The Iran Deal Needs Bipartisanship

Senate Foreign Relations Cmte Holds Hearing On Human TraffickingThe Obama administration has shown distaste for congressional checks on executive power, and an unwillingness to entertain bipartisan concerns from policymakers.A struggle for power among competing centers for which narrative of history to use in making choices for the future, a belief in human fallibility, and need to block a new tyrant from emerging led the Founders to adopt separation of powers.
While paying lip service to the U.S. system of checks and balances in office, the President is rebuffing what he deems interference by legislators, as Congress readies its review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — a nuclear deal with Tehran that is receiving bipartisan criticism on the Hill.


By advancing a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) vote on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Obama administration violated its pledge to provide Congress with a meaningful role in reviewing the deal. The Obama administration’s approach demonstrates “bad faith” with the intent of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which authorizes congressional oversight of the deal.


The country is well served by vigorous, bipartisan discussion between the executive and legislative branches and when neither side is able to dictate outcomes alone.

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A ‘bad’ nuclear deal with Iran would jeopardize world peace

julio 11 - 15Most people would wish that President Obama succeeds in striking a deal with Iran that will see it shut down its nuclear centres, halt uranium enrichment and give up permanently the goal of obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran however has shown next to no signs that it will forgo its nuclear weapons program. What most of us don’t know is how ordinary Iranian citizens opposed to the mullahs’ regime would feel about a “bad deal” that would see Tehran cheat its way to the bomb as it stalls world powers.

Amineh Qaraee, 34, and her brother Ehsan, 28, who fled the mullahs’ persecution to Norway four years ago, have a striking story. As children, they witnessed their parents’ arrest and imprisonment for supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK), the main moderate Muslim group opposed to Khomeini’s theocratic rule.

“When I was just one-year-old my father got arrested, and two months later my mother got arrested with me and they took us to prison. There I had to live between people who got arrested and tortured just because they wanted freedom”, Amineh recounts in a moving video testimonial.

“I spent some months in prison until they let my mother deliver me to my grandparents. My mother was in prison for more than two years and my father for four years.”

Soon after his release, Amineh’s father, a teacher by profession, was again arrested for his political opinions.

“Finally they informed us that they had killed my father and 30,000 other political activists even though all of them were sentenced to some years in prison, not execution”, she adds before breaking down into tears. This has prompted them to join the cause of supporting human rights and democratic change in Iran through different activities, including promoting petitions and other initiatives through facebook, twitter and youtube.

The Qaraees are not the only families of victims of the mullahs left to deal with the torment of losing their loved ones. The Tehran regime has executed more than 120,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK supporters, in the past 36 years. Their families who live in daily agony number in the millions. An overwhelming majority of Iranians have been harmed or affected in some form by the regime in its 36-year rule.

A robust, strong deal with strong inspection regime will manifest Ayatollahs’ weakness and strategic deadlock and embolden Iranian people for their rights. Yet, like many other Iranians opposed to the regime, Amineh and Ehsan are nervous that a “bad nuclear deal” allowing Tehran to go nuclear while duping the West would strengthen the regime.  Such an outcome will lead to the situation where the Revolutionary Guards would feel strengthened and would suppress any dissent with even greater brutality. The world would then become silent in the face of all the crimes of this regime.

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WHY ARE THE DEAR LEADER OF KOREA AND THE SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN SMILING?

Kim Jong-unIran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Please click here to access the full report of allegations by the National Council of Resistance of Iran:

Because of  Cooperation between Iranian regime and North Korea in the nuclear field, nuclear warhead and ballistic missiles

Unsettling Report on Iran and North Korea 

By Carol Giacomo, The New York Times 

May 28, 2015

As the clock ticks down to a June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, the news has emerged that North Korean nuclear and missile experts may (I emphasize may because I have seen no confirmation) have visited a military site near Tehran last month.

If the report from an Iranian resistance group via Reuters is true, the timing could hardly be worse, at least optically. This is a moment when Iran needs to be doing its best to prove its good intentions to the international community, not flaunting ties to a country with an active nuclear weapons program and a record of threatening behavior.

The nuclear agreement being negotiated between Iran and the major powers – the United States, China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany – is already highly controversial and powerful hardline enemies in Iran, the United States, Israel and elsewhere are working to derail it. If Iran’s top leaders really want a deal, which would lift international sanctions in return for curbs on their nuclear program, it is counter-productive to give the opponents more ammunition that could thwart that goal.

There are reasons to doubt the report. The Iranian embassy in Paris has already repudiated it. It was based on information from the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which has spent years working to undermine the Iranian republic. Although the group’s disclosure in 2002 about Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz was accurate, its track record overall has been spotty.

But even if the report is true, what does hosting North Korean experts say about Iran? It has been known for quite a while that representatives of Iran and North Korea frequently meet and have had dealings on ballistic missiles, which would not be covered by the nuclear deal. In February, a report from the United States intelligence community noted, as intelligence officials have in the past, North Korea’s “export of ballistic missiles and associated materials to several countries, including Iran and Syria.”

And while Iran and North Korea both were customers of A.Q. Khan, the disgraced mastermind of Pakistan’s nuclear program, an American official told me Thursday that the United States government has seen nothing to suggest Iran is cooperating with North Korea on nuclear weapons.

Such cooperation would belie Tehran’s insistence that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon and would necessarily blow up any nuclear agreement. But even if a nuclear deal is reached, the major powers will need to watch vigilantly to make sure that Iran doesn’t switch from developing the technology that could enable it to produce a bomb to buying one from North Korea.

28 May 2015
(excerpts)

State Department Briefing

Exchange on NCRI revelation

May 28, 2015

Watch the Video Clip About this Exchange

 Matthew Lee (AP): On Iran. Have you seen this new report from the Iranian opposition about Iran-North Korea nuclear cooperation? And whether you have or not, can you – well, if you have, can you speak to it? And if you – well, if you haven’t, I’ll —

MR RATHKE: Let me answer that one and then you can follow up. So we have seen these claims, and we take any such reports seriously. If I can perhaps anticipate one part of your follow-up, we’re examining the report but we don’t have any information at this time that would lead us to believe that these allegations impact our ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

QUESTION: If the allegations are correct, how could that not impact the negotiations?

MR RATHKE: Well, again, we – these allegations – we’re taking them seriously, we’re examining them. I don’t have a stamp to put on them and say whether we’re we able to verify them or not. We don’t – we have not been able to verify them thus far. We’re examining the report and —

QUESTION: This isn’t the first – this isn’t the first time there have been allegations.

MR RATHKE: That’s true. This group has made —

Liz Labott (CNN): No, but others have also said that Iran – there is a significant amount of cooperation between the two. So are you saying that you have no reason to believe that there is such cooperation, or these particular allegations are unfounded?

MR RATHKE: Well, I’m not saying that they’re unfounded. I’m just saying we don’t have – we’re examining these allegations. They’re serious. I’m not able to verify them.

LIZ Labott (CNN): So if you haven’t – if you’re not able to substantiate whether they’re true or not, how do you know if they’ll impact the negotiations? I mean, if they’re true, feasibly that would impact your negotiations.

MR RATHKE: Well, based on the information that we have at this time, which is the way I would put it.

LEE (AP): If you say, as – that the allegations are serious, why wouldn’t – is this something that’s not going to come up in the negotiations?

MR RATHKE: Well, I’m not going to speak to what’s going to come up in the room. But again, serious allegations and we’re looking at them seriously.

QUESTION: Well, let’s put it this way: cutting off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon is a subject that comes up in negotiations, is it not?

MR RATHKE: Certainly.

QUESTION: Okay. So is sanctions relief, is it not?

MR RATHKE: Sure.

Arshad Mohammed (Reuters): Okay. So you’ve just said two things that are involved in the negotiations. You’ve also said that on the sidelines of the negotiations, the fate or the status of the Americans being held or missing comes up.

MR RATHKE: Yes. Right, that is the case.

QUESTION: Why can’t you say whether allegations of Iran’s – of Iranian cooperation or work with North Korea would come up as part of the negotiations?

MR RATHKE: Well, let me take a step back. First, with respect to North Korea, we continue to work with the international community to exercise vigilance over their proliferation activities worldwide. This is the subject of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. They prohibit the transfer to or from the DPRK of goods, technology, of any assistance related to nuclear ballistic missile or other weapons of mass destruction. You’re familiar with all this, but there is of course a very elaborate international framework, including UN Security Council resolutions, as well as unilateral actions, to address the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs.

And in the same way, any cooperation with Iran on proliferation-sensitive nuclear or ballistic activities would also violate relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Iran, including resolution 1929. So you’ve got UN Security Council resolutions that apply to Iran and to North Korea, and so we follow these extremely closely, but I don’t have more to say on these specific allegations, which we are examining.

QUESTION: Okay. But if it’s a violation, and we’ll take – it’s quite apart from the North – the sanctions on North Korea, you are not negotiating with North Korea at the moment; you have, but you’re not now. You are negotiating with Iran. Iran is in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions dating back years and years and years – still – even though they’re complying with the JPOA —

MR RATHKE: Yes.

QUESTION: — even though you say they’re complying with the JPOA. So why – is bringing Iran into compliance with all relevant Security Council – all the Security Council resolutions, is that not a goal of the negotiations here?

