The Positive Impact Of President Trump’s Foreign Policy

The Gatestone Institute posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s foreign policy on Iran. The article reminds us that because of the Trump administration’s decision not to extend its waiver for Iran’s eight biggest oil buyers; China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, the economy of Iran is shrinking rapidly. Because of this, Iran is not able to fund terrorist groups at previous levels.

The article reports:

Before the US Department of Treasury leveled secondary sanctions against Iran’s oil and gas sectors, Tehran was exporting over two million barrel a day of oil. Currently, Tehran’s oil export has gone down to less than 200,000 barrel a day, which represents a decline of roughly 90% in Iran’s oil exports.

Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, and the sale of these resources account for more than 80 percent of its export revenues. The Islamic Republic therefore historically depends heavily on oil revenues to fund its military adventurism in the region and sponsor militias and terror groups. Iran’s presented budget in 2019 was nearly $41 billion, while the regime was expecting to generate approximately $21 billion of it from oil revenues. This means that approximately half of Iran’s government revenue comes from exporting oil to other nations.

Even though Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, boasts about the country’s self-sufficient economy, several of Iran’s leaders recently admitted the dire economic situation that the government is facing. Speaking in the city of Kerman on November 12, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged for the first time that “Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution” and that “the country’s situation is not normal.”

The result of this is protests and demonstrations against the government.

The article reports:

Iran’s national currency, the rial, also continues to lose value: it dropped to historic lows. One US dollar, which equaled approximately 35,000 rials in November 2017, now buys you nearly 110,000 rials.

In addition, the Islamic Republic appears to be scrambling to compensate for the loss of revenues it is encountering. A few days ago, for example, Iran’s leaders tripled the price of gasoline. It appears a sign of desperation to generate revenues in order to fund their military adventurism in the region and support their proxies and terror groups.

This increase immediately led people to rise up against the government. In the last few days, several Iranian cities have become the scenes of widespread protests and demonstrations. The protests first erupted in Ahvaz and then spread to many other cities in the Khuzestan province as well as in the capital Tehran, and Kermanshah, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karadj, Shiraz, Yazd, Boushehr, Sari, Khorramshahr, Andimeshk, Dezful, Behbahan and Mahshahr.

Tehran’s diminishing resources have also caused Iranian leaders to cut funds to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah. Hamas was forced to introduce “austerity plans” while Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, has also called on his group’s fundraising arm “to provide the opportunity for jihad with money and also to help with this ongoing battle.”

The economic weapon being wielded by President Trump appears to be the safest way to deal with Iran. War would not be a good option, but economic war has at least a possibility of being successful.

Sometimes Warnings Are There For A Reason

Common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden. When someone warns you about something, they may actually know something you do not.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin. They announced in 2017 that they would be going on an international trip to “try to break the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad rap in the media.” What could possibly go wrong?

Last Thursday, the BBC reported:

Two Australian citizens detained in Iran have been identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin.

Ms King, who also holds a UK passport, and Mr Firkin were blogging their travels in Asia and the Middle East.

They were reportedly arrested 10 weeks ago near Tehran but news of the arrest, and that of another British-Australian woman, came to light on Wednesday.

Australia said it had repeatedly raised their cases with Tehran, including in a meeting between officials last week.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had lobbied on their behalf in a meeting with her Iranian counterpart.

She described the detentions as “a matter of deep concern” on Thursday, and confirmed that assistance had been offered to the families of the three detainees.

“[We] hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible,” their families said on Thursday.

The situation comes amid growing tensions between the West and Iran.

Several dual nationals have been detained in Iran in recent years, including the British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Relations between the UK and Iran have also been strained in recent months by a row over the seizure of oil tankers in the Gulf.

I guess maybe the media discourages people from traveling to certain places for a reason. We need to remember that not every country in the world plays by the same rules.

 

What A Difference A President Makes

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about recent events in Iran. The editorial highlights the difference between the way the Obama administration handled protests and the Trump administration is handling protestors.

The editorial states:

In recent days, headlines such as “In Iran, revolution is starting in the bazaar,” “Clashes Continue in Iran for Third Day After Grand Bazaar Merchant Protest,” and “Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Shut Down As Economic Protests Spread,” have run in global media, with little apparent notice.

It’s a big deal. A very big deal.

The 39-year-old dictatorship of the Mullahs in Tehran may be on the verge of dissolving, as Trump imposes new, stiff sanctions on Iran’s economy and Iran’s currency, the rial, plunges sharply, prices soar and the economy collapses. Average Iranians are losing faith in the government and taking to the streets.

In dealing with Iran, it is important to remember the demographics of the country. A large segment of their population was killed during the Iran/Iraq War between 1980 and 1988. The current profile of the Iranian population is 24.1 percent under the age of 15, 70.1 percent between 15 and 64 years old, and 5 percent of the population 65+. That means that the twenty year olds who participated in the Iranian revolution now comprise 5 percent of the population.

According to unc.edu:

A scholarly article based on the records of the Veteran and Martyrs Affairs Foundation, a government agency, recently counted 183,623 Iranian deaths as a result of the war.

To put that into perspective, Iran had a population of 80.9 million people in 2017.

The majority of the population has grown up in a very restrictive culture and  does not necessarily supported the rule of the mullahs. The current economic struggles have only exacerbated the discontent of the majority of young Iranians.

The editorial states:

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, its central meeting place and business center, has been filled with tens of thousands of angry protesters nearly every day. Yet, the media are paying little attention. Neither are average citizens in the West. But it bears close watching.

