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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

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

See the source image

Emily Landau: “Iran is strongly, strongly motivated to become a nuclear state”

Published on May 6, 2018

Dr. Emily Landau, one of the foremost experts on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, claims that Iran’s threats to pull out of the deal if Trump tries to renegotiate it are exaggerated – the deal has been great for Iran Read the full story: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-n…

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See the source imageImage result for branco cartoons obama iran cash paymentsSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Emily B. Landau

Emily B. Landau

Senior Research Fellow, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program
emily@inss.org.il
03-640-0408

CV

Emily Landau is a senior research fellow at INSS and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program, leading its research, conference outreach, and mentorship projects. Dr. Landau has published and lectured extensively on nuclear proliferation, arms control, and regional security dynamics in the Middle East; WMD proliferation challenges in the post-Cold War era; Israel’s nuclear image and policy; and developments in global arms control thinking in the nuclear realm. Her books and monographs include Israel’s Nuclear Image: Arab Perceptions of Israel’s Nuclear Posture (co-author, 1994), a landmark study into the regional effects of Israel’s unique model of nuclear ambiguity; and a major study of the ACRS talks entitled Arms Control in the Middle East: Cooperative Security Dialogue and Regional Constraints (Sussex Academic Press, 2006). Her most recent publications include co-edited volumes, among them: The Obama Vision and Nuclear Disarmament (2011); The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime at a Crossroads (2014), and Arms Control and National Security: New Horizons (2014). In 2012 she published Decade of Diplomacy: Negotiations with Iran and North Korea and the Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation, a comparative study assessing the effectiveness of negotiations as a strategy to confront the military nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. She is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles published in various academic and professional journals.

Dr. Landau has taught nuclear strategy, negotiations and arms control in different programs at Tel Aviv University since 2004; she currently teaches in the executive MA program on Diplomacy and Security at Tel Aviv University, as well as in the Lauder school of Government at IDC Herzliya (from 2013), and the International School at the University of Haifa (from 2008). She is a frequent expert commentator in Israeli and leading international media; her op-eds, comments and interviews have been featured in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalTime MagazineNational InterestFinancial TimesThe GuardianReutersBloomberg, and USA Today among others, and in Israel’s Times of IsraelJerusalem PostHaaretzMaariv, and Jerusalem Report.

Dr. Landau is a frequent guest lecturer and public speaker, and briefs many audiences on the Iranian nuclear crisis. She has participated in numerous Tack II initiatives on arms control and regional security in the Middle East, serving on the steering committee of the Euro-Mediterranean network of research institutes EuroMeSCo for eight years. She currently serves on the board of advisory editors of Fathom and is a member of IISS, London.  Dr. Landau holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Forbesmagazine chose Dr. Landau as one of Israel’s fifty most influential women for 2015, in recognition of her work on security issues, in particular her public profile regarding the Iranian nuclear crisis.

 

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East
© Getty Images

U.S. geopolitical and nuclear nonproliferation objectives are on a potential collision course as Saudi Arabia seeks to join the Middle East’s growing nuclear power club by soliciting bids for the construction of two reactors. An agreement between the two countries to allow U.S.-supplied nuclear technology to flow to the kingdom must limit nuclear weapons potential and serve geostrategic objectives.

With the nuclear supplier-recipient relationship lasting up to 100 years, it is important that the United States be a principal nuclear partner with Saudi Arabia. It can provide proven technology, strong regulatory capability, and has a long history of strengthening global nuclear governance and opposing proliferation, providing confidence in the Saudis’ nascent program.

But the pathway to achieving the balance between geopolitical and non-proliferation goals is fraught and the decision-making timeline short, presenting a significant challenge to the Trump administration that conducts the negotiations and the Congress that controls final approval.

If the United States insists that the Saudis renounce the possession of nuclear technologies that have dual civil and weapons uses the negotiations may fail, raising geopolitical and security concerns. If it relies on international norms and guidelines instead, they will need to be firmly enforced and strengthened or risk proliferation concerns.

A major worry about Saudi nuclear ambitions is that it will try to match Iran atom-for-atom by possessing uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons materials. While energy diversity is an underlying rationale for the shift from fossil to nuclear generation, a significant impetus is to respond to the nuclear advances by Iran, its regional competitor. Iran’s nuclear program is currently limited under a multilateral agreement because of its weapons implications, but important restrictions will expire in coming years.

The United States has several nuclear cooperation agreements with nations in the Middle East, including Egypt and Morocco, but the most recent one with the United Arab Emirates is significant. This agreement prohibits enrichment and reprocessing and is dubbed the “gold standard.” This restriction exists in only one other agreement, between Taiwan and the United States. But, post-9/11, it has been proposed as a new threshold for future U.S. nuclear collaboration in the Middle East and beyond.

The Saudis have indicated resistance to this restriction, although they have not stated an intention to enrich uranium and have not publicly expressed an interest in plutonium reprocessing.

A consequence of insistence on the “gold standard” is that it could push the Saudis away from American technology and into the embrace of Russia or China, whose reactors likely will come with fewer strings and a cheaper price. This would open the door to greater geopolitical influence by strategic competitors of the United States undermining its political, nonproliferation and security goals. The choice of South Korea to fill the Saudis’ order, as it did for UAE, could partly serve U.S. interests, but would still require a U.S.-Saudi agreement if controlled American componentry is involved.

An alternative to the “gold standard” requires that the United States focus on ensuring the effectiveness of other constraints. This includes enforcing the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) restrictions on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology if it may aid a weapons effort and closing loopholes that non-NSG nations could use to skirt the controls. The Saudis can enhance their nonproliferation credentials by accepting the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This would allow in-depth verification that its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Bilaterally, the United States maintains consent rights over the use and disposition of the nuclear fuel it provides. An additional step can be copied from the U.S.-South Korea nuclear pact, which faced similar pressures to provide access to weapons capable technologies. It allowed for a multi-year joint examination of a sensitive technology without pre-authorizing its use. A comparable approach would recognize the Saudis’ rights under the Nonproliferation Treaty but eliminate immediate concerns about weapon-grade materials in the kingdom.

Nuclear geopolitical and nonproliferation imperatives cannot be in conflict in the Middle East — both are critically important. There are serious concerns about the dangers posed by the production of weapon-grade materials in the region, including a potential Iran-Saudi nuclear arms race and the temptation for nuclear terrorism. There are equally real dangers that without a central U.S. role in the Saudi program nuclear and global security will suffer.

The balance between these goals can be found, but it will require creativity, compromise and a commitment to limit the inevitable imperfections.

Kenneth N. Luongo is president and founder of the Partnership for Global Security and the Center for a Secure Nuclear Future. He served from 1994-1997 as senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and simultaneously as the Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/375585-preventing-a-nuclear-meltdown-in-the-middle-east

 

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The Pronk Pops 1007, November 28, 2017, Story 1: North Korea Launches Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) — Flies 50 Miles High Toward Japan — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Big Push To Pass Something In The Senate — Tax Cut Yes, Tax Reform No — Something Maybe — Videos — Story 3: Repeal Government Control and Regulation of Internet — Let Consumer Sovereignty and Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign — Videos — Story 4: Obama Appointed Inspector General Charles McCullough Found 22 Top Secret and Beyond In Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails with Over 2,100 Containing Classified Information — Extremely Reckless Said Clapper — Clinton and Campaign Lied To American People — Prosecute Now! — The Statute of Limits Runs Out In February 2018 — Videos

Posted on November 28, 2017. Filed under: American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Independence, Law, Life, Media, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Security, Software, South Korea, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Treason, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Story 1: North Korea Launches Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) — Flies 50 Miles Toward Japan — Videos —

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Mattis: North Korean missile launch ‘went higher’ than previous tests

North Korea celebrates ICBM launch, harsh sanctions promised

US sanctions may not be enough to stop North Korea

Fox News confirms North Korea fires ballistic missile

Japanese Coverage Of North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch

 

North Korea ICBM test may show Washington within range.

by Reuters
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 03:06 GMT

 

* N.Korean missile test first since September

* Missile reached altitude of at least 4,000 km – officials

* Some scientists say Washington D.C. may now be within range

* N.Korea announcement 0330GMT-Yonhap cites N.Korean media

* For multimedia coverage of North Korea https://www.reuters.com/north-korea/

By Christine Kim and Phil Stewart

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – North Korea launched what officials said was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew high into space before landing near Japan on Wednesday, showing Pyongyang may now be able to reach Washington, D.C. with its weapons.

The missile test, North Korea’s first since mid-September, came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions.

North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its leader, Kim Jong Un, in defiance of international sanctions. Trump has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States.

The South Korean military said the missile reached an altitude of around 4,500 km (2,800 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 960 km (600 miles) before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials all agreed it was likely an ICBM but it did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.

“It went higher frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Trump spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In, with all three leaders reaffirming their commitment to combat the North Korean threat.

“It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

President Moon told Trump during their call that North Korea’s missile technology seemed to have improved, a spokesman for the South Korean leader’s office said.

Trump, who was briefed on the missile while it was in flight, said it did not change his administration’s approach to North Korea, which has included new curbs to hurt trade between China and North Korea.

ALL OPTIONS

Washington has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Other than carrying out existing U.N. sanctions, “the international community must take additional measures to enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic” traveling to North Korea, Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the launch, which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned.

“This is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions and shows complete disregard for the united view of the international community,” his spokesman said in a statement.

North Korea will make an announcement at 0330 GMT, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing North Korean media which gave no further details.

U.S. EAST COAST IN RANGE?

An official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they presumed the missile was a Hwasong-14 – a two-stage ICBM North Korea tested twice in July.

Japanese officials said the missile flew for 53 minutes and broke up before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

“If these numbers are correct, then if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 13,000 km (8,100 miles) … Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.

However, it was unclear how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, and it was uncertain if it could carry a large nuclear warhead that far, the nonprofit science advocacy group added.

Either way, experts believe North Korea will soon have the ability to threaten the continental United States, if it doesn’t already.

“We don’t have to like it, but we’re going to have to learn to live with North Korea’s ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons,” said Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies.

Minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response, the South Korean military said.

South Korea’s Moon said the launch had been anticipated and the government had been preparing for it. There was no choice but for countries to keep applying pressure and sanctions against North Korea, he added.

“The situation could get out of control if North Korea perfects its ICBM technology,” Moon said, according to the Blue House after a national security council meeting.

“North Korea shouldn’t miscalculate the situation and threaten South Korea with a nuclear weapon, which could elicit a possible pre-emptive strike by the United States.”

U.S. stocks briefly pared gains on the news but the S&P 500 index was up almost 1 percent at the close and Asian markets largely shrugged off the news.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in September, following a missile it fired that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on Sept. 15 and far out into the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea has said its weapons programs are a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.”

