Iran supports terrorism despite nuclear talks with West

The State Department's annual report on terrorism details the support for terrorism country by country.  One of its major conclusions is that Iran is still one of the biggest supporters of terrorism in the Middle East despite negotiations with the West over limiting its nuclear program.

How does the administration justify carrying on negotiations that will eventually lift sanctions against Iran and allow them to increase their support for terrorism in the region?  They pretend there's no connection between the nuclear talks and Iran's support for killing Jews, Americans, and Westerners.

Washington Examiner:

Iran supported terrorist groups throughout the Middle East in 2014 in spite of international talks on limiting its nuclear program, the State Department says in a report that is certain to fuel renewed calls for tying the issue to any nuclear deal.

Iran also is a key sponsor of the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, the annual report on terrorism released Friday said, and its support is widely seen as a key element in his survival in power through a four-year civil war.

Obama administration officials said they remain concerned about Iran's role as a state sponsor of terrorism, but insist the effort should be kept separate from the nuclear talks, which are reaching their climax ahead of a July 1 deadline for a permanent agreement.

"Our very serious and grave concerns about Iran's support for terrorism remains unabated. And the negotiations that Iran has agreed to with the P5+1, our international community, is solely focused on making sure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday.

"So our view is, because of their support for terrorism, that is all the more reason that we need to make sure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon. And so that's where our focus is right now."

But many lawmakers don't buy that argument and have been pushing the administration totake a tougher line against Tehran's actions in the region. They have expressed concern that administration officials are going easy on Iran so as not to disturb the chances for a nuclear deal.

"You've got to take into account what Iran is doing and their influences throughout this region. And, by the way, I do not think I got any sort of answer about what's your plan for dealing with Iran other than the nuclear issue," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday after a hearing on U.S. Middle East policy at which Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the 35,000 U.S. troops in the region were there partly to check Iran's "malign influence."

The report notes that Iran continues to support Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, the Shiite extremist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias in Iraq that have been accused of abuses against Sunni Arabs there.

Sanctions on Iran served the dual purpose of punishing them for enriching uranium while decreasing the amount of hard currency they could spend to arm and train terrorists in the region.  With the nuclear deal, those sanctions will be lifted, and there will be an influx of cash into the coffers of Hamas, Hezb'allah, and other terror groups. 

How can you not connect the two issues?  Especially since the deal being negotiated will hardly prevent Iran from getting a bomb any time it wants.  In short, any deal that removes sanctions in Iran will result in the dual calamity of increased terrorism and a nuclear-armed Iran.  But this won't deter the president from "making history" with his opening to Tehran.

The State Department's annual report on terrorism details the support for terrorism country by country.  One of its major conclusions is that Iran is still one of the biggest supporters of terrorism in the Middle East despite negotiations with the West over limiting its nuclear program.

How does the administration justify carrying on negotiations that will eventually lift sanctions against Iran and allow them to increase their support for terrorism in the region?  They pretend there's no connection between the nuclear talks and Iran's support for killing Jews, Americans, and Westerners.

Washington Examiner:

Iran supported terrorist groups throughout the Middle East in 2014 in spite of international talks on limiting its nuclear program, the State Department says in a report that is certain to fuel renewed calls for tying the issue to any nuclear deal.

Iran also is a key sponsor of the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, the annual report on terrorism released Friday said, and its support is widely seen as a key element in his survival in power through a four-year civil war.

Obama administration officials said they remain concerned about Iran's role as a state sponsor of terrorism, but insist the effort should be kept separate from the nuclear talks, which are reaching their climax ahead of a July 1 deadline for a permanent agreement.

"Our very serious and grave concerns about Iran's support for terrorism remains unabated. And the negotiations that Iran has agreed to with the P5+1, our international community, is solely focused on making sure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday.

"So our view is, because of their support for terrorism, that is all the more reason that we need to make sure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon. And so that's where our focus is right now."

But many lawmakers don't buy that argument and have been pushing the administration totake a tougher line against Tehran's actions in the region. They have expressed concern that administration officials are going easy on Iran so as not to disturb the chances for a nuclear deal.

"You've got to take into account what Iran is doing and their influences throughout this region. And, by the way, I do not think I got any sort of answer about what's your plan for dealing with Iran other than the nuclear issue," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday after a hearing on U.S. Middle East policy at which Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the 35,000 U.S. troops in the region were there partly to check Iran's "malign influence."

The report notes that Iran continues to support Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, the Shiite extremist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias in Iraq that have been accused of abuses against Sunni Arabs there.

Sanctions on Iran served the dual purpose of punishing them for enriching uranium while decreasing the amount of hard currency they could spend to arm and train terrorists in the region.  With the nuclear deal, those sanctions will be lifted, and there will be an influx of cash into the coffers of Hamas, Hezb'allah, and other terror groups. 

How can you not connect the two issues?  Especially since the deal being negotiated will hardly prevent Iran from getting a bomb any time it wants.  In short, any deal that removes sanctions in Iran will result in the dual calamity of increased terrorism and a nuclear-armed Iran.  But this won't deter the president from "making history" with his opening to Tehran.