Obama Administration Knew of Illegal North Korea Missile Technology Transfers to Iran During Talks

North Korean Sohae Launch Station November 2012 Source Space.com

North Korean Sohae Launch Station November 2012
Source Space.com

NER, by Jerry Gordon, April 15,2015:

Bill Gertz has a blockbuster expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon  of something we have been hammering away for years: the technology transfer of  missile  and nuclear technology  between  North Korea and the Iran, “North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks.”  The stunning disclosure was that US intelligence has known about the illegal transfer in violation of UN arms sanctions, as apparently did the Obama Administration.   You recall the statement that Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman made before a Senate hearing in early 2014. Sherman said, “that if Iran can’t get the bomb then its ballistic missiles would be irrelevant.”

In a March 2014 NER article “Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea In March 2014, we wrote a New English Review article, we interviewed my colleague Ilana Freedman about her sources on Iran North Korean nuclear cooperation. She noted:

According to my sources, Iran began moving its bomb manufacturing operations from Iran to North Korea in December 2012. Two facilities near Nyongbyon in North Pyongan province, some 50 miles north of Pyongyang, have become a new center for Iran’s nuclear arms program.

Over the last year, Iran has been secretly supplying raw materials to the reactor at Nyongbyon for the production of plutonium. At a second facility, located about fifteen miles north and with a code name that translates to ‘Thunder God Mountain’, nuclear warheads are being assembled and integrated with MIRV platforms. MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. Approximately 250-300 Iranian scientists are now reported to be in North Korea, along with a small cadre of IRGC personnel to provide for their security.

According to the reports, the Iranian-North Korean collaboration has already produced the first batch of fourteen nuclear warheads. A dedicated fleet of Iranian cargo aircraft, a combination of 747′s and Antonov heavy-lifters, which has been ferrying personnel and materials back and forth between Iran and North Korea, is in place to bring the assembled warheads back to Iran.

Gertz’s WFB reported:

Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.

While the  CIA declined to comment on these allegations claiming classified information, others  , Gertz queried  said that “such transfers  were covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary agreement among 34 nations that limits transfers of missiles and components of systems with ranges of greater than 186 miles.”

One official said the transfers between North Korea and Iran included large diameter engines, which could be used for a future Iranian long-range missile system.

The United Nations Security Council in June 2010 imposed sanctions on Iran for its illegal uranium enrichment program. The sanctions prohibit Iran from purchasing ballistic missile goods and are aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring “technology related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

U.S. officials said the transfers carried out since September appears to be covered by the sanctions.

In a June 2014 Iconoclast post  we drew attention to Iranian/ North Korean joint development of large rocket boosters sufficient to loft nuclear MIRV warheads and the likelihood that Iran might have that capability within a few years. In June 2014, The Algemeiner reported an Iranian official announcing that it possessed a 5,000 kilometer (approximately 3,125 miles) range missile that could hit the strategic base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean:

“In the event of a mistake on the part of the United States, their bases in Bahrain and (Diego) Garcia will not be safe from Iranian missiles,” said an Iranian Revolutionary Guard adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Majatba Dhualnuri.

Gertz cites 2009 State Department Classified cables revealed by Wikileaks  confirming the Freedman analysis:

North Korea also supplied Iran with a medium-range missile called the BM-25 that is a variant of the North Korean Musudan missile.

“This technology would provide Iran with more advanced missile technology than currently used in its Shahab-series of ballistic missiles and could form the basis for future Iranian missile and [space launch vehicle] designs.”

“Pyongyang’s assistance to Iran’s [space launch vehicle] program suggests that North Korea and Iran may also be cooperating on the development of long-range ballistic missiles.”

A second cable from September 2009 states that Iran’s Safir rocket uses missile steering engines likely provided by North Korea that are based on Soviet-era SS-N-6 submarine launched ballistic missiles.

That technology transfer was significant because it has allowed Iran to develop a self-igniting missile propellant that the cable said “could significantly enhance Tehran’s ability to develop a new generation of more-advanced ballistic missiles.”

“All of these technologies, demonstrated in the Safir [space launch vehicle] are critical to the development of long-range ballistic missiles and highlight the possibility of Iran using the Safir as a platform to further its ballistic missile development.”

Gertz quotes  former US UN Ambassador John Bolton,  former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee arms control expert Thomas Moor  raising concerns about  Administration suppression of  missile technology transfers between North Korea and Iran.

Ambassador Bolton said:

“And if the violation was suppressed within the U.S. government, it would be only too typical of decades of practice,” Bolton said. “Sadly, it would also foreshadow how hard it would be to get honest reports made public once Iran starts violating any deal.”

Fleitz said:

“While it may seem outrageous that the Obama administration would look the other way on missile shipments from North Korea to Iran during the Iran nuclear talks, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Fleitz said.

“The Obama administration has excluded all non-nuclear Iranian belligerent and illegal activities from its nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” he said. “Iran’s ballistic missile program has been deliberately left out of the talks even though these missiles are being developed as nuclear weapon delivery systems.”

“Since the administration has overlooked this long list of belligerent and illegal Iranian behavior during the   Iran talks, it’s no surprise it ignored missile shipments to Iran from North Korea,” he added.

Moore said:

“If true, allowing proliferation with no response other than to lead from behind or reward it, let alone bury information about it, is to defeat the object and purpose of the global nonproliferation regime—the only regime Obama may end up changing in favor of those in Tehran, Havana and Pyongyang,” Moore said.

These stunning disclosures about missile component transfers between North Korea and Iran with the knowledge of the Administration and intelligence echelon confirms  the conclusion of our several NER and Iconoclast posts. To wit:

“Who will be able to stop that dangerous development taking place in North Korea’s hermit Kingdom? Who is best able to counter these threats in both Iran and North Korea?”   That appears to be foremost from the minds of Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Sherman and the President intent on perfecting a new paradigm of relations in the Middle East by pivoting to Iran.  They appear not bothered by the facts and the national security implications of Iran with nuclear tipped ICBMs courtesy of North Korea.

Add this latest Gertz, WFB reports to the stack of  increasing evidence to quote Israeli PM Netanyahu that the nuclear deal with Iran “ is a very bad deal”.  Now we have to wait the delivery of a final agreement with Iran may or may not eventuate. Thus  raising the question of whether yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee  unanimous approval of  the Iran Nuclear Review agreement legislation, if passed  by both chamber and signed into law by President Obama,  will ever be triggered.

Corker says he has deal on Iran

corkerbob_090313gn_0The Hill, By David McCabe, April 14, 2015:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday said he has a bipartisan deal on his bill allowing Congress to review a nuclear deal with Iran.

Corker said the agreement would ensure an easy vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We have reached an agreement that absolutely keeps the integrity of the process in place,” he said on Bloomberg TV.

Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been negotiating with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), his panel’s ranking member. The committee will consider the bill on Tuesday afternoon.

The White House has threatened to veto the Corker bill, which could lead to a vote by Congress disapproving of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Corker on Monday suggested the agreement he’s reached could lead to a strong bipartisan vote.

“I believe we’ve struck an exact right balance in the agreement that will be voted on today and I’m hopeful that we’re going to be very, very successful,” Corker said while appearing on CNN’s “New Day.”

Supporters of the Corker bill have been nearing a majority in the Senate that would be high enough to override a veto. It takes two-thirds majority votes in both chambers to override a veto.

Democrats had been pushing to change language in Corker’s bill that set up a 60-day review period for Congress. During the period, President Obama would not be able to waive sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions by Tehran on its nuclear program.

Corker’s communication’s director said on Twitter that they had reached “an agreement on bill that keeps integrity of congressional review intact.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) later on Tuesday said he planned to file two amendments during committee consideration of the bill.

The first would cut the review period from 60 days to 30 days, while the second would remove a provision requiring that the administration certify as part of a nuclear deal that Iran is no longer supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.

Democrats argue that language would expand the scope of the proposal beyond Iran’s nuclear program.

“I believe that these amendments move [the legislation] in a direction that make it one that I can support,” he told reporters.

Coons said he was confident that Corker has reached a deal on a manager’s amendment with Cardin, but indicated he still hoped to win more changes to the bill.

Corker said Tuesday morning while he is “confident” that Corker has reached a manager’s agreement on the legislation, he suggested that the committee meeting will underscore if a deal can get approval from members.

“By the end of today I am optimistic that we will demonstrate the possibility of a more balanced and bipartisan outcome,” Coons said.

Republicans are also expected to offer amendments to the Iran bill, and if they are accepted it could cost the bill support from Democrats.

Corker defended his measure on Tuesday morning from criticism that it constitutes Congress meddling with the executive branch.

“I think there may be a misunderstanding about what’s happening. What Congress is saying is when they finish negotiation — we’re not going to be involved while they’re negotiating — but when they finish we want this presented to Congress,” he said.

Also see:

The Iranian Nuke Weapons Threat & Fox News: Islamic Jihad is Iran’s Animating Ideology, NOT “Persian Merchant Culture”

!cid_image014_jpg@01D075CAy Andrew Bostom, April 13, 2015:

Yesterday (Sunday 4/12/15) I discussed the Iranian nuclear weapons threat with Lisa Benson. Her spontaneous opening reference (which I had not seen till I went to the catalogued Fox news video clip online this morning) was to a thoroughly uninformed Friday April 10, 2015 Fox News O’Reilly Factor (with affable guest host Eric Bolling) discussion of Iran. During the segment, the invited analyst, Ralph Peters, invoked an alleged “Persian merchant culture” [note: I am not jesting; go to 2:25 to 2:40 of the interview], devoid of any mention of Shiite Iran’s explicit guiding Islamic ideology—deeply rooted in jihad.

[relevant comments on this video at 1:13]

I have analyzed the three pillars of Iran’s Islamic motivations—jihad, Islamic Jew- and broader infidel-hatred, and the related doctrine of infidel physical and spiritual impurity, or “najis,”—at great length in my book “Iran’s Final Solution For Israel,” as well as this recent Breitbart essay (especially part 2). In a print media interview with Leo Hohmann published last week, I elucidated the Islamic law jihad doctrine of tactical treaties/armistices (based on Islam’s prophet Muhammad’s so-called “Treaty of Hudaybiyyah”) critically relevant to understanding the Iran negotiations, and even openly acknowledged by an Iranian “moderate” Middle East expert and former adviser to “moderate” Iranian President Khatami, the Iranian expert literally blurting out, regarding the nuke negotiations process, that it was “a Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, to be followed by a conquest of Mecca”. Consistent with all such rather bland and superficial discussions of Iran on Fox News, this key Islamic jihad war doctrinal concept was not mentioned by the under informed Fox News analyst, but “Persian merchant culture” was discussed.

My interview with Lisa Benson is embedded below.

Iran: ‘The Enemy’ Has Conceded to Our Nuclear Redlines

Mohammad Ali Jafari / AP

Mohammad Ali Jafari / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, April 13, 2015:

A senior Iranian military leader is claiming that the United States has conceded ground on a range of Iran’s so-called nuclear redlines just weeks after agreement between the two sides sparked debates and disagreements in Washington, D.C., and Tehran.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), referred to the United States as “the enemy” and said major ground has been given up by the Obama administration as negotiations continue through June.

“Some solutions have been found and it seems the Islamic Republic’s principles and red lines in technical aspects have been accepted on the side of the enemy,” Jafari was quoted as saying by the Iranian state-controlled Press TV.

Major disagreements remain between the two sides and could kill negotiations before a final deal is reached, he said.

“However, there are still ambiguities regarding the manner of sanctions removal, which should be clarified,” Jafari said, noting that this sticking point “could lead to disagreement too.”

The IRGC commander’s comments continue a war of words between the United States and Iran over what exactly was agreed to during the most recent round of negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.

While both sides initially hailed a framework agreement as a historic step toward a final deal, the pact broke down just hours after being signed.

Iran maintains that the United States has agreed to allow all nuclear sites to remain operational and that no military sites would be subject to inspections upon the signing of a final deal. The Islamic Republic also claims that economic sanctions on Tehran will be immediately lifted if a deal is struck.

However, the Obama administration disagrees with this description. It claims that Iran would stop most of its most contested nuclear work and that sanctions will only be lifted in a gradual manner.

Much of the disagreement revolves around a fact sheet issued by the White House immediately after the framework agreement was reached. Iran has described this document as a “lie” and said it in no way agreed to any of the conditions outlined.

Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that each side has put its own “spin” on the agreement during an interview Sunday on Face the Nation.

“I would remind you, we had this same dueling narratives, discrepancy, spin, whatever you want to call it with respect to the interim agreement,” Kerry said.

Kerry went on to claim that the Islamic Republic would uphold any deal that is struck.

“Iran has proven that it will join into an agreement and then live by the agreement, and so that is important as we come into the final two and a half months of negotiation,” he said.

Kerry, who will brief members of Congress about the deal on Monday and Tuesday, said critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran should remain silent.

“I think people need to hold their fire, let us negotiate without interference, and be able to complete the job over the course of the next two and a half months,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of Iran’s top negotiators on Sunday urged the United States to show “goodwill” and to stop fighting against Iranian demands.

“The solutions have been specified in the Lausanne negotiations and we hope that the other side will not throw the wrench during the future negotiations, and rather pave the ground for reaching a comprehensive agreement by showing good will,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi was quoted as saying by the Fars New Agency.

Critics of the framework deal said the ongoing debate over what was agreed upon shows the Iranians cannot be trusted to live up to any guarantees made in a final deal.

“It’s entirely possible that both sides are lying about what the Iranians were willing to concede, but that’s not the point,” said one senior official with a Jewish organization that is familiar with the negotiations and concerns on Capitol Hill. “If the Obama administration is actually truthful, then it means the Iranians are already backsliding on what they’ve agreed.”

“That’s not new, and in fact it’s how they always negotiate. They take what they can get and walk away,” the source added. “But that’s exactly why you don’t make deals with these guys. Instead we’re talking about letting them have billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which they’ll use to supercharge their terror and military campaigns, and waiting until they decide to walk away again.”

Also see:

Khamenei Smashes Terms of Nuclear Agreement

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Kamenei (Photo: © Reuters)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Kamenei (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 12, 2015:

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ended his eerie silence since the nuclear framework agreement was announced with a fiery speech accompanied with “Death to America” chants. Khamenei essentially smashed the viability of the nuclear framework to pieces, signalled a major escalations in the war in Yemen and essentially endorsed a violent jihad against the Saudi royal family.

Wishful thinkers can’t dismiss the speech as theater for a domestic audience. Khamenei tweeted highlights in English to make sure the world, especially Americans, saw them. The threats and demands are so unequivocal that failing to follow through would sacrifice his entire credibility and prestige.

The Iranian Supreme Leader is unsatisfied with the nuclear framework agreement even though it generously permits Iran to retain the ability to produce nuclear weapons while getting major sanctions relief.

First, he said that the fact sheet published by the U.S. contains lies and does not reflect what Iran agreed to. The statement obliges the regime to seek significant revisions shortly after it gave President Obama the go ahead to make a high-profile victory lap.

Khamenei’s demands are inescapably incompatible with America’s requirements for a deal.

First, Iran is demanding that all sanctions be lifted on the first day that a final deal is signed. The framework only agrees to lift sanctions in phases and only those related to nuclear activity, not terrorism or human rights. Doing so would unfreeze the assets of individuals and entities involved in terrorism around the world, sparking a massive growth in Iran’s terrorist apparatus and proxy warfare.