A U.S. government source said the U.S. assessment was the launch was the latest in a well-calculated and serious series of tests to develop and perfect North Korea missile systems rather than any response to Trump.

Trump has traded insults and threats with Kim and warned in September that the United States would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

(Reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul, Linda Sieg, William Mallard, Timothy Kelly in Tokyo, Mark Hosenball, John Walcott, Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, David Brunnstrom and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Grant McCool, Michael Perry & Simon Cameron-Moore)

http://news.trust.org/item/20171128192754-trq9s

Trump says North Korea missile launch ‘a situation that we will handle’

WASHINGTON, Nov 28 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States “will take care of” the North Korea issue after its latest missile launch, and that the basic U.S. approach to dealing with Pyongyang will not change.

Trump has tightened sanctions on North Korea and pressured China to do more to help rein in Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear ambitions. North Korea fired what the U.S. Pentagon said appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan on Wednesday.

Trump said the missile launch did not change what he called the “very serious” U.S. approach, a week after he put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries that Washington says support terrorism.

“I will only tell you that we will take care of it… It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Republican congressional leaders at the White House.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was also at the meeting, said the ICBM launch was a higher trajectory than any test conducted thus far by North Korea and called it part of a research and development effort.

“It went higher frankly than any previous shots they have taken,” Mattis said.

He said South Korea retaliated by firing some pinpoint missiles into the water to show North Korea that the U.S. ally would not be rattled by Pyongyang’s launch.

North Korea has said its weapons program is a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Grant McCool)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-5126451/Trump-says-North-Korea-missile-launch-situation-handle.html#ixzz4zmdW5hXm

Story 2: President Trump’s Big Push To Pass Something In The Senate — Tax Cut Yes, Tax Reform No — Something Maybe — Videos —

The Senate could kill tax reform: Here’s how

Senate Budget Committee passes GOP tax reform bill

Senate Tax Drama Intensifies As Bill Faces Key Panel Vote

Senate progressed a lot on tax reform: Sen. Daines

Trump pushes skeptical Republicans on tax plan

Rep. Kevin Brady on Senate Proposal Eliminates State And Local Tax Deductions. #TaxReform #GOP

Changes to Senate GOP tax plan may benefit Trump

Tax reform hangs in balance in critical week for GOP

Senate tax drama intensifies as bill moves toward key vote

 

Senator John McCain of Arizona arrived for a vote at the Capitol on Monday. While he has praised the process of the Senate tax bill, some believe he could still vote against it. CreditJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Once again, it could all come down to Senator John McCain.

After sinking his party’s hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act this year with a dramatic thumbs-down, the fate of a tax overhaul may now sit in the hands of the Republican from Arizona. In recent days, Mr. McCain has been fairly tight-lipped about his views on the tax proposal speeding through the Senate, saying he sees some problems with the existing bill but is waiting for a final plan before making a decision.

Asked about what concerned him about the Senate tax bill this week, Mr. McCain replied tersely: “A lot of things.”

Even those who know Mr. McCain best are unsure how he will vote, but if history is any guide, Republicans have reason to worry.

Mr. McCain has voted against big tax cuts before, including two that passed under another Republican president: George W. Bush. In that case, he bucked the majority of his party on the grounds that the 2001 and 2003 cuts overwhelmingly benefited the rich — a widespread criticism of the current Senate legislation and the bill that has already passed the House. Mr. McCain is also a deficit hawk and could find it hard to swallow a tax cut that will add around $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years.

With their slim majority in the Senate, Republicans can lose no more than two votes, and several others are on the fence.

“I don’t know,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, policy adviser to Mr. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said when asked how his former boss would vote on the tax overhaul. “For most people there are going to be things in there they don’t like and the question is what is preferable, the status quo or the bill.”

In 2001, as Republicans forged ahead with a $1.35 trillion tax cut, Mr. McCain became one of two Republican senators to vote against the bill’s passage. He said he could not accept that changes to the bill lowered the top individual tax rate to 35 percent and delayed tax relief for married couples.

“We had an opportunity to provide much more tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans,” Mr. McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor. “But I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”

Two years later, Mr. McCain voted against another round of tax cuts. In his remarks in 2003, Mr. McCain again cast doubt on the need to use “billions of federal dollars to cut taxes for our nation’s wealthiest.” The deal breaker that time was that his fellow lawmakers would pass such cuts while rejecting legislation that would have allowed members of the military to get tax breaks on profits from selling their homes.

“Politics ruled the day,” he said ruefully.

But Mr. McCain had been a tax cut skeptic well before those votes. After Republicans swept control of Congress in 1994, he was fretting about being fiscally responsible and urged his fellow lawmakers to heed the lessons of President Ronald Reagan.

“I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the ’80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we’ve got a debt that we’ve got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense,” Mr. McCain said.

During his first run for president, Mr. McCain was the candidate of fiscal responsibility rather than tax relief. When debating George W. Bush during the 2000 Republican primary, it was clear that Mr. McCain did not think that the budget surplus should be spent on tax cuts.

GRAPHIC

Which Republican Senators Might Oppose the Tax Bill, and Why

Senate leaders would need to win over several Republican senators to pass a tax overhaul.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

“We ought to pay down the debt, and we also ought to make Social Security solvent,” he said.

More recently, Mr. McCain has been toeing the party line on taxes.

In 2006, Mr. McCain supported extending the Bush tax cuts on the basis that letting them expire would represent a tax increase.

The tax plan that Mr. McCain crafted in 2008 during his presidential run against Barack Obama was even more mainstream Republican. He called for lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, phasing out the alternative minimum taxand doubling the value of exemptions for each dependent to $7,000 from $3,500.

The current Senate version has some similar strands, though it goes much further in giving tax breaks to businesses. The Senate bill cuts the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent, phases out the alternative minimum tax for both individuals and businesses, and creates more favorable tax treatment for so-called pass-through businesses. On the individual side, it roughly doubles the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly to $24,000 from $12,700 and increases the value of some other tax breaks, such as the child tax credit.

These days Mr. McCain seems far more concerned with the virtues of bipartisanship and “regular order,” insisting that both parties should have the chance to debate tax legislation and offer changes to any bill. His biggest priority remains robust military spending, and some have speculated that Mr. McCain could be wary that tax cuts would mean less revenue for the military and more debt for the nation.

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and longtime adviser to Mr. McCain, said that if lawmakers mean what they have said over the years about fiscal restraint, they should oppose this tax bill.

“We’re about to find out the degree to which that viewpoint about fiscal discipline was political rhetoric or fundamental principle,” Mr. Schmidt said. “If it was political rhetoric, then this bill will pass. If those statements were principle based, then this bill will fail.”

There have been some signals that Mr. McCain could be on board despite his public reticence to embrace the bill. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain pointed to his recent comments praising the process.

Still, some supporters of the tax bill have been concerned that Mr. McCain, along with Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, could vote against the legislation, possibly to spite President Trump, whom they have all been critical of, and criticized by.

Grover Norquist, the head of the anti-tax Americans for Tax Reform, said that he is hopeful that Mr. McCain will put his differences with Mr. Trump aside and get behind a tax bill that he thinks would be good for the party and the economy.

“You want to be the guy who is bigger than any personal fight,” said Mr. Norquist, who suggested that Mr. McCain voted against the 2001 tax cuts because he disliked Mr. Bush.

As for Mr. McCain’s penchant for going his own way, Mr. Norquist said he thought the senator had already proved himself.

“I think McCain did the maverick thing on health care, so if there are dues for the maverick club, he paid them this year big time,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/us/politics/republican-victory-may-rest-once-again-with-mccain-this-time-on-taxes.html

 

Senate committee advances GOP tax bill, moving closer to floor vote

  • The Senate Budget Committee advances the Republican tax bill.
  • In a party-line vote, the GOP moved one step closer to a floor vote later this week.
  • Bob Corker and Ron Johnson, who had concerns about the bill, voted to advance it.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is greeted by applause from (L-R) Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) during an event at the Capitol to celebrate the passing of the tax reform bill November 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Senate Budget Committee advances tax bill  

The Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday approved the Republican tax bill, a crucial procedural step toward a vote by the full chamber later this week.

With the party-line 12-11 vote to advance the plan, Republicans overcame one possible roadblock in their push to chop tax rates for businesses and individuals by the end of the year.

Two GOP members of the panel had separate concerns that threatened to upend the bill’s momentum. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., wants a “trigger” to raise revenues should the bill’s economic growth effects not go far enough to make up for the nearly $1.5 trillion in estimated tax cuts over 10 years. The senator had fears about expanding budget deficits and suggested Monday that he could vote “no” to advance the proposal.

In a statement Tuesday, Corker said he backed the bill after reaching a tentative deal on a “trigger” to “ensure greater fiscal responsibility should economic growth estimates not be realized.” The senator added that the proposal needs to be finalized but said he is “encouraged.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN

Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sought to further reduce the tax burden on pass-through businesses, which pay individual rates. He argued that those businesses got worse treatment under the plan than corporations, which would see their tax rate chopped to 20 percent from 35 percent.

Both senators ended up voting to advance the bill. Johnson later said he got assurances that his concerns would be addressed either in the Senate bill or in a joint bill with the House.

Senators going to the hearing were greeted by protesters shouting “Shame!” and “Kill the bill!”

Republican Senate leaders want to pass the plan later this week. As it holds 52 seats, the GOP can lose only two votes and still approve the bill under special budget rules, assuming all Democrats and independents oppose it.

Though the fiscal trigger earned Corker’s support, other senators quickly criticized the measure.

“I am not going to vote to implement automatic tax increases on the American people. If I do that, consider me drunk. I’m not voting for that,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said, according to Bloomberg.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said, “It’s not in our best interest to have a mechanism that would create a tax increase,” Bloomberg reported.

Shortly before the budget committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “challenging exercise” to get enough support to pass the bill.

“Think of sitting there with a Rubik’s Cube trying to get to 50 [votes],” the Kentucky Republican told reporters. “And we do have a few members who have concerns and we’re trying to address them. And we know we will not be able to go forward until we get 50 people satisfied, and that’s what we’re working on.”

The Senate proposal would temporarily cut many individual income taxes while permanently reducing the corporate rate. It would also change or eliminate some popular deductions.

Multiple other senators have expressed similar concerns to those of Corker and Johnson.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday after a meeting with McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump said, “I think we’re going to get it passed.” The president added that he expects “lots of adjustments” before a final plan gets approved. He did not specify what those adjustments would be.

At a Senate GOP lunch earlier in the day, Trump “underscored the importance” of passing a tax bill, according to McConnell.