Some chant anti-government slogans, including “The enemy is here. They (the regime) lie that it is the U.S.” Not lost on average Iranians is the fact that, as Najmeh Bozorgmehr writes in the Financial Times, “The bazaar played a crucial role in the 1979 Islamic revolution when traders joined forces with the clergy to overthrow Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.”

Is history repeating itself?

If so, this will remake the entire Mideast. Without the fundamentalists in power, Iran will almost certainly begin modernizing both its economy and its culture. Moreover, the nuclear weapons program that is at the heart of western discontent with Iran could be dismantled.

Last time, the U.S. sat and watched, not giving its ally, the Shah, any support. This time is different.

The U.S. Treasury under President Trump has already begun to revoke licenses, according to the Associated Press, that let U.S.-controlled foreign companies sell commercial jet parts and oilfield gear to Iran. It also bans sale of Iran’s famous carpets, pistachios and caviar in the U.S., major exports for the financially troubled nation.

This follows Trump’s decision in May to pull out of President Obama’s so-called Iran nuclear agreement. That deal didn’t halt work on a nuclear weapon; it merely postponed an Iranian nuke by 10 years.

Despite criticism from Britain, China, Russia, Germany, France and the European Union, Trump held fast. Angry rhetoric notwithstanding, foreign banks have fallen into line, fearing sanctions from the U.S. Two-thirds of all global trade is conducted in dollars. As sanctions bite and its oil industry struggles, Iran’s mullahs are short on cash.

By these moves, Trump has empowered the people taking to the streets in Tehran and elsewhere. The last time this happened, during Iran’s 2009 “Green Revolution,” by comparison, President Obama did nothing. Indeed, within years, Obama had signed a Neville-Chamberlain-style appeasement deal Iran’s leaders. Disgracefully, it basically gave them a sure path to a nuclear bomb.

This protest is important. It could eventually change the face of the Middle East.

What Kind Of A Treaty Does This?

Townhall.com posted an article today reporting that Iran has just sentenced two Americans to ten years in prison.

The article reports:

Iranian-Americans Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million, according to Iran’s official news channel IRINN.

Iran officials say five people were convicted and sentenced for “cooperating with Iran’s enemies,” a government euphemism that usually implies cooperating with the United States.

Siamak Namazi was arrested nearly a year ago and became the first US citizen reported to have been detained in the country since the announcement of the Iranian nuclear program deal.

We paid the Iranians billions of dollars in cash to get the last four hostages back. Will there be another secret deal to get these men back?

Was This Part Of The Deal?

Townhall.com posted a story today about some changes Iran is making to its Fordo  nuclear facility.

The article reports:

Earlier in 2016, Russia delivered several divisions of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran and now Tehran is deploying those same systems to the Fordo nuclear facility according to state television.  

“Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount in all circumstances,” said General Farzad Esmaili, commander of Iran’s air defenses.  “Today, Iran’s sky is one of the most secure in the region.”

He added that “continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy.”

The Fordo site, hidden into a mountain near the city of Qom, is one of Iran’s numerous nuclear enrichment plants.

Within 24 hours after transferring the missiles, Iran’s military detected a U.S. drone entering Iranian airspace on Monday and issued a warning for it to leave.  The drone immediately retreated from its course according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency

It seems to me that if you intended to follow the requirements of the nuclear treaty you just signed, you wouldn’t arm your nuclear facilities with air defense missiles. Unfortunately, the installation of these missiles means that western countries will now not be able to stop Iran’s further development of nuclear weapons. Make no mistake–this is about Iran developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of destroying Israel and eventually the United States. This is not good news.

Beyond The Standard Accusations

We have all listened to the media report on the $400 million dollars paid to Iran. Iran claims it was a ransom payment; President Obama claims it was not. One of the hostages has stated that they were detained at the Iranian airport until the plane with the payment landed. That sounds like ransom, but ransom is not the real issue.

Andrew McCarthy posted an article in National Review today explaining another aspect of the payment.

The article explains:

At a press conference Thursday, Obama remarkably explained, “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.” Really Mr. President? The whole point of sanctions is to prohibit and punish certain behavior. If you — especially you, Mr. President — do the precise thing that the sanctions prohibit, that is a strange way of being “so strict in maintaining” them.

Now, the sanctions at issue exclude Iran from the U.S. financial system by, among other things, prohibiting Americans and financial institutions from engaging in currency transactions that involve Iran’s government. Contrary to the nuclear sanctions that Obama’s Iran deal (the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” or JCPOA) attempts to undo, the sanctions pertinent here were imposed primarily as a result of Iran’s support for terrorism. That is significant. In pleading with Congress not to disapprove the JCPOA, Obama promised lawmakers that the terrorism sanctions would remain in force.

…As noted above, the sanctions prohibit transactions with Iran that touch the U.S. financial system, whether they are carried out in dollars or foreign currencies. The claim by administration officials, widely repeated in the press, that Iran had to be paid in euros and francs because dollar-transactions are forbidden is nonsense; Americans are also forbidden to engage in foreign currency transactions with Iran.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The ransom payment to Iran was another example of the Obama Administration’s blatant regard for the laws that are supposed to govern our country. The payment also funds terrorism and puts our military (and all Americans) at greater risk for terrorism and kidnapping. This should be an impeachable offense, but I really haven’t even heard much complaining from the Republican Congress. We need to elect some Congressman who will support America. Right now those in office seem to lack a backbone.

