Posted tagged ‘US Congress’

Congress Concerned Another Obama ‘Secret Deal’ With Iran Derailed New Sanctions on Tehran

January 17, 2018

Congress Concerned Another Obama ‘Secret Deal’ With Iran Derailed New Sanctions on Tehran, Washington Free Beacon , January 17, 2018

Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems / Getty Images

Sources familiar with internal discussions over the IRIB issue told the Free Beacon that State Department officials have supported waiving sanctions on the Iranian broadcasting agency in order to uphold the 2013 agreement.

Officials claim there is no evidence Iran is jamming broadcasts and censoring content, despite repeated claims of such activity by Iranian protesters in the country, sources said.

However, there is mounting evidence that Iran continues to jam certain broadcasts and commit human rights abuses, according to experts.

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The Trump administration State Department is working to suppress new sanctions on Iran’s propaganda network that were promised to be implemented by the White House in response to a wave of protests that have gripped the Islamic Republic for weeks, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

The White House vowed in the opening days of Iran’s countrywide protests against the ruling government that it would take steps to level sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB, a satellite service that disseminates propaganda across Iran and routinely censors content.

While Iranian protesters and opponents of the country’s hardline government welcomed the White House’s decision, the State Department is believed to be working against the effort in order to uphold a little-known deal with Iran that was struck during the Obama administration.

The apparent reversal has raised questions in Congress about the nature of the agreement between the Obama administration and Iran that prevents new sanctions on the IRIB. It also has sparked criticism from regional experts who view the move as part of a bid by the State Department to continue appeasing the Iranian ruling regime at a time when dissidents are pleading for help from the United States.

The Obama administration struck a deal in 2013 with Iran that waived existing sanctions on the IRIB as part of an agreement reached under the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, or ITSO.

Since that agreement, the United States has waived sanctions every 180 days on the IRIB, despite evidence it continues to censor content and jam broadcasts the hardline ruling regime finds unacceptable, sources said.

The little-known ITSO agreement with Iran is receiving new scrutiny as lawmakers try to determine how the Obama administration reached this deal and why many in Congress were never briefed on the matter.

“At such an important inflection point in Iranian history as brave Iranians are protesting an illegitimate tyranny, it defies logic that the State Department could be waiving sanctions to assist the Iranian regime,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees told the Free Beacon.

DeSantis is exploring avenues to obtain further information about the 2013 agreement and the context in which it was struck.

“Congress needs to get more information about this specific waiver and why waiving such sanctions is necessary at this moment given that the protesters are calling for more sanctions against the regime,” DeSantis said.

The White House signaled earlier this month, as the protests in Iran erupted, that it would no longer waive sanctions on the IRIB to boost the demonstrators and cut off the Islamic Republic’s chief propaganda organ.

However, the State Department favors continuing the waivers in order to uphold the Obama-era deal with Iran, according to multiple sources.

A State Department official acknowledged the existence of the deal, but would not provide the Free Beacon with details of the agreement, information on how it was struck, and whether Congress had a say in the matter.

This has raised even more questions with lawmakers and experts tracking the situation.

“The administration periodically renews the relevant sanctions waivers to allow international satellite companies to provide satellite broadcast service to IRIB in accordance with an understanding reached with the Iranian government under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) in 2013, where Iran committed to ensure that harmful interference does not emanate from its territory,” a State Department official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon.

This waiver must be renewed every 180 days, the official said.

It also remains unclear if the deal with Iran was struck under the auspices of the landmark nuclear agreement or the negotiations that led to it.

A Treasury Department official directed questions about the IRIB sanctions to the State Department, but told the Free Beacon the entity is still subject to some sanctions by the United States

“Treasury can confirm that IRIB is still designated pursuant to Executive Order 13628 and remains on our SDN [Specially Designated Nationals] List,” the official said, pointing to a 2013 announcement of actions against the broadcaster. “IRIB is subject to secondary sanctions for activity outside the scope of the State Department-issued waiver.”

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert who tracks sanctions with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, expressed concern the Trump State Department is operating as if the Obama administration was still in power.

“The Iranian protesters specifically asked the Trump administration to ban the IRIB,” Ghasseminejad said. “Issuing a waiver for an entity whose job is to broadcast lies and promote violence against the protesters and pro-democracy movement in Iran and to prepare the ground for their arrest, torture, and execution is a slap in the protesters’ face.”

