Friday, August 19, 2016

A Ruse by Any Other Name

After repeated and offended (how dare you say we paid a ransom!) denials from the Obama administration that stacks of cash airlifted to Iran were in any way a ransom to get Americans held by Iran released, the Obama administration admits that something like that happened. So we have a bad nuclear deal that has allowed Iran to partner with Russia and which is not preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons under the deal.

Do tell? Our lying eyes were right?

The State Department conceded for the first time on Thursday that it delayed making a $400 million payment to Iran for several hours in January “to retain maximum leverage” and ensure that three American prisoners were released the same day.

For months the Obama administration had maintained that the payment was part of a settlement over an old dispute and did not amount to a “ransom” for the release of the Americans. Instead, administration officials said, it was the first installment of the $1.7 billion that the United States intends to pay Iran to reimburse it for military equipment it bought before the Iranian revolution that the United States never delivered.

But at a briefing on Thursday, John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said the United States “took advantage of the leverage” it felt it had that weekend in mid-January to obtain the release of the hostages and “to make sure they got out safely and efficiently.”

Our officials can call this coincidental dispatch of piles of cash to Iran which wouldn't release American hostages until they saw the piles of cash nuanced "leverage" to convince Iran to release hostages.

But in the real world, hostage-takers see that Iran took hostages and then got piles of cash from America to "leverage" the release of the hostages.

Yet this refusal to confront reality to maintain their illusions of so-called Smart Diplomacy extends to the entire nuclear deal that the administration is equally proud of:

The Obama administration official in charge of monitoring Iran’s implementation of the nuclear agreement, Ambassador Stephen Mull, testified in Congress that Iran has fully complied with the agreement.  Unfortunately, his testimony does not appear to be the truth.

Do read it all.

If we don't look for violations, we can honestly say that we see no evidence of Iran cheating.

And in a really hilarious commentary on those safeguards in the nuclear deal to make Iran confirm their adherence to the deal's provisions on making nuclear warheads, we won't try to get access to the Parchin military facility to double check indications (trace Uranium) of violations. Why (back to the first article that you should have read by now)?

The IAEA and the U.S. are not pressing for re-sampling or visits because they fear that Iran would refuse.

Yeah, that might make a mockery of assurances that the deal is rigorous.


Actually, it isn't. I called this back in September:

Let's go to the deal (page 42):

Requests for access pursuant to provisions of this JCPOA will be made in good faith, with due observance of the sovereign rights of Iran, and kept to the minimum necessary to effectively implement the verification responsibilities under this JCPOA. In line with normal international safeguards practice, such requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities, but will be exclusively for resolving concerns regarding fulfilment of the JCPOA commitments and Iran's other non-proliferation and safeguards obligations.

Clearly, Iran will consider a visit to a military base a violation of their sovereign rights and will interfere with their military or other national security activities.

And Iran will say there are no concerns regarding the JCPOA (the deal) that require such visits.

And we will be unable to insist on our interpretation.

Because we are unable to insist on our right to visit the Parchin site (well, until the Iranians can scrub it again), we just don't try to gain access to avoid having our noses rubbed in the fact that the so-called intrusive 24/7 nothing-is-off-limits inspections are a farce.

And I wrote about that issue in August when I went through the Iran deal (well, what was made public, anyway):

At page 19 we start the dispute resolution part--as if the provisions on obeying the spirit of the intent of the deal will be disputed!

If a party believes the other side isn't meeting their commitments, the party can refer the issue to the joint commission. There is no word on how long a dispute should last before such referral. I assume this could be months.

Once referred, the commission has 15 days to resolve the issue, unless by consensus the time is extended. No word on limits on that. I assume this could mean months, too.

After the commission has considered the issue and the issue is still not resolved, parties can refer the issue to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. This can apparently be parallel to joint commission consideration rather than sequential. How likely is that?

The ministers have 15 days to resolve the issue, unless there is consensus extension. Again, months are possible to give them time to peacefully resolve a highly technical issue that is surely just a difference of opinion.

Then the issue can go to the Advisory Board, consisting of one member appointed by each side of the dispute and one "independent" member. No word on how that is decided. Please God, tell me Russia is not involved in that determination. That board has 15 days to issue a non-binding opinion.

If, after this 30-day (at least) period the issue is not resolved, the joint commission (which includes Iran, remember) has 5 days to consider the non-binding opinion.

If a party believes the issue is not resolved, the complaining party can deem this a "significant non-performance" and cease performing any or all duties under the act.

So Iran could complain and withdraw after getting the cash; and we would have to ponder whether, after giving Iran the cash, it is worth it to risk Iran ending the deal in retaliation for our decision to cease performing duties. [emphasis added]

Forgive the length of that excerpt. But I wrote of how the deal gives Iran the incentive to raise a stink and how it discourages America from pushing inspections because it would allow Iran to exit the deal after having pocketed the up-front benefits! Iran can be the complaining party about how we are trying to violate their sovereignty by trying to get access to military sites, claiming it is not in the spirit of the deal!

And that's after Iran strings out the ill-defined process to stall us while they scrub their site in question!

And here we are unwilling to press Iran on clearing up possible (and likely) violations!

Still, the Obama administration can always claim that these are mere details in the big picture of leveraging the nuclear deal to turn Iran from an aggressive, nutball, terror supporting state into a responsible regional power worthy of being our friend and partner!

About that:

As soon as the Iran nuclear deal was concluded last July, the Russians and Iranians began plotting a surge for Syria on behalf of the dictator, Bashar al-Assad. As Kerry made plans for talks in Geneva, the Russians set up air bases in Syria. Once their campaign started, they bombed U.S.-backed Syrian rebels. In June, Russian planes bombed a U.S. and British special operations base near the Syrian border.

But the announcement of the bombing from Iran stings Kerry the most. Kerry himself, only a year ago, told the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, had told him after the completion of the nuclear deal, "I am now empowered to work with and talk to you about regional issues."

Now the Iranians can't stop working with the Russians about regional issues. Meanwhile, Iran keeps detaining and arresting American dual-nationals, testing missiles and threatening American allies.

The Obama administration has spent all its efforts on fooling the American public that it got a good deal with Iran rather than trying to get a good deal.