Iran

Iran not feeling the love

Featured image CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer scored an interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran to discuss President Trump’s decertification of the Iran deal this past Friday. CBS News reports on the interview here; the transcript is posted here. David Rutz has posted the video excerpt of the interview at the bottom of this post along with his story at the Washington Free Beacon. Palmer also talked about »

Initial thoughts on Trump’s Iran speech: Do all roads lead to a pull-out? [UPDATED]

Featured image President Trump has just given an address that outlines how he plans to proceed against Iran. The two main points are: (1) he will impose new sanctions to punish Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and (2) he will not certify the Iran nuclear deal. The refusal to certify means that Congress has 60 days to act. Trump is asking it to adopt legislation, apparently already formulated, that would remedy the flaws in »

Is war the only alternative to the Iran deal?

Featured image Michael Oren is Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy and a former Israeli ambassador to the United States. Writing in the New York Times, Oren disputes the argument that “the only alternative to the Iran nuclear deal is war.” Noting that the same argument was made before the Iran deal was reached in 2015, he responds that, now as then, the alternative to the deal isn’t war, but a better deal. »

Decertificaton of the Iran deal without withdrawal: What does it get us?

Featured image I wrote here about the Trump administration’s likely decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. In the same post, I quoted reports that Trump was unlikely, decertification notwithstanding, to push Congress to impose on Iran the sanctions we lifted as part of the nuclear deal. It now seems clear that, indeed, Trump will not lobby for reimposing the sanctions. If anything, he is lobbying not to have sanctions renewed. According »

Trump likely to decertify Iran deal; then what?

Featured image All indications are that President Trump next week will decline to certify Iran as in compliance with the nuclear agreement negotiated by former President Obama. So report Eliana Johnson of Politico and Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, among others. I don’t see how Trump, in good faith, can certify that Iran is complying. Last week the head of the IAEA revealed that his organization can’t verify that Iran »

Omri Ceren: Decertification approaches

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to comment on the Reuters story by Francois Murphy reporting that “IAEA chief calls for clarity on disputed section of Iran nuclear deal.” Omri’s commentary on the story — please check it out — should serve as a preview of coming attractions. He writes: This is pretty close to game over on certification. Condition 1 of Corker-Cardin requires the president to certify “Iran is transparently, verifiably, and »

Valerie Wilson’s war

Featured image Many of us who had long since forgotten Valerie Plame Wilson were not pleased to be reminded of her by means of her anti-Semitic stylings and related lies on Twitter yesterday, explored here by Paul Mirengoff. It was particularly unpleasing to be reminded of her in this fashion on Rosh Hashanah. Is there anything left to be said? I recommend Allahpundit’s Hot Air post and the explanatory context added by »

Trump Moves Against North Korea, Press Is Confused

Featured image Today President Trump issued an executive order that imposes financial sanctions on those who do business with North Korea: President Trump announced new U.S. financial sanctions Thursday that target North Korea and foreign companies or individuals that do business with the rogue nation…. The new penalties seek to leverage the dominance of the U.S. financial system by forcing nations to choose whether to do business with the United States or »

Netanyahu at the U.N.

Featured image Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said of President Trump’s speech at the U.N today, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.” Netanyahu’s speech to the U.N. wasn’t bad either. You can read it here. Netanyahu began by celebrating Israel’s vastly improved standing in the world: We’re in the midst of a great revolution, a revolution in Israel’s standing among »

Pompeo speaks

Featured image Bret Baier interviewed CIA Director Mike Pompeo yesterday afternoon for a segment of the FOX News Special Report. The interview was occasioned by the anniversary of 9/11. The questions were well informed and the answers were direct. Most striking to me was Pompeo’s contrast with his predecessor. Baier, for example, asked Pompeo whether the intelligence assessments supported the proposition that ISIS constituted a junior varsity terrorist organization consistent with the »

John Bolton on how to exit the Iranian nuclear deal

Featured image John Bolton says that in late July, Steve Bannon asked him to draw up a plan to exit the Iran nuclear deal. Although candidate Trump had repeatedly complained about the deal, President Trump, through two certifications to Congress, had twice declined to pull out of it. Moreover, according to Bolton, no option to remaining in the deal had been presented to Trump. Today, Bolton published his plan on NRO. The »

Rouhani: Iran Can Resume Nuclear Program In Hours

Featured image When the Iran nuclear deal was being debated, much attention was paid to the question whether Iran would cheat on the agreement. My position was that they likely would, but they certainly didn’t have to. Iran got what it wanted up front–relief from sanctions and something like $1 billion. Having gotten what they wanted, Iran’s rulers could simply walk away from the agreement at whatever time they chose. Iran’s President, »

McMaster makes it clear to all that he can’t work with Bannon

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was asked three times today by Chuck Todd whether he can work with Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist. Three times McMaster refused to say that he can. Each answer was more embarrassing than the last — to McMaster, to Bannon, and ultimately to their boss. You can read the details here. It is the job of every member of a president’s staff to work »

McMaster’s supporters push back

Featured image National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster came in or criticism after he fired three staff members, all of whom are strongly pro-Israel and forceful opponents of the Iran nuclear deal. I gave voice to some of that criticism here. McMaster’s supporters are pushing back. Among them, at least for the time being, is President Trump. Hugh Hewitt characterizes McMaster’s critics as “a tiny slice” of “the alt right” and a »

McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has fired three staff members in recent weeks. The three are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence; Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser; and Rich Higgins, director for strategic planning. All three were aligned with Steve Bannon. Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard discusses the purge here. Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker of the New York Times discuss it here. Neither the Standard »

What did Trump certify?

Featured image Did President Trump certify to Congress on Monday that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal? This is what virtually of all of the reporting on his action says he did. We wrote that, early in the day, National Security Council director H. R. McMaster indicated the administration would certify Iranian compliance. The next day we reported, per Eli Lake, that Trump had balked at providing certification and came close »

Report: Trump nearly killed the Iran deal

Featured image Eli Lake reports that President Trump came very close yesterday to not certifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal. Eli writes: On Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was supposed to certify Iranian compliance again. Talking points were sent to columnists. Senior administration officials briefed analysts on a conference call. The Treasury Department was set to announce new sanctions against a number of Iranians to soften the blow for the »