Tag Archives: Nuclear Deal

Trump considers ending Iran deal ahead of key deadline

Originally published on the Washington Examiner 

President Trump is weighing whether to nullify the Iran nuclear deal next month, as proponents of the agreement rally to its defense ahead of a key deadline that will force Trump to reevaluate its future.

The president faces pressure to fulfill his campaign promise to end the Iran nuclear agreement, which he has called the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal requires the State Department to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is still complying with the agreement under the terms ironed out by the Obama administration in 2015.

Some top Trump aides have urged the president to preserve the Iran deal at the next 90-day mark in October. H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have cautioned Trump against scrapping the JCPOA despite his deep skepticism of the agreement, a source familiar with the talks told the Washington Examiner.

But others close to the president have urged him to follow through on his threats to dismantle the deal and have attempted to craft a new strategy for dealing with Iran in the event Trump ends the JCPOA.

Sebastian Gorka, former strategist to the president, said Trump resisted the recertification process at the most recent 90-day deadline in July, when he requested more information from his aides about how he could end the agreement.

“The president didn’t want it recertified last time,” Gorka told the Washington Examiner.

The former White House adviser, who stepped down last month, suggested Trump did not undo the Iran deal this summer only because he had not yet received from his team a set of satisfying alternatives to the agreement.

“Last time, he didn’t do it because he hadn’t been given an adequate path, the scenario hadn’t been provided to him” to decertify the deal, Gorka said.

But soon after Trump requested a draft plan to dismantle the Iran deal, Gorka said he and another top aide tasked with overseeing the creation of the plan, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon left the West Wing and were unable to pass on their findings to the president.

“Those options were never presented to him because of Steve’s resignation and my resignation,” Gorka said.

Bannon had enlisted the help of at least one outside adviser to give Trump options should he choose to exit the Iran deal.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a late August memo published in National Review that Bannon had approached him shortly after the most recent recertification and asked him to prepare a “game plan” for withdrawing from the JCPOA.

“[S]taff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible,” Bolton wrote of his Iran deal withdrawal plan. “Although he was once kind enough to tell me ‘come in and see me any time,’ those days are now over.”

Bolton’s memo advises Trump to conduct “early, quiet consultations,” beginning with private phone calls from the president, with key allies like Israel and countries that had signed onto the deal, such as France and Germany. Those early conversations should provide a friendly warning about the decision ahead and should help those countries understand why the administration was pulling back from the agreement, Bolton wrote. Then, Bolton advised Trump to undergo an expanded diplomatic campaign aimed at rallying support around the world for new sanctions against Iran once the deal was no longer in place.

Proponents of the JCPOA argue the independent inspections Iran must undergo as a condition of the deal have so far turned up no evidence of explicit violations, proving it has been a success. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization that perform the inspections, reportedly conducted more than 400 site visits in 2016 and has informed the international community that Tehran remains in compliance with limits on its centrifuges and uranium enrichment.

The Trump administration has publicly given little indication of where the president plans to go with the JCPOA in the coming weeks. Trump has already recertified the deal twice, although in April, he called for a sweeping review of whether the sanctions relief Iran won as part of the deal remains in the U.S. national interest.

“We’re continuing to conduct a full review of our Iran policy. That has certainly not changed,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Sept. 12. “During the course of the review — and I’ll say this again — that we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its malign activities.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley began earlier this month to make the administration’s case for breaking with the deal. Instead of focusing only on whether Iran remains within the parameters of the JCPOA, Haley argued, the U.S. should take a broader view of all Iranian provocations, including the activity of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, support for Hezbollah, and ballistic missile development, and decide on a more comprehensive Iran policy.

“The question of Iranian compliance is not as straightforward as many people believe,” Haley said during a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Sept. 5. “It’s not just about the technical terms of the nuclear agreement. It requires a much more thorough look.”

The administration moved quickly to signal its low tolerance for Iranian aggression after Trump took office. By early February, Trump had sanctioned more than two dozen people and groups in response to a ballistic missile test Tehran conducted in late January, and his then-national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn, had announced that Trump planned to put Iran “on notice” over its provocations.

Trump’s State Department reissued waivers in May that continued to lift sanctions on Iran, which the Obama administration had granted in exchange for compliance with the JCPOA. But Trump also hit several Iranian individuals and entities in May with fresh sanctions related to their aggression outside the terms of the nuclear deal.

And the Trump administration issued a new round of sanctions in July aimed at IRGC-affiliated groups that had engaged in ballistic missile development, among other provocative activities.

Fred Fleitz, senior vice president for policy at the Center for Security Policy, said some critics of the deal have presented options that would keep the JCPOA in place while punishing Iran more severely for bad behavior outside of it.

“They’re trying to find a way to allow the president to do something so he can make a big announcement without pulling out,” Fleitz said of that camp, noting their overall objection for the recertification next month would be to “wrap this in a big, new, anti-Iran policy.”

“The jury is out on what the president is going to do,” Fleitz said.

But Trump has spent months excoriating the deal and blasting the Iranian regime for its aggression. Fleitz said it would make little sense for Trump to continue approving an agreement he has described as dangerous.

“I just think it’s ridiculous to say the deal’s not in our interest and stay in it,” Fleitz said.

Any effort to abrogate the JCPOA would face fierce opposition from the Iran deal’s supporters, all of whom characterize the agreement as the only thing standing between the regime and a nuclear weapon.

However, Trump would earn applause from some members of Congress for following through on his threats to Iran.

Republican lawmakers — including Sens. David Perdue, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — have urged Trump to reconsider the suspension of sanctions at the heart of the Iran deal.

Less than a month before the next recertification deadline, one source close to the administration told the Washington Examiner that Trump is “leaning towards decertifying” the Iran deal.

The October benchmark will be the first recertification to occur without Bannon and Gorka, two strong opponents of the JCPOA, on the president’s team.

Gorka said he was unsure if anybody left in the West Wing is pushing for a full decertification of the Iran deal. But he noted Trump will ultimately make his own decision, regardless of their counsel.

“I think the president is an army of one,” Gorka said. “My prediction is the president will not want to recertify.”

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected

NCRI

The Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, born in secrecy and kept hidden for years, has never skipped a beat and today continues on course in underground and military facilities to which inspectors have no access. On 21 April 2017, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the oldest, largest, and best organized democratic Iranian opposition group presented startling new evidence that the jihadist regime in Tehran is violating the terms of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement reached in July 2015 among the P-5 +1 (Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and Iran.

As will be recalled, it was the NCRI that first blew the lid off Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2002, at a time when it had been in progress for at least fourteen years (since 1988), unbeknownst to most of the world, including the IAEA. Virtually all of the Iranian nuclear sites now known publicly were only retroactively ‘declared’ by the mullahs’ regime after exposure: the Natanz enrichment site, Isfahan conversion site, Fordow enrichment and Research and Development (R&D) site, Lavizan-Shian, and more. Regularly corroborated additional revelations since 2002 by the NCRI have built a record of credibility that should prompt a closer official look at these new reports by the U.S. State and Defense Departments, National Security Council (NSC), and White House.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of NCRI’s Washington office, provided a devastating expose of the ongoing activities of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the Tehran-based element of the Iranian Ministry of Defense that has primary responsibility for the regime’s nuclear weapons development. The SPND, established in February 2011, was officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State in August 2014 for engaging in nuclear weapons R&D.   Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (aka Dr. Hassan Mohseni), the founder and director of the SPND and a veteran IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) brigadier general, was designated individually under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1747 in 2007 and by the U.S. in July 2008 for his involvement in Iran’s proscribed WMD activities. Despite these designations, and the IAEA’s failure to resolve the many critical indicators of “Possible Military Dimensions” related to Iran’s nuclear program as specified in the November 2011 IAEA Board of Governors report, the July 2015 JCPOA inexplicably lifted sanctions against the SPND.

