Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Obama's Iranian Nuclear Deal - Another Foreign Relations Bust?

We have never been a big fan of Obama’s foreign policy actions and results. During his tenure:
  • Russian invaded and still occupies a large part of the Ukraine.
  • China is building and militarizing man made islands in the South China Sea to the concerns and fears of many other countries.
  • The Taliban now occupy more territory in Afghanistan then at any time since the U.S. and other countries invaded the country, meaning the blood spilt and money spent in that country has gotten us nothing since the beginning.
  • Obama's illegal and un-Constitutional war against Libya has destabilized a stable country and made it a haven for terrorists.
  • His intrusion into the civil war in Syria has risked military confrontations with Russia, made the civil war worst which resulted in more civilian deaths and refugees, and has given rise to the worst terrorist group of all time, ISIS.
  • His spying on world leaders has caused bad feelings among our allies.
  • He prematurely withdrew American troops from Iraq, against the strong advice of his military advisors, claiming that we were leaving behind a strong, safe, and democratic country that has continued to disintegrate since that withdrawal decision, so much so that he has had to reinsert almost the same number of troops back into the country that were originally there.
But many of his supporters claim that he hit a home run with the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. But according to recent news reports and events, even this singular foreign relations endeavor may also be falling apart:

1) An article by James Phillips on the Heritage Foundation website on July 20, 2016 sets the stage for some of the problems arising from the Iran/Obama/John Kerry deal:
  • According to an Associated Press report, the deal apparently had a secret, non-disclosed section in the final deal with Iran that allows key restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and efforts to ease significantly after ten years, long before those restrictions were supposed to end after 15 years.
  • This secret side arrangement was not disclosed to Congress or the American public and came to light only because an anonymous diplomat leaked the information.
  • Specifically, it appears that after ten years, Iran can start replacing its current centrifuges with thousands of advanced centrifuges that would be up to five times more efficient than the over 5,000 centrifuges that it is still allowed to operate under the deal.
  • According to the article: “This concession could allow Tehran to enrich at more than twice the rate that it is now doing, even if the total number of operating centrifuges are reduced. This is a major concern because if the enrichment rate doubles, the time Tehran would need to stage a nuclear breakout would be reduced from the 12 months promised by the Obama administration to six months or less, much earlier than the administration had advertised when it was trying to sell the nuclear deal.”
  • Side, secret deals are not new to this whole process since it has also been found out that one side deal allows Iran to inspect itself on certain nuclear weapons work and another side deal that weakened inspectors' reporting abilities on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Great, another secret and seriously disturbing side deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium much quicker than Obama told the world. And if not for that anonymous diplomat, Obama would have never told us how weak the deal is that he cut with a hostile and belligerent Iran.

2) But the dissatisfaction with the deal is not limited to Republicans and political opponents of Obama. A recent article by the website,, on July 17, 2016 said that Senate Democrats are also uneasy about the deal:
  • Fifteen Democrats in the U.S. Senate sent a formal letter to Obama demanding that the inspections of shadowy Iranian nuclear sites be conducted properly and the inspection reports be published in full detail.
  • According to reporting by Politico, the Senators were highly critical of the deal’s inspection processes.
  • The Senators want more inspection results published publicly including how many enrichment centrifuges Iran is using and what is the size of uranium stockpiles, information that has not previously been disclosed.
  • The Senators are worried about the lack of inspection information from the Fordow nuclear facility, which is a critical location for Iranian nuclear weapons research.
  • Specifically, the letter to Obama demands that: “Providing additional situational awareness of Iran’s nuclear program is vital for the long-term health of this agreement. We urge [the Obama] administration to ensure that the IAEA releases all relevant technical information so that we may continue to make our own judgments about the status of Iran’s nuclear program.”
  • In addition to this letter, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden released a press release in September stating that “this agreement with the duplicitous and untrustworthy Iranian regime falls short of what I had envisioned,” and specifically raised concerns about secret “side deals” between Iran and the IAEA.
When Obama’s devout friends, Democrats in the Senate, are angry and frustrated by this deal, it speaks volumes of how bad this deal is, and all of the secret side deals, are not what they appear to be and may not be effective in deterring a nuclear obsessed Iran.

