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Clinton Speaks in Support of Iran Nuclear Deal, Across Town Republicans Don’t

Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton speaking on Sept. 9, 2015 at the Brookings Institution.

Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton speaking on Sept. 9, 2015 at the Brookings Institution.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that in backing the pending agreement on the Iranian nuclear weapons program her position was one of “distrust and verify.”

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., she said, “We absolutely should not turn it down.” With 41 Democratic senators saying they plan to support the agreement, President Barack Obama has enough support to sustain a veto if Congress does not back it, and also enough to block a Senate vote on the resolution to block a resolution rejecting it.

The agreement requires Iran’s dismantling most of its nuclear program for at least a decade before lifting economic sanctions and the reopening of Iranian financial accounts frozen in the United States and Europe. There also are two annexes to the agreement reached between the U.N. monitoring agency and Iran that have not been made public and have provided a rallying point for opponents of the pact.

Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said if she were elected, “I’ll hold the line” and apply “snap-back sanctions if necessary” against Iran for violating the agreement’s terms. She added that she would ensure that the International Atomic Energy Agency would have the necessary resources to monitor and inspect Iranian facilities.

“We should anticipate that Iran will test the next president. They’ll want to see how far they can bend the rules,” she said. “I’ll hold the line against Iran noncompliance”—including taking military action.

Clinton said she would ensure that Israel’s military retained a quantitative edge over Iran. Among the weapon systems she mentioned was the sale of the F-35 strike/fighter to Israel. “Now is the time [for Israel and the United States] to come together,” she said.

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and denounced the agreement.

Clinton also wants to reassure Gulf allies and partners that the “Persian Gulf is a region of national interest” to the United States. She specially cited keeping the Strait of Hormuz open to international trade and maintaining a strong American naval and air presence there.

The Republican Take

Across town, shortly after Clinton spoke, Rep. Mike Pompeo, (R-KS), said, the “secret side deals” between the U.N. monitoring agency and Iran were particularly troubling to him as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think-tank, he added, “The American people oppose it by 2-to-1. It’s a bad deal.” The most recent Pew Poll showed slightly more than 20 percent of the public now back it.

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Pompeo, a U.S. Military Academy graduate, said “All it takes is [a clause beginning in the annexes] ‘Not withstanding'” to keep the monitors from inspecting any military sites.”

In a panel discussion following Pompeo’s remarks, Paula DeSutter, who worked on treaty verification in the State Department, the position to start from is: Assume “the other side is cheating.” She said she found the public sections of the agreement to be “deliberately confusing” when it came to verification. The agreement “doesn’t have a ‘thou shall not'” provision clearly delineating what is acceptable and what is a violation.

DeSutter used the removal of weapons of mass destruction from Libya as a case where inspectors could go anywhere at any time and led the Libyans to taking them to sites that the monitors hadn’t known about.

About the Iranians, she added, “Any place they are hiding things they will call it a military facility” and keep the inspectors out, as they did earlier.

“You need to look at past compliance,” she said. Iran is “probably among the worst violators, second only to Russia.”

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the agreement offers Tehran “a pathway [to build a nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program] even if it complies with the deal.”

He cited the first restrictions ending in five years, arms embargo being lifted in eight and at the end of decade Iran would be in position to break out as a nuclear power within three months rather than the year the administration said it would take.

The United States “needs to be clear what our red lines are,” such as developing fissile material, in deciding what constitutes a violation, Matthew Kroening, an associate professor at Georgetown University, said.

“The agreement doesn’t fundamentally alter Iran’s strategic focus” of destroying Israel and confronting the United States, Michaela Dodge of Heritage said.

Pompeo said that in Congress, “we will certainly keep working” to put sanctions back in place and to have the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, like its Quds Force, declared an international terrorist organization.

  • Ctrot

    Any deal that puts $150 billion in Iranian coffers is a bad deal, if for no other reason (but there are plenty of others too).

