Wednesday, August 05, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: This isn’t about Bibi and Obama
It was obvious the fight over President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran would get very ugly, very quickly. And so it has.
It was obvious that it would be ugly because the fight over Obama’s appeasement policy toward Iran has been going on since he took office six-and-a-half years ago. And it has always been ugly.
Every time Obama has sided with the mullahs against domestic opponents he has played the Jew card in one way or another. He has blown more anti-Semitic dog whistles than many in Washington even realized existed.
Now the stakes are far higher than a mere sanctions bill. Obama has gotten his deal with Iran. And he’ll be damned if he allows it to go down.
So it is open season on Israel and its supporters.
Secretary of State John Kerry made this clear two weeks ago when he said it will be Israel’s fault if the deal goes down. Since the administration threatens that torpedoing the deal will cause war, Kerry is threatening that the administration will blame Israel if war breaks out.
As for Obama, in his conference call with leftist supporters last Thursday, he attacked AIPAC and the other Jewish organizations for daring to lobby Congress to vote against removing US sanctions from Iran and conflated their opposition to the deal with Jewish Republicans’ support for the invasion of Iraq.
Jeffrey Goldberg: Kerry Warns Congress About Risk of ‘Screwing’ the Ayatollah
Congress is the target of Kerry’s feistiness, as is his close friend and staunch adversary, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is leading the charge against congressional ratification of the deal. In the course of a lengthy and freewheeling interview—which you will find published in full, below—Kerry warned that if Congress rejects the Iran deal, it will confirm the anti-U.S. suspicions harbored by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and eliminate any chance of a peaceful solution to the nuclear conundrum:
“The ayatollah constantly believed that we are untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them,” Kerry said. “This”—a congressional rejection—“will be the ultimate screwing.” He went on to argue that “the United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.”
Kerry also said that his chief Iranian interlocutor, the foreign minister, Javad Zarif, and Zarif’s boss, the (relatively) reformist president, Hassan Rouhani, would be in “serious trouble” at home if the deal falls through. Zarif, Kerry told me, explicitly promised him that Iran will engage with the United States and its Arab allies on a range of regional issues, should Congress approve the deal. “Zarif specifically said to me in the last two weeks, ‘If we get this finished, I am now empowered to work with and talk to you about regional issues.’” Kerry went on, “This is in Congress’s hands. If Congress says no, Congress will shut that down, shut off that conversation, set this back, and set in motion a series of inevitables about what would happen with respect to Iranian behavior, and, by the way, the sanctions will be over.”
Kerry casts doubt on Iran’s desire to annihilate Israel
Regarding Iran’s open animosity to Israel, Kerry said that while “they have a fundamental ideological confrontation with Israel at this particular moment” that doesn’t necessarily mean “that translates into active steps” and pointed out that Iran has not ordered Hezbollah to use its arsenal of 80,000 missiles in Lebanon against Israel.
The discussion about Iran’s hostility toward Israel in connection with the nuclear deal is “a waste of time here,” opined Kerry.
The secretary of state also defended comments he made last Friday in which he warned that should Congress vote against the Iranian nuclear deal signed last month in Vienna, Israel could find itself more isolated in the international arena and “more blamed.”
It was, he explained, more of a head’s up to Israel than a threat.
“If you’ve ever played golf, you know that you yell ‘fore’ off the tee,” he said. “You’re not threatening somebody, you’re warning them: ‘Look, don’t get hit by the ball, it’s coming.’”
US Airstrikes on ISIS Kill 459 Civilians, Show Double Standard on Israel
Four hundred and fifty-nine innocent civilians have been killed by U.S.-led air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq over the past year, according to a new report. It will be interesting to see how the international community reacts.
The new figures were released on August 3 by Airwars, an independent monitoring group that tracks and reports on air strikes against ISIS. Airwars says that it verifies its information by using “two or more generally credible sources, often with biographical, photographic or other evidence.”
The Obama Administration, however, has acknowledged only two civilian deaths from its air strikes. That’s a pretty significant discrepancy – 459 versus two. One wonders how the news media will treat that anomaly. When Arabs accuse Israel of killing large numbers of civilians, and the Israelis say that only a small number were killed, the Israeli position is routinely met with scoffing and derision from reporters .
