Presidents have been impeached for less. On Thursday last week Barack Obama came out with a breathtaking lie. I literally gasped out loud when I read his outrageous statement that “even Israel now says we were right on the Iran nuclear deal“.
I searched the article looking for direct quotes from specific Israeli generals, but all I could find was a very tepid reaction from Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott back in January
that it could present “opportunities” in the future but also raised concerns at the “challenges” it poses.
That is not exactly high praise or support of the dangerous deal.
In reaction to Obama’s disgraceful self-serving lie, the Israeli Defence Ministry fired right back, comparing the nuclear deal to the Munich Agreement:
The Defense Ministry released a highly unusual and strongly worded statement on Friday that compared the US-led deal that limits Iran’s nuclear capacity with the failed 1938 Munich Agreement with Hitler.
“The Israeli defense establishment believes that agreements have value only if they are based on an existing reality, and that they have no value if the facts on the ground are completely the opposite of [the concepts] on which an agreement is based on,” the ministry said.
“The Munich agreement did not prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust, precisely because their basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong, and because the leaders of the world at that time ignored the explicit statements by Hitler and the rest of the leaders of Nazi Germany,” the ministry added.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also rejected Obama’s statement, albeit in a lower key:
In a statement issued Friday by his office in response, Netanyahu stressed that Israel “has no greater ally than the United States” but made plain nonetheless that Israel’s position on the Iran nuclear deal “remains unchanged.”
What mattered most now, Netanyahu went on, however, was to ensure that supporters and opponents of the deal alike work together for three goals: “Keep Iran’s feet to the fire to ensure that it doesn’t violate the deal; confront Iran’s regional aggression; and dismantle Iran’s global terror network.”
Netanyahu said he “looks forward to translating those goals into a common policy, and to further strengthening the alliance between Israel and the United States, with President Obama, and with the next US administration.”
The Prime Minister’s Office also called on the US Ambassador to Israel to clarify that Israel rejects Obama’s statement:
Officials at the Prime Minister’s Office telephoned US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Friday to clarify that Israel remains firmly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal and to try to play down a bitter Defense Ministry statement on the deal, in the wake of President Barack Obama’s assertion to the contrary.
Meanwhile Minister Tzahi Hanegbi stressed that Israel’s opposition to the nuclear deal was more justified than ever after one year has elapsed:
“I don’t know to which Israelis he [Obama] spoke recently,” said Hanegbi. “But I can promise you that the position of the prime minister, the defense minister and of most senior officials in the defense establishment has not changed,” Hanegbi told The Times of Israel. “The opposite is the case. The time that has elapsed since the deal was signed proved that all our worries that, regrettably, we had before the deal was made, were justified.”
The Iranian nuclear deal, he said, provided Tehran with international legitimacy and boosted its economy, without curtailing its support for terrorist groups.
“The Western world stands in line and chases after the Iranian economy. Western companies that for decades stayed away from Iran are now in competition with each other for the rights to enter the Iranian markets,” Hanegbi protested. “And we see that the Iranian regime is getting more legitimacy despite not having changed its policy at ongoing support for radical sources in the Middle East, including terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah.”
Hanegbi also lamented that Iran is still developing its ballistic missiles program, in breach of various UN Security Council Resolutions.
“We tried to convince the American administration all throughout the negotiations that they have leverage over the Iranian negotiating team, they can be tough and strong and resolved and make sure that all these problems I just mentioned should be negotiated as part of an all-inclusive Iranian nuclear deal. President Obama and in effect the entire P5+1 all could have adopted our policy in this matter, not to talk only about nuclear issue but make use of fact that Iran needed a deal because its economy was on its knees,” said Hanegbi, who until recently headed the powerful Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
“I don’t think there is an Israeli who thinks that this policy of separation of the nuclear issue from the other issues was right,” he said.