Trump later described the meeting as “phenomenal,” “very special” and a “love fest.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/senate-budget-committee-advances-gop-tax-bill-moving-closer-to-floor-vote.html

Deal-making moves Senate Republicans closer to passage of tax reform bill

https://uw-media.usatoday.com/video/embed/107075882?sitelabel=reimagine&platform=desktop&continuousplay=true&placement=uw-smallarticleattophtml5&pagetype=story

The White House and congressional leaders released a framework for tax changes, but many key details have been left to tax committees. Here’s how that process is working. Jeff Dionise, Ramon Padilla, Paul Singer and Herbert Jackson, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans moved closer Tuesday to passing a bill to overhaul the nation’s tax system after leaders began winning over potential opponents through a series of deals to resolve their concerns.

For Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, worried that the tax bill would increase the federal deficit, it was the promise of a legislative “trigger” that would repeal the tax cuts if deficits appeared.

For Maine Sen. Susan Collins, it was the promise that separate legislation would be considered to offset the increase in health insurance premiums that is expected if the tax bill eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans emerged from a one-hour meeting with President Trump feeling optimistic that the tax-reform bill would pass in the next few days but acknowledged that the vote will likely be close.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the process of wrangling enough votes for passage as “a challenging exercise.”

“I think I’m sitting there with a Rubik’s cube trying to get to 50 (votes),” he said.

More: Trump signals changes are coming to tax bill as new study says those at the bottom are hurt

Tax-reform is a top priority of Trump and congressional Republicans, who are pushing to get the bill approved before the end of the year. Because Republicans hold a bare 52-48 margin in the Senate, they can afford to lose no more than two of their own members if the bill is to pass.

The legislation took an important step forward on Tuesday when it cleared the Senate Budget Committee in a party-line 12-11 vote. The committee voted to combine the tax-reform bill with language that would open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.

The measure is now headed to the Senate floor, where a final vote could come as early as this week.

The bill’s prospects appeared to improve significantly with Corker’s announcement that he was likely to support the legislation.

Corker previously had said he would oppose any tax bill that would raise the deficit. But after the meeting with Trump, Corker said he would support the bill if it included a trigger that would rescind the tax cuts if they caused a hike in the deficit. He did not provide details of the language.

 “I think we’ve come to a pretty good place,” Corker said. “The White House is all fine with this.”

Collins, who has met repeatedly with GOP leaders and with Trump to air her concerns, said she has secured an agreement in which a bipartisan health-insurance bill by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., would be considered along with legislation she has filed with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The Collins-Nelson bill would provide $3 billion to $5 billion in seed money to create high-risk insurance pools to help insure people with pre-existing conditions and other high medical costs.

According to Collins, the agreement calls for the two bills to be considered and signed into law before Congress considers a conference committee report on the tax-reform bill.

That would help offset the insurance premium increases that are anticipated if Congress eliminates the Obamacare provision that everyone must buy insurance. Eliminating the so-called “individual mandate” is part of the GOP tax package.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Trump signaled his support for passing the Alexander-Murray bipartisan bill and the Collins-Nelson legislation on high-risk pools, several senators said.

Trump “said that he understood the need to have something to offset the premium increases and appeared very open to the combination of Alexander-Murray and Collins-Nelson,” Collins said.

More: Republican tax overhaul clears the House, but Senate passage could prove to be the real test

More: Winners and losers in the tax bill that passed the House

Collins said she also intends to offer an amendment on the Senate floor that would reinstate the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000, similar to a provision that is included in the House bill. Collins said there is widespread support for the amendment among Senate Republicans because it would provide tax benefits to middle-class families.

Collins said she is still undecided about the tax bill. But, “We’re making some progress, and that is encouraging to me,” she said.

Another positive sign for Republicans was the tone of Tuesday’s meeting, which included a back-and-forth between Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, another member with concerns about the bill.

“It was very respectful,” said Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho. “Both of them were well-schooled.”

Risch said the mood was “very different” from a previous session between Senate Republicans and Trump before a failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Asked about his interaction with Trump, Johnson said, “He wants to encourage me to get to yes. And that’s what I want to do.”

McConnell criticized Democratic congressional leaders who cancelled a scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon with GOP leadership and Trump at the White House, saying that it demonstrated a lack of seriousness.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they decided not to attend the meeting after Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he couldn’t see how a deal could be struck between Democrats and Republicans and the White House.

The Democratic leaders said they would be interested instead in meeting with their GOP congressional counterparts.

But McConnell’s spokeswoman rejected that idea. Antonia Ferrier said McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan had not set any meeting with Schumer and Pelosi.

“They’re in the minority. They go and meet with the president of the United States,” she said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/28/trump-heads-capitol-hill-talk-tax-cuts-senate-republicans/898409001/

The Latest: Senate Budget panel advances tax package

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Republican tax overhaul legislation (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

The Senate Budget Committee has advanced a sweeping tax package to the full Senate, handing GOP leaders a victory as they try to pass the nation’s first tax overhaul in 31 years.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, speaks about tax reform as Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., listen Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, speaks about tax reform as Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., listen Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The committee voted 12 to 11 to advance the bill. Two committee Republicans had said they were considering voting against the measure. But after President Donald Trump personally lobbied Republican senators at the Capitol Tuesday, the committee passed the bill with little fanfare other than a few protesters who tried to disrupt the committee meeting.

GOP leaders hope to have the full Senate take up the bill later this week. The tax package blends a sharp reduction in top corporate and business tax rates with more modest relief for individuals.

__

3:05 p.m.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she has won support to amend the Senate’s sweeping tax bill allow homeowners to deduct at least a portion of their local property taxes on their federal tax returns.

President Donald Trump attended a Senate Republican luncheon Tuesday in an effort to persuade senators to support the tax package. Afterward, Collins said Trump and other GOP leaders agreed to the property tax provision.

The current Senate bill completely repeals the state and local tax deduction, which helps reduce the tax bills of more than 43 million families. Collins said the Senate bill would be amended to allow homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, which is similar to a provision in the House-passed bill.

__

12:55 p.m.

A group of moderate Senate Democrats are asking Republicans to work with them to refashion their tax bill into legislation they say would truly help the middle class.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who led the group, tells Republicans: “We can get you to 70” votes on a bill.

Democrats weren’t included in the crafting of the tax overhaul legislation, and they have attacked it as benefiting big corporations and the wealthy.

Several of the moderates had been actively courted by President Donald Trump on the tax overhaul in recent weeks, invited to meetings and dinners at the White House and trips with Trump on his plane.

Manchin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are from states easily carried by Trump in the 2016 election. They are up for re-election next year.

___

10:30 a.m.

The House’s chief tax-writer says ending the “Obamacare” requirement that everyone have health insurance – an element of the Senate bill – is a move the House also is likely to accept.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, made his comments Tuesday as Senate Republican leaders pushed to pass their bill this week. It would eventually have to be reconciled with the tax measure recently passed by the House.

Brady has previously said that repealing the so-called individual mandate under the Obama health care law was politically risky. But he told the American Enterprise Institute that “the House has always been strongly supportive of eliminating that forced tax.”

He said, “We’re going to let the Senate process go forward, encourage the Senate to deliver a good pro-growth product.”

__

3:26 a.m.

Republicans are struggling to win over resistant GOP senators to a sweeping tax bill that President Donald Trump and their party have set as a vital political goal.

Trump, who has assured lawmakers there will be changes, is traveling to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to personally lobby Republican senators. Senate GOP leaders hope to pass the bill this week.

Anxious to pass a tax overhaul package by year’s end with an eye to the 2018 elections, Trump and the GOP leaders scrambled Monday to make changes to the Senate version to woo the Republican holdouts. Republicans have only two votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a 52-48 edge, and anticipate Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie, if needed.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., speaks, as she is accompanied by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., left, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a news conference about their hopes for a bipartisan approach to tax reform, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., left, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks about tax reform, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5125805/The-Latest-Moderate-Dems-ask-GOP-negotiate-taxes.html#ixzz4zmz8XFIc

 

Story 3: Repeal Government Control and Regulation of The Internet — Let Consumer Sovereignty and Free Enterprise Market Capital Reign — Videos

US regulator says Silicon Valley is threat to internet

AFP
Federal Communication Commission chairman Ajit Pai argues that internet platforms like Twitter represent a threat to online freedom of speech
Federal Communication Commission chairman Ajit Pai argues that internet platforms like Twitter represent a threat to online freedom of speech (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)re

Washington (AFP) – A top US regulator, defending an effort to roll back so-called “net neutrality” rules, said Tuesday that large internet platforms represent the biggest threat to online freedom because they routinely block “content they don’t like.”

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai delivered remarks days after unveiling a proposal to reverse a hotly contested 2015 rule requiring broadband firms to treat all online traffic equally.

Pai said internet platforms — he singled out Twitter — play a more significant role than broadband operators in determining what internet users see.

“Despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what internet content consumers can see, recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see,” Pai said.

“These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.”

The blunt remarks appeared to confirm a tougher atmosphere in Washington for Silicon Valley firms after years of close ties.

Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, offered an example of Twitter’s decision to block a video by a Republican candidate “because it featured a pro-life message,” referring to the politician’s claim of the “sale of baby body parts.”

He said Twitter “appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” Pai said.

“This conduct is many things, but it isn’t fighting for an open internet.”

Pai said online platforms are “secretly editing certain users’ comments” and “caving to repressive foreign governments’ demands to block certain speech” which would be considered “repugnant” in the United States.

“In this way, edge providers are a much bigger actual threat to an open internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint,” Pai said.

The dispute over net neutrality has been the subject of several court battles, with backers arguing strong rules are needed to guard against powerful broadband firms like Comcast and AT&T acting as “gatekeepers” that can punish rivals.

Pai said the debate on “net neutrality” appears driven by Silicon Valley firms’ business interests.

“These companies want to place much tougher regulations on broadband providers than they are willing to have placed upon themselves,” he said.

“They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these Internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-regulator-says-silicon-valley-threat-internet-213205410.html

 

 

Like Y2K, the Net neutrality crisis is way overhyped

ERIC THAYER/NEW YORK TIMES
Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

As the Federal Communications Commission nears a fateful decision on network neutrality, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Y2K all over again.

You may remember Dec. 31, 1999. That’s the last time the Internet was expected to die, because millions of computers were going to crash when their internal clocks failed to turn over to the year 2000. I sat in the Globe’s newsroom, waiting for the end. Nothing happened. It was quite a letdown.