The inherently flawed hope by the West that “moderate” President Rouhani and other Iranian figures can reign in Khamenei can be immediately ruled out, since Rouhani said the same exact thing.

Read more

Also see:

Senators focusing on bill to limit nuclear deal with Iran

SUSAN WALSH, FILE AP PHOTO

SUSAN WALSH, FILE AP PHOTO

Kansas City Star, BY DEB RIECHMANN, April 1, 2015:

A bill calling for Congress to have a say on an emerging nuclear agreement with Iran has turned into a tug of war on Capitol Hill, with Republicans trying to raise the bar so high that a final deal might be impossible and Democrats aiming to give the White House more room to negotiate with Tehran.

Senators of both parties are considering more than 50 amendments to a bill introduced by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J. The bill would restrict Obama’s ability to ease sanctions against Iran without congressional approval.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday is to debate the amendments and vote on the bill, which has pitted the White House against the GOP-led Congress on a critical foreign policy issue that President Barack Obama wants etched in his legacy. Obama administration officials, who are expected to continue lobbying lawmakers next week, don’t want Congress to take any action before a final deal could be reached by the end of June.

There is strong support, however, from lawmakers of both parties who think they should be able to weigh in on any agreement aimed at preventing Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for civilian purposes, but the U.S. and its partners negotiating with Tehran suspect Iran is keen to become a nuclear-armed powerhouse in the Middle East, where it already holds much sway.

There have been intense negotiations on Capitol Hill for the past several days about ways to amend the bill. Advocacy groups and congressional staffers provided details about amendments, which still might be withdrawn or rewritten.

Under the bill as it is currently written, Obama could unilaterally lift or ease any sanctions that were imposed on Iran through presidential action. But the bill would prohibit him for 60 days from suspending, waiving or otherwise easing any sanctions Congress levied on Iran. During that 60-day period, Congress could hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on any final nuclear agreement with Iran.

If Congress passed a joint resolution approving a final deal — or took no action — Obama could move ahead to ease sanctions levied by Congress. But if Congress passed a joint resolution disapproving it, Obama would be blocked from providing Iran with any relief from congressional sanctions.

In an effort to give the president more negotiating room, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the new ranking Democrat on the foreign relations committee, and a few of his Democratic colleagues have proposed letting Obama waive congressionally imposed sanctions if not doing so would cause the U.S. to be in violation of a final agreement.

Several Democratic senators also have proposed shortening the congressional review period to 30 days or even 10 days that Congress is in session. Democrats also want to strike a part of the bill that requires the Obama administration to certify that Iran has not directly supported or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or an American anywhere in the world.

On the Republican side, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a likely presidential candidate, has proposed an amendment that would require the Obama administration to certify that Iran’s leaders have publicly accepted Israel’s right to exist. That’s a tall order. Iran has threatened to destroy Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the U.S. about making a deal with Iranian leaders, whom he distrusts.

Dylan Williams, a lobbyist for the liberal Jewish group J Street, argues that Rubio’s proposed amendment puts Republicans in a “lose-lose” position. Adopting the amendment would kill the Corker bill, Williams said, because many senators would vote against a provision they know the Iranians would never accept. Defeating the amendment, he said, would be seen as a slap at Netanyahu, whom GOP leaders have strongly supported on the Iran nuclear matter.

Republican senators also are contemplating amendments that would require that any final agreement be a treaty. That’s also a high hurdle because treaties must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate.

Before any sanctions are eased, one of four amendments drafted by Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming would require the president to certify that any funds Iran received as a result of sanction relief would not facilitate Iran’s ability to support terrorists or build nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. He says he will formally introduce the amendments only if Democrats try to weaken the bill, which he supports.

And Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has filed amendments to the bill to require Congress to address the issue of compensation for 52 Americans held hostage in Iran from November 1979 to January 1981 before any deal is finalized, any sanctions are eased or diplomatic relations with Iran are normalized.

***

Netanyahu told cabinet: Our biggest fear is that Iran will honor nuclear deal (haaretz.com)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a recent meeting of the inner cabinet that if a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers is indeed signed by the June 30 deadline, the greatest concern is that Tehran will fully implement it without violations, two senior Israeli officials said.

The meeting of the inner cabinet was called on short notice on April 3, a few hours before the Passover seder. The evening before, Iran and the six powers had announced at Lausanne, Switzerland that they had reached a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and that negotiations over a comprehensive agreement would continue until June 30.

The inner cabinet meeting was called after a harsh phone call between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama over the agreement with Tehran.

The two senior Israeli officials, who are familiar with the details of the meeting but asked to remain anonymous, said a good deal of the three-hour meeting was spent on ministers “letting off steam” over the nuclear deal and the way that the U.S. conducted itself in the negotiations with Iran.

According to the two senior officials, Netanyahu said during the meeting that he feared that the “Iranians will keep to every letter in the agreement if indeed one is signed at the end of June.”

One official said: “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement.”

Netanyahu also told the ministers that in 10 to 15 years, when the main clauses of the agreement expire, most of the sanctions will be lifted and the Iranians will show that they met all their obligations. They will then receive a “kashrut certificate” from the international community, which will see Iran as a “normal” country from which there is nothing to fear.

Under such circumstances, the prime minister said, it will be very difficult if not impossible to persuade the world powers to keep up their monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, not to mention imposing new sanctions if concerns arise that Iran has gone back to developing a secret nuclear program for military purposes.

It was decided during the inner cabinet meeting to try to persuade the Obama administration to improve the agreement. However, Netanyahu and most of the ministers agreed that the only way to stop the agreement, even if it was unlikely to succeed, was through Congress. Thus, a good deal of Israeli efforts will focus on convincing members of Congress to vote for the Iran Nuclear Review Act, proposed by the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, that could delay implementation of a deal if one is reached.

Corker’s bill calls for a 60-day delay in implementing any signed nuclear deal, during which time Congress would scrutinize all the agreement’s details. The bill requires senior administration officials to provide Congress with detailed reports on the deal as well as attend Congressional hearings on the subject. Corker’s bill also states that American sanctions that were imposed by law would only be lifted if within the 60 days allotted for scrutiny of the agreement, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs declared their support for the pact.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is to meet Tuesday for its first vote on the Corker bill, after which it will be voted on by the entire Senate. The White House is opposed to the bill and is threatening to veto it. At this point, in addition to all 54 Republican senators, nine Democratic senators have also expressed their support for the bill, leaving it four Democratic senators short, so far, of the 67-vote majority that would make the bill veto-proof.

The pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, which coordinates the activities of the Israeli Embassy in Washington with the prime minister’s bureau in Jerusalem, has begun over the past few days to exert pressure on Democratic senators – both publicly and privately – to get them to vote for the Corker bill.

AIPAC also claimed over the weekend on its official Twitter account that the framework of the current agreement would make it possible for Iran to become a threshold nuclear state within 15 years and therefore pressure should be brought to bear on Congress to vote for the Corker bill.

Netanyahu and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, want to see changes inserted in the bill that will make it more binding, and even turn it into one that prevents an agreement with Tehran rather than delaying it.

One change Netanyahu is seeking is a new clause that the deal with Iran be considered a treaty; an international treaty signed by the United States must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

The Republican senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, reportedly intends to demand at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that this clause be added to the bill.

Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, considered one of the Republican Party’s potential candidates for the 2016 presidential campaign, wants to see an amendment to the bill adopting Netanyahu’s demand that Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist be part of any comprehensive agreement signed at the end of June.

However, if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes in favor of one or both of these amendments in its meeting Tuesday, it could lead Democratic senators, who had already agreed to support the original deal with Iran, to change their minds.