Arming The Enemies of America

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about one of the consequences of the nuclear treaty with Iran. The treaty paved the way for a transaction that was very profitable for Boeing Aircraft. The treaty got through Congress because both the Republicans and Democrats got something out of it. The American people and the American military, however, did not. The Democrats showed solidarity with their President. The Republicans rewarded Boeing, a major campaign donor, with the lucrative contract to sell airplanes to Iran.

The article reports:

With the blessing of the Obama administration, Boeing Co. has negotiated the sale of a fleet of new jets to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

The $17.6 billion deal between the aviation giant and the Islamic Republic of Iran was made possible by the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran in January. It is a reckless piece of business that Congress must address.

Under terms of the memorandum of agreement, Boeing reportedly will supply 80 planes—including intercontinental jumbo jets—to state-owned Iran Air.

The carrier, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury, has been routinely commandeered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics to transport rockets, missiles, and other military equipment, including materials and technologies with ballistic missile applications.

There is little doubt that the weapons transported by these planes will be used against American soldiers. We are funding our enemy.

The article concludes:

Boeing executives say the proposed sale is necessary to remain competitive against Airbus, the European aviation manufacturer that has struck a $27 billion deal with Iran for 118 planes. But that’s the same lame argument Boeing made in lobbying for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank—from which Boeing was the top beneficiary of export subsidies.

The fact is, projected demand for commercial planes is forecast to rise for years to come, and both manufacturers are carrying huge backlogs that will take years to fulfill.

Rather than tweak the tax code, Congress should, at the very least, explicitly prohibit financing from the Export-Import Bank for the sale of Boeing planes (or any other product) to Iran.

Additional actions are needed as well. The administration has already increased the risk of yet more death and destruction by the terrorist state. Lawmakers should ensure that Boeing and other U.S. companies don’t become tools of Tehran.

It is time to clean house in Washington.

I Don’t Think This Was The Way The Agreement Was Supposed To Work

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a recent statement by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The article reports:

Behrouz Kamalvandi warned the US and other world powers that Tehran can return its nuclear program to conditions before the July deal much faster than estimated by them.

“Since the beginning, we have foreseen measures for return scenarios and if needed, we are ready to create conditions rapidly that will certainly surprise the other side,” Kamalvandi said on Thursday.

“If we decide to return to the past conditions for the other side’s non-compliance to the nuclear deal, naturally, we can have highly good conditions rapidly using advanced centrifuges,” he added.

Why in the world did we give them all that money if they obviously have no intentions of actually living up to their end of the bargain?

No One Likes Being Lied To

No one likes being lied to. However, some lies have greater consequences than others. The Washington Free Beacon posted a story yesterday about an investigation into lies the Obama Administration told Congress about the Iranian nuclear deal. Evidently what Congress was told about the concessions made to Iran actually bore little resemblance to the deal that was finally agreed to.

The article reports:

The concerns come after statements from top officials last week suggesting that Iran is set to receive greater weapons and sanctions relief, moves that the administration had promised Congress would never take place as White House officials promoted the deal last summer.

“When multiple officials—including Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and Ambassador Mull—testify in front of Members of Congress, we are inclined to believe them,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) told the Washington Free Beacon.

“However, the gap between their promises on the Iran nuclear deal and today’s scary reality continues to widen. We are now trying to determine whether this was intentional deception on the part of the administration or new levels of disturbing acquiescence to the Iranians,” Pompeo said.

Congress is believed to be investigating what insiders described to the Free Beacon as a range of areas in which administration officials may have understated the breadth of concessions made to the Islamic Republic when trying to persuade lawmakers to sign off on the final deal.

The article goes on to detail the areas where the actual deal does not resemble the information Congress received.

The article notes that Secretary of State John Kerry promised that under the agreement signed with Iran, Iran would be prohibited from carrying out ballistic missile tests.

The article reports:

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., shifted course last week, refusing to call recent Iranian launches a “violation” in a letter she signed criticizing those launches.

Note to Ms. Power: Iran is not particularly impressed nor responsive to criticism.

The article further reports:

“The Obama administration is involved in yet another sleight of hand on sanctions relief as well as the status of U.N. missile sanctions,” Dubowitz sai. “This is very familiar to those who tracked the Iran nuclear talks and recall the many ways in which broken commitments were justified and redlines were abandoned.”

Iranian allies on the U.N. Security Council, mainly Russia, have defended the missile tests, arguing that resolution 2231 has only “called upon” Iran to refrain from these tests.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin recently stated that the newest U.N. resolution governing the nuclear agreement only suggests that Iran stop test firing missiles.

“A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call, you can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call,” Churkin was quoted as saying. “The legal distinction is there.”

Congressional critics have dismissed the argument and are pressing on the Obama administration to stand up to Iran’s defenders.

“The Kremlin’s absurd legal argument after Iran’s March tests that ‘legally you cannot violate a call’ would essentially allow the Iranian regime to do anything it wants to further develop its ballistic missile program,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

The Iranian nuclear deal was a badly negotiated deal. It was something that President Obama wanted to put in his legacy, and he gave away the store in order to get it done. He then added insult to injury by reporting the details, nuances, and intricacies to Congress in a manner that may not have been entirely truthful. Congress may not be unified on much, but they are pretty unified on the fact that they don’t like being lied to.

It will be interesting to see exactly what this investigation uncovers and also to see exactly what will happen if in fact Congress has been lied to. We have about eight months left of the Obama Administration. Get out the popcorn, it is going to be interesting.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been released by the Iranians along with three other Americans. This is wonderful news. CBN News has posted the the details of the prisoner swap.

The article reports:

A report by the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted a statement from the Tehran prosecutor’s office as saying the inmates were freed “within the framework of exchanging prisoners.”  