Whether the number is 459 or 2, reasonable people would agree that the Obama Administration is surely doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties, so whatever the number, it must be an inevitable byproduct of war, not the result of American recklessness.

If Congress kills Iran deal, rockets will fall on Tel Aviv, president warns
If Congress succeeds in killing the deal and Iran were to subsequently walk away from the agreement and start enriching uranium again to weapons-grade levels, the opponents of the deal will pressure the US government into launching a preemptive strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, the president was said to have argued.
“But the result of such a strike won’t be war with Iran,” Rosenbaum said, quoting the president.
Iran is not going to launch a full-fledged assault on America, knowing that its military, with an annual budget of $15 billion, stands no chance against the US Army and its budget of close to $600 billion, the president said. Rather, Iran’s terrorist proxies will attack American and Israeli targets, for instance by ramming aircraft carriers or arming terrorist groups along Israel’s borders.

“They will fight this asymmetrically. That means more support for terrorism, more Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv,” Rosenbaum quoted Obama as saying. “I can assure that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical response that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”
Netanyahu: Iran deal will bring war, ‘nightmare’ atomic arms race
The world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran will lead to war and a “nightmare” regional nuclear arms race, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in an online address to American and Canadian Jews on Tuesday evening.
Netanyahu, who has been seeking to sway US lawmakers to thwart the agreement, accused the deal’s supporters in the Obama administration of spreading “disinformation about the deal and about Israel’s position” in its bid to rally support.
He pointed out a series of “fatal flaws” in the deal, and asserted that it “doesn’t block Iran’s path to bomb,” but rather “paves” its path to the bomb.
The agreement, a legacy foreign policy project of US President Barack Obama, gives Iran “two paths to the bomb,” enabling Tehran to obtain a weapon either by keeping the deal and waiting for it to elapse, or by violating it, Netanyahu warned.
And When We Are Faced with a Nuclear Iran?
Are we actually being told, then, that the only way to prevent Iran from having nuclear bombs is to let it have them? If not now, in 10-15 years? And with intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the U.S.?
Even supporters of the deal say that yes, at the ten year mark, Iran will be able to breakout and build a weapon's worth of nuclear fuel in a year or less -- in other words, have nuclear bombs.
Iran has never come clean with the IAEA -- or anyone else -- about its nuclear activities. These were discovered not by IAEA inspectors but by the U.S. and allied law enforcement and intelligence services, as well as by dissident groups within Iran. Are we actually assuming that Iran, under this new deal, will now come clean?
Thus under the July deal the U.S. may not (technically) know if Iran, after a breakout, has a nuclear weapon arsenal until Iran either tests a nuclear warhead or explodes it in an American or Israeli city. Then, of course, the discovery will be "too late" to do anything about, especially if the U.S. is helping Iran with technology assistance designed to prevent attacks on Iran's nuclear sites.
Having made so many concessions to a non-nuclear Iran, how tough in the future will we be, faced with a nuclear Iran?
The Iran Nuclear Agreement, A Ticking Time-Bomb
The Agreement signatories should have learned from their past experience in supervising the “destruction” of Syria’s chemical weapons that Iran cannot be trusted to abide by this Agreement. Two years after Syria signed an agreement with the U.S. and Russia to dismantle its chemical weapons, U.S. intelligence agencies and chemical weapons inspectors have now concluded that Syria has failed to account for its arsenal, developed new capabilities, and continues to use chemical attacks on the battle front without significant reaction from the international community. So much for the reliability of international oversight.
As a consequence, it is safe to assume that the Agreement will not have an enforceable inspections regime or a workable way to re-impose pressure on Iran when it cheats. In fact, according to Tablet, in the immediate aftermath of the signing, the Iranian delegates told their superiors that "our most significant achievement" was America's consent to the continued enrichment of uranium on Iranian territory - a complete about-face from America's declared position prior to and during the talks. The Western delegates conceded on almost every one of the critical issues they had themselves resolved not to concede.
No wonder Iran's Supreme Leader sent around a tweet of Obama pointing a pistol at his own head.
