During the White House press conference this week, ABC News' Jon Karl reminded President Obama that the international nuclear agreement with Iran has some unsavory, if not malicious, proponents.
"Does it give you any pause," Karl asked, "to see this deal praised by Syrian dictator Assad as a 'great victory for Iran,' or praised by those in Tehran who still shout 'death to America,' and yet our closest ally in the Middle East calls it 'a mistake of historic proportions'?"
This is, of course, a standard Republican argument: if our Middle Eastern foes are on board with the deal, and Israel isn't, almost by definition, the policy must lack merit. As this line of thought goes, there's a debate by proxy underway -- any agreement backed by our enemies and condemned by our friends must be killed.
But approaching the debate in such a narrow way cuts both ways -- and doesn't do the right any favors. For example, to say that our friends oppose the deal is absurd -- the U.S. position enjoys the enthusiastic support of our European allies, as well as some in Israel
. What about closer to home? The agreement has also received bipartisan praise from American diplomats
More than 100 former American ambassadors wrote to President Obama on Thursday praising the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week as a "landmark agreement" that could be effective in halting Tehran's development of a nuclear weapon, and urging Congress to support it.
"If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran's nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East," said the letter, whose signers include diplomats named by presidents of both parties.
Experts in nuclear policy are even more enthusiastic in their endorsements of the diplomatic agreement. Vox collected reactions from arms-control analysts and "it was really hard to find arms control analysts who seem to be critical of the deal on the non-proliferation merits."
Republicans are obviously aligned with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opposition to the deal, but ironically, they're joined by Iranian hard-liners who were also bitterly disappointed by this week's diplomatic breakthrough. The New York Times reported today: