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. 

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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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No Trust, No Verification, No Sanctions: Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to the Mullahs

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National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, Aug. 8, 2015:

The sanctions regime President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry vowed to step up has already collapsed. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets and new commerce, and they haven’t even gotten the big payday yet.

Obama’s promises of “anytime, anywhere” inspections have melted away as Tehran denies access and the president accepts their comical offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. Senator John Barasso (R., Wyo.), a medical doctor, drew the apt analogy: It’s like letting a suspect NFL player provide what he says is his own urine sample and then pronouncing him PED-free.#

And now even the Potemkin verification system has become an embarrassing sham, with Iran first refusing to allow physical investigations, then declining perusal of documentation describing past nuclear work, and now rejecting interviews of relevant witnesses.

Recall that administration officials indignantly assured skeptics that there would be no agreement in the absence of Iran’s coming clean on the “past military dimensions” of its nuclear work. As Kerry put it, “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.”

The reason it had to be done is obvious. According to Obama, his Iran deal is built on verification, not trust — at least when the president is not trusting Ayatollah Khamenei’s phantom anti-nuke fatwa. Plainly, it would be impossible to verify whether Iran was advancing toward the weaponization of nuclear energy — whether it had shortened the “breakout time” the elongation of which, Obama claims, is the principal objective of his deal — unless one knew how far the mullahs had advanced in the first place.

RELATED: The Bipartisan Coalition against Obama’s Iran Deal

But now, in open mockery of an American president they know is so desperate to close this deal he will never call their bluff, the mullahs have told the International Atomic Energy Agency to pound sand — although not sand in Iran, where the IAEA is not permitted to snoop around. Tehran is steadfastly refusing to open its books, and the IAEA sheepishly admits that it cannot answer basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.

There is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification. And did I mention no sanctions?

So what does Team Obama do? Do they, as they promised, walk away from an unverifiable and thus utterly indefensible deal that lends aid and comfort to our enemies? Of course not. Now they’re out there telling Americans, “We don’t need this IAEA program to discover whether or not Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon — they were,” as Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Obamabot, told the Wall Street Journal.

Well good for you, Sherlock; Obama, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton may still be hanging on that fatwa, but you hit the bull’s-eye.

Here’s the thing, though, Senator Murphy: Yes, all of us know the Iranians, as you cheerily put it, “were” pursuing a nuclear weapon — especially all of us who oppose Obama’s Iran deal and who recognize that the jihadist regime has waged war against us since 1979, killing thousands of Americans. But you “let’s make a deal” guys told us your objective was to uncover how far along they “were” and to roll back their progress. (Actually, you used to tell us your objective was to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, period — as in “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period.”)

RELATED: Who Is the One Actually Making Common Cause with Iran’s Hard-Liners, Mr. President?

If you don’t have a baseline from which to begin verification, you can’t verify the time of day, much less the progress of nuclear research, development, procurement, and experimentation. Iran is saying we don’t get the baseline without which the Obama administration guaranteed there would be no agreement.

So in the grand deal our president describes as subjecting the mullahs to historically rigorous inspection, disclosure, and verification requirements, there is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification.

And did I mention no sanctions?

On July 29, Kerry assured lawmakers that Iranian Quds Force commander “Qassem Soleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions.” Soleimani orchestrates the regime’s terrorist operations and, according to the Pentagon, is responsible for killing at least 500 American soldiers in Iraq.

Yet, only five days before Kerry gave that testimony, Soleimani traveled to Russia for meetings with Putin’s government — notwithstanding the vaunted sanctions that, Kerry would have us believe, confine him to Iran.

RELATED: Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History

Russia, of course, is a member of the U.N. Security Council, from which Obama sought and obtained endorsement of his Iran deal before seeking congressional review. Not only has Russia rendered the current sanctions a joke; it has made Obama’s implausible promise of future “snapback” sanctions against Iran even more laughable. Russia, by the way, has also agreed to build yet another nuclear reactor for the mullahs in Busheir — which Obama’s deal obligates the United States to protect against sabotage. And Putin has also just agreed to supply the terrorist regime in Tehran with $800 million worth of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that can be used against the U.S. Air Force and have enough range to strike planes in northern Israel.

What a deal, Mr. President!

We really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret.

Actually, we really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret. After its bold verification promises, the Obama administration was too embarrassed to reveal exactly how pathetic the agreement’s inspections provisions are. So, as I outlined in a recent column, Obama and Kerry tucked them into a secret side deal between Iran and the IAEA. It then twaddled that the details — i.e., the heart of the deal from the American perspective — are, conveniently, between Iran and the IAEA. None of our business, you see.

This message was reiterated on Capitol Hill this week by the IAEA. Understand: The IAEA could not function (to the limited extend it does function) without the United States Congress’s underwriting of 25 percent of its budget — the American taxpayer contribution dwarfs that of every other country, including Iran’s, which is tiny. Yet, the IAEA chief told lawmakers that he could not reveal the agreement between his agency and Tehran because that is “confidential” information, disclosure of which would compromise the IAEA’s “independence.” The only things the IAEA would confirm are that (a) there are verification provisions and (b) Iran is not cooperating with them.

Feel better?

Well, to further improve your mood, let’s talk the Corker bill. Remember, that’s the legislation by which the GOP-controlled Congress reversed the constitutional presumption against international agreements and virtually assured that Obama’s Iran deal — no matter how appalling it may be, no matter how much aid and comfort if provides to the enemy — will become law.

Why on earth would Beltway Republicans agree to anything so catastrophic for the national security that the Constitution’s Treaty Clause is designed to protect? Because, they proclaimed, by making this devil’s bargain, they would ensure that Congress and the American people got full disclosure of the Iran deal that Obama would otherwise shroud in secrecy.

But as I asked at the time, what possessed them to think Obama would not shroud the agreement in secrecy just because there would now be a law forbidding that?

Supporters are telling themselves that the Corker bill’s benefits [include that] the president will have to produce the agreement. . . . But this is a mirage. . . . The president is notoriously lawless, and thus Republicans can have no confidence that the agreement he produces to Congress will, in fact, be the final deal he signs off on with Iran and, significantly, submits to the U.N. Security Council for an endorsing resolution.

And so it has come to pass: Republicans forfeited their constitutional power for an unenforceable promise of transparency from an infamously duplicitous backroom dealer. Now they have no power and no idea what they’ve enabled.

The president had it backwards Wednesday when, in his repulsively demagogic speech on the Iran deal, he said that Republicans are aligned with the Iranian “hardliners chanting ‘Death to America.’” It is Obama who is aiding and abetting the hardliners. Republicans have merely aided and abetted Obama.

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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While the Administration and media tries to portray this latest episode as evidence of hard liners in Iran trying to upend the JCPOA, we are not buying any of these explanations.  It illustrates how incompetent the Administration has been in conducting its diplomatic initiatives with two geo-political autocrats, Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and Russia’s President Putin.  The import of the Russian commitment to deliver the S300 air defense system is not lost on Israeli PM Netanyahu and Sunni US allies in the Middle East as it calls into question the credibility of any conventional military option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  This episode should be another clear  demonstration  to wavering Democrat  US Senators and Representatives that Iran will cheat on its agreements under the JCPOA to further its ambitions become a nuclear threshold and state supporter of  global terrorism.  The Iran nuclear pact announced in Vienna on July 14th was virtually shredded ten days later on July 24th with Gen. Soleimani’s arrival in Moscow. His visit to finalize arrangements for Russian weapons deliveries was in defiance of not only his travel bans but also UNSC Resolution 1929 banning purchase of conventional weapons and missile technology five years ahead of its sunset under the Iran nuclear pact.

John Kerry Is Blowing the Iran Nuke Deal

john_kerry_senator_from_ma-2Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, July29, 2015:

It’s hard to imagine a worse salesman for the Iran deal than John Kerry. Kerry couldn’t sell himself to Americans as a presidential candidate. Now he has to sell a nuclear Armageddon to Americans.

National security was Kerry’s undoing during his presidential campaign. He had shot American soldiers in the back during Vietnam to build a base for his own political future. He had eagerly pandered to Marxist-Leninist terrorists who massacred native peoples and burned their churches. He had been for the Iraq War before he was against it and for Assad’s Syrian dictatorship before he was against it.

Now Kerry is supposed to sell the most controversial and explosive national security issue since the Cold War to a skeptical nation. And he’s doing just about as well as you would expect.

John Kerry’s tour of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Council on Foreign Relations came with all the nervous tics, the stumbling statements and erratic claims that everyone has come to expect from the only man who could have possibly made Hillary Clinton’s Secretary of State tenure look good.

Asked whether he really believed that Iran, which is sitting on a mountain of oil and gas, just wants a peaceful nuclear program “to generate electricity”, Kerry admitted that it already has a military program.

Then he insisted that we had to go through with the deal anyway so he wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the ayatollah.

“I mean, do you think the ayatollah is going to come back to the table if Congress refuses this and negotiate again?… I mean, please. I would be embarrassed to try to go out—I mean, what am I going to say to people after this as secretary of State?,” Kerry whined.

The Secretary of State for the greatest nation in the world had been reduced to complaining that he would be too embarrassed to renegotiate the deal. Congress had to play it cool and stop embarrassing him in front of his cool new ayatollah friends.

Kerry couldn’t offer a direct answer to the question because he had already argued that Iran “believed deeply that they had a right to… have a peaceful nuclear program; because they resented the fact the United States had supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq”. Iran did restart its nuclear program during the war with Iraq, and, like most nuclear programs during wartime, it was as peaceful as a bomb.

“O Allah, for your satisfaction, we sacrificed the offspring of Islam and the revolution,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote after the Iran-Iraq War. The letter quoted the need for “atomic weapons” and evicting America from the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s current Supreme Leader had told top officials that Khomeini had reactivated Iran’s nuclear program, vowing that it would prepare “for the emergence of Imam Mehdi.”

Imam Mehdi was never going to be impressed with a slightly lower electric bill.

Kerry had contradicted himself in a single response, admitting that the nuclear program had reemerged during the Iran-Iraq War while claiming that it was peaceful.

But Kerry’s real focus was always on empathizing with the enemy.

“I know, the degree to which Iran felt isolated by that and the sort of impact of the choices that were made during that period of time. So we’re trying to make up for that now. We’re where we are. We’re not blaming anybody,” he offered in his new role as the Ayatollah’s infidel therapist.

He insisted that 24 days was plenty of time just to get access to an Iranian rogue nuclear site while admitting that, “The breakout time goes down to always somewhere in the vicinity of a month or two.” And he suggested that Iran would become peaceful because he had “friends” who had been to Tehran and told him it was “teeming with young people who all have smartphones.”

And Kerry just wanted to go to Tehran and hang out with all the teeming cool young people and their smartphones.

The need for approval from enemies of the United States was quintessential Kerry. Utterly unwilling to acknowledge that there was a different worldview on the other side of the table, he namedropped his opposite number as “Foreign Minister Zarif, who lived here in New York” as if a man who lived in the city couldn’t possibly be a fanatical enemy of the United States.

That would have come as a surprise to Mahmud Abouhalima or Leon Trotsky.

But Kerry had just begun embarrassing himself.

Challenged on welcoming back a terrorist state to the international arena, Kerry claimed that he had told the Iranians that their chants of “Death to America” were not helpful. Asked about other states getting nuclear weapons to compete with Iran, Kerry quipped that, “You can’t just go out and buy a nuclear weapon. You don’t ship them FedEx, you know.”

If Kerry had been paying attention in the Senate, he would have known that the Khan nuclear network which shipped kits of nuclear equipment and bomb plans, had been caught by Bush shipping crates to Libya. It wasn’t FedEx, but it was close. Bush had managed to achieve a complete shutdown of Libya’s nuclear program, while Kerry had legalized the other beneficiary of the Khan network in Iran.

