Archive for the ‘Iran secret deals’ category

Iran Demands ‘Compensation’ for U.S. Breach of Nuke Deal

January 11, 2017

Iran Demands ‘Compensation’ for U.S. Breach of Nuke Deal, Washinton Free Beacon, , January 10, 2017

Abbas Araqchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs and top nuclear negotiator, meets the press in Vienna, Austria, on Feb. 24, 2015, after talking with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano on Tehran's nuclear program. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs and top nuclear negotiator. (Kyodo)

The call for further compensation comes just days after the Obama administration was forced to admit that it had been providing Iran with around $700 million in assets every month since the nuclear deal was approved.

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Iran is demanding further “compensation” from the United States following claims America violated the nuclear agreement by passing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, according to comments by senior Iranian officials following meetings with the Obama administration in Vienna.

The demand for further concessions by the Obama administration comes on the heels of reports that the United States has deflated the total amount of cash, gold, and other assets provided to the Islamic Republic during the past several years. The sum is believed to be in excess of $10 billion.

Iran has threatened to retaliate against the United States in recent weeks following the passage late last year by Congress of the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, which will continue to economically penalize Iran for the next 10 years.

The call for further compensation comes just days after the Obama administration was forced to admit that it had been providing Iran with around $700 million in assets every month since the nuclear deal was approved.

Ahead of a series of meetings Tuesday with senior U.S. officials, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi again accused the United States of violating the nuclear agreement and demanded compensation for the purported breach.

“The extension of the ISA is a breach of the U.S. obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and must be compensated in an effective way,” Araqchi was quoted as telling reporters in Vienna.

The latest meetings about the nuclear deal were orchestrated by Iranian officials, who remain angry about the passage of new sanctions.

Araqchi made clear on Monday that Tehran is “serious” about retaliating against the United States for its passage of new sanctions, stating the Islamic Republic has already made moves to restart contested work on nuclear powered submarines and other weapons.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday that official estimates about the amount of money awarded to Iran by the Obama administration are actually higher than previously known.

A State Department official told the Free Beacon that it would not prejudge its meetings with Iran when asked if further concessions are on the table.

“While we are not going to prejudge the outcome of any meeting, we will discuss ongoing implementation of the JCPOA as we always do,” the official said.

The total worth of the cash, assets, gold, and bullion given to Iran is in excess of $10 billion, according to Bahram Ghasemi, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

“I will not speak about the precise amount,” Ghasemi was quoted as saying in Persian language reports independently translated for the Free Beacon.

The $10 billion figure is actually a “stingy” estimate, Ghasemi claimed, adding that the cash and gold sent by Washington to Iran’s Central Bank was subsequently “spent.”

“This report is true but the value was higher,” Ghasemi was quoted as saying.

“After the Geneva conference and the resulting agreement, it was decided that $700 million dollars were to be dispensed per month” by the United States, according to Ghasemi. “In addition to the cash funds which we received, we [also] received our deliveries in gold, bullion, and other things.”

Will Team Trump Air Obama’s Iran Secrets?

November 21, 2016

Will Team Trump Air Obama’s Iran Secrets? Power Line, Paul Mirengoff, November 21, 2016

For years, Republicans and conservatives have charged that President Obama has shielded embarrassing intelligence and other information regarding Iran in order to limit opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and Obama’s conciliatory approach to Tehran. The charge seems well-founded. After all, it took Sens. Tom Cotton and Rep. Mike Pompeo to discover secret side agreements attached to the nuclear deal.

Eli Lake suggests that the Trump administration may well stop covering for the mullahs. Certainly, as Lake argues, Trump’s early high level personnel picks suggest so.

Trump’s nominee for CIA Director is none other than Mike Pompeo. Not only did he and Sen. Cotton uncover side deals to the nuclear agreement, he also pressed hard for answers about the cash payments the U.S. delivered to the mullahs in exchange for the release of hostages.

Pompeo wrote to Attorney General Lynch asking for answers as to how the cash payments were approved by the Justice Department. Lynch stonewalled him. Perhaps Jeff Sessions will be more cooperative.

Mike Flynn is the other key appointment for purposes of airing Obama’s Iran secrets. Lake points out that in 2011 General Flynn ran a team at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that reviewed the troves of material captured in the 2011 Osama bin Laden raid.

Under Obama, only a small fraction of these documents have been declassified and released. After he retired from the military, Flynn charged that the disclosures were selective.

