Posted tagged ‘Trump and Iran scam’

State Department’s Top Iran Official Helped Sell Notorious Iran Deal

March 19, 2017

State Department’s Top Iran Official Helped Sell Notorious Iran Deal, Iran Focus, March 19, 2017

(Secretary of State Tillerson should pick Backemeyer’s brain for information about Iran’s vulnerabilities and the negotiation of the Iran scam. Then he should probably fire him — DM)

London, 19 Mar – A current senior official at the State Department, Chris Backemeyer, who serves as deputy assistant secretary for Iranian affairs under Secretary Rex Tillerson, was intimately involved in convincing public and private agencies of the Iran deal’s merits. Allegedly, he was a key component of the operation to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American people.

As part of his duties under Obama, Backemeyer was the U.S. principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy. He traveled throughout the country (and the world) working to convince multinational corporations to do business with the Iranian regime. He was also the lead sanctions negotiator in the P5+1 talks that resulted in the Iran deal.

Today, Backemeyer is the highest-ranking official at the State Department with intimate experience in Iran policy.

In an article by National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel, he writes that “Backemeyer reassured mega-companies such as Boeing that investing in Iran was a safe bet, while at the same time the Iranian regime was exporting its caliphatist ideology across the globe. Iran is the world’s foremost state-sponsor of international terrorism. The dictatorship in Tehran funds and aids several terrorist groups throughout the Middle East and the world at large.”

As part of the deal, Iran received an estimated $100-plus billion in assets for agreeing to stop its rapid nuclear development, a windfall for that country. But in fact, according to Schachtel, the deal gave Tehran an accelerated path to a nuclear weapon. Chris Backemeyer helped charter a deal that threw a lifeline to a regime with a flailing economy. Last year, it was revealed that the US paid a $1.7 billion ransom to Iran for the release of American hostages. In his testimony before Congress, Backemeyer claiming that the money would go to serve “the critical needs that Iran has had.” Instead, say Schachtel, “some of the cash was handed over to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the group responsible for conducting Iran’s worldwide terrorist operations.”

The State Department official spoke at an annual confab last year, which was hosted by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). This is a group that many Iranian dissidents consider to be a front group for Tehran, with deep ties to the regime.

In Media, Iranian Foreign Minister, Majlis Member Clash Over Iran-U.S. Relationship

March 10, 2017

In Media, Iranian Foreign Minister, Majlis Member Clash Over Iran-U.S. Relationship, MEMRI, March 9, 2017

(If we send Kerry, will they keep him?

–DM)

Recently, Iranian Majlis member and National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Javad Karimi Ghodosi, from the ideological camp that is critical of the JCPOA and of Iranian ties to the U.S. made accusations against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. In a February 28, 2017 interview, Ghodosi told the YJC website, which belongs to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), that Zarif had sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting, inter alia, that former secretary of state John Kerry be appointed special JCPOA representative. Ghodosi also noted: “[I]t is unclear whether the letter was sent in coordination with regime officials in Iran.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry immediately denied Ghodosi’s allegations, attributing ulterior motives to him and saying that he was attempting to defame Iran’s diplomatic officials.

These statements must be viewed in the context of the Iranian leadership’s apprehensions about what the Trump administration will do next, after President Trump tweeted, on February 2, that “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile” and added that the JCPOA was a “terrible deal.” They must also be viewed against the backdrop of the disagreement within the Iranian leadership over what its strategic response to the U.S. should be – whether to work with it, in line with the pragmatic camp’s approach, or to strengthen strategic ties with Russia, in line with the IRGC’s position.

Ghodosi, Zarif. Source: YJC, February 28, 2017

Following is the translation of the YJC interview with Ghodosi and of the Foreign Ministry’s rebuttal:

Majlis Member Ghodosi: Foreign Minister Zarif Asked Secretary Of State Tillerson To Appoint John Kerry As JCPOA Representative Because Of His Ties With The Iranians

“The Foreign Minister [Zarif] has sent a letter to [U.S. Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson with four requests. I hope the foreign minister will not deny this, because everything I say is true.

“One of the requests that Zarif presented to the American secretary of state is that America not take steps to cancel the JCPOA, and that if it did, Iran would submit a complaint to the [UN] Security Council regarding American violations of the JCPOA.

