Mini-me missiles? N Korea claims it has made miniaturized nuclear warheads


Pyongyang says it has developed miniaturized nuclear warheads making it possible to fit them into missiles. The report comes just weeks after North Korea claimed its first submarine-based missile test.

“It has been a long time since we began miniaturizing and diversifying our means of nuclear strike,” North Korea’s National Defense Commission said in a statement, as cited by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We have also reached the stage where the highest accuracy rate is guaranteed not only for short- and medium-range missiles, but long-range missiles as well.”

South Korean intelligence believes Pyongyang initiated development of new strategic ballistic missiles in 2010.

On May 9, Pyongyang announced a successful test launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) – a game-changing “world-level strategic weapon,” according to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

READ MORE: N. Korea says it tested submarine-launched ballistic missile

Meanwhile, US Admiral James Winnefeld claimed Tuesday that North Korean specialists doctored the images and in fact are “many years” from developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

“They have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe,” Reuters reported Winnefeld, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying.

Last November, South Korean media claimed that North Korea had “imported a Soviet-era Golf-class diesel submarine and modified it,” Yonhap news agency reported, citing a government source.

READ MORE: North Korea launches upgraded Soviet-era ballistic missile submarine – report

The commander of US forces on the Korean peninsula, General Curtis Scaparrotti, said in October 2014 that though it was difficult to verify what Pyongyang actually possesses in its arsenal, he believed that North Korea had “the capability to miniaturize a device at this point and they have the technology to actually deliver what they say they have,” AFP reported.

There has so far been no credible report about North Korea effectively testing a miniature nuclear device.

READ MORE: N Korea capable of launching ‘mobile’ nuke missile into US – NORAD

US Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that North Korea “continues to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles” and warned that Washington is considering implementing new sanctions against Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Our very own Baghdad Bama!

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Yes, we have Baghdad Bama and his trusty sidekick John Kerry! As national and satellite pictures were showing American troops taking over Baghdad airport and moving towards the city, Baghdad Bob proclaims, “There are NO AMERICANS infidels in Baghdad. Never!” on live TV… as you can hear the shells going off in the background! Reports came in from various news sources with Baghdad Bob saying, “I blame Al-Jazeera – they are marketing for the Americans!” When asked by reporters how the Iraqi army would do against the Americans he replied, “My feelings – as usual – we will slaughter them all.” And let’s not forget, “Our initial assessment is that they will all die.” Baghdad Bob had so many gems that he tries to sell but fails.

I believe we are seeing that same thing here in America. We consistently hear from the White House that the economy is good, jobs are on the rise, people are feeling better, and the biggie… we are living in the safest time in history! In what universe? Consumer confidence is down, most jobs created are part-time, the economy can’t maintain a 2% misery index, credit card debt is up, home sales are down. Do you need more?!

This Administration also goes on to say there are no scandals, and no issues at the IRS. Benghazi, though a tragedy, was played out by the U.S. perfectly, and it all happened because of a movie maker. We are stuck in a Twilight Zone marathon featuring the Obama Chronicles.

The economy, after the (real) Great Depression of 1930 made a strong comeback. The US saw growth rates of 11, 8, and 13 percent over the 3 years it took to recover. Most experts agreed, if the government had gotten out of the way recovery would have been so much quicker! What wouldn’t I give for a 5 or 6% recovery today?

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According to President Obama, his Administration’s growth tactics were the way to go. He had no problem blaming Republican’s for fearmongering with their warnings that his plan wouldn’t work. It should be clear by now, his plan has NOT worked, nor will it work, not in any situation or universe! In 2010, the economic recovery was only at 3%. In 2011, 1.7%. In 2012, it tripped over 2%. In 2013, it stumbled to 1.8%. And then, in 2014, it wobbled on the 3% line. So far, for 2015, the average is 2.8%.

In Obama’s State of the Union address he said the economy, though growing slowing, is doing great and we are on our way to a recovery! WHAT?!

