Archive for the ‘Iran scam’ category

Time for Trump to Release Full Details of the Iran Nuclear Deal

February 4, 2017

Time for Trump to Release Full Details of the Iran Nuclear Deal, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, February 3, 2017

iranianmissileA ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA

Does anyone know what’s really in the Iran nuclear deal with all its unpublished side agreements and secret verbal pledges?

Certainly not the American public, on whose behalf it was putatively negotiated. And probably not most, if not all, members of Congress who were bypassed in its negotiation and “signing” in a manner that doesn’t seem remotely constitutional.

Despite the yeoman efforts of Jay Solomon, Omri Ceren and others, the full extent of the deal is still a mystery. We don’t know in anywhere near full detail what Obama and Kerry, with the aid and comfort of wannabe fiction writer Ben Rhodes, hath wrought, though we do—pace Solomon, Ceren, etc.—have some sense that where compromises were made they almost universally favored Iran. Obama, for reasons again mysterious, seemed desperate to get a deal.

We also know that Iran has already broken at least one U.N. resolution:

The Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle, officials said. Iran defense minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqan said in September that Iran would start production of the missile.

U.N. resolution 2231 — put in place days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed — calls on the Islamic Republic not to conduct such tests. However, this is at least Iran’s second such test since July. The resolution bars Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests for eight years and went into effect July 20, 2015

Some Iranian officials claim that Obama & Co. gave them verbal permission during the negotiations to test missiles up to 2000 kilometers, enough to reach Israel, but not Europe. That’s nauseating, if true. Again, we don’t know, although we do know the Iranians insist they will continue with their tests.

Trump, however, has responded properly and forcefully by imposing new sanctions on 13 Iranian people and a dozen of their companies. He made his views evident to all in, unsurprisingly, a tweet: “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!” Via his national security adviser General Flynn, he further made clear that “nothing’s off the table.”

But most importantly, are the Iranians also breaking the original nuclear deal? Well, we don’t know because, as noted, we don’t know what it is. Not only that, as many have reported and PJM’s Michael Ledeen predicted quite some time ago, neither side has actually signed the deal in the first place. So it may not even exist. It’s a tree growing unseen in the wilderness or, perhaps more accurately, one of those Hollywood-style “verbal agreements”—enforceable only when opportune. It’s maximum plausible deniability all around.

That means nothing really happened. In the end, Iran can do anything it wants, or can get away with, in the nuclear realm just as it obviously believes it can do anything it wants in the missile launching realm.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but what reason could there be, at this point, not to release the so-called terms of this so-called deal—other than the embarrassment of the officials involved? America has a right to know what has been done in its behalf. Instead of BS transparency, we need real transparency. So do the citizens of many others countries that are in the crosshairs of the newly-enriched (by us) Iran with its expansionist goals that have been brutally apparent since this imaginary signing in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and who knows where else.

The time is long since past for the complete details of this quondam deal to be released. I suspect they would be more than a little disturbing. Do it, Mr. President.

Putting Iran on Notice

February 3, 2017

Putting Iran on Notice, Front Page MagazineKenneth R. Timmerman, February 3, 2017

zoobinmissile

What will the new Sheriff do? It’s easy to imagine Tehran’s leaders with their turbans in a twist, trying to read between General Flynn’s lines.

Strategic uncertainty, as long as it is followed up at some point with concrete action, is a huge advance in our policy toward the Islamo-fascist regime in Tehran. Keeping the Iranians guessing exactly what we will do, and how hard, potentially could even deter them from taking some aggressive actions.

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The announcement from National Security Advisor Lieutenant General Michael Flynn on Wednesday that the Trump administration was “putting Iran on notice” after its latest ballistic missile test is bad news for the ruling clerical elite and its Revolutionary Guards, and potentially good news for Iranians who love freedom.

Pundits in the United States and Europe bemoaned a lack of specificity, although one snarky establishment commentator noted, it sounded like Flynn was saying, “do that again, and we’ll pop you.”

The Iranians responded with predictable chest-thumping. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power,” said former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, now a top advisor to absolute ruler Ayatollah Khamenei.

He and other Iranian leaders warned that Iran would act in “self-defense” if the United States struck first, a scarcely-veiled threat to attack U.S. assets, U.S. friends and allies in the region, and possibly to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

So what exactly did Flynn mean?

