Iran’s Mullahs Say Thank You to Obama

MEMRI October 15, 2015 Special Dispatch No.6187 Senior Iranian Negotiators Salehi, Kamalvandi: On October 19 President Obama Will Announce Lifting Of American Sanctions    

According to senior Iranian negotiators, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and an architect of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA), and Beherouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, on October 19, 2015 President Obama will announce that sanctions will be lifted and not merely suspended, contrary to the July 14,

2015 text of the agreement to which Iran is obligated.[1]  

If this report proves accurate, it means that President Obama surrendered to the threats and demands of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to amend the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) on this critical point, because lifting sanctions instead of suspending them will not allow their automatic reimposition (“snapback”). In this way, President Obama’s promise that the agreement incorporates the security mechanism of restoring the sanctions in the event of an Iranian violation, has been broken. 

It should be emphasized that Salehi’s statement has not been verified at this stage by any Western or American source.  

Khamenei issued his demands and threat on September 3, 2015 in a public address before Iran’s Assembly of Experts[2] and the Iranian Majlis incorporated them in the text that it approved on October 13, 2015.[3]  

Following Khamenei’s address in early September 2015, contacts between Iran and the US and the P5 +1 powers took place September 28, 2015, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly but their results were not published[4] and subsequently Khamenei issued a guideline on October 7, 2015 banning contacts with the US.[5]  


[1] Fars (Iran), October 15, 2015; ILNA (Iran), October 15, 2015.  

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6151, Khamenei Declares That He Will Not Honor The Agreement If Sanctions Are Merely Suspended And Not Lifted, September 4, 2015.  

[3] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1192, The Iranian Majlis Has Not Approved The JCPOA But Iran’s Amended Version Of It, October 13, 2015.  

[4] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6162, Expected September 28 NY Meeting

Between P5+1 Foreign Ministers And Iran Could Signify Reopening Of Nuclear

Negotiations To Address Khamenei’s September 3 Threat That If Sanctions Are

Not Lifted, But Merely Suspended, There Will Be No Agreement, September 21,




[5], October 7, 2015.


Quote of the Day:

President Obama and his foreign-policy admirers—a dwindling lot—hoped that the nuclear deal would make Iran more open to cooperation in the Middle East and with the U.S. Mark this down as another case in which the world is disappointing the American President.

–Wall Street Journal editorial headlined “The Mullahs Say Thanks”

The Iran deal seemed to be predicated on the notion that if we made all sorts of concessions to Iran it would become a different kind of regime. It would play nicer with President Obama’s imaginary friend “the international community.”

It hasn’t gotten off to a good start. For starters, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, held captive for more than a year, was just convicted of espionage. Reporters keep referring to the Iranian “justice” system, as if there had been a fair trial open to the public. Sure.

The verdict was announced on Monday.  As the Wall Street Journal notes:

The timing of the conviction won’t escape students of history. Friday was the 444th day of his captivity. That was the number of days U.S. diplomats in Iran spent as hostages following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mr. Rezaian’s conviction three days later is the mullah equivalent of mailing a dead fish to an adversary.

Mr. Rezaian’s brother has said that he thinks our government should let the Iranians know that “there will be consequences.” Strongly worded letter to follow. But even if our government responded (and it won’t), the mullahs aren’t listening.You see, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei just banned further diplomatic negotiations with Washington.

In other news from our Iranian friends, the regime tested on Sunday a guided ballistic missile that code-named Emad (“Pillar”), which the Journal notes is in violation of the nuclear deal. This is also in violation of a recent U.N. Security Council resolution banning any Iranian tests of guided missiles for eight years. It will be difficult for Secretary of State John Kerry’s crack team to glean further information directly, however, because of that Iranian ban on talking to Washington.

If Iran were not a regime bent on nuclear power and destruction and if this were not so dangerous for the world, particularly our mistreated ally (?) Israel, you’d almost have to cheer the mullahs for their gutsiness. But the regime is a totalitarian monstrosity and Israel is in danger of annihilation, which makes it all very unfunny. The Wall Street Journal comments:

The more likely outcome is that the Obama Administration will find a way to explain that the missile test doesn’t violate the nuclear accord that Mr. Obama considers a crowning achievement. Meanwhile, Iran’s government will bank up to $150 billion that it can deploy to back its militia proxies in the Middle East. Add the new Iran-Russia offensive in Syria, and Tehran would appear to have taken the nuclear deal as a signal that it can now do whatever it wants without consequence.

The American recessional continues apace with word that the U.S. is pulling our Patriot missile defense systems from Turkey. This is a nice bookend to one of President Obama’s earliest foreign affairs initiatives, scrapping the missile-defense system for Poland, which would actually be rather nice to have just now as Vladimir Putin is raging through the neighborhood.

Don’t worry, though. President Obama is heading for a climate change conference. Hat tip for this post.

Meanwhile, the IAEA completed it’s first report on an inspection site:


The UN atomic watchdog said Thursday it has completed on schedule gathering information in its probe into Iran’s alleged past efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that, in line with a plan agreed with Iran in July, its chief Yukiya Amano will now provide a “final assessment” on the investigation by December 15.

The IAEA keeps close tabs on Iran’s declared nuclear facilities to ensure that no atomic material is diverted by Iran to any covert weapons programme, an aim denied strenuously by Tehran.

Under a landmark July deal between Iran and six major powers, Iran will dramatically scale down its nuclear activities in order to render any effort to make an atomic bomb virtually impossible.

But the IAEA also wants to probe claims that at least until 2003, Iran conducted research into making nuclear weapons, including with explosives tests at the Parchin military base, something it also denies.

On July 14 — the same day as the wider deal with major powers — Iran and the IAEA agreed a separate “road map” agreement aimed at completing an investigation into these activities by December 15.

The plan included Iran providing the IAEA with information by August 15, which happened on schedule although the IAEA said that there remained “ambiguities” to be resolved.

Thursday’s announcement by the IAEA also helps clear the way for preparations to begin for the implementation of the wider deal between Iran and major powers.

The accord, hailed as a massive diplomatic achievement after over decade of rising tensions, won final approval in Iran on Wednesday as a top panel of jurists and clerics gave it the green light.

Members of the US Congress failed in September to torpedo the deal, with President Barack Obama securing enough support in the Senate to protect the agreement.

In return for downscaling its programme, painful UN and Western sanctions on Iran are due to be lifted. Iranian officials have said this should happen by the end of 2015 or January at the latest.


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