Behold, the perfect 'Smart Power' presidential pull quote in light of Justin's two updates yesterday, wherein the US Navy interdicted an Iranian weapons shipment destined for Shiite rebels in Yemen, and one of the regime's generals instructed the American government to take its criticism of Iran's rogue ballistic missile tests and shove it. Your thoughts, Mr. President?
President Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last year’s historic nuclear agreement, even as they stick to the “letter” of the pact. In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world. Instead, Obama claimed, that Iran’s troubles even after the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear deal were due to its continued support of Hezbollah, ballistic missile tests and other aggressive behavior. “Iran so far has followed the letter of the agreement, but the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that are going to scare businesses off,” Obama said at a press conference. “When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.”
The extremely controversial nuclear accord, which was opposed by a substantial bipartisan majority in Congress, enshrines the anti-American, terrorism-financing regime's nuclear program as internationally-blessed, effectively guaranteeing that Iran will become a nuclear threshold state as soon as Western-imposed restrictions begin to automatically sunset over the next 15 years. There is also some dispute over whether Iran has, in fact, abided by the letter of the agreement so far. Some analysts say the regime's illegal missile tests violate one element of the deal, critics have raised suspicions about Iranian activity around an infamous nuclear site, and the regime managed to increase its uranium stockpile while enrichment was ostensibly halted during the interim agreement. Regardless of whether Iran has technically abrogated the agreement (as they've threatened to do), and ignoring the regime's long pattern of cheating on international sanctions (including their flagrant contravention of UN missile restrictions), nothing within the deal required Iran to clean up its act on terrorism abetment or regional meddling. Obama himself has admitted that some of the $100 billion-plus that is unfrozen under the accord's sanctions relief provisions will be used to underwrite terror and foment chaos. Both predictions have already been vindicated, with the State Department recently reporting that Iran's state sponsorship of international terrorism remains "undiminished." During the height of the public debate over Obama's unilateral and unpopular plan, the president angrily accused domestic "crazies" of making "common cause" with 'death to America'-chanting zealots. By alleging that Iran is failing to live up to the spirit of his supposed diplomatic masterstroke, is Obama treading dangerously close to the sort of alleged pro-fanatic solidarity he once decried? Meanwhile, here's Iran trolling the Obama administration with charges that America isn't honoring the agreement:
Iranian officials on Monday accused the United States of violating the recent comprehensive nuclear agreement by working behind the scenes to stop American companies from conducting business with Iran, according to regional media reports. Iran has been complaining for months that it is not being granted enough sanctions relief under the agreement. These complaints have reportedly pushed the Obama administration to consider offering Iran greater concessions, including access to the U.S. dollar and American financial markets. However, Iranian officials continue to insist that the Obama administration is violating the deal. Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Iran’s judiciary chief, “warned” the United States in remarks on Monday, claiming that the administration’s current actions violate the agreement. “The Americans are now acting in violation of the nuclear agreement,” Larijani was quoted as saying on Monday before high-ranking Iranian officials.
The Free Beacon's Adam Kredo also reports that Congress has launched an investigation into whether the White House misled the legislative branch about the terms of the deal, amid allegations that US officials have been stealthily editing the agreement after the fact. Moving the goalposts would seem easier under an agreement that isn't legally binding and hasn't been formally signed. The White House has been hedging on Iran's fealty to the deal for weeks:
No guarantee Iran won't violate nuclear deal, says @PressSec, "but we'll know if they do," citing most intrusive monitoring procedures.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 8, 2016
I'll leave you with this flashback. He's been right about almost everything: