Posted tagged ‘Iran – secret deal’

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.


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.”

A Lawless President Made More Secret Deals

September 1, 2016

A Lawless President Made More Secret Deals, Counter Jihad, September 1, 2016

A new report revealed by Reuters shows that there were more secret deals made with Iran, and not reported to Congress, in violation of US law.  The President of the United States has knowingly and repeatedly violated a law he himself signed, for the express purpose of avoiding Congressional oversight of his actions mandated both by the law and the Constitution.

During the so-called “Iran Deal” negotiations, it became known that the State Department had agreed to allow Iran to make a “secret side deal” with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to which the United States would not be a party.  The intent was to dodge a provision of the law governing the “Iran Deal”‘s negotiation, a law that President Barack Obama had himself signed into law.  He signed this into law in the hope of avoiding the Constitutional requirement that the Senate should advise and assent to treaties by a two-thirds majority.  The law he negotiated as an alternative to obeying the Constitution required that the entire deal, including any side arrangements, be made available to Congress for consideration before approval.

Congress objected to this first ‘secret deal,’ especially Representatives Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo.  Pompeo said at the time of this revelation, “Not only does this violate the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, it is asking Congress to agree to a deal that it cannot review.”  In a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, he reminded the Secretary that “pursuant to H. Res. 411, the House of Representatives considers the documents transmitted on July 19, 2015 incomplete in light of the fact that the secret side deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran were not provided to Congress.”

Now we learn that there were many more such deals, none of which was reported to Congress.  In a way, this has been obvious for some time.  The IranTruth site reported in July that there were more secret deals, and asked,“Does the President Know?”  Jeff Dunetz, writing at the same site, identified two more secret deals specifically by August of last year.   French and Iranian officials agreed last summer that the presentation of the deal being made by Secretary Kerry to the US Congress was a distortion of what was being actually negotiated, with the French expressing a concern that the deal was always being weakened in Iran’s favor.

According to Reuters today:

The report is to be published on Thursday by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said the think tank’s president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and co-author of the report. It is based on information provided by several officials of governments involved in the negotiations, who Albright declined to identify.

Reuters could not independently verify the report’s assertions.

“The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran,” Albright said.

Among the exemptions were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal’s limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said. LEU can be purified into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

Will Congress continue to accept this lawless erosion of its Constitutional role?  Will they, at any point, stand up and assert that the President must at least obey the laws he himself signs?  If not, what role does Congress intend to serve?  What future is there for the system of checks and balances that once restrained the executive branch from imperial ambitions?

The matter is even more important than that.  The so-called “Iran Deal” has been a manifest disaster for the interests of the United States abroad.  Tearing it up is one of the five most crucial steps that the United States can take right now. (The pertinent segment of the video provided below begins at 1:14 — DM)

Congress must reassert its role in balancing what has become a lawless executive branch.  It must do so because the Constitution requires it, because the stability of the Republic requires it, but also because this particular deal has badly damaged American interests.  A great deal rides on whether the legislative branch has the political will to reaffirm its Constitutional role in the United States.

What does America owe Iran?

August 11, 2016

What does America owe Iran? Israel Hayom, Clifford D. May, August 11, 2016

An unmarked cargo plane filled with $400 million in cash lands in Tehran, and four American hostages held by Iran’s rulers are set free. These revelations have sparked two controversies.

First: Did the Obama administration pay a ransom to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism? White House spokesmen insist it did not and there was no quid pro quo, while Iranian officials say that was precisely what happened. Who is more credible? More importantly, whom do you think prospective hostage-takers around the world believe?

Second: Did this payment violate American law? Justice Department officials opposed the payment. Former federal terrorism prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy argued that the transaction involved the commission of several “felony law violations.” Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey opines that while the transaction was not “right,” it was not illegal.

The roots of this affair run deep. In early 1979, the shah of Iran, as part of an arrangement to purchase jet fighters, deposited $400 million into a Pentagon account. Soon afterward, he was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution. As White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “Once the revolution took place, obviously that equipment was not transferred, but we also didn’t return Iran’s money.”

Return the money to whom? At what point does the property of a government that has been toppled become the rightful possession of those who have done the toppling? International law is murky on this matter, as it is on many matters.

One thing we can say with reasonable certainty: Had envoys representing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini reached out to President Jimmy Carter, he would have done whatever was in his power to establish amicable relations.

But that did not happen. We know what did: On Nov. 4, 1979, followers of the supreme leader seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 diplomats hostage. The diplomats were held and, in many cases, tortured for 444 days. That such conduct violates international law — indeed, that it constitutes an act of war — is not a matter for legal debate. The hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981, the day President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

Iran’s rulers have never apologized, much less compensated their victims. The Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith reports that President Bill Clinton considered using the $400 million to pay victims of Iranian terrorism who had won judgments against Iran in U.S. courts. In the end, however, he left it to American taxpayers to pick up the check. President George W. Bush could have reimbursed the Treasury using frozen Iranian funds. He did not.

There matters lay until, in January of this year, President Barack Obama boasted that thanks to “strong American diplomacy,” the United States and Iran “are now settling a long-standing Iranian government claim against the United States government and Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount that Iran sought.”

Note that the president neglected to mention claims against Iran. And shouldn’t there be some controversy over the notion of “appropriate interest” — which is how the $400 million “owed” to Iran rose to the $1.7 billion that is being paid?

Since the money was not loaned to the U.S. by Iran’s current regime, why should the assumption be that the U.S. invested it for the benefit of Iran’s current regime? As part of this hostage deal, the U.S. also freed seven Iranians charged or convicted of crimes and dropped extradition requests for 14 others. How much is that worth? Why does that not count as “interest”?

Surely, justice would have been better served had the shah’s funds been distributed to Iran’s many victims: the diplomats who were illegally imprisoned, to be sure, but also the families of those murdered on Iran’s orders, such as those in Beirut in 1983, at Khobar towers in 1996, and more recently in Iraq by Shiite militias armed and instructed by Tehran.

In addition, thousands of innocent Iranians were put to death by the leaders of the Islamic Revolution. Tens of thousands were forced to flee the country, and their businesses, homes, lands, and bank accounts were stolen by the regime. Why have these victims been forgotten?

Here is part of the reason: Carter, during his final days in office, negotiated the Algiers Accord, agreeing that in exchange for the release of the hostages, Iran’s new rulers would be granted immunity from criminal or civil penalties.

Congress did not approve the Algiers Accord, which was not a treaty but only an executive agreement. President Reagan could have revoked it, pointing out that his predecessor had negotiated it with a knife at his throat — or, more precisely, with knives at the throats of the hostages. But he did not.

Instead, in 1981, pursuant to the Algiers Accord, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal was set up in The Hague. This international arbitration mechanism has further entrenched the perverse notion of moral equivalence between the United States and the Islamic republic.

It has led to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry attempting to satisfy Iran’s “claims” against the U.S. against the backdrop of the Iran deal, another executive agreement. Obama considers that deal vital to his legacy. By contrast, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has made it plain that he is more than willing to walk away from the deal — and will should the river of American concessions not continue to flow.

So last week’s hostages-for-cash story turns out to be only one chapter in a long and sad saga. It should give rise to additional controversies, starting with this: Why are Iran’s negotiators so consistently more skillful than America’s?

Iran’s Nuke Program Confirmed

June 20, 2016

Iran’s Nuke Program Confirmed, Power LineSCOTT JOHNSON, June 20, 2016

Omri Ceren writes to comment on Jay Solomon’s page-one Wall Street Journal article“Uranium provides new clue on Iran’s past nuclear arms work.” I thought that readers who have been following the story of our partnership with, and funding of, the Islamic Republic of Iran would appreciate this update, provided by Omri with the usual footnotes.

Readers may recall Obama’s assertions at the time he announced the deal: “Because of this deal, inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location. Put simply, the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary. That arrangement is permanent. And the IAEA has also reached an agreement with Iran to get access that it needs to complete its investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear research.” These assertions are now revealed to be something less than the truth, not that you didn’t know that already:

The Obama administration is now admitting that Iran did nuclear weapons work at its military facility at Parchin, based on a December IAEA report that described two particles of man-made uranium at the site. But the evidence is too sparse to figure out what kind of work the Iranians were doing, just that they were doing some kind of nuclear weapons work:

Current and former U.S. officials asked about the uranium finding said the working assumption now is that it is tied to nuclear weapons development… “The existence of two particles of uranium there would be consistent with our understanding of the involvement of Parchin in a past weapons program, but by themselves don’t definitively prove anything,” said a senior administration official briefed on the evidence.