In return, the U.S. will either pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians – six of whom are dual citizens – accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions. The U.S. will also drop Interpol “red notices” – essentially arrest warrants – on a handful of Iranian fugitives it has sought.

U.S official indicated the prisoner deal would be separate from Saturday’s expected “implementation” of the landmark nuclear deal.

I am glad that the prisoners are coming home. I am really unhappy with the idea that the Interpol “red notices” will be dropped on Iranian fugitives. At some point we need to realize that we are not dealing with nice people, and we need to begin to act accordingly. Going forward with the Iranian nuclear deal is insanity–we should not give Iran one penny. All the money they gain from lifting the sanctions will be used to fund terrorism around the world and to kill Americans. Someone in the American government needs to stand up and fight this deal.

A Letter From Someone Who Knows The Truth

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi is an Iranian democratic activist. He has been arrested several times on charges related to his political activities, most recently in December 2009. In October 2010, a court sentenced him to nine additional years in jail and 74 lashes, a sentence that was reduced to eight years on appeal.

Reza Kahlili posted Mr. Tabarzadi’s open letter to western governments on his Facebook page today. Please google Reza Kahlili and read his story if you are unfamiliar with it. He is a truly courageous man.

This is the letter:

Following the U.S. and its UN Security Council allies preliminary nuclear agreement to make a deal with the Islamic regime in Iran, efforts to expand political and economic ties with the regime has swiftly begun. The most recent case is the Austrian president’s visit with Khamenei, the religious dictator in Iran.

I can not blame the efforts of Western governments to secure their national interests, however do not forget, the people of Iran are entitled to freedom, democracy, prosperity and security; and to that end, they do have expectations of the leaders of the civilized world.

The regime in Iran is, economically and fiscally, one of the most corrupt governments on the global scene. From the socio-political-legal standpoint, they view the rights of women and girls, as half that of a man and by lashing, imprisoning, acid attacks and general violence, they continue to impose and force the hijab on them.

Baha’is, newly converted Christians, Sufis and followers of transcendental teachings, etc. are jailed. And like Daesh (ISIS) they cut off people’s limbs. Journalists, lawyers, political opponents, women’s rights activists, children, etc. are oppressed and imprisoned as well.

This regime has been routinely condemned for it’s heinous and ongoing violations of human rights, by the U.N. itself, yet, Western governments are looking to expand their economic and political relations with a seditious regime?!

From an economic standpoint, this lawless autocracy, has created the most grueling conditions for the working class, nurses and generally all those who work hard for their livelihood. Now our teachers, are being imprisoned as well.

Free and Democratic elections for the people of Iran to choose their own destiny is not tolerated and with illegal supervision and persistent meddling in the electoral process, they rob the people of their vote.

It is the people of Iran who aspire to a secular Democracy, prosperity, progress and security and yet, they are confronted with none other than a violent and callous dictatorship of zealots. The people of Iran call upon all Western leaders to be absolutely aware of the nature of the regime with which they have chosen to cooperate and befriend. Having further oppressed and robbed us of our legal rights, this regime will take advantage of it’s renewed ‘credit’ with the West and will continue to inflame the region and expand it’s terrorist activities.

Secretary General of the Democratic Front of Iran, Tehran, Iran
Heshmat Tabarzadi- September 9th, 2015.

به دنبال توافقات اولیه امریکا و متحدین در شورای امنیت سازمان ملل متحد،برای معامله ی هسته ای با رژیم اسلامی حاکم بر ایران، تلاش شما برای گسترش روابط اقتصادی و سیاسی با این رژیم، رو به گسترش است که اخرین مورد، دیدار رییس جمهوری اتریش با خامنه ای دیکتاتور مذهبی حاکم بر ایران بود.
نمی توانم تلاش های دول غربی برای تامین منافع ملی شان را سرزنش کنم، اما فراموش نکنید ، مردم ایران نیز حق دارند تا ازادی،دموکراسی و رفاه و امنیت داشته باشند واز این منظر، از رهبران دنیای متمدن انتظار هایی دارند. فراموش نکنید، حکومت ایران به لحاظ اقتصادی و مالی یکی از فاسد ترین حکومت ها در جهان است.  از نطر اجتماعی-سیاسی-حقوقی، زنان و دختران را نصف مردان می داند و با شلاق و زندان و اسید پاشی، بر زنان حجاب زوری تحمیل می کند.  بهایی ها ، نو کشیان مسیحی و دراویش و طرفداران عرفان های نو را به زندان می اندازد. همچون داعش، دست و پا قطع می کند و روزنامه نگاران، حقوقدانان، مخالفین سیاسی و کوشندگان حقوق زنان و کودکان را زندانی و سرکوب می کند.به همین دلیل، همواره از سوی سازمان ملل متحد،به دلیل نقص سیستماتیک حقوق بشر ،محکوم گردیده، و اینک دولت های غربی در حال توسعه ی روابط اقتصادی و سیاسی با چنین دولت قانون شکن و سر کشی هستند!؟ این حکومت قانون شکن،به لحاظ اقتصادی، شرایط بسیار سختی بر طبقه ی زحمتکش کارگر، پرستاران، همه ی مزد بگیران و به ویژه معلم ها تحمیل کرده و نمایندگان انها را به زندان انداخته است. به انتخابات ازاد و دموکراتیک مردم ایران برای تعیین سرنوشت احترام نمی گذارد و با نظارت غیر قانونی و دخالت در فرایند برگزاری انتخابات، به انتخاب و رای مردم دستبرد می زند.قوه ی قضاییه ی مستقل وجود ندارد و نهاد های نظامی،روحانیون بلند پایه، دستگاه امنیتی و رهبر رژیم، مستقیما در امور قضات و محاکم دخالت می کنند. بنابر این، مردم ایران که خواهان دموکراسی سکولار، رفاه، پیشرفت و امنیت هستند، با چنین حکومت مذهبی خشن و بی رحمی روبرو می باشند و از رهبران دول غربی انتظار دارند، اگاه باشند، با رژیمی در حال معامله و دوستی هستند که خواسته های قانونی انها را سرکوب کرده و از امتیاز،، ارتباط با غرب،، به نفع سرکوب و حتا اتش افروزی در منطقه استفاده می کند و به شدت تروریزم را گسترش می دهد.
 
