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Proposed Deal with Iran Not Legal; Iranian Nukes in South America

by Peter Huessy     •     Gatestone Institute

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids any of its signatories to have nuclear weapons. Full stop.

The P5+1 have been attempting to amend the NPT without going through the process established by the NPT itself — and attempting to do this for just one of its 190 signatories: Iran.

Under the terms of the NPT, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) have no legal authority to amend the treaty unilaterally, to abrogate the treaty, or to allow nations that are signatories to the NPT to abrogate the treaty.

The NPT can only be changed through a review conference of all parties. All changes agreed to after that must be consented to by the signatory nations, according to their own legal requirements.

The rules, therefore, ever since the U.S. Senate consented to the treaty in 1969, are that the Senate would have to approve any change to the treaty. Otherwise, any nation that is a signatory to the NPT could say that it is no longer bound by the terms of the agreement and decide to have their own nuclear weapons capability — as many have already stated they would do, starting with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

If Iran is allowed by the P5+1 to violate the NPT, not only will it have nuclear weapons capability with impunity, but also lifted sanctions, and a strong economy that will enable it go on expanding its reach, while remaining the world’s largest promoter of terrorism.

As there already is an internationally agreed-upon law totally forbidding Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — even if Iran were fully to cooperate — which, considering its proven track-record, is doubtful — why does anyone need yet another agreement to stop Tehran’s nuclear program?

Why is the international community not simply enforcing the current NPT?

Iran has already violated so many provisions of the NPT that the UN Security Council and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) imposed a second protocol requirement on Tehran, to ensure that it abides by the 1970 treaty. The second protocol was also intended to ensure that, in the event of violations, major economic sanctions were imposed Iran by key members of the international community, including and most importantly the United States.

Iran has not abided by the second protocol of the NPT, either. Iran continues to spin its centrifuges and enrich uranium, while demanding that all sanctions immediately be ended.

Instead of simply requiring Iran to live up to its obligations under the NPT — signed and ratified by Tehran in 1968 and 1970, respectively — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are trying to give Iran a special deal.

How special?

Well, the P5+1 have proposed unilaterally to amend the NPT — just for Iran, no other nation.

If Iran is allowed nuclear weapons capability, other nations — including in South America, already infiltrated by Iran — will doubtless follow suit.

The P5+1 would allow Iran, while still a member of the NPT, permanently to enrich uranium and produce plutonium in return for agreeing for some number of years (possibly ten), not to enrich “too much.”

There is, however, no “right to enrich” at all under the NPT or any other law, contrary to some misinformed “conventional wisdom.”

There are nearly two dozen countries that produce nuclear energy, which do not enrich uranium. Others that do are under IAEA safeguard agreements that do not allow — in theory and mostly in practice — the diversion of such fuel to highly enriched weapons-grade uranium.

The original NPT allows for that, if you follow the rules. Iran has not. Highly enriched uranium is not needed for peaceful purposes. So this new deal is not needed to provide Iran with nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran is therefore asking for special status in the nuclear bomb business, regulated by the NPT. Iran is asking that it be allowed to maintain thousands of centrifuges that enrich uranium. It is also demanding to be allowed nuclear reactors that produce plutonium, which can also make nuclear weapons.

In addition, Iran is demanding that there be no restrictions on its ballistic missiles. Its arsenal is already the largest in the Middle East. According to the Director of National Intelligence, Iran has rockets that can reach all of the Middle East and much of Europe, and is moving in the direction of having an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability, as early as this year, to strike other continents, presumably including the U.S.

Iran is further demanding that there be no restrictions on its state sponsorship of terror, which includes its support, financing and arming of terror groups such as Hamas, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Tehran also apparently will be given a pass on its complicity in attacks against Americans in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, as well as the terror attacks at Khobar Towers, the African embassies and the World Trade Center in 2001, (as outlined by the 9-11 Commission Report).

Despite demands by the UN Security Council that Iran provide UN inspectors with access to facilities that members of the IAEA believe are or were used for nuclear weapons work, Iran has refused to comply. Some of these facilities have meanwhile been razed to the ground by Tehran, thereby eliminating what evidence might have been available for inspection.

In 2009, the Manhattan district attorney indicted a Chinese company — for the second time — for providing the top Iranian military commission in Iran with nuclear weapons technology components, now likely buried under tons of Iranian dirt and sand.

In light of this sad history, it is understandable that any agreement with Iran should, in the eyes of Congress, have the solid concurrence of the House and Senate; and if not a legal agreement requiring a simple majority vote, then a treaty requiring the concurrence of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.

But as Secretary of State John Kerry has testified to Congress, the contemplated agreement with Iran would not be a treaty and would not have the force of law. It would be akin to an executive agreement, although the U.S. State Department spokesperson said that, at some time down the road, while the agreement in still in place, Congress might be asked to remove the congressionally-imposed sanctions against Iran.

In other words, if the potential agreement is neither law nor treaty, subsequent congressional action will be required for an executive agreement to which the Congress has not agreed in the first place.

There are also five other significant issues.

1. The deal would seek to amend the NPT unilaterally by the agreement of only seven of the 190 member nations of the NPT. Others have not given their consent. Such a change would also be in direct violation of the current provisions of international law, which lay out a well-defined path for any changes to the NPT.
2. Given that the NPT is a treaty to which the Senate consented in 1970, the NPT can only be amended by Senate concurrence in any such changes.
3. If the agreement with Iran is not law insofar as the U.S. obligations go, what about those of the government in Tehran? In Iran, would this agreement have the force of law, or would the Supreme Leader, who this week said “Death to America,” be allowed to change its terms unilaterally? And what would be the consequences to him if he did?
4. If the agreement is not law, this means, insofar as the U.S. constitutional system is concerned, that any future President need not abide by its terms, and certainly any future Congress is not bound by its terms.
5. If the administration is seeking UN Security Council approval of the agreement, but not Senate approval, it is seeking to violate the U.S. Constitution, which has primacy over all laws, including international treaties. Since when can the UN Security Council amend U.S. treaty law? The UN can certainly propose amendments, but it cannot approve such changes on behalf of the U.S. Congress and the American people.

Forty-seven U.S. Senators put many of these same points in a March 2015 letter, which they sent to the rulers of Iran. This was met with thunderous condemnation by the Obama Administration. The letter indicated that the Senate signers obviously did not trust the Administration to abide by the terms of the Executive’s agreement.

Unfortunately, the Administration complaint has things backwards.

The Senators who signed the letter are worried that any agreement with Iran that is not required to secure Senate or House concurrence, will be, by its very nature, weak and filled with concessions to Tehran that could be harmful to U.S. national security.

Implicit in the letter is the concern that any agreement between just the Iranian regime and the U.S. Administration will not have sufficient safeguards. Considering the experience of the U.S. with North Korea, what would be safeguards tough enough to assure Iran’s compliance? The negotiators, for instance, might be concerned that any realistic safeguards acceptable to the Senate might not be acceptable to the mullahs in Iran — making approval by the Senate unlikely.

The Senators who signed the letter certainly trust that the Administration will, in fact, abide by America’s obligations in a new agreement. To them, that is the problem: if the agreement is terrible, the U.S. should not be forced to abide by it.

Requiring Senate concurrence would obligate the provisions of a new agreement to stand the sunlight of a tough examination during a Senate debate.

The Senate critics of the pending deal with Iran simply do not share the belief of the Obama administration that Iran can become a “partner for peace” with the U.S.

They seem, understandably, opposed to an agreement that comes with a note saying, “Trust us,” as an adequate substitute for the Senate scrutiny such a deal should require.

One important safeguard not in the agreement, for example, according to the Secretary of State, is that the agreement will “sunset” (expire) after a number of years. And on that date, Iran could return to being an ordinary member of the NPT again, despite its centrifuges, its terrorism and its ballistic missiles. It would then be free to enrich uranium to its heart’s content — a “right” that is not in the NPT.

Then Tehran, unfettered by second protocols, sanctions, or enhanced inspections, can decide either 1) publicly to throw away the confines of the original NPT and break out toward nuclear weapons; or 2) surreptitiously to sprint to the development of nuclear weapons under the cover of the NPT.

Supporters of the Administration’s position say: Don’t worry; down the road a decade or so, the government of Iran will have changed.

How likely is that?