OrgChart

It is hardly surprising, then, to learn that the SPND not only continues critical weaponization research involving nuclear warheads, triggers, and explosives, but has expanded that work at each of seven subordinate locations. One of these, revealed by the NCRI in 2009 but never declared to the IAEA, is the Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (Markaz-e Tahghighat va Tose’e Fanavari-e Enfejar va Zarbeh or METFAZ), which works on triggers and high-impact, non-conventional explosives. The current METFAZ director is a Ministry of Defense engineer named Mohammad Ferdowsi, whose expertise is in high explosives. Ferdowsi also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the High-Explosive Society of Malek Ashtar University (affiliated with the Defense Ministry).

After conclusion of the July 2015 JCPOA, much of METFAZ’s personnel and work was moved to the Parchin military facility for better cover and security. Parchin Chemical Industries, an element of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2008 for importing “a chemical precursor for solid propellant oxidizer, possibly to be used for ballistic missiles.” Parchin is the location where the IAEA long suspected Iran was conducting test explosions for nuclear detonators. In October 2014, Iran finally admitted to using Parchin to test exploding bridge wires, but implausibly claimed they were not for weapons development. Equally incredibly, the IAEA concluded a secret side deal with Iran that allowed it to collect its own samples at Parchin—in which the IAEA in fact did find evidence of enriched uranium. But despite that and more evidence, the JCPOA was concluded and sanctions against Parchin Chemical Industries were lifted.

Within Parchin are twelve separate military and missile complexes. According to the NCRI’s new information, METFAZ has established a new location within one of these that is near the center of Parchin and referred to simply as the “Research Academy” in SPND internal communications. Located on the sprawling Parchin complex some 30 miles southeast of Tehran, the new METFAZ center is called the Chemical Plan of Zeinoddin and is located in a section called Plan 6. It’s completely fenced in and protected by heavy security under control of the IRGC’s Intelligence Service. What goes on there is concealed from the IAEA, and likely with good reason.

SPND

Old and New Locations for the SPND

Parchin

METFAZ’s Research Academy Location within Parchin Plan 6 Area

Lambasting the Iranian regime for its ongoing regional aggression and support to terrorist organizations, as Secretary of State Tillerson did on 20 April 2017, is certainly a step in the right direction. Noting that after ten years, Iran can break out and build all the bombs it wants is also a useful observation. But neither of those comes close to fulfilling the Trump campaign pledge to “rip up” the JCPOA – or hold Iran accountable for its violations of the JCPOA. Secretary Tillerson’s 18 April letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, certifying that Iran was in compliance with the 2015 deal, simply cannot be squared with the NCRI’s latest revelations, which it has shared with both the U.S. government and the IAEA. Indeed, the independent Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) issued a March 3, 2017 report in which it explicitly states about the IAEA’s 24 February 2017 Quarterly report, “Nowhere in the report does the IAEA state that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA, and it should not make that judgement.”

The real problem with the JCPOA—and why it needs to be ripped to shreds—is not what’s in it: it’s what’s been left out or exempted in any number of secret side deals that the U.S. and IAEA concluded with the Iranians. Among critical issues either explicitly permitted or simply not covered in the JCPOA are the following:

  • Iran keeps its entire nuclear infrastructure intact
  • Iran keeps all its centrifuges and is allowed to work on newer models
  • Iran can deny IAEA inspectors access to any site it seeks to keep off-limits
  • Iran can continue its ballistic missile nuclear weapons delivery system research, development, and testing
  • Iran’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile collaboration with North Korea is not mentioned in the JCPOA
  • Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism is off-limits for the JCPOA

The Trump administration must make good on its campaign promises with regard to Iran, its nuclear weapons program, and the JCPOA. The U.S. with its international partners and the IAEA must demand that Iran fully implement all UN Security Council Resolutions (including the one prohibiting Iran from any nuclear enrichment activities); accept the Additional Protocol; and allow unhindered access for IAEA inspectors to all suspected centers and facilities.