Hanegbi acknowledged that Iran would not get the bomb in the course of the Obama presidency, but said the next president would be in a very difficult position. “President Obama clearly stated that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon during his presidency. That’s true. But he signed an agreement that will lead to the fact that the president after the next one will face an Iran with nuclear capabilities that cannot be blocked or detained, because it will take only weeks for them to produce the fissile material needed for a first bomb,” said the minister.
This being Israel, none of the Israeli reactions passed without negative comments from within the Knesset. Some Opposition MK’s slammed Avigdor Liberman’s Munich analogy, and the Prime Minister himself admitted he was blindsided by Liberman’s words. None of this makes his words or his analogy wrong. On the contrary, Liberman spoke the truth and it’s about time someone listened to the little boy who shouted “The King has no clothes!”.
To understand the very real danger of the Iran deal, here is Emily Landau, Head of the Arms Control program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Tel Aviv
Regarding the ‘nuclear vs. other-aspects-of-Iran’s-behavior’ debate, the dilemma over which of these should be the focus of dialogue with Iran has plagued the negotiations track from the start. Some argued that because of the dire nature of the Iranian nuclear threat, this issue must be dealt with in the first place and without regard to the other facets of Iran’s behavior. As such, the negotiation with Iran should be singularly focused on the nuclear question, and not overburdened with other issues that might torpedo the entire effort. Others – going back to 2003 – argued that the best way to deal with Iran is by negotiating a grand bargain that takes into account a host of regional issues, because nuclear and regional issues are closely linked in Iran’s strategic thinking regarding the Middle East.The Obama administration chose the former course – to focus exclusively on the nuclear issue – which is a legitimate choice. The problem is that in arguing for the deal, the administration did not strictly adhere to that position. In fact, when trying to convince the public last year to support the deal, the overall profile of the regime – and its expected behavior down the line – became part and parcel of the case that was made. The administration first showcased Rouhani as the more moderate president that made negotiations possible, and later President Obama stated on several occasions that the negotiations and the deal could likely engender further moderation in Iran. In doing so, the prospects for long-term success of the JCPOA became closely tied to the nature of the regime and its overall behavior.
And yet, when critics have pointed out that since last summer Iran has not moderated its domestic or foreign policies, and has in fact become emboldened and more aggressive in the region and toward the US, the response has been to revert back to the “nuclear only” argument. In the face of Iran’s bad behavior, officials remind us that this was only about the nuclear issue, and suggest that the critics think about how much worse things would be if all of this bad behavior was going on, and on top of it Iran was 2-3 months from breakout to a nuclear weapon. But deal supporters cannot have it both ways, holding the stick from both ends as it were. If the issues are indeed related, we must be very worried about Iran’s bad behavior, and if they are not, then the deal was promoted on false premises. Either way, the problematic aspects of the deal itself remain a concern, but it is no doubt the connection to Iran’s overall profile that makes the JCPOA expiration date such a grave concern.
There is much more at the link. But be warned, you might not sleep well at night after reading it.
Certainly we should all be extremely concerned at Obama’s reckless behaviour and his administration’s rush to conclude a deal with Iran at all costs, and never mind the price.
And speaking of price, literally money in this case, (via Israel Matzav) Obama has been busy lying and covering up over another Iran-related scandal: The US sent caseloads of cash – $400 million to be exact – as a ransom to free US hostages (though not an American Jewish hostage):
The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.
“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17—without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.
Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo.
Uh-huh. Coincidence. Yeah… And I have a bridge to sell you.
But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”
“This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said.
The Iranians of course had no such problem explaining the reason for the payment:
Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment. The Iranian foreign ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.
“Sometimes the Iranians want cash because it’s so hard for them to access things in the international financial system,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the January cash delivery. “They know it can take months just to figure out how to wire money from one place to another.”
How can a “senior US official” make a bald admission like that without blushing? Where is the international outrage?
I’ll tell you where the international outrage is. It’s in the same place as the outrage at the lies about the efficacy of the JCPOA and the “pure” intentions of the Iranians.
In other words, non-existent. Outrage is reserved for Israeli Jews building homes in Jerusalem.