There’s been a lot happening with respect to the proposed Iran nuclear deal and Congress’s review of it, and it’s hard to keep up with all of the news. Here are a few can’t-miss items from the past week.
- In Saturday’s New York Post, Amir Taheri reported that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has written and published a book describing his plan to eradicate Israel.
Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon. His position is instead based on “well-established Islamic principles.”
One such principle is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims. . . .[A]ccording to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as “adou” and “doshman,” meaning “enemy” and “foe,” is a special case [compared to other lands that were once but no longer under Muslim rule] for three reasons.
The first is that it is a loyal “ally of the American Great Satan” and a key element in its “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah.”
Wow. I guess tweeting “Nine key questions about the destruction of Israel” wasn’t sufficient.
- In the Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol write that the Obama administration is withholding key documents detailing Iran’s support for al Qaeda.
We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans. Some of these officials believe this information alone could derail the deal. We haven’t seen it. But the American people should see it all before Congress votes on the deal in September.
“There are letters about Iran’s role, influence, and acknowledgment of enabling al Qaeda operatives to pass through Iran as long as al Qaeda did their dirty work against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, tells The Weekly Standard. “What Congress should demand is to see all the UBL [Osama bin Laden] documents related to Iran and all the documents related to intentions of AQ into the future—they are very telling.”
Hayes and Kristol claim to have been told that “one document fills in the picture of possible Iranian foreknowledge and complicity in the 9/11 attacks first raised in the 9/11 Commission report.”
- Josh Rogin reported Thursday that Jacques Audibert, the senior diplomatic adviser to French President Francois Hollande, disagrees with Secretary Kerry’s view that Iran will not negotiate again if Congress votes down the proposed deal.
Earlier this month, [Audibert] met with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Mike Turner, both top members of the House Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Iran deal. The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, was also in the room.
According to both lawmakers, Audibert expressed support for the deal overall, but also directly disputed Kerry’s claim that a Congressional rejection of the Iran deal would result in the worst of all worlds, the collapse of sanctions and Iran racing to the bomb without restrictions.
“He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,” Sanchez told me in an interview. “He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.”
- Adam Kredo reported on Iranian lead negotiator Javad Zarif’s comments that the proposed agreement will allow them to violate the conventional arms embargo for the short time that it remains in place, and that the deal “puts the Zionist Regime in an irrecoverable danger.”
- Secretary Kerry has admitted in his testimony before Congress that he has never read the side agreements between Iran and the IAEA that are part of his proposed deal. You can watch his testimony here. He’s also told Congress that he has “no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us.”
- The President, meanwhile, complained in a private conference call about the “well-financed lobbyists” at AIPAC who oppose the proposed agreement. (Funny how he didn’t seem to mind them when he asked for AIPAC’s help with Syria.)
Importantly, three Congressional Democrats have come out against the proposed deal.
- Representative Albio Sires from New Jersey wrote,
Iran has spent decades evading international sanctions, promoting terror in the region, and violently oppressing its own people. I am concerned that if the proposed agreement is made official, hardliners within the Iranian regime may hinder its implementation. Most importantly, the time frame of the deal is too short and it is unclear what will happen to Iran’s nuclear program after the initial pressure to comply dissipates and Iran is allowed to enhance its nuclear and weapons capabilities.
In the coming months, I will continue to meet with constituents, experts, and our allies in the region, but I am not convinced that this is in the best interest of our national security.
- Representative Grace Meng from New York wrote,
I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which I will therefore oppose.
While I will continue to study the finer points of the deal, they will not be dispositive for me. I believe the inspections procedures set forth are flawed – leading nuclear experts assert that, pursuant to these procedures, inspectors would not necessarily know whether Iran is manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. This is unacceptable. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that almost all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact; this leads me to believe Iran would simply resume its pursuit of a nuclear weapon at the conclusion of the deal in a decade’s time. Finally, the immediate sanctions relief provided Iran in the deal would incentivize the funding of terrorism and lessen Iran’s interest in restraining its nuclear ambitions over the long term.
- Representative Juan Vargas from California wrote,
It is a fact that Hezbollah, the Iranian terrorist proxy responsible for more American deaths than anyone except al-Qaeda, has more than 100,000 missiles aimed at civilians in Israel. And it is a fact that Iran has financed, trained and equipped Shiite death squads in Iraq and Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan and rewarded them for killing American troops.
In Syria, Iran continues to provide billions of dollars per year in support of Bashar Assad’s murderous regime, even as it uses chemical weapons to slaughter innocent Syrians. In Iraq, Iran supports Shiite militias, which spent most of the past decade fighting American troops and attacking Sunnis throughout the country. And in Yemen, Iranian backed Houthi rebels have taken control of the capital, Sana’a, and overthrown the government, which had been an important ally in our war on terrorism.
Rather than demand Iran’s bad behavior be corrected, this agreement rewards it.