Critics Paint Nuclear Deal as Funding and Equipping Iran’s Illicit Activities

The first ad features medically-retired Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett, who was wounded in Iraq in 2005 when a bomb provided to insurgents by the Islamic Republic of Iran went off, killing several of his fellow soldiers. His story recalls attention to the fact that for a significant portion of the US-Iraq war, the most dangerous weapons that American servicemen faced originated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Bartlett’s testimonial describes how Iranian operatives murdered Iraqi civilians as they entrenched themselves in the country and developed pathways for weapons that would be aimed at Western militaries and ideological rivals. Veterans Against the Deal now strives to give voice to those American soldiers who witnessed Iran’s behavior firsthand and are thus outraged by the prospect of alleviating sanctions and potentially increasing Iran’s financial capability for supporting and executing terrorist activities abroad.

In the video, Bartlett plainly states that the architects of the deal, as well as its supporters all “have blood on their hands.” And opponents of the Iranian regime have directed this sentiment not only at those who created the deal, but also at those who seek to benefit from it.

An article published by Fox News on Wednesday describes some of the backlash faced by European companies that appear to be rushing to invest in Iranian export markets now that UN sanctions stand to be lifted, together with some US sanctions if Congress is unable to override President Obama’s veto of a resolution of disapproval.

The article points out that some seemingly innocent exports could be put to dual use in Iran. Austrian manufacturer Palfinger came under fire recently after activists circulated a photograph of one of the company’s cranes being used to carry out one of Iran’s many public executions. This prompted a Palfinger spokesperson to say that the crane in question was nearly three decades old and to walk back prior comments by CEO Herbert Ortner describing Iran as a “promising market.”

Palfinger now insists that it is not seeking to do business with Iran, but it is clear based on the aggregate level of interest, that this cannot be true of every business that has potential to supply the Iranian government with equipment for nefarious purposes. Fox News notes that in 2008, Nokia-Siemens sold sophisticated surveillance equipment to Iran and that this came to be used to disrupt communications and monitor participants in the 2009 Green Movement uprising.

The now-independent German wing of that company, Siemens, was among the businesses represented in a trade delegation led by German Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel just a week after the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 was signed. Thus, it may be on track to constitute a portion of the estimated 30 billion dollars in European-Iranian trade that may emerge following the nuclear deal, according to some analysts.

Fox News also points out that European drilling equipment could be used to build or further develop secretive or fortified nuclear sites inside mountains, like the notorious Fordow facility, which has been allowed to retain its enrichment infrastructure under last month’s agreement, but which is ostensibly barred from using it to enrich uranium.

Yet critics of the nuclear deal have warned that Western misdeeds under the agreement go beyond the unintended consequences of exports or ineffective verification. Prominent Democratic Senator Charles Schumer expressed this view on Tuesday when he told the participants in a press conference that support for the nuclear deal was tantamount to giving Iran explicit permission to be a nuclear threshold state in ten or fifteen years’ time, according to the Daily Caller.

Taken together, these criticisms from American veterans, Fox News, and the US Senate portray the nuclear deal as something that allows the West to give financial and other material resources to Tehran, which it may use to further its human rights abuses, terrorist activities, and even elements of a nuclear program that will effectively be unconstrained after the expiration of the deal.