“Zarif’s most important request to the American secretary of state is that the U.S. State Department appoint a special JCPOA representative. The letter stated that John Kerry should be selected for this position, because he has a good and transparent relationship with the [Iranian] negotiating team.

“In this letter, Zarif [also] proposed to the new American secretary of state that he conduct a secret bilateral meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Additionally, Zarif also requested that a direct emergency line be set up for special cases between the two countries’ foreign ministries.

“Thus far, no response from the new American secretary of state to the Iranian foreign minister’s letter has been received, and it is unclear whether the letter was sent in coordination with regime officials in Iran. However, since Iran does not approve of such ties [with the U.S.], we must question [whether it was coordinated with regime officials].

“Additionally, the Iranian foreign minister sent three letters to [EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica] Mogherini presenting [Iranian allegations of U.S.] JCPOA violations. This is an excellent revolutionary letter.

“Regime officials stressed to the Iranian foreign minister that the public must be kept up to date regarding such letters and JCPOA violations. In any case, even Zarif’s fourth letter, [which was] to [Iran’s] National Security Committee, mentioned no such JCPOA violations.

“In light of the increasing severity of the sanctions, which keeps rising, the government, and especially [President] Rohani and [Foreign Minister] Zarif, must be more transparent with public opinion on nuclear matters.”

Foreign Ministry Vehemently Denies Ghodosi’s Claims

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announcement stated that “this new, untrue, and unfounded claim by Karimi Ghodosi on the matter of letters by Zarif to the American secretary of state is strongly denied.

“The Foreign Ministry is shocked and saddened by the improper and bizarre thought process of Karimi Ghodosi, who insists on continuing to make false and unfounded allegations about the senior echelon of the Iranian diplomatic corps. The aim of this appears to be disruption of public opinion and self-aggrandizement. As in the past, these claims will not benefit his specific goals.

“The wise and diligent Majlis members are well informed about all of Iran’s foreign policy, and will not be influenced by these false statements.

“Such deviant issues will [also] not influence the continuation of the principled path of the Foreign Ministry, or its general operating frameworks. Measures that disrupt public opinion are against national security and can be dealt with by legal means.”[1]

___________________________

[1] YJC (Iran), February 28, 2017.

Iran honestly abiding by nuclear deal or terrified of changing times?

March 7, 2017

Iran honestly abiding by nuclear deal or terrified of changing times? Al Arabiya, Heshmat Alavi, March 7, 2017

(Al Arabiya is “a Saudi-owned pan-Arab[4] television news channel.” — DM)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

During the Obama years Iran understood very well his administration would take no serious actions against their aggressive nature, as seen in the West’s relative silence in the face of more than a dozen missile test launches.

To this end, Iran’s recent compliance by JCPOA articles should only be perceived as a result of its deep fear in the new US administration’s possible policies.

************************************

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently issued his latest report to the agency’s Board of Governors. At a first glance the text leaves you thinking Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA.

However, considering the rapid pace of international developments, and US President Donald Trump’s harsh remarks against the nuclear deal, we are seeing Iran going the limits to maintain the JCPOA intact. This is a staunchly different approach from the Obama era.

The latest IAEA report contains very important technical aspects, showing how weak Iran has become. Despite all the threats of abandoning the JCPOA ship altogether, Iran’s recent measures proves it needs the JCPOA more than any other party.

By the statistics

On November 8th, 2016 the IAEA verified Iran’s heavy water reserves reached 130.1 metric tons. Iran also informed the IAEA about sending 11 metric tons of heavy water outside of its borders on November 6th and 19th, also verified by the IAEA.

After this transfer Iran has not dared to exceed the 130 metric ton limit, and on February 14th the IAEA verified Iran’s reserves have decreased to 124.2 metric tons, meaning even 6 metric tons less than the JCPOA specified amount.

During the Obama administration Iran had twice exceeded the 130 metric ton limit, and yet rushed to send the excess amount to Oman prior to Donald Trump taking the helm at the White House.

Natanz

Under the JCPOA Iran is permitted to maintain more than 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges in 30 cascades in the Natanz enrichment site. Again, terrified of the incoming Trump administration, reports indicate Iran has significantly lowered the number of such centrifuges.

Iran is continuing to enrich UF6 uranium at Natanz, yet not daring to enrich any uranium above the 3.67 percent standard set for nuclear fuel production. Iran has also not exceeded the 300-kilogram amount of 3.67 percent uranium 235, equal to 202.8 kilograms of uranium.