Just a poke in the eye for a moment… under George W. in 2001 after the 9-11 attack the economy tumbled and crashed hanging in at an average of 0.5% until 2002 when it started to rise again to a high of 4.3%. But the damage had been done. The low GDP and slowing of the economy had started to undermine the Bernie Madoffs of the world with their phony investment schemes that started to crumble. From 2006 forward and in 2008 it couldn’t hold anymore. Obama even lost Bill Clinton on this one. Bill openly stated in interviews that the economy was stumbling and was still having issues.

This Administration has touted itself as the most transparent ever. Yet even the mainstream media who were in a deep love affair with Obama said they have been the most secretive ever. Veteran journalists from almost every major paper were shocked when this “transparent” Administration said they were no longer welcome at most of the events in and around the White House. To add insult to injury, the White House said they would release pictures and stories to the media that they deemed newsworthy. Sounds like an open environment to me! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Obama ChoomThere are so many of these examples it pains me to leave them out, but I want to focus on the comment that the world is the safest it’s been than at any other time in history. Where does he get this stuff? Both Obama and Kerry must be smoking from the same crack pipe. None of the military officials or advisors believe this statement – NONE of them!

Race relations haven’t been this bad since the 1960’s. We haven’t seen this much inner city violence since the violent protests of the Vietnam War and the race riots of the 1960’s. For all intents and purposes, we were moving in the right direction with racial issues, maybe not fast enough, but at least moving forward nonetheless.

This president has set us back 50 years with race-baiting and his own racial bias. He started with the infamous “beer summit” saying that the incident where a black college professor was arrested by a white cop for breaking into a house had to be racially motivated. It couldn’t be a mistake. It had to be an overt racist act. This was just the beginning. For a president who recently stated that he never gets involved until the investigation is over, you can’t prove it by his record.

This country is teetering on the brink of a major outbreak of violence, but it will be aimed at the government, not just a “black and white” thing. The racial violence we have seen in some of these cities will look like a game of Battleship compared to what will happen if this Administration keeps trampling on the rights of Americans by putting illegals first before the American people and taking more and more of their less and less hard-earned money to provide services for those here illegally.

Like Baghdad Bob, this president either sees none of these issues raised before him or he chooses to keep feeding us the propaganda he has been manufacturing since his first days in office.

To paraphrase what Obama said in the last election; I am choosing to do the will of those who stayed home and didn’t vote. They think everything is going fine, so they simply stayed home.

Baghdad Bama has spoken!

Facing Certain Override, Obama Caves in to Congress and Reality

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Oh my, third pig-flying moment today. If you ever considered buying a lottery ticket, may I suggest that today would be the day. First this, then this, now this: “the Senate today finally threw up a roadblock in front of Obama and his mad dash to give Iran the H-Bomb. But that’s not really the headline, which is, Facing Certain Override, Obama Caves in to Congress and Reality.” (thanks to Dan F)

History was made today.

The first time since his inauguration that one of Obama’s pet policy objectives has been turned back at the door. May this set a precedent for the final years of this disastrous presidency. And may Congress go from strength to strength (DF)

The Congress is our only hope against this siege by an unstable enemy.

This afternoon, Congress took a step forward in the fight to protect the world from a nuclear Iran. A bipartisan bill that calls for congressional oversight on any final nuclear deal with Iran has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 19 to 0.(TIP)

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(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama dropped his opposition on Tuesday to a bill giving Congress a voice on a nuclear deal with Iran after members of his Democratic Party negotiated changes to the bill that had won strong support from both parties.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama, who had said he would veto the proposed bill because it could scuttle the emerging Iran deal, could accept compromises that drew bipartisan Senate support.

“What we have made clear to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is that the president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee,” Earnest said.

The compromise bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously and is expected to pass the full Senate.

It requires the Obama administration to send the text of a final agreement to Congress as soon as it is completed, and blocks Obama’s ability to waive many U.S. sanctions on Iran while Congress reviews the deal.

It allows a final vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by Congress in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear capabilities.

“The proper role for Congress in this effort is the consideration of the sanctions that Congress put in place themselves,” Earnest told reporters. “It would not be an up or down vote on the deal.”

United Nations sanctions and those imposed by other countries could be lifted if an agreement is reached on restricting Iran’s nuclear program by a June 30 target date.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker, who wrote the bill, said the White House had agreed to go along with it only after it was clear there was strong Democratic support. “That change occurred only when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this,” Corker said.

