Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From Ian:

'Obama recognized Iran's right to nuclear program in 2011'
The U.S. government began secret nuclear talks with the Iranian regime in 2011, when Holocaust-denying firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still president, rather than after supposed "moderate" Hassan Rouhani was elected in 2013, as the Obama administration has claimed. This revelation was made public by Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a speech delivered on June 23.
According to a translation of the speech published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Khamenei said, "The issue of negotiating with the Americans is related to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks. At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator [referring to Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said] and explicitly said that U.S. President [Barack Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations. The Americans told this mediator: 'We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.' I told that mediator that I did not trust the Americans and their words, but after he insisted, I agreed to reexamine this topic, and negotiations began."
In a July 7 interview translated by MEMRI, Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, an adviser to Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had relayed a letter to the Iranian regime recognizing Iran's enrichment rights.
What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal
Chico Marx said: “Who you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said over the weekend that my organization, the Institute for Science and International Security, was spreading lies when we published satellite imagery that showed renewed, concerning activity at the Parchin military site near Tehran. This site is linked by Western intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to past work on nuclear weapons. But like Chico, instead of acknowledging the concern, the Iranians chose to deny the visible evidence in commercial satellite imagery. Iran’s comments would be mirthful if the topic were not so serious.
Zarif is also calling U.S. intelligence officials and members of Congress liars. They are the original source of the information both about renewed activity at Parchin and concerns about that activity. All we did was publish satellite imagery showing this activity and restate the obvious concern.
Moreover, this information about renewed activity at Parchin does not come from opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the United States, five other world powers and Iran, as Zarif suggested. We are neutral on whether the agreement should be implemented and have made that position clear for weeks. The U.S. intelligence community is hardly opposed to the deal. Iran’s attempts to dismiss this concern as the work of the deal’s foes also is just wrong.
Treason claims leveled at Jewish senator opposed to Iran deal
The progressive website Daily Kos ran a cartoon in which an imaginary television host called a woodchuck version of Schumer a “traitor” and switched the American flag at Schumer’s side to an Israeli flag.
“The reactions are a sad example of how some individuals buy into the kind of thesis promoted by [John] Mearsheimer and [Stephen] Walt that US Jews and other supporters of Israel put Israel’s interests ahead of US interests,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt.
Walt and Mearsheimer co-authored a paper and later a 2008 book in which they claimed that the “Israel lobby,” a loosely defined cross-section of American Jewish groups and others, works against US interests. They said it was characterized by “a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the US government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority.”
Critics complained that Mearsheimer and Walt essentially reinvigorated classical anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of acting as a “nation within a nation” and possessing dual and conflicting loyalties.
Walt, in fact, was one of those who tweeted and retweeted responses to the current back-and-forth over whether the rhetoric concerning the Iran deal constituted anti-Semitism. The Harvard professor called Schumer a “sellout” and retweeted an opinion article in the Huffington Post that called the deal’s opponents “Netanyahu’s marionettes.”
That article cited Schumer’s 2010 comments in which he reportedly said “I am a shomer [guardian] for Israel and I will continue to be that with every bone in my body” as evidence of his unpatriotic interests.
“Hurling accusations of disloyalty are a slap in the face to his [Schumer’s] lifelong record of public service,” Greenblatt complained in a written response to the rhetoric. “There is room for a legitimate debate on the Iran deal, however charges against Senator Schumer — and any other members who articulate on fact-based but alternative views — are beyond inappropriate.”
Proponents of the Iran deal — including President Barack Obama himself — have been criticized in recent weeks for what some see as criticism of their opponents that ply on historical stereotypes of Jews.
Schumer Explains Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal: Inspections Regime Has ‘Lots of Holes in It’
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) further explained his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal that he announced last week, saying Monday that the inspections regime being trumpeted by the Obama administration had “lots of holes in it” and thus did not merit his support.
“This was one of the most difficult decisions that I had to make,” he said. “I studied it long and hard, read the agreement a whole bunch of times … I found the inspections regime not ‘anywhere, anytime’ but with lots of holes in it. Particularly troublesome, you have to wait 24 days before you inspect. That will allow some of the radioactivity to be seen but not nonradioactivity that goes into building a bomb, all of the kinds of other things that you need.”
Schumer is one of the Senate’s top Democrats and also one if its most prominent Jewish members. Schumer’s decision not to support Obama’s push for the nuclear deal was met with anger at the White House, with the suggestion that he may lose support to become the party’s Senate leader in 2016.