By February 18th Iran had stored 101.7 kilograms of 3.67 percent uranium, showing the regime has not only abided, but even halved their stocks. This is another sign of Iran’s concerns of the change in guards in Washington.

Ferdow

The controversial Ferdow uranium enrichment, with a capacity of 3,000 centrifuges, currently has 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges, where 1,042 are placed in six cascades, and two such centrifuges are set aside for research purposes.

During the past three months (especially following the November 8th US elections) Iran has suspended all of Ferdow’s uranium enrichment and R & D activities.

Surveillance

All stocked centrifuges, along with their components, are under constant IAEA surveillance. The IAEA enjoys orderly access to related facilities in Natanz, including daily inspections based on IAEA inspectors’ requests.

Iran continues to allow the IAEA use electronic surveillance devices and online seals on its uranium enrichment facilities to provide continuous monitoring. Iran has also agreed to provide for the presence of a larger number IAEA monitors.

Iran has agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol, once considered a red line for the regime, allowing the IAEA monitor a large number of sites and other facilities affiliated to Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s enriched uranium in Oman

Another sign of Iran giving in to major setbacks is the regime’s agreement to stock their enriched uranium in Oman, and seek its sale to foreign buyers from there. This also includes stocks of excessive heavy water. And yet, Iran is also concerned about the fate of its money in Oman banks, as expressed by a number of parliament members.

The irony

In the meantime, one cannot say for certain that the mullahs have actually relented their nuclear weapons drive. It is in the mullahs’ nature to continue their pursuit for terrorism, nuclear weapons and domestic crackdown. These are the Iranian regime’s three main pillars.

It is common knowledge that the mullahs enjoy no social base, and this is seen in remarks made by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency chief saying in most of his interviews how Tehran intends to relaunch the nuclear program once the JCPOA time limit ends.

Despite all this, the mullahs very well understand the language of force. Iran only succumbed to the nuclear talks once international sanctions began crippling their economy.

During the Obama years Iran understood very well his administration would take no serious actions against their aggressive nature, as seen in the West’s relative silence in the face of more than a dozen missile test launches.

To this end, Iran’s recent compliance by JCPOA articles should only be perceived as a result of its deep fear in the new US administration’s possible policies.

Investments

After Obama left office foreign investment in Iran has also witnessed a nosedive, adding to the mullahs’ growing concerns. Tehran curbed a portion of its nuclear program, yet receiving nothing in return and continuously being described as the main state supporter of terrorism, instability and insecurity.

Iran’s unfrozen money has been transferred to Oman, and yet the government says it cannot release the assets to Tehran. Iran has at least $18 billion blocked in China, with no means to gain access to.

British Petroleum also had double thoughts following Trump’s entrance into the White House. This major international oil company has currently taken a major step back from participating in Iran’s oil projects.

Total in France, seeking to develop the major gas fields south of Iran, has also taken similar measures, suspending its activities until the summer of this year to allow Trump to clarify his JCPOA policy.

Foreign banks and companies

Why are French companies unable to invest in Iran? This country’s largest banks are holding back on any cooperation with Tehran, blocking any major investment by large French companies in this country. In addition to Total, Renault, AirBus and others are unable to invest in Iran without the support of major French banks such as Societe Generale.

These banks, however, are very concerned of unilateral punishing measures by the US against foreign entities investing in Iran. For example, the BNP Paribas was slapped with an $8.9 billion fine by Washington for bypassing US sanctions against Iran.

Airline restrictions

Japan’s Mitsubishi ended its negotiations to sell planes to Iran, citing concerns of the new US administration’s possible future sanctions and policies.

Despite Tehran seeking to expand its airlines and reach abroad following the nuclear deal, New Delhi delivered yet another blow by suspending its flights to Iran.

“Air India Express, the low-cost unit of the South Asian nation’s flag carrier, has put on hold a plan to fly to Tehran amid renewed tensions between the US and Iran after President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on the Persian Gulf country,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Money laundry warnings

The Financial Action Task Force, the international body assigned to fight back against money laundering, issued a stark warning to Tehran to live up to its obligations or else face serious actions.

