Iran Terrorizes America (Daniel 8:4)

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement / Getty Images


The Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah is vowing to launch strikes on U.S. forces operating in war-torn Syria in yet another sign that Iran and its terror proxies are beginning to take unprecedented direct action against American military coalition forces, according to U.S. officials and regional experts tracking the situation.

Just days before Iranian-affiliated militants launched a series of strikes on U.S. forces in Syria, Hezbollah released an official statement vowing to boost its terror operations against America, according to a translation of the five-point document provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

Officials and experts are viewing Hezbollah’s declaration as further proof that Iran is willing to attack American-backed forces as part of its efforts to bolster embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. military officials acknowledged that Iran was likely behind a drone strike on American forces last week, a move that has escalated a growing proxy war in the region between Iran and the United States.

U.S. military officials told the Free Beacon that while they are not seeking a fight with Syrian-regime backers such as Iran and Russia, they will take forceful action to prevent attacks on assets in the area.

“The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally,” one U.S. military official with Central Command, or CENTCOM, told the Free Beacon. “The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but is well prepared to defend itself from hostile threats if necessary.”

U.S. military officials recognize the threat posed by Iran and its terror proxies, but are working to focus on the fight against ISIS, which is the primary reason American forces are working in Syria, sources said.

“The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security,” according to the military official.

Hezbollah’s latest warning to U.S. forces is certain to escalate tensions in a region that has experienced unprecedented violence in the past years.

“America knows well … that the capacity to strike their [American-backed] gathering points in Syria and its neighbors are available any time the circumstances call for it, based on the availability of various rocket and military systems, in light of the deployment of American forces in the region,” Hezbollah warned in its statement, which was independently translated from Arabic for the Free Beacon.

Hezbollah claims that there have not yet been strikes due to “self-restraint” from terror entities operating in the area.

Iranian officials made a similar declaration in the past week. Video footage released by the Islamic Republic last week shows Iranian drones shadowing U.S. forces in the region while Farsi-language narrators laugh and threaten attacks.

“The silence of Syria’s allies is not a sign of weakness, but self-restraint, out of the allies’ wish to open the door for other solutions,” Hezbollah said in its statement. “But this will not last if America goes far and crosses red lines.”

One veteran Middle East policy adviser who is in routine contact with the Trump White House told the Free Beacon that Iran’s increased willingness to strike U.S. forces is based on fears about the Trump administration’s willingness to target Iranian terror operations.

The Obama administration took a mostly hands off approach to Iran’s aggressive behavior in the Middle East due to its efforts to ink the nuclear deal and ensure it sticks.

“The Iran nuclear deal required ignoring the atrocities being committed across the Middle East by Iran and Hezbollah, including the systematic ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Syria,” the source said. “If the Obama administration had ever pushed back, it would have triggered a confrontation with Iran, and the nuclear deal would have collapsed.”

“But the Trump administration is putting a stop to that blackmail and taking a holistic approach to the behavior of Iran and its proxies,” the source explained. “They’re not going to let Iran hold our entire foreign policy hostage to the nuclear deal, no matter what that says about Obama’s legacy.”

Tony Badran, a Syria expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Pentagon is aware that Iran is orchestrating attacks on behalf of Assad in Syria.

“That the DoD is negating any distinction between Assad regime forces and Iranian militias is both accurate and significant,” Badran said. “It is accurate in that regime forces—themselves an assortment of militias and remnants of the army—are integrated with the IRGC-led militias. And it’s significant insofar as it eliminates the option for the Russians to play up the charade of that distinction.”

Iran’s goal is to expand its operations in Syria and intimidate U.S. forces, Badran said.

“Hezbollah media is accompanying these forces and shooting footage and posting pictures and declarations of intent to connect their forces on both sides of the Syrian and Iraqi borders,” he said. “There is no question who is the lead force here: it’s an Iranian force.”

UK Nukes May Be Prone To Attack

Proposed budget cuts to a police force responsible for protecting the Trident nuclear base and other defence sites are “frightening” at a time of heightened security concerns, their representative Eamonn Keating is set to warn in a speech.

He will say that just last week, two sites on the south coast were threatened with withdrawal of all defence police force presence to make savings and that this “is frightening from a security perspective.”

Keating, national chairman of the Defence Police Federation, will say the Ministry of Defence was seeking £12.5m isavings from the MoD police, which he estimates would see the force drop from its nominal strength of around 2,600 to below 2,300.

The MoD police, which is separate from the military police responsible for maintaining discipline, is a separate civilian force armed and engaged mainly in the protection of sensitive sites. It was set up after an attack by the Provisional IRA on the Royal Marine barracks at Deal in 1989.

