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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

July 14, 2015

Iran Disaster: Have Kerry & Co. Negotiated the Worst Deal in U.S. History?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

I'm no fan of Donald Trump, but I can't help but be lured by his incessant criticism of President Obama for being a poor negotiator—and paying this jab off at every turn by extolling his own (of course) "legendary" negotiating skills.

As the Iran nuclear negotiations grind to what will likely be a disastrous conclusion, I can't help but wish "the Donald"—or anyone with an above-average track record—were heading up John Kerry's Iran negotiating team.

In any case, it's time to brace ourselves: Any minute now the Obama administration will unveil Kerry's deal with Iran. While we've long predicted a terrible deal, fair is fair: Let's read it first.

However, from publication of the preliminary understanding published in April to revelations leaking out just this past weekend, we know enough to fear the worst. The deal already abandons President Obama's sworn pledge to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear arms. Apparently the latest giveaway—in a long string granted by Kerry & Co.—is our former red-line imperative for "anytime, anywhere" inspections of Iran's nuclear and military installations.

Above all, the minute the deal is revealed we've got to be ready to analyze it and respond. Congress will have 60 days to evaluate and get feedback from us—pro-Israel activists—and the rest of the American public on the deal. We'll have to know what we're talking about, and we'll have to raise an unprecedented hue and cry.

For make no mistake: This Iran Deal is the most important foreign policy initiative of this century—for the U.S., for Israel, for our Middle East allies and for the entire world. If it's a bad deal, Congress has to have the guts and the support from voters to kill it. That's where we come in.

To prepare you for this mission, this week's FLAME Hotline puts two resources in your hands: First, the article reprinted below by pro-Israel commentator Charles Krauthammer outlines the alarming concessions already granted by Mr. Obama's negotiators.

Second, in the P.S. to this letter, just below, you'll find a link to one of FLAME's most recent editorial ads, which has appeared in media nationwide, outlining the seven most critical criteria that must be met in the Iran Deal to make it acceptable.

These two documents will help you compose your opinions on the deal—which I strongly urge you to deliver to your U.S. Representative and Senators.

In short, this Iran Deal bears the likely possibility of empowering with nuclear weapons a terror state that vows to "annihilate Israel" and whose Supreme Leader routinely leads his people in chants of "Death to America." Please take just five minutes to review these two resources. Then get ready to act.

Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


Good news: The U.S. Senate has asserted its right to approve or disapprove any reduction of sanctions on Iran—effectively a mandate on any Iran nuclear deal. With the imminent announcement of a proposed final "Iran Deal," it's critical that we communicate to the American people and its elected representatives a set of sane, acceptable criteria for this deal. That's why FLAME has developed a paid editorial message that we are now publishing nationwide in media, including college newspapers, reaching 10 million key influencers, plus all U.S. congressional representatives and the President and Vice President. I invite you to preview this message, called "Mr. President, Stop the Iran Deal Now. " I hope you'll review this hasbarah message and pass it on to all your contacts who will benefit from it. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to help us run this message, so Americans will realize that the upcoming "Iran Deal" will almost certainly fail to fulfill Mr. Obama's 2012 promise to stop Iran's nuclear program. In fact this deal will likely pave the way for our worst enemy—and that of Israel—to continue developing nuclear weapons technology. Please consider giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To contribute online, just go to donate now. Today more than ever we need your help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs—from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, June 24, 2015

The devil is not in the details. It's in the entire conception of the Iran deal, animated by President Obama's fantastical belief that he, uniquely, could achieve detente with a fanatical Islamist regime whose foundational purpose is to cleanse the Middle East of the poisonous corruption of American power and influence.

In pursuit of his desire to make the Islamic Republic into an accepted, normalized "successful regional power," Obama decided to take over the nuclear negotiations. At the time, Tehran was reeling—the rial plunging, inflation skyrocketing, the economy contracting—under a regime of international sanctions painstakingly constructed over a decade.

Then, instead of welcoming Congress' attempt to tighten sanctions to increase the pressure on the mullahs, Obama began the negotiations by loosening sanctions, injecting billions into the Iranian economy (which began growing again in 2014) and conceding in advance an Iranian right to enrich uranium.

It's been downhill ever since. Desperate for a legacy deal, Obama has played the supplicant, abandoning every red line his administration had declared essential to any acceptable deal.

Inspections. They were to be anywhere, anytime, unimpeded. Now? Total cave. Unfettered access has become "managed access." Nuclear inspectors will have to negotiate and receive Iranian approval for inspections. Which allows them denial and/or crucial delay for concealing any clandestine activities.

To give a flavor of the degree of our capitulation, the administration played Iran's lawyer on this one, explaining that, after all, "the United States of America wouldn't allow anybody to get into every military site, so that's not appropriate." Apart from the absurdity of morally equating America with the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, if we were going to parrot the Iranian position, why wait 19 months to do so - after repeatedly insisting on free access as essential to any inspection regime?

Coming clean on past nuclear activity. The current interim agreement that governed the past 19 months of negotiation required Iran to do exactly that. Tehran has offered nothing. The administration had insisted that this accounting was essential because how can you verify future illegal advances in Iran's nuclear program if you have no baseline?

After continually demanding access to their scientists, plans and weaponization facilities, Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago airily dismissed the need, saying he is focused on the future, "not fixated" on the past. And that we have "absolute knowledge" of the Iranian program anyway—a whopper that his staffers had to spend days walking back.

Not to worry, we are told. The accounting will be done after the final deal is signed. Which is ridiculous. If the Iranians haven't budged on disclosing previous work under the current sanctions regime, by what logic will they comply after sanctions are lifted?

Sanctions relief. These were to be gradual and staged as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified Iranian compliance over time. Now we're going to be releasing up to $150 billion as an upfront signing bonus. That's 25 times the annual budget of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Enough to fuel a generation of intensified Iranian aggression from Yemen to Lebanon to Bahrain.

Yet three months ago, Obama expressed nonchalance about immediate sanctions relief. It's not the issue, he said. The real issue is "snap-back" sanctions to be reimposed if Iran is found in violation.

Good grief. Iran won't be found in violation. The inspection regime is laughable and the bureaucratic procedures endless. Moreover, does anyone imagine that Russia and China will reimpose sanctions? Or that the myriad European businesses preparing to join the Iranian gold rush the day the deal is signed will simply turn around and go home?

Nonnuclear-related sanctions. The administration insisted that the nuclear talks would not affect separate sanctions imposed because of Iranian aggression and terrorism. That was then. The administration is now leaking that everything will be lifted.

Taken together, the catalog of capitulations is breathtaking: spot inspections, disclosure of previous nuclear activity, gradual sanctions relief, retention of nonnuclear sanctions.

What's left? A surrender document of the kind offered by defeated nations suing for peace. Consider: The strongest military and economic power on earth, backed by the five other major powers, armed with what had been a crushing sanctions regime, is about to sign the worst international agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.

How did it come to this? With every concession, Obama and Kerry made clear they were desperate for a deal.

And they will get it. Obama will get his "legacy." Kerry will get his Nobel. And Iran will get the bomb.


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