The FATF recently issued a strong reminder saying “in June 2016, the FATF suspended counter-measures for twelve months in order to monitor Iran’s progress in implementing the Action Plan. If the FATF determines that Iran has not demonstrated sufficient progress in implementing the Action Plan at the end of that period, FATF’s call for counter-measures will be re-imposed.”

Conclusion

More than a year after the JCPOA implementation, and with Washington adopting a completely new mentality and overhauling any pro-appeasement policies vis-à-vis Iran, the mullahs in Tehran have realized the global balance of power has shifted completely against their interests.

To this end, their recent measures to curtail their nuclear stocks should not be considered a coming to mind by Tehran. Not at all. The mullahs understand the language of force, just as President Ronald Reagan came to office in 1981 the fledgling mullahs’ regime rushed to release all American hostages after a 444 ordeal.

Now, Tehran is once again comprehending a significant shift in international politics, and it is taking measures accordingly to limit all possible damages. And rest assured they will jump to the occasion if they sense any weakness or hesitation.

As a result, Iran must be held at the ropes and the next necessary step in this regard is the long overdue designation of its Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization. This will begin to limit its ability to wreak havoc across the Middle East and limit its human rights atrocities.

This is in the interest of all nations.
_________________________
Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program. He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi & blogs at IranCommentary.

Forging a new approach to Iran

March 6, 2017

Forging a new approach to Iran, Washington Times, Shahram Ahmadi Nasab Emran, March 5, 2017

iranianoctopusIllustration on the continuing threat of Iran by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

By identifying the gross overreach by the Iranian regime and promising a swift, punitive response, the White House’s stance marked the end of a longstanding American policy of naive appeasement. In so doing, the Trump administration has rightly recognized the true source of instability and existential threat the region faces. Now, instead of issuing broad statements, it must act on a smart strategy for dismantling the key pillars of Iran’s international terror network and stunting the regime’s emboldened overreach.

***********************

Even as the Trump administration seeks to designate the Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, Iran continues its blatant defiance of international norms. Promising “roaring missiles” if threatened, Tehran has test fired several ballistic weapons capable of delivering nuclear material in just the past month. A fundamentally weak regime with dated military capabilities, Iran is attempting to call the United States’ bluff, perhaps to gain leverage in any subsequent re-evaluations of the nuclear deal Tehran struck with the Obama administration. Several blistering statements from the White House backed by a round of sanctions presage the administration’s muscular new approach. But if it hopes to secure the region, it must systematically target the core destabilizing activities of the regime.

In a steady stream of denunciations, the White House pledged tougher U.S. action if the mullahs continue to violate international norms through illicit missile tests, making clear that the Obama era of appeasement is over. “Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” an official White House statement read. “We are officially putting Iran on notice.” While many Iranian officials dismissed President Trump’s tough talk on the nuclear deal as empty campaign rhetoric, the president’s appointment of fellow anti-regime hardliner Gen. James Mattis demonstrates his intention to deliver.

Perhaps more importantly, the White House has also challenged the regime’s extended proxy offensives against U.S. allies and friends in the neighborhood. Such actions “underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East,” the White House statement continued. Contrary to President Obama’s Middle East policy of abandoning friends and allies and trying to make friends with the adversaries, the Trump administration will fully support its friends. Specifically, this stance challenges Iran’s practice of hiding behind Hezbollah and Houthis militants as it funds and trains them.

Holding a vastly dated arsenal of weapons, Iran is no match for U.S. firepower, leaving only backchannel mercenaries to promote regional dominance. The White House acknowledged this dynamic, specifically characterizing the affront against Saudi forces as being “conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants.” This link was never recognized by the Obama administration. Such oversight left Iran free to grow and strengthen its hand in these groups, which terrorize the region and undermine our partners. If the Trump administration will craft a strategy for stunting Iran’s proxy network, particularly by cutting funding and armament flows, the region would be far safer and more stable.

Noting Mr. Trump’s concerns about the nuclear deal being “weak and ineffective”, the Trump administration addressed a third key issue in the U.S.-Iranian relationship. Rapidly losing money and influence, the nuclear deal allowed the regime to avoid military confrontation over its development program for which it was grossly unprepared. And despite the intention of weakening the regime and strengthening the Iranian people, rushed U.S. concessions granted the regime an eleventh-hour trickle of lifeblood, both financially and symbolically. By rolling sanctions back, destabilizing behavior was ostensibly met with an influx of funds. As such, the deal signaled that military action against Iran was highly improbable, thus essentially greenlighting the illicit activity that effected warnings and sanctions from the White House over the past month. And despite official remarks by Iranian officials denouncing these statements as naive and weak, the regime would be in dire straits if America turns off the faucet opened by the nuclear deal.

