Obama’s Motivation for the Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama’s Motivation for the Iran Nuclear Deal

This may be somewhat conspiratorial, so critiques and commentary is invited. The common question has been for several months, why is Barack Obama so pro-Iran in order to get a final deal signed with regard to their nuclear weapons program.

No one seems to be able to suggest a viable reason, personally I went so far as to track down and interview Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran.


Still without any meaningful answer as to why, it was prudent to search far and wide for clues and suddenly a real story began to develop on its own.



Plans for an Iran strike by Israel has been on the table and in 2011, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared the time would be delayed for a future time. In 2012, Israel was poised to attack Iran, and the Obama National Security Council ensured that operation was terminated.


In summary, the United States and Israel have cooperated for decades on defense, military aid, arms sales, joint exercises and intelligence. This stems from a 1981 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established cooperation on national security of both countries. In 1983, both sides signed a Joint Political Military Group implementing the MOU and in 1984 those activities commenced. In 1987, the United States constructed facilities to stockpile advanced military gear and munitions. In 1996, Congress codified this standard that included defense contracts, weapons systems, interagency strategic cooperation, diplomatic and intelligence operations and ballistic missiles. Countless laws/acts have been passed and signed in the United States where the U.S. and Israel together preserve and enhance Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge.


Barack Obama is bound by agreement, law and treaty history yet he takes this history and text to the line where his policy does not support or stand with Israel in fully defending Israel in military hostilities or engagements as noted in the most recent conflicts in Gaza. Having a JPOA, a nuclear agreement has for the most part thrown sand in the gears keeping his own anti-Israel cultural and lifelong behavior intact, all at the expense of stability in the Middle East. Barack Obama’s background demonstrates he would rather have a failed nuclear agreement that satisfies his Muslim doctrine against Jews and Israel than to militarily stand with Israel even as new alliances and relationships have been established, isolating the United States. The same theory here is also applied to the balance of the Middle East with emphasis on Iraq and Syria.

Iran is on a Peace Through Strength Mission


When it comes to those in Congress supporting the White House Iran nuclear deal, those in favor have countless reasons to bow out and vote no.

The Iran deal facts are here.

Iran unveils new missile, says seeks peace through strength

Reuters: Iran on Saturday unveiled a new surface-to-surface missile it said could strike targets with pin-point accuracy within a range of 500 km (310 miles) and it said military might was a precondition for peace and effective diplomacy.

The defense ministry’s unveiling of the solid-fuel missile, named Fateh 313, came little more than a month after Iran and world powers reached a deal that requires Tehran to abide by new limits on its nuclear program in return for Western governments easing economic sanctions.

According to that deal, any transfer to Iran of ballistic missile technology during the next eight years will be subject to the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and the United States has promised to veto any such requests. An arms embargo on conventional weapons also stays, preventing their import and export for five years.

But Iran has said it will not follow parts of the nuclear deal that restricts its military capabilities, a stance reaffirmed by President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

“We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that,” he said in a speech at the unveiling ceremony broadcast live on state television.

“We can negotiate with other countries only when we are powerful. If a country does not have power and independence, it cannot seek real peace,” he said.

The defense ministry said the Fateh 313, unveiled on Iran’s Defence Industry Day, had already been successfully tested and that mass production would start soon. More threat details here.

Then comes the other demands Iran is making now, a prisoner release.

Tehran official: Diplomats seek release of at least 19 Iranians held in U.S.

WaPo: A senior Iranian diplomat said the country is working through third-country channels to seek the release of at least 19 Iranians jailed in the United States, according to a report Friday, even as U.S. officials press Tehran to free Americans held in custody.

The comments by Hassan Qashqavi, a deputy foreign minister, did not identify the Iranians he claimed are being held in the United States, but he described them as “political prisoners,” Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Last month, the head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy and national security committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, ­issued a letter urging Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to demand the release of “a considerable number” of Iranians he claimed had been “unfairly jailed” by U.S. authorities for alleged sanctions violations.

Deeper dive on doing business in Iran is noted here. Remember Barack Obama waived sanctions and you will be fascinated with some of these facts.

Despite Sanctions, a Constellation of Business Seen in Iran

Decades of increasing sanctions against Iran have taken a toll on the Iranian economy and kept most companies out. But a broad range of organizations, from medical companies such as GE Healthcare to aerospace firms such as Lufthansa Technik, as well as educational institutions such as Harvard University, have obtained permission to operate in the country, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of sanctions licenses issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury in the first three months of 2014.