Former Secretary of State “John Kerry is gone and the United States has a new Iran policy but Foggy Bottom still follows the Obama era policy of appeasement,” he said.

Sources familiar with internal discussions over the IRIB issue told the Free Beacon that State Department officials have supported waiving sanctions on the Iranian broadcasting agency in order to uphold the 2013 agreement.

Officials claim there is no evidence Iran is jamming broadcasts and censoring content, despite repeated claims of such activity by Iranian protesters in the country, sources said.

However, there is mounting evidence that Iran continues to jam certain broadcasts and commit human rights abuses, according to experts.

Mahmood Enayat, director of the Small Media Foundation, an organization that advocates for the free flow of information in Iran, said satellite broadcasts are routinely jammed by the Iranian regime.

“Iran has certainly stopped orbital jamming but it has been continuing with terrestrial jamming, making it impossible for millions of Iranians to watch satellite TV channels broadcast from outside Iran, including VOA and BBC” said Enayat, who recently published a report on the matter.

Some insiders familiar with the agreement, which has not been mentioned in federal records since 2015, view it as another secret deal with Iran that was hidden from the American public, much like a series of secret side deals reached between the Obama administration and Iran as part of the nuclear deal.

One senior congressional official tracking the situation told the Free Beacon that lawmakers would try to scrap any previously unearthed secret agreements with Iran.

“As Iranians are protesting in the streets, our State Department is really considering waiving sanctions against the regime’s mouth piece?” the source asked. “We should be exerting maximum pressure on the regime and its backers, not letting them off the hook.”

“If this decision to take it easy on the regime’s broadcasting arm is pursuant to some secret side deal reached under the Obama administration, it’s time to expose this arrangement and terminate it, not abide by it,” added the source, who was not authorized to speak on record. “The State Department needs to get on the same page as the White House and start rolling out coherent Iran policy to push back against the regime.”

Lawmakers to Trump: Stop Stalling on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

November 22, 2017

Lawmakers to Trump: Stop Stalling on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,  Washinton Free Beacon , November 21, 2017

(Please see also, Holding the PLO Accountable. — DM)

Getty Images

A group of leading House lawmakers have petitioned President Donald Trump to immediately move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem ahead of a deadline that could see the White House delaying the move for at least another six months, according to a letter sent to the president and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, spearheaded the letter, which urges Trump to finally make good on a heavily scrutinized campaign promise to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish state’s capital city.

While Trump has promised to move the embassy—which Congress legally mandated in 1995—as one of his first moves in office, the White House sent shockwaves through the pro-Israel community earlier this year when it renewed a longstanding waiver that ignores the congressional mandate and requires the embassy to remain located in Tel Aviv.

Every president since the law was initiated has signed the waiver, claiming that moving the embassy would interfere with U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Many observers in Congress and elsewhere thought Trump would finally break that cycle.

Since deciding to renew the waiver preventing the embassy’s move, DeSantis and other lawmakers have been pressuring the administration publicly and privately to make good on its promise.

The latest letter, sent to the White House on Tuesday, is a sign that Congress is becoming increasingly frustrated with Trump’s decision to delay the embassy move.

White House officials told the Free Beacon earlier this month that there is no decision yet on whether it will begin moving the embassy, saying, there is “no news to share” on the matter.

DeSantis told the Free Beacon on Tuesday that the letter is meant to show the Trump administration there is widespread support both in Israel and America for the embassy move.

“After 22 years, it is time to allow the Jerusalem Embassy Act to take effect,” DeSantis said. “I urge the president to decline to sign the impending waiver and announce the relocation of our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”

The move would help rally U.S. support for Israel at a critical time, DeSantis said.

“Doing so during this calendar year—the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem—would be of incredible significant to millions of people in both Israel and the United States.”

The congressional letter to Trump echoes these sentiments and urges Trump to follow through with his earlier promises on the matter.

“We applaud your administration for standing strong in defense of Israel, and we urge you to fulfill your promise of relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital of Jerusalem as we approach the second waiver deadline of your administration under the Jerusalem Embassy Act on December 1, 2017,” the lawmakers write, referring to the upcoming deadline by which Trump must either renew the waiver or begin the process to relocate the embassy.

This is at least the second congressional letter on the issue since January and it follows a recent hearing on Capitol Hill in which top experts argued the Trump administration has no significant rationale for delaying the move.