Worse still, the parties to the Agreement are required to help Iran protect its nuclear facilities should anyone try to attack or sabotage them - including, presumably, Israel and any disenchanted signatories to the Agreement itself. Put into plain terms, the U.S. is protecting the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to the detriment of Israel and its Sunni Arab Middle East allies.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement, A Ticking Time-Bomb, Part II
The short of it is that Iran will neither stop its nuclear development, nor change its jihadist aggression, nor surrender. Instead of lifting the sanctions and guaranteeing the survival of the Islamic regime, the U.S. should be increasing and enforcing them, for even if a fraction of the revenues to be returned to Iran are allocated to expanding Islamic terrorism beyond its borders (as is expected), the U.S. will have subsidized the expansion of its worst nightmare.
The Iran deal, as presently constructed, is a mistake of historic proportions. It meets zero of the criteria for a good deal. It is not enforceable, it is not verifiable, nor is it in America's national security interest. The world’s largest state sponsor of terror got everything it wanted and the free world got a ticking time-bomb.
As Alan Dershowitz wrote recently: “The gamble is that by the time the most restrictive provisions of the deal expire, Iran will be a different country with more reasonable leaders. But can the world and especially the nations most at risk from an Iranian nuclear arsenal depend on faith, bets and dice, when they know that the last time the nuclear dice were rolled ….. North Korea ended up with nuclear weapons?”
The Agreement reached with Iran is bad for the United States, for its Sunni Arab allies, for the West, for Israel and for the world, and for these reasons the U.S. Congress must reject it.
Obama to evoke ghosts of Iraq, Soviet Union in Iran plea
In the address to the American University in Washington, Obama will frame Congress’ polarizing debate over the deal as “the most consequential” since lawmakers in 2002 backed George W. Bush’s drive to war, according to a White House official.
Obama has long argued that vote represented a grave mistake that pushed the United States into eight blood-soaked years of unnecessary conflict.
“He will point out that the same people who supported war in Iraq are opposing diplomacy with Iran, and that it would be an historic mistake to squander this opportunity,” the official said.
Obama has fervently argued in favor of the agreement that would give Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on a nuclear program which the United States has long suspected is cover for building a bomb.
Obama Plays Politics of Fear to Get His Iran Deal
This Iran deal will be Obama's foreign policy legacy. It's clever of him to frame the agreement as a triumph over the mentality that got us into the Iraq War.. It discredits the deal's opponents before they can tarnish the deal themselves. But this tactic also counts as what Obama once called "the politics of fear." No, Obama isn't warning activists that the other side isn't vigilant enough against terrorism. He's just saying his opponents seek war and only his policies can bring peace.
But the Iran deal is no peace treaty. It's an executive agreement that broadly ends an economic war against Iran in exchange for Iran's promise over the next 10 to 20 years to allow more transparency and place some limits on its nuclear program. Iran is not committed to ending its support for terrorists or proxies that have killed Americans. In fact, as the region prepares for Iran to rise, Obama has promised to sell more arms to U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel, who consider Iran to be at war with them.
The best that Obama can hope for in the aftermath of his deal is that over time Iran is deterred from continuing its aggression in the Middle East. But Iran isn't likely to pull back unless it sees a credible chance that war will be waged against it. Obama may even find himself having to threaten Iran for the sake of peace in the region. Just don't tell his base. They are frightened enough already.
Has Obama Read the Khamenei Palestine Book?
It turns out President Obama isn’t the only world leader who writes books. His counterpart in Iran – Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — has also just published a new book. But while it may not be as introspective as Obama’s Dreams From My Father, it does tell us at least as much about the vision of the person in charge in Tehran (as opposed to Hassan Rouhani, the faux moderate who serves as its president) as the president’s best-selling memoir. As Amir Taheri reports in the New York Post, Palestine is a 416-page diatribe against the existence of the state of Israel and a call to arms for it to be destroyed. Supporters of the nuclear deal the president has struck with Khamenei’s regime may dismiss this book as merely one more example of the Supreme Leader’s unfortunate ideology that must be overlooked. But as the New York Times noted last week, the administration’s real goal here isn’t so much in delaying Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon (which is the most that can be claimed for the agreement) as it is fostering détente with it. Seen in that light, the latest evidence of the malevolence of the Islamist regime should be regarded as yet another inarguable reason for Congress to vote the deal down.
In his interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on May 21, President Obama was asked directly about the significance of Iran’s anti-Semitism and its commitment to destroying Israel. The president said the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership did not mean they weren’t also “interested in survival” or being “rational.” As far as he was concerned, the ideology of the regime was not something that would influence its decisions.
But everything Khamenei says and, even more importantly, everything the regime does, by funding terrorist groups at war with Israel such as Hamas and Hezbollah or by embarking on a ruinously expensive nuclear project that placed it in conflict with the West, speaks to its commitment to policies that Obama may think are irrational but which are completely in synch with what he called its “organizing principle.” Why would a nation so rich in oil need to risk international isolation or war seek nuclear power if not to help Khamenei fulfill his pledge to “liberate” what is now Israel for Muslims?
The president told Goldberg that the American military option would be a sufficient deterrent to ensure that Iran didn’t violate the nuclear pact or behave in an irrational manner. But since the president has ruled out the use of force in a categorical manner, it’s hard to see why the Iranians would fear it once the U.S. and Europe are doing business with them. Even if it was a matter of snapping back sanctions, assuming that such a concept is even possible? Once the restrictions are unraveled, it’s fair to ask why would they work then when the president repeatedly tells us additional sanctions won’t work now and require us to accept the current deal that doesn’t achieve the objectives that the administration set for the negotiations when they began.
 Israeli Preemptive Action, Western Reaction
The Obama administration seems peeved that almost everyone in Israel, left and right, has no use for the present Iranian–American deal to thwart Iran’s efforts to get the bomb.
Indeed, at times John Kerry has hinted darkly that Israel’s opposition to the pact might incur American wrath should the deal be tabled — even though Kerry knows that the polls show a clear majority of Americans being against the proposed agreement while remaining quite supportive of the Jewish state. President Obama, from time to time, suggests that his agreement is being sabotaged by nefarious lobbying groups, big-time check writers, and neoconservative supporters of the Iraq war — all shorthand, apparently, for pushy Jewish groups.
Obama and his negotiators seem surprised that Israelis take quite seriously Iranian leaders’ taunts over the past 35 years that they would like to liquidate the Jewish state and everyone in it. The Israelis, for some reason, remember that well before Hitler came to power, he had bragged about the idea of killing Jews en masse in his sloppily composed autobiographical Mein Kampf. Few in Germany or abroad had taken the raving young Hitler too seriously. Even in the late 1930s, when German Jews were being rounded up and haphazardly killed on German streets by state-sanctioned thugs, most observers considered such activities merely periodic excesses or outbursts from non-governmental Black- and Brownshirts.
The Obama administration, with vast oceans between Tehran and the United States, tsk-tsks over Iranian threats as revolutionary hyperbole served up for domestic consumption. The Israelis, with less than a thousand miles between themselves and Tehran, do not — and cannot. Given the 20th century’s history, Israel has good reason not to trust either the United States or Europe to ensure the security of the Jewish state. Israel has learned from the despicable anti-Semitism now prevalent at the U.N. and from the increasing thuggery directed at Jews in Europe that the world at large would shed crocodile tears over the passing of Israel on the day of its destruction, but, the next day, sigh and get right back to business in a “that was then, this is now” style.
 US senator: A military strike could send Iran ‘back to day zero’
It’s important to maintain the threat of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, a US Senator told Israeli reporters Tuesday, arguing that it is indeed possible to set back Tehran’s nuclear program.
“We can set them back to day zero. There is no doubt that the United States has the capability to do that,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), a prominent opponent of the nuclear deal the US and five world powers signed with Iran last month.
Opponents of a military strike against Iran often argue that air strikes would only be able to set back the country’s military nuclear program for two to three years.
Speaking to the Israel Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Cotton — who retired from the US Army with the rank of captain — called for the US to make plain to the Iranians that it wouldn’t hesitate to use force if it felt the need to do so.
3 top Jewish House Dems come out against Iran deal
Three top Jewish Democrats in the US House of representatives came out in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
Rep. Nita Lowey, the senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the top Democrat on the House Middle East subcommittee, and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who until last year led the House Democratic reelection effort, announced their opposition Tuesday afternoon.
