Tag Archives: Iran

Obama Administration Lied About Dealings with Iran

Wow. It’s more and more clear that Obama was running a Chicago-style criminal organization.

The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday.

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But the unfreezing of Iran’s U.S. accounts would be the end of it, the Obama administration said at the time. Both before and after the deal was implemented, officials repeatedly told Congress that Iran, under remaining non-nuclear sanctions, would have no access whatsoever to the U.S. financial system or institutions.

To facilitate the transaction, Obama officials engaged in lengthy discussions with Iranian and Omani officials; appealed to the two American banks to undertake the transfer; privately issued a special Treasury license that would guarantee it was allowed under still-existing U.S. sanctions; and even approached the New York Federal Reserve Bank for help.

At the end of the day, nothing worked. Eventually, according to the report, Oman took a slower and more complicated route, gradually buying small amounts of euros in Europe that could be transferred to Iran. No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion.

But in undertaking the effort and not disclosing it to Congress, Subcommittee Chairman Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said in an interview, “the Obama administration misled the American people by saying that Iran was not going to be granted access to the U.S. financial system. I think they did it because they were so eager to get an agreement with Iran.”

Such access, said Portman, a longtime opponent of the Iran deal, “is the crown jewel, what all these countries would love. Yet our government offered it, while at the same time telling the American people they weren’t offering it.”

Iran Throws Tantrum

This reaction just has me even more confident that Trump made the correct choice.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal, while lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!”

The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over Trump’s decision, which threatens to destroy the landmark agreement. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic.

In comments before school teachers, Khamenei told Trump: “You cannot do a damn thing!” The exhortation from Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation’s ability to resist foreign pressure or interference.

Khamenei described Trump’s speech as having “over 10 lies,” without elaborating on them. He also said Trump’s remarks threatened both Iran’s people and its theocratic government.

Earlier Wednesday, the lawmakers, including a Shiite cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers’ ashes.

Trump Pulls Out of Iran Deal

Excellent!

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to follow through on his campaign threat to pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, according to two people familiar with his thinking, dealing a profound blow to U.S. allies and potentially deepening the president’s isolation on the world stage.

It wasn’t immediately clear which sanctions that were lifted under the deal might be quickly reimposed, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Trump has several options, and a limited move could leave him more room to potentially stay in the deal after all if other members agree to toughen it.

Take notice of the incredible bias in the AP story. Trump is following through on a campaign “threat” instead of a “promise.” He is dealing a “profound blow to U.S. allies” but no mention of our enemies. That’s just the first paragraph!

U.S. should pull out of 2015 Iran agreement

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Trump has until the end of the week, but he’ll be announcing today. Here’s the conclusion:

The 2015 Iran deal is not working. It is not preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It is helping Iran by lifting sanctions and opening an economic spigot that Iran’s leaders can use to further their nuclear ambitions. The agreement has not ended Iran’s support of terrorists or tyrannical regimes. The agreement has not softened Iran’s confrontational relationship with the West or its neighbors. For all of these reasons, Trump should withdraw the United States from the agreement.

The deadline for the U.S. to withdraw is Saturday. While several of our allies are lobbying Trump to stay in the deal, the interests of our nation and the world dictate otherwise. The path to a lasting peace with Iran is through a diplomatic solution, but the 2015 agreement that Obama struck has taken us off that path.

 

Iran Threatens U.S. Over Possible Withdrawl

The “historic regret” is making the deal in the first place. Now all that is left is bad options.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that the US will face “historic regret” if Donald Trump scraps the nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Mr Rouhani’s comments come as the US president decides whether to pull out of the deal by a 12 May deadline.

Mr Trump has strongly criticised the agreement, calling it “insane”.

Iran Was Lying

Is anyone shocked by this? Anyone?

(CNN)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has evidence Iranian officials were “brazenly lying” when they said Iran wasn’t pursuing nuclear weapons and that the Islamic republic is keeping an “atomic archive” at a secret compound.

“Tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied — big time,” Netanyahu said late Monday during an address from the Israel Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.
Calling it one of the greatest achievements in the history of Israeli intelligence, Netayahu displayed what he said were files that demonstrate Iran planned to continue pursuing a nuclear weapons program despite the 2015 deal it brokered with the international community.
Speaking in English, Netanyahu accused Iran of ramping up efforts to obscure the files in 2015 and moving them to a secret location in Tehran last year.
The files were kept in massive vaults inside an “innocent-looking compound” in Shorabad District, the Prime Minister said. The 100,000 files contain, among other things, blueprints, charts, photos, videos and presentations dealing with nuclear weaponry.
“Iran planned at the highest level to continue work related to nuclear weapons under different guises and using the same personnel,” he said.

