The Pronk Pops Show 1312, August 27, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Videos — Story 2: Johnson and Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million in Case Involving Marketing of Opioids to Doctors — Videos — Story 3: 19 States Sue Federal Government Over Longer Detention in Family Residential Centers (FRCs) Until Processed Under New Rule

Posted on August 28, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

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Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Both Iran and North Korea Must Denuclearize of Face Sanction Forever — Videos

 

Iran will meet with US if sanctions are lifted

Donald Trump calls Iran ‘number one nation of terror’

[9AM] America’s Newsroom 8/27/19 | FOX News Today August 27, 2019

Trump: Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon

Trump confronts nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump On The Iran Nuclear Deal | CNBC

Sanctions aren’t enough to end Iran’s nuclear program: Walid Phares

President Trump Open To Meeting With Iran, Says China Wants To Make A Trade Deal | NBC Nightly News

Iran FM Zarif: “If the US stops bothering the rest of the world, everything will be fine”

Iran’s Zarif grabs #MSC2019 spotlight, slams Trump and Israel (Munich Security Conference)

Iran’s Zarif thrashes Trump, “US driven by pathological obsession” (Munich Security Conference 2019)

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Inside Iran

Iran: Why are people protesting?

Protests in Iran enter sixth day

Published on Jan 2, 2018

 

Iran’s Rouhani Says No Talks With Trump Until Sanctions Are Lifted

CreditCreditIranian Presidency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Tuesday that he would not sit down for a meeting with President Trump until Washington had lifted all of its economic sanctions against Iran.

His comment came a day after President Emmanuel Macron of France said he would try to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani in the next few weeks to ease the strained relationship between the United States and Iran.

That relationship has worsened since Mr. Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Mr. Macron said at a news conference on Monday at the conclusion of the Group of 7 meeting in France that he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart to determine whether a meeting was possible.

Opioid Overdose Crisis

Revised January 2019

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relieversheroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2

How did this happen?

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5

What do we know about the opioid crisis?

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.6
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.79
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.10
  • The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.10
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.10
The graph shows that the Northeast had the highest rate of suspected opioid overdose in Q3 of 2017. Rates in the Midwest have increased largely between Q2 and Q3 of 2017.Quarterly rate of suspected opioid overdose, by US region
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.10

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.

What are HHS and NIH doing about it?

In response to the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of HHS, is the nation’s leading medical research agency helping solve the opioid crisis via discovering new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage pain. In the summer of 2017, NIH met with pharmaceutical companies and academic research centers to discuss:

  1. safe, effective, non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain
  2. new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid use disorders
  3. improved overdose prevention and reversal interventions to save lives and support recovery

In April 2018 at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

Related Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Types of Pain

Acute pain can last a moment; rarely does it become chronic pain. Chronic pain persists for long periods. It is resistant to most medical treatments and cause severe problems.

  1. Pain ClassificationsEven though the experience of pain varies from one person to the next, it is possible to categorize the different types of pain.
  2. Chronic PainLearn about how chronic pain occurs, and why chronic pain sometimes lingers.
  3. Nerve PainWhen nerve fibers get damaged, the result can be chronic pain. Read about the very common causes of neuropathic pain, like diabetes.
  4. Psychogenic PainDepression, anxiety, and other emotional problems can cause pain — or make existing pain worse.
  5. Musculoskeletal PainMusculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
  6. Chronic Muscle PainUse your muscles incorrectly, too much, too little — and you’ve got muscle pain. Learn the subtle differences of muscle injuries and pain.
  7. Abdominal PainLearn common causes of abdominal pain and when to contact your doctor.
  8. Joint PainSee the causes of joint pain and how to treat it with both home remedies and prescribed medication.
  9. Central Pain SyndromeA stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain and burning syndromes from damage to brain regions. Read this brief overview.
  10. Complex Regional Pain SyndromeIt’s a baffling, intensely painful disorder that can develop from a seemingly minor injury, yet is believed to result from high levels of nerve impulses being sent to the affected disorder. Learn more about this disorder.
  11. Diabetes-Related Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)If you have diabetes, nerve damage can be a serious complication. This nerve complication can cause severe burning pain especially at night. Learn more about diabetic neuropathy.
  12. Shingles Pain (Postherpetic Neuralgia)Shingles is a painful condition that arises from varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors.
  13. Trigeminal NeuralgiaIt’s considered one of the most painful conditions in medicine. The face pain it causes can be treated. Learn more about what causes trigeminal neuralgia and treatments for face pain caused by it. 

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-overview-facts

(more…)

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The Pronk Pops Show 1275, June 17, 2019, Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Democrat Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research –Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos — Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers — Videos — Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

Posted on June 17, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Applications, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Middle East, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

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Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Clinton Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research — Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos

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President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 1

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 2

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 3

A preview of ABC News’ exclusive one-on-one interview with Trump

Trump says he may not alert FBI if info is offered by foreigners on 2020 candidates

Levin slams Democrats for declaring Trump a criminal

Shields and Brooks on Trump and foreign campaign help, Democratic debates

Partisan sparks fly over Trump’s opposition research remarks

Trump defends saying he’d take foreign intel on rivals

Ingraham: Democrats’ foreign phony outrage

Hannity: The left’s selective outrage on opposition research

Hannity: Steele dossier was full of lies, misinformation, propaganda

The ethical dos and don’ts of opposition research

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE9X1hMhvwQ]

Inside the Democrats’ opposition research shop

FBI must identify origin of Trump-Russia collusion idea: Rep. DeSantis

Nunes: Not possible FBI didn’t know who paid for dossier

Strassel: FBI, DOJ obstructing on Trump dossier

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

Did Hillary Clinton know about the Russian dossier?

Did Hillary Clinton Finance The Infamous Dossier?

Fusion GPS victim: They are out to destroy people

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Potential legal implications from Trump dossier scandal

Trump, Russia and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

Kurtz: Journalists don’t hire opposition research firms

York: Washington Free Beacon was original Fusion GPS funder

Conservative website funded Fusion GPS opposition research

Where does ‘opposition research’ cross a line?

Why Is The EPA Hiring GOP Oppo Research Firms??

Clinton campaign, DNC helped fund dossier research

The Curious Art and Science of Opposition Research

How Republican Opposition Research Dig Up Dirt on Dems

Political Opposition Research Reveals All – Alan Huffman

2015 Personality Lecture 12: Existentialism: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard

Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

Trump in testy exchange with Stephanopoulos: ‘You’re being a little wise guy’

President Trump pushed back at ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during a testy interview, calling him “a little wise guy.”

Stephanopoulos was pressing the president on not answering questions in person from special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team.

“Wait a minute. I did answer questions. I answered them in writing,” Trump said

“Not on obstruction,” Stephanopoulos replied.

“George, you’re being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you,” Trump hit back.

“Just so you understand. Very simple. It’s very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing’s collusion. Now, there’s no collusion. That means … it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it’s going to come out,” he continued.

Stephanopoulos, 58, was a White House communications director and senior advisor for policy and strategy for President Clinton.

He joined ABC News as a political analyst after Clinton’s first term in 1997 and is now ABC News’s chief anchor and host of “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/448571-trump-in-testy-exchange-with-stephanopoulos-youre-being-a-little-wise-guy

 

Trump successfully baits his foes with comments to Stephanopoulos on foreign information on opponents

In classic Trumpian maneuver, President Trump yesterday chummed the waters of the House Democratic Caucus with raw meat the impeachment-crazed radicals driving Nancy Pelosi — who really doesn’t want to talk about impeachment — to distraction.  He also laid the groundwork for the coming prosecutions on the Russia Hoax.

In a clip that already has been endlessly run on every news channel, he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that he would not necessarily turn down information on his opponent from a foreign source or call in the FBI.


YouTube screen grab.

Responding to a question from Stephanopoulos about his son Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, the POTUS let fly:

As summarized by Politico:

[T]he president pushed back when asked whether a candidate should report information on an opponent if it came from a foreign agent, and denied that accepting the information counted as election interference.

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”

“It’s called oppo research,” he added.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that a candidate should offer that kind of information to the agency, but Trump flatly rebuffed the notion: “The FBI director is wrong.”

“Give me a break,” Trump said, scoffing. “Life doesn’t work that way.”

He got exactly what he wanted from the haters:

But the gasps of horror were not limited to haters.  Laura Ingraham and Victor Davis Hanson were aghast:

“Setting aside the question of why you would have George Stephanopoulos standing over the president in the Oval Office — I don’t know who approved that — what about this notion of accepting foreign Intel about an opponent? Is that a risk for President Trump, getting pulled back into Mueller? Again, why he was put in that situation is beyond me.”

Victor Davis Hanson agreed that “you shouldn’t ever talk to George Stephanopoulos,” and said Trump probably “intended to” bring up something like Adam Schiff getting called by Russian pranksters.

He added, “I think the cardinal rule is in Trump’s case you don’t even discuss that. You just say I don’t want to talk about it.”

Ingraham said it seemed like he was “playing with” Stephanopoulos a bit but added, “Putting him in that situation, I don’t get it.”

Here is some help for the perplexed: as the DOJ inspector general’s report looms and U.S. attorney John Durham’s mandate has been described in the broadest terms by A.G. Barr, Trump has the Democrats nattering on about how treasonous it is to accept any information from any foreign country.  How about paying Russian agents with campaign money for fake dirt on an opponent, even if laundered through a law firm and Fusion GPS?

When and if indictments related to Fusion GPS are revealed, the defense lines of the progressives will have some Trump-sized holes in them.

Even NeverTrump Erick Erickson, of the anti-Trump Resurgent, sees the trap:

[W]e should point out that the Steele dossier involved a lot of dirt about Donald Trump from Russia and we now know that a good bit of it was made up. The Mueller report itself notes the supposed ‘pee tape’ the Democrats have been all hot and bothered over was fabricated by the Russians.

Perhaps the President should not have said it, but let’s not pretend the Democrats would actually go racing to the FBI if presented with sensational information about Trump. They’d run to opposition research firms instead.

By the way, before you claim the Democrats handed the Steele dossier over to the FBI, please note that they used it to spread anti-Trump stories in the media for months before doing so not very long before Election Day 2016.

The Steele Dossier was an important foundation of the entire Russia Hoax.  Trump has now got many of his worst enemies on the record about how heinous it was to accept any intelligence from a foreign source.  Trump mentioned Norway.  Hillary and the DNC paid for dirt from Russia.

Trump, it must always be remembered, is the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium of television.  He knows how to set up a storyline for a payoff later in the season — in this case, the election season.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/06/trump_successfully_baits_his_foes_with_comments_to_stephanopoulos_on_foreign_information_on_opponents.html

 

 

Candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed idea of political dirt from overseas

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised fresh questions about her credibility heading into 2016. (Associated Press)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised … more >– The Washington Times – Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hillary Clinton has endorsed the idea of obtaining political dirt from overseas, saying her campaign’s Kremlin-sourced dossier was “part of what happens in a campaign.”

President Trump is taking heat from Democrats for telling ABC News on Wednesday that he would listen to negative information from a foreign country about a political opponent in 2020.

That is basically the same position Mrs. Clinton took when she was interviewed on Nov. 1, 2017, on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

A week earlier, the nation learned that the Christopher Steele dossier, with its dozen conspiracy charges against Trump associates, was financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The Robert Mueller report effectively destroyed the dossier. His 22-month investigation failed to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election that Mrs. Clinton lost.



Mrs. Clinton was asked on the show about the dossier, whose sources are listed in the document as Kremlin intelligence and government leaders.

“It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate,” she said. “So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”

She provided this chronology: “When Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer and said, ‘Would you like us to continue it?’” she said. “He said ‘yes.’ He is an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is.”

Work on the dossier didn’t begin until June 2016 when Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clinton’s opposition research firm, sought funds from her campaign, via her law firm, to pay Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele’s claims about Mr. Trump did surface before Election Day, though the dossier didn’t.

Fusion arranged for Mr. Steele to brief a number of Washington reporters. Yahoo News published a story in September outlining Mr. Steele’s assertions that a Trump volunteer, Carter Page, had discussed bribes with top associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin in exchange for removing U.S. sanctions.

The Clinton campaign quickly cited the story.

Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said on one broadcast, “Michael Isikoff had a piece yesterday about Carter Page, who is a foreign policy adviser of Trump’s and that he had met with someone from the Kremlin that … according to Michael’s reporting, U.S. intelligence officials believe is behind the hack.”

The Mueller report cleared Mr. Page of collusion with Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Also before the election, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote a letter to the FBI summarizing Mr. Steele’s charges. The letter was leaked to The New York Times, which published a story.

Clinton operatives busily circulated the dossier before and after the election.

A Fusion GPS middleman took the dossier to the FBI on several occasions. Perkins Coie, Mrs. Clinton’s law firm, also tried to present Mr. Steele’s charges to the Justice Department.

The FBI put the dossier to extensive use. It cited Mr. Steele to judges to obtain a wiretap on Mr. Page for a year and briefed President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

FBI agents were briefed by Mr. Steele in July 2016 and again in October in Europe.

The FBI offered Mr. Steele $50,000 to continue investigating Mr. Trump, though it never confirmed the former British spy’s allegations.

The Justice Department inspector general is investigating how the FBI used the dossier. In addition, Attorney General William Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to investigate how the Obama Justice Department and FBI decided to target the Trump campaign.

Perkins Coie briefed the Clinton campaign on the dossier, according to testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The communications director for Mr. Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign took to Twitter to slam the media’s “selective” memory.

“The selective outrage and short memory of the media are staggering. The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign actually PAID FOR the discredited, fake Steele Dossier, which was compiled by a foreign national and contained information from alleged Russian sources,” Tim Murtaugh wrote.

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/13/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-endorsed-idea-politic/

The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law

 

The Justice Department’s investigation of the investigators involved in the Trump-Russia probe will look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.

That’s what the agency said Monday, telling Congress its review is “broad in scope and multifaceted” in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The DOJ said the wide-ranging inquiry led by Attorney General William Barr, along with his right-hand man U.S. Attorney John Durham, would seek to “illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

The letter made it clear that DOJ’s review is not limited just to their specific agency, but would also scrutinize the intelligence community as a whole. The letter stated that the DOJ review team had already asked certain intelligence community agencies to preserve records, make witnesses available, and start putting together documents that the DOJ would need to carry out its inquiry.

And the DOJ made it clear that they weren’t just looking to see if policies were violated — they’ll be looking at whether any laws were broken, too.

In 2016, the DOJ and FBI launched an investigation into any links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller took over the ongoing effort in May 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was fired, and Mueller’s probe culminated in a 448-page report in April 2019. Mueller found that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election through cyberattacks and social media disinformation campaigns, but did not establish that anyone associated with Trump criminally colluded with Russia. Mueller left the door open on obstruction of justice by Trump, but Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that he had not.

Barr believes “there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation,” the letter states, and the DOJ review will look at “the efficacy and propriety“ of the steps that the DOJ, the FBI, the broader U.S. intelligence community, and foreign governments and actors took before and during the course of the probe — and to answer those questions “to the satisfaction of the Attorney General.”

The letter said Barr is coordinating with members of the U.S. intelligence community and “certain foreign actors” on the “collaborative” and “ongoing effort.”

Trump recently gave Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” during his review, a move that has been harshly criticized by many Democrats. Nadler called the move part of a “plot to dirty up the intelligence community, to pretend that there’s something wrong with the beginning of the Mueller investigation and to persecute and bring into line the intelligence agencies.” And former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker called the move a “slap in the face” to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Apparently to push back against such concerns, DOJ said Monday it would work hard to make sure that U.S. intelligence agents as well as foreign partners were protected during the probe, along with sensitive methods, techniques, and materials that could compromise national security.

This broad probe by DOJ is separate from the investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse by the Justice Department and the FBI. That inquiry includes a focus on the FBI’s handling of the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and its extensive use in the FBI’s FISA applications and renewals to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Barr has previously said, however, that Horowitz’s “ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the Department [of Justice] is very limited.” Thus, Barr picked Durham to carry out a beefed-up inquiry.

Durham will continue serving as Connecticut’s U.S. attorney, the DOJ said, but his review is already “being conducted primarily in the Washington D.C. area” and his DOJ team will operate out of “existing office space.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-outlines-to-congress-its-investigation-of-the-investigators

Opposition research

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In the politics of the United Statesopposition research (also called oppo research) is the practice of collecting information on a political opponent or other adversary that can be used to discredit or otherwise weaken them. The information can include biographical, legal, criminal, medical, educational, or financial history or activities, as well as prior media coverage, or the voting record of a politician. Opposition research can also entail using “trackers” to follow an individual and record their activities or political speeches.[1]

The research is usually conducted in the time period between announcement of intent to run and the actual election; however political parties maintain long-term databases that can cover several decades. The practice is both a tactical maneuver and a cost-saving measure.[2] The term is frequently used to refer not just to the collection of information but also how it is utilized, as a component of negative campaigning.

Contents

Origins and history

In the 1st century BC, Cicero is said to have gathered information that was damaging to opponents and used it in attacks against them. He accused one political opponent, Catiline, of murdering one wife to make room for another. He attacked Mark Antony in speeches known as the Philippicae, eventually prompting Antony to chop off his head and right hand and display them at the Roman Forum.[3]

Opposition research also has its origins in military planning, as evident in such ancient texts as The Art of War, published in the 5th century BC by Sun Tzu. This manual for warriors describes the necessity for understanding an opponent’s weaknesses, for using spies, and for striking in moments of weakness.

In 18th-century England, opposition research took the form of scandal-mongering pamphlet wars between the Whig and Tory parties. Writers such as Daniel DefoeJonathan Swift, and Henry Fielding participated, often writing under assumed names.[4] This tradition of robust attack was replicated later in the American colonies, when writers such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin conducted opposition research and published their results.

The first appearance of the phrase “opposition research” in the New York Times occurred on December 17, 1971, in an article that describes the infiltration of the Edmund Muskie presidential campaign by a female Republican volunteer: “…an article appeared in a Washington newspaper describing the ‘opposition research’ program at Republican headquarters…”[5]

Opposition research became systematized in the 1970s when Ken Khachigian, in the Nixon Administration, suggested that the GOP keep files on individuals as insurance against future races, rather than “scramble” in an ad hoc fashion race by race.[2]

Methods

Opposition research differs immensely depending on the size and funding of a campaign, the ethics of the candidate, and the era in which it is conducted. Information gathering can be classified into three main categories: open-source research enabled by the Freedom of Information Actcovert operations or “tradecraft, ” and maintenance of human systems of informants. Increasingly, data-mining of electronic records is used. Information is then stored for future use, and disseminated in a variety of ways.[6] A local election sometimes has a staff member dedicated to reading through all of the opponents’ public statements and their voting records; others initiate whisper campaigns that employ techniques of disinformation or “black ops” to deliberately mislead the public by advancing a pre-determined “narrative” that will present the opponent in a negative light.

Another technique is to infiltrate the opposition’s operations and position a paid informant there. “Gray propaganda” techniques are often used to release damaging information to news media outlets without its source being identified properly, a technique inherited from disinformation tactics employed by intelligence agencies such as the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.[7]

File-sharing between operatives of political parties is quite common. In the 2008 presidential election, a dossier of opposition research against Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was posted in its entirety on a political blog site, Politico.com. The file was compiled by the staff of her opponent in the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race, Tony Knowles.[8]

“Oppo dumps” are used by political campaigns to systematically supply files of damaging information to press outlets, including matters of the public record, video footage from party archives and private collections, as well as private intelligence gathered by operatives. Many prime time television and radio news commentaries rely on this supply of party-generated material because it is free, and therefore more cost-effective than paying investigative reporters.[9][10]

Candidates and incumbents who benefit from opposition research often choose to remain uninformed about their campaign’s operations and tactics, to ensure plausible deniability should criminal charges be brought against researchers.

“Trackers” and videography

Yet another technique is to position information or personnel within media outlets. Often the information is video footage gathered in campaign-funded “tracker programs” wherein videographers use candidates’ itineraries to track them and record as many remarks as possible, since anything they say can and will be used against them, as was the case in former Senator George Allen’s “macaca moment.”[2] In the 2006 election cycle, a Virginia senator, George Allen, was unseated because of videotape of the senator calling a videographer/opposition researcher as “macaca” or monkey. The name was considered to be an ethnic slur, and Allen’s campaign could not overcome the damage when the incident was broadcast widely in mainstream media and on the internet.[11]

Digital media and Wikipedia

A 2005 analysis of digital media strategies published by the American Academy of Political Science took the view that new technologies enable “political elites” to use database and Internet technologies to do opposition research more easily, but they use data-mining techniques that outrage privacy advocates and surreptitious technologies that few Internet users understand. Data becomes “richer” about political actors, policy options, and the diversity of actors and opinion in the public sphere, but citizenship is “thinner” by virtue of “the ease in which people can become politically expressive without being substantively engaged.”[12]

Facebook photos became a tool of opposition researchers in California’s 32nd congressional district special election, 2009 to replace Hilda Solis. Front-runner Democrat Gil Cedillo sent out mailers targeting 26-year-old Emanuel Pleitez, grouping Pleitez’s Facebook photos to suggest that he parties to excess with alcohol, and fraternizes with gangs. The text of the mailer suggested Pleitez, posing with a Latino stage actress and using a Latino voter registration drive hand sign, was “flashing gang signs”.[13]

In 2006, the campaign manager of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox, Morton Brilliant, resigned after Cox’s opponent, Lt. Gov, Mark Taylor, revealed Cox’s campaign had added information from an opposition research dossier to a Wikipedia page on Taylor. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales confirmed that the material had come from an IP address affiliated with the Cox campaign. Citing an Associated Press analysis, CNN reported that Wikipedia being used as a “popular tool” for opposition researchers became so widespread a problem that Wikipedia altered its submission guidelines and set up alerts so that its operators know when Capitol Hill staffers alter Wikipedia content.[14] However, anyone who wanted to could simply bypass this by using an IP address not associated with Capitol Hill.