One reason the IAEA can’t determine what happened is because – as part of the nuclear deal – the U.S. collapsed on long-standing demands that the Iranians fully come clean on their past weapons work, the so-called possible military dimensions (PMDs) of their nuclear program. Instead the Iranians were allowed to deny the Agency access to top nuclear scientists and to self-inspect at Parchin, passing on soil samples from pre-selected locations. That wasn’t enough for the IAEA to make a determination:

Iran didn’t allow the agency to interview top nuclear scientists believed to have overseen nuclear weapons development… Iran did allow IAEA inspectors to collect soil samples from Parchin in October that were tested for the presence of nuclear materials. The agency found two particles of man-made uranium… The amount of uranium was so small that the IAEA couldn’t conclude for certain that nuclear materials had been at the base.

Normally if the IAEA doesn’t have enough evidence about likely weapons work, it just goes back and gets more. But the nuclear deal blocks further inspections:

Normally, the IAEA requires additional samples to be taken when there are irregularities found in their tests… But under last year’s nuclear agreement, Tehran was only required to allow the IAEA’s inspectors to visit the Parchin facility once… Under the nuclear deal, Iran has committed to allowing the IAEA access to all of its suspected nuclear sites. But it isn’t clear if Iran would allow inspectors back into Parchin because it is a military base. Iranian officials have said last year’s visit wouldn’t be repeated.

So the Iranians were doing weapons work, the IAEA doesn’t know what kind of work it was, and the deal doesn’t force the Iranians to clarify. The result guts verification of the deal: IAEA inspectors can’t confirm Iran has halted its illicit weapons work, because inspectors don’t know what kind of illicit weapons work Iran was doing. There is no baseline to work from:

Critics of the nuclear deal have cited the presence of uranium at Parchin as evidence the Obama administration didn’t go far enough in demanding Iran answer all questions concerning its past nuclear work before lifting international sanctions in January. They also argue that it is hard to develop a comprehensive monitoring regime without knowing everything Iran has done.

Last June Secretary Kerry had previously argued that the U.S. didn’t even need Iran to come clean because the U.S. had “absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in” [a]. The claim was widely criticized by lawmakers and analysts for being false [b][c]. The AP subsequently revealed the self-inspection arrangement in August [d]. Defenders of the deal responded with an organized public attack on the outlet’s credibility, up to and including suggestions that the AP was running forged Israeli documents [e]. Administration officials separately argued that the Iranian inspections would be adequate to resolve the nature of the country’s past weapons work [f].



How Hilary’s foreign policy ‘succeeded’ for Iran

June 4, 2016

How Hilary’s foreign policy ‘succeeded’ for Iran, DEBKAfile, June 4, 2016

6Hardline Ayatolla Ahmad Janati

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, declared Thursday June 2 in a major foreign policy address: ‘We are now safer than we were before this agreement (the International-Iran nuclear deal).”

A short while before her speech, the State Department, published its yearly report on world terror, and determined, as in past years, that Iran remains “the leading state sponsor of terrorism, on account of its support for designated terrorist groups and proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.”

Three days earlier, on May 31, scientists at the Institute for Science and International Security, published an extensive analysis of the second report of the IAEA in Vienna, whose job it is to monitor the Iranian nuclear program and establish whether Tehran’s is complying with its commitments.

Their report is titled: IAEA’s Second JCPOA Report: Key Information Still Missing.

The American scientists found oversights in the international watchdog’s report, suggesting collaboration between the Obama administration and the IAEA to conceal Iranian violations.

The scientists offered some examples of these omissions:

Data is lacking on the number of centrifuges, including advanced models, operating in Natanz enrichment facilities as well as the Fordo underground plant. There is no information on what happened to the 20 percent-enriched uranium still remaining in Iran.

Another example is the lack of information on the Iran’s heavy water which is provisionally stored in Oman. Who does it belong to and who oversees it?

These are just a few examples of the blanks in the promised oversight over Iran’s nuclear program, not to mention Iran’s banned ballistic missile program which is geared to design missiles able to reach the US.

The Obama administration had based his detente with Tehran, capped by the nuclear deal, on producing a breakthrough in US-Iran relations. It was intended to strengthen the moderate, reformist and liberal political elements in Iran. ButDEBKAfile sources and Iranian experts report that the exact opposite happened, as is evident in two important elections held in Iran in the past two weeks.

In the elections to the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses Iran’s top leader, the 91-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Janati was elected. He is one of the most extreme hardliners in Iran.