***

***Tell your Senators: I Support the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act!***

Also see:

Former Israeli Amb. Compares Obama to Neville Chamberlain, Says “US is Deteriorating Relationship w/Israel” (VIDEO)

The Gateway Pundit, by Jim Hoft, April 10, 2015:

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman compares Obama to Neville Chamberlain

The Obama White House mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday on Twitter over his Iranian nuclear concerns.
Notice the picture of the bomb in the White House tweet.

WH tweet

The Obama administration used the same bomb picture that Benjamin Netanyahu used in his speech at the United Nations in September 2012.

OB-UT309_0927bo_G_20120927143341

Today former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman responded to this latest insult to Israel.
Gillerman told FOX:

I think this is a very ominous message. The president has been all over the place trying to explain the deal with Iran, trying to sell the deal with Iran. I think he’s being a terrible salesman. I think by the White House doing this they are deteriorating the relationship between the United States and its only ally in the region to a very, very low point… This is not about your watch this is about the life of our children and grandchildren as well as your grandchildren. So if you don’t care what happens in 20 months after you leave the White House, we do.

And those words, “This will never happen under my watch,” echo very ominously the words of Neville Chamberlain the Prime Minister of England who came back from Munich and said there would be peace in our time and ended up bringing this world its worst war, World War II. And I think the way that the president is trying to appease Iran is very similar to the appeasement of Hitler.

Also see:

The Iran Nuke “Deal” and Islamic “Treaties”

Secretary of State John Kerry talks with President Barack Obama. The two have led the way in getting Iran to sign a treaty on nuclear weapons in return for elimination of sactions.

Secretary of State John Kerry talks with President Barack Obama. The two have led the way in getting Iran to sign a treaty on nuclear weapons in return for elimination of sactions.

By Andrew Bostom, April 10, 2015:

Below are extracts from a report by WND’s Leo Hohmann on the Iran nuke negotiations. Leo asked me to provide background on the Islamic Law “principles” which must be understood when examining such negotiations.

It has become axiomatic in our sad era that such Islamic principles—based on the military behaviors of Islam’s prophet, and prototype jihadist, Muhammad—will be ignored. As I point out, even a clear Iranian statement of these Islamic principles regarding the proposed “nuke deal,” less than three weeks after the original November 24, 2013 “framework” announcement, never registered with our policymaking “expert classes.” Issued by an Iranian analyst and former adviser to “moderate” President Khatami, the statement referred to the negotiations with the U.S., as “a Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah, to be followed by a conquest of Mecca.” Hudaybiyyah refers to the treaty/armistice brokered by Muhammad, and then unilaterally broken by him, when his Muslim forces had achieved the tactical advantage.

Such willful ignorance didn’t always hold sway within our State Department. I highlighted an 1880 U.S. State Department monograph written to educate diplomats and other personnel assigned to areas controlled by the then Ottoman Empire. These didactic materials described Islam’s “international relations law,” i.e., the doctrine of jihad, and included specific information about “treaties,” from an Islamic, jihad war perspective.

From Hohmann’s analysis:

Ingrained in Islamic legal teaching

Dr. Andrew Bostom has studied Islamic jurisprudence for years and written five books about the history of jihad and Shariah, including “The Legacy of Jihad” and “Sharia Versus Freedom.”

indexBostom addresses the principle of Hudaibiya as it relates to the current nuclear deal in his new book, “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel.” 

“It is a principle of Islamic law, that as a Muslim leader, as a Muslim society, you’re not supposed to sign a treaty for longer than 10 years. It is based on Muhammad,” Bostom told WND. “It’s a well-enshrined doctrine, and you are to enter into a deal like this only when you’re in a position of weakness.” The deal the Obama administration negotiated with Iran expires after 10 years. Iran has been under harsh economic sanctions for decades, and oil prices have fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

Bostom says all the classical Islamic jurists have accepted Hudaibiya as a binding principle. In fact, in December 2013, Iranian leaders talking about the negotiations with the six world powers were openly referring to Hudaibiyah. “In my book is a very pertinent example: Within three weeks of when the initial announcement was made in December 2013 about the plan to reach an agreement an adviser to former Iranian President Khatami actually invoked the treaty of Hudaibiyah,” he said. “So you can see how it’s used to illustrate exactly this deal.”

Bostom also documents in his book that the U.S. State Department has been aware of the Islamic view of treaties with non-Muslim countries since 1880: “Edward A. Van Dyck, then U.S. Consular Clerk at Cairo, Egypt, prepared a detailed report in August, 1880 on the history of the treaty arrangements (so-called ‘capitulations’) between the Muslim Ottoman Empire, European nations, and the much briefer U.S.-Ottoman experience. Van Dyck’s report – written specifically as a tool for State Department diplomats – opens with an informed, clear, and remarkably concise explanation of jihad and Islamic law.” (“Iran’s Final Solution for Israel,” Page 74) “The Muslim jurists teach that Muslim rulers are never to make a lasting peace with unbelievers but can only make temporary truces, ‘to be broken at the pleasure by the prince and in the interest of the believers,’” Van Dyck wrote in 1880, quoting from the works of Abu al-Hussein el-Quduri of the Hanafite School of doctors, who died in 1037 A.D.

“This is a cardinal principle of Islamic law, not just something from Muhammad’s lore or Muhammad’s past,” Bostom told WND. “This is Islamic law. Muhammad is just cited as the precedent for it, but it’s embedded in their law that you don’t engage in any sort of negotiation or treaty unless you’re in some position of weakness; otherwise, you just keep waging jihad.”

The 1880 State Department document “lays it all out there, all the facts,” Bostom said. “But that was back when we still had knowledgeable people, actually educated people, handling things in our government.”

Also see:

Bill Whittle – Take Them At Their Word: Iran Might Destroy Us

chamberlain-obama

Published on Apr 9, 2015 by PJ Media

Chamberlain didn’t take Hitler at his word that he was going to try to conquer Europe, and Obama isn’t taking Iran at their word that they will destroy us.

Obama Administration Dishes Out Dubious Claims on Iran Nuclear Deal

3501541850CSP, by Fred Fleitz, April 6, 2015:

Despite over-the-top praise for the new framework nuclear agreement with Iran by the Obama administration, the news media and liberal pundits, Obama officials have made several questionable claims defending it, including some that have been disputed by Iranian officials

Taken together, these statements raise questions as to whether the framework can bring about a final nuclear agreement with Iran that will actually reduce the threat from an Iranian nuclear bomb.  These claims include:

The framework will lead to an agreement that will cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon and will keep Tehran at least a year away from a bomb.

Misleading if not false.  Both the American and Iranian governments agree that Iran will continue to enrich uranium and develop much more efficient uranium centrifuges while a final agreement is in effect. Iran also will keep a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor and an underground enrichment facility that probably was constructed to withstand American or Israeli airstrikes. As a result, any agreement based on the framework would shorten the timeline to an Iranian nuclear weapon by allowing Iran to improve its capability to produce nuclear fuel while it is in effect.

Steps to cut off pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon would include monitoring Iran’s declared civilian nuclear program and Iran’s cooperation in resolving questions about possible military nuclear work. Even if the agreement succeeded in cutting off these pathways for the duration of the agreement (which appears doubtful), it would leave Iran closer to a nuclear bomb at its conclusion or if Tehran pulled out of the agreement and expelled IAEA inspectors.

There will be robust and intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Misleading.  IAEA inspectors will only have access to declared nuclear sites associated with peaceful nuclear activities. Although Obama officials claim Iran will allow intrusive inspections of suspected covert and military nuclear sites, Tehran has long resisted permitting this and refused to comply with a November 2013 agreement with the IAEA to answer questions about 12 areas of possible nuclear weapons-related work. While Obama officials have asserted that Iran will be required to permit inspections of possible military-related nuclear sites under an agreement known as the IAEA additional, Tehran has refused to honor this agreement since the nation signed it in 2003.  Moreover, according to a joint EU/Iran statement on the framework agreement, Iran has only agreed to “provisional application” of the Additional Protocol.