Grassroots oppo-research

Opposition research is a necessary component of “grassroots” activist groups. Research on corporate or political opponents may enable activist groups to target neighborhoods from which to increase their numbers, to refine their focus or “target,” to pinpoint the target’s vulnerabilities, to reveal hidden sources of funding or little-known connections, to investigate scare tactics, and to augment a legislative initiative.[15]

In the presidential election of 2008, the blog Talking Points Memo pioneered “collaborative citizen-reporting projects” based on groups of volunteers examining public documents that shed light on the George W. Bush administration’s U.S. attorneys firings controversy. Other organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation encouraged citizen examination of such public domain records as Mitt Romney’s financial disclosure statements and Bill Clinton’s income statements.[16]

Preventive measures

Political strategies for campaigns often include coaching on preventive measures to avoid providing too much information in public disclosure procedures that can provide ammunition for opponents’ opposition researchers, particularly in itemized expenditure reports. “To eliminate some of these potential issues your campaign should take the time to review the wording of your campaign finance reports”, advises one strategist writing for The Hill:

Instead of reporting that you spent $3,000 on a ‘background check and public records search on Congressman X,’ list the expenditure as ‘issue research’ or simply ‘research’… One bonus financial filing tip: warn your candidate about spending campaign funds on fancy restaurants for ‘strategy meetings.’ Eating at Ruth’s Chris or Morton’s Steak House on your campaign’s dime just looks bad. The press may poke a little fun at your candidate’s expense; your donors may feel their donation in being misspent and may never give again.[17]

Funding and institutions

Congressional and presidential opposition research is often conducted by or funded by a political party, lobbying group, political action committee (PAC), or a 527 group that coalesces around a certain issue. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic parties employ full-time “Directors of Research” and maintain databases on opponents. In recent years the task of opposition research has been privatized in many areas. Full-time companies with permanent staff specializing in media productions or “grassroots” operations have replaced volunteers and campaign officials. Political media consultants may also opt for astroturfing techniques, which simulate wide popular appeal for a candidate’s platform.

In presidential elections

Opponents of Andrew Jackson in the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections unearthed his marriage records to imply that he was an adulterer for marrying Rachel Robards before she was legally divorced from her first husband. Jackson had married her in 1791 on the strength of a statement from her husband that he had divorced her; Jackson had two wedding ceremonies, the not-recognizable one of 1791 and the legally corrective one of 1794. His political opponents used this information decades later against him, and he fought many duels over his wife’s honor. Rachel Robards died before Jackson took office in his first term; he maintained that the stress of the opposition had killed her.[18]

In 1858, William Herndon, the law partner of Abraham Lincoln, did research in the Illinois State Library to collect “all the ammunition Mr. Lincoln saw fit to gather” to prepare for the run against Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 presidential race.[19]

In preparation for Ronald Reagan’s debate with President Jimmy Carter in the presidential race 1980, Reagan’s campaign staff acquired under mysterious circumstances a 200-page briefing book, including information on Carter’s strategy, which staffers David Stockmanand David Gergen had used to prepare Reagan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department investigated to see how the information had been obtained by the Reagan camp. Two law professors filed suit in federal district court in Washington to request a special investigation, based on the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.[20] Carter’s staff believed the book to have been stolen from the White House, but the inquiry did not uncover any credible evidence that any law had been violated. The House of Representatives conducted its own investigation, and concluded in a 2,314-page report that the Reagan staff had two copies of the book, one from Reagan’s campaign director William J. Casey, future head of the Central Intelligence Agency.[21] James Baker attributed the acquisition of the documents to Casey, who claimed to know nothing about them, and an analysis of Carter campaign documents found in the “Afghanistan” files of Reagan aide David Gergen indicated they came from three White House offices: the National Security Council, Vice President Walter Mondale and Domestic Adviser Stuart Eizenstat.[22] Many years afterward, Carter himself stated in a PBS interview that the book had been taken by columnist George Will, but Will denied it, calling Carter “a recidivist liar.”[23]

Lee Atwater is considered to be the “father” of modern aggressive “oppo” techniques. Atwater honed his style working in his native South Carolina for Senator Strom Thurmond and to elect Congressman (later Governor) Carroll Campbell. From his posts on the 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Atwater encouraged and helped direct what was then the advanced oppo work of the Republican National Committee against Democrats Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. During the 1988 presidential campaign, dozens of RNC researchers worked three shifts around the clock to feed the then-burgeoning 24-hour news cycle. The now-infamous “Willie Horton” TV ads crafted by Floyd Brown helped turn voters away from Dukakis and towards the Republican, although Atwater and Bush were protected by plausible deniability because Brown’s ads were independently funded and produced. Academic research into the Bush archives decades later revealed that a Bush staffer, Candice Strother, had released a dossier of information on Willie Horton to Elizabeth Fediay, of the non-profit group that contracted for the ad.[24] (The Horton story had been completely public for an entire year, part of news coverage that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune newspaper.) Willie Horton was an African-American convicted murderer released on a weekend furlough during Governor Dukakis’s tenure, who escaped and committed a brutal rape in Maryland, also stabbing his victim’s husband.[25] Atwater is also credited with originating “push polls” and “whisper campaigns” that use disinformation strategies to alienate voters from opponents. A biography of Atwater, quotes him as saying in an interview toward the end of his life that he regretted some of his less ethical techniques.[26]

In the 1992 presidential campaign, Republicans reported that they spent $6 million on a “state of the art (opposition research) war machine” to investigate Bill Clinton, who was running against George H. W. Bush. In the same election, the Clinton campaign paid more than $100,000 to a private investigator to look into allegations about Clinton’s womanizing, investigating more than two dozen women.[27]

In the 2000 presidential election, longtime opposition researcher and Nixon loyalist Roger Stone was recruited by former Secretary of State James Baker to oversee the recount of the disputed Presidential election in Miami-Dade County in 2000. Stone is credited with organizing the street demonstrations and eventual shut-down of the recount in that pivotal county.[28]

In the 2004 presidential race, Chris Lehane, a Democratic opposition researcher attracted notoriety and built a reputation not for deploying his skills against Republican opponents, but for using them against other Democrats in the primary races. Working for retired Army general Wesley Clark, Lehane sought to establish a media “narrative” that Howard Dean was hypocritical and dishonest, based on surveys of his administrative archive as governor of Vermont.[29]

A protege of Atwater’s, Karl Rove, is considered to be the “architect” of George W. Bush’s election to the governor’s office in Texas, and to the presidency in 2000 and 2004. In the 2000 race, Rove is credited with masterminding the push poll that initiated the “John McCainhas a black love child” whisper campaign in South Carolina.[30] Anonymous telephone pollsters, upon determining that a voter was pro-McCain, asked the question, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew he had fathered a black child out of wedlock?” The question was not overt slander, but it prompted the president of Bob Jones University to launch his own internet campaign against McCain, and succeeded in crippling the trust of voters McCain had attracted. The Bush camp knew, as the general public did not, that in reality, John McCain was the adoptive father of a dark-skinned Bangladeshi refugee who was rescued by his wife Cindi.[31]

In the 2008 presidential election, opposition researchers for Barack Obama unearthed the fact that John Edwards had paid $400 for haircuts at campaign expense, and supplied Politico’s Ben Smith with the tip, according to a memoir later published by campaign manager David Plouffe.[32] Though the Democratic National Committee continues to fund a research department, after the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times reported that “The legacy of the Democratic National Committee itself is hardly clear going forward. Mr. Obama effectively subsumed all the responsibilities in his campaign: fundraising, voter turn-out and opposition research.[33]

Executive branch

  • Franklin Roosevelt Administration: In 1940, the White House accidentally taped a conversation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructing a lower level aide to disseminate a rumor about his opponent Wendell Willkie having an extramarital affair: “We can’t have any of our principal speakers refer to it, but the people down the line can get it out.”[34]
  • Johnson Administration: In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 30 FBI agents to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., to avert assassination attempts, and to monitor his political rival Robert Kennedy and civil rights activists. Johnson later also placed his Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, under FBI surveillance, with a federal wiretap.[35]
  • Nixon Administration: During the Richard Nixon administration, White House staffers compiled lists of names of political opponents, journalists who had criticized Nixon, and artists and actors (such as Jane Fonda and Paul Newman) who had dissented with Nixon policy, especially on the subject of Vietnam, with the intent of prompting Internal Revenue Service investigations. The full extent of Nixon’s surveillance of private citizens solely on the basis of their dissent was not known until years after Nixon was forced to resign, as former staff members such as Charles Colson and John Dean began to disclose details.[citation needed] Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell [1] (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House) and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as “Opponents List” and “Political Enemies Project.” The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel’s Office, was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”[36]
  • Ford Administration: During the Gerald Ford presidency, Deputy Assistant Dick Cheney suggested in a now-infamous memo to Donald Rumsfeld that the White House use the United States Justice Department to conduct opposition research and retaliate against political opponents and critical journalists such as Seymour Hersh and the New York Times, arguing that the executive branch had the power to prosecute journalists as they saw fit, under the provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917.[37]
  • Reagan Administration: In 1984, during the Ronald Reagan presidency, the Republican National Committee formed The Opposition Research Group, with its own budget of $1.1 million. These staff amassed information on eight Democratic presidential candidates based on data from voting records, Congressional Record speeches, media clippings and transcripts, campaign materials, all of which was stored on a computer for easy access. In this way the Reagan team was able to track inconsistencies and attack them. This original data base evolved into a network that linked information gleaned by Republicans in all 50 states, creating a master data base accessible to high-ranking Republican staff, even aboard Air Force One.[38] Though this RNC database was accessible to both the Reagan White House and campaign team, no evidence has surfaced that U.S. federal dollars funded The Opposition Research Group or its efforts.
  • Clinton Administration: During the Bill Clinton administration, the “Filegate” scandal erupted when White House staffers said to be acting on the directions of First Lady Hillary Clinton improperly accessed 500 FBI files compiled for security checks of Reagan and Bush staffers in previous administrations. Craig Livingstone, said to be hired by Mrs. Clinton with dubious credentials, resigned amid public outcry. In testimony under oath during the Kenneth Starr special prosecutor’s investigation, Mrs. Clinton stated that she had neither hired Livingstone nor improperly perused the files.[39]
  • George W. Bush Administration: Two former opposition researchers for the RNC appointed to Justice Department posts, Timothy Griffin and Monica Goodling, were implicated in efforts to use data collected on Democratic-appointed federal attorneys as ground for dismissal. See Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. See also Karl Rove. Also during this administration, Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), an intelligence gathering arm of the Pentagon was disbanded in 2008, after investigations into the bribery activities directed at Duke Cunningham revealed that the U.S. government kept a sizeable database of information about 126 domestic peace activist groups, including Quakers, about 1,500 “suspicious incidents” including peace demonstrations outside armed forces recruiter offices, even though the groups posed no specified threat to national security. The program was known as Talon. About two years elapsed between the program’s disbanding and the Post report. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “official” as saying,”On the surface, it looks like things in the database that were determined not to be viable threats were never deleted but should have been,” the official said. “You can also make the argument that these things should never have been put in the database in the first place until they were confirmed as threats.”[40]
  • Barack Obama Administration: In February 2009, Shauna Daly, a former opposition researcher for the Democratic National Committee was appointed as a researcher for the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel. Daly was Barack Obama‘s deputy research director during the presidential campaign, spent much of the cycle rebutting viral online attacks on Obama’s character and biography under the rubric of “Stop the Smears.” Shortly thereafter, amid speculations that she would be conducting research against political opponents, she was reassigned as Research Director to the DNC. Politico.com reported on February 27, 2009 that “the counsel’s office – which doesn’t face the sort of rapid-response demands that were common in the late Clinton years – doesn’t plan to fill the research post.”[41]The American Spectator reported on its “Washington Prowler” blog that Daly was posted in the White House Counsel’s Office for “about a month,” and thus had access to “reams of Bush administration documents related to such things as the firings of U.S. Attorney, the use and internal debate over the USA PATRIOT ActFISA and the Scooter Libby and Karl Rove investigations. The “Prowler” quoted “a DNC staffer” as saying, “She realized that she could do more with all the material she saw outside of the building than inside where she’d be bound by the rules and legalities of the White House Counsel’s Office. Now she isn’t. She’s good at what she does; her time at the White House means we’ve got a mother load (sic) of material that will have Republicans scrambling. At least that’s what we hope.”[42]

Supreme Court

In 1916, after President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis for the Supreme Court, “concerned” citizens seeking to block his confirmation offered information that Brandeis was a “radical Zionist,” even though he was not a practicing Jew. Brandeis aggressively outmaneuvered his detractors by mounting his own opposition research efforts, including a carefully constructed chart that exposed the social and financial connections of the group, mostly from Boston’s Back Bay, and including Harvard president Lawrence Lowell, as well as a group headed by former President William Howard Taft and a host of American Bar Association past presidents. Brandeis sent the chart to Walter Lippman at the New Republic who penned an editorial condemning “the most homogeneous, self-centered, and self-complacent community in the United States.” Brandeis was confirmed after four months of hearings, in a Senate vote of 47–22.[43]

Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, prompting a Senate floor speech from Democratic Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, which later became known as the “Robert Bork’s America” speech:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is – and is often the only – protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.

Kennedy’s speech prompted a rapid-response opposition research effort from Democrats, but the White House waited two and a half months to respond. The Senate Judiciary Committee, under the direction of Delaware senator and presidential hopeful Joseph Biden, commissioned a report in response to the materials Reagan’s staff had released in support of Bork’s nomination. Prepared by a panel of lawyers, including two Duke University law professors, the 78-page became known as “The Biden Report.” The report detailed Bork’s record, and analyzed the pattern of his rulings, and deeming him to be a conservative “activist” rather than an impartial jurist Ultimately, Bork’s embattled nomination failed, and Anthony Kennedy (no relation to Ted) was later confirmed to fill the position.[44][45] The fierce research-based opposition to Bork’s nomination attracted significant media attention, even though a Gallup Poll on the eve of the confirmation vote showed that very few Americans could name the nominee in question, much less recall his rulings.[46] A new verb was later coined; “to bork” a candidate or nominee by mounting such voluminous research and vocal opposition that the person in question would be forced to withdraw.[47]

After President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Boston Globe reported that Republican conservative advocacy groups were conducting opposition research against her: “Groups are circulating lists of questions they want members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Miers at her confirmation hearings. The activists’ thinly veiled hope is that Miers will reveal ignorance of the law and give senators a reason to oppose her.”[48] Miers later withdrew her name from consideration for the court.

On July 7, 2005, soon after the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Democratic National Committee gathered and circulated information on the “anti-civil rights” and “anti-immigrant” rulings of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., by then nominated by President George W. Bush to replace her. Upon inspection, the documents were revealed to have been amended by Devorah Adler, research director for the DNC. Alito’s “record” had been pointedly altered to present him in a negative light. While the incident was not unusual, it received publicity in prominent places because it drew attention to the “meta-data” that is often unwittingly stored in documents that are altered and forwarded electronically.[49]

On May 2, 2009, after Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his intent to retire from the court, the New York Times reported that Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, had noted that conservatives were “focusing opposition research efforts on 17 women, whom they have divided into two tiers based on their perceived chances.”[50]

U.S. states

Seven aides to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pleaded guilty on January 7, 2010, to illegal use of state resources for campaign activities, including opposition research against the political opponents of incumbent officeholders during 2007. These seven were Democrats; a total of 25 indictments have been handed down to a mix of Democrats and Republican politicians.[51]

During Lamar Alexander‘s 2002 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Alexander’s campaign staff received an anonymous mailing of a photograph of opponent Bob Clement obviously serving as a board member of a failed bank whose owners had been imprisoned for bank fraud. When the Alexander campaign raised the issue of Clement’s financial ties with the convicted felons, Clement denied any connection. When the Alexander campaign produced the photograph as evidence, Clement claimed his role was only an informal advisory one.[52]

In early July 2009 Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced that she would be resigning as governor, partly due to complications from opposition research and ethics inquiries after her inclusion on the 2008 GOP presidential race ballot as John McCain’s running mate. At a later news conference Palin told reporters, “Obviously conditions had changed so drastically on August 29, the day I was tapped to be VP,” she said. “The opposition research and the games that began there — which I think is the new normal in Alaska politics, until I hand the reins over to Sean Parnell — have been so distracting.”[53]

In the Pennsylvania state legislature in July 2009, former state House Democratic Campaign Committee Chair, Rep. Stephen Stetler found himself amidst an investigation when he rejected a plan that would have shifted the job of opposition research from employees on the state payroll to private firms. Attorney General Tom Corbett alleged that millions in public funds were paid to state employees who did such research on the 2006 and 2004 campaigns of Democrats in the state. Stetler left the House after 2006 to become the state’s revenue secretary. A former aide, Dan Wiedemer testified before grand jurors that the suggestion to remove politically motivated research from the hands of public employees “was more or less shot down.” Though Stetler has not been charged, 12 former House members and members of their staff were charged with diverting public funds for political campaign work.[54] Stetler was among those subpoenaed, said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. The hearing will be held before President Judge Richard Lewis in September.[55]

In other countries

Australia

In October 2011, a media storm erupted in Australia over the leaking of ‘dirt files’ compiled by the Liberal National Party and further revelations that a former Australian Labor Party operative had been engaged to help compile the dossiers.[56]

Despite protestations that key party personnel had no knowledge of the dossiers it was later revealed a Liberal National Party opposition research strategist had been compiling the files as part of a SWOT analysis at previous elections which formed the basis of negative attack messaging for a ‘rapid response unit’.[57]

South Africa

In January 2017, the African National Congress (ANC) was exposed when Sihle Bolani filed an affidavit in the Johannesburg High Court, demanding payment for her part in project War Room. The War Room’s mandate was to “disempower DA and EFF campaigns” and set a pro-ANC agenda using a range of media, without revealing the ANC’s hand.[58]

Mass media ethics

The practice of using tips from opposition research sources was examined in 1994 by Howard Kurtz, media analyst for The Washington Post. Kurtz surveyed the major networks, NewsweekThe Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other influential media outlets, and found varying levels of use of oppo research information on David Hale as a witness in the Whitewater controversy. At this time, Brown confirmed that he had been the source of four mainstream media stories that had received attention from the Columbia Journalism Review because they bore striking resemblance to the opposition research being disseminated by Citizens United.[59]

“Far from being detached observers, reporters constantly call oppo staffs looking for tidbits and sometimes trading information,” wrote three reporters, Matthew CooperGloria Borger, and Michael Barone, for U.S. News & World Report in 1992.[60]

Political infighting

In spring 2007, Roger Stone, a political consultant in the employ of New York state senator Joseph Bruno, resigned after leaving threatening phone messages on the answering machine of the 85-year-old father of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, alleging that Spitzer’s campaign finances were conducted improperly.[61] In November of that same year, Stone sent a letter to the FBI detailing Spitzer’s sexual preferences with prostitutes and sexual props, right down to his black calf-length socks.[62] Stone was considered to be an authoritative source because he frequented the same prostitutes himself as a client. A subsequent Justice Department investigation produced evidence that ultimately led to Spitzer’s resignation as governor. Bruno, Stone’s client, has been a longtime political enemy of Spitzer.

In popular culture

The television show House of Cards depicts many examples of opposition research, particularly the character of Doug Stamper, the loyal adviser to Francis “Frank” Underwood, who regularly engages in the practice with little morality and few ethics.

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_research

 

Christopher Steele

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Christopher Steele
Born 24 June 1964 (age 54)

Education Girton College, Cambridge (BA)
Occupation Secret Intelligence Service(1987–2009)
Private intelligence consultant

Christopher David Steele (born 24 June 1964) is a British former intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009. In 2009 he co-founded Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm.