حشمت اله طبرزدی- دبیر کل جبهه ی دموکراتیک ایران- ایران- تهران- 18 شهریور 1394 خورشیدی.

Following The Money On The Iran Treaty Public Relations Campaign

Kyle Shideler posted an article at the Center for Security Policy on Wednesday about some of the campaigns supporting the nuclear deal with Iran. Recently the Iran deal was endorsed by three-dozen retired flag and general officers. This sounds a little odd, but makes perfect sense when you consider who composed the letter and asked for the signatures.

The article reports:

Adm. Barnett’s support for the deal is not necessarily surprising. Barnett has repeatedly taken public positions on military or national security related issues that align closely with those of the Obama White House, including opposition to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” in favor of changes to DOD’s Transgender policy, and applauding the use of national security as a reason to support school lunch changes proposed by First Lady Michelle Obama. In his capacity as a Venable employee, Barnett also worked a high profile case on sexual abuse in the military during a period at a moment when the White House was seized with the topic.

Barnett solicited signatures for the letter from his Venable work email, but denies that his employer played any role in the letter.

Given that Barnett had denied what appears to be obvious White House involvement, his other denial seems worthy of further investigation as well. Is there reason to believe that the firm has an interest in ending Iran sanctions?

Oddly enough, there seems to be a financial connection. The article goes on to list some of the companies that Venable is associated with–the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), an Iranian-American group, with its own political PAC is one of Venable’s non-profit clients, According to the article, One of PAAIA’s “Founding Donors” was Venable Partner Robert S. Babayi.

The article further reports:

Babayi is also the co-founder of the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA). Venable held presentations for the IABA on Iranian Americans living in or doing business in Iran and Iran sanctions laws. In March of 2010, IABA screened the anti-Guantanamo Bay detention facility movie “The Response” which was executive produced by Venable LLP. Venable representedEgyptian detainees at Guantanamo (the subject of the film), and Babayi’s email is listed as the RSVP email.

Babayi apparently left Venable to become Managing Director of Vector IP, a boutique Patent law firm in June 2014. Babayi is also a U.S. Advisory Team member for IBridges, an organization that works to promote High Tech entrepreneurship in Iran.

Venable may also have other interests in Iran:

A 2013 article by Asharq Al-Awsat identifies one Majid Javedani-Tabrizi as a lawyer representing Venable LLP who announced Iran was preparing to reinstate direct flights to the United States. While Iran denied this, it subsequently signaled that a new nuclear deal may open the door for direct flights. Venable reportedly did not reply when questioned about its role in the announcement.

…Either way, their letter underscores the fact that powerful financial interests at work in securing approval of the Iran deal, interests that would appear likely to profit from seeing Iran sanctions end.

Inquiring minds want to know: Were such interests at Venable and among its clients disclosed to the senior military officers before they signed on?

As with most things in the Obama Administration, following the money tells a whole lot more than what is actually being said.

Desperation Is Never A Good Thing In Negotiations

On Monday, the Center for Security Policy posted an article about the ongoing negotiations with Iran over Iran’s nuclear policy. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) released a report on June 11 on the status of the negotiations.

The article reports:

The deadlock stems from Tehran’s refusal to permit inspections of military facilities or answer questions about past nuclear-weapons-related work (known as “possible military dimensions” or PMD in U.N.-speak). With the clock ticking down on a June 30 deadline for a nuclear agreement, the refusal of Iranian leaders to budge on these issues has become a political problem for President Obama, who said in April that Iran has agreed to “the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has said the nuclear agreement will allow “anytime, anywhere inspections of any and every Iranian facility.”

Unfortunately, Iran has not been willing to agree to those inspections. In desperation, the Obama Administration has begun making concessions.

The article reports some of those concessions:

• The United States has proposed to close the International Atomic Energy Agency’s PMD dossier and forgo actual IAEA inspections of suspect Iranian nuclear facilities.

• Instead, the IAEA would conduct token inspections of a handful of nuclear sites — including two military sites — and question several senior Iranian military officials.

• Inspections of Iranian nuclear sites after the token inspections would be limited to declared facilities.

• Undeclared and suspect nuclear-weapons sites would be monitored through intelligence means.

MEMRI, a well-regarded think tank in Washington, D.C., sourced its report to statements cited in the Iranian press from Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and head nuclear negotiator, and Hamid Baidinejad, another Iranian nuclear negotiator. Araghchi reportedly said the Iranian negotiating team agreed to the proposed U.S. concession, but the plan was subsequently rejected by Supreme Leader Khamenei and triggered harsh criticism of Iranian officials in the so-called pragmatic camp. Baidinejad claimed the Iranian negotiating team rejected the proposed U.S. concession but agreed to an American request to present it to Khamenei anyway, who rejected it outright.