First, the obvious: there is a new Sheriff in town. Donald Trump is not Barack Obama. Nor is he George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, or any of his predecessors who for the past 38-years have pretty much given the Islamic regime in Tehran a pass whenever it has attacked Americans.

What will the new Sheriff do? It’s easy to imagine Tehran’s leaders with their turbans in a twist, trying to read between General Flynn’s lines.

Did he mean the United States will blow Iranian patrol boats out of the water the next time they try to “swarm” a U.S. navy vessel in the Persian Gulf? The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been practicing such tactics for years, breaking off just hundreds of meters short of collision.

Those swarming attacks are a serious threat, since our naval gunners cannot know which of a dozen small boats may be intending to break off from the swarm in a suicide attack against our ship.

Or did he mean that the U.S. will respond if Iran test-fires another long-range ballistic missile? How so? Militarily? With new sanctions? Or with some form of technical sabotage such as Stuxnet?

That’s just it: they can’t know.

Perhaps General Flynn was referring to the “emergency” United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday, convened by the United States? But that’s where both Russia and France came to Iran’s aid, praising the nuclear deal and calling on the United States to maintain it.

Perhaps General Flynn was responding to the failure of the United Nations to respond, meaning that the U.S. is planning unilateral measures?

Oh, my: in Tehran, they just can’t know.

Strategic uncertainty, as long as it is followed up at some point with concrete action, is a huge advance in our policy toward the Islamo-fascist regime in Tehran. Keeping the Iranians guessing exactly what we will do, and how hard, potentially could even deter them from taking some aggressive actions.

A new, more muscular policy toward the Islamic state in Iran will have many moving parts. But first and foremost, it will identify the regime as an enemy of the United States of America. Because that is how they have behaved since their inception thirty-eight years ago next week.

America has never used the powerful tools at our disposal to punish – or heaven forbid, actually undermine – the Iranian regime. Here are just a few of the options that should be on the table:

• The U.S. could intensify Persian-language broadcasting from the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, providing Iranians deprived of a free press with accurate information about the United States and about their own country. This will require major reforms at both services spearheaded by a dynamic new CEO at the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

• The U.S. could use the levers of power diplomacy to shun Iran at international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and UNESCO, and to prevent Iranian diplomats from international travel.

• The U.S. could use our permanent delegation to the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, to intensify intelligence sharing with UN inspectors to ensure they conduct rigorous inspections of Iran’s nuclear installations.

• The U.S. could take steps to curtail Iranian expansionism into Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

• The U.S. could actually punish the Iranian regime for its acts of international terrorism, including the 1983 Beirut bombings of our embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks, the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers, the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the ongoing supply of Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs) to militias in Iraq that have taken the lives of an estimated 1,500 U.S. servicemen, the bounty offered by the IRGC to Taliban terrorists for every American they kill, and the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

Many of these attacks were carried out in conjunction with al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates, a relationship long pooh-poohed by the U.S. intelligence community but which in recent years has been well-documented.

Punishment could include identifying as war criminals the Iranian regime officials responsible for these acts, indicting them, and issuing Interpol Red Notices on them to prevent them from international travel. It could also include Treasury and intelligence community efforts to identify, block, and seize their overseas assets.

Finally, and most important of all, the U.S. could provide support for opponents of the Iranian regime to include open support for human rights and freedom advocates similar to what President Reagan did for Soviet refusniks, and covert support for active opposition groups inside Iran.

What will President Trump choose from this menu – and from the many other policy proposals that undoubtedly are being floated by his advisors?

Oh, my: in Tehran, they don’t know.

If it were my decision, I would say: let’s keep them guessing until the policies are ready for prime time. Then let’s roll them out and watch the Islamic State of Iran’s leaders squirm.

Trump slaps sanctions on Iran over missile test

February 3, 2017

Trump slaps sanctions on Iran over missile test, Washington Times, Dave Boyer, February 3, 2017

rockettheboatIn this Dec. 29, 2016, photo, released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), a long-range S-200 missile is fired in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, on the northern coast of Persian Gulf, Iran.

The Trump administration hit Iran with new sanctions Friday, one day after President Trump said he had put Tehran “on notice” for testing a missile.

The Treasury Department announced sanctions against 13 individuals and 12 entities.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the “swift and decisive response proves that our new administration is serious about holding the Iranian regime accountable for its illicit behavior.”

Iran’s latest ballistic missile test was a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “I applaud President Trump for imposing new sanctions to crack down on Tehran’s dangerous ballistic missile program and support for terrorism across the globe.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, California Republican, said Iran’s action poses “a direct threat to the United States and our allies.”

“I’m glad the administration is taking long-overdue steps to hold the regime accountable,” Mr. Royce said. “I look forward to working with the administration to build on these designations, push back against Iran’s destructive policies, and promote stability in the Middle East.”

Some of those on the sanctions list are based in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China. The penalties were imposed under existing authority that had been issued by then-President Barack Obama. A bipartisan group of senators had urged Mr. Trump in a letter Thursday to take action against Iran.

“Iranian leaders must feel sufficient pressure to cease deeply destabilizing activities, from sponsoring terrorist groups to continued testing of ballistic missiles,” the lawmakers wrote. “Full enforcement of existing sanctions and the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program are necessary.”

Iran tested a missile Sunday. On Wednesday, White House national security adviser Mike Flynn said the Trump administration was putting Iran “on notice,” calling the missile test “provocative.”

The missile launch was followed by Iran-backed Houthi militants’ deadly attack this week on a Saudi naval vessel in the Red Sea.

Mr. Trump told reporters Thursday that he wasn’t ruling out the prospect of military action against Tehran.

“Nothing’s off the table,” the president said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the Iranian government was “unmoved” by Mr. Trump’s warnings.

“We’ll never initiate war,” Mr. Zarif said. “We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Thursday that Iran will continue to test ballistic missiles and “not ask any country for permission in defending itself.”

“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” he said. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power. America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”

Mr. Trump said Friday that Iran is “playing with fire.”

“They don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them,” he said on Twitter. “Not me!”

Mr. Obama signed an agreement with other world powers in 2015 to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program and regular international inspections.

Mr. Trump has called it a bad deal and says he wants to renegotiate parts of it.

According To Iranian Officials, Obama Administration Gave Unwritten Consent In The Nuclear Talks And In The JCPOA Negotiations For Iran To Develop Ballistic Missiles With A Range Of Only 2,000 km – That Is, Capable Of Striking Israel But Not Europe

February 3, 2017

According To Iranian Officials, Obama Administration Gave Unwritten Consent In The Nuclear Talks And In The JCPOA Negotiations For Iran To Develop Ballistic Missiles With A Range Of Only 2,000 km – That Is, Capable Of Striking Israel But Not Europe, MEMRI, A. Savyon and Yigal Carmon and U. Kafash*, February 2, 2017

“Likewise, the Zionist regime is the most important enemy of Iran in the regionregion, and is less than 1,200 km away. Therefore, short- and medium-range missiles are sufficient to strike U.S. bases near Iran, and long-range missiles are sufficient to strike the occupied territories [Israel]. The diagram shows several of these American bases and [also] the missiles that are counting [down] to the moment [when they will be able to] strike them.”

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Introduction

On January 30, 2017, U.S. sources announced that Iran had conducted a failed test of a new ballistic missile, the Khorramshahr. According to reports, the missile exploded after a 965-km flight.[1] Both Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif (on January 31) and Defense Minister Dehghan (on February 1) stressed that Iran “asks permission from no one in the matter of its defense program.”[2]

It should be emphasized that contrary to statements by Iranian regime spokesmen who say that Iran’s missile program is defensive, missiles with a 2,000-km range are strictly offensive and strategic. This is why Iran has faced constant demands to stop developing them.

In the years that preceded the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks, Iran developed ballistic missiles with ranges of 2,500-5,000 km that threaten Europe and even the U.S.

Dr. Hassan Abbasi, theoretician of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and director of the IRGC Center for Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis, said in 2004: “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English.

