Israel United Against Iran Deal, So Should Those Who Claim to Be Its Friends: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, July 23, 2015— This morning during a Senate hearing on the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to pour cold water on the notion that friends of Israel are obligated to oppose the pact.
The Iran Agreement in International Law and U.S. Law: Contradictions: Prof. Louis René Beres, Arutz Sheva, July 23, 2015 — From the particular standpoints of national and international law, there are notably major contradictions within the new Iran agreement that have yet to be recognized.
Iran Inspections in 24 Days? Not Even Close: Hillel Fradkin & Lewis Libby, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2015 — The Obama administration assures Americans that the Iran deal grants access within 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites.
What US Leaders Have Never Understood About Iran: Amir Taheri, New York Post, July 19, 2015 — “American rulers have always dreamed of forcing us to change our behavior, and failed,” Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, said Saturday. “Five US administrations took that dream to their graves. The present one shall have the same fate.”
Allen West Rips Obama Over Iran Deal Along With 10,000 Protesters: Trey Sanchez, Truth Revolt, July 23, 2015
House Republican: Obama Administration Won’t Release Full Iran Deal to Congress: Joel Gehrke, National Review, July 21, 2015
Congress Must Hold Obama Accountable for His Deception Over Iran: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, July 25, 2015
Implications for Israel in a Transformed Middle East: Efraim Inbar, Rubin Center, July 19, 2015
Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary, July 23, 2015
This morning during a Senate hearing on the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to pour cold water on the notion that friends of Israel are obligated to oppose the pact. Citing a Washington Post op-ed titled “How the Iran deal is good for Israel, according to Israelis who know what they’re talking about,” Kerry treated the piece that cites the opinions of a few retired officials that agree with him as proof that his claim that the result of his two years of negotiating with Iran would benefit the Jewish state as well as the United States. A similar piece in the Forward by J.J. Goldberg quotes some of the same figures.
Taken together, they seem to make a strong case that the pro-Israel community ought to either sit out the Iran deal fight in Congress or even support the agreement. But the two articles leave out a couple of important facts about Israeli opinion about the Iran deal. One is that most of those quoted are either disgruntled former officials who hold a grudge against Prime Minister Netanyahu for not keeping them in office, or ideological opponents of the man who has won three consecutive elections. The other is that while Netanyahu’s political foes in the Knesset are as sharply critical of the prime minister as the Obama administration, they have joined him in forming a united front against the Iran deal as a deadly threat to the country’s future. That’s a point that any American that claims to be a friend of Israel needs to consider before they consider backing the administration’s push for détente with the Islamist regime.
As Jeffrey Goldberg, who has been the administration’s unofficial mouthpiece on Israel issues and their dutiful amanuensis when it comes to smears of Netanyahu, noted in The Atlantic last week, the man that Washington desperately wanted to win the Knesset election in March has turned on Obama. Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog was the darling of the White House earlier this year as the administration moved heaven and Earth in a failed attempt to influence the Israeli electorate to reject Netanyahu’s bid for a third straight term as prime minister. As Goldberg wrote, Herzog’s line on the Iran negotiations last winter was that he trusted Obama to get a “good deal” with Tehran. But rather than continuing his effort to cozy up to the administration, Herzog now completely agrees with Netanyahu’s evaluation of the deal. As Goldberg wrote:
In a telephone call with me late last night, Herzog’s message was very different. The deal just finalized in Vienna, he said, “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”
Iran, he said, is an “empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region,” adding that, under the terms of the deal, Iran “will become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Iran will take its post-sanctions windfall, he said, and use the funds to supply more rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, more ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.”
The other major figure in the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, the leader of the Yesh Atid Party has also chimed in with harsh criticism of the agreement with Iran. In fact, the administration has achieved something that is generally considered impossible: uniting the Zionist parties of the Knesset from right to left. Netanyahu, Lapid, and Herzog and the leaders of the other parties normally can’t agree on anything. But Obama and Kerry have brought them together to denounce a deal that all know makes their region more dangerous while also presenting an existential threat to Israel’s future.
As I noted earlier this week, there is nothing in the deal that will prevent Iran from using the vast windfall it gets from sanctions relief to help fund its terrorist auxiliaries and allies that face off against Israel. Both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza can expect to get a share of the flood of cash that President Obama is allowing Tehran. Kerry’s claims that such transfers won’t be allowed are absurd since even National Security Director Rice conceded, it will be their money.
