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.

RUSSIAN MISSILES

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: http://pamelageller.com/2015/04/facing-certain-override-obama-caves-in-to-congress-and-reality.html/#sthash.1hjHWSQa.dpuf

KERRY SAYS US WON’T ‘STAND BY’ IN MIDDLE EAST AS IRAN STEPS UP YEMEN INVOLVEMENT

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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 www.stuckinyemen.com 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: http://pamelageller.com/2015/04/iran-accuses-u-s-of-lying-about-new-nuke-agreement.html/#sthash.zqA44Z9m.dpuf

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

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BY PHILIP KLEIN

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.

Sanctions to be terminated, no nuke sites closed, research and development to continue *(OBAMA’S MUSLIM FRIENDS GOT WHAT THEY WANTED)*

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Iran Brags About Nuke Concessions

BY: Adam Kredo

April 2, 2015 2:29 pm

LAUSANNE, Switzerland—Iran and world powers on Thursday announced that following the latest round of nuclear negotiations, Western powers agreed to permit Iran to continue operating the core aspects of its nuclear program and that all sanctions of the Islamic Republic would be terminated.

After failing to meet a March 31 deadline for the announcement of a firm political agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry and Javad Zarif, his Iranian counterpart, said that the sides had agreed in principle to let Iran continue running major portions of its nuclear program.

Despite threats from Obama administration officials that the United States would abandon talks if Iran continued to demand greater concessions, Kerry extended his trip and conducted a series of meetings aimed at hashing out a statement of progress—a far cry from the detailed document officials vowed would be finalized by now.

The sides continue to disagree over Iranian demands that it be permitted to continue key nuclear research and granted the ability to ramp its program up to industrial capacity after a decade.

However, Zarif said many of these issues are closer to being resolved.

“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”

“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”

The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”

Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.

European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the sides had “taken a decisive step” in paving over disagreements on key fronts and would now work “for a final deal” by June.

In return, the United States and international partners will work to “terminate” all of the “nuclear-related sanctions” currently being imposed on Iran.

The United Nations also will move to endorse the ongoing Joint Plan of Action interim deal and terminate all of its previous security council resolutions on Iran.

The Fordow nuclear facility will eventually be “converted from an enrichment site to a nuclear psychics and tech center,” Mongherini said. No fissile material such as uranium will be permitted at the former military site.

However, this could allow Iran to continue running thousands of nuclear centrifuges that could be used to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

“As Iran pursues a peaceful nuclear program,” it will tentatively agree to limit its nuclear enrichment capabilities and stockpiles for a specific duration, according to Mongherini’s statement, which was also read in Persian by Zarif.

Iran also will undertake a “joint venture” to redesign and modernize its heavy water reactor at Arak, a site that has raised concerns about the plutonium path to a nuclear bomb.

The site “will not produce weapons-grade plutonium,” according to the statement.

“We’ve done significant work,” Zarif said after the joint statements had been read. “We’ve taken a major step, but we’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be.”

Many concessions Iran has pushed for in recent days have now been agreed to by the United States, according to multiple reports and sources.

Prior to the news conference, Zarif informed the Iranian state-controlled press that “no agreement will be signed” in the near term.

“We have said right from the beginning that no agreement would be signed today. We have always stated that there could be only one agreement which could go into effect at the end of the talks on July 1 if everything goes well,” he was quoted as saying.

Zarif told reporters late Wednesday amid meetings with the United States and other P5+1 one nations that he was “all smiles” after days of intensive talks in which Tehran has given little ground on American efforts to reduce the size of its nuclear program and uranium stockpiles.

Zarif said no progress could be made in the talks due to continued American “pressure” and lack of respect.

Iran went back on earlier promises that it would export its stockpiles of enriched uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon. This requirement remains one of the issue’s sticking points.

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters following Zarif’s remarks that the United States has “reached a crucial milestone” with Iran.

Kerry celebrated what he described as major agreements by Iran to limit the scope of its enrichment ability.

“We will give the international community confidence that’s Iran’s nuke program is and will remain exclusively peaceful,” Kerry said. “I can tell you the political understanding with details we have reached is a solid foundation for the good deal we are seeking.”

Kerry also said that Iran is not fully complying with a portion of the agreement, economic sanctions would be reimposed.

