The West Tries To Stop The Pakistan Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Witch-hunt on to limit Pakistan nuclear power: Daily

Islamabad: A witch-hunt has begun to limit Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, a Pakistani daily said Saturday, noting that “India will be the first to benefit from any restrictions the US would like to impose on us”.

An editorial “Nuclear Interference” in The Nation on Saturday said that too much of a flurry has been created about Pakistan having the “fastest growing nuclear arsenal” in the world.

“The information is misleading. Our capabilities may be growing fast, but they are still behind those of India. The information is based on a report released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in August, that is a list of assumptions and predictions-hardly facts.

“No matter, research is research, and the witch-hunt has begun to limit Pakistan’s nuclear power. The Indian media is especially happy with the development, and India will be the first to benefit from any restrictions the US would like to impose on us,” said the daily.

It added that such is the political chatter prior to the arrival of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Washington next week. “They focus on the American concern that Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon – explicitly modelled on weapons that US put in Europe during the Cold War to deter a Soviet invasion – that would be far harder to secure than the country’s arsenal of larger weapons.”

“The discussions are being led by Peter R. Lavoy, an intelligence expert on the Pakistani programme who is now on the staff of the National Security Council,” said the editorial.

The daily went on to say that the “US will turn us into another Iran if they go down this path, another global boogeyman”.

“Pakistan will never bend to such deals, and only suffer economically if any sanctions are enforced. These are the seeds for more resentment, more terror and more extremism.

The US is playing with fire. However, it may not reach the state of sanctions, but we may have limitations put on our sale and buying of technology. China has already broken ground on a $9.6 billion nuclear power complex in Karachi, so the regulation will amount to naught- except the creation of Pakistan into a regional villain.”


If We Can’t Stop Korea, We Won’t Stop Iran (Daniel 7:4)

If we can’t stop an impoverished nation like North Korea making nuclear weapons, our tactics are clearly wrong

September 23, 2015 11.26pm EDT
Tilman Ruff

The timing of North Korea’s announcement last week that it has resumed “normal operation” of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor – along with a reaffirmation of its belligerent rhetoric against the United States – might be interpreted simply as a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s current US state visit.

But that is not to say that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. North Korea also announced that it was preparing the launch of a long-range rocket carrying a new observational satellite. After three failed test launches of its Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, in December 2012 North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit using a variant of this rocket design, which has a range of 5,500km. In doing so it defied a United Nations Security Council resolution barring it from developing or testing ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s activities show how even one of the world’s most impoverished and isolated countries can dramatically raise the nuclear weapons stakes. Using help from the Soviet Union more than half a century ago, a British reactor design available in the public domain and the black market nuclear network established by the developer of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Abdul Qadeer Khan, it has managed to produce both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, build nuclear weapons, spread nuclear reactors and weapons technology to other countries such as Syria, and increase the likelihood of regional and intercontinental nuclear conflict.

The danger of armed conflict between the two Koreas is not helped by the massive annual US-South Korea military exercises focused on the North. There is still no treaty to formalise the end of the Korean war, 62 years after it finished, and that prospect looks as distant as ever. North Korea has the world’s fourth-largest army – 1.1 million in a population of 25 million, the highest proportion of any population under arms.

Judging by the amount of plutonium it has separated from spent reactor fuel, North Korea is estimated to possess fewer than ten nuclear weapons. There is no publicly available evidence that North Korea has miniaturised its nuclear weapons or mounted them on missiles; nor has it demonstrated that it has developed the guidance and re-entry capabilities required for long-range ballistic missiles.

However, this should provide little basis for comfort. Nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons, and regrettably there are few more effective ways for the North Korean regime to demand political attention than to produce, test and threaten to use them.

Even if it lacks a proven capacity to deliver nuclear warheads on long-range missiles, North Korea could deliver a nuclear weapon almost anywhere, for example by using a shipping container or small submarine. North Korea also poses a nuclear threat through its extensive investment in cyber-warfare capacity.

This capacity may have been demonstrated last December, when North Korea is believed to have been behind the hacking of Sony Pictures before the planned release of The Interview, a comedy film about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It might seek to emulate the Israel-US cyberattack that infiltrated specific software on secure, non-internet-connected computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, causing its uranium-enrichment centrifuges to malfunction and be destroyed.

A credible global threat?

Much of this is necessarily speculative, but it is important to draw the right lessons from the security threat that North Korea poses even with less than 0.1% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Australian foreign affairs documents, revealed under Freedom of Information last week, show how the Australian government continues to use North Korea as a principal justification for its own reliance on US nuclear weapons, and to block global efforts to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.
Australia refuses to support the position that nuclear weapons should never be used again under any circumstances. It is not among the 117 nations that have signed the Humanitarian Pledge, committing to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences”, and undertaking “to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Instead, Australia has pushed weak counter-proposals. It continues to call for steps dependent on the nuclear-armed states and which have been stalled for decades, despite admitting “bleak prospects for progress in multilateral arms control in the next few years”. While it claims to support nuclear disarmament, there is little concrete evidence that Australia is willing to relinquish the immoral and inconsistent position of having the threat of US nuclear weapons used on its behalf.
Yet this only perpetuates and escalates the cycle of nuclear threat and proliferation. How can Australia, facing no conceivable military threat other than that posed by its military and nuclear alliance with the US, deny North Korea (or any other country) the same misguided aspiration for nuclear “protection”?

The right lessons to take from North Korea’s nuclear belligerence are that nuclear weapons threaten the security of all nations, even those that possess them, and that nuclear double standards are a recipe for proliferation, not disarmament. Continuing to point nuclear weapons at North Korea while asking them not to point them back obviously won’t work.

For biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, a clear treaty prohibition paved the way for their progressive elimination. Establishing a clear moral, political and legal norm against these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons has drastically reduced their use and influenced even countries not signed up to the relevant treaty. Yet the nuclear-armed states show no intent of fulfilling their legally binding obligation to disarm.

Indeed, all are investing massively in modernising their nuclear arsenals. That is why states without the weapons need to take the lead and start negotiations that are open to all states but blockable by none, for a global treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons and provide for their verifiable elimination from the arsenals of all nations.

Babylon Tried To Deter Pakistan Nuclear Horn (Dan 7:7)



16 Sep 2015

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that he rejected $5 billion offered by then-U.S. president Bill Clinton at the time to prevent Pakistan from conducting nuclear tests.

PM Sharif said the U.S., on numerous times, attempted to persuade him to stop nuclear tests, but he refused the offer for “the honor and interest” of Pakistan, reports Daily Sabah.

Pakistan announced on May 28, 1998, that it had successfully conducted five nuclear tests, right after India carried out a set of similar tests earlier that month. Bill Clinton was the U.S. president at the time.

PM Sharif’s comments come as the U.S. Congress debates a nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers, including the United States. The deal is aimed at preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Critics of the deal say it will fail.

The prime minister pointed out that terrorist acts in his country have dropped. Pakistan remains a nuclear power. It is one of the four nuclear armed countries, along with India, North Korea, and Israel, not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Nevertheless, Pakistan is considered a member in good standing by the the International Atomic Energy Agency. Pakistan operates civil nuclear power plants.

The prime minister is expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly sessions next week.
PM Sharif noted that his country has seen “rapid” economic progress, reports Daily Sabah, adding, that “he announced a relief package of 341 billion rupees for farmers at the Kissan Convention in Islamabad on Tuesday.”

“Highlighting the government’s sincerity with this new agricultural relief, the PM said that the federal cabinet-approved package foresees interest-free loans, simplifying loan and funding procedures, cash assistance and reduced rates in agriculture inputs,” notes the report.

The Cost Of A Failed Iran Deal (Daniel 8:4)


There are alarming consequences to stopping the Iran nuclear deal

STEPHEN COLLINS Aug. 11, 2015, 7:18 PM

The fate of the nuclear deal with Iran appears to be in some jeopardy.

Key democrats in Congress – most notably New York Senator Chuck Schumer – have recently announced that they would vote to reject the agreement.

Passage of the agreement is far from a done deal, with more than two dozen Senate Democrats remaining in the uncertain column.

