Iran Deal: The October Surprise?

Will President Obama announce a deal with Iran for a moratorium on the enrichment of uranium, in return for the dismantling of some international sanctions against the regime? And will the announcement be timed to appear just before the election?

Reza Kahlili (the pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards), the author of “A Time To Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010) reports in WND that “U.S. and Iranian negotiators have reached an agreement that calls for Iran to halt part of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of many of the U.S. sanctions.”

With ominous specificity, he notes that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “expects a letter from President Obama in a few days guaranteeing the details of the agreement arrived at recently during secret negotiations in Doha, Qatar.”

Citing an “anonymous source highly placed in Iran’s regime,” he warns that “once Khamenei receives Obama’s guarantees, he will authorize an announcement by Iran on a solution to the nuclear crisis before the U.S. presidential elections.”

He says that “the agreement calls for Iran to announce a temporary halt to partial uranium enrichment after which the U.S. will remove many of its sanctions, including those on the Iranian central bank, no later than by the Iranian New Year in March.”

The Iranians will, he says, agree to the deal because it is “in the throes of massive inflation and citizen unrest because of the sanctions.”

The impact of the October surprise on the election in the U.S. could be enormous unless the Romney campaign and conservatives handle it properly.

The first step in defusing its potential impact is to warn of the possibility of an October surprise. The more we talk about it and cite the chance that Obama could pull it off, the more political it will seem when and if it happens.

If such a deal with Iran is announced, Mitt Romney should question its timing and note that a key motivation for the Iranian acquiescence is the imminence of his own election. Romney should say that the Ayatollah is afraid that a new U.S. administration would support an Israeli attack on Iran should the sanctions fail to work. He could point out that as the chances of his victory improve, the Ayatollah has become more willing to deal.

After all, remember that the Iranians often play in U.S. politics. The Ayatollah Khomeini refused to release the U.S. hostages before the 1980 election to help insure Carter’s defeat, only letting them go after his nemesis had lost.

We also must question the details of the deal:

–How will it be enforced?

??Who will inspect to see that Iran is complying?

??How easily can the West reinstate the sanctions if Iran fails to comply?

??On how much of their uranium supply will the enrichment moratorium be imposed?

The devil may be in the details. Let’s remember the history of Democratic October surprises. Of the past five elections, two have been won solidly by Democrats — 2004 and 1996. The other three all featured October surprises:

??On Oct. 30, 1992, Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh announced that he would indict Bush Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger. The announcement came after Bill Clinton, the Democratic candidate against George H. W. Bush, had fallen behind in the tracking polls. Clinton surged on the final weekend and won the election, in large part because of the Weinberger indictment announcement. (Bush pardoned Weinberger after the election and he was never actually indicted.)

–On Oct. 1, 2000, it was revealed that George W. Bush had been arrested for driving under the influence in Maine in 1976. The arrest had never been made public. Bush was several points ahead in the popular vote prior to the announcement but lost to Gore by 0.5% after the DUI story broke.

–Eight days before the 2004 election, the New York Times revealed that the weapons from a conquered Iraqi weapons dump had been looted by insurgents who were using these weapons against American troops. Democratic candidate John Kerry cancelled his regular TV ads to focus on the discovery and allege Bush administration incompetence in protecting the weapons. Fortunately, four days later, and four before the election, the Pentagon issued satellite photos of the dump indicating that the story was false.

??The original October surprise was pulled by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, on behalf of President Richard M. Nixon, when he announced that peace in Vietnam was “at hand” on the eve of the 1972 election, only to see the war drag on for months more.

If there be any of us that doubt the potential of both this administration and the Ayatollah for using chicanery and phony deals to impact the election’s outcome, think again.

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