Iran Deal: Reich Attacks Jewish 'Axis' Powers
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has blamed a Jewish “axis” of power for “polarizing” the debate around the Iran deal.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Reich said that the “Nentanyahu-AIPAC-Adelson-Republican axis” posed “a serious danger to America, Israel, and American Jews.” He slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “interfering in American politics as no foreign leader has ever done before,” and blamed him for turning Democrats against Israel. He did not mention Obama’s charge that Republicans are making “common cause” with Iranian hard-liners.
Reich also claimed: “Polls suggest a solid majority of American Jews support Obama and the administration’s diplomacy.” In fact, recent polls show a plurality of American Jews oppose the deal. Like President Barack Obama, he attacked AIPAC for running ads against the deal–ignoring the millions being spent by left-wing groups like J Street to support it.
The term “axis” is an odd choice, applied to Jews, given that Nazi Germany was one of the Axis Powers of World War II, during which the Third Reich murdered six million Jews.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA and Iran to work together against Israeli nukes
The Palestinian Authority and Iran have agreed to work together to hold an international conference that would seek the nuclear disarmament of Israel, a senior PLO official who visited Tehran in the past few days said.
Ahmed Majdalani, member of the PLO Executive Committee, held talks in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and delivered a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Iran’s leader Hassan Rouhani.
Majdalani said on Monday his visit to Iran resulted in an agreement to revive the idea of an international conference to rid the region of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and weapons of mass destruction.
Voicing support for the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, Majdalani said the accord would create a positive atmosphere for ensuring security and stability in the Middle East.
The PLO official said his visit to Iran was aimed at refuting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to Israel and peace. He claimed that Netanyahu was using the Iranian issue to avoid fulfilling Israel’s obligations toward the peace process.
The Palestinians are now hoping that the Palestinian issue will return to the center stage as the essence of the Middle East conflict.
94 House Members Pen Letter Exposing Obama’s ‘Legal Obligation’ to Release Iran Nuclear Side Deals
Members of the House of Representatives penned a letter to President Obama last week demanding the president fulfill his “legal obligation” to provide Congress with details of the side deals related to the Iran nuclear arms agreement.
No fewer than two undisclosed agreements have been reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization responsible for ensuring that Tehran abides by the stipulations in the deal.
Finalized during the negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the secret deals have to do with the IAEA’s inspection of Iran’s Parchin military complex believed to have housed nuclear testing as well as the extent to which Tehran must admit to the details of its alleged nuclear weapons program.
In the letter, dated August 4 and signed by 94 members of the House of Representatives, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) and fellow congressional lawmakers labeled the lack of details regarding the side agreements “no small matter.”
They stress that Obama’s withholding of such information violates the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a law he signed in May before the final nuclear agreement was reached in Vienna that requires congressional lawmakers to view all documents of the nuclear agreement.
After Next Year, There Will Be No U.S. Sanctions to ‘Snap Back’
Senator Bob Corker has noted that Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew likewise declined, in a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to say whether reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act is permissible under the deal.
It is understandable that the administration would like to avoid answering the question at this time since the answer will antagonize either Congress or Iran. Better to wait until Congress has voted on the deal. But that leaves Congress in the following situation: the only enforcement measure in the Iran deal is snap-back sanctions, but the statutory basis for that deterrent is scheduled to expire next year. The administration is thus simultaneously (1) arguing that snap-back sanctions will be sufficient to police the deal, while (2) declining to answer whether Congress can keep the statutory basis for such sanctions in effect beyond next year.
The refusal by both Secretary Lew and Under Secretary Sherman to answer the question indicates the administration is hiding an adverse answer from the public. How stupid does the administration think the American public is? Anyone? Anyone? Gruber?
Obama: Iran must end anti-American, anti-Israel postures to be accepted
President Barack Obama said Iran must drop its anti-American and anti-Israel postures before it transitions into the international community.
Obama defended the Iran nuclear deal in an interview posted Monday at Mic.Com, a news website aimed at millennials.
“There’s going to have to be a transition inside of Iran, even if gradual, in which there’s a recognition that chanting ‘death to America’ or denying the Holocaust among its leaders or threatening Israel with destruction or, you know, providing arms to Hezbollah, which is on the terrorist list — that those things make Iran a pariah in the eyes of a large part of the world,” Obama said.
“And I can guarantee you that the moment the Iranian regime stopped engaging in that kind of rhetoric and that kind of behavior that Iran would just by virtue of its size, talent, resources, immediately rise in its influence and its power in the eyes of the world.”
