CNN host Wolf Blitzer challenged State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf’s optimistic predictions about the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, asking how it was any different than the failed nuclear deal the U.S. made with North Korea. (VIDEO: CNN To Earnest: Why Does White House Trust Iranian Leader Who Chants ‘Death To America’?)
Blitzer played a clip of then-President Bill Clinton crowing over his administration’s deal with North Korea. “That didn’t work out so well,” he said. “North Korea not only has a nuclear bomb, but missiles capable of using those bombs and a lot of people are concerned the same thing is going to happen with Iran right now. Why shouldn’t they be so concerned?”
“Well, just from a technical standpoint, we’re at completely different places when we look at Iran’s nuclear program today than we were with North Korea’s.” Harf responded.
“We’re also talking about much more transparency, much more verification, much more monitoring, and we will not take a bad deal, Wolf,” she said. “If we get one, it will be one we can talk about publicly, that we can defend publicly and that we will be confident meets our bottom lines here.”
“Well I got to remind you,” he pushed back. “I remember covering the aftermath of the deal with North Korea. There was a lot of optimism; this was a new chapter in U.S.-North Korean relations, the Korean Peninsula was going to be a different place, North Korea gave up its ambition to have a nuclear bomb. But of course, they backtracked, they cheated and they have a nuclear bomb now…”
“House Speaker John Boehner [told] Dana Bash yesterday that the sanctions have been working,” Blitzer noted. “And it was a major blunder to ease up on those sanctions allowing billions of dollars to flow into Iran.” (VIDEO: Reporter: ‘The Balance Of Power Is Tilting Towards Iran’)
“Well, the sanctions are what brought us to the negotiating table,” Harf said. “And members of Congress voted for them, and these are very important, said they were doing so in order to get Iran to the negotiating table. So why then, when Iran is there, would you take steps to undermine that?”
“I think we owe it to the world, Wolf, to see if we can get this done diplomatically,” she concluded. “We know it’s the most durable and gives us the most eyes on our nuclear program. We owe it to everyone, to our partners, to Israel, to see if we can get this done, and that’s why we’re working so hard.”