3) Under the deal, the Iranians were supposed to shut down some of their nuclear weapons research facilities. But according to a Washington Free Beacon report by Adam Kredo on July 21, 2016, the Iranians are getting ready to reopen some of the nuclear sites that had been shut down because of the agreement. These sites had originally been shut down to try and minimize the ability of the Iranians to do research into nuclear weapons technology.

But the leader of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, recently requested that the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, put together a plan to reopen these weapons research locations, this according to Iran’s state controlled media. Apparently, Iranians leaders are not happy being criticized in a United Nations report that accused Iran of violating agreements that banned the country’s work on ballistic missiles and that the country’s recent launching of said missiles is prohibited. 

Not surprisingly, Larijani blamed, who else, the United States, for undermining the nuclear agreement reached last year: “While regretting the U.N. secretary general’s move, the Majlis warn the U.S. administration, the House of Representatives, and the Senate that diversionary actions against the nuclear deal have reached a point where Iran has no other option but to retaliate.”

Yes, the Iranians are fiddling around with ballistic missiles that they agreed not to do, they are reopening closed nuclear weapons research facilities that they agreed not to do but it is the United States' fault that the agreement is in danger of falling apart. Insane.

4) The July 29, 2016 issue of the Week magazine summarized a number of news reports about the nuclear agreement one year after it was approved and most of the writers cited were quite negative on what had happened over the past year:

- Jonathan Tobin of Commentary Magazine:
  • Iran has launched several ballistic missiles in violation of a U.N. mandate.
  • It continues to sponsor Middle East terrorism and helps keep the Syrian government in power.
  • Germany’s intelligence agency found that Iran was secretly trying to obtain nuclear technology. 
- Robin Wright of the
  • The deal’s condition as of now is “fragile at best.”
  • The lifting of the sanctions, which was supposed to make the Iranian citizens happy and more prosperous, is not working since unemployment is still high and there has been scant foreign investment flowing into the country.
  • Three out of four Iranians believe that they have not seen any benefits from the deal and that the U.S. will renege on the agreement’s tenets.
- David Sanger of the New York Times:
  • Iranians always had an inflated view of what the agreement would do for the common Iranian citizen.
  • The country is still a mess with an antiquated banking system, a political-influenced judicial system, and its continued involvement in terrorism makes foreign investment unlikely any time soon.
Once the Iranians realize they are not getting much of anything out of the agreement from an economic perspective and the Iranian government already has gotten billions of dollars of sanctions relief, what incentives do they have to keep up their end of the bargain? Not much.

5) And to think that the Obama administration pipe dream that lifting sanctions and playing nice with Iranian hardliners would make the country more open to democracy and freedom, consider a recent article by Breitbart. The Iranian government recently destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers as part of a coordinated campaign to deny Iranians access to information that is not controlled by the government. 

The equipment was destroyed at a public spectacle with General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of Iran’s Basij militia warning what the impact that satellite television was having on Iranians: “The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture. What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society.”

These 100,000 pieces of equipment were in addition to over one million pieces of equipment that the government claimed Iranian citizens had “voluntarily” turned in. The Breitbart article also did report that Iranian police also do sweeps through neighborhoods and have been known to confiscate dishes right off of people’s rooftops.

So much for freedom of speech freedom of the press, and just plain freedom to get information that may not be approved by the central government.

So, let’s review: Obama hid secret agreements and side deals from the American public and Congress which allows Iran to rev up its nuclear enrichment ability much quicker than Obama let on to, even Democrats in the Senate want more transparency of the deal beyond what their party leader, Obama, has already provided, the Iranians are already blaming the U.S. as a cover to reactivate a lot of their nuclear weapons research facilities, many journalists see the agreement as being on shaky ground, “fragile at best,” the lifting of the sanctions as a result of the agreement has had minimal economic impacts on the Iranian population, and the lifting of the sanctions has not had the promised impact of making Iran more democratic, not when possessing a simple TV dish is still against the law.

Not looking like a successful foreign relations effort for the Obama administration. Too bad, it would have been the first one.

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