Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the Iran regime, banned any further negotiations between the regime and the U.S. according to a statement released on his website, firmly putting the brakes to any idea of accommodation or moderation following the approval of a nuclear deal.
“Negotiations with the United States open gates to their economic, cultural, political and security influence. Even during the nuclear negotiations they tried to harm our national interests,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on his website.
Khamenei had previously said there would be no more talks with the U.S. last month, but this move was a step further in declaring an outright ban on any further discussions on any other topics.
The Obama administration, fed a steady stream of misrepresentations and false promises by the Iran lobby – led by the National Iranian American Council – expected a new phase of relaxed, open negotiations with the regime on a variety of issues including the ISIS, the Syrian conflict and sponsorship of terror.
Instead, now that the regime has achieved its goals in the nuclear deal – a lifting of economic and military sanctions, preservation of its nuclear infrastructure, delinking of human rights issues and release of billions in frozen cash – the regime sees no other reason to carry on the façade of moderation it has so assiduously pushed since the handpicked elevation of Hassan Rouhani as regime president.
In his address to Revolutionary Guards Navy commanders, Khamenei said talks with the U.S. brought only disadvantages to Iran.
“Through negotiations Americans seek to influence Iran”, Khamenei was quoted as saying to the IRGC commanders, who are also running much of Iran’s military involvement in Syria.
The bill of goods sold by the Iran lobby for hopes of a release of American hostages, removal of Assad and a reigning in of sectarian violence has now come due as Iranian regime’s leadership seeks to make all those promises false.
Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist wrote in Fox News:
“The White House deliberately downplayed the Russian buildup because it undercut central promises Obama made to Congress about the Iran nuke deal, which was then being debated.
“One of those promises was that Russia would help enforce the terms. Instead, Putin actually was making common cause with Iran, and both are now killing the Syrian rebels we supported.
“Here’s the scorecard: Obama got his Iran deal, and the world got a more aggressive Iran, an expanded Syrian war and wider Russian influence. With each passing day, the cost of stopping Putin grows more expensive.”
The yawning chasm between the promises made by the Iran lobby and the reality of what is taking place was discussed in another piece in Foreign Policy by Aaron David Miller and Jason Brodsky in which they write:
“One thing seems pretty clear: Somewhere in a parallel universe far, far away, the logic of a linear path to Iran’s moderation may be alive and well. But back here on planet earth, the odds on the health and prosperity of reform and the reformers, too, are still very long ones indeed.”
But supporters of the regime are still fighting back in trying to hold the line that a force for moderation exists in Iran and is fueled by post-nuclear deal euphoria, rather than the hangover the world is witnessing today.
One of those peddling this snake oil is Kourosh Ziabari who writes in Huffington Post:
“To the detriment of hardliners, Iran is reemerging as a regional power, and it’s easily predictable that with another four years in office plus the two intact years he has in hand – unless Ahmadinejad comes up with a new wizardry and wins the 2017 elections, President Rouhani will be able to build a strong and peace-making Iran which nobody will be able to demonize or depict as a threat to world peace and security.”
Ziabari pushes the Iran lobby message that there exists within Iran “moderate” and hard line” forces when in fact Khamenei has indelibly proven there exists only one voice on all policy matters and it is firmly his.
Even as Iran and Russia join with Hezbollah in launching a new phase in Syria, Iran’s mullahs are busy in other parts of the Middle East, including Yemen, where the Houthi rebels they support have been spotted in Iran getting support and new arms according to Al Arabiya.
The Houthi delegation “will convey to Iranian officials an urgent request by Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi to attain additional shipments of weapons after the Saudi-led coalition forces made several gains against the militia,” according to the report.
“Before visiting Tehran, the delegation had allegedly visited Beirut where it met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah,” according to al Arabiya. “During the visit, the delegation allegedly voiced Abdulmalik’s al-Houthi’s gratitude for Hezbollah’s support in sending military experts to Yemen.”
President Obama’s former national security adviser also warned that Iranian regime leaders have effectively turned Iraq into a “client state” and are bent on exploiting the regional war against ISIS to promote their own brand of Shiite extremism throughout the Middle East.
“Iran’s grand strategy entails consolidating the hold it has gained in Iraq — a grip it seeks to tighten, directly and through proxies — and by stoking the sectarian fires,” said retired Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones.
Gen. Jones testified alongside former Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and both men lamented the administration’s failure to provide more assistance and refuge to members of the Iranian dissident group — commonly known in Washington as the “MEK” or “PMOI” — who have been left in the lurch in Iraq since the departure of U.S. forces in 2011.
On top of all this, word comes out that cybersecurity researchers have uncovered a network of fake LinkedIn profiles, which they suspect were being used by hackers in Iran to build relationships with potential victims around the world, according to a new report to be published by security firm Dell SecureWorks Inc.
This tactic, known as “social engineering,” is one where hackers trick people to get them to cough up personal or sensitive information. “Having those trust relationships gives [hackers] a platform to do a bunch of different things,” said Tom Finney, a security researcher at Dell Secureworks.
The 25 fake profiles described in the report were connected to more than 200 legitimate LinkedIn profiles — mostly individuals based in the Middle East who worked in sectors like telecom and defense. Those individuals and their companies likely have information that would be of interest to an Iranian cyber group, Dell Secureworks said.
Yes, the post nuclear deal world has indeed brought much change, just not the kind the Iran lobby promised.
By Michael Tomlinson