Flynn noted, for example, that some documents captured in the bin Laden raid show a much tighter relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda than previously disclosed. In The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies (written with Micheal Ledeen), Flynn states: “One letter to bin Laden reveals that al-Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran.”

Given Obama’s desire to deal with Iran and, indeed, for a rapprochement, you can see why the administration shielded such intelligence. Given the well-deserved contempt by Pompeo and Flynn for Obama’s Iran policy, you can see why they might want relevant facts to come to light. As a general matter, these are facts the public has a right to know.

If such facts are made public, Obama won’t have much standing to complain. Lake reminds us:

Obama himself in 2008 campaigned against the sitting president’s policies on waterboarding and enhanced interrogation. One of the first things his government did when he took office was to declassify and release the legal memos that justified and revoked these practices.

It looks like the Republicans are about to return the favor.

Obama Admin Secretly Facilitated Iranian Ballistic Missile Program

October 4, 2016

Obama Admin Secretly Facilitated Iranian Ballistic Missile Program, Washington Free Beacon, , October 4, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry smiles during a speech on the future of "Transatlantic Relations" during an event hosted by The German Marshall Fund (GMF) and the U.S. Mission to the EU at Concert Noble in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Kerry is in Brussels for a two-day conference, hosted by the EU, with the participation of over 70 countries to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry smiles during a speech on the future of “Transatlantic Relations” during an event hosted by The German Marshall Fund (GMF) and the U.S. Mission to the EU at Concert Noble in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

The Obama administration misled journalists and lawmakers for more than nine months about a secret agreement to lift international sanctions on a critical funding node of Iran’s ballistic missile program, as part of a broader “ransom” package earlier this year that involved Iran freeing several U.S. hostages, according to U.S. officials and congressional sources apprised of the situation.

The administration agreed to immediately lift global restrictions on Iran’s Bank Sepah—a bank the Treasury Department described in 2007 as the “linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement”–eight years before they were to be lifted under last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement. U.S. officials initially described the move as a “goodwill gesture” to Iran.

The United States also agreed to provide Iran $1.7 billion in cash to release or drop charges against 21 Iranians indicted for illegally assisting Tehran. Full details of this secret agreement were kept hidden from Congress and journalists for more than nine months, multiple sources told theWashington Free Beacon.

State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon now say the United States “already made” the decision to drop U.S. sanctions, but declined to address multiple questions aimed at clarifying the discrepancy between past and current explanations for dropping international sanctions.

The Free Beacon first reported on these terms in January, including the dropping of international sanctions on Bank Sepah.

State Department officials told the Free Beacon at the time that the settlement with Iran, including the $1.7 billion cash award, was “not related” to “the release of the U.S. citizens from Iran.”

U.S. officials last week confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that in fact the dropping of sanctions on Bank Sepah “was part of a package of tightly scripted agreements” surrounding the release of the U.S. citizens from Iran.

When asked about the discrepancies between these statements, a State Department official would not elaborate, instead telling the Free Beacon, “The U.S. government had already made the determination that it would remove Bank Sepah from our domestic Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List on Implementation Day, which was outlined clearly in the JCPOA [nuclear deal] itself in July 2015.”

“We made this determination after a careful review of the activity of all individuals and entities—including Bank Sepah—that would be removed from the SDN list,” the official explained. “Although we removed Bank Sepah from the U.S. SDN list, Bank Sepah will continue to be cut off from the U.S. financial system and its funds under U.S. jurisdiction will remain blocked. Furthermore, we have the ability to quickly reimpose additional U.S. sanctions if Bank Sepah or any other entity engages in activities that remain sanctionable.”

The Free Beacon was not the only publication that was provided with misleading information by the Obama administration.

U.S. officials told Al Monitor in late January that the move to cancel international sanctions on Bank Sepah at the United Nations was undertaken by Venezuela without U.S. action.

“We already made the decision to delist this bank as part of U.S. secondary sanctions as part of the nuclear deal,” the official added, claiming the United States only agreed “not to oppose the delisting at the U.N., which Iran very much wanted.”

Senior Iranian officials said in January that the $1.7 billion payment and delisting of Bank Sepah were part of the agreement to free U.S. hostages, a charge the Obama administration denied at the time.

“The annulment of sanctions against Iran’s Bank Sepah and reclaiming of $1.7mln of Iran’s frozen assets after 36 years showed that the U.S. doesn’t understand anything but the language of force,” Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of Iran’s Basij Volunteer Force, told Iran’s state-controlled press in early February.

