Why is Qassem Suleimani Smiling? The Iran Deal and Sanctions Relief for Terrorists

qassem-suleimanIran Truth, by |

Experts speaking at the Hudson Institute on Friday drew on Iran’s history in dealing with its neighbors and America to paint an accurate picture of how Iran will act in the aftermath of the Deal’s implementation.

“Over the last 35 years, there has not been an event that has warranted this tilt towards Iran. There has not been one single event that warrants this pivot towards Iran,” Michael Pregent, Executive Director of Veterans Against the Deal said. “Hope is not a method.”

Derek Harvey, Director of the Global Initiative on Civil Society and Conflict at the University of South Florida, said that the Deal only empowers the Iranian regime, in the form of funding and validation, to continue the same behavior they have assumed for the last thirty-five years. He said the Deal proves to the Iranians that their current tactic is effective, and emboldens them to pursue their ultimate goal of achieving regional hegemony. He added that there is no reason to believe that Iran has changed its agenda.

“I worry that a renewed, and validated, and better resourced Iran will just continue its hegemonic aspirations in the region, and they’ve been very effective at sewing disorder, taking advantage of their proximity, and using their a-symmetric capabilities to advance their interests,” Harvey said. “Fundamentally it’s going to empower the regime and give them military capabilities that are going to be detrimental to our interests and our allies interests in the region. We don’t have any real evidence of the character or nature of this regime changing.”

Harvey said that despite many Iranians being “westernized,” educated in Western institutions and English speaking, America must not be fooled to believe that we share common interests or ideas. Although some of them may appear similar to Westerners and are perhaps relatable to Americans, they maintain the ideology, which they were raised in. He said that America must not assume that Iranians have abandoned their extremist worldview because they lived elsewhere than Iran. Ultimately, America must assume that Iran will be governed according to the fundamentalist ideology that has prevailed thus far.

“Just because people have been to Western schools, speak fluent English, are very comfortable in dealing with Americans and Western Europeans, does not mean that they don’t have hardline, ideological, religious underpinnings that justify how they are performing and what they intend to do in leadership positions in that country. I think we are deceiving ourselves in projecting onto them things that are not there,” he said.

Pregent said that America must consider why sanctions were implemented in the first place, as a predictor of where the money will go after sanctions relief. He explained that Iranian money was sanctioned because it was being funneled to terrorist groups, and there is no reason to believe the funds will be re-allocated upon being unfrozen.

“The thing about this deal is, people say the money is going to go back to the Iranian people. Well the money was sanctioned, to begin with, because it was involved in terrorist activity. The money was sanctioned to begin with because it was involved in the procurement of military materials that would lead to a nuclear capability. So it’s not going to go back to the people,” he said.

Iran will act as it wishes, given the Iranian government does not feel deterred, according to Harvey. Iran sees America’s lack of retaliation as a pass to continue its rogue behavior in pursuit of regional dominance. “Iranians understand our reluctance to strike back,” he said.

Watch the video below.

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The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran Treaty

!cid_image001_jpg@01D0E449American Thinker, by Robert B. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, August 31, 2015:

When Congress returns from recess after Labor Day, one of the most pressing issues on the agenda is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as “the Iran deal.” Much has been discovered since the Corker-Cardin-Menendez bill was enacted, including the White House’s and State Department’s deceit which influenced the Senate to abandon its constitutionally-provided role regarding treaties.

Now it might take a lawsuit spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to reverse not only the damage to the Constitution but also potential damage to America and our allies as a result of the provisions of the Iran nuclear-deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has overwhelming justification to sue President Obama over the JCPOA which constitutes a treaty and thereby must be ratified by a 2/3-vote of those present prior to implementation.

Such a suit could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to disclaim Obama’s portrayal of this document as an Executive Agreement. It could also sustain the overwhelming will of the American people–according to polling data—to trash this “legacy” effort, for reasons that have been exhaustively detailed.

Blocking implementation of the Iran nuclear-deal would thereby necessitate the legislative branch triggering a confrontation between the judicial and the executive branches.

Two essays {authored by RBS} published in The Hill explored the legalities of this initiative, focused on its “treaty” [July 29] and “rule-of-law” [August 25] components.

In the interim [USA Today, August 5], Professor Alan Dershowitz recognized that a Supreme Court opinion challenged the president’s power to enter into long-term deals with foreign powers without the consent of Congress. He is cannot avoid congressional oversight by simply declaring an important deal with foreign powers to be an executive agreement rather than a treaty [Gibbons v. Ogden]:  “[G]eneral and permanent commercial regulations with foreign powers must be made by treaty, but…the particular and temporary regulations of commerce may be made by an agreement of a state with another, or with a foreign power, by the consent of Congress.”

Two other authors, legal-authority Andrew C. McCarthy [National Review Online, July 17] and accomplished-author Caroline B. Glick [Jerusalem Post, July 21] also claimed the deal is a treaty, but none of these columnists proposed a remedy that would force a clash with this out-of-control Obama Administration. Jerry Gordon has detailed, comprehensively, “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” [New English Review, August].

The drip-drip-drip of news about details of the deal as well as “secret” side arrangements that has emerged this summer congeals into two major rationales for such litigation, addressing both specifics and lack of transparency. Specifically, multiple side-deals between Iran and the IAEA satirize the concept of “anytime, anywhere surveillance” but, perhaps more important, Obama and his cabinet-members “inexplicably” failed to reveal this information to Congress as secrets.  Moreover, the Administration also misled Congress and the American public about the nature of the deal and the resulting preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and right to continue advanced research that will provide it with a bomb when the pact expires in a mere decade to 15 years.

The “legislative intent” of the Corker-Cardin Bill (Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015) was focused exclusively on Iran’s nuclear program, contrasting with the final pact the Administration concluded that was expanded to allow lifting of conventional-weapon sanctions. Iran sought—and was granted—this specific concession at the very end of the negotiations.  This was outside what the Administration had originally advised Congress about the parameters of this deal, focused on nuclear-weapons capability and not conventional weapons (or ICBMs). Thus, the final version of the Iran nuclear-deal encompassed issues, such as weaponization, that the Administration did not disclose to Congress before it debated and passed the Corker-Cardin Bill.

(Other facets of the negotiation were also misrepresented by the Obama Administration prior to when Kerry inked the deal. For example, although release of American prisoners was not ultimately achieved, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on  January 21, 2015 that the Administration’s negotiators “continue to insist” that Americans held in detention be released.)

This pattern of deception started before the Corker-Cardin Bill was passed in May. It was even maintained by Iran when the Tasnim News agency reported [June 15] “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reiterated that negotiations between Tehran and six major world powers solely focus on nuclear topics, dismissing any talk of military subjects in the talks.” And, reflecting the persistence of the deception,  it was manifest one week prior to when the deal was signed [July 14] during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing via testimony from Defense Secretary Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey that the arms embargo, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1929, was not to be lifted [July 7].

Thus, overall, absent the ability to review all relevant data, the Senate (1)—cannot render an informed judgment, consistent with its “advise/consent” role, and (2)—cannot be viewed to be facing a 60-day deadline, for the Corker-Cardin Bill mandates that this “clock” start “ticking” only after the database has been completed.

Refusal to provide copies of side-agreements to Congress continues unabated, as per testimony on August 5 by chief-negotiator Wendy Sherman and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. We now know why normally-sedate Senator Corker exploded (“We cannot get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin”) because such inspections have been serially outsourced by Obama to the IAEA and then, we learned more recently, by the IAEA to Iran.

The “toughest inspections-regime in history” forces America (and the world) to allow Iran to provide proof that Iran is not making nukes in Iran.