Beginning to fill relevant USG positions with officers untainted by association with the failed JCPOA or Iran Lobby affiliates like NIAC (National Iranian American Council) is an imperative and urgent first step. Announcing U.S. intent to end all activities associated with the JCPOA, hold Iran to account for its human rights abuses, involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and continuing support for terrorism would be natural subsequent policy positions.

We look forward to the results of the JCPOA policy review that Secretary Tillerson has announced.

Heritage Foundation Brings Together Iran Nuclear Deal Critics

The Iran nuclear deal, signed last September, has been touted as a diplomatic victory by the Obama Administration, which claims that Iran will be prevented from acquiring a weapon under the terms of the deal. However, Iran experts say there is little evidence that the deal benefits the U.S. in anyway. Critics say this deal will accelerate Iran’s nuclear program and their ability to gain a nuclear weapon.

Speaking at a panel at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said he fears there may now be no opportunity to slow Iran’s nuclear program. DeSantis noted that the deal made an end run around congress as an “executive to executive” agreement, lacked clarity regarding ballistic missile testing, and resulted in the lifting of sanctions, which erased U.S. leverage.

Center for Security Policy Vice President Fred Fleitz led off the discussion panel by citing the increased efficiency of Iran’s 6,000 centrifuges. Recent improvements have given the Iranians the capability to produce a nuclear weapon quicker than previously believed.

The Washington Institute’s Director of Research for Middle Eastern Policy Patrick Clawson shifted the focus to political aspects of the deal and its effects on U.S. relationships. The U.S. has shifted its focus to improving relations with Iran to the detriment of long time U.S. allies. Europe is not pleased with the U.S. aiding Russia and Iran in Syria, yet the current Administration continues to essentially support their efforts.

Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips pointed out the deal is making Iran a regional hegemon. While the Obama Administration focuses on amending historical grievances, Iran, Syria, and Russia will begin pushing U.S. influence out of the Middle East as they gain greater control.

Clawson and Phillips both referenced the Administration’s hope to bring out the moderates in Iran through this new deal, but no moderates have been able to make any impact. Clawson stated, at best, the next Iranian election may see 20% of the positions held by “moderates”, and unlikely to significantly impact the nature of the Iranian regime.

A common criticism from each panelists was the Administration’s lack of effort to restrict Iran. The Obama Administration has allowed Iran to bend and work around the deal’s stipulations in order to keep the deal afloat. When Iran tested ballistic missiles on two separate occasions, which directly breaks the agreement and international sanctions, the Administration did little besides voicing their disproval. All panelists agreed, the Administration seems more concerned with improving relations with Iran than keeping their nuclear program in check.

Economic Warfare in the Middle East May Keep Oil Prices Low for the Near Future

Saudi Arabia continues to produce oil at high levels despite dropping oil prices. Oil makes up 80% of the Saudi economy, yet prices have dropped significantly over the past few months. The price now sits just over $30 a barrel. With their increasing production

OPEC nations agreed to increase oil production in hopes of weakening U.S. shale oil production. Most Middle Eastern countries can produce oil at less than $30 a barrel, while it takes around $60 to produce a barrel through fracking, the method used by shale oil producers. OPEC achieved its goal of slowing down U.S. production; however Saudi Arabia and Iran refuse to lower their own production, as oil has become a strategic weapon in the larger geopolitical conflict between the two Gulf rivals.

Saudi Arabia has expressed a desire for OPEC nations to lower production levels in order to see a rise in oil prices.  However, Iran is anxious to raise its own output levels as the U.S. lifts its sanctions. As a result, the Saudis are reluctant to decrease their own production as Iran makes up for lost profits in the oil market. With well-established cash reserves and the lowest breakeven price per barrel in OPEC, Saudi Arabia suffers less from low oil prices than does Iran.