Trump’s Middle East Policy

Since we were remembering Obama’s Middle East Policy, what about Trump’s?

Such absurd New York real estate boasting aside, in his first year in office, Trump has taken a number of truly radical steps. In December, he promised to meet a longstanding Israel wish: moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has also challenged the Palestinians frontally, closing the spigot of funds the U.S. provides to the UN under the rubric of refugee assistance.

Neither move is likely to advance a “peace process” that has been moribund almost from birth. Both have spurred condemnation worldwide. But neither move has sparked the kind of conflagration on the Arab street that was predicted by so many experts.

Indeed, both moves might even be called Reaganesque. By staking out firm positions, stating obvious truths and aligning the U.S. more closely with the only democracy in the region, the Trump administration is forcing all the players in the region to reconsider stale positions that have brought them nothing but sporadic violent collisions with Israel for half a century.

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If Reagan-like boldness can be detected in some of Trump’s statecraft, so can Obama-like fecklessness, or worse. In dealing with Iranian imperial ambitions, Trump has been talking loudly and carrying the smallest of sticks.

Trump came into office pledging to tear up the Iranian nuclear deal and set new “red lines” on Iranian behavior. But when push came to shove, he has let the Iranians do the shoving while allies of the U.S. have been pushed around.

The most dramatic case in point concerns treatment of our longstanding ally, the Kurds. This past October, less than two days after Trump blasted the Iranian revolutionary guard’s Quds Force as the “corrupt personal terror” militia of Iran’s supreme leader, and then promised to “work with our allies to counter the (Iranian) regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region,” the United States did precisely the opposite of what he pledged.

The U.S. stood by as Iraqi troops, aided by the very same Quds Force Trump had just promised to resist, conquered the Kurdish-held oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the nucleus of a future independent Kurdistan. This betrayal of an ally was not preordained. It was also not an irony but the opposite of irony if one considers that during the presidential campaign Trump jumbled the Quds with Kurds and was unable to say which was which.

Of a piece with this passivity is Trump’s response to the Syrian use of chemical weapons. Readers will recall that while serving Chinese President Xi Jinping “the most beautiful chocolate cake” in Mar-a-Lago back in April, Trump informed his guest that a fusillade of 59 American cruise missiles had just been launched toward a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a poison gas attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province.

Head of Revolutionary Guards Claims Opposition Has Been Crushed

I hope that this is an optimistic statement on his part.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has declared the defeat of the “sedition” in the country, referring to a wave of anti-government protests.

Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari made the announcement as tens of thousands of people attended pro-government rallies called to counter the unrest.

It began last Thursday in the city of Mashhad and has seen 21 people killed.

The protests were initially against price rises and corruption, but turned to wider anti-government sentiment.

They have been the largest since the disputed 2009 presidential election.

Iran Erupting

It’s probably too much to hope for, but let’s hope that they people of Iran can cast aside the oppressive yoke of Islamic fundamentalism.

Anti-government protests have continued in Iran for a third day, with reports of demonstrations in many cities despite warnings from authorities.

At Tehran University, protesters called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and there were clashes with police.

Demonstrators ignored the interior minister’s warning that citizens should avoid “illegal gatherings”.

Meanwhile, thousands of pro-government demonstrators turned out for rallies.

These official rallies were organised in advance of the anti-government protests, to mark the eighth anniversary of the suppression of major street protests in 2009.

The current protests began in the north-east on Thursday over living standards and by Friday had spread to several major cities.

Saudia Arabia Accuse Iran of Aggression

The Dogs of War are barking.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accused Iran of an act of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to rebels in Yemen.

This “may be considered an act of war”, state media quoted the prince as telling UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a telephone conversation.

On Saturday, a ballistic missile was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

Iran has denied arming the Houthi movement, which is fighting a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government.

Trump Pushes Back on Iran Deal

Good. Now it’s up to Congress.

US President Donald Trump has condemned Iran as a “fanatical regime” and refused to continue signing off on a landmark international nuclear deal.

In a combative speech on Friday, Mr Trump accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and proposed new sanctions.

He said Iran had already violated the 2015 deal, which imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear capability in return for easing international embargoes.

International observers say Iran has been in full compliance with the deal.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Trump said he was acting in order to deny Iran “all paths to a nuclear weapon”.

“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” he said.

