Obama awards Iran $11.9 BILLION through end of nuke talks

Iran now controls four capitals in the region: Sana, Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut. None of Iran’s jawdropping success in the region would have been possible without Obama’s tacit support and sanction. They have postponed “nuke talks” to the point where deadlines mean nothing. Every time Iran misses a deadline, Obama just moves it. And Iranians arm, build and enrich uranium. Whatever the US asks (begs, cajols, suggests) is laughed off. Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror.

    “Three Arab capitals have today ended in Iran’s hands and belong to the Islamic Iranian revolution”. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted that Sanaa has now become the fourth Muslim capital that is on its way to joining the Iranian revolution.

    Alireza Zakani, a loyalist of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said that Iran considered the Yemeni revolution to be an extension of its own and that 14 out of 20 provinces would soon come under the control of the Houthis and that they would not stop there:

    “Definitely, the Yemeni revolution will be not be confined to Yemen alone. It will extend following its success into Saudi territories. The Yemeni-Saudi vast borders will help expedite its reach into the depth of Saudi land.”

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Photo: First satellite images of a new long-range Iranian missile on a launch pad outside Tehran. (Channel 2 screenshot). It’s the first time we have ever seen it in the West. also capable of carrying a conventional or non-conventional warhead “far beyond Europe,” the report added.

U.S. to Award Iran $11.9 Billion Through End of Nuke Talk, By Adam Kredo, Free Beacon, January 22, 2015
The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department.
Today’s $490 million release, the third such payment of this amount since Dec. 10, was agreed to by the Obama administration under the parameters of another extension in negotiations over Tehran’s contested nuclear program that was inked in November.

Iran will receive a total of $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via 10 separate payments by the United States through June 22, when talks with Iran are scheduled to end with a final agreement aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work, according to a State Department official.

Iran received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the United States and was then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Iran committed to the talks through November, when negotiators parted ways without reaching an agreement.

Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets by the end of June if current releases continue on pace as scheduled.

The release of this money has drawn outrage from some Republican lawmakers who filed legislation last year to prevent the release of cash due to a lack of restrictions on how Iran can spend the money.

These cash payments by the United States have been made with no strings attached, prompting concerns that Iran could use the funds to finance its worldwide terror operations, which include the financial backing of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other rogue entities.

Senators—including Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), and John Cornyn (R., Texas)—sought last year to put a hold on the cash infusions until the White House could certify that Iran was not using the money to support terrorism.

Kirk, who is preparing to offer legislation that would tighten sanctions on Iran, said that the ongoing payments could help Iran fuel its terror empire well into the near future.

“Between November 2014 and July 2015, the interim deal’s direct forms of sanctions relief will allow Iran access to roughly $4.9 billion in frozen money,” Kirk told the Washington Free Beacon “That’s equal to what it’d cost Iran to fund Hezbollah for as much as 50 years.”

The Pentagon estimates Iran has spent $100 to $200 million per year funding Hezbollah.

Entities likely to receive support from Iran include the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the legislation suggests.

When final negotiations between the United States and Iran failed in November, negotiators decided once more to extend the talks through June of this year. The terms of that extension granted Iran the 10 payments of $490 million, a State Department official said.

“With respect to sanctions relief, the United States will enable the repatriation of $4.9 billion of Iranian revenue held abroad during the extension,” the official said.

The first two payments were made in December, followed by Wednesday’s payment.

The next release is scheduled for Feb. 11, with two more scheduled for March. The rest of the frozen cash assets will be given back to Iran on April 15, May 6, May 27, and June 22, respectively.

Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said the ongoing release of these assets has provided Iran with a critical “financial lifeline.”

“The Obama administration provided Iran with a financial lifeline through both direct sanctions relief and the de-escalation of sanctions pressure that helped the regime stabilize its economy after a severe sanctions-induced economic crisis in 2012 and 2013,” Dubowitz said. “It is not a surprise that this has increased Iranian negotiating leverage and hardened the supreme leader’s nuclear intransigence.”

In addition to decrying the lack of restrictions in place to ensure that Iran does not use the released funds to sponsor terrorism, critics of the sanctions relief protest that Iran is benefitting while the United States receives little in return.

Iran has continued to enrich uranium under the interim deal, adding what one critic, Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) referred to as “about one bomb’s worth” to its reserves.

Iran also has continued to make advances on the plutonium track, which provides it with a second path to a nuclear bomb.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran announced last week that the country has begun constructing two new light water nuclear reactors, a move that the U.S. State Department said is permissible under the terms of the interim agreement.

