Tuesday, May 8, 2018
President Trump : The Iran Nuclear Deal Is "Defective at its Core"
MAY 8, 1945. VICTORY IN EUROPE. V-E DAY // MAY 8, 2018, VICTORY OVER THE IRAN REGIME. V-E Day is celebrated all over Europe, with speeches, parades and public ceremonies to honor the fallen soldiers who died in World War II to save Europe from Nazism. On May 8, 1945, in Great Britain and the United States, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, flags and banners were displayed as rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine got underway. The 8th of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms. In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more. In Copenhagen and Oslo, at Karlshorst near Berlin, in northern Latvia, on the Channel Island of Sark -- the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany. The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken prisoner. About 1 million Germans attempted a mass exodus to the West when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians took approximately 2 million prisoners in the period just before and after the German surrender. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain. Pockets of German-Soviet confrontation would continue into the next day. On May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered. Consequently, V-E Day was not celebrated until May 9 in Moscow. • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, earlier and longer than any world leader, saved Europe by resisting the Nazis and forcing other countries, especially the United States, to join in the war. The BBC broadcast Churchill's ammouncement from London and then from the House of Commons. Churchill said : "German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on May 7. Hostilities in Europe ended officially at midnight, May 8, 1945. Yesterday morning at 2:41 a.m. at Headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German Land, sea, and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Force, and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command. General Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Francois Sevez signed the document on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Susloparov signed on behalf of the Russian High Command....After years of intense preparation, Germany hurled herself on Poland at the beginning of September, 1939; and, in pursuance of our guarantee to Poland and in agreement with the French Republic, Great Britain, the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations, declared war upon this foul aggression. After gallant France had been struck down we, from this Island and from our united Empire, maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year until we were joined by the military might of Soviet Russia, and later by the overwhelming power and resources of the United States of America. Finally almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers, who are now prostrate before us. Our gratitude to our splendid Allies goes forth from all our hearts in this Island and throughout the British Empire....Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!" • After making his broadcast announcement, Churchill read the same statement in the House of Commons, and added : "That is the message which I have been instructed to deliver to the British Nation and Commonwealth. I have only two or three sentences to add. They will convey to the House my deep gratitude to this House of Commons, which has proved itself the strongest foundation for waging war that has ever been seen in the whole of our long history. We have all of us made our mistakes, but the strength of the Parliamentary institution has been shown to enable it at the same moment to preserve all the title-deeds of democracy while waging war in the most stern and protracted form. I wish to give my hearty thanks to men of all Parties, to everyone in every part of the House where they sit, for the way in which the liveliness of Parliamentary institutions has been maintained under the fire of the enemy, and for the way in which we have been able to persevere -- and we could have persevered much longer if need had been -- till all the objectives which we set before us for the procuring of the unlimited and unconditional surrender of the enemy had been achieved. I recollect well at the end of the last war, more than a quarter of a century ago, that the House, when it heard the long list of the surrender terms, the armistice terms, which had been imposed upon the Germans, did not feel inclined for debate or business, but desired to offer thanks to Almighty God, to the Great Power which seems to shape and design the fortunes of nations and the destiny of man; and I therefore beg, Sir, with your permission to move : That this House do now attend at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster, to give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination." • • • THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL. There is a startling irony in the fact that today, May 8, 2018, another momentous announcement has laid out the future path of Europe. But, this time, there is no Churchill addressing Parliament. Instead, the decision comes from Europe's eternal deliverer, the United States. • • • ISRAEL, MORE THAN EUROPE, IS ON POINT THIS TIME. Israel Hayom noted early on Tuesday, May 8, that as US President Donald Trump was preparing to announce whether the US will remain committed to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers : "a senior US official said it was unclear if efforts by European allies to address Trump's concerns would be enough to salvage the 2015 accord, which Trump has criticized as 'the worst deal in history.' From the earliest days of his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the agreement, which eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear program, unless fellow signatories France, Germany and Britain fix what Trump describes as the deal's 'terrible flaws.' The senior official said the European allies had moved significantly in Trump's direction on the defects he sees in the pact, namely the failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program, the terms under which international inspectors visit suspected Iranian sites, and 'sunset' clauses under which some of the restrictions are set to expire." • European leaders warned that Trump's withdrawal would strike a blow to the alliance between Western Europe and the United States -- bravado coming from a continent that has not the means to defend itself -- and undo years of negotiations that they say were successful in halting Iran's nuclear ambitions. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Europeans would remain committed to the deal regardless of Trump's decision. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his country also wants to stick with the deal, as it "makes the world a safer place and without it the world would be less safe." British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was in Washington this week t otry to persuade Trump that the deal's weaknesses can be remedied : "At this moment, Britain is working alongside the Trump administration and our French and German allies to ensure that they are," Johnson said. France and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned against scrapping the 2015 agreement, saying that doing so without presenting a good alternative could lead to war. • Iran has ruled out renegotiating the accord and has threatens to retaliate if the US pulls out, although Iran gives no details about how. Under the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States agreed to ease a series of US sanctions on Iran under a string of "waivers" that effectively suspend the sanctions. Re-imposing sanctions would prevent foreign, especially European, companies from doing business with Iran because they could face US penalties. Re-imposing US sanctions could also trigger a backlash by Iran, which in turn may move Iran's nuclear efforts into high gear or prompt Iran to punish US allies across the Middle East, diplomats have said. On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested that Iran could remain in the accord even if the US dropped out, but stressed that Iran would fiercely resist US pressure to limit its influence in the Middle East : "If we can get what we want from a deal without America, then Iran will continue to remain committed to the deal. What Iran wants is our interests to be guaranteed by its non-American signatories....In that case, getting rid of America's mischievous presence will be fine for Iran," Rouhani said. One big worry for the Iran regime is that any renewed economic hardships caused by the re-imposition of US sanctions could lead to increased domestic unrest, further destabilizing Iran. • For Israel, according to the Israel Hayom media outlet, any US withdrawal from the nuclear deal could create "a major security escalation" on Israel's northern borders, "where Iran backs Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Lebanon as well as President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria." Israel Hayom quoted Israeli defense officials, who say that if Iran did take direct aim at Israel : "it would likely use its militias in Syria to strike targets in northern Israel. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday that Assad may find himself in Israel's sights if that happens : 'If Assad allows Iran to turn Syria into a military vanguard against us, to attack us from Syrian territory, he should know that this would be the end of him, the end of his regime.' Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stressed Monday that 'Israel has no interest in a security escalation but we are ready for any scenario.' " • • • AMERICAN PROGDEMS WRITE TO TRUMP. Breitbart reported on Tuesday, May 8, that Senator Dianne Feinstein led a group of 12 Democrat leaders in the Senate in writing an open letter to President Donald Trump on Monday urging him to keep the US in the Iran deal. The Breitbart article quoted the Fenstein letter, signed by 11 other ranking members Democrat members on Senate committees. The text of the letter, full of meaningless blabber meant to pacify Iran and Europe, reads, in part : "If the United States unilaterally withdraws from the JCPOA, Iran could either remain in the agreement and seek to isolate the United States from our closest partners, or resume its nuclear activities. Either scenario would be detrimental to our national security interests. If Iran continues to abide by the agreement following a unilateral US withdrawal, the only effective way the United States could regenerate sufficient economic leverage over Teheran would be to sanction the very same nations that helped us negotiate the JCPOA in the first place, namely persons and businesses from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, and India, among others. Under that scenario, it is impossible to imagine the US could rebuild the previous international sanctions coalition that was so effective in getting Iran to the negotiating table. On the other hand, if Iran chooses to resume its unconstrained nuclear activities in the wake of a unilateral US withdrawal, the United States could face a second nuclear crisis at the same time that your administration is seeking a peaceful resolution with North Korea. US credibility in those denuclearization discussions would be severely undermined if North Korea concludes that US leaders are willing to unilaterally abrogate such nuclear agreements without cause....Instead of effectively withdrawing from the JCPOA by refusing to utilize critical waivers of US sanctions against Iran and its purchasers of oil by May 12th, we urge you to work with our partners and allies to address Iran’s other malign activities while preserving and building upon with our allies the strict nuclear limitations of the JCPOA." • We should note, as Breitbart reminds us, "that it was Senator Feinstein add the 11 other Democrat Senate leaders who filibustered" any attempt by Republicans in the Senate to debate the Iran nuclear deal. Democrats refused to "allow an up-or-down vote on the agreement under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act in 2015. Not one of the 12 Democrats who signed the letter to President Trump on Monday voted to allow the Senate to vote on the Iran deal in 2015. All joined the party’s filibuster to stop the Senate from reviewing the deal." • • • WHAT DIDTRUMP WANT EUROPE TO DO TO SALVAGE THE IRAN DEAL? The Gateway Institute's Malcolm Lowe outlined three Trump requirements in a May 4 article published after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed the documents Israel's Mossad Intel had spirited out of Iran....The miniature minds of the apologists are simply incapable of grasping the historic magnitude of the Mossad's discovery....Iran's program to create nuclear weapons." • Ironically, Lowe compares the Mossad revelation to that of advance information revealed about Operation Overlord, the Allied landing in Normandy, "supplied by Elyesa Bazna from Ankara and Paul Fidrmuc from Lisbon. Nazi Germany failed to act on that information about the intended landing site on D-Day. Instead, it fell victim to false information provided by a supposed spy who was working for the Allies. The parallel to that failure is the present rush of politicians and so-called experts who pretend that the Mossad's coup tells us nothing new and merely proves that the deal is more justified than ever. They claim, in particular, that before the deal was agreed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) already knew the broad details of what the new information reveals." • Now, Lowe says : "What the assorted apologists for the Iran nuclear deal have failed to grasp is a simple distinction : the difference between suspicions and confirmation. The IAEA based its assessments on "over a thousand pages" of documents; now we have a hundred thousand. Moreover, these are in effect a hundred thousand signed confessions of the Iranian regime that it intended to create nuclear weapons and load them on missiles manufactured by itself." • Lowe says : "Trump sees three defects in the deal: its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program; the terms under which international inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites; and 'sunset' clauses under which limits on the Iranian nuclear program start to expire after 10 years. He wants all three strengthened if the United States is to stay in the deal." But, says Lowe : "The Mossad's coup has turned Trump's three proposals into three imperatives, not just to the Europeans but also to the two other states involved in the deal : Russia and China. (Russia, in particular, must grasp that major Russian cites are within missile range from Iran.) That is, if the deal is to survive, the sunset clauses must be cancelled, the IAEA must have freedom to inspect whatever it demands, and Iran's long-range missile capacity must be curtailed. This is because the Mossad has also supplied us with a hundred thousand signed confessions that the Iranian regime will resume and complete its plans for nuclear-armed missiles as soon as the deal permits it -- indeed authorizes it -- to do so." • • • IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN LATIN AMERICA POSE THREAT TO THE US. Judith Bergman, another Gateway Institute analyst, wrote on Tuesday, May 8, that Iran is now in the US backyard : "Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on a tour of six Latin American nations in 2016. Iran's diplomatic efforts resulted in, among other things, access to the use of Venezuelan territory to advance Iran's solid rocket-fuel production. Culturally, Iran has helped Hezbollah establish itself as the dominant force among Shia Moslem communities throughout Latin America, and has taken control of their mosques, schools and cultural institutions....Iran and Hezbollah have been operating in Latin America since the 1980s, effectively undisturbed. During this time, Iran and its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah, have been Islamizing Latin America, seemingly to create a forward base of operations for the Islamic Republic in the backyard of the United States. No Latin American country has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization : Hezbollah can operate with relative impunity there." Bergman cites testimony given at a US House of Representatives panel hearing on Iran's global terrorism network on April 17, 2018 : "Iran and Hezbollah have converted and radicalized thousands of Latin Americans to Shia Islam. In some Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, Iran's and Hezbollah's efforts have even been promoted by local political elites. Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami -- of Lebanese and Syrian origins and with ties to both cocaine trafficking and Hezbollah -- oversaw the illicit sale and distribution of at least 10,000 Venezuelan passports and other documents to persons from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. These reportedly included Hezbollah terrorists and members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. More than a decade ago, a US congressional report warned that Venezuela was providing support to radical Islamic groups, including the supply of identity documents. El Aissami could, in the foreseeable future, become president of Venezuela." Bergman says that the Hezbollah inroads in Latin America have : "allowed the Islamic Republic to create large networks of mosques and cultural centers across the region; in addition, Iran and Hezbollah operate in multiple areas and across multiple sectors, both licit and illicit, apparently to strengthen and expand their influence in Latin America and to enrich Hezbollah as a way to finance its growing terrorist and paramilitary activities. These areas of operation encompass diplomacy, commercial enterprise, religious dominance, and perhaps most significantly, substantial criminal activity. Iran has employed diplomacy to evade sanctions imposed on it before the Iran 'nuclear deal.' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran, visited Latin America six times during 2005-2012, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on a tour of six Latin American nations in 2016. These diplomatic efforts resulted in, among other things, access to the use of Venezuelan territory to advance Iran's solid rocket-fuel production." Bergman points out the drug trafficking aspect of Iran's and Hezbollah's presence in Latin America : "Hezbollah has become a substantial international crime syndicate, which utilizes its position in Latin America to deal in drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, human trafficking, trade in counterfeit goods and money laundering, the proceeds of which it uses to finance its activities. Drugs, such as cocaine, are funneled into the United States to be sold there. Some investigators believe that Hezbollah amasses $ 1 billion a year from its criminal activities, which involve close cooperation with Latin American drug cartels and criminal syndicates. Together, these create havoc in Latin America and contribute to driving immigration into the United States. One expert recently described Hezbollah as 'the gold standard' of the crime-terror convergence." Bergman's conclusion is chilling : "In 2008, the US began a secret law enforcement project, Operation Cassandra, to stop Hezbollah's activities in Latin America. According to an exposé in Politico, however, the Obama administration obstructed that operation :'"In practice, the administration's willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement to Iran's nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives, according to Project Cassandra members and others.' After Israel's revelations on April 30, 2018, that the Iran deal was based on Iranian lies, it is probably safe to conclude that the Obama administration empowered Iran and its proxy in Latin America to ensure the Iran deal, which has apparently turned out to be nothing but a smokescreen for Iran's nuclear plans. Having a seasoned and generously state-funded terrorist organization such as Hezbollah in the US's backyard unsurprisingly poses a genuine threat to the US homeland. According to Emmanuel Ottolenghi, speaking at the April hearing on Iran's global terrorism networks : 'A survey of cases prosecuted against Hezbollah operatives in the past two decades shows that the terror group remains a threat to the security of the US homeland and the integrity of its financial system. Iran and Hezbollah sought to carry out high casualty attacks against US targets multiple times. Additionally, they built networks they used to procure weapons, sell drugs, and conduct illicit financial activities inside the United States....operatives blend in; they nestle within existing expatriate communities; they find spouses; and set up seemingly legitimate businesses, acquiring permanent residency and citizenship in the process – all attributes that are part of their cover story. One recent example of Hezbollah operatives in action in the United States was the arrest of Samer El Debek and Ali Mohammad in New York. Both held US citizenship and had been trained by Hezbollah -- including in the use of weapons such as rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns -- and acted on its behalf in the US. The two were charged with serious terrorism charges, such as conducting surveillance of potential targets in America." • • • IRANIANS ARE WORRIED. Israel Hayom wrote on Tuesday, May 8, "foreboding grips Iranians" over nuclear deal's fate : "The Iranian public braces for President Trump's decision on whether US will leave the 2015 deal and impose new sanctions on Iran....On the streets of Teheran, every day seems to bring more worry and fear ahead of President Donald Trump's decision this week on whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Exchange shop windows that previously showed the rates for Iranian rial to US dollar transactions have gone blank, as black-market rates have skyrocketed to 70,000 rials to the dollar, far higher than the recent government-imposed rate of 42,000. Busy shopping districts in which newlyweds bought refrigerators and other household appliances now largely stand empty as people save their money. Some talk openly about leaving Iran and going anywhere else....Today, though, few can point to any benefits of the accord. 'We do not feel any particular impact, especially in our economy or on our life,' said Shadi Gholami, a 25-year-old architect. 'It is as if such a deal does not exist at all.' " Israel Hayom ssays : "While the deal allowed Iran to sell crude oil and natural gas in the international market, it has not helped address the high unemployment, particularly among the young, in this country of 80 million people. Banks remain saddled with massive bad loans from the sanctions era and government corruption also remains....Seyed Reza Mousavi, a 58-year-old Shiite cleric, said the deal had 'disarmed superpowers' and showed Iran's strength. 'We are not scared by Trump's decision and will resist and stand up to him without wavering,' the cleric said. 'Even if he pulls out of the deal we will not be harmed. We have chosen our path and it is the United States that will be harmed, not us, if he does it.'....But closer to home, Iranians increasingly talk among themselves of trying to leave the country for a better life abroad. Western Europe remains a choice for those with ties there, while those with the money head visa-free to Armenia, Georgia and Serbia to buy citizenship." • • • DID MOSSAD'S HAUL OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM FILES GIVE TRUMP AN EXCUSE TO LEAVE THE DEAL? American Thinker's Peter Skurkiss wrote on Tuesday, May 8 : "It is feared among much of the US foreign policy establishment and Europe that Netanyahu's presentation will give President Donald Trump an excuse to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Their panic is obvious. The Boston Globe reported that, in spite of the Logan Act, the master of the Iranian deal, former secretary of state John F. Kerry, has been secretly working with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to salvage the agreement...and his tattered legacy. As for Europe, it's in a fix. If Trump reinstates sanctions, which were suspended in 2016, when the deal went into effect, France and Germany will have a bitter choice to make : either trade with Iran or trade with the US. This disrupts the norm that Europe prefers, of having its cake and eating it, too." • Israeli journalist Caroline Glick wrote : "This is as if the Mossad had written 'Kilroy was here' on the bedroom door of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei....This act of audacious espionage has humiliated the Iranian regime and made it a laughingstock throughout Iran. It also supports the Iranian belief that the Jews can do anything and know all the regime's secrets. This has a twofold benefit. First, it makes the regime lose confidence in itself while it weakens its hold on its support base. Second, it adds fuel to the fire of the Iranian people, especially the young, who want a regime change. Iranian women in particular are sick and tired of the regime's religious coercion, which forces them in hijabs, keeps them out of public events, and enforces misogynist regulations with female goon squads patrolling the streets to beat women with hair showing." • • • DEAR READERS, TRUMP PULLS OUT...BUT....He stated very clearly that the Iran deal "defective at its core.” And, he said he is "ready, willing and able" to make a good deal with Iran that eliminates the possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles and that ends the terrorism fueled by Iran in the Middle East. • Scour the above European and US commentary. There was not one word spoken or written anywhere by European or American Democrat leaders or in US mainstream media in support of a Trump decision to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal. Yet, true to his rejection of all that the deal stands for, and also true to his promises, President Trump has acted. He certainly agrees with Israeli PM Netanyahu that, if it comes to that, to fight a war with Iran now is better than waiting until all its ballistic missiles are loaded with nukes. Who could disagree? The rest is self-serving noise -- Europe, Kerry, the media...all noise. • What happens next? First, Secretary of State Pompeo is on his way to North Korea as planning for the NK-US talks reaches its conclusion. Second, there will be no Iranian attack on Israel or US troops in the Middle East -- at least not more than are already going on through proxies Hezbollah and Hamas -- because Iran needs Europe now, and attacking anywhere in the Middle East would further weaken Europe's always weak resolve to support Iran willy-nilly. Iran's Ayatollah, Foreign Secretary Zarif, and the Revolutionary Guard like to sabre-rattle, but they know that they would lose their regime if they dare a frontal attack on either the US military or Israel. And, in additon, that sabre-rattling is masking the fact that the Iranian regime must be losing confidence in its ability to bully either its own restive citizens or the new America. Whereas President Obama kept Israel on a tight leash, Trump has freed the Israelis to defend themselves. A frontal attack on Israel by Iran or its proxoes could bring dire consequences to all of Iran' territory. We should note that Iran has even stopped harassing US naval ships in the Persian Gulf. Why? Because Trump is Commander-in-Chief and not Obama. • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on TV after President Trump's withdrawal speech, saying he has directed his diplomats to negotiate with European countries, Russia and China about remaining in the nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal from the agreement. But Rouhani said Iran is ready to start unlimited uranium enrichment if these negotiations do not yield benefits in a couple of weeks. • So, we begin a new phase of the Iran nuclear stand-off. But, this time, the US -- and Europe, whether they approve or not -- have a tough-minded leader who will not be hoodwinked or badgered into surrender by petty tyrants the likes of Ayatollah Khamenei and Mohammad Javad Zarif. • European appeasement brought on World War II. This time, there will be no Munich.