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Obama Deal With Iran In Trouble

by Michael Barone     •     Washington Examiner

Obama Iran Nuke DealIs the tide turning against President Obama’s purported nuclear weapons deal with Iran? One sign that the answer is yes is the devastating opinion article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.

The architect of Richard Nixon’s opening to China and the partner of Ronald Reagan in his negotiations with the Soviet Union are diplomatic in their criticisms. They pay passing tribute to their successor John Kerry’s “persistence, patience and ingenuity.” But they have many disturbing questions — I count 16 question marks in the article — about the deal. [Read more...]

1001 Circular Persian Charades

by Peter Huessy

nuclear-iran“The details of the deal are not important. Iran will or will not make nuclear weapons as it sees fit. The significance of the deal is the deal itself, especially the fact that it is being concluded while Iran is busy digesting another country (Yemen). The deal will make Iran the richest and most powerful country in the Middle East, eventually dominating it – all this with US blessing (and eventually with restored diplomatic relations, see Cuba). I cannot but agree with the NY Times that this is part of Obama’s vision of disengaging from the Middle East. No wonder the Saudis and the Gulf States are in fear for their lives.”

So writes a colleague from Israel reflecting almost exactly what former US Secretaries of State George Schultz and Henry Kissinger explain in sharp detail in the Wall Street Journal on April 8, 2015 when they explain “The framework agreement will…enable Iran to become a significant military power…and…to weaponize at a time of its choosing.” [Read more...]

There’s No Deterring an Apocalyptic Nuclear Iran

Letting it get the bomb would be the most catastrophic decision in the history of humanity.

By Thomas Sowell     •     National Review

Recent statements from United Nations officials, that Iran is already blocking their existing efforts to keep track of what is going on in their nuclear program, should tell anyone who does not already know it that any agreement with Iran will be utterly worthless in practice. It doesn’t matter what the terms of the agreement are, if Iran can cheat.

It is amazing — indeed, staggering — that so few Americans are talking about what it would mean for the world’s biggest sponsor of international terrorism, Iran, to have nuclear bombs, and to be developing intercontinental missiles that can deliver them far beyond the Middle East. [Read more...]

Obama Gets His Iran Nuclear Deal But Was It Worth It

Obama got his deal, but can he trust Iran to keep its word?

By Peter Roff     •      U.S. News

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are to be congratulated for their perseverance in pursuing an international pact on the subject of Iran and its pursuit of nuclear capabilities. It was not an easy feat and they deserve credit for pushing the government in Tehran and the other global powers to stay at the thing until they achieved an agreement.

Whether it is worth all the effort expended is another matter entirely. Iran has not yet proven it is willing to re-enter the global community of civilized nations. An agreement, after all, is just a piece of paper that guarantees nothing. Now that a deal is done, the West, and the United States in particular, must be even more vigilant and must watch carefully to see that the mullahs hold up their end of the bargain. [Read more...]

The Tricks Obama Is Trying to Play with the Iran Announcement

by John Podhoretz     •     Commentary Magazine

obama profile smileIf you look at what happened today between the U.S. and Iran through the lens of domestic American politics, Barack Obama has made a very clever play here—because what might be called “the agreement of the framework of the possibility of a potential deal” gives him new leverage in his ongoing battle with the Senate to limit its ability to play a role in the most critical foreign-policy matter of the decade.

The “framework” codifies the Obama administration’s cave-ins but casts them as thrilling reductions in Iran’s capacities rather than what they are—a pie-in-the-sky effort to use inspections as the means by which the West can “manage” the speed with which Iran becomes a nuclear power.

Obama’s tone of triumph this afternoon was mixed with sharp reminders that the deal is actually not yet done—and that is entirely the point of this exercise from a domestic standpoint. the triumph signals his troops and apologists that the time has come for them to stand with him, praise the deal sheet and pretend it’s a deal, declare it historic, and generally act as though the world has been delivered from a dreadful confrontation by Obama and Kerry. [Read more...]

Obama Oversells His Nondeal With Iran

by Washington Examiner

obama_speechHaving missed the latest deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama chose Thursday to make his most persuasive case yet that the deal he has not yet made is a good one.

He argued that no better option exists, given how close the Iranians are already to developing a nuclear bomb. He said that even though U.S. and Iranian negotiators failed to reach a final deal, they have agreed to a “framework” with terms that will at least appear agreeable to the layman, and which will supposedly become a final deal by June 30.

Has Obama’s concession of ground to the weaker party in negotiations ultimately been rewarded with cooperation? Has his decision to let Iran have four times as many centrifuges as originally envisioned, and to allow centrifuges to be installed in Iran’s underground facility at Fordo, produced a new era of Iranian-American friendship? [Read more...]

