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  • Masoud Dalvand 11:17 am on 16 Mar 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    The Pyongyang-Tehran Axis 

    Iran N. Korea axis

    By Richard Goldberg and Mark Dubowitz

    Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2018 – Defying precedent and conventional wisdom, President Trump says he’ll meet in May with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Mr. Trump wants a sustainable deal that leads to North Korean denuclearization. The president’s critics scoff, and even his supporters are rightly skeptical. But Mr. Trump has conditions: His policy of maximum sanctions pressure will remain in place, Pyongyang must commit to the goal of denuclearization upfront, and it must refrain from missile or nuclear tests during talks. That may give him some leverage.
    But if there’s one thing that would help Mr. Trump to succeed, it’s fixing the fatally flawed nuclear deal with Iran. The Iran-North Korea axis dates back more than 30 years. The two regimes have exchanged nuclear expertise, cooperated widely on missile technologies, and run similar playbooks against Western negotiators. The fear: Tehran is using Pyongyang for work no longer permitted under the 2015 nuclear deal while perfecting North Korean-derived missile delivery systems back home.
    Iran and North Korea both began their pursuit by acquiring designs and materials from Pakistan’s infamous A.Q. Khan proliferation network. Reports of more extensive cooperation haven’t been confirmed: Iran reportedly sent its nuclear chief, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, to a North Korean nuclear test in 2013. Last summer North Korea’s second-highest-ranking official reportedly visited Iran for 10 days. In early 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Pyongyang and Tehran could be cooperating to develop a nuclear weapon.
    Missile cooperation is extensive. Iran’s Shahab-3 nuclear-capable ballistic missile, whose 800-mile range means it can hit Israel, is based on North Korea’s Nodong missile. The 1,200-mile-range Khorramshahr missile, which Iran showed off last year, was derived from North Korea’s BM-25
    For years Iran watched Pyongyang play the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations to advance its nuclear and missile programs. The Kim regime demonstrated how a relatively weak country could persuade the U.S. to yield on major concessions along a patient pathway to nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
    The Islamic Republic followed North Korea’s lead when it negotiated the enrichment of uranium and potential reprocessing of plutonium on its own soil, crossing what for years had been an international red line. In exchange for short-lived restrictions on its nuclear program, missiles and conventional arms, Tehran will soon have industrial-size capabilities to enrich uranium and possibly reprocess plutonium for atomic weapons, nuclear-capable missiles, and hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
    Mr. Trump appears determined to regain American leverage. On Jan. 12, he declared that he would reinstate the most powerful economic sanctions against Iran by May 12 unless Europe agrees to join the U.S. in fixing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. His demands: Eliminate the deal’s sunset provisions, constrain Iran’s nuclear-capable missile program, and demand intrusive inspections of Iranian military sites. All of these conditions would be tied to a snap-back of powerful U.S. and European Union sanctions if Iran was found in breach.
    To date the Europeans have refused to budge, especially on the sunset provisions, perhaps not believing Mr. Trump will leave the deal. They are adamant that nothing must be done to jeopardize the JCPOA, which they see as an important foreign-policy accomplishment—not to mention a lucrative one, with billions of dollars of potential Iranian business for their companies.
    If Mr. Trump caves in to European pressure on the sunset provisions, the agreement will grant Iran a legitimate nuclear program with weapons capability within a decade. In that case, the president will be hard-pressed to get North Korea to agree to permanent denuclearization. If he agrees to let Iran keep testing nuclear-capable missiles that threaten Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Israel, North Korea will expect the right to test nuclear-capable missiles to hit South Korea, Japan and Guam. If he buckles on an Iranian nuclear breakout time of less than one year or on the development of advanced centrifuges that enable an easier clandestine nuclear sneak out, he will signal to Pyongyang that it, too, can withstand American pressure. Then Pyongyang can resume its march to nuclear-tipped missiles that hold America and its allies hostage.
    Former Obama-administration officials warn that if Mr. Trump abandons their Iran nuclear deal, North Korea will view the U.S. as an untrustworthy partner. The opposite is true. The North Korean dictator wants to talk because the Trump administration’s campaign of maximum economic sanctions pressure is working.
    But if the president agrees to a fictional fix to the JCPOA, or if he responds to a stalemate by backing down from the threat to reimpose maximum economic sanctions, North Korea will see Mr. Trump as a paper tiger. Conversely, if North Korea sees that Iran is held to tough nuclear and missile standards, backed by the credible threat of crippling sanctions, Mr. Trump will be better positioned to make it clear to Pyongyang that he means business.
    The path to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula thus runs through Tehran. If Mr. Trump fixes the fatal flaws of the Iran deal, or even if he scraps it because the Europeans balk, his high-stakes North Korean gamble may yet succeed. Even if it doesn’t, he’ll have stopped Iran from following North Korea’s path to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
    Mr. Goldberg is a senior adviser and Mr. Dubowitz chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

