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Aside from the Pallets of Cash...
The Nuclear Deal That Keeps Getting Worse

By now we know all about the pallets of cash that suspiciously coincided with the release of American prisoners, and the secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA—not that we know what they entail, that part is still secret— but it seems that even the public portions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the Iran Nuclear Deal) were worse than we knew. Seven men released from U.S custody and another fourteen fugitives whose charges were dropped are now known to have been far more serious threats to national security than was previously disclosed. As Politico reports:

Three of the fugitives allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities say had supported Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. A fourth, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.

A fifth, Amin Ravan, was charged with smuggling U.S. military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran. U.S. authorities also believe he was part of a procurement network providing Iran with high-tech components for an especially deadly type of IED used by Shiite militias to kill hundreds of American troops in Iraq.

What’s more, the decision to drop these cases had and continues to have a profound knock-on effect, as the Justice Department, FBI, and related agencies involved in counter-proliferation efforts were ordered to hold off, have scaled back, lost leads, or been forced to discontinue action against key suspects. More:

Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort. [….]

“A lot of people were furious; they had cases in the pipeline for months, in some cases years, and then, all of a sudden, they were gone — all because they were trying to sell the nuke deal,” a former Department of Commerce counterproliferation agent said. “Things fell apart after that. There are some really good cases out there and they are not going forward. They just let them die on the vine.”

As we’ve written before, the Iran nuclear deal was a gift to Iranian hardliners who, in return for delaying their nuclear ambitions, were rewarded with carte blanche for all of their other activities by an Obama administration that was willing to turn a blind eye in order to preserve the deal.

As Secretary of State Tillerson has noted, while Iran has remained compliant on the nuclear portion, their other activities constitute “alarming ongoing provocations.” The Trump administration, by understanding the threat posed to U.S. interests by Iran’s non-nuclear activities, including these global smuggling operations that support Iran’s deadly agenda,  seems likely to change the calculus on U.S. policy towards Iran.

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  • Beauceron

    “and the secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA—not that we know what they entail, that part is still secret”

    I do wonder, given that Trump has been in office for over three months now– why they are still secret.

    • D4x

      Because it takes time to ferret out the details? From Lee Smith, which might be why Politico posted their story: : “…There is indeed a conversation ongoing within the administration, the result of a larger, comprehensive review of Iran policy. According to one administration official, “it is one of the major projects that the government is now embarked on, involving hundreds, maybe thousands of people.”
      …The debate over Iran appears to be between those who want to cut them off at the knees and those who want to knock their block off, with arguments over exactly how badly and when. …

      This White House does not see Iran as a potential partner in regional stability, as a counterbalance to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as the Obama team did. Rather, it recognizes Iran is a very big problem, and the nuclear program is only one part of that problem. As Tillerson said last week, “We have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas of the region and the world.”

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/iran-on-notice/article/2007773

      • CosmotKat

        Good post D4x. The more information about this deal that emerges the more it becomes obvious that Obama and his ENTIRE administration were calculating how they could get away with such a betrayal of the country and it’s citizens. The media continue to do the blocking and tackling necessary to shield Obama from accusations of deceit and betrayal, but it’s trickling out. Many of those members of his administration that left quickly like Steven Koonin are beginning to reveal the dark motives of this most anti-American of presidents.

        • D4x

          TY, but all I did was inject Lee Smith’s take into the Politico version. Curious how some news gets echo, and other does not. Perhaps Obama’s $400,000 speech for Wall Street will trigger some more revelations beyond his feet of clay.

  • Angel Martin

    The only surprise here is that Iran is Shia.

    Usually, the best way to predict Obama’s behavior was to figure out what was best for Sunni moslems.

    • Fat_Man

      I don’t think he was that picky. His theory seems to be that any Muslim is far better than any American.

    • D4x

      Obama44 saw Iran as a regional hegemon to ‘balance’ the Sunnis. Why he saw the need is beyond me, except for the ‘evil imperialist’ British+ USA attempts to control Iran after WW2.