This would have been a month’s worth of gaffes for any other politician, but for John Kerry, it was just one question and answer session gone wrong.

Kerry had already told PBS that Iran isn’t “allowed” to transfer any of the $140 billion in sanctions relief to terrorists because of a UN resolution, before admitting that Iran would probably do it anyway. Then he had backpedaled by claiming that money wouldn’t make much of an impact on terrorism anyway.

When asked about Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s threats to America and announcement that he would continue funding terrorists, Kerry spluttered that he doesn’t “know how to interpret it at this point in time”.

“Death to America” can be surprisingly nuanced when analyzed by a master of nuance like John Kerry.

Kerry had managed to torpedo a plan for air strikes on Syria through his own inept statements. Now he’s sabotaging another administration policy goal.

The more Kerry talks, the more he comes off as a car salesman pushing the latest gently used nuclear Armageddon. He stumbles unconvincingly from one rationalization to another, revealing more about his insecurities than his policies.

Every Kerry argument is a thread and it doesn’t take much tugging on it for the whole dirty garment to come apart in a snarl of rationalizations and half-truths. Like a bad liar, he instinctively contradicts himself. And like a worse liar, he follows it up with false choices and false accusations.

His every argument comes down to some version of “Well what’s your alternative” or “If we walk away now, we lose all credibility”. It’s the argument you expect to hear from a man who has sent his fortune off to a Nigerian prince, not the Secretary of State of the United States.

The conclusion to every Kerry argument is the desperate pessimism of, “We have no other choice.” While Iran’s leadership gleefully celebrates, Kerry tells us that there are no other options. The more he talks, the more he convinces everyone who listens that the United States lost.

Underneath it all is a persistent whine. It’s the tone of an overgrown teenager who just wants to hang out with all the cool Marxist-Leninist rebels, Islamic terrorists and Viet Cong bosses. Somewhere in his mind, Kerry is still a petulant teenager resentful that he has to justify his fun times with Zarif, who used to live in New York and probably knows lots of teenagers with smartphones, by testifying to Congress.

Kerry doesn’t care about Iran’s nukes or its breakout times and he resents having to memorize this stuff. What excites him is giving the finger to America and meeting up with enemies of this country. It’s how he began his career and it’s how he’s ending it now. The more questions he has to answer, the more flustered he becomes because we’re the mean parents embarrassing him in front of the cool ayatollah. 

***

John Kerry Struggles to Explain How Iran Nuclear Deal Benefits U.S.

Ret. Admiral Stavridis: ‘You Can Drive a Truck Through’ Holes in Iran Deal

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Anti-Iran Rally Expected to Draw Thousands in Times Square

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http://stopiranrally.org/video-stream-tune-in-live-on-wednesday-in-times-square/

Breitbart, by Adelle Nazarian, July 21, 2015:

Thousands of people are expected in New York’s Times Square on Wednesday evening to protest a “bad deal” with Iran, and to urge Congress to vote down the new nuclear accord.

The “Stop Iran Rally” will take place between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Over 100 organizations are sponsoring the rally which will be live-streamed via Breitbart News here.

Prominent international experts from military, government, academic and media backgrounds will be addressing the crowd. Featured speakers include Caroline Glick (Jerusalem Post Columnist), Alan Dershowitz (Harvard Law professor emeritus), George Pataki (former Governor of New York and current Republican Candidate For President), Monica Crowley (Fox News Political Commentator), James Woolsey (former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency),

, Former Congressman Allen West (R-FL), and Col. Richard Kemp, Ret. (former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan).

The Iran deal will exclude U.S. nuclear inspectors from international teams inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites. The deal will allow Iran to delay some inspections by at least 24 days, and may not allow access to “undeclared” nuclear sites on military bases. After several years, the deal will it allow Russia and China, among others, to supply Iran with conventional weapons and, later, ballistic missile technology. The deal also leaves four American detainees in limbo, as Obama has not negotiated for their release.

According to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll, 77% of Americans believe U.S. sanctions against Iran should be kept in place.

The deal has already been approved, 15-0, by the UN Security Council – bypassing Congress, despite the understanding that Congress would have the final say in the matter. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 will effectively remove international sanctions–which are separate to those imposed by the US and EU–within 90 days.

Obama has said time and again that he would veto any rejection of the deal by Congress; the question is whether both houses of Congress can muster the two-thirds majority needed to override the president.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Pataki lambasted President Obama’s decision to bypass Congress, saying it might “be a violation of his oath in office…He signed the law allowing Congress to reject this deal in 60 days and had not even provided Congress with five days to review the terms of the deal before going to the UN.”

Following years of calls for “death to America” and “death to Israel,” Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei again took to the airwaves this week to reiterate his government’s unwavering hostility towards “the arrogant government of the United States,” assuring his countrymen that even after the nuclear deal is solidified, Iran’s policies toward America “will not be changed one bit.”

Khamenei declared that Iran’s support for terrorists in the region would remain,unwavering. “We will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon.” Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and part of the $150 billion in frozen assets that the Obama Administration has promised to release into their hands will go towards supporting Iran’s military and terrorist proxies.

Pataki told Breitbart News that the nuclear accord is no “deal” at all, and likened it to “a one-sided surrender [rather] than an actual agreement. There’s no question in my mind that his benefits Iran which calls for death to Israel and America.”

Col. Richard Kemp told Breitbart News that “Iran is well-known to be sponsoring terrorism through its proxies in the Middle East,” adding that the additional $150 billion it receives “will undoubtedly go towards sponsoring terrorism” along with a newfound “confidence” with which to carry out militaristic endeavors against the West.

Kemp said he has no doubt that the nuclear technology could be transferred to terrorist groups by Iran, noting that “the deal cannot fail. It will enable it to do whatever it likes in the region….All [Iran] needs to do is to threaten to rescind from the deal which will be catastrophic for Obama” and his legacy.

