Obama Dealed. Now We Must Pay

Did Iran’s Nuclear Deal Come at Too High a Price?

Published: 20 July 2017
By INU Staff

INU – It’s been two years since Iran’s nuclear deal the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed. The other day, Robert Malley, an American lawyer, political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution, tweeted an article co-written by Philip Gordon, American diplomat and foreign policy expert and Richard Nephew, researcher and expert who dealt with Iran’s nuclear file between 2011 and 2013, in The Atlantic magazine. Malley tweeted ‘Why the Iran deal has worked, and why its critics have it wrong’. Gordon and Nephew’s article was titled, “The ‘Worst Deal Ever’ That Actually Wasn’t!”

Gordon and Nephew argued in their article, “In fact, the deal is doing exactly what is was supposed to do: prevent Iran from acquiring enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, demonstrate to the Iranian public the benefits of cooperation with the international community, and buy time for potential changes in Iranian politics and foreign policy,” and added, “Anyone who thought a deal would immediately change Iran’s regional agenda or who maintains that, if only America and its partners had insisted on such changes in the talks they would have materialized, has a misguided sense of what sanctions and diplomatic pressure can accomplish. Having been deeply involved in the negotiations, we think it’s important to be clear about the purpose, enduring benefits, and inevitable limitations of the agreement.”

The co-writers wrote, “What the deal has done, at least for the next decade, is deter any realistic threat of a near-term Iranian nuclear weapon. The United States should use that decade wisely: standing up to and imposing costs on Iranian transgressions, supporting US allies in the region, making clear to the Iranian public that the West is not an enemy, and preparing for the day when some of the deal’s restrictions will no longer apply. If, by 2030, Iran has not demonstrated that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful and that it is willing to live in peace with its neighbors, the United States and its international partners will have difficult decisions to make about how to handle the issue going forward.”

They conclude, saying, “But since there is a chance that Iran will have different leaders or policies by then—the current Supreme Leader will almost certainly be gone, and a new generation may have come to power—why make those difficult decisions now? The Iran deal has bought valuable time. Squandering that time without a better plan would be foolish.”

It is said that Malley and Gordon were both very close to former President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Many opinion polls showed that they expected to be a members of Hillary Clinton’s team, had she won. Many other Democrats strongly defend the nuclear deal.

In his article for ASHARQ AL-AWSAT, Eyad Abu Shakra talks about what he refers to as ‘Liberal’ Democrats. He says,

“Those ‘Liberal’ may be divided into two camps:
1. ‘Progressive apologists’ led by president Obama himself, who tacitly admire Tehran’s ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric against ‘militaristic’ and ‘conservative’ Arab regimes.
2. Trusted ‘Israel friends’ who believe that civil and sectarian wars within and between its neighboring states would be the best guarantee for Israel’s safety and security.”

He says further that Israel’s interests have always been a strategic policy of every US administration, but “the fate of the Arab countries never occupied a high position in Obama’s list of political priorities, recalling how he reneged on almost everything he promised in what was his ‘historic’ 2009 Cairo speech. This fate hit an all-time low after the collapse of his ‘Red Lines” many had thought existed in Syria to prevent Bashar Al-Assad’s massacring of his own people by chemical weapons and other means.”

Since the nuclear deal, nothing has changed in Iran. Former Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that the JCPOA negotiations were restricted to the nuclear file, and never touched on other ‘regional issues’.

Eyad Abu Shakra says that “it was well known that among those ‘regional issues’ was the IRGC’s occupation of four Arab capitals, its destruction of cities in both Syria and Iraq, and its uprooting and displacing tens of millions of Syrians and Iraqis most of whom were Sunni Arabs!”

He adds that ISIS has provided “the perfect excuse to redraw the boundaries of the ‘New Middle East’, and the much sought after factor to justify bringing down everything, leaving only ‘failed states’, sectarian animosities, epidemics of ignorance and intolerance, and systematic destruction of institutions, landmarks of civilizations and cultural heritage.”