“Our missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader [Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations… And because of Khatami’s policies and dialogue between the civilizations, we have been compelled to freeze our plan… and now we are [again] about to carry out the program… The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles.”[3]

The London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat also reported, on June 14, 2004, that the Shihab 4 and Shihab 5 long-range missile projects had been revived, on orders from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[4]

It should be noted that a December 14, 2013 report on Iran’s missile program published by the IRGC-affiliated Mehr news agency immediately following the Geneva Agreement provided details on the various Shihab models. According to the report, Shihab 3D missiles, with a range of 2,200-3,000 km, “can easily reach the occupied territories [Israel]… and cover their entire area.” The report also stated that the Shihab 4 has a range of 3,000 km and the ability to launch satellites into orbit, and that “very little information” has been published about the Shihab 5. The diagrams in the article also feature a Shihab 6 model.[5]

U.S. Approves Iranian Development Of Missiles With A Range Of Only 2,000 km – That Is, Capable Of Reaching Israel

However, after U.S.-Iran negotiations began, and at the end of their first stage, in Geneva in November 2013, Iranian officials began reporting that Iran’s missile program for missiles with ranges above 2,000 km was being restricted.

Thus, for example, immediately after the interim agreement was reached in Geneva, on December 10, 2013, and in reference to it, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Iran is capable of producing missiles with a range of over 2,000 km but that Khamenei had restricted the IRGC to a 2,000-km range: “We want to increase the range of the IRGC’s missiles, but despite this, the Leader [Khamenei] has restricted us to a range of 2,000 km. We have the capability to increase the range of our missiles, and our missiles should obviously reach Israel… The regime’s red lines were not crossed during the nuclear talks with the P5+1 [Group] and in the Geneva Agreement.”[6]

Indeed, IRGC commanders stressed that the most important thing for the regime was missiles capable of striking Israel; see, for example, comments by IRGC Aerospace and Missile Division director Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who said following a 2016 missile launch: “For us, Israel’s evil is totally clear, and the 2,000-kilometer range of our missiles [is intended] to confront the distant Zionist regime.”[7]

Extensive quotes regarding the Iranian regime’s explicit intent to target Israel with its missiles can be found in MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1135, Iranian IRGC Missile Unit Commanders: We’ve Developed 2,000-km Range Missiles And Equipped Hizbullah With 300-km Range Missiles; Fars News Agency: Israel’s Illusions About Its Natural Gas Fields Will Be Buried In The Mediterranean, December 3, 2014, and Special Dispatch No. 6349, Iran Launches Long-Range Missiles Emblazoned With Slogan: ‘Israel Should Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth’, March 16, 2016.

1298aIranian missile emblazoned with the slogan ‘Israel Should Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth” (Fars, Iran, March 9, 2016)

On November 17, 2014, the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency posted a diagram explaining that Iran “makes do” with a range of 2,000 km, which it considers “desirable” and which covers all of Israel: “On the Firing Line – The commanders of the army of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] have said several times that with its attainment of long-range missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km, Iran has arrived at the range ceiling that it considers desirable, and that ‘in the meantime’ there is no need to increase this range. Although the U.S. is 11,000 km from Iran, in recent years it has approached the borders of Iran, [and therefore] its military bases, equipment, and forces are a target for Iran’s missiles.

“Likewise, the Zionist regime is the most important enemy of Iran in the region, and is less than 1,200 km away. Therefore, short- and medium-range missiles are sufficient to strike U.S. bases near Iran, and long-range missiles are sufficient to strike the occupied territories [Israel]. The diagram shows several of these American bases and [also] the missiles that are counting [down] to the moment [when they will be able to] strike them.”[8]

Additionally, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said on August 18, 2015 in response to a reporter’s question on the manufacture of missiles with a range greater than 2,000 km: “We do not produce missiles with ranges greater than 2,000 km.”[9]

Is U.S. Permission For Iran To Develop Missiles With Ranges Up To 2,000 km – Which Reach Israel – A Secret Annex Of The JCPOA, Or Simply Unwritten Consent?

In statements, IRGC officials hinted that restrictions on the range of Iranian missiles so that they reach Israel but not Europe were part of the Iran deal. Thus, for instance, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari referred to the IRGC’s November 2, 2015 consent to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, saying: “One of the points in this resolution was the matter of restrictions, which some military elements feared. Therefore, we held meetings in [Iran’s] Supreme National Security Council, and also went to the Leader [Khamenei]. The [Iranian] negotiating team told the Westerners that we do not agree to these restrictions. They [the Westerners] said that these issues must be included in the resolution. Even when I met with the Leader, he said that there were no restrictions on developing defensive capabilities. The only restriction relates to nuclear missiles, which, obviously, we never wanted.”[10]