Below are a selection of 296 licenses, either granted or amended, for organizations to conduct business with Iran, demonstrating a sweep of legal commercial and non-profit activities that continue despite sanctions.  A must read to the end, click here.


Can the UK or the Foreign Minister be Anymore Stupid?

 Philip Hammond@PHammondMP 7h7 hours ago

Leading business delegation with to discuss future opportunities in for British business.

Embedded image permalink

Graffiti in Persian reads "Death to England" is seen above a picture of Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran   

Courtesy of the Telegraph.

The graffiti above a portrait of the Queen provided a scrawled reminder of just how venomous Anglo-Iranian relations once were.

”Death to England” read the message in orange marker pen, daubed inside the elegant ambassador’s residence of the British embassy in Tehran. The motif was still visible on Sunday when Philip Hammond officially reopened the mission, four years after a mob vandalised its spacious premises.

On November 29 2011, this building along with every other in the embassy’s five-acre compound was ransacked by about 200 people, including members of the regime’s Basij militia.

The Foreign Secretary says Iran and Britain will not always agree but there should be no limit to what the countries can achieve together ….. He said WHAT?

Iran’s ayatollahs will never be friends of the UK

We are heading for disaster if we abandon our historic Middle East allies in favour of friendship with Tehran

In part from the Guardian: Here we go again: another British foreign secretary in Iran with the hopeful expectation of forging closer ties with the ayatollahs. Ever since Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, the holy grail of British foreign policy has been to reach out to the moderates in Tehran, thereby isolating the hardliners.

Back in the Eighties when, thanks to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, British hostages such as Terry Waite and John McCarthy spent five or so years chained to radiators in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Sir Geoffrey Howe, our then foreign secretary, frequently told me that the hostage crisis could be resolved if only we could establish a working relationship with the moderates in Tehran. But for all our entreaties, the hardliners won the day, and the hostages were eventually released when the ayatollahs deemed them to be surplus to their agenda.

More recently, in 2003, New Labour’s Jack Straw believed he had identified a similar moderate tendency in Iran’s political establishment, during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami. This, of course, was in the aftermath of the Iraq War, when the ayatollahs feared – not unduly – that they might be next on President George W Bush’s hit list.

Lord Lamont, the former Tory Chancellor, is one of the more vocal members among an influential group of establishment figures in London who advocate embracing the ayatollahs, a view that is also being enthusiastically taken up by those in the business community who hope to benefit from the estimated £100 billion Iran will soon receive when its overseas assets are released.

But in this unseemly scramble, the Government now appears content to turn a blind eye to some of Iran’s more egregious activities. For example, after an Iranian mob stormed and then trashed the embassy compound in 2011, the Government insisted there would be no restoration of relations until the Iranians paid full compensation for the damage caused. But as this newspaper reports today, Britain has paid the full cost of the repairs.

Similarly, Whitehall would like to draw a discreet veil over similarly vexing issues, such as whether the Home Office will be able to act against Iranian nationals who overstay their welcome in the UK. Without the proper safeguards, we could end up with Hizbollah and Revolutionary Guard terrorists setting up operations in the UK, just like al-Qaeda and Isil have sought to do.

More Than Once Israel on the Cusp of Attacking Iran

RFE: Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported August 21 that a plan for Israel to strike Iranian nuclear facilities was blocked on three separate occasions in recent years.

In an audio recording of former defense minister Ehud Barak obtained by the TV station, Barak said that he drew up the attack plans against Iran, and they were approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said Israeli army chief Gabi Ashkenazi blocked one planned attack in 2010, by refusing to certify that the army was prepared to carry out the attack.

A second attack was aborted when hawkish Israeli ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Yuval Steinitz withdrew support, he said, while in 2012, Israel decided the timing was bad for an attack because of a U.S.-Israel military exercise.

The TV station said Barak tried to prevent broadcast of the bombshell revelations, but Israel’s military censor allowed it.Ya’alon and Steinitz issued a statement expressing bewilderment at the military’s decision to permit the broadcast.

The report comes as Israel has been strenuously lobbying against a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that aims to curb Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions’ relief.

