Insider news & Analysis in Iran

Now that Donald Trump is the U.S. President-elect, the Iran lobby is working hard to save the nuclear deal, and as to confuse the issues regarding Iran faced by the developing Trump administration.

In an article in The Independent Journal Review on November 15, talks about the 

problems the Iran lobby must deal with, such as the possibility of the Trump administration rescinding the nuclear agreement, or modifying it with further conditions regarding Iran’s support for terrorism. Trump may even re-impose the sanctions that the Obama administration lifted.

What is obvious is that it will start a national debate about the future of American foreign policy toward the Iranian regime. This is a cause for concern for Tehran and their lobbyist allies, including the National Iranian American Council.

Founder of the NIAC,Trita Parsi, wrote an editorial in Foreign Policy, saying that, “the Iran deal was already on fragile ground, and frankly, even a Hillary Clinton victory would have increased its vulnerability. But with Trump, its fate is arguably more complicated than it would have been with a victory by Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz — two Republican senators who, unlike Trump, promised to tear the deal apart on their first day on the job.” He said further, “Trump has ‘only’ vowed to renegotiate the deal — a completely unrealistic option — while simultaneously complaining that the deal did nothing to lift America’s primary sanctions on Iran.” 

Parsi says that the U.S. cannot act to unilaterally alter or rescind the deal, because it is bound to a United Nations resolution jointly with the other five countries that negotiated and signed the agreement, but he is mistaken.

The nuclear deal was never ratified by the U.S. Senate as a treaty document. It is subject to the same executive actions President Obama took in agreeing to it. The agreement requires all six nations to remain committed, or render it non-compliant. The Trump administration may simply void it with an executive order and re-impose sanctions. The Iranian regime, itself, may be found to be in non-compliance, due to several waivers and exemptions already granted to them.

Parsi warns that dissatisfaction with the deal within Iran could lead to Hassan Rouhani’s defeat in next year’s presidential elections. However, the regime’s top cleric, Ali Khamenei, has made it clear that Rouhani does not set foreign policy and only serves as a loyal soldier for the regime, so Rouhani’s loss would make little difference, as his usefulness lies in the perception that he is seen as a “moderate” by the West.

Although Parsi tries to reason that a Trump administration might actually be good for U.S. relations with Iran, he aimed vitriolic and incendiary comments aimed at Trump throughout his campaign.  Parsi demonstrates the Iran lobby’s willingness to do or say anything that might help Tehran.

A “report” issued by NIAC, may be used to influence a Trump administration. However,  the signers listed are supporters of the Iranian regime. These include renowned Iran advocates such as Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, and Bijan Khajehpour of Atieh International and Hadi Salehi Esfahani of the University of Illinois.  The New York Times described the signers as “76 national security experts,” but several are NIAC staffers such as Tyler Cullis and Reza Marashi, and other ‘national security experts’ with titles such as a professors of anthropology, religious studies, linguistics and even a few a graduate students.

The challenge is made more complicated for the Trump administration, by the European Union’s statement that it intends to continue to restore ties with the Iranian regime, despite the terrible rise on executions and human rights violations in Iran. Many EU ministers and government officials have been traveling to Tehran seeking to secure business deals, even while the Iranian regime continues to execute Iranian political dissidents and has been arresting dual-national citizens during those visits. Meanwhile, Paris is commemorating the one year anniversary of the terror attacks.

“The European Union reiterates its resolute commitment to the (Iran nuclear deal),” the bloc’s foreign ministers said in a statement in Brussels. “The European Union is committed to support the full and effective implementation … by the lifting of nuclear related economic and financial sanctions and engaging with the private sector and economic operators, especially banks, to promote growth in trade and investment.” So, the greatest challenge Trump may face will be to resist global pressure to turn the focus away from human rights and terror, and onto trade and business.

The lobbying effort is well underway, scurrying to make the world lose sight of the carnage in Syria, the Sunni vs. Shiite bloodletting in Iraq, the civil war in Yemen, and instead focus on doing business with Tehran, and drilling for oil in the Persian Gulf.

It’s interesting to note that after the presidential election, the regime announced a new military agreement with China, and another $10 billion arms deal with Russia.  Trump’s transition team should keep a skeptical eye on the Iran lobby’s efforts, and continue to rely on Iranian regime-skeptics.

 

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