JCPA: Iran’s Supreme Leader Challenges U.S. Policy in the Middle East
Since the signing of the nuclear deal, the Iranian leadership with Supreme Leader Khamenei at the forefront has been affirming again and again that the deal has no connection with any other issue in the Middle East. They maintain that the antagonistic relationship between Iran and the United States will not change.
Khamenei also keeps declaring that Iranian and U.S. interests, in the Middle East in particular and in the world in general, are completely opposed to each other. Iran, which continues to view the United States as an enemy and as the Great Satan, will keep fighting it even after the signing of the deal, and will keep helping its friends in the Middle East (Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, etc.).
Khamenei, along with the religious-political and military leadership, keeps emphasizing Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East and asserting that this is a reality that cannot be changed.
In a meeting with Iranian students on July 11, 2015 (during which calls of “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and “Death to Britain” were voiced), Khamenei underlined that Iran’s influence in the region is spiritual and that the leaders of “reactionary Arab states” (meaning the Gulf states) have, in closed-door meetings with the Americans, been calling for pressure on Iran to counteract this influence, with the United States responding that it can do nothing to check Iran’s growing power.
How the Iran Deal Undermines America’s Strategic Interests in the Middle East
In testimony before the Senate, Walter Russell Mead argues that the greatest flaws in the agreement with Iran lie outside its ability (or inability) to keep the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons. According to Mead, the crucial question is whether the deal empowers Iran in its quest to dominate the Middle East:
Whatever the agreement does in terms of the nuclear program, when it comes to the conventional balance in the region, it appears to strengthen Iran. . . . The inevitable increase in Iranian conventional resources and capabilities . . . can damage American interests in three ways. First, if Iran devotes even some of its gains from the agreements to its regional allies and hegemonic goals, it could create a major crisis in the region that would require massive American intervention to avoid the danger of having one country dominate the oil wealth of the entire Persian Gulf. Some countries would be endangered directly by subversion or conflict; others, increasingly surrounded by Iranian clients and allies, would feel the need to align their foreign policies and their oil production and pricing strategies with Iran. The United States could be faced with a triumphalist Iranian regime that would be able to manipulate world oil prices and supplies. . . .
Second, fear of Iran can drive American allies and other actors in the region to actions that destabilize the region or run counter to American interests. Concerns about potential proliferation among other regional countries who want to balance the Iranian nuclear program are one example of the potential “blowback” from the agreement. But there are others. Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf states could, for example, “circle the wagons” among Sunni states, tightening their links with military and intelligence services in countries like Egypt and Pakistan in ways that undercut important American goals. . . .
The Profs Who Love Obama's Iran Deal
Who supports the Obama administration's increasingly unpopular Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed ostensibly at curbing Iran's nuclear program? Many of its strongest proponents come from the field of Middle East studies, which boasts widespread animus towards the U.S. and Israel along with a cadre of apologists for the Iranian regime determined to promote ineffectual diplomacy at all costs.
University of California–Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan concedes that his generation of Iranian-Americans "feel[s] far removed from the political and religious turmoil of the Iranian revolution" before falling in line with the Iranian regime's propaganda: the deal will "empower moderates in Iran, strengthen Iranian civil society and spur economic development," and create "an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage, that respects the rights of its citizens and that has warm relations with the rest of the world." "Warm relations" are the least likely outcome of the increase in funding for Iran's terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah that even President Obama admits will follow the easing of sanctions.

Others deny the Iranian regime intends to build a nuclear bomb. University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole has long argued that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei "is sincere about not wanting a nuclear weapon" because of his "oral fatwas or legal rulings" indicating that "using such weapons is contrary to Islamic law." His unwarranted confidence in the regime leads him to conclude:
[T]hey have developed all the infrastructure and technical knowledge and equipment that would be necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but stop there, much the way Japan has.
Evidently, Cole has no problem with a tyrannical, terrorist-supporting regime that seeks regional hegemony on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power.
Shock Poll: Only 41% Of Democrats Want Congress To Approve Obama’s Iran Deal
A new poll released on Monday shows that support for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran continues to unravel. According to the poll from Monmouth University, only 41 percent of Democrats believe Congress should approve the president’s nuclear deal with the Iranian regime.
