It’s been a big day on the Iran front, starting with the long-awaited — and much-rejoiced — release of five Americans, including four prisoners, who’d been detained by Iran.
And this afternoon, President Obama signed executive action lifting economic sanctions on Iran — a move anticipated after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency determined the country has complied with its terms of the so-called nuclear deal.
Via the Washington Times:
Completing a major diplomatic effort over the objections of many in Congress, President Obama lifted economic sanctions against Iran Saturday after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency determined that Tehran has complied with the deal to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
In a statement, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the sanctions termination provisions of Iran’s landmark nuclear agreement are now in effect.Mr. Obama signed the orders Saturday afternoon, saying Iran’s compliance with the deal “marks a fundamental shift in circumstances with respect to Iran’s nuclear program.” The U.S. and Iran also carried out a prisoner swap Saturday, with Iran releasing an American pastor, a Washington Post reporter and three other Americans who had been held.
Removing the sanctions is part of the international agreement reached last year among Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers when Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency will allow Iran to immediately recoup some $100 billion in assets frozen overseas. Iran will also see huge benefits from new oil, trade and financial opportunities after Western sanctions against it are lifted.
IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said Saturday this means “relations between Iran and the IAEA now enter a new phase. It is an important day for the international community. I congratulate all those who helped make it a reality.”
However, while President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and liberal sheeple everywhere are already crowing about how this is a shining example of how “diplomacy works,” other are sounding notes of caution — echoing the drumbeat we’ve been pounding for many months now.
In Congress, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said the administration was lifting sanctions “on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
“As the president himself has acknowledged, Iran is likely to use this cash infusion — more than $100 billion in total — to finance terrorists,” Mr. Ryan said. “This comes just weeks after Tehran’s most recent illegal ballistic missile test, and just days after [Iranian forces] detained 10 American sailors. A bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject this deal in the first place, and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent a nuclear Iran.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, California Republican, said the “flawed” deal is allowing Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure.
“The ayatollah won’t even have to cheat to be just steps away from a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Royce said. “Meanwhile, tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief will now start flowing to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Since the nuclear deal was signed, Iran has twice violated U.N. resolutions to test ballistic missiles, fired rockets within 1,500 yards of the U.S.S. Truman, and seized 10 American sailors — all while propping up the murderous Assad regime in Syria. Iran will use this deal to become more militarily aggressive and dominate the region.”
At the same time, the administration engaged in a high-profile prisoner swap with Tehran. Iran agreed Saturday to release four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the U.S., while a fifth American detained in Iran, a student, was also released in an unrelated move.
There are so many issues with this so-called deal and the lifting of sanctions, which we’ve been reporting on for so many months, it’s difficult to round them all up here.
Putting aside the question of legality for a moment, you have to ask: if this is such a wonderful move, why must our president act alone, without Congress? Shouldn’t he have a broad backing of support for something so profoudly beneficial?
History will tell what kind of legacy this leaves. As many are already noting, all that seems to be missing from the Obama administration’s public relations display today is a banner proclaiming, “Peace for our time.” We all know how that worked out.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]