Finally, the administration’s condemnation for Iran’s broader support for terrorism demonstrated clear perspective on the direct threat it poses to international security. In addition to supporting Hezbollah, Iran is currently involved in a life-and-death battle in Syria that includes continuous weapon and militant transfer from Iran to Syria. President Bashar Assad’s downfall in Syria would destroy the linchpin of Iran’s terror apparatus.

Further, any sustainable resolution calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, culling both activity in the country and a pipeline to Hezbollah via the porous borders between Syria and Libya. As Iran finds itself backed into a corner by its regional export of terror, Mr. Trump and his team have many cards to play.

By identifying the gross overreach by the Iranian regime and promising a swift, punitive response, the White House’s stance marked the end of a longstanding American policy of naive appeasement. In so doing, the Trump administration has rightly recognized the true source of instability and existential threat the region faces. Now, instead of issuing broad statements, it must act on a smart strategy for dismantling the key pillars of Iran’s international terror network and stunting the regime’s emboldened overreach.

Iranian Dissidents Demand Investigation Into Islamic Regime’s Secret U.S. Lobbying Network

February 20, 2017

Iranian Dissidents Demand Investigation Into Islamic Regime’s Secret U.S. Lobbying Network, Washington Free Beacon, , February 20, 2017

An Iranian flag flies in front of the building where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

An Iranian flag flies in front of the building where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

A group of nearly 100 prominent Iranian dissidents is demanding that Congress launch investigations into clandestine efforts by the Islamic Republic to influence U.S. policy using a network of lobbyists and propaganda pieces placed in Voice of America’s Persian service, according to a letter sent to leading lawmakers and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The group of dissidents, composed of prominent Iranian voices that oppose the hardline regime in Tehran, says that Congress is not doing enough to expose the Iranian regime’s lobbying efforts in D.C. and propaganda network, which is said to include some at VOA Persia.

Iranian-American groups claiming to represent American interests are said to be carrying water for the Islamic regime inside the White House and on Capitol Hill, according to these dissident voices.

The letter cites VOA’s Persian service as a source of pro-Iran corruption. The Free Beacon has reported multiple times on claims that VOA has been infiltrated by Iran regime loyalists who seek to spin coverage in a favorable way for Tehran. In one instance, an Iranian dissident was barred from appearing on VOA Persia for voicing critical opinions about the regime.

The letter comes at a time when the Trump administration is seeking a tougher approach on Iran for its repeated violations of international accords governing the nuclear deal. The dissidents maintain that U.S. officials have been too soft on the regime and ignored its surreptitious efforts to make American diplomacy more generous to Tehran.

“We write to request a congressional hearing on the efforts of Tehran’s theocratic regime to influence U.S. policy and public diplomacy toward Iran,” the dissidents write to Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), the heads of Congress’ foreign affair committees, according to copies of the letter obtained by the Free Beacon.

“We ask that you launch an investigation into any and all lobbying activities of Iranian-American groups, which ostensibly promote the interests of our community but whose real goal is to undermine long-term U.S. national security interests in Iran and its neighborhood,” the dissidents write.

Organizations such as the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which played a key role in championing the Iran nuclear agreement and worked closely with the Obama administration, have long operated under a cloud of suspicion. Dissident voices maintain that NIAC in particular serves as a mouthpiece for Iran’s regime in the United States.

The group of dissidents—which includes foreign policy experts, university professors, interfaith leaders, prominent real estate developers, and human rights activists, among others—also requested that Congress shine a light on VOA Persia’s activities.

“We also ask that you launch an inquiry into the Voice of America’s Persian service, whose bloated budget is the largest of all language services under the VOA,” they write.

“There have been numerous instances of editorials by the VOA’s Persian service that have been lenient or favorable to Iran’s clerical despots. We consider this to be totally unacceptable and demoralizing for pro-democracy Iranians who watch these broadcasts.”

Such hearings would compliment past efforts by Congress to investigate corruption at VOA, including what many describe as its pro-Tehran bent.