The numbers only get worse among independents and Republicans. Overall, just 27 percent of those polled believe Congress should approve the controversial nuclear deal with Iran. A majority of Republicans (55 percent) and a plurality of independents (33 percent) believe Congress should reject the deal:
Poll: Americans Distrust Iran, Believe It Got More Out Of Nuke Deal Than U.S.
More than 60% of Americans distrust Iran, and a plurality believes that the Islamic Republic got the better part of the nuclear deal with the West, a poll released today by Monmouth University showed.
Four-in-ten (41%) say Iran got more of what it wanted from this deal, while just 14% feel the U.S. came out on top. Only 23% say that both countries benefited equally. Another 5% volunteer that neither country got what they wanted and 17% are not sure who benefitted more from the agreement. Two-thirds of Republicans (67%) say Iran made out on the deal, while a plurality of Democrats (39%) say both countries benefitted equally.
The Monmouth University Poll also found that 6-in-10 (61%) Americans do not trust Iran at all to abide by the terms of this agreement. Just 6% have a lot of trust in Iran and 28% have a little trust. This high lack of trust is similar to where it stood in polls taken during the final stages of the negotiations last month (55%) and at the beginning of the year (59%).
Jewish senator becomes latest backer of Iran deal
Hawaii Jewish Senator Brian Schatz on Monday became the latest Democrat to announce his support for the Iran nuclear deal.
“There is no other alternative that achieves these results,” Schatz said of the controversial agreement.
“Iran must never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, and that is why I support this agreement,” he said. “This agreement should not be compared to an imaginary deal where Iran rolled over and eliminated all its centrifuges and all peaceful nuclear energy generation. That was never seriously on the table,” he said.
So far, only 34 House members, all Democrats, have announced support, along with 17 Democratic senators. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also said she would back the accord on Monday.
How Iran Plans to Destroy Israel
The Islamic Republic regards its commitment to the destruction of Israel as a long-term project that would require major shifts in the regional political landscape. While displaying a great deal of ambiguity concerning its direct role in a decisive confrontation with Israel, for obvious reasons, Tehran emphasizes its ongoing effort to improve the capability of Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian resistance movements to face Israel. The main, immediate target is turning the West Bank into a solid base for military operations. Obviously, the Iranians are well aware that Israel is determined to prevent a takeover of the West Bank by hostile groups. At the same time, they realize that, despite their enormous investment in Hizballah, the group cannot be expected to carry out a “final” war with Israel, especially when it is spending most of its blood and treasure fighting and dying in Syria.
The Iranians are bent on strengthening their influence in the Arab world, with a priority on achieving a land link from Iran to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Such a link, once obtained, would allow Iran not only to beef up the resistance movements with Iraqi and Syrian militias, as well as volunteers from far away Afghanistan, but also to open the way to the ultimate introduction of Iranian troops to the lines of confrontation, especially on the Golan. Not for no reason have Iranian generals been strutting around up there lately (and sometimes meeting an untimely demise).
For the United States, which wants to avert an eventual Iran-Israel war, a major priority should be preventing the creation of this land corridor. This will require further efforts to strengthen the government in Baghdad and diminish the power of Iranian-led Shi‘a militias operating there. Helping the Iraqi army achieve effective control of Anbar province is likewise crucial. But, as has been shown lately, this is far from easy.
Worldwide Anti-Semitism Gets a Boost From the Iran Deal
I fear that the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal will exacerbate this trend. Whether or not President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry consider themselves part of the “progressive mainstream,” they have both been busily playing down the significance of Iran’s state policy of anti-Semitism with various arguments. Among them: Iran doesn’t have the desire to wipe the State of Israel—the crowning achievement of post-Holocaust Jewish life—off the map; Iran doesn’t have the means to carry out that threat in any case; Iran’s behavior, while troubling, shows that it recognizes there are limits to the degree of harassment that its Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist proxies can subject Israel to.
Accepting these premises leads to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what Iran says; it matters what Iran does. Yet the division between speaking and acting isn’t quite as strict as some believe. Speaking can be considered an act of doing, after all. And what is certain is that Iran understands, in much the same way that many on the Western left do, that anti-Semitic agitation targeting Israel’s very existence is the kind of anti-Semitic agitation that resonates most these days.
It’s no accident, then, that ailing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—whose imminent death has been forecast for several years now, though we can be certain that he won’t be around in 15 years, when the “sunset clause” kicks in—has just issued a new book entitled “Palestine” that expresses the Islamic Republic’s core doctrine: the existence of a Jewish state is incompatible with the Islamic Revolution.