Now here comes another “apocalypse.” On Dec 14, the FCC is expected to abandon the Obama administration’s policy on so-called Net neutrality, in which the government forces Internet providers to treat all data equally. Activists say it’s the end of the Internet as we know it, with giant Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T free to block or slow down access to key online services unless they’re paid extra to let the data flow.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/11/28/like-net-neutrality-crisis-way-overhyped/ChcyXjEsM5QyMIfYa09vWO/story.html

Story 4: Obama Appointed Inspect General Charles McCullough Found 22 Top Secret and Beyond In Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails with Over 2,100 Containing Classified Information — Extremely Reckless Said Clapper — Clinton and Campaign Lied To American People — Prosecute Now! — The Statute of Limits Runs Out In February 2018 — Videos

See the source image

Ex-inspector general: Blowback came from Clinton allies

“The Public Was MISLED!!” Tucker Interviews Fmr Intelligence IG About Hillary Investigation

Clinton emails contained classified material – U.S. inspector

Wikileaks Explodes! MSNBC/WSJ/NYTimes/WashPost! Media Blackout Ending! Chelsea Comes Clean!

WIKILEAKS FINALLY DID IT…SHE’S DONE

8 Signs Hillary Clinton Will Be Arrested And Charged Soon

JUST IN …HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS ORDERS FOR IMMEDIATE ARREST OF HILLARY CLINTON

Proof Hillary Clinton is Guilty

Clinton: ” I did not email any classified material”

Hillary Clinton vs. James Comey: Email Scandal Supercut

BLOWBACK: MARINE DEMANDS SAME TREATMENT as HILLARY “No Prosecution”

Tucker Carlson Tonight 11/28/17 – Tucker Carlson Tonight November 28, 2017 Fox News

Obama-Appointed Federal Inspector Threatened By Clinton Campaign Over Email Investigation

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Content originally published at iBankCoin.com,

An Obama appointed government watchdog central to the Hillary Clinton email investigation says that he, his family and his office faced an ‘intense backlash‘ from Clinton allies, who threatened him over findings that Clinton mishandled classified information.

Former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III.

Former Inspector General Charles McCullough III told Fox News Chief Intel correspondent Catherine Herridge that he was under intense pressure from senior officials on the left – with one Clinton campaign official threatening that he and another government investigator would be immediately fired under a Hillary Clinton presidency:

“It was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired – with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen.” –Charles McCullough III

As a refresher, over 2,100 classified emails were sent over Clinton’s personal server, which was used exclusively for government business. Despite this, former FBI Director James Comey – who had drafted Clinton’s exoneration letter months before reviewing evidence in the case – recommended that the DOJ not prosecute the case.

McCullough was recommended to Obama by then-Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who told McCullough that Clinton’s conduct was “extremely reckless,” adding “the campaign … will have heartburn about that.”

Via Fox News:

He [McCullough] said Clapper’s Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election – in late December 2015 or early 2016. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.”

 

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

Egregious violations

In January 2016, McCullough told Republicans on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees that emails classified above “Top Secret” had been passed through the former secretary of state’s private, unsecure server – such as an email about Benghazi she sent to daughter Chelsea Clinton (using pseudonym Diane Reynolds) on the night of September 11th, 2012 from ‘@clintonemail.com’ which not only divulged highly classified military intel over a non-government server vulnerable to foreign surveillance – it also revealed that the Obama administration knew that an “Al Queda-like group” was responsible for the attack.

One wonders what Chelsea’s security clearance was at the time?

Instead of informing the American public that radical Islam was responsible for the attack, the Obama administration fabricated a story – peddling the lie that anger over an anti-Islamic YouTube video resulted in the attack, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of an innocent man.

Hillary knew it was an “Al Qeda-like group” hours after it happened when she told Chelsea (“Diane Reynolds”) top secret information. pic.twitter.com/LiOJj3jck1

— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) July 15, 2017


As one of a handful of people who reviewed the 22 Top Secret Clinton emails deemed too classified to ever see the light of day, McCullough says “There was a very good reason to withhold those emails … there would have been harm to national security,” adding “sources and methods, lives and operations” could be put at risk. According to Fox, some of those email exchanges were considered Special Access Privelage (SAP), or “above top secret.”

What’s interesting about that, is an anonymous 4chan poster known as “FBI Anon” – whose breadcrumbs of information have been largely correct, posted on July 2, 2016 that Clinton had “SAP level programs on her server, which if made public, would literally cause an uprising and possibly foreign declarations of war.”

Then, on October 16, 2016 – three weeks before former FBI Director Comey cleared Clintin, “FBI Anon” elaborated on SAP programs and made an unverified claim about Clinton:

A Special Access Program is an intelligence program classified above top-secret. They are held on closed servers at secret locations. The only way to get one is if you are specifically read on to a program, have a need to know, then you must physically go to a location and pass through several layers of security to even look at the program. A good example in non-classified terms would be the locations and operations of our intelligence operatives around the glove, or our missile silo locations. SAP is granted on a need to know basis, and Hillary did not have any need to know any of the programs on her server. All I can tell you about the SAPs is that Hillary had them, and she did not have proper authority to have any of them. They were leaked to her by someone, and she did sell them to overseas donors. Possessing them alone makes her guilty of treason.” –FBI Anon

Turncoat?

In response to McCullough’s findings, Democrats turned their backs on the Obama-appointed Inspector General for doing his job.

“All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,” McCullough said, adding “And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

McCullough told Fox of “an effort… certainly on the part of the campaign to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here.”

Damage Control

As the Clinton campaign geared up for the 2016 election, WikiLeaks documents reveal that Hillary’s inner circle was already starting to spin the investigation – writing in an August 2015 email that “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.”

McCullough was critical of this response, telling Fox “There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here.”

In response to the Inspector General’s pushback, seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his counterpart at the State Department, raising concerns over the impartiality of the Clinton email investigation. McCullough, however, was not arriving at any conclusions himself – he was simply passing along the findings of individual government agencies on appropriate classifications assigned to the emails.

Fox News reports:

McCullough described one confrontation with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office just six weeks before the election, amid pressure to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

 

“I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

 

As Election Day approached, McCullough said the threats went further, singling out him and another senior government investigator on the email case.

Inquiries sent by Fox to both Feinstein and Clapper were not returned at the time of publication.

Watch:

Herridge: “Was there an effort to deliberately mislead the public about [@HillaryClinton] classified emails?”
McCullough: “Absolutely.”

Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow § Subscribe to our YouTube channel

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-28/obama-appointed-federal-inspector-threatened-clinton-campaign-over-email-investigati

areful. There are people out to get you.’”

But the former inspector general, with responsibility for the 17 intelligence agencies, said the executive who recommended him to the Obama administration for the job – then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – was also disturbed by the independent Clinton email findings.

“[Clapper] said, ‘This is extremely reckless.’ And he mentioned something about — the campaign … will have heartburn about that,” McCullough said.

He said Clapper’s Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election – in late December 2015 or early 2016. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.”

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

As one of the few people who viewed the 22 top secret Clinton emails deemed too classified to release under any circumstances, the former IG said, “There was a very good reason to withhold those emails … there would have been harm to national security.” McCullough went further, telling Fox News that “sources and methods, lives and operations” could be put at risk.

Some of those email exchanges contained Special Access Program (SAP) information characterized by intel experts as “above top secret.”

“I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

– Former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III

WikiLeaks documents show the campaign was formulating talking points as the review of 30,000 Clinton emails was ongoing.

The campaign team wrote in August 2015 that “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.”

McCullough was critical of the campaign’s response, as the classified review had barely begun. “There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign, to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here,” McCullough said.

In March 2016, seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart, saying they had serious questions about the impartiality of the Clinton email review. However, McCullough was not making the decisions on what material in Clinton’s emails was classified — he was passing along the findings of the individual agencies who got the intelligence and have final say on classification.

“I think there was certainly a coordinated strategy,” McCullough said.

McCullough described one confrontation with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office just six weeks before the election, amid pressure to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

“I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

As Election Day approached, McCullough said the threats went further, singling out him and another senior government investigator on the email case.

“It was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired — with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen,” he said.

McCullough said he was just trying to do his job, which requires independence. “I was, in this context, a whistleblower. I was explaining to Congress — I was doing exactly what they had expected me to do. Exactly what I promised them I would do during my confirmation hearing,” he said. “… This was a political matter, and all of a sudden I was the enemy.”

He said pressures also increased early on from Clinton’s former team at the State Department, especially top official Patrick Kennedy.

“State Department management didn’t want us there,” McCullough said. “We knew we had had a security problem at this point. We had a possible compromise.”

Speaking about the case more than a year after the FBI probe concluded, McCullough in his interview also addressed the possibility that a more cooperative State Department and Clinton campaign might have precluded the FBI’s involvement from the start.

“Had they come in with the server willingly, without having us to refer this to the bureau … maybe we could have worked with the State Department,” he said.

More than 2,100 classified emails passed through Clinton’s personal server, which was used exclusively for government business. No one has been charged.

Asked what would have happened to him if he had done such a thing, McCullough said: “I’d be sitting in Leavenworth right now.”

Fox News asked a Clinton campaign spokesman, Feinstein’s office and Clapper for comment. There was no immediate response.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/11/27/blowback-clinton-campaign-planned-to-fire-me-over-email-probe-obama-intel-watchdog-says.html

650. Length of Limitations Period

Current federal law contains a single statute prescribing a general period of limitations, as well as several statutes that provide longer periods for specific offenses.

Section 3282 of Title 18, United States Code, is the statute of general application. It states that, “(e)xcept as otherwise expressly provided by law,” a prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed.

Section 3281 of Title 18 deals with capital offenses and provides that an indictment for an offense “punishable by death” may be filed at any time. Despite the invalidity of some former federal statutory death penalty provisions, it is arguable that the unlimited time period remains applicable to those statutes that formerly carried that penalty. See United States v. Helmich, 521 F. Supp. 1246 (M.D.Fla. 1981), aff’d on other grounds, 704 F.2d 547 (11th Cir. 1983); see Matter of Extradition of Kraiselburd, 786 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1986).

Section 3286 of Title 18, United States Code, provides for an eight (8) year statute of limitations for the non-capital offenses under certain terrorism offenses. These offenses include: 18 U.S.C. §§ 32 (aircraft destruction), 37 (airport violence), 112 (assaults upon diplomats and internationally protected persons), 351 (violent crimes against Congresspersons or Cabinet officers), 1116 (murder of diplomats and internationally protected persons), 1203 (hostage taking), 1361 (willful injury to government property), 1751 (violent crimes against the President), 2280 (maritime violence), 2281 (maritime platform violence), 2332 (terrorist acts abroad against United States nationals), 2332a (use of weapons of mass destruction), 2332b (acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries), or 2340A (torture) or 49 U.S.C. §§  46502 (aircraft piracy), 46504 (interference with flight crew), 46505 (carrying a weapon or explosive on an aircraft), or 46506 (certain crimes committed aboard an aircraft). Section 3286 first became effective on September 13, 1994, and was applicable to any relevant offense committed on or after September 15, 1989. In 1996, the new 18 U.S.C. § 2332b was added to the statute.

