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Thread: Obama Administration Weakens Sanctions Against Iran

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    Default Obama Administration Weakens Sanctions Against Iran

    Companion Thread:


    Obama Administration Tries To Weaken Sanctions Against Iran

    December 7, 2011

    Despite the spin coming from the Obama White House and its defenders, including DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Fox News today, the Obama White House is actually pressuring Congress to weaken sanctions against Iran and the Central Bank of Iran (CBI)

    The Obama administration wants Congress to “ease the potential impact of crippling sanctions,” despite the fact that the U.S. Senate voted 100-0 in favor of the restrictions against the CBI. Proponents of the sanctions against the CBI say that it will help curb Iran’s pursuit for nuclear weapons.


    Yet the Obama administration has publicly opposed this move, leading a prominent Democrat supporter of the sanctions to complain that he felt “burned” by the Obama administration’s opposition. The headlines tell the story alone:


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Tries To Weaken Sanctions Against Iran

    Weak on Iran

    12:52 PM, Dec 9, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER

    The Senate passed the Kirk-Menendez amendment last week—which would sanction the Central Bank of Iran and other financial institutions—by a startling 100-0 vote. The Obama administration opposed the legislation and is currently working to weaken the sanctions as the bill as now in conference. Josh Rogin reports:
    The current sanctions language at the center of the closed door debate is the amendment by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), which passed the Senate by a rare 100-0 vote over the very public objections of top Obama administration officials. The amendment would direct the Obama administration to take punitive measures against foreign banks that do business with the CBI, but gives the administration more leeway to implement the sanctions than Kirk's original language.
    The Administration urged Kirk and Menendez to come up with a compromise amendment but then came out against that very compromise last week, angering and alienating Menendez, who needs to be tough on the issue ahead of his re-election bid next year. The Cable has obtained the administration's private communications to the conferees spelling out the changes they want to the Kirk-Menendez amendment; they can be found here and here.

    Basically, the Administration wants to delay the implementation of sanctions not related to oil purchases from 60 to 180 days, and wants to water down the severity of sanctions measures if and when they are put into effect.
    Unfortunately, sanctions are not the only place where the administration has shown itself to be on the weak side of the Iran issue. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been going around suggesting that, when dealing with Iran, all options are not on the table. In today’s Washington Post, the problems with this approach are explained:
    What doesn’t make sense is a public spelling out of reasons against military action — like that delivered by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last Friday before a U.S.-Israeli conference in Washington. Mr. Panetta said that a strike would “at best” slow down Iran’s program for “maybe one, possibly two years”; that “some of those targets are very difficult to get at”; that a now-isolated regime would be able to “reestablish itself” in the region; that the United States would be the target of Iranian retaliation; and that the global economy would be damaged.

    Some of Mr. Panetta’s assumptions are debatable: For example, would Arab states — many of which have been quietly hoping for a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran — really rally behind a regime they regard as a deadly enemy? And if bombing destroyed thousands of Iranian centrifuges, which are manufactured from materials Tehran cannot easily acquire, would it really be so simple to rebuild?

    But even if every point were true, there is no reason for the defense secretary to spell out such views in public. No doubt President Obama and the Israeli defense ministry are well aware of the Pentagon’s views, but alarmed Iranian leaders could well conclude that they have no reason for concern after all.
    Whole editorial here.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Tries To Weaken Sanctions Against Iran

    Obama Is Giving Away Too Much to Iran With Sanctions Talk


    By Ilan Berman

    November 5, 2013 RSS Feed Print


    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani


    Well, that didn't take long. Just weeks after the high-profile New York visit of Iran's "moderate" new president, Hassan Rouhani – and on the heels of cordial but fruitless talks between U.S. and Iranian diplomats in Geneva – the Obama administration appears to be preparing to throw economic sanctions under the policy bus.

    On October 25th, the White House's top Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, used the Voice of America's Persian News Network as a platform to lobby for American lawmakers to institute a "pause" in sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Her rationale? That Congress should hold off on economic pressure against Iran in order to allow the administration's diplomatic outreach to "gain traction."

    But it's far from clear what, exactly, this "traction" might be. Following its meetings with U.S. emissaries in Geneva, the Iranian regime announced a major expansion of its nuclear effort, with no fewer than 34 new nuclear sites now slated for construction along the country's Persian Gulf and Caspian coasts.

    Iranian officials likewise remain defiant over the scope of their nuclear development. In a statement that assuredly reflects the thinking of Iran's supreme leader, the head of the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, recently maintained that the Islamic Republic will never agree to shutter the Fordow uranium enrichment facility – a key concession that officials in the U.S. and Europe had expected Iran to make.