Despite this however, the Saudi government is aware that its cash reserves are dwindling rapidly at the current price, and has lately debated new methods of funding. One option they considered was the IPO offering of state-controlled oil company, Saudi Aramco.

While the Saudi government publicly denies concerns over their deficit spending, privately there’s reason to worry. The Saudis are spending roughly $5 to $6 billion of their national reserves every month. With $630 billion total in reserves, it looks as if they are in no immediate danger, but that is assuming oil prices will not drop even further.

More troubling for the Saudis is the potential for Iran to surpass them as the top economy in the region. The recent Iran Nuclear Deal has lifted the economic sanctions that have long kept the Iranian economy from reaching full potential. With the sanctions lifted the World Bank predicts that Iran will see a 5.8% rise in GDP in 2016 and a 6.7% rise in 2017.

The Obama Administration has chosen to shift its focus on improving relations with Iran, to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, a long time U.S. ally. As a result, the Saudis have been forced to turn to other strategic methods for dealing with Iran, rather than relying on American military.

The Saudis are currently engaged with a proxy conflict with Iran on two fronts, Syria and Yemen, and relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have continued to deteriorate following  the Saudi government execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges. By keeping oil production high and the price below Iran’s break-even point, Saudi Arabia hopes to keep the Iranian economy weak and hit the Iranians where it hurts.

While economic considerations may have initiated the drop in oil prices, Saudi strategic considerations are likely to continue to suppress prices as the Saudi government continues to utilize the market as a weapon.

Iran’s War Against the U.S. Started Long Ago

Yesterday on American University’s campus, President Obama delivered a heated speech about the nuclear deal with Iran and stated that, “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war”. The President is implying that if those who are trying to block the nuke deal from passing are successful, the next president will undoubtedly have a war with Iran on their hands.

This is an erroneous claim given the behaviors of Iran following the nuclear agreement, as well as the fact that Iran has essentially been at war with the United States since 1979.

Additionally, a US Navy official confirmed that two weeks ago, “An Iranian frigate pointed a mounted weapon at a US Navy helicopter and a coalition auxiliary ship in the Gulf of Aden”. While the majority of US-Iranian naval operations interactions have been “conducted in a safe and professional manner,” this situation proved different. Iranian crewmen were also seen filming the event for unknown purposes. Thankfully, the event resulted in no further conflict and only lasted a couple minutes.

Looking back at events that have transpired between the US and Iran from 1979 to the present, it is evident that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not interested in a deal with the US, but solely interested in war. The following events sheds some light on this reality:

  • In 1979, 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days after the US Embassy in Tehran was taken over by Iranian revolutionaries closely tied to Supreme Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeinei. This was a organized assault on American sovereignty was intended to help to “solidify their hold on power.
  • In 1983, the Iranian-proxy terrorist group Hezbollah conducted a suicide bomb on the US Embassy in Lebanon, leaving 63 people dead. Of these 63 killed, 17 were Americans. This attack, “the deadliest attack on a US diplomatic mission up to that point”.
  • In 1996, the Khobar Towers housing US Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia were bombed in a suicide bombing terrorist attack. 19 US servicemen were killed and appoximately 500 were wounded. In December 2006, Iran and Hezbollah were found legally liable of “orchestrating the attack” in U.S. Federal court.
  • In 2004 and again in 2007, Royal Navy personnel from one the US’s NATO allies, the UK, were captured and detained by Iranian IRGC, who falsely claimed the British forces had entered Iranian waters.
  • Throughout the Iraq War, Iranian leadership supplied EFPs (explosively formed perpetrators) to Iraqi insurgents who used them to target and kill American servicemen. According to a Military Times article recently released, “At least 500 US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militants”.
  • In October of 2011, the US Department of Treasury announced that members of the IRGC-Quds Force were “connected to a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States…while he was in the United States and carry out follow-on attacks against other countries’ interests inside the United States…”
  • On December 22, 2011, US District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that, “Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks”. In the 9/11 Commission Report, it is stated that Iranian border guards facilitated 8 of the 10 hijackers’ travel.
  • In late April of this year, Iranian naval forces boarded the cargo ship MV Maersk Tigris in the Strait of Hormuz. While there were no Americans on board, the US is obligated to protect the Marshall Islands.
  • Iran has been supplying weapons, ammunition, funding, and training for Taliban forces. Part of Iran’s strategy is to counter “US influence in the region”. A man named Abdullah, a Taliban commander in central Afghanistan, expressed that, “Iran supplies us with whatever we need”.

