Iran Deal: Thomas Pickering Got Big Bucks

Thomas Pickering is PRO IRAN, let that sink in…

Ex-Clinton official got Boeing bucks while pushing Iran nuke pact – before $25B jet deal

FNC: A former top Clinton administration diplomat who used his political sway to garner support for the Iran nuclear deal apparently was being bankrolled the entire time by Boeing — which is set to make billions off a jet deal with Tehran now that sanctions have been lifted.


Thomas Pickering, who also served as co-chairman of the board examining the Benghazi attack response, publicly pushed for the nuclear deal before its approval last year. He did so by penning op-eds, writing to high-level officials and even testifying before Congress.

With the deal in place, Boeing has since moved forward on a $25 billion deal with Iran Air made possible by the nuclear agreement.

While Pickering never denied being on Boeing’s payroll during the talks, he didn’t regularly disclose it either, according to a new report in The Daily Beast. And that’s the problem, transparency advocates say.

“In Pickering’s case, he has a direct connection to Boeing, which I think should be disclosed,” Neil Gordon, an investigator for the Project on Government Oversight, told The Daily Beast. “I think it’s necessary for the public debate. It’s necessary for the public to fully realize the participants’ financial interests. Some of them might have a direct financial stake in a particular outcome.”

Pickering was a former top State Department official in the Bill Clinton administration, and before that ambassador to Russia. He also served as ambassador to the United Nations, Israel and elsewhere in prior administrations.

When Pickering testified before the House Armed Services Committee on June 16, 2014, the biography provided to committee members touted his military and government services but did not list his business ties.

Pickering also sent a July 7, 2015 letter to lawmakers urging them to back the nuclear deal but reportedly did not make his association with Boeing known. The letter was cited by the media, lawmakers and the White House in the push to sell the nuclear deal to the public.

In op-eds for The Washington Post and Tablet, he also made the case for the deal but again did not disclose his ties.

He confirmed to The Daily Beast that he was a Boeing employee from 2001 to 2006 (which was more widely known) and later worked as a “direct consultant” from 2006 to 2015.

Earlier this month, Boeing reached a tentative agreement to sell passenger planes to Iran’s state-run carrier, Iran Air. The deal is the first major business venture after sanctions were eased against Tehran last year and is seen by many as a groundbreaking test for other American companies looking to profit from Iran’s untapped economy.

The deal is still in its early stage and will likely face scrutiny from U.S. trade regulators and lawmakers.

“It’s tragic to watch such an iconic American company make such a terribly short-sighted decision,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., told in a statement. “If Boeing goes through with this deal, the company will forever be associated with Iran’s chief export: radical Islamic terrorism. The U.S. Congress will have much to say about this agreement in the coming days.”

Roskam and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, sent a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg last week raising concerns about Tehran’s history of using commercial planes to support “hostile actors.”

“We strongly oppose the potential sale of military-fungible products to terrorism’s central supplier. American companies should not be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian Regime,” the lawmakers wrote.

Boeing wrote back saying it would follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards to working with Iran Air and that “any and all contracts with them will be contingent upon continued approval.”

“And as we have stated repeatedly, should the U.S. Government reinstate sanctions against the sale of commercial passenger airplanes to Iranian airlines, we will cease all sales and delivery activities as required by U.S. law,” Tim Keating, Boeing senior vice president, wrote.

Five years ago, the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Iran Air, claiming the company used passenger and cargo planes to transport rockets and missiles to places such as Syria, sometimes disguised as medicine or spare parts. In other cases, members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps took control of flights carrying sensitive cargo.

Although U.S. officials never said such conduct ended, the administration used a technicality to drop those sanctions as part of last year’s seven-nation nuclear deal. The agreement also allowed the Treasury Department to license American firms to do business in Iran’s civilian aviation sector. The changes enable Boeing to sell up to 100 aircraft to Iran Air, by far the most lucrative business transaction between the U.S. and Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the sale and any possible future deals depend on Iran’s good behavior.

The U.S. could revoke the license for the deal if planes, parts or services are “used for purposes other than exclusively civil aviation end-use” or if aircraft are transferred to individuals or companies on a U.S. terrorism blacklist, Kirby said.

Any suggestion “that we would or will turn a blind eye to Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism or their terrorist-supporting activities is completely without merit,” Kirby said.

The details of the arrangement between Boeing and Iran Air aren’t entirely clear. Iran’s Transportation Minister Abbas Akhoundi said it could match the $25 billion package between the Islamic Republic and Boeing’s European rival, Airbus. Iran Air has stated its interest in purchasing new Boeing 737s — single aisle jets that typically fly up to five hours. It also wants 777s — larger planes that can carry passengers for 12 hours or more.

But if Iran Air continues supporting Iranian military or Revolutionary Guard operations, it would put the Obama administration or any successor in a bind.

Revoking the license and suspending future plane transfers risks angering the Iranians, who’ve already complained about not receiving sufficient benefit for their nuclear concessions. It also could mean billions in lost revenue for a large American company with more than 130,000 employees in the United States.

**** Hold on, it gets worse, much worse.

Lawmakers Seek to Re-Open ‘Flawed’ Iran Nuclear Weapons Investigation

Revelations Obama admin knew of possible weapons work, stayed silent

FreeBeacon: U.S. lawmakers and foreign policy insiders are calling on the international community to re-open its “flawed” investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons research, according to conversations with multiple sources who say the extent of Iran’s past nuclear work is likely much larger than previously believed.