Somewhere in this charade, we need to remember that Iran is neither our friend or an honest negotiator. Iranian weapons have been killing our soldiers in the Middle East since 2001. Why in the world should we believe that they are at all interested in bringing peace to the region? We need to increase the sanctions on Iran until they stop exporting terrorism around the world.

Sometimes There Just Are No Words

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a recent statement by Maria Harf on the Iranian nuclear negotiations.

On June 1st, the New York Times reported:

With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been “frozen” during that period.

The article at Hot Air states that Ms. Hart does not seem to understand the concern:

Pressed by the media for an answer on a New York Times story about the sharp increase in material during the Obama administration’s negotiations, Harf pronounced herself and her team “perplexed” at the concern. “There are some real issues, serious ones that we have to resolve in these talks,” Harf responded yesterday, “but this just isn’t one of them.”

The article includes her entire statement. However, Ed Morrissey has his own summary of Ms. Hart’s statement:

  • The State Department considers concern over a 20% increase in Iranium nuclear stockpiles “absurd”
  • The entire team is “totally perplexed” why the New York Times would report on it
  • However, it’s apparently true, even while being “totally inaccurate,” because it’s “absurd” to think the State Department wasn’t already aware of it
  • Harf keeps repeating herself over and over to convince people that it doesn’t matter

Maybe the problem with the Iranian treaty is not limited to the negotiators.

Making A Deal Is Not Always The Right Answer

John Podhoretz posted an article in Tuesday’s New York Post about the nuclear deal that some western countries are attempting to negotiate with Iran. Unfortunately, President Obama does not seem to be much of a negotiator.

The article reports:

As the June 30 deadline for the Iran nuclear deal approaches, President Obama is putting all his cards on the table — by announcing he is keeping no cards in his hand.

In an astonishing interview with Israel’s Channel 2, the president declared that “the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough, agreement.

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

Why is this astonishing? Because Obama is publicly eliminating any American possibility that we will bomb Iran’s nuclear sites even if the deal in which he has invested so much collapses.

Last week at a Washington synagogue, the President stated, “Iran must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to get a nuclear weapon.” The most recent statement, posted above, contradicts the previous statement.

Unfortunately, the deal that is currently being negotiated will allow Iran to be a nuclear power by 2028. The only way that would not be a problem is if there were a regime change in Iran between now and then. Since the President refused to aid an attempted regime change a few years ago, it is a fairly safe bet that there will not be another attempt (most of the people involved in the previous attempt are either in prison or dead).

Unfortunately, the only way to stop Iran from going nuclear is to bomb its reactors. Since they are building more as we speak and putting them under mountains, that will be a difficult, although not impossible, task. Our best bet would be to give the Israelis the weapons they need and turn them loose. There are a number of other countries in the Middle East that would be grateful to Israel for bombing Iran’s reactors (although they might not be able to say so publicly). Meanwhile, we are faced with a President, desperate for an agreement, who is giving away the store.

This Really Isn’t A Surprise

Reuters is reporting today that Britain has told a United Nations panel in charge of sanctions on Iran that there is an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to two blacklisted firms.

The article reports:

“The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it ‘is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)’,” the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran’s compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.

KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.

Iran, which is has been under sanctions for years, has a long history of illicit nuclear procurement using front companies and other methods of skirting sanctions.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. Iran is not an honest negotiator, and America needs to break off talks with them at least until the American prisoners they hold are released.

 

Something Is Wrong With This Picture

PJ Media today posted an article by Roger Simon about an open letter to President Obama written by the nephew of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Please follow the link above to read the entire letter, but here are some excerpts:

Dear Mr. President

I am presenting this open letter as one of the serious opponents of the Islamic republic of Iran on behalf of the like-minded opposition groups and myself. Because of my knowledge of this regime, especially of Ali Khamenei who is my uncle (my mother’s brother), I see it as my duty to inform you about this regime and the issue of nuclear negotiations with the Islamic regime of Iran.

Let me at first inform you that the regime that falsely calls itself a republic came to power in 1979 by deceiving Iranian people and the world through provoking Iranian people against the regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and gaining the support of the world community.

Obviously Dr.Mahmoud Moradkhani (the author of this letter is not a supporter of the current Iranian regime).

He also states:

We can find a historical example of this kind of deception prior to the Second World War. Hitler manipulated and deceived German people and European countries and the hesitation in addressing the problem with Hitler led to a great disaster.

Due to the changes in time, the domain of the disaster might become limited now but breach of human rights is the same, regardless of the number of people who become victimized in the process.

Ali Khamenei and his collaborators know very well that they will never become a nuclear power. They certainly do not have the national interest of Iranian in their mind; they just use the nuclear issue to bully the countries in the region and export their revolution and middle-aged culture to other countries. Obviously, you and European countries do not give the Islamic regime any concession unless you are certain that they comply with the agreement. The Islamic regime of Iran will certainly prolong the verification period the same way that they have delayed and prolonged the nuclear talks. It is in this period that the wounded regime will retaliate with its destructive policies.

The countless breaches of human rights violations, spreading of Islamic fundamentalism, intervention and creating crisis in the Middle East are all unacceptable and contrary to democratic and humane beliefs of yours and ours.

I would love to know why he believes that Iran will never become a nuclear power. I expect that Israel will not allow that to happen, but I am not sure that is what he means.

What we currently have in the Middle East is an all-out war between the Sunnis (led by Saudi Arabia) and the Shiites (led by Iran). The nuclear deal reached with Iran by the Obama Administration in its current form would simply fund the Shiite effort in that war. That is one of many reasons why this treaty must be kept from taking effect.