The force, like police forces throughout the country, has already had cuts imposed, dropping from 3,500 officers in 2010.

According to an advance copy of his speech on Thursday to the federation’s annual conference in Stansted, Keating is set to warn that the proposed budget savings will mean a reduction in real terms of around one in 10 firearms officers and a reduction or removal of police protection from MoD sites.

“If this reset goes forward in order to meet an arbitrarily imposed saving set by the department on our force, then security will be reduced, the risk to terrorist or criminal attack will be increased, and the safety of those we protect – both within the department and with the nation as a whole – will be put at risk,” he will say.

“In the current climate, where the threat levels are increasing and we have seen three terrorist attacks over the past 12 weeks, where response is limited and its sustainability – nationally – is under question, this type of decision is outrageous and cannot go unchecked.

“Why would the MoD look to put financial savings, that in the grand scheme of things are minute, over the safety of its people and country?”

Terrorism From The Iranian Horn

Terrorists in Tehran


Yes, I know: Tehran is full of terrorists, but mostly they’ve been the regime’s terrorists, and mostly they kill, beat, and torture Iranians who don’t much care for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or President Hasan Rouhani. Wednesday was different. Or maybe not.

ISIS has claimed its killers staged the two attacks in Tehran on symbolically powerful targets: the tomb of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the “parliament” building.

There are many Iranians who don’t believe it was ISIS; they think it was the terrorists they know, the ones who kill innocent Iranians all the time. Iran being what it is—a Mediterranean country where the simple, straightforward story is invariably rejected in favor of a more complicated conspiracy theory—they purport to have “evidence.”

The evidence is all circumstantial, including the claim that ISIS has not attacked Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria, and that no Iranian official was killed or wounded. Only civilians were targeted. So why in Tehran? They say it’s obvious: it’s a hoax, staged by the regime, justifying further repression. Notice that the same sort of claim was made by Turks opposed to Erdogan. They say that the dictator staged the false coup that justified his massive crackdown against his internal opposition.

Whatever the truth may be—and it will be a while before it gets sorted out—the events in Tehran bespeak considerable opposition to the regime. If the terrorists were enemies of Khamenei et al., then the regime is faced with armed opponents. If the regime staged it, well then it shows the regime is sufficiently concerned about the internal opposition to have run a substantial risk: the most important symbols of the regime have been attacked, and Iranian security didn’t stop it and in fact staged it.

Iranian Terrorism Courtesy of Obama

Lieutenant General Thomas Trask, the US Special Operation Forces Vice Commander, said on Tuesday that the large sum of money that Iran obtained as a direct result of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal goes towards its spread of influence across the Middle East.

The deal, struck between Iran and a group of world powers, was supposed to curtail the country’s nuclear program. This has not happened.

Trask said that instead of investing in its conventional forces, Iran is building up its special operators that lead, manage and control proxy forces.

He said: “If anything, increased defense dollars in Iran are likely to go toward increasing that network, looking for ways to expand it. We’ve already seen evidence of them taking units and officers out of the conventional side that are working with the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in Syria. We’re going to stay focused on these proxies and the reach that Iran has well past Syria and Yemen but into Africa, into South America, into Europe as well.”

Many people were concerned about the Iran nuclear deal before it was signed, expressing fears that Iran would take the money that would be freed up and use it on spreading terrorism across the region. It turns out that these fears were founded as this is exactly what is happening.

The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran access to between $50 billion and $150 billion of assets that were previously frozen.

This was a real chance for Iran to improve its economy and the social conditions that had deteriorated to terribly low levels.

However, the regime put the money towards propping up Bashar al Assad in Syria and funding militias. Iran has sent around 10,000 Shia militia fighters from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to battle in Syria on its behalf. Many experts warn that Iran’s commitment to keeping Assad in power in Syria should not be underestimated. It appears that Iran will be there for as long as it takes and will put as many resources as possible into it.

It is also improving its ballistic missile program according to intelligence reports.

James Mattis, the US Defense Secretary, said during a visit to Saudi Arabia that Iran is involved, in one way or another, in all the conflicts in the Middle East. He said: “We’ll have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilize yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbollah.”

England Prepares For Nuclear War (Daniel 8)


The huge complex would have held 4,000 people in complete isolation for up to three months

A SECRET underground city for government figures to bunker down in if nuclear war broke out is still deep under British countryside – with more than 60 miles of subterranean roads, a lake and a bakery.

The huge complex could have held 4,000 people in complete isolation for up to three months if atomic bombs hit with electric buggies for transport and its own telephone switchboard.