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Iran: Never Held Accountable

230730e (1)Center for Security Policy, by Christopher Holton, August 30, 2015:

The Obama administration has embarked upon a path to reward decades of bad behavior by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the futile hope that Iran will become benevolent and cease its warlike actions and intentions toward the West in general and the U.S. and Israel in particular.

As futile as the idea of negotiating a nuclear deal with the Ayatollahs seems to sober Americans and our allies today, we must first set the record straight on those policies of the past that Obama and his supporters say that they are determined to change: America has never had a “tough” policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran has been allowed to kidnap and kill Americans for decades, whether directly or by proxy, without fear of severe repercussions. For years the U.S. State Department has declared that Iran is the world’s “most active” sponsor of terrorism, yet the Ayatollahs have not been forced to pay a significant price. Iran has armed and aided our enemies –including al Qaeda-and threatened our allies and has gotten away with it.
Iran has killed Americans for over 40 years, sponsored Hezbollah, HAMAS and al Qaeda and has repeatedly threatened America and our allies.
Iran was complicit in the Hezbollah Islamikaze attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in April 1983 and the US Marine barracks there in October 1983. In the attack on the Marine barracks, 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed. In fact, until September 11, 2001, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization.
It should be pointed out that Iran is not just a sponsor of Hezbollah. Iran formed Hezbollah and has always trained and continues to train its operatives in Lebanon and inside Iran. Hezbollah basically operates as an Iranian foreign legion.
Worst of all, the Iranians have been developing nuclear weapons in violation of international law (along with the ballistic missiles with which to deliver them) and, still, there has been no tough policy toward Iran.
Though it may seem to many Americans as if the Iranian nuclear program has only come about in the past few years, it has actually been known to policymakers for a very long time.
Consider that over 20 years ago in the January 4, 1994 edition of USA Today, Clinton administration Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis had this to say about Iran’s nuclear program: “Iran’s actions leave little doubt that Tehran is intent upon developing a nuclear weapons capability. They are inconsistent with any rational civil nuclear program.”
What did the Clinton administration do to head off Iran’s nuclear program after this startling admission about Iran’s nuclear intentions? Virtually nothing.
For nearly three decades now since Iranian “students” invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took U.S. hostages, sanctions against Iran have been a widely believed urban legend – and nothing more.
Even during that hostage crisis of 1979-81, President Carter was unsuccessful in convincing our closest NATO allies and Japan to participate in economic sanctions against Iran. Not even Great Britain was willing to cut off trade with Iran during that crisis period.
The U.S. has had to “go it alone” on Iran for decades. But even the U.S. has imposed only limited unilateral sanctions against Iran and never broad, far-reaching sanctions. Three successive administrations, Clinton, Bush and Obama didn’t even bother to enforce our own sanctions against Iran.
The Iran Sanctions Act, authored by Sen. Alphonse D’Amato of New York passed both houses of Congress with virtually no opposition back in 1996. That bill would have placed any foreign oil company with over $20 million in investments in Iran’s oil and gas sector under U.S. sanctions. Companies like Shell and Total would have been forced to choose between doing business in America or in Iran. President Clinton signed it into law – and promptly issued waivers by executive order to every single oil company that would have been affected. Unfortunately, President Bush, on the advice of the geniuses at the State Department, continued that same waiver policy during his eight years in office. Unsurprisingly, Obama has followed suit as the list of foreign oil companies doing business in Iran became more Russian and Chinese in recent years.
Moreover, America has allowed our own corporations to bypass U.S. sanctions laws by using foreign cut-outs and subsidiaries to do business with the Ayatollahs. In fact, during the eight years of the Bush administration, U.S. trade with Iran actually expanded. This is especially shocking given that during much of this period Iran was operating directly in support of Jihadist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan who were killing American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, providing the terrorists with training, logistics, safe haven and advanced weaponry.
Iran was the primary supplier of deadly EFP-IEDs (Explosively Formed Penetrator-Improvised Explosive Devices) to the insurgents in Iraq and operated training camps for those insurgents inside Iran.
As for sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, they have been even more limited to certain aspects of nuclear technology and arms, with virtually no impact on the Iranian economy. Even these limited sanctions have no teeth at all, which is why Iran’s largest arms suppliers, Russia and China, were willing to allow them to pass in the first place.
The fact is, Iran has felt little economic pressure due to sanctions since that day 21+ years ago in January 1994 when the Clinton State Department admitted to USA Today that Iran was working on nuclear weapons.
Our government has failed us. Our leaders have failed us.
What is so frustrating to those of us who are worried about the Iranian threat and have for years sought a peaceful means of addressing Iran’s nuclear program and its sponsorship of terrorism, is the fact that there have never been any meaningful measures taken to bring pressure on Iran.
It is especially disappointing that America and the rest of the Free World are not willing to apply economic leverage on Iran right now because now President Obama is poised to hand the genocidal Ayatollahs in Qom a windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in both sanctions relief and freed assets.
President Obama has declared repeatedly that “there’s been a lot of mistrust built up over the years” between the US and Iran.
Given that Iran has made killing Americans its national sport and sponsoring Jihadist terrorist organizations its national pastime, why should America trust the Ayatollahs?
The next time someone tells you that we need to approve the Iranian nuclear deal “because sanctions haven’t worked,” you should point out that tough, comprehensive sanctions have never been imposed on Iran.
One day, we are all going to wake up, turn on the TV news and discover that the Ayatollahs have The Bomb. Our children and our children’s children will always wonder how we let it happen.
Also see:

“Analysis of the Iran Deal” with Lt. Col. Allen West

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Published on Aug 28, 2015 by emetonline

July 22, 2015 – EMET’s New York Chapter hosted Lt. Col. Allen West in New York City to provide an analysis of the Iran Nuclear Deal and also global radical jihadism.

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ICYMI:

Facing Reality on Iran

pic_giant_021415_SM_Obama-Kerry-GNational Review, By John R. Bolton, August 24, 2015:

When Congress returns to Washington in September, it faces one of its most critical decisions in recent years: whether to reject the Vienna nuclear deal and ostensibly stop President Obama from waiving economic sanctions against Iran. Unfortunately, many staunch opponents of the deal, who rightly criticize its debilitating errors, inadequacies, and omissions, nonetheless misapprehend America’s alternatives once Congress acts. They contend that, after blocking Obama’s waiver authority, we should not only maintain the current nonproliferation sanctions but impose stricter ones, both U.S. and even international. Under this theory, Iran would sooner or later be forced to seek new negotiations, in which Washington could extract a better agreement. And in the absence of such an agreement, they argue, “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

This is all fantasy. We have been overtaken by events, no matter how Congress votes.

Obama’s mistakes, concessions, and general detachment from Middle Eastern reality for six and a half years make it impossible to travel in time back to a theoretical world where sanctions might have derailed Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

If Obama can save the Vienna agreement from Congress, he will lift sanctions for the remainder of his presidency. Alternatively, if his veto is overridden and U.S. sanctions remain in place, Europe, Russia, China, and everyone else will nonetheless proceed to implement the deal on their own. (And given Obama’s propensity not to enforce laws with which he disagrees, which he is already signaling in this case, U.S. sanctions will almost certainly prove ineffective.) Either way, it is naïve to think that a new Republican president in January 2017 will find any takers internationally to revive sanctions.

However Congress votes, Iran will still be marching inexorably toward deliverable nuclear weapons. Deals don’t constrain the mullahs, who see this capability as critical to the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s very survival. Not surprisingly, therefore, existing sanctions have slowed down neither Iran’s nuclear-weapons program nor its support for international terrorism. General James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, testified in 2013 that sanctions had not changed the ayatollahs’ nuclear efforts, and this assessment stands unmodified today. Tehran’s support for such terrorists as Hezbollah, Hamas, Yemen’s Houthis, and Syria’s Assad regime has, if anything, increased. As for the sanctions’ economic impact on Iran, Clapper testified that “the Supreme Leader’s standard is a level of privation that Iran suffered during the Iran–Iraq war,” a level that Iran was nowhere near in 2013 and is nowhere near today.

