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Here’s what will happen if Trump doesn’t recertify the Iran deal

October 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Russel Read

 

President Trump promised to end the Iran nuclear deal during his campaign, and he may be one step closer to doing so.

Trump plans to not recertify the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to CNN. U.S. law stipulates that the president must certify that Iran is compliant with the agreement every 90 days. Trump has already recertified the deal twice since taking office, despite his promise, but he may not do so by the next deadline on Oct. 15. If he goes through with it, Congress would then engage in a 60-day review period to determine what happens next.

“I think one of the most important myths to debunk about decertification is that decertification is automatically akin to U.S. withdrawal from the deal, which is absolutely untrue,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Circa. “Really, Congress would have a fair amount of leeway and really it’s up to them.”

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Congress’ result could come in many forms, including follow-on agreements to the deal. Trump has been a more-than-vocal opponent of the Obama-era agreement, but he has also expressed interest in renegotiation. That said, it is possible the U.S. could simply remove itself from the JCPOA altogether.

“If Congress decides to re-impose nuclear sanctions, that would be akin to taking the U.S. out of the deal, simultaneously, if the president doesn’t wave nuclear sanctions, that would also be akin to taking the U.S. out of the deal,” said Taleblu.

Iran received substantial nuclear sanctions relief under the agreement, which the president is responsible for waiving as the agreement continues. So if Trump does not waive the sanctions or Congress adds them, Iran would likely choose to remove itself.

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While Trump may wish to seek a better agreement, Iran has made it clear that it is a nonstarter.

“I think it was the unanimous view of all negotiating the nuclear deal that renegotiation of this deal is impossible,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in an interview last month. “It would open a Pandora’s box.”

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Critics of the nuclear agreement note that it is only temporary. Indeed, several of its provisions will no longer be applicable after 10 to 15 years due to what are referred to as “sunset clauses.” Additionally, the agreement only covers the Iranian nuclear program. It places no restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which would produce the vehicle carrying a potential nuclear warhead. Nor does it counter Iranian support for terrorist groups in the Middle East like Hezbollah.

Despite the accord, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles and meddle in several crises across the Middle East.

Iran Wants America to Ignore Its Nuclear Ambitions

October 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Once the nuclear deal expires, Iran will ironically be much better positioned to move to nuclear weapons than it was before the deal was negotiated.

The starting point for any assessment of the Iran nuclear deal—or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—is the recognition that Iran remains a determined nuclear proliferator, and that the deal does not prevent it from achieving its nuclear goal. In fact, if the international community is lulled into believing that the deal “is working,” this will actually provide Iran with much needed breathing space to strengthen itself economically, regionally and in the nuclear realm. If left alone, when the deal expires, Iran will ironically be much better positioned to move to nuclear weapons than it was before the deal was negotiated.

Iran deal supporters claim that the deal is highly successful and prevents a nuclear Iran. In making this claim, they ignore everything that is wrong with the JCPOA—problems that have plagued the deal since day one—and discount the regime’s increasingly aggressive regional profile. Supporters of the deal disregard the fact that because the deal is not bad from Iran’s point of view, there is actually no reason for the regime to openly violate its terms. They insist that “the deal is working” solely on the basis of the certification process regarding compliance, and they send a highly misleading message by equating certification with success of the deal. Moreover, deal supporters are curiously unperturbed by the fact that Iran cheated on its Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) commitment not to work on a military program, and that the regime repeatedly lies about these past violations. They ignore that Iran’s “narrative of innocence” helps it avoid confrontation and costs. That narrative has even served as the basis for granting it rights of confidentiality in dealing with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when there is no justification for allowing a brazen NPT violator such privileges. Indeed, die-hard deal supporters ignore the entire context for assessing Iran’s behavior per the nuclear deal, reducing everything to the issue of certification. They ignore the fact that certification goes beyond the purview of the IAEA. For them, if the IAEA says Iran has not blatantly violated the deal, all is well, and Iran is effectively prevented from going nuclear.

This is nonsense, but it is music to the ears of the regime leaders in Tehran. From Iran’s perspective, the only question is how to better position itself to move to nuclear weapons down the line, despite the JCPOA. Iran has learned that Western states are prone to self-delusion, especially if they are convinced that they will gain some form of short-term benefit. So the regime steadfastly denies any wrongdoing, and makes bold statements about its stellar cooperation, but all the while it is moving forward on all fronts that are not explicitly covered by the deal. These activities—in particular, missile tests (delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons), and the strengthening of regional presence and influence—will help Iran move to nuclear weapons at a later date.

