Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Republican Weekly Address, President Obama's Iran Deal, Saturday September 5, 2015

[OPINION] Booker: Why I will vote for Iran nuclear deal

Irannuclear deal images - Google Search
Despite its significant shortcomings, we have passed a point of no return. Accepting this deal and moving forward with vigilance and continued commitment to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is preferable to a world in which a debilitated sanctions regime and fractured community of nations allows Iran to acquire many of the benefits of this deal without accepting its meaningful constraints.

Over the past several weeks I have studied the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and exhaustively explored the possible ramifications of this agreement and its alternatives. I've consulted with an array of experts on both sides of the debate, sat in classified briefings, discussed it with former and current White House leadership, and benefited from the wise insights of both Republican and Democratic colleagues in the Senate. I also studied Iran and its history, its decades-long efforts to illicitly obtain a nuclear weapon and the evil nature and horrific extent of its support and sponsorship of terrorism, its destabilizing involvement in ongoing regional conflicts, and its destructive hatred and determination to destroy the United States and our ally Israel. 

I have come to recognize that on both sides of this debate there are people who want peace and share my fervent determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Both those who support this deal and those who oppose it have reasonable arguments as to why their chosen path is the right one or the better option for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran without the necessity for military conflict. 

After hours and hours of study, research, deliberation and consultation, I am more convinced than ever that eliminating the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is among the most important global security challenges of our time. Allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon would pose an unacceptable and grave threat to the safety of our allies, to Middle East stability, and to American security.

We began negotiations with Iran at a time when our sanctions regime was having its most significant impact on the Iranians. We were gaining maximum leverage on Iran through coordinated economic sanctions with our international partners. We joined with our partner nations at the outset of negotiations with the stated intention of preventing Iran from having the capability to get a nuclear weapon.

Unfortunately, it's clear we didn't achieve that objective and have only delayed – not blocked – Iran's potential nuclear breakout. 

But, with the JCPOA, we have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached, leaving our nation to choose between two imperfect, dangerous and uncertain options. Left with these two choices, I nonetheless believe it is better to support a deeply flawed deal, for the alternative is worse. Thus, I will vote in support of the deal. But the United States must recognize that to make this deal work, we must be more vigilant than ever in fighting Iranian aggression.

Make no mistake, this deal, while falling short of permanently eliminating Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon, succeeds in either delaying it or giving us the credible ability to detect significant cheating on their part and respond accordingly. It establishes historically unprecedented mechanisms to block Iran's near-term pathway to a nuclear weapon. This deal will remove 98 percent of Iran's enriched uranium stockpile—taking the amount of fissile material from 12,000kg – enough to make multiple bombs – to 300kg, which isn't close to enough material for even one. None of their enrichment will be underground at the Fordow facility. The agreement will remove and fill with concrete the core of Iran's heavy water reactor at Arak. The deal will establish the most robust monitoring and inspections regime ever negotiated, covering Iran's entire nuclear supply chain for 15 years. Some of the most intrusive monitoring, including of its uranium mines and mills and centrifuge production facilities, will last well beyond that period. The agreement will also establish strict limits on Iran's research and development for the next 10 years.

Friday, September 4, 2015

An Anti-American White House. Column: Barack Obama’s presidency has empowered the adversaries of the United States