In Obama’s speech yesterday he stated that,

“Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘death to America’ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal”.

The president seems to be missing the significant aspect that the “hard-liners” chanting “death to America” are the Iranian leadership with whom he negotiated. It’s irrelevant if this not what all Iranians believe. Those who don’t sympathize which such rhetoric, lack the freedom to indicate as much. The “hard-liners” are the most comfortable with the status quo, because they control the status quo.

Then again, it’s consistent of an administration unaware of the true nature of the party they are pursuing a diplomatic agreement with, to also be unaware that said party has effectively been waging war against us for more than three decades.

NIAC June 25 Discussion on Geopolitical Implications of Nuclear Deal with Iran

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) serves as de facto agent of influence for Iranian interests in Washington politics, as previously reported by the Center for Security Policy’s Clare Lopez. Trita Parsi, NIAC’s president, has been instrumental in this process.

Yesterday, June 25, NIAC held a discussion on “The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Deal”. The panel of speakers included: Peter Beinart, contributing editor for The Atlantic and National Journal; Fred Kaplan, war stories columnist for Slate; Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council; and Barbara Slavin, South Asia Center senior fellow for the Atlantic Council.

The talk began with a discussion on how foreign policy has become a primary focus of the Republican party and how generally, the Democratic party tends to place more emphasis on social and economic issues. The discussion then drifted towards discussing the negotiation talks themselves and the ten-year time period aspect. The panel acknowledged the concern that many have, which is that the ten-year period is just delaying the inevitable truth that Iran could obtain a nuclear weapon within a year. But the panel emphasized the importance of those ten years. While that negative viewpoint is out there, why not try to focus on the time positively and the opportunity it provides for even more talks, negotiations, and compromising?

In trying to frame the ten-year period in such a positive manner, the NIAC panel attempted to depict a reality that is simply not accurate. Solely based on how the nuclear deal negotiations have gone so far, it would be foolish to think that ten years of talks and additional demands would go any better than what has transpired-which has not been good at all.

The discussion then moved to reflecting on the implications of all the money involved in the deal talks. “…[the US] will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic [of Iran] by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department”. The panel seemed to indicate that if a deal is successfully reached, Iran would utilize the freedom gained from lifted sanctions as well as the cash assets given from the United States to benefit the people of Iran. The panel’s theory was that if Iran continued, over the next ten years, to send money overseas for alternative projects, the people of Iran would start questioning the government and would become upset. In the past, Iran has used the funds it had to fund terrorism and terrorist organizations. If the country has placed an emphasis on aiding terrorism over taking care of its people in the past, why would that change after a new deal?

The last part of the discussion before questioning commenced revolved around the “misfortunate reality” that the US can’t work in alliance with Iran to combat the Islamic State. The panel emphasized how the Islamic State is well aware of the fact that all of its major opponents are at war with one another, and has already taken advantage of this situation. At first glance it does seem that Iran has taken steps towards combatting the Islamic State. However, Iran is actually continuing to fund Hezbollah as well as Shia tribes and militias. While the US clearly wants to abolish the Islamic State, this must be accomplished without simultaneously strengthening Iran and its militant connections. This hypothetical alliance with Iran against IS could never manifest itself in reality.