In Case You Have Been Sleeping Well…

Reuters is reporting today that Russia is clearing the way to send Iran anti-missile systems as soon as the sanctions are lifted on Iran. Doesn’t that news give you hope for peace in the Middle East?

The article reports:

Russia paved the way on Monday for missile system deliveries to Iran and started an oil-for-goods swap, signaling that Moscow may have a head-start in the race to benefit from an eventual lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

The moves come after world powers, including Russia, reached an interim deal with Iran this month on curbing its nuclear program.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ending a self-imposed ban on delivering the S-300 anti-missile rocket system to Iran, removing a major irritant between the two after Moscow canceled a corresponding contract in 2010 under pressure from the West.

This is another reason Congress should demand its constitutional right to review this treaty and a reason to reject the treaty. Once these anti-missile systems are delivered, there will be no way to prevent Iran from going nuclear, assuming that they do not already possess at least one nuclear bomb.

Please follow the link above to read the entire Reuters article. Russia will benefit economically when the sanctions are lifted, and the alliance that is being formed between Russia and Iran will not advance the cause of peace.

 

 

If You Are Concerned About The Nuclear Deal With Iran, Here Is Your Plan Of Action

Hugh Hewitt posted an article on his website today about the recent developments in the Iranian nuclear deal.

The article reports:

Now that Iran has announced (1) there is no deal unless sanctions are lifted on day one and (2) there will be no “anytime, anywhere” access to military facilities, Democrats up for re-election in 2016 and 2018 face a dilemma even if they are indifferent to national security. Both are deal killers (as should have been the continuation of support for the Iran-backed killer militias of the region and export of existing enriched uranium stockpiles and closing of Fordo.)

…Like the vote on the Iraq war, the vote on the Corker-Menendez will haunt senators for a decade or more to come.  Indeed it will haunt them in history.

The article then lists the Democrats facing re-election in 2016 and 2018 and the phone number to contact them.

The article then lists links to interview Hugh Hewitt has done in recent days regarding the Iranian nuclear deal. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to the article and read more about the nuclear deal. To agree to this deal should be regarded as treason.

A Bad Deal Only Gets Worse

CNN is reporting today that Iran will not sign any nuclear deal until the economic sanctions are lifted.

The article reports:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic republic‘s supreme leader, meanwhile, told state-run media outlets he is neither in favor nor against the proposed deal because it isn’t final, and he’s not certain it will become binding because he has “never been optimistic about negotiations with the U.S.”

Six world powers and Iran reached a preliminary deal last week that aims to limit Tehran‘s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

The United States, however, has stressed that if a final deal is reached with Iran, the removal of any sanctions will come in phases.

But work on the agreement isn’t finished.

Negotiators from Iran and the United States, China, Germany, France, Britain and Russia have until June 30 to come up with a final deal.

This is called ‘buying more time.’ I do fear that we will wake up one morning to an announcement from Iran that it now has a stockpile of nuclear weapons–those centrifuges are not spinning for nothing.

The economic sanctions are what brought Iran to the negotiating table. Does anyone actually believe that the Iranian nuclear program will stop once those sanctions are lifted?

An Insider Speaks About The Iranian Negotiations

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article yesterday about the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Basically, the article says that the talks are going forward and there will be some sort of accord before April Fool’s Day (it would be more appropriate for the agreement to arrive on April Fool’s Day).

The article has a few interesting observations:

So far as we can tell, the Obama administration has capitulated to every significant demand made by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Negotiations that were premised on the objective of foreclosing Iran’s path to nuclear weapons will produce an agreement that finances and facilitates them. As Winston Churchill said of the Munich Agreement, “we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road.”

Unlike the British in 1938, however, most of us have our eyes open. We are not fooled by Hassan Rouhani or the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We do not share the vision of the Supreme Leader of the United States

One surprise in the negotiations was the defection of Amir Hossein Mottaghi, a close media aide to Iranian President Rouahani. He traveled to Switzerland to cover the nuclear talks and is now seeking political asylum there.

The article article reports:

Mottaghi appeared on an Iranian opposition television channel based in London. In his television interview, Mottaghi nicely summed up the negotiations: “The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.”

Sometimes truth comes from very unusual places.

This Is Not The Time To Ignore The Ongoing Nuclear Negotiations With Iran

The Center for Security Policy posted an article yesterday about the ongoing negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. The article listed the developments this week in the negotiations:

1. NYT says Obama plans to sidestep Congress on an Iran deal. An October 19th article in the New York Times stated that the Obama administration “will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress have a vote” on a final nuclear deal with Iran.

2. Do Iran’s recent steps to dilute some of its enriched uranium mean Tehran is serious about reaching a deal on its nuclear program? This question is based on a Monday Reuters report that a new IAEA report said Iran diluted 4,100 kg of 2% enriched uranium to the natural uranium level (0.7% uranium-235). The article at the Center for Security Policy points out that a September 2014 IAEA report specified this was a separate batch from Iran’s 12,464 kg of reactor-grade uranium (enriched to 3 to 5%). Iran can still make 7-8 nuclear weapons from its reactor-grade uranium stockpile if this uranium was further enriched to weapons-grade.

3. New U.S. Concessions. The Iranian news service Mehr reported this week that the Obama administration has offered to allow Iran to operate 4,000 uranium centrifuges. Iran is using centrifuges to enrich uranium to reactor-grade and could easily adapt them to enrich to weapons-grade. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges but only about 9,000 are currently operational.