Peter Kohanloo, a chief architect of the letter and president of the Iranian American Majority, told the Free Beacon that the missive represents an unprecedented effort by Iranian dissidents to expose the Iranian regime’s “influence-peddling agenda.”

“Never before have so many Iranian dissidents of different political persuasions and backgrounds come together to speak with one unified voice,” Kohanloo told the Free Beacon. “This historic letter is a clear and unmistakable message to Tehran that we will no longer tolerate their influence-peddling agenda, which divides our community and demoralizes pro-democracy activists in Iran.”

The group of dissidents informed lawmakers that they are all willing to testify publicly at congressional hearings on both of these matters.

Top Trump Aide: Despite Resignation of National Security Adviser, Administration Committed to Flynn’s Staunch Stance on Iran

February 17, 2017

Top Trump Aide: Despite Resignation of National Security Adviser, Administration Committed to Flynn’s Staunch Stance on Iran, AlgemeinerRuthie Blum, February 16, 2017

trumpandgorkaSebastian Gorka with US President Donald Trump. Photo: Facebook.

A top aide to US President Donald Trump told The Algemeiner on Thursday that despite the resignation this week of General Michael Flynn as national security adviser, Washington remains committed to his staunch positions on Iran.

“Flynn’s statements on the Islamic Republic reflect the new administration’s stance, as the president has been very clear,” said Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka. The author, most recently of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, was referring, in part, to the former national security adviser’s “officially putting Iran on notice” earlier this month, after it test-launched a ballistic missile, and its proxy terrorist group in Yemen — the Houthis — attacked a Saudi warship.

Speaking to The Algemeiner in the wake of Wednesday’s meeting between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has spent years warning against the dangers of a nuclearized Iran — Gorka said, “We are reassessing US policy to the regime in Iran and are committed to not facilitating the mullahs in their destabilization of the whole region as the Obama White House did, especially through the disastrous JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” otherwise known as the nuclear deal.

The ayatollahs, he noted, “are not only behaving in ways that are antithetical to the American values of freedom and human rights, but through their proxies, they are harassing our partners in the Middle East, and have become a particularly negative force in the region since being emboldened by the nuclear deal and by the Obama administration, which rewarded bad behavior with billions of dollars and undisclosed annexes to the JCPOA.”

Asked whether Netanyahu’s input had an effect on Trump’s statement about not allowing Iran to achieve “nuclear capability” — rather than merely preventing it from building a nuclear weapon — Gorka said, “The key is that this administration has been adamant that it will treat friends as friends. And you listen to your friends’ concerns.”

The Jewish state, he said, is in this category, “as was expressed in yesterday’s meeting, and through Trump’s insistence that America’s bond with Israel is ‘unbreakable.’ The warmth shown to Netanyahu was palpably different from the cold shoulder he received from the previous president.”

Gorka went on to explain that the opposite messages being conveyed to Israel and Iran from the White House are in keeping with a Marine Corps motto — which, he said, has been informally adopted by the Trump administration — “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

“It means that America is back on the scene,” he said. “No more oxymoronic ‘leading from behind.’ We have restored our relationship with the Israeli government to the place where it should be.”

Gorka, a naturalized American whose parents escaped Communist Hungary and was raised in the UK, came under the critical scrutiny this week of several media outlets for wearing the medal of a Hungarian order of merit re-established in 1920 by Miklós Horthy. Horthy, the wartime Hungarian regent accused of not doing enough to prevent the Nazi deportation of Jews — and whose own son was kidnapped by Nazi commandos — was eventually replaced by the fascist Arrow-Cross Regime, allied to Hitler.

The honor, today, however, is recognized by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, and was awarded to Gorka’s father as a recognition of his suffering and resistance to the Communist dictatorship that followed the fascists.

“Smearing individuals is what the Left does when it can’t win an argument on substance,” Gorka said, explaining that his father had been granted the merit more than 30 years after WWII.

Gorka recounted:

He was nine years old when the war broke out and 15 when it ended and the puppet Nazi regime fell. He was imprisoned at the age of 20 for his anti-Communist activities, and was later given the medal in exile. I wear his medal during official occasions in homage to my father and my Hungarian roots.

It is especially appalling that I was smeared, when the writer, Eli Clifton, who first made the allegation was allegedly fired from his previous position for making antisemitic and anti-Israel statements. To quote one authority: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have all termed the anti-Israeli rhetoric of … Eli Clifton …. to be infected with Jew-hatred and discriminatory policy positions toward Israel.”