    Source: The Pyongyang-Tehran Axis

  • Masoud Dalvand 11:16 am on 8 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    How the Iranian Regime Is Using Its Proxy Groups and How the US Can Tackle Them 

    The Iranian Regime has a network of foreign proxy groups all across the Middle East, from large formal organizations like Hezbollah to small splinter groups like Asaib Ahl al-Haq. This means that Iranian influence is spreading further than ever before and is doing so in increasingly diverse ways. How can we stop them?

    At a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute on February 2, Hanin Ghaddar, the Institute’s Friedman Visiting Fellow and a veteran Lebanese journalist and researcher, spoke about the Iranian Regime’s control of Lebanon via Hezbollah and explained the political balance is a mere illusion in Lebanon because of Iran.

    He explained that because of Iran’s power over Hezbollah, the Regime has been able to build a land bridge across the Middle East through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, which the mullahs will use to transport weapons, troops, and money to its terrorist proxies (including splinter groups) across the region, and expand its power even more.

    At that same forum, Phillip Smyth, a Soref Fellow at the Institute and a researcher at the University of Maryland, explained that if the US wished to tackle these Iranian-backed groups, they must recognise that they are all connected.
    Even though it may seem as if the groups are divided along religious or ethnic or political grounds, they are all reading from the Regime’s script. They are paid from the same coffers, following the same idealogy, and fightinging the same battles.

    Smyth said: “Understanding Iranian ideology will allow Washington to counter it more effectively. Iranian operatives know how to work with individuals and splinter groups, while U.S. policy tends to be more binary in determining allies and adversaries. Going forward, U.S. officials should learn how to better utilize religious networks in the region. They should also take advantage of the fact that Iran overestimates its influence in certain quarters, particularly within the Iraqi army.”

    Both speakers agreed that because of the speed that the Iranian Regime was recruiting fighters via their proxy groups, the fighters were no longer as loyal to the cause or as well trained, which was also a way to attack the Iranian Regime.

    Ghaddar said: “The United States can take several steps in response… In the short term, supporting anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah candidates in the May elections could harden the line between the state and Hezbollah. In the longer term, Washington would be wise to draw red lines in Syria and stick to them.”


  • Masoud Dalvand 10:35 am on 24 Nov 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    “U.S. Policy on Iran: What Next After IRGC Terror Designation?” 

    US Policy on Iran 11/21/2017

    Sen. Joe Lieberman and Gen Chuck Wald at “US Policy On Iran: What Next After IRGC Terror Designation?”, moderated by Prof. Sasch Sheeahn from UB.
    Click on the follow link for watching all conference:


  • Masoud Dalvand 10:22 am on 22 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Newt Gingrich on “The New U.S. Policy on Iran: The Way Forward”, NPC 

    Hon. Newt Gingrich on “The New U.S. Policy on Iran: The Way Forward”, National Press Club, 10/20/2017. The event was organized by Organization of Iranian American Communities-U.S. (OIAC).