They become the first leading Democrats to oppose the deal as well as the first Jews in their party to oppose the deal.
Until now, the deal had garnered opposition only from four Democrats, none in the leadership.
Banners in Brooklyn: ‘Death to Israel, Death to the USA’
Banners stretched across streets in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn read, ‘Death to Israel, Death to the USA’ but the activists who raised them are aiming at the White House.
A grassroots campaign is underway in the interracial neighborhood to urge Democratic Congresswoman Yvette Clarke to vote against the proposed Iranian nuclear deal.
Some 30 Crown Heights synagogues and community organizations emailed their members expressing deep concern with the deal. The opponents hung several 20-ft banners across Kingston Ave, targeting the agreement.
One of the anti-Iran banners read “Death to Israel. Death to the USA,” a quote from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the days following the agreement.
Other banners read “Deal gives billions to terrorists.”
All the banners included Clarke’s phone number and asked community members to call her office and urge her to vote ‘NO!’
Republicans push bill rejecting Iran nuclear deal
Republican leaders in Congress announced Tuesday that lawmakers would vote in September on parallel resolutions rejecting the nuclear deal with Iran, upping the stakes for the Obama administration to garner support for the accord.
California Republican Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Tuesday introduced a bill disapproving of the nuclear deal, currently the focus of intense lobbying on Capitol Hill.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed that the House would vote on Royce’s resolution in September.
“It is clear that this is a bad deal, and the House will vote on disapproval in September,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“Everything we have learned about this agreement has given Congress and the American people cause for grave concern,” he said. “Iran still has a legitimate path to a nuclear bomb, Iranian leaders and the Obama Administration have expressed major public disagreements on key tenets of the deal, and ‘snapback’ sanctions are a fallacy. What’s worse, at least two side deals have been made between Iran and the [IAEA] and, thus far, the Obama Administration has refused to share the text of the side deals with Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also announced Tuesday that he would hold a special debate in September for the upper house of Congress to discuss the agreement reached last month between world powers and Tehran. Committee hearings, he suggested, would be cancelled to allow all senators to take part.
 How Congress Can Make a Bad Iran Deal Better
Congress fought a bruising legislative battle in order to ensure its right to review the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But like the dog that caught a car, Congress now faces the question of what to do with it. Should there be a straight up or down vote on the totality of the deal? A resolution of approval that goes down in flames? A resolution of disapproval that repeats the litany of broken promises and dangers outlined on so many editorial pages over the last weeks?
Arguments over the right course are bogged in a miasma of misinformation, disinformation and plain partisanship. But Congress’ decision should be simple: The right course is to secure a bipartisan vote that, yes, rejects the deal in its current form, but doesn’t stop there. Straight rejection is the wrong call. Instead Congress should send the president back to the negotiating table with the outlines of a deal that the representatives of the American people can accept; a deal that actually secures the positive outcomes the Obama administration now claims.
What would the outlines of such a revised deal be? Many, including at times the president himself, Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have laid out the parameters of an agreement with Iran that, while not optimal, would at minimum be acceptable. These provisions include, among other things, a genuinely phased agreement linked to performance, an end to research and development on advanced centrifuges, a sharper reduction in operating centrifuges, shuttering the underground facility at Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor, shipping out Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, anywhere-anytime inspections, and, most important of all, no lapse of Iran’s obligations after 10-15 years.
 US can't defend Israel against a nuclear attack
If Iran decides to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon – or even not with a nuclear weapon – it is completely reasonable to assume that it will be a surprise attack. There is no chance that the US will be able to defend us against such an attack, especially a nuclear attack, unless the Americans deploy a significant amount of forces on Israeli territory – tens of thousands of soldiers with missile batteries, radars and other measures, who will be on constant alert and ready to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and planes arriving with a deadly cargo from Iran or from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Iran's allies.
Stationing tens of thousands of American soldiers on Israeli territory will be the most efficient way to deter Iran or anyone else from attacking Israel with a mass destruction weapon – nuclear, chemical or biological.
