June 11, 2015 | Quote
More Flaws in the Iran Framework
It has not been a good week for the president’s Iran framework. It seems the more experts and lawmakers see, the worse the deal looks.
At the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran’s ICBM program — which the administration agreed to leave out of the talks — multiple experts blasted the decision to exclude long-range missiles from the program and took the opportunity to slam the deal. Dr. Robert Joseph, former undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, for example, observed, “Medium and longer range missiles, and particularly ICBM-class missiles under development, could hold American and European cities hostage in the future, thereby providing a possible means of deterring U.S. assistance to our Gulf friends and other regional allies. Longer range missiles may also provide a sense of protection against external intervention, permitting Iran to continue its support of terrorism, to continue its expansion in its quest to become the predominant regional power, and to continue the repression of its own people, the first and foremost threat to the survival of this abhorrent regime. And finally, one cannot discount the use of these missiles against Israel. The mullahs often threaten Israel with destruction and Israel takes these threats seriously, as it must.” As for the deal itself, he said: “The failure to limit ballistic missiles, or to constrain Iran’s missile build up in any way, is one of a number of central flaws in the emerging agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. While we do not know what will be finally agreed in the comprehensive arrangement currently being negotiated — or even whether there will be an agreement by the 30 June deadline or thereafter — we do know some of the basic elements that the Obama Administration has asserted are already agreed.”
All of that did not touch on the latest news about yet another Obama capitulation. The Associated Press reported, “The Obama administration may have to backtrack on its promise that it will suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran as part of an emerging nuclear agreement, officials and others involved in the process tell The Associated Press.” Michael Makovsky of the pro-Israel JINSA cracks, “This report suggests that Obama’s effective pledge of ‘If you like your sanctions on Iran, you can keep them’ won’t turn out to be true.”
If the report is accurate, the administration will be heading toward a major showdown with Congress. “After years spent making the case to the international business community and foreign governments that U.S. sanctions target the full range of Iran’s illicit activities, including ballistic missiles, terrorism, money laundering and support for Assad, the Obama administration now is willing to redefine any sanction that brought Iran to the table as ‘nuclear-related,'” Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies says. “This will be unwelcome news to Congress that measures, for example, designed to counter Iranian ballistic missiles development are nuclear-related for the purposes of sanctions relief but are not restricted under the actual Iran nuclear agreement.”
Dubowitz recommends that Congress “double down on sanctions targeting the full range of the regime’s dangerous activities.”
Read the full article here.