The huge switchboard room in the underground city – thought to be one of the biggest of its kind

MoD/Crown Copyright

The huge switchboard room in the underground city – thought to be one of the biggest of its kind

The roads – said to stretch for more than 60 miles – were in a grid system with signposts


The unused bunker city included accommodation for 4,000 people with running water and bathrooms

Near the Wiltshire bunker is the town of Corsham – not far from Bath


Near the Wiltshire bunker is the town of Corsham – not far from Bath

The sprawling underground city was built near a town in Wiltshire in readiness for a Cold War

Google Maps

The sprawling underground city was built near a town in Wiltshire in readiness for a Cold War

There was enough fuel set underground to keep generators running for three months

MoD/Crown Copyright

There was enough fuel set underground to keep generators running for three months

Fully functioning bathrooms were installed and ready for use should nuclear war break out

MoD/Crown Copyright

Fully functioning bathrooms were installed and ready for use should nuclear war break out

This was said to be the Prime Minister’s private bathroom – should he have found himself locked underground after a nuclear attack

MoD/Crown Copyright

This was said to be the Prime Minister’s private bathroom – should he have found himself locked underground after a nuclear attack

The site, code named Burlington, lies 100 feet beneath Corsham in Wiltshire, and was designed to be the site of emergency government war headquarters in the event of the Cold War.

It was built in the late 1950s and includes hospitals, canteens, kitchens and laundries, as well as offices and accommodation.

The enormous bunker was developed in a 240-acre abandoned quarry and could have housed the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, the government and even the Royal Family.

Babylon the Great Increases Her Nuclear Might

US Accelerates Upgrades for its Arsenal of Nuclear-Armed, Submarine-Launched Trident II D5s

The US Navy is accelerating upgrades to the nuclear warhead for its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear-armed submarine launched missiles — massively destructive weapons designed to keep international peace by ensuring and undersea-fired second-strike ability in the event of a catastrophic nuclear first strike on the US.

The Navy has been working on technical upgrades to the existing Trident II D5 in order to prevent obsolescence and ensure the missile system remains viable for the next several decades.

The Navy has modified an existing deal with Charles Stark Draper Laboratory has to continue work on the missile’s MK 6 guidance system, an agreement to continue specific work on the weapon’s electronic modules. The modification awards $59 million to the firm, a DoD statement said.

As part of the technical improvements to the missile, the Navy is upgrading what’s called the Mk-4 re-entry body, the part of the missile that houses a thermonuclear warhead. The life extension for the Mk-4 re-entry body includes efforts to replace components including the firing circuit, Navy officials explained.

Navy and industry engineers have been modernizing the guidance system by replacing two key components due to obsolescence – the inertial measurement unit and the electronics assembly, developers said.

The Navy is also working with the Air Force on refurbishing the Mk-5 re-entry body which will be ready by 2019, senior Navy officials said.

Navy officials said the Mk-5 re-entry body has more yield than a Mk-4 re-entry body, adding that more detail on the differences was not publically available.

The missile also has a larger structure called a release assembly which houses and releases the re-entry bodies, Navy officials said. There is an ongoing effort to engineer a new release assembly that will work with either the Mk-4 or Mk-5 re-entry body.

The Trident II D5, first fired in the 1990s, is an upgraded version of the 1970s-era Trident I nuclear weapon; the Trident II D5s were initially engineered to serve until 2027, however an ongoing series of upgrades are now working to extend its service life.

The Navy is modernizing its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear missiles in order to ensure their service life can extend for 25 more years aboard the Navy’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet, service leaders said.

The 44-foot long submarine-launched missiles have been serving on Ohio-class submarines for 25 years,service leaders explained.

The missiles are also being planned as the baseline weapon for the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine, a platform slated to serve well into the 2080s, so the Navy wants to extend the service life of the Trident II D5 missiles to ensure mission success in future decades.

Under the U.S.-Russia New START treaty signed in 2010, roughly 70-percent of the U.S.’ nuclear warheads will be deployed on submarines.

Within the last several years, the Navy has acquired an additional 108 Trident II D 5 missiles in order to strengthen the inventory for testing and further technological development.

Trident II D5 Test

Firing from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida several months ago, a specially configured non-armed “test” version of the missile was fired from the Navy’s USS Maryland. This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989, industry officials said.

The missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices, tracking systems and flight telemetry instrumentation, a Lockheed statement said.

The Trident II D5 missile is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class submarines and Royal Navy Vanguard-class to deter nuclear aggression. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.

The U.S. and UK are collaboratively working on a common missile compartment for their next generation SSBNs, or ballistic missile submarines.

The 130,000-pound Trident II D5 missile can travel 20,000-feet per second, according to Navy figures. The missiles cost $30 million each.