Such a deployment of American defense forces against missiles will violate the principle reiterated by all Israeli prime ministers and defense ministers, starting from David Ben-Gurion in the 1960s, that "Israel will defend itself on its own, and I don’t want even one American soldier to shed blood for our sake."
Iranian Jewish expats call Islamic regime ‘liars,’ bemoan world’s naiveté
In the run-up to the Congress’s September vote on the Iran Deal, The Times of Israel sat down with members of the community, who waxed nostalgic for “their” Iran, and largely voiced despair at the naivete of an international community that is legitimizing “a brutal and tyrannical regime.”
Former Tehran native Dr. Naheed Neman, a dentist in Great Neck, recalled fond memories of her pre-Iranian Revolution homeland on a recent Friday afternoon meal at Chatanooga. She eschewed a more elaborate Persian-style dish on the menu for a simple grilled chicken salad.
“It was heaven for young people,” she said, noting the strong support they had from the government in pursuing a higher education. And about Iran’s monarch of 37 years, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, she said, “For Jews, he was the best.”
Neman came to the United States in 1977 to further her dental studies with the intention of returning home. But the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979, and the Islamic regime led by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah took over.
Neman completed her studies and established her first practice in 1984 in Queens, essentially starting from scratch. Her father was jailed in Iran for two years before eventually obtaining freedom and immigrating to the United States. Through lingering fear perhaps, Neman originally did not want her first name published.
Referring to the July 14 deal reached between Iran and six major powers that would approve sanctions relief in return for restrictions on nuclear activity, Neman said of the regime, “They do what they want to do.”

The Five Fatal Flaws in the Iran Deal
On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony from Amb. Robert G. Joseph, Ph.D, currently Senior Scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy, formerly Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and the person who in 2003 led the nuclear negotiations with Libya. He testified the Iran deal is a “bad agreement” with “five fatal flaws”: (1) it does not effectively detect cheating unless Iran decides to do it openly, and Iran is more likely to cheat at military bases where it has cheated in the past and has ruled out inspections in the future; (2) it leaves a large‐scale nuclear infrastructure in place that could be used to break out, or more likely “sneak‐out,” and then permits a significantly expanded program with a “virtually zero” breakout time; (3) it has “snap‐back” provisions that are illusory; (4) the purported 12-month breakout time is ineffective, since, unless Iran breaks out openly, we will not even know when the clock begins,and months will go by while the U.S. debates internally what to do; and (5) Iran is permitted to continue work on long-range ballistic missiles that have no use other than eventual deployment of nuclear weapons. His conclusion is stark:
[The deal] assumes that permitting Iran a large‐scale enrichment capability is compatible with the goal of denying Iran the ability to produce weapons‐grade fissile material; it assumes that the twelve month breakout time is meaningful; it assumes that the agreement will be effectively verifiable; and it assumes that the United States and the international community will respond to evidence of cheating before Iran can mate a nuclear weapon to a ballistic missile. None of these assumptions holds up under scrutiny. As a result, the threat to the U.S. homeland and to our NATO allies of an Iran armed with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will increase not decrease under the anticipated agreement.
And that is even before considering the risks of proliferation in the region, the existential threat to Israel, seriously frayed relations with Arab allies, and the vastly increased resources for Iran and its allies to establish a game-changing hegemony in a vital strategic area of the world.
The Real Goal of the Nuclear Deal: Iran Détente
That’s why President Obama did not predicate these negotiations on any pledges, even ones that were transparently false, of good behavior from Iran. He claims that insisting on an end to Iranian state sponsorship of terror or forcing it to renounce its goal of eliminating Israel would have prevented him from getting a deal on the nuclear question. But that formulation has it backward. The point of the negotiations was never about the nuclear details, something that was made clear by the astonishing series of concessions that the administration made throughout the talks. In October 2012, during his foreign policy debate with Mitt Romney, Obama pledged that any deal would eliminate Iran’s nuclear program. Now he is advocating for one that leaves it in place under Western sponsorship while rewarding Tehran with the lifting of sanctions.
