Iran

John Kerry: Some sanctions relief money will go to terrorism

Featured image John Kerry admitted the obvious today. Speaking at Davos, he said that some of the $55 billion (his figure) in sanctions relief money for Iran will be used to promote terrorism: I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.] or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists. You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here »

Rallying to Rubio on Iranian Hostage Taking

Featured image Marco Rubio is taking fire from the usual “fact checkers” for his comment over the weekend that Iran released our 52 hostages on January 20, 1981 as soon as Ronald Reagan took office because Iran perceived that America was “no longer under the command of someone weak.” Politifact huffs: We flagged Rubio’s comment as a misleading framing of history. Reagan’s inauguration in 1981 may have coincided with the release of »

How Obama’s prisoner swap facilitates Iran’s quest to prop up Assad

Featured image Josh Rogin at Bloomberg reports that two Iranian beneficiaries of the recent prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran were sanctioned for funneling weapons to the Bashar al-Assad regime and Hezbollah in Syria. Rogin explains: For years, Iran’s privately-owned Mahan Air has been using its planes to bring soldiers and arms directly to the Syrian military and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah by flying them from Tehran to Damascus, according »

A note on the hostage deal

Featured image Reader Don Burden writes to comment on one of the convicted Iranians released by the Obama administration in exchange for the four or five American hostages who are returning home. Mr. Burden writes, he says, because “this is something I have a lot of personal knowledge about” as a result of business litigation his software company is pursuing. Mr. Burden’s note seems to me to add an important dimension missing »

The U.S-Iran prisoner swap — another bad deal, but not scandalous

Featured image Iran and the U.S. have swapped prisoners. The mullahs reportedly have released four of our guys including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. We reportedly have released seven of theirs. Swapping prisoners is something a nation occasionally does with its enemies. I think it’s almost unheard between non-enemy nations or entities. Sometimes, prisoner swaps are scandalous. Releasing terrorists in exchange for a deserter like Bowe Bergdal is an example. So, in »

Obama’s Iran Policy, Explained

Featured image Many, including us, have criticized John Kerry and other members of the Obama administration for praising effusively Iran’s treatment of captured U.S. sailors. We and many others have pointed out that, far from meriting praise and thanks, Iran’s humiliation of the captured sailors, including filming videos of them in submissive postures and forcing one of the sailors to apologize for intruding on Iranian waters, along with forcing the lone female »

Not So Swift Boats [with comment by Paul]

Featured image About this business of the navy patrol boats captured by Iran. As Scott and Investors Business Daily point out, there’s something off about the official story that a “navigation error” caused the boats to stray into Iranian waters. I don’t believe this story for a moment. (And the initial explanation that the boats “drifted” there after engine trouble has already been withdrawn. Why was that put out or not disavowed »

Remember the Pueblo

Featured image Questions abound in the case of the two ships and ten sailors captured by the IRGC in the Persian Gulf earlier this week. We can be grateful that the sailors have been released by Iran, but the groveling exhibited by the Obama administration is a matter of profound national embarrassment, which seems to be exactly what the Iranians intended. The administration, of course, prefers to present the matter as a »

How Badly Has the U.S. Been Humiliated? Let’s Count the Ways [Updated]

Featured image Paul has offered thoughts on the release of the U.S. sailors, all of which I agree with. I want to add a few further observations. The day began with Joe Biden touting the president’s State of the Union speech on CBS. Near the end of his interview, he was asked about the seizure of American sailors by the Iranians (the sailors by then had been released) and specifically, whether there »

Thoughts on the release of the U.S. sailors

Featured image Iran today released U.S. sailors they took captive yesterday when, allegedly, their boats strayed into Iranian waters. Iran obtained a “thank you” from out of John Kerry on behalf of the Obama administration. It also sent out pictures of its U.S. captives in submissive positions, with a woman sailor covering her head in the Muslim way. I’m relieved that the sailors were released so quickly. It also seems to me »

How much do we tip the whipper?

Featured image The photo below depicts our sailors in the custody of Iran’s IRGC; I believe the image is taken from video just released by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Other photos are posted with this Reuters story that carries profuse expressions of gratitude by Obama administration officials. David French has more here. It is one thing for our sailors to be humiliated by a hostile power. It is another thing for »

Coming Soon: Gulf War III?

Featured image Concerning the contretemps between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a few observations: • David Goldman thinks Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and others is a sign of panic among Saudi leadership, and perhaps this is correct. On the other hand, the sacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran can’t have taken place without the connivance or tacit approval of the Iranian regime (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), who probably »

Middle East fires blaze hotter following U.S. capitulation to Iran

Featured image In a post about the Saudi Arabia/Iran crisis — the Saudi beheading of a Shiite cleric; the Iranian burning of the Saudi embassy — John asked, “the Middle East couldn’t possibly get worse, could it?” At NR’s Corner, David French examines the crisis and concludes “in the Middle East things can always get worse.” Things have indeed gotten worse under President Obama. They got worse when Obama withdrew from Iraq »

The mullahs thank Mr. Obama

Featured image Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carries an incisive editorial (“The mullahs thank Mr. Obama,” accessible here via Google) on developments with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Every step along the way, Iran proves itself the mortal enemy of the United States, and yet President Obama thinks otherwise. Iranian intentions are clear. Their actions comport with their announced view of the world. When the mullahs chant “Death to America,” we have no »

The Middle East Couldn’t Possibly Get Worse. Could It?

Featured image The Sunni-Shia schism goes back more than a millenium and has been a more or less constant feature of geopolitics in the Middle East for a long time. The closest the balance has come to being upset within recent memory was the Iran-Iraq war, in which the United States sensibly did what we could to prevent either side from winning. Now, though, the long-simmering feud is heating up, primarily, I »

U.S. foreign policy: from bad to worse in 2016?

Featured image 2015 was a bad foreign policy year for America. Our enemies in Tehran won a pathway to prosperity and additional regional influence without losing the ability to obtain nuclear weapons within 10 to 15 years, or sooner if they choose. Our enemy in Moscow enjoyed an enormous expansion of his influence in the Middle East and continues to menace U.S. allies in Europe. Our enemy in Damascus, propped up by »

Elliott Abrams on spying on allies

Featured image At NR’s Corner, Elliott Abrams gives his take on the report that the Obama administration spied on the Israeli government. Abrams served for many years as a U.S. foreign policy official and is, of course, a leading pro-Israel advocate. Thus, his is a voice I wanted to hear on this potential scandal. Abrams believes there should be a strong presumption against spying on allies. He also believes that we should »