The “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” futher describes the weapon — “The Trident D5s carry three types of warheads: the 100-kiloton W76/Mk-4, the 100-kiloton W76-1/Mk-4A, and the 455-kiloton W88/Mk-5 warhead, the highest-yield ballistic missile warhead in the U.S. arsenal.”

Obama Pays Off Iran (Ezekiel 17)

140731_600Fact-Check: Yes, the Nuclear Deal Hands ‘$150 Billion’ Over to Iran

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi accused “extremist lobbies” in the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stirring up animosity towards Iran to prevent it from reaping the benefits of a landmark nuclear deal

During the opening statements on Sunday night’s presidential debate, Republican nominee Donald Trump described the Iran nuclear deal as a “one-sided transaction” that would result in $150 billion returning to the coffers of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


“When I look at the Iran deal and how bad a deal it is for us, it’s a one-sided transaction where we’re giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state – really, the number one terrorist state,” Trump told the audience, responding to a question from the audience. “We’ve made them a strong country from, really, a very weak country just three years ago.”

Trump has made this claim regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), as the Iran nuclear deal is officially known, and received some criticism for it. Fact-checking websites such as Politifact have argued that Trump’s claim is false because “the money is already Iran’s to begin with,” but not denied that this amount of money would return to the control of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei thanks to the deal. The New York Times has argued that the $150 billion estimate is a fabrication by “congressional Republicans” far from the real amount of money Iran would once again control.

As Algemeiner, citing Omri Ceren of the Israel Project, notes, the twelve-figure estimate of the money the deal would return to Iranian control came from President Barack Obama, not Republicans. President Obama said in an interview that Iran “has $150 billion parked outside the country,” arguing that not all of its funds under sanctions will be unfrozen immediately because “unwinding the existing restraints… takes a certain amount of time.”

This money does not include a separate $1.7 billion payment to the government of Iran, allegedly to atone for an arms sales agreement that never went through after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The U.S. government handed over that money the same day that Iran released several American citizens imprisoned on dubious charges.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who played a major role in brokering the Iran nuclear deal, have admitted that the Iranian regime will likely use the money to fund terrorism, particularly activity by the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah.



October 6, 2016 Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Senator Obama opposed naming Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terror group even while it was closely involved in organizing attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. Then, as part of his dirty deal with Iran, he secretly sent a fortune in foreign cash on airplanes linked to the IRGC.

And, as another part of the secret ransom deal with Iran, he lifted UN sanctions on Bank Sepah.

The United States has gone after plenty of banks for aiding terror finance, but Bank Sepah is somewhat unique in that it is a financial institution actually owned and operated by Islamic terrorists.

Bank Sepah is an IRGC bank. The IRGC, despite Obama’s denials, is an Islamic terror group with American blood on its hands. It is to Shiite Islam what ISIS is to Sunni Islam. And even the Democrats know it.

After the Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 Americans, President Clinton sent a message to the leader of Iran warning that the United States had evidence of IRGC involvement in the attack.

More recently, Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the IRGC have been “labeled as terrorists” when discussing how the Shiite terror organization will benefit from Obama’s sanctions relief.

Bank Sepah however had been sanctioned for something bigger than terrorism. The scale of bombings it was involved in could make the Khobar Towers attack seem minor. Sepah had been sanctioned for being “involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.”

Among other activities, it had helped Iran buy ballistic missile technology from North Korea.

Iran’s nuclear weapons program would only be halfway complete if it gets the bomb. It also needs missiles to be able to strike Israel, Europe and eventually America. That’s where North Korea and Bank Sepah come in. Bank Sepah helps keep Iran’s ballistic missile industry viable. By delisting it, Obama aided Iran’s ballistic missile program just as he had earlier aided its nuclear program.

Obama’s holistic approach to the Iranian bomb is to help the terror state assemble the physical components it needs to become a nuclear power. And the truth is hidden within the secret deals.

There are secret deals that Obama made with Iran that we already know about. There are secret deals that we suspect exist. And there are secret deals whose existence we are not even aware of.

Obama rang in Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, by assuring the Rabbis on a conference call that they didn’t need to worry about Iran nuking anyone because “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is now closed off.”

That’s funny because last year he was still claiming that under his deal in 13 years Iran’s breakout time will, “have shrunk almost down to zero.” If every pathway to a nuclear weapon is closed, how could Iran possibly have zero breakout time to make the occasion of the bar mitzvah of his dirty nuclear deal?

And which Obama do you believe? Try neither.

The secret document revealed earlier this year by the AP showed that Iran would be able to get its uranium enrichment in gear after 11 years and more than double its enrichment rate. What happens by the thirteenth year? Then Iran gets a blank check on centrifuges. That’s what Obama really meant.

