The whole brouhaha over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress is a huge distraction.  I personally think it is a terrible mistake to engage in activities that turn Israel and the Iranian challenge into a partisan football. The timing of when Congress passes sanctions – that would take effect only if negotiations fail – is a secondary concern; no, Iran won’t walk away if sanctions pass now and yes, everyone knows Congress can pass them within 24 hours if talks fail.

The real issue is what the P5+1 talks with Iran will produce. Will it be a deal that – as initially assured by the Obama administration – ends the threat of a nuclear Iran? If so, fantastic. This is why we support these talks; because a diplomatic resolution to this serious threat must be given every opportunity to succeed; because a diplomatic solution is far and away preferable to any other solution.

Or, will it be a deal that leaves Iran at or near the breakout threshold to have a nuclear weapon?

Will it be a deal that ends this threat, in return for sanctions relief? Or will it be one that leads to the normalization and empowerment of a rogue state that exports terrorism?

These are serious questions that require honest, thoughtful discussion and debate. What we don't need is partisan rhetoric and divisive actions for political gain.

The Washington Post’s editorial board raises three substantive reasons to be concerned about the direction of the negotiations in today’s paper (2/6/15):

  1. The apparent collapse in substantive US demands on Iran.
  2. Iran's empowerment by the US on a regional level, presenting a dire challenge and threat to several longtime allies.
  3. The administration's move to exclude the Europeans and Congress from the negotiations.

We cannot take these concerns lightly. Let's stop the distractions and focus on the very serious implications of the current situation.

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