“The upcoming deadline is the right time to enforce the Jerusalem Embassy Act,” the lawmakers write. “We are encouraged by the promise you made after the first waiver deadline of your administration in June 2017—that it is a question of when, not if, you will choose to relocate the embassy—and we hope to see your promise fulfilled this December.”

Other signers of the letter include: Reps. Brian Mast (R. Fla.), James Comer (R., Ky.), Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), Glenn Grothman (R., Wis.), Jody Hice (R., Ga.), Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), Mark Meadows (R., N.C.), Dennis Ross (R., Fla.), and Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.).

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, testifying earlier this month before lawmakers on the issue, maintained that arguments the move would negatively impact U.S. peace efforts in the region are unsubstantiated.

“Such a move, would not adversely effect negotiations over Jerusalem’s final status or the broader Middle East peace process,” Bolton told lawmakers. “Nor would it impair our diplomatic relations among predominately Arab or Muslims nations. In fact, by its honest recognition of reality, shifting the embassy would have an overall positive impact for U.S. diplomatic efforts.”

Democrats demand Congress move to protect Mueller from Trump ire

October 30, 2017

Democrats demand Congress move to protect Mueller from Trump ire, Washington TimesSally Persons and Stephen Dinan, October 30, 2017

(Rumors are also being spread that Henny Penny will soon announce the imminent fall of the sky. Congress must immediately pass legislation to silence Henny Penny. Please see also, Manafort surrenders…What has this got to do with Trump? –DM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Oct. 26, 2017. (Associated Press)

Democrats demanded Monday that Congress approve a bill preventing the special counsel from being fired after Robert Mueller unsealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials concerning their work with or on behalf of Russian interests.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, Virginia Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the charges against Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman and top deputy, and the guilty plea from a foreign policy advisor, are reasons to quickly protect Mr. Mueller from interference by an angry president.

“Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, must also make clear to the president that issuing pardons to any of his associates or to himself would be unacceptable, and result in immediate, bipartisan action by Congress,” Mr. Warner said in a statement.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, unsealed indictments against Paul Manafort, who served as Trump campaign chairman from March to August, and against his deputy Rick Gates, charging them with a long-running scheme to represent pro-Russian interests in Ukraine, laundering money and avoiding taxes for the operation, then lying to investigators to cover it up.

The crucial activity appeared to take place before 2014, or well before the campaign.

But Mr. Mueller also unsealed a guilty plea entered earlier this month by George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor, who admitted to lying to cover up contacts he had during the campaign with someone promising dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Democrats said the charges showed there were live targets for Mr. Mueller’s investigation within the Trump campaign operation, and said it’s a reason to defend the special counsel against interference.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, warned Mr. Trump not to intervene to help his two former associates.

“The president must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way. If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues,” he said.

Multiple congressional committees are probing Russian activities during the election, including Mr. Warner’s panel.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she still wants to see yet another investigation launched.

“Even with an accelerating Special Counsel investigation inside the Justice Department, and investigations inside the Republican Congress, we still need an outside, fully independent investigation to expose Russia’s meddling in our election and the involvement of Trump officials,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.

The League of Extraordinary Candidates: Economic Nationalist Leaders Plan for Anti-Establishment Midterm Tsunami to Force Change

October 9, 2017

The League of Extraordinary Candidates: Economic Nationalist Leaders Plan for Anti-Establishment Midterm Tsunami to Force Change, BreitbartMatthew Boyle,  October 8, 2017

Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images

Conservatives and economic nationalist leaders are looking past the current dysfunction in Washington to a group of new and exciting young candidates throwing their hats in the ring nationwide to break the gridlock with midterm election victories.

This group of individuals, which some are calling “The League of Extraordinary Candidates,” is emerging nationally—a distinct slate of U.S. Senate and House candidates, as well as key gubernatorial contenders, all united in their focus on breaking the logjam in Congress. Movement leaders view establishment Republicans and Democrats alike as a force blocking, slow-walking, or stonewalling the agenda that President Donald J. Trump campaigned on, and aim to elect new voices by riding a new economic nationalist electoral wave in 2018 meant to mirror and surpass what happened in previous wave elections like 2010—which saw the rise of the Tea Party.

“We’re planning on building a broad anti-establishment coalition to replace the Republican Party of old with fresh new blood and fresh new ideas,” Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great America Alliance and ex-White House aide, told Breitbart News.

Surabian worked alongside Stephen K. Bannon, the now former White House chief strategist, during their White House tenure and is now working with the Great America Alliance—a pro-Trump Super PAC run by ex-Ronald Reagan aide Ed Rollins that doubles as a fundraising powerhouse, having raised $30 million last year to help the president.

“The only thing the Republican establishment has succeeded in is clarifying to the American people that they don’t represent their interests,” Surabian added. “Their repeated failures to govern have only crystallized their lack of vision or backbone. The group of candidates we are looking to support in 2018 are all bound together in their agreement that the new Republican Party must be bold in their thinking and aggressive in their tactics.”

The movement that is emerging to back candidates nationally in these critical upcoming primaries and general elections—combined with the candidates themselves, almost a decentralized and loosely organized political party in and of itself—is filled with some of the strongest conservative voices and a broad spectrum across the movement.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of anger, frustration, and disappointment from voters around the country,” Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, a key grassroots organization, told Breitbart News. “They are angry at the lack of Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, and many think it’s time to ditch Mitch as the leader of the Senate. What I am beginning to remind people and let people know is I’m meeting incredible candidates around the country who are willing to take on the Republican status quo. I’ve seen candidates from Montana to Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, who are ready to take on the status quo and be the leaders we need. It’s very tempting to just brush your hands and just say ‘I’m done with all of it.’ It’s very tempting because we’re so angry. If we do that, the swamp wins. Now is the time to dig in and fight even harder, and that’s what Tea Party Citizens Fund is prepared to do.”

Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council’s president, added that he expects a wave election next year unlike any conservatives have experienced before—even bigger than Trump’s historic win in 2016.

“The conservative tidal wave that carried Donald Trump into the White House may soon be eclipsed by what appears to be a conservative tsunami that threatens the establishment death grip on the U.S. Senate,” Perkins told Breitbart News.

The New York Times reported on Sunday morning that Blackwater founder Erik Prince is considering a U.S. Senate run in Wyoming against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

“Erik Prince, the founder of the security contractor Blackwater, is seriously considering a Republican primary challenge for a Senate seat in Wyoming, potentially adding a high-profile contender to a fledgling drive to oust establishment lawmakers with insurgents in the mold of President Trump,” the Times’ Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Jeremy Peters wrote. “Mr. Prince appears increasingly likely to challenge John Barrasso, a senior member of the Senate Republican leadership, according to people who have spoken to him in recent days. He has been urged to run next year by Stephen K. Bannon, who is leading the effort to shake up the Republican leadership with financial backing from the New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there, said one person who had spoken to him.”

The move comes in the wake of Judge Roy Moore’s historic victory in Alabama, where he defeated appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in a GOP primary runoff on Sept. 26 despite Strange’s dozens-of-millions-of-dollars financial advantage and backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. A large part of the focus of Moore’s campaign was on the failures of McConnell atop the Senate GOP conference, and while the two have spoken since Moore’s victory, it is unlikely Moore will ever be supportive of McConnell remaining in control.

Meanwhile, McConnell allies elsewhere are dropping like flies. In the hours leading up to Moore’s historic more-than-9-percent victory over Strange, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)—the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and reliable McConnell friend—announced his plans to retire. Establishment forces in Washington around McConnell desperately shifted their efforts to attempt to convince Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam—a wealthy self-funder—to jump into the race to replace Corker. McConnell and his pals failed, and now conservative anti-establishment Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has emerged as the front-running candidate in Tennessee’s GOP senatorial primaries. McConnell’s allies continue to search for a new candidate to prop up in Tennessee against Blackburn but are thus far unable to find anyone viable. Trump, meanwhile, has taken to Twitter on Sunday morning to lambast Corker even more—something that further embarrasses McConnell for his failed leadership:

Senator Bob Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said “NO” and he dropped out (said he could not win without…

..my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS.” He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!

…Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!

Corker fired back with his own tweet, accusing Trump of being in need of supervision:

It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

While this is emblematic of one of the more brutal fights out there, it’s not just Tennessee and Wyoming where McConnell and establishment Republicans are down on their luck. Weak incumbent Republicans face tough primaries in both Arizona and Nevada, where the vehemently anti-Trump Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) face conservative pro-Trump challengers next year. Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and son of the legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is running against Heller while former state senator Dr. Kelli Ward is running hard against Flake in Arizona. Both Tarkanian and Ward are polling ahead of the incumbent senators nearly a year from the election, something causing great alarm for the GOP establishment in Washington.

