The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul (R., TX), is trying to get the White House to pay attention to what Iran is doing around the Middle East. Earlier in the week, McCaul wrote a letter to Obama arguing that the clerical regime “has demonstrated hostility towards the United States and our allies through a series of increasingly provocative actions.”
The letter continues:
Such provocations are further proof that the Iranian regime does not negotiate in good faith and will not moderate its behavior as a result of the terms agreed upon in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.(JCPOA) nuclear agreement. Given the stakes involved, I urge your Administration to respond with concrete action in order to send a strong message to the Iranian regime that its egregious actions will have consequences.
As you are aware, Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile inherently capable of delivering a nuclear warhead on October 10, 20 IS, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 and the spirit of the JCPOA. Two days later, it convicted American journalist Jason Rezaian on the basis of frivolous charges after unlawfully detaining him for nearly 450 days. Most recently, Iran has deployed additional military personnel from its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Syria to further support the brutal Assad regime's slaughter. These actions followed repeated threats issued against our key ally in the Middle East, Israel, including from Iran's leader who vowed Israel would not exist in 25 years and that he would support anyone willing to attack the Jewish state.
McCaul asks that Obama:
follow through on [his] promise and disabuse Iran of the notion that it will get a free pass to sow terror and instability. Your administration can start to convey American resolve by working with Congress to evaluate the current status of the IRGC as it relates to the list of U.S. foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). As you know, the IRGC is directly responsible for exporting terrorism abroad through the use of its elite Quds Force, which has planned, funded, and helped carry out multiple terrorist attacks on Americans and our allies. However, despite this fact, your Administration has refrained from classifying the IRGC for what it is - an FTO.
The reason that the White House is pussy-footing around the regime in Tehran of course is because the supreme leader Ali Khamenei has already threatened to crash the nuclear deal should Obama try to get tough. As McCaul writes, “Khamenei recently issued a direct challenge to your position by declaring that the imposition of any type of sanctions, including terrorism related, would be considered a violation of the JCPOA.”
Given that the administration’s entire Middle East policy, and much of its foreign policy in general has been subordinated to the Iran deal, it is unlikely Obama will do anything that might jeopardize what the White House calls his key foreign policy initiative. McCaul surely know this. What the committee chair seems to be doing is laying out the case for what happens after Obama. Whether the next administration is Democrat or Republican, it’s almost certain they’ll go back and look more closely at the JCPOA—at which time they’ll shed more light on what this White House has been trying to obscure. It would be hard to come to any agreement with a regime as untrustworthy and destructive as the one in Tehran. To strike a nuclear deal with a ruling clique like Iran’s may come at great cost to U.S. interests and allies—as well as the American homeland itself.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Wednesday at a Department of Energy event at the U.S. Navy Heritage Center in Washington, D.C., where he noted the official implementation of the nuclear deal reached with Iran this summer.
In defending the Iran nuclear deal to Congress, President Obama and his staff argued repeatedly that rejection would leave America in dire isolation at the United Nations. Obama can now relax. Having used slash-and-burn executive tactics to roll right over a dissenting majority in Congress and a disapproving American public, he can look forward to celebrating this deal with those more likely to applaud it, when he speaks September 28 at the 70th annual General Assembly in New York.
Senator Tom Cotton is blasting Senate Democrats from failing to block the Iran nuclear deal.
“I am deeply disappointed by Senate Democrats' decision to block a vote on the Iran nuclear deal. I proposed an amendment to Corker-Cardin that would have guaranteed a vote, but it was rejected by Democrats because their goal all along was to deny Congress any vote or say on this deal. That's one reason why I ultimately voted against Corker-Cardin," reads Cotton's statement to the press.
Last Friday, I moderated a panel at Hudson Institute titled, “Why is Qassem Suleimani Smiling? The Iran Deal and Sanctions Relief for Terrorists.” (See video of the event here.) The panel’s focus was not speculative—for instance, how the regime might spend the signing bonus promised by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or how the deal might moderate the regime, or reconfigure Iranian society—but rather looked at the regime’s actual behavior over the last 36 years. In particular, the panel discussed Iran’s acts of terror against Americans, especially servicemen and women.
A week ago, I suggested that—contrary to conventional wisdom and perhaps even to first-blush common sense—the GOP field might benefit from one or more new candidates. One of the well-qualified dark horses I mentioned was third-term Rep. Mike Pompeo from Wichita, Kansas.
The New York Post reports that Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has expanded on his rationale for opposing the White House's Iran Deal:
In his most extensive comments since announcing his opposition to the agreement last week, Schumer questioned whether the inspections could be effective, and laid out a litany of reasons why he thinks the deal won’t hold.
“There are parts to bomb making that don’t involve nuclear isotopes. Even if you find nuclear isotopes [through inspections], you don’t know exactly what they are doing,” he said.
Chuck Schumer is coming under fire from President Obama's former top political adviser, David Axelrod. The former advisor is using Twitter to question Schumer's decision to oppose Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
"Facts are facts, and politics is politics. Schumer made a decision based on politics, not fact," Axelrod wrote in a tweet.
When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he would vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, he didn’t just take a position -- he rejected every major argument President Obama has made on the agreement’s behalf. Schumer argues this is not a deal that prevents Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but one that brings it to the threshold of nuclear weapons capability. He states that its verification and enforcement mechanisms are flawed. Finally, he points out it provides Iran with tens of billions of dollars it could spend on subsidizing terrorism and other violent pursuits.