Iran Sanctions Oshkosh Corporation

I think Oshkosh Corp. will be fine. It’s almost a badge of honor to be sanctioned by Iran.

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Sunday sanctioned what it described as 15 American companies, alleging they support terrorism, repression and Israel’s occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state, likely in retaliation for sanctions earlier announced by the U.S.

The wide-ranging list from an American real estate company to a major arms manufacturer and Wisconsin’s Oshkosh Corp. appeared more symbolic than anything else as the firms weren’t immediately known to be doing business anywhere in the Islamic Republic.

Oshkosh Corp. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of military vehicles, with thousands of its trucks used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company also has produced military trucks for U.S. allies including Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates, Jordan, Oman, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and the United Kingdom.

Trump Condemned Iran Treaty to Putin

Good.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said. The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

The Iran treaty was horrible and a bad deal for America. I’m not sure in what context that came up, but the point is valid.

What is clear is that Trump has a serious leak in his administration. You’ll notice that it seems like almost every conversation he’s had with a foreign leader has had this kind of leak fishing for a “gotcha.” Someone – probably a hacked off insider at the State Department or White House staff – is leaking this stuff. And I don’t care who our president is, he or she needs to be able to have frank conversations with other foreign leaders with the assurance that the conversation will remain private. Trump needs to figure out who the leaker is and fire them. And if they have violated any laws by leaking these conversations (I imagine that they have), then they need to be prosecuted.

Iran Breaks Nuclear Agreement Again

Meanwhile, another Obama failure is on display.

VIENNA, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Iran has exceeded a soft limit on sensitive material set under its nuclear deal with major powers, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, hours after Donald Trump – who has strongly criticized the agreement – won the U.S. presidential election.

It is the second time Tehran has surpassed the 130 metric tonne threshold for heavy water, a material used as a moderator in reactors like Iran’s unfinished one at Arak, since the deal was put in place in January. It had 130.1 tonnes of the material on Tuesday, the watchdog said.

The last time Iran overstepped that mark was brief, passing without major criticism from the other countries that signed the nuclear deal last year. But there are questions about whether the incoming Trump administration will react to such incidents the same way.

Iranian-Supported Militants Fire Missiles at U.S. Warship

Yes, Iran does continue to support terrorists around the globe who hate America despite Obama’s sham nuclear treaty with them.

Riyadh (AFP) – Two missiles fired from rebel-held territory in Yemen fell short of a US warship patrolling the Red Sea off the coast of the war-torn country, the US navy said Monday.

The USS Mason “detected two inbound missiles” within an hour of each other from around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Sunday, said US Naval Forces Central Command spokeswoman Paula Dunn.

The destroyer had been “conducting routine operations in international waters” at the time, she said in a statement.

“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,” said Dunn, adding that “there were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship”.

“We assess these missiles were launched from Huthi-controlled territory in Yemen,” she said, referring to the Iran-backed rebels fighting Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

Iran Takes More Hostages After Obama Ransom

From their perspective, it never hurts to have a few Americans to bargain with when they want something from us.

At least half a dozen other dual-national Iranians, including at least three other Iranian-Americans, have been arrested on similar charges in the past year.

News of the latest arrest came on the same day that the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy committee met members of the intelligence wing of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran Granted Exemptions In Nuclear Deal

This deal was bad even before we knew of all of the secret provisos. The more we learn about it, the worse it gets.

The report says “most of the conditions” laid out in the agreement “were met by Iran” but it also claims Iran would have not been in compliance by January 16, 2016, the deal’s so-called Implementation Day, without the exemptions to the requirement that Iran limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium to under 300-kilograms. The exemptions supposedly pertained to uranium in “waste form,” according to the report, but the authors noted that that waste was potentially recoverable.
The report’s authors, David Albright and Andrea Stricker, went on to blast President Barack Obama’s administration for keeping these exemptions secret.
“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said.
Albright told CNN that the additional low enriched uranium could reduce the amount of time needed for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb if it decided to break the accord.
The report said another exemption allowed Iran to operate 19 “hot cells” larger than specified in the accords, larger hot cells could be used to produce plutonium, which can also be used to produce a nuclear weapon.
Obama was so intent on getting this deal done to build his legacy that he has put the U.S. and the world in more danger.

Obama’s Ransom Payment to Iran Unprecedented

Well, yeah… that’s because past presidents didn’t pay massive ransoms to terrorist-supporting regimes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $400 million cash delivery to Iran to repay a decades-old arbitration claim may be unprecedented in recent U.S. history, according to legal experts and diplomatic historians, raising further questions about a payment timed to help free four American prisoners in Iran.