TOI: According to the August 21, 2015 edition of The Times Of Israel

Israel aborted a planned military strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in 2012 — because the time selected for the operation coincided with a U.S. military exercise in the region.  Earlier planned military strikes in 2010 and 2011, were reportedly thwarted by deliberate leaks by those opposed to such an operation.  Israel’s Channel 2 News, reports that the U.S. was adamantly opposed to such an Israeli strike on Iran in 2012; but, that the Israeli political leadership had decided to proceed any way.  But, Tel Aviv ultimately decided to abort the mission, because the strike would have occurred at the same time that the U.S. and Israeli were conducting a joint military exercise.  Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that it relied on tape recordings of former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak; and, other unnamed foreign reports — to reach the judgment that Israel had decided to strike Iran, only to abort the mission later.

     “The attack [pre-emptive military strike], was being readied for January 2012; but, that [time period] coincided with the long planned, Austere Challenge 12 Exercisethe largest planned joint U.S./Israeli military exercise.  “We intended to carry it out, so I went to (then U.S Defense Secretary Leon) Panetta; and, asked him if we could change the date of the exercise,” former Defense Minister Barak said in a recording broadcast by Channel 2.  “So, they delayed it as much as they could….to a few days before the U.S. election (in the U.S. that November).  However, The Times of Israel reports, the new date set for a pre-emptive Israeli military strike – was also not convenient.”

     “You demand that the U.S. respect your sovereignty; and, decide you want to do it (strike Iran), even if America is opposed to it — and, is contrary to their interests,” Minister Barak said in the recording.  “You can’t find yourself then going back on that — by trying to force America to be party to (the strike), just as it comes here [Israel], for a pre-planned [joint military] drill.  That’s how it [the pre-emptive military strike] ran into difficulties in 2012,” he explained.

     Israel’s Channel 2 News added that Barak’s revelation about a thwarted 2012 military strike – was only one in a series of bombshells in the tape recordings of his conversations broadcast Friday night in Israel.  Defense Minister Barak also “detailed how he and then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to strike [Iran] in 2010 and 2011; but, were thwarted by opposition by the Army’s Chief of Staff and ministerial colleagues.”  These new revelations “come from conversations related to a new biography of Minister Barak — being written by Danny Dor, and Ilan Kfir.  The Times of Israel adds that the former Defense Minister and Prime Minister, “attempted to prevent the broadcast of the recordings but Israel’s military’s censors allowed Channel 2 to play them.”

     I believe these reports are accurate.  As to the reasons why Israel did not go through with a pre-emptive strike?  I suspect the reasons are more nuanced and complicated than portrayed here.  Some reliable reporting in Israel suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu never really intended to authorize a pre-emptive military strike against Iran; but, was in fact bluffing – in an attempt to influence U.S. elections; and, perhaps extract additional military concessions from Washington.

The Iranian Shopping List With the $150 Billion and More

Iran’s Military Is No Match for Its Rivals – But That Could Soon Change

MilitaryEdge: Iran, despite its belligerent behavior and support for terrorism, is not a formidable conventional military force. The Islamic Republic has a handful of weapon systems that make it asymmetrically dangerous, but its military is largely outdated thanks to years of international sanctions and arms embargos. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the subsequent United Nations resolution endorsing the deal, however, Tehran will soon have access to foreign arms that could substantially upgrade its forces and challenge international efforts to curb its destabilizing activities.

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the U.S. and many of its European allies imposed restrictions on arms exports to Iran. While they were not all air-tight (see the Iran-Contra Affair), they did have a profound impact on Iran’s arsenal when it was embroiled in a devastating eight-year war with Iraq. Tehran was forced to turn to new sources – such as China, Libya, Syria, North Korea and private smuggling networks – to acquire weapons and parts for their existing systems. Iran’s new regime was also forced to rely on indigenous production, which often meant copying foreign-made equipment and replacement parts.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Russia and China delivered some modern systems to Iran, including MiG-29 fighters, Su-24 bombers, Kilo-class diesel submarines, Tor-M1 surface-to-air missiles systems, C-802 anti-ship missiles, and QW-1 MANPADS. Iran also acquired dozens of French- and Soviet-made Iraqi aircraft that fled to the country during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Tehran impounded the aircraft, only returning a handful of Su-25s in 2014 to bolster Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State. But Iran was unable to import enough equipment to rebuild its forces following years of war and Western embargos.

Iran’s military suffered further blows as international pressure to curb Iran’s nuclear program enacted comprehensive embargos on arms supplies. In 2007, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved Resolution 1747, forbidding Iran from exporting arms and calling on member states to exercise “vigilance and restraint” in supplying the country with conventional arms. Then in 2010, the UNSC approved Resolution 1929, which required all member states to “prevent” sales to Iran – effectively placing an international arms embargo against it. Tehran’s principal military suppliers, Russia and China, ceased arms deliveries to the Islamic Republic.