Defiant Obama to Go On Offense in State of Union

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(Washington Post) – The tone and tenor of the Obama White House since Democrats suffered a crushing defeat during the November midterm elections have been anything but conciliatory and have raised doubts about whether the president can — or wants to — break through partisan gridlock before voters choose his successor next year.

The president will enter the House chamber Tuesday night for his sixth State of the Union address riding a wave of confidence driven by an improving economy and brightening public approval ratings. And he seems as defiant as ever.

Although Obama has vetoed just two bills in his six years, the White House has threatened to veto five measures from Congress this month alone — including legislation that would authorize the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, tie funding of the Department of Homeland Security to a rollback of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and impose new economic sanctions on Iran.

Obama vowed in a private meeting with Democrats last week that he will play “offense” during the final two years of his presidency, building on the aggressive executive actions he laid out over the past two months. The legislative proposals he has previewed — including a plan for free community college and a revamping of the tax code — have been based firmly on his terms, drawing objections from Republicans.

In the weeks leading up to the speech, Obama has toured the country trying to build momentum, putting Republicans on the defensive. Twenty-three guests will join first lady Michelle Obama in her box during the prime-time address, as the president seeks to illustrate his priorities for improving the lives of middle-class Americans. And the White House announced that Obama will travel to Boise, Idaho, and Lawrence, Kan., this week to follow up on his speech in a pair of deep-red states — including one, Idaho, that he has never visited as president.

The Washington Post looks back at some of the top issues of 2014.
“America’s resurgence is real,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Our job now is to make sure that every American feels that they’re a part of our country’s comeback. That’s what I’ll focus on in my State of the Union — how to build on our momentum, with rising wages, growing incomes and a stronger middle class. And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people.”

White House aides said they see no contradiction in Obama’s approach to dealing with the GOP-controlled Congress this year, and they point out that some of his proposals received Republican support in the past. They say Obama is eager to work with the GOP in areas where there is common ground, such as free trade and infrastructure. Republicans — including Obama’s 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney — have been adopting a more populist message on the economy, emphasizing mobility and wage growth, ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

Yet as Obama takes his case to the American public in his address, he has made clear that he doesn’t intend to cede much ground to his rivals.

“Some of them are going to be legislative proposals Republicans may not love, but we’ll push them,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He emphasized that the administration will use “every lever we can — whether it’s with Congress, on our own or using the bully pulpit.”

The president’s proposal to raise $320 billion in new revenue over 10 years by increasing taxes and fees for wealthy Americans and big financial institutions angered Republicans, who had cited tax reform as a potential area of compromise.

“I would guess the president would love for Republicans in Congress to take the bait or to somehow have our heads turned away from working toward constructive solutions in some cases,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in an interview, when asked about Obama’s strategy. “Our goal should be to perform, to show we can legislate responsibly, to show that we are steady, to show that we look out in advance for oncoming issues that need to be dealt with, and that we don’t have the herky-jerky, stop-start, government-on and government-off method that’s been occurring in recent times.”

Corker was one of three congressional Republicans who flew aboard Air Force One with Obama to Knoxville, Tenn., two weeks ago for the president’s announcement of his community college plan — which the White House said would cost the federal government at least $60 billion over 10 years. Their presence on the presidential jet suggested, at least symbolically, that Obama intended new outreach across the aisle. But Corker said that he doesn’t agree with the community college plan — and that he and Obama did not discuss it during their flight or subsequent ride together in the presidential limousine. Rather, he said, they focused on foreign policy. Corker is the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Inside the West Wing, presidential advisers said they don’t think Obama’s aggressive rollout of executive actions and new proposals would further poison the political environment or diminish his chances of working with Republicans on what could be lasting achievements. Rather, aides said, the GOP will pursue bipartisan legislation when it is in their best interest, pointing to Republican support for a $1 trillion spending plan last month to keep the government open.

White House allies have been buoyed by the president’s newly vigorous posture. After two years in which the White House often found itself on the defensive amid a series of domestic and international crises, the president and his advisers have made “a tactical change,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, a liberal think tank. “They’re doing a better job at creating attention around the fact that they actually have a plan, a series of things they want to do.”

But Republicans insist that won’t be enough. The GOP-controlled Congress is unlikely to pursue the proposals he has put forward and instead will begin to put bills on Obama’s desk and dare him to stop them.

“Given how poorly the election went for them, they need to find some way to derive a narrative,” David Winston, president of the Winston Group, a conservative consulting firm, said of the White House. On the president’s executive actions, he added, “There’s only so many he can do. . . . Ultimately, they have to figure out as a White House how to actually interact and get things done at a national level.”

