Yesterday, President Trump’s Administration gave its first assessment of Iran’s compliance with Obama’s Iran Nuclear Weapons deal. It was a sober, honest assessment – as far as it went – and no doubt pleased the CFR crowd immensely.
You can see Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks on Iran through this link and they are worth watching for both what is said and what is left unsaid.
Tillerson said at a brief press conference that the Iran deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” and only delays it becoming a nuclear state.
As Fox News noted, he faulted the agreement for “buying off” a foreign power with nuclear ambitions, saying: “We just don’t see that that’s a prudent way to be dealing with Iran.”
The statement comes after he said in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement to evaluate whether continued sanctions relief is in the best interest of the U.S.
In the same notification, the administration said Iran is complying with the landmark nuclear deal negotiated by former President Obama, and the U.S. has extended sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for curbs on its atomic program.
Tillerson also likened Iran's behavior to that of North Korea. He said an unchecked Iran could pursue the same path as Pyongyang "and take the world along with it."
That was all to the good – although it was hardly the hardline approach toward Iran promised by candidate Donald Trump – it did on the surface demonstrate that the Trump administration was prepared to end Obama’s dangerous appeasement of Iran.
However, two problems remain that cause us to question whether President Trump and Secretary Tillerson will actually achieve the stated goal of an honest assessment of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and the establishment of a new policy toward the rogue Islamist state.
The first problem is that the National Security Council and State Department are still deeply compromised by their continued reliance upon Iranian Islamist sympathizers brought in by Obama.
On the State Department Policy Planning staff in Rex Tillerson’s Department of State is Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council and a trusted Obama aide who once worked for the Iranian regime lobbying group, the National Iranian-American Council.
Nowrouzzadeh is now one of the individuals in charge of Iran policy planning at the State Department and oversees Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at a State Department presumably charged with dismantling the disastrous Obama policies she helped formulate on behalf of the mullahs.
The second problem is the secret side deals Obama made with Iran, and President Trump’s campaign promise to reveal them to the American people.
Back in July of 2016, Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6), a leading critic of the deal who has spearheaded efforts to block U.S. institutions from engaging with Iran, told Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon that the Obama administration had "not told lawmakers" about its secret negotiations with Iran.
"Of course the administration has not told lawmakers this and of course it's sadly predicable," Roskam told the Free Beacon from the sidelines of the GOP convention in Cleveland. "There's no celebration in the fact that the administration has gotten this [deal] wrong at conceivably every level. It is severe news and it has to be dealt with."
Revelations about fatal flaws in the nuclear deal invalidate the entire agreement, Roskam said.
"I don't think there's a way to have the nuclear deal actually limit Iran," Roskam said. "I think it's a false premise. I don't think that the architecture is there for that." Roskam alos told Adam Kredo, "Now, the [Obama] administration has put itself in a position where snap back [of sanctions] is a prelude to war. And think about the high level of tolerance they have for deception by the Iranians. There's nearly nothing the Iranians can do that the [Obama] administration will describe as a violation."
One senior congressional source who worked on the issue told the Free Beacon that the documents referred to by Roskam are a smoking gun showing that the administration lied to lawmakers.
"This is a big f**king deal," said the source, who requested anonymity in order to speak frankly about the issue. "Members of Congress have been screaming from the rooftops about side deals since the deal was announced and the White House acted like they were crazy. Now we have a physical document proving President Obama lied to Congress and the American people. There will be hell to pay."
Except there hasn’t been hell to pay, unless one considers the election of President Trump “hell to pay” for former President Obama.
If President Trump and Secretary Tillerson plan a real, honest assessment of Iran policy they should also tell the American people what is in Obama’s secret side deals with Iran.
If they don’t expose the truth about Obama’s secret side deals with Iran, Americans will remain in the dark about not only about what commitments to Iran Obama bound us to, but whether President Trump and Secretary Tillerson have been honest when they said Iran is complying with the deal and that there would be a break with Obama’s dangerous policy of appeasing the Islamist terrorist state.