    Meanwhile, a top expert on Iran's nuclear program has estimated that the Iranian regime has already passed the "point of no return," and can now enrich at least part of its existing stock of uranium to weapons grade in as little as two weeks, if it makes the strategic choice to do so. After that, according to Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian regime would be just a month or two from assembling a nuclear weapon, assuming it has the requisite know-how to do so.

    Time, in other words, is in distinctly short supply. Yet administration officials remain exceedingly optimistic about their ability to talk Iran out of its national nuclear project. And because they are, the White House has begun lobbying Congress to defer applying more of the kind of pressure that brought Iran to the nuclear negotiating table in the first place.

    Whether it will succeed in doing so is very much an open question. Lawmakers in the Senate, for example, are still actively debating new sanctions that would have the effect of eventually slashing Iran's current oil exports – already severely impacted by previous rounds of economic pressure – by as much as half. But Iran's regime, at least, is clearly banking on the administration to be able to successfully keep Congress in check, and as a result is now planning for a return to business as usual with the world.

    Tehran has reportedly intensified its contacts with oil buyers, offering them sweetheart deals should sanctions indeed be lifted. Iranian officials, moreover, are confident that this will happen, and sooner rather than later. "Given the new circumstances, a large number of traditional buyers of Iranian oil are making the preparations and providing the facilities for raising their oil purchase from Iran," Mohsen Ghamsari, the head of Iran's official National Iranian Oil Company, has explained.

    That's an ominous sign, because it suggests that Iran's leaders believe that the lure of "engagement" is enough to make the White House go wobbly on the extensive sanctions policy that it and its predecessors have painstakingly erected over the past decade-and-a-half. If they are right, meaningful sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic might be right around the corner. So, very likely, is an Iranian sprint to the nuclear finish line, with the regime in Tehran having received some much-needed breathing room from Washington.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Tries To Weaken Sanctions Against Iran

    Exclusive: Obama’s Secret Iran Détente

    by Eli Lake, Josh Rogin Long before a nuclear deal was in reach, the U.S. was quietly lifting some of the financial pressure on Iran, a Daily Beast investigation reveals. How the sanctions were softened.

    The Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran’s new president in June, months before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva or the historic phone call between the two leaders in September.

    Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam/AP
    While those negotiations now appear on the verge of a breakthrough the key condition for Iran—relief from crippling sanctions—began quietly and modestly five months ago.


    A review of Treasury Department notices reveals that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June.

    On Wednesday Obama said in an interview with NBC News the negotiations in Geneva “are not about easing sanctions.” “The negotiations taking place are about how Iran begins to meet its international obligations and provide assurances not just to us but to the entire world,” the president said.

    But it has also long been Obama’s strategy to squeeze Iran’s economy until Iran would be willing to trade relief from sanctions for abandoning key elements of its nuclear program.

    One way Obama has pressured Iran is through isolating the country’s banks from the global financial sector, the networks that make modern international commerce possible. This in turn has led Iran to seek out front companies and cutouts to conduct routine international business, such as selling its crude oil.

    In this cat and mouse game, the Treasury Department in recent years has routinely designated new entities as violators of sanctions, forcing Iran to adjust in turn. In the six weeks prior to the Iranian elections in June, the Treasury Department issued seven notices of designations of sanctions violators that included more than 100 new people, companies, aircraft, and sea vessels.

    Since June 14, however, when Rouhani was elected, the Treasury Department has only issued two designation notices that have identified six people and four companies as violating the Iran sanctions.

    When an entity is designated as a sanctions violator it can be catastrophic. Banks and other investors almost never take the risk of doing business with the people and companies on a Treasury blacklist because of the potential reputational harm and the prospect they could lose access to U.S. financial markets.

    “Sounds like Obama decided to enter the Persian nuclear bazaar to haggle with the masters of negotiation.”
    A Treasury spokesman contacted by The Daily Beast said the effectiveness of sanctions should be measured by their results and not the number of entities designated. (A White House spokesman declined to comment, directing inquiries to the Treasury.) The Treasury spokesman also said that the significant financial pressure on Iran in recent years changed the calculus of the country’s leaders and led to the election of Rouhani, who is a former nuclear negotiator and is considered more moderate than his predecessor.

    “In the months since the Iranian election we have continued to pursue our unwavering goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the spokesman said. “We have not let up on vigorous sanctions enforcement one iota. This includes new designations of sanctions evaders as well as other steps to address potential sanctions evasion.”