Russia halted the delivery of the S-300 air defense system purchased by Iran in 2007, though not as the result of UN restrictions. Moscow could have still provided the S-300 under Resolution 1929 because restrictions are based on the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which permits the transfer of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) with the exception of the shoulder-launched variety (MANPADS). Russia ended its self-imposed ban on transferring the S-300 in April and is expected to begin delivering components before the end of this year. With the addition of this advanced mobile SAM system, Iran will improve the layered air defense of key sites, thus better protecting its nuclear and military facilities from potential U.S. and Israeli strikes.

The JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231 terminated Resolutions 1747 and 1929 and made the abolition of the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargos rewards for Iran’s implementation of its nuclear obligations. During the final days of the nuclear negotiations, Russia and China are reported to have been the primary advocates for removing the arms embargos. For years, Moscow and Beijing missed out on the lucrative arms race in the Middle East as American and European defense firms made billions on sales to the Arab Gulf states. Now, they are expected to be among the prime beneficiaries of Iran’s re-entry into the legitimate arms market.

Because of the substantial lead Iran’s Sunni adversaries hold in military spending and capabilities, it will be some time until the Iranian military is considered a peer competitor. Still, with investments in certain Russian and Chinese platforms and weapons systems, Iran could significantly increase its offensive lethality in the airspace and waters of the Persian Gulf to threaten its Arab neighbors and U.S. interests. Meanwhile, it can forego purchases of land systems such as tanks and armored vehicles, as a major ground war with its rivals appears unlikely.

Reports already indicate that Tehran may be shopping for new equipment that could offset, or at least reduce, its adversaries’ qualitative edge. Iran, for example, has allegedly already begun negotiations to acquire between 24 and 150 Chengdu J-10 multirole fighters from China in exchange for turning over its largest oil field to Beijing for two decades. Although news of the prospective sale of J-10s remains unconfirmed by China, Iran’s desire to acquire modern combat aircraft to update its aging air force is well documented.

Prior to the 1979 revolution, the scores of first-rate American fighters sold to the shah gave Iran one of the strongest air forces in the Middle East. Today, many of those aircraft that survived the Iran-Iraq War still remain in the IRIAF’s inventory and are likely unusable or have been cannibalized to keep other aircraft in service. Iran’s limited number of bombing missions on Islamic State targets in Iraq may be an indication of just how degraded the IRIAF has become.


Currently, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air wing is made up of F-14A Tomcats, F-4E Phantom IIs, F-5E Tiger IIs, Chengdu F-7 (a Chinese copy of the iconic Soviet MiG-21), MiG-29 Fulcrums, Su-24 Fencers, Su-25 Frogfoots, and Mirage F-1s – nearly all manufactured before 1990. Iran also produced a handful of its own fighters, such as the Azarakhsh and the Saegheh. However, these aircraft appear to be only slightly modified copies of the American-designed F-5 Tiger – a light fighter outclassed by modern competitors.

Modern multirole fighter aircraft tend to only be as effective as the weapons and sensors they carry, so buying the jets themselves would not be enough. Iran would also have to shop for sophisticated munitions for air-to-air, anti-ship, and long-range standoff strikes. In fact, with certain air-to-surface missiles, the ban on its ballistic missile development becomes almost meaningless as Iran would be able to launch long-range precision-guided strikes that are likely more accurate and harder to intercept than any ballistic missile they are able to develop. While there are existing international agreements to limit the transfer of the more dangerous missiles, some systems could be altered to expand their range and payload.

With new weapons and an unrestricted supply of parts and technical assistance, Iran will be able to close the gap with it foes and far more easily exert its will in the Persian Gulf. Facing the U.S. and the Gulf states in a prolonged conflict, Iran’s military would still be at a significant disadvantage. Armed with a handful of advanced systems, however, Tehran could make a brief conflict with the U.S. or its neighbors costly, granting it the ability to double down on its rogue behavior while better deterring adversaries from stopping it.

Patrick Megahan is a research analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies focusing on military affairs.


NYT in part:

There is little question that Iran needs the money, $185 billion to update the petrochemical sector alone, officials say. It also needs a new airline fleet of as many as 400 planes and further investments in almost every aspect of the economy and infrastructure.

Yet, critics of President Hassan Rouhani’s government, the main driving force behind Iran’s foreign and economic diplomacy, say that many top officials in his reformist government have vested business interests, a common feature of almost the entire Iranian political elite. More details here.