He concludes, “The whole Middle East has paid – and is still paying – a heavy price for the ‘decade’ the nuclear deal has gifted to Iran.”

Iranian Horn Not Complying with Nuclear Deal

Our friend Fred Fleitz, former CIA and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer and author of the book Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud, has just posted a must-read article on Iran’s failure to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal Obama made with the rogue Islamist state.

Press reports from late last week indicated that President Trump will grudgingly agree to certify Iranian compliance again, but could change his mind.

Fleitz points out that per the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, the Trump administration is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is in compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and that this agreement is in the national-security interests of the United States. The next certification is due on July 17, 2017.

It is crucial, says Fleitz, that the Trump administration, in the next JCPOA certification statement, correct the gross error it made in April, when it certified that Iran was complying with this agreement and that the JCPOA is in the national-security interests of our country.

The April certification, concluded Fleitz, went against Mr. Trump’s accurate statements during the presidential campaign that the JCPOA was one of the worst agreements ever negotiated and that there was clear evidence of Iran’s failing to meet its obligations under the agreement as well as cheating. Although many Trump officials opposed the April certification — and this decision to certify appeared to irritate President Trump — State Department careerists succeeded in convincing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to agree to certify anyway.

Senators Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), David Perdue (R., Ga.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) made it clear in a July 11 letter to Secretary Tillerson that they do not want this to happen again and cited four ways Iran is not complying with the nuclear agreement:

One. Operating more advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges than is permitted and announcing the capability to initiate mass production of centrifuges. (Although some agree with this concern, the U.S. should not have agreed to let Iran enrich any uranium while the JCPOA is in effect, never mind enrich it with advanced centrifuges. This is one of the JCPOA’s most serious flaws.)

Two. Exceeding limits on production and storage of heavy water, a substance needed to operate plutonium-producing heavy-water nuclear reactors. (Again, some agree, but the U.S. should not have agreed to a pact that allows Iran to produce heavy water or operate a heavy-water reactor.)

Three. Covertly procuring nuclear and missile technology outside of JCPOA-approved channels. There’s direct evidence of this, from German intelligence reports.

Four. Refusing to allow IAEA inspectors access to nuclear-research and military facilities.

Incredibly, says Fleitz, a State Department official said at a recent Washington lunch that the Department is trying to determine whether Iran is in “material breach” of the JCPOA, not whether it is in full compliance.

This means that the State Department is well aware that Iran is not complying with the nuclear deal, but is trying to find ways to discount these violations.

This kind of diplomatic hairsplitting seems to violate the Iran Nuclear Review Act, which mandated that the administration certify whether Iran is or is not in compliance with the JCPOA.

What’s more, Fred Fleitz, and Senators Cotton, Cruz, Perdue, and Rubio are not the only high-level observers of the Iran nuclear deal to see it this way.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs has posted an op-ed in The Hill arguing that certifying that Iran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal “will be the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA.”

Over the past two years, argues Ambassador Bolton, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).

Certification is an unforced error says Bolton because the applicable statute (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, or “INARA”) requires neither certifying Iranian compliance nor certifying Iranian noncompliance.

As Ambassador Bolton and our friend Paula DeSutter previously explained, the INARA requires merely that the Secretary of State (to whom President Obama delegated the task) “determine…whether [he] is able to certify” compliance (emphasis added).

The secretary can satisfy the statute simply by “determining” that he is not prepared for now to certify compliance and that U.S. policy is under review.

The problem, says Ambassador Bolton, is within the Trump administration, JCPOA supporters contend that rejecting the deal would harm the United States by calling into question our commitment to international agreements generally. There is ominous talk of America “not living up to its word.”

This is nonsense argues Bolton. The president’s primary obligation is to keep American citizens safe from foreign threats.