Section 3293 of Title 18, United States Code, provides for a ten (10) year statute of limitations for certain financial institution offenses which involve violations of, or conspiracy to violate, (1) 18 U.S.C. §§  215, 656, 657, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1014, 1033, or 1344; (2) 18 U.S.C. §§  1342 or 1343 if the offense affects a financial institution; or (3) 18 U.S.C. §  1963 to the extent that the racketeering activity involves a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.

Section 3294 of Title 18, United States Code, provides a twenty (20) year statute of limitations for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 668 involving the theft of major art work.

Section 3295 of Title 18, United States Code, which was enacted on April 24, 1996, provides for a 10 year statute of limitations for certain non-capital arson or use-of-explosives offenses under 18 U.S.C. §§  81 or 844(f), (h), or (i). (Section 844(i) had a seven year statute of limitations period for offenses committed on or after September 13, 1989, but before April 24, 1996.) See this Manual at 1445.

A one year statute of limitations is provided for criminal contempt under 18 U.S.C. § 402 (see 18 U.S.C. § 3285).

Section 507(a) of Title 17 provides that no criminal proceeding shall be maintained under Title 17 (relating to copyrights) unless commenced within three years after the cause of action arose.

Section 6531 of Title 26 provides that prosecutions for violation of the internal revenue laws shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense, except for eight enumerated categories of offenses as to which a six-year limitations period is made applicable. See this Manual at 658.

Section 3291 of Title 18 provides that prosecutions for violations of nationality, citizenship, and passport laws, or a conspiracy to violate such laws, shall be commenced within ten years after the commission of the offense. Section 19 of the Internal Security Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 1005, provides a ten-year limitations period for prosecutions under the espionage statutes, 18 U.S.C. Secs. 792 to 794.

Section 2278 of Title 42 provides a similar ten-year period for prosecution of restricted data offenses under the atomic energy laws, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2274 to 2276.

Section 783(e) of Title 50 provides that a prosecution for an offense under that section, part of the Subversive Activities Control Act, shall be instituted within ten years after the commission of the offense.

[cited in USAM 9-18.000]

https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-650-length-limitations-period

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 20017, Story 1: The People of Alabama Will Decide Who Will Represent Them As Their Senator — Not Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell — Videos — Story 2: Follow The Money — The Bought and Paid For Political Elitist Establishment of The Two Party Tyranny — Video — Story 3: Independents United — Independence Party Time — Videos

Posted on November 14, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, China, College, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, House of Representatives, Japan, North Korea, Senate, South Korea, United States of America, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Image result for cartoons mitch mcconnell

Image result for cartoons two party tyranny

Image result for branco cartoons mitch mcconnell

Image result for cartoons mitch mcconnell

Image result for branco cartoons third parties

Image result for branco cartoons third parties

 

Story 1: The People of Alabama Will Decide Who Will Represent Them As Their Senator — Not Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell — Videos —

The Case Against Mitch McConnell and The Case For America

RUSH: Roy Moore Is Steve Bannon Being Told By Mitch McConnell ‘You Think You’re Getting Rid Of Me?’

Laura Ingraham With Some Straight Talk On The Alabama Hit Job

The Mark Levin Show 11/13/17 | Mitch McConnell knowing the facts and truth about Roy Moore

What Alabama voters think of the Roy Moore assault allegations

GOP candidate Roy Moore faces new allegations, new pressure to quit Senate race

How the Roy Moore scandal raises GOP concerns for 2018

Establishment Republicans Are So Over Roy Moore

Sen. Mitch McConnell Gets DEVASTATING Bad Poll News From His Home State!!!

Hannity: Don’t rush to judgement over Roy Moore

Senator Mitch McConnell On Roy Moore Allegations: ‘I Believe The Women’ | NBC News

Mitch McConnell calls for Judge Roy Moore to step down

Steve Bannon on Breitbart News Daily (11/13/2017)

Bannon slams Washington Post over Roy Moore report

Report that Roy Moore had sexual contact with a teen raises questions about his Senate run

David Wohl: Allegations against Roy Moore don’t hold water

Ann Coulter Responds To Judge Moore Allegations

Ann Coulter DEFENDS Roy Moore Child Molestation: ‘This Was Nearly 50 years Ago’

“It’s Raining Bad Men” Greg Gutfeld on Roy Moore Allegations

Donald Trump insults Mitch McConnell at press conference about taking money from lobbyists

Conservative group wants to oust Mitch McConnell

Steve Bannon: I Wear Mitch McConnell’s Contempt as Badge of Honor

Steve Bannon: Mitch McConnell Spent Over $30 Million to Destroy a Righteous Man, Judge Roy Moore

Time to Ditch Mitch? Erick Erickson Thinks So!

McConnell Blames Pres Trump For Excessive Expectations – Trump Vs The Swamp – Ditch Mitch -Lou Dobbs

Judge Jeanine: Roy Moore’s Election Means Americans Will Dump ‘Lying, Thieving Slugs’ Establishment

Tucker: What Roy Moore’s victory in Alabama really means

Pat Buchanan: DC is determined to break Trump

Ingraham: The Bushes’ bitter backlash

Mark Levin: We can’t restore the country as long as Mitch McConnell is leading in the Senate

LIBERTY SCORECARD

 

 

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard?party=R&chamber=senate&state=KY

 

 

 

 

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard?party=D&chamber=senate&state=CA

 

 

Story 2: Follow The Money — The Bought and Paid For Political Elitist Establishment of The Two Party Tyranny — Video — 

Trump: ‘It is time to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington DC’

How Corrupt Are U.S. Politicians? Money in Politics, Integrity & Finance (2002)

Donald Trump says it is time to “drain the swamp” in D.C.

 

 

Story 3: Independents United — Independence Party Time — Videos

Third party candidates can have huge impact

How Political Parties Rig Elections

California Created Single-Party General Elections And Now They’re More Competitive Than Ever.

Judge Napolitano: Epic Rant on Establishment/Two-Party System

How to Fix America’s Corrupt Political System

Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic

The US Elections Explained: The Two Party System

Why Can’t Third Parties Take Off?

So You Want to Vote Third Party

‘Two-party tyranny specializes at getting corporate cash & excluding competition’ – Ralph Nader

Third Parties in Two Party America – Dole Institute

Third Parties in the United States

Third Parties Explained: US History Review

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017, Breaking Story: Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos — Story 2: North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan — Videos — Story 3: Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Nine of The Protesters –Videos

Posted on September 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, History, Human, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Japan, Language, Law, Life, Media, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, North Korea, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Prime Minister, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Syria, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Turkey, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916, June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915, June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914, June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for ben shapiro speacks at berkeley

Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017

 

Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos —

Parsons Green explained: Terror attack on London Tube

18-yr-old Terrorist arrested for London Tube terror attack

ISIS claimed responsibility for BUCKET BOMB ATTACK in the London subway station

29 Injured In Explosion On London Subway Train At Parsons Green Underground Station

WION Gravitas: Know all about terror attack at Parsons Green Station in London

Parsons Green: Man arrested over Tube bombing

Parsons Green: Explosion was from an improvised explosive device – BBC News

London police confirm Parsons Green explosion was terrorist attack

Eyewitnesses describe moments of explosion on London Tube

Londoners resilient following Parsons Green attack: ‘Everyone seemed in good spirits’

Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL

Trump Just Made HUGE Announcement To Americans Immediately After London Terror Attack Overnight

Parsons Green: ‘It’s a terrible thing’ – US President Donald Trump – BBC News

Parsons Green terror attack Theresa May scolds Donald Trump over ‘unhelpful’ comments

Parsons Green: ‘There was a human stampede’ – BBC News

Parsons Green Explosion Tube Train Station at District Line London – Fulham 9/15/2017

Explosion on London tube train

Burning device filmed on tube carriage at Parsons Green station

Several Injured in London Terror Attack

UK raises terror threat after Parsons Green Tube attack

Mayor’s statement on Parsons Green terrorist attack

Blast In London Underground Station

London tube attack witness describes ‘frightening’ scene

Parsons Green explosion was terrorist attack – London police (Special Coverage)

Parsons Green attack: 22 injured, UK terror threat remains at severe

#London #ParsonsGreen Bombing and the #MSM Usual Suspects Trained Seal Show: Repeat But Don’t Report

Idiots React to London Underground Attack

UPDATED

 Parsons Green attack: Police raid in west London as 18-year-old man arrested in Dover – latest news

Detectives investigating the terrorist attack at Parsons Green have made a “significant” arrest in connection with the attempted bombing.

The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover on Saturday morning under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

He remains in custody at a local police station from where he will be transferred to a south London police station.

 Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

The development came after Prime Minister ordered troops onto the streets on Friday night after a suspected Islamist placed a powerful time bomb on a packed rush hour train heading towards Westminster.

Theresa May took the decision after the independent Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre (JTAC) recommended raising the terror threat to its highest level, Critical, meaning another attack is expected.

The white bucket that is said to have blown up on the Parsons Green carriage
The improvised explosive device in a white bucket blew up on the final carriage of the Parsons Green train CREDIT: PRICEY1983AA/TWITTER

The army will deploy troops at key locations around the capital in order to free up police who were last night involved in a huge manhunt to catch the terrorist responsible for the failed Parsons Green bomb attack, which Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility.

At least 29 people were injured, including a boy believed to be aged about 10 when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off on a packed rush hour tube at Parsons Green in west London yesterday morning.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic after the blast sent a “fireball” and a “wall of flame” through a District line service in west London.

But the main device, which had been fitted with a crude timer using shop-bought fairy lights, failed to detonate, meaning hundreds of people were spared death and serious injury.

Anti-terror police are understood to be working on the theory that the bomb was detonated early by accident and that the intended target may have been the Tube station at Westminster.

Detectives have so far spoken to 45 witnesses and continue to receive information from the public to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline.

The public has sent 77 images and videos to investigators via the UK Police Image Appeal website.

A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight
A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight CREDIT: JONATHAN BRADY/PA WIRE

Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are continuing to urge anyone with information about the terrorist attack to contact police.

The attack – the fifth terrorist attack on the UK in just six months – caused a diplomatic row between Washington and London.

Donald Trump seemed to accuse the Metropolitan Police of knowing the identity of the attacker in advance but failing to prevent the bombing. Mr Trump posted on Twitter: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

His claim earned the US President a stiff rebuke from Theresa May. “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” said the prime minister. “The police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.”

Despite Mr Trump’s suggestion that the terrorist was known to police, counter-terrorism sources insisted that was not the case and that the hunt for the perpetrator of the bombing on a District Line train was ongoing.

An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station
An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station CREDIT: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA

Counter terrorism specialists from Scotland Yard were last night working to establish his identity from CCTV footage on the train and at stations on the line. They were also combing through records of payments with Oyster cards used to buy Tube tickets.