The last part of the discussion allowed for members of the audience to ask questions to the panel. One of the most prominent themes of questioning revolved around the exact details of the deal talks and their implications. The panel tried to emphasize with great significance the problem of coming to negotiations with lists of hardline demands, and with no willingness to compromise or concede anything on any of the details. The US tried to approach the talks with certain demands, and has essentially back peddled on almost all of them. There has been no compromising either side of the talks. A speaker on the panel described compromise as “a dirty word”. This is not the most effective way to reach agreements and negotiate.

More importantly, even if we were able to compromise and establish a negotiation with Iran on their desires and demands, we have no reason to believe that they will be honest and follow through on said demands in the future. Therefore, this essentially indicates that a “deal” is just a blissfully ignorant façade.

Conclusive, the discussion was polite, peaceful, and very informative. It would be easy to imagine a listener walking away with a positive mental image of Iran and the extensive benefits a successful nuclear deal agreement. However, we must take it upon ourselves to not be so easily deceived. Pursuing an agreement with Iran in nuclear talks is not only a waste of time and resources, it would result in directly providing Iran with significant relief from sanctions as well as billions of dollars. And contrary to what some apparently believe, these billions will in fact not be used towards benefiting the well being of the Iranian citizens, but will continue to be used in funding terrorism and terrorist organizations.

We must abandon these attempts at negotiations with Iran before we make ourselves out to be even greater pushovers than we have already portrayed.

The American People Overwhelmingly Oppose Obama’s Iran ‘Deal’; Legislators Rubber-Stamp It At Their Peril

Washington, D.C.:  Today, the Center for Security Policy released the first installment of the results of a national poll conducted in the last two weeks on various topics relevant to U.S. national and homeland security. The attached questions and answers address public awareness of and attitudes towards the nuclear agreement President Obama is trying to conclude with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This opinion research was performed by The Polling Company and established that a majority of Americans (54%) are very or somewhat “familiar with this diplomatic initiative.” Even more impressive is the finding that they overwhelmingly oppose it – by a margin of 75 to 16 percent (with 9% saying they don’t know or cannot judge). Of that supermajority, 60% say they strongly oppose Obama’s deal.

The poll also found that by a better than two-thirds majority, those polled want Congress to be able to reject this deal. This is a particularly important finding because federal legislators did recently agree to give themselves a chance to vote on it. Unfortunately, in so doing, they accepted arrangements as part of the so-called Corker-Cardin bill that will make it exceedingly difficult to defeat whatever the President negotiates.

Finally with regard to Iran, the poll explored how Americans think our government should respond if Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East decide they must take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. A majority of 54% said either that the U.S. should “help assure the success of the attack” (36%) or “do nothing” (18%). By contrast, just 31% thought the United States should “act to prevent the attack” (20%) or “warn the Iranians of the attack” (11%).

The poll’s findings reinforce a message conveyed today by two influential Democrats at an event this afternoon on Capitol Hill cosponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Foreign Policy Initiative. Former Senators Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh expressed grave concerns about the contents of the Obama deal with Iran. Particularly noteworthy was Sen. Lieberman’s warning in response to a question from Center for Security Policy Senior Vice President Fred Fleitz that it is not possible to have a meaningful agreement with Iran that allows it to continue to enrich uranium.

Center for Security Policy President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. observed:

The American people are not stupid. The results of this new poll make clear they understand that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons is a mortal threat. They also have figured out that the effect of President Obama’s defective deal will be, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out to Congress in March, to pave the way for that threat, not prevent it.

The Center for Security Policy is determined to do whatever it can to work with likeminded individuals and organizations in Washington – and with Americans across the country – to ensure that neither our friends and allies in the Middle East nor our own people and nation face the existential peril from the Iranian mullahs that Mr. Obama is enabling.

Other revealing insights into public sentiment from the Center’s new survey will be released each day this week. For additional information about the Iran deal, visit www.IranTruth.org

 

CSP SURVEY ON THE IRAN ŒDEAL¹ 6115