Saturday, April 14, 2018

Obama and the Art of the Iran Deal James Freeman Wall Street JournalMarch 23, 2018

Amir Hossein Motaghi warned us that this was going on.  He was very concerned  that the CIA and/or State Department would become aware of his   planned  defection and would betray him to the Iranian intelligence agencies. Other intelligence agencies will not share his communications with them with  the US.  Thus, it would be worthwhile for you to dig up any media  interviews that he has given publicly.   


Obama and the Art of the Iran Deal



President Obama always said that his nuclear agreement with Tehran wouldn’t solve all the problems with the Iranian regime, and he certainly was right about that. It appears that for essentially the entire period of the negotiation, drafting and implementation of the accord by the Obama administration, Iran was simultaneously conducting a significant campaign to steal American property. 
The Journal reports:
Federal prosecutors unsealed criminal charges Friday accusing nine Iranians of orchestrating years of cyberattacks on behalf of the Iranian government to steal data from hundreds of universities and businesses in the U.S. and abroad, in one of the largest state-sponsored hacking cases ever charged by the Justice Department.
Prosecutors say the defendants stole more than 31 terabytes of data for financial gain. Among the victims were 144 American universities, 30 American companies and five American government agencies, including the U.S. Labor Department.
Many of the cyberintrusions were performed on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian government entity responsible for gathering intelligence, according to prosecutors. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. The hacking campaign lasted from 2013 through at least late 2017.
So the campaign allegedly began around the time that Iran’s allegedly moderate new President, Hasan Rouhani, was allegedly reducing the influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which no one has ever alleged to be moderate about anything. 
Those were heady days. September 27, 2013 marked a milestone in diplomatic relations. According to a Journal report that day:
The presidents of America and Iran spoke directly Friday for the first time since 1979, setting the stage for delicate negotiations that could reshape the two adversaries’ relationship.
The 15-minute call between Barack Obama and Iran’s Hasan Rouhani, which focused on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, topped a week of dramatic twists and turns. It also highlighted how critical Washington and Tehran have become to each other’s pressing geopolitical goals.
After he got off the phone, Mr. Obama hosted a briefing to share the news with the assembled White House press corps. He noted that the long time between top-level contacts “underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution.”
Mr. Obama added that resolving the issue of Iran’s rising nuclear capabilities could “serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran -- one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”
The mullahs certainly seem to have respected the value of intellectual property. Today Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman called the hacking that began around the time of Mr. Obama’s historic opening “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.” The Journal notes:
Using stolen account credentials, the Iranians allegedly targeted more than 100,000 email accounts of professors around the world and successfully compromised approximately 8,000 of them. Prosecutors say the hackers stole data and intellectual property across all fields of research, including science, technology, engineering and medical fields.
The hacking appears to have continued through July of 2015, when Secretary of State John Kerry hailed an allegedly successful conclusion to the negotiations and an Iranian agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. Said Mr. Kerry:
And I finally want to express my deep respect for the serious and constructive approach that Iran’s representatives brought to our deliberations. The president of Iran, President Rouhani, had to make a difficult decision. We all know the tensions that exist. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a tough, capable negotiator, and patriot, a man who fought every inch of the way for the things he believed, and sometimes these were heated and passionate exchanges. But he and his team, while tough, always professional, always dedicated to finding solutions to difficult problems. And we were, both of us, able to approach these negotiations with mutual respect, even when there were times of a heated discussion, I think he would agree with me at the end of every meeting we left with a smile and with a conviction that we were going to come back and continue the process. 
It’s not entirely clear why Mr. Zarif was smiling, but according to the indictments announced today, the Iranian government continued the process of breaking into U.S. computer networks to steal American information through the end of the Obama administration and into the Trump era.
As far as this column can tell, this case doesn’t have anything to do with Iranian nuclear development. But it does show that American hopes of mutual respect were not realized. And without respect, what can Americans reasonably expect from Tehran?
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