Steele authored a dossier that claims Russia collected a file of compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump.[1][2]

It has been claimed[3][4] by President Donald Trump and his supporters that U.S. intelligence community probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election were launched due to Steele’s dossier.[5] The House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, concluded in an April 2018 report that the probe was triggered based on information on Trump adviser George Papadopoulos; meanwhile the February 2018 Nunes memo written by staff members for that committee also reached the same conclusion.[6][7]

Contents

Early life

Christopher David Steele was born in the Yemeni city of Aden (then part of the Federation of South Arabia), on 24 June 1964.[8][9] His parents, Perris and Janet, had met while working at the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s national weather service. His paternal grandfather was a coal miner from Pontypridd in Wales.[10] Steele spent time growing up in Aden, the Shetland Islands, and Cyprus, as well as at Wellington College, Berkshire.[10]

Steele matriculated at Girton College, Cambridge in 1982. While at the University of Cambridge, he wrote for the student newspaperVarsity.[8][10][11] In the Easter term of 1986, Steele was President of The Cambridge Union debating society.[12][13] He graduated with a degree in Social and Political Sciences in 1986.[14]

Career

Steele was recruited by MI6 directly following his graduation from Cambridge, working in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1987 to 1989.[9] From 1990 to 1993, Steele worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 agent in Moscow, serving at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow.[8][13][15] Steele was an “internal traveller”, visiting newly-accessible cities such as Samara and Kazan.[10][16][17]

He returned to London in 1993, working again at the FCO until his posting with the British Embassy in Paris in 1998, where he served under diplomatic cover until 2002. But Steele’s identity as an MI6 officer and a hundred and sixteen other British spies had their cover blown by an anonymously published list that Her Majesty’s Government attempted to suppress through a DSMA-Notice in 1999.[18][8][15][19][20][21]

In 2003, Steele was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as part of an MI6 team, briefing Special Forces on “kill or capture” missions for Taliban targets, and also spent time teaching new MI6 recruits.[15] Steele returned to London and between 2006 and 2009 he headed the Russia Desk at MI6.[8][10][13][22]

Steele’s expertise on Russia remained valued, and he served as a senior officer under John Scarlett, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), from 2004 to 2009.[22] Steele was selected as case officer for Alexander Litvinenko and participated in the investigation of the Litvinenko poisoning in 2006.[15] It was Steele who quickly realised that Litvinenko’s death “was a Russian state ‘hit'”.[22] Twelve years later he allegedly was included himself into a hit list of the Russian Federal Security Service, along with Sergei Skripal who was poisoned in 2018 by a binary chemical weapon Novichok in Britain.[23]

Since 2009 Steele has not been to Russia, or visited any former Soviet states and in 2012, an Orbis informant quoted an FSB-agent describing him as an “enemy of Mother Russia”.[8] Steele has refrained from travelling to the United States since his identity became public, citing the political and legal situation.[24]

Steele has worked with Oleg Deripaska.[25]

Private sector

In March 2009, Steele with his fellow MI6-retiree Chris Burrows co-founded the private intelligence agency Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., based in Grosvenor Square Gardens.[26][13] Between 2014 and 2016, Steele created over 100 reports on Russian and Ukrainian issues, which were read within the United States Department of State, and he was viewed as credible by the United States intelligence community.[10] The business was commercially successful, grossing approximately $20,000,000 in the first nine years of operation.[8]

Steele ran an investigation dubbed “Project Charlemagne”, which noted Russian interference in the domestic politics of FranceItalyGermanyTurkey, and the United Kingdom.[8] Steele concluded in April 2016 that Russia was engaged in an information warfarecampaign with the goal of destroying the European Union.[8]

In 2017, Steele established a new company called Chawton Holdings, again with Christopher Burrows.[27] In November 2018, Steele sued the German industrial group Bilfinger, alleging that the company owed €150,000 for an investigation into Bilfinger’s activities in Nigeria and Sakhalin.[28]

FIFA research

In 2010, The Football Association (FA), England’s domestic football governing body, organized a committee in hopes of hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.[29] The FA hired Steele’s company to investigate FIFA (International Federation of Association Football). In advance of the FBI launching its 2015 FIFA corruption case, members of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force met with Steele in London to discuss allegations of possible corruption in FIFA.[26][30] Steele’s research indicated that Russian Deputy Prime MinisterIgor Sechin had rigged the bidding of the 2018 World Cups by employing bribery.[8]

Trump dossier

Background and information gathering

In September 2015, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, retained the services of Fusion GPS, a private Washington D.C. political research firm, to conduct research on several primary Republican Party candidates including candidate Trump. The research was unrelated to Russia and was ended once Trump was determined to be the presidential nominee.

The firm was subsequently hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared attorney at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias. Fusion GPS then hired Steele[31] to investigate Trump’s Russia-related activities.[26] According to CNNHillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the financing of the inquiry into Donald Trump and produced what became known as the Trump dossier.[32]

In July 2016, Steele supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome.[33] His contact at the FBI was the same senior agent with whom he had worked when investigating the FIFA scandal.[15][8]

In September 2016, Steele held a series of off the record meetings with journalists from The New York TimesThe Washington PostYahoo! NewsThe New Yorker and CNN.[10] In October 2016, Steele spoke about his discoveries to David Corn of the progressive American political magazine Mother Jones. Steele said he decided to pass his dossier to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that the material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Trump, but was a matter of national security for both countries.[34] Corn’s resulting 31 October article in Mother Jones was the first to publicly mention the dossier, although the article did not disclose Steele’s identity.[34] The magazine did not publish the dossier itself, however, or detail its allegations, since they could not be verified.[35]

Post-election work on the dossier

Steele continued to work for Fusion GPS on the dossier without a client to pay him.[36] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[36] On 18 November 2016, Sir Andrew Wood, British ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, met with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, and told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump.[37] Wood vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[38] In early December, McCain obtained a copy of the dossier from David J. Kramer, a former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University.[36] On 9 December 2016, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[37]

In a second memo Steele wrote in November 2016, after the termination of his contract with Fusion, he reported that Russian officials had claimed that Russia had blocked Donald Trump from nominating Mitt Romney to be his Secretary of State, due to Romney’s hawkishness on Russia.[8][39]

Revealed identity

On 11 January 2017, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Steele was the author of the dossier about Trump, citing “people familiar with the matter”.[2] Although the dossier’s existence had been “common knowledge” among journalists for months at that point and had become public knowledge during the previous week, Steele’s name had not been revealed. The Telegraph asserted that Steele’s anonymity had been “fatally compromised” after CNN published his nationality.[31]

The Independent reported that Steele left his home in England several hours before his name was published as the author of the dossier, as he was fearful of retaliation by Russian authorities.[31] In contrast, The Washington Post reported that he left after he had been identified earlier in the day by the initial Wall Street Journal report.[40]

Christopher Burrows, director of Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., said he would not “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the dossier.[41]

Steele’s relationship with the FBI ended, variously associated with either the public revelation of Steele’s identity, or Steele’s release of information to the press, or Steele’s denial to the FBI of having spoken to the press.[42][43] One source dates this event to late October 2016.[44]

On 7 March 2017, as some members of the United States Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today”.[45]

Disclosure and reactions

In early January 2017, a two-page summary of the Trump dossier was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.[46]

On 10 January 2017, BuzzFeed was the first media outlet to publish the full 35-page dossier. In publishing the Trump dossier, BuzzFeed stated that it had been unable to verify or corroborate the allegations.[47] The UK issued a DSMA notice on 10 January 2017, requesting that the media not release Steele’s identity,[48] although the BBC and other UK news media released the information in news stories the same day.[16] Trump vigorously denied the dossier’s allegations, calling it fake news during a press conference.[49] Vladimir Putin also dismissed the claims.[50]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported that American intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[51]

Former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton, read Steele’s report. Speaking on Sky News he said, “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in it which look pretty shaky”. Brenton expressed some doubts due to discrepancies in how the dossier described aspects of the hacking activities, as well as Steele’s ability to penetrate the Kremlin and Russian security agencies, given that he is an outsider.[52]

On 15 March 2017, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell raised questions about the dossier. He was concerned about the accuracy of the information, due to the approach taken by Steele to gather it. Steele gave money to intermediaries and the intermediaries paid the sources. Morell said, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information – you just can’t”. Morell continues to believe that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[53]

Role in the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation

Although the dossier later became one factor among many in the Russia investigation, it had no role in the start of the investigation. This fact has been the subject of intense discussion and controversy, largely fueled by false claims made by Trump and his supporters.[54][55][56]

In early February 2018, the Nunes memo, written by aides of Republican U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (who was at the time the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee), described that the information on George Papadopoulos “triggered the opening of” the original FBI investigation in late July 2016 into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.[57] In late February 2018, a rebuttal memo by Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee stated that “Christopher Steele’s reporting … played no role in launching the counterintelligence investigation … In fact, Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe’s existence was so closely held within the FBI.”[58][59]

In April 2018, the House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, released a final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential American election, which stated that the House Intelligence Committee found that “in late July 2016, the FBI opened an enterprise CI [counterintelligence] investigation into the Trump campaign following the receipt of derogatory information about foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos”.[6][7][60]

Role in subsequent investigations

In the summer of 2017, two Republican staffers for the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence travelled to London to investigate the dossier, visiting the office of Steele’s lawyer but not meeting with Steele.[61] In August 2018, RepresentativeDevin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, travelled to London in an attempt to meet with the heads of MI5MI6, and GCHQ for information about Steele, but was rebuffed by the three agencies.[62][63]

Steele reportedly revealed the identities of the sources used in the dossier to the FBI.[64] Investigators from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation team met with Steele in September 2017 to interview him about the dossier’s claims.[65][66] The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is in continued contact with lawyers representing Steele.[67]

On April 5, 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Walter Soriano the owner of USG Security Limited based in Britain and Israel for his communication with Paul ManafortMichael Flynn, Psy-Group,Wikistrat, and Black CubeOrbis Business Intelligence(a firm co-founded by Christopher Steele).[68][69]

Legal action

In February 2017, lawyers for Russian internet entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev filed a libel suit against Steele in London. Gubarev claimed he was defamed by allegations in the dossier.[70]

In August 2017, lawyers for Gubarev demanded Steele give a deposition regarding the dossier, as part of a libel lawsuit against BuzzFeed News[71][72][73] filed in February.[74] Steele objected to testifying but his objections were rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro, who allowed the deposition to proceed.[75][76][74]

In April 2018, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a libel suit against Steele, who mentioned the bank in the Trump–Russia dossier. The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C.[77] The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Anthony C. Epstein on August 20, 2018.[78][79]

Senate Republicans’ referral for a criminal investigation[edit]

On 5 January 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, joined by senior Republican member Lindsey Graham, issued a criminal referral regarding Steele to the Justice Department for it to investigate whether Steele had lied to the FBI about his interactions with the media.[80][81][82][83] Because the referral is based on classified FBI documents, the context in which the Republican senators allege Steele to have lied is limited to references that he discussed the dossier with media outlets.[83] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only'”.[84]

The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as members of both parties on the Judiciary Committee.[82] Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua A. Levy said that the referral was just another effort to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the election and that: “After a year of investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place”.[82] Veteran prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg called the referral “nonsense” because “the FBI doesn’t need any prompting from politicians to prosecute people who have lied to them.”[82] Another former federal prosecutor, Justin Dillon said that “it was too early to assume the letter was simply a political attack”. The senior Democrat on the Committee, Dianne Feinstein, said that the referral was made without consultation of any Democrats on the committee and released a five-page rebuttal.[85] A Republican aide said that Grassley and Graham were “carrying water for the White House”; that their actions did not reflect the views of the committee as a whole; and that other members were upset with Grassley over the matter.[82]

In an opinion-editorial for Politico, former CIA official John Sipher said that the attacks on Steele, a private citizen who provided information to the FBI that alarmed him, will make future tipsters less likely to approach American law enforcement with information that bears on national security.[86]

Personal life

His first wife, Laura, with whom he had three children, died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2012; he and his second wife Katherine had one child and are raising all four children together.[8] He currently lives in Farnham, Surrey.[8]

References …

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Steele

 

Fusion GPS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Fusion GPS
Founded 2011
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Key people
Glenn R. Simpson
Website www.fusiongps.com

Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington, D.C. The company conducts open-source investigations and provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research.[1] The “GPS” initialism is derived from “Global research, Political analysis, Strategic insight”.[2]

Contents

History

The company was co-founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal; Peter Fritsch, former Wall Street Journal senior editor; and former Wall Street Journal journalist Thomas Catan.[3]

Work

Opposition research on Mitt Romney

Fusion GPS was hired in 2012 to do opposition research on U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[3] In February 2012, the magazine Mother Jones published an article on Frank VanderSloot and his company Melaleuca, who combined had given $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. After the article was published, an intern at Fusion GPS did a search of Idaho court records on VanderSloot by phone and fax. In January 2013, VanderSloot sued Mother Jones for defamation in the February 2012 article. In the course of the litigation, VanderSloot deposed Fusion GPS founder Simpson on the “theory that Mother Jones conspired with Obama’s team to defame VanderSloot”.[4][5][6] The seventh Judicial District Court of the State of Idaho dismissed the lawsuit in 2015.[7]

Planned Parenthood

In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from The Center for Medical Progress that they claim showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers. Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[8] The report claimed that the “unedited” videos posted by activists had been “heavily edited”. The anti-abortion activists attributed the gaps to “bathroom breaks and waiting periods.”[9] The report was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations.[10]

After a grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, on March 28, 2017, Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California – one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.[10] On 21 June 2017, fourteen of these charges were dismissed, with leave to amend, on the grounds that they were legally insufficient.[11] On June 30, 2017, state prosecutors refiled the 14 dismissed charges with numerical identifications for each video.[12][13] On August 24, 2017, the San Francisco Superior Court rejected new defense motions to dismiss the charges and allowed the case to proceed. Daleiden then pleaded not guilty, while Merritt did not enter a plea at the time.[13]

Prevezon Holding

In 2013, the US Department of Justice, represented by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, sued Prevezon Holding, a Republic of Cyprus corporation registered in New York State as a foreign business corporation, under the Magnitsky Act for money-laundering part of $230 million stolen. The lawsuit sought forfeiture of various assets and real estate holdings in the US.[14][15] In May 2017, two months after President Trump had dismissed Bharara, the lawsuit was settled for $6 million, less than half what Bhahara sought[16], without Prevezon admitting to any wrongdoing and with both sides claiming victory.[14][17]

The sole shareholder of Prevezon was Russian citizen Denis Katsyv, whose father is Petr Katsyv, vice president of Russia’s state-run rail monopoly and “reportedly a business associate of Vladimir Yakunin, a confidant of Vladimir Putin“.[15][18] Katsyv’s Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was not licensed to practice in the US, and Katsyv hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent Prevezon; BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in early 2014 to provide research help for the litigation.[19][20][18][21]

On October 18, 2016, the appellate court disqualified BakerHostetler from the case because they had represented Bill Browder’s hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management for nine months in 2008/2009 when the U.S. Justice Department was investigating a tax fraud scheme in Russia involving “co-opted Hermitage portfolio companies”. The U.S. Justice Department had argued that Hermitage Capital was a victim of the tax fraud and that BakerHofstetler’s prior work on behalf of Hermitage Capital created a conflict of interest.[22][19] As part of their litigation support for BakerHostetler and their client Verezon, Fusion GPS investigated Browder, a witness central to the U.S. Justice Department’s case.[23]

On July 27, 2017, Fusion GPS accused the White House of trying to “smear” it for investigating the president’s alleged ties to Russia. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to Browder’s testimony as vindication of Trump’s claims that ongoing investigations into potential ties between his campaign and Moscow are political ploys to undermine his presidency. Fusion GPS countered that it worked only with a law firm in New York “to provide support for civil litigation” unrelated to Russian efforts to do away with the Magnitsky Act, saying it had no reason to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).[24]

Browder lodged a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department in 2016 that Fusion GPS may have lobbied “for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act [and] failed to register under [U.S. law]”.[20][25] The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (not to be confused with the Magnitsky Act) is a human rights law passed on December 23, 2016.[26] It is also named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor working for Browder who died in a Russian prison after uncovering a corruption scheme that he was then charged with having helped concoct.[18]

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into purported connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The company denied the claims that they were engaged in lobbying or had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[25][20] According to the Washington Post′s “Fact Checker” column, there is “no evidence that the Russian government paid for Fusion’s work on the Prevezon defense at the same time Fusion investigated Trump’s business dealings in Russia.”[27]

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele

In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, to do opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. In spring 2016 when Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate, the Free Beacon stopped funding investigation into Trump.[28] From April 2016 through October 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion GPS to continue opposition research on Trump.[29][30][31] In June 2016, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele produced a 35-page series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[29][32] Fusion GPS provided Marc Elias, the lead election lawyer for Perkins Coie, with the resulting dossier and other research documents.[30][31]

The firm is being sued for defamation by three Alfa-Bank owners named in the dossier as connected to Putin. German Khan, one of the litigants and one of Russia’s wealthiest citizens, is the father-in-law of lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who was charged in the Mueller probe for making false statements to the FBI.[33] He pleaded guilty to one count and in April 2018 was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a fine of $20,000.[34][35]

House Intelligence Committee investigation

On October 4, 2017, Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the management of the company, demanding documents and testimony in late October and early November 2017. According to a Democratic committee source, the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the Republican majority of the committee.[36]

On October 18, 2017, the House Intelligence Committee held a private meeting with two executives of Fusion GPS, Peter Fritsch, and Thomas Catan. The purpose was to seek information about their creation of “the opposition-research dossier that makes salacious claims about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”[37] The meeting was attended by committee staff and a single committee member, Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL). In response to the questions asked at the meeting, Fritsch and Catan invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Their attorney, Joshua Levy, said that prior to the meeting he had informed the committee in writing that his clients would invoke their rights, but they were compelled to appear nevertheless. He added they would cooperate with “serious” investigations but that a “Trump cabal has carried out a campaign to demonize our client for having been tied to the Trump dossier.”[37][38]

On October 23, 2017, Fusion GPS filed for a court injunction against Nunes’ subpoena seeking the firm’s bank records for a period of more than two years, arguing it would damage and possibly destroy the business as well as violate their First Amendment rights.[39] On January 4, 2018 U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon struck down Fusion’s application, ruling that Fusion’s bank must turn over the financial records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee; Fusion asked the judge to stay his order because they plan to appeal.[40]

On October 28, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, told the House Intelligence Committee that it had retained Fusion GPS’s services from 2015 to May 2016, to research Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. The objective was the discovery of damaging information. The Free Beacon and its primary source of funding, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, denied any involvement in the creation of the Steele dossier, pointing out that they had stopped funding research on Trump before Steele was engaged.[28]

On January 2, 2018, the founders of Fusion GPS, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further explaining that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[41]

The committee interviewed Simpson for seven hours on November 14, 2017. The transcript of the interview was released on January 18, 2018.[42][43]

Senate Judiciary Committee investigations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein made arrangements in July 2017 for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to testify before their committee. It was agreed that Simpson would not testify in public but would be interviewed privately.[44][45] The committee wanted to question Simpson about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). A previous witness, banker and human rights activist Bill Browder, had accused Simpson and Fusion GPS of evading registration as foreign agents for campaigning to influence and overturn the Magnitsky Act.[24] Fusion GPS said through their attorney that they were not required to register under FARA.[24] Senators were expected to also use the hearing “to press Justice Department officials on what they know about Veselnitskaya, Prevezon, Fusion GPS and their connections to both the Trump campaign or the Russian government.”[46]

On August 22, 2017, Simpson was questioned for 10 hours by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a closed-door meeting. The Committee did not release a transcript of the hearing, but indicated that Fusion GPS had given more than 40,000 documents for the investigation.[47] Simpson kept the identities of the firm’s clients confidential;[48][49] the client names—conservative website The Washington Free Beacon,[28] and a law firm representing the DNC and the Clinton presidential campaign[30]—were revealed in October 2017 as a result of the House Intelligence Committee investigation.

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting the two congressional committees to “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony”.[41] On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[50] The next day, January 9, 2018, Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][52]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_GPS

 

 

The Washington Free Beacon

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The Washington Free Beacon
Washington Free Beacon.jpg
Type Online news site
Format Website
Editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti
Managing editors Sonny Bunch, Victorino Matus, Stephanie Wang
Founded 2012
Political alignment conservative
Language English
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Website freebeacon.com

The Washington Free Beacon is an American conservative political journalism website launched in 2012. It states that it is “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day” and producing “in-depth investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media.”[1]

The website is financially backed by Paul Singer, an American billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist.[2]

Contents

History

The Free Beacon was founded by Michael Goldfarb, Aaron Harrison, and Matthew Continetti, who remains its editor-in-chief. It launched on February 7, 2012, as a project of the 501(c)4 organization Center for American Freedom.[3] In August 2014, it announced it was becoming a for-profit news site.[4]

The site is noted for its conservative reporting, modeled after liberal counterparts in the media such as ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo, intended to publicize stories and influence the coverage of the mainstream media.[3][5][6] Jack Hunter, a staff member of U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s office, resigned in 2013 after a Free Beacon report detailing his past as a radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger” who wore a luchador mask of the Confederate flag.[7] The publication also broke several stories about former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s successful 1975 legal defense of an accused child rapist that attracted national media attention.[5][8] In May 2017, it received an award from The Heritage Foundation for its journalism.[9]

From October 2015 to May 2016, the Washington Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on “multiple candidates” during the 2016 presidential election, including Donald Trump. The Free Beaconstopped funding this research when Donald Trump had clinched the Republican nomination.[10] Fusion GPS would later hire former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and produce a dossier alleging links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Paul Singer, a billionaire and hedge fund manager, who is a major donor to the Free Beacon, said he was unaware of this dossier until it was published by BuzzFeed in January 2017.[11]On October 27, 2017, the Free Beacon publicly disclosed that it had hired Fusion GPS, and stated that it “had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele.”[12]

The Free Beacon came under criticism for its reporting on Fusion GPS. Three days before it was revealed that it was the Free Beacon that had funded the work by Fusion GPS, the Free Beacon wrote that the firm’s work “was funded by an unknown GOP client while the primary was still going on.”[13] The Free Beacon has also published pieces that have sought to portray the work by Fusion GPS as unreliable “without noting that it considered Fusion GPS reliable enough to pay for its services.”[13] In an editor’s note, Continetti said “the reason for this omission is that the authors of these articles, and the particular editors who reviewed them, were unaware of this relationship,” and that the outlet was reviewing its editorial process to avoid similar issues in the future.[14]

Reception

Jim Rutenburg of The New York Times described the reporting style of the Free Beacon as “gleeful evisceration.”[15]

Its tactics have also led to attacks from media critics and watchdog groups. The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf called the Free Beacon‘s mission “decadent and unethical”.[16]

Ben Howe wrote in The Daily Beast that the Washington Free Beacon established “itself as a credible source of conservative journalism with deep investigative dives and exposes on money in politics,” but that after Trump’s election “shifted away from the template they were establishing and more towards the path of least resistance: spending their time criticizing the left and the media, along with healthy doses of opinion writing.”[17] McKay Coppins in the Columbia Journalism Review writes of the Free Beacon that while the website contains “a fair amount of trolling… it has also earned a reputation for real-deal journalism…If a partisan press really is the future, we could do worse than the Free Beacon.”[18]

Jeet Heer writes in The New Republic of the Free Beacon, “Unlike other comparable conservative websites, the Free Beacon makes an effort to do original reporting. Its commitment to journalism should be welcomed by liberals.”[19] In 2015, Mother Jones wrote positively of the Free Beacon, noting that it is far better than contemporary conservative outlets such as The Daily Caller.[20] Mother Jones however noted that “the Beacon hasn’t always steered clear of stories that please the base but don’t really stand up,” and that it pieces inflammatory pieces that “push conservatives’ buttons”.[20] That same year, the Washingtonian wrote that “The Beacon’s emphasis on newsgathering sets it apart among right-facing publications”.[21]

See also

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Free_Beacon

Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers —  Videos —

New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats

Brian KNOWLTON

AFP

A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam.