Obama’s Iran ‘Framework’*

*Details to be disclosed, and even negotiated, later.

Wall Street Journal

obama_speechThe fundamental question posed by President Obama’s Iran diplomacy has always been whether it can prevent a nuclear-armed Middle East—in Iran as well as Turkey and the Sunni Arab states. Mr. Obama unveiled a “framework” accord on Thursday that he said did precisely that, but the claims warrant great skepticism, not least because they come with so many asterisks.

The framework is only an “understanding” among Iran and the six powers because many of the specifics are still being negotiated. But Mr. Obama wanted to announce some agreement near his self-imposed March 31 deadline, lest Congress ratchet up sanctions on Iran, and now Secretary of State John Kerry will go back to negotiate the crucial fine print.

The general outline of the accord includes some useful limits on Iran, if it chooses to abide by them. Tehran will be allowed to operate a little more than 5,000 of its first-generation centrifuges at its Natanz facility, and only there. It will not enrich uranium above civilian-grade levels for at least 15 years, though it will retain some of its unnecessary current stockpile. [Read more...]

Misplaying America’s Hand With Iran

The president’s desperation for a foreign-policy legacy is leading toward a bad nuclear deal—and a dangerous one.

By Peggy Noonan     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama Foreign Policy FailedBarack Obama, six years into his presidency, does not have a foreign-policy legacy—or, rather, he does and it’s bad. He has a visceral and understandable reluctance to extend and overextend U.S. power, but where that power has been absent, violence and instability have filled the void. When he overcomes his reluctance to get involved, he picks the wrong place, such as Libya, where the tyrant we toppled was better than many of those attempting to take his place.

Syria, red lines, an exploding Mideast, a Russian president who took the American’s measure and made a move, upsetting a hard-built order that had maintained for a quarter-century since the fall of the Soviet Union—what a mess.

In late February, at a Washington meeting of foreign-policy intellectuals, Henry Kissinger summed up part of the past six years: “Ukraine has lost Crimea; Russia has lost Ukraine; the U.S. has lost Russia; the world has lost stability.” [Read more...]

Krauthammer: If The Iranians Cheat, Not A Chance In The World Sanctions Would Return

[Read more...]

Iran Nuke Agreement Is Full of Holes

By Amir Taheri     •     The New York Post

Obama IranWhat we actually have in writing about the areas of agreement between Iran and the US-led P5+1 group of nations is full of holes. Worse, it is already being described differently in English and in Persian — a matter that will surely complicate the task of writing a final, binding draft by June 30.

Even the statement we have was merely released in the name of EU foreign-policy czarina Federica Mogherini and Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif. It’s not signed, because almost no one had the authority to sign anything at this stage.

Many of the agreements plainly benefit Iran:

•   Iran will continue its full nuclear program, keeping open all its sites — including Fordo, Isfahan, Natanz and Arak, the closure of which had been a key demand of the United States and its allies for the past decade or so.

•   The heavy-water nuclear plant at Arak will be finished, despite Washington’s once-strong objections. [Read more...]

Russia Again Flight Tests New ICBM to Treaty-Violating Range

Test prompts renewed debate on violation of ’87 INF Treaty

by Bill Gertz     •     Washington Free Beacon

icbm_nuclear missileRussia conducted a flight test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month that some U.S. officials and security analysts say is a new violation of Moscow’s arms control treaty commitments.

The March 18 flight test of a new RS-26 missile is part of a large-scale nuclear arms buildup by Russia and is raising concerns about treaty compliance, said U.S. officials familiar with details of the missile test.

The RS-26 missile carried a dummy warhead from Russia’s Kapustin Yar missile facility, located about 80 miles south of Volgograd in southern Russia, to an impact range at Sary Shagan in Kazakhstan.

The distance between the launch facility and the impact area is approximately 1,248 miles, far less than the threshold of 3,417 miles required by the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. [Read more...]

Congressional Testimony: Iran’s Noncompliance With Its International Atomic Energy Agency Obligations

Statement of Ms. Rebeccah L. Heinrichs
Fellow, George C. Marshall Institute

House Foreign Affairs Committee
Subcommittee on The Middle East and North Africa

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
2:00 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to participate in this hearing.

It is important to keep at the front of our minds the context in which the P5+1 has attempted to secure a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran views the U.S. and Israel as its principal enemies1 and over the past three decades Iran has very intentionally created a network of terrorist surrogates able to target U.S. interests and Israel.2

The terror or militant groups it supports are HAMAS, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, and Iraqi Shia groups. Hezbollah, in particular, has increased its global terrorist activities to a level greater than the intelligence community has seen since the 1990s.3 [Read more...]

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. [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...]

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...]