Opponents regard the deal with disdain, characterizing the accord to curtail Iran’s nuclear program as counterproductive, naïve and reminiscent of England’s appeasement of Nazi Germany.

Critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are right to be skeptical of Iran’s commitment to multilateral accords.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on several occasions – including in 2005, 2008 and 2011 – that Iran had violated important articles of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But even given Iran’s lackluster record, I’d argue that a move by Congress to block the accord would result in a less favorable security outcome for the US and its allies.

The importance of the deal

The benefits of the deal for Iran are substantial.

They include extensive sanctions relief that would allow Iran to resume oil export sales and gain access to frozen assets, estimated at US$55 billion. That would give the regime an enormous incentive to abide by the terms of the accord. In return for sanctions relief, Tehran has agreedto relinquish 98% of its supply of enriched uranium, limit its centrifuge operations and restrict enrichment to 3.67%. These actions would significantly lengthen Iran’s “breakout period,” or the time needed to create a nuclear weapon.

Additionally, the JCPOA also includes a carefully crafted verification protocol that permits intrusive and technically savvy inspections of known and suspected nuclear facilities.

Critics wanted to coerce Iran into complete capitulation so that it would cease all nuclear activities in perpetuity and allow “anywhere, anytime inspections.” Barring that, they advocated starving the regime so that it would be unable to afford nuclear, militant or terrorist activities.

But this sort of result was unfeasible. Short of Iran actually testing a nuclear device, the P5+1 – the US, Germany, China, UK, Russia and France – were never willing to support a marked increase in economic pressure.

What if the deal fails?

A blocked deal would lead to several alarming consequences.

A no-deal Iran would have 33,000 pounds of enriched uranium instead of just 660 pounds. It would be able to produce enough fuel for a nuclear weapon in a few weeks instead of a full year.

If Tehran does aspire to build a nuclear weapon, as critics maintain, the dissolution of the deal would, in fact, facilitate their goal. The regime has publicly stated that it would speed up enrichment if the deal was blocked. Iran would also possess additional paths to a bomb without the deal’s prohibition on Iran reprocessing its plutonium.

What is more, the collapse of the plan would scuttle the enhanced transparency that the international community would have gained about Iran’s nuclear program as a result of inspections.

In the wake of a blocked deal, the solidarity underpinning the present multilateral, UN-backed sanctions program would dissipate. That would leave the US standing alone or with few allies. The historical record shows that without multilateral sanctions, the US lacks leverage to make Iran capitulate.

Additionally, China and Russia are likely to benefit by exploiting American obstinacy as a
n excuse to strike trade deals with Iran. That would bolster China’s economic and Russian’s strategic positions.

But the most dangerous diplomatic setback would be the effect a botched deal could have onAmerica’s transatlantic alliances. America’s allies strongly back the deal. Blocking the JCPOA would quite likely result in a deep rift between the United States and its NATO allies, crippling support for future collaboration.

And then there is the question of how the sinking of the pact would complicate nonproliferation objectives far beyond the Middle East. America’s perceived unwillingness to negotiate on nuclear diplomacy would further marginalize any pro-diplomacy voices inside North Korea, arguably the more significant nuclear threat. Blocking the accord would ossify Pyongyang’s distrust of the US and give greater momentum to North Korea’s nuclear buildup.

Minding valid concerns

Critics of the deal emphasize the danger presented by the windfall of unfrozen money Tehran will acquire. They predict that money will flow to Iran’s military and its investment in militant foreign activities, including sponsorship of terrorist organizations.

They’re not wrong – funding will probably flow in this direction. Still, the danger presented by this for the US and its regional allies is far less than the threat posed by the robust nuclear program that will likely emerge in the deal’s absence.

Moreover, the amount of funds freed up by the end of sanctions that will be devoted to military ends is probably much less than critics suggest.

Iran has pressing economic matters it must deal with immediately. The regime will have to invest between $100 billion and $200 billion in its oil and gas industries simply to reestablish past production levels. To satisfy the rising expectations of the public regarding the economic bounty it expects to materialize after the deal, the government will also have to invest in the domestic economy.

