The Obama Administration: At Odds with Itself, and the People of Iran

By the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center

Originally published on June 2, 2019 by the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sparked controversy recently when it was reported that she had had dinner with Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of the Islamic regime in Iran, during his last trip to New York

In a May 31st report, the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff and Erin Banco wrote that former Obama administration officials have also been meeting with Khomeinist regime functionaries, most notably, Zarif. The article describes the Obama cronies’ message to Iran as “Don’t take Trump’s bait. Stay calm.” Other analysts would describe their message to Tehran as, wait out Trump’s term, once the Democrats retake the presidency in 2020, they’ll resume Obama’s policy of regime appeasement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
shakes hands in January 2015 with Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva. The United Kingdom, Germany, and France have sent a joint proposal to the members of the European Union to slap fresh sanctions on Iran in an attempt to save the Iran nuclear deal. (2015 file photo/Rick Wilking/AFP/Getty Images)

These former Obama White House staffers have willfully maintained regular contact with Tehran since the Democratic Party lost the 2016 US elections. Furthermore, they continue to brief Democratic members of Congress on their activities. “Three Obama officials who worked closely on the Iran nuclear deal, one of whom is still in touch with Iranian government officials, traveled to Capitol Hill to brief congressional Democrats about the situation.” The officials would not “say if they passed information from Iranian government officials to members of Congress,” the Daily Beast article stated.

While the Daily Beast did not name the former Obama administration officials involved, this is not the first time Obama staffers have been caught colluding with Tehran to undermine Trump’s policies. Former Secretary of State John Kerry is known to have had backdoor meetings with Zarif and other regime leaders. In at least one meeting with regime officials in 2018, Kerry was accompanied by former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was the lead negotiator of the JCPOA, as well as Ernest Moniz, former Secretary of Energy.

President Trump has publicly rebuked Kerry’s actions as undercutting US policy, and called for him to be prosecuted under the Logan Act, which bans private American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without Washington’s approval. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has repeatedly asked the US Justice Department to investigate Kerry, but so far, no action has been taken.

From left, US National Security Council Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States Robert Malley, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman attend the Iran nuclear talks at a hotel in Vienna, Austria on June 30, 2015.
Siamek Ebrahimi | Anadolu Agency | Getty Image

Meanwhile, Wendy Sherman, along with scandal-ridden former CIA director John Brennan, were invited by Congressional Democrats to brief them on Iran, in an explicit signal that the Democratic representatives do not trust, or want to work with, the current president’s national security team.

Teaming up with the Tehran mullahs was one of the Obama administration’s outmoded foreign policy goals, which Obama began implementing as soon as he took office. As the New York Times described it, in an article about Obama’s foreign policy guru and spin doctor, Ben Rhodes:

“By eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East.”

Ben Rhodes

Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, has also had a long-term copacetic relationship with the Khomeinist regime authorities. Biden’s ties to Tehran, which go all the way back to at least the ’90’s, are well-known to many who have followed him closely over the decades. By 2001, when Biden took over as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which at that time also included John Kerry and future Obama Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel), his constant connection to the U.S. based representatives of the regime in Tehran, had been well documented.

In fact, Puneet Talwar, the chief advisor on the Middle East to then Senator Biden, met with Khomeinist regime officials at conferences, such as one organized in December, 2002, by the Istituto Diplomatico “Mario Toscano” in Rome, (Iran: Surrounding Regions and International Linkage – which was co-organized by a double-dealing British politician and member of EU Parliament, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne).*

Puneet Talwar (Linkedin)

The primary losers, under the perpetually proven failed policy of the Democrats, have been the Iranian people, who saw their 2009 peaceful uprising crushed when the Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winner Obama wouldn’t support them, instead preferring to deal with the regime. To that end, Eli Lake writes that the CIA “has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world,” but when it came to Iran, the (Obama) White House ordered it to stand down.”