A few days later, Ali Larijani was re-elected as Speaker of the Iranian Parliament. Larijani is close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He won by a land slide over the reformist candidate put forward by President Hassan Rouhani.

Five months ago, when the first results of the Iranian elections to the Majlis and to the Assembly of Experts came in, there were cries of joys in the Obama administration. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Jawad Zarif proclaimed it at the time a victory for the moderates.

Where did these ‘moderates’ disappear in the interim and how did they become supporters of the extremists?

On Friday, June 3, less than 24 hours after Clinton’s foreign policy speech, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei celebrated his victory over American policy saying: Iran has many small and big enemies, but foremost among them are America and Britain. “Any cooperation with the US,” he stressed, “is an act against Iran’s independence.”

Obama Admin Withholding Details of ‘Potentially Illegal’ Deal to Buy Iranian Nuke Materials

April 27, 2016

Obama Admin Withholding Details of ‘Potentially Illegal’ Deal to Buy Iranian Nuke Materials, Washington Free Beacon, April 27, 2016

Part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles southwest of the capital Tehran / AP

Officials from both the Treasury and Energy departments told the Free Beacon that details about the payment are being withheld until the purchase is complete. Iran is expected to deliver the heavy water to the United States in the “coming weeks,” officials confirmed.


Obama administration officials are declining to provide specific details about an unprecedented upcoming purchase of Iranian nuclear materials, an $8.6 million exchange that is likely to be funded using American taxpayer dollars, according to conversations with multiple administration officials and sources in Congress.

The administration is preparing to purchase from Iran 32 tons of heavy water, a key nuclear material, in a bid to keep Iran in compliance with last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement.

But administration officials have declined to provide specific details to Congress and reporters about how exactly it will pay for the purchase, as well as other information, until the deal has been completed.

The effort to withhold key information about the purchase, which is likely to be paid in some form using U.S. taxpayer dollars, is causing frustration on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources who disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that the administration is rebuffing congressional attempts to discern further information about the deal.

Experts further disclosed to the Free Beacon that the exchange is likely to legitimize Iran’s research into plutonium, knowledge that would provide the Islamic Republic with a secondary pathway to a nuclear weapon capability.

Officials from both the Treasury and Energy departments told the Free Beacon that details about the payment are being withheld until the purchase is complete. Iran is expected to deliver the heavy water to the United States in the “coming weeks,” officials confirmed.

“We cannot discuss details of the payment until after the purchase is complete,” a Treasury Department official who was not authorized to speak on record told the Free Beacon. “The Department of Energy’s Isotope Program plans to pay Iran approximately $8.6 million dollars for 32 metric tons of heavy water.”

The administration will use an offshore third party to facilitate the transfer of cash to Iran, according to officials in both the Treasury and Energy departments.

“Regardless of whether or not this is in U.S. dollars, this licensed transaction is limited in scope. This routing through third-country financial institutions is similar to the mechanism that has been used for years to allow other authorized transactions—such as for exports of food and medicine—between the United States and Iran,” the treasury official said, referencing a loophole in U.S. sanctions that permits transactions of a humanitarian nature.

An Energy Department official confirmed that officials “cannot discuss details of the payment until after the purchase is complete.”

The exchange is being handled by the Energy Department’s Isotope Program, which routinely conducts transactions of this nature, according to the official.

“DOE’s Isotope Program produces and distributes a variety of isotopes that are in short supply for industrial and medical purposes,” an Energy Department official told the Free Beacon. “Transactions like this one are regular business for the program.”

Iran’s excess heavy water “will help to fulfill a substantial portion of U.S. domestic market demand this year,” according to the official, who said that “over the past few years, there have often been constrained supplies of heavy water.”

The administration further “expects to resell the purchased heavy water at commercially reasonable prices to domestic commercial and research buyers, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source, where it would be used to increase the efficiency of the facility,” the source said.

Congressional critics of the arrangement accuse the administration of using this sale as part of a larger plan to help Iran gain access to the American financial system and U.S. dollar.

“Subsidizing Iran’s production of heavy water is a dangerous move,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) told the Free Beacon. “It stimulates Iran’s nuclear industry, opens the door to the use of U.S. dollars to facilitate Iranian trade and illicit financing, and provides U.S. tax dollars to the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism.”

