Tag Archives: IRAN

State Dept. Warns: Iran Seeking to Capture U.S. Citizens

22 Aug

 Originally printed in The Washington Free Beacon


Hassan Rouhani / AP

BY: Adam Kredo August 22, 2016 5:16 pm


The State Department issued a warning on Monday urging U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Iran, which has made the detention of Americans a priority.

The latest travel advisory, which emphasizes Iran’s desire to capture U.S. citizens, comes on the heels of a growing scandal over the Obama administration’s decision to pay Iran $400 million in cash on the same day that it freed several U.S. hostages.

The payment has been cast by lawmakers and others as a ransom payment and prompted concern among U.S. officials that Iran is making arresting Americans a priority.

The travel warning is meant to “highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans,” according to a State Department announcement on Monday. “Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran.”

“U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel,” the warning adds. “U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.”

Iran continues to imprison Americans, particularly those holding dual Iranian citizenship, according to the State Department.

“Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin,” the travel warning states. “Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution.”

The Obama administration expressed particular concern about commercial airlines doing business with Iran. This warning comes as American companies such as Boeing continue to pursue million-dollar business deals with the Islamic Republic.

“The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” the warning states. “The FAA has advised U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the airspace over Iran.”

The warning emphasizes that “the U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited.”


Adam Kredo

Adam Kredo is senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Formerly an award-winning political reporter for the Washington Jewish Week, where he frequently broke national news, Kredo’s work has been featured in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Politico, among others. He lives in Maryland with his comic books. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.


G.W. Bush finally weighs in on Obama’s Iran plan

27 Apr

If there really is one…

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Former President George W. Bush weighed in on his successor’s foreign policy challenges in a closed-door meeting over the meeting, voicing concerns about Iran’s trustworthiness as Washington and Tehran resume nuclear talks.

Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting Monday with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York. The U.S. and five world powers are trying to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of June.

But Bush, who rarely comments on the Obama administration’s efforts in public, offered a word of caution about the negotiators on the other side of the table, during a closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday in Las Vegas.

According to a report in Bloomberg View, Bush warned that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appears “smooth,” but said: “You’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

Just how tough Bush was on the sitting commander-in-chief, though, is a matter of dispute.

The Bloomberg report said Bush was highly critical of President Obama’s efforts on Iran and the Islamic State

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But another attendee, Eric Golub, told FoxNews.com this characterization was “totally wrong.”

“[Bush] went out of his way not to criticize President Obama,” Golub said.

The meeting was off-the-record, but Golub — a conservative comedian who describes himself as a “passionate Jewish Republican” — said he’s speaking out to correct the record.

Golub confirmed Bush’s comments on Rouhani, but said the ex-president was criticizing Iran, not Obama, in sounding a cautious tone about the course of talks.

At the heart of the pending Iran deal is a commitment by Iran to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. While Obama says those sanctions could snap back if needed, Bush apparently cast doubt on that claim.

“You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also reported that Bush accused Obama of putting the U.S. in “retreat” while criticizing Obama’s efforts to check the rise of the Islamic State.

Golub said Bush wasn’t quite so harsh. He said Bush specifically said he did not want to project an image of the U.S. in retreat.

The toughest Bush appeared to get was quoting Sen. Lindsey Graham as saying the 2011 troop pullout from Iraq was a “strategic blunder.”

Golub said Bush described ISIS as Al Qaeda’s “second act” and was delivering the basic message that they’re “evil killers” — and the way to deal with them is to kill them.

The New York Times described Bush’s comments on Saturday as a “tacit critique” of his successor. Golub described the Times’ account as more accurate than the one in Bloomberg.

To date, Bush indeed has largely avoided commenting on the current administration — though former Vice President Dick Cheney has been outspoken in his condemnation of Obama’s national security policies.

The Iran talks, though, have generated a heated international debate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing Congress at House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation, blasted the preliminary nuclear deal before it was even announced.

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Critics like Netanyahu say it does not close Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, and merely delays that possibility while giving Iran access to funding by lifting sanctions.

Proponents, though, say the framework deal is better than the alternative options — including military conflict — and would allow international inspectors to ensure Iran is living up to its end of any agreement.

Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement

2 Apr

One executive failure after another…

Says White House misleading Congress, American people with fact sheet

Javad Zarif

Javad Zarif / AP

April 2, 2015 5:40 pm

 LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”

Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.

Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.

“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.

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He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”

The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.

Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement.

On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.

“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”

“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”

The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”

Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.

 Iran Says Nuclear Deal Hinges on U.S. Will to Lift Sanctions
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, a deal on Iran’s nuclear program could be concluded this week if the United States and other Western countries have sufficient political will and agree to remove sanctions on Tehran. He said in Geneva, “Our negotiating partners, particularly the Western countries and particularly the United States, must once and for all come to the understanding that sanctions and agreement don’t go together.”

Mark Caserta: Congress must unite to protect America

5 Mar

Who will stop Barack Hussein Obama?



Mar. 05, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

President Obama made a remarkable statement in his sixth State of the Union address to the nation and a joint session of Congress – one which should have all Americans scratching their heads.

“America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed.”

Could Obama really be that out of touch with reality?

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Later in the speech he added, “Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation.”

Our Founding Fathers provided us with an enduring foundation – the U.S Constitution. And brave men and women have given their lives through the years to preserve, protect and uphold this deed to freedom. America does not need to be “remade” by Barack Obama.

Hidden within the president’s own words lies what I believe to be the defining aspiration of Obama’s presidency. Every builder understands before laying a new foundation, the old one must be unearthed and deconstructed. All around us, the foundational principles of the United States of America are being dismantled by this administration’s policies.

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An in-depth look at Obama’s life mentors helps explain his apparent ideological distaste for America.

Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor of 20 years, was someone he equated to an “old uncle.” Known for his proliferation of black liberation theology, Wright encouraged blacks to damn America in God’s name in 2003. Obama entitled one of his books, “The Audacity of Hope” after one of Wright’s sermons.

In Obama’s book, “Dreams From My Father,” he writes about “a poet named Frank” who visited his family in Hawaii, read poetry, and was full of “hard-earned knowledge” and advice. This childhood mentor, mentioned at least 22 times in the book, was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party named Frank Marshall Davis. All references to “Frank” were removed from the audio version years later.

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And then there’s Obama’s longtime friend, left-wing radical Bill Ayers, who continues to defend the series of anti-Vietnam bombings he carried out as a member of the Weather Underground. A 1995 fundraiser which helped initiate the political career of Barack Obama was reportedly held in Ayer’s living room.

Why revisit history now? America is no longer at a crossroads; we’ve taken a hard left turn toward disaster.

According to several news reports, this administration is offering a pact to Iran which eases restrictions on its nuclear program in several phases over the next decade, paving the way for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. And, once again, Obama intends to bypass Congress in lieu of executive privilege.

israeli flagobama muslim

This president simply lacks the qualifications to single-handedly barter a deal with a rogue nation like Iran, one that threatens to bring about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East while alienating our ally, Israel.

It’s truly time for Democrats and Republicans alike to unite against Barack Obama and thwart his mission to remake America.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a

Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress

20 Oct

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WASHINGTON — No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it.

Even while negotiators argue over the number of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to spin and where inspectors could roam, the Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a “suspension” of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say.

But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote.

“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” one senior official said.

White House officials say Congress should not be surprised by this plan. They point to testimony earlier this year when top negotiators argued that the best way to assure that Iran complies with its obligations is a step-by-step suspension of sanctions — with the implicit understanding that the president could turn them back on as fast as he turned them off.

“We have been clear that initially there would be suspension of any of the U.S. and international sanctions regime, and that the lifting of sanctions will only come when the I.A.E.A. verifies that Iran has met serious and substantive benchmarks,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said Friday, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We must be confident that Iran’s compliance is real and sustainable over a period of time.”

But many members of Congress see the plan as an effort by the administration to freeze them out, a view shared by some Israeli officials who see a congressional vote as the best way to constrain the kind of deal that Mr. Obama might strike.

Ms. Meehan says there “is a role for Congress in our Iran policy,” but members of Congress want a role larger than consultation and advice. An agreement between Iran and the countries it is negotiating with — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — would not be a formal treaty, and thus would not require a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

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The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat, said over the weekend that, “If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.” He has sponsored legislation to tighten sanctions if no agreement is reached by Nov. 24.

A leading Republican critic of the negotiations, Senator Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, added, “Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99 to 0 vote,” a reference to the vote in 2010 that imposed what have become the toughest set of sanctions.