Despite all that however, it turns out that not all of Obama’s former advisors are in accord with the Democratic party’s current actions involving Iran. General Jim Jones, Obama’s first national security advisor, said in a recent interview that he supported President Trump’s policy on Iran. “I think it’s the correct approach, Iran is undeserving of any sentiment that would lead anyone to believe that they’re trying to do the right thing,” Jones stated.

Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Gen. James Jones (right) at a press conference with then President elect Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton in Chicago, December 1, 2008.

A decorated Marine officer, Jones’s initial appointment was seen as a signal that Obama’s policies would not be a radical departure from previous administrations’ conception of America’s role in the world. By his own admission, Jones did not know Obama well, only having met him twice, and he was stunned when the then presidential candidate mentioned his name in a September, 2008, presidential debate as one of his main foreign policy influencers.

As one article notes, during his tenure with the administration, Jones became, “a West Wing wallflower.”He was kept largely out of the loop on key decisions, which Obama made in concert with his actual close advisors, among them Tom Donilon, Robert Malley, Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, Valerie Jarrett, Ben Rhodes, and Joe Biden. Jones referred to this group as a “Politburo” and a “Mafia.” The former national security advisor was never allowed to meet with the president alone, and he left the administration in October, 2010, embittered by his experience. He later opposed the JCPOA, and has frequently expressed his support for President Trump’s stance on Iran.

Tehran’s leaders are hoping against hope that these allies will come through; they do not seem to want to come to terms with the fact that the pie-in-the-sky guarantees given by this self-interested circle, are no guarantees at all. Let’s not forget that under Obama, the Khomeinist regime’s foes, the Mojahedeen Khalq, or National Council of the Resistance of Iran (MEK or NCRI), the highly controversial Islamic-Leninist resistance group, were taken off the U.S. terrorist list, which left Tehran’s brass seething.

The only thing that the Obama administration actually did for Tehran, an action that will forever haunt that White House’s legacy, was the massive $1.4 billion cash injection – that actually belonged to the people of Iran – to the Khomeinist regime leaders in order to buy the freedom of several Iranian-Americans that Tehran was holding hostage. The Obama admin actually believed that that money was going to bolster the failing Iranian economy. But no; it was spent on keeping Bashar Al-Asad’s corrupt regime in power. And now the regime leaders dare to claim (and the international media accommodates by repeating those claims) that it is the Trump sanctions that has left Iran’s economy in shambles and Iranians hurting.

The key argument here is that the Obama administration cannot even agree within itself. Their mandate was clearly not only pre-planned but a political and unilateral one of unconditional support for the regime in Tehran, so that it could be ‘the’ feather in Obama’s foreign policy cap; the Messiah-President who brought the defiant Khomeinists to heel, so to speak. But that was a huge ego-based miscalculation on this group’s part, one which they still can neither swallow, nor leave well alone. So, they continue to sacrifice the Iranian people, an entire nation of 80 plus million, that has been unduly suffering the most heinous violations under the Mullahgarchy for 40 years, just so some DC bubble can shore up its legacy.

The tired old Democrat “Iran Policy” (which shamefully, a few Republicans have also subscribed to over the years) is repackaged like the Emperor’s new clothes, with every new Democrat flavor of the day. The Carter admin holdovers and their career politico protégés have proven to have completely perverted the Iran issue for over 4 decades. They have become the de facto aiders and abettors to criminals against humanity and it is now high time, that they backed off and allowed the people of Iran to finally, peacefully usher in a future that is acceptable to Iranians who are striving for a country where there is both, a clear separation of religion and state, and a prevailing rule of law.

For the original version of this article, please click on this link.


*Puneet Talwar, from 1995-1999 and 2001-2008, was the Chief Middle East Advisor to Vice President Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff from 1999-2001, and was a foreign policy advisor in the House of Representatives.  From 2009-2014, Mr. Talwar served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf States at the White House National Security Council. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on April 9, 2014.

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