Friday, 29 January, 2016

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expresses 'pessimism' after nuclear deal

Charles Krauthammer : The GOP gets the Iran prisoner swap wrong Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expresses 'pessimism' after nuclear deal
Dana Christensen | 23 January, 2016, 06:45

He did not elaborate.

"Even as we implement the nuclear deal and welcome our Americans home, we recognize that there remain profound differences between the United States and Iran".

When people ask me where U.S.-Iran relations are headed following the initial implementation by both sides of the joint nuclear agreement, my thoughts turn not to big, world-moving possibilities but to something actually quite small: my purchase last July of a plane ticket from Tehran to the provincial city of Shiraz.

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced sanctions on 11 individuals over Iran's ballistic missile testing in October and pledged to counter Iran's "destabilizing behavior" across the Mideast.

Iran condemned the new sanctions and their Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated the new U.S. sanctions would have no effect. Obama claimed the release of US sailors who had strayed into Iranian territorial waters as another sign of program, as well as the release of a number of Americans held in prison by Iran.

Now that the sanctions have been lifted, the USA will be holding talks with Israel on a new "military aid framework" as part of the "compensation package" because of the Iranian nuclear agreement, upgrading their quantitive military edge.

Republican presidential candidates hailed the release of US prisoners by Iran this weekend but also took the time to criticize Obama's foreign policy.

Speaking to parliament on Sunday, Rouhani, a pragmatic cleric elected in 2013 on promises to end Iran's years of sanctions and isolation, said he looked forward to an economic future less dependent on oil exports.

Preparing for taking the measures under the JCPOA needs coordination with Iranian officials, which made the visit of the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to Tehran necessary, Bayat said.

Washington still maintains separate, less comprehensive sanctions on Iran over its missile program.

President Obama was right to express satisfaction - and take some of the credit - for the successful implementation of the worldwide agreement to place limitations on Iran's nuclear activities and for the release of five Americans who were held by the Islamic Republic, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who had been imprisoned for more than a year on trumped-up charges.

Khamenei's nod also was needed to green-light additional talks leading to the two-country prisoner deal that culminated Saturday.

"Iran's accusers", Buchanan argues, "should produce their evidence, if any, that Iran had, or still has, a nuclear bomb".

The Iran nuclear deal was the product of years of careful negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 - the permanent UN Security Council members and the European Union.

If this deal is truly in the interests of the United States and Iran, whose interests would be served by scuttling it?

Critics of last year's nuclear deal argued the release of the prisoners released this weekend should have been included.

That funding will likely flow directly into the pockets of militant groups that Iran has historically supported in the Middle East, according to Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the Treasury Department. "But this is not going to lead to some kind of mass benefits for Iran - not given today's oil prices", he added.

"It is not coincidental that that money was exchanged and that the Iranians, I understand, verified that it had been fully delivered before they let these three people actually leave the country", he said Wednesday.



State Of The Union: Obama stresses U.S. strength
He touched on many issues, such as cures for cancer, the divide between Republicans and Democrats, and our military. The most used word in Obama's 2009 State of the Union address was "economy" - he said it 30 times.