White House backs off from sanctions on Iran for missile program

The Obama administration embarrassed itself yesterday, backing away from sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program (as Rick Moran predicted here yesterday). Behaving like an abused spouse, the White House repeatedly delayed implementing sanctions that had previously been scheduled to take effect, and offered no timeline for implementation.

Jay Solomon reports in the Wall Street Journal:

The White House on Wednesday morning sent a notification to Congress that the Treasury Department would announce at 10:30 a.m. new sanctions on nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their alleged role in developing Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The sanctions would have been the first imposed on Iran since the nuclear agreement was reached last July in Vienna.

The White House then sