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Friday, February 19, 2016

Obama could stop Iranian weapons purchases... but he won't

Under the atrocious nuclear agreement with Iran, President Hussein Obama has the legal authority to stop Iran from purchasing all those Russian weapons. But, reports Adam Kredo, he won't.
“We’re aware of ongoing discussions between Russia and Iran regarding possible purchases of military equipment,” a State Department official who was not authorized to speak on record told the Free Beacon in response to inquiries. “If we have concerns about specific transactions, we’ll express those concerns through the appropriate channels, whether bilaterally with Russia or at the U.N. if ‎any specific transaction violates any U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
However, critics of the administration’s outreach to Iran expressed skepticism. They maintain that the White House is turning a blind eye to Iranian violations of the nuclear accord in order to preserve diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
“The U.N. resolution to endorse the flawed Iran nuclear deal actually gives the United States and other members of the Security Council the power to review and legally block arms sales by Russia or other actors to Iran,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), a critic of the nuclear accord, told the Free Beacon. “But as Russia and Iran further escalate their use of indiscriminate military force in the Middle East, the administration appears wholly unwilling to use this power.”
According to the terms of the U.N. resolution governing the nuclear agreement, the U.S. and other Security Council members are provided with the power to approve “in advance on a case-by-case basis” most conventional arms sales to Iran.
The statute specifically applies to the “supply, sale, or transfer” to Iran of many conventional arms, including “battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles, or missile systems,” according to the resolution.
Iran is reportedly seeking to purchase from Russia a new cadre of advanced Russian-made warplanes and other arms.
The provision requires the Security Council to individually approve the sale of these weapons for the next five years. Any member of the council has the right to veto a measure, meaning that the United States “could effectively block such a sale,” according to Michael Singh, a former White House national security official who worked on the Iran portfolio.
“It appears that the Obama administration has the authority to block any sale of fighter aircraft to Iran,” said Singh, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “In pressing for the approval of the nuclear deal by Congress, the administration discussed these arms restrictions (and related missile restrictions) as de facto bans, there will certainly be an expectation that they would use that authority.”
...
“Critics of the deal insisted that the Obama administration would be too intimidated to ever use those mechanisms because then Iran would walk away from the deal,” the source said. “This arms sale suggests the critics were right and that the deal supporters bamboozled Congress.”
After Kredo's piece was published, the Obama administration tried to sound a more forceful note.
Update 4:10 p.m.: Following publication, officials familiar with the situation said they expect the administration to be more forceful in raising concerns about these sales, particularly the transfer of advanced war jets.
What could go wrong?

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