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz “is aware of these dangers, which is why he stressed that this is a one-time purchase,” said Cotton, the author of a new amendment that would block the administration from engaging in similar purchases with Iran in the future. “I want to hold him and President Obama to that vow, particularly in light of the many promises broken and redlines erased by this administration in the course of negotiating the Iran deal.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House intelligence committee, accused the administration of funding Iran’s nuclear pursuits in contradiction of last summer’s agreement aimed at winding down Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

“The Obama administration’s deal with the Mullahs in Tehran to purchase heavy water demonstrates a disturbing, potentially illegal, willingness of the administration to subsidize Iran’s nuclear program,” Pompeo told the Free Beacon. “This purchase allows the Iranians to offload previously unsellable product and it destigmatizes the act of doing business in Iran.”

Pompeo said it is irresponsible to pursue this deal without first providing lawmakers detailed information about whether Iran will directly receive taxpayer dollars.

“This purchase is being made without explanation as to how Iran will receive these funds or what steps the administration is taking to prevent what will almost certainly be U.S. taxpayer dollars from possibly being used to support terrorist activities, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, or Iran’s ballistic missile program,” Pompeo said. “Of course, the reality is that once that money is in the hands of the Ayatollah, there is no way to prevent the funds from being diverted toward any of those purposes—a fact that seems to concern no one at the White House.”

A larger debate has been taking place in Washington over Iranian and European demands that the United States grant Iran access to dollars, a move the administration has publicly opposed and promised Congress would not take place.

However, sources indicate that the heavy water exchange could be the first sign that the administration is caving on this promise.

 Mark Dubowitz, head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, told theFree Beacon that Iran is producing excess nuclear material in order to wring more cash from the nuclear deal.

“Iran has created a clever scheme—produce too much heavy water so as to break the nuclear agreement, then get the Obama administration and eventually U.S. companies to pay Tehran using the U.S. dollar to get rid of it,” Dubowitz explained. “These U.S. subsidies will help Tehran perfect its heavy water production skills so it will be fully prepared to develop its plutonium bomb-making capabilities when restrictions on the program sunset over the next 10-15 years.”

“This scheme also will open the door to further dollarized transactions as the administration green-lights the greenback for a regime with a decades-long rap sheet of financial crimes,” he added.

A senior congressional source familiar with the trade disclosed that administration officials are declining to disclose key details about the deal.

“The administration is being coy about how the financial mechanics of this deal will work,” the source told the Free Beacon. “But the bottom line is that U.S. taxpayer dollars will be used, and used for a purchase directly connected to Iran’s nuclear program. This is an attempt by the administration to slowly open a door that leads to the wide acceptance of Iran’s nuclear industry and to the use of U.S. dollars by Iran to conduct trade.”

“Many in Congress—on both the Republican and Democratic sides—won’t stand for that, and will move to shut that door tightly,” the source said.

Report: International inspectors fail to stop Syria chemical weapons

July 24, 2015

Report: International inspectors fail to stop Syria chemical weapons, Breitbart, Joel B. Pollak, July 24, 2015

(“It’s like Déjà vu all over again.” Please see also, Kerry raps Menendez over ‘classified’ Iran clause, update. — DM)

ap_iranian-foreign-minister-mohammad-javad-zarif_ap-photo4-640x420Carlos Barria/Pool via AP

The Syrian regime, however, imposed harsh restrictions on UN inspectors. ““We had no choice but to cooperate with them,” Scott Cairns, one of the leaders of the UN inspections team, told the Journal.


International inspectors failed to stop Syria from stockpiling chemical weapons, in spite of an international agreement in 2013, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. International inspectors were skeptical of Syria’s claims to have disposed of its stockpiles, but were afraid that reporting violations would destroy the overall deal: “Members of the inspection team didn’t push for answers, worried that it would compromise their primary objective of getting the regime to surrender the 1,300 tons of chemicals it admitted to having.”

After President Barack Obama failed to enforce his 2012 “red line” against dictator Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the ongoing Syrian civil war, the U.S. agreed to a Russian-brokered agreement in Geneva that provided for the regime to ship its stockpiles abroad while international inspectors gained access to its production and storage facilities.

The Syrian regime, however, imposed harsh restrictions on UN inspectors. ““We had no choice but to cooperate with them,” Scott Cairns, one of the leaders of the UN inspections team, told the Journal.

Initially, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had reported that Syria’s declarations about its chemical weapons program matched its own assessments of what the regime possessed. However, the CIA turned out to have underestimated Syria’s capacity, the Journal reports.