– See more at: http://www.teaparty.org/defiant-obama-go-offense-state-union-78299/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=defiant-obama-go-offense-state-union#sthash.RtL13HIH.dpuf

OBAMA TO DELIVER STATE OF UNION ADDRESS—Obama invites illegal to address

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    Obama invites illegal to address

by SPUTNIK | JANUARY 20, 2015

US President Barack Obama will be delivering his State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. local time (4:00 GMT), laying out his policy agenda before the Republican-controlled US Congress, discussing tax hikes for the rich, cybersecurity legislation, criminal justice and immigration reforms.

Over the past month Obama has traveled across the United States, giving a preview of what he will present when he addresses Congress, and allowing members of the Republican opposition in the House and Senate to mount a response.

White House Guest List Indicates President’s Agenda

On Monday, the White House published a list of 22 guests from the general public that will be attending the State of the Union speech, giving some sense of the president’s priorities entering 2015.

“These guests exemplify the themes and ideals that the President lays out in his address,” the White House press release stated.

Among the individuals, invited to attend the State of the Union and watch the president’s speech with First Lady Michelle Obama, are an individual enrolled in a community college, an African-American teenager from Chicago, focused on safety in his community, prisoners released from Cuba late last year, patients who received care through the Affordable Care Act, a wounded veteran from Afghanistan, individuals struggling with the current US minimum wage, and young immigrants to the United States.

Domestic Issues Top the Agenda

On Tuesday, the president is expected to raise a number of domestic issues with members of Congress, including raising the minimum wage, providing students with two years of free community college, tax hikes for the rich and extended tax breaks for lower income families, alongside cuts to mortgage insurance rates.

There has already been opposition from the Republican majority in both the US House and the Senate to a number of the president’s initiatives. The proposal leaked out of the White House last week announced $235 billion in additional taxes, collected from top earners, and has created some sore feelings on the right and left, with some US media pundits calling the initiative a “Robin Hood Tax.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesperson referred to the president’s tax proposal as “redistributing wealth,” arguing that the president’s proposed reforms, explained in a Friday White House fact sheet, will overcomplicate the US tax code, rather than simplify it.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch also blasted President Obama for “slapping American small businesses, savers and investors with more tax hikes” with his new tax proposal that will be fully unveiled on Tuesday.

The president has also taken criticism from Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner over his proposal for two free years of community college for qualifying students.

“With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” Boehner’s spokesperson told the press when the plan was revealed last week.

One area of the Obama administration’s domestic agenda that may receive broad support is the possibility of the president putting criminal justice reform on the agenda. The issue has grabbed national headlines in the wake of numerous police killings of young, African-Americans. Currently there are multiple pieces of legislation to address racial inequality in the US criminal justice system that enjoy bipartisan congressional support.

National Security, International Issues

In the national security arena, President Obama appears positioned to gain traction on his agenda, which was outlined in the president’s Friday press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

At the top of the list of national security initiatives is Obama’s recently announced cybersecurity legislation, a proposal that is likely to garner extensive bipartisan support from the Congress, following high level cyber hacks against US companies and government agencies in recent months.

“I’m glad [Obama] is pushing to address cyber legislation,” said Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire when the president rolled out his cyber initiative last week. Ayotte, a leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee added that the US has stalled such legislation in the past, noting, “I think we can’t afford to stall anymore.”

However, on issues of homeland security, the Congress and the president still remain divided, with a temporary spending limit looming over the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until February. Republican lawmakers imposed the spending limit on the DHS at the end of last year as a mechanism to defund President Obama’s November executive action on immigration reform.

Obama has stated on multiple occasions that he will veto any DHS appropriations bill, defunding his immigration action, creating uncertainty both on the status of the executive action and the continued funding for the third largest US federal agency, DHS.

Last year, the US Congress was united in their support for tougher measures against Russia, including new sanctions and weapons provisions to the government of Ukraine. The Obama administration has so far maintained its position of prohibiting the transfer of offensive weapons to the government of Kiev, but the president announced in his Friday speech with Cameron that he would keep up the pressure on Russia, saying the transatlantic alliance agrees “on the need to maintain strong sanctions against Russia.”

Presidential Veto Threat

“There is so much we can get accomplished for the American people, if the president’s willing to work with us,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a press release last week.

President Obama has made similar overtures for collaboration to the new, Republican-controlled Congress, but has so far stood his ground on key policy positions. In the first week the US Congress was in session, Obama threatened to veto nearly half a dozen pieces of legislation, including new sanctions on Iran, and legislation for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

During his six years in office, Obama has vetoed only two pieces of legislation, but has also enjoyed majority support in both houses of Congress in his first term, and a Democratic majority in the Senate for the first two years of his second term.

