Iran issues new ultimatum to the U.S.

Khamenei: “We insisted that sanctions must be lifted, not suspended.”

Supreme Ayatolla Khamenei
Supreme Ayatolla Khamenei

U.S. President Barack Obama has blocked the move in the U.S. Senate to block the nuclear deal with Iran, but it’s not over till it’s over. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has now pulled a new rabbit out of his hat. Khamenei has issued what amounts to a new ultimatum. All the sanctions must be lifted, and not gradually suspended as demanded by Obama. Otherwise, Khamenei is quoted as saying that Iran will not fulfill all its commitments:

If sanctions are going to be suspended, then we will also fulfill our obligations on the ground at the level of suspension, and not in a fundamental way.

Obviously Khamenei was referring to those already watered down inspections that require 24-day advance notice. In Washington, the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, has played down the new Iranian threat by repeating a former Obama comment to the effect that actions speak louder than words.

Earnest categorically rejected Khamenei’s latest demand by saying the U.S. had made it crystal clear “… that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanctions relief is offered.”

It gets worse. In explaining his reason Khamenei actually admits that Iran’s long-term objective is to create a massive infrastructure for producing A-Bombs. Reading between the lines, it is obvious that Tehran is seeking some temporary restrictions on its nuclear weapons program in return for the billions of dollars it hoped to receive immediately from the total lifting of sanctions:

Otherwise, there would be no need for us to participate in the negotiations … We could continue our work and could increase the number of our centrifuges to 50,000 or 60,000 from the current 19,000 in a short time period, and continue 20% enrichment (uranium, which can then be easily enriched to 93% weapons grade) and speed up research and development.

Houston, we have a problem…

Moreover, Khamenei has even said he will not advise the Iranian parliament to approve or reject the nuclear accord that was concluded in July. But clearly he is signaled that he demands an immediate lifting of all sanctions. But what can be said of what appears to be an escalation in Khamenei’s threats to walk away from the deal if Obama does not comply? The White House is still playing it down as simply rhetoric for home consumption. But is it?

The administration has based much of its case on the gradual lifting of sanctions as a method to force Iran to keep its part of the deal. This includes the ‘snap back’ option in case Tehran violates it. Therefore, it would be well nigh impossible for the administration to give in on this crucial aspect. So what are the wily Iranians up to this time after already concluding a nuclear accord that enables them to keep their entire nuclear infrastructure intact for a break out in the future?

Since the signing of the accord just two months ago, Iran has already been cashing in. The rest of the world has been racing to Tehran to sign new trade deals, and Russia has gone to the head of the line with its future delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Iranians. In effect, the sanctions regime, which forced Tehran to negotiate, has now evaporated, except for American business people. Could it be the Iranians have outfoxed Obama and now think they don’t need the deal – that they can now reap a bonanza anyway while throwing the nuclear accord out the window?

Just to keep everybody up to speed on Iran’s ultimate goal, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Mohsen Kazemeini had told his troops:

The Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine…

Kazemeini also denied the possibility that Iran would co-operate with the U.S. in combatting Islamic State.

On his recent visit to Israel, Republican Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas), a harsh critic of the nuclear deal, was asked by Israeli news source, Israel Today, if he had seen any moderation in Iran since it was signed.

Absolutely not, on the contrary – the statements and actions of Iran have actually become more extreme. Only two weeks ago they directed fire at an American chopper, and just a week ago they were involved in the rocketing of northern Israel. The Iranian leaders persist in their calls for the destruction of Israel and America and say repeatedly that the agreement will not impede it in any way from becoming the dominant power in the region.

U.S. (AR) Senator Tom Cotton
U.S. (AR) Senator Tom Cotton

Israel Today: Yet the White House refuses to recognize this reality?

Cotton: “Sometimes I wrack my brain trying to understand why the President and all those who favor the deal do not take seriously the words of Supreme Leader Khamenei, President Rouhani, and the Commanders of the Revolutionary Guards. Whenever some one tells you he wants to kill you, you should take it seriously.”

Senator Cotton went on to say ‘the Iranians never believed Obama was serious about utilizing the military option. What has resulted was a bad deal by any objective analysis. Obama contended the only alternative was war but the Senator rejected this argument, as did many generals and admirals who testified before the Congressional committees. One of the alternatives was not to allow Iran to receive tens of billions of dollars in trade deals or to free frozen assets as long as Tehran supported international terrorism’.

Israel Today: There is a gap between what the administration is doing in Washington and American public opinion. Are the Democrats not worried about this discontent in grassroots America?

Cotton: “To my regret this is another example of a behavioral pattern on the part of the President. Obama simply ignores what the majority of Americans think and races ahead with his unilateral steps. The bad news is that due to the separation of powers, we have no effective way to block him. The good news is that his one-sided decisions may be abrogated by the future president and Congress. I believe the future president will abrogate the nuclear deal with Iran, considering the existing conditions at the time.”

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