifiably closed down.
None of this is good enough for Ryan and his Republican allies. It is not simply the United States and the Obama administration that are satisfied, but, as Kerry points out, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany. With as much as Republicans love Vladimir Putin, you would think Russia’s inclusion would, by itself, be enough to assuage their fears.
Steven Benen, while not specifically addressing Iran, writes on The Maddow Blog about the “dystopian nightmare that only Republicans can see.” And if not talking about Iran, his point certainly holds true where the JCPOA is concerned. Republicans want so badly to attack Iran over one pretext or another, and it’s quite clear they are very unhappy things are currently going so well.
As you can see, Ryan forbore to mention that Iran actually released those ten sailors, not to mention an additional four hostages. For Ryan and for Republicans in general, the situation is one of unremitting doom and gloom.
It certainly won’t help Ryan’s mood that Hillary Clinton Saturday took a stern but un-warlike approach to Iran’s release of four American hostages and future compliance with the JCPOA.
What Ryan is actually promising here is that Republicans will do everything in their power to bring about a war with Iran. They’ve created a bogeyman all out of proportion to reality and their unwillingness to base their responses to facts rather than ideological fantasies means that they’ve left themselves no room to maneuver when it comes to what they think of as their “principles.”