A separate survey of battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year’s elections.

The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.

Holding edges of 1 or 2 points over Trump — albeit within the poll’s 3-point margin of error — were Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

The polling comes more than 500 days before the November 3, 2020 election, an eternity in the political world. One widely viewed tweet this week shows five presidential candidates in recent decades who trailed at this point in their campaigns — including Trump — but who went on to win.

The president does not officially launch his re-election campaign until Tuesday, at a rally-style event in a huge arena in Orlando, Florida.

– Battleground states –

Still, the Fox poll, conducted June 9 to June 12, is seen as heartening by Democrats eager to chip away at Trump’s popularity, particularly in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump’s campaign recently dismissed leaked data from its own pollsters showing Biden with double-digit leads in battleground states. The campaign at first denied the data, but then acknowledged it, branding it as “ancient” because it dated from March.

But the new CBS poll confirms a clear Biden lead in battleground states among Democratic voters, as the crowded race for that party’s nomination begins to take shape.

A belief among Democratic voters that Biden is best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020 was cited by three-quarters of Democrats as a decisive factor in their support.

https://news.yahoo.com/poll-shows-trump-trailing-biden-four-other-democrats-164318873.html

Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Iran threatens to violate nuclear deal

Iran to increase uranium stockpile as US considering ‘all options’

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran to lift cap on uranium enrichment | Al Jazeera English

The Heat: US-Iran sanctions

 

Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as Mideast tensions mount

24 minutes ago

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows the oil tanker Front Altair off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 17, 2019. New satellite photos released Monday show two oil tankers apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week. The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to strike the two tankers. Iran has denied being involved. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will surpass the uranium-stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the U.S. withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington.

The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani already has warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by July 7 or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

Atomic energy spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi suggested that Iran’s enrichment could reach up to 20%, just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world after facing one from President Donald Trump’s administration that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the U.S. sanctions.

The development follows apparent attacks last week in the Strait of Hormuz on oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.

“If this condition continues, there will be no deal” anymore, Kamalvandi said. He accused the Europeans of “killing time” as the clock runs down.

Rouhani, greeting France’s new ambassador to Tehran on Monday, similarly warned that time was running out on the deal.

“The current situation is very critical and France and the other parties to the (deal) still have a very limited opportunity to play their historic role for saving the deal,” Rouhani said, according to his website.

The announcement appeared timed to strike just as European foreign ministers met in Luxembourg. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomat, declined to specifically address the Iranian announcement.

“At the moment, as of today, Iran is still technically compliant and we strongly hope, encourage and expect that Iran continues to comply,” Mogherini told journalists. She insisted she would await the next report on the issue from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran can keep a stockpile of no more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium. Kamalvandi said that given Iran’s recent decision to quadruple its production of low-enriched uranium, it would pass the 300-kilogram limit on Thursday, June 27.

The Vienna-based IAEA said last month that Iran remained within its stockpile limits and declined to comment on Iran’s announcement. Kamalvandi said Iran would continue to allow the U.N. to inspect its nuclear facilities for the time being.

He also raised the specter of increasing its enrichment levels, saying Iran needs 5% enriched uranium for its nuclear power plant in southern Iranian port of Bushehr and 20% enriched fuel for its Tehran research reactor.

The nuclear deal limits Iran to enriching uranium only to 3.67%, enough for power plants and other peaceful purposes.

But after America pulled out of the nuclear accord and escalated sanctions, Rouhani set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with better terms for the deal or Tehran would boost enrichment further. So far, a European mechanism called INSTEX to protect trade with Iran has yet to take off.

The danger, nuclear nonproliferation experts warn, is that at 20% enrichment, only a fraction of atoms need to be removed to enrich up to weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the 2015 deal grew out of Western concerns about the program.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Since Trump took office, the U.S. has steadily stripped away at the accord, and he pulled America out of the deal in May 2018.

However, Iran’s announcement that it was on the verge of surpassing the uranium-stockpile limit set by the nuclear agreement put the U.S. is the awkward position of having to push Iran to abide by the deal Trump has disparaged.

“It’s unfortunate that they have made this announcement today,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. “It doesn’t surprise anybody and this is why the president has often said that the JCPOA needs to be replaced with a better deal.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the international community should reinstate sanctions if Iran follows through on its threats, adding: “In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Tensions have risen in the region since last month. The U.S. rushed an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the Middle East in response to what it said were threats from Iran.

Meanwhile, a series of mysterious attacks have targeted oil tankers, and the U.S. blames Iranian-laid limpet mines. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen also have launched a series of drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon on Monday released new photos intended to bolster its case that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. suspects in the attacks, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and operates outside of the traditional military’s control.

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of the general staff of Iran’s armed forces, denied Tehran was involved in the tanker attacks, saying Monday the country only would respond in “an open, strong and severe way” if needed.

But he also reiterated Iran’s traditional stance on the Strait of Hormuz.

“If we decide to block the Strait of Hormuz, we will to do it in a way that even a drop of oil won’t pass the strait,” Bagheri added.

Kamalvandi spoke to Iranian journalists at the country’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. Such reactors produce plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Iran, under the nuclear deal, had reconfigured the facility to address Western concerns on that issue.

However, Kamalvandi said the country could rebuild the facility to make it produce plutonium. He made a point to give an interview to Iranian state television, standing next to the open pit where the reactor would be in the facility.

As the camera panned down to what would be the reactor’s core, Kamalvandi stressed that piping could be replaced and the reactor could be built to make plutonium. Hard-liners opposed to the nuclear deal had constantly accused the agency of filling the entire pit with concrete.

“They had previously photoshopped a picture of this place having been filled up with concrete,” Kamalvandi said.

He added: “The message that we tried to get across to Europeans today was that not much time is left for them.”

https://www.apnews.com/30353bd0f0494522b9f5753e23f3f9b9

ATOMIC THREAT 

Iran reveals it will break America’s uranium stockpile limits within 10 DAYS dramatically ramping up tensions with Trump

US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers

53 minutes ago

1 of 3
This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday, June 17, 2019, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous. (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an effort to bolster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack. But it’s not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the IRGC.

Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another similar mine.

The release of the photos came as the U.S. works this week to convince members of Congress and allies that the accusations against Tehran are true. Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign. Tehran, however, has repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s oil flows.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he made a number of calls Sunday and Monday to international leaders, trying to convince them that keeping the Strait of Hormuz safe and open is a problem they all must deal with.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have deteriorated in recent months, as the Trump administration restored crippling sanctions and designated the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization.

That increased pressure preceded a string of attacks that the U.S. has blamed on Iran. In late May, four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were attacked with what appeared to be mines, and there was a rocket attack in Baghdad. Last week, similar attacks were launched against the Courageous and the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair in the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. military has also accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of trying but failing to shoot down a U.S. drone to disrupt surveillance of the tankers during the attacks.

https://apnews.com/e479acedfd38465ab17e15e579f243ad

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The Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Withdraws United States From Obama/Kerry Iran Nuclear Deal — Obama’s Legacy — Going, Going, Gone — The End — Videos — Story 2: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Withdraws United States From Obama/Kerry Iran Nuclear Deal — Obama’s Legacy — Going, Going, Gone — The End — Videos —

 

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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location ViennaAustria
Signatories IranRussiaChinaEuropean UnionUnited States(withdrawing)[3]
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOAPersianبرنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, translit. barnāme jāme‘ eqdām moshtarakacronymبرجامBARJAM[4][5]), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChinaFranceRussiaUnited KingdomUnited States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement. In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the “Roadmap Agreement” made between Iran and the IAEA.[8]

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.

On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.[9] On 30 April 2018, the United States and Israel stated that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons program to the IAEA, which was required in the 2015 deal.[10][11]

IAEA inspectors spend 3,000 calendar days per year in Iran, installing tamper-proof sealings and collecting surveillance camera photos, measurement data and documents for further analysis. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano stated (in March 2018) that the organization has verified that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments.[12]

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement.[13][14]

Background

nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[15][16][17] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[18] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary for nuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[19] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[17][19]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[20] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[20]

In 1979 the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[20] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[20]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khannetwork.[20] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment”.[20] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencieshave long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[20] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[21]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility.[20][22] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[20] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[22] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[22]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[20][22] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[22] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[20][22] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[20] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[20]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[22][23] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[20][22] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[20][22]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[20][22] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[22] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[22] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[22] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[22] Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[24] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[24] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[20][22] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[24][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[20] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[30] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[22]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[31] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[31] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[31]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[32] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[32]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerryshakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran’s nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[22][33] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[22][34] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[35] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[36] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[22][36] Former officials alleged that, in order to advance the deal, the Obama administration shielded Hezbollah from the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Project Cassandrainvestigation regarding drug smuggling and from the Central Intelligence Agency.[37][38] As a result of the Politico report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations.[39]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[40] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[36] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[41] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[36][41]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the ArakIR-40heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[42]

Negotiations

Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 nations, the European Union, and Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 24, 2014

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[43][44]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[45] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[46] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[47] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[48]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[49][50] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2015, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburglasting for seventeen days.[51] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[51] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[51] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[51]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[52] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[53]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[54][55] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[54] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[54]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system”.[56]

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[57]

Signatories

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[44] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[44][58][59]

Nuclear

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[60]Belfer Center[61]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0 Unconstrained
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained Unconstrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg Unconstrained
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg Unconstrained
  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[44][62][63][64] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[62][63][65] However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[66] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[62][63][64] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[61][67]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[44][62] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[42][63][64] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[68][69] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[62]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[42] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[62]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[70] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[42] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[71] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[72] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[42]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[42][62][64]
  • Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[73]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[62][63][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[84] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[85] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[85][86] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[54][87] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[84]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[54]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[86] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[88] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[86] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[86] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[86] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[89][90] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[89] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[90]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[44][62][91][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[61] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[93][94] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[95]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[44][91] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[44][91] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[61]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to 16 January 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[96] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[97]

Sanctions

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[98]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[99]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[100] by presidential action or executive waiver.[101]Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[102]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[100][103][104]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[44][105]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[64][106] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[99]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[107]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[62][63][107]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[64][108] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[108] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[53][108] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[68]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[108] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[109]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[110][111][112][113][114] The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II, according to BBC Persian.[115]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing country[115][116] and backs an agreement signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[115][117] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country—Iran—was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it—169617371747180318351929—without even one day of implementing them.[115]Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[115]

Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[115][118][119] All other cases have ended through either regime changewar or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[120]

Gary Sick states that during the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put such extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[121]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[122]Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[115] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[123] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[115]

Pictured here, Iranian Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquartersfor the first time.[124]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates—sometimes multiple occasions a day—and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[125] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[125][126] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General AssemblyU.S. PresidentBarack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[127] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[128]

Reactions

Political and diplomatic reactions

There was a significant worldwide response following the announcement of the agreement; more than 90 countries endorsed the agreement,[129] as did many international organizations.

From countries that are parties to the JCPOA

  •  China
    • Foreign MinisterWang Yi said, “the most important achievement of the comprehensive agreement is that the international nuclear non-proliferation system is safeguarded. It can be said that China had played a unique and constructive role and thus is highly praised and affirmed by all parties. In the next step, there are still many matters to be attended to concerning the implementation of the agreement. China will continuously make new contribution [sic] to this end with a responsible attitude.”[130]
  •  European Union
  •  France
    • In a Bastille Day speech, PresidentFrancois Hollande praised the deal and called upon Iran to “show that it is ready to help us end” the Syrian civil war.[133] French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Monde that the pact was a “robust agreement” that would last at least a decade.[134] Both Hollande and Fabius pledged that France would be “extremely vigilant” in the implementation of the agreement.[133][134]
    • Fabius visited Iran on 29 July, telling reporters in Tehran, “this deal allows the relations between our countries to develop and allows us to renew cooperation.” His visit was controversial in Iran and met with public anger for several reasons.[135][136]
  •  Germany
    • ChancellorAngela Merkel said that the agreement was “an important success” of international diplomacy.[137]
    • Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the agreement was a “historic breakthrough”.[138] In mid-July 2015, Gabriel, along with a delegation of German industry and science representatives, completed a three-day visit to Iran focused on bolstering German-Iranian trade.[138] Gabriel said there was “great interest on the part of German industry in normalizing and strengthening economic relations with Iran”.[138]
  •  Iran
    • Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei who initially issued a letter of guidelines to President Rouhani, ordering him on how to proceed with the deal,[139][140] threatened to ‘set fire’ to nuclear deal if West violates.[141]PresidentHassan Rouhani said the final agreement proved that “constructive engagement works” and presented the deal as a step on the road towards a wider goal of international cooperation: “With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”[131]
    • Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif called it an “historic moment” and said: “Today could have been the end of hope on this issue, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope. Let’s build on that.”[142]
    • In a 21 July speech to the Iranian Parliament, Zarif said that the agreement was a defeat for Israel, saying, “Never before was the Zionist regime so isolated, even among her own allies.”[143] On 12 August, after a meeting with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Zarif said that the agreement “created a historic opportunity to [sic] for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity”.[144]
    • Many Iranian families and youth celebrated at Vanak Square and elsewhere on the streets of Tehran on the evening of the agreement’s announcements.[145] Some held signs calling for the release of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest.[145] Other ordinary Iranians cheered the announcement on social media.[145]
    • On 16 July 2015, two days after the agreement was signed, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his first public comments on the final agreement in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani posted on Khamenei’s website.[146] Khamenei wrote, “bringing the negotiations to a conclusion was a milestone” but, “the prepared text, however, needs careful scrutiny”.[146] Iranian hard-liners took the letter as a signal of openness to criticize the deal.[146][147] In a speech in Tehran marking the end of Ramadan made two days later, Khamenei said, “Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all,”[148] adding, “the Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon … They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa, declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”[149] However, Khamenei also praised the negotiators who arranged the deal, which was taken as a symbol that he would not seek to block the deal in the Iranian parliament or the Supreme National Security Council.[148] Khamenei also expressed support for the agreement, saying: “After 12 years of struggling with the Islamic republic, the result is that they [the P5+1 nations] have to bear the turning of thousands of centrifuges in the country.”[150] Khamenei is believed to have approved the negotiations and the agreement, giving Rouhani crucial political cover to do so.[151]
    • The New York Times reported, “Iran’s influential hard-liners, who have criticized Mr. Rouhani in much the same way that President Obama has been denounced by Republicans in the United States, signaled their intent to undercut the agreement,” which they believe to be too favorable to the West.[145] Foad Izadi, a professor at the University of Tehran, complained that of the 19 Iranian “major red lines” identified by the supreme leader during negotiations, “18 and a half have been crossed.”[147] Conservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani said “celebrating too early can send a bad signal to the enemy.”[131]
    • Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency stressed that under the agreement “world powers have recognized Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and are to respect the nuclear rights of (Iran) within international conventions.”[152] The IRNA report also said, “The policy on preventing enrichment uranium is now failed” and stressed, “no Iranian nuclear facilities or centrifuges will be dismantled.”[152]
  •  Russian Federation
  •  United Kingdom
    • Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the agreement, saying that it would help “make our world a safer place” and that Iran now had a “real opportunity” to benefit economically.[137]
    • Foreign SecretaryPhilip Hammond criticized the Israeli government’s position on the JCPOA, saying in the House of Commons, “no agreement with Iran would have been enough for Netanyahu” and “Israel prefers a permanent state of standoff” with Iran.[155][156]At a joint press conference the next day in Jerusalem, Hammond and Netanyahu “sparred publicly” over the agreement, “veering off prepared comments … in an awkward back-and-forth that extended what is usually a standard, brief public appearance with visiting officials into a spirited debate”.[156]
  •  United States
    • President Barack Obama addressed the nation in a 7 a.m. televised address from the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.[157][158] Obama stated that the agreement “meets every single one of the bottom lines we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.”[158] The president emphasized that the agreement is “not built on trust—it is built on verification”.[44][158] Obama vowed to veto any congressional action that would block the agreement’s implementation, saying: “I am confident that this deal will meet the national security needs of the United States and our allies, so I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal. We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict, and we certainly shouldn’t seek it.”[158] Obama stated: “I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement” and added, “This is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world’s major powers, offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”[158]
    • At a press briefing in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the agreement was “a measureable step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation” and “the specter of conflict” and “there can be no question that this agreement will provide a stronger, more comprehensive, and more lasting means of limiting Iran’s nuclear program than any realistic alternative.”[65] Kerry also stated, “The deal we have reached … gives us the greatest assurance that we have had that Iran will not pursue a weapon covertly.”[65]Addressing critics of the agreement, Kerry stated, “those who spend a lot of time suggesting that something could be better have an obligation to provide an alternative that, in fact, works” and “sanctioning Iran until it capitulates makes for a powerful talking point and a pretty good political speech, but it’s not achievable outside a world of fantasy.”[65] Kerry also stated, “we are under no illusions that the hard work is over. No one is standing here today to say that the path ahead is easy or automatic. We move now to a new phase—a phase that is equally critical and may prove to be just as difficult—and that is implementation.”[65]
    • Republicans lined up against the deal.[131] The candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 uniformly condemned the deal; for example, Jeb Bush called the agreement “dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted” while Lindsey Grahamasserted that the deal was a “death sentence for the state of Israel”.[159][160][161] Former Obama advisor Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted, “none of these GOP contenders would end this Iran Deal if they got to the White House,” and that it would “massively damage US in the world”.[154]
    • Candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 welcomed the deal. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the agreement an “important step that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear programs”; Senator Bernie Sanders called it “a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling” that “could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East”.[161]
    • Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner, a Republican, called the JCPOA a “bad deal”.[162]
    • House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said “I’ve closely examined this document. And it will have my strong support.”[163] Pelosi said that the agreement was “the product of years of tough, bold, clear-eyed leadership on the part of President Obama” and called it “a strong, effective option, for keeping the peace and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.[163]
    • Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell, a Republican, opposed the agreement, saying “The comprehensive nuclear agreement announced today appears to further the flawed elements of April’s interim agreement because the Obama Administration approached these talks from a flawed perspective: reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal of ending Iran’s nuclear program.”[164]
    • Senate Minority LeaderHarry Reid, a Democrat, issued a brief statement on 14 July saying that the agreement was the result of years of hard work and, “now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”[165] On 23 August, Reid endorsed the agreement, saying that the agreement “is the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” and that he would “do everything in my power to ensure that it stands”.[166]
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, a Republican, pledged to hold hearings on the deal during the sixty-day congressional review period and said that he is “totally opposed to” the agreement.[167]Senate Foreign Relations Committeechairman Bob Corker, another Republican, also opposed the deal, saying that he believed that the West had conceded too much.[168]
    • The New York Times editorial board wrote that the agreement “is potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics”. They wrote: “It would be irresponsible to squander this chance to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.”[169]
    • On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump called the agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”[170] and announced the United States of America would withdraw from the agreement.[171]