However, differences still remain, he said.

“We have acknowledged there are some gaps,” Kerry told reporters. “There are issues we have to resolve.”

The differences will be worked over the coming months, he said.

With the talks slated to continue through June, a majority of Americans said Congress “should be required” to approve the agreement, something the Obama administration has opposed.

Around 55 percent of those surveyed by Fox News said the United States cannot “trust anything” Iran promises on the nuclear front.

Obama Doesn’t Want to Stop Iran

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March 31, 2015

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Yeah. In the Stack of Things That Are Totally Made-up and Cannot Possibly Be True Today, there’s a Washington Post poll, and do you know what it says? The vast majority of you support Obama’s nuke deal with Iran. That’s what it says. The vast majority of the American people are ready to go, ready to help Obama get the nuke deal done with Iran. Except they’re not told the truth about what the deal is. The primary question in the poll is, “Would you support an Iranian nuclear deal which lifted sanctions on Iran for a pledge from Iran not to develop a nuclear weapon?”

Well, of course, reasonable people say, “Yep, that’s good with me!” But that’s not what the Iranian nuke deal is. They do a poll on an imaginary nuke deal, but that question has no relationship to what the deal currently being discussed is. And, of course, the deal has fallen apart. There are so many misconceptions about this. Everybody thought that the deadline — THE deadline — was today. Now they say, “No, this was just phase one. This was some preliminary thing. This is the framework of a deal. This is not the deal.”

The Drive-Bys were hyping this date, today, as it had to get done or else it was gonna blow up and nothing was ever gonna happen. That simply was never the case. The original drop-dead date for this is sometime in June or July. And what happened here is exactly what the Iranians always do. At the last minute, they made a total change to something they had previously committed to. In this case they said, “You know what? We’re not gonna surrender the enriched uranium that we produced,” and John Kerry said, “But wait! But wait! You said you were!”

The Iranians said, “Well, we changed our mind. We talked to Ali Khomeini, and we changed our mind. We’re not gonna do that.” So we called the Russians, “Hey, can you guys help? Because you essentially sold them the stuff to help ’em make it,” and Putin said, “Yeah, we’ll take the uranium off their hands.” And the Iranians said, “No, we not gonna give up our uranium.” The Russians said, “We’d be happy to take it and hold it in escrow.” (snorts) So then as I say the ayatollah Khamenei came in and said, “Screw all this!”

So the deadline today is gonna come and go. Whether it’s met or not is irrelevant because the Ayatollah Khamenei said, “This two-phase thing is a bunch of garbage, anyway! Screw this framework stuff. The real drop-dead date is July. That’s what’s now operative.” Of course this is also part and parcel of the way Iran gets things. They get very, very close to what everybody thinks is a deal and they walk away.

Now they’ve gone… See this is March, April, May. (chuckles) They got three or four months here to keep developing uranium, keep running their centrifuges, keep working toward the creation of a nuclear weapon while the talks stall and then resume and then stall and get everybody focused on a new date this summer. It’s exactly what Iran does.

Here, grab sound bite number one and two, John Bolton. Before we get back to Indiana Mike Pence, let me get this out of the way because this not gonna take much. On America’s Newsroom today Bill Hemmer was speaking with Bolton about all of this going on in Iran, and he said, “Now, critics say that the president’s already given way too much. Today’s the day, right? John Kerry said last night, ‘Everybody knows the meaning of tomorrow and tomorrow is today.’ So what does it all mean,” Mr. Bolton?

BOLTON: If they don’t announce it today, they’ll have to announce it on April Fool’s Day. They will declare success because in negotiation, you never fail. But if anybody thinks that Iran has really made any substantial concession here, they’re not listening careful enough, and the Iranians really are never gonna make substantial concessions because they’re determined to get nuclear weapons.

RUSH: Right, and we’re not telling them that they can’t. The only way that… Well, here, he addresses it. Bolton says the only way we’re gonna stop this is to bomb ’em, and we’re not gonna do that, so they’re gonna get the weapon. Hemmer said, “Well, you’re taking a lot of heat, Mr. Bolton, for a piece that you put out last week. You said to stop Iran’s bomb you gotta bomb Iran. You think that’s the only way out here?”