    • Steve

      Very true.

      It seems though whether it is a bad deal or not (and it is very bad), the Democratic party will back this Administration period. Had a Republican President done this, he or she would have had basically no support from either side of the aisle.

      Apparently the Democrat party did the math and those few who either can’t stomach bringing themselves to say yes (e.g., Sen. Schumer) or those who fear the voters will send them home (e.g., Sen. Manchin) get to say no but everyone else has to grin and bear it and give President Obama his agreement. On an issue like this of such strategic importance, that is shameful and a disgrace.

    • redgriffin

      Actually the money is already Iran’s so it would be unfrozen as the Iranians comply with the terms the agreement.

      • Ctrot

        That’s sophistry, we know the money is Iran’s and we know why those assets have been frozen: Iran has been at war with the US since 1979. As for their complying with the terms of the agreement, of course they will comply because it is mainly they who determine if they are in compliance or not. Apparently the useful idiots in the democrat party don’t think they would lie about their compliance or cheat on the terms of the agreement.

        This “agreement” changes nothing in Iran. They still hate us, they still have desires for nuclear weapons, they still support worldwide islamic terrorism. What has changed is the will of the western world, led by Obama, such that we will now give them $100-150 billion of frozen assets and access to world markets so that they might achieve their unchanged goals.

        • redgriffin

          So do you have evidence that Iran is planning to renege on this deal?

          • old guy

            First of all, LISTEN to what they are saying, NOW.
            How about that they have reneged on EVERY other deal that they have made. They are at war with us (invasion of an embassy constitutes An act of war. Since the left wing screwed us by overthrowing the shah and INSTALLING khoumani, we have been in deep do-do.

          • redgriffin

            I do listen t the people of Iran and not just the Republican Guard Forces ,ironic name isn’t it, I look at the interviews with Iranian Students the Movies and writings that are coming out of Modern Iran and I look at the words of the Government of Iran who is saying we can talk. Everything I see is a sophisticated country on cusp of change that want peace and openness with the world and I say would rather my country have some part of that opening and with this government not one that we placed in power in 1951 after we assassinated Mosaddegh and place the Shan in power to do that we have to go out on a limb and take a leap of faith just like we did with the Soviet and the Chinese over the last 60 Years. SO why are you so afraid?

          • old guy

            You sound savvy. I’m a depression child and a WW2 vet, who saw this kind of appeasement lead us to disaster. Please review what WE get out of this. The alternatives are not THIS or WAR, but this or a better deal.
            I enjoy intelligent arguments, without vitriol, which is why I am responding to you. Mohammed Mossadegh was ILLEGALLY put in power. I do not know the real details of his death, but I do know it was inaccurately reported. I do not condone his murder, but I was peripherally involved with the SNAH’s Iran and it was a happy, place. Putting in the Ayatollah was pushed by the oil people because they could not control him. It would take a lot of research to find the REAL story here. If you have data, I would appreciate it.

          • redgriffin

            I think what we are getting is far better than the deal that was the alternative and I think that the neigh Sayers will be surprised with the results. There is no 1937 here and I see a change for the better in the Middle East due to it.

          • old guy

            It still sounds like,”Peace in our time”. to me.

          • redgriffin

            Well appeasement at times like this very close at times like this I will agree but I still think we have to try this treaty I am willing to accept that I may be wrong are your willing to accept that you maybe wrong?

          • old guy

            Of course. But the surreptitious way that this has been handled and all the attendant mystery deals as well as the lack of apparent benefit to us does not justify confidence in its value.

          • old guy

            John Kerry just made a puzzling, contradictory statement about what …
            Business Insider-Jun 17, 2015
            Without Iran divulging the degree of its past work on nuclearweaponization, inspectors will have a harder time establishing a baseline for …

          • redgriffin

            Oh if yo only knew how many secret negotiations go on in international negotiations. Nobody ask Reagan what else was discussed and promised in 1980 to bring the hostages home. Now did they?