North Korea, which joined the NPT in 1985, actually signed a nuclear agreement with the U.S. After the IAEA in 1992 found suspicious discrepancies in its nuclear fuel production, North Korea agreed, in an October 1994 “Agreed Framework,” not to produce nuclear weapons.

In 1998, North Korea launched a long-range missile that had the capability, if further developed, of carrying a 2000-pound warhead to Hawaii and Alaska.

In 2002, North Korea admitted to cheating on the Agreed Framework, and to producing enriched uranium at a secret centrifuge facility.

In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the NPT.

In 2006, North Korea exploded a nuclear weapon.

In 2007, North Korea actually signed a new “agreement” with the United States, to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and end its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea, however, never implemented that agreement.

North Korea subsequently complained that the U.S. requirement for a “permanent” end to a North Korean nuclear weapons program was unfair. So did many in the American arms control community. They criticized the George W. Bush Administration for pushing an agreement that was “too tough.”

In 2009 and 2013, North Korea exploded more nuclear bombs.

Today, intelligence estimates indicate that North Korea has 10 nuclear warheads, as well as ballistic missiles that can, with a small nuclear payload, easily strike the West Coast of the United States.

In 2014, North Korea launched into orbit a small mock satellite that passed over New York and Washington, D.C.

The Director of National Intelligence says that this space-launch capability gives North Korea a pathway to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability.

Iran also just so happens to be the country with which North Korea most cooperates on ballistic missile development.

During the nuclear bomb tests by North Korea, satellite photographs showed members of the Iranian military, including the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, visiting the North Korean nuclear test site.

And in Washington, the Senate’s letter is considered the problem?

There’s a Not-So-Small Problem With the President’s Claim That the US is Seeing a ‘Jobs Recovery’

by Frank Camp     •     IJReview

According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, using data from 2000-2013, the middle class population in America has “shrunk” in all 50 states:

The states that have suffered the most recently are:

2000: 54.6% middle-class
2013: 48.9% middle-class
Total loss: 5.7%

2000: 50.9% middle-class
2013: 45.7%% middle-class
Total loss: 5.2%

North Dakota:
2000: 52.6% middle-class
2013: 47.5% middle-class
Total loss: 5.1%

States that have fared the best recently are:

2000: 51.5% middle-class
2013: 51.2% middle-class
Total loss: 0.3%

2000: 52.7% middle-class
2013: 51.9% middle-class
Total loss: 0.8%

2000: 49.9% middle-class
2013: 48.6% middle-class
Total loss: 1.3%

The “shrinking” middle class can possibly be attributed to a decrease in employment. Despite the national unemployment rate dropping to 5.7% in January 2015, the Civilian Employment Population Ratio (CEPR) has reported an all-time low number of eligible Americans in the workforce:

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported in January of 2005 the CEPR stood at 62.4%. Ten years later, it has dropped to 59.3%. However, unemployment rates in January 2005 were reported to be 5.3% and in January of 2015 it is a reported 5.7%. These numbers do not reflect those who have left the workforce entirely.

According to The Huffington Post, many jobs gained after the recession have been in a lower income bracket. Even if middle class families have found work, it’s often been with jobs that pay less.

Upon further inspection of the recent numbers concerning job recovery, they seem to indicate a discrepancy between the purported “boom” in the economy and a “disappearing” middle class.

Consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects in NEPA Reviews

Marlo Lewis Competitive Enterprise Institute and Free Market Allies Comment Letter on NEPA GHG Guidance Document 73-1

[Read more...]

Netanyahu pollster: US President’s role in election larger than reported

By Jesse Byrnes     •     The Hill

Corruption TransparencyPresident Obama’s role during the Israeli elections was larger than reported, according to a pollster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu,” John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, said in an interview on John Catsimatidis’s “The Cats Roundtable” radio show broadcast Sunday on AM 970 in New York.

“There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” McLaughlin said. [Read more...]

Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal

Day after Obama urges Iran to seize ‘historic opportunity,’ supreme leader says US seeks to create insecurity

by Times of Israel Staff     •     The Times of Israel

Obama IranIran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region. [Read more...]

Scott Walker Signs Right-To-Work Into Law

The Wisconsin governor has created a template for busting unions

3_172015_b3-patterson8201_c0-106-1800-1155_s561x327By Matt Patterson     •     Washington Times

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is clearly running for president.