What Obama always wanted was a deal at any price because he thought it was the pathway to a new entente with Iran that would end the conflict with its Islamist leaders. But while a future in which Iran would no longer be a terror sponsor bent on destroying Israel and dominating the Middle East would be a good thing there is no rational reason to imagine this will happen. Indeed, by strengthening its government the president is ensuring that they will never have to choose between their aggressive goals and economic prosperity.
That’s why rather than being sidetracked into debates about the nuclear details, opponents need to focus on the real goal of the deal: détente with a regime that threatens the U.S. and its allies. The deal fails as a nuclear pact. But it is perhaps an even greater disaster when one realizes that its premise is a naive belief that Islamist tyrants are so enraptured with Obama that they are about to abandon their deeply held beliefs and evil intentions.
Iran’s deputy FM brands nuclear program ‘big loss’ economically
Iran’s deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator has called the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program “a big loss” economically, but necessary to defend the country’s honor.
In a leaked off-the-record meeting with journalists Saturday, Abbas Araqchi stressed that “if we want to calculate the expenses of the production materials, we cannot even think about it.” But, he said, “we paid this price so we protect our honor, independence and progress, and do not surrender to others’ bullying.”
Yet, he explained, “If we value our nuclear program based only on the economic calculations, it is a big loss.”
Meeting with the country’s news chiefs under the direction of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Araqchi said the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s public diplomacy and media relations have so far been unable to sell the agreement to the Iranian people and “the national broadcasting [service] has to help so the people do not feel frustrated with the agreement.”
Iran’s Zarif Says Sanctions Regime ‘Destroyed’ — ‘No One Will Accept the Return of Sanctions’
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that with the recently agreed nuclear deal the international sanctions regime brought against his country has effectively collapsed and will be near-impossible to reimpose in the future, semi-official state news agency Fars reported on Tuesday.
“The structure of the sanctions that the U.S. had built based on the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions was destroyed and like the 1990s when no other country complied with the U.S. sanctions against Iran, no one will accept the return of sanctions,” Zarif told attendees at a meeting of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, on Monday.
Zarif — who was Iran’s chief negotiator for the deal — said that if world powers fail to follow up on the sustained removal of sanctions according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran would be able to quickly reinstate elements of its nuclear program that were barred by the deal.
One of the main selling-points the U.S. administration has used to temper concerns over the nuclear deal is that sanctions can be “snapped back” immediately if Iran is found to have violated the agreement, though critics argue the country can drag its heels through the verification process for several weeks, hiding evidence of illicit nuclear activity as it goes.
Israeli NGO files court motion in US to block Iran nuclear deal
A group of American victims of Iranian terrorism holding around $1.5 billion in US court judgments against it filed a motion on Wednesday to enjoin the Obama administration from releasing an estimated $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
Coming at one of the highest stakes diplomacy time periods in recent memory, the motion injects itself into an already heated Congressional review of the Obama administration's historic agreement negotiated with Iran.
Among other things, the deal eventually requires lifting US and world economic sanctions and unfreezing the $100 billion of Iran’s assets in return for Tehran reducing the footprint of its nuclear weapons program.
The Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center motion said that under the deal the US has pledged to unfreeze the funds belonging to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) held primarily in overseas accounts, and to delist from sanctions lists (according to the NGO) the Iran Revolutionary Guard-connected Melli, Mellat and Sepah banks.
A press release by the NGO stated that “the families claim that releasing the funds will preclude them from ever collecting on their judgments and deprive them of the only leverage they have to make Iran pay.”
Nuclear Expert: Iran’s Breakout Time Could Be 6 Or 7 Months Under Terms Of Deal
Even if Iran follows the procedures laid out in the recent nuclear deal, it can still “break out” to nuclear weapons capability in as little as six to seven months, not a year as the Obama administration claims, David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, testified at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Albright based this calculation on the deal’s failure to require full dismantlement of equipment at the Natanz facility, as well as the likelihood that Iran would deploy its more advanced IR-2m centrifuges in an attempt to break out. During the hearing, Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) stated that Albright’s claim concerns him because, “six or seven months, that’s not going to be helpful if they decide to break out… The next president of the United States… will really only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike, because sanctions will be ineffective.”