As translated by Irantruth.org, that doctrine is summarized in Khamenei’s book as follows: “Palestine is the most important issue of the Islamic world. Palestine is the most important issue of the world of Islam. There is not any other international issue in the world of Islam more important than the issue of Palestine.”
Enough with the Iran Deal ‘Most Intrusive Inspections’ Canard
It’s become fashionable among proponents of the Iran deal to argue that it incorporates the most intrusive inspections regime ever implemented. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief-of-staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell (and, to Powell’s shame, an off-the-rails conspiracy theorist), for example, declared, “This is the most intrusive inspection regime under the NPT or otherwise ever created.” Barbara Boxer, a Democratic senator from California, also referred to the “unprecedented inspections and verification regime,” in her endorsement of the deal. So, too, did Florida Senator Bill Nelson. All of this parrots a frequently-used talking point by President Barack Obama or his spokesman. The problem is it’s false.
According to the agreement reached, Iran will only voluntarily comply with the Additional Protocol, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) put in place to plug loopholes that allowed Saddam’s Iraq to develop a covert nuclear program in the 1980s and get 11 successive clean bills of health from the IAEA while doing so. In 2003, the Iranian nuclear team led by now-President Hassan Rouhani agreed to voluntarily suspend enrichment; he later explained that he did so in order to have control over the timing of ending the suspension. The same holds true with ‘voluntary compliance.’ One hundred twenty-four countries have ratified the Additional Protocol; it would not be asking too much to expect Iran to do the same as the first step in any agreement. As such, it would be more accurate to say that Iran has agreed to the 125th most rigorous inspections regime. To suggest otherwise is counterfactual and ignorant; it exposes those parroting the White House claims as motivated more by politics than any serious understanding of the agreement.
The idea that the current Iran deal was the most rigorous ever, however, fails to pass the laugh test for other reasons. When Libya gave up its covert nuclear program in 2003, it acquiesced to the dismantling of its infrastructure. This was the core demand of the U.S. and British negotiators for one simple reason: Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was mercurial and often violated agreements and commitments. The international community was going to take no chance when it came to Qaddafi changing his mind once he had received the reward of trade. This was the immediate precedent upon which Secretary of State John Kerry and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman could rely as they negotiated with their Iranian counterparts; the fact that they were unable to uphold it suggests a failure to uphold precedent that would work in the U.S. favor. Regardless, it is impossible to suggest that the Iran accord is more rigorous when the Libyan precedent required irreversible steps to dismantle the nuclear program.
Clarifying a 'No' Vote on the Iran Nuclear Agreement
Does the president have other options?
If Congress disapproved the deal and overrode the president's veto, he could still try to circumvent the legislature. For example, he could reject the disapproval as an unwarranted intrusion into executive authority, proceed with the sanctions waiver, and wait for Congress to bring the question to the Supreme Court. Alternatively, as cited earlier, he could waive sanctions in effect if not in name by invoking his discretion about how much effort to devote to enforcing them.
How does the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the deal change the situation?
This too is murky. The administration's decision to seek Security Council endorsement before Congress completed its review did not violate the letter of the Nuclear Review Act because Resolution 2231 does not come into effect until after the congressional review period concludes. However, there is a strong argument -- made by both Democrats and Republicans -- that it violated the spirit of the legislation. In any case, a vote of disapproval by Congress would neither negate UNSCR 2231 nor compel the president to rescind his support for the resolution. Again, the only operative aspect of congressional disapproval would be to restrict the president's authority to waive unilateral nuclear-related sanctions.
If the United States does not waive those sanctions once the IAEA certifies Iran's completion of its core requirements, the agreement does not automatically collapse. The agreement contains its own mechanism to adjudicate violations -- the eight-member Joint Commission -- and Iran would likely bring the United States before that body to press its case. This, however, would be a political dispute, not a technical matter. At that point, all of the parties would have to weigh their interests -- are they better off or worse off sticking to the agreement? There are simply too many variables at play to make a definitive judgment on what happens next. War, however, is a low probability.
So what's the bottom line?
A vote of disapproval is both more and less than meets the eye. It is, on the one hand, the only way the American system allows for elected representatives to express opposition to the agreement and compel the administration to take those views into account. On the other hand, it would not kill the Iran deal unless the other parties to the agreement wanted it dead.