MR RATHKE: Well, the nuclear talks are focused on the nuclear-related issues.

QUESTION: So they can satisfy —

MR RATHKE: So there are other Security Council resolutions that also apply to Iran, and those continue and they will not be affected by it.

QUESTION: So as part of these negotiations, you could reach an agreement with the Iranians – could – without them addressing the nuclear cooperation with North Korea. Is that correct?

MR RATHKE: Well, again —

QUESTION: Allegations of nuclear cooperation.

MR RATHKE: Again, we are focused on shutting down the pathways to a nuclear weapon. I’m not going to get into the details or to preview how exactly we address these in the negotiating room.

Lee (AP): Why didn’t you raise the allegations in the negotiating room since one means to ascertain whether or not the Iranians have any or have had any nuclear cooperation with the North Koreans would be to ask them?

MR RATHKE: Well, I’m not ruling it in or out. I’m just saying I’m not going to prejudge what 

LEE (AP) : But why would you – why wouldn’t you? How could you not raise it? I mean, if you’re trying to figure out if they’re doing it, how do you not ask them?

MR RATHKE: Well, again, we have a variety of ways of trying to verify allegations, especially serious ones. So I don’t have more to say on this than that.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Can I just – it’s my understanding – and I just want to make sure that this is still correct or that it is correct —

MR RATHKE: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — that the United States – this Administration, previous administrations, have expressed concern and have talked about intelligence suggesting that there is cooperation between Iran and North Korea on ballistic missiles. And the – although you are aware of reports like this one that came out overnight about nuclear cooperation, there isn’t any evidence so far. You haven’t seen any sign that these allegations, while serious, are actually true. Is it still correct that the Administration believes that there is ballistic missile cooperation, but not necessarily nuclear cooperation, between the two?

MR RATHKE: I don’t really have more to say than we have said. We’ve – there’s an international framework of Security Council resolutions dealing with both countries. We take any allegations of cooperation seriously.

QUESTION: And then just tangentially, there is a report – this doesn’t have to do with Iran – but about significantly increased activity at a North Korean missile – rocket launching site. Have you seen this? Do you know anything about it?

MR RATHKE: I haven’t seen that. I’m not familiar with that one.

QUESTION: Stay on North Korea?

Iran’s Breakout and Sneakout Into the Nuclear Sunset

march 11Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress, March 3, 2015:

“My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal…. Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s … a … better deal [is one] that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure….”

Senior U.S. official press briefing, March 8, 2015:

“We are not talking about a 10-year agreement — but about several phases that will continue indefinitely to know that Iran’s program is peaceful.”

These quotes pinpoint a triangle of issues: “breakout,” or the months needed for inspectors to detect Iran’s race for the bomb; “sneakout,” or Tehran’s secret enrichment capabilities — a word that implies little-to-no breakout time; and a “sunset clause,” years after which Iran would be free to chart its own nuclear course and imports/exports free of restraints.

Breakout

The main narrative emerging from the breakout debate is a dispute between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu, over his allegation that Obama is willing to accept a breakout time of only six months, or not even a year.

The day after the speech, the Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “Iran Talks Closer on One-Year Nuclear ‘Breakout’ Demand.” The article reported that Iran and six major powers are nearing an understanding about a final nuclear deal. “It must be structured around the U.S. demand that Tehran stay at least a year away from amassing enough fuel for a nuclear weapon,” the Journal reported. Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy also focused on what he suggests is an overlooked sentence of the speech — its opening. “The key sentence [of the speech] was this: ‘Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s breakout time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s,’” Satloff wrote.

Netanyahu’s rhetoric suggested that Israeli intelligence doubts Washington’s assessment. How could the United States be sure its estimate of warning time will remain intact in year five or year 10 of an agreement? To ask the question is to answer it. No intelligence is certain.

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Professor Raymond Tanter at MidPoint

5 de marzo 12Professor Raymond Tanter appeared on Newsmaxtv on 04 March 2015. The former senior staff member of the National Security Council, Reagan-Bush administration, and an adjunct scholar of The Washington Institute researching U.S. policy will discuss the recommendations Benjamin Netanyahu made in dealing with Iran vs. the reality of feasible options. He’ll also speak about reports and opinion that Iran already has nuclear capability, what the talks John Kerry is engaged in can really accomplish and whether a deal could be trusted if in fact an agreement is met.