Albright also criticized the deal’s provision giving Iran up to 24 days to provide access to suspicious undeclared sites. In his testimony, he wrote that Iran has extensive experience in evading International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring and that “twenty four days could be enough time, presumably, for Iran to relocate undeclared activities that are in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) while it undertakes sanitization activities that would not necessarily leave a trace in environmental sampling.” Additionally, Albright warned that the procurement channel set up by the deal falls short of what is needed to be effective, because there would only be up to 30 days to reject proposed exports to Iran, which is not enough time for countries such as the United States to assess whether certain exports to Iran could contribute to activities inconsistent with the deal.
US-Iran Diplomacy Fails to Bear Fruit for Imprisoned Christian Pastor
While the White House and Congress prepare for a final showdown over the controversial Iran nuclear deal, three American prisoners and one missing American in Iran are awaiting their own fate.
One of those Americans is Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor who has been detained in Iran since 2012. He has become the international face of the brutal persecution of Christians by the Islamic Republic.
Abedini was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while visiting relatives and building an orphanage in the city of Rasht. Initially placed under house arrest, he was transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and later to Rajai Shahr Prison.
“[Evin Prison is] known to be one of the most brutal prisons inside of Iran and has one of the highest execution rates. Traditionally it was the place they kept their highest-security prisoners,” Tiffany Barrans—international legal director at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and social activism organization that has represented Abedini and his family since shortly after his arrest— “Originally, he was housed with those convicted of murder. Now he is housed with the political prisoners.”
“Saeed is anything but political. He really truly was there building an orphanage and doing humanitarian work,” Barrans added.
According to the ACLJ, Rajai Shahr Prison is “even more dangerous” than Evin Prison.
Iran human rights record under increasing scrutiny after nuclear deal
The Islamic Republic is reported to have executed more than 600 prisoners so far this year, while nuclear negotiations proceeded, after executing at least 753 people last year, a statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.
High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein said Iran had carried out many executions for drug offenses, some for crimes committed as minors, as well as cases with "broad, ill-defined charges."
Mohammad Ali Taheri, a writer and founder of the spiritual movement Erfan e-Halgheh (Inter-Universalism), was arrested in 2011 and given five years in prison on charges of insulting Islamic pieties. His wife was detained briefly last year after publication of his letter to a UN investigator about abuses in Iranian prisons and new charges were then laid against him.
Taheri, held in Tehran's Evin prison, was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court on Saturday on a charge of "fesad fel arz" (corruption on earth), Zeid said.
State Dept: Iran Among World's Worst in Child Sex Trafficking
Iran is not only the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, its revolutionary Islamic government also leads the pack when it comes to trafficking boys and girls for sexual exploitation, the U.S. State Department has said in its 2015 “Trafficking in Persons Report.”
“Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor,” the State Department said in its report. “Organized groups reportedly subject Iranian women, boys, and girls to sex trafficking in Iran, as well as in the United Arab Emirates and Europe,” the report read.
By classifying Iran as a “Tier 3” government—the worst possible ranking when it comes to human trafficking—the Islamic Republic falls under a category of countries “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so,” the report explains. In belonging to the Tier 3 classification, the tyrannical regime in Tehran is joined by dictatorial states such as North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and South Sudan.
And trafficking generally—and child sex trafficking in particular—have only gotten worse under the “moderate” president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who came into office in 2013.
Obama Promises Jonathan Pollard Will be Allowed to Return to Israel in Time to be Nuked (satire)
Responding to reports that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard would be banned from leaving the U.S. for five years following his release this November, President Obama assured Israelis that Pollard would be back in his homeland well before Iran annihilates the country with its newly-procured nuclear weapons.
“There have been concerns, however unfounded, that forcing Mr. Pollard to remain in the United States for five years after his release would somehow prevent him from being in Israel when Iran launches its nuclear arsenal towards the Jewish state,” President Obama told The Mideast Beast.
“However, the agreement clearly doesn’t allow Iran to build a nuclear bomb for at least eight years, meaning Pollard could have an eight-hour layover in Moscow and still make it to Tel Aviv before it’s obliterated, with time to spare.”
In more pressing news, Obama admitted that he couldn’t promise Tel Aviv residents that the city would be around long enough to see the completion of the now-underway and long-awaited subway project.

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