Then breakout time to the bomb drops from a year to six months. Or even less. Until it hits zero.

But Ernest Moniz, Obama’s sniveling Secretary of Energy, assured the AP that it wouldn’t be a problem because Iran would only be allowed to store 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.

He lied.

Even as Obama was assuring the Rabbis of how thoroughly Iran was complying with his deal, new revelations were emerging of how he had helped Iran fake its compliance with the deal.

That’s the sort of thing you go to hell for. But it’s a little too late for Obama to worry about that.

The issue was simple. Obama wanted to lift sanctions on Iran. But Iran was not in compliance with even his mostly worthless agreement. So Obama decided that it was time to help the terror state fake it.

Iran was only allowed to keep 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. Obama agreed to upgrade that amount to “unknown quantities”. How much is an “unknown quantity”? Like the rest of Iran’s nuclear program, we don’t know. Low-enriched uranium, even in unknown quantities, doesn’t sound that scary. Except that according to a former U.N. weapons inspector, it can be used to produce highly enriched uranium. And that’s how you go from zero to a mushroom cloud over your city.

And then there are the large hot cells that Iran was allowed to keep running.

Secretary of Energy Moniz didn’t just lie to the AP. Lying to the media is practically an Obama indoor sport. He told the same lie in his testimony to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Senators were assured that Iran would be allowed to keep “only 300 kilograms of low (3.67 percent) enriched uranium hexafluoride, and will not exceed this level for fifteen years.” Iran didn’t have to wait 15 years to exceed that amount. Or even 15 minutes. Obama gave them a pass on it right out of the gate.

But Moniz wasn’t a rogue liar. He was telling the lie that he had been told to tell.

At the Rosh Hashana conference call with the Rabbis, Obama repeated the false claim that Iran had “shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium”. He told the lie even though the truth had already come out at the beginning of September. The 98 percent or 300 kilogram limit had been bypassed by him.

No one challenged him or called him out on his lie. And that is the problem.

Obama has lied about the Iran deal from the very beginning. And that’s not about to change.

The fairy godmother of Iran’s enrichment was Hillary Clinton. The “breakthrough” in the negotiations took place when she accepted some Iranian nuclear enrichment. And then it was just a matter of determining how much enrichment would take place officially and how much would take place unofficially that would be officially ignored or covered up by our own government.

That is how we got to the ticking atomic time bomb.

Obama hasn’t just turned a blind eye to Iran’s race to the bomb. He has empowered and enabled all elements of it from its nuclear program to its ballistic missile program. He has ensured that Iran would have the money, the manpower and the resources to become a nuclear power. He directed elements of our intelligence services and military to prevent Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear program. He even aided its core terrorist organization and its ballistic missile program.

This isn’t an error. It’s not cowardice. It’s treason.

A coldly calculated plan to turn Iran into a nuclear power is coming together. On the other end of it lies the horrifying death of millions.

Why would Obama and Hillary do such a horrifying thing? The American scientists and spies who helped the Soviet Union get the bomb believed that they were making the world a better place by limiting our ability to use nuclear weapons. Their treason almost led to the end of human life on earth.

The Iran deal is the second great wave of nuclear treason of the left. And the full truth is yet to be told.

The Real Cost of the Iran Deal (Ezekiel 17)

An Iranian demonstrator holds an anti-U.S. placard during a rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, on Nov. 4, 2015. Vahid Salemi/AP

By BRADLEY KLAPPER | Associated Press | Published: September 14, 2016

The issue: Last year’s nuclear deal has removed for now the threat of a U.S.-Iranian military confrontation. But the deal rests on shaky ground.

The accord curtailed Iran’s nuclear program, pulling it back from atomic weapons capability in exchange for the end of various oil, trade and financial sanctions by the U.S. and six other world powers. The sides fulfilled their pledges in January.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have warmed since the agreement, to the dismay of U.S. allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia. The once hostile foes are cooperating to end Syria’s civil war. Each military is staying out of the other’s way as they battle the Islamic State group in Iraq. Nuclear consultations occur daily.

But the next president could have his or her hands’ full. The Iranians are threatening to renege unless they receive greater economic benefits. In Congress, many Republicans and even some Democrats still want the deal’s collapse.

Even if the accord survives, its nuclear restrictions start ending in about seven years — meaning the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran could re-emerge.

Where they stand

It’s basically a question of continuity versus change.

Hillary Clinton helped lay the groundwork for the nuclear deal. As secretary of state, she tasked two of her most senior aides to meet secretly with Iranian officials. Those talks set the framework for the larger negotiations.

When the nuclear accord went into effect earlier this year, Clinton hailed it as “an important achievement of diplomacy backed by pressure.”