“Iran will now have the ability to up its funding of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah which are set on the destruction of Israel.”

Similar rallies are planned this week in cities nationwide, listed here.

Also see:

obama_kerry_bikes

12 Times The Obama Administration Caved to Iran on Nuclear Deal

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by David Rutz, July 7, 2015

On issue after issue over a potential nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration has caved.

An analysis from the Foreign Policy Initiative‘s Tzvi Khan published June 29 laid out the myriad ways the U.S. has fallen short, misled or simply kowtowed on sanctions, uranium enrichment, Iran’s breakout capacity, whether Iran could be a good actor and more.

President Obama claimed in his 2015 State of the Union address to have “halted” Iran’s nuclear program and “reduced” its stockpile, sweeping and inaccurate claims for which he earned three Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact-checker.

On April 2, when Obama touted the framework agreement and “historic understanding” between Iran and world powers, he claimed “Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”

Reports emerged in the weeks and months following that the U.S. had backed off this demand and Iran would not be subjected to the “anytime, anywhere” inspections that many experts deem a red line in any negotiations.

Obama also repeatedly said he would not take any option off the table when it came to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, until an interview he gave with Israeli television May 29 which effectively signaled to Tehran that was no longer something they had to fret.

“A military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates,” Obama said. “It would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program, but it will not eliminate it.”

Secretary of State John Kerry has also had a number of demands or claims walked back by his own remarks or those of others, for instance on the potential dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program.

“I don’t think that any of us thought we were just imposing these sanctions for the sake of imposing them,” Kerry said Dec. 10, 2013, while testifying before Congress. “We did it because we knew that it would hopefully help Iran dismantle its nuclear program. That was the whole point of the regime.”

But Obama himself said during the April 2 announcement that “Iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so,” and the framework indicated Iran would not have to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.

Also, after Kerry first said that as part of the nonproliferation treaty in November 2013 that the U.S. did not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium, he said less than a month later to Congress, “I can’t tell you they might not have some enrichment.”

In an April interview with PBS, Kerry said the U.S. would not accept Iran failing to disclose the military dimensions of its nuclear program, saying flatly, “It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.”

Sure enough, during a press appearance June 16, Kerry told State Department reporters the U.S. already knew everything Iran had done.

“We have no doubt,” he said. “We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

You get the idea. The U.S. has also made conflicting statements on Iran’s ballistic missiles, Iran’s underground enrichment facility at Fordow, and, to the chagrin of spokeswoman Marie Harf, Iran’s failure to comply with the Joint Plan of Action as it increased its nuclear stockpile over the past 18 months.

As another deadline comes and goes, it’s unclear how much more Iran might be able to get before a final deal is potentially struck.

The administration has its own sense of deadline, though, as Kerry put it. It certainly has its own sense of what constitutes good high-stakes bargaining, too.

***

Also  see:

Failed State: Saudi Coalition Increases Ground Presence as Iran Begins targeting the Kingdom, US

yemen+map1May 7, 2015 /

As of this writing most of the Southern Yemeni city of Aden remains contested with heavy fighting all throughout the area. Our sources who remain in the country have informed us that additional UAE SOF personnel have been seen in the city fighting alongside the remnants of the pro-Hadi faction. We’ve also been made aware that the Saudi SOF personnel have also recently conducted a seaborne insertion into the area to bolster the push to seize their main objective: Aden International Airport. UAE SOF personnel on the ground have embedded with what remains of the pro-Hadi faction and appear to be rallying them for an assault on the Houthi forces located at the airport. Central to this strategy is the preservation of the runway, which makes it highly likely that the intent is to use the airport as a hub for bringing in supplies and follow-on forces for a larger ground campaign. We doubt the Houthis will be able to maintain their hold on the Southern part of the country in light of the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to double-down on the ongoing campaign. Already the coalition controls the surrounding airspace, requiring the IRGC-Qods Force to have flights come through Oman (we’re unsure as to why the Saudis haven’t applied more pressure on the Omani government). The Houthis’ hold on the South becomes even less likely if former President Saleh’s forces were to defect. Saleh himself is an opportunist, so if the Saudis were smart they’d be running an effective IO campaign offering economic incentives targeting military units aligned with Saleh. However, this campaign is unlikely to completely reverse the Houthi’s gains. A stalemate is much more likely.

Reports: ‘Limited’ ground force arrives in Yemen’s Aden
http://www.dw.de/reports-limited-ground-force-arrives-in-yemens-aden/a-18426013

Yemen’s foreign minister: Aden troops were Gulf-trained locals
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/04/yemen-security-idUSL5N0XV1VI20150504

GCC SOF Teams Alerted For Deployment, AQAP Gains Strength and Iran Preps For Attacks Against Saudi Arabia
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6056

Yemen isn’t on Verge of Civil War – It Already is – and the Saudi Arabia Will Get Involved
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5810

Rising Smoke

Aden fighting in the distance
Source: Getty Images/AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi

We’ve been covering the Saudi-led coalition’s SOF operations for some time now – and we’ve also been covering the IRGC-Qods Force’s activity in the country. In our piece titled “AQAP and Qods Force Make Their Moves in Yemen as Saudis Struggle to Maintain Coalition,” We mentioned the presence of a senior member of the IRGC-Qods Force’s External Operations Division setting up shop in Sadah. This individual has been identified as BG Abdolreza Shahlai. Never heard of him? Don’t feel bad, most people haven’t – but you’ve probably heard about the operations that he had intimate involvement. He was the architect of the IRGC-Qods Force’s program that provided lethal aid to Shia proxy groups in Iraq during OIF in addition to being one of the primary planners for the 2007 attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) that killed five US Soldiers (check out “The Hezbollah Presence in Iraq” for more details). Indeed, the OIF-era put this guy on the map and led to the start of a strong friendship with Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani. Shahlai is currently a member of Suleimani’s inner circle and holds considerable sway in advocating the more “outside the box” proposals. In fact he gained the most notoriety from his involvement in planning the failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US in New York City. That particular operation called for the Qods Force to facilitate a third party – which was the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas – to carry out the operation. His family member Mansur Arbabsiar was the primary facilitator.He’s also a strong advocate of taking more direct action against the US and serves as “Suleimani’s Fist” in overseeing operations inside American borders, Europe and Africa. He’s also no stranger to Yemen, having deployed to the country several times since 2011 to oversee training on the production of Explosively-Formed Projectiles (EFPs) and their implementation. Shahlai’s African connections have also been put to good use with his efforts to establish alternate facilitation ratlines into Yemen coming from Djibouti and Sudan. Needless to say, he’s become quite close to Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