One theory is the suspected bomber may have fled the scene among the stampede of panicking passengers and escaped among the crowds.

They were also uncertain that Parsons Green was not the planned target, pointing to reports that the bomb, which was packed with shrapnel and contained a timing device, had apparently malfunctioned.

Witnesses reported seeing people “covered in blood” after a “flash and a bang” from the device, but sent a “fireball” through the packed Tube train.

Pictures and video posted on social media showed a flaming bucket – which appeared to have wires coming from it – inside a Lidl carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

The device is not believed to have fully detonated and it is reported that it could have been set off on a timer.

More follows – stay with us for the latest updates through the day

Residents evacuated at Sunbury address

The Met Police said police officers had evacuated and were searching a residential address in Sunbury-on-Thames.

Scotland Yard said: “The evacuation is a precautionary measure following the arrest of a man in Dover, Kent, at approximately 07:50hrs this morning in connection with the investigation into the terrorist attack at Parsons Green Underground Station on Friday, 16 September.

Officers began evacuating the address at approximately 13:40hrs today.

Residents in the buildings immediately surrounding the address are also being evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Cordons are being put in place at a 100 metre radius to facilitate the Metropolitan Police Service’s operation, which is being supported by colleagues from Surrey Police.

A search of the address is ongoing and the cordons will remain in place until the operation is complete.

Police would like to thank the local residents directly affected for their cooperation and patience. Local officers are on duty in the immediate area to talk to the community and address any concerns that they may have.

No further arrests have been made.”

Police cordon set up after officers raid house in Sunbury-on-Thames

 00:35

Armed police raid west London address

Police investigating the Parsons Green bombing carried out a raid on an address in Sunbury-on-Thames, close to the start of the M3 in west London, on Saturday afternoon.

Residents described a house in Cavendish Road being evacuated by armed officers. Others reported bomb squad vehicles arriving as armed officers moved in.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick says London “will not stop”

London will not be stopped by terror, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said as she highlighted an increased visible police presence on the capital’s streets.

Ms Dick spoke as she joined officers on some of the city’s busiest streets, travelling on the Tube to Waterloo Station and patrolling the tourist hot spot of the South Bank

She said: “London has not stopped after other terrible attacks and it will not stop after this one.”

The Commissioner said the public should feel “utterly reassured” by the presence of police.

Met chief says London "will not stop"

Met chief says London “will not stop”

02:38

She said: “I’ve been out and about today. The public seem to be very positive about the number of officers that we have.”

She added: “The great thing about London is that we don’t give in, we don’t give in to terrorists – we never have and we carry on.

“So the transport system is running just as it ever did and the events are going ahead today. People are out and about. I’ve spoken to lots of people, Londoners and tourists and business people. People are here and I would say, carry on about your business and secondly, of course, be vigilant.”

She added: “My main message is London is carrying on. Carry on with your business but be alert, don’t be alarmed but make sure you tell us anything that worries you.”

Scenes from Saturday morning

Armed police are making their presence felt in the capital following the news last night that Prime Minister Theresa May had raised the UK terror threat level to critical.

Armed police in Westminster
Increased security in Westminster CREDIT:  TOM NICHOLSON/LNP

Meanwhile, Tube passengers have been returning to Parsons Green.

A passenger walks into Parsons Green Underground station
The station reopened in the early hours CREDIT: PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Scotland Yard describe the arrest as “significant”

The 18-year-old was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

18-year-old arrested in Dover over London bombing

00:49

Man, 18, arrested in Dover

An 18-year-old man has been arrested in the Dover area under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in connection with the Parsons Green station bombing.

More information to follow as we receive it.

Tightened security ahead of Chelsea v Arsenal game

In a statement, Chelsea said:  “Following Friday morning’s incident at Parsons Green, and in order to help us fully prepare for the game, the majority of the Stamford Bridge site will remain closed until Sunday morning.

“This includes Stadium Tours, the Museum, Megastore and the Chelsea Health Club & Spa, while the ticket office will be operating via telephone and online only.

“During that time, entrance to the site will be via the Stamford Gate entrance only. On Sunday, we urge supporters to arrive at least one hour before kick-off to allow for extra security measures.

“We also request that supporters do not bring bags as this will delay your entry to the stadium. The club continues to monitor events and liaise with the police and relevant authorities on supporter safety.”

Trump under fire in US over London bombing comments

Ben Cardin, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, backed Theresa May in her rebuke of Donald Trump over the London  bombing David Millward reports.

“I think the Prime Minister of the UK was appropriate in calling the president out.”

John Cohen, former US counterterrorism official and now a professor at Rutgers University, also believed Mr Trump’s intervention was unhelpful.

“At this stage investigators are going to be doing everything they can to locate those involved in the attack, and in particular the bomb maker,”  he told the New York Times.

“These types of statements — at this stage of the investigation — can undermine law enforcement efforts because it discloses key information that the investigators may be using to locate the attackers, and it could put peoples’ lives at risk.”

Bomb ‘highly likely’ to be TATP – CNN

A source briefed by investigators told CNN that an initial assessment of the device indicates it is “highly likely” to have contained the explosive TATP but that this has not been confirmed. It also appeared to have been crude and poorly designed, the source said.

‘Excellent progress’ made in hunt for terrorist, police say

Met Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said the police were making “excellent progress” in the hunt for the terrorist.

He said officers were trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and 77 images and videos taken by members of the public at the scene were also being examined.

Mr Rowley said the IED had now been made safe and was being examined by specialist forensic scientists.

Threat level raised to ‘critical’

The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical, indicating a further attack may be imminent, following the Parsons Green Tube bomb, Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Army troops will be assisting the police with their duties, freeing up officers to continue their investigation into the attack.

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Amaq news agency which has links to the group.

White House defends Trump’s comments on Parsons Green attack

Mr McMaster was asked about Donald Trump’s comments this morning, in which he said the suspect of the bombing was “in the sights” of Scotland Yard.

Theresa May called that speculation “unhelpful”.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER 

Mr McMaster said he thought the president was speaking in general terms, and did not have any specific information.

He said: “I think what the president was communicating was that all our law enforcement efforts are focused on this threat for years.

“Scotland Yard is a leader in this, and if it happened here in the US the FBI would also have the suspect in their sights.

“I think he means generally this kind of activity is what we are trying to prevent.”

President Trump calls for renewed effort to cut terror funding

H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has just spoken about the Parsons Green attack in the White House, Harriet Alexander reports.

He said: “The US stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.

“We will defend our people and our values against these cowardly attacks, and we will always stand by countries who do the same.”

He said Mr Trump had been “unambiguous” in his policy on terrorism, urging a renewed effort at cutting financing for terrorist networks.

President Trump speaks to PM to express sympathy

The White House press secretary has revealed details of the phone call between Donald Trump and Theresa May. The US president phoned to “convey his sympathies and prayers for those injured in the terrorist attack today in London”, the White House said.

“The President pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism. ”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.

“They also discussed North Korea’s latest missile test, agreeing it was a reckless provocation and that China must now use all its leverage to bring pressure to bear on the North Korean regime to ensure they change course and end these illegal tests.”

Number of injured rises to 29

NHS England says 29 people have been treated after the explosion at Parsons Green tube station.

As of 5.30pm on Friday, NHS England said it was now treating 21 patients.

Eight others were discharged earlier in the day.

 

Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol as Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL after ISIS claim Tube bucket-bomb attack was carried out by a cell of several jihadis

  • Soldiers and armed police will be on the streets as the threat level is raised to critical, the highest possible 
  • Scotland Yard have identified the suspect behind the rush hour blast on District Line train at Parsons Green
  • Manhunt underway for bomber amid fears he may have left other devices and could be armed with knives 
  • Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the west London attack saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • IED had timer attached meaning terrorist probably exited at an earlier station but bomb failed to detonate
  • Bloodied and burned commuters ‘ran for their lives’ after explosion on London Underground this morning 
  • Were you on the train, witness the bombing or know one of the injured? Email tips@dailymail.com

Soldiers are being deployed on London’s streets as the terror threat level is raised to critical amid fears the Parsons Green bomber could strike again, Theresa May announced tonight.

Operation Temperer will see military personnel replacing police at key sites such as nuclear power plants to free up extra armed officers for regular patrols.

Scotland Yard said it is making ‘excellent’ progress in hunting the suspected terrorist who set off an improvised bucket bomb on a packed commuter train by Parsons Green tube station in west London at 8.20am.

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10: ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.’

Minutes later Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were ‘chasing down suspects’.

Police identified the suspected terrorist using CCTV but the investigation has been overshadowed by an extraordinary diplomatic row triggered by Donald Trump

The US President tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack tonight, saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’.

Scroll down for videos.  

A photograph of the flaming white bucket taken just after it exploded around 8.20am shows a number of wires protruding out of the top and on to the train carriage floor

The majority of victims suffered 'flash burns' including to their heads (pictured)  and several have been taken to a specialist burns unit

A victim, believed to be a schoolchild, is carried from the station with charred legs as others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

Others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

an 11-year-old who was found on the floor asking for his brother

Theresa May gave a statement from within Downing Street in which she announced the terror threat level would be raised to critical, its highest level

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were 'chasing down suspects'

A well-dressed young woman was walked to safety by a Met officer after having her head bandaged after suffering a burn or wound to her cheek

Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade raced to the scene in west London and were there within five minutes

This photograph captured the moment the first members of the emergency services raced to the scene within five minutes of the explosion

Elite armed counter-terrorism police are at the scene amid reports of the suspect being on the run and claims of a second device

Peter Crowley had the hair burnt off his head in the attack

Mr Crowley before the attack

A traumatised and injured passenger on the ill-fated Parsons Green train is taken away by paramedics and firefighters

The majority of the victims have suffered 'flash burns' caused by the ignition - but it appears that the bomb did not properly detonate

A forensic officer outside Parsons Green station in West London where there remains a heavy police presence as the manhunt for the suspected terrorist continues

Security was stepped up at stations around London following this morning's attack. Pictured is a British Transport Police officers at Euston

A police officer watches on as commuters file into the underground at Euston Station amid newly tightened security

As Britain faced its fifth terror attack in a year it has emerged:

  • Bucket bomb left on Tube train – which had a timer – failed to explode properly at 8.20am but left 29 injured;
  • Most victims suffered ‘flash burns’ and others crush injuries in ‘human stampede’ as people fled the train;
  • Two hours after the explosion Metropolitan Police confirmed they were treating it as a terrorist incident; 
  • The IED used Christmas lights as a fuse, as recommended by ISIS magazines and online bomb manuals;
  • Police are looking for multiple suspects – and officers have told MailOnline that main suspect is armed;
  • Donald Trump insists he has been briefed on bombing and Scotland Yard knew of the suspect before attack;
  • The Metropolitan Police hit back at ‘pure speculation’ and refused to name the suspect they are looking for; 
  • Met spotters are watching back CCTV from the train and at Tube stations to trace the bomber’s steps; 
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency saying ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • Police asks the public to dial 999 or the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789 321 if they see anything suspicious.