Iran also reportedly has rejected snap inspections of nuclear sites which means it could delay inspections of these sites until it removed evidence of possible nuclear related activity.

The Arak heavy water reactor will be re-designed so it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium.

False.  It is impossible to operate a heavy-water reactor without producing plutonium. Although this reactor might produce less plutonium by redesigning it, the only way to prevent plutonium production is to convert this reactor it into a light-water reactor, an option that the U.S. and European states proposed but Iran rejected.

Iran disagrees with the Obama administration’s claim that the Arak reactors’ core will be removed so it produces less plutonium. An Iranian statement on the framework says this plant “will remain” and will “be updated and modernized.”

The vast majority of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium will be neutralized or reduced.

Meaning unclear.  Western states wanted Iran to send all of its enriched uranium (which can currently be made into fuel for eight or more nuclear weapons) out of the country, but Tehran apparently rejected this demand over the last two weeks. There has been talk that Iran will dilute its enriched uranium so it would need to be enriched again to use as reactor or weapons fuel. Iran has refused to do this in the past. The Obama administration may again assert that the risk from Iran’s enriched uranium will be reduced by converting it to uranium dioxide powder. Experts shot down this claim after Obama officials made it last fall because this process can be reversed in about two weeks.

Iran will receive phased sanctions relief if it verifiably abides by its commitments.

Meaning unclear/Iran disagrees. Obama officials claim sanctions against Iran will be lifted in phases. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Friday accused the Obama administration of lying about this and said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed.

U.S. officials also claim sanctions against Iran would be suspended and could “snap back” if Iran failed to comply with a final nuclear agreement.  Zarif disagrees and said all sanctions must be completely terminated once a final deal is signed and not suspended.

The only alternatives to an agreement based on the framework are bad ones: war or pull-out of the nuclear talks.

False.  The status quo would be a far better outcome than the nuclear agreement sought by the Obama administration, which will legitimize Iran’s nuclear program and allow it to enhance its capability to produce nuclear fuel while an agreement is in effect. This agreement is likely to further destabilize the Middle East, encourage a regional nuclear arms race and could spark a war. Give the lopsided agreement that the Obama administration has negotiated, the best outcome would be to halt the nuclear talks and leave this issue for a future president who is not so desperate for a nuclear agreement with Iran.

The Obama administration will engage Congress on a nuclear agreement with Iran and will discuss a congressional oversight role.

Misleading. This claim is to distract from President Obama’s refusal to allow Congress to vote on a nuclear agreement with Iran. Although administration officials will testify to Congress about an agreement, the president will not submit the agreement to Congress for approval.

Obama officials are likely to respond to criticism about gaps and ambiguities in the framework agreement by claiming it is only an interim agreement and the final details still need to be worked out. I believe the framework represents a series of unacceptable American concessions and language that papers over serious U.S.-Iran disagreements. This makes me wonder whether the framework was really a PR stunt to shore up the nuclear talks at a time when they have been subjected to growing bipartisan criticism from Congress.

Congress should not be fooled by this charade. The framework will lead to a bad deal which will allow Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program at a time when it is increasing its influence and meddling in the Middle East. For the sake of American security and the security of America’s Middle East friends and allies, Congress must do what it can to kill any nuclear agreement with Iran based on this deeply flawed framework.

Also see:

‘All evidence suggests Iran already has nuclear warheads’

iranian-mullahs (1)WND, by Garth Kant:

WASHINGTON – On a day when Iran and Western powers announced they had reached a framework of a deal, a highly informed and keen-eyed analyst believes the Obama administration wasn’t actually trying to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

In fact, just the opposite.

“If Iran wanted to be nuclear, that was fine with this administration. I really think that’s their policy,” said Middle East specialist Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy.

Lopez described the talks with Iran talks as a diplomatic kabuki dance intended to cover up the awful truth: Iran already has what it wants.

“All the evidence suggests Iran already has nuclear warheads,” she told WND.

Worse yet, she said the Obama administration almost certainly knows that.

“IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reporting over recent years indicates at a minimum they strongly suspect that Iran already has built nuclear warheads. It’s certainly known that Iran has long range ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles.)”

“The only thing I don’t think we know for sure is whether the Iranians have been able to marry the nuclear warheads to missiles, which is a technically difficult thing to do,” said the woman whose analytical acumen was honed by 20 years as a CIA field operative.

But it doesn’t appear the parties agree upon what they agreed to, because after the announcement, Iran immediately accused the U.S. of lying about what was in the agreement.The New York Times described the framework deal announced Thursday as a “surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about the next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program.”

Chief Iranian negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters the agreement would allow Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.

“We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development,” and not close any facilities, Zarif said.

He also crowed that essentially all economic sanctions against Iran will be removed after the deal is signed, by the deadline of June 30.

The proposed deal would also allow Iran to keep operating 6,000 centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium, a fuel for nuclear weapons. After 15 years, Iran would be free to produce as much fuel as it wishes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a stark assessment of the agreement, tweeting, “A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel.”

Nonetheless, President Obama claimed the deal “cuts off every pathway” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. And, he insisted, “If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”

But from what Lopez surmises, whatever is in the deal is largely irrelevant, because Iran basically already has what it wants.

WND asked Lopez, if Iran already has warheads, did it buy or build them?

“I think they built them,” she said. “I don’t see how not, after this many years of working closely with other countries’ programs.”

So, if the objective wasn’t to prevent Iran from getting the bomb, why was the Obama administration so desperate to get a deal?

“To sort of rack up a political win,” said Lopez. “It’s for appearances. A political notch in the gun belt. But it’s not real. I mean, they know it’s not real.”

The administration’s eagerness for a deal was expressed as far back as January 2013, when national security council staffer Ben Rhodes told liberal activists it was as important to the president as Obamacare, saying, “This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is health care for us, just to put it in context.”

That zeal for a deal has made the rest of the world wary.

“What bothers me is it looks like the administration is so hungry for a deal just to have a deal so they can say they have a deal,” House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday, before the deal was announced and upon returning from a trip to Israel and five other countries in the Middle East. “The rest of the world wants something real out of this.”

“And we’re in these talks with the people who describe us as Satan, like we’re going to come to some agreement with the Iranians, while they’re spreading terror all over the Middle East,” he added.

Lopez told WND, “I’m not sure if architects of this policy agenda, including the president, actually understand the history of Islamic jihad and what it’s done in, and to, the world – especially the non-Muslim world, much of which was forcibly subjugated to Islamic rule over the centuries. Or else, how could they possibly follow such a policy?”

She also warned that the administration may not fully recognize Iran is so dangerous because it is not seeking peaceful coexistence; ultimately, it is seeking world domination and has not shied from expressing that openly.

“According to its own constitution, it is dedicated to jihad and a global Islamic government under Shariah. Its ideology says it can accelerate the return of the 12th Imam by instigating Armageddon: a frightening thought about a regime driving for a nuclear bomb.”

Lopez noted a distinct peculiarity to keep in mind when negotiating with Iran: “Islamic law obligates Muslims to lie to non-Muslims. Why on earth would anyone expect Iran, a jihad and Shariah state, to negotiate with Westerners in good faith?”

“They (the administration) are captivated by the vision of an Iran as a potential source of strategic stability in a region that’s falling apart,” speculated Peter Feaver, a Duke University political science professor and former White House official in the George W. Bush administration. “They would never be so naive to describe it that way, but you can tell that’s a hope.”

Lopez does see “a tremendous naivete about what jihad and Shariah really mean” on the part of the Obama administration.