To that end, Bolton says we must also urgently reassess the available intelligence on issues like joint Iranian-North Korea nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, free from the Obama administration’s political biases. Cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang is deep and long-standing. North Korea’s July 4 ICBM launch should cause greater interest in the implications for Iran.

Much of the current JCPOA debate would be strategically irrelevant if, as seems virtually certain, the ayatollahs can send a wire transfer to Kim Jung-un to purchase whatever capability North Korea develops.

It is time for the Trump administration to stop “reviewing’ and stop issuing phony certifications it knows are lies. The Trump administration itself has already shown the courage of its convictions by withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. Compared to that, abrogating the JCPOA is a one-inch putt says Ambassador Bolton – and we agree.

As Fred Fleitz and Ambassador Bolton have pointed out many times, the Obama Iran nuclear deal is fatally flawed. We urge CHQ readers to use this link to contact the White House. Tell President Trump it is folly to falsely certify that Iran is in compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA and that it is time to fulfill his campaign promise to take America out of Obama’s dangerous Iran nuclear deal.

The Iran Deal May Be Broken (Daniel 8:4)

Trump Is Endangering Nuclear Deal, Says Iranian Foreign Minister

by Julia Conley, staff writer

As the United States and Iran mark two years since reaching their landmark deal on nuclear weapons, analysts say Iran has met its obligations stipulated by the agreement—while the U.S. has failed to do so.

The deal, forged in July 2015 by Iran and the Obama administration along with Germany and the four other members of the U.N. National Security Council, stipulated that sanctions on Iran would be lifted in exchange for its halting of nuclear development for the next decade and its compliance with continuous surveillance of its nuclear enrichment and storage sites, among other requirements.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was tasked with making sure Iran complied with the deal, and has reported that the country has done so. But with the introduction of a Senate bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran aimed at its ballistic missile program, the language of which the nonpartisan Arms Control Association calls “overly broad and imprecise,” critics say the U.S. has not met the deal’s terms, endangering the agreement.

In an interview on Sunday on “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that President Donald Trump has failed to hold up the United States’ end of the bargain by urging its allies to cut business ties with Iran, effectively enacting more sanctions.

“When…President Trump used his presence in the G20 meeting in Hamburg in order to dissuade leaders from other counties to engage in business with Iran, that is a violation of not the spirit but the letter of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], of the nuclear deal,” Zarif said.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) also expressed dismay at the state of the deal, noting in a press release, “The JCPOA represented an opportunity for the U.S. and Iran to change course, broaden engagement, and end the policy of sanctions and antagonism. Unfortunately that opportunity has largely been squandered.”

“Continued sanctions, calls from the White House for nations to refrain from investing in Iran, and an increase in military encounters between the US and Iran all threaten the deal,” the NIAC added.

Meanwhile, the grassroots disarmament organization Peace Action wrote on Thursday that the Iran deal should be held up as a model for diplomacy, as the U.S. weighs its options in handling growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear capabilities—thus far, imposing sanctions and refusing to participate in talks with North Korea.

“One of the crucial features of negotiations with Iran was our willingness to negotiate without preconditions,” the group wrote. “Yet when it comes to growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the administration has instead opted for more ineffective sanctions and dangerous threats of military force. It’s time we apply the same diplomatic approach to North Korea that has proved successful with Iran.”

Giuliani Correct: US fears new ‘biggest enemy’ Iran

‘This country is WORSE than North Korea’ Rudy Giuliani says US fears new ‘biggest enemy’

By Rachel O’Donoghue / Published 16th July 2017

U.S. against ‘evil’ regime in Iran says ex-New York mayor

Rudy Giuliani, the ex-Mayor of New York, warned Iran is the country’s biggest fear right now.

Speaking after a conference in Paris earlier this month, he said the nation poses a greater threat than both Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin.

Mr Giuliani was attending a rally in Paris organised by the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), which is the largest and most active opposition movement to the regime.