  • Masoud Dalvand 7:18 pm on 16 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Fox interview with Maryam Rajavi on Trump new Iran policy 

    After President Donald Trump announced his new policy on Iran on 13 October 2017, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi welcomed this position and called for a free Iran. Watch part of the Fox report which contains Mrs. Rajavi’s position.
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:58 pm on 13 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Maryam Rajavi welcomes the US policy against the clerical regime and its crimes against the Iranian people 

    Maryam Rajavi- Blacklist IRGC2

    Designation of IRGC, the main instrument of suppression, export of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as a terrorist entity is a long overdue, necessary step towards establishment of peace
    It is imperative that the National Council of Resistance of Iran be recognized to rectify the past disastrous policy vis-a-vis the people of Iran and Resistance
    Maryam Rajavi, welcomed the new US policy to “condemn the IRGC’s gross violations of human rights” in Iran and “to deny the Iranian regime and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people.”
    She said acknowledgment that under the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the regime “oppresses its people, abuses their rights” and “exports violence, destabilizes its neighbors, and sponsors terrorism abroad,” is a recognition of the illegitimacy of the Iranian regime.
    In his remarks the US President called the Iranian people the “longest suffering victims of the regime,” and added, “The IRGC is the Iranian supreme leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region.”
    Maryam Rajavi said previous U.S. administrations’ policies of turning a blind eye on flagrant human rights violations in Iran, the regime’s deadly meddling in the region and concessions made to it in the course of the JCPOA have been disastrous, and for which the people of Iran and region have paid heavily. The most destructive part of this policy has been the terrorist designation of the legitimate opposition to the regime, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), for 15 years, at the behest of the religious dictatorship ruling Iran.
    The NCRI President elect added, a firm policy is long overdue. However, the ultimate solution is the overthrow of the regime and establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran by the Iranian people and Resistance. For years, a policy of appeasement has acted as the main impediment to change in Iran. It is time that the international community recognizes the aspirations of the Iranian people and stands with the people of Iran and their legitimate right for regime change.
    Mrs. Rajavi underscored, it is imperative that the National Council of Resistance of Iran be recognized as the sole democratic alternative to the terrorist, religious dictatorship ruling Iran to rectify the past disastrous policy.
    Maryam Rajavi also welcomed the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224 and described it as an inevitable, necessary step for regional and global peace and security. The IRGC is the prime means of suppression, execution, and torture in Iran, spreading terrorism throughout the world, war mongering and massacre in the region, the drive for acquiring nuclear weapons, and the increase in the proliferation of ballistic missiles. If the IRGC had been recognized as a terrorist entity earlier and dealt with accordingly, the current situation in the region in general, and Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan in particular, would have been totally different. It is time to immediately place under sanction all the individuals, entities, institutions, and companies affiliated with the IRGC and their trade counterparts.
    The IRGC is loathed by the disenchanted Iranian people, who have shown their opposition to it, including its belligerence in other countries, on numerous occasions by rising up against the regime’s supreme leader and chanting, “forget about Syria, think about us.”
    The IRGC and its affiliates control the major portion of the Iranian economy and directly reap the benefits of Iran’s economic relations. Those funds are used for domestic suppression, export of terrorism and fundamentalism and belligerence in the region and the world.
    Maryam Rajavi added: All the signs, including intensification of the regime’s internal crisis, continuous deterioration of the economic situation and expansion of anti-regime protests throughout the country, indicate that the regime has reached its final phase; its hollow bluster regarding the new U.S. policy reflects its extreme anxiety regarding the end of the appeasement era.
    The new US policy should implement a number of practical steps:
    • The dossier of the Iranian regime’s crimes, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, must be referred to the UN Security Council, and the regime’s leaders and perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice.
    • The clerical regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its mercenary militias must be expelled from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Lebanon; and prevented from shipping arms and dispatching forces to these countries.
    • In view of its support for terrorism and continued human rights abuses, the Iranian regime must be denied access to international banking systems.
    • And, the previous UN Security Council resolutions on the clerical regime’s nuclear weapons projects, ban on nuclear enrichment, as well as free and unconditional inspections of military and non-military centers must be implemented.
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:46 am on 7 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Terrorist Training Camps in Iran operated by IRGC 