    But the enforcement of sanctions, experts said, is very different than the process of designating new violators. To start, sanctions enforcement means the levying of fines or other legal measures against those people and entities already designated by the Treasury Department as a violator.

    The designation process is more proactive. “The designations are important because they identify illicit actors that are abusing the international financial sector in addition to signaling the U.S. intention to isolate Iran’s economy,” said Avi Jorisch, a former U.S. Treasury official who has worked closely on Iran sanctions and has advocated for toughening these sanctions since leaving government.

    Advocates of sanctions relief also acknowledge that the administration has pursued a policy of quietly lessening financial pressure on Iran. They argue that was a logical policy when married to the process of renewing diplomatic negotiations with Iran, which according to the Wall Street Journal this week, has been going on for several months.

    “Before the election there were a lot of these designations,” said Trita Parsi, the executive director of the National Iranian American Council, a group that has advocated for ending sanctions on Iran since. “Their impact was probably not decisive, but it was a way for the White House to signal to the Iranians and Congress they were going forward with the sanctions train.” Parsi continued: “After the election [the Obama administration] wanted to give the opposite signal, a pause. The last thing you would want to do is let the sanctions train go forward and potentially scuttle an opportunity that could have been there.”

    Following the Iranian elections, there were also a lot of changes inside the Iranian government, making the task of designating officials and entities a bit more tricky, Parsi said. But a significant part of the administration’s decision, in Parsi’s opinion, was the belief that continuing a high pace of designations would “undermine the signal that they were trying to send, that there was an opening.”

    Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, an organization that has worked closely with Congress and the administration on devising the current Iranian sanctions, said the slow pace of designations was only one kind of sanctions relief Obama has been offering Iran.

    “For five months, since Rouhani’s election, the United States has offered Iran two major forms of sanctions relief,” Dubowitz said. “First there’s been a significant slowdown in the pace of designations while the Iranians are proliferating the number of front companies and cutouts to bust sanctions.”

    The second kind of relief Dubowitz said the White House had offered Iran was through its opposition to new Iran sanctions legislation supported by both parties in Congress.

    By Dubowitz’s estimates, Iran is now selling between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels of oil per day on the black market, meaning that Iran has profited from the illicit sale of over 35 million barrels of oil since Rouhani took office, with little additional measures taken by the United States to counter it.


    “Sounds like Obama decided to enter the Persian nuclear bazaar to haggle with the masters of negotiation and has had his head handed to him,” Dubowitz said.


    Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.
    Eli Lake is the senior national-security correspondent for The Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for The Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

    Josh Rogin is senior correspondent for national security and politics for The Daily Beast. He previously worked at Newsweek, Foreign Policy magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Federal Computer Week magazine, and Japan’s leading daily newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Tries To Weaken Sanctions Against Iran

    Iran can now build and deliver nukes, US intel reports

    Tehran has capacity to break out to bomb if it wishes, intelligence chief James Clapper tells Senate, but would be detected if it tried to do so

    By Marissa Newman January 29, 2014, 10:05 pm


    An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)


    Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

    In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

    “Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

    In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.

    “Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.


    Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper (photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

    He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”

    Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.
    Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    “We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.
    The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”

    The report was released a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the interim nuclear agreement only set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by six weeks.

    “This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

    Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Zarif told CNN.

    Zarif repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching [uranium] over 5%.”

    The six-month deal freezes key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, while allowing limited enrichment to continue, in exchange for some economic sanctions relief. It went into effect on January 20.

    The next round of international nuclear negotiations with Iran is expected to be held in New York next month, according to officials involved in the planning.

    Israel has threatened to attack Iran should it not back off from its alleged pursuit of a military nuclear capability.

    On Tuesday, UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran to visit Iran’s Gachin uranium mine for the first time in several years, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. The visit was part of the framework of a separate deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency in November.

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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Weakens Sanctions Against Iran

    Valerie Jarrett Obama's 'real chief of staff'

    January 5, 2015

    By Thomas Lifson

    With the seating of the new Congress today, Barack Obama is officially a lame-duck president. That means that insiders and former insiders feel freer to start telling tales, a process already underway. The latest example comes from today’s Politico Playbook, which is the gossipy daily morning read of the entire D.C. political establishment.

    Today, Playbook offers excerpts from a new book, America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, by Steven Brill, founder of The American Lawyer and a media heavyweight who has obviously been talking with insiders. He says he spoke with 243 people, many of them multiple times, over 27 months. He confirms that Jarrett exercises extraordinary influence.