The Paris-based group supports a totally secular political system in the hardline Islamic country.

Mr Giuliani said: “Iran is our biggest enemy, Iran is our fiercest enemy. It is the greatest danger to freedom in the world.

“Our long term danger is Iran.

Iran [is] a bigger threat than North Korea, it is expanding into an empire. North Korea is contained.

They have more technological capability and they have what is truly an insane regime.

“In North Korea, we’re not sure about Kim Jong-un and we do have the hope that China can contain him.”

Iran is our biggest enemy, Iran is our fiercest enemy. It is the greatest danger to freedom in the world” Rudy Giuliani

Tensions between the US and North Korea are at an all time high.

The secretive state has repeatedly threatened to blast the US with nuclear weapons, with supreme leader Kim even saying it would be a “piece of cake” to drop a nuke on the country.

But Mr Giuliani, who was Mayor of New York at the time of the September 11 terror attacks, warned the Iranian regime’s downfall can’t be brought about via military action.

He said it would happen through a civilian revolution within the Middle Eastern superpower, which the United States can only help bring about through economic sanctions.

“The [regime change] needs to happen from within. How did the regime change in the Soviet Union or Poland or in the Czech Republic? No army came in.

“The people finally rose up and they were just too much for the military to contain,” he explained.

His comments come as the PMOI again accused the international community of ignoring the global threat posed by Iran.

Last year, Europe and the United States, under President Barack Obama, lifted sanctions – including oil and financial penalties – placed on the country over its expanding nuclear programme.

They also unfroze approximately $100billion of its assets after inspectors said crucial parts of its nuclear capabilities had been dismantled – something the PMOI claims is a lie.

Urging the reintroduction of sanctions, Mr Giuliani said the US has the power to tighten the noose around the regime.

He said that because three-quarters of substantial global trade is done via American banks, Iran could be squeezed financially to such an extent it would spark major unrest in the country.

Iran Continues to Defy the World (Daniel 8:4)

640x392_81016_195499NEWS : NUCLEAR

Published: 11 July 2017
By INU Staff

INU – The Iranian Regime is still attempting to obtain illicit nuclear technology, in direct defiance of the 2015 deal between six world powers and Iran, according to German intelligence agencies.

The Hamburg intelligence agency’s report read: “There is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic policies in 2016… Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.”

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was supposed to stop Iran from continuing development of its nuclear weapons programme for at least a decade in exchange for sanctions relief.

It was signed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China), Germany, and the European Union.

The report also revealed that three German citizens have been charged with violating export bans by sending 51 special valves to Iran. These parts could be used in Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons.

This reactor was supposed to have been shut down as a condition of the nuclear deal but has not been.

Their report documented 49 instances of the Iranian regime engaging in illegal procurement of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities, like cyber warfare, spying, and providing financial and military support for the terrorist group, Hezbollah.

A report from the Baden-Württemberg intelligence agency, read: “Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimise corresponding technology.”

It continued: “[Iran sought] products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.

The Iranian Regime had even been used a Chinese front company in order to buy technology that would aid Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, but thankfully they were caught.A report from the Rhineland-Palatinate intelligence agency, said: “[In 2016,] German companies located in Rhineland-Palatinate were contacted for illegal procurement attempts by [Pakistan, North Korea and Iran]. The procurement attempts involved goods that were subject to authorization and approval on account of legal export restrictions and UN embargoes. These goods, for example, could be used for a state’s nuclear and missile programs.”

These reports are consistent with those issued by German intelligence agencies in previous years.In 2015, during the nuclear deal talks, German intelligence agencies found that Iran was evading existing sanctions on obtaining both nuclear and ballistic missile technology. While in 2016, they reported that Iran was actively seeking chemical and biological weapons capabilities in Germany.

Iran Continues to Improve Nuclear Technology

Iran seeking nuclear weapons technology, German intel says

(Worthy News) – Damning German intelligence reports emerged in June and July revealing the Iranian regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile technology in defiance of international sanctions and UN resolutions.

