The Obama administration has spent a lot of time defending Iran as it pushes for approval of the nuclear agreement, to the point where many skeptics of the process have complained that the White House is acting as “Iran’s lawyer.”
“Anything that threatens the regime threatens both the deal and Obama’s strategy for the region, which is why the administration often sounds like Iran’s lawyer,” wrote Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in the Beirut-based NOW Lebanon website.
That concern may also be resonating with the American public, as polls show declining support for the administration’s approach since it signed a deal giving Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for putting its nuclear program on ice for 10 years.
Iran’s Shiite Muslim theocracy is not popular in the United States, where bad feelings linger from the November 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by a revolutionary mob who held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days. Iran has never apologized for the incident.
Only 11 percent of Americans held a favorable image of the country in a February Gallup poll, the lowest of 22 countries in the survey and a figure that has remained relatively consistent for more than 25 years. Even in pre-July polling that showed majorities of Americans supporting the nuclear talks, most of those polled said they could not trust Iran to keep its bargain.
But President Obama and other senior administration officials continue to defend the deal by defending Iran.