He may or may not win the nomination; he may or may not win the presidency. Even if he never wins another election, Mr. Walker is already the most consequential Republican politician of the last quarter-century, excepting only George W. Bush.

On March 9, with the stroke of his pen, Mr. Walker pierced the heart of Wisconsin organized labor when he signed right-to-work into law. Right-to-work allows workers to opt out of union dues and is viciously opposed by unions who maintain the level of financial support they do only because many workers are forced by federal labor law to pony up.

Right-to-work changes that. It does not forbid unionization; it does not outlaw unions. Labor unions are perfectly free to organize in right-to-work states. The only difference — in right-to-work states they actually have to earn the dues money they collect.

Right-to-work has traditionally been confined to the deep-red South and West. Wisconsin now follows Michigan as right-to-work advances into the deep-blue Midwest and Upper West. [Read more...]

Liberals Find An Excuse To Abandon Israel

It’s got nothing to do with American principles and everything to do with partisanship.

By David Harsanyi     •     The Federalist

netanyahu_israelIsrael is a liberal nation—in the best sense of the word—but it’s not a leftist one. And for increasing numbers of Democrats, the center-right consensus of Israeli politics is unacceptable, immoral and bigoted, incompatible with their conception of American values.

This is bad news, because Likud looks like it’s going to win around 30 seats. If the numbers hold, Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the best efforts of the president and his allies, will likely remain prime minister. Bougie Herzog will, no doubt, have a bright future in the opposition.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Paul Krugman had already declared Likud’s impeding fall was all about inequality. (What isn’t, right?) Slate proposed that Likud’s looming death would be about housing, or maybe it was racism. Mostly, though, Netanyahu was going to lose because he has a nasty habit of challenging the progressive worldview of Barack Obama, which offends many people, according to the New York Times. And really, is there any bigger sin? [Read more...]

Testing the Limits of “Suspension of Disbelief”

72820By Shawn Macomber  Lawfare Tyranny 

How much “artistic license” will be required to make the International Criminal Court appear fair, effective, and/or legitimate?

We’re about to find out: Writer/director Hugo Blick plans to follow up his Maggie Gyllenhaal-starring BBC2 hit The Honourable Woman with an eight-part series set in The Hague, detailing the ICC’s supposedly noble, swashbuckling role in the world.

Here’s hoping Blick’s plotting a farce because — as regular readers of this space well know — the reality of the Court is like watching the world’s most expensive paint dry in an Africans Only cellblock.

We’ll say it again: ICC fandom fails victims.

Cutting Healthcare Costs Without Harming Patients

by Peter Roff     •     The Hill

obamacare pay less for healthcareA debate has raged for more than 20 years now over the best way to bend the U.S. healthcare cost curve downward. So far, no one is winning – least of all patients and healthcare providers. And no one will as long as “bending the curve” (which is just a fancy way of saying we need to find ways to make the delivery of healthcare cheaper) remains the primary objective regardless of the impact on patient care.

Up to now the debate has focused largely on what government can proactively do to ease costs. This led to the passage by the narrowest of margins of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which is really nothing more than a complex series of new regulations and taxes, fines and fees that have forced insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and patients all to make changes in the way they provide and receive care as well as coverage.

People don’t like the new system very much but they weren’t exactly fans of the old one either. And no matter what the United States Supreme Court determines in the pending King vs. Burwell suit over the questionable use of tax dollars to subsidize health insurance bought through the federal exchange by people living in states that do not have exchanges of their own, things can probably only get worse. [Read more...]

The ObamaCare of Arms-Control Agreements

The Iran nuclear deal has the same political weaknesses as the Affordable Care Act.

By Daniel Henninger     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama Iran Nuke DealThe Iran nuclear deal is going to be the ObamaCare of arms-control agreements—a substantive mess undermined by a failure to build adequate political support.

Next Tuesday is the deadline for completing the “political” terms of an agreement with Iran. “Technical” details arrive in June. From news reporting on the negotiations, it appears the agreement is turning into a virtual Rube Goldberg machine, a patchwork of fixes that its creators will claim somehow limits Iran’s nuclear breakout period to “a year.” Which is to say, it’s going to be another ObamaCare, a poorly designed mega-project others will have to clean up later.