    "As a practical matter, ... Obama advisers maintained, [Valerie] Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on ... Asked about the assessments of ... five senior officials that Jarrett was 'the real chief of staff,' Obama declined comment." (p. 70)
    Hat tip: Ed Lasky


    PRESIDENT VALERIE JARRETT GIVES HER Subordinate, Deputy Assistant Aide to the Adjutant Co-President Barack Hussein Obama, his marching orders concerning her homeland of Iran.

    Posted on


    EXCERPT: “Through some very strong diplomatic work, we united the world and isolated Iran
    . And it’s because of that work that we brought them to the negotiating table.”

    But Obama is still putting the odds of a comprehensive agreement with Iran at “probably less than 50-50.” Iran, he said, is run by a regime that “is deeply suspicious of the west, deeply suspicious of us.”

    Obama said new sanctions legislation would likely cause the negotiations to collapse. “And if that happens, there is no constraint on Iran at that point going back and doing exactly what it had been doing before they came to the table.”

    He also said that if negotiations fail, the likelihood of military confrontation goes up, “and Congress will have to own that as well.”

    For that reason, Obama said he plans to veto any new sanctions that come to his desk.

    Obama, in speaking with the Democratic congressional caucus yesterday, said that “I respectfully request them to hold off for a few months to see if we have the possibility of solving a big problem without resorting potentially to war. And I think that’s worth doing.”

    ANYONE who thinks that Obama’s puppetmaster Valerie Jarrett, an Iranian communist with Muslim Brotherhood ties, isn’t telling the backbench rookie Senator and community organizer from ACORN what to do here is pissing into the wind. What is even more hilarious is that once again, the idiots in the Obama Administration telegraph there intentions, just like they did in Afghanistan…

    EXCERPT: “Obama later clarified that if diplomacy doesn’t succeed now, the U.S. won’t be on “immediate war footing” with Iran.”

    So when Iran gets a nuke and the insane mullahs running the nation, who have been state-sponsors of international terrorism start in, what then? Send in Jimmy Carter? Barack Hussein Obama MMM! MMM! MMM!? Shit, the very sight of those two assholes only encourages our enemies to further exploits. No doubt Obama will negotiate with Iran like he did with the Taliban (giving up five terrorists for a deserter) or with Cuba (giving up the farm and getting nothing)! Maybe this idiot should take another name, Barry Soetoro to Barack Hussein Obama to Neville Chamberlain!

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/white...urope-20150116



    Obama Letting Iran Get Away 'With Murder'



    Author and current staff writer for The Atlantic Monthly, Jeffrey Goldberg. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

    Wednesday, 31 Dec 2014 03:01 PM
    By Joel Himelfarb

    The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a Newsmax contributor, expresses skepticism about President Barack Obama's recent assertion that a nuclear agreement would help Iran become "a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules."

    This, Obama said, "would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people."

    Goldberg writes that "this is a wonderful notion, the idea that the end of Iran’s isolation could lead it to moderate its more extreme impulses. But there isn’t much in the way of proof to suggest that Iran’s rulers are looking to join an international order whose norms are defined by the United States and its allies."

    In reality, "there is proof of something quite opposite: Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over and over again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States."

    Iran "supports Shiite insurrections in Yemen and Bahrain; it attempts to manipulate Lebanese politics through its Beirut-based proxy, Hezbollah; it intervenes in Gaza and against the already-fading hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab crisis; and certainly its unceasing threats to eradicate a fellow member-state of the United Nations, Israel, suggest that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has a vision for Iran that differs from Obama’s."

    But nothing underscores Tehran's imperialistic nature more than its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

    "Without Iran’s assistance, Assad would have fallen a long time ago. The death toll in Syria is more than 200,000; half of Syria's population has been displaced," Goldberg writes. "These dark achievements of the Assad regime would not have been possible without Iran. Thousands of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops and advisers, plus Iranian weaponry, have made all the difference for Assad."

    Goldberg hopes President Obama is correct and is able to achieve "a strong nuclear deal" with Iran.

    "But I worry that he is empowering an Iranian government that isn’t about to change in any constructive way," he concludes. "In the meantime, the Iranian regime continues to get away, quite literally, with murder."

    Goldberg has defended Obama from charges that he is hostile to Israel and dismissive of its legitimate security concerns.

    And Goldberg has cautioned that if Iran is subject to a preventative attack targeting its nuclear program, "many of the U.S.'s allies in the sanctions campaign will melt away." Much of the world "will express sympathy for an Iran under attack, and Iran could capitalize on that sympathy to rebuild its nuclear weapons program in the open," he wrote recently.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    We’ll so weaken your
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Obama Administration Weakens Sanctions Against Iran

    been saying that for years.