The money was sent to Iran on Jan. 17, the same day Tehran agreed to release the prisoners. The Obama administration claimed for months the events were separate, but recently acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. Only then, did the U.S. allow a plane with euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency loaded on pallets to take off in the other direction for Tehran.

“There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week of the initial cash payment.

But diplomatic historians and lawyers with expertise in international arbitration struggled to find any similar examples.

Asked to recall a similar payment of the U.S. using cash or hard money to settle an international dispute, the office of the State Department historian couldn’t provide an example.

Obama Bribed Iran

As I said in my column 9 days ago:

We have all heard the idiom, “If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” That certainly seems to be the case regarding the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cash the Obama administration sent to Iran before the nation released American prisoners. Despite their vehement protestations, it sure looks like the Obama administration sent a massive ransom to a terrorist-supporting nation to free American hostages in violation of American law and policy.

And now we learn:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says a $400 million cash payment to Iran was contingent on the release of American prisoners.

Spokesman John Kirby says negotiations over the United States’ returning Iranian money from a decades-old account was conducted separately from the prisoner talks. But he says the U.S. withheld delivery of the cash as leverage until the U.S. citizens had left Iran.

Both events occurred Jan. 17.

Yes. That is a ransom. There are very good reasons that American doesn’t pay ransom demands. And in this case, Obama paid a ransom to a regime that hates America and actively funds terrorist organizations all over the world. What a disgrace.

Obama’s ransom to Iran

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:

We have all heard the idiom, “If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” That certainly seems to be the case regarding the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cash the Obama administration sent to Iran before the nation released American prisoners. Despite their vehement protestations, it sure looks like the Obama administration sent a massive ransom to a terrorist-supporting nation to free American hostages in violation of American law and policy.

Last week the Wall Street Journal broke the story that the United States sent $400 million in cash to Iran in an unmarked cargo plane Jan. 17. That was the same day Iran released five American hostages. America also released seven Iranians who were in jail or facing charges in America.

According to the Obama administration, the Americans were released by Iran as part of a prisoner exchange and the cash payment to Iran was part of a separate deal running in parallel to both the nuclear negotiations and the prisoner exchange. The payment was part of a settlement that goes back to the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

When Iran took Americans hostage that time, President Jimmy Carter severed diplomatic relations with Iran and froze all Iranian assets in America. Once the hostages were finally returned, America returned some of the money and established a tribunal in The Hague to settle the rest of it. One issue to be resolved was a $400 million payment the former Shah of Iran made for military equipment before he was ousted from power. After the uprising, the U.S. banned the delivery of military equipment, but kept the $400 million.

In the 36 years since that happened, the case has wormed its way through The Hague and was reportedly nearing resolution through a binding arbitration process. The Obama administration expected to lose the case and be forced to pay Iran as much as $10 billion, so they reached out to Iran and agreed to settle for $1.7 billion. The $400 million paid to Iran this January was a down payment on the settlement.

Such are the technical details, but they do not tell the whole story. While the negotiations about the nuclear deal, prisoner exchange and financial settlement were being handled by separate parts of the administration, they were all clearly linked, and being handled by the same people in Iran. The Iranian government has told the world as much.

According to the Iranian press and military leaders, they considered the payment a ransom for the American hostages. And according to the Rev. Saeed Abedini, one of the American hostages released, they were held for hours at the airport before being released as guards told them they could not be released until the plane with the cash arrived. Abedini says that the guards told them they would not be released if the other plane failed to arrive. After the plane with the cash arrived, the Americans were released.

Furthermore, it is clear the Obama administration understood the American hostages would not be released if they did not send the cash. First, there is the timing. The $400 million was purportedly part of a settlement for a dispute stretching back to 1979, but they had to send it on the day the prisoners were released. In the more than 12,000 days since the dispute started, why that day if not because the hostage release was contingent on it?

Second, rather than sending the money to Iran as a normal bank transaction, the Obama administration converted hundreds of millions of dollars to Euros, Swiss Francs and other foreign currencies specifically in order to circumvent the law prohibiting U.S. transactions with Iran in dollars. They also structured the deal in a way to avoid briefing Congress on it before Congress voted on the Iran nuclear deal. Despite its claim all of these negotiations were separate, the Obama administration clearly viewed them as unrenderable.

As more facts about the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran come to light, it is clear America’s interests, policies and laws were subverted or subordinated to Barack Obama’s unyielding ambition to notch a foreign policy success after two terms of failed policies.