AQAP and Qods Force Make Their Moves in Yemen as Saudis Struggle to Maintain Coalition
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6078

The Hezbollah Presence in Iraq
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=358

Who is IRGC Commander Abdolreza Shahlai, mastermind of attack on Camp Liberty
http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/terrorism-a-fundamentalism/12861-who-is-irgc-commander-abdolreza-shahlai-mastermind-of-attack-on-camp-liberty

Treasury Sanctions Five Individuals Tied to Iranian Plot to Assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States
http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/pages/tg1320.aspx

Man Sentenced in Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/31/nyregion/mansour-arbabsiar-sentenced-for-plot-to-kill-saudi-ambassador.html?_r=0

mansur Abrbsiar

Mansur Arbabsiar
Source: Associated Press

Like his colleagues, Shahlai entered Yemen via Oman (YES, he flew Mahan Air). Since setting up shop in Sadah, he’s been accelerating the program to establish a Houthi intel proxy to serve as an action arm for operations inside Saudi Arabia. In fact, he’s already got the ball rolling on targeting the Kingdom. Currently, Saudi Arabia is under heavy threat from cyber attacks targeting critical infrastructure like the infamous “Shamoon” virus that was unleashed by the IRGC-Qods Force Cyber Warfare Division against ARAMCO (check out “Iran Steps Up Cyber Attacks Against the US and its Allies” for more details). We assess that the Saudi oil, gas, telecommunications and aviation sectors are at the most risk for a repeat of the Shamoon incident. Our contacts in the oil industry report that as recently as MAR 15 ARAMCO was made aware of malicious activity against their infrastructure and were reassessing security practices in addition to working on identifying where they may have been compromised. We believe this malicious activity were probing operations being conducted to identify exploitable opportunities.

Iranian Regime Consolidates Yemeni Gains, Begins Work on Forming Houthi Intel Proxy
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5580

Iran Steps Up Cyber Attacks Against the US and its Allies
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3560

The recent attack launched by the Houthis against the Saudi border town of Najran that killed at least two civilians led to the capture of five Saudi military personnel was merely the opening act of this new phase of the campaign that we’ve been warning about. The next step of this new phase in the Yemen portion of Iran’s campaign may involve the targeting of US citizens stuck in Yemen. Some were lucky and able to leave the country, but many others remain trapped. It would be quite the coup for the Houthis to kidnap a few of them to demonstrate how the Obama administration abandoned them – then pressure the US into ending its support of the Saudi campaign. The five Saudi military personnel were possibly abducted with this in mind as well, although we doubt the Saudis will meet any demands. This country has been a failed state for quite some time, only US Secretary of State John Kerry is in denial. He recently made the claim that Yemen can “avoid ending up a failed state.” The problem with this statement is that Yemen is engaged in a civil war with military personnel from multiple regional powers operating on the ground alongside select factions. He hopes that there will be a “political” solution to this war. Unfortunately, The Iranians and Saudis are already in the process of escalating the violence. Only in the world of “Hope and Change” can a nation at war with itself and experiencing shortages in food, fuel, medical supplies be considered a “success story.” We can assure you that the Obama administration is every bit as wrong about Iran as they are about Yemen. The $1 million dollar question is whether they’ll figure it out before it’s too late? We doubt it.

Washington to Americans Stuck in Yemen: You’re on Your Own
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/21/washington-to-americans-stuck-in-yemen-youre-on-your-own-evacuation/

Deaths as Yemeni rebels fire rockets into Saudi Arabia
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/cloneofcoalition-considers-yemen-humanitarian-tr-150505130815877.html

John Kerry: Yemen not yet a failed state, may ‘hold itself together’ with peace talk
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/2/kerry-yemen-not-yet-failed-state-may-hold-itself-t/

qods force_houthi

Iraqi Shia during a pro-Houthi rally in Baghdad carrying portraits of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi and IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani
Source: Rudaw

Other Related Articles:

The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5931

Today’s Middle East: The Burning Fuse of the 21st Century’s “Great Game”
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6193

President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4751

Poised to Fill Yemen’s Power Vacuum: Iran Tightens Grip on The Peninsula
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4517

IRGC-Qods Force: The Arabian Peninsula Campaign and Failure of Obama’s Foreign Policy
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4478

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1837

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: the Hand of Iran?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1992

Kerry Tries to Dismiss Criticism of Iran talks as “Hysteria”

87446063CSP, by Fred Fleitz, May 4, 2015:

In a statement to Israel’s Channel 10 News over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry aggressively defended the Obama administration’s controversial nuclear diplomacy with Iran and dismissed critics of the nuclear talks as engaging in “hysteria.”

This kind of talk is typical of the way Kerry and other Obama administration have defended their nuclear diplomacy with Iran.  They refuse to discuss criticisms of the talks and instead attack their critics as uninformed and partisan.

Kerry defended the nuclear talks in unusually strong terms, claiming under the deal, inspections would remain in place “forever” and that “We will not sign a deal that does not close off Iran’s pathways to a bomb and that doesn’t give us the confidence — to all of our experts, in fact to global experts — that we will be able to know what Iran is doing and prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

No serious person believes international inspectors will be in Iran forever.