    No one listened.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Weakens Sanctions Against Iran

    Obama Administration: Our Goal is Not to Eliminate Iran’s Nuke Program

    Senators grill officials for capitulating to Tehran




    President Hassan Rouhani of Iran visits one of the country's nuclear plants / AP
    BY: Adam Kredo

    A senior official in the State Department admitted on Wednesday that the Obama administration’s goal during negotiations with Iran is delaying the regime’s development of nuclear weapons rather than shutting down the Islamic Republic’s contested nuclear program.


    Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken acknowledged during a tense exchange with senators on Capitol Hill a deal being sought by the Obama administration that would constrain its nuclear breakout capability without eliminating its nuclear program.


    Blinken also floated the possibility of extending nuclear talks past the June deadline should additional time be needed to finalize details of a possible deal with Iran.


    Leading senators on both sides of the aisle grilled Blinken and other officials in the administration over Iran’s nuclear program, which has continued despite restrictions imposed under an interim nuclear agreement made in November 2013.


    Many believe that the interim deal has done little to halt the program and allows the regime to continue some of its most controversial nuclear operations, including the construction of new reactors and work on ballistic missiles.


    “Let me ask you this, isn’t it true that even the deal that you are striving towards is not to eliminate any Iranian [nuclear] breakout capability, but to constrain the time in which you’ll get the notice of such breakout capability?” Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), a vocal critic of the White House’s dealings with Iran, asked Blinken during Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “Is that a fair statement, yes or no?”


    “Yes, it is,” Blinken responded.


    This admission appeared to frustrate and anger Menendez, who accused the administration of issuing “talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”


    “We’re not eliminating Iran’s ability to break out,” Menendez said. “We’re just getting alarm bells, and the question is how long are we going to get those alarm bells for?”


    Asked at a later point in the hearing if the administration would consider prolonging talks yet again, Blinken said that this is a possibility.


    “We might want a little more time,” he said. “That’s possible. I wouldn’t want to rule it out.”


    Under the terms of the interim agreement, which the administration claims has “halted” Iran’s progress, Tehran can still enrich uranium up to a point, pursue unlimited construction of plutonium light water reactors, and advance its ballistic missile program.


    Iran has enriched enough uranium to fuel two nuclear bombs in the past year, according to experts.


    Menendez expressed particular frustration with the administration’s attempts to appease Iran, even as it blatantly continues nuclear work during the talks.


    “The bottom line is, they get to cheat in a series of ways—and I’ll call it ‘cheat,’ you won’t—but they get to cheat in a series of ways and we get to worry about their perceptions,” Menendez said.


    Despite the pressure from Menendez and others, Blinken was adamant that the administration opposes any new sanctions on Iran, even if they were scheduled to take effect only if negotiations fail.


    Bliken also made clear his opposition to Congress holding an up or down vote on any possible deal that the administration may agree to.


    “Why would you oppose Congress weighing in on an issue of this importance?” asked Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), the committee’s chairman, who has championed legislation that would give Congress a final say over the deal.


    Corker described a White House that “continues to stiff arm every effort” and “push away Congress, who represents more fully this nation than the negotiators.”
    Blinken said that the administration is apprehensive about a possible congressional role in the process.


    “In terms of the negotiations themselves, the knowledge that there would be very early on this kind of vote, in our judgment, could actually undermine the credibility of the commitments we would make [to Iran] in the context of negotiations,” Blinken said.


    “There’s a concern that if a judgment is reached immediately [by Congress], yea or nay on this, it may be too soon to see if Iran has complied with its agreements,” Blinken added.
    Corker seemed to find these explanations wanting.


    “I’m very disappointed that in essence what the administration is saying is, ‘We really don’t want, even though Congress put us in this place, we really don’t want Congress to play a role in one of the most important geopolitical agreements that may take place during this administration,’” he said.


    Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Vir.) expressed fear during the hearing that the United States is ignoring Iran’s pattern of deception on the nuclear front.


    “Iran has made it plain in the course of this negotiation [that] this is not a negotiation about Iran dismantling a nuclear weapons program,” Kaine said. “It’s a negotiation about trying to buy a year of time to have an alarm bell ring and act.”


    The administration is giving up too much, particularly on the issue of uranium-enriching centrifuges, he said.


    “The kinds of things I’ve been hearing about the number of centrifuges contemplated in this deal, this is not consistent with a purely civilian program,” Kaine said.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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