    Terrorist Training Camp in Iran by IRGC

    The book details how Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps trains foreign fighters in 15 various camps in Iran to export terrorism. The IRGC has created a large directorate within its extraterritorial arm, the Quds Force, in order to expand its training of foreign mercenaries as part of the strategy to step up its meddling abroad in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This book explains the kind of training is provided in each camp, who the trainers are, where they are dispatched to, as well as satellite imagery of the locations of these camps all over the country.

    For buying the book go to the below link:

    The Video about :

    Terrorist Training Camps in Iran operated by IRGC

    This short, stunning video shows how Iran has been training foreign terrorists in Iran and dispatching them across the globe; and it is doing it to date. Iran has caused the rise of ISIS, and remains the single most active state-sponsor of terrorism in the world. The Annual report on terrorism by the United States Government has referred to Iran as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2016. The United States says that Iran also employs foreign nationals. But how does Iran recruit? And how does Iran train its pawns to carry out its operations? Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the IRGC, has its own extraterritorial arm, known as the Quds force, which is involved in military and terrorist interference in several countries in the Middle East and around the globe. The IRGC was established to preserve the regime’s dictatorship, which rests on suppression within Iran; the export of terrorism beyond Iran’s borders; and the Iranian program to manufacture a nuclear bomb. The IRGC actively organizes terrorist networks and conducts terrorist operations throughout the world. Sources of Iran’s opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, have discovered ironclad evidence of at least 15 terrorist training camps spread across the nation, including 8 centered around Tehran Terrorist units of the Quds Force are trained in secret units for dispatch to various countries in the Persian Gulf, Asia, Africa, and even Latin America. Forces initially undergo a body-building boot camp for one week. IRGC mercenaries are then sent to theoretical courses, promoting fundamentalism and terrorism. They are subsequently sent to other training centers for practical training. Of the 15 training camps spread across Iran, certain garrisons specialize in specific terrorist training, including urban warfare, guerilla training, driving courses and various vehicle maneuvering instruction. Trainees also undergo courses in wilderness survival and even in advanced missile training. Through the Quds force, the IRGC looks to take advantage of instability wherever it can. After training recruits in both Islamic fundamentalism and in combat techniques, trainees are sent abroad to meddle in foreign conflicts. In Yemen, Iran continues to back the Houthi rebels, increasing instability in the Arabian Peninsula. In Syria, IRGC mercenaries continue to fight the Free Syrian Army, propping up Assad’s murderous regime; while at the same time, allowing ISIS to fester. And in Iraq, the IRGC plants terrorists and bomb makers within the domestic unrest of the nation, which has led to the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers abroad, as well as tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. IRGC is the main source of sectarian violence in Iraq, which has led to the rise of ISIS. The IRGC even devised a terrorist scheme within U.S. borders, when in 2011, IRGC terrorists plotted to blow up a Washington, DC restaurant. The United States needs to view the IRGC as a terrorist enemy and not an ally under any circumstances. It is time for the U.S. Government to subject, not just the IRGC, but all its affiliate entities in Iran who dominate the economy and the financial market as well as all its proxies in the region to terrorism-related sanctions. The IRGC must be expelled from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon as a first step to securing peace and stability in the region.
    Source: NCRI- US 
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:31 pm on 5 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    What Iran Needs Are Not Concessions But Sanctions 

    With concerns escalating, North Korea should not lead us to tone down our voice and provide further concessions to Pyongyang and Tehran. We should in fact do the opposite.

    More than two years after the flaws of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program have become obvious, a chorus is busy insisting there is no other option. While the rendered pact, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has failed to rein in the Tehran regime, correct measures are available at hand.