If the bulk of the unfrozen money does indeed flow to the military, the US and its allies might even benefit from a better financed Iranian military, which could use the new funds to step up its military operations against the Islamic State.

Still, simply signing a deal with Iran does not automatically make this episode of diplomacy a success. The devil is indeed in the details – implementation and verification.

The international community must prove its resolve to Iran. Iran must be shown that it will be held accountable and that automatic “snapback” provisions of the deal will be reimposed in response to a significant and unresolved violation.

The deal indeed fails to achieve all that the US could have hoped for. Still, the accord offers a credible path to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, and therefore it would be far too risky to turn it down.

Antichrist Lectures Saudi Arabia (Dan 7)


Iraqi Cleric Calls on Riyadh to Stop Bloodbath in Yemen
June 03, 2015 – 12:11

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has urged for an end to the Saudi-led aggression and the massacre of Yemeni people.

Saudi Arabia should “learn a lesson”, especially after the recent unrest in some parts of the kingdom, and “stop the bloodbath in Yemen”, Sadr said in a speech.

Earlier, he had slammed the Riyadh regime for launching a war in which hundreds of Yemenis have been killed just because of opposing fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Since March 26, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been conducting deadly air strikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

According to Yemen’s Freedom House Foundation, the Saudi airstrikes have claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Yemeni people so far while more than 7,000 others have been wounded, most of them civilians.

On May 27, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement that innocent Yemeni people are paying the “highest price” in the deadly Saudi aggression against Yemen.

Saudi Arabia Guaranteed Nukes (Daniel 7:7)

Saudi Arabian forces

Saudi Arabia Will Not Stop Building or Acquiring Nukes

CNN News asked the Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nulear weapons, he said that the subject is not for them to discuss publicly. “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on,” he added.
The discretion of the ambassador in ruling out a military nuclear programme may rekindle the concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia maintain close relations and sometimes said to have a special relationship. At present, the two countries have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.
The Saudi Arabian administration already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles as well in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force. In addition to this, it has a civilian nuclear programme of the kind that Iran says it wants to obtain.
A senior Saudi told the Times newspaper in 2012 that it would be completely politically unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom.
\A deal with Iran on its nuclear programme is possible, according to the US and other Western allies. However, Iran denies that it is building nuclear weapons.
At present, Saudi’s military operation against the moving Shia Houthi group in Yemen has been joined by Egyptian, Jordanian, as well as Moroccan forces.

Read more:

Too Late To Stop The Inevitable (Revelation 15:2)

As the Iranian Islamic Republic marks its thirty sixth anniversary, the US administration makes ever more clear its will to reach a nuclear deal with Iran at any cost.According to the Washington Post editorial board, in spite of the fact it habitually defends the talks and shuts down objections to them, the latest proposal from US negotiators “raises major concerns” about the probable consequences of inking an agreement along those lines.The apparent change of heart comes in response to reports indicating that the US is on the verge of allowing Iran to keep all or nearly all of its currently operational uranium enrichment centrifuges. The goalposts for an agreement have already been moved at least once. The Obama administration started the negotiating process a year ago with the demand that Iran reduce its stockpile of centrifuges to about 2000, but later more than doubled that figure to 4,500.
 Tehran has shown none of that sort of flexibility. Its proposal today is the same as it was at the beginning: Iran will give up none of its centrifuges over the short term, and will reserve the right to dramatically increase its enrichment capability within a few years after the signing of a final agreement.
We have a serious problem on our hands if this is as far as we can get with Tehran. And the problem is all the more serious if the US proves willing to let it go at that, essentially betraying the entire premise behind bringing Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.
Why would we do that? Well, many of Obama’s critics on this issue, including a surprising number of democratic congressmen, worry that it is because the president has mistakenly conceptualized Iran as an island of stability in the sea of volatility that is the Middle East. Indeed, a previous upsurge in criticism of the president came late last year when it was revealed that he had written at least three personal letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisting that Iran and the US have common interests and suggesting that the two should partner together in order to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The only way this could be justifiable is if Iran’s stability was not so interwoven with its government’s repressive strength, as wielded both at home and abroad. As it is, this is not like a partnership with another stable democracy, or even with the US’s established allies in the region. Instead, it reflects a policy that says, according to Michael Doran in an editorial in Mosaic Magazine, “To rid the world of rogues and tyrants, one must embrace and soften them.”
This is a fallacy that history proved repeatedly wrong! The embrace of tyranny, theocracy and extremism is fundamentally counter to our values. And not only is it cynically unprincipled; it is painfully impractical. Just consider what our embrace of Iran’s dictatorial leadership has gotten us:
The situation in Iraq and Syria has gotten worse, not better. Iran’s constant presence on the regional battlefields has made local forces subservient to a loose collective of Shiite militias. These may now be fighting ISIL, but they are doing so using the same terror technics as this organisation, turning the entire Middle East into a breeding ground for sectarianism, which encourages recruitment of militants on both sides of the divide.
And that promotion of sectarianism hasn’t been confined to Iraq and Syria by any stretch of the imagination. Just days ago, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen dissolved the countries parliament, delivering what is presumably the penultimate blow to a stable, pro-Western government in the region, which US forces had been using as a base of operations in an ongoing fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, widely considered to be the most dangerous Al Qaeda offshoot.
In series of events that serve almost as a metaphor for what has been going on elsewhere in the region, the ascendance of the Houthi as a competitor to AQAP has actually led to an increase in local terrorist attacks and reprisals by both groups. Meanwhile, missiles and gunfire have been newly exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah, stemming from Iran/Hezbollah joint efforts to take up positions in the Golan Heights, on Israel’s border.