The bill that passed cut to 30 days from 60 the time in which Congress can review any final nuclear agreement and eliminated the requirement that Obama certify that Iran is not supporting acts of terrorism against the United States.

Instead, it requires the administration to send Congress regular, detailed reports on a range of issues including Iran’s support for terrorism, ballistic missiles and nuclear program.

Obama has invested enormous political capital throughout his presidency in securing an international agreement to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, relying on tight sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy and forced it to negotiate.

Earnest told reporters Obama had also insisted that there should be bipartisan agreement that this would be the only legislation governing Congress’s oversight of the Iran deal.

Some Republicans, and a few hawkish Democrats, have pushed additional sanctions to put even more pressure on Iran but those bills were put on hold while the Corker bill moved forward.

Obama had warned that allowing Congress to vote directly on a final nuclear agreement would undermine Iran’s faith in Washington’s commitment to uphold a deal.

A framework deal with Tehran reached by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States on April 2 is part of an effort to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and not to develop weapons capability, as many in the West fear.


Russia on Monday introduced a new wrinkle into the convoluted international wrangling around the nuclear talks by lifting a self-imposed ban on delivering its S-300 missile defense system to Tehran.

The move did not formally violate international sanctions, and the State Department said the administration did not believe it would disrupt the unity at the talks, but Secretary of State John Kerry raised concerns with Moscow.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill shortly. Lawmakers will have the chance to offer additional amendments before that vote, but the White House said it would veto the bill if it were changed.

Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters said they would fight any effort to make the bill more restrictive.

“If this bill is altered in ways that threaten this once-in- a-lifetime opportunity, to deal with a looming crisis, I will use every tool at my disposal to stop that from happening,” said Senator Barbara Boxer.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Bill Trott; Editing by David Storey, James Dalgleish and Ken Wills)

– See more at:


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Kerry said that Tehran was “obviously” supplying the rebels

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran over its increased involvement in Yemen’s civil war Wednesday, vowing that the U.S. would not “stand by” as the Middle East became destabilized.

Meanwhile, Iran President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that a Saudi-led campaign of airstrikes against Yemen’s Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, was a “mistake.” Rouhani did not single out any country in particular but said, “You learned that it was wrong. You will learn, not later but soon, that you are making mistake in Yemen, too.”

Speaking on the “PBS Newshour” Wednesday, Kerry said that Tehran was “obviously” supplying the rebels, whose military advances forced Yemen’s U.S-and Saudi-backed president to flee last month. In response, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi targets since March 26.

“Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized or while people engage in overt warfare across lines — international boundaries — in other countries,” Kerry said. “We have an ability to understand that an Iran with a nuclear weapon is a greater threat than an Iran without one. And at the same time we have an ability to be able to stand up to interference that is inappropriate or against international law, or contrary to the region’s stability and interest and those of our friends.”

Kerry’s interview was broadcast on the same day that Iran said it was sending a destroyer and another naval ship to the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait. Iranian Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying that the ships were part of an anti-piracy campaign to “safeguard naval routes for vessels in the region” by the English-language state broadcaster Press TV.

The comments by Kerry and Rouhani, as well as the Iranian naval maneuvers underscore the growing international tensions surrounding the chaotic fighting in Yemen, with the U.S. shoring up the Saudi-led forces on one side and Iran allegedly backing the Houthis on the other – though Iran and the rebels deny any direct military assistance.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday he could not say whether “Iranian money or equipment” has been delivered to the Houthis, but “we know the Iranians are partnered with the Houthis and they are working together.” 

On PBS, Kerry said, “There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran. There are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in.”

The fighting and international involvement threaten to hang over ongoing nuclear talks, which yielded a deal framework last week in Switzerland. The U.S., Iran and five other world powers are trying to strike a final deal by June – though critics have pointed to Iran’s involvement in Yemen and elsewhere as a serious cause for concern.

The unrest has also provided cover for Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, which the U.S. considers the world’s most dangerous wing of the group, to make “great gains” on the ground. That in turn has caused Washington to rethink how it prevents it from launching attacks in the West.

