Trump Must Withdraw From the Iran Nuclear Deal

For the second time during the Trump administration, the State Department has reportedly decided to certify that Iran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”).

If true, it will be the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA. Over the past two years, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).

Since international verification is fatally inadequate, and our own intelligence far from perfect, these violations undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the ayatollahs’ inexhaustible mendaciousness.

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Rouhani and Trump: Together against Iran’s Men with Guns?

These days something strange is happening with regard to Iran. You might say: so what? Strange things have been happening with regard to Iran ever since the mullahs seized power in 1979.

Alright, but what is happening now may merit closer attention because it represents an unprecedented convergence between the thinking of the Trump administration in Washington, on the one hand, and that of one of the factions involved in the power struggle in Tehran, on the other.

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the Trump administration is putting final touches to a new policy on Iran with the ultimate aim of regime change. While details of this new policy remain a mystery, one thing maybe clear: one of its aims would be the dismantling of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which US experts identify as the mainstay of the Khomeinist regime.

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster has more than hinted at this, while a number of Republican policymakers, among them Senator Tom Cotton, have evoked the designation of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization.”

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As Iran Berates US to Mark Second Anniversary of Nuclear Deal, Critics Warn of ‘Nuclear Armed Genocidal Regime’ Down The Road

Iran’s foreign minister marked the second anniversary of the 2015 nuclear deal on Friday by accusing the US of undermining the agreement.

“We expect all the sides to abide by their commitments, but the US has remained committed to the agreement at the least level; it has not respected and supported the spirit of the deal by adopting wrong approaches and policies,” said Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in New York for a UN summit on development.

Zarif complained that the US “has not let Iran to gain benefits from the deal completely.” While comprehensive sanctions against the Tehran regime were lifted in the wake of the deal, investor confidence in Iran remains low, with banks in particular recommending caution following the new sanctions imposed by the US Senate in June in the face of Iran’s continued support for terrorism.

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Nuclear Options: When is a Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike Moral?

At some point in the near or not-distant future, the State of Israel will face the question of nuclear retaliation. Consider the following not unlikely scenario: A nuclear-armed nation, or nuclear-armed terrorists, detonate enough nuclear devices to destroy utterly the land of Israel and most of its people, rendering it uninhabitable.

Israel has been called “a one-bomb state” in that a single megaton-sized bomb detonated in Tel Aviv could accomplish such destruction. Many prefer to live in denial of this possibility. The people of Israel don’t have this luxury. If you don’t think they’ve war-gamed this possibility, think again. Many focus on Iran’s potential nuclear weaponry and the statements of Iranian leaders such as Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that Iran would “welcome” a nuclear exchange with Israel because while it might lose 15 million people there would be a billion and half Muslims left on earth and no Jews in what was once Israel. But there is less focus on the current reality of the so called “Islamic bomb”—Pakistan’s 60 to 100 nukes, now ever more vulnerable to takeover by Taliban al-Qaida sympathizers. Seizable by or salable to terrorists.

What happens if it happens? A “second Holocaust”? One thing we can be fairly certain of: Israel will have the capacity for nuclear retaliation. Israel has purchased and put into operation at least three German-manufactured (!) long-range “Dolphin class” submarines, capable of being fitted out with nuclear weapons.

There has been all sorts of information and disinformation about the disposition of these subs, but most analysts seem to believe they are cruising the waters of the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea, within range of the most likely targets. And, many believe, they are armed with nuclear-tipped Harpoon cruise missiles. Ready to retaliate.

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Looking the Wrong Way on Iran

We have been looking in the wrong direction. While the West was hoping temporarily to check Iran’s nuclear aspirations, Iran was making plans to advance on the ground and in the water — and the plans are unfolding nicely. For Iran.

After the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011, large swaths of Iraqi territory were easily brought under Islamic State (ISIS) control, culminating in the proclamation in 2014 of “The Caliphate” with its seat in Mosul. Having denigrated its capabilities as “the JV team,” the Obama administration was desperate to get rid of ISIS, but the Iraqi army (trained and armed at a cost of $26 billion between 2006 and 2015 with another $1.6 billion spent in 2016) was unable to handle the job, even with American air power and Kurdish fighters as allies.

The Iraqi army has since been improved, but in the Sunni heartland of Iraq, Shiite “militias” have become America’s ally in the battle for Mosul. Some militias are Iraqi Arab Shiites and some are sponsored and commanded by Persian Shiite Iran. There is no love between the two, and certainly no love between any of the Shiite militias and the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi military. But the battle has largely gone against ISIS. Militias on one side and Iraqi forces on the other are recapturing territory amid evidence of outrageous human rights abuses against Iraqi civilians by all sides. At some point soon, Iraqis (army and militias), Iranians, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Americans will be eyeball-to-eyeball in Mosul. This run-in raises two questions:

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World’s Rallying Cry: “Free Iran”

Tens of thousands of people came together in Paris on July 1 from all different corners of the world, to unite against the unspeakable atrocities committed by the Islamist state of Iran. It was the largest gathering of Iranians abroad of its kind.

The conference, organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was spurred by the desire to speak up for human rights, peace, women’s rights, freedom, democracy, and to demand victory over terrorism. Its focus was to generate awareness of the plight of Iran’s innocent and vulnerable citizens, against whom the Iranian government has been wreaking havoc — with no consequences — for decades.

Leaders, journalists, prominent figures from around the world, and scholars joined the rallying cry of “Free Iran”. The array of speakers included several prominent Americans, including former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and Congressmen Ted Poe, Robert Pittenger and Tom Garret.

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Terrorism in Iran: As Ye Reap …

Earlier this month, Iranian-born Islamic State (ISIS) operatives carried out a rare terrorist attack in Iran, a country where most of the terrorism is conducted by elements of the Iranian government against its own people. President Trump condemned the violence, but he also added “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

The comment was quickly condemned in certain sectors of the media. Vox said the statement “eschews any moral or ethical high ground, let alone humanity.” The Daily Mail called it “a diplomatic pouch full of Schadenfreude.”

It may be difficult to suppress schadenfreude over Iran’s falling victim to the particular brand of asymmetrical warfare it developed and then exported to the world. But hope is a better sentiment. Schadenfreude might feel good for a few minutes, but instead we should hope that the Iranian people will pause in their mourning to reflect on the situation in ways their leaders seem incapable of doing. For instance, showing zero self-awareness, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed the attacks on “terror sponsoring despots.” Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah cited evidence of an “international, destructive plan.”

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