A federal intelligence report also said that the Islamic Republic targets Jewish and Israeli institutions with espionage.

According to the German state of Hamburg’s intelligence agency: “there is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices in 2016” [after the Islamic Republic signed the JCPOA accord with world powers in 2015, designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief]. Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.” [ Source ]

Copyright 1999-2016 Worthy News. All rights reserved.

Iran’s Commitment to Mohammadism (Daniel 8:4)

https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/1-Iran-Missile-Syria-e1497943298259.jpgKhamenei: Iranian missile strikes on Syrian province ‘act of worship’

In a meeting with Revolutionary Guards commanders, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei likened the Iranian missile attack launched from the Islamic republic against ISIS sites in the Syrian province of Deir el-Zour to an “act of worship” during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

Iran’s news agency ISNA said that the meeting between Khamenei and the leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) took place two weeks ago, a few hours after the missile strikes were launched the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah.

What you have done is wonderful, may God accept your good deeds, this is what it means to worship in the month of Ramadan,” he said.

June 24 was the last day for the month of Ramadan in 2017.

Khamenei also called for expanding the missile industry, when he said: “Do everything you can to develop the missiles, notice how your enemy fears it. Be aware of the importance of what you are doing in this area.”

Iran’s missile activities have sparked widespread debate in the West, particularly in the United States, where US government institutions, including Congress have imposed sanctions against Tehran’s missile activities.

According to the Persian-speaking war reports, which track Iran’s military intervention in Iraq and Syria, IRGC’s claims were similar to the Russian statements that bombed civilian targets under the pretext of targeting ISIS headquarters.

A spokesman for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brigadier General Ramadan Sharif, told the Iranian agency Tasnim that the strikes were coordinated with Damascus, adding that the missiles crossed the Iraqi airspace.

Meanwhile, observers believe that Iranian authorities sought to conceal this meeting to make sure that the missiles had hit the right targets. Some reports said four out of the six missiles launched fell in Iraq on its way to Syria.

Press reports had previously confirmed that Iran’s rocket attacks on Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria have hit civilian targets, contradicting IRGC’s claims.

Iranian media had published a clip claimed it showed the launch of the Zulfiqar missiles on ISIS targets, but maps, photographs and video clips broadcasted by Iranian agencies showed no actual sites of the militant group.

(The article was originally published at the Arabic language website for Al Arabiya News Channel)

Babylon vs Babylon the Great

Iran versus the United States – Raddington Report

BY MAJID RAFIZADEH

It’s war by any other means. The Iranian regime is heightening its efforts to damage US national interests and scuttle Washington’s foreign policy objectives by ramping up its interventions in the Middle East.

The regime’s concerted efforts are being directed by its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, his Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its many tentacles. Among the actors in this play are the Navy, the Aerospace Force, ground forces, the Ministry of Intelligence, and the elite Qods force, which is led by General Qassem Soleimani and operates outside Iran’s borders to export the regime’s revolutionary ideals

Lately, Iran’s state-owned media outlets, long since the mouthpieces of Khamenei and the IRGC, have been extensively covering the increasing capabilities, power, and influence of Iran’s armed forces in the region. Iran’s leaders enjoy boasting about the leverage that the regime revels in defying the US in various fields.

The regime is accomplishing these objectives by steadfastly extending the core pillar of its foreign policy. In practice, this means the regime is working hard to widen its connections to militia and terrorist groups through different means, including political and military interventions in countries throughout the Middle East, including as Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon — not countries known for their stability at present.

Over in Iraq, Iranian leaders are delegating a more expansive role to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a network of Tehran-backed Shi’ite paramilitary groups, which are estimated to have roughly more than 60,000 fighters. With Tehran’s bank balances back in the black thanks to the nuclear agreement, the IRGC provides vital military, financial and advisory assistance to the PMF. The IRGC and Iran’s news outlets do not hide the presence of Iran’s ground forces in Iraq. The IRGC appointed one of its generals, Iraj Masjedi, to be the new ambassador to Iraq.