RELATED: Is the Iran Deal with Worst Political Blunder of All Time?

In short, to have stopped Tehran’s decades-long quest for nuclear weapons, global sanctions needed to match the paradigm for successful coercive economic measures. They had to be sweeping and comprehensive, swiftly applied and scrupulously adhered to by every major economic actor, and rigorously enforced by military power. The existing Security Council sanctions do not even approach these criteria.

First, the scope of the Iran sanctions’ prohibitions has always been limited, and they have been imposed episodically over an extended period of time, thereby affording Tehran ample opportunity to minimize their impact through smuggling, cheating, and evasion. And while the sanctions’ breadth gradually expanded, the Council’s typical approach was to prohibit trade only in certain items or technologies, or to name specific Iranian businesses, government agencies, or individuals with which U.N. member states were forbidden to do business. This very specificity made sanctions far easier to evade. If, for example, the ABC firm was named to the sanctions list, it took little effort to create a cutout company called XYZ to engage in precisely the same proscribed activities.

Second, key foreign countries are decidedly uneven in adhering to sanctions. Russian and Chinese compliance is notoriously lax, and other countries are worse. Under Iran’s sway, Iraq has been openly and notoriously facilitating Tehran’s oil exports by providing false documentation of Iraqi origin or purchasing Iranian oil for Iraqi domestic consumption, thereby freeing Baghdad’s oil for export. The Obama administration itself repeatedly granted waivers to countries that claimed they needed to import Iranian oil. Although clandestine sanctions violators do not publish audited financial statements, creative criminal minds (and not a few creative entrepreneurial minds) have found enough slack in the sanctions to keep Iran afloat, even if its citizens suffered economically. No one has ever described the ayatollahs as consumer-society-friendly.

RELATED: Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran: Worse Than We Could Have Imagined

Finally, it was largely national law-enforcement agencies, rather than military forces, that monitored the sanctions. Unsurprisingly, the quality of such efforts varied greatly, and the Security Council hardly matches the Pentagon in command-and-control authority.

In recent history, the only sanctions regime to approximate the ideal paradigm was that imposed on Saddam Hussein in 1990, just days after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Security Council Resolution 661 provided that all states “shall prevent . . . the import into their territories of all commodities and products originating in Iraq or Kuwait” except food, medicine, and humanitarian supplies. That is the very definition of “comprehensive,” and the polar opposite of the congeries of sanctions imposed on Iran.

Significantly, while Resolution 661 approached the theoretical ideal, even its sanctions failed to break Saddam’s stranglehold on Kuwait. Had Washington waited much longer than it did before militarily ousting Saddam, Kuwait would have been thoroughly looted and despoiled.

RELATED: The Iran Deal Appeases the Greatest Evil of Our Time

Thus, even strict, comprehensive, rigorously enforced sanctions are not necessarily enough to stop a determined adversary. Other critically important conditions, such as a truly credible threat of military force, must accompany sanctions. In 1990–91, the United States and a multinational coalition presented just such a credible threat, but Saddam nonetheless refused to back down, resulting in his humiliating military defeat. In 2002–03, Saddam yet again faced a credible military threat and again refused to back down. He thereupon not only lost militarily but also lost his regime and ultimately his life. Does anyone truly believe that Barack Obama’s fainthearted utterances that “all options are on the table” carry a credible threat to the mullahs, or that their hearing is any better than Saddam’s?

Finally, there must be a U.S. negotiator who knows how to negotiate. In 1990–91, Secretary of State James Baker made every effort to find a diplomatic solution meeting U.S. criteria, including a last-minute Geneva meeting with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. Baker was prepared to try diplomacy but not prepared to concede the key point: immediate Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. His successors under Obama didn’t have that steel, and the results show.

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Officials: Iran ‘testing’ Netanyahu’s resolve with rocket raid

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

WND, by Aaron Klein, Aug. 23, 2015:

TEL AVIV – The Israeli defense establishment believes Iran was testing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resolve when the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist organization fired four rockets into the Israeli north in a major escalation last week.

In information corroborated with defense officials here, the Times of Israel last week quoted a senior Israeli security official saying Saeed Izadi, head of the Palestinian Division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds Force, planned last Thursday’s rocket attack.

The actual rockets were fired by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israel officials said.

Two of the projectiles hit open areas on the Golan Heights while two others landed further inside Israel, striking open areas in the Upper Galilee region. All four rockets were fired from the Syrian sections of the Golan Heights, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

In one of the heaviest Israeli bombardments against the Syrian regime in years, the IDF returned artillery fire at 14 Syrian military targets in Syria following the rocket attack. On Friday, the Israel Air Force further struck an Islamic Jihad convoy on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Even though the latest round of fighting was started by the Islamic Jihad and Iran’s Guard force, Hezbollah on Sunday increased its alert level to the highest, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported Saturday, “for fear of attempts by Israel to drag Lebanon and Syria into an escalation of a state less than war but more than an operation.”

Hezbollah members were quoted by the newspaper claiming Netanyahu’s government believes that after the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, Israel’s “situation is critical and will soon be tested” with an Israeli escalation.

However, Israeli defense officials told WND it is Iran that is doing the testing, estimating the Iran-approved rocket firings were meant to see if Netanyahu’s government would mount offensive measures following the signing of the international nuclear deal.

The officials said the rocket launchings demonstrate Iran is particularly emboldened since it is willing to orchestrate a daring attack on Israel’s northern border just weeks after the nuclear deal was finalized.

“I said it just this week – anyone who tries to harm us, we will harm them. And so we did,” Netanyahu stated after the rocket attacks. “The IDF killed the forces responsible for the rocket attacks and the Syrians who allowed it to happen. We have no intention to escalate the situation but our policy remains the same.”

“To those states that are rushing to embrace Iran, you should know that an Iranian commander supported and gave guidance to the group that fired on Israel,” added Netanyahu.

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Iran Is Already Violating the Nuke Deal

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Frontpage, by Joseph Klein, August 20, 2015:

As the congressional vote on President Barack Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran draws closer, the Iranian regime appears to be doing everything it can to show that it has the upper hand as a result of the deal it negotiated with the United States and its five partners. It is either dishonestly twisting certain terms of the deal to justify its misbehavior or simply defying the terms outright. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not pushing back. Instead, they are pushing hard to avoid a veto-proof congressional vote of disapproval.

For example, Iran is planning to sign a contract for four advanced Russian surface-to-air S-300 missiles as early as next week, following a visit to Moscow by Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in violation of an international travel ban.

There have been whimpers of objection from the Obama administration, but no forceful statement that such activities by the Iranian regime will jeopardize the agreement from the get-go.

Iranian leaders have also declared that their arms shipments to allies in the region, such as their terrorist proxy Hezbollah, will continue despite the United Nations Security Council arms embargo still in effect for the next five years.

The Obama administration’s response is staggering. According to Kerry, “The arms embargo is not tied to snapback. It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it.”

That is all the encouragement the Iranian regime needed to up the ante. According to Debkafile, “Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, acting on the orders of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, this week set up a new Iranian command to fight Israel.” This newly named “Eastern Command” is reportedly set “to start handing out weapons, including missiles, to any Palestinian West Bank group willing to receive them.” This is the same Soleimani with American blood on his hands who recently visited Moscow in violation of the current international travel ban, but who will eventually have sanctions and freezes against him lifted as part of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, to make matters even worse, the Associated Press is reporting that “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work.” In other words, the UN international inspection team that President Obama has pointed to as the chief verification safeguard will now give way at least in part to Iranian inspectors investigating their own alleged nuclear weaponization development work at a military site declared off limits by Iran to international inspectors. The White House remained “confident” in the viability of the inspection regime despite the confidence game the Iranian regime played with the UN to permit Iran to self-inspect.