This week President Obama won the 34th vote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran. The vote, from Senator Barbara Mikulski, guarantees that the deal will survive a rejection by Congress. The fact that the deal will be made despite such opposition—something a few of us predicted months ago—is, in the words of the AP, a “landmark Obama victory.” It is worth asking how many more of these victories our country can withstand.
The president and his supporters, of course, say their foreign policy has improved the world. “Like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,” writes Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs, “Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.”
I’m not convinced. Rather than trying to predict how things will look when Obama leaves office, rather than contemplating abstractions such as our “overall foreign policy agenda” and “national power position,” why not examine the actual results of Obama’s policies, as they exist now, in the real world before our eyes?
If we do that, we get an outcome different from Gideon’s. Subjectively, the president may be trying to peacefully integrate rogue regimes into the liberal international order. Objectively, however, the result of Obama’s foreign policy is to empower America’s adversaries. This has been, in its conduct and consequences, an anti-American White House.
I am not saying that the president or the Democratic Party is anti-American in ideology or rhetoric or intent. What I am saying is that the net effect of President Obama’s actions has been to legitimize, strengthen, and embolden nations whose anti-Americanism is public and vicious and all too serious.
Iran is an obvious example. The anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of the regime is inescapable. Not even Obama, who has gone out of his way to defend the Iranians as rational actors, can ignore it. How has Iran’s “power position” been affected by this White House? In 2009, when the regime faced its most serious challenge in years, the president was silent. In 2011 and 2013, when urged to act against the regime’s closest ally in Syria, the president did nothing.
Why? To speak out in favor of protesting students, to support the Syrian rebels, to punish Bashar al-Assad for violating red lines the president himself had drawn—these acts would have jeopardized the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
The outcome of those negotiations was a deal in which the Iranians agree to suspend some elements of their nuclear research for about a decade in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. So a fundamentalist theocracy whose leaders chant “Death to America” and whose self-identity is based on a revolutionary challenge to the United States and Israel has been endorsed as a quasi-member of the “international community,” and will receive an infusion of much needed cash.
The Iranian leadership is strengthened, the Iranian economy is strengthened, the Iranian paramilitaries and terrorist affiliates—active in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and beyond—are strengthened, all in the fissiparous hope that decades from now this deal will result in Iran’s liberalization. Oh, and at the end of the decade, Iran retains the capability to build an atom bomb. How powerful, how dangerous, will Iranian anti-Americanism be then?
Cuba is not as important a world power as Iran, but it, too, was forged in anti-American upheaval, its ideology is anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-liberal, and its elite bears long-held grievances against the United States. The U.S. trade embargo may not have driven the Castros from power, but it nonetheless expresses American opposition to the nature of Cuba’s government, and to the aims and practices of its rulers. President Obama’s thawing of relations with Cuba repudiates this traditional, bipartisan, moral stand in return for … what exactly? The truth is we receive less from the opening of Cuba than we do from our détente with Iran.
The United States, as a superpower, can afford to be magnanimous with nuisances such as Cuba. But that doesn’t mean we should indulge in the fantasy that the provision of economic and diplomatic stimulus to a decrepit communist backwater will bring positive consequences for the cause of freedom and democracy, and improve the political status of the Cuban people. Nor should we cling to the idea that engaging and trading with the Cubans will pacify them. America has been trading with China for decades. The Chinese are just as un-free as they were the day Apple built its first factory there—and indeed China is more powerful, its influence greater, its willingness to challenge the United States more robust than before. What will Cuba look like—how well armed and fascistic will it be—after 20 years of trade with America?
Cuba may be unimportant, for now, but Russia is not. It has repeatedly rejected President Obama’s desire for a “reset” in relations, and has opted for historical revisionism and territorial expansion. Not only has Vladimir Putin an entire global propaganda network to attack, defame, and inspire hatred of the United States, he has Georgia, Crimea, much of eastern Ukraine, and a nuclear stockpile too.
The Baltic States are terrified of Putin’s next move, as he orders Bear Bombers to fly near our shores and deploys troops to fight alongside the Syrian military. The power base from which he launches his ideological and paramilitary attacks on the West has not diminished. It has expanded.
Indeed, the size of territory held or claimed by anti-American forces has increased considerably since President Obama took office. Not only has Russia slowly digested a once-independent nation. China has also built a series of islands to assert its claims in the South China Sea, the Islamic State governs the western provinces of what was once Iraq, Libya has fallen to Islamic militias, and the Taliban have reclaimed the south of Afghanistan. Each enlargement of the anti-American sphere brings new recruits to the various hostile causes, strengthens our adversaries’ convictions that they are on the winning side of history, fuels their desire to project power even further, heightens the risk of instability and terror.
There is no more inescapable force than the law of unintended consequences. The president, writes Gideon Rose, is “best understood as an ideological liberal with a conservative temperament—somebody who felt that after a period of reckless overexpansion and belligerent unilateralism, the country’s long-term foreign policy goals could best be furthered by short-term retrenchment.” However one understands Obama, whatever one thinks he has been doing, the results of his “short term” retrenchment have energized and amplified the global cause of anti-Americanism.
“Human beings,” wrote James Burnham in 1941, “as individuals and in groups, try to achieve various goals—food, power, comfort, peace, privilege, security, freedom, and so on. They take steps that, as they see them, will aid in reaching the goal in question.”
And yet, “experience teaches us not merely that the goals are often not reached but that the effect of the steps taken is frequently toward a very different result from the goal which was originally held in mind and which motivated the taking of the steps in the first place.”
Experience has taught Obama nothing. The next administration won’t be “building” on his foundation. It will be attempting to reclaim the ground that this anti-American White House has lost.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Obama Set To Force Iran Deal On Congress

U.S. President Barack Obama waves to reporters after returning to the White House on board Marine One September 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama is poised to bypass a congressional majority and voter opinion as he implements the Iran deal.
Obama secured the votes he needs to stop Congress from interfering Wednesday, which is a huge victory that means the deal will almost certainly be implemented. But the lack of support for such a critical matter of national security within and without Congress is striking.
A recent Quinnipiac poll found voters 55 percent of voters oppose the deal, compared to just 25 percent who support the deal. Another survey found deep skepticism of the deal among U.S. active-duty military and civilian government employees in national-security jobs. Only 26 percent of those surveyed by Defense One said the deal is good for the U.S., while 66 percent said the deal is not good for the U.S.
More than 50 senators, including Democrats Chuck Schumer, who is the senior senator, and Robert Menendez, who is the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, do not support the deal. Not a single Republican supports it, and many Democrats remain undecided.
Just 34 senators — all Democrats — openly support the deal.
Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski deliberated for weeks before announcing support of the deal, saying it’s “not perfect” but “is the best option available” to stop Iran from making a nuclear bomb.
Congress will vote on a resolution in the coming weeks condemning the deal, and Obama apparently doesn’t have enough support in Congress to block the resolution. With Mikulski’s support he has just barely scraped together the 34 votes he needs to prevent what would be an embarrassing veto override.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called support for the deal in Congress “tepid, restricted and partisan,” in a statement Wednesday, and said the fight ahead “will require a bipartisan Congress.”
Supporters of the deal argue it’s the best and only option to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but critics say lifting sanctions will dangerously bolster Iran’s government and are skeptical Iran will live up to its side of the bargain.

Monday, August 31, 2015

[VIDEO] CNN: DNC Not Backing Iran Deal ‘Big Embarrassment’ for Obama

President Obama suffered an “embarrassment” with the Democratic National Committee not passing a resolution over the weekend in support of his Iran nuclear deal, CNN panelists said Sunday.
According to the Washington Post, party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) blocked the resolution at the summer meeting in Minnesota.
“The Obama-controlled DNC could not pass a resolution this weekend expressing support for President Obama’s Iran deal,” New York Timesreporter Jonathan Martin said. “It’s a bit of an embarrassment for the administration seeing as it’s how his party, he appointed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and it’s revived the sort-of latest round of eye-rolling among Democratic operatives about the state of the party.”
CNN host John King said Martin was being diplomatic, saying it was a “big embarrassment for the president.”

Saturday, August 29, 2015

[VIDEO] Republican Weekly Address: Iran Deal Saturday August 29, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The president’s nuclear agreement with Iran and its consequences for our national security will be the focus of this week’s Republican address,  to be delivered by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA).  Earlier this month, Royce introduced H.J. Res. 64, legislation preventing implementation of the agreement. 
"Stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.  Unfortunately, the President's Iran agreement is fundamentally flawed, and makes this dire threat more likely - not less,” Chairman Royce said. “I look forward to sharing with Americans the troubling aspects of this agreement as the House and Senate get set for a vote in September."
Rep. Royce became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2013.  He is in his 12th term representing Southern California’s 39th district.  Learn more by visiting the committee’s official website or by following the committee on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reid to support Iran nuke deal, fight to get it past Senate

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will endorse the Iran nuclear deal, according to a statement the Nevada Democrat released Sunday.
"I strongly support this historic agreement and will do everything in my power to ensure that it stands," Reid said in the statement.
He called stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon "one of the most important national security challenges of our generation."
"This nuclear agreement is consistent with the greatest traditions of American leadership. I will do everything in my power to support this agreement and ensure that America holds up our end of the commitment we have made to our allies and the world to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  I will vote no on the resolution of disapproval and urge my colleagues to do the same," the statement continued.
The Nevada Democrat’s decision provides much needed support as President Obama tries to win approval for the plan.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the deal stands,” Reid told the Washington Post, which first published reports of Reid's approval.
The multi-national deal would lift billions in crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for the rogue country curtailing its nuclear-development program.
Congress must approve the deal before it can be completed and is scheduled to vote promptly after returning from summer recess on Sept. 8 -- near the end of the members’ 60-day review period.
The House and Senate are expected to have enough votes to initially disapprove of the plan.
However, the plan is ultimately expected to go through because Obama will almost surely veto the disapproval measure. The Senate is not expected to have the two-thirds vote to override the veto, and the House override vote is also expected to be close.
Republicans who control both chambers largely disapprove of the plan and would need support from at least 13 Senate Democrats to override the veto.
Reid’s support follows New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer recently saying that he will not support the deal. Schumer is expected to replace Reid upon his retirement.
“We don’t disagree on much, but we disagree on this,” Reid said about Schumer's decision.
And last week, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would vote against the deal.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

[VIDEO] Copy of Iran ‘side deal’ backs reports Tehran would have major role in nuke site inspections

A draft document exclusively obtained by Fox News supports reports that Iran would play a major role in inspections at its controversial Parchin nuclear site, by providing U.N. inspectors with crucial materials. 
The so-called side deal, labeled "Separate arrangement II," says Iran will "provide to the [International Atomic Energy Agency]" photos and videos of locations and environmental samples, "taking into account military concerns." 
Details of the arrangement were first reported by the Associated Press. 
The agreement also provides that the agency would ensure the "technical authenticity" of activities -- in other words, ensuring nuclear work was not meant for weapons development -- but the IAEA would use Iran's "authenticated equipment." 
This would be followed by a visit from the IAEA director general. 
The details of the agreement for Parchin, where Iran has long been suspected of trying to build nuclear weapons, have fueled concerns from critics. 
"The agreement looks like Iran calls the shots, vetoing technical inspections when they want, where they want at the Parchin military site," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement. 
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News the side agreement is a "joke" and threatened to withhold millions of taxpayer dollars "until I get to look at this side deal." 
The IAEA, though, has called the original AP report -- which also suggested Iran would be able to self-police inspection of the Parchin site and use its own experts -- a misrepresentation. 
"I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement. 
A senior Obama administration official also told Fox News, "There is no 'self-inspection' of Iranian facilities, and the IAEA has in no way given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Not now and certainly not in the future." 
The official called the IAEA-Iran arrangements "technically sound and consistent with the agency's long-established practice." 

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