    Some argue the JCPOA has successfully slowed Iran’s dangerous drive to obtain nuclear weapons. The Center for a New American Security held a forum titled, “Consequences of a Collapse of the Iran Nuclear Deal,” featuring “a plethora of prominent speakers advocating in favor of preserving the deal, including former senior Obama administration official, Colin Kahl, a chief proponent of the agreement,” according to The Washington Free Beacon.

    We Do Indeed Have Other Viable Options

    The highly controversial Parchin military complex, located southeast of Tehran, was “inspected” by Iran’s own “scientists” to provide samples to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. That is tantamount to asking a murderer to deliver his DNA, in privacy without any supervision, as evidence to compare with that found at a crime scene where closed-circuit cameras recorded his presence at the time of the crime.

    JCPOA advocates say the deal isn’t perfect, yet also claim measures against Iran are ill-founded and can be counterproductive. This is not the case.

    “The administration could discourage global firms from doing business with Iran by leaving open its final position on the deal, and thus placing at risk their business with America,” as proposed in a recent Foreign Policy piece by James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey.

    Yes, such measures would disappoint Tehran. Yet knowledge of this regime’s nature suggests such actions will not push Iran to the brink of abandoning the JCPOA ship, as they are benefiting from the present terms.

    And yes, the Iran nuclear deal is a multilateral agreement, as European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reminded. Yet also as a reminder, in case of Iran violating the JCPOA terms, the United States can unilaterally launch the “snapback” process and have UN sanctions re-imposed on Iran. In such a scenario there is no need to garner support from Russia or China, both known for backing Tehran, as Security Council veto authority is irrelevant in this regard.

    Appeasement Is a Failed Approach

    With concerns over this issue escalating, the case of North Korea should not lead us to tone down our voice and provide further concessions to Pyongyang and Tehran. We should in fact do the opposite. This dossier should help us realize that appeasement—the same mentality embraced by the Obama administration in blueprinting the highly flawed JCPOA—has placed us where we are today with North Korea.

    Do we seek to trek down the same path with Iran, a state with dangerous influence across the already flashpoint Middle East? One such horrible example is Iran’s involvement in Syria. JCPOA advocates are also describing a “best-case scenario” of providing more concessions to North Korea to muster a “far-from-perfect” pact, similar to the Iran deal, in exchange for Pyongyang to freeze its nuclear development.

    Déjà vu. Haven’t we already experienced this with the Clinton administration’s “Agreed Framework” of 1994? Kim Jong Un recently tested his state’s sixth and most powerful nuclear device, claiming to be a hydrogen bomb. As another harsh reminder, rapprochement with North Korea led to the notorious 2010 sinking of the South Korean destroyer, the Cheonan. It is quite obvious by now that a Pyongyang submarine torpedoed the warship and left 46 sailors dead.

    Does another South Korea naval ship, or a city for that matter, have to be targeted for us to realize that rogue states such as Iran and North Korea will only consider engagement as a sign of the international community’s weakness and take full advantage of it? Or must a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf come into the crosshairs of Revolutionary Guards’ fast boats for the West to finally open its eyes?

    Some think Iran lacks the necessary will and understands all too well how such a move would spark drastic international measures against its interests. JCPOA advocates (read Iranian apologists) have also delegitimized any concern about Tehran’s intentions by claiming pact violations, such as breaching limits set on heavy water—the substance needed for plutonium-based nuclear bombs—as mere “bumps in the road.”

    This shows those making such arguments either lack the necessary knowledge of Iran’s belligerent nature in the past four decades, or simply fall into the category of Iran lobbyists. Fierce international sanctions left Iran no choice but to succumb to nuclear talks with knees bleeding. More non-nuclear sanctions are needed to make Tehran understand the international community means business.

    “Peace for our time” was the claim made by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his September 30, 1938 speech concerning the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler. Seventy million people paid the price of that strategic mistake with their lives. Let us finally learn our lesson of appeasement and put aside such an approach for good.

    via What Iran Needs Are Not Concessions But Sanctions — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 8:34 pm on 4 Oct 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Trump prepares to wound Iran deal- and then save it 


    As a candidate, President Donald Trump described the agreement as “catastrophic” and “the worst deal ever.” | Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

    The president’s national security team finds a way for Trump to wound ‘the worst deal ever’ without killing it.

    Donald Trump’s national security team has unanimously recommended that he decertify the Iran nuclear deal — but that he stop short of pushing Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that could unravel the agreement.

    Trump’s team plans to work with Congress and European allies to apply new pressure on the Iranian regime, according to a strategy developed in an Iran policy review led by national security adviser H.R. McMaster. But the strategy assumes the nuclear deal will remain intact for now.

    The deliberations ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda, were described by a half-dozen sources inside and outside the administration who have participated in the internal debate.

    As a candidate, Trump described the agreement as “catastrophic” and “the worst deal ever.” But the strategy represents a nuanced approach to one of the most important foreign policy decisions of his early presidency. The goal is to allow the president to demonstrate contempt for the agreement and broadcast a new level of toughness toward the Iranian regime — without triggering the international chaos several of his advisers warn would follow from a total withdrawal from the 2015 deal.

    Administration officials cautioned that the strategy has not yet been finalized, and that it could change before the president makes an official announcement.

    But Secretary of Defense James Mattis hinted at the approach early Tuesday when he told a congressional panel that he believes the deal is in America’s interest and that Trump should “consider staying in.” Appearing alongside him, Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the agreement has “delayed the development of a nuclear capability by Iran.”

    Though their rhetoric was far more positive about the deal itself than Trump’s, it is consistent with a White House strategy of decertifying the agreement without pushing Congress to dissolve it through sanctions — and may preview an administration effort to signal to Congress and U.S. allies that Trump is not withdrawing from the deal.

    Iran has warned that if the U.S. reimposes sanctions, Tehran might restart its nuclear program. Some experts and former Obama officials say that could begin a spiral toward possible military confrontation.

    Congress requires the president to certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days. International inspectors and Trump officials like Dunford say that Iran is meeting its technical obligations. But Trump must also declare whether the agreement remains “vital to the national security interests of the United States,” and he is unlikely to do so.

    Under the law, Congress would then have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted by the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.

    Trump is expected to act as early as next week, though White House officials said an exact date has not been set. After he does, administration officials are expected to press Republican lawmakers not to reimpose nuclear sanctions, which would effectively unravel the agreement in the eyes of the Iranian government and many U.S. allies.

    In return, Trump officials, led by McMaster, plan to reassure congressional Republicans — virtually all of whom opposed the deal — with a pressure campaign against Iran.

    That campaign is at the heart of McMaster’s policy review, due Oct. 31, which has been conducted quietly as the debate over the nuclear deal has played out in public. The new policy is expected to target Iranian-backed militias and terrorist groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah, and the financial web that facilitates them.

    Of particular focus will be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the administration will designate as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time the military wing of a regime will have earned the label.

    The IRGC is the country’s most powerful security organization but also controls large portions of the Iranian economy. The U.S. designated the IRGC’s elite Quds Force as a terrorist group in 2007, and the IRGC itself has been sanctioned for nuclear proliferation and for human-rights abuses. But the entire IRGC has never been designated a terrorist group.

    Critics of the deal are taking a wait-and-see approach to the new strategy. “Just going after the IRGC, while certainly having a lot of virtues, it’s not a complete strategy. … The IRGC has a very large presence in Syria. What are you going to do about that? You have to see how the pieces all fit together,” said Eric Edelman, who served as undersecretary of defense for policy in the George W. Bush administration.

    Trump has twice certified Iran’s compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal, first in April and then in July. But he bridled in July when advisers presented him with a binary choice of certifying or decertifying.

    During an Oval Office meeting with Tillerson, McMaster and former presidential advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, Trump unleashed a tirade in which he demanded more options and adamantly refused to recertify the deal. Tillerson and McMaster warned him that if he declined to do so, and Congress moved to reimpose sanctions, he would spend the rest of his term embroiled in a bitter debate over the merits of the agreement with allies and foes alike.

