Like the erupting of Old Faithful or the certainty of the tides and moon, the Iran lobby is now attempting to blame the failure of the nuclear agreement reached with the Iranian regime squarely on the Obama administration and the U.S.
It’s an absurd and bitterly ironic move since it was these same supporters of the Iranian regime who lauded President Obama for disregarding the opinions of the American people, his military and national security advisors and a majority of Congressmen to do a deal with a nation firmly in the thrall of religious extremists.
Since the deal was done last summer, the evidence of Iran’s complete lack of compliance has been laid bare to see ranging from the testing of illegal ballistic missiles and narrowing of inspections to carefully stage-managed media events to the imposition of a vicious human rights crackdown and rigging of parliamentary elections that delivered continued control of Iran to the ruling mullahs.
And in a complete demonstration of weak intestinal fortitude, the doors were opened for Iran to access over $100 billion in cash which is promptly used to begin buying advanced new weapons from Russia, as well as host North Korean officials connected to that regime’s nuclear and missile programs.
Meanwhile, the Iranian people have seen no benefits or improvements in their lives, only greater oppression as detailed by Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran who have noted a dizzying climb in executions, including among children and women, and severe crackdowns against religious minorities such as Christians, Sunni Muslims and Bahai, as well as journalists, artists, students and political dissidents.
Now the Iran lobby is blaming the U.S. for the failure of the nuclear accord?
“The nuclear accord between the U.S., other major world powers, and Iran is under threat. But the source of this risk might upset expectations: it is the Obama administration that has failed to resolve persistent ambiguities with the U.S. sanctions relief and, as a result, major foreign banks continue to refuse to handle transactions involving Iran, frustrating the expectations of Iran’s people for economic reprieve and plaguing the ultimate sustainability of the nuclear accord,” said Tyler Cullis of the National Iranian American Council in a piece in Huffington Post.
Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly alleged that the United States was failing to “respect its commitments” under the nuclear accord, particularly by “using roundabout paths to prevent the Islamic Republic” from achieving economic re-integration with the rest of the world. Specifically, the Supreme Leader decried the reticence of foreign banks to re-engage with their Iranian counterparts, chalking it up to pernicious efforts by U.S. sanctions authorities to undermine the benefit of the sanctions relief for Iran, wrote Cullis.
It’s an absurd series of statements that would take an encyclopedia to deconstruct, but let’s take a shot at the highlights or rather, the lowlights:
- Ali Khamenei, the religious dictator in control of Iran, has long hammered the U.S. and the rest of the world for that matter not only for sanctions and policies aimed against the regime, but also for the failure to free Iran to interact with the rest of the world, even though he has consistently called upon Iranians to embrace a “resistance economy” built on the idea that the regime could be self-sustaining and not subject to future sanctions; thereby freeing it to pursue any policies it wanted free from reprisals;
- Khamenei and Cullis’ claim that Iran is being kept from re-entering the international financial system is partly true in that the Obama administration is still debating whether or not to lift those restrictions. The problem is that since the regime insisted that the nuclear deal not be tied to other contentious issues such as support for terrorism and human rights violations, the similar lifting of sanctions in place for those “unrelated” activities might violate U.S. laws on the books;
- Cullis’ contention that failure to lift access to the financial system is burdensome on the Iranian people is a farce since the government of Hassan Rouhani has already announced it is going to keep the bulk of its new-found wealth abroad to be used to buy planes, missiles, telecommunications equipment and other items the regime was prohibited from buying beforehand. Virtually none of that money will find its way back to Iran to provide healthcare for Iranians, boost the consumer economy or even help protect Iran’s environment devastated by gross mismanagement by the mullahs.
Khamenei and Cullis can’t have it both ways. You cannot demand to have items delinked from the deal and then demand the lifting of sanctions not related to the nuclear deal as well. In this case, both are whining like bully children being denied the ability to smack around another child that already waved the white flag.
While Cullis urges to provide foreign banks with clear guidelines on how to tap Iran back into the financial system, he neglects to focus on the real issue which is by treating the nuclear deal by itself and not addressing the vast number of other collateral issues, the sanctions program against Iran regime is frankly a mess and vast loopholes and uncertainty everywhere.
In fact, the Obama administration and U.S. Treasury Dept. have already had to levy additional sanctions and criminal charges against individuals and companies for violating existing sanctions, as well as for brand new cyberattacks on U.S. financial institution and a New York dam.
“Without taking steps such as these, the Obama administration will continue to frustrate Iran’s expectations and risk the nuclear accord in the process. When it comes to U.S.-Iran relations, perceptions matter; and the perception in Iran right now is that the U.S. — whether acting out of malice or negligence — is hindering the practical benefit to Iran of the sanctions relief. Should this perception grow in Tehran that the United States is not a good-faith actor with which Iran can deal, both the historic nuclear accord and the progress in relations between the two bitter adversaries will be placed in bitter peril,” Cullis adds.
It’s a silly statement to make because it pre-supposes that the burden of compliance falls on the U.S. and its allies, not on Iran mullahs which violated international law in the first place by pursuing nuclear weapons!
This is like a serial killer being paroled from prison and then suing the state for not providing him with a beachfront home in Malibu and brand new Tesla in the garage.
Cullis’ gumption is admirable, it’s takes a special kind of chutzpah to push for a terror regime to gain access to the world’s ATM machine.
By Laura Carnahan