Nor is anyone of stature in Israel’s political establishment on either side of the left-right divide buying the idea that the loose restrictions that will soon expire can do anything to stop an Iranian bomb. Like American critics of the Iran deal, they consider the administration’s arguments that there are no alternatives to their appeasement policy short of war to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Having discarded all the enormous political and economic leverage it held over Iran in 2013, it is disingenuous, if not completely dishonest of Obama and Kerry to say that theirs is the best option. Having effectively spiked a the chances that tougher sanctions would bring Iran to its knees when they began bowing to Iranian dictates in the talks, their current claim that opponents are warmongers has no credibility.
Some Israelis, Lapid in particular, do criticize Netanyahu for his strident opposition to Obama’s Iran strategy over the last two years. Seeking to make political hay out of this catastrophe for Israel, they argue that if Netanyahu had been nicer to Obama or at least not criticized him publicly, the U.S. might not have signed such a horrible deal. This is nonsense. Netanyahu may have made some tactical mistakes in the last few months, in particular his decision to address Congress in March. He gave a great speech but it did nothing to stop Obama and even served the administration’s interests by diverting attention away from their policies and allowing Democrats to rally ’round their “insulted” president. But President Obama has been determined to create a new détente with the Islamist regime since the day he entered office. In doing so, he has discarded every other U.S. interest in the talks including the need to stop Iranian support for terrorism, its anti-Semitism, its determination to destroy Israel, its quest for regional hegemony and its ballistic missile program, in order to get a deal at any price. Netanyahu had no chance to alter Obama’s course.
But Israel’s rare political unity on the issue should influence Americans who care about the Jewish state. If Netanyahu, Herzog and Lapid all agree that the deal is terrible, no member of the Congress or the Senate who wishes to present themselves as friends of Israel should be allowed to get away with claiming that he knows better than these leaders, no matter how many disgruntled retired Israeli spooks can be assembled to contradict them.
Efforts by the administration’s left-wing allies to undermine the unity of the pro-Israel community should be dismissed out of hand. The deal is a clear and present danger to Israel’s future and should be treated as a litmus test of backing for Israel as well as reliability on U.S. security. All members of the House and Senate — especially those, like Senator Chuck Schumer that have staked their reputations as being guardians of Israel’s security — should be put on notice that they must choose between loyalty to Obama and what is right.
Prof. Louis René Beres
Arutz Sheva, July 23, 2015
From the particular standpoints of national and international law, there are notably major contradictions within the new Iran agreement that have yet to be recognized. Of these, the most egregious example has to do with core provisions of the agreement that allow Iran to enrich uranium – or effectively "go nuclear" – after 15 years. These provisions, prima facie, are in stark violation of the 1968 Non Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, notably those treaty portions that already obligate Iran, and all other non-nuclear member states, to remain non-nuclear for the Treaty's "indefinite duration." Correspondingly, it also follows, according to Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, or the "Supremacy Clause," that U.S. entry into the new Iran agreement expressly violates American law, specifically, the "supreme law of the land." This country, of course, is a nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT.
A second relevant legal contradiction concerns the Obama administration's declared unwillingness to base its negotiations with Iran upon a prior or contingent expectation that the country's leadership renounce its genocidal statements about Israel. This contradiction, too, represents a flagrant U.S. violation of both international and national law, in this case, because the 1948 Genocide Convention criminalizes not only genocide per se, but also "Conspiracy to commit genocide," and "Direct and public incitement to commit genocide."
It is certain that the U.S. failed to consider a number of utterly fundamental principles of law in forging its recent Iran nuclear agreement. Does the United States have any specific "contractual" obligation to enforce such criminalization in its separate nuclear dealings with Iran? Although the precise language of the Genocide Convention does not explicitly require such enforcement, all treaties are premised upon the "peremptory" doctrine of pacta sunt servanda (Latin for "agreements must be honored"). Moreover, a U.S. obligation here is clearly deducible from Article V of the Convention, which calls for international cooperation in providing "effective penalties" for those who have engaged in "incitement to commit genocide," and from Article VIII, which urges "any contracting party" to bring unlawful behavior before "competent organs of the United Nations."
Again, there exists a binding intersection of U.S. Constitutional law, and international law. Because of the Supremacy Clause, and also assorted Supreme Court decisions, especially the Paquete Habana (1900), this country's conspicuous failure to properly enforce anti-genocide norms in its recent nuclear agreement with Iran constitutes a violation of U.S. domestic law. On purely moral grounds, of course, this failure is similarly serious.
