(JNi.media) If you thought America suffered its biggest humiliation when US Navy soldiers were forced on their hands and knees for the benefit of the cameras before being granted their freedom — after having committed the international crime of a navigational error — think again. According to a Reuters exclusive, the day before the Obama administration was about to impose new sanctions on Iran in late December, for violating the UN prohibition on developing long range ballistic missiles, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told Secretary of State John Kerry if the sanctions are declared, the four prisoner deal that was going to be the cherry on top of the Iran nuke deal sundae would be pulled. And Kerry acquiesced.
There were several long distance conference calls between Kerry, some top aides, and President Barack Obama—who was vacationing in Hawaii—and they all decided it was better to blink on the sanctions and not risk the chance to free the four dual-nationality Americans in Iranian captivity.
And so the Obama administration “delayed” a package of limited sanctions penalizing Iran for test-firing ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Israel and Europe.
Unlike the US, which has kept quiet on the capitulation to Iran’s long range missile ambitions, the Iranians have been bragging about it. Ever the victim in its own narrative, Iran made its threats public vociferously, merging the two separate sets of sanctions, one imposed on its nuclear program, the other a UN Security Council resolution against its ballistic missiles program. Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-Larijani, chief of the Iranian Judiciary, declared last week: “For them to say, ‘we have lifted sanctions as regards enrichment, but we can adopt new sanctions for missile activities and the human rights issue’ is not sensible or acceptable. With such an approach, they would take the Islamic Republic of Iran to the point of a revision on the JCPOA issue.”
A US official on Saturday insisted there was no connection between the nuclear deal and the release of the four Americans. But, as Reuters reports, Kerry’s decision not to call Iran’s bluff in December shows how months of clandestine negotiations to free the Americans were completely intertwined with the implementation of the nuclear deal.
You can get over a nasty bit of Iranian choreography forcing helpless US Navy men on their knees. But having given up the sanctions weapon on Iranian illegal ballistic missile development goes a long way to curtail US options in the region. Even without a fully developed nuclear weapon, Iran today may be capable of sending conventional warheads to Tel Aviv and a good part of Europe. When would the Administration start imposing sanctions—when there are forests of those missiles at the ready, targeting the Jewish State?