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Monday, April 04, 2016

Did they lie or did they just bow to Iran?

The Israel Project's Omri Ceren sent around an email this afternoon reporting that Congress is looking into whether Obama administration officials lied to Congress in their testimony about the Iran deal last summer, or whether they have just totally bowed to Iran.

Last week reporters confirmed that the Obama administration has reversed itself on a number of commitments made to Congress during last summer's push to get support for the Iran deal. Specifically the AP confirmed that the administration intends to give Iran indirect access the U.S. financial system and Reuters confirmed that Washington is no longer labeling Iranian missile launches a "violation" of the U.N. ban [a][b].
White House, State Department, and Treasury officials testified to Congress last summer that exactly the opposite would happen. Last Friday Bloomberg View published a roundup how lawmakers are reacting. It noted that these were not the first two bait-and-switches the administration has pulled, and catalogued statements of opposition from both parties in both chambers. I sent around the article last night with a bunch of links and background, so let me know if you didn't get it.
Now this morning lawmakers are sharpening the question into: did the administration deliberately mislead lawmakers last summer or is the deal still open so that the Iranians have been extracting more concessions since then? The full story from the Washington Free Beacon is pasted below, but the key quote comes from Rep. Pompeo:
"When multiple officials — including Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and Ambassador Mull — testify in front of Members of Congress, we are inclined to believe them," Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) told the Washington Free Beacon. "However, the gap between their promises on the Iran nuclear deal and today’s scary reality continues to widen. We are now trying to determine whether this was intentional deception on the part of the administration or new levels of disturbing acquiescence to the Iranians"
Now the transcripts. In case you're reporting out this story, this is some of the testimony Pompeo was probably referencing:
Sec. Lew testimony on Iran being "denied access to the world's largest financial and commercial market" due to the dollarization prohibition:
LEW: But a number of key sanctions will remain in place... Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks. Iran, in other words, will continue to be denied access to the world’s largest financial and commercial market. The JCPOA makes only minor allowances to this broad prohibition. (SFRC, July 23, [c]) 
Amb. Mull testimony on ballistic missile launches being a "violation":
THE CHAIRMAN: There is some weird language in the UNSCR that this refers to. It says "they're called upon." Out of curiosity, after the implementation if they launch these types of missiles, is it or is it not in violation of the agreement?
AMB MULL. It is not in violation of the JCPOA. It is a violation of Security Council resolutions.
THE CHAIRMAN: So the called-upon language from your perspective makes it clear that going forward it will continue to be a violation?
AMB MULL. The calls-upon language, it would violate that part of the U.N. Security Council resolution... (SFRC, Dec 17, [d @ 34:55])
There's other problematic testimony floating around on both of these issues, as well as on other bait-and-switches such as IAEA access to military sites, which the Agency was refused when it tried to enter the Parchin base where Iran conducted tests related to nuclear warheads.
On non-nuclear relief and dollarization, Treasury Undersecretary Szubin testified to Senate Banking that "no Iranian banks can access the US financial system; not to open an account, not to purchase a security, and not even to execute a dollarized transaction where a split second's worth of business is done in a New York clearing bank" [e]. On missiles, Sec. Kerry somewhat notoriously insisted to Sen. Menenedez that old language banning Iranian ballistic missile launches had been imported unchanged into the new UNSCR [f]. On IAEA access to military sites, Sec. Kerry told HFAC that failure to provide access would put Iran "in material breach of the agreement and the sanctions will snap back" [g]. Etc.

[a] http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_UNITED_STATES_IRAN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
[b] http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iran-missiles-exclusive-idUKKCN0WV2HD
[c] http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/07-23-15%20Lew%20Testimony.pdf
[d] http://www.c-span.org/video/?402200-1/hearing-iran-nuclear-agreement-implementation&start=3615
[e] http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/9/nomination-hearing
[f] http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/072315
[g] http://www.c-span.org/video/?327359-1/secretaries-kerry-moniz-lew-testimony-iran-nuclear-agreement
You don't think Obama instructed his people to lie to the Senate, do you?

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At 6:18 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Both, clearly.

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next up, the Obamas will visit Iran, during which he will write out a wish for a positive Legacy and drop it into the well at the Jamkaran Mosque.


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