Still, the Democratic presidential candidate has staked out a tougher tone than President Barack Obama. In a speech last year, she spoke of confronting Iran “across the board” from its military activity in Syria to destabilization of the Middle East.

Republican Donald Trump has called the Iran deal “stupid,” a “lopsided disgrace” and worse. He says that unlike Obama’s diplomats, he would have been prepared to walk away from negotiations. But Trump doesn’t want to tear up the accord.

Instead, he speaks of tougher enforcement and possible renegotiation. Trump has railed against several of the deal’s particulars, such as the timespan of restrictions on Iran’s enrichment of uranium and other nuclear activity. He says Iran got too much relief from economic sanctions. It’s unclear, though, how he might persuade Iran to accept less favorable terms in a done deal.

Why it matters

Until nuclear diplomacy gained speed in 2013, a U.S.-Iran war was a distinct possibility. Both Clinton and Trump say they would use force if necessary to prevent Tehran from acquiring the bomb. If the deal unravels and Iran increases its enrichment of uranium toward weapons capability, a U.S. military intervention would be back in play.

Any conflict risks broad consequences. Iran can retaliate by disrupting global fuel supplies from the Persian Gulf, through which a fifth of the world’s oil flows. It can unleash its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas on U.S. ally Israel. Tehran can block attempts to end Syria’s war or it can play a bigger spoiler role in Yemen, where it has backed rebels who’ve seized much of the country.

If Iran sticks to the agreement, the next president may still face big decisions.

By 2024, Iran can resume manufacturing and testing of advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium. A year later, it can start enriching more uranium. By the end of the decade, it can enrich closer to weapons-grade levels. Stockpile limits come off. Enhanced U.N. inspections start ending.

All these changes will pose a familiar question for the United States: How to ensure Iran can’t build a bomb? U.S. officials have vaguely spoken of a possible follow-up negotiation. But by then, many U.S. sanctions on Iran will have been stricken from the books and they could have far less leverage.

Why the Ayatollah Beat Obama

Obama-Iran1-1024x673Why the Ayatollah Thinks He Won

By Jay Solomon

Aug. 19, 2016 1:32 p.m. ET
Since the completion last year of a landmark deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has lashed out again and again at the U.S. for its supposed failure to live up to its end of the bargain. But a speech he gave on Aug. 1 in Tehran took his anti-American rhetoric to a new level. He accused the Obama administration of a “bullying policy” and of failing to lift sanctions in a way that benefited “the life of the people.” Mr. Khamenei ruled out cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, telling his audience that Iran’s experience with the nuclear deal “showed us that we cannot speak to [the Americans] on any matter like a trustworthy party.” Many in the crowd chanted anti-U.S. slogans.

Is Iran preparing to walk away from the accord? It’s unlikely. Mr. Khamenei’s speech was classical political posturing intended to rally his hard-line followers. But more than that, his bluster conceals a deeper strategic calculus. For all his complaints about American treachery, Mr. Khamenei and his allies recognize that the nuclear deal has produced significant benefits for their hobbled theocracy and may serve to further entrench the regime brought to power in the 1979 revolution.

President Barack Obama defined the nuclear deal primarily as an arms-control exercise, designed to constrain Tehran’s nuclear program for at least a decade and to keep the U.S. from becoming embroiled in yet another Middle East war. But the White House and its top diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry, also quietly suggested that the agreement might open the door to a broader rapprochement between Tehran and Washington and empower Iran’s moderate political forces, particularly its elected president, Hassan Rouhani.

U.S. officials have always cautioned that it would take time for the salutary effects of engagement with Iran to take effect. They have even conceded that, in the short term, the agreement might energize hard-liners opposed to engagement with the West—and that, indeed, seems to be what is happening.

Since the accord was announced last summer, Mr. Khamenei and his elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, have moved to solidify their hold. As international sanctions against Iran have slackened, the ayatollah and his core allies have expanded the Iranian military and pursued new business opportunities for the companies and foundations that finance the regime’s key ideological cadres. Iran has continued to fund and arm its major regional allies, including the Assad regime in Syria, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and Houthi rebels in Yemen—all of which are at war with America’s regional partners—and the regime has continued to test and develop ballistic missiles. The government has also stepped up arrests of opposition leaders and political activists.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during a meeting at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 26, 2015.Photo: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

Mr. Khamenei has been deeply involved from the start with his country’s talks with the U.S. After the U.N. Security Council imposed tough sanctions on Iran in 2010, he became alarmed by the drain on Tehran’s finances. In 2012, he backed secret talks in hopes of relieving the crippling financial pressure. A collapse in global oil prices made Iran even more vulnerable. As the talks evolved into public negotiations with the U.S. and its partners, Mr. Khamenei instructed his representatives to ensure that Iran could keep the major infrastructure of its nuclear and military programs.