Such declarations have the Obama administration concerned. And they are a reminder that for a deal to be struck with Iran, Mr. Obama must navigate not one negotiation, but three.

The first is between Mr. Obama’s negotiators and the team led by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the savvy Iranian foreign minister. The second is between Mr. Zarif and forces in Tehran that see no advantage in striking a deal, led by many in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and many of the mullahs. The critical player in that effort is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has reissued specific benchmarks for an accord, including Iran’s eventual expansion of its uranium enrichment program by nearly tenfold. And the third is between Mr. Obama and Congress.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview last summer, said that Mr. Obama “has a harder job” convincing Congress than he will have selling a deal in Tehran. That may be bluster, but it may not be entirely wrong.

Many of the details of the negotiations remain cloaked. The lead negotiator, Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for political affairs and a leading candidate to become the State Department’s No. 2 official next month, struck a deal with congressional leaders that enables her to avoid public testimony when the negotiations are underway. Instead, she conducts classified briefings for the key congressional committees.

But it is clear that along with the fate of Iran’s biggest nuclear sites — Natanz and Fordow, where uranium fuel is enriched, and a heavy-water reactor at Arak that many fear will be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium — the negotiations have focused intently on how sanctions would be suspended. To the Americans, the sanctions are their greatest leverage. For many ordinary Iranians, they are what this negotiation is all about: a chance to boost the economy, reconnect with the world and end Iran’s status as a pariah state.

For that reason, many think Mr. Obama’s best option is to keep the negotiations going if a deal is not reached by the deadline, a possibility both Iranian and Russian officials have floated.

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“Between now and 2017 Obama’s goal is to avert an Iranian bomb and avert bombing Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “If Congress feels obliged to pass additional sanctions, the best way to do it would be to create a deterrent — basically to say if you recommence activities Iran has halted, here are new sanctions.”

But Mr. Obama is feeling pressure as well. Some cracks are appearing in the sanctions regime. In the spring, the administration was alarmed to see a spike in Chinese purchases of Iranian oil, seeming to undercut the sanctions. More recently the figures have declined again. Nonetheless they are the subject of behind-the-scenes talks between American and Chinese officials. And the Iranians want far more than a suspension of American-led sanctions: They are also pressing for an end to United Nations Security Council resolutions that bar “dual use” exports that have civilian uses but also could be used in nuclear and missile programs; those resolutions give the United States and its allies a legal basis for demanding inspections of shipments to Iran that could be part of a covert program.

Inside America’s intelligence agencies, the biggest concern is that Iran, concluding that its existing facilities are under too much scrutiny, would once again turn to covert means to obtain nuclear technology — buying it from the North Koreans, or building it in one of hundreds of tunnels.

“We have not seen much lately,” a senior intelligence official said. “But over the past 10 years, we’ve uncovered three covert programs in Iran, and there’s no reason to think there’s not a fourth out there.”

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James Baker: Iran May Be ‘Quietly’ Helping US Against ISIS

13 Oct

Could the stars be aligning for Iran’s hatred of the U.S.???

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Sunday, 12 Oct 2014 12:57 PM

By Greg Richter – Newmax

Iranian help would be tricky, partly because of the history between the two countries. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage in Iran for 444 days between 1979 and 1981, and the United States later backed Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. The United States currently is leading negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which critics in the United States say is an effort to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal. That said, Iran sees ISIS as a threat and has an interest in seeing it defeated. A senior Iranian official told the Associated Press over the weekend that Iran and the United States have exchanged messages over ISIS.

It’s the “religious component” that makes Iran an antagonist, he said. Baker said he is optimistic about the situation, and also thinks the United States will be able to re-establish ties with Russia. “I think that we will be able to handle ISIS,” Baker said.

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White House national security adviser Susan Rice, appearing live set, denied any such talks. “We’re not in coordination or direct consultation with the Iranians about any aspect of the fight against ISIL,” said Rice, using the acronym preferred by the administration. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also was part of the interview with Baker and Brokaw. “As long as Iran is ruled by the ayatollahs and places itself on a sectarian philosophy, we have to be careful,” Kissinger told Brokaw. But, he added, “as a country, Iran is a natural ally of the United States.”

Despite longstanding divisions between the countries, Iran may be helping the United States in its fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), says former Secretary of State James Baker. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran is not helping us quietly,” Baker said in an interview with Tom Brokaw aired Sunday on “Meet the Press.” 

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