BOLTON: There are only two outcomes here. One is the most likely outcome: Iran gets nuclear weapons. Whether they sign this deal or not, I think there’s a lot of common-sense understanding that they are stringing us along. Look at the prior examples where the Israelis bombed a nuclear reactor in Syria being constructed by North Korea in September of 2007. They set Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program back for a decade by bombing the Osirak reactor in 1991.

RUSH: So his point is that’s about the only leverage we have now is to bomb their facilities. The problem is many of their facilities are way, way down there — way down underground. It’d be tough. You’d need one of those bunker-busting bombs. I don’t know if we still have ’em or if the Democrats outlawed them for being too dangerous. But that’s what it would take. John Bolton has become sort of a fait accompli-ist on this.

They’re gonna get it. Negotiations never fail. No matter what happens, you declare victory. (That’s called “statesmanship,” by the way.) He’s not accusing Obama of that. That’s just what everybody does. At the end of every negotiation, everybody claims victory, whether there is one or not. Now, Bill Richardson. We’ve featured his sound bites on this subject the past couple of weeks, and he was back on CNN today with Chris Cuomo. He just cannot believe what he’s seeing here. Cuomo said, “I know it’s just optics, and I know it’s oversimplification, but it does look like Iran’s getting everything it wants. It looks like they’re running the table here, doesn’t it?”

RICHARDSON: They’re running rampant. They’re moving ahead in Iraq. They’re moving in Syria. With ISIS they are on our side, but they’re causing a lot of problems in the region. You can’t trust ’em. Lastly, Saudi Arabia and Israel; they’re our friends. They’re not happy about this. We gotta find a way in this interim period to get closer to the Saudis, to see if we can breach this relationship, make it better with Israel, ’cause there’s just too much turmoil in the region, and we can’t let Iran get away with everything it’s doing in the region. They are running rampant.

RUSH: We are not stopping them. We do not have an administration that wants to stop them. That’s what everybody seems to have trouble realizing or admitting here. We do not have an administration that wants to stop Iran. It’s just the opposite in fact. There’s a reason that Iran’s running rampant. It’s that nobody’s stopping them. I take that back. The French are trying to. Imagine that. The French are bigger hawks than we are. Of course the Israelis are trying to stop it.

Even some of the other European nations, the P5+1 group. But they can’t do it. They can’t do it without us, and we’re not on the same page with them. This administration does not wants to stop Iran from its ultimate aim: Getting nuclear weapons. Now, they’re not trying to facilitate this happening tomorrow, but they don’t want to stop it. The current deal permits Iran in ten years to have nuclear weapons.

It’s gonna rely on the power of Obama’s charisma and his speeches on it persuading Iran not to use the nuclear weapons that they are going to eventually either obtain or create, produce.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Jim in Battle Creek, Michigan. Great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Thank you for taking my call and —

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: — and thank you for all you do for us.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: Now that they’re okay with them building those centrifuges deep in the ground, will it be okay for us to start building nuclear power plants deep in the ground?

RUSH: You mean like the Iranians are doing?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: The Iranians are building their nuclear facilities way, way, way down there. I mean, way down there, folks, so that our bombs or anybody else’s bombs can’t get to them.

CALLER: And so if it’s okay for them to do that, is it okay for us to start building nuclear power plants?

RUSH: It’s actually not a bad question. His question, the Iranians maintain that they’re not building nuclear weapons, except that they are. They claim that they’re building nuclear power. They need to build nuclear power to be able to fuel their growing nation. People say, “Wait a minute. You got more oil than you know what to do with.” And they say, “Yeah, but we’re so behind the times, we don’t have any refineries. We have to ship it out.” Which is true, they don’t. “And if we got these embargoes on us, we got they see sanctions, we need nuclear power.”

Their facilities are way underground. His point is we can’t build a nuclear power plant in this country without 10 years of investigations and regulatory filings and all that. Now, what happens if we would build one way underground? The environmentalist wackos would find something. It would probably cause earthquakes if we did it. His point is, why is it okay for the Iranians to do any of this, either build a bomb or nuclear power plants, wherever they’re doing it, and we can’t do diddly-squat? There’s an answer to it. Why can the Iranians and why can’t we? The simplest answer often works. It’s called the Democrat Party.

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