Remember the stipulation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iranian nuclear deal, regarding Iran’s UN-mandated weapons embargo? Of course you don’t; that’s why you have me around. OK, here it is: according to the agreement, Iran must continue to live under a weapons embargo for conventional arms for another five years. The embargo on ballistic missiles goes out to year eight.
Well, we’ve already shared with you Iranian pronouncements on new ballistic missiles and their selling and buying of new conventional weapon systems — that’s just how you roll when you’re rolling President Obama. But what if the United States is already aiding Iran to disregard the arms embargo?
As reported by Haaretz (not exactly a conservative Israeli media outlet):
Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran’s military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.
Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.
The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said.
The more relaxed enforcement raises questions over how strictly the arms embargo and other remaining sanctions will be applied in future, since the nuclear deal still needs to be implemented and Iran will likely remain sensitive to a tough sanctions regime.
In the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, U.S. law enforcement officials filed fresh charges just twice against those suspected of attempting to smuggle weapons and related technology from the United States to Iran, according to court records.
Eight such cases were brought in 2013-14. By comparison, around 10 to 12 such cases were brought in each of the preceding six years.
The article in Haaretz asks a very simple question, are we already seeing the Obama administration relax enforcement on the Iranian weapons embargo? Is President Obama’s sense, the agreement’s been signed, I did what no one else has done — and the following presidential administration can deal with the seemingly intended consequences?
Now, of course, there are going to be the liberal progressive detractors who will once again claim “alarmism.” Well, if folks would just stop watching NBC trying to save Hillary Clinton for a minute, I could educate them on a few things.
There’s supposed to be an international travel ban on Iranian Quds Force Commander, General Qassem Suleimani. This cheeky fella traveled to Russia to have talks with the Russian defense minister and Vladimir Putin. What did the Obama administration do in response? What measures did the Obama administration put in place to preclude this from happening — after all, Suleimani was already seen in Iraq directing operations there against ISIS. Perhaps Obama’s strategy is to just let Iran acquire weapons and pacify the Middle East? Sure seems so, when you consider that a designated terrorist organization, Iran’s Quds Force, along with Hezbollah, are freely operating in Syria now. Can we trust the Obama administration in these final 16 months to hold Iran’s feet to any fire?
I think not. And worse: Russia, Iran and even Syria know that. With his administration’s threats to Democrat senators — which resulted in a 42-vote filibuster precluding the Resolution of Disaproval of the JCPOA from even reaching the Senate floor — President Obama has shown where his priorities lie. It’s not a question of whether we can trust the Iranians — the answer is no. But can we trust President Obama in these final months to enforce an already vanilla agreement?
From what we have witnessed, the answer is a resounding no.
“There’s been a precipitous drop-off,” said one of the senior U.S. officials, who declined to be identified. “The facts are the facts – there’s no other explanation.”
The official added there was already a “reticence” in some agencies and U.S. federal prosecutors’ offices to pursue the cases because they are so tough to build and time-consuming.
“And if we’re going to normalize things with Iran soon, people are asking, ‘Is it worth it?'”
Is it worth it? Can you imagine that exact same sentiment in England in 1938 after Chamberlain signed the Munich Accord with Adolf Hitler?
This was probably the response of those who didn’t want to hear the warnings of Winston Churchill. Churchill knew the winds of war were blowing and gathering strength. But the lovers of peace stated to Churchill, we have the agreement, there will be peace in our time, is it worth it to confront Hitler? The atmosphere that’s reflected in the statement from the Obama government official should be quite disconcerting for us all — well, those of us who feel it’s worth it.
What is “it”? It is liberty. It is freedom. It is a future for our children and grandchildren. It means finding the courage of conviction to not avoid and evade evil, but take it head on.
Recall the words of Sir Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” And so it seems the Obama administration will do nothing, which leads me to ask if they are good men — and women?