Over the course of 2015–17, in addition to missile tests, Iran significantly stepped up its military campaign in Syria—including war crimes—against Syrian civilians and attempts to set up a new military presence near Israel’s border, while also transferring prohibited weaponry to Hezbollah. As of 2017, Iran began setting up weapons-making factories in Lebanon, and possibly in Syria as well. Iran is involved in the civil war in Yemen, is arming and training Shiite rebels in Bahrain, and the country has been harassing U.S. naval vessels in the Gulf on a regular basis. As long as Obama was president, not only did the administration not push back, but it emphatically claimed that Iran was on solid ground because those activities were not part of the deal. And for the Europeans, there were no problems for them at all, as long as they could return to doing business with Iran.

On the nuclear front, Iran has found that it can test the waters and push the envelope, as long as it is careful not to do anything too blatant. Of course, it has no reason to flagrantly violate a deal that gives it time to build up its nuclear infrastructure and strengthen itself in economic and regional terms—all in return for minimal concessions in the nuclear realm and desperately needed sanctions relief.

Clearly, there is a need to change course on Iran. A new publication has offered advice to the Trump administration on how to walk away from the bad deal. While many people advocate for abandoning the JCPOA, my take is that as bad as the deal is, renouncing it would most likely be a lose-lose proposition at this very late stage. It makes more sense to keep the problem that the Trump administration has inherited while changing most everything else in America’s approach to Iran.

On the deal itself, the administration should make every effort to convince the other members of the P5+1 to clarify and change some issues with direct relevance to the JCPOA. These efforts include setting the record straight on Iran and clearly establishing that it violated the NPT (based on the IAEA report of December 2015). As a state with no qualms about cheating on its commitments, Iran cannot be trusted, and is not entitled to any special confidentiality rights in its dealings with the IAEA, certainly not at this stage. Moreover, the United States cannot accept an unconditional sunset of the deal’s provisions, if there is no change in Iran’s behavior and approach.

The United States must insist on transparency and greater detail with regard to IAEA reports on Iran, as well as openness regarding deliberations and decisions of the joint commission. It must insist on clearing up ambiguities in deal—specifically on the provisions that set the rules for inspections at military sites. According to recent reports, the IAEA has not inspected many suspicious military facilities, either because Iran refused, or the agency resisted asking for them for fear that Iran will refuse. This is unacceptable. There is a need to look into German intelligence on Iran’s attempts to circumvent the terms of the Procurement Working Group, and to place intelligence gathering regarding Iran-North Korea cooperation in the nonconventional realm very high on the agenda, especially in light of recent developments with ICBM testing in North Korea.

Additionally, the United States must respond with determination to Iran’s provocations, in rhetoric and action. It must apply pressure at every turn, and restore U.S. deterrence vis-à-vis Iran, rather than acquiescing in its emboldened regional behavior. Much damage was done in terms of U.S. deterrence during the final years of the Obama administration due to his reluctance to push back on provocations. Inaction on the part of the United States was regarded by Iran as weakness.

The stronger Iran gets—economically, regionally and in terms of its nuclear infrastructure—the more difficult it will be to stop it from attaining nuclear weapons down the line. There will, in fact, be little that can be done to stop it.

In the final weeks before presenting its Iran policy, the Trump administration is facing a growing campaign waged by deal supporters against whatever harsher measures might be deemed essential in order to make up for the weaknesses and holes in the deal. As such, changing course on Iran will also necessitate devoting time and energy to the internal U.S. debate—to turn around the narratives that originated in the Obama years. The famous “echo chamber” created by the previous administration in support of the deal continues to reverberate among deal supporters. The distortions in their messaging must be exposed, especially regarding the slogan that the deal “is working.” If the United States lets down its guard on this basis, it will surely wake up with another North Korea.

Moreover, the administration must be very clear that there is no justification for drawing a line between Iran’s nuclear activities and the rest of its bad behavior. Because the deal does not signify a strategic reversal in the nuclear realm, the nuclear and regional aspects of Iran’s behavior cannot be treated separately. A strengthened and emboldened Iran will be better equipped to successfully confront future international efforts to rein it in, enabling it to more easily advance to nuclear weapons.

