April 26th, 2017

Obama and the Iran deal, redux

I’m surprised to see Politico publishing an investigative report that’s critical of Obama’s Iran deal (see also this). After all, Politico has usually been Obama- and Democrat-friendly.

But I suppose that article is in the nature of a “now it can be told” story. Now it can be told—because the damage is done, and Obama is earning his well-deserved rest from the cares of executive office, although the post of leader of the Democratic Party seems to be one he still holds.

The article by Josh Meyer details some of the hidden bargains Obama made in order to get Iranian compliance, or the appearance of Iranian compliance. The first issue involves the release of prisoners, which was presented as far less costly on our part than it actually was. For example (and this is just a small portion of the information Meyer uncovered):

And in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men, all of them fugitives. The administration didn’t disclose their names or what they were accused of doing, noting only in an unattributed, 152-word statement about the swap that the U.S. “also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.”

Three of the fugitives allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities say had supported Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. A fourth, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.

A fifth, Amin Ravan, was charged with smuggling U.S. military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran. U.S. authorities also believe he was part of a procurement network providing Iran with high-tech components for an especially deadly type of IED used by Shiite militias to kill hundreds of American troops in Iraq.

The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.

When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.

I certainly was unaware of these details. But none of it surprises me, and I bet that none of it surprises most of my readers.

There also is no reason to be surprised that the prisoner release was just the beginning of the betrayals:

Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort.

That series of actions started in the fall of 2014. To me, this has not only Obama’s fingerprints on it, but John Kerry’s prints as well. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton (and there’s plenty to say), I don’t think she would have been quite as willing and eager to sign off on this as Kerry, who was the perfect person to execute the plan. Kerry had become Secretary of State in February of 2013, and I believe he was instrumental in carrying out Obama’s wishes.

I haven’t yet had time to read the entire Politico piece; it’s long. But I plan to read the whole thing, and I suggest you do so, too.

[NOTE: Meyer has only been with Politico for a few months, but he’s been doing investigative reporting for many years, much of it with the LA Times. I don’t know his political persuasion (he has written mostly for liberal publications), but here’s his resume. It includes this:

Josh is currently the director of education and outreach of the Medill Journalism School National Security Journalism Initiative…At the Los Angeles Times, Meyer was a staff writer for 20 years, the last nine as its terrorism/national security reporter in Washington. He won or shared in numerous local, state and national awards at the paper, including two staff Pulitzer Prizes and also an Overseas Press Club award for his investigative reporting before 9/11 on Al Qaeda’s efforts to establish a covert U.S. presence and to launch attacks on U.S. soil.

Whatever his politics may be, Meyer’s immersion in national security matters indicates to me that his motivation to keep going with this piece was outrage at what happened at the hands of Obama and Kerry.]

[NOTE II: By the way, the networks don’t seem to be covering the story, at least up to the point this was written.]

6 Responses to “Obama and the Iran deal, redux”

  1. neo-neocon Says:

    One hint on the blog glitch problem:

    I’ve discovered that if you force a cache refresh by pressing CTL + F5, you can usually make the blog display the comments and the posts properly. Let me know if you see the most recent posts when you do that.

    All you computer experts or semi-experts out there, do you have any advice for fixing things, based on this new information? I’m still getting professionals to help, but they’re taking longer than I’d like.

  2. huxley Says:

    This is a juicy topic. Has no one else commented?

    The Iran deal is probably the worst failure in the Obama foreign policy grab-bag.

    I’ve forgotten which Obama operative said it, now the Big O is out of office, but one of them conceded Iran was the most discussed issue inside the Obama White House but the least acknowledged to American citizens.

  3. Yann Says:

    As for a reason, a key could be religion. The father of Obama was a Shia Muslim. Let’s remember that Shia are the minoritary Islamic trend (most Muslims are Sunni) that is mainly located in Iran.

    And Obama admired his father.

    That doesn’t mean Obama was secretly Muslim, as some conspiracy theories support. But very likely Obama is a cultural Muslims, the same most of Western people, we are cultural Christians or Judeo-Christians, even if we are Atheists.

    That, for example, would explain that the main statics in US (GDP and unemployment), they diverge from related indexes for FIRST TIME. By related indexes I mean Energy Consumption, Labor Workforce, Industrial Production Index and similar ones, which are not fine-tuned but are reliable when it comes to the trend.

    And what could be the reason?. Well, for cultural Christians, lying is wrong, but for cultural Muslims, lying to infidels (and here Obama probably identify Republicans as infidels) is a virtue. It’s called Taqiyya and it’s even a mandate. So from the point of view of Obama, very likely, lying was right.

  4. Cornhead Says:

    This Iran deal – in all aspects – is the worst of all time. Iran will have nukes in 4-5 years and we will have paid for them.

    Maybe Trump, Tillerson and Pompeo can fix this but it is a tall order. Just glad we have these guys on the job.

  5. Cornhead Says:

    I will be interested to read the take of Ben Rhodes on the Iran deal. Traitor.

    Rhodes is the new Benedict Arnold.

  6. Cornhead Says:

    At least Arnold got some money. All that Rhodes got was a lousy book deal.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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