During the latest visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Tehran, Khamenei emphasized the expanding role of PMF and how the presence of Shi’ite paramilitary groups on the ground are becoming political realities in Baghdad. One approach is linked to intensifying interference in the upcoming Iraqi elections. Iran’s sophisticated interventions has prompted the Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi to point out that “Iran has been interfering even in the decision [making process] of the Iraqi people…We don’t want an election based on sectarianism, we want an inclusive political process … we [hoped] that the Iraqis would choose themselves without any involvement by any foreign power.”

Khamenei warned Haider al-Abadi not to interfere with Iranian foreign policy goals. He made it clear that the objective of expanding the role of Iraqi militia groups is to spread anti-American sentiments and disrupt US regional objectives, telling the Iraqi leader that “We should remain vigilant of the Americans and not trust them.”

In Syria, IRGC has launched ballistic missiles, kicking off fresh phase of military interventions — this is Iran’s first deployment of such weaponry abroad in nearly three decades. It speaks to a transformation in how Iran’s armed forces will escalate its engagement in the region. But it also highlights the fact that Iran is buttressing Assad’s military. The IRGC generals made it evident that the attacks were “a message” and a “warning” not only to ISIS but also to the US and its regional allies.

For Iran, this is just the beginning. As former IRGC Guard chief Gen. Mohsen Rezai warned, darkly, “The bigger slap is yet to come.”

Iran has been busy in Yemen, as well. The Iranian regime is not only stepping up its support for the Tehran-backed Houthis, but is also deploying other proxies, including Hezbollah, in the war-torn state, in an attempt to further damage the country’s infrastructure and spoil US initiatives in Yemen. Although Iranian leaders deny playing any role in Yemen, the IRGC forces and its proxies are present in Yemen fighting alongside Houthi forces. Iran’s rising shipments of arms to Yemen, however, is impossible to deny. Several countries including the US have intercepted Iran’s attempt to deliver weapons to the Houthis. Most recently, the Saudi navy captured three members of the IRGC from a boat approaching Saudi Arabia’s offshore Marjan oilfield. The Saudi information ministry stated: “This was one of three vessels which were intercepted by Saudi forces. It was captured with the three men on board, the other two escaped.”

Hezbollah currently enjoys a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon, according to the IDF Chief of Staff, a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 — and Iran does not show any signs of wishing to give up on their Lebanese proxy. Hezbollah affects Lebanon decision-making to serve Khamenei’s interest, not that of the Lebanese people. The growing financial and military assistance has also made Hezbollah “more militarily powerful than most North Atlantic Treaty Organization members” according to a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

Iran’s support for terrorist groups across the spectrum, which are sworn to disrupt US foreign policy and damage Washington’s interests, is a core pillar of Tehran’s foreign policy. The 2016 statement by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper remains very much accurate: “Iran — the foremost state sponsor of terrorism — continues to exert its influence in regional crises in the Middle East through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its terrorist partner Lebanese Hezbollah, and proxy groups.”

There exists a rare opportunity that the US should seize. After eight years of Obama’s administration trying to appease the Iranian regime and after eight years of neglecting the security concerns of other regional governments, the Gulf states and other regional powers long to counter Iran’s support for terrorist groups, increasing use of brute force and regional military adventurism. The Trump administration can capitalize on regional powers’ political and military weight in holding back Iran. Isolating and sanctioning Tehran via establishing a powerful and united front is critical at this moment.

The Iranian regime is rapidly using its militia and terrorist groups to shape political realities across the Middle East. It is penetrating the political, military and security infrastructures of several Middle Eastern nations. The aim is to advance the regime’s Islamist revolutionary ideals, hegemonic ambitions, and to damage US national interests. A swift and proportionate response to the Iranian regime, which is an integration of political pressure and military force, ought to be a top priority.