The time to get serious on Iran is now. It’s not true that there will always be a last-resort military option if all else fails. The reality is that options do not remain static because international politics are dynamic. The size of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the identity of the decisionmakers in Washington, Iran’s regional presence and strength, and the ability of additional actors to curtail U.S. military options are all factors that could evolve in a manner that renders the military option too risky, or something the United States refuses to entertain down the line.

The North Korean case is demonstrating precisely what happens when weak diplomacy produces deals that don’t reflect a strategic U-turn on the part of the proliferator. This example must be held as a constant reminder so that the mistakes made in carving out a strategy toward North Korea are not repeated with Iran.

Iran remains a dangerous and determined nuclear proliferator. It cheated on the NPT, worked on a military nuclear capability, and only when sanctions became unbearable did it come to the table looking for a way to lift them. Unfortunately, it found the way—by achieving a deal that requires minimal nuclear concessions and delivers maximum sanctions relief. Iran’s negotiations strategy had nothing to do with its desire or recognition of the need to change course in the nuclear realm.

The focus of a Trump administration policy for Iran must be stopping it from slowly but surely inching toward its nuclear goal. Part of that policy must hinge on explaining why the deal can never stop Iran if people are lulled into dismissing its weaknesses and believing that it is working. The most important ingredient in an Iran policy is massive pressure and pushback in response to all expressions of aggressive and provocative Iranian behavior—whether in the Middle East or per its nuclear commitments. A consistent and hard-line message must be delivered to Iran as long as it keeps advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities as well as strengthening its presence across the region. Iran’s professed “innocence of wrongdoing” must be countered. Iran must know that it has no sympathy in Washington and that the administration understands perfectly well how it is cynically playing the international community by giving it a false sense of security all the while preparing for the day when it can create nuclear weapons.

Emily Landau is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and head of its Arms Control and Regional Security Program.

Image: Reuters

Report: Iran And North Korea Are “Collaborating In An Exchange Of Materials And Technicians To Mutually Develop Nuclear Weapons Capabilities”

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

“In the United States, the federal civil defense program was authorized by statute and ran from 1951 to 1994.  Originally authorized by Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress, it was repealed by Public Law 93-337 in 1994.”

Wikipedia, “Civil Defense”

Source: Jeremiah Johnson

The Public Law.  For the Public Good.  For your own good, for whatever good it will do.  Under Clinton in 1994, Civil Defense was repealed.  The Cold War has “ended,” as of 1992 with the “collapse” of the Soviet Union, and it was time to rid the U.S. of all of those “pesky” fallout shelter signs.  There was NAFTA and the beginnings of true globalism with the creation of the EU.  What need was there for Civil Defense?

Twenty-three years after the treasonous disbanding of Civil Defense and official signs for locations of Fallout Shelters, there is a need for both once more.  North Korea has been engaging in exchange with Iran for decades: collaborating in an exchange of materials and technicians to mutually develop one another’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

All News Pipeline’s Stefan Stanford and Susan Duclos have been presenting some excellent and informative articles on the North Korean EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) capabilities.  Many of these articles have been authored by Dr. Peter V. Pry, the foremost expert on the EMP threat facing the United States.  All News Pipeline’s article of September 19, 2017 is entitled Following Threats To Drop The ‘Father Of All Bombs’ While Claiming They’ve Infiltrated The US Military, Iran Prepares To Deploy 3 New Satellites Into Orbit – Is Iran Preparing To Launch An EMP Attack Upon America?

This piece is no exception to the quality information released thus far by All News Pipeline.  Please read it!  This article is written by none other than Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission and former Science Advisor to President Reagan.  Dr. Graham also was directly involved in the 1962 “STARFISH PRIME” high-altitude nuclear test that began the U.S.’s study into the effects of an EMP.

North Korea has not backpedaled on its threats to nuke the United States and to unleash an EMP weapon if provoked by the U.S.  As Dr. Graham’s article points out, this is not only feasible, but soon they will not be alone: Iran plans to launch 3 satellites that can easily be fitted with a miniaturized EMP device.  Dr. Graham also corroborates Dr. Pry’s assertions that the 2 North Korean satellites currently in orbit may contain an EMP weapon.

