By Roger Aronoff ~
Having already received its big payday from the “nuclear deal” that was never signed, Iran continues to spit in the face of the U.N. and the Obama administration, the latter of which has so valiantly attempted to defend Iran’s honor and justify this fiasco, even claiming it as a great foreign policy achievement. The latest act of defiance by Iran is an $8 billion dollar shopping spree, courtesy of its recently unfrozen assets, which were released because they supposedly convinced the IAEA that they have no plans to develop nuclear weapons.
Several sources are reporting the planned purchase. NBC News is reporting, “Moscow plans to sell Iran state-of-the-art warplanes, tanks and missile systems, Russian state media said Wednesday-a haul that could reportedly total up to $8 billion.”
The Washington Free Beacon is also reporting the sale, writing that Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and terrorism analyst, said that “the Obama administration set the stage for these arms deals by providing Iran with sanctions relief too early under the nuclear accord.” He added that “Secretary of State John Kerry frontloaded Iran’s payday for all the wrong reasons. If the [nuclear deal] was meant to last 10 or 15 years, it would make sense to release the cash over that time frame.”
“But, because Kerry didn’t want any successor holding Iran’s feet to the fire on compliance with the deal, he gave Iran its payday up front,” Rubin explained. “It was wholly predictable-and indeed, it was predicated early and often-that Iran would invest that money disproportionately in its military and not actually help its own people.”
As Fox News reported, this purchase is in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed on July 20th of last year, just days after the unsigned agreement between Iran and the P5+1 was publicly announced. “The ban explicitly forbids ‘battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, [and] warships…’ from being purchased by Iran without prior approval from the U.N.”
It appears that CNN is staying away from this story. As we pointed out last month, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer continues to mislead viewers that this is a signed deal-when the administration itself has already admitted to Congress that it wasn’t.
Blitzer isn’t the only one getting the story wrong. “One of Donald Trump’s stock campaign lines is that the Iran nuclear agreement was terrible,” said Fareed Zakaria on his February 7th CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS. “Iran has ended up with a much worse deal than it expected.”
“The real prize for Tehran was not the return of its funds frozen in banks in Asia and Europe because of international sanctions, totaling about $100 billion,” said Zakaria. “It was to finally get back into the markets as the second largest oil producer in the Middle East and reap the riches of the boom….That’s what they were banking on when making their concessions at the nuclear table.”
Actually, Iran made few-to-no concessions during its diplomacy with the West. President Obama and the P5+1 did not even get a signed deal for their efforts. Instead, they got a series of political obligations which Iran has no intention of living up to, but which Iran can use to influence the United States and other nations.
This administration-not Iran-made concession after concession at the bargaining table. Iran can challenge any request for inspections at “undeclared but suspected” sites for 24 days, or even months, according to The Wall Street Journal. Also, the enriched uranium that this totalitarian regime sent to Russia was exchanged for uranium ore which could be enriched by Iran at a later date.
Iran was not required to reform its political leadership as part of the deal, nor told that it must do something about its human rights record. Instead, the regime has belligerently tested two ballistic missiles. In addition, Iran is still free to continue its terror abroad while receiving $100 billion or more in previously inaccessible funding.
How, then, will cheap oil undermine the many benefits that Iran will receive as part of this unsigned agreement?
In his analysis Zakaria compares oil prices of $100 per barrel in 2013, when the interim agreement was signed, to current prices. This conveniently overlooks the fact that oil prices had fallen to nearly half that when the “deal” was announced in July. If the main reason for participating was oil prices, then why did the Iranians agree to the terms of these political agreements in the first place?
If Iran has lost something in pursuit of this agreement, it is not readily apparent. Iran didn’t get the short end of the stick in this exchange; it got the entire stick.
Iranian President Rouhani awarded medals of honor on February 8 to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, and nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi for their roles in the nuclear negotiations. This, after honoring the generals who captured our American sailors and held them at gunpoint. Secretary of State John Kerry had even expressed his “gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation” in releasing the sailors. Defense Minister Dehghan, who was Iran’s representative in Russia this week for the $8 billion shopping spree, was reportedly one of the founders of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and was an architect of the 1983 bombing that killed 241 U.S. service members in Beirut, Lebanon.
Not only has Iran gained sanctions relief, it is now free to pursue its broader agenda in the Middle East-in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in Yemen. But the mainstream media, aided by CNN, seek to keep the public in the dark about this disastrous deal while Iran gains more and more influence, and more and more weapons.
“The problem is that a fundamental shift in the balance of power is taking place in the region in Iran’s favor,” wrote Aaron David Miller in an opinion piece for CNN on February 2. “For a start, Iran gains access to frozen assets without having to end its support to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, stop backing the Shiite rebels in Yemen who are fighting a proxy war with the Saudis or back off from its support to Lebanese Hezbollah.”
And, he argues, “…America’s dependence on Iran is actually increasing” because, “Washington, having gone all-in on the nuclear deal, needs Iran to uphold its commitments, something critical to the Obama administration’s legacy.” This analysis, of course, was relegated to an opinion column rather than one of their Sunday cablecasts, like Zakaria’s show.
CNN continues to peddle misleading analysis unchallenged, casting the Iran deal somehow as a loss for Iran, when, in fact, it is an unmitigated disaster for the U.S. and its allies-a debacle that handed the Iranian regime virtually everything it sought. It is not only the administration that is concerned about President Obama’s legacy, but the reporters themselves, who will go to any lengths to print news that will bolster his reputation.