This kind of rhetoric shows how worried Kerry is about the nuclear talks.  His briefings to Congress about the negotiations have gone very badly.  There are bipartisan concerns that the Obama administration has made enormous and dangerous concessions to Tehran and got nothing in return.

The Obama administration’s Iran policy also is in deep trouble because Iranian officials claim it lied about what will be in a final nuclear agreement.

Today, the Center for Security Policy released a compelling ad on the Iran nuclear talks titled “Why are the Mullahs laughing?”   This ad helps explain the dangers of the Obama administration’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran.  You can watch this ad below or click HERE.

Please also check out our new website IranTruth.org for more information about the Obama administration’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

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:

State Department Orders Crash Course on Negotiating Week After Iran Deal

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Elizabeth Harrington, April 8, 2015:

Less than a week following the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to continue operating core aspects of its program, the State Department is looking for a new training course on how to negotiate.

The agency released a solicitation for “Negotiations” on Wednesday, revealing that the State Department is seeking a class for U.S. diplomats on “making and receiving concessions wisely.”

“The overall course teaches the essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes for U.S. diplomats to succeed in any of 275 overseas posts performing the full spectrum of political and economic work,” the solicitation said. “This module will focus on the complex art of negotiating across diverse cultures to find common ground for advancing mutual interests.”

The training is meant to increase “understanding and effectiveness” of negotiations between foreign powers.

The State Department said upon completion of the course diplomats will be better able to describe “basic, universal negotiating concepts and vocabulary,” and identify “objectives and underlying interests of negotiating parties.”

“Preparing relevant strategies for diplomatic persuasion,” and “analyzing ‘Lessons Learned’ through debriefing to improve future outcomes,” are other goals of the course.

The three-week course also seeks for State Department diplomats to understand “cultural considerations” and “building trust” between their foreign counterparts.

“Applying appropriate negotiation techniques to a given scenario, including but not limited to: clarifying assumptions, generating and evaluating alternatives, making and receiving concessions wisely, understanding cultural considerations and behavioral preferences, building trust, representing one’s own and others’ interests, and being aware of assumptions,” the solicitation said.

America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, extended his stay last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, past the March 31 deadline to reach a nuclear agreement with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

The framework for the agreement, agreed to by the United States, the European Union, and the “P5+1” nations, allows Iran to continue to run major portions of its nuclear program and will terminate economic sanctions against the country.

“We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development,” Zarif said following the agreement.

Zarif accused Kerry and the Obama administration of lying hours after the framework was released, saying that the United States had promised sanctions would be immediately terminated, not lifted gradually.

Also see:

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.

Obama’s Dismal Legacy

president_obama_17968_4302-e1397247634412by Justin O. Smith:

America will point to this juncture in history one day, and it will note that this was the critical moment when the Grand Fool, Barack Obama, and his Court Jester, John Kerry, failed to recognize the greatest threat to America and the world in the 21st century. Ignoring all sound reason and stark warnings from numerous U.S. and world leaders, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 4th speech before Congress, they are proceeding with a bad agreement that does not prevent the growth and perfection of a broad Iranian nuclear weapons delivery system, and they are paving a path to nuclear weapons for the Revolutionary Guard and a rogue regime and state-sponsor of terrorism.

Iran’s nuclear weapons program has long been evident. Its heavy water nuclear facility at Arak is one proof, since this type of facility is only good for making weapons grade plutonium. Iran’s high explosive components for implosion-type nuclear weapons are made at Parchin

Parchin has been mentioned numerous times by the U.K., France and Germany in these ongoing negotiations, from which Iran hopes to gain relief from all economic sanctions. However, Iran has refused to allow any further inspection of Parchin, since 2005, and it now says further inspections are out of the question.

Any arms deals most usually demands verification of one’s compliance. And due to Iran’s resistance to allow for proper verification measures, most of America is asking, “Why are we negotiating with Iran at all at this point?”

While Iran cannot be trusted, there is a liar leading the U.S., who wants to side-step the Senate’s advise and consent role, even though in 2013 Obama stated that “the people’s representatives must be invested in what America does abroad.” Look where the U.S. stands now and compare it to Obama’s March 6, 2012 statement: “… My policy is to prevent [Iran] from getting a nuclear weapon, because if they get a nuclear weapon that could trigger an arms race in the region … it could potentially fall into the hands of terrorists.”

Shortly after Netanyahu’s speech in the halls of Congress, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal Saud warned, in a BBC interview, that any terms granting Iran nuclear power would result in a massive wide-open arms race across the Middle East. Similar concerns are currently being voiced by Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and many other nations.

Iran is already in flagrant violation of past U.N. Security Council resolutions, and yet they are proceeding in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic missiles. And contrary to the purpose of dissuading Iran from this course, the U.S. and other nations now seem unwilling to stop Iran from going nuclear, as they concede Iran’s right to retain its current capabilities.

The price-tag on Obama’s dismal legacy is a high one, since Ayatollah Khamenei demands immediate relief from all sanctions. That means more money in Iranian coffers and an increased ability to assist the likes of Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and murderous Shia militia in Iraq. Enabling this terrorist regime to reshape the Middle East through force of arms, slaughtering innocents and nuclear blackmail certainly promises peace will elude the world throughout this century.

Well within their rights, duty and authority to serve and protect the United States, Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, ranking committee member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and 365 House members sent a bipartisan letter to Obama, dated March 20th, that specified in part: “… Congress must be convinced that [the agreement’s] terms foreclose any pathway to a [nuclear] bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief … Finally … it is critical that we also consider Iran’s destabilizing role in the region.”

Similarly, just days previous, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) and 46 other Republican senators published an “open letter” to Iran and its leaders. It essentially stated that any agreement with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry could be rescinded by any successor and was basically not worth the paper it is written on, without Senate approval.