From other countries

  •  Holy See
    • The Vatican applauded the deal, saying in a statement: “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See.”[172]
  •  Israel
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction, we will always defend ourselves.”[173] Netanyahu called the deal a “capitulation” and “a bad mistake of historic proportions”.[174]Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the deal an “historic surrender” and said that Israel would “act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified”—indicating that it would try to use its influence to block the agreement in the U.S. Congress,[131]Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi party (which is a member of the government coalition), said: “The history books have been rewritten again today, and this period will be deemed particularly grave and dangerous.”[174]
    • Most Israelis were similarly critical of the agreement.[175] Netanyahu’s leading political opponent, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, opposed the deal, stating that it “will unleash a lion from the cage” and make Iran “a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so”;[176]another Zionist Union member of the KnessetShelly Yachimovich, called the JCPOA a “dangerous, damaging agreement”[174]Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party, called the agreement “Israel’s biggest foreign policy failure since the establishment of the state”.[177] At the same time, many of these figures also criticized Netanyahu’s diplomatic campaign against the plan, calling it ineffectual and counter-productive. Yachimovich said that Netanyahu should “immediately cease and desist from confronting the Americans”.[174] Lapid called on the prime minister to resign,[174] stating: “I also am not thrilled by Obama’s policies. But Netanyahu crossed a line that caused the White House to stop listening to Israel. In the last year we weren’t even in the arena, we had no representative in Vienna, our intelligence cooperation was harmed, and the door to the White House was closed to us.”[174]
    • The head of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, described the agreement as a “surrender to terror”.[174]
    • Zehava Gal-On, head of the opposition Meretz party, voiced cautious support for the JCPOA, writing, “The agreement is not perfect, it does not turn Iran into lovers of Israel all of the sudden, but it does aim to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb, regulate the international mechanisms to monitoring it and allows the international community to act if the agreement is violated.”[178]
    • The Joint (Arab) List party of Arab Israeli MKs welcomed the agreement.[178]
    • Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and former commander of the Israeli Navy, said that the agreement was “the best option” for Israel, saying, “When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months.”[179] Ayalon said that opposition to the deal in Israel was “more emotional than logical”.[179][180]Efraim Halevy, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad from 1998 to 2002, wrote in support of the agreement in Yedioth Ahronoth, arguing that the JCPOA includes “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” and warning that a collapse of the agreement will leave Iran “free to do as it pleases”.[180] Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and current senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times arguing that the JCPOA is “a good deal for Israel” and that by avoiding the threat of a nuclear Iran, the agreement “will enable Israel to divert precious resources to more immediate threats” and to pressing domestic needs.[181]
  •  Italy
    • Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “The agreement sows new hope for a regional peace project. Italy will actively support this process, and will ensure that it can benefit all countries of the region, without exception, with the aim of reaching a Middle East finally stable, where all peoples can live in peace and security.”[182]
  •  Kazakhstan
    • Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan on the regulation of the situation around Iran’s nuclear programme.[183]
    • President Nazarbayev said, “… in 2013 Almaty hosted two rounds of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which contributed to the resumption of negotiations between “P5+1″ and Iran. We are proud that the results of those two rounds of talks in Almaty have served as foundation for JCPOA adopted two years later.”[183]
  • Arab states of the Persian Gulf
    •  Kuwait: Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, congratulated all the nations involved in the negotiations and hoped the deal would lead to stability in the region.[184]
    •  Oman: Oman welcomed the agreement.[185] Oman and its leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, were praised for its key role in the talks by diplomats and leaders from both Iran and the P5+1.[185] Oman has good relations with both Iran and the United States and played a key role in the beginning of the talks; Oman offered to establish a back channel between Iran and the United States in 2009, and the first secret talks were held between U.S. and Iranian diplomats in July 2012 in Muscat.[186][187]
    •  Qatar: The government welcomed the agreement as a “significant step” toward enhancing regional peace and stability.[188]
    •  Saudi Arabia: On 14 July, the official Saudi Press Agency released a statement attributed to an “official source” saying, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always believed in the importance of reaching a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program that ensures preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and at the same time includes a specific, strict and permanent mechanism for inspecting all sites—including military ones—along with a mechanism for rapidly and effectively re-imposing sanctions in case Iran violates the deal.”[189] U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said that Saudi Arabia approved of the international agreement, despite the fact that “the Saudis, along with other Sunni Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, view the predominantly Shiite Iran as a regional adversary.”[190] The Saudis have undertaken a military campaign in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents there.[190]
  • Elsewhere in the Muslim world
    •  Afghanistan: Afghan presidentMohammad Ashraf Ghani congratulated “the government and people of Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion and reiterates that the government of Afghanistan welcomes any efforts that result in expansion of political and economic relations between states as well as consolidation and strengthening of peace and stability in the region.”[191]
    •  Egypt: The Egyptian foreign ministry said the deal will prevent an arms race in the Middle East. The statement expressed hopes that the Middle East can be free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.[192]
    •  Iraq: The Iraqi government applauded the agreement.[184]
    •  Pakistan: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “welcomed” the agreement, saying, “reciprocal confidence-building measures … auger well for peace and security in our region.”[193] Former President Asif Ali Zardari welcomed the deal as “a triumph of diplomacy and negotiations over coercion and hostility” and called upon the government to push forward with plans for construction of an Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline.[194]
    •  Syria: President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally, called the agreement as “a great victory” and wrote in a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, that the agreement would be a “major turning point in the history of Iran, the region and the world”.[195]
    •  Turkey: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement in a statement saying that its implementation would contribute to regional peace, security and stability.[196] Observers noted that although Turkey would benefit economically from the lifting of sanctions in the future, Turkish officials seemed to be “uneasy” of the potential for Iran to reemerge as a regional power that might overshadow Turkey.[197]
  • Other countries
    •  Australia: Minister for Foreign AffairsJulie Bishop endorsed the agreement, saying: “What it has done is [bring] Iran into the international regime of inspections of nuclear programs, and that is a good thing. I think we have to give this comprehensive plan a chance.”[198]
    •  Canada: Foreign MinisterRob Nicholson stated at the time of the announcement: “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words. To this end, Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments.”[199] The Globe and Mail reported at the time that Canada would keep its sanctions in place, at least initially, although Canada’s own sanctions will have little impact on the Iranian economy.[200] While the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper was opposed to the agreement, the new Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported it, and in February 2016, following the implementation of the agreement, Canada lifted most of its sanctions on Iran.[201]
    •  Colombia: PresidentJuan Manuel Santos applauded the agreement as “another triumph of diplomacy over confrontation” and praised President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for their “courage” in securing the deal.[202]
    •  India: The Indian embassy in Tehran stated, “India welcomes the announcement of lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. The milestone represents a significant success for patient diplomacy and signals a new chapter of peace and prosperity. India looks forward to further developing its longstanding, close, and mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Iran, including in the spheres of energy and regional connectivity.”[203]
    •  North Korea: The Foreign Ministry said that North Korea had no interest in a nuclear disarmament agreement, saying: “We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes.”[204]
    •  Norway: In a statement, Foreign MinisterBørge Brende said: “This historic agreement will benefit the international community, the Middle East and Iran. It will also pave the way for closer political and economic contact with Iran.”[205]
    •  Philippines: The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement, saying that it was an important measure to promote both regional and global security. They also called on the international community to maintain the positive momentum for long-term peace created by the agreement.[206]

From international organizations

  •  United Nations
    • Secretary-General of the United NationsBan Ki-moon issued a statement saying: “I warmly welcome the historic agreement in Vienna today and congratulate the P5+1 and Iran for reaching this agreement. This is testament to the value of dialogue…. The United Nations stands ready to fully cooperate with the parties in the process of implementing this historic and important agreement.”[207][208]
    • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Director General Yukiya Amano welcomed the agreement and congratulated Iran, the P5+1 countries and the European Union and said he is confident that IAEA is capable of doing the necessary monitoring and verification activities when requested.[209]
  • Other international organizations and figures
    •  NATO Secretary GeneralJens Stoltenberg called the agreement a “historic breakthrough” and stated: “It is critical for Iran to implement the provisions of today’s agreement and to fulfill all its international obligations and advance security in the region and beyond.”[210]
    •  Arab League Secretary-GeneralNabil Elaraby said he hoped the JCPOA would bring “stability and security” to the Middle East.[211]
    •  Gulf Cooperation Council – The Gulf Cooperation Council publicly announced backing for the agreement at a 2 August 2015 summit in DohaQatar.[212]Khalid al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar (which currently chairs the GCC) said at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry following the summit, “This was the best option amongst other options in order to try to come up with a solution for the nuclear weapons of Iran though dialogue, and this came up as a result of the efforts exerted by the United States of America and its allies. [Secretary Kerry] let us know that there’s going to be a kind of live oversight for Iran not to gain or to get any nuclear weapons. This is reassuring to the region.”[212]
    • Association of Southeast Asian Nations – On 6 August 2015, following the 5th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN nations, along with the foreign ministers of India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, endorsed the deal, welcoming it as an “important resolution” to a pressing global concern.[213][214] Shortly before the joint ASEAN statement was released, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Kuala Lumpur to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.[213]
    • Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, hailed the agreement as a triumph of diplomacy.[154]
    • The International Crisis Group called the deal “a triumph of nuclear diplomacy” and urged both the United States Congress and Iranian Majlis to approve it.[215]

Expert reactions

Following the unveiling of the agreement, “a general consensus quickly emerged” among nuclear experts and watchdogs that the agreement “is as close to a best-case situation as reality would allow”.[216] In August 2015, 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts signed a statement endorsing the deal as “a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” that exceeds the historical standards for arms control agreements.[217] The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invited top international security experts to comment on the final agreement.[218]

  • Jeffrey Lewis, arms control expert and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, reviewed the final agreement and gave it a positive assessment, saying that he would give it an “A” grade.[219] While Lewis was skeptical about the chances of a workable deal emerging in 2014, during the negotiations, Lewis said that the final agreement was “a good deal because it slows down [the Iranian] nuclear program … And it puts monitoring and verification measures in place that mean if they try to build a bomb, we’re very likely to find out, and to do so with enough time that we have options to do something about it. There’s a verifiable gap between their bomb option and an actual bomb. That’s why it’s a good deal.”[219] Lewis said that the final agreement was very similar to the April 2015 framework agreement.[219] Lewis does not believe that the agreement will fundamentally alter the U.S.-Iranian relationship, seeing the agreement instead as “a really straightforward measure to slow down an enrichment program that was going gangbusters”.[219]
  • Lawrence Korb and Katherine Blakeley, senior fellow and policy analyst, respectively, at the Center for American Progress, wrote that the agreement was “one of the most comprehensive and detailed nuclear arms agreements ever reached”.[218] Korb and Blakeley wrote, “a good look at the three main legs of the agreement shows that this deal is, in fact, a good one, for the United States and for the international community.”[218] Korb and Blakey said that the agreement “precludes Iranian development of a nuclear weapon by shutting down all of the pathways Iran might use to accumulate enough nuclear material to make a weapon” and praised components of the agreement which keep Iran subject to the constraints of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, provides for robust IAEA monitoring and verification, and links the phased lifting of nuclear-related sanctions to IAEA verification of Iranian compliance.[218]
  • Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, wrote, “The July 14 agreement is a political miracle” in which “Iran has agreed to back away from the nuclear-weapon threshold in exchange for a lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.”[218] Von Hippel wrote, “The Obama administration argues—and I agree—that the ratcheting back of Iran’s enrichment capacity will give the world a much longer warning time should Iran attempt to build a bomb.”[218] Von Hippel suggested that once the first ten years of the agreement were complete, “One option that should be explored is multinational ownership and management of Iran’s enrichment complex by a group of countries—perhaps including the United States.”[218]
  • Frederick H. Fleitz, former CIA nonproliferation analyst and currently of the Center for Security Policy, wrote, “The provisions of this agreement… contains minor concessions by Iran but huge concessions by the United States that will Iran to continue its nuclear program with weak verification provisions. Conditions for sanctions relief will be very easy for Iran to meet. Iran will not only continue to enrich uranium under the agreement, it will continue to develop advanced centrifuges that will reduce the timeline to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”[220]
  • William H. Tobey, senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was critical of the agreement, writing that given Iranian hostility to the United States and Israel, the agreement provides little “more than a speed bump on the path to Iran’s nuclear ambition”.[218] Tobey wrote that that “speed bump” is not “a good trade for at least $150 billion in sanctions relief”.[218]
  • Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that although the JCPOA is “not perfect”, it “will be a net plus for nonproliferation and will enhance U.S. and regional security”.[218] Reif wrote that it was “clear that Tehran had to retreat from many of its initial demands, including in the areas of the scale of uranium enrichment it needed, the intrusiveness of inspections it would tolerate, and the pace of sanctions relief it would demand”.[218] Reif also wrote that the JCPOA “will keep Iran further away from the ability to make nuclear weapons for far longer than the alternative of additional sanctions or a military strike possibly could”, and as a result, the threat of regional proliferation throughout the Middle East was diminished.[218] Reif added: “A perfect deal was not attainable. Overall, it’s a very strong and good deal, but it wasn’t negotiations that resulted in a score of 100-0 for the [United States]. That’s not how international negotiations go…. The monitoring and verification regime in this deal is the most comprehensive and intrusive regime that has ever been negotiated.”[216]
  • Siegfried S. Hecker of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University wrote, “the Iran nuclear deal was hard-won and is better than any other reasonably achievable alternative.”[218] Hecker wrote, “Iran agreed to considerably greater restrictions on its program than what I thought was possible.”[218] Hecker’s view is that it is “imperative that the international community develops a credible and decisive response in the event of an Iranian violation of the agreement”.[218] He noted, “this agreement was one of the most technically informed diplomatic negotiations I have seen,” with both sides advised by “world-class nuclear scientists”: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry by U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz, and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali-Akbar Salehi.[218]
  • Zia Mian of the Program on Science & Global Security at Princeton University wrote that the JCPOA offers three “important lessons for those wanting to make progress towards nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world”.[218] The first lesson was, “nuclear diplomacy can work. But it requires hard political work of many kinds”; Mian praised both the “creative technical and policy analysis work from within and outside governments to create options for negotiators to find common ground” as well as “the patient grassroots work to engage and mobilize public constituencies that brought to power leaders in the United States and in Iran willing to engage with each other and to take risks for a more peaceful relationship between their countries”.[218] The second lesson was, “International nuclear politics is bound to domestic politics, for good and ill. The Iran agreement has come despite determined hostility from conservatives within the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Iran. Seeing the world as a hierarchy shaped by power and fear, and locked in rigid, exclusivist national or religious identities, they press for advantage and privilege or to maintain the status quo. Sharing a propensity for mistrust, coercion, and violence, they would risk war with those they see as enemies rather than try dialogue and possible agreement on a peaceful future based on the ideals of equity and respect for others. These opponents will derail the Iran deal if they can.”[218] The third lesson is, “nuclear disarmament issues do not exist in isolation”; Mian called for more foreign minister-level talks in the Middle East, rather than expanded U.S. military assistance in the region.[218]
  • Ernest MonizU.S. Secretary of Energy and a nuclear physicist and former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was a key member of the U.S. negotiating team, stated that the JCPOA helps put Iran further from a nuclear weapon not only in the first fifteen years, with “lots of very, very explicit constraints on the program that roll back current activities”, but also beyond that period, because the agreement commits Iran to join the Additional Protocol.[221][222] Former IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen and former Iraq weapons inspector David Albright expressed concerns with the length of a review process for inspecting undeclared facilities, stating that a delay up to a maximum of 24 days was too long.[223] Heinonen said, “it is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks’ time without leaving traces,” but said there was a risk that the Iranians could hide small-scale work, such as creating uranium components of a nuclear weapon, particularly because they have experience with cheating.[223] Albright said that activities on “a small scale”, such as experiments with high explosives or a small plant to make centrifuges operation could possibly be cleared out in 24 days.[223] Former U.S. State Department official Robert J. Einhorn, who took part in P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran from 2009 to 2013, said, “a limit shorter than 24 days would have been desirable,” but “it is probably the case that the greater the significance of a covert activity, the more difficult it will be to remove evidence of it in 24 days.”[223] U.S. Energy Department officials said that if the Iranians attempted to conduct centrifuge test, uranium conversion, or other activities, contamination would be generated that is very difficult to conceal.[223]
  • At a September 2015 panel discussion at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with Albert Carnesale (a former SALT I negotiator), Dalia Dassa Kaye (of the RAND Corporation), and Aslı Bâli and Steven Spiegel of UCLA, the panelists came a general consensus that the JCPOA “should be given a chance to work” and “despite its flaws, the agreement was worth pursuing and that the alternative would have been no agreement at all.”[224]
  • Henner Fürtig, a senior member of German Institute of Global and Area Studies and a professor at the University of Hamburg wrote that the accord contains multiple victories for all sides. It is a “triumph of international diplomacy” and “rarely reached consensus” for the United Nations and the UNSC, but “it is no panacea” resolving other conflicts in the Middle East.[225]

In popular culture

The American TV series Madam Secretary built a whole season around the negotiations.[226] Five years before the deal, in 24season 8, the negotiations between the United States leaders and “President Hassan” of Islamic republic of Kamistan to abandon his nuclear technology programme was shown, which drew comparison to the US-Iran dispute.[227] However the deal was contrarily to Homelandseason 3 plot that “fueled nuclear paranoia” against Iran.[228]

After the deal, a joke began circulating in Iran that the name of city of Arak would change to “Barack” in honor of Obama, and that in return, the United States would change the name of Manhattan borough to “Mash Hassan” (Persianمش حسن‎) which is a very casual way of referring to Rouhani.[229]

Javad Zarif‘s efforts in the negotiations drew comparisons to mythological Arash the Archer, and two former Prime Ministers: Mohammad Mosaddegh, who led the withdrawal of foreigners and nationalization of the Iran oil industry and was overthrown by American–British coup d’état, because both fought foreigners for Iran’s rights; and Amir Kabir, because both faced domestic hostility through their way to gain more interest for the nation.[230]

Public opinion surveys

United States (nationwide)

Public polling on the issue has yielded varied and sometimes contradictory results, depending on the question wording,[231] whether the poll explains the provisions of the agreement, and whether an “undecided” option is offered.[232] Polls have consistently shown polarization by party affiliation, with majorities of self-identified Democrats supporting the agreement and majorities of self-identified Republicans opposing it.[233][234][235][236]

Poll Sample Conducted Sample size
margin of error
Question(s) Asked Findings Reference
YouGov U.S. adults 14–16 July 1000; ±3.9% Support/oppose (major provisions described) 43% support, 30% oppose, 26% unsure [233][237]
Abt-SRBI for Washington Post/ABC News U.S. adults 16–19 July 1,002; ±3.5% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Confidence that agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons
56% support, 37% oppose, 7% no opinion
35% very/somewhat confident, 64% not confident
[238]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 14–20 July 2,002; ±2.5; 1,672; ±2.7% Have you heard about agreement?
Support/oppose based on what you know (provisions not described)
34% heard a lot, 44% heard a little, 22% have not heard
(Among those who have heard at least a little) 48% disapprove, 38% approve, 14% do not know
[235]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal U.S. adults 16–20 July 505 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
28% support, 24% oppose, 48% don’t know enough to say
41% approve, 38% disapprove, 21% undecided.
[239][240][241]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal Jewish American adults 16–20 July 501 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
47.5% approve, 27.6% oppose, 24.6% don’t know enough to say
53.6% approve, 34.7% oppose, 11.7% don’t know
[239][240][242]
YouGov for The Economist U.S. adults 18–20 July 1000; ±4.3% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Do you want your Senators to support or oppose the international agreement?
15% strongly support, 26% tend to support; 16% tend to oppose; 17% strongly oppose; 16% not sure
45% support; 27% oppose; 27% not sure
[243]
Public Policy Polling U.S. registered voters 23–24 July 730; ±3.6% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress allow agreement to go forward or block it?
35% strongly support; 19% somewhat support; 6% somewhat oppose; 32% strongly oppose; 8% not sure
54% go forward; 39% block; 7% not sure
[244]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 22–25 July 1,017; ±3% Should Congress approve or reject the deal? 44% approve; 52% reject; 5% no opinion [245]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 23–28 July 1,644; ±2.4% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 28% support; 57% oppose; 15% don’t know/NA [246]
Public Opinion Strategies & Hart Research Associates for Wall Street Journal/NBC News U.S. adults 26–30 July 500 Support/oppose (major provisions described) 35% support, 33% oppose, 32% do not know enough [236][247][248]
Anderson Robbins Research & Shaw & Company Research for Fox News U.S. registered voters 11–13 August 1,008
±3%
In you were in Congress, would approve or reject the deal? 31% approve, 58% reject, 10% don’t know [249][250]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Favor/oppose a hypothetical agreement (major provisions explained) 50% favor, 46% oppose, 4% no opinion [251]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Should Congress approve or reject the deal? (provisions not described) 41% approve, 56% reject, 2% no opinion [251]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 20–25 August 1,563; ±2.5% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 25% support; 55% oppose; 20% don’t know/NA [252]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 3–7 September 1,004; ±3.6% Approve/disapprove the agreement 21% approve; 49% disapprove; 30% don’t know/refused [253]
University of Maryland Program on Public Consultation/Center for International and Security Studies U.S. registered voters who took part in National Citizens Cabinet
(policymaking simulation involving a briefing and hearing of expert-vetted arguments from both sides of the debate)
17–20 September 702; ±3.7% Final recommendation after hearing alternatives 55% approve agreement; 14% pursue better terms; 23% ramp up sanctions; 7% threaten military force [254][255]

United States (specific communities)

  • According to a Zogby Research Services poll for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, conducted 20–31 May 2015, 64% of Iranian Americans support the Iran deal, and 8 in 10 say it will improve Iran’s relations with the West.[256]
  • A poll of American Jewish adults conducted by GBA Strategies for J Street (which supports the agreement) from 21–23 July found that 60 percent of American Jews support the agreement.[257] The poll found that: “There is broad support for the agreement, regardless of age, gender, region, Jewish organizational engagement, and awareness about the agreement.”[257] The poll found that support was strong across every denomination except for Orthodox Jews, with 67% of Reform Jews in support, 63% of Jews of no particular denomination in support, and 55% of Conservative Jews in support.[257]
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll taken 30 July – 4 August 43% of New York City voters oppose the agreement, while 36% support it; 42% said that the agreement would make the world less safe, while 40% said it will make the world more safe. Among Jewish voters in New York City, 33% support the agreement while 53% oppose it, and 51% say the agreement will make the world less safe, while 37% say that the agreement will make the world more safe.[258]
  • According to a Public Policy Polling poll of New York City voters taken 11–12 August, 58% of New York City voters support the Iran agreement, while 35% oppose it; 49% of New York City voters want their members of Congress to let the agreement go forward, while 33% want their members of Congress to block the agreement. The agreement achieved majority support from women and men; whites, African Americans, and Hispanics; and in every age group.[259]
  • GfK poll of American Jews conducted for the American Jewish Committee between 7 and 22 August found that American Jews narrowly favored the agreement with 50.6% approving and 47.2% disapproving.[260]

Iran

  • According to a poll conducted from 12–28 May 2015 by the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research, the independent, Toronto-based firm IranPoll, and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, 57% of Iranians support the deal, whereas 15% opposed it.[261]
  • According to First Vice PresidentEshaq Jahangiri‘s interview on 6 August 2015, an Iranian government poll indicates that 80%-88% of Iranians support the Iran deal, whereas 4% oppose it.[262]
  • A poll conducted 27 May to 29 May 2015, by private Virginia-based Information and Public Opinion Solutions LLC (iPOS), suggests that a 63% majority of Iranians favor a deal, with 12% conditional approval (they would support it only if certain advantages for Iran are contained within a final agreement). Answering “If Iran and the West reach a nuclear deal, do you agree or disagree (with) a normalization of relations between Iran and the US?”, 52% agreed and 20% disagreed. The poll was conducted by phone with a random sample of 680 Iranians 18-years-old and older.[263]

Germany

  • A July 2015 nationally representative survey of German adults conducted by YouGov Germany Omnibus found that overall, “63% of Germans support the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, while only 18% oppose it and 20% don’t know.”[233]

Process

Incorporated into international law by the United Nations Security Council

As provided for in the JCPOA, the agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council,[264][265] incorporating it into international law.[266][267] There was initially disagreement on if the deal is legally binding on the United States.[e] The U.S. State Department clarified this in a 19 November 2015 letter to Congress, stating, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1, and the EU.”[274] According to the State Department Political Commitments are non-binding.