The crude bucket bomb – which had a timer – went off at 8.20am inside a tube train packed with commuters, including children and a pregnant woman.

The device was hidden in a builder’s bucket and could have killed dozens but failed to properly detonate and sent a ‘wall of fire’ through the carriage at Parsons Green injuring at least 29 people.

Terrified passengers were seen covered in blood with scorched hands, legs, faces and hair – others suffered crush injuries during a stampede as they ‘ran for their lives’ over fears the ‘train would blow up’.

London Ambulance took 19 patients to hospitals, while the others went in themselves. The four hospitals dealing with patients were Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and St George’s.

Officers are hunting for the bomber across London amid claims he could be armed and may have planted other explosive devices.

An officer at the scene told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb – there is a man with knives on the loose.’

Theresa May raises terror threat level to its highest possible

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10 –

 ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.

‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

In a pre-recorded television statement, May said military personnel would replace police officers ‘on guard duties at certain protected sites which are not accessible to the public’.

She said: ‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

Speaking moments afterwards, Assistant Commissioner Mike Rowley said: ‘We are making excellent progress at the moment as we pursue our lines of inquiry to identify, locate and arrest those responsible.

‘We have hundreds of police officers trawling through CCTV footage, detectives have spoken to tens of witnesses and we have taken a large number of calls to the hotline… for members of the public.

‘Indeed members of the public have sent in so far 77 images and videos of the scene which they have sent in to our appeal website and these are now being assessed for evidential value.’

Mr Rowley said he was only aware of one device, and the remnants of that device are being examined by experts.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC radio ‘there is a manhunt under way as we speak’ and there have been no arrests.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack this evening through its Amaq News Agency, saying its ‘soldiers planted IEDs’. However, the group has often made false claims in the past.

Photographs show what experts believe is a ‘unsophisticated’ bomb in a flaming white bucket inside a Lidl freezer bag with Christmas lights protruding from the top – a type of fuse encouraged by ISIS in its online manuals.

Donald Trump tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

Mrs May also hit out at the President’s tweet, calling it ‘unhelpful’, and has this evening discussed the intelligence sharing between the two countries with the President in a telephone call.

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

A forensics tent has been erected on the platform - although there have been no fatalities - and a single pair of shoes lies abandoned outside the door where the bomb ignited

Horrified witnesses on social media claim there was a stampede as people were 'screaming and running' off the trains, which was searched by heavily armed police officers today

A heavily armed officer wanders through the damaged train's carriages looking for more devices

The abandoned train at Parsons Green today after a terrorist left a bucket bomb on the carriage floor

Police believe the bomber may have exited the train (pictured) perhaps one or two stops before the bomb went off

Passengers on trains at Parsons Green were evacuated onto the track away to safety after London was hit by another terror attack

Passengers are ushered across the track by firefighters after getting trapped in the aftermath of the bombing

 Witnesses to the explosion said there was a loud ‘bang’, a flash and then a ball of flame engulfed surrounding passengers on the ‘packed’ District Line train.

Luke Warsmey said: ‘The explosion was like a large match going off at the end of the carriage. People just started sprinting. It was every man for himself when that happened. The burn victims had severe leg injuries.

HOW RELEASING INFORMATION HELPED CATCH BARCELONA ATTACKER

The failure of the Metropolitan Police to name the suspect contrasts sharply with the response to the last major terror attack in Europe, Barcelona in August.

Just over an hour after the attack took place, Spanish police tweeted the public to say they were searching for the attacker and to avoid the area.

Then, three hours after the attack, a photo of a suspect, Driss Oukabir, was released and circulated online.

The release of the image caused Oukabir to come forward to his local police and tell officers his documents had been stolen.

This was again revealed to the media as Oukabir’s younger brother Moussa became the prime suspect.

‘It was a very busy commuter train, young and old, school children going to their schools. I saw was nannies trying to look for kids, because of the rush of people just taking five and six year olds away from them and they were trying to look for them.

‘There were lots of injuries from people being trampled on and everyone who had been close to it had the same burns to their head.’

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee this afternoon to discuss the terrorist attack.

Mrs May later appealed to any members of the public with images of the incident to pass them to the police.

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion today.

A 100 yard cordon was erected around the station and a police helicopter was also overhead.

The Met confirmed it was a terrorist attack around 40 minutes later.

Scotland Yard said the area surrounding Parsons Green Tube station has been evacuated so specialist officers could ‘secure the remnants of the improvised device and ensure it is stable’.

NHS England said 29 patients in total were being treated at Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Central London Community Healthcare Urgent Care Centre. Of these 18 were taken by ambulance and four self-presented.

In the aftermath armed police swooped from the SO-15 counter-terrorism unit performed a hard-stop on a bus in nearby Chelsea Bridge Road. The call was linked to the terror attack but nothing suspicious was found on board.

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary's Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

Sniffer dogs are also searching around the cordoned off area amid claims that there are other devices 

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

A police cordon remained outside Parsons Green Tube station on Friday afternoon following the blast during the morning rush hour

A forensic officer in blue overalls walks along the pavement near Parsons Green tube station as the investigation continues into the attack

Emma Stevie, 27, described a ‘human stampede’ after the bomb went off. She said: ‘I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’. We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

‘There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

‘There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.’

Lidl will help police after their bag was used to house bomb

Supermarket Lidl has offered to assist a police investigation into the terrorist incident on the London Underground, after one of its bags was apparently used to hold the improvised bomb.

The German-owned grocery chain issued a statement just hours after social media photos of the affected District Line carriage showed a still-burning bucket inside a Lidl-branded reusable bag.

‘We are shocked and concerned to have learned of an incident at Parsons Green this morning and our thoughts are with those affected,’ Lidl UK said.

‘We will, of course, support the authorities should they need our assistance in their investigations. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops over the course of the day.’

A spokesman for the supermarket also confirmed that what seemed to be an insensitive tweet, purportedly sent out by Lidl UK’s twitter account on Friday morning, was fake.

Twitter user @jesuiscanard appeared to retweet a Lidl UK tweet from 10:32am which read: ‘We are proud to officially have the strongest bags. Great value for just 10p.’

Richard Aylmer-Hall told Sky News: ‘There were a few crush injuries on the stairs. People got squashed and crushed going down the stairs. Police evacuated everyone from the scene pretty quickly.

‘There was screaming, pushing and shoving – it was a like there was a terrorist on the loose with a gun or something – lots of people were in tears. When it was all over lots of people were being comforted and looked after. It was total chaotic panic.

‘A lady who had been on the same carriage as the device described it going off – a puff of smoke and flames coming out of it.’

Couple Lucy, 24 and Fabin, 29, were on their way to work when the explosion happened.

Lucy, who works in PR, said: ‘We just heard screaming and sprinting, there was a stampede on the stairs and people were falling over, there was a schoolboy being lifted up after he had fallen down, he was in his school uniform, he must have been about ten, he was crying and distressed.’

Fulham fitness instructor Niyi Shokunbi, 24, was in the next carriage the moment the bomb went off.

He told MailOnline: ‘I have never seen anything like it was like something out of a film. I thought it was an acid attack. It happened like bang within ten seconds, i just wanted to run.

‘I went towards the carriage where the bomb went off a woman said you don’t want to go in there. I saw a little boy with scratches on his face crying for his brother. A woman was bleeding. Everyone was running. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

People suffered burns from the explosion and others were hurt in the crush as people fled.

Rob Partinton, 24, from Harrow told MailOnline: ‘We were literally about two minutes from Parsons Green when the train suddenly stopped.

‘I saw people running on the track opposite direction towards Fulham Broadway, I could hear no screams but a lot of people running. We’ve been held at the station for the last half an hour. It’s pretty busy, a lot of police around and police dogs.’

Another witness, Sham, said he saw a man with blood all over his face. ‘There were loads of people crying and shaking,’ he told 5 live.

‘There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood. One guy I saw, his face was covered in blood – I’ve never seen anything like it.’

There is terror and panic at the station this morning, with police officers consoling members of the public

An injured man is helped into an ambulance – one of 18 ferried by ambulance to hospitals across London. Four others went to A&E themselves

A family with young children look towards the station in the aftermath of the terror attack on London

Witnesses say people ran from the scene with 'blood on their face'

People were stranded after the bombing and the District Line is expected to be closed for at least today

Bomb disposal experts are at the scene amid fears there could be second bomb 

Passengers ran onto the rail tracks to get away from the train as a fireball engulfed the carriage

 Witnesses claim people were trampled on when they fled the train after hearing a ‘whoosh’ and seeing flames race towards them

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area. It is not known at this stage how many people are injured.

Specialist armed anti-terror units also swamped the area.

Fairy lights have been used as detonators by extremist bombers before

Pictures of the apparent home-made bomb seen after the explosion show a Lidl coolbag with a large paint tub inside and a string of Christmas tree lights hanging over the top.

If the device does turn out to be a terrorist bomb, it would not be the first time extremists have used so-called ‘fairy lights’ to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time: ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.

‘The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.

‘Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it – I can only assume it was done on purpose.

‘It was standing against the door of the rear-most carriage.’

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it’.

Sylvain Pennec, a software developer from Southfields, near Wimbledon, was around 10 metres from the source of the explosion when fire filled the carriage.

‘I heard a boom and when I looked there were flames all around,’ he said. ‘People started to run but we were lucky to be stopping at Parsons Green as the door started to open.’

He described the scene of panic as commuters struggled to escape the carriage, ‘collapsing and pushing’ each other.

Mr Pennec stayed behind to take a closer look at what he believed was the source of the explosion.

‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked homemade. I’m not an expert though.’

Passengers on the train behind the affected Tube witnessed terrified passengers sprinting away up the tracks.

They were then held in their train for over an hour before being evacuated on to the tracks themselves.

Nicole Linnell, 29, who works for a fashion label, said: ‘We saw people running down the tracks. About 30 or 40 people.

‘They were running down the tracks outside our train.

‘It was absolutely terrifying. Running on the tracks is the last thing you want to do so we were like ‘What’s going on?’

‘After about an hour we were evacuated off the train on to the tracks. About 10 to 15 people at a time.’

Melanie Heyside had been at a gym nearby and intended to get on a District Line train to go to work.

She told Sky News: ‘I just was about to open the doors to leave the studio and then all of a sudden Swat cars completely stormed and blocked the street and police jumped out with their armour and were telling people to ‘move, to move’.

‘So I was inside with a group of other people and we weren’t really sure what to do.’