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Raymond Tanter appeared on Russian TV Arabic

1 de febrero 15University of Michigan Professor Raymond Tanter appeared on Russian TV Arabic Service from Washington on 29 January 2015. Below is a summary of what he said in English, which was translated into Arabic. Tanter’s portion begins after another commentator spoke: http://bit.ly/1DrPS5n

The Islamic Republic of Iran reinforces the destabilizing role of the Islamic State, aka, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Daesh in Arabic. Without Iran, the fight against ISIS in Iraq would be easier; but Tehran is supporting radical Shiite militias in Iraq. Tehran has undue influence over the Interior and Human Rights ministries in Iraq, which allow extremist militias to operate in Iraq. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) conducts operations in Iraq, contrary to the security of moderate Shiite Iraqi Arabs as well as moderate Sunni Iraqi Arabs. The IRGC-QF is a growing threat to moderate Shiite Iranians—the Peoples’ Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)—held in prison-like conditions in Camp Liberty, Iraq, at the behest of Tehran.

How Saudi King Abdullah’s Death Impacts U.S. Policy

ENERO 23 2015 On January 23, 2015. Professor Raymond Tanter was WSJ TV. Discussing about the death of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah raises concerns about stability in the region, namely Iran, Yemen and Syria.

Accession to power of Saudi King Salman with the death of his brother, Abdullah, raises the question of whether there might be a change in Saudi policy. Expect more religious conservative approach at home and less muscular risk-taking during the transition. And if Salman’s reign is short, e.g., because he has dementia, domestic infighting may rise and paralyze foreign policy decisionmaking. 

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Professor Raymond Tanter Interview on Iran with Frank Gaffney January 12, 2015

January 15

Dr. RAYMOND TANTER, former Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense for Arms Control and author of “Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents: New Landscape Allows Reset of U.S. Iran Policy”:
  • Sensitive Iraninan nuclear facilities hidden underground
  • Saudi Arabia’s continuing manipulation of the global oil market
  • Predictions the U.S. shale industry will survive record-low oil prices due to diversification of the U.S. economy

To listen the complete interview please go to: http://bit.ly/1DIZwUc  and press play on link number 3.

How Not to Negotiate With Rogue Regimes

enero 7 2015“I am a Marxist Leninist and I will be one until the last day of my life.” — Fidel Castro, January, 1967.

“[As] Comrade Fidel [Castro] stated, we have] the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.” — Raúl Castro, December, 2014.

The 114th Congress finds Republicans in command of the House and Senate for the first time in eight years. When it convenes, its agenda will inevitably include how to deal with Cuba and Iran — two sides of the same coin of a foreign policy of giving up too much too soon in the Obama administration’s negotiations. A bipartisan consensus is emerging critical of trying to moderate rogue regimes, and that it is necessary to take a tougher negotiating approach with such regimes.

Cuba

Although the wording is different, the remarks above suggest Raúl is a Marxist Leninist like his brother, and intends to keep Cuba as a communist state. President Barack Obama, however, is seemingly betting that normalization of relations will lead it to become a constitutional democracy with improvements in the prison and detention centers, arbitrary arrests and detentions, police and security apparatus, arrest procedures and treatment of detainees, and fair public trials, which were all listed as being denied by Havana in the State Department’s Human Rights Report for Cuba.

Instead of holding out for some of these requirements in secret talks, Obama has gambled that opening up Cuba to talks with the United States would change the nature of the regime: Either the Castro brothers will have an epiphany or moderates will emerge to prevail over the current leaders. In the context of economic woes facing Havana, Washington could have used that leverage to squeeze Havana on human rights for the Cuban people as a condition for normalization, as our Shadow colleague Will Inboden has written.

In a July 2014 visit to Cuba, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to write off $32 billion in Cuban debt to Russia. However, it was prior to the precipitous plunge in the ruble, and Moscow has other problems on its plate: The price of crude oil fell from about $100 during Putin’s visit tobelow $50 per barrel on Jan. 6.

Havana’s ally Venezuela has also been hit by the same falling oil prices and is unlikely to increase aid. Caracas now provides subsidized oil supplies to Cuba, but political changes may result in less assistance. Havana’s bilateral trade in goods and services amounted to some 21 percent of Cuba’s GDP in 2012 — only 4 percent of Venezuela’s GDP. There is a failure of Team Obama to take advantage of the strong negotiating position of the United States in view of the worldwide economic situation and to take seriously the rhetoric of revolutionaries.

Obama’s search for a moderate government in Havana recalls similar behavior of President Eisenhower; his State Department also played down revolutionary rhetoric. But Eisenhower corrected his policy toward Cuba shortly after Castro’s fiery words were matched by his deeds.

About a week after the fall of pro-American Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, U.S. officials recognized the new interim government. Fidel Castro’s rebel army helped overthrow Batista but the State Department believed Washington could work with new “moderates” in the provisional government and protect American interests in Cuba. Although some nations extended recognition, outreach by the United States was a critical signal the West could do business with Prime Minister Fidel Castro, the real power behind the interim government; Castro later became president and engaged Moscow instead of Washington.

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