As a matter of fact, Dr. Pry released an article to All News Pipeline on September 18, 2017, entitled, North Korean Public Statement Confirms ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Fears After Many Years of Denial By ‘US Elite’ – Have We Reached Our ‘Rhineland Moment’?  This piece gives a list of all the things accomplished by North Korea that were denied by the U.S. Media, the politicians, and the skeptical naysayers of the public within the past 6 months.  Most of these denied items were confirmed in many cases by none other than the “experts” who originally denied them and then changed their minds in the face of evidence that could not be refuted.

Iran just increased its military budget, has billions of investment dollars in its nuclear plant facilities and a joint railway project with Russia and several Asian nations, and is one of the last remaining nations not tied to the world bank and the IMF.  Iran has held a doctrine for many years of pursuing options with EMP’s launched on missiles hidden within cargo containers on board ships.  These options have been tested by the Iranians in several scenarios over the past 5 years.  Now there is a growing Iranian naval presence in the Western Hemisphere in Cuba and Venezuela, with plans of sending more of a fleet into the Atlantic.

Dr. Graham and Dr. Pry are both revealing scenarios with both North Korea and Iran that are developing further each day.  I strongly encourage you to read these articles.  It is important to become aware and educated on a threat that is not going to disappear anytime soon.  The expertise of the authors is only matched by their candor and clearly-understandable explanations of the situation.

Tillerson: ‘If We Are Going to Stick With the Iran Deal, There Has to Be Changes Made to It’

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

(CNSNews.com) – In his speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, President Trump called the Iran nuclear deal “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

“Frankly,” Trump said, “that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

Asked what the president meant by that, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News on Tuesday night that the deal must be changed at the very least:

“Well, if we are going to stick with the Iran deal, there has to be changes made to it. The sunset provision simply is not a sensible way forward. It’s just simply kicking the can down the road again, for someone in the future to have to deal with.

 

“The President … takes his responsibilities seriously and that’s why he’s giving very, very careful consideration as to what’s the best way to address that issue.”

Tillerson said the most glaring flaw in the Iranian nuclear deal is its sunset provision, which allows Iran to proceed with its elements of its nuclear program in 10 to 15 years:

And unfortunately, this is what governments in the past did with North Korea. They just simply they entered into agreements that were short-lived or were easily cheated on.

And I think that’s the president’s assessment of the Iranian nuclear agreement is that it’s not a stiff enough agreement. It doesn’t slow their program enough. And holding them accountable is difficult under the agreement.

But most importantly, the agreement comes to an end, and so we can almost start the countdown clock as to when they will resume their nuclear weapons capability.

The president really wants to redo it, renegotiate it. We do need the support, I think, of our allies, the European allies and others to make the case as well to Iran that this deal really has to be revisited.

President Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to certify whether Iran is meeting its commitments under the nuclear deal.

On Monday, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani repeated an earlier warning that Iran would immediately resume its nuclear program if President Trump withdraws from the agreement.

And press reports say America’s European allies do not want to renegotiate the deal.

Beyond the nuclear deal, President Trump is concerned with the growing Iranian threat to the entire Middle East.

“And we’ve really got to begin to deal with Iran’s destabilizing activities in Yemen and Syria,” Tillerson told Fox News.

Tillerson noted that when Iran signed the nuclear agreement, “There was clearly an expectation, I think, on the part of all the parties to that agreement, that by signing this nuclear agreement, Iran would begin to move to a place where it wanted to reintegrate itself with its neighbors.

“And that clearly did not happen,” Tillerson said. “In fact, Iran has stepped up its destabilizing activities to the region, and we have to deal with that, so whether we deal with it through a renegotiation on nuclear or we deal with it in other ways–”

He left the thought unfinished.

IRGC: Iran Has Developed ‘Father Of All Bombs’

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran claims it possesses the “father of all bombs” (FOAB) which they say far outranks the US-made “mother of all bombs” (MOAB). 

A top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the 10-ton bomb outweighs it’s American counterpart – claiming the FOAB is much more powerful.

Following a proposal by the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), [Iran’s] Defense Industries [Organization] manufactured a 10-ton bomb. These bombs are at our disposal,” the commander told Iranian state media.

“They can be launched from Ilyushin aircraft and they are highly destructive,” he added.