The Secret Behind Obama’s Nuclear Deal

pic_giant_022615_SM_Obama-Iran-DealThe Iran Nuclear Deal’s Secret Side

A bomb that fails to explode after it is dropped is called a dud. Occasionally that dud goes off long after the battle is over, causing casualties among people who thought they were no longer in harm’s way.

Politico published a story in April about how the Obama administration undermined its own anti-proliferation and sanctions-enforcement efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. It should have been a bombshell when it was published. But if it made any noise at all, the sound was lost amid the cacophony over supposed collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.

In reaching its 2015 deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international and some – but not all – U.S. sanctions, the Obama administration released seven Iranian prisoners (six of whom were Iranian-American) and dropped international extradition efforts to try to gain custody of 14 others. This much became public knowledge when the deal was implemented in January 2016.

But the report from Politico said the former president downplayed the offenses for which the detainees had been held and the others were being sought. Three of the released prisoners were part of a procurement network that sought microelectronics for Iranian anti-aircraft and cruise missiles. Another had been sentenced to eight years for supplying Iran with satellite technology. The 14 fugitives who the U.S. had sought to apprehend included the alleged ringleader of a group that acquired vital American-made parts for Iranian centrifuges via China. Those centrifuges were a key component of the very Iranian nuclear program that the administration was trying to stop.

That’s just what happened in 2016, after the deal was signed. Politico also reported that the Obama administration began slow-walking efforts to apprehend Iranian arms-smugglers and sanctions-busters as early as 2014, when talks on the potential nuclear deal were still a secret held closely within the White House and a small circle of senior executive branch officials.

Obama’s under-the-table concessions on Iran’s procurement agents, like the overall Iran nuclear deal itself, are arguably unwise but unarguably legal. The determination and execution of American foreign policy are the purview of the executive branch, subject to congressional prerogatives over appropriating funds, confirming nominees, declaring war and ratifying treaties. Despite the fact that it involved American commitments to Iran and collaboration with multiple other countries, the nuclear deal was presented as an executive agreement rather than a treaty, which is why President Trump is free to disavow it if he should choose. So far, he has not.

American allies as diverse as Israel and Saudi Arabia instantly saw the Obama agreement as a concession to an implacable enemy and a threat to their own security. No doubt they knew the extent of the concessions regarding the sanctions-evading individuals well before Politico brought this to wider attention. With America’s reliability as a bulwark against Iranian aggression undermined, the Saudis in particular embarked on a much more muscular response of their own, including the current near-blockade of neighboring Qatar for being insufficiently loyal to the anti-Tehran cause.

While Obama may have been kowtowing to the Iranians, he certainly wasn’t “colluding” with them in any reasonable sense of that word. He was acting as an elected official within what he (at least) believed to be the scope of his constitutional powers. This was true, as well, back in 2012 when Obama famously told Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” At the time Medvedev was keeping Russia’s presidential seat warm for Vladimir Putin, who had temporarily stepped down in 2008 to become prime minister due to term limits, only to reclaim the seat a few weeks after Obama’s remarks to Medvedev were inadvertently captured on an open mic. “I understand,” Medvedev replied. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Was Obama “colluding” with the Russians amid his 2012 presidential campaign? Not unless collusion has been redefined to include the conduct of international diplomacy by a sitting president.

Trump, of course, was not a sitting president during the 2016 campaign. Nothing has surfaced to indicate that he or the people around him had anything to do with the hacking of Democratic campaign files and subsequent releases of embarrassing emails that U.S. intelligence agencies (then run by Obama appointees) concluded were the work of the Russians. And while some in Trump’s circle surely had business dealings with Russian executives and officials during that time, those likewise were not illegal, and had even been encouraged by the Obama administration.