Today, the 77-year-old ayatollah—who reportedly suffers from cancer—is seeking to cement his legacy and to shape the political transition that will occur once he is gone. The nuclear agreement provides him with the building blocks to do that, and for now, at least, Mr. Khamenei and his allies look to be the deal’s big winners. The next U.S. administration is likely to face an unhappy choice: to continue to work with Iran or to challenge an increasingly entrenched supreme leader and his Revolutionary Guard.

For its part, the Obama administration says that the nuclear deal blocks Iran from all paths to develop an atomic bomb and that the agreement’s success doesn’t depend on political change taking root in Tehran. They note that the deal is still in its early stages and suggest that an opening of Iran’s economy could help reformists over time. They also insist that it has served the cause of peace in the region. “The president and I both had a sense that we were on an automatic pilot toward a potential conflict, because no one wanted to talk to anybody or find out what was possible,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview. “I have no doubt that we avoided a war. None.”

To understand Mr. Khamenei’s perspective on the negotiations and the resulting deal, the best place to start is Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement requires Iran to accept key limitations: Previously, the country had nearly 20,000 centrifuge machines producing nuclear fuel and was on the cusp of possessing weapons-grade uranium. A plutonium-producing reactor was also nearly online.

Today, only 5,000 centrifuges are spinning, the plutonium-making reactor has been made inoperable, and most of Iran’s enriched uranium has been shipped out of the country. Iran also agreed to grant greater access to its nuclear sites to inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to prevent the country from diverting fissile materials to banned military purposes. “There are serious constraints on their nuclear program for 15 years,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, an important player in the negotiations, said earlier this year. “Fifteen years, with serious verification measures, should give considerably more comfort to our allies in the region.”

Mr. Khamenei, however, doesn’t appear to share this view of the deal’s constraints. Just as Iran’s negotiators were agreeing to these terms in July 2014, the supreme leader delivered a speech about the nuclear program—without consulting his chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, according to U.S. and European officials. In the address, Mr. Khamenei said that his oil-rich country needed at least 100,000 centrifuges to power its civilian nuclear program in the coming decades. This was more than 20 times what the Obama administration envisaged. Western diplomats wondered whether Iran’s diplomats really spoke for the supreme leader.

Over the next year, the U.S. and its partners brought the Iranians back down to a capacity of just 5,000 machines. Washington hailed this as a major negotiating victory, but there was a twist: After a decade, the international community would go along with Mr. Khamenei’s vision of an Iran that could develop an industrial-scale, civilian nuclear program without checks on the number or capacity of the centrifuges spinning. The U.S. had won only a short-term pause in the expansion of the Iranian program, and the supreme leader had gained international approval for his longer-term plan.

Indeed, in recent weeks, Iranian officials have talked of their preparations to build 10 new nuclear reactors with Russian help. This will require a steady supply of nuclear fuel from centrifuges that will be allowed to go online in a decade. “The agreement gives us time, provided Iran implements it. But it’s limited,” said Mark Hibbs, a Berlin-based expert on nuclear programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The Revolutionary Guard controls the program, and there’s a risk that in 10 or 15 years, they might decide to restart their [weaponization] activities.”

Mr. Khamenei also came away from the talks with much of what he wanted for reviving Iran’s economy—a longstanding anxiety for the regime. Before the nuclear deal, Iran had been on the financial ropes, especially after the Obama administration ratcheted up international sanctions. The deal relieved that pressure.

The U.S.-led international sanctions campaign against Iran raised alarm bells in the supreme leader’s office in 2013, according to Iranian officials. In just over a year, Iran’s oil exports had been cut by more than half, and its banks were almost completely shut off from the international financial system. Iran’s currency, the rial, fell by two-thirds against the dollar, spurring massive inflation and unemployment. This gave the U.S. an opportunity to extract new concessions from Tehran.

The more moderate Mr. Rouhani was elected president that year with a mandate to improve Iran’s economy and ease the sanctions. His aides say that Mr. Rouhani convinced Mr. Khamenei that sanctions posed an existential threat to the government.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani waved to reporters after a press conference in Tehran Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

Mr. Rouhani got many of the U.S.-imposed penalties lifted under last year’s nuclear agreement. The impact on Iran’s economy has been mixed so far, stoking charges from Iranian leaders that the U.S. hasn’t lived up to its commitments. Iran’s oil exports have largely returned to their pre-2012 levels, and the World Bank projects that Iran will see nearly 5% growth in its gross domestic product next year. But European and Asian banks remain skittish of financing projects in Iran, and the U.S. Treasury Department maintains its ban on dollar transactions with Iran.