The next day, on November 3, 2015, Iranian Army chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi referred to Jafari’s remarks, saying: “I confirm statements by the IRGC commander that Iran’s missile activity is not restricted. We will follow two restrictions: The first is mentioned in the JCPOA, in the matter of no nuclear planning, and the second is the range of 2,000 km, which has already been noted previously by all elements in Iran.”[11]

It should be noted that the Hebrew version of this news, which IRIB published on November 4, 2015 explicitly mentioned, in both the headline and the text, that the JCPOA allows Iran to possess ballistic missiles of a range of 2,000 km. The Hebrew news item read:

Firouzabadi: The Nuclear Agreement Promises Iran Missiles With 2,000-km Range

“The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, stressed that the state, under orders from the general commander [i.e. Khamenei] of the IRGC, undertakes, inter alia, to restrict nuclear planning, but that it is entitled to produce missiles with a range of 2,000 km.

“Firouzabadi made these statements yesterday (Tuesday) to a group of Islamic regime leaders and officials, and referred to [statements by] the IRGC general commander emphasizing that Iran would commit to the sections of the nuclear agreement with the West that include a restriction on nuclear planning, and that in addition, Iran is entitled to possess missiles with a range of 2,000 km.”[12]

These statements indicate that although the permission given to Iran to develop missiles capable of striking Israel is likely not a secret annex of the JCPOA, it still constitutes unwritten consent that is an integral part of the nuclear deal. It is convenient for both sides not to publish this understanding in written form – for Iran because it rejects any public reference to its missile program, which it defines as defensive but is in fact offensive; and for the Obama administration, because there would be repercussions if it were to be revealed that it had given Iran permission to develop missiles capable of striking Israel.

It should be noted that UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) constitutes an additional concession by the Obama administration to Iran, in comparison with the previous resolution 1929 (2010). This concession has two components:

One, UNSCR 1929 banned Iran from conducting any activity concerning missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, while UNSCR 2231 replaced the word “capable,” which refers to objective specifications, with the word “intended,” which concerns fluid political matters.

Two, while UNSCR 1929 banned Iran from conducting any missile activity, UNSCR 2231 rescinds this ban.

Following Iran’s May 9, 2016 missile test, which took place after the JCPOA’s Implementation Day – and which embarrassed the Obama administration – IRGC Aerospace and Missile Division director Amir Ali Hajizadeh said: “The Americans are telling [us]: ‘Don’t talk about missile affairs, and if you conduct a test or maneuver, don’t mention it.'”[13]

*A. Savyon is Director of MEMRI’s Iran Media Project; Y. Carmon is President of MEMRI; U. Kafash is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

 

[1] Foxnews.com, January 30, 2017.

[2] Yjc.ir, January 31, 2017; Tasnim (Iran), February 1, 2017.

[3] Shargh (Iran), June 5, 2004; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 28, 2004. Also see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 181, The Internal Debate in Iran: How to Respond to Western Pressure Regarding Its Nuclear Program, June 17, 2004; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 723, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Official Threatens Suicide Operations: ‘Our Missiles Are Ready to Strike at Anglo-Saxon Culture… There Are 29 Sensitive Sites in the U.S. and the West…’, May 28, 2004; and MEMRI TV Clip No. 252, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Official In Tehran University Lecture (Part II): We Plan To Target US Nuclear Warheads On US Soil; Should Take Over England, May 22, 2004.

[4] A military source in the Iranian Defense Ministry stated: “In a meeting last week with Revolutionary Guards commanders, Khamenei said that Israel was planning to attack Iran’s nuclear installations and the Iranian military soon, and therefore defense and military preparedness should be boosted as soon as possible. Khamenei stressed that the increase in petroleum prices allowed Iran to allocate a larger budget to its military projects. [Iran’s] Ministry of Defense received $1 billion to resume its Shihab 4 and Shihab 5 project. It is known that in the past, Iran conducted an experiment with Shihab 3 missiles whose range is 1,200 kilometers [and which can reach Israel], but [President] Khatami halted the project of the Shihab 4, whose range is 2,800 [which covers Western Europe], and the Shihab 5, whose range is 4,900-5,300 km [and which can reach the U.S.], because he thought it was a project incompatible with Iran’s strategic interests and defense needs.” Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 14, 2004.

[5] Mehrnews.com, December 14, 2013.

