ICYMI: More Must-Reads On Iran Deal
August is typically a month during which people go on vacation and not very much is happening. Not so this year. Below are some of the more noteworthy news items from the past week and a half, though I can’t pretend to have been exhaustive.
- For all of us watching the news surrounding the Obama administration’s proposed disaster of a deal with Iran, the highlight of last week was clearly Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer’s public declaration of his opposition to it. His statement was deliberative, thoughtful, and well-reasoned. It’s well-worth reading in full, if you haven’t already done so. Yesterday the Senator added that “even if the U.S. backs away and other countries lift their sanctions, Iran still will feel meaningful pressure from the U.S. penalties . . . [and] secondary sanctions are very powerful.”
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to some of the vitriol coming from Obama’s supporters in the wake of Schumer’s announcement. While saying that he remains undecided about the deal, Bloomberg called out the White House for “resorting to intimidation and demonization” and for “smearing critics,” rather than addressing their arguments. “Schumer is right,” Bloomberg says, “that this is a vote of conscience. Each member of Congress, after closely studying the deal and listening to all arguments on both sides, ought to decide the matter on the merits — and the White House should be focused on making the case on the merits, instead of using campaign-style tactics to pressure Democrats into standing together.”
- Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that if Iran violates the conventional arms embargo, during the short period of time that it remains in effect, there will be no “snapback” of sanctions. Meanwhile, President Obama has admitted, for the second time, that he has “no doubt” that some of the funds that Iran receives after sanctions relief will be used to fund terror.
- In the New York Post, Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer provide details about the financial benefit that Iran stands to gain from the proposed sanctions relief:
According to the deal, within six to 12 months, Treasury will de-list more than three dozen banks, oil companies and other investments belonging to the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, a?k?a EIKO. Reportedly worth more than $95 billion, EIKO is controlled by the supreme leader. . . .
EIKO maintains a complex network of front companies and subsidiaries abroad in places like Germany, Croatia, South Africa, the UAE, Turkey and beyond.
These businesses were all flagged by the US government for illicit financial practices, including government corruption. As Treasury noted, EIKO made tens of billions of dollars alone through the exploitation of favorable loan rates from Iranian banks.
And they’ll all soon be off our sanctions list. Not because they have suddenly become legitimate. In fact, there’s no indication that their conduct has changed. . . .
No matter how you slice it, this move undermines the mandate of the Treasury Department, which has spent the last decade building a powerful yet delicate sanctions architecture designed to punish Iran for its nuclear mendacity, ballistic-missile development, financial support for terrorist groups and backing of other rogue states like Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. . . .
Once EIKO is freed from the sanctions list, Khamenei will be free to invest billions around the world with impunity.
- The Washington Free Beacon reports that 94 members of the US House of Representatives have demanded that the President disclose the secret side deals made between Iran and the IAEA.
- The President of the unfortunately-acronymed Insititute for Science and International Security has written an op-ed in the Washington Post, in which he explains his concerns about recent activities at the Iranian Parchin military facility:
Concern about Parchin has become more urgent now that there is a debate raging over whether the IAEA will have adequate access to this site under the terms of its deal with Iran. It would be irresponsible not to worry about reports that suggest that Iran could be again sanitizing the site to thwart environmental sampling that could reveal past nuclear weapons activities there. This concern is further heightened because Iran has demanded to do this sampling itself instead of letting the IAEA do it. Such an arrangement is unprecedented and risky, and will be even more so if Iran continues to sanitize the site. In the cases of the Iranian Kalaye Electric site and the North Korean plutonium separation plant at Yongbyon, the success of sampling that showed undeclared activities depended on samples being taken at non-obvious locations identified during previous IAEA visits inside buildings. The IAEA will not be able to visit Parchin until after the samples are taken, and it remains doubtful that the inspectors will be able to take additional samples.
- The former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Robert G. Joseph, testified before Congress that “the threat to the U.S. homeland and to our NATO allies of an Iran armed with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will increase not decrease under the anticipated agreement.”
- CNN Money reports experts believe that the administration’s claims that the dollar will suffer if Congress rejects the deal are “an exaggeration, if not a misstatement entirely.”
No question, such a situation could get ugly, but experts say the dollar isn’t going anywhere.
What, after all are the alternatives? The euro? The Japanese yen? China’s yuan? Bitcoin?
A group of US veterans is opposing the deal, on the ground that it provides more money for Iran’s terrorism. You can view the group’s very powerful ad in the Bloomberg report here.
- Jeffrey Goldberg’s essay published yesterday, “Why Iran’s Anti-Semitism Matters” is most notable for the fact that it seems to embody the joke that Goldberg made within it: after quoting the President explaining that there are a “wide range of views within the Jewish community,” Goldberg writes, “I noted that I myself share most of those opinions.” Those contradictory opinions all seem to be vying for the lead role in his essay. Nevertheless, I highly recommend reading it in full, for the explanation of Obama and Kerry’s blind spot regarding the fact that “bringing about the end of the sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East is a paramount political and theological mission of the Iranian regime.”
- Finally, I’ll resort to some shameless self-promotion of my own post on Legal Insurrection, in which I ask, “when did it become anti-American to oppose terrorism and genocide?”