Due to Obama’s fecklessness, or more likely his wilfulness, on Sunday, “Implementation Day” (the day the JCPOA – otherwise referred to here as the Iran deal – came into effect) Iran became the beneficiary of huge amounts of money and the lifting of sanctions:
The US, UN and EU announced on Saturday that they were lifting sanctions against Iran, following the UN atomic watchdog’s announcement that Tehran has put in place all curbs on its atomic activities as required by its landmark deal with major world powers.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran has met its obligations to the IAEA and ordered that nuclear-related US economic sanctions against Iran be lifted.
Speaking after Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif, Kerry said: “Today marks the moment nuclear accord transcends from ambitious promise to direct action.
Kerry added that the agreement shows “once again diplomacy’s power to tackle significant challenges.”
President Barack Obama signed executive orders lifting the sanctions, which will allow Iran to immediately recoup some $100 billion in assets frozen overseas. Iran will also see huge benefits from new oil, trade and financial opportunities.
Kerry’s surreal Polyannish comments notwithstanding, in the the weeks before Implementation Day, the Iranians made sure to humiliate the Americans as much as possible. First they test-fired some missiles perilously close to US Navy ships.
The USS Harry S. Truman was crossing international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRCGN) conducted a live-fire exercise right nearby, according to a statement.
An Iranian navy attack craft fired several unguided rockets near the carrier, officials said. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Bulkeley and other commercial traffic were also in the area at the time of Saturday’s incident.
Only 23 seconds warning was given before the weapons were fired, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.
Then Iran allowed two US Navy boats to drift into Iranian waters – or what they claim as their waters – and then arrested the 10 crew members of the boats. The crew were held hostage for one day, but the Iranians made sure to show the world the humiliation of the American sailors before they released them:
Iranian media on Wednesday released footage showing captive US sailors surrendering on their knees to the Revolutionary Guard, and another video of an American serviceman apologizing for unintentionally entering Iranian waters.
Less than a day after 10 US Navy sailors were detained in Iran when their boats drifted into Iranian waters, they and their vessels were back safely Wednesday with the American fleet.
US Secretary of State John Kerry tapped the personal relationship he has formed with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in the three years of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, speaking with him at least five times by telephone. Kerry credited the quick resolution to the “critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country secure and strong.”
In his statement, Kerry expressed his “gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.”
Kerry’s brown-nosing crawling to the Iranians and obsequious expressions of gratitude to the Iranians for “resolving the matter” – when the matter should never have arisen in the first place – is enormously revealing of the entire relationship between the Obama-Kerry Administration and Iran. It is a relationship where the Americans have willingly allowed themselves to be humiliated in every sphere, from the negotiations about the nuclear program to the release of these sailors to the prisoner swap which took place at the same time.
… Iran is making it clear that it’s sending a very different kind of message.
Iran’s army chief said on Wednesday the seizure of two US navy boats and their 10 sailors should be a lesson to members the US Congress trying to impose new sanctions on Tehran.
“This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the US Congress,” Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Iran isn’t even bothering to threaten Obama. It just slaps him around. Instead it uses his weakness to threaten Congress which it now considers stronger than Obama.
As for the prisoner swap, see this:
Iran on Saturday released five Americans it was holding in its prisons or in detention, four of them as part of a prison swap which included the release of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist detained on espionage charges since 2014. In exchange, the United States will drop charges against seven Iranians involved in sanctions violations.
Levinson, 68, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been missing for close to nine years. CNN quoted Levinson’s family as expressing happiness for the other families, but saying it was “devastated” that he was not among those released.
His family has acknowledged in recent years that Levinson, a father of seven, had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation at the time of his disappearance from Iran’s Kish Island. His mission was not authorized by top CIA brass.
Did the Administration try its hardest to get Levinson back? We’ll never know, but at least now it is claiming that the US and Iran will be deepening their coordination in the search for Levinson:
President Barack Obama on Sunday celebrated the release of Americans held prisoner in Iran and said Tehran had agreed to help in efforts to find Jewish American Robert Levinson, who went missing in the Islamic Republic nearly a decade ago.
“Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson, missing from Iran for more than 8 years,” Obama said in a statement from the White House. “Even as we rejoice in the safe return for others we will never forget about Bob. Each and every day, and especially today, our hearts are with the Levinson family. We will not rest until their family is whole again.”
And yet in a confusing turnabout, the US imposed sanctions on 11 Iranian entities connected with an illegal ballistic missile test in October. The Iranians were not happy:
The fresh sanctions were a mere attempt to please “power circles and lobbies” opposed to the nuclear deal, the ministry said in a statement, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 11 Iranian-linked entities Sunday over their alleged roles in the country’s missile program.
The U.S. prepared to impose sanctions in December, but delayed the move amid the finalization of the nuclear accord and a Saturday prisoner swap that freed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, was released separately.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to the December threat by ordering Brig. Gen. Dehqan to accelerate the development of new missile systems, calling them essential for the country’s defense.
Again, the manipulations of the Iranians show how they out-maneuver the Americans at every turn.
Besides the implications of the existential threat to Israel from “Implementation Day” with Iran, the agreement, or rather the American capitulation, has severely damaged American reputation and weakened its deterrence.
MEMRI reports on what Arab commentators are saying about this subject:
Following the incident, articles were published in the Arab press both by supporters of Iran and by its opponents, claiming that, with its actions, Iran had sent a message to the U.S. Tareq Al-Homayed, former editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, stated that the IRGC had shamed U.S. President Obama and shown him to be weak on the eve of the JCPOA’s “Implementation Day.” The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is affiliated with Hizbullah and supports the resistance axis, argued that the IRGC was sending a message to the U.S. that Iran will be willing to clash with it if it has to, and at the same time telling other countries – that is, the Gulf states – not to mess with Iran. It should be noted that Al-Akhbar’s January 14, 2016 front page showed the photo of the American sailors kneeling with hands on their heads, under a headline reading “Tehran to Washington: I Control The Gulf.”
When we see the extent to which the Obama Administration has allowed itself and the Unites States as a whole to be humiliated by Iran, and yet still surges forward without a backward glance or a second thought about the wisdom of proceeding with the Iran deal, it clarifies to us Israelis and to the Western world in general (if they are paying any attention) that America is no longer an ally to be relied upon in this current Administration.
Obama and Kerry were absolutely determined to have their deal no matter what it cost. They capitulated to Iran on demand after demand no matter the price to the United States in terms of prestige or treasure, or what it cost the rest of the world in terms of the threat of increased terrorism, war by proxy, and the emergence of a hegemonic Iran empowered with nuclear weapons and the expansion of a covert nuclear program. And they got what they wanted.
Now we all have to live with the consequences of their hubris and stupidity.