      I still think Valerie Jarrett convinced him he is the 12th Imam.

      • Tom

        Obama was really, really dedicated to the idea of American retrenchment, due to a combination of what he saw as the overreach of the Bush years and the influence of the New Left.
        That he overcorrected is par for the course with American foreign policy.

        • D4x

          By the 1980’s, the teaching of history in the Anglosphere shifted to the oppression of colonialism as a core concept. THAT is the “influence of the New Left”. The British posture in the ME after 1914 was all about oil, because of the decision to convert the Royal Navy from coal to oil. Persia was already a factor in the UK’s Great Game with Russia, in order to protect India. BP was originally an oil deal forced onto Persia in 1908 as a Great Game mercantile profit move (really short version).

          In 1951, Mossadegh(q) was elected as PM, and nationalized BP. Then Nasser threatened to nationalize the Suez Canal. Britain was already bankrupt from WW2, and the loss of BP’s revenue stream was serious enough.

          Britain asked for American help in deposing Mossadeq in 1953. Because of the Cold War, the CIA, and Eisenhower, were happy to oblige. It is quite a story, and Obama44 came close to a formal apology in 2013, from a good summary:
          “Mosaddeq’s overthrow, still given as a reason for the Iranian mistrust of British and American politicians, consolidated the Shah’s rule for the next 26 years until the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was aimed at making sure the Iranian monarchy would safeguard the west’s oil interests in the country. …”
          Aug. 19, 2013
          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup

          I do not believe the ‘colonialism is all evil’ theme, because it is abused, and applied to Israel, and our Vietnam War.

          However, as I read the history of British, and US involvement in the ME since WW1, got to say Iran has a case. Of course, Tsarist Russia treated Persia worse, but no one alive today in Iran remembers much beyond Stalin using Persia as a logistics hub during WW2.

          • Tom

            Yes, but I don’t think Obama is an “anti-colonialist”–not specifically, anyway. I think he’s deeply suspicious of American primacy anywhere, because he thinks that’s when we do dumb/wrong things.

          • D4x

            His policy on Israel was evidence enough for me.

      • CosmotKat

        He may have picked this up from George Friedman over at Stratfor. He’s a big believer of Iran as a future ally and regional hegemon for this precise reason and he is a Democrat.

        • D4x

          Hmm, the same idea after WW2, re-installing the Shah, with tons of military hardware and a nuclear program, led directly to Khomeini in 1979. The real complication is that history does seem to often hinge on Persia v Russia v Turkey, and no one ever wins. That is why my solution are in rousing the tectonic plates that surround Teheran. The result? A giant sinkhole, or resurgent Zoroastrianism.

    • CosmotKat

      It doesn’t matter whether it’s Sunni or Shiite to someone with Islamophilia.

  • Andrew Allison

    Ah yes, the Obama legacy.

  • Joey Junger

    On the one hand, I never bought the sort of tinfoil hat Jerome Corsi “Birther” stuff about Obama, or the D’Souza stuff about him being a post-colonial Robespierre. On the other hand, I never really got the feeling that Obama liked America or Americans, so it wouldn’t be surprising if, either consciously or unconsciously, he did this to imperil us. He’s a progressive poseur and manque rather than a revolutionary, but if you gave your average undergrad with a stack of Franz Fannon and a Che poster the levers of power, I could see him behaving pretty much like Obama did. Also, even though CNN declared itself a “Jeremiah Wright-free zone” (not even Pravda was that blatant), I think rubbing elbows with greasy black liberation theology characters probably gave Obama a healthy dose of Farrakhan-esque hatred and distrust of Jews (even though he used some in his administration) and he probably went out of his way to make Israel miserable whenever possible, more obviously at the end of his term, but I think the Iran deal was also a part of that.

    Thanks for eight years of wonderful memories chocolate Jesus! You kept your word and healed all divides. Pretty sure the sea-level also got lower and you ended war on Earth (thus the Nobel Peace Prize), but I have to confer with Al Gore and Michael Moore before making my congratulations official.

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