On 15 July 2015, the American ambassador to the UNSamantha Power, circulated a fourteen-page draft to Council members.[265] On 20 July 2015, the Security Council unanimously approved the fourteen-page resolution—United Nations Security Council resolution2231[275]—in a 15–0 vote.[267] The resolution delays its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for U.S. Congressional consideration under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.[266][267] The resolution lays out the steps for terminating sanctions imposed by seven past Security Council resolutions, but retains an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban.[264][267] The resolution also did not affect the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.[267] The resolution also codifies the “snapback” mechanism of the agreement, under which all Security Council sanctions will be automatically reimposed if Iran breaches the deal.[264]

Speaking immediately after the vote, Power told the Security Council that sanctions relief would start only when Iran “verifiably” met its obligations. Power also called upon Iran “to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans”, specifically naming Amir HekmatiSaeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, were imprisoned by Iran was detained at the time, and Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in the country.[267][276] Hekmati, Abedini, and Rezaian were subsequently released in a January 2016 prisoner exchange, which Secretary of State Kerry said had been accelerated by the nuclear agreement.[277]

Approved by European Union

On the same day that the Security Council approved a resolution, the European Union formally approved the JCPOA via a vote of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (the group of EU foreign ministers) meeting in Brussels. This sets into motion the lifting of certain EU sanctions, including those prohibiting the purchase of Iranian oil.[267][278] The EU continues its sanctions relating to human rights and its sanctions prohibiting the export of ballistic missile technology.[267] The approval by the EU was seen as a signal to the U.S. Congress.[278]

Review period in the United States Congress

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew defending the JCPOA at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July 2015

Under U.S. law, the JCPOA is a non-binding political commitment.[279][280] According to the U.S. State Department, it specifically is not an executive agreement or a treaty.[274] There are widespread incorrect reports that it is an executive agreement.[281][282] In contrast to treaties, which require two-thirds of the Senate to consent to ratification, political commitments require no congressional approval, and are not legally binding as a matter of domestic law (although in some cases they may be binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law).[281][f]

Under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which was signed into law on 22 May 2015,[g] the agreement is undergoing a sixty-day review in the United States Congress.[291] Under that Act, once all documents have been sent to the Capitol, Congress will have sixty days in which it can pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing.[291] The Act includes additional time beyond the sixty days for the president to veto a resolution and for Congress to take a vote on whether to override or sustain the veto.[292] President Obama has said he will veto any resolution of disapproval.[291] Thus, Republicans will only be able to defeat the deal if they can muster the two-thirds of both houses of Congress needed to override a veto of any resolution of disapproval.[291][293] This means that 34 votes in the Senate could sustain a veto and place the JCPOA into effect.[292][294]

On 19 July 2015, the State Department officially transmitted to Congress the JCPOA, its annexes, and related materials.[295] These documents included the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community‘s Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report.[295] The sixty-day review period began the next day, 20 July,[295][296] and ended 17 September.[297] On 30 July, Senator Ted Cruz introduced a resolution seeking a delay in the review period, arguing that the sixty-day congressional review under the Act should not begin until the Senate obtains a copy of all bilateral Iran-IAEA documents.[298][299]

Obama administration

The “international community” had long sought a landmark diplomatic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, and such an agreement was also a long-sought foreign-policy goal of the Obama administration.[300][301][302]

In comments made in the East Room of the White House on 15 July 2015, President Obama urged Congress to support the agreement, saying “If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly, for letting this moment slip away.”[303] Obama stated that the inspections regime in the agreement was among the most vigorous ever negotiated, and criticized opponents of the deal for failing to offer a viable alternative to it.[303] Obama stated: “If 99 percent of the world’s community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say ‘this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb,’ and you are arguing either that it does not … then you should have some alternative to present. And I haven’t heard that.”[304][305] The same day, Obama made a case for the deal on the agreement in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.[306] Obama stated:

With respect to Iran, it is a great civilization, but it also has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, sponsors terrorism, and there are a whole host of real profound differences that we [have with] them… [T]heir argument was, ‘We’re entitled to have a peaceful nuclear program.’… You know, I have a lot of differences with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that [we] were able to verify an agreement that [was negotiated] with the evil empire [the Soviet Union] that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be… I had a lot of disagreements with Richard Nixon, but he understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path. You test these things, and as long as we are preserving our security capacity—as long as we are not giving away our ability to respond forcefully, militarily, where necessary to protect our friends and our allies—that is a risk we have to take. It is a practical, common-sense position. It’s not naïve; it’s a recognition that if we can in fact resolve some of these differences, without resort to force, that will be a lot better for us and the people of that region.[306]

Also on 15 July, Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, where he made a presentation on the agreement.[307]

On 18 July, Obama devoted his weekly radio address to the agreement, stating, “this deal will make America and the world safer and more secure” and rebutting “a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it”.[308] Obama stated “as commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.”[308] On 23 July, President Obama met in the White House Cabinet Room with about a dozen undecided House Democrats to speak about the agreement and seek their support.[309]

The debate over the agreement was marked by acrimony between the White House and with Republicans inside and outside of Congress. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that under the agreement “the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world.”[310] Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called the president “naive” and repeatedly invoked the Holocaust, saying that the president’s policy would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”.[311] This comparison was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and various Israeli government officials.[311][312][313] At a 27 June news conference, Obama specifically criticized Huckabee, Cruz, and Cotton, saying that such remarks were “just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad”, especially from “leaders in the Republican Party”.[310] Obama stated that “fling[ing] out ad hominem attacks like that … doesn’t help inform the American people” and stated: “This is a deal that has been endorsed by people like Brent Scowcroft and Sam Nunn … historic Democratic and Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping America safe. And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now.”[314]

On 5 August, Obama gave a speech before an audience of around 200 at American University, marking a new phase in the administration’s campaign for the agreement.[315][316] Obama stated: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”[315] In his speech, Obama also invoked a speech made by John F. Kennedy at American University in 1963 in favor of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[315] Obama also said that the opponents of the agreement were the same people who created the “drumbeat of war” that led to the Iraq War and criticized “knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision made to be a disaster, a surrender”.[315]

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a senior Democrat, made a different assessment of prospects for war by distinguishing between nuclear and non-nuclear aspects of the agreement. In each case he asked whether we are better off with the agreement or without it and his conclusion was: “… when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.” Then Schumer assessed the Iranian government, saying, “Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years? To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.” And, finally, Schumer concluded: “I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”[317]

In the same speech, Obama stated: “Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘Death to America‘ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”[316][318] This statement was criticized by congressional Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “crass political rhetoric” that was a strategy to “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get the Democrats all angry, and rally around the president.” McConnell said “This is an enormous national security debate that the president will leave behind, under the Constitution, a year and a half from now, and the rest of us will be dealing with the consequences of it. So I wish he would tone down the rhetoric and let’s talk about the facts” and promised that Republicans would discuss the agreement respectfully in September.[319][320] Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee, asserted that the president was “trying to shut down debate by saying that those who have legitimate questions, legitimate questions—are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in Iran”.[321] The president subsequently stood by his statement, with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a “statement of fact”[319] and the president saying in an interview, “Remember, what I said was that it’s the hard-liners in Iran who are most opposed to this deal. And I said, in that sense, they’re making common cause with those who are opposed to this deal here. I didn’t say that they were equivalent.”[318] In the same interview, Obama said: “A sizable proportion of the Republicans were opposed before the ink was even dry on the deal.”[318]

In comments made at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado in July 2015, Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper said that the JCPOA will improve the U.S. ability to monitor Iran, saying “[The agreement] puts us in a far better place in terms of insight and access” than no agreement.[322] While Clapper remains “concerned about compliance and deceit”, but “pointed out that during the negotiation period [Iran] complied with rules” negotiated under the interim agreement (the Joint Plan of Action).[322]

Public debate

An intense public debate in the United States took place during the congressional review period.[294] “Some of the wealthiest and most powerful donors in American politics, those for and against the accord”, became involved in the public debate,[323] although “mega-donors” opposing the agreement have contributed substantially more money than those supporting it.[324] From 2010 to early August 2015, the foundations of Sheldon AdelsonPaul Singer, and Haim Saban contributed a total of $13 million (at least $7.5 million, at least $2.6 million, and at least $2.9 million, respectively) to advocacy groups opposing an agreement with Iran.[324] On the other side, three groups lobbying in support of the agreement have received at least $803,000 from the Ploughshares Fund, at least $425,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and at least $68,500 from George Soros and his foundation.[324] Other philanthropists and donors supporting an agreement include S. Daniel AbrahamTim GillNorman LearMargery Tabankin, and Arnold Hiatt.[323]

Many Iranian Americans, even those who fled repression in Iran and oppose its government, welcomed the JCPOA as a step forward.[325] The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian American Bar Association, and other Iranian American organizations welcomed the JCPOA.[326] The NIAC released a statement saying: “Our negotiators have done their job to win a strong nuclear deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon, all the while avoiding a catastrophic war. Now is the time for Congress to do theirs. Make no mistake: if Congress rejects this good deal with Iran, there will be no better deal forthcoming and Congress will be left owning an unnecessary war.”[327] NIAC created a new group, NIAC Action, to run advertisements supporting the agreement.[324] NIAC also organized an open letter from 73 Middle East and foreign affairs scholars stating, “reactivating diplomatic channels between the United States and Iran is a necessary first step” to reduce conflict in the region, and that while “the nuclear deal will not automatically or immediately bring stability to the region … Ultimately, a Middle East where diplomacy is the norm rather than the exception will enhance U.S. national security and interests,”[328] Signatories to the letter include John EspositoEhsan YarshaterNoam ChomskyPeter BeinartJohn Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt.[328]

U.S. pro-Israel groups divided on the JCPOA.[329] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposes the agreement, and formed a new 501(c)(4) group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, to run a television advertising campaign against the JCPOA.[315][329][330][331] In August 2015, it was reported that AIPAC and Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran plan to spend between $20 million and $40 million on its campaign.[332] From mid-July to 4 August 2015, AIPAC’s Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran spent more than $11 million running network television political advertisements opposing the agreement in 23 states, spending more than $1 million in the large states of California, Florida, New York, and Texas.[332][333] In the first week of August, AIPAC said that it had 400 meetings with congressional offices as part of its campaign to defeat the agreement.[332]

In contrast to AIPAC, another pro-Israel organization, J Street, supports the agreement, and plans a $5 million advertising effort of its own to encourage Congress to support the agreement.[332][334] During the first week of August, J Street launched a $2 million, three-week ad campaign in support of the agreement, with television ads running in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.[335][336] From mid-July through early August, J Street reported having 125 meetings with congressional offices.[332] J Street has also paid to fly prominent Israelis who support the agreement (including Amram Mitzna, a retired Israeli general, member of the Knesset, and mayor of Haifa) to the United States to help persuade members of Congress to support the agreement.[332]

The group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) opposes the agreement and committed to spending more than $20 million on a national “TV, radio, print and digital campaign” against the agreement.[324][337] After UANI announced its opposition, the group’s president and co-founder, nonproliferation expert Gary Samore, announced that he had concluded “that the accord was in the United States’ interest” and supported the agreement.[324][338] Samore thus stepped down as president and was replaced by ex-Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.[338] By 20 August, UANI had released its third national television ad against the agreement.[337]

Anti-JCPOA bus advertisement in New York City. The bus ad was sponsored by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an opponent of the agreement.[339]

Various other groups that have also run ad campaigns for or against the agreement. John R. Bolton‘s Foundation for American Security and Freedom has run advertisements against the agreement, as has “Veterans Against the Deal”, a group which does not disclose its donors.[340] Various pro-agreement ads were run by MoveOn.org (which ran an ad with the title “Let Diplomacy Work” theme), Americans United for Change (which warned “They’re back—the Iraq war hawks are fighting the Iran deal, want more war” over photos of Bolton, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld), and Global Zero (which ran a humorous ad featuring actors Jack BlackMorgan Freeman, and Natasha Lyonne).[340]

The New York-based Iran Project, a nonprofit led by former high-level U.S. diplomats and funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with the United Nations Association of the United States, supports the agreement.[341] The Rockefeller fund has also supported the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, which has spent several years marshaling support for an agreement.[341]

On 17 July 2015, a bipartisan open letter endorsing the Iran agreement was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials.[342][343] The ex-ambassadors wrote: “If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. In our judgment the [plan] deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.”[342][343] Among the signatories to the letter were Daniel C. KurtzerJames R. JonesFrank E. LoyPrinceton N. LymanJack F. Matlock Jr.Donald F. McHenryThomas E. McNamara, and Thomas R. Pickering.[343]

A separate public letter to Congress in support of the agreement from five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel from administrations of both parties, and three former Under Secretaries of State was released on 26 July 2015.[344] This letter was signed by R. Nicholas BurnsJames B. CunninghamWilliam C. HarropDaniel Kurtzer, Thomas R. Pickering, Edward S. Walker Jr., and Frank G. Wisner.[345] The former officials wrote: “We are persuaded that this agreement will put in place a set of constraints and monitoring measures that will arrest Iran’s nuclear program for at least fifteen years and assure that this agreement will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next ten to fifteen years. This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically.”[345]

Another public letter to Congress urging approval of the agreement was signed by a bipartisan group of more than sixty “national-security leaders”, including politicians, retired military officers, and diplomats.[344] This letter, dated 20 July 2015, stated: “We congratulate President Obama and all the negotiators for a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran…. We have followed carefully the negotiations as they have progressed and conclude that the JCPOA represents the achievement of greater security for us and our partners in the region.”[344][346] Among the Republicans who signed this letter are former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Trade RepresentativeCarla Anderson Hills, and former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum.[344] Among the Democrats who signed the letter are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Senate Majority Leaders George J. Mitchell and Tom Daschle, former Senator Carl Levin, and former Defense Secretary William Perry.[344][347] Also signing were former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; Under Secretaries of State R. Nicholas Burns and Thomas R. Pickering; U.S. Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Stuart Eizenstat; Admiral Eric T. OlsonUnder Secretary of Defense for PolicyMichele Flournoy; and Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn.[347]

On 8 August 2015, 29 prominent U.S. scientists, mostly physicists, published an open letter endorsing the agreement.[348][349] The letter, addressed to President Obama, says: “We congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more than Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.”[349] The letter also states that the agreement “will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements”.[348][349] The 29 signatories included “some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control”, many of whom have held Q clearances and have been longtime advisers to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.[348] The five primary authors were Richard L. Garwin (a nuclear physicist who played a key role in the development of the first hydrogen bomb and who was described by The New York Times as “among the last living physicists who helped usher in the nuclear age”); Robert J. Goldston (Director of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security and former director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory); R. Scott Kemp (an MIT professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a former science advisor for nonproliferation and arms control at the State Department); Rush D. Holt (a physicist and former U.S. Representative who is now the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science); and Frank N. von Hippel (Princeton Professor of Public Policy and former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). Six Nobel Prize in Physics laureates co-signed the letter: Philip W. Anderson of Princeton UniversityLeon N. Cooper of Brown UniversitySheldon L. Glashow of Boston UniversityDavid Gross of the University of California, Santa BarbaraBurton Richter of Stanford University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[348] Among the other scientists to sign are Siegfried S. Hecker (a Stanford physicist and the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory); Freeman Dyson (of Princeton), and Sidney Drell (of Stanford).[348]

On 11 August 2015, an open letter endorsing the agreement signed by 36 retired military generals and admirals, titled “The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security: An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals”, was released.[350][351] The letter, signed by retired officers from all five branches of the U.S. armed services, said that the agreement was “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”, and said, “If at some point it becomes necessary to consider military action against Iran, gathering sufficient international support for such an effort would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance. We must exhaust diplomatic options before moving to military ones.”[351] The signers included General James E. “Hoss” Cartwright of the Marine Corps, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Joseph P. Hoar of the Marine Corps, the former commander of the U.S. Central Command; and Generals Merrill McPeak and Lloyd W. Newton of the Air Force.[350][351] Other signers include Lieutenant Generals Robert G. Gard Jr. and Claudia J. Kennedy; Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn; Rear Admirals Garland Wright and Joseph Sestak; and Major General Paul D. Eaton.[351]

The above letter was answered on 25 August 2015, by a letter signed by more than 200 retired generals and admirals opposing the deal.[352][353][354] The letter asserted: “The agreement does not ‘cut off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it provides Iran with a legitimate pathway for doing exactly that simply by abiding by the deal…. The JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”[354][355] This letter was organized by Leon A. “Bud” Edney; other signers included Admiral James A. Lyons; Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, former vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.[353]

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni said that he had refused requests from both sides to sign their letters, saying to Time magazine: “I’m convinced that 90% of the guys who signed the letter one way or the other don’t have any clue about whether it’s a good or bad deal. They sign it because somebody’s asked them to sign it.” As to the JCPOA Zinni said: “The agreement’s fine, if you think it can work. But if this is a Neville Chamberlain then you’re in a world of shit.”[355]

On 13 August, retired Senators Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, and John Warner of Virginia, a Republican, co-wrote an op-ed in support of the agreement—titled “Why hawks should also back the Iran deal”—published in Politico.[356] Levin and Warner, both past chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee, argued, “If we reject the agreement, we risk isolating ourselves and damaging our ability to assemble the strongest possible coalition to stop Iran” in the event that military action was needed in the future.[356] Levin and Warner wrote, “The deal on the table is a strong agreement on many counts, and it leaves in place the robust deterrence and credibility of a military option. We urge our former colleagues not to take any action which would undermine the deterrent value of a coalition that participates in and could support the use of a military option. The failure of the United States to join the agreement would have that effect.”[356] On 14 August, retired senators Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican, and J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, a Democrat, also wrote in support of the agreement.[357] In a column for Reuters, Lugar and Johnston argued, “Rejection of the agreement would severely undermine the U.S. role as a leader and reliable partner around the globe. If Washington walks away from this hard-fought multilateral agreement, its dependability would likely be doubted for decades.”[357] They also wrote: “Tehran would be the winner of this U.S. rejection because it would achieve its major objective: the lifting of most sanctions without being required to accept constraints on its nuclear program. Iran could also claim to be a victim of American perfidy and try to convince other nations to break with U.S. leadership and with the entire international sanctions regime.”[357]

On 17 August 2015, a group of 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts issued a joint statement endorsing the agreement.[358][359] The statement says, “the JCPOA is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” and that the JCPOA’s “rigorous limits and transparency measures will make it very likely that any future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly, providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”.[358][359] The letter was organized through the nonpartisan Arms Control Association.[359] Among the 75 signatories are the Valerie Plame and Joseph C. Wilson; former IAEA director-general Hans BlixMorton H. Halperin; and experts from the Brookings InstitutionStimson Center, and other think tanks.[358][359] On 3 September, an open letter to President Obama signed by 56 people was issued criticizing the JCPOA as “unverifiable”. The letter said: “Guided by our experience with U.S. and foreign nuclear weapons programs—as well as with the history and practice of arms control, nonproliferation, and intelligence matters, we judge the current JCPOA to be a very bad deal indeed.”[360] Signers included Boykin; Bolton; ex-CIA director James Woolsey, former national security advisor Robert McFarlanePaula A. DeSutter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation; various former ACDA officials; and former Sandia National Laboratories president/director C. Paul Robinson.[360]

Foreign diplomats are also involved in the congressional debate. The Israeli ambassador to the United StatesRon Dermer appeared on cable television shows to attack the agreement, while ambassadors from European nations, including Sir Peter Westmacott, the British ambassador to the United States, “came on to say the precise opposite”.[361] Dermer also lobbied members of Congress on Capitol Hill against the agreement,[362] while diplomats from France, Britain, and Germany made the rounds on Capitol Hill to advocate for the agreement.[363] On 4 August, P5+1 diplomats held “a rare meeting of world powers’ envoys on Capitol Hill” with about 30 Senate Democrats to urge support for the agreement, saying, “If Congress rejects this good deal, and the U.S. is forced to walk away, Iran will be left with an unconstrained nuclear program with far weaker monitoring arrangements, the current international consensus on sanctions would unravel, and international unity and pressure on Iran would be seriously undermined.”[364]

On Meet the Press on 6 September 2015, former Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed support for the nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that it was “a pretty good deal”.[365] Powell said that various provisions accepted by Iran—such as the reduction in centrifuges and the uranium stockpile and the agreement to shut down its plutonium reactor—were “remarkable changes” that stopped the Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapons program. Powell also defended the verification provisions of the agreement, saying: “I think a very vigorous verification regime has been put into place.”[365]

Former Ambassador Dennis Ross, a longtime American negotiator in the Middle East, wrote that he was not yet convinced by either proponents or opponents of the agreement.[366] Ross wrote that the United States should be focused on “deterring the Iranians from cheating” (e.g., by producing highly enriched uranium) after year fifteen of the agreement.[366] Ross wrote, “President Obama emphasizes that the agreement is based on verification not trust. But our catching Iran cheating is less important than the price they know they will pay if we catch them. Deterrence needs to apply not just for the life of the deal.”[366] As part of a deterrence strategy, Ross proposed transferring to Israel the U.S. Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) “bunker buster” bomb at some point before year fifteen of the agreement.[366] In a 25 August op-ed in The Washington Post, Ross and David H. Petraeus again argued for transferring the MOP to Israel.[367]