It is therefore “galling,” he said, “that I should be slandered in this way, when my family lived through and opposed all dictatorships.” Still, he added, “When your political opponents resort to this kind of defamation, it’s a sign that your side is winning.”

Iran Warns Trump Against Disclosing Secret Iran Deal Documents

February 16, 2017

Iran Warns Trump Against Disclosing Secret Iran Deal Documents, Washington Free Beacon, February 15, 2017

(Does General Flynn know about secret deals beyond those on file at the U.S. Congress? — DM)

Iranian Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security at the Iranian Shura Council, speaks to journalists after meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, at the Lebanese foreign ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. Boroujerdi arrived in Beirut for two days visit to meet with Lebanese officials. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Iranian Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security at the Iranian Shura Council. . . . (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Senior Iranian officials are warning the Trump administration about disclosing secret deals related to the nuclear deal that have long been hidden from the public by the Obama administration, according to recent comments that prompted pushback from senior sources on Capitol Hill.

Iran’s warning comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report disclosing that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been pushed out of office partly due to his intention to release these sensitive documents to the American public.

Leading lawmakers in Congress launched multiple investigations last year into the Obama administration’s efforts to keep these documents secret and out of public view. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter said that the Trump White House is working on ways to publicize this information despite warnings from Iran.

Secret side deals related to the nuclear agreement remain unclassified but have been stashed in a secure location on Capitol Hill, making it difficult for staffers and lawmakers to view them. Individuals seeking to view these documents must have security clearance and are barred from taking notes or speaking about what they see.

Multiple senior congressional sources familiar with the nature of the documents told the Free Beacon that lawmakers and the Trump administration would not be intimidated by Iranian threats.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a senior Iranian lawmaker and head of country’s foreign policy committee, warned the Trump administration against making these documents public in recent remarks.

“If Trump wants to publish confidential documents exchanged between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, it will in fact constitute a violation of the agency’s obligations, because the agency has been committed not to make Iran’s confidential nuclear information and documents available to any country, including the U.S.,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-run media.

Some of these documents surround side deals struck between Iran and the IAEA regarding the Islamic Republic’s ability to enrich uranium. They also include deals about how much information Iran must disclose to international inspectors about the country’s contested nuclear program.

As part of the nuclear deal, U.S. inspectors are not permitted to take part in the review of any Iranian sites.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a vocal opponent of the Iran deal who has long been fighting for the full disclosure of the Iran deal documents, told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration hid these documents in order to mislead Americans about the true nature of the agreement.

“The administration is under no obligation to conceal information about secret side deals, nor should they feel obligated to protect the anonymity of individuals or institutions who misbehaved at the behest of the Obama administration,” Roskam said.

Included in these documents are details of multiple, secret payments to Iran that totaled close to $2 billion. The money is believed to have been part of an incentive package aimed at securing the release last year of several American hostages in Iran.

None of this information is technically classified, yet it remains hidden from the American public and a large portion of Congress.

“The deal has only survived this long because the Obama administration gave Iran secret exemptions to cheat,” said one veteran congressional adviser familiar with the documents. “The Iranians know that if people found out about those exemptions, it would be obvious that the deal was always a bad, unsustainable deal, and they couldn’t blame Trump. That’s why they’re making up reasons why parts of the deal should be kept secret.”

Iran is expressing opposition to the disclosure of the information in order to force the Trump administration into a corner, the source maintained.

A senior congressional aide familiar with the situation further told the Free Beacon that U.S. lawmakers would not be instructed by Iran about what can and cannot be made public.

“Our declassification procedures are not subject to the whims of Iranian officials,” the source said. “Unclassified documents should be released so the American public can see just how bad of a deal the previous administration negotiated on its behalf.”

A second congressional source explained that federal law mandates these documents be released to lawmakers. This includes side deals and other materials related to the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

“The American public has a right to know what’s really going on behind the scenes with the nuclear agreement. At the very least, Congress is entitled to all relevant documents—including side arrangements or any other related materials—as mandated by federal law under Corker-Cardin,” the source said. “We won’t be intimidated by these empty threats from Iran or any international body. It’s time to make these secret documents public so everyone can for themselves what this deal is really all about.”