While a vote of disapproval would restrict the president's authority to fulfill one U.S. obligation under the accord -- waiving sanctions -- this most likely would not become a live issue until early-to-mid-2016. Until then, much could happen to change the situation, ranging from improvements in the deal that merit subsequent congressional support to new revelations of secret Iranian nuclear activity that would validate congressional skepticism.
In other words, a vote of disapproval would not necessarily be a "deal breaker." In fact, under certain circumstances
Obama Politicizing Iran, Not the GOP
The need to defend Iran’s theocratic and terror-supporting tyrant as a reasonable person while constantly attacking a genuine democratic leader like Netanyahu (who recently won his third consecutive term in office) is obvious. It illustrates that the rationale for the deal is Obama’s desire for détente with Iran. The president’s foreign policy legacy isn’t a nuclear-free Iran since the deal at best postpones that outcome, but rather a new Iran-centric vision that by extension downgrades the U.S. alliance with Israel.
These are high stakes indeed, and they explain why President Obama is willing to say virtually anything to ensure that enough partisan Democrats back the deal in order to ensure that it survives the “no” votes of what will be a bipartisan majority against it. It was always Obama who has played the partisan on Iran, not the Republicans. And the reason was a desire for détente with Iran that he knows the majority of Americans and perhaps even Democrats don’t support. Though his media liberal backers are treating his tactics are reasonable because they sympathize with his vision, it is time for principled Democrats to speak up and call him out for his atrocious rhetoric politicizing Iran and Israel.
Obama’s Intentionally Divisive Iran Nuclear Deal Rhetoric
While Obama went out of his way to excoriate Netanyahu, an American ally, he had nothing but understanding to extend to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, whose Twitter account recently included a picture of a gun pointed at Obama’s head and who regularly indulges in “Death to America” rhetoric. “Superpowers don’t respond to taunts,” Obama grandly told Zakaria. He also claimed “there’s always a gap between rhetoric and action. And, you know, the Supreme Leader is a politician, apparently, just like everybody else.” Actually the Supreme Leader is not a politician “just like everybody else.” Netanyahu is a politician, which is why Obama could have — but did not — extend him some understanding for some of the emotive language he used just prior to a closely contested election. Khameini, by contrast, is a theocratic dictator who answers only to Allah.
Yet Obama offers more sympathy to Khameini that he does not to Netanyahu — or to Mitch McConnell. (“And, again, Fareed, it is very important, I think, over the next several weeks, to not get distracted by tone, vote counts, is Mitch McConnell’s feelings hurt.”) When Zakaria asked why he didn’t negotiate a deal that did not include a bogus “right” to enrich, Obama replied, “First of all, there is no support for that position in Iran, including opposition members who were subsequently jailed back in 2009. So you have a consensus inside of Iran that they should have a right to enrich. And so in the real world, the alternatives you just described were not available.” While it may be true that many Iranians support a nuclear program, Obama never remotely applied the kind of pressure that would make Iran rethink its priorities. If the choices that the regime faced were its own survival vs. a “right” to enrich, it would probably opt to give up this nonexistent “right.” But Obama did not confront Iran with that kind of tough choice.
As Iran continues to operate its nuclear program and to fund terrorism, Obama continues to excuse its alarming rhetoric and actions and even to search for (largely nonexistent) points of common interest with the U.S. Zakaria said to him: “Right now, Iran is probably one of the strongest fighting forces against ISIS. In Afghanistan, it has historically been opposed to the Taliban, just as the United States has.” Obama replied: “Right.”
Wrong. This Wall Street Journal article on June 11 noted, as its headline had it, “Iran Backs Taliban With Cash and Arms.” As for ISIS, as Michael Doran and I noted in the Weekly Standard, Iran has been using the war against ISIS as an excuse to extend Hezbollah-style control over Syria and Iraq. It has shown scant interest in truly smashing ISIS’s power that serves as a convenient excuse for Iranian militias to dominate the Shiite parts of Iraq in particular. And while there have been more clashes this past year between Iranian-backed forces and ISIS, the two have also often in the past observed a de facto truce and even collaborated on such matters as selling the oil that is produced in ISIS-controlled regions of Syria.
Congressmen: Egypt opposes Iranian nuclear deal
Egypt, like Israel, opposes the Iranian nuclear deal brokered last month by the US and other leading nations, a group of US congressmen who have been touring Israel and Egypt said Monday.
US President Barack Obama said in a speech at American University in Washington last week that “every nation in the world that has commented publicly – with the exception of the Israeli government – has expressed support.”