Then, moving on down to Mississippi, state senator Chris McDaniel—an economic nationalist firebrand—is likely to run against Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). That race, like McDaniel’s burn-it-down campaign in 2014 against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) where McDaniel actually won the primary with Republicans but Cochran only survived due to his campaign dirty tricks by paying Democrats in the black community to vote for him, is almost certain to put an outsized focus on McConnell’s failures—and Wicker’s connection to them—as well.

That does not even begin to address what may happen in other states. While GOP establishment forces may try to sell it as though they like Missouri’s attorney general Josh Hawley in the primary there, it’s conservatives who are more fired up about Hawley’s campaign with many top grassroots leaders telling Breitbart News privately in the past few days that the likely guy to face off against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in November 2018 is a hardcore conservative who will not go along to get along like McConnell wants in Washington. In West Virginia, McConnell and his allies are pushing a former Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, now Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins, while most other Republicans and conservatives are aligning behind the state’s attorney general Patrick Morrissey. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott is eyeing a bid for U.S. Senate—something that would not bode well for the Majority Leader either—and conservatives are coalescing behind Matt Rosendale in Montana.

In Ohio, conservative Republican Josh Mandel—Ohio’s state treasurer—is emerging as the frontrunner to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and in Wisconsin conservative outsider Kevin Nicholson is pulling ahead of establishment-backed state Sen. Leah Vukmir in the primaries ahead of a general election battle with incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Anti-establishment Corey Stewart, who nearly won the GOP primary for governor in Virginia earlier this year, starts off this coming year as the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination for U.S. senate in next year’s senate battle. And conservatives, Breitbart News can confirm, are looking for challengers to incumbent Republicans in Nebraska and Utah, where Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are for now seeking reelection.

Conservatives are also, per the Times, looking at Maine for a potential strong challenger to incumbent Sen. Angus King (I-ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

“Mr. Bannon is also hoping to persuade Ann LePage, the wife of Maine’s outspoken governor, Paul LePage, to run for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Angus King, an independent who is up for re-election in 2018,” the Times’ Haberman, Thrush, and Peters wrote.

In other words, conservatives are considering a full slate of candidates nationally in open races and those with Democrat incumbents—and running or actively seeking out serious primary challengers for every GOP incumbent senator up for reelection next year except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—all part of an effort to wrest control of the Republican Party away from failed leaders and hand it to fresh blood. That doesn’t even mention House or gubernatorial races: On the House side of things, conservatives have their eyes on taking down many failed incumbent establishment Republicans and are also even looking at many open races. That picture, movement leaders say, is expected to come together more clearly in the days and weeks ahead.

The Iran Deal Isn’t Worth Saving

October 8, 2017

The Iran Deal Isn’t Worth Saving, Gatestone InstituteJohn R. Bolton, October 8, 2017

(The chances of renegotiating the JCPOA to make it less harmful to America appear to be close to zero. — DM)

[T]he deal’s acolytes are actively obscuring this central issue, arguing that it is too arduous and too complex to withdraw cleanly. They have seized instead on a statutory requirement that every 90 days the president must certify, among other things, that adhering to the agreement is in America’s national-security interest. They argue the president should stay in the deal but not make the next certification, due in October.

This morganatic strategy is a poorly concealed ploy to block withdrawal, limp through Mr. Trump’s presidency, and resurrect the deal later. Paradoxically, supporters are not now asserting that the deal is beneficial. Instead, they concede its innumerable faults but argue that it can be made tougher, more verifiable and more strictly enforced. Or, if you want more, it can be extended, kicked to Congress, or deferred during the North Korea crisis. Whatever.

The only sure way to resume economic pressure on Iran is for President Trump to stop waiving the sanctions, as he did a few weeks ago. The power to act is in executive hands, as it should be.

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“Cut, and cut cleanly,” Sen. Paul Laxalt advised Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, urging the Philippine president to resign and flee Manila because of widespread civil unrest. The Nevada Republican, Ronald Reagan’s best friend in Congress, knew what his president wanted, and he made the point with customary Western directness.