Nevertheless, Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives are lining up to support President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. They are willfully ignoring clear evidence that Iran, post-deal, is continuing its pattern of cheating and violating international sanctions and embargoes still in place. Like lemmings jumping over the cliff, these Democrats are willing to ease the Iranian regime’s path towards becoming a threshold nuclear armed state in a little over a decade, out of blind partisan loyalty to Obama.

To date, the Obama administration has the declared support of 23 Democratic and nominally “independent” senators it will need to sustain an expected veto by President Obama of any resolution passed by Congress to disapprove the deal. This tally is according to The Hill’s Senate whip list compiled as of August 18th. The administration needs at least 34 senators on Obama’s side to sustain a veto. Six Democratic senators are said to be leaning towards a favorable vote, including Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.). Fifteen Senate Democrats are still undecided.

So far, only two Democratic senators have shown the courage to serve the public interest, rather than narrow partisan interests. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) became the second Democratic senator to announce his willingness to vote against the president from his own party in opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Chuck Schumer had announced his opposition on August 6th.

On the House side, according to The Hill’s Whip List as of August 19th, 55 Democratic representatives have indicated that they are planning to vote in support of the deal. Fourteen more Democrats are leaning in favor. Twelve have declared their opposition to the deal so far. Three are leaning against and 57 are listed as undecided. Obama will prevail on a vote to sustain his expected veto of a disapproval resolution that passes both houses of Congress if he loses no more than 43 House Democrats (assuming the Republicans in the House all vote to override the veto).

Speaking at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations on August 18th when he announced his opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, Senator Menendez provided a very detailed explanation of his decision.  He characterized the fundamental flaw in the deal this way: “The agreement that has been reached failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve – it failed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target.”

Senator Menendez objected to the exchange of permanent sanctions relief for Iran in return for “only temporary – temporary – limitations on its nuclear program – not a rolling-back, not dismantlement, but temporary limitations.” The deal, the senator added, “is based on ‘hope.’ Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.”

Senator Menendez also took a swipe at President Obama’s attempt to tie opponents of his deal to supporters of the 2003 war in Iraq. “Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it,” the senator said, “I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it.”

The New Jersey senator reminded his audience that the purpose of the negotiations from the U.S. perspective had been “to dismantle all — or significant parts — of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time.  Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it. But fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.”

Senator Menendez cataloged examples of early assurances from the Obama administration of red lines that were later wiped away. For example, Secretary of State John Kerry had declared in the early days of engaging with Iran that Arak, Iran’s plutonium reactor, would be dismantled. That is not the case under the deal Obama and Kerry signed off on.  The underground Fordow enrichment facility was to be closed. That too was not part of the final deal. The Iranians, Senator Menendez said, were supposed “to come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin [their military facility] and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.” That too, in Senator Menendez’s words, “fell by the wayside.” Now we have learned that the Iranians will be able to self-inspect.

In addition, not even one existing centrifuge will be destroyed. Some are just being disconnected. Thousands will remain in operation. Research and development on centrifuges will be permitted to continue even during the first ten years of the deal.

“While I have many specific concerns about this agreement, my overarching concern is that it requires no dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and only mothballs that infrastructure for 10 years,” Senator Menendez explained. “We lift sanctions, and — at year eight — Iran can actually start manufacturing and testing advanced IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges that enrich up to 15 times the speed of its current models.  At year 15, Iran can start enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – the level at which we become concerned about fissile material for a bomb.  At year 15, Iran will have NO limits on its uranium stockpile.”

Under the deal, Iran will get significant sanctions relief within the first year, while its obligations stretch out for a decade or more. And there is a major concession in the deal that has gotten very little attention to date. Iran’s negotiators out-maneuvered Secretary of State Kerry’s team into conceding away the right to re-impose or extend U.S. sanctions beyond their expiration date. Senator Menendez noted that “we will have to refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the Iran Sanctions Act I authored – which expires next year — that acted significantly to bring Iran to the table in the first place.”

Iran has agreed only to provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that is supposed to ensure continuing access to suspect sites in a country, and only formally adopt it when Congress has abolished all sanctions.

Senator Menendez, like Senator Schumer, dismisses the either-or choice between Obama’s deal and war, which Obama and his supporters are offering as a red herring. “If there is a fear of war in the region,” said Senator Menendez, “it is fueled by Iran and its proxies and exacerbated by an agreement that allows Iran to possess an industrial-sized nuclear program, and enough money in sanctions relief to continue to fund its hegemonic intentions throughout the region.”

The senator suggested offering Iran some limited inducements to return to the negotiating table, and outlined some parameters that the Obama administration should follow in seeking better terms. These include “the immediate ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to ensure that we have a permanent international arrangement with Iran for access to suspect sites,” closing the Fordow enrichment facility, resolving the ‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s program” before there can be any permanent sanctions relief, banning centrifuge R&D for the duration of the agreement, and extending to at least 20 years the duration of the agreement.

Senator Menendez also wants to extend the authorization of the Iran Sanctions Act beyond its expiration in 2016 “to ensure that we have an effective snapback option.” And he wants a clear declaration of U.S. policy by the President and Congress that “we will use all means necessary to prevent Iran from producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, as well as building or buying one, both during and after any agreement.”

Unfortunately, the procedure for congressional involvement with the nuclear deal has turned the Constitution’s treaty ratification process on its head. Instead of requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate to ratify the nuclear deal if had been handled as a treaty, President Obama will get his way unless both houses of Congress override his veto of a disapproval resolution by a two-thirds vote. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that opponents of the nuclear deal will likely lose in a vote to override an Obama veto. Why the Republican majority in the Senate ever agreed to such a legislative trap is beyond comprehension.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, at the very least the leaders of the House and Senate must insist that a resolution of disapproval be voted upon on the merits. Each representative and senator should be required to go on the record in a roll-call vote, indicating his or her vote of yea or nay. This means that Democrats in the Senate should not be permitted to hide behind a filibuster to avoid an up-or-down vote. If the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and allow a majority of the Senate to pass or reject a disapproval resolution is not attainable, Senate Majority Leader McConnell must stand up and take a page out of former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s playbook. Senator McConnell should deploy the so-called “nuclear option.” This would mean eliminating the filibuster that could otherwise be used by Democrats to block a vote on what is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime agreement with life and death consequences for national security.

If the Democratic senators supporting President Obama’s deal believe that it is the only realistic alternative to war, then they should have the backbone to put their names on the record in support of the deal. If they try to duck their legislative responsibility to their constituents and the nation, then Senator McConnell must act promptly to take away their filibuster fig leaf. If Senator McConnell does not move aggressively in this direction as and when necessary, he will show as much cravenness as the Democrats exploiting the filibuster.

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Congress: Will Your Name Be on Iran’s Bomb?

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Also see:

The Supreme Leader Caught in His Own Web?

khawebIran Truth, by Clare Lopez, August 19, 2015:

For those who have only experienced either democracy or dictatorship, it is difficult to grasp the complexities of Iran’s political system, which is an autocracy that has adopted some democratic features. A careful reading of the Iranian constitution, however, clarifies for the reader that the Supreme Leader is the one and only person who wields ultimate power in that system, including appointment power for a vast number of positions.