A third problem with the new agreement is less a matter of evident jurisprudential contradictions, than it is one of "naive legalism," of automatically assuming that realistic compliance is simply built into the codifying language. Here, legal philosophy has pride of place, and it is fully appropriate to recall the cautionary words of seventeenth-century English thinker, Thomas Hobbes, a figure whose Leviathan was well-known to Thomas Jefferson, and thereby important to drafting the Declaration of Independence: "And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all."
To be sure, the new "Covenant" with Iran is "but Words," and can never expectedly override Tehran's irremediable preference for creating military nuclear options. Over time, Iran's cadre of international lawyers will plausibly embark, more-or-less openly, on a calculated strategy of unilateral "treaty" termination. Further to the governing "treaty on treaties," the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), these Iranian lawyers will settle upon a useful number of "permissible exceptions" to pacta sunt servanda. These allegedly lawful exceptions will likely include the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus ("so long as conditions remain the same"), a principle stating that the obligations of the nuclear agreement may be terminated whenever a change occurs in those circumstances that existed at the time the agreement had first been executed. Will such a qualified change actually have taken place? Probably not.
There are other strategies of unilateral termination that Iran could and most likely will invoke, going forward. One of these grounds, identified at Article 48 of the Vienna Convention, says that "A State may invoke an error ….as invalidating its consent…." Another, codified at Article 52, indicates that a formal international agreement is void "if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force…." Still another predictable ground for future Iranian legal manipulation can be found at Article 53, the so-called "Jus Cogens" or peremptory norm section of the Vienna Convention. This article states that "A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law." In this case, Iran could claim, several years hence, that the agreement had improperly impaired its sovereignty – incontestably, a peremptory norm of general international law – and is therefore no longer legally binding.
On its face, any such rationale would appear to contradict elementary logic. After all, Iran had already acknowledged this effect at the time of its initial agreement. Nonetheless, a case could conceivably be fashioned by Iran that would combine this particular rationale with an argument of rebus sic stantibus – that is, that the foreseeable circumstances that had obtained originally, no longer obtain…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Hillel Fradkin & Lewis Libby
Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2015
The Obama administration assures Americans that the Iran deal grants access within 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites. But that’s hardly how a recalcitrant Iran is likely to interpret the deal. A close examination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action released by the Obama administration reveals that its terms permit Iran to hold inspectors at bay for months, likely three or more. Paragraphs 74 to 78 govern the International Atomic Energy Agency’s access to suspect sites. First, the IAEA tells Iran “the basis” of its concerns about a particular location, requesting clarification. At this point Iran will know where the IAEA is headed. Iran then provides the IAEA with “explanations” to resolve IAEA concerns. This stage has no time limit.
Opportunities for delay abound. Iran will presumably want to know what prompted the IAEA’s concern. The suspect site identified by the IAEA is likely to be remote, and Iran will no doubt say that it must gather skilled people and equipment to responsibly allay IAEA concerns. Iran may offer explanations in stages, seeking IAEA clarifications before “completing” its response. That could take a while.
Only if Iran’s “explanations do not resolve the IAEA’s concerns” may the IAEA then “request access” to the suspect site. Oddly, the agreement doesn’t specify who judges whether the explanations resolve concerns. If Iran claims that it has a say in the matter, the process may stall here. Assuming Iran grants that the IAEA can be the judge, might Iran claim that the “great Satan” improperly influenced IAEA conclusions? Let’s assume that Tehran won’t do that. Now the IAEA must provide written reasons for the request and “make available relevant information.” Let’s assume that even though the IAEA may resist revealing the secret sources or technical means that prompted its suspicions, Iran acknowledges that a proper request has been supplied.
Only then do the supposed 24 days begin to run. First, Iran may propose, and the IAEA must consider, alternative means of resolving concerns. This may take 14 days. Absent satisfactory “arrangements,” a new period begins. During this period Iran, “in consultation with” the Joint Commission, will “resolve” the IAEA concerns “through necessary means agreed between Iran and the IAEA.” The Joint Commission includes China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K, the U.S., the European Union and, of course, Iran. Not exactly a wieldy bunch. The Iranians will likely claim that “consultation” with the Joint Commission doesn’t bind Tehran, just as the U.S. president isn’t bound by consultations with Congress. The agreement says the consultation process will not exceed seven days, but Iran can point out that the nuclear deal doesn’t specify when Iran and the IAEA must reach agreement and “resolve” IAEA concerns.