Senior congressional sources apprised of the matter told the Free Beacon that these latest revelations provide further proof of the administration’s intentional bid to deceive the public about its dealings with Iran.

“Facts are facts, no matter how much the administration tries to hide them,” said one senior congressional aide involved in investigating the matter. “Journalists and Members of Congress are on the trail and have already uncovered so much, including the cash payment of almost $2 billion to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism as a ransom for four American hostages. The truth, no matter how disturbing it is, will continue to come out.”

“This should eliminate any remaining doubt that the administration paid a ransom to Iran,” said another source familiar with the issue. “Why else would they keep Congress and the American people in the dark about this unprecedented concession? President Obama’s continued capitulation to the Iranian regime is a hazard to our national security.”

Another source who serves as a senior adviser to Congress and is familiar with the administration’s thinking told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration misled the public to avoid sparking outrage over its decision to drop sanctions on the top funder of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

“The Obama administration couldn’t tell the American public that it had just unleashed Iran’s ballistic missile program as one part of an enormous ransom extracted by Iran,” the source said. “So instead they ran to friendly reporters to misleadingly boast about how successful their diplomacy was, while they were bribing Iran with billions of dollars and military concessions to stay at the table.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, described the administration’s move as putting Iran’s ballistic missile program “back in business.”

“It represents a unilateral dismantling of the international ballistic missile embargo against the Islamic Republic,” FDD wrote in a recent policy analysis. “Iran’s preferred missile-financing bank is back in business.”

Iran has test fired multiple ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal was implemented, despite international restrictions on this type of activity.

Another Day, Another Secret Obama Side Deal with Iran

September 30, 2016

Another Day, Another Secret Obama Side Deal with Iran, Center for Security Policy, September 30, 2016

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Source: National Review

According to a September 30 Wall Street Journal article, the Obama administration signed a secret agreement with Iran to lift U.N. sanctions from two Iranian banks — Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International — that helped finance Iran’s ballistic-missile program. U.S. and Iranian officials signed this deal on January 17, 2016, the same day Iran released four U.S. prisoners.

U.S officials in January said the prisoners were swapped for the release of seven Iranian prisoners by the U.S. and the removal of 21 persons — mostly Iranian nationals — from an INTERPOL wanted list for violating U.S. laws barring transfers of WMD technology and weapons to Iran.

The American people and Congress did not learn until August that the U.S. prisoners were not allowed to leave Iran until a planeload of $400 million in cash sent by the United States had landed in Iran. This payment — and two more over the next month — has been strongly condemned by Republican congressmen as U.S. ransom payments to a state sponsor of terror.

Commenting on the $400 million cash payment to Iran, the prisoner swap and the lifting of sanctions from the Iranian banks, a senior U.S. official told the Journal, “The timing of all this isn’t coincidental. Everything was linked to some degree.”

The Journal also quoted unnamed Obama officials who justified lifting sanctions against the two Iranian banks to “harmonize the U.N. sanctions list with the U.S.’s” and because “Washington believed Iran had earned more sanctions relief because Tehran had been implementing the terms of the nuclear agreement.” The Obama administration lifted U.S. sanctions against Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International in July 2015. The U.N. Security Council voted to lift these sanctions on January 17, 2016.

This suggests the removal of sanctions against the Iranian banks was part of a broad ransom agreement to free U.S. prisoners held by Iran.

The secret agreement to lift sanctions against the Iranian banks also violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, passed in July 2015 which endorsed the JCPOA. This resolution stipulated that U.N. missile-related sanctions against Iran would remain in place for eight years. In addition, lifting sanctions against the two banks broke promises to Congress by Obama officials that the nuclear deal would only lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran and that U.N. missile sanctions would remain in place for eight years.

The secret deal to lift missile sanctions against the Iranian banks joins a long list of secret JCPOA side deals that the Obama administration illegally withheld from the U.S. Congress and the American people. These include allowing Iran to inspect itself for nuclear weapons work; the dumbing down of IAEA Iran reports; exemptions granted to Iran on its JCPOA obligations so it would receive $150 billion in sanctions relief; sending Iran planeloads of $1.7 billion in cash to free four imprisoned Americans; and an agreement allowing Iran to construct advanced centrifuges in 2027. One has to wonder how many more secret side deals have yet to be disclosed.

I argue in my new book on the Obama administration’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran is national-security fraud. This latest secret side deal is more compelling evidence of this.