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan, the most important Iranian daily widely viewed as the regime outlet for the Supreme Leader’s ideas and policies, is one of those appointed to his job directly by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Thus, it was no surprise that Shariatmadari’s 15 August 2015 editorial, claiming that Khamenei opposes the nuclear deal, drew immediate attention. Obviously, Shariatmadari would not have written that without Khamenei’s consent. The confusing part, however, is that Hamid Reza Moghadam Far, top advisor to MG Mohammed Ali Jafari, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, then harshly criticized Shariatmadari and warned him not to ascribe to the Supreme Leader his own ideas and understandings.

Given that Jafari is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader (just like Shariatmadari), and that there’s little history of this Iranian regime sending out such mixed messages from its own top ranks, the only conclusion possible is that sowing confusion is a calculated move at this time, intended to serve a regime objective.

For over three decades, the Islamic regime of Iran has made implacable enmity toward the U.S. and Israel the foundation of its official foreign policy, reflecting its leaders’ ideological dedication and fervor. Generations of young people have been indoctrinated to Islamic beliefs and recruited to the IRGC, Qods Force, and Basij on the basis of commitment to these beliefs. A blood-soaked litany of terror attacks instigated by this mullahs’ regime stretches from the ruins of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut through Khobar Towers, the East Africa Embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack, 9/11 and hundreds of American troops killed and maimed by Iranian and Hizballah explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tehran’s support for Islamic terror groups has left a global trail of murder and mayhem. “Resistance” is what the Ayatollahs call it. “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” are the slogans, chanted in endless repetition. America is the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.” Never did the Supreme Leader imagine negotiating, much less reaching an actual agreement, with such hated enemies.

But the sanctions took their toll and financial collapse had to be avoided, even if it meant coming to the table to negotiate with the world’s superpowers, however noxious that was for Khamenei personally. Getting the West to believe Iran was desperate enough to obtain relief from sanctions that it would agree to limit its nuclear weapons program was only a clever ruse, of course, but it worked. The first step was allowing Hassan Rouhani, an old regime hand who’d served as negotiator in earlier talks, to become president. Khamenei needed Rouhani’s smiling demeanor to smooth international impressions of the Islamic Republic. The years-long cultivation of Secretary John Kerry by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also would pay off big time. The clincher was bringing in Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, an old friend of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, to push through to the final agreement. Intelligence services like Iran’s are willing to invest lots of time and effort with targets at this level.

The American collapse on every single key issue—from enrichment (a stipulation demanded—and obtained—even before the first secret talks began in Oman in 2011) to centrifuges, the Arak plutonium-producing reactor, off-limits facilities, Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), sanctions relief, and P5+1 technical assistance with nuclear development and site protection—surprised and delighted the Iranians. Contrary to Shariatmadari’s claims, the Supreme Leader is in fact quite satisfied with the nuclear deal; but, he cannot show that publicly, for two key reasons. If the U.S. Congress should vote against the deal, potentially leaving in place even some sanctions that President Obama could neither waive nor lift, Khamenei would find himself the public supporter of a failed deal. The powerful IRGC and Basij militia might hold him responsible for compromising the blood of martyrs and values of the Islamic Revolution for which the Iranian people sacrificed their economy and lives. And that would spell the end of the regime.

What to do? Khamenei wants the benefits of this deal without any of the possible liabilities. So, even as his trusted Iran Lobby pulls out the stops to make sure the deal goes through, he tries to find a way to support it without disappointing the guns that keep him in power. Solution: in public, Khamenei has spoken in general, nebulous phrases that convey no certain position. But in private, to certain audiences among the IRGC, Qods Force, and Basij, he pretends to oppose the deal. To others, he expresses support. Each group is allowed to go out and express its understanding of the Supreme Leader’s position with the media. Meanwhile, Khamenei plays the game safely and waits to see which way the deal will go.

If something goes wrong with the deal, Khamenei will be the one who warned Rouhani’s negotiating team not to trust the Americans. Publicly, then, he can discredit Shariatmadari and claim the media misstated his position (even though everyone knows that without Khamenei’s prior permission, neither Jafari nor Kayhan’s editor-in-chief would even discuss the subject). The regime is trapped in a web of its own making. It has radiated hatred toward Israel and the West for so long and so insistently that it cannot now just stop chanting “Death to America” or calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map. Nor can it abandon its terror proxies across the region. Disappointing the IRGC and Basij that are the backbone of this regime would shake the very foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran: unthinkable.

Khamenei depends on the U.S. Congress to save his regime. Congressional members may want to think about that long and hard before voting on this disastrous deal next month.

This piece was co-written by Daniel Akbari, a lawyer certified to practice before the Supreme Court of Iran, holds a master’s degree from Texas State University and a graduate certificate in homeland security from the Bush School of Government and Public service. 

Also see:

Dem Senator on Iran Deal: Just an Expensive Alarm Clock

Menendez-Against-Deal-HP

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 19, 2015:

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey became the second Democratic Senator to announce his opposition to the Iran deal, joining Chuck Schumer of New York. Menendez described the deal as an “expensive alarm system” that will increase the Iranian nuclear threat and the stability of the regime.

Menendez gave a lengthy speech dissecting the deal, particularly how it preserves Iran’s status as a nuclear threshold state and sets up a situation where it becomes more difficult to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran with each passing day. For example, after the first eight years of the agreement, the regime will be permitted to have centrifuges that increase the speed of its uranium enrichment 15 times over.

Menendez pointed out that if Iran complies with the deal for the 15-year period—a big if—we will have a stronger Iranian regime with a greater ability to resist international pressure. And if Iran gets sanctions relief and then scraps the deal (probably conjuring up some pretext to accuse the U.S. of non-compliance), we will have the same outcome. In other words, the situation will be worse than today regardless of whether Iran complies or not.

Supporters of the deal argue that the deal extends Iran’s breakout time to build a bomb from the current three months to one year, which would be true if there were no hidden sites and Iran complies with the deal. Menendez responds:

“Of course if the Iranians violate the agreement and try to make a dash for a nuclear bomb, our solace will be that we will have a year’s notice instead of the present three months. So in reality we have purchased a very expensive alarm system.  Maybe we’ll have an additional nine months, but with much greater consequences in the enemy we might face at that time.”

Menendez recommends a middle path between scrapping the deal and approving it. He wants President Obama to renegotiate it and preserve the interim arrangement, which Iran should be willing to accept because it includes $700 million in economic relief every month, amounting to $10 billion already. Menendez said he’d even support unfreezing some additional assets to prove our sincerity.

A better deal, he said, would include immediate implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Additional Protocol, the closure of the underground Fordow enrichment facility, a ban on centrifuge development, complete disclosure of weaponization activities at Parchin and an international agreement about the specific sanctions Iran will face if a violation happens. Schumer previously recommended restrictions on how Iran spends its newly-acquired funds.

Menendez rebuts the administration’s argument that the only alternative to the deal is war:

“The President and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly said that the choice is between this agreement or war.  I reject that proposition, as have most witnesses, including past and present Administration members involved in the Iran nuclear issue, who have testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and who support the deal but reject the binary choice between the agreement or war.

“If the P5+1 had not achieved an agreement, would we be at war with Iran? I don’t believe that.

And finally, Menendez rejects the argument that the deal will moderate the Iranian regime by strengthening “reformists” inside of it, as President Obama suggested international engagement could accomplish. The gamble is that the Iran of 15 years from now will be vastly different than the Iran of today.

Menendez said:

“Whether or not the supporters of the agreement admit it, this deal is based on ‘hope’– hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration.  Hope that the hardliners will have lost their power and the revolution will end its hegemonic goals.  And hope that the regime will allow the Iranian people to decide their fate.

Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.

