Even as the Obama years fade further into the rearview mirror, a trickle of revelations and new scandals continue to remind Americans how polarizing those eight years were. The Trump spying scandal, Fusion GPS, and Uranium One – all revealed post-Trump inauguration – all, if to be believed, appear to have some level of connection to the former administration. Now, revelations about the administration breaking promises while further risking its credibility and integrity to help the anti-American regime of Iran grant access to funds which Obama’s State Department played a central role in unfreezing.
The lack of transparency in the Iran nuclear deal is considered by many to be scandalous in and of itself. While it’s typical, and somewhat fair, to categorically write off the Obama-Iran affair as natural course in foreign policy, the Ayatollah Khamenei’s deep anti-American sentiment, and even more alarming public displays of anti-Semitism, were always going to cast a pall over the administration’s decisions to ease sanctions and miscast Iran as a trustworthy ally.
Even typically left-leaning outlets cast light on the insanity of the rationalization being peddled by the likes of John Kerry as the administration attempted to assuage more-than-legitimate concerns and skepticism as to the motives for engaging Iran so actively. The logic, according to Kerry, boils down to giving a misbehaving child a candy bar in the hopes that it will create goodwill and deter future bad behavior.
The exchange between the former Secretary of State and Republican Texas Representative Ted Poe reads like a scene out of Dr. Strangelove.
“Is it the policy of the Ayatollah, if you can answer for him, that Iran wants to destroy the United States?” Ted Poe, of the House Foreign Relations Committee, asked Secretary of State John Kerry, on Tuesday.
“I don’t believe they’ve said that,” Kerry replied. “I think they’ve said ‘Death to America!’ in their chants.” (The New Yorker)
The child (Iran), knowing that tantrums and public disparagement have resulted only in appeasement – Snickers, Milky Ways, Hot Wheels, you name it – in the past, predictably continues in their ways, with the pushover parent (Kerry) stultifyingly dedicated to a strategy proven to fail. Even other weak-kneed parents (Democrats) can see the insanity of this policy of bend-until-you-break, and then bend some more.
“You would think that after an agreement was signed with us there might be a modicum of good will that perhaps (Iran) would keep quiet for a week or two, or a month. But it went back to business as usual,” the New York Democrat Eliot Engel told Kerry. (The New Yorker)
Kerry, apparently a stranger to the commonly cited phrase ‘spare the sanctions, spoil the hardline theocracy hell-bent on Israeli and American annihilation,’ instead subscribes to the Neville Chamberlain school of foreign policy. Making this case of foreign affairs even less above-board is Kerry’s undoubted soft spot for Iran, the result of his daughter Vanessa’s marriage to Dr. Brian Nehad, who is of Iranian descent. A contested report which appeared on Allen West’s website in 2015 – the time when the Iran deal was being negotiated – stated that Iranian foreign diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif was the best man at the Kerry and Nehad’s 2009 wedding.
Regardless of motive, Kerry and Obama’s intention to serve up Iran the equivalent of a foreign policy Golden Goose is illustrated by the terms of the deal itself. It was the complete unfreezing of Iran’s American bank accounts – a lifting of effective sanctions – in exchange for a ‘promise’ not to expand their nuclear arsenal. In other words, money for hollow words.
And, when President Trump hinted at, and eventually announced America’s intention not to renew the agreement, Kerry had been jetsetting for weeks in a futile attempt to preserve the deal. Speculation as to why an out-of-office former Secretary of State would take such unusual measures to preserve a deal ultimately centers around one conclusion: the Iran deal was mad shady, and members of the Khamenei regime confirmed as much on Twitter.
“If Europeans stop trading with Iran and don’t put pressure on US then we will reveal which western politicians and how much money they had received during nuclear negotiations to make #IranDeal happen,” Tweeted an Iranian advisor to Foreign Minister H.J. Ansari Zarif.
Disruption of the deal not only represents the decimation of the Obama administration’s most prominent foreign policy ‘accomplishment,’ it also warranted greater scrutiny of how, and why, the deal was ever negotiated.
A quid pro quo from Iran’s array of government bank accounts to those involved in lifting the sanction may warrant consideration. Kerry’s familial links to Iranian movers and shakers should also be weighed. Now, it has been revealed that outright lies to the American public and Congressional investigators served as another likely reason why the Iran deal was kept as secretive as it was, and why an unemployed Kerry is spending so much of his time and effort attempting to maintain the status quo and limit ruffled feathers.
Despite Senior government officials testifying to Congress, repeatedly, that Iran would have no access to United States financial markets and institutions, it’s been revealed that America worked to facilitate the conversion of Iranian funds from Omani rials to American dollars and eventually Euros. Though the efforts would ultimately fail, it represents an unequivocal lie in light of vows not to involve the United States financial sector in Iranian efforts, which includes converting rials to dollars on behalf of the Khamenei regime.
‘Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran was entitled to access the funds, which were held in Omani rials, a currency that is notoriously difficult to convert. The Obama administration attempted to help the Iranians convert the funds to Euros by issuing a special treasury license to two large U.S. banks empowering them to convert the funds first into dollars and then euros.’ (National Review)
The nuclear deal was taken as a slap in the face by Israel, and left Americans perplexed. And, as if the nuclear deal itself wasn’t incendiary enough, such extensive efforts to facilitate conversion of funds on behalf of Iran – while lying to the American people and Congress about it – is an astounding misplacement of loyalties which is enough to make some wonder exactly which nation the American administration was truly representing during the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Add these latest reports of intentional deception regarding the extent and nature of American assistance to Iran as yet another in the Obama-era scandals. The number was unofficially set at 29 as of April 2018, so it’s safe to assume that more are pending, and the list is well on its way towards 40. Who knows what other deceptions, half-truths, and whole lies have yet to be uncovered?
And, while some may point to Donald Trump’s commitment to establish relations with a tyrannical North Korean government as a parallel to the Iran nuclear deal, there are fundamental differences that make them distinctly different.
For one, the North Korean dealings have been reported on ad nauseam, and it’s clear that Trump has been citing Sun Tzu – not Neville Chamberlain – in conducting negotiations.
“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him” – Sun Tzu
The above-board nature of the developments leading to the Singapore Summit has allowed the American public to follow along, whether they agree with the tactics and outcome or not. In the case of the Iran deal, the opposite was true. Only now are we finding out the fundamentals of how the deal was brokered, and it’s clear why intentional opacity was used to shroud any reported logistics – those dealings were, as many suspected, dubious as it gets.
These differences matter, and they will color the difference in outcome. Instead of doing all in their power to facilitate the North Korean tyrant’s access to funds and means for nuclear proliferation, the likely outcome appears to be a nuclearly neutered North Korea no better off financially – though this remains to be seen – than before the negotiations.
Flip those criteria, and you’ve got an accurate description of the Iran deal. Throw in a little secrecy, under-oath deception, and a staunchly anti-American and Israeli hardline Islamic government free of sanctions and free to engage in unfettered nuclear armament, and you’ve got a particularly nefarious case study of Obama-era negotiating tactics.