The Congressional delegation, organized by the Israel Allies Foundation, met Monday with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and a group of MKs from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus that included former ambassador to the US Michael Oren. They are set to meet Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Obama’s Legacy Is Propping Up Dictatorships, Not Democracies
By praising Ethiopia’s repressive regime for being “democratically elected” last week, President Obama was driving home once again something that should be abundantly clear by now: His administration marks a radical departure from previous ones when it comes to democracy promotion.
On the contrary, the Obama legacy will be one of propping up dictatorial regimes around the world. His praise for the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn merely took to Africa what Obama and his foreign policy team have already done on a grander scale in Iran, Cuba and Burma.
To be sure, President Obama was standing next to Desalegn at a joint press conference in Addis Ababa when he spoke. Maybe he didn’t want to be a bad guest. And the president did add that the Ethiopian government has “more work to do.” After a slew of criticism at home, he later also questioned why African leaders cling to office rather than leave after their terms are completed.
But Obama didn’t have to go out of his way to call Desalegn “democratically elected,” let alone do it twice. Nor did he have to make excuses for Desalegn’s government’s horrendous human rights record by recalling the country’s past hardship and the relative infancy of its constitution.
How North Korea made the disastrous Iran deal inevitable
To paraphrase Barbara Tuchman, we are witnessing a nuclear march of folly. In order to prevent future similar outcomes, it’s of paramount importance that we understand the North Korean case.
The first mistake made by successive U.S. administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, in dealing with North Korea was perhaps the fatal one. Each set of U.S. negotiators assumed, or convinced itself, that a deal could be reached that would ultimately persuade Pyongyang to abandon its goal of achieving a nuclear or ballistic missile capability.
Praising the 1994 Agreed Framework, which North Korea would cheat on, then-President Bill Clinton assured the nation that “North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. . . . The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.” North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, even while it was engaged in negotiations with Clinton’s successor.
The writing was already on the wall.
Iran Deal Will Lift Sanctions on Lieutenant of Legendary Terrorist Carlos the Jackal
Among the individuals who will be freed from international sanctions under the terms of the nuclear deal between Iran and the West is Anis Naccache, a former lieutenant of of legendary terrorist Carlos the Jackal and attempted assassin of Shahpour Bakhtiar, Iran’s last Shah-era prime minister. Bakhtiar’s nephew, Hooman Bakhtiar, criticized this in an op-ed Sunday in The Wall Street Journal.
The shah had attempted to stay in power by appointing the older Bakhtiar, a critic of the Shah, to serve as his prime minister in the waning days of his rule. After the shah fell, Bakhtiar told Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, to return to his religious duties instead of governing. According to the younger Bakhtiar, “Khomeini never forgave” his uncle, who was forced to flee into exile in Paris. Naccache led a team to kill Bakhtiar in Paris.
But the attempt on Bakhtiar’s life went awry. Mr. Naccache and his team first killed a police officer posted in the building. But they got the wrong apartment door, shooting and killing an elderly French woman and wounding her sister. Unable to break down Bakhtiar’s door, they escaped and were confronted by more French police. In the ensuing firefight the terrorists shot another officer, paralyzing him for life. Mr. Naccache and three accomplices were convicted of murder and handed life sentences in 1982. A fifth team member received a 20-year sentence.
Russian Warships Dock In Iran for War Training
Two Russian warships have docked in northern Iran for a series of naval training exercises with the Islamic Republic, according to Persian-language reports translated by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
The two Russian ships docked in Iran’s Anzali port on Sunday and will hold “joint naval exercises during the three-day stay of the warships in Iran,” according to a Persian-language report in Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.
“The [Russian] warships, Volgodonsk and Makhachkala docked in Anzali Port [near the Caspian Sea], in the fourth naval zone, on the afternoon of 9 August,” the report says.
The war exercises come just weeks after Iran and global powers inked a nuclear accord that will provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for slight restrictions on the country’s nuclear program.
Russian and Iran have grown close in recent years, with delegations from each country regularly visiting one another to ink arms deals and other agreements aimed at strengthening Iran’s nuclear program.
Zarif’s visit to Turkey canceled at last minute
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday postponed a scheduled visit to Turkey, a Turkish foreign ministry official said, with mystery surrounding the reason for the last-minute cancellation.
The visit on Tuesday had been expected to touch on the Syria crisis, which has caused profound disagreements between Tehran and Ankara with Iran one of the last allies of Turkey’s arch foe President Bashar Assad.