The Iranian regime, led by the Ayatollah, wants above all to preserve the regime and its Revolution, unlike the Green Revolution of 2009.  So it stretches incredulity to believe they signed on to a deal that would in any way weaken the regime or threaten the goals of the Revolution.”

And that’s the fundamental issue. The U.S. strategy towards Iran lacks an end goal, which should be ending the Iranian regime — not merely containing the destructive results of the current regime.

The next generation should not be burdened with a massively increased threat because of our desire to kick the can down the road. Any deal that strengthens the Iranian regime and rescues its Islamic Revolution is a strategic victory for the Ayatollah’s Islamist cause.

Also see:

‘For the Record’: The Nine Words That Explain Why the U.S. Gave Up So Much in the Iran Deal

iran-nuclear-deal-congressThe Blaze, by Tom Orr, Aug. 17, 2015:

The landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers has been sharply criticized by opponents who argue it gives the Islamic Republic far too much freedom to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

One of the harshest critics is Frank Gaffney, a former senior official in the Department of Defense during the Reagan administration who worked on the government’s Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy.

“I think most people who’ve had the kinds of opportunities that I’ve had to work in government have never seen anything quite like this,” Gaffney said.

In this all-new For the Record short, Gaffney explains what he calls “The Obama Doctrine” and how it may have played a crucial role in shaping the controversial deal with Iran.

FTR SHORTS – Iran: The Obama Doctrine from TheBlaze Videos on Vimeo.

Iranian Officials Ratchet Up Genocidal Anti-Israel Rhetoric After Nuclear Deal

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
August 18, 2015

1216A video shows the Revolutionary Guard Corps massing on a hill overlooking Jerusalem.

A conference of religious scholars features speaker after speaker calling Israel’s annihilation inevitable and promising that a “new phase” in that effort is about to begin.

While some in the United States and among its Western allies may hope that a nuclear weapons deal with Iran might steer the Islamic Republic in a new, more responsible direction, hardliners draw new lines and issue new threats.

On Monday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei took to social media to attack the United States and Israel. “We spare no opportunity to support anyone #FightingTheZionists,” wrote the ayatollah, whose regime supplies Hizballah and Hamas with rockets and other weapons of terror.

Perhaps more chilling is an animated video from the Islamic Revolution Design House, a media outfit associated with Iranian hardliners. It shows a soldier preparing for battle. He puts on a Revolutionary Guard patch, and then a Qassam Brigades headband, followed by a ski mask and a Palestinian scarf around his neck, while arming himself with a machine gun and a pistol. As he puts on a helmet, we see him looking over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, home of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque. The image pulls back, showing the soldier amid a sea of conquering troops.

A concluding message invokes Ayatollah Khomeini’s threat that Israel must be wiped off the map and promises that day is coming soon.

A conference held in Beirut late last month reinforced that message over and over again. The General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema (Scholars) held its first gathering under the banner “Unity for Palestine.” The weekend meeting included fiery rhetoric from an Iranian ayatollah and Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.

“Annihilation of the Zionist regime is a sure thing and Quranic pledge,” Ayatollah Mohsen Araki told the assembly. Araki is secretary general of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, emphasizing the importance of unifying “Muslims in countering the regime of Zionism and the arrogant World.”

Many of the speeches were uploaded to YouTube and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Nasrallah called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and said “It is only a matter of time” before it is defeated.

“We believe with certainty that Israel, this cancerous tumor, is headed for extinction, and that Palestine and Jerusalem will be returned to their people. It is only a matter of time and [this outcome] is linked to the will, action, jihad, and sacrifices of the Ummah, according to the principle: If you achieve victory for Allah, Allah will lead you to achieve victory.” Nasrallah said it was Allah’s will for Muslims to achieve “final victory over the Zionist scheme” and urged the assembly not to waste the opportunity.

“The day in which we will all pray in Jerusalem, Inshallah (God willing) is inevitably coming Inshallah. All of these calamities, conspiracies, and crises are merely trials to strengthen and make fit all those who believe in this project and in this path to enable them to be worthy of the coming victory. Some people may gain victory but then waste it.

Allah Almighty wants our Ummah (nation) in its final victory over the Zionist project and in restoring Palestine and Jerusalem to be worthy of this huge historic victory and to be worthy of preserving this victory and not to lose it as many victories have been lost.”

Muhammad Hasan Zamani, a former Iranian cultural counselor in Egypt who runs the Department of International Islamic Madrasas for the General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema, maintained the theme, insisting there is no peaceful resolution that would end in Iran’s acceptance of a Jewish state.

“Israel must be erased from the map of the world. These are the golden words Imam Khomeini (may God have mercy on him) uttered. Why do we assert the obligation of erasing Israel from the world, and not speak of erasing America and other unjust countries from the world? We in Iran say slogans in marches, Death to Israel, Death to America, Death to the English, and so forth and so on.”

Iran considers America the “greater Satan,” Zamani went on to say, but the Islamic Republic respects other governments which were chosen by their people. By contrast, he claimed Israel is not legitimate: “I say that the example of the rule of the Zionists is the example of thieves who attack a house and occupy the house and the people of the house defend their house.”

Sheikh Abdel Halim Qadhi, a professor at Zahidan University, explained that the conflict is inherently about religion. “[T]he Holy Quran makes it know that Jews are the enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and their holy places and rites,” he said.

“Jihad is the most powerful and only way to liberate Palestine and defend Jerusalem,” he added, saying “God loves those who fight in his way.”

In a final statement from conference attendees, the group emphasized “the first and most important obligation is to unite the Umma to liberate the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem, reported Al-Manar, a Lebanese news outlet considered close to Iran’s proxy Hizballah. The group also said “resistance” was the way “to achieve victory in Lebanon and Palestine, despite the unlimited support received by the Zionist enemy and continuing inaction of the countries in the region.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, published a 416-page book earlier this month outlining the destruction of Israel, referring to the Jewish state as an ally of “The American Great Satan.”

The book features a long-term strategy that entails terrorizing Israel in a war of attrition that would lead to Jews leaving Israel for other countries.

Supporters of the nuclear deal say it’s a fantasy to expect a better outcome should Congress override President Obama’s expected veto of a vote to defeat the agreement. The combined statements of Iran and its supporting clerics makes clear, however, that the true fantasy is any expectation Iran will turn away from terror as a result of its engagement with world powers.

Also see:

Beyond Hamas: planned Abbas visit elucidates Iran’s lesser-known ties to PA

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to leaders of the now-collapsed Palestinian unity government between his Fatah party and Hamas in Ramallah on June 2, 2014. While Iran has long supported Hamas, the PA's rival, Abbas plans to visit Iran in November. Credit: Issam RImawi/Flash90.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to leaders of the now-collapsed Palestinian unity government between his Fatah party and Hamas in Ramallah on June 2, 2014. While Iran has long supported Hamas, the PA’s rival, Abbas plans to visit Iran in November. Credit: Issam RImawi/Flash90.

JNS.org, By Sean Savage and Alina Dain Sharon, August 13, 2015:

While Iran’s funding of the Palestinian terror group Hamas is well-documented, the Islamic Republic’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority (PA) is less frequently discussed. But that pattern may start to shift upon the recent announcement of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s planned trip to Iran in November.

Abbas last visited Ira in 2012, when he attended a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. His upcoming visit, announced by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani, comes just weeks after the signing of a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran. Majdalani himself recently visited Tehran and met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Majdalani said Iran and the PA have agreed to work together on holding an international conference with the goal of bringing about the nuclear disarmament of Israel. (The Jewish state has never confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons.)