Just as ObamaCare was a massive entitlement program enacted with no Republican support (unlike Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), the administration’s major arms-control agreement is bypassing a traditional vote in the Senate. Instead, it will get rubber-stamp approval by, of all things, the U.N. Security Council. [Read more...]

At the White House, There’s Nobody Home

By Victor Davis Hanson     •     RealClearPolitics

Obama Corruption IntimidationWhat has gone wrong with the U.S. government in the past month? Just about everything, from the fundamental to the ridiculous.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United States to warn Congress about the dangers of a nuclear Iran. He spoke without the invitation of an irritated President Obama, who claimed that he did not even watch the address on television.

Obama declined to even meet with the Israeli prime minister, announcing that it would have been improper for him to have such a meeting so close to Netanyahu’s re-election bid.

But if Obama was so concerned about not influencing the Israeli elections, why, according to some news accounts, is a Senate panel launching an investigation into whether Obama’s State Department gave grant money to a nonprofit organization, the OneVoice Movement, that sought to unseat Netanyahu with the help of several former Obama campaign operatives?

Then, 47 Republican senators signed an unusual letter to the Iranian theocracy, reminding it that any agreement on Iran’s nuclear program negotiated with the Obama administration would have to first clear Congress. [Read more...]

Iran Declares Pre-emptive Victory in Nuke Talks

Iran FlagIntroduction by Peter Huessy     •     National Security Roundtable

Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the West declared victory for his country, stating that no matter how the negotiations end, Tehran has come out “the winner,” according to remarks made on Tuesday (see below).

While some may dismiss this as typical Iranian bluster, we (NSR) would venture to say it’s one of those rare moments where Iran is actually telling the TRUTH.

As we and others have been saying from day one, Iran’s main goal in its negotiations with the West has been to gain TIME. Time to complete its nuclear weapons program and delivery systems, and operate freely, while under relaxed sanctions.

But the truth is Iran is doing much more. Its Revolutionary Guards have taken over and are leading the Iraqi military and Iraqi Shia militias in the fight against ISIS. That would explain the recent sightings of General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force (a division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in places like Tikrit, Iraq and even in Amman, Jordan. [Read more...]

Al Gore at SXSW: We Need to ‘Punish Climate-Change Deniers’ and ‘Put a Price on Carbon’

al gore_global warming_climate change_carbonEditor’s Note: Al Gore wants to “punish” people who disagree with him. Sadly, there is nothing new in this — the far Left has been talking about punishing and holding “Nuremberg-style trials” for those who do not agree with Al Gore and his climate alarmist buddies for many years. That is as anti-American as it comes. If they had their way, they would throw Free Speech on the ash heap of history. These people are dangerous. They do not seek to govern us as citizens with inalienable rights. They seek to rule over us as subjects and they seek to force their opinions upon us. They are wanna-be dictators. If given the power, they would abuse it. They’ve told us that much.

Sensible Americans are horrified when extremists punish those with whom they disagree in the Middle East. Al Gore and his ilk won’t likely behead anyone, but they share the same intolerance for differences of opinion and the same absolute confidence that they are “right” and that being “right” gives them the right to outlaw and punish those who don’t agree with them. As a group that was targeted by the IRS because the word “Freedom” appears in our name, we take seriously threats to punish people who don’t share the views of a self-appointed orthodoxy. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to protect thought, opinion and the ability to debate and disagree within a context of constitutional freedom. But the far left does not respect the right of free speech or our constitutional freedoms. They seek to control and dominate. They always have and they always will. That is simply who they are. And now Al Gore provides further vivid evidence of this sad but undeniable fact. [Read more...]

Global Warming

by Walter E Williams      •      Townhall

Obama Global Warming“But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact,” said President Barack Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address. Saying the debate is settled is nonsense, but the president is right about climate change. gives the definition of climate change: “Changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer. Climate change encompasses both increases and decreases in temperature, as well as shifts in precipitation, changing risk of certain types of severe weather events, and changes to other features of the climate system.” That definition covers all weather phenomena throughout all 4.54 billion years of Earth’s existence. [Read more...]

ICC Renews Comittment to Fail Women

unnamed-2By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny

The International Criminal Court marked International Women’s Day by doing the one thing it actually does well — i.e. issuing a strongly-worded, self-aggrandizing, yet ultimately futile press release:

[Read more...]