She detects “an apparent trust that if the U.S. adopts a more accommodating attitude, well, then so will the Iranians. I’m not sure how Ivy League graduates could be so ignorant of world history. I cannot imagine they’d want to inflict the legacy of Islamic jihad on anyone if they knew what it has meant historically.”

The Washington Post reported another possible motivation for Obama to strike a deal, almost any deal, with Iran: personal pride.

“The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in ‘aggressive personal diplomacy’ with Iran,” reported the paper Wednesday.

“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong, and to prove the world wrong,” Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden, told the Post.

Lopez enumerated four more reasons why she believed the president pushed so hard for a deal:

  • Obama has decided to remove U.S. power and influence from the Middle East and North Africa.
  • He has a worldview that sees America as influence for ill in the world; therefore, he must diminish that influence wherever and however possible.
  • He has a worldview that sees Islam as suppressed and oppressed by Western (colonial) powers and the U.S. as the inheritor of that oppressive role.
  • He has a desire to “rectify” what is viewed as “injustice” suffered by Islam at the hands of the West and has decided that best way to do that is for the U.S. to withdraw and allow and empower Islam to rise back up again to what is seen as its “rightful” place in the world.

Why does Lopez believe the evidence suggests Iran already has built nuclear warheads? Because so much of that evidence has been publicly available for so long.

Read more

The diplomatic track to war

Iran negotiations. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Iran negotiations. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Jerusalem Post, by Caroline Glick, April 3, 2015:

The world powers assembled at Lausanne, Switzerland, with the representatives of the Islamic Republic may or may not reach a framework deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. But succeed or fail, the disaster that their negotiations have unleashed is already unfolding. The damage they have caused is irreversible.
US President Barack Obama, his advisers and media cheerleaders have long presented his nuclear diplomacy with the Iran as the only way to avoid war. Obama and his supporters have castigated as warmongers those who oppose his policy of nuclear appeasement with the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

But the opposite is the case. Had their view carried the day, war could have been averted.

Through their nuclear diplomacy, Obama and his comrades started the countdown to war.

In recent weeks we have watched the collapse of the allied powers’ negotiating positions.

They have conceded every position that might have placed a significant obstacle in Iran’s path to developing a nuclear arsenal.

They accepted Iran’s refusal to come clean on the military dimensions of its past nuclear work and so ensured that to the extent UN nuclear inspectors are able to access Iran’s nuclear installations, those inspections will not provide anything approaching a full picture of its nuclear status. By the same token, they bowed before Iran’s demand that inspectors be barred from all installations Iran defines as “military” and so enabled the ayatollahs to prevent the world from knowing anything worth knowing about its nuclear activities.

On the basis of Iran’s agreement to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia, the US accepted Iran’s demand that it be allowed to maintain and operate more than 6,000 centrifuges.

But when on Monday Iran went back on its word and refused to ship its uranium to Russia, the US didn’t respond by saying Iran couldn’t keep spinning 6,000 centrifuges. The US made excuses for Iran.

The US delegation willingly acceded to Iran’s demand that it be allowed to continue operating its fortified, underground enrichment facility at Fordow. In so doing, the US minimized the effectiveness of a future limited air campaign aimed at significantly reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

With this broad range of great power concessions already in its pocket, the question of whether or not a deal is reached has become a secondary concern. The US and its negotiating partners have agreed to a set of understanding with the Iranians. Whether these understandings become a formal agreement or not is irrelevant because the understandings are already being implemented.

True, the US has not yet agreed to Iran’s demand for an immediate revocation of the economic sanctions now standing against it. But the notion that sanctions alone can pressure Iran into making nuclear concessions has been destroyed by Obama’s nuclear diplomacy in which the major concessions have all been made by the US.

No sanctions legislation that Congress may pass in the coming months will be able to force a change in Iran’s behavior if they are not accompanied by other coercive measures undertaken by the executive branch.

There is nothing new in this reality. For a regime with no qualms about repressing its society, economic sanctions are not an insurmountable challenge. But it is possible that if sanctions were implemented as part of a comprehensive plan to use limited coercive means to block Iran’s nuclear advance, they could have effectively blocked Iran’s progress to nuclear capabilities while preventing war. Such a comprehensive strategy could have included a proxy campaign to destabilize the regime by supporting regime opponents in their quest to overthrow the mullahs. It could have involved air strikes or sabotage of nuclear installations and strategic regime facilities like Revolutionary Guards command and control bases and ballistic missile storage facilities. It could have involved diplomatic isolation of Iran.

Moreover, if sanctions were combined with a stringent policy of blocking Iran’s regional expansion by supporting Iraqi sovereignty, supporting the now deposed government of Yemen and making a concerted effort to weaken Hezbollah and overthrow the Iranian-backed regime in Syria, then the US would have developed a strong deterrent position that would likely have convinced Iran that its interest was best served by curbing its imperialist enthusiasm and setting aside its nuclear ambitions.

In other words, a combination of these steps could have prevented war and prevented a nuclear Iran. But today, the US-led capitulation to Iran has pulled the rug out from any such comprehensive strategy. The administration has no credibility. No one trusts Obama to follow through on his declared commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

No one trusts Washington when Obama claims that he is committed to the security of Israel and the US’s Sunni allies in the region.

And so we are now facing the unfolding disaster that Obama has wrought. The disaster is that deal or no deal, the US has just given the Iranians a green light to behave as if they have already built their nuclear umbrella. And they are in fact behaving in this manner.

They may not have a functional arsenal, but they act as though they do, and rightly so, because the US and its partners have just removed all significant obstacles from their path to nuclear capabilities. The Iranians know it. Their proxies know it. Their enemies know it.

As a consequence, all the regional implications of a nuclear armed Iran are already being played out. The surrounding Arab states led by Saudi Arabia are pursuing nuclear weapons. The path to a Middle East where every major and some minor actors have nuclear arsenals is before us.

Iran is working to expand its regional presence as if it were a nuclear state already. It is brazenly using its Yemeni Houthi proxy to gain maritime control over the Bab al-Mandab, which together with Iran’s control over the Straits of Hormuz completes its maritime control over shipping throughout the Middle East.

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Eritrea, and their global trading partners will be faced with the fact that their primary maritime shipping route to Asia is controlled by Iran.

With its regional aggression now enjoying the indirect support of its nuclear negotiating partners led by the US, Iran has little to fear from the pan-Arab attempt to dislodge the Houthis from Aden and the Bab al-Mandab. If the Arabs succeed, Iran can regroup and launch a new offensive knowing it will face no repercussions for its aggression and imperialist endeavors.

Then of course there are Iran’s terror proxies.

Hezbollah, whose forces now operate openly in Syria and Lebanon, is reportedly active as well in Iraq and Yemen. These forces behave with a brazenness the likes of which we have never seen.

Hamas too believes that its nuclear-capable Iranian state sponsor ensures that regardless of its combat losses, it will be able to maintain its regime in Gaza and continue using its territory as a launching ground for assaults against Israel and Egypt.

Iran’s Shiite militias in Iraq have reportedly carried out heinous massacres of Sunnis who have fallen under their control and faced no international condemnation for their war crimes, operating as they are under Iran’s protection and sponsorship. And the Houthis, of course, just overthrew a Western-backed government that actively assisted the US and its allies in their campaign against al-Qaida.

For their proxies’ aggression, Iran has been rewarded with effective Western acceptance of its steps toward regional domination and nuclear armament.

Hezbollah’s activities represent an acute and strategic danger to Israel. Not only does Hezbollah now possess precision guided missiles that are capable of taking out strategic installations throughout the country, its arsenal of 100,000 missiles can cause a civilian disaster.

Hezbollah forces have been fighting in varied combat situations continuously for the past three years. Their combat capabilities are incomparably greater than those they fielded in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. There is every reason to believe that these Hezbollah fighters, now perched along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, can make good their threat to attack and hold fixed targets including border communities.