President Trump could profitably follow Mr. Laxalt’s advice today regarding Barack Obama’s 2015 deal with Iran. The ayatollahs are using Mr. Obama’s handiwork to legitimize their terrorist state, facilitate (and conceal) their continuing nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs, and acquire valuable resources from gullible negotiating partners.

Mr. Trump’s real decision is whether to fulfill his campaign promise to extricate America from this strategic debacle. Last month at the United Nations General Assembly, he lacerated the deal as an “embarrassment,” “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Last month at the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump lacerated the Iran nuclear deal as an “embarrassment,” “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” (Image source: The White House)

Fearing the worst, however, the deal’s acolytes are actively obscuring this central issue, arguing that it is too arduous and too complex to withdraw cleanly. They have seized instead on a statutory requirement that every 90 days the president must certify, among other things, that adhering to the agreement is in America’s national-security interest. They argue the president should stay in the deal but not make the next certification, due in October.

This morganatic strategy is a poorly concealed ploy to block withdrawal, limp through Mr. Trump’s presidency, and resurrect the deal later. Paradoxically, supporters are not now asserting that the deal is beneficial. Instead, they concede its innumerable faults but argue that it can be made tougher, more verifiable and more strictly enforced. Or, if you want more, it can be extended, kicked to Congress, or deferred during the North Korea crisis. Whatever.

As Richard Nixon said during Watergate: “I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up, or anything else if it’ll save it — save the plan.”

Mr. Trump should not be deceived. The issue is not certification. The issue is whether we will protect U.S. interests and shatter the illusion that Mr. Obama’s deal is achieving its stated goals, or instead timidly hope for the best while trading with the enemy, as the Europeans are doing. It is too cute by half to employ pettifoggery to evade this reality.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 embodies the deal and includes two annexes: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action itself, and a statement by the other negotiating parties on “transparency… creating an atmosphere conducive” to full JCPOA implementation. Resolution 2231, the JCPOA and the statement were all crafted word-for-word with Iran (with Russia and China acting as Tehran’s scriveners on the statement), as was the cash-for-hostages swap Mr. Obama sought desperately to conceal. This packaging is more than a diplomatic nicety. It means Iran’s ballistic-missile program is integral to the deal — fittingly, since Iran’s missiles would deliver its nuclear warheads.

The ayatollahs have neither the desire nor the incentive to renegotiate even a comma of the agreement. Why should they, when it is entirely to their advantage? Both Resolution 2231 and the statement, for example, “call upon” Iran to forgo activity regarding “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” The U.N. secretary-general recently reported that Iran is violating this provision and implicitly lying about it. But the deal’s language allows Iran to claim solemnly that its missiles are not “designed” to carry nuclear warheads, an assertion whose verification would require polygraphs and psychologists, not weapons inspectors. This is one of many textual loopholes.

If the deal is vitiated, Tehran would not be freer than it is now to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Not only is the international compliance regime a far cry from Mr. Obama’s promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections, crucial language is vague and ambiguous. Mr. Obama’s negotiators crippled real international verification by pre-emptively surrendering on what were delicately termed “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program.

Moreover, simple economic logic suggests that Tehran’s scientists are probably enjoying Pyongyang’s hospitality, well beyond the International Atomic Energy Agency’s limited capability to detect. Even U.S. intelligence could be in the dark if Iran is renting a uranium enrichment facility under a North Korean mountain. It is specious to assert that the North Korean nuclear crisis should lead to deferring action on the Iran deal. The conclusion should be precisely the opposite: Failure to act decisively on Iran now worsens the global proliferation threat.

The IAEA has interpreted Mr. Obama’s possible-military-dimension concession as requiring new evidence before it attempts to visit Tehran’s military bases, where the real work on weaponization and missiles is taking place—if not under mountains in North Korea. Mr. Obama acquiesced in this emasculation of the IAEA’s will to inspect, making the agency today like the drunk looking for his car keys under a street lamp because the light is better there. This is a sorry caricature of a robust, Reaganesque “trust but verify” regime.

Perhaps the most inane argument is that Congress should decide the deal’s fate and whether to reimpose U.S. sanctions. If a president is unwilling to solve this kind of problem, he shouldn’t have applied for the job. Watching what has happened on failed legislative efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, can anyone doubt that Senate Democrats (joined by Rand Paul) would filibuster any legislative effort to renew sanctions? The only sure way to resume economic pressure on Iran is for President Trump to stop waiving the sanctions, as he did a few weeks ago. The power to act is in executive hands, as it should be.