The upcoming congressional work session, following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, will last until the late-February district working session. The legislative agenda will be set by House and Senate Republicans, but also informed by initiatives introduced by President Obama in his Tuesday address.

Obama: I will veto any new sanctions against Iran…

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    The two leaders just finished a press conference in D.C. The biggest news: Obama says he will veto further Iran sanctions.

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BY KAVEH WADDELL AND PRISCILLA ALVAREZ

British Prime Minister David Cameron with President Obama walk the West Wing colonnade of the White House on January 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C.(Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
January 16, 2015 After a tumultuous two weeks of terror and emotional responses in Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama, largely about security and cyber issues. And now they’re trying to show off the strengths of their “special relationship” to the press.

Obama kicked off his opening statement explaining just why he reportedly calls Cameron “bro.” Why so casual? “Put simply, David is a great friend,” Obama said. “Great Britain is our indispensable partner,” Obama said Friday. “And David has been personally an outstanding partner.” Cameron, in his opening statement, called Obama a “great friend to Britain and to me personally.”

In addition to economic security, Cameron focused on terror organizations such as ISIS, and the domestic threats they inspire, calling their basis as “poisonous ideology.”

“The world is sickened by this terrorism, so we will not be standing alone in this fight,” Cameron said. “We know what we’re up against and we know how we will win.”

Cameron also announced that he and Obama “have agreed to establish a joint group to identify what more we can do to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism and to learn from one another.”

Cameron, who is running for reelection by this May, made sure to emphasize the work he and Obama have done to pull the U.S. and U.K. economies out of their slumps.

But perhaps the biggest moment of the presser, so far at least, was on Iran. Obama addressed the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and a bill that lawmakers are expected to introduce next month that would increase sanctions on the Iranian regime. It’s a bill the president says he will veto.

“Through some very strong diplomatic work, we united the world and isolated Iran. And it’s because of that work that we brought them to the negotiating table.” But Obama is still putting the odds of a comprehensive agreement with Iran at “probably less than 50-50.” Iran, he said, is run by a regime that “is deeply suspicious of the west, deeply suspicious of us.”

Obama said new sanctions legislation would likely cause the negotiations to collapse. “And if that happens, there is no constraint on Iran at that point going back and doing exactly what it had been doing before they came to the table.”

He also said that if negotiations fail, the likelihood of military confrontation goes up, “and Congress will have to own that as well.”

For that reason, Obama said he plans to veto any new sanctions that come to his desk. Obama, in speaking with the Democratic congressional caucus yesterday, said that “I respectfully request them to hold off for a few months to see if we have the possibility of solving a big problem without resorting potentially to war. And I think that’s worth doing.”

Obama later clarified that if diplomacy doesn’t succeed now, the U.S. won’t be on “immediate war footing” with Iran.

Similarly, Cameron voiced his disagreement on new sanctions that could fracture negotiations with Iran, saying he’s even talked to U.S. senators during his visit to “simply make a point.”

Discussing the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, Obama said that the United States has “one big advantage in this whole process.” The advantage, he said, is the fact that the Muslim communities in the U.S. are assimilated and “feel themselves to be Americans.”

That’s not the case in parts of Europe, Obama said, which is “probably the greatest danger that Europe faces.” He suggested that European governments work on strengthening ties between their cultures and Muslim immigrants, rather than responding “with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”

While Cameron agreed on that point, he also pointed out that some who have those advantages in a multiracial society still get seduced by “this poisonous, radical death cult of a narrative.”

In combating terror threats streamed through social media and the Internet, Obama and Cameron announced that they will be reviewing cybersecurity and challenges that may surface with new technologies.

The presser wasn’t all completely serious and policy-forward. In the first question from the press, Obama was asked about what he made of reports that Mitt Romney is considering running for president again. “No comment” was as far as he went.

The meeting between the two follows a series of terror attacks in France that left 17 people dead. More than 40 world leaders marched along hundreds of thousands of people in Paris last weekend in honor of the victims. Cameron was there, but Obama was not. The White House was criticized for not sending the president—or at least the vice president—to the rallies, and the administration later admitted it should have sent someone “with a higher profile.” Secretary of State John Kerry visited France Friday to express his sympathy, saying “I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris and all friends.”

The news conference also serves to present a united front against terrorism in the face of additional threats this week in Europe. On Thursday, Belgian police said they thwarted “a major terrorist attack,” engaging three would-be attackers in a shootout that left two gunmen dead. And on Friday, more than two dozen suspects were arrested in coordinated French, German, and Belgian police raids.

Marina Koren and Matt Berman contributed to this article.