[6] ISNA (Iran), December 10, 2013.

[7] Fars (Iran), March 9, 2016. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6349, Iran Launches Long-Range Missiles Emblazoned With Slogan: ‘Israel Should Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth’, March 16, 2016.

[8] Tasnim (Iran), April 17, 2014. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1135, Iranian IRGC Missile Unit Commanders: We’ve Developed 2,000-km Range Missiles And Equipped Hizbullah With 300-km Range Missiles; Fars News Agency: Israel’s Illusions About Its Natural Gas Fields Will Be Buried In The Mediterranean, December 3, 2014.

[9] Yjc.ir, August 18, 2015.

[10] Fars (Iran), November 2, 2015.

[11] Mashregh (Iran), November 3, 2015.

[12] Hebrew.irib.ir, November 4, 2015.

[13] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6430, IRGC Aerospace And Missile Force Commander: The Americans Are Telling Us ‘Don’t Talk About Missile Affairs, And If You Conduct A Test… Don’t Mention It’, May 15, 2016.

Thank Obama for Iranian Missile Tests

January 31, 2017

Thank Obama for Iranian Missile Tests, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, January 31, 2017

notamissile(Amir Kholousi, ISNA via AP)

There is great shrieking from the “international community” over Iran’s ballistic missile test over the weekend, the latest of what the Wall Street Journal reports is nearly a dozen such tests since President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — went into effect last year. The United Nations Security Council, which endorsed the deal even though no party has actually signed it, is set to hold an “emergency meeting” today to discuss the matter.

What is there to discuss?

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said it best in complaining that such tests are “contrary to the spirit” of the JCPOA.

When they talk about a violation of the “spirit” of a pact, you can be certain that there has been no violation of the letter of a pact — i.e., the thing that is required for there to be a real, actionable violation.

The provocative missile tests further elucidate the obvious: Iran’s nuclear program is about developing nuclear weapons — which Iran will be able to do consistent with the terms of the JCPOA. But regardless of the crying and gnashing of teeth at the emergency meeting, the tests do not violate the JCPOA.

For that, we can thank Barack Obama.

Prior to the JCPOA, Iran’s ballistic missile activities were barred by a series of UN resolutions backed by American and international sanctions. But sensing Obama’s desperation to complete the JCPOA at any cost, and by indulging any fiction, Iran threatened to walk away from the table unless the restraints on missiles were eliminated.

Obama quietly accommodated the mullahs — despite having repeatedly told the American people that the negotiations were confined to nuclear activities, and that his administration would hold a hard line on Iranian missile development and terror promotion.

There was nothing in the JCPOA about ballistic missiles. When Obama brought the deal to the Security Council, however, he used its endorsement vehicle — Resolution 2231 — to undermine the missile sanctions. The pertinent paragraph is buried deep in the resolution (Annex B, Paragraph 3 — scroll all the way down to page 99 of 104). It states (italics is mine):

Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day[.] …

Notice three things:

  1. The words “Iran is called upon” not to undertake ballistic missile activity. That is not the same as being forbidden to do so. Because of the way the JCPOA was codified in the resolution – for what the parties will call international law purposes — the former proscription against ballistic missile activity has been watered down to a mere encouragement of Iran not to engage in such activity. In UN-speak, a country’s ignoring what the Security Council “calls upon” it to do does not even rise to the level of a tsk-tsk letter from the principal. It is just a suggestion along the lines of “Pretty please don’t fire missiles after we’ve told everyone how moderate you are.”
  2. Then there is the fiction: the paragraph refers to “missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Bear in mind the fraud on which the JCPOA is based: Iran has no intention of manufacturing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons. Therefore, so the story goes, Iran would not build missiles “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” We, like the Obama administration, are supposed to ignore what Iran’s missiles are technologically capable of doing and trust the stated intentions of the world’s chief sponsor of jihadist terror.
  3. The resolution not only abandons the prohibition against missile activity; even the insipid suggestion that Iran not engage in such activity is only operative for eight years. After that, they can do what they want … just as, after no more than 15 years, they are free to develop nuclear weapons free and clear.