Nothing has changed in the thirty-five years after Iran took U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days or after the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. As noted by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on February 14, 2015: “The Ayatollah Khamenei has been as clear as his predecessor in declaring his goal __ ‘the annihilation and destruction’ of Israel. He is bent on acquiring the weapons needed to make good on his deadly promise.: And, just weeks ago, as Khamenei rallied his country to endorse the nuclear negotiations, he joined the crowd in their chants of “Death to America,”

During his 39 minute speech before the U.S. Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers and visitors, “This deal won’t be a farewell to arms, it will be a farewell to arms control … a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.” At one point, Bibi turned to the 86 year old Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, who sat with Sara Netanyahu in the Congressional gallery, and poignantly continued, “I wish I could promise You, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Much in the manner that Czechoslovakia was betrayed at the 1938 Munich Conference, Israel is being betrayed by Obama’s executive agreement with Iran, and Israel is now left alone to mount a military operation that can destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel can accomplish this, just as it did at Osirak in 1981, but a much more thorough job would result from U.S. and European assistance. A pre-emptive strike is the only answer to a nuclear armed Iran that most certainly will bring the world to the brink of destruction.

America is nearing a terrible milestone in its history. It must not refuse to stand against Iran’s naked aggression, just as it initially refused to stand against the Nazis, or history will weigh our nation in the balance and find it wanting. America must recover its moral character and rebuke Obama’s bitter fruit of appeasement, Considerably less danger exists in a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities than going forward with a bitter fruit that only promises a dark future filled with exponentially larger conflagrations, massive wars and chaos.

Iran nuclear talks reportedly hit snag over lifting of sanctions as Obama makes appeal to Iran’s people

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) over Tehran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Brian Snyder)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) over Tehran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Brian Snyder)

Fox News, March 20, 2015:

A dispute over when international sanctions against Iran would be lifted following a potential nuclear agreement reportedly is the latest issue to bog down negotiations.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Iran’s negotiators say that sanctions must be lifted almost immediately after a deal is concluded. U.S. and European diplomats, for their part, hold that sanctions should only be lifted once Tehran accounts for its past nuclear activity and is confirmed to be using nuclear energy for peaceful means by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

One European diplomat was quoted by the Journal as saying there was “no way” Western negotiators would budge from their position, which the diplomat said the Iranians considered a “deal-breaker. They don’t want it at all.”

Amid the dispute, officials from Iran and the U.S. reportedly said Friday that talks will resume next week.

According to the Journal, both sides believe that the U.S. and European Union can lift some of the sanctions each has unilaterally imposed on Iran’s energy and finance sectors. However, the issue of lifting sanctions imposed by the U.N. is more complex and according to negotiators, is likely to take years, not weeks or months, to accomplish.

For its part, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has failed to turn over key documents about its nuclear program, and has also denied access to scientists and nuclear sites.

Both sides are working to meet a March 31 deadline to construct the framework of a permanent agreement. The final deadline for all the details to be worked out is June 30. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met face-to-face for the fourth straight day in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Associated Press reported late Thursday that elements of a draft deal had been agreed that would commit Iran to a 40 percent cut in the number of machines it could use to make an atomic bomb. In return, the Iranians would get quick relief from some crippling economic sanctions and a partial lift of a U.N. embargo on conventional arms.

Officials told the AP that the tentative deal imposes at least a decade of new limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium, a process that can lead to nuclear weapons-grade material. The sides are zeroing in on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges, officials said, down from the 6,500 they spoke of in recent weeks.

That’s also fewer than the 10,000 such machines Tehran now runs, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise.

It’s unclear how complete the draft is. Iran’s deeply buried underground enrichment plant remains a problem, officials said, with Washington demanding the facility be repurposed and Tehran insisting it be able to run hundreds of centrifuges there. Iran says it wants to use the machines for scientific research; the Americans fear they could be quickly retooled for enrichment.

A planned heavy water reactor will be re-engineered to produce much less plutonium than originally envisioned, relieving concerns that it could be an alternative pathway to a bomb. U.S. officials believe they can extend the time Tehran would need to produce a nuclear weapon to at least a year. Right now, Iran would require only two to three months to amass enough material to make a bomb.

President Barack Obama appealed directly to Iranian citizens in a message commemorating Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

“Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain,” Obama said Thursday in a video message posted online.

“If Iran’s leaders can agree to a reasonable deal, it can lead to a better path — the path of greater opportunities for the Iranian people,” he said.

The pressure in Congress on the administration over Iran remained intense, with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying he would move ahead with legislation giving lawmakers a say over any nuclear deal. And 360 House Republicans and Democrats — more than enough to override any presidential veto — sent a letter to Obama saying if an agreement is reached, Congress will decide on easing sanctions it has imposed.

“Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” the lawmakers wrote.

Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told administration officials at a hearing Thursday that Congress cannot be marginalized and “any attempts to sidestep Congress will be resisted on both sides of the aisle.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Also see:

Reposting: EMET/CSP panel addresses the question “What are Iran’s True Intentions”

iran20a (1)Center For Security Policy, Published on Jan 16, 2014:

As the Obama Administration continues to move forward negotiating with Iran, there has been little attention paid to the underlying motivations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. What is the Iranian end game? What are the ideological motivators of the Islamic regime in its conflict with the United States of America and Israel? Are the genocidal threats issued by Iranian leaders to”wipe Israel off the map” and achieve a “world without America” only posturing? Or are these goals the Iranian regime is committed to achieving?

EMET and the Center for Security Policy have put together a great panel of experts to address these questions and answer, what are Iran’s true intentions?

 Introduction

Walid Phares

Dr. Walid Phares serves as an Advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives and is a Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism, a Euro-American Caucus, since 2009. Dr Phares briefs and testify to the US Congress, the European Parliament and the United Nations Security Council on matters related to international security and Middle East conflict. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Task Force on Future Terrorism of the Department of Homeland Security and the Advisory Task force on Nuclear Terrorism. Dr Phares teaches Global Strategies at the National Defense University. He has published several books in English, Arabic and French including the latest three post-9/11 volumes: Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West; The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy and The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.

