Iran

A Further Perspective

A Triumph of Desperation, Not Diplomacy

By 1.21.16

The implementation of the Iran nuclear deal might be old story in our second-by-second news cycle. But unless President Obama’s successor sees fit to reverse course, it will be the centerpiece of American foreign policy for decades to come. That is, if we are here that long.

Naturally, President Obama hails the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal as a triumph for American diplomacy and declares that “Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb.” Somewhere in the seventh circle of Hell, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Kim Il-sung, and Kim Jong-il are enjoying a hearty laugh.

And where exactly is that 98% of enriched uranium been shipped? Russia? That’ll make me sleep better at night. But even if that enriched uranium is secure, Iran still retains the right to enrich uranium. Mind you, it’s a right that we are unprepared to bestow upon South Korea, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s old neighbor across the Demilitarized Zone. As Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2014, “It isn’t fun being friends with America these days.”

Iranian Freed in Prisoner Trade Won’t Go Back to Iran

By on 1.20.16 | 12:32PM

We may have negotiated the release of 4 of our countrymen by promising the Iranians seven sanctions violators in return, but that doesn't mean Iran is getting those seven nationals back. 

Although all of the Iranians were given the green light to return to their country - flights were even booked for them out of Switzerland, where the US and Iran made the "prisoner swap" on neutral ground - but three of the Iranians being held by the US have chosen to stay here. The other four never made it to their flight in Geneva. 

None of the Iranians freed in the prisoner swap have returned home and could still be in the United States, it has been reported.

The seven former inmates, who were released as part of a deal with the Islamic republic, did not show up to get a flight to Geneva, Switzerland, where the exchange was set to take place on Sunday.

Iran Does Better than Powerball Winners, Earns $1.7 Billion from US

By on 1.18.16 | 3:36PM

Over the weekend, Iran released four American prisoners in a swap with American authorities. In return for releasing 7 Iranian "sanctions violators" and ending investigations into 14 more, Iran gave back wrongly held American citizens, including a Washington Post journalist, who had recently been the subject of a show trial, and a pastor arrested for building Christian churches.

Although everyone was overjoyed at the prospect of their return, I don't think I was alone in wondering what, exactly, Iran was getting in for their de facto hostages other than just a homecoming for some low-level criminals, two thirds of whom had yet to be caught. It turns out, Iran was actually awarded the Powerball jackpot: a $1.7 billion winfall - a settlement for money the US owes to Iran for various reasons. And it's the first of many possible winfalls. Because, of course it is.

Intelligence Analysts Blow Whistle on Altered ISIS Assessments

By on 9.10.15 | 1:02PM

Ever wonder why the Administration insisted that ISIS was nothing more than a "JV" team, even though they were running roughsod over most of the Middle East, hacking Christians to death by the thousands and destroying World Heritage sites with impunity? 

According to about fifty US intelligence experts working at US Central Command, much of the intelligence on ISIS in Syria and elsewhere was altered by senior intelligence officials to match the Obama Administration's underwhelming threat assessments. Even though much of the intelligence pointed to a very sophisticated, very aggressive ISIS force, these individuals believe that many reports were deemed "overly negative" because they didn't fit with administration's rosier public view of things. 

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military's Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.

Iran Will Inspect Its Own Nuclear Site, Of Course

By on 8.19.15 | 7:07PM

If you thought that the Iran deal couldn't possibly get any worse for Americans, it's probably because you were confident that the public deal, released by the Obama Administration last month, gave the outside boundaries of the deal. Perhaps you were confident that the Obama Administration, which has yet to make much headway on its agenda, despite being only a short 18 months from exiting power, would be loathe to get such a bad deal past Congress, or you had a bizarre and unwavering faith in the International community, which while not entirely opposed to wiping Israel off the map, would be concerned that "more valuable" countries (like the ones that produce the majority of our alcoholic beverages) might find themselves on the receiving end of a pretty nasty nuclear accident.

Blinken Confident to a Fault When Sizing up ISIS

By on 6.3.15 | 3:25PM

With ISIS recently gaining key cities within Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has asked for support from the 25 countries in the coalition. According to the Washington Post, he said they “are not getting it.” 

Despite the apparent cries from Iraq, the United States has decided to stick with it’s current strategy, only increasing the intensity. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken was confident that the Islamic State would fall. As Blinken said to the Washington Post on Tuesday:

“We will redouble our efforts,” said Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who was leading the delegation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a cycling accident in eastern France over the weekend. IS, Blinken said, “stands for nothing and depends on people who will fall for anything.”

British Media: Iran May Have Fired On, Boarded American Cargo Ship; UPDATE: Marshall Islands Ship, Pentagon Tried to Help, Iranians Have Reportedly Release Ship

By on 4.28.15 | 11:42AM

Reports on this are unconfirmed and the United States is denying, but British media (including the Telegraph and the BBC) is reporting that a US cargo vessel was fired on and then seized by Iranian officials this morning, and has been taken to an Iranian port. The Iranians maintained that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian forces have reportedly fired at and seized a US cargo ship with 34 sailors on board, according to Saudi Arabian state TV.

The vessel has been directed to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the southern coast, Al-Arabiya has reported.

It remains unclear why or if the ship was captured, and whether the shots injured anyone on-board, as neither US nor Iranian officials have confirmed the allegations. The US Fifth Fleet off the coast of Bahrain had no immediate comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency suggested that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.

State Dept. May Give Iran $50B Just for Showing Up

By on 4.21.15 | 1:22PM

The Iranians aren't quite at the same point the United States is when it comes to inking a deal over their nuclear ambitions, to put it mildly. They see this nuclear agreement as a way to end economic sanctions against their country, promoting their domestic economic stability, while giving them an exceptional harassment-free period in which to concoct a plan that would wipe most of the Eastern world off the face of the planet. The United States sees this as the only way Barack Obama can successfully navigate his way to deserving a Nobel Peace Prize and a global post-Presidency speaking tour.

Fortunately, it seems that the State Department has found a way to bridge the gap and bring Iran to the table to at least sign the agreement, even if they rip it up almost immediately: if Iran inks on the dotted line, John Kerry will show up to the signing ceremony with one of those oversized novelty checks, made out to Ayatollah Khomeini, in the amount of $50 billion. 

Iran Talks Stall, But Not Because of “Death to America” Comments

By on 3.24.15 | 12:18PM

I'm a tiny bit late picking this up because I had to wait in a ridiculous online queue for Lollapalooza tickets which I didn't get anyway. I suppose that's not that big of a deal, since Kanye West is rumored to be the primary headliner, but still. Can't something remind me that summer is only a few short months away?

Anyway, while I'm busy feeling sorry for myself over concert tickets, John Kerry, who should feel sorry for himself for being in any way involved with foreign policy, will allow another deadline to pass: the original deadline by which the international negotiations team was supposed to have a deal that would halt the progress of a nuclear Iran. Unsurprisingly, that deadline has been rendered all but meaningless, and Kerry will not even return to the barganing table until Thursday. 

The original Tuesday deadline in the Iran nuclear talks will pass without a framework for a final agreement nor congressional action on bills to impose new sanctions or require approval of a deal.

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