While Israel faces threats unlike any we have faced in recent decades that all emanate from Western-backed Iranian aggression and expansionism carried out under a Western-sanctioned Iranian nuclear umbrella, Israel is not alone in this reality. The unrolling disaster also threatens the moderate Sunni states including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The now regional war in Yemen is but the first act of the regional war at our doorstep.

There are many reasons this war is now inevitable.

Every state threatened by Iran has been watching the Western collapse in Switzerland.

They have been watching the Iranian advance on the ground. And today all of them are wondering the same thing: When and what should we strike to minimize the threats we are facing.

Everyone recognizes that the situation is only going to get worse. With each passing week, Iran’s power and brazenness will only increase.

Everyone understands this. And this week they learned that with Washington heading the committee welcoming Iran’s regional hegemony and nuclear capabilities, no outside power will stand up to Iran’s rise. The future of every state in the region hangs in the balance. And so, it can be expected that everyone is now working out a means to preempt and prevent a greater disaster.

These preemptive actions will no doubt include three categories of operations: striking Hezbollah’s missile arsenal; striking the Iranian Navy to limit its ability to project its force in the Bab al-Mandab; and conducting limited military operations to destroy a significant portion of Iran’s nuclear installations.

Friday is the eve of Passover. Thirteen years ago, Palestinian terrorists brought home the message of the Exodus when they blew up the Seder at Netanya’s Park Hotel, killing 30, wounding 140, and forcing Israel into war. The message of the Passover Haggada is that there are no shortcuts to freedom. To gain and keep it, you have to be willing to fight for it.

That war was caused by Israel’s embrace of the notion that you can bring peace through concessions that empower an enemy sworn to your destruction. The price of that delusion was thousands of lives lost and families destroyed.

Iran is far more powerful than the PLO. But the Americans apparently believe they are immune from the consequences of their leaders’ policies. This is not the case for Israel or for our neighbors. We lack the luxury of ignoring the fact that Obama’s disastrous diplomacy has brought war upon us. Deal or no deal, we are again about to be forced to pay a price to maintain our freedom.

Not a Good Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

National Review, by FRED FLEITZ April 2, 2015:

At a press conference this afternoon, President Obama lauded the preliminary agreement reached with Iran to reduce the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapon, saying “this is a good deal.” He claimed it will keep Iran at least a year away from constructing a nuclear weapon and will be subject to intrusive and unprecedented inspections and verification. This preliminary agreement is the outline for a comprehensive agreement due by June 30.

The details of the framework agreement as spelled out in a White House fact sheet and President Obama’s speech raise many questions about a final deal. It is troubling that no final agreed-upon text has been released and that Iranian and EU officials were vague in their statements about the framework.

Earlier today on National Review, Patrick Brennan wrote about tweets by Abas Aslani, the head of an Iranian government news agency, that show how the Iranian view of the agreement differs from the Obama administration’s view. Aslani tweeted, for instance, that Iran will continue to develop advanced centrifuges during the duration of the deal and “all economic sanctions by EU, US will be lifted immediately including financial, banking, insurance, oil.”

Here are my initial thoughts about the preliminary agreement, based on our knowledge of it at this hour.

Uranium Enrichment

According to the White House fact sheet, Iran will go from 9,000 operational centrifuges to 6,104. Of these, 5,060 will enrich uranium for ten years. All centrifuges will be Iran’s first-generation IR-1 design. The remaining 10,000 operational and non-operational centrifuges will be put in storage and monitored by the IAEA. These machines will be used to replace operating centrifuges.

  • For 15 years, Iran has agreed not to enrich over 3.67% U-235 and not to build additional enrichment facilities.
  • Iran also has agreed to “reduce” its current enriched-uranium stockpile of about 10,000 kilograms (enough to fuel eight or more nuclear weapons if enriched to weapons-grade) to 300 kilograms. President Obama said in his speech today that Iran’s enriched uranium would be “neutralized.”
  • The U.S. fact sheet says Iran will not use advanced centrifuge models for ten years and will develop them according to a schedule worked out under the agreement. However, an Iranian spokesman tweeted that Iran will continue its R&D on advanced centrifuges during the agreement and will do “the beginning and completing process” of IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 to IR-8 centrifuges during the ten-year span of the agreement.
  • Iran will move most of its centrifuges out of its underground Fordow enrichment facility and will not enrich uranium there for at least 15 years. Two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges will be put in storage, and the facility will be used for peaceful purposes.

Comment
This agreement will allow Iran to continue uranium enrichment, an activity that the United States has refused to agree to in nuclear-technology cooperation agreements with its friends and allies because it is so easy to use a peaceful enrichment program to make weapons fuel. There is no practical reason for Iran to conduct uranium enrichment with 6,000 centrifuges. It would take about 200,000 centrifuges for Iran to enrich enough uranium to fuel its Bushehr power reactor. 5,000 centrifuges are far too many for other peaceful purposes such as producing medical isotopes or fuel plates for the Tehran research reactor. Moreover, it would be far more economical for Iran to purchase reactor fuel rods, fuel plates, and medical isotopes from other countries.

The Obama administration hopes to address the risks of Iranian uranium enrichment by having intrusive IAEA inspections and by requiring Iran to “reduce” or “neutralize” its enriched-uranium stockpile. From the president’s statement and the White House fact sheet, it appears that Iran is refusing to send its enriched uranium to Russia as the U.S. had proposed. Also, the U.S. fact sheet says only that Iran’s current enriched-uranium stockpile will be reduced; it does not say what will happen to uranium enriched during the agreement.

We also don’t know what the words “reduced” or “neutralized” mean. The Obama administration previously claimed that the risk of Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile had been reduced because some of it had been converted to uranium powder. Experts later discounted this claim because this process can be reversed in about two weeks.

If Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile remains in the country and is only reduced to powder, Iran will retain the capability to make eight or more nuclear weapons in about three months. Former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen recently published a chart on Iran’s nuclear “breakout” time that shows how Iran could make enough enriched uranium for one weapon in twelve weeks from reactor-grade uranium using 6,000 centrifuges, and how it could do so in 16 weeks using only 1,000 centrifuges. Click here to view.

The decision to let Iran keep its previously secret, heavily fortified Fordow enrichment facility is a major American cave. President Obama said in 2012 about this facility: “We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful [nuclear] program.”

Bottom line
The preliminary agreement legitimizes — and even allows the advancement of — Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. It does not appear to delay the breakout time for an Iranian nuclear weapon. Incredibly, no enrichment equipment or facilities will be disassembled or destroyed. Given Iran’s long history of cheating on nuclear agreements and covert nuclear activities, allowing it to do any uranium enrichment is very dangerous. This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has said that Iran’s enrichment program has only one purpose: to make nuclear bombs. This is reason enough for the U.S. Congress to reject this agreement and impose new sanctions until Iran complies with U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to halt all uranium enrichment.

Inspections and Verification

President Obama said today: “Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. So this deal is not based on trust. It’s based on unprecedented verification.” According to Obama, “If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”

  • The president also said, “Iran has agreed to give the IAEA access to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from uranium mills that provide the raw materials to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program.” According to the White House fact sheet, the IAEA will have access to these facilities for 20 to 25 years.
  • According to the fact sheet, Iran has agreed to implement the IAEA additional protocol, which requires it to provide the IAEA with information on declared and undeclared nuclear sites. Iran also “will be required” to give the IAEA access to possible covert sites related to uranium enrichment.
  • The president said “Iran’s past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed.” The fact sheet says “Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the possible military dimensions of its program.”

Comment
Although the verification measures detailed by the president go beyond what Iran is currently subject to, Tehran has never fully cooperated with IAEA inspectors. Moreover, this verification plan does not permit snap inspections and unfettered access to all Iranian nuclear facilities, including military bases where Iran is believed to have conducted nuclear-weapons work. The agreement also is vague on requiring Iran to answer questions about past weapons-related work. Iran agreed to a twelve-step program with IAEA in late 2013 to address these questions but has addressed only one of them.

