At the end of an exchange between Sen. Tom Cotton and Gen. Martin Dempsey regarding the number of American servicemen killed by the Iranians, Cotton asks if Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani was responsible for the explosively formed penetrators that took the lives of several hundred Americans. Yes, answers Dempsey. Then why, Cotton asks the secretary of state, is Suleimani being taken off the sanctions list. “Under the United States’ initiative,” says Kerry, “Qassem Suleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions.”
Kerry’s phrasing here is awkward—what does he mean by “initiative”? Suleimani is still on the U.S. list for non-nuclear related sanctions. But the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action removes the Quds Force commander from the U.N. list for nuclear-related sanctions. This seems to be the third time, even after the State Department set the record straight two weeks ago, that Kerry has insisted that Suleimani is still under sanctions.
The American blood that Suleimani drew in Iraq and Afghanistan is hardly the only reason that Cotton says “the United States should reject this deal.” In a keynote address for a conference at Hudson Institute on the JCPOA. (Full disclosure: I am a senior fellow at Hudson and moderated the ensuing panel.), Cotton explained why. “No deal, whatever its details, should leave the ayatollahs grinning,” said Cotton.
Iran is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. It is led by an anti-American, anti-Semitic, jihadist regime that’s destabilizing the Middle East and has shed the blood of hundreds of Americans. We do not share interests, and we do not share values with this regime. Any agreement that advances our interests must by necessity compromise Iran’s—doubly so since they are a third-rate power, far from an equal to the United States. The ayatollahs shouldn’t be happy with any deal; they should’ve felt compelled to accept a deal of our choosing lest they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear infrastructure. That Iran welcomes this agreement is both troubling and telling.
Secretary of State John Kerry testified on Capitol Hill today the U.S. government will not be revealing the contents of secret side deals with Iran to the American people. Senator Tom Cotton wanted to know why it can't be made public.
The following is an excerpt from a fact sheet prepared by Omri Ceren of the Israel Project that explains the significance of the Obama administration’s latest concession to Tehran—the reported collapse on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
Secretary of State John Kerry's warning that Israel will be "blamed" if Congress opposes the Iran agreement conjures up troubling memories of other instances in which Israel or Jews were warned they might be blamed for international conflicts.
When the secretary of state says, as John Kerry did last week in his Senate testimony, that the Obama White House is “guaranteeing” Iran won’t have the bomb, you can be sure that—well, you can be pretty confident that he doesn’t mean it. And that someday soon he’ll pretend he never said it.
Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's decision to take the Iran deal to the United Nations before the U.S. Congress votes on it. Kerry made the remarks in an interview this morning on ABC News:
The ABC reporter, Jon Karl, asked, "But the bottom line, the UN is going to vote on this before Congress gets to vote on this?"
Two big deals were signed this week, with one thing in common – can-kicking. The Eurozone countries, more precisely Germany, kicked the Greek debt can down the road for three years by lending the already over-indebted country another €86bn.
The State Department will hang the Cuban flag in the lobby of the State Department building on Monday in recognition of the imminent reopening of the communist nation's embassy in Washington. The AP's Matt Lee reports:
It's not hard to figure out why the Obama administration is lashing out at critics of the deal it signed with Iran last week. The White House has been pretending it’s a nuclear deal but knows that it really isn’t. Everyone from the president to the secretary of state and his negotiating team is selling it as a historic achievement. The White House, Obama said, “has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”