Rt.com reports: The commander called the device the “father of all bombs,” comparing it to the US GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), commonly known as the “mother of all bombs.” Since the American device weighs 9.8 tons and yields 11 tons in TNT equivalent, the IRGC commander presumably referred to the weight of the new Iranian ordnance rather than its destructive potential.

The MOAB was developed in 2003 and first used in combat this April, when the US dropped the device in Afghanistan on a mountain tunnel complex used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

The new Iranian ordnance, however, might trigger a bomb paternity dispute, as Russia already possesses a non-nuclear ordnance known as the “daddy.”

The Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, known as the ‘father of all bombs’ (FOAB), was successfully tested by Russia in 2007, with impressive results for a non-nuclear device – a 44-ton yield when detonated. The bomb explodes midair, vaporizing its targets, collapsing structures, and leaving a moon-like scorched landscape.The bomb was developed under a special request of the IRGC, the corps’ Aerospace Force commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said in an interview on Friday.

Iran Says It Has ‘Explosive’ Evidence CIA Created ISIS

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran says it has ‘explosive’ evidence that proves the CIA created ISIS and continues to support its existence today. 

The IRGC claim to have infiltrated the US military command and control centers,  and say they have obtained evidence of a CIA plot to use ISIS as a means to destabilize the Middle East.

Alalam.ir reports:  In remarks aired on television on Friday evening, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said if the high-ranking Iranian officials give permission, the IRGC would release evidence showing what scandals the US has been involved in inside Iraq and Syria.

The IRGC has infiltrated the US command and control centers over the past years and has obtained information on what the Americans have been monitoring, what they have been ignoring, and how they have been supporting Isis, the commander added.

Should the IRGC be given permission to disclose that evidence, the US will be mired in a big scandal, the general warned.

He further highlighted the great progress Iran has made in the military sphere, saying none of the armies in the world is comparable to the IRGC.

Commenting on the US move to drop a large bomb on Afghanistan back in April, Brigadier General Hajizadeh said while the US may have the mother of all bombs, the IRGC is in possession of the “father of all bombs.”

The IRGC Aerospace Force has ordered the Defense Ministry to produce 10-ton bombs, the commander added, saying such huge bombs are dropped from Ilyushin planes and have a great destructive power.

Iranian military officials maintain that the country does not favor a war, but it is fully prepared to respond to any hostile assault.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has on several occasions cautioned the adversaries that Iran’s response to any assault will not be confined to defense alone, but aggressors will face a crushing response.

Iran: US Seeking To Manage Not Destroy ISIS

September 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran’s Top Security Official has blasted the US over their claims that they fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that Washington is only seeking to administer the terrorist group to meet its own interests in the region.

Fars News Agency reports:

“We have repeatedly received documented reports proving that the US-led coalition had been trying to manage the ISIL instead of fighting against it and in cases that the terrorist group’s suppression was possible, the US has shown no reaction and even helped it to flee the battlefield,” Shamkhani told the Arabic-language al-Vefagh newspaper on Tuesday.

He added that the US has today taken the gesture of fight against the ISIL to cover its supports for the terrorist group and prevent implementation of Hezbollah agreement to evacuate the families of the terrorists from Syria.

“What we have so far seen from the US and its allies is bombing the residential areas, massacre of women and children, targeting the positions of the Syrian army and Iraqi popular forces and some limited ineffective operations which have covered dispatch of logistical aid to the terrorists,” Shamkhani said.

In relevant remarks in July, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani blasted the US and its allies for supporting the terrorist groups, and said that Washington is only pretending to be combating the ISIL.

“At the time when Iraq was being overrun by the ISIL, did the United States make the slightest move in defense of it? Or was it the Iranian nation that rendered aid to the Iraqi nation and Iraqi government?” Larijani asked.

He reiterated that if Iran had not assisted the Iraqi government and nation, Baghdad would have been occupied by the ISIL by now, and said, “It is with the help of Iran that the ISIL is taking its last breath in Iraq and Syria.”

Also in the same month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the US to stop supporting the terrorist groups in the region, and said that Washington’s recent approach in Syria will only make the ISIL stronger.

“Another dangerous US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS, precisely when it’s being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page.

The Iranian foreign minister underlined that the US should join the real war against terrorist groups instead of pursuing policies that strengthen the terrorists.

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