The calls to reinvestigate Iran’s nuclear work come on the heels of revelations by anonymous U.S. officials who said the Obama administration held onto evidence showing the Islamic Republic performed extensive nuclear weapons research—a finding that contradicts findings by international monitors and longstanding claims by Iranian officials.

Administration officials made no mention of the finding when International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors first discovered it in December, but now say the evidence is proof Iran worked to build nuclear weapons as recently as 2003.

The discovery has prompted lawmakers to demand that the IAEA re-open its currently closed investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons work.

“The Obama administration’s contradiction of both Iran and the IAEA on this uranium issue calls for a re-examination of the flawed potential military dimensions report,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kansas), a member of the House’s intelligence committee, told the Washington Free Beacon. “The IAEA cannot claim to have an accurate accounting of the situation while nuclear particles are unaccounted for.”

U.S. officials promised Congress during negotiations with Iran that no deal would be implemented until the issue of Iran’s past nuclear weapons work was settled.

“Even Obama administration officials disagree with the report’s conclusions, now six months later,” Pompeo said. “It is common sense that when you uncover a problem, you investigate until you find a solution. Now all agree we have a new fact—and a problem. Failing to investigate what happened with Iran’s nuclear weapons program sets a dangerous precedent.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), another vocal critic of the administration’s diplomacy with Iran, told the Free Beacon that international inspectors with the IAEA were not thorough enough in their investigations due to “political pressure” from pro-Iran forces.

“It’s deeply troubling that the world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, appears to have lost its independence due to the Iran nuclear deal,” Kirk said. “Nuclear inspectors should have intensified their investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons program after uranium particles were found at Iran’s military base at Parchin, but instead they stood down due to political pressure.”

Senior congressional officials apprised of the situation told the Free Beacon that the administration ignored these new nuclear findings at a critical point in its diplomacy with Iran.

“The IAEA’s PMD [Possible Military Dimensions] report came out in December, and Obama administration officials are only just now speaking—anonymously—on why they disagree with the report and why these nuclear materials are a huge problem,” the source said. “They cannot so easily assuage their consciences and undo the damage they caused by closing the PMD case. The Obama administration’s decision to ignore Iran’s covert nuclear weapons development, and attempt to sweep it under the rug, will no doubt haunt us for decades.”

Pompeo and other House lawmakers introduced a bill in January that would require the Obama administration to provide a full accounting of Iran’s past nuclear weapons work before any sanctions on the Islamic Republic were lifted.

Another source who works closely with Congress on the Iran issue told the Free Beacon that the new nuclear disclosures cast doubt on past international reports claiming that Iran has stopped all nuclear work.

“It’s time to reopen the so-called PMD file, to figure out what weapons work Iran was doing,” the source said. “The IAEA is supposed to make sure that Iran has stopped all of the nuclear weapons work it was doing, but here is a place where there is broad confusion over what nuclear weapons work was happening. So there’s no way for the IAEA to confirm it stopped. The first step to fixing that is to have the IAEA go back into Parchin and figure out exactly what was happening.”

One last item:

UANI Sparks Debate in India on Risks and Propriety of Doing Business in Iran

UANI Leadership Pens Op-ed and Conducts Interview in Indian Media

New York, NYUnited Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), the non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to heightening awareness of the danger the Iranian regime poses to the world, has sparked a national debate in India on the risks and propriety of doing business in Iran. UANI is in the midst of a global education and awareness campaign focused on the corporate risks of doing business with Iran.

In a June 19 op-ed in The New Indian Express, UANI Chairman Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman warned that doing business with “Iran can create more problems for India than it can solve“:

In Iran, business is routinely intertwined with terrorism. Therefore, if Indian companies sign deals with Tehran, they will be lending support to its belligerent behaviour… Pursuing business in Iran can also lead to losing out on more lucrative opportunities in countries that oppose its hegemonic policies. For instance, India has the choice to invest in the US, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, other GCC countries, and allied countries with a combined GDP of over $32 trillion, or take a gamble on Iran’s economy with a GDP of under $400 billion. There is a real risk that Indian companies investing in Iran will lose market share in some of these other countries. So, while Iran could help alleviate India’s energy problems, there are better ways to solve those. Doing business with the regime can create even more problems for New Delhi-economically, diplomatically, and in terms of security.

In a June 10 interview in India’s Hard News, UANI CEO Amb. Mark D. Wallace said:

UANI is aware of the economic and political links between Iran and India. UANI is also aware of similar ties between India, the US and numerous other countries in the region that feel threatened by Iranian aggression. I doubt it is in India’s national interest to side with a state associated with terrorism, corruption and money laundering over a confederation of responsible state actors opposed to Iranian regional hegemony. Moreover, if India wants to oppose corruption and terrorism, it cannot at the same time embolden and reward a regime that is notoriously corrupt and also the world leading state sponsor of terrorism. Indian leaders should back up their rhetoric with action and use its ties and link to Iran to influence the regime to change its terrorist behaviour and corrupt business environment instead of prematurely rewarding Iran with Indian business.

A statement by Sen. Lieberman and Amb. Wallace regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran on May 22-23 was featured widely in Indian media, including the Business Standard, India Today, DNA India, CNN-News18, and the Deccan Chronicle. UANI reminded Prime Minister Modi of his previous strong statements about fighting terrorism and corruption.

The Business Standard responded to the statement with an editorial addressing the “unsolicited advice” from the “maverick former Senator” Joe Lieberman.

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Denise Simon