Well after the election and just a few weeks before Trump’s inauguration, Obama retaliated against the alleged Russian electoral interference with new sanctions, including the ban of 35 Russian individuals from U.S. soil. According to news reports initially sourced to anonymously leaked intelligence, Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed those sanctions with a Russian diplomat and may have indicated that Trump would revisit the actions once he took office. (Thus far Trump has let Obama’s steps stand.) Flynn served in the administration for less than a month before being forced to resign, largely for telling Vice President Mike Pence that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russians – denials which were later contradicted, to Pence’s embarrassment.

So for the past four months we have been exposed to an endless deluge of columns purporting to explore and explode the alleged “cover-up” for which there is, as far as anyone yet knows, no underlying crime, based on leaks from the administration of a president who, after boasting of his own forthcoming “flexibility,” sought to tie his successor’s hands in dealing with the still-emerging disclosures of Russian interference in an American election.

It has been a lot of noise and smoke, but with very little actual explosive force. Meanwhile, an actual bombshell landed almost unnoticed and sits waiting for someone to stumble across it. It may never go off. Then again, especially if one of Obama’s catch-and-release proliferators is ever linked to a successful hostile event, it could someday yield a pretty big bang.

Iran’s Hegemony in Syria 

Khamenei ordered missile strikes on IS targets in Syria

Dwayne Harmon24 June 2017, 10:39 Newburgh Gazette

“If the regime continues attacking our positions in Raqqa province, we will be forced to retaliate”, SDF spokesman Talal Silo said.

The US military has repeatedly warned forces fighting on Assad’s side to stay away from a “deconfliction zone”, agreed with Russian Federation, near a garrison used by US Special Forces and US-backed armed groups around Al-Tanf.

Syrian Information Minister Mohammad Ramez Tourjman said Iran’s missile strikes against ISIS positions in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor have sent a strong message to the government of Donald Trump to drop any potential plan for launching an attack on Iran or mounting a campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic on the global arena.

It came in response to the terrorist attack in Tehran earlier this month that was claimed by Daesh.

Iran has called in the Swiss charge d’affaires, who looks after USA interests, to protest against comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson backing “peaceful transition” in the Islamic republic.

Tensions between longtime rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have escalated in recent weeks after the Saudis and their Gulf partners cut ties to Qatar, citing, in part, its association to Iran and Tehran’s alleged link to terrorism.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the attack in a Twitter post on Monday.

Syrian state television, quoting army sources, said they had resumed the offensive, which took place as USA and Russian officials were holding another round of secret talks on creating a “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria that would include Daraa.

The Pentagon said a US F-15 aircraft, flying over Syrian territory, fired on the drone after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces.

While the US military’s shootdown of a Syrian jet on Sunday was a rarity in modern warfare, the first in 18 years, it was not an isolated incident. Led by the IRGC, about 10,000 Iranian combat troops are in Syria fighting alongside thousands of fighters from Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Tehran-affiliated Shi’ite militia, and assorted Shi’ite militias.

Russian Federation reacted angrily to the USA shootdown of the Syrian jet, which the Pentagon said was dropping bombs near the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a mixed Kurdish-Arab militia fighting Islamic State.

Israel’s military Chief of Staff is disputing Iranian claims of successfully launching missiles at militants in Syria.

The operation “targeted Takfiri forces in the Deir Ezzor region in Eastern Syria”.

The coalition’s presence in Tanf, on the Damascus-Baghdad highway, was meant to stop Iranian-backed groups from opening an overland route between Iraq and Syria, intelligence sources have said. After the drone was shot down on Tuesday, Russians made an announcement that the United States coalition warplanes will be tracked and targeted flying west to the river Euphrates.

Still, analysts caution that Tehran’s rhetoric may be more for domestic consumption.

“The military and our security forces are constantly monitoring the activity of Iran in the region”, Netanyahu said, according to a statement released by the Likud.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main opposition, is planning a conference in Washington to provide information about Iran’s missile program which is advancing at a rapid pace.