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Just Exactly what does “Peace In Our Time” mean, technically were STILL at war with North Korea and We’ve (the USA) have be Involved in at least SIX Wars and/or Conflicts since 2001. AND NOW, Congress is trying to “Railroad” US (the USA) intoa SEVENTH WAR, Probably WORSE that the last SIX WAR’S COMBINED. And it’s NOT EVEN 2025, yet…

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Christmas can early for you my friend, as of this morning on 15 September 2015. DDG-1002, USS. LBJ got CANCELLED. It is unclear as to where the funds for that ship, are too be redistributed…

          • Ctrot

            Why should they? The deal itself gives them over 100 billion up front and countless billions in new business thereafter! They can invest this in all manner of anti-western subversion, terrorism and military improvements. And then at a time of their choosing they can break out, have a nuke within WEEKS and say “Go ahead, “snap back” your sanctions you fools”.

  • Tim Dolan

    I was trying to find in the agreement where it lists an annex that is “secret”. all five of the referenced annexes I could find are present in the document as they should be. I did see a reference to an annex in another document, which is a UN general resolution. Someone want to point out where the secret annexes are.

    Or perhaps they mean classified reference documents. As in documents that were provided to show select individuals additional information, such as maybe what technology we will use to monitor Iran.

    Either way, it is too late now to kill the deal without causing more problems then letting it go forward, because the US is not the lead for the deal Germany is and Iran will get almost everything anyway even if we don’t agree to it at this point. Only hurts our position later if we don’t agree to it at this point.

    • redgriffin

      What isn’t included are some confidential IAEA reports that are things that no one gets access to out of respect for each member. Yet, the IAEA is reporting that Iran has not been as forthcoming as they should be.

      • Tim Dolan

        The confidential reports are NOT part of the agreement though, they are reports on how likely Iran will be to keep the agreement and what techniques the IAEA will be using, both of which should remain confidential; although as appropriate they have been made available to members of congress and although so far it APPEARS only Democrats have bothered to check them out as the only ones switching are democrats and towards favoring the agreement.

        While I kind of hope Iran adheres to the agreement, All I care about is if we can catch them cheating if they don’t and with my background I know we can. At which point I am good with war as long as we do it right to prevent them from getting nucs, but I would really like to try the peaceful way first, because if that does work, then it is a much better solution. If it doesn’t I am confident we can still have war before they get nucs.

        • redgriffin

          No I said that those files are secret and that every country has them on files yes even the USA. Also they have nothing to do with the treaty provisions they have to do with inspections the US is doing none of the inspections.

          • Tim Dolan

            I think I can translate: You mean the IAEA has files on every country that only the IAEA can see?

            Also yes, the USA is not doing the on ground inspections, we are trusting the Germans and the Swiss at the IAEA to do a good job (I am confident they will). That was part of the agreement. They did not want US or UK folks, who they think may be actually zionist spies, to be in country. And while the Iranians are delusion on that, I am okay with it because the Germans and especially the Swiss will do an excellent job, culturally they basically can’t help but do an excellent job.

            However the USA will still be using national technical means to verify what is going on and I am sure the Israeli’s have some folks that can provide them information. We will also be providing expertise to the IAEA labs that will be testing the materials. And I don’t know for sure, but I am fairly confident that US citizens are part of the IAEA labs and evaluation process, just not the folks doing the ground inspections.

          • redgriffin

            No I’m say you have NO NEED TO KNOW!.

          • Tim Dolan

            Too late now anyway, but if I don’t need to know then I will base any decisions on the information I do have, which is all anyone can do.

          • redgriffin

            So you may it is your right and I defend your right to it. Still are you will to defend my rights to mine?

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I just remember how those inspections went with Iraq. Secret ‘side deals’ don’t bode well for anyone on this side of ‘the pond’!