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with Pakistan’s prime minister in an effort to to push for peace talks to resolve the crisis. 

“We need to work together in order to put an end to the crisis in Yemen,” said Zarif, who also called for the imposition of a humanitarian cease-fire. “We need to find a political solution in Yemen, a comprehensive political solution leading an inclusive government through Yemeni dialogue.”

Zarif’s visit came as Pakistan’s parliament is debating whether to contribute forces to the Saudi-led air campaign. The airstrikes against the Houthis and their allies, including loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have so far failed to stop the rebels’ advance on Aden, Yemen’s second-largest city, which was declared a provisional capital by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi before he fled to Saudi Arabia.

Humanitarian groups in Yemen say they are running out of supplies and have called for a temporary halt to the fighting to allow aid into the country. The World Health Organization said Tuesday at least 560 people have been killed in the past weeks and 1,768 have been wounded, many of them civilians. It said another 100,000 have fled their homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sanaa-tized? Rights groups sue State Dept for refusing to evacuate 1,000s of Americans from Yemen

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The US government has been sued over abandoning its citizens in Yemen, where up to 4,000 Americans are feared stranded. Pentagon officials claim an evacuation would be too dangerous for military personnel to carry out.

After the US Embassy in Yemen was evacuated along with all military personnel, there were no US forces left in the country to help American citizens who got stuck amid the worsening armed conflict.

Three Arab and Muslim human rights groups united in preparing a lawsuit bringing dozens of cases of American citizens denied evacuation from Yemen to the attention of the Obama administration. Some of the families stranded in Yemen have small children, maintains a lawsuit filed on Thursday, McClatchy DC reports.

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“The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (ALC) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter seeking government action to evacuate American citizens trapped in Yemen,” CAIR said in a statement Thursday.

The lawsuit personally targets US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter for failing to protect US citizens in Yemen. The document names 41 plaintiffs in the case, while the total number of US citizens in Yemen is estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000.

Over 500 American citizens have registered on the website so far. According to the human rights organizations, most of the American citizens remaining in Yemen are of Yemeni origin.

“Currently there are hundreds of families stuck actually in Yemen that are US citizens. They are asking me on a daily basis if there’s any concrete evacuation,” Summer Nasser, an activist and freelance author, told RT by phone from the Yemeni town of Yafa.

“If there’s a chance and there’s no concrete evacuation from the State Department directly, they should just use other countries and airlines that may evacuate citizens,” Nasser said.

The State Department suggests that Americans should arrange their departure with the US Embassy in Djibouti, a small state situated on the Horn of Africa, 250 kilometers across the sea from the nearest Yemeni port, Aden. But according to McClatchy DC, at least two American citizens, a Californian woman and a mother of four from New York, made contact with diplomats in Djibouti only to learn that there would be no help.

A 21-year-old Brooklyn man, Sallah Elhushayshi, told McClatchy DC: “All day the question I ask myself is: Why is the United States not helping us?” Elhushayshi went to Yemen last year to get married and visit his family.

“Did you hear that? It’s a war now,” he said as gunfire crackled in the background when he was calling from the city of Tai

“As American Yemenis, we’re all really sad about what’s going on,” said Mohammed Alazzani, 27, a cousin of American citizen Jamal al Labani, a gas station owner from Oakland, California, who was killed in an airstrike in Yemen. “They just don’t believe it, that their government isn’t doing anything. Some of them are starting to say, ‘They don’t consider us real Americans. We’re second-class.’”

“The situation in Yemen is dangerous and unpredictable,” the US official said. “Sending in military assets, even for an evacuation operation, could put U.S. citizen lives at greater risk,” the official said, stressing that there are no current plans to evacuate “private citizens.”

In the meantime US aircraft tankers continue refueling Saudi bombers that inflict airstrikes on positions of Houthi rebels.

“You can expect we will do so every day from now on,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told McClatchy.

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All this happens as other countries are actively evacuating their citizens out of Yemen.

READ MORE: Escape from Yemen: Refugees tell RT ‘the whole city was shaking’

At least eight countries, including China, India and Pakistan, have sent planes and ships to evacuate their citizens from the conflict-stricken country.