“There has been a change in the program,” the Turkish official said, without giving any reason. Zarif had been due to meet Turkey’s leaders in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
The postponement of the visit came as Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet published a page-long article by Zarif written in apparent anticipation of the trip.
WaPo Editorial: Reporter’s Trial Should be Warning for Companies Seeking to Invest in Iran
Companies and nations considering making an “unseemly rush” to open commercial ties with Iran in the wake of last month’s nuclear deal should take note of the ordeal of detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian before commencing business with the Islamic Republic, an editorial in the Post warned today.
Iran is No. 130 out of 189 nations on the World Bank’s ranking of ease of doing business. Corruption is rampant and many industries are controlled by the malignant Revolutionary Guard, whose leaders oppose any opening to the West. It remains to be seen whether even big oil companies such as France’s Total and Italy’s Eni, which worked in Iran before sanctions were imposed, will be offered sufficient incentives to invest in new production at a time of a global oil market glut.
For investors on the fence, we have some advice: Before joining the crowd in Tehran, wait to see what happens to Post reporter Jason Rezaian. Three weeks after the nuclear deal was signed, Mr. Rezaian still sits in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he has been held since his arrest on July 22, 2014. His continued detention violates multiple Iranian and international laws, including one very simple one: An Iranian statute says no suspect who has not yet been convicted may be held for more than a year, unless accused of murder.
Iran Deal: Left's Plan to 'Astroturf' Town Hall Meetings (Full Schedule)
Several left-wing groups have united in an “Astroturf” campaign to create a false impression of public support for the Iran deal at town hall meetings across the nation.
The effort, called “60 Days to Stop a War,” is being coordinated by MoveOn.org, an anti-war group, the National Iranian American Council, a pro-Iran lobby group; Daily Kos, a left-wing blog site; and other left-wing groups.
As in the Obamacare effort in 2009, the apparent goal of “60 Days” is to create a media sensation that can drown out the American public’s overwhelming opposition.
A statement on the “60 Days” website declares:
Republicans are trying to start a war with Iran by rejecting the historic deal announced by the U.S., Iran and five other world powers that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Republicans can’t start their war without votes from Democrats…
Experts agree that without this agreement, we could face a new war in the Middle East. We have 60 days to defend diplomacy and stop a war. Find a town hall event with your member of Congress, and let them know you want diplomacy, not war.
Iran Deal: Dozens at 'Peace' Rally in Orange County
On Sunday, a group of roughly 50 Iranians gathered in Orange County Great Park for a “choose peace” rally to support the Iran deal.
The event, staged partly to generate images for social media, was organized by a group called OC4Peace, which is run by a team of volunteers from the National Iranian American Council, which has been described as a pro-regime lobby group.
Although the event was held to support the recent nuclear agreement, not all the Iranians present supported the deal.
Breitbart News spoke with a handful of Iranians standing silently on the sidelines as observers. Three college-aged men, who had moved from Iran to America three years ago, were among them. One man, named Kia, told Breitbart News, Wwe aren’t here to support the deal. We are just here for fun.” When asked about the likelihood that Iran will cheat, he told Breitbart News “If you ask me, I think Iran will definitely break the deal… and I think they already have [the] bomb.”
People gathered wearing blue t-shirts emblazoned with a white dove holding an olive branch in its beak. Underneath the image were the words “choose peace” followed by the hashtag #Irandeal.
Americans, Iranian Hardliners Join Together for ‘Death to America’ Rally (satire)
Iranian hardliners and American opponents of the proposed nuclear deal held a joint “Death to America” rally at the National Mall in Washington, confirming President Obama’s claims that the two sides have been in cahoots in opposing the landmark agreement.
“This deal does not guarantee ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections, as promised,” Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and radical Shia Muslim, told the crowd. “Further, it does nothing to ensure that Sharia Law, the only code passed down from Allah himself, will be enforced in America.”
While Obama has tried all options to pass the nuclear deal and prevent war, he has been stymied by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who oppose diplomacy and favor a militant Quran-based theocracy. Schumer was joined on stage by Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, a passionate supporter of the ayatollahs. Nearly 60 percent of Americans, all of whom oppose the deal, attended the rally, showing how large America’s Islamic-extremist anti-diplomacy fifth column has become.
“It’s even worse than I thought,” Obama told The Mideast Beast as he watched the gathering from the Oval Office. Still Obama said he took comfort in knowing that, with every other country in the world in favor of the agreement, support for the Iranian hardliners is limited only to the United States and Israel.

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