By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The Obama administration continues to capitulate to Iran’s demands in order to ensure that an unworkable, unsigned international agreement somehow restrains that regime’s quest for nuclear weapons. The media are also working overtime to make sure that Obama’s White House isn’t embarrassed by its repeated concessions to Iran.
“Hours after circulating a draft of proposed sanctions on Wednesday…the White House did not provide a timetable or even say that they would be put into effect,”reported The New York Times on December 31. In reality, the administration sent multiple messages retracting an earlier Treasury Department statement. The first one, according to The Wall Street Journal on January 2, said that the sanctions announcement would be delayed for “a few hours.” By late that evening the decision had been delayed indefinitely.
The initial administration release contained strong language about holding Iran accountable. “We have consistently made clear that the United States will vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities outside of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—including those related to Iran’s support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile program,” stated the Treasury’s acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Adam Szubin, in the retracted release, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Chris Wallace asked Obama’s chief of staff, Dennis McDonough, on Fox News Sunday on January 10th, if they are “going to punish Iran for violating the ballistic missile testing, or not?” During the testy exchange, McDonough replied, “We will issue those sanctions and those designations at the appropriate time. There’s no question about it.”
The Wall Street Journal covered for Obama’s misstep by citing U.S. officials who claimed the administration was carefully avoiding undermining Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s influence—since they view him as a moderate force in the government. He may seem that way, relative to his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but there is no daylight between Rouhani and the ayatollahs, who are ultimately in control. Rather, the back-tracking was the result of Iran’s belligerent blackmailing efforts. According to The Wall Street Journal, “…Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly ordered his military to dramatically scale up the country’s missile program if the sanctions went ahead.”
The Times reported several days earlier that the shipment of much of Iran’s low-enriched uranium to Russia marked “one of the biggest achievements in his [Obama’s] foreign policy record…” However, it failed in that December 31 article to cover some Democrats’ angry reaction to the administration’s bait and switch on sanctions toward Iran.
“I believe in the power of vigorous enforcement that pushes back on Iran’s bad behavior,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said, according to the Free Beacon. “If we don’t do that, we invite Iran to cheat.”
The Obama administration has done nothing but invite the Iranian regime to cheat, and the mainstream media continue to refuse to report on each of Obama’s concessions. As we recently reported, there is, actually, no deal—just a set of unsigned political agreements between the P5+1 and Iran. And early on, the Obama administration abandoned several principles that it had promised would be part of the deal, such as no Iranian right to enrich uranium, and anytime, anywhere inspections of suspected nuclear sites.
By December 15, Iran was expected to account for the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Instead, Iran tested two missiles, one in October and another in November, in violation of UN Security Resolution 1929. Iran also provided its own samples from the Parchin military site to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. When the head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, visited Parchin in September, he found an empty building devoid of equipment.
Yet The UK Guardian reports: “Once the [P5+1] deal takes effect, Iran will still be ‘called upon’ not to undertake any ballistic missiles work designed to deliver nuclear weapons for a period of up to eight years, according to a security council resolution adopted in July right after the nuclear deal.”
The Guardian continues, reporting that “Iran says the resolution would only ban missiles ‘designed’ to carry a nuclear warhead, not ‘capable of,’ so it would not affect its military programme as Tehran does not pursue nuclear weapons.”
That the Obama administration allows the Iranian government to get away with making semantic arguments is not only dangerous, it also represents what a farce this unsigned deal has always been. Iran continues to diplomatically delay and split hairs as the Obama administration bends over backward to grant this regime the power to make this agreement mean whatever it wishes.
Back in October, President Obama signaled he would veto a House-passed bill that would have forced Iran to pay damages to the victims of terror attacks before receiving U.S. sanctions relief. This bill now languishes in the Senate.
Federal District Court Judge George Daniels found in December 2011 that Iran and Hezbollah “materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case.”
The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last month did create a fund for some of Iran’s victims, but that fund is financed through dollars taken from the French bank BNP Paribas and “the auction of the 650 Fifth Ave., the $500 million office building owned by Iran and confiscated by the courts to pay terror victims,” according to The New York Daily News. “That would include the victims of the Beirut bombings of U.S. outposts in 1983 and 1984 and their families, as well as the twin 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. It should also cover victims of the deadly 1993 World Trade Center attack.”
In other words, Obama is willing to help the American victims of Iranian terror so long as his legacy is not threatened by such efforts. Once Iran gets, or perhaps acknowledges having, nuclear weapons, it could be too late—but this will likely happen on another administration’s watch. Then President Obama can claim that it wasn’t his fault that Iran went nuclear.
Iran has responded by introducing a bill in their parliament “demanding compensation from the United States for what they claim are ‘damages inflicted’ to the Iranian people over the past four decades. ‘In order to redeem the rights of the Iranian nation, the Administration is obliged to take necessary legal measures on receiving compensations and damages from the American government’ for its past actions, the draft legislation outlines,” according to Ilan Berman, writing for U.S. News and World Report. Don’t be surprised if the Obama administration seeks to accommodate this latest Iranian grievance.
Added Berman, “You have to give the Iranians credit for audacity. Having just negotiated a nuclear deal with the West overwhelmingly favorable to its interests, the Islamic Republic is wasting no time in pressing the diplomatic advantage still further.”
In the meantime, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, and Bahrain have cut diplomatic ties with Iran. “Kuwait recalled its ambassador, the UAE downgraded its ties, and Oman and Qatar condemned the attacks,” according to the AFP. Iranians had recently attacked a Saudi Embassy in Tehran after Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric.
Saudi Arabia is also racing to produce 1.5 million barrels of excess oil a day before it faces Iranian competition, fostering greater tensions between these Sunni and Shia rivals.
“The Obama White House is allowing, encouraging, enabling an extraordinarily dangerous situation to develop in the Middle East right now,” said Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi member and former CIA officer Clare Lopez. This is happening, she stated, “specifically, by helping jihadist Iran to become a nuclear weapons state capable of delivering those weapons by ballistic missiles not just to the surrounding region, but to Europe and even [the contiguous United States] at this point.”
While the complicit media look the other way, President Obama’s repeated concessions are frightening America’s allies and creating dangerous developments abroad.
“One single [electromagnetic pulse] EMP is all it takes and America is done,” Lopez stated. “Nor is it unthinkable that the Shi’ite Iran vs. Sunni Saudi Arabia war for regional dominance could at some point go nuclear.”
Don’t look for the mainstream media or President Obama to let the prospect of endangering the entire world hang heavy on their consciences.