Mr. Trump knows his mind on Iran. And as Mr. Laxalt said to Marcos, “the time has come” to act decisively.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad”.

This article first appeared in The Wall Street Journal and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

Jason Chaffetz Full Interview With Judge Jeanine Pirro (9/30/2017)

October 1, 2017

Jason Chaffetz Full Interview With Judge Jeanine Pirro (9/30/2017), Fox News via YouTube, September 30, 2017

 

Taking sides on terrorism

June 4, 2017

Taking sides on terrorism, Israel National News, Att’y Stephen M. Flatow, June 4, 2017

Members of Congress are preparing to cast their votes on legislation that is intended take a strong and clear stand against terrorism. The Taylor Force Act would stop U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if the PA continues paying salaries to terrorists and their families. Named after an American murdered by Palestinians in 2016, the law is long-overdue. It would take a real stand against the PA’s outrageous sponsorship of terrorists.

So far, all 41 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and all 10 co-sponsors in the Senate, are Republicans. That concerns me. At a time when even the United Nations is denouncing the PA’s glorification of terrorists, there is simply no good reason for Democrats not to support the Taylor Force Act just as much as the GOP. No matter how much ill-will there is right now between Republicans and Democrats on other issues, the fight against terrorism is an issue on which the two parties should be able to unite without the slightest hesitation.

And maybe then even Europe will wake up and realize that all terrorists are colleagues.

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Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995

We all remember President George W. Bush’s powerful declaration when he spoke at a joint session of Congress on September 21, 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make,” he said. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

When it comes to Palestinian terrorists and their colleagues, unfortunately, much of the world has for too long shied away from taking a clear-cut stand. But that is beginning to change. Perhaps the 6 dead on London Bridge will do the trick.

The United States finally seems to be abandoning the old tried-and-failed policy of ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s incitement and support of terrorism. According to media reports, when President Trump recently met PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, he “accused Abbas of supporting incitement and terrorism with the salaries paid to prisoners” and said Abbas was “personally responsible for incitement” to violence.

This would represent a very significant change from the previous U.S. administration. President Obama and secretaries of state Clinton and Kerry looked the other way when the PA paid terrorists and incited violence by praising terrorists as “heroes” and “martyrs.”

And America is not alone. In a remarkable break from West European appeasement of the PA, the government of Norway last week demanded that Abbas return Norway’s donation to a Palestinian women’s center that the PA named in honor of mass-murderer Dalal Mughrabi. She led the terror gang that carried out the 1978 Tel Aviv Highway massacre of 37 Israelis (including 13 children) and American nature photographer Gail Rubin, the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende was unequivocal: “The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes.” Even the United Nations (!), under new secretary-general Antonio Guterres, has denounced the naming of the center after Mughrabi as “offensive” and removed its name from the facility.

So the United States, Norway, and even the United Nations are standing against Palestinian terrorism.

Who’s on the terrorists’ side? British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is. The Daily Mail revealed that Corbyn, leader of England’s Labor Party, took part in a ceremony honoring Palestinian terrorists, including one of the key planners of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. At the ceremony, which was held in Tunisia in 2014, Corbyn placed wreaths on the graves of terrorists, including Munich mastermind Atef Bseiso, and wrote about the “poignant” event in the British radical newspaper Morning Star.

Who else is lining up on the side of the terrorists? The city of Barcelona, Spain last week hosted and subsidized a book fair at which one of the featured speakers was the unrepentant Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled. The mayor and city council members should be ashamed of themselves.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Members of Congress are preparing to cast their votes on legislation that is intended take a strong and clear stand against terrorism. The Taylor Force Act would stop U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if the PA continues paying salaries to terrorists and their families. Named after an American murdered by Palestinians in 2016, the law is long-overdue. It would take a real stand against the PA’s outrageous sponsorship of terrorists.

So far, all 41 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and all 10 co-sponsors in the Senate, are Republicans. That concerns me. At a time when even the United Nations is denouncing the PA’s glorification of terrorists, there is simply no good reason for Democrats not to support the Taylor Force Act just as much as the GOP. No matter how much ill-will there is right now between Republicans and Democrats on other issues, the fight against terrorism is an issue on which the two parties should be able to unite without the slightest hesitation.

And maybe then even Europe will wake up and realize that all terrorists are colleagues.