The Washington Post editorial board acknowledged last week that among other “major concerns” about the Obama administration’s approach to nuclear negotiations, critics have called attention to its apparent unwillingness to confront Iran about any of its aggressive expansions into surrounding territories.

It seems clear that, far from contributing to stability in the Middle East, the administration’s soft approach to Iran threatens to spread instability. Perhaps worse still, this policy has helped to reinforce Tehran’s tenuous hold on power, giving it legitimacy and financial rewards in spite of its non-compromise on the nuclear issue, despite the weakening influence of economic sanctions, despite the disaffection of the Iranian people, and despite the organized, international opposition to the regime.

In light of the rising tide of criticism, I remain hopeful that President Obama and his advisors may yet come to understand that the “island of stability” is a myth and that any attempt to ground ourselves with Iran will only result in us drowning in an increasingly turbulent Middle East.

If the president cannot be convinced of this, it will fall to the US Congress to push back against conciliatory gestures legitimizing tyranny. Senate Democrats already gave the president a wide berth when they agreed to delay voting on a new Iran sanctions bill until after the deadline for a framework nuclear agreement in March. I would urge them not to stand down for any longer than that, and to keep up alternative forms of pressure in the meantime, so as not to allow Tehran to make the world a still more dangerous place.

Brussels, 2015-02-11

Israel Is Way Too Late, The Deal Is Done (Daniel 8)

Israel “will do everything to thwart” Iran nuclear deal

Last Updated Feb 8, 2015 8:45 AM EST

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will do everything it can to prevent world powers from reaching a “bad and dangerous deal” with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
He told a weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday that with the United States and Iran aiming for a framework agreement next month, “we will do everything to thwart a bad and dangerous deal that will cast a dark cloud on the future of the state of Israel and its security.”

The Israeli leader has repeatedly said Iran is acting in bad faith in the negotiations.

The United States, the other members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany hope to clinch a deal setting long-term limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment.

Netanyahu’s comments come amid an uproar over his planned speech about Iran before the U.S. Congress next month. The visit was arranged behind the White House’s back. U.S. Congressional leaders have also threatened to levy new sanctions against Iran before negotiations have concluded, something the White House and world leaders have railed against.

With an approaching deadline on reaching a nuclear deal with Tehran, Iranian officials on Sunday signaled a willingness to come to an agreement, with Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif telling a gathering of the world’s top diplomats and defense officials that “this is the opportunity.”

Additionally, Iran’s paramount leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday he and the Iranian people “firmly” backed a nuclear compromise with the West, his strongest signal to date that he is behind Tehran’s negotiations with six major powers, according to Reuters.