The Jewish American community was divided on the agreement. On 19 August 2015, leaders of the Reform Jewish movement, the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, issued a lengthy public statement expressed a neutral position on the agreement.[368][369]The statement, signed by the leaders of the Union for Reform JudaismCentral Conference of American RabbisReligious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Association of Reform Zionists of America, reflected what RabbiRick Jacobs, president of the URJ, called “deep divisions within the movement”.[368] On 20 August 2015, a group of 26 prominent current and foreign American Jewish communal leaders published a full-page ad in The New York Times with a statement backing the agreement; signers included three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well as former AIPAC executive director Tom Dine.[370] Separately, a group of 340 rabbis organized by Ameinu issued a public letter to Congress on 17 August 2015, in support of the agreement, saying: “We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”[371] The signers were mostly Reform rabbis, but included at least 50 rabbis from the Conservative movement and at least one Orthodox rabbi.[372] Prominent rabbis who signed this letter included Sharon BrousBurton VisotzkyNina Beth CardinLawrence KushnerSharon Kleinbaum, and Amy Eilberg.[371] In a separate letter released 27 August, eleven Democratic Jewish former members of Congress urged support for the agreement; the letter noted the signatories’ pro-Israel credentials and said that the agreement “halts the immediate threat of a nuclear-armed Iran”, while a rejection of the deal would “put Iran back on the path to develop a nuclear weapon within two to three months”.[373] Signatories included former Senator Carl Levin and former Representatives Barney FrankMel LevineSteve Rothman, and Robert Wexler.[373]

Conversely, a group of 900 rabbis signed an open letter written by Kalman Topp and Yonah Bookstein in late August, calling upon Congress to reject the agreement.[374] The Orthodox Union and American Jewish Committee also announced opposition to the agreement.[375][376]

The Roman Catholic Church has expressed support for the agreement. In a 14 July 2015 letter to Congress, Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that the JCPOA was “a momentous agreement” which “signals progress in global nuclear non-proliferation”.[377][378] Cantú wrote that Catholic bishops in the United States “will continue to urge Congress to endorse the result of these intense negotiations because the alternative leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church”.[377][378]

On 25 August 2015, a group of 53 Christian faith leaders from a variety of denominations sent a message to Congress urging them to support the agreement.[379] The Christian leaders wrote: “This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). … There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it.”[379] The letter was coordinated by a Quaker group, the Friends Committee on National Legislation.[379] Signatories to the letter included Jim Wallis of SojournersJohn C. Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of ChristShane Claiborne; Adam Estle of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding; Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Orthodox Church; A. Roy Medley, the head of American Baptist Churches USA; the Reverend Paula Clayton Dempsey of the Alliance of Baptists, senior pastor Joel C. Hunter of Northland, A Church Distributed; and Sister Simone Campbell, a leader of the Catholic “Nuns on the Bus” campaigns.[379][380]

Congressional committee hearings

A hearing on the JCPOA before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took place on 23 July 2015. Secretary of State Kerry, Treasury SecretaryJack Lew, and Energy Secretary Moniz testified.[309][381] Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, said in his opening statement that when the talks began the goal was to dismantle the Iranian nuclear program, whereas the achieved agreement codified “the industrialization of their nuclear program”.[382][383] Corker, addressing Secretary of State Kerry, said, “I believe you’ve been fleeced” and “… what you’ve really done here is you have turned Iran from being a pariah to now Congress, Congress being a pariah.”[363] Corker asserted that a new threshold in U.S. foreign policy was crossed and the agreement would “enable a state sponsor of terror to obtain sophisticated, industrial nuclear development program that has, as we know, only one real practical need”.[384] The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, said he had many questions and his hope was that the answers will cause a debate “in Congress and the American people”.[384] Democrats, led by Senator Barbara Boxer of California, expressed support for the agreement, with Boxer saying that criticisms by Republicans were “ridiculous”, “unfair”, and “wrong”.[309][363] Corker and Cardin sent a letter to Obama saying the bilateral IAEA-Iran document should be available for Congress to review.[363]

At the hearing Kerry, Lew, and Moniz “were unequivocal in their statements that the accord was the best that could be achieved and that without it, the international sanctions regime would collapse”.[309] Kerry warned that if the United States would be “on our own” if it were to walk away from a multi-lateral agreement alongside the five global powers.[363] Kerry stated that the belief that “some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation” could be achieved was “a fantasy, plain and simple”.[309]The Washington Postreported, “Moniz emerged as the calm center of the proceedings, beginning his interjections with recitations of what he described as ‘facts,’ and mildly observing that Republican characterizations were ‘incorrect.'”[363] Kerry, Lew, and Moniz faced “uniform animus of Republicans” at the hearing,[309] with Republican senators giving “long and often scathing speeches denouncing what they described as a fatally flawed agreement and accusing the administration of dangerous naivete” and showing “little interest in responses” from the three cabinet secretaries.[363]The Washington Post reported on twelve issues related to the agreement over which the two sides disagreed at the hearing.[385]

On 28 July, Kerry, Moniz, and Lew testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.[386] Committee chairman Ed Royce, Republican of California, said in his opening statement, “we are being asked to consider an agreement that gives Iran permanent sanctions relief for temporary nuclear restrictions.”[386][387] “Royce also said the inspection regime ‘came up short’ from ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and criticized the removal of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and conventional arms.”[388] The committee’s ranking member, Representative Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York, said he has “serious questions and concerns” about the agreement.[388][389] Kerry, Lew, and Moniz spent four hours testifying before the committee.[390][391] At the hearing, Kerry stated that if Congress killed the deal, “You’ll not only be giving Iran a free pass to double the pace of its uranium enrichment, to build a heavy-water reactor, to install new and more efficient centrifuges, but they will do it all without the unprecedented inspection and transparency measures that we have secured. Everything that we have tried to prevent will now happen.”[392]

Senators John McCain (Republican of Arizona), the committee chair, and Jack Reed (Democrat of Rhode Island), the committee ranking member, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the JCPOA, 29 July 2015.

On 29 July, Secretary of DefenseAshton Carter, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kerry, Moniz, and Lew appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a three-hour hearing.[393] Carter and Dempsey had been invited to testify by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, the chairman of the committee; Kerry, Moniz, and Lew attended the hearing at the invitation of the Pentagon.[394][395] In his opening statement, McCain said that if this agreement failed and U.S. armed forces were called to take action against Iran, they “could be at greater risk because of this agreement”. He also asserted that the agreement may lead American allies and partners to fateful decisions and result in “growing regional security competition, new arms races, nuclear proliferation, and possibly conflict”.[396] The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, said Congress had an obligation “to independently validate that the agreement will meet our common goal of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon” and stated, “the agreement, no matter your position on it, is historic and, if implemented scrupulously, could serve as a strategic inflection point in the world’s relations with Iran, for international non-proliferation efforts, and for the political and security dynamics in the Middle East.”[397][398]

Carter said the agreement prevented Iran from “getting a nuclear weapon in a comprehensive and verifiable way”.[394] He assured the committee that the deal would not limit the U.S. ability to respond with military force if needed.[399] In response to a question from McCain, Carter said he had “no reason to foresee” that the agreement would cause Iran’s threatening behavior to change more broadly, stating “That is why it’s important that Iran not have a nuclear weapon.”[395][400] Dempsey offered what he described as a “pragmatic” view.[393] He neither praised nor criticized the deal, but did testify that the agreement reduced the chances of a near-term military conflict between the United States and Iran.[393] Dempsey said that the agreement works to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but does not address other concerns about Iran’s malign activities in the region, ranging from “ballistic missile technology to weapons trafficking, to … malicious activity in cyberspace”.[401] Dempsey testified, “Ultimately, time and Iranian behavior will determine if the nuclear agreement is effective and sustainable” and stated that he would continue to provide military options to the president.[401] Senator Joni Ernst expressed disagreement with President Obama who stated that the choice was the Iran nuclear deal or war. When General Martin Dempseytestified that the United States had “a range of options” and he presented them to the president, Ernst said: “it’s imperative everybody on the panel understand that there are other options available.”[402][403]

Under the JCPOA, Iran must submit a full report on its nuclear history before it can receive any sanctions relief.[404] The IAEA has confidential technical arrangements with many countries as a matter of standard operating procedure.[404][405][406] “Republican lawmakers refer to these agreements as ‘secret side deals’ and claim that the JCPOA hinges on a set of agreements no one in the administration has actually seen.”[405] Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican opponent of the agreement, said that Kerry had “acted like Pontius Pilate” and “washed his hands, kicked it to the IAEA, knowing Congress would not get this information unless someone went out to find it.”[407] On 30 July, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a resolutionseeking a delay in the review period, arguing, “The 60-calendar day period for review of such agreement in the Senate cannot be considered to have begun until the Majority Leader certifies that all of the materials required to be transmitted under the definition of the term ‘agreement’ under such Act, including any side agreements with Iran and United States Government-issued guidance materials in relation to Iran, have been transmitted to the Majority Leader.”[298][299] On 5 August, Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, spoke with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a closed briefing about two IAEA documents: an agreement on inspection protocols with Iran and an agreement with Iran regarding Iranian disclosure of its previous nuclear activity (known as Possible Military Dimensions).[405][408] Following this briefing with Amano, Republican Senator Bob Corker, the committee chairman, told reporters: “The majority of members here left with far more questions than they had before the meeting took place” and “We can not get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin.” The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Benjamin Cardin told reporters: “I thought today was helpful, but it was not a substitute for seeing the document.”[409]

State Department spokesman John Kirby responded, “There’s no secret deals between Iran and the IAEA that the P5+1 has not been briefed on in detail” and stated “These kinds of technical arrangements with the IAEA are a matter of standard practice, that they’re not released publicly or to other states, but our experts are familiar and comfortable with the contents, which we would be happy to discuss with Congress in a classified setting.”[406] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation writes that: “The arrangement specifies procedural information regarding how the IAEA will conduct its investigation into Iran’s past nuclear history, including mentioning the names of informants who will be interviewed. Releasing this information would place those informants, and the information they hold, at risk.”[404] Mark Hibbs of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Thomas Shea, a former IAEA safeguards official and former head of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, wrote that the charges of a “secret side deal” made by opponents of the agreement were a “manufactured controversy“.[81] Hibbs and Shea noted: “The IAEA has safeguards agreement with 180 countries. All have similar information protection provisions. Without these, governments would not open their nuclear programs for multilateral oversight. So IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was acting by the book on August 5 when he told members of Congress that he couldn’t share with them the details of [the] verification protocol the IAEA had negotiated with Iran as part of a bilateral ‘roadmap.'”[81]David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former IAEA nuclear inspector, stated that the demands for greater transparency regarding the agreement between Iran and IAEA “aren’t unreasonable” and, “Iran is a big screamer for more confidentiality. Nonetheless, if the IAEA wanted to make it more open, it could.”[410] Albright also proposed that the United States “should clearly and publicly confirm, and Congress should support with legislation, that if Iran does not address the IAEA’s concerns about the past military dimensions of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions will not be lifted”.[411]

Congressional support and opposition

Republican leaders vowed to attempt to kill the agreement as soon as it was released, even before classified sections were made available to Congress, and “Republican lawmakers raced to send out news releases criticizing it.”[412] According to The Washington Post, “most congressional Republicans remained deeply skeptical, some openly scornful, of the prospect of relieving economic sanctions while leaving any Iranian uranium-enrichment capability intact.”[413] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said the deal “appears to fall well short of the goal we all thought was trying to be achieved, which was that Iran would not be a nuclear state”.[413] A New York Times news analysis stated that Republican opposition to the agreement “seems born of genuine distaste for the deal’s details, inherent distrust of President Obama, intense loyalty to Israel and an expansive view of the role that sanctions have played beyond preventing Iran’s nuclear abilities”.[412]The Washington Post identified twelve issues related to the agreement on which the two sides disagreed, including the efficacy of inspections at undeclared sites; the effectiveness of the snapback sanctions; the significance of limits on enrichment; the significance of IAEA side agreements; the effectiveness of inspections of military sites; the consequences of walking away from an agreement; and the effects of lifting sanctions.[385][h]

One area of disagreement between supporters and opponents of the JCPOA is the consequences of walking away from an agreement, and whether renegotiation of the agreement is a realistic option.[385] Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, an opponent of the agreement, called for the U.S. government to keep sanctions in place, strengthen them, and “pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be”.[317] Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, said that he believed that it was “hyperbole” to say that the agreement was the only alternative to war.[385] President Obama, by contrast, argued that renegotiation of the deal is unrealistic, stating in his American University speech, “the notion that there is a better deal to be had. … relies on vague promises of toughness” and stated, “Those making this argument are either ignorant of Iranian society, or they are not being straight with the American people. … Neither the Iranian government, or the Iranian opposition, or the Iranian people would agree to what they would view as a total surrender of their sovereignty.”[316] Obama also argued, “those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. Instead of strengthening our position, as some have suggested, Congress’ rejection would almost certainly result in multi-lateral sanctions unraveling,” because “our closest allies in Europe or in Asia, much less China or Russia, certainly are not going to enforce existing sanctions for another five, 10, 15 years according to the dictates of the U.S. Congress because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on Iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It was not based on the belief that Iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power.”[316] Secretary of State Kerry has echoed these remarks, saying in July 2015 that the idea of a “‘better deal,’ some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation …. is a fantasy, plain and simple, and our intelligence community will tell you that”.[385][421] Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, a supporter of the agreement wrote: “Some say that, should the Senate reject this agreement, we would be in position to negotiate a “better” one. But I’ve spoken to representatives of the five nations that helped broker the deal, and they agree that this simply wouldn’t be the case.”[422][i]

On 28 July 2015, Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the longest-serving Jewish member now in Congress, announced in a lengthy statement that he would support the JCPOA, saying, “the agreement is the best way” to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that a rejection of the agreement would lead the international sanctions regime to “quickly fall apart”, as “sanctions likely would not be continued even by our closest allies, and the United States would be isolated trying to enforce our unilateral sanctions as to Iran’s banking and oil sectors.”[390][426][427]

A key figure in the congressional review process is Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, a Democrat who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[293] Cardin took a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu opposing the agreement and participated in a private 90-minute session with Energy Secretary Moniz supporting the agreement.[293] On 21 July, Cardin said that if the agreement is implemented, the United States should increase military aid to Israel and friendly Gulf states.[293]

On 4 August 2015, three key and closely watched Senate Democrats—Tim Kaine of Virginia (a Foreign Relations Committee member), Barbara Boxer of California (also a Foreign Relations Committee member), and Bill Nelson of Florida—announced their support for the agreement.[428] In a floor speech that day, Kaine said that the agreement is “far preferable to any other alternative, including war” and, “America has honored its best traditions and shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot.”[428] In a similar floor speech the same day, Nelson said that: “I am convinced [that the agreement] will stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon for at least the next 10 to 15 years. No other available alternative accomplishes this vital objective”[429][430] and “If the U.S. walks away from this multinational agreement, I believe we would find ourselves alone in the world with little credibility.”[431] Conversely, another closely watched senator, Chuck Schumer of New York, who is expected to make a bid to become Senate Democratic leader,[294]announced his opposition to the agreement on 6 August, writing, “there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one”[317][432]

According to an Associated Press report, the classified assessment of the United States Intelligence Community on the agreement concludes that because Iran will be required by the agreement to provide international inspectors with “unprecedented volume of information about nearly every aspect of its existing nuclear program”, Iran’s ability to conceal a covert weapons program will be diminished.[433][434] In a 13 August letter to colleagues, ten current and former Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence (including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff) referred to this assessment as a reason to support the agreement, writing, “We are confident that this monitoring and the highly intrusive inspections provided for in the agreement—along with our own intelligence capabilities—make it nearly impossible for Iran to develop a covert enrichment effort without detection.”[434][435] The ten members also wrote “You need not take our word for it” and referred members to the classified assessment itself, which is located in an office in the Capitol basement and is available for members of Congress to read.[434][435]

Congressional votes

A resolution of disapproval was initially expected to pass both the House and Senate, meaning, “the real challenge for the White House is whether they can marshal enough Democrats to sustain the veto.”[436][437] Two-thirds of both houses (the House of Representatives and the Senate) are required to override a veto, meaning that one-third of either house (146 votes in the House, or 34 in the Senate) could sustain (uphold) President Obama’s veto of a resolution of disapproval.[438][439]

By early September 2015, 34 Senators had publicly confirmed support for the deal, a crucial threshold because it ensured that the Senate could sustain (i.e., uphold) any veto of a resolution of disapproval.[440] Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced support on 2 September, a day after Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania also announced support, reaching 34 votes and assuring that an eventual disapproval resolution passed in the Senate could not override an Obama veto.[441] By the following day, 38 Democratic senators supported the deal, 3 were opposed, and 5 were still undecided.[442]

By 8 September, all senators had made a commitment on the agreement, with 42 in support (40 Democrats and two independents) and 58 opposed (54 Republicans and four Democrats).[440] It is possible for senators in support of the agreement to kill the disapproval resolution outright in the Senate by effectively filibustering it, making it unnecessary for Obama to veto a disapproval resolution at all.[440] However, this is only possible if at least 41 vote to do so, and several senators in support of the agreement, including Coons, “have suggested they’d prefer an up-or-down vote on the deal instead of blocking it altogether”.[440]

The apparent success of a strategy to marshal congressional support for the deal, linked to a carefully orchestrated rollout of endorsements (although Democratic Senate WhipDick Durbin and other officials disputed the suggestion of coordination[443]) was attributed to lessons learned by the White House and congressional Democrats during struggles in previous summers with Republicans, in particular, over Obama’s health care legislation.[444] An August 2015 meeting at which top diplomats from the UK, Russia, China, Germany, and France told 10 undecided Democratic senators they had no intention of returning to the negotiating table was reported to be particularly crucial.[444] Senator Coons said: “They were clear and strong that we will not join you in re-imposing sanctions.”[444]

On 20 August 2015, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats had the votes to uphold a veto of a resolution of disapproval.[445] To sustain a veto, Pelosi would need to hold only 146 of the 188 House Democrats;[446] by 20 August, about 60 House Democrats have publicly declared their support for the final agreement,[447] and about 12 had publicly declared their opposition.[445] In May 2015, before the final agreement was announced, 151 House Democrats signed in support for the broad outlines in the April framework agreement; none of those signatories have announced opposition to the final agreement.[439]

It was originally expected that the House would vote on a formal resolution of disapproval introduced by Representative Ed Royce, Republican of California, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.[448][j] As the Senate moved toward a vote on a resolution of disapproval, House leadership (under Republican control) planned to vote on a similar resolution of disapproval.[451] However, conservative Republicans “revolted in protest” as “the chamber’s right flank wanted tougher action from its leader” and the House Republican leadership (under Speaker John Boehner) planned to vote instead chose to bring a resolution of approval to the floor “as a way to effectively force Democrats who had voiced support for the president to formally register such endorsement”.[451] On 11 September 2015, the resolution failed, as expected, on a 162-269 vote; 244 Republicans and 25 Democrats voted no, while 162 Democrats and no Republicans voted yes.[451][452] On the same day, House Republicans held two additional votes, one on a resolution claiming that the Obama administration had failed to meet the requirements of a congressional review period on the deal and another resolution which would prevent the United States from lifting any sanctions.[451][453] The former resolution passed on a party-line vote, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed; the latter resolution passed on nearly a party-line vote, with all Republicans and two Democrats in favor and every other Democrat opposed.[451][453][454] The House action against the resolution was a “symbolic vote that will have no consequence for the implementation of the deal”, and the two anti-agreement measures passed by the House were seen as “unlikely to even reach Obama’s desk”.[453][454]

On 10 September, the day before the vote, House speaker Boehner threatened to “use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow and delay this agreement from being fully implemented” and said that a lawsuit by House Republicans against the president (claiming that the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act was not followed) was “an option that is very possible”.[453][455] Four months later, however, House Republicans abandoned their plans for a lawsuit against the administration over the JCPOA.[456]

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against President Obama and members of Congress in July 2015 in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, asserting that the agreement should be considered a treaty requiring Senate ratification.[457][458]Klayman’s suit was dismissed for lack of standing in September 2015.[459]

Review period in Iran

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a letter of guidelines to President Rouhani, ordering him on how to proceed with the deal.[139][140] On 21 June 2015, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) decided to form a committee to study the JCPOA and to wait at least 80 days before voting on it.[460] Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali Akbar Salehi, defended the deal in Parliament on the same day.[460] Although the Iranian constitution gives Parliament the right to cancel the deal, it was reported that this outcome is unlikely.[460]The New York Times reported, “the legislators have effectively opted to withhold their judgment until they know whether the American Congress approves of the deal.”[460]

In televised remarks made on 23 July 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected domestic criticism of the JCPOA from Iranian hardliners, “such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its allies”, which “have criticized the accord as an invasive affront to the country’s sovereignty and a capitulation to foreign adversaries, particularly the United States”.[461] In remarks described by The New York Times as “blunt” and uncharacteristically frank, Rouhani claimed a popular mandate to make an agreement based on his election in 2013 and warned that the alternative was “an economic Stone Age” brought on by sanctions which (as the Times described) have “shriveled oil exports and denied the country access to the global banking system“.[461] On 26 July, a two-page, top-secret directive sent to Iranian newspaper editors from Iran’s Supreme National Security Council surfaced online.[462] In the document, newspapers are instructed to avoid criticism of the agreement and to avoid giving the impression of “a rift” at the highest levels of government.[462] The BBCreported that the document appears to be aimed at constraining criticism of the JCPOA by Iranian hardliners.[462]