Clare Lopez

Clare M. Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on national defense, Islam, Iran, and counterterrorism issues. Currently a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, The Clarion Project, the London Center for Policy Research, and the Canadian Meighen Institute and vice president of the Intelligence Summit, she formerly was a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006. Ms. Lopez is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on subjects related to Iran and the Middle East and the co-author of two published books on Iran. She is the author of an acclaimed paper for the Center, The Rise of the Iran Lobby and co-author/editor of the Center’s Team B II study, “Shariah: The Threat to America”.

Andrew Bostom

Dr. Andrew Bostom is the author of the highly acclaimed works The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: from Sacred Text to Solemn History, Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism and the recent monograph The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the “Muslim Pope.” Dr. Bostom’s forthocoming monograph is entitled, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran. Dr. Bostom has published numerous articles and commentaries on Islam in the New York Post, Washington Times, The New York Daily News, Pajamas Media, National Review Online, The American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine.com, and other print and online publications. More on Andrew Bostom’s work can be found at his:http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/

Mark Langfan

Mark Langfan is a noted security analyst who in 1991 created a 3 dimensional topographic raised-relief map system of Israel. Viewing the 3D Israel map one can easily and quickly be informed of many of the underlying resource and security issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict such as West Bank water resources and Israeli ‘defensible’ borders. Over the past 20 years, Mark has briefed many Congressional and Senate offices, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Israel Desk, and the New York Times Editorial Board. Mark wrote and published seminal articles concerning the Israeli/Middle East region including the 1992 “Demilitarization Risks” warning of future Palestinian Katyusha rocket barrages from vacated Israeli territory, the 1995 “US Troops on Golan Quicksand” warning of the unique topographic dangers of deploying US Troops to the Golan Heights, and the 2006 “Iran: The 4th Reichastan” exposing the Iranian arming of Iraqi Insurgents against US forces, and of Iran’s other regional and strategic goals. Mark has published numerous articles in newspapers and security journal. For more information visit www.marklangfan.com.

This presentation by Mark Langfan with Erick Stakelbeck shows the maps better:

Also see the Clarion Project’s Fact Sheet: IRANIAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM

Legal Experts: Future U.S. President Could Revoke Bad Nuke Deal With Iran

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Daniel Wiser, March, 12, 2015:

Legal experts are refuting a claim by Iran’s foreign minister that revoking a potential deal on the country’s nuclear program would violate international law, amid confusion Wednesday regarding whether or not the deal the State Department is negotiating will be in any way legally binding.

Javad Zarif, Tehran’s chief representative in the ongoing nuclear talks among the United States, Iran, and five other world powers, criticized on Tuesday an open letter sent by 47 Republican senators concerning the negotiations. While the lawmakers said in their missive that a future president or Congress could revoke or substantially alter a nuclear pact, Zarif responded that such changes would be illegal under international statutes.

“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law,” he said, according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, the U.S. State Department asserted on Tuesday that a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran would be “nonbinding.” Secretary of State John Kerry also confirmed in congressional testimony on Wednesday that the Obama administration is “not negotiating a legally binding plan” but one from “executive to executive,” Politico reported. Kerry insisted such a deal would still “have a capacity of enforcement.”

Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University and an expert in international law and Constitutional history, said in an email that “nonbinding” by definition means that the United States “will not violate international law if we don’t adhere to its terms”—contrary to Zarif’s assertion.

“In other words we’re saying it is NOT an international obligation, just a statement of intent,” he said.

The legal nature of a potential nuclear agreement remains a matter of dispute.

The GOP senators wrote about the necessity of congressional oversight for “binding international agreements” in their letter. But on Wednesday, Kerry rejected that  characterization as “absolutely incorrect,” because the plan would not be legally binding.

The potential deal’s executive and nonbinding nature means Congress could not amend it, Kerry said.

Rabkin said the question of whether a U.S. president can institute a binding international agreement without congressional approval is disputed among legal scholars, but the State Department’s declaration that an Iran deal would be nonbinding places it in a different category.

“What Kerry seemed to say was not that his Iran deal would be in the same category but that it would not be legally binding in any sense, just a kind of memorandum of understanding,” Rabkin said. “I wonder whether he understood what he was saying. It was more or less conceding that what Cotton’s letter said was the administration’s own view—that the ‘agreement’ with Iran would not be legally binding, so (presumably) not something that could bind Obama’s successor.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), one of the lead authors of the GOP’s letter to Iran, expressed confusion on Wednesday about the State Department’s classification of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Important question: if deal with Iran isn’t legally binding, then what’s to keep Iran from breaking said deal and developing a bomb?” Cotton tweeted.

John Yoo, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley and a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote on Wednesday that Cotton and his fellow senators had it “exactly right” in their letter on matters of Constitutional law.

“The Cotton letter is right, because if President Obama strikes a nuclear deal with Iran using only [an executive agreement], he is only committing to refrain from exercising his executive power—i.e., by not attacking Iran or by lifting sanctions under power delegated by Congress,” Yoo wrote on National Review Online. “Not only could the next president terminate the agreement; Obama himself could terminate the deal.”

Additionally, Yoo said that under the Constitution’s Foreign Commerce Clause, Congress could still apply financial pressure on Iran regardless of an executive agreement.

“Obama’s executive agreement cannot prevent Congress from imposing mandatory, severe sanctions on Iran without the possibility of presidential waiver (my preferred solution for handling the Iranian nuclear crisis right now),” he said. “Obama can agree to allow Iran to keep a nuclear-processing capability; Congress can cut Iran out of the world trading and financial system.”

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Cotton letter should be no more controversial than a letter that simply enclosed a copy of the U.S. Constitution (without President Obama’s editing),” he added.

Also see:

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Published on Mar 12, 2015 by EnGlobal News World