“The visit now by a PA emissary, Ahmad Majdalani, is an advance visit and will likely not generate headlines. But Abbas’s visit could be historic. Depending on how it goes, it may be a sign that he has fully gravitated away from diplomacy with Israel if he invests in his ties to the Islamic Republic,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told J NS.org.

The relationship between Iran and the PA’s precursor, the PLO—which was founded in 1964 and was recognized as the Palestinians’ representative organization following the signing of the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993—“go back a long time, all the way to the Islamic Revolution,” said Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy.

“That said, the PLO-Iran relationship has always been bumpy,” he told JNS.org.

According to the United States Institute of Peace, during Iran’s Shah period, the PLO had close ties with the Iranian opposition and even provided training to dissidents. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, “PLO forces trained the original Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on terrorism techniques,” Shideler said. But the PLO would later support Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

As a result of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that resulted in the 1993 Oslo Accords, “ties have been rather horrible between Iran and the PA,” Schanzer said.

“The PA was created as an interim government as part of the Oslo process, which Iran utterly rejected. This is, in part, what drove Iran to embrace Hamas,” he said.

Shideler pointed to a ship called Karine-A as an example of collaboration between the PA and Iran. The ship was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002 in the Red Sea and found to be carrying 50 tons of weaponry supplied by Iran and Hezbollah, and intended to reach PA hands.

But in 2010, then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stirred a controversy at a rally in Tehran by saying that year’s re-launched U.S.-brokered peace process between Israel and the Palestinians was going to fail, while criticizing Abbas as an Israeli puppet.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh responded by referencing Ahmadinejad’s controversial win in Iran’s 2009 presidential election, saying that “he who does not represent the Iranian people, who forged elections and who suppresses the Iranian people and stole the authority, is not entitled to talk about Palestine, or the president of Palestine.”

Further, Iran’s ties with Hamas have particularly alienated the Islamic Republic from the PA over the years, given the tense Hamas-PA relationship. According to Shideler, the PA even sought to recruit Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief regional rival nation, to “help in crushing Hamas back in April [2015], effectively offering to bring the Saudi-Iran proxy fight to the [Palestinian] territories. The PA’s bid “seems to have failed, with the Saudi king meeting with Hamas leadership in July,” Shideler told JNS.org.

At the same time, however, the relationship between Hamas and Iran has also been bumpy in recent years. Iran’s ties with Hamas frayed at the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 because Hamas backed—and potentially also trained—Syrian rebels militarily. More recently, Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal visited Saudi Arabia for a series of high-level meetings. Reports indicate that Iran was outraged by the visit and cancelled a planned visit to Tehran by Mashaal. Additionally, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk has said that Hamas’s relationship with Iran is now virtually nonexistent.

Yet Iranian ties with Hamas “are not dead,” Schanzer told JNS.org.

“The Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s armed wing) still maintains close ties [to Iran],” he said. “The disagreement is with the Hamas political types. Iran is likely to exploit how fractured Hamas is, and ultimately find a way back to being a major patron.”

Then there is Islamic Jihad, the other prominent Palestinian terrorist organization in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Iran has “had recent trouble” with Islamic Jihad, which is reportedly almost bankrupt due to Iran pulling its funding for the terror group after the latter announced support for forces opposing the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shideler noted.

But ultimately, Iran has a vested interest in improving its relations with all of the various Palestinian factions in order to “be recognized as the chief leader and architect to resistance to Israel,” Shideler added.

“That may mean they want to work at ending schisms among the Palestinian leadership and reorienting all factions back towards focusing on Israel. This [upcoming visit by Abbas to Iran] may be intended to convince the PA that Iran wants to be the patron of Palestinian resistance at large, and not just of one or two groups,” he said.

While the Israeli Foreign Ministry has not yet released an official reaction to Abbas’s planned Iran visit, ministry spokesman Alon Melchior told JNS.org that the trip is “a bit peculiar.”

“The logic behind this visit is not really clear. Iran is financing their rivals (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) and terrorizing the region,” Melchior said.

But if one thing is certain, it is that the Abbas visit “won’t make the peace process any easier,” added Melchior.

The Iran nuclear deal also factors into Iranian-Palestinian relations because the Islamic Republic wants to use the agreement to solidify its place as a major Middle East power. It might be no coincidence that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released anew book titled “Palestine” around the time that the nuclear deal was reached.

Abbas “knows he is driving a wedge between Hamas and Iran” by engaging with the Islamic Republic, but the PA leader’s calculus is “bigger than that,” according to Schanzer.

“He also sees Iran as an emerging regional power after the nuclear deal. He is making sure that he is on the right side of Iran when that happens. Also, Iran is about to come into $100 billion in sanctions relief. The PA is broke. Do the math,” Schanzer said.

The PA might also believe that “better relations with Iran are the only way to keep Hamas at bay, since the gambit with the Saudis seemed to have failed,” added Shideler.

In recent years, beyond its military support for Hamas, Iran has had an increased interest in arming the PA-controlled disputed territories. In a 2014 speech, Khamenei said he believes that “the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Shideler believes that while the interests of Iran and the PA might not always align, they do have some common ground.

“Iran is invested in Hamas, and needs Hamas as a proxy to initiate conflicts with Israel… But Iran and the PA can cooperate on diplomatic efforts to publicly embarrass and hamper Israel, such as over the nuclear issue—for example by using the nuclear deal to portray Iran as once again within international consensus on nuclear proliferation and casting Israel as the nuclear rogue,” he said.

Also see:

 

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE – Hausman Memorial Speaker Series

Hausman eventPublished on Aug 13, 2015 by theunitedwest

The Hausman Memorial Speaker Series is proud to host three extraordinary individuals for the “Freedom Isn’t Free” Security Briefing, at Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, MA. Frank Gaffney, president and founder of The Center for Security Policy, Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer and current VP of Research and Analysis at The Center, and Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, former Commander of the USN Pacific Fleet and current President and CEO of Lions Associates LLC offer their insights on topics including jihad, the Islamic State and the dangers and consequences of a bad Iranian nuclear deal. This straight forward presentation will undoubtedly reveal aspects of the Obama Administration’s policies that will leave you shaking your head!

While Still a Senator, Kerry Communicated Obama’s Capitulation Policy to the Iranian Regime

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Center for Security Policy, by Andrew McCarthy, Aug. 12, 2015:

In a column on Tuesday and follow-up post on the Corner, I relate that beginning in 2011, President Obama secretly enticed the Iranian regime to the bargaining table by communicating that he was open to abandoning longstanding American opposition to Iran’s claimed “right” to enrich uranium. This news comes to us from a new MEMRI report, which elaborates that Obama relied on then-senator John Kerry to grease the wheels for his entreaty to Iran’s leader.

Why Kerry?

Though he was surely a key Obama ally on Capitol Hill, Kerry was not in the administration. The president already had a compliant secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who was dutifully implementing his appeasement policies. He also had any number of subordinate administration officials capable of passing messages. So why would Obama choose Kerry as his emissary to alert Iran to a dramatic shift in American policy?

Clearly, there are two reasons: Obama needed someone outside the administration, and Kerry’s status and track record made him a natural.

Remember, Obama was running for reelection in 2011–12. Public opposition to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and, therefore, to Iran’s enrichment of uranium was very strong — and, indeed, remains so. Consequently, Obama pretended on the campaign trail that he would vigorously oppose Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts . . . even as he was covertly signaling to the jihadist regime that he was open to recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.