READ MORE: Russian citizens evacuated from Yemen

Chinese soldiers even had to disembark to the port of Aden to ensure security of the evacuees after an unknown party opened fire on a vessel evacuating foreign citizens, a Yemeni official told Sputnik.

READ MORE: Chinese military disembark in port of Aden, Yemen, to guard evacuation – official

“We’re not asking for anything out of the ordinary. We’re just asking them to fulfill their duties,” said Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, one of the advocacy groups behind the lawsuit to the US government.

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“India took out over 4,000 of their nationals in three days. If India can do it, why can’t the US?”

Aircraft from Moscow, evacuating Russians from the international airport of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, so far have made five flights. They also evacuated citizens of several other states, among them Belarusians, Poles, Ukrainians, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.

Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement

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Obama lying? If he’s breathing, he’s lying. If his lips are moving, he’s lying. It’s only news if that fraud tells the truth.

“Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement,” By Adam Kredo, Free Beacon, April 2, 2015

Says White House misleading Congress, American people with fact sheet

Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”

Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.

Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.

“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.

He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”

The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.

Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement.

– See more at:

A brief history of Obama’s capitulations to Iran since 2007

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In the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution in which Islamic radicals seized power — and American diplomats were held hostage for 444 days — President Carter cut off ties with the nation. During his own administration, President Obama has upended decades of U.S. policy, elevating the status of Iran on the world stage, even as the nation’s autocratic leader still calls for “Death to America.” In current nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration has been moving closer and closer to the position of the Islamic regime. But the process of capitulation to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism has been years in the making, dating back to Obama’s first presidential campaign. Here is a brief history of Obama’s process of capitulation to Iran, which will be updated.

July 2007: No preconditions

During a July 23, 2007, debate for the Democratic presidential nomination in which Americans were able to submit questions via YouTube clips, one participant asked the candidates if they would be willing to meet, without precondition, within the first year of their administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. “I would,” Obama said, touting the importance of negotiating even with governments who are dangerous and untrustworthy. He went on to say, “I think it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them” vowing that with regards to Iraq, “One of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward, is to send a signal that we’re going to talk to Iran and Syria.”

His opponent, Hillary Clinton, declined to make such a promise, saying that while she supported diplomacy, she wouldn’t want to commit in advance to such a high-level meeting, noting “I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes.” Following the debate, the Clinton campaign seized on Obama’s vow as evidence of his inexperience. “I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naive,” she said. Ultimately, though, Clinton’s attacks backfired, providing another opportunity for Obama to portray himself as the true change candidate before Democratic voters who were eager to move on from President George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

Obama used the occasion of his first Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 2009, to extend an olive branch to Iran — an adapted formulation of his vow during the 2007 debate. “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” Obama said.

A week later, Obama made it clear that the statement included Iran. In his first formal sit down interview as president – with Arab television network Al Arabiya – Obama was asked how far he’d be willing to go to prevent a nuclear Iran.

For his first formal interview as president, he responded that, “I said during the campaign that it is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of U.S. power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran.” He acknowledged Iran had a record of threatening Israel, sponsoring terrorism, and pursuing nuclear weapons. “But,” he added, “I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. And we will, over the next several months, be laying out our general framework and approach. And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”

March 2009: “The Islamic Republic of Iran”

In the first of his annual messages on Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Obama addressed the Iranian people as well as the “leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” By referring to the “Islamic Republic” he immediately added legitimacy to the anti-American regime. Though Obama noted Iran’s use of terrorism and quest for nuclear weapons, he said, “We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect” and “The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.”

June 2009: The Green Revolution

On June 12, Iran held its tightly-controlled elections, and after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, massive democratic protests broke out against the regime. Rather than support the dissidents in the face of a brutal crackdown by the Islamic nation, Obama was initially silent before offering a tepid response days later. On the one hand, he said he was “troubled by the violence” and thought that free speech should be respected – and he put the regime on notice that “the world is watching.” But he watered down his statement by saying, “we respect Iranian sovereignty” and “we will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we’ll see where it takes us.” Though he eventually ramped up his criticism as the crisis went on, as the Washington Post reported, “At the same time, the president and his aides made it clear that the extraordinary events in Iran have not caused the administration to rethink its desire to engage with the Iranian government in order to achieve a deal that would resolve international concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