This path of modest growth has worked to Mr. Khamenei’s advantage, Iran analysts say. Far from hoping for a flood of foreign investment, the supreme leader has repeatedly warned his people that Western culture and business could undermine the revolution and its values.

Mr. Khamenei says that Iran must remain economically self-sufficient and independent of the West, running a “resistance economy” fueled by domestic production and capacity. “With its calm appearance, and with the soft and glib tongue of its officials, America is damaging us from behind the scenes,” Mr. Khamenei said in his speech earlier this month.

Mr. Khamenei is managing the economy the way that he wants it—with enough money to avoid a financial crisis but not so much that it might threaten his system. The supreme leader’s “system wants technology, and he wants access to imports,” said a political adviser to President Rouhani. “But his ‘resistance economy’ is a way to keep the West out of Iran.”

In an apparent effort to ward off foreign influence, the Revolutionary Guard has stepped up arrests of dual nationals from the U.S., Europe and Canada over the past year. One of the detained Americans, Siamak Namazi, is an oil-industry executive who has written and spoken about the need for Iran to embrace economic and political reforms. Friends and family of Mr. Namazi say that his arrest was a warning to Iranian expatriates not to return home to pursue business dealings. Many Iranian-Americans have heeded the message. The economy is now dominated by the Revolutionary Guard, which controls many of Iran’s largest companies.

As for conventional military capabilities, the deal didn’t do much to curtail Iran’s ambitions. The supreme leader demanded a provision weakening a U.N. Security Council resolution that prohibits Tehran’s ballistic-missile development—and got it. He wanted the U.N. embargo lifted on Iran’s ability to buy or export conventional arms—and got it, in five years. He wanted to retain Iran’s ability to export arms—and the deal does nothing to interfere with that.

“Ayatollah Khamenei has emerged as the single most powerful man in the Middle East,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “It will take years to assess the full impact of the nuclear deal on the Middle East and in Iran internally, but the hope that the deal would weaken Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards so far hasn’t been borne out.”

Finally, the nuclear deal also seems to have boosted Mr. Khamenei’s ability to influence the region. In the ornate former palaces and six-star hotels where the nuclear talks took place in Austria and Switzerland last year, U.S. and European officials talked optimistically about using the deal to stabilize a roiling Middle East. They hoped that Iran, the region’s great Shiite power, might play a constructive role in ending conflicts in Yemen, Iraq and, above all, Syria.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Even as the talks continued, Mr. Khamenei and his generals were plotting a much broader military campaign in Syria in partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to European, Arab and Iranian officials. Starting in January 2015, the supreme leader’s top aides began a series of visits to the Kremlin to chart out a plan to bolster the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The result was a highly coordinated operation in Syria that began just weeks after the nuclear deal was completed. Mr. Putin’s air force has pounded Syrian rebels, bombing not just Sunni jihadists associated with Islamic State or al Qaeda but also U.S.-backed fighters. At the same time, Mr. Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guard mobilized thousands of soldiers and Shiite militiamen to launch a ground offensive, with Iranian troops fighting alongside militants from Hezbollah and other Shiite militias. The joint Iranian-Russian operation drove back Syrian rebels who had been advancing on the Assad regime’s stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, according to Arab and U.S. officials, and allowed the minority regime to retake large swaths of territory. The Kremlin announced this week that it has started launching airstrikes in Syria from Iranian territory.

Mr. Khamenei has sworn off any collaboration with the U.S. in the Middle East, even against shared regional enemies like Islamic State. Instead, he has continued Iran’s campaign to control the oil-rich Persian Gulf and weaken the influence of the U.S., Israel and its Sunni Arab allies across the region. U.S. military commanders say that they have seen no tapering off of Revolutionary Guard support for its allies in Yemen, Iraq or the Palestinian territories.

Mr. Khamenei cannot know how the U.S. will respond to his uncompromising stance, especially with a new administration soon to take office. But he may figure that he wins either way. If the deal falls apart, he could call it proof that the Americans never could be trusted and figure that another round of biting U.N. sanctions will prove too difficult to assemble. If the deal survives, he will have his military continue to develop missiles and conventional arms to position Iran to become a latent nuclear weapons power in 10 years.

Either way, it is Mr. Khamenei, not his more moderate rivals, who are acting as if they have been strengthened by the nuclear deal. “Our problems with American and the likes of America…on regional matters and on various other matters are not solved through negotiations,” Mr. Khamenei said in his Aug. 1 speech. “We ourselves should choose a path and then take it. You should make the enemy…run after you.”

Mr. Solomon is chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Journal. His new book, “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East,” will be published next week by Random House.

Write to Jay Solomon at