If this report is true it is consistent with previous reports of U.S. offers allowing Iran to operate 1,500-4,500 centrifuges if it converted any uranium it enriched to uranium power. As I explained in an October 2 National Review Online article, these previous concessions would do little to stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

4. Dennis Ross Thinks There Could be a Partial Nuclear Deal with Iran. Ross thinks a partial deal which “contains” Iran’s nuclear program and prevents Tehran from moving closer to a nuclear “breakout” capability – the ability to produce enough weapons-grade fuel for one nuclear weapon – would be a good outcome for the nuclear talks. Ross says this might also be achieved by a “muddling through” strategy under which Iran would agree to limit its nuclear program and the West would not impose additional sanctions. Under such a scenario, the nuclear talks would be suspended for a few months but bilateral talks with Tehran would continue….The current understandings with Iran allow Tehran to continue to enrich uranium and keep a huge stockpile of reactor-grade uranium which could be used to fuel 7-8 nuclear weapons if this uranium was enriched to weapons-grade. Iran also has been permitted during this year’s nuclear talks to install new centrifuge designs that may be four to 16 times more efficient. These are unacceptable concessions that Ross is proposing be made permanent under a partial deal with Iran or through a muddling through strategy.

America has not yet prevented a country that desires to obtain nuclear weapons from going nuclear. I suspect that we will not be able to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Unfortunately, the change in the balance of power in the Middle East that would result from Iran going nuclear is not a pleasant one.

 

 

Forward Progress Is Hard When Members Of The Team Are Pulling In Opposite Directions

Today the Washington Free Beacon reported that Russia is helping Iran build a second  nuclear power plant. Iran claims that the plant will be used to generate electricity, but the plant will also give Iran access to plutonium, which could be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, Congress is trying to put new economic sanctions on Iran, and the White House is blocking them.

The article reports:

However, the White House continues to pressure lawmakers to hold off on passing a new round of sanctions, arguing that they would likely spark a war with Iran.

Democrats and Republicans balked at this assessment during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, saying that sanctions are the only way to rein in Tehran’s ongoing nuclear work.

“Sanctions have forced Iran to the table and we should build upon this success with additional measures,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R., Calif.) said during a hearing to assess Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s first 100 days in office.

“The Iranian regime hasn’t paused its nuke program,” Royce said. “Why should we pause our sanctions efforts as the admin is pressuring Congress to do?”

The sanctions on Iran have had a major impact on the Iranian economy. On October 8, 2013, the Washington Free Beacon reported:

The Iranian economy is just 18 months away from collapse according to Israeli intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz.

Steinitz, speaking at a conference Monday at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said that international sanctions have effectively caused major damage to Iran’s economy.

It is no wonder that Iran is willing to negotiate to save its economy. What Iran is not willing to negotiate is the continuation of its nuclear program. We need to remember that.

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Sued Over Argo

Argo” won the Academy Award for Best Picture this year. The film tells the story of six Americans smuggled out of Iran after the Iranian revolution. The movie is not entirely accurate–it’s a movie–but the basic story follows the history of the events (for some details on what is true and what is not, see rightwinggranny.com).

The Associated Press is reporting today that Iran is planning to sue Hollywood, claiming that the movie portrays the country of Iran in an unrealistic way.

The article reports:

The decision on the lawsuit came after a group of Iranian cultural officials and movie critics screened the film in a closed audience in a Tehran theater late Monday.

The gathering, titled “The Hoax of Hollywood,” discussed various legal aspects of filing a lawsuit, media reports said, without providing details. It remains unclear what specific charges Iran could raise and what court Tehran could turn to if the action goes ahead.

Those at the meeting dismissed “Argo” as a “violation of international cultural norms.” A statement issued after the gathering said that “awarding an anti-Iran movie is a propaganda attack against our nation and entire humanity.”

The statement did not clarify how the movie was allegedly unrealistic, but officials have accused “Argo” of depicting Iranians as “too violent.”

I have no way of knowing if the violence depicted in “Argo” is exactly what happened. I do know that there were some areas in the movie that represent the ‘poetic license’ of the filmmakers. I also know that the people who were in Iran during the 1979 revolution and the news photographs from that time indicate that the violence shown was typical of what went on.

The thing to keep in mind here is the effort on the part of the Iranian government to stop any art or speech that portrays them in a negative light. Freedom of speech in Iran died in the revolution of 1979. The violence that was depicted in “Argo” was part of that picture.

 

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Are Economic Sanctions Working On Iran ?

On Friday, the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the impact of economic sanctions on the economy of Iran.

The article reports:

As Tehran moves to bolster its bilateral trade relations, senior regime leaders have indicated that Western sanctions are leading Iran to become more economically independent and less reliant on oil revenue.

The region’s continued dependence on Iran’s energy sector and other exports suggests that Western sanctions have not dented the pocketbook of Tehran’s top leaders.

Iranian officials estimate that the government will earn $70 billion in non-oil exports by March 2013.

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear program continues.

Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz recently stated that Turkey would not honor the sanctions prohibiting Turkey from importing natural gas from Iran, as that is essentially imposing a natural gas sanction on Turkey.

The article concludes:

The biggest hole in sanctions, however, is Barack Obama,” Rubin added. “His waivers [on sanctions] make legal the same sanctions avoidance in which many of these other countries engage. Moral clarity is important.”

Tehran meanwhile has downplayed the effect of Western sanctions on its economy.

Iranian General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said Friday that a decrease in oil revenue should be ”turned into opportunities to boost self-sufficiency and produce economic independence,” according to Fars.

Reports earlier this year indicated Iranian exports of copper and medicine have drastically risen in recent months, earning the regime more than a billion dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, the nuclear program in Iran continues…

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