“I am for the continuation of the talks and reaching a good agreement. Definitely, the Iranian nation will not oppose any accord that upholds its dignity and respect,” Khamenei said in an official statement IRNA news agency.

But Khamenei added that any agreement must be “in one stage”, incorporate all details and allow no “loopholes” that could be used to extract further concessions from Tehran.

The United States and its five negotiating partners, the other members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, hope to clinch a deal setting long-term limits on Tehran’s enrichment of uranium and other activity that could produce material for use in nuclear weapons.

Both sides are under increasing pressure ahead of two deadlines: to agree on main points by late March, and to reach a comprehensive deal by June 30.

Zarif said that now was the window of opportunity to come up with a final deal. He met individually at the Munich security conference with each country involved, except France which was scheduled later Sunday.

“This is the opportunity to do it, and we need to seize this opportunity,” he said. “It may not be repeated.”

Following a 90-minute morning meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, their second meeting on the sidelines of the conference, Zarif said he felt that progress had been made in the past months and suggested it would be unproductive to further extend negotiations.

“I do not believe another extension is in the interest of anybody,” he said. “We’re reaching the point where it is quite possible to make an agreement … and I do not believe anything will be different a year down the road.”

The U.S. State Department characterized Sunday’s discussion between Zarif and Kerry as “constructive.” In their meeting on Friday, Kerry pressed Zarif on the Obama administration’s desire to meet an end of March target date for the outline of a nuclear agreement.

Iran says its program is solely for energy production and medical research purposes. It has agreed to some restrictions in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from U.S. economic sanctions.

From Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all major decisions,
said in a statement on his website Sunday that Iran agrees with Washington that no agreement is better than an agreement that doesn’t meet its interests.

Zarif suggested if it took slightly longer to come to an agreement than the set deadlines, it would not “be the end of the world.”

Zarif said all sanctions against his country should be lifted, saying that if they had been intended to stop its nuclear ambitions they had failed. He said when sanctions had been imposed, Iran had 200 centrifuges, and “now we have 20,000.”

“Sanctions are a liability, you need to get rid of them if you want a solution,” he said.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

China & Russia, Two Of The Largest Economies Are Helping Iran (Daniel 7)

The Iran nuclear talks will not pivot on whether the Iranian economy is brought to its knees

The Obama administration official in charge of sanctions on Iran, Russia, and ISIL, is leaving the US Treasury Department for the No. 2 job at the Central Intelligence Agency. And in an exit interview with the Wall Street Journal, David Cohen suggests his change in roles indicates the elevated importance that sanctions now hold in US foreign policy and national security issues.
Indeed Cohen, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence since June 2011, essentially affirmed that that the main gripe of Iranian leader Ali Khamenei is valid—the US, through economic sanctions, is trying to force Tehran to its knees. But in asserting that economic stress will ultimately force Khamenei into finally striking a nuclear deal with the West, he misses what may be the core issue in the talks.
No one disputes that the sanctions, combined with low oil prices, have markedly impacted Iran’s financial situation. But the question of whether a deal is struck by the March 24 interim deadline (or the June 30 final deadline) may not ride on such bread-and-butter issues.
Instead, one question may be whether Khamenei is interested more in his people’s living standards, or that of the Revolutionary Guard. Depending on your source, the Guards control between 10% and half the Iranian economy, and thus profit from the current state of affairs. A struggle between the Guards and Iranians who want a nuclear deal is playing out in public.
Another question is whether Khamenei—and the US Congress for that matter—is prepared to stand down from a quarter-century of politics centered on US-Iranian antagonism.
It’s not surprising that Cohen would tout the sanctions on his way over to Langley. But we won’t know until later this year whether he is right.

Flame Stopped Iran, Cheney Stopped Flame (Revelation 13:6)

Former CIA covert officer Valerie Plame Wilson coming to Montgomery on Tuesday

 By Amber Sutton |
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on January 23, 2015 at 11:54 AM, updated January 23, 2015 

Former CIA officer Valerie Plame, right, and her husband former ambassador Joseph Wilson (AP)