How could Obama have agreed to such disastrous terms (in addition to giving the mullah’s over $100 billion in sanctions relief — including ransom cash)? The Obama administration illusion was that Iran was in the process of a powerful, inevitable reform movement that would, in the course of eight to 15 years, transmogrify it into a normal, reasonable, moderate nation-state. According to this thinking, by the time the JCPOA ran its course, Iran would be so benign it would probably not want nuclear missiles; and even if it did, that would be no problem because, by then, its regime would have evolved into a stable pillar of the international community.

Of course, we now know this was a consciously false narrative that Obama peddled to sell the Iran deal to the public — orchestrated by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, with the help of an echo chamber media.

Iran ratcheted up missile development almost immediately after the JCPOA went into effect. The missiles test-fired last March were inscribed “Israel must be wiped out.” In Tehran, that’s known as “the spirit” of the agreement.

Iran tests ballistic missile in defiance of UN resolution, US officials say

January 30, 2017

Iran tests ballistic missile in defiance of UN resolution, US officials say, Fox News, January 30, 2017

President Trump on Sunday spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, a conversation in which the two “agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities,” the White House said in a statement.

A ballistic missile launch could potentially fall under “destabilizing regional activities.”

The launch also comes a day before Jordan’s King Abdullah arrived in Washington for meetings with Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary Mattis.

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Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in yet another apparent violation of a United Nations resolution, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday.

The launch occurred at a well-known test site outside Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran, on Sunday.

The Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle, officials said. Iran defense minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqan said in September that Iran would start production of the missile.

U.N. resolution 2231 — put in place days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed — calls on the Islamic Republic not to conduct such tests. However, this is at least Iran’s second such test since July. The resolution bars Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests for eight years and went into effect July 20, 2015.

Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” according to the text of the resolution.

The landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, however, does not include provisions preventing Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests, and Iran claims the tests are legitimate because they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

President Trump on Sunday spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, a conversation in which the two “agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities,” the White House said in a statement.

A ballistic missile launch could potentially fall under “destabilizing regional activities.”

The launch also comes a day before Jordan’s King Abdullah arrived in Washington for meetings with Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary Mattis.

Re-isolate Iran now

January 27, 2017

Re-isolate Iran now, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, January 27, 2017

In fact, the U.S. and Israel should reach an accord on a basket of responses to Iranian violations and aggressions, including the placement of a military option against Iran’s nuclear program back on the table.

Trump and Netanyahu must together promulgate an approach for combating the malign influence and hegemonic ambitions of Iran.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that one of the top items on his agenda for consultation with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington next month is countering Iranian aggression. With good reason. The net result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been to foster Iran’s rise to regional hegemon.

While the JCPOA suspended a part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program for a few years, the ayatollahs see it as providing time to advance their centrifuge capability and regional sway.

In a Hoover Institution paper published this month, Professor Russell Berman and Ambassador Charles Hill call Iran a “de facto Islamic caliphate,” and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps an “Iranian expeditionary force for invading strategic Arab spaces.”

They call former President Barack Obama’s declared goal — of finding and bolstering so-called moderates in Tehran via the JCPOA — an “illusion.” Iran is not a polity of moderates and hard-liners, they write. It is a revolutionary theocracy masquerading as a legitimate state actor. So the first thing Trump must do is recognize the consistently hostile character of the regime.

Alas, Obama was obsessed from the advent of his presidency with making nice to Iran, and was willing to subordinate much of American foreign policy in service of that goal. He sent many secret letters to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that recognized the prerogatives of the Islamic republic and foreswore regime change. He cut funding to anti-regime groups and abandoned Iranian moderates during the early days of the Green Revolution in 2009, after the regime fixed an election. He effectively conceded Syria as within Iran’s sphere of influence.

In his penetrating book, “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East,” Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon exposes the money trail that accompanied this strategic sellout to Iran. In exchange for talking, Obama gave the Iranians hundreds of millions of dollars monthly, stabilizing their economy. And in the end, Obama offered Iran a deal that legalized full-blown uranium, plutonium, and ballistic missile work on a timeline, and did not force the country to disclose its previous nuclear cheating. The deal also released roughly a hundred billion dollars to Iran; had American officials traveling to drum up business for Iran; and removed restrictions on a range of Iranian terrorists.