She said they were told to leave the area, which she added was populated by schoolchildren and others going to work, as quickly as possible.

Lady Margaret’s School, next to Parson’s Green tube station, has put an alert out to concerned parents to say all children are okay and there are no absences.

‘Crude’ bucket bomb made with fairy lights could have killed DOZENS say experts as police reveal 21/7-style device failed to properly detonate

Explosives experts say the Parsons Green bomb could have killed dozens if it had properly detonated at rush-hour this morning.

Anti-terror police are now examining the bucket bomb which failed to fully go off on a tube train in west London as they try to track down the bomber.

Photos of the explosive show a large builder’s tub – believed be packed with explosives – inside a Lidl coolbag, with a string of Christmas tree lights, thought to have been a crude detonator, hanging over the top.

Officers compared the device to those used in the failed 21/7 bombings, in which jihadis attempted to blow up tube trains. In that case, the bombs’ detonators went off but the explosives themselves were not ignited.

It is believed the bomb was left on the busy district line train from Wimbledon this morning before the bomber escaped. Police are analysing the device to track down the terrorist

ISIS have encouraged followers to use the lights in bomb guides they post online, but the terror group have yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

A timer is understood to have been found on the device, suggesting the terrorist left it on board the train and then got off. It also suggests it was intended to go off at busier stations further down the line.

Terror expert Will Geddes said:  ‘My suspicion is that Parsons Green was not the intended target.

‘Unless a person knows it, it is not going to mean a great deal to you – if it was Paddington or Notting Hill, they are internationally recognised names.’

‘I think it was more a premature detonation than anything else. This could have been a lot worse. It could have killed a significant number of people.’

Others say the bomb probably didn’t detonated properly because it was badly made.

Explosives expert Dr Sidney Alford told MailOnline: ‘The fact that an initial bang was heard but the bomb did not even shatter the plastic bucket it was contained in suggests to me this could have been hydrogen peroxide.

‘I can rule out other types of explosives as if the initial bang was heard with those they would have gone off completely and destroyed the bucket.’

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Dr Alford said the bomb properly did not go off because it was poorly designed.

Witnesses reported a ‘strong, acrid chemical smell’ in the carriage after the explosion.

Major General Chip Chapman told Sky News: ‘This doesn’t look like a high-end explosive from ISIS such as TATP (triacetone triperoxide) or, if it was, it failed significantly, the booster or detonator didn’t go off.’

‘That said of course, the most devastating land-based terror attack in Europe, in Madrid, had a similar modus operandi.’

He added: ‘It’s not a high explosive that functioned because the blast and shockwave would have killed multiple people.’

Former Army bomb squad expert Chris Hunter told the channel the pictures reminded him of the devices which failed to go off during botched the 21/7 attacks.

In that instance, a group of Islamic terrorists planned to carry out a copy-cat attack to 7/7, but although the detonator part of the bombs went off, they did not ignite the explosives and only one person was injured.

Examining the image of the bomb, chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told MailOnline: ‘It looks pretty unsophisticated.

‘It could be an incendiary device with some sort of detonator in a big white plastic bucket, perhaps with some sort of chemical like ammonia nitrate, fertiliser bomb to cause an explosion.’

He said the attack looked like ‘classic jihadi terrorism’ and the bomb could have been ‘devastating’ if it had detonated properly.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon said the attack would raise further questions over whether the sale of certain chemicals should be more heavily regulated.’

Describing the device, witness Sylvain Pennec said: ‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise. I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked home made.’

The incident has been compared to the 21/7 attacks in which bombs were placed on the underground and the detonators went off, but did not ignite the explosives

In that instance, the bombers Muktar Said Ibrahim (left) and Ramzi Mohammed were tracked down by police and convicted of terror offences

It is not be the first time extremists have used so-called them to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Similarities between the device and that used in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 have also been drawn.

In that case, timers were also used to allow the bombers to get away. However, in that case the explosives were in a pressure cooker.

Members of a bomb disposal squad stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

There were reports of a man at the station with a knife in the aftermath of the explosion. Scotland Yard said they believe this is unrelated to the Tube incident

Pictures from the District Line train appear to show a burning plastic bucket stashed in a Lidl carrier bag, which exploded

A police officer and a sniffer dog stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

People at the chaotic scene have been frantically calling relatives in the aftermath of the explosion 

Police at the scene are keeping people away, moving them up Fulham Road and away from the station

Emergency services at the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London

Peter Crowley tweeted this photograph, with the caption: 'Charred head from the fireball at Parsons Green'

Dozens of police vehicles are at the scene as people are being urged to avoid the area

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: 'We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green'

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: ‘We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green’

Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

 Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

Images from the scene show emergency services and armed police 

Social media users reported a 'stampede' around the underground station at rush hour 

The London Ambulance Service was called at 8:20am and sent single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and a hazardous area response team

People fled the Underground station in panic, amid reports there was an explosion 

May confronts Trump in a direct phone call after the US President sparked a diplomatic row by claiming Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the terror attack 

Theresa May today confronted Donald Trump to vent her anger after he claimed Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the attack.

The US President sparked a major diplomatic row by suggesting British police knew the extremist behind the bucket bomb in the second major intelligence sharing breach in just five months.

Both Mrs May and the Met Police reacted with fury to the intervention slamming Mr Trump for speculating about the fast moving terror investigation.

And in a direct call with the US leader late this afternoon, the Prime Minister raised her concerns over the comment directly with him.

The row is a revival of damaging split between London and Washington in May when shared intelligence about the Manchester bombing was handed to US media.

In a brief statement after the call a Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.’

The White House said Mr Trump ‘pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism’.

Mr Trump sparked a furious reaction from British police and politicians after he wrote on Twitter: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Angry MPs told the Mail Online his careless words risked endangering the crucial manhunt to find the extremist behind the attack.

After risking a new diplomatic row with Britain, Mr Trump insisted he had been briefed on intelligence about the attack and called Mrs May.

Donald Trump on the White House lawn today where he insisted he had been briefed about Parsons Green and said the suspect was known to police

Theresa May (pictured in No 10 this afternoon) said any speculation was unhelpful when asked about the President's tweets on the Parsons Green attack  

Trump tweeted: 'Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!'

 Trump tweeted: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Met terror chief Mark Rowley updated the media on the investigation this morning (pictured) but has not given any details of any man hunt

But in an afternoon press briefing, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster insisted that Trump wasn’t conveying information about Friday’s attack in particular.

‘I think what the president was communicating is that obviously all of our law enforcement efforts are focused on this terrorist threat from, you know – for years,’ McMaster told reporters at the White House. ‘Scotland Yard has been a leader, as our FBI has been a leader.’

‘So I think if there was a terrorist attack here, God forbid, that we would say that they were in the sights of the FBI. So I think he didn’t mean anything beyond that. … I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we’re trying to prevent. And so these organizations that are responsible for it, whatever comes out of this investigation that remains to be seen, it is likely that law enforcement had been orking on that problem set.’

Mr Trump’s initial Tweets came at almost exactly the same time as Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley gave an initial update on the attack in a TV statement.

Standard UK police procedure in the aftermath of any terror attack is to keep the identity of any suspects confidential. The tactic allows rapid arrests to be carried out without alerting the prime suspect or their family and friends.

Mr Trump’s used today’s tirade to promote his plans for a travel crackdown on Muslims wanting to visit the United States.

Speaking from Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency ‘Cobra’ committee, Mrs May said: ‘I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.’

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘The comments are unhelpful and pure speculation.

‘If anyone has got any evidence or information, please contact the anti-terrorism hotline.’

President Donald Trump has claimed Scotland Yard knew ahead of time about a bomber or bombers who set off a crude incendiary bomb Friday morning on London's 'Tube' subway

Trump added: 'Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!'

Trump added: ‘Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!’

The force declined to give details when asked by MailOnline if they had a suspect, evidence of a wider plot or if any suspect was seen on CCTV.

Liberal Democrat home affairs Sir Ed Davey told MailOnline Mr Trump could undermine the police investigation

He said: ‘It is insulting to the victims of this attack that Donald Trump is already using it to try and further his divisive political agenda.

‘Once again, Trump has shown he is not fit for the office of US President.’

Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the MailOnline the President should not have intervened.

He said: ‘The full focus must be on allowing the police and security services to do their job, and those responding at the scene to the emergency and tending to those injured.’

Mr Doughty warned the United States was endangering the special relationship by interfering in British investigations.

He said: ‘It has the potential to not only undermine a vital relationship, but also to prejudice investigations into this and other incidents.’

Theresa May's former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump's intervention by saying the president 'doesn't know' anything: 'This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner'

Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump’s intervention by saying the president ‘doesn’t know’ anything: ‘This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner’

Mr Doughty said it is ‘obviously not the first time’ key pieces of information about a terror attack have been leaked by the US, after details of the Manchester bombing investigation were printed in American newspapers.

Mr Timothy tweeted: ‘True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who has clashed publicly with Mr Trump before over London terrorism – told LBC today he had not seen the tweets but insisted the focus must be on allowing the police to get on with their job.

He said: ‘What is important is cool, calm heads are heard now.’

Mr Trump’s tweets could reignite the diplomatic row between the UK and the US over the leaking of sensitive police information.

In May the UK police temporarily stopping sharing intelligence about the terror investigation with America over a series of leaks about the Manchester bombing.

The president linked Friday's attack to his controversial travel ban, saying it 'should be far larger, tougher and more specific ¿ but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get 'nasty'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get ‘nasty’

It is understood American law enforcement agencies had the pictures for only a matter of hours before they were handed to a journalist from the New York Times.

The leak was the way Britons discovered the identity of the bomber Salman Abedi. Greater Manchester Police did not confirm his name until later.

At the time, Mrs May warned continued leaking would undermine the special relationship.

She told reporters the ties between Britain and America was the ‘deepest defense and security partnership that we have’ but she warned it was ‘built on trust’.

‘Part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently and I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure,’ she added.

The latest version of Trump’s travel ban, initially announced in a botched late-January rollout, calls for a ban on people entering the U.S. from six terror-prone countries that are also Muslim-majority nations.

It also bars the entry of most refugees from anywhere in the world.

Federal court challenges have resulted in exceptions being made for travelers who already have established ties to the U.S., including a broad definition of what counts as a close family member.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments to decide the ban’s constitutionality in October, but allowed it to go into effect last month while the case is pending.

Timeline of terror: Parsons Green train bombing is FIFTH attack to hit Britain in 2017

March 22: Five people are killed in a car and knife attack in Westminster.

Khalid Masood drove a hire car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, mounted the pavement and hit pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Palace of Westminster.

He stabbed Pc Keith Palmer, 48, to death.

Also killed in the atrocity were US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes. Masood was shot dead by police.