2009 — Present: Letters to the Ayatollah

During his presidency, Obama has become pen pals with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This despite the fact that Khamenei continues to back terrorism, has called for “Death to America” and declared that Israel is a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut” within the context of seeking nuclear weapons. In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama sent his fourth letter to Khamenei since 2009 and the latest one referenced their supposedly mutual interests in combatting the Islamic State and reaching a nuclear compromise. In response to the letter, Suzanne Maloney, Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, wrote that “the move betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Iranian leadership, and is likely to hinder rather than help achieve a durable resolution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as other U.S. objectives on Iran.”

The letters to Khamenei are just one part of Obama’s outreach effort. In September 2013, Obama spoke on the phone with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – representing the highest-level contact between the U.S. and Iran since the Carter administration cut off ties with the regime in 1980.

2009 — 2011: Resisting tougher sanctions

At many points when it has suited his political interests, Obama has boasted of having ratcheted up sanctions against Iran in his first term. Though it’s accurate that more sanctions were imposed, the important context is that Obama continually fought back Congress in an attempt to weaken sanctions. In December 2009, for instance, the State Department sent a letter to then Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, expressing concerns against legislation tightening sanctions, writing “that this legislation, in its current form, might weaken rather than strengthen international unity and support for our efforts.” As legislation progressed, the Obama administration continued to fight to soften it. In June 2010, sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking industries passed 408 to 8 in the House of Representatives and 99 to 0 in the Senate, at a time when Democrats had overwhelming majorities in both chambers — and Obama had no choice but to sign the legislation.

In 2011, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J, and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., crafted a bipartisan measure imposing sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. On Dec. 1, 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned, “I am writing to express the administration’s strong opposition to this amendment because, in its current form, it threatens to undermine the effective, carefully phased, and sustainable approach we have taken to build strong international pressure against Iran.” The Democratic Senate voted later that day to pass the sanctions bill 100-0, again forcing Obama into signing it.

2013 — Present: Nuclear concessions mount

On Nov. 24, 2013, the Obama administration announced an “interim agreement” with Iran that provided immediate sanctions relief in exchange for concessions on its nuclear program. The agreement was supposed to last six months, but has since been extended multiple times. And as time goes on, the U.S. moves closer and closer to the Iranian position.

The negotiations had been pitched as a way to make sure Iran “doesn’t have the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon,” but now, the stated goal is to make sure that the U.S. can tell when Iran is a year away from a nuclear weapon – and the hope of reaching even that lower bar appears to be fading.

Initially, the U.S. denied that the interim agreement recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium, but Secretary of State John Kerry later sang a different tune. There has also been a clear shift in the number of centrifuges Iran will be allowed to operate. In April 2012, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.” By September 2014, the U.S. was saying that the goal was to limit the number of centrifuges to 1,500. The latest reports are that Iran will be allowed to keep around 6,000 centrifuges – which will make it a lot harder to limit Iran’s so-called breakout time to obtaining a nuclear weapon to a year.

An April 2012 New York Times report revealed that the Obama administration and its European allies were “demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling” of Fordo, a nuclear facility built deep under a mountain. But the Associated Press reported last month that under the current deal, the facility would remain operational.

On top of all of these concessions, the emerging deal would allow Iran to maintain its plutonium pathway to a nuclear weapon and it hasn’t addressed its ballistic missile program. Despite the fact that Obama had wanted a deal that would last 20 years — the deal is now expected to expire in as early as 10 — leaving Iran free to pursue a nuclear weapon at that time.

Ongoing: Realigning U.S. Middle East policy toward Iran

As the Obama administration engages in nuclear diplomacy, it has shifted its broader foreign policy in the Middle East so that it’s closer to Iran, as detailed by the Washington Examiner‘s Charles Hoskinson. Recently, Kerry said the U.S. might have to negotiate with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, an ally of the Iranian regime. The U.S. has tolerated a growing role for Iran in Iraq. The administration has had a tepid response to the takeover of Yemen — once hailed as a model of counterterrorism — by Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. Obama has also taken an increasingly belligerent attitude toward Israel.


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