Along the way, the administration abandoned the powerful sanctions leverage it had over Iran. Solomon chronicles the ramp-up of severe banking sanctions on Iran that were having a disastrous impact on the Iranian economy. “Iran’s economy was at risk of disintegrating, the result of one of the most audacious campaigns in the history of statecraft. The country was months away from running short on hard currency. The budget had a $200 billion black hole. And the U.S. Treasury Department had made sure Iran had no way to recover. Iranian ships and airplanes were not welcome beyond Iran’s borders, and oil revenue was frozen in overseas accounts.”

And then, behold, Obama backed off. Administration officials all of a sudden claimed that tightening the noose on the Iranian economy would cause the sanctions policy to collapse! And Secretary of State John Kerry was sent to cut a sweet deal with Iran; a deal that squandered — and then reversed — a decade’s worth of effort to constrain Iran.

Now Trump must act to constrain Iran all over again.

Over the past year, Iran has intensified a pattern of aggression and increased its footprint across the region. Iranian advisers with Shiite militias from as far away as Afghanistan have flooded Syria, giving Tehran a military arc of influence stretching to the Mediterranean.

Khamenei says that Iran’s massive military presence (alongside Hezbollah) in Syria is a supreme security interest for the regime — a front line against Israel — and that Iran has no plans to leave.

This has grave implications for Israel. Netanyahu must demand of Trump (and Putin) to include the removal of all foreign forces, especially Iran, in any future agreement regarding Syria. This will be very difficult — especially since Russia has just signed a long-term agreement to greatly enlarge its military presence in Syria, including the port in Tartus and air base in Latakia.

Iran, too, is aggressively expanding its naval presence in the Red Sea region and eastern Mediterranean. Since 2011, it has been sending warships through the Suez Canal, and has used maritime routes to send arms shipments to Hizballah and Hamas. (Israel has intercepted five of these armament ships.) And in the Strait of Hormuz, IRGC speedboats have repeatedly engaged in provocative encounters with American warships, including the conduct of surprise live rocket fire exercises in proximity to U.S. Navy vessels.

Then there is Iranian terrorism. IRGC agents have been caught planning attacks on Israeli, American, British and Saudi targets in Kenya. Over the past five years, Iranian agents were exposed while planning to attack Israeli diplomats in Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Nigeria, Thailand and Turkey. Hezbollah operatives supported by Iran carried out the bus bombing of Israeli tourists at the Burgas airport.

Also: The detailing of Iranian terrorism in Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia could fill this entire newspaper.

Then there is Iran’s ballistic missile program. In December, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz sent a seven-page letter to three senior officials of the Obama administration, detailing his well-founded concerns that North Korea and Iran might be working together on developing nuclear missiles. (Not surprisingly, the Obama officials never answered.)

Cruz’s basic question was: Why does Iran, having promised not to make nuclear weapons, continue to pour resources into developing long-range ballistic missiles, including numerous missile tests this past year? If not for nuclear weapons, then for what?

The intrepid analyst Claudia Rosett continually has raised the suspicion that North Korea’s nuclear program is secretly doubling as a nuclear backshop for Iran. It’s very possible that the $1.7 billion in air-freighted cash that Obama granted Iran is being used to finance nuclear weapons and missile research in North Korea. It’s even possible that Iran may be bold enough to buy warheads from North Korea.

Only Washington can stop this, by re-isolating and pressuring Iran. Netanyahu should travel to Trump with a comprehensive plan to influence U.S. policy toward Iran, as well as plans for joint action against Tehran.

This should include an end to the secrecy surrounding many sections of the JCPOA. All side agreements should be disclosed relating to Iranian technology acquisitions, raw material quantities, uranium and plutonium enrichment levels, sanctions relief and financial transfers. Loopholes and exceptions made surreptitiously by Obama should be closed.

Penalties should be set firmly in place for Iran’s prohibited missile programs. (Such penalties do not exist in the JCPOA or in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.)

U.S. and Israeli resources should be pooled, in a renewed and formal U.S.-Israel agreement, to uncover and eliminate any undisclosed sites within Iran connected to nuclear weapons technology; to counter Iranian terror threats across the region; and to subvert any Iranian bases in Syria and Lebanon.

In fact, the U.S. and Israel should reach an accord on a basket of responses to Iranian violations and aggressions, including the placement of a military option against Iran’s nuclear program back on the table.

Trump and Netanyahu must together promulgate an approach for combating the malign influence and hegemonic ambitions of Iran.