    The president ultimately bowed to his advisers, but only after what one senior administration official described as a “knock-down, drag-out fight” that lasted several hours.

    “If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal shortly after the Oval Office meeting. “I think they’ll be noncompliant” by the next deadline, he said.

    McMaster has worked for months to produce what White House officials consider a third option that avoids Trump’s previous frustration. Neither the White House nor the NSC responded to requests for comment.

    “One of the options [presented to the president] is to decertify, continue to waive the statutory sanctions, slap on new non-nuclear sanctions, roll out a new strategy, and then make the case to the Hill that this is not the time to reinstate the nuclear sanctions and there will be a broader strategy to strengthen the deal,” said an Iran policy expert familiar with the administration’s thinking on the issue.

    Mattis, McMaster and other administration officials privately complain that the Obama administration allowed the nuclear deal to distort its wider policy toward Tehran, and have told Trump it is possible to challenge Iran on other fronts without breaking the agreement.

    Inside the administration, the debate pitted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who favored recertification, against others who subscribed to the views expressed by Mattis and McMaster. A smaller camp, including U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, pushed hard for decertification.

    In the end, the recommendation from the president’s national security team, which last met about a month ago to discuss the issue, was unanimous. Though Tillerson continues to favor recertification, according to two administration officials, one said that he disagrees with the president on so many issues that he has learned to “pick and choose his battles.” When it became clear that the rest of the president’s advisers were coalescing around a third option, he opted to sign on.

    The question is how congressional Republicans, particularly foreign policy hawks, will respond to the White House’s pleas. Administration officials have not yet begun making their case to GOP senators, many of whom campaigned against the Iran deal.

    They include Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who, in remarks Tuesday evening to the Council on Foreign Relations, was to push Congress to “begin the work of strengthening it and counteracting Iranian aggression, with the threat of sanctions and military action if necessary,” according to advance excerpts of his remarks.

    Originally published at: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-243427

  • Masoud Dalvand 7:42 am on 22 Sep 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    US Politicians Gather to Criticise Iran Regime on Same Day as Trump Addresses UN 

    Iran Focus

    London, 21 Sep – As Donald Trump prepared to speak out against the Iranian Regime and its nuclear deal in his address the United Nations General Assembly, on Tuesday, a non-governmental organization which also opposes the deal was holding its annual summit nearby.

    United against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a bipartisan group chaired by former US Senator Joseph Lieberman, seeks to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

    In his opening remarks to the summit, Lieberman praised the Trump administration for their actions so far on Iran, including the introduction of non-nuclear sanctions against the rogue state.

    Middle East

    While David Petraeus, a retired US Army General, and Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, both warned of the dangers of focusing all of America’s attention in the Middle East on terrorism, stating that it is also important to focus on the actions of regional governments like Iran.

    Petraeus advised that the US should work with their allies in the Middle East in order to obtain peace, while Al Faisal warned that Iran’s growing control over the region, especially in Syria, will come back to haunt the international community.

    Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, warned that a foreign policy that put America First could ultimately lead to isolationism and in fact, help the threat of Iran grow.

    Nuclear Threat

    Bush and Richardson instead encouraged using the Iranian nuclear deal, which they were critical of, as leverage and expanding sanctions. Bush stated that one way to do this would be to expand sanctions across Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a whole, as opposed to targeting select members.

    Senator Mark Kirk, Congressman Ron DeSantis, and former congressman Steve Israel, who all voted against the deal, took to the stage shortly after Trump’s UN speech was broadcast to support his tough talk on Iran.

    Kirk said that he believed that Trump would not recertify Iran at the upcoming October deadline; a move that would allow Congress to impose nuclear sanctions against the Regime.

    DeSantis and Israel noted that without a Democratic President, Iran sceptics within the Democratic Party may be more inclined to vote for Iran sanctions.

    The summit was overwhelmingly in favour of Trump’s tough talk on Iran and hoped that it would turn into tough action soon in order to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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