The Syrian guards assigned to inspections convoys also drove slowly, failed to destroy chemical weapons when asked to do so, and appeared to be intermingled with Iranian soldiers who were guarding Syrian chemical weapons sites. As a result, Syria remains unaccountable.

The report comes as the Obama administration attempts to persuade Congress that the international inspections regime under a new deal with Iran will be sufficient to monitor that country’s nuclear program, including unknown nuclear facilities and military sites. Critics say that the inspections regime is not tough enough to allow proper verification of Iranian compliance. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee learned Thursday that UN inspectors may rely on the Iranian regime to provide environmental test samples from its own military sites.

In his State of the Union address in January 2014, President Barack Obama said: “American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve–a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.

In a speech in September 2014 about ISIS, he said: “It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people–or the world–again.”

State Spokesman Repeatedly Refuses to Answer Whether There Are ‘Side Deals’ Between Iran and Nuclear Watchdog

July 22, 2015

State Spokesman Repeatedly Refuses to Answer Whether There Are ‘Side Deals’ Between Iran and Nuclear Watchdog, Washington Free Beacon, , July 22, 2015

(Please see also, House Republican: Obama Administration Won’t Release Full Iran Deal to Congress. — DM)

State Department spokesman John Kirby repeatedly refused to answer direct questions from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Wednesday over whether he knew about reported “side deals” between Iran and the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that would not be subject to scrutiny by Congress or the American public.

“I won’t speak for the IAEA,” Kirby said. “What I can tell you is that all relevant documents to this deal, certainly all those in our possession, have been delivered to Congress. They were delivered over the weekend, and they’ll have access to everything that we have access to.”

The U.N. nuclear watchdog plays the critical role of verification in the agreement by seeking to ensure Iran is not violating it with illicit nuclear activity.

National Review reported on two Republicans issuing a press release that they’d discovered these deals while meeting with IAEA officials in Vienna

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) issued a press release today on a startling discovery they made during a July 17 meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna: There are two secret side deals to the nuclear agreement with Iran that will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the U.S. public.

One of these side deals concerns inspection of the Parchin military base, where Iran reportedly has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear-warhead development. The Iranian government has refused to allow the IAEA to visit this site. Over the last several years, Iran has taken steps to clean up evidence of weapons-related activity at Parchin.

The other secret side deal concerns how the IAEA and Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. In late 2013, Iran agreed to resolve IAEA questions about nuclear weapons-related work in twelve areas. Iran only answered questions in one of these areas and rejected the rest as based on forgeries and fabrications.

Scarborough was unsatisfied with Kirby’s answer and pressed him repeatedly to give a definitive answer to whether the U.S. had knowledge of these details or whether such “side deals” existed at all. The exchange went on:

SCARBOROUGH: But Admiral, does the State Department know of secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA? Do you know of secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA? Does Secretary Kerry know of secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA?

KIRBY: What we know is that the IAEA will be working with Iran to make sure that they have the information and access that they need to be able to verify Iran’s commitments to this deal.

SCARBOROUGH: But that’s not the question I asked. That’s not the question I asked, Admiral. Are you all familiar with side deals between the IAEA as it pertains to Iran’s nuclear program that we don’t know about?

KIRBY: This isn’t about side deals, Joe. This is about making sure the IAEA gets the access they need to verify Iran’s commitments, and they’re going to do that. I can’t speak for the IAEA. What I can do is speak for the State Department, and I can say definitely that every relevant document –

SCARBOROUGH: But you certainly can speak to your knowledge and Secretary Kerry’s knowledge and the State Department’s knowledge and the White House’s knowledge. Do you all have knowledge of these side deals?

KIRBY: We know that the IAEA is going to work with Iran to make sure they get the access they need. How they do that and what manner they do that, I’m going to let them speak to that.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski cut in.

“It sounds like there’s side deals,” she said.

“I’m just trying to get a yes or a no,” Scarborough said.

Kirby looked perturbed at this point.

“I can’t really answer it any better than I did,” he said. “I mean, the IAEA needs to get the access to verify Iran’s compliance and they’ll do that. How they work with Iran on that is really for them to speak to. What I can you tell you though is every relevant document in this deal, and there’s a lot of them, everything has been delivered to Congress, and they’re going to get ample time to speak to Secretary Kerr and Secretary Moniz to answer all their questions.”

Scarborough concluded the exchange by saying Kirby actually could have answered better with a simple yes or no, but he moved on.