On 3 September, Iranian supreme leader Khamenei said that the Majlis should make the final decision on the agreement.[463] On the same day, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the parliament, said that he support the agreement and that: “The agreement needs to be discussed and needs to be approved by the Iranian parliament. There will be heated discussions and debates.”[463]

Abbas Milani and Michael McFaul wrote: “those [in Iran] supporting the deal include moderates inside the government, many opposition leaders, a majority of Iranian citizens, and many in the Iranian American diaspora—a disparate group that has rarely agreed on anything until now.”[464] Within the government, Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who negotiated the agreement, “are now the most vocal in defending it against Iranian hawks”.[464] Also vocally supporting the agreement are former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami and moderates within parliament.[464] The agreement is also supported by most prominent opposition leaders, including Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a 2009 presidential candidate who is under house arrest for his role as a leader of the Green Movement.[464]

Conversely, “the most militantly authoritarian, conservative, and anti-Western leaders and groups within Iran oppose the deal.”[464] The anti-agreement coalition in Iran includes former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former head of Atomic Energy Organization of IranFereydoon Abbasi, ex-nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili; and various conservative clerics and Revolutionary Guard commanders.[464] This group has “issued blistering attacks on the incompetence of Iran’s negotiating team, claiming that negotiators caved on many key issues and were outmaneuvered by more clever and sinister American diplomats”.[464]

Anti-JCPOA representatives of Islamic Consultative Assembly protested Ali Akbar Saheli and made death threats toward him[465]

Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehqan said on 2 September that Iran would not allow the IAEA to visit every site or facility that it wishes.[466]

The Majlis special commission for examining the JCPOA, has invited Ali Shamkhani, as well as members of former nuclear negotiation team including Ali Bagheri and Fereydoon Abbasi to comment on the deal.[467] During the session, Saeed Jalili, ex-chief negotiator has slammed the deal, stating “approximately 100 absolute rights” of Iran were conceded to the opposing side. He believes the deal is “unacceptable” because Iran makes an “exceptional [nuclear case], replacing ‘permission’ with ‘right’ under the NPT, and accepting unconventional measures”.[468] He also believes that the deal has crossed the red lines drawn by the Supreme leader of Iran. His testimony was criticized by commission members Masoud Pezeshkian and Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani.[469] In another session, current negotiatiors Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi defended the deal, led by Javad Zarif.[470]

In the Iranian media, the leading reformist newspapers, Etemad and Shargh, “continue to write approvingly of the negotiations and their outcome”.[471] Conversely, the leading conservative paper Ettelaat has criticized the agreement.[471] The most “bombastic and hard-line criticism of the deal” has come from Kayhan, which is edited by Hossein Shariatmadari and closely associated with Khamenei, the supreme leader.[471]

The agreement is supported by many Iranian dissidents, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate, human rights activist, and Iranian exile Shirin Ebadi, who “labeled as ‘extremists’ those who opposed the agreement in Iran and America”.[464] Likewise, dissident journalist and former political prisonerAkbar Ganji expressed hope, “step-by-step nuclear accords, the lifting of economic sanctions and the improvement of the relations between Iran and Western powers will gradually remove the warlike and securitized environment from Iran.”[464] Citing Iran’s human rights situation and the “lack of religious and political freedom in the country”, some dissidents opposed the agreement, including Ahmad BatebiNazanin Afshin-Jam, and Roozbeh Farahanipour, who signed an open letter arguing, “more pressure should be applied to the regime, not less.”[472]

On 13 October, The New York Times and many other major U.S. news sources reported that the Iranian Parliament had approved the JPCOA by a vote of 161 votes in favor, 59 against and 13 abstentions. Major Iranian news sources including Fars News Agency and Press TV, referred to as a semi-official government source by U.S. media, reported that what was actually approved was a document consisting of the text of the JPCOA, supplemented by text unilaterally added by Iran and not agreed by the P5+1.[473][474][475][476][477][478]

Adoption Day

On 18 October 2015, EU High Representative Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif jointly announced “Adoption Day” for the JCPOA, noting actions taken and planned by the EU, Iran, the IAEA, and the United States, and stating, “All sides remain strongly committed to ensuring that implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action can start as soon as possible.”[479]

Implementation Day

Last meeting between diplomatic teams of Iran and the United States, at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna

After the IAEA confirmed that Iran met the relevant requirements under the JCPOA, all nuclear sanctions were lifted by the UN, the EU and the United States on 16 January 2016.[480]

Washington imposed new sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for supplying Iran’s ballistic missile program on the first day of the implementation.[481][482][483] According to Kerry, $1.7 billion in debt with interest is to be paid to Tehran. However, some Iranian financial institutions including Ansar BankBank Saderat, Bank Saderat PLC, and Mehr Bank remain on the SDN List[484] and a number of U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran including existing terrorism, human rights and ballistic missiles-related sanctions will remain in place.[485]

Deterring Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Some argue that deterrence is the key to ensuring not just that Iran is in compliance with the agreement but also to preventing them from developing nuclear weapons.[486] Former Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn, a supporter of the agreement, wrote it would be better to have permanent or longer-term restrictions on Iran’s enrichment program, but preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is possible, “provided the United States and key partners maintain a strong and credible deterrent against a future Iranian decision to go for the bomb”.[487] According to Michael Eisenstadt, Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “deterring Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons will remain the core imperative driving U.S. policy in the coming years”.[488]

Four days after the JCPOA was adopted, Khamenei delivered a speech, highlighting his fatwa and rejecting the claim that the nuclear talks rather than Iran’s religious abstinence prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He said:

The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa (religious ruling), declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.[489]

In a letter[490] addressed to Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, President Barack Obama raised the issue about U.S. ability to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons:

The JCPOA, moreover, does not remove any of our options when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. As I have repeatedly emphasized, my Administration will take whatever means are necessary to achieve that goal, including military means. Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States—including the military option—will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond.[490]

Ambassador Dennis Ross, former top Mideast official, and General David Petraeus, former CIA director, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “Bolstering deterrence is essential in addressing key vulnerabilities” of the agreement. Petraeus and Ross asserted that if Iran decide to race toward a nuclear weapon “there is a need not to speak of our options but of our readiness to use force”, since the threat of force is far more likely to deter the Iranians. They said the president could resolve their concerns by stating that he would use military force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including producing highly enriched uranium, even after the deal ends in 15 years. It is “critically important for the president to state this clearly, particularly given his perceived hesitancy to use force”, they said.[486][491]

In the same letter, Obama detailed the possible non-military unilateral and multilateral responses to be employed should Iran violate the agreement, however, the president made it clear: “Ultimately, it is essential that we retain the flexibility to decide what responsive measures we and our allies deem appropriate for any non-compliance.”[490] Flexibility meant that Obama rejected specifying “the penalties for smaller violations of the accord” in advance.[492]

The open letter, which was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials endorsing the agreement, begins with the words: “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”[343][344] In contrast, Michael Mandelbaum, the Christian A. Herter Professor at the Johns Hopkins UniversitySchool of Advanced International Studies, wrote that nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depended “not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence”. Mandelbaum added that if President Obama will leave office without Iran building the bomb, “the responsibility for conducting a policy of effective deterrence will fall on his successor.”[493] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz expressed his view on deterring Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons as follows: “Nothing currently on the table will deter Iran. Sanctions are paper protests to an oil-rich nation. Diplomacy has already failed because Russia and China are playing both sides.”[494]

Aftermath

Impact

Economic

With the prospective lifting of some sanctions, the agreement was expected to have a significant impact on both the economy of Iran and global markets. The energy sector is particularly important, with Iran having nearly 10 percent of global oil reserves and 18 percent of natural gas reserves.[495] Millions of barrels of Iranian oil might come onto global markets, lowering the price of crude oil.[495][496] However, the impact would not be immediate, because Iran would not be able to implement measures that are needed to lift sanctions until the end of 2015.[496] Technology and investment from global integrated oil companies were expected to increase capacity from Iran’s oil fields and refineries, which have been in “disarray” in recent years, plagued by mismanagement and underinvestment.[495][496] Senior executives from oil giants Royal Dutch ShellTotal S.A, and Eni met with the Iranian oil minister in Vienna in June, the month before the JCPOA was announced, and sook business opportunities in Iran.[496]

The economic impact of a partial lifting of sanctions extends beyond the energy sector; The New York Times reported that “consumer-oriented companies, in particular, could find opportunity in this country with 81 million consumers,” many of whom are young and prefer Western products.[495] Iran is “considered a strong emerging market play” by investment and trading firms.[495]

French auto manufacturerPSA Peugeot Citroën was one of the first Western companies to re-establish commercial ties following the deal.[497]

In February 2016, after the end of a four year restriction, Iranian banks—except MehrAnsar and Saderat banks—[498]reconnected to the SWIFT.[499] However, many Iranian observers including critics of Rouhani’s administration, economists and private sector representatives claimed the news was false. According to Financial Timess report, Iran’s banks are indeed being reconnected to SWIFT but there have been “too few” transactions because european and US banks are “worried about the risks” of dealing with them and “scarred by a string of multibillion-dollar fines”.[498]

Three months after implementation, Iran was unable to tap about $100 billion held abroad. One 15 April 2016, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that Iran has gotten “almost nothing” from the accord. He also met Secretary of TreasuryJack Lew on the sidelines of his Washington’s trip to discuss the concerns.[500]Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary, said that “the agreement that’s included in the JCPOA does not include giving Iran access to the US financial system or to allow the execution of so-called U-turn transactions.”[501]

On 20 April 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States decided on Bank Markazi v. Peterson and ruled that almost $2 billion of Iranian frozen assets must be given to families of people killed in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings. The court accused Iran of being responsible for the incident.[502] Iranian foreign minister Zarif called the ruling “highway robbery”, lashing the court for its previous ruling of holding Iran responsible for 9/11, adding that the Supreme Court is “the Supreme Court of the United States, not the Supreme Court of the world. We’re not under its jurisdiction, nor is our money.”[503][504]

On 27 November 2016, Schlumberger, the largest oil service company in the world, announced that it had signed a preliminary deal to study an Iranian oil field. According to Schlumberger’s spokesperson, this was a memorandum of understanding with the state-run National Iranian Oil Company “for the non-disclosure of data required for a technical evaluation of a field development prospect”.[505]

Scientific

In July 2015, Richard Stone wrote in the journal Science in July 2015 that if the agreement is fully implemented, “Iran can expect a rapid expansion of scientific cooperation with Western powers. As its nuclear facilities are repurposed, scientists from Iran and abroad will team up in areas such as nuclear fusionastrophysics, and radioisotopes for cancer therapy.”[506]

Diplomatic

In August 2015, the British embassy in Tehran reopened almost four years after it was closed after protesters attacked the embassy in 2011.[507] At a reopening ceremony, Hammond said that since Rouhani’s election as president, British-Iranian relations had gone from a “low point” to steady “step-by-step” improvement.[507] Hammond said: “Last month’s historic nuclear agreement was another milestone, and showed the power of diplomacy, conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, to solve shared challenges. Re-opening the embassy is the logical next step to build confidence and trust between two great nations.”[507] The BBC‘s diplomatic correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, reported that the nuclear agreement “had clearly been decisive in prompting the UK embassy to be reopened”, stating that British-Iranian “ties have slowly been warming but it is clearly the successful conclusion of the nuclear accord with Iran that has paved the way for the embassy reopening”.[508]

Continued tensions

After the adoption of the JCPOA, the United States imposed several new non-nuclear sanctions against Iran, some of which were condemned by Iran as possible violations of the deal. According to Seyed Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran, the general consensus in Iran while the negotiations were taking place was that the United States would move towards increasing sanctions on non-nuclear areas. He said that these post-JCPOA sanctions could “severely damage the chances for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action bearing fruit”.[509][510][neutrality is disputed]

On 8 and 9 March 2016, the IRGC conducted ballistic missile tests as part of its military drills, with one of the Qadr H missiles carrying the inscription, “Israel should be wiped off the Earth.”[511] Israel called on Western powers to punish Iran for the tests,[512] which U.S. officials said do not violate the nuclear deal, but may violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.[513] Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted that the tests were not in violation of the UNSC resolution.[514] On 17 March, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Iranian and British companies for involvement in the Iranian ballistic missile program.[515]

On 21 May 2016, Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, persisted that “U.S. must take practical steps” in the meeting with his New Zealander counterpart Murray McCully[516]

Iran–U.S. prisoner exchange

Hours before the official announcement of the activation of JCPOA on 16 January 2016, Iran released four imprisoned Iranian AmericansWashington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who had been convicted of espionage,[517] former Marine Corps infantryman Amir Hekmati, who had been convicted of co-operating with hostile governments,[518][519] Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who was convicted on national security charges,[520] and former Iranian infantryman Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, who was convicted of violating alcohol prohibitions and awaiting trial on espionage charges[521]—in exchange for the United States’ release of seven Iranian Americans—Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi and Tooraj Faridi, charged with sanctions violations,[522] Nader Modanlo, convicted of helping launch Iranian satellite Sina-1,[522] Arash Ghahreman, convicted of money laundering and sanctions violations for exporting navigation equipment to Iran,[522] Nima Golestaneh, convicted of hacking,[522] and Ali Saboonchi, convicted of sanctions violations[522]—and the dismissal of outstanding charges against 14 Iranians outside the United States.[523][524] A fifth American, student and researcher Matthew Trevithick, left Iran in a separate arrangement.[525][526][527]

As part of the exchange, the U.S. government dropped charges and Interpol red notices against “14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.” Senior U.S. officials defended the agreement as a good deal for the U.S., but some Justice Department officials and FBI and DHS agents were critical because this disrupted the National Counterproliferation Initiative efforts “to lure top Iranian targets into traveling internationally in order to arrest them”.[528]

Continued criticism

Shahi Hamid of The Atlantic wrote that the agreement “had a narrow—if understandable—focus on the minutia of Iran’s nuclear program”, and “[t]he Obama administration repeatedly underscored that the negotiations weren’t about Iran’s other activities in the region: They were about the nuclear program.”[529] The U.S. government and observers noted from the time that the framework was entered into in April 2015 “that the United States and Iran still find themselves on opposite sides of most of the conflicts that have pitched the Arab world into chaos” and that the agreement was “unlikely” to cause Iran to become a firm partner of the West.[530]

The narrow nuclear non-proliferation focus of the deal was criticized by the agreement’s opponents (such as Lawrence J. Hass of the American Foreign Policy Council), who argued that the agreement was faulty because it did not address anti-Semitism and threats against Israel, hostility and rhetoric against America and the West in general, illegal missile testing, supplying of arms to terrorist groups, and efforts to destabilize ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.[531]

In October 2015 The Wall Street Journal noted that Iran had recently carried out ballistic missile tests, announced the conviction of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, launched military operations to maintain Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and continued shipping arms and money to Houthi rebels in Yemen, the latter two actions fueling fears of a broader regional war.[532]

Israel and Saudi Arabia expressed concern about Iran’s ability to use diplomatic cover and unfrozen money from the deal to strengthen its regional position and that of its allies.[532] Critics in Washington accused the Obama administration of having been duped by Iran and Russia into accepting a deal that was antithetical to American interests.[532]

Meanwhile, the administration was also accused of whitewashing Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with the IAEA investigation into the possible military dimensions of its past nuclear work.[533]

In November 2015, The New York Times wrote, “[a]nyone who hoped that Iran’s nuclear agreement with the United States and other powers portended a new era of openness with the West has been jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings over the past few weeks.”[534] The Times reported, variously, that the Iranian government had invited a Lebanese-American to visit the country, and then arrested him for spying; the Ayatollah made a public statement that the slogan “Death to America” was “eternal”; a wave of anti-American billboards went up in the capital; a backlash by political hard-liners began and the Revolutionary Guard intelligence apparatus “started rounding up journalists, activists and cultural figures”; state media circulated conspiracy theories about the United States, including that the CIA had downed a Russian civilian passenger jet in Egypt; Iranian and Lebanese citizens in Iran holding dual American citizenship were targeted for arrest on charges of “spying”; clothing manufacturers were prohibited from selling items featuring the American or British flags; and a state-sponsored demonstration was held outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on the anniversary of the takeover and hostage crisis in 1979.[534]

Business Insider reported that a variety of factors made it more likely that Iran’s stance would harden once the agreement was in place, with one Iran expert saying that Iran’s “nice, smiling face” would now disappear as the country pursued more adversarial stances, and policy analysts saying that by negotiating the deal with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Obama had “made an investment in the stability of the [IRGC] regime”.[535]

The National Review wrote that the U.S. administration’s unwillingness to acknowledge any Iranian noncompliance had left the Iranians in control, and that the deal was undermining international security by emboldening Iran to act as a regional hegemon, at the expense of U.S. influence and credibility.[536]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot argued in February 2016 that Iran’s prohibited missile tests, capture of U.S. naval personnel, and other provocations were a sign that rapprochement hoped for by Iran’s Western negotiating partners was not going to happen, saying the government had no interest in accommodating U.S. interests, seeking instead to humiliate the United States and spread propaganda. [537] Gigot noted Iran’s desire to be the dominant power in the Mideast and would work to promote instability there while using the nuclear agreement as a “shield” to protect from criticism of its “imperialist” behavior.[537]

James S. Robbins, an American political commentator and a senior fellow on the American Foreign Policy Council, criticized the nuclear deal as “impotent” because it does not limit Iran’s ballistic missile program, and UNSC Resolution 2231, which was adopted along with the deal, weakened the limits Iran’s ballistic missile program that had been imposed by previous UNSC resolutions.[538]

On 4 March 2016, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote “the International Atomic Energy Agency’s most recent report on Iran’s nuclear activities provides insufficient details on important verification and monitoring issues,” and said that the report’s lack of detailed data prevented the international community from verifying whether Iran was complying with the deal.[539]

On 20 March 2017, the Trump administration formally certified that Iran was in compliance with JCPOA, but added that the country will be subject to non-nuclear, terrorism related, sanctions.[540] The Trump administration refused to recertify Iran’s compliance in October 2017, however, citing multiple violations. [541]

Violations

On 9 November 2016 Deutsche Welle, citing an alleged source from the IAEA, reported that “Iran has violated the terms of its nuclear deal.”[542]

On 1 December 2016, the U.S. Senate voted to renew the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another decade. The future of nuclear agreement with Iran is uncertain under the administration of President Trump.[543] The Obama Administration and outside experts said the extension would have no practical effect and risked antagonizing Iran.[544]

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei,[545] President Rouhani,[546][547] and Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the extension of sanctions would be a breach of the nuclear deal.[548] Some Iranian officials said that Iran might ramp up uranium enrichment in response.[549]

In January 2017, representatives from Iran, P5+1 and EU gathered in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel to address Iran’s complaint about the US congressional bill.[546]

The Trump administration boasted that Trump personally lobbied dozens of European officials against doing business with Iran during the May 2017 Brussels summit; this likely violated the terms of the JCPOA, which expressly states that the U.S. may not pursue “any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran”. The Trump administration certified in July 2017 that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement.[550] In October 2017, however, the Trump administration refused to recertify Iran’s compliance with the deal, saying that “Iran has violated the agreement multiple times.” [551]

The IAEA, EU, Russia and China have all affirmed that Iran is respecting the limitations on its nuclear program.[552] The IAEA, the foremost authority on the matter, has repeatedly deemed Iran in compliance with the nuclear deal. The U.S. State Department has also certified that Iran is holding up its end of the bargain, and a host of experts affirmed these findings.[553] IAEA Director General Amano said that “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”[554]

Dispute over access to military sites

Ali Khamenei banned allowing international inspectors into military sites.[555] Trump and his administration said that Iranian military facilities could be used for nuclear-related activities barred under the agreement.[556] Iran rejected Trump’s request to allow inspection of Iran’s military sites.[557] However, Amano insisted that IAEA inspectors were entitled to inspect military sites under the agreement, although the IAEA has avoided requesting access to any military sites since the deal went into effect.[558][559]

Denial of Re-certification

On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would not make the certification required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, accusing Iran of violating the “spirit” of the deal and calling on the U.S. Congress and international partners to “address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons”.[560]

Declaring that he would not decide to certify the deal, President Trump left it to Congress whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran and “blow up” the deal. However, Trump’s aides sought to enact rules indicating how the United States could “reimpose sanctions” and president listed three items which could provide such as “trigger” leaving the deal: Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile, Iranian rejection of “an extension of the deal’s existing constraint on its nuclear activities”, and “evidence that Iran could manufacture a bomb in less than 12 months”. Trump described the deal as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.[561]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that getting out from the Iran nuclear deal would “carry a high cost” for the United States.[562] Also he said that no president was allowed to “single-handedly revoke” the deal signed by the UN.[563]

After Trump said that he “can not and will not” recertify the nuclear deal with Iran, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel supported the deal in a joint statement. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Mogherini said that the agreement was working well and that no one country could break the deal concluded by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. She suggested a “collective process” for keeping the deal. Russia’s foreign minister confirmed that Iran was abiding by the nuclear deal.[563]

US withdrawal

On May 8, 2018, the United States officially withdrew from the agreement after President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering the reinstatement of harsher sanctions.[564] During Trump’s speech at May 8, 2018, he cited that his decision was due to violation of the deal by Iran and to prevent Iran to develop nuclear arms. No evidence of significant noncompliance was presented by President Trump to support his withdrawal decision and the IAEA inspection team has continued to assess that Iran has been in compliance.

The European members of the deal have stated that they would remain in this deal.

Consequences after US withdrawal

The Iran currency dropped significantly right after Trump announced the US withdrawal. The leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: “I said from the first day: don’t trust America”[565]. Also, the American flag was set on fire in the Iran Parliament.[566].

See also

Notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Comprehensive_Plan_of_Action

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