It is hard to trust the Obama administration and Iran on verification and compliance. Iran violated the terms of the interim agreement that set up the nuclear talks, but the Obama administration repeatedly has claimed it was in compliance. President Obama again made this false claim in his speech today.

Bottom line
Verification of a final agreement must require Iran to answer all outstanding questions about weapons-related work and allow unfettered access by the IAEA to all facilities where nuclear activities are believed to have taken place. The preliminary agreement appears to give Iran a pass on previous nuclear-weapons work and set up a verification plan that will not detect all weapons-related activities.

Arak Heavy-Water Reactor

According to the White House fact sheet, Iran will remove the core of this reactor and install a new core so this reactor will not produce weapons-grade plutonium. This reactor will remain a heavy-water reactor and will be operated for peaceful purposes.

Iran has agreed not to reprocess the spent fuel of this reactor to produce plutonium indefinitely, will sell its excess heavy water not needed for the redesigned reactor, and will not build more heavy-water reactors for 15 years.

Comment
Heavy-water reactors are a very serious proliferation risk because they are a source of plutonium. If this reactor remains a heavy-water reactor, it will be a plutonium source. Iran constructed this reactor in defiance of IAEA resolutions. Allowing Tehran to operate it undermines the credibility of the Western states who pushed these resolutions and increases Iran’s expertise in operating and building plutonium-producing reactors.

Sanctions

According to the fact sheet, U.S. and EU sanctions will be lifted after the IAEA verifies that Iran has complied with “all of its key nuclear-related steps.”

  • These sanctions will “snap back” if Iran fails to comply with its commitments.
  • Previous U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran will mostly be lifted if Iran complies with key nuclear-related steps, including resolving possible nuclear-weapons-related activities.
  • As stated above, the Iranian government appears to believe all sanctions will be lifted immediately.
  • U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human-rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place.

Comment
Iranian cheating on nuclear agreements has usually been slow and subtle. It is unlikely to engage in any unambiguous cheating that will force the Obama administration to restore sanctions if they are lifted. Moreover, once sanctions are lifted — especially EU and U.N. sanctions — it will be very difficult to reimpose them. The framework seems to set fairly easy benchmarks that would allow most sanctions against Iran to be lifted quickly. This would be a boon for the Iranian economy and would generate significantly more funds that Iran could use to bolster its ever-increasing efforts to interfere with its neighbors and spread its influence in the Middle East.

An American Capitulation

This framework appears certain to lead to a deal that will significantly advance Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, though agreement is supposed to reduce the threat from Iran’s nuclear program. By allowing Iran to improve its expertise in uranium enrichment and plutonium production and by legitimizing its nuclear program, a deal based on this framework will increase the risk from an Iranian nuclear weapon. Such an agreement will probably further destabilize the Middle East and could lead to a regional nuclear-arms race.

President Obama’s claim that the only alternative to this agreement is war with Iran is false. Continuing the status quo would be a much better outcome than an agreement that paves the way to an Iranian nuclear bomb.

The president claimed that the United States will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy if Congress kills this deal. I believe the opposite is the case. Our Middle East friends and allies are likely to reject this preliminary agreement as a sell-out to the Iranian mullahs that puts their security at risk at a time when Iranian influence is growing in the region.

For the sake of American security and the security of America’s Middle East friends and allies, Congress must do what it can to kill any nuclear agreement with Iran based on the deeply flawed framework unveiled today.

— Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, is senior vice president for policy and programs for the Center for Security Policy. He worked on the Iranian nuclear issue for the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee. Follow him on Twitter @fredfleitz.

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Also see:

Negotiators announce framework for Iran nuke deal

03nukes6-web-videoSixteenByNine540Fox News, April 2, 2015:

The U.S. and international negotiators announced the hard-fought framework for an Iranian nuclear deal Thursday, capping days of exhaustive and tense talks that blew past their original deadline.

The plan, containing dozens of provisions, would effectively require Iran to wind down or suspend parts of its nuclear program that could be used for nuclear weapon development in exchange for sweeping sanctions relief. The preliminary agreement allows all sides — the U.S., Iran and five other world powers — to continue working toward a final deal by a June 30 deadline.

Speaking in the Rose Garden shortly after negotiators unveiled the plan in Switzerland, President Obama called the agreement a “historic understanding.”

“It is a good deal,” Obama said.

The announcement follows days of talks that went into overtime after missing a March 31 deadline, raising doubts on whether the negotiators could reach any agreement at all. Even with the framework, negotiators have weeks of talks ahead of them. And critics were likely to oppose the “plan of action” because of concessions allowing Iran to maintain significant elements of a program that could, someday, be used to produce either energy or nuclear arms. Most immediately, Obama will face pressure from congressional skeptics concerned about the direction of talks and seeking a vote on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reiterated Thursday that his panel would take up a bill later this month requiring congressional review of any deal.

“If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and hold the regime accountable,” Corker said in a statement.

But Obama urged Congress to give the agreement a chance, and stressed that negotiations are not over yet. He claimed the framework, if fully implemented, would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

“This framework would cut off every pathway Iran could take to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.

A fact-sheet accompanying the announcement outlined dozens of key “parameters” the negotiators had agreed to. Among them, Iran agreed to cut its installed centrifuges by two-thirds, from 19,000 today to 6,104 — with just over 5,000 of them enriching uranium for 10 years.

According to the document, Iran agreed not to enrich uranium at its contentious Fordo facility for at least 15 years, and would not build any new facilities for enrichment for the same time period. The framework would allow international inspectors to have “regular access” to nuclear sites. In exchange, U.S. and European Union sanctions would be suspended after inspectors verify Iran “has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.” Sanctions, the document said, would “snap back” if Iran breaches the commitments.

“If Iran cheats, the world will know it,” Obama said. He said the “vast majority” of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile would be “neutralized.” Further, negotiators said the “breakout time” — or the time it would take for Iran to get enough material for one weapon — would extend from two to three months, to a year.

“Our work is not yet done,” Obama stressed.

Secretary of State John Kerry, earlier, tweeted that all sides would soon get back to work on a “final deal.” “Big day,” he tweeted.

But Israeli officials, who long have voiced concerns about the discussions, on Thursday continued to warn about a “bad agreement.” Israel’s intelligence minister said the deal was “disconnected from the sad reality” of the region.

Reading out a joint statement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the seven nations in the talks would now start writing the text of a final accord. Mogherini cited several agreed-upon restrictions on Iran’s enrichment of uranium, a core concern because the material can be used in a nuclear warhead. She said a planned heavy water reactor in Iran wouldn’t produce weapons-grade plutonium and work at the deeply buried underground facility at Fordo wouldn’t involve uranium.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also tweeted that they found “solutions” on key issues and would start “immediately” on drafting a deal to finish by the June 30 deadline.

In the search for a comprehensive deal, the U.S. and five other countries hope to curb Iran’s nuclear technologies that it could use to make weapons. Tehran denies such ambitions but is negotiating because it wants a lifting of sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

The talks have been on shaky ground in recent days, with U.S. lawmakers worried Iran was making unreasonable demands and some even urging the U.S. delegation to “walk away” from the negotiating table.

Even the White House had warned that they were prepared to do so if Iran did not start negotiating in good faith.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Also see:

Frank Gaffney joins Armstrong Williams and Alan Dershowitz on Iran negotiations

!cid_image004_jpg@01D06CDDCenter for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined the Armstrong Williams show alongside famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz to discuss the ongoing drama of the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Dershowitz held his fellow liberals’ accountable, challenging Senator Chuck Schumer, other Democrats, Jews and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Transcript