Category Archives: Iran
President Obama accused President Trump of eroding American credibility by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. But his views on eroding credibility must have evolved.
In 2009 Obama wanted to reset relations with Russia. So he pulled out of Bush’s missile defense deal with Poland and the Czech Republic.
In a WSJ op-ed, Mark Duowitz and Ray Takeyh describe the current uprising in Iran. They say it differs from the Green Revolution which was about election fraud. This one began “over economic grievances and quickly transformed into a rejection of theocracy.”
The protesters are angry that $100 billion in Iranian assets unfrozen by the Obama administration haven’t trickled down to the people. Instead the money has gone to support militias in the Middle East and energy and weapons for Bashar Assad in Syria.
So, instead of chanting “Death to America” they now shout “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to Rouhani!”
The Daily Beast is alarmed by the massive national security apparatus The President is turning over to The Donald. It kills by drone and fights wars without congressional approval.
Whenever George W. Bush started a war he made sure to to pack a Congressional resolution. President Obama, not so much.
Obama ended “torture” of enemy combatants. Instead he blows them up by drone. Even American citizens make the hit list.
He also engineered a nuke treaty with Iran without Senate approval. He simply deemed it not a treaty.
Now all that power is in the tiny hands of President-elect Trump.
National Security Apparatus
Here’s Jameel Jaffer, the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University:
“Many Americans were willing to invest broad power in the presidency because they trusted the president. But obviously the powers that we invest outlast any particular president, and now those powers are available to Trump.”
Earlier this month he WSJ reported that the Obama administration shipped Iran a pallet of foreign cash worth $400 million. President Obama scolded the press for asking if the delivery of the unmarked bills, in an unmarked plane, in the middle of the night was ransom.
You’ve probably seen his four step reply:
1) The payment was old news.
2) It was Iran’s money.
3) It’s illegal to trade dollars with Iran.
4) We don’t pay ransom.
Then he mocked reporters by saying, it “defies logic” that we would pay ransom. He also said the story “reads like a spy novel.”
So it does.
For good measure State Department spokesman John Kirby tweeted:
“Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false.”
So the WSJ reporters, Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, dug a little deeper and learned that the payment was “specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.” The money was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland. And it wasn’t released until a plane departing Tehran with the prisoners was “wheels up.”
It’s Not Ransom. It’s Leverage. Or Not.
Based on the new information Kirby was asked by a reporter:
Q: “In basic English, you are saying you wouldn’t give [Iran] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
A: “That’s correct,” Kirby responded.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said, “I never used the world leverage” – leaving Kirby hanging out to dry.