New START and Iran: A Non-Starter

James Phillips /

Congressional sources say that the Obama Administration has pulled out all the stops in its lobbying campaign to secure Senate approval of the New START Treaty by warning Israel’s supporters in Congress that failure to approve the treaty will undermine Israeli security by causing Russia to reduce its support for measures to pressure Iran.  The Administration has been aided by the National Jewish Democratic Council, which issued a statement on Thursday that resembled Chicken Little’s panic about the sky falling:  “Can anyone deny that Russian cooperation is essential to ensuring a nuclear-free Iran? Can anyone deny that not passing START will be a dramatic blow to U.S.-Russian relations – and a disaster in terms of our Iran policy? Where is the outcry?”

This begs the question of why a treaty that the administration argues benefits both countries equally is perceived by Moscow to be such an advantageous step that it would withhold cooperation on Iran if it does not receive the benefits of the treaty.  Moreover, Moscow is unlikely to agree to another round of U.N. sanctions on Iran anyway, even if New START is approved by the Senate. (more…)