In the absence of Iran-IAEA agreement, a majority of the Joint Commission has seven days to “advise” on the “necessary means” to resolve the matter. Iran may fairly argue that the commission’s right to “advise” is not the same as a right to “determine” the “necessary means.” Lastly, the agreement provides that “Iran would implement the necessary means within 3 additional days.” But what “necessary means” are these? As noted, the agreement refers to “necessary means agreed between Iran and the IAEA.” So these additional three days don’t even begin until an agreement is reached. Now what? Well, the U.S. may take a “Dispute” to the Joint Commission, on which Iran sits, which has 15 days to resolve the issue. Parties may or may not invoke a similar 15 days for foreign ministers to act. Parties may also request a nonbinding opinion within 15 days from an advisory board consisting of three members, one appointed by Iran, one by the complaining country and “a third independent member.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
New York Post, July 19, 2015
“American rulers have always dreamed of forcing us to change our behavior, and failed,” Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, said Saturday. “Five US administrations took that dream to their graves. The present one shall have the same fate.” Khamenei’s analysis is not far off the mark. Successive American presidents have worked hard to persuade the Khomeinist regime in Tehran to modify aspects of its foreign policy, so far with no success. The reason may be the inability or unwillingness of successive US presidents, and a good part of the American political and cultural elite, to properly understand the nature of the Khomeinist regime.
Jimmy Carter believed the Khomeinist seizure of power represented the return of religion to the center of public life. His administration described Khomeini as “a holy man” and “the Gandhi of Islam.” Carter wrote letters to Khomeini “as a man of faith to a man of faith.” He even ordered the resumption of arms supplies to Tehran. We all know what that did to Carter.
President Ronald Reagan, who had visited Iran just a year before the revolution, thought he knew Iranians better. He described them as “carpet merchants and dealmakers.” Accordingly, he smuggled arms that the mullahs needed to stop the Iraqi army from advancing farther into Iran. He also sent a huge heart-shaped cake and a personally autographed copy of the Bible to the ayatollah. One result was the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked Reagan’s presidency. Dealing with the aftershocks of that crisis, President George H.W. Bush developed no policy on Iran beyond a number of secret talks that led nowhere but reassured Tehran that the American “Great Satan” had been neutralized.
President Bill Clinton saw the Khomeinist regime as “progressist,” a view shared by many American liberals who think anti-Americanism is the surest sign of progressive beliefs. Here is what Clinton said at a meeting on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2005: “Iran today is, in a sense, the only country where progressive ideas enjoy a vast constituency. It is there that the ideas that I subscribe to are defended by a majority.” And here is what Clinton had to say in an interview a bit later with Charlie Rose:
“Iran is the only country in the world, the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for president; two for the Parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralties. In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.” Clinton and his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, apologized to the mullahs for unspecified “crimes” committed “by my civilization” and removed a raft of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic after the seizure of the US hostages in Tehran.
But what crimes? Clinton summed them thus: “It’s a sad story that really began in the 1950s when the United States deposed Mr. Mossadegh, who was an elected parliamentary democrat, and brought the Shah back and then he was overturned by the Ayatollah Khomeini, driving us into the arms of one Saddam Hussein. We got rid of the parliamentary democracy [there] back in the ’50s; at least, that is my belief.”
Clinton did not know that in the Islamic Republic that he so admired, Mossadegh, far from being regarded as a national hero, is an object of intense vilification. One of the first acts of the mullahs after seizing power was to take the name of Mossadegh off a street in Tehran. Apologizing to the mullahs for a wrong supposedly done to Mossadegh is like begging Josef Stalin’s pardon for a discourtesy toward Alexander Kerensky.
Too busy with Afghanistan and Iraq, President George W. Bush paid little attention to Iran. Nevertheless, in his second term he, too, tried to persuade the mullahs to modify their behavior. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, sent an invitation, not to say a begging note, to the mullahs for “constructive dialogue.” They responded by stepping up the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq by local surrogates. Needless to say, he did no better…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Allen West Rips Obama Over Iran Deal Along With 10,000 Protesters: Trey Sanchez, Truth Revolt, July 23, 2015—On Wednesday evening as President Obama was attending a fundraiser and a Broadway play in New York City, over 10,000 protesters poured into the streets of Times Square for a Stop Iran rally.
House Republican: Obama Administration Won’t Release Full Iran Deal to Congress: Joel Gehrke, National Review, July 21, 2015 —President Obama won’t allow Congress to review two key aspects of the Iranian Nuclear deal, Republican lawmakers learned from international partners last week.
Congress Must Hold Obama Accountable for His Deception Over Iran: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, July 25, 2015—The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.”
Implications for Israel in a Transformed Middle East: Efraim Inbar, Rubin Center, July 19, 2015—The following transcript discusses the implications for Israel in light of the instability in the Middle East since the Arab Spring and Iran’s nuclear and hegemonial ambitions.