As my friend Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy has noted, Obama asserted in the lead-up to the 2008 election that “the world must work to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.” So too, in the run-up to the 2012 election, did Obama continue assuring voters that Iran “needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran’s enrichment activities. Thus did the president proclaim, in seeking reelection, that the only deal he would accept would be one in which the Iranians “end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”

With Obama out feigning opposition to Iran’s enrichment activities, it would not do to have a conflicting message communicated to Iran by his own administration. What if Iran, to embarrass Obama, were to go public about an administration entreaty that directly addressed enrichment? It would have been hugely problematic for the president’s campaign. Obama thus needed an alternative: someone outside the administration whom Obama could trust but disavow if anything went wrong; someone the Iranian regime would regard as authoritative.

John Kerry was the perfect choice.

Besides being the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, Kerry was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a reliable Obama ally on foreign-policy issues. Kerry frequently spoke out on U.S. relations with Iran and would be seen by the regime in Tehran as a credible barometer for reading Obama. It was no secret, moreover, that Kerry had designs on replacing Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state in a second Obama term.

Just as significantly, Kerry’s belief that the United States should capitulate to Iran on the “right to enrichment” was well known to the Iranians.

It has been American policy under administrations of both parties that the right to peaceful nuclear power does not imply a right to enrich uranium.

Some background: As I outlined in my column on Tuesday, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NNP) holds that every nation has an “inalienable right” to use nuclear power peacefully. Yet the treaty does not confer an explicit right to obtain nuclear power through any particular route, let alone a route like uranium enrichment — a process that can easily be diverted to the weaponization of nuclear power, the thing the NNP treaty is designed to prevent. For this reason, it has been American policy under administrations of both parties that the right to peaceful nuclear power does not imply a right to enrich uranium.

But Kerry was known to scoff at this policy.

Fred Fleitz has usefully directed my attention to an enlightening 2009 Financial Times interview during which Senator Kerry opined that it was “ridiculous” to argue against Iran’s right to enrich uranium. The interview occurred in June, during the first round of the infamous Iranian presidential election that the Khamenei regime eventually stole for Ahmadinejad, igniting a popular revolt that the regime violently put down while Obama looked the other way.

The Financial Times reported:

One of the most senior Democrats in Washington has dismissed a key element in the west’s long standing strategy on Iran’s nuclear programme as “ridiculous.” His comments throw open the debate about how far the US and its partners should go in seeking a compromise with Tehran after on [sic] Friday’s presidential election.

John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, told the Financial Times in an interview that Iran had a right to enrich uranium — a process that can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material. . . .

“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr. Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”

And now we learn that two years later, when Obama wanted to assure Khamenei that he would be flexible on Iran’s demands (even as the president was telling Americans the opposite in his reelection campaign), Kerry relayed a letter to the Iranian regime in Tehran. The letter was transmitted through the same intermediary, the government of Oman, that Obama would later use to transmit his message to Iran’s supreme leader. According to a key adviser to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Kerry’s letter stated that the United States recognized “Iran’s rights regarding the enrichment cycle.” MEMRI says that Kerry’s letter triggered two meetings in Oman between American and Iranian diplomats and, finally, Obama’s letter to Khamenei.

The Obama administration would soon officially agree that Iran has a right to enrich uranium. The capitulation details were formally handled by Kerry once he became Obama’s second secretary of state. Obviously, his audition went well.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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White House, Allies Accuse Jewish Lawmakers of Dual Loyalty to Israel

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Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Aug. 11, 2015:

Obama administration allies lobbying in favor of a recently signed nuclear deal with Iran are smearing Jewish lawmakers and opponents of the accord with allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, rhetoric many view as anti-Semitic, according to allegations leveled by these individuals and groups.

Organizations close to the White House, including the pro-Tehran lobbying shop National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the liberal fringe group J Street, and the anti-war organization MoveOn, have come out to question the motivation of Jewish individuals who oppose the nuclear deal, which will provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief and lift longstanding restrictions on its ballistic missile program.

These allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, which many have identified as anti-Semitic, began almost immediately with the White House, which accused its critics of worrying more about Israel’s interests than the United States’.

The use of this rhetoric by the Obama administration and its allies is attracting concern among Jewish leaders, who worry the White House will pin the potential failure of the Iran deal on the American Jewish community.

In a July 21 interview, Obama said that shady “lobbyists” and people with “money” were working to kill the deal.

“I guarantee you, if people feel strongly about making sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, without us going to war, and that is expressed to Congress, then people will believe in that,” Obama told former Daily Show host Jon Stewart. “And the same is true on every single issue. If people are engaged, eventually the political system responds. Despite the money, despite the lobbyists, it still responds.”

Jewish publications questioned Obama’s rhetoric, with some accusing the president of using anti-Semitic “dog whistles,” a move that prominent detractors of Israel celebrated.

Obama engaged in similar rhetoric during July 15 speech about the deal in which he urged people to support the agreement “not based on lobbying, but based on what’s in the national interests of the United States of America.”

The rhetoric also has extended to what many view as implicit threats against Israel.

Obama reportedly told a group of Jewish leaders last week that rejection of the Iran deal will result in rockets falling on Tel Aviv.

Secretary of State John Kerry also said that Israel will be blamed if Congress rejects the deal.

Organizations close to the White House quickly latched onto this rhetoric and have taken aim at Democratic Jewish lawmakers who have come out against the deal.

NIAC, which has been accused of lobbying on behalf of Tehran and the regime, explicitly accused Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) of being more loyal to Israel than America.

Reza Marashi, a NIAC flack, took to Twitter to accuse Schumer of “putting Israel’s interests ahead of America’s interests.”

In addition to Schumer, Democratic Jewish Reps. Brad Sherman (Calif.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.) also have come out against the deal.

J Street, an anti-Israel group that has described itself as the Obama administration’s “blocking back,” also questioned the motives of those Jewish lawmakers opposing the accord.

“Opposing the #IranDeal against recs of top scientists, Israeli & US security experts, 100+ ex-diplomats can’t plausibly be a policy decision,” J Street official Dylan Williams pontificated on Twitter over the weekend.

The Daily Kos published a cartoon over the weekend that accused Schumer of being a “traitor” who is more loyal to Israel than the U.S.

On Sunday, the White House aligned dark money group CREDO Action, the political arm of CREDO Mobile, teamed with the Democrats.com to accuse Schumer of being a traitorous “warmonger” who is betraying his country.

In mid-July, when the deal was first announced, White House ally MoveOn blasted an email to its members headlined “47 traitors.”

In the note, MoveOn wrote: “We have just 60 days to stop the so-called ‘47 traitors’ and hawkish Democrats from killing this deal.”

Jewish leaders said the rhetoric from the Obama administration and its allies has crossed a line into anti-Semitic territory.

“There is a Yiddish word for all this—Shanda—an outrage,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which works to combat global anti-Semitism.

“I grew up during the Cold War, when Democrats and Republicans and the various presidents debated and argued life and death issues involving nuclear arms and the Soviet Union and the nexus with trade an human rights issues, including the fate of Soviet Jewry and the Kremlin’s anti-Semitism,” Cooper said.

“Those were hard fought debates on existential issues,” Cooper said. “I don’t recall such gutter politics. I don’t fear the crock of dual loyalty; I am ashamed by those who cannot bring facts to the table so they attempt to bully.”

“Well, this American Jew won’t be bullied and I am grateful that Senator Schumer and millions of other American Jews won’t be cowered,” Cooper said.

Another senior official with a prominent pro-Israel organization told the Washington Free Beacon that the anti-Semitic rhetoric is “likely to get worse.”

“The unacceptable rhetoric from the pro-deal camp has strayed into open anti-Semitism last week, but what’s really worrying is that it’s likely to get worse,” said Omri Ceren, managing director at The Israel Project. “We’re less than halfway through the congressional review period. You’ve already got White House validators from the pro-Iran lobby tweeting about traitorous Jews and White House supporters from the grassroots publishing cartoons of perfidious Jews.

“What are they going to do for an encore?” Ceren asked.

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