The politics of the Iran deal

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 14, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is an important step in putting the lid on Iran's nuclear program, but we have to treat this as an ongoing enforcement effort, which I certainly strongly support and as president would be absolutely devoted to ensuring that the agreement is --


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill meeting with Democrats supporting this Iran deal wholeheartedly. We're back with the panel. Mara, interesting, behind the scenes Democrats said she was even more cheering this deal. What does that mean politically?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think it means that the Democrats own this deal, I think even though there will be Democrats who vote against it. But I think it is already a campaign issue and it will continue to be one, and the Republicans can say I would have made a better deal or I wouldn't have made my deal at all and we would have tightened sanctions. That's a hypothetical. We don't know if that would have really happened. But the Democrats will own this. And if Iran does start being more aggressive in the short-term, that's going to be a problem during the campaign.

BAIER: And so while we're in this part where Congress is doing head counting, going through the details, you think this means something?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. I think the whole Congress debate, which we're not going to jump into feet first, be consumed by, is irrelevant, because we are now going to go to the U.N. And the resolutions that had prohibited the Iranian program are going to be abolished within days. They are going to accept is the agreement, which means the 10 years of constructing international sanctions, the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese, is over. All we will be debating here is American sanctions, which means, assuming the agreement is rejected we are going to be left isolated with our sanctions. The rest of the world is going to be dealing with Iran. Its economy he is going to expand, and it will have is won everything because we're going to have a deal that's no deal and the sanctions will be lost.

That was the original sin of the negotiation which Obama either understood and was deliberate about it or simply misguided in not understanding it.

BAIER: Gillian, it's important to point out that we don't know the success or failure of this deal until well after President Obama is gone, left office, really, when you talk about imposing the sanctions. So, what about this in this debate that we're going to see?

GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL STAFFER: Well, you know, in some regards, this is really a spectacular case of government doing what it does best, which is kicking the can down the road. In as little as just a couple of years the Iranians are potentially going to have the ability to buy and sell arms on the international market. Eight years they will be able to resume research into advanced nuclear materials, and in 15 years produce as much nuclear fuel as they would like. So there is a lot to worry about there.

BAIER: Steve, a lot of people are saying Russia is the big winner tonight.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Russia is certainly going to be the winner financially given its arms investments in Iran and ones that are to come.

I want to go back to the Hillary Clinton statement for a second. I think it's worth pausing on that for a minute. She embraces the deal and says in effect we're going to approve this deal and we're going to deal with Iran and their bad behavior later. Think about that. This is a deal that cedes vast power to the Iranian regime, flush with money after this deal. And now we are going to after having formalized them as the regional hegemon, now we are going to try to deal with their behavior? This is exactly backwards. If I were advising Republican presidential candidates, I would tell them to make that famous.

BAIER: And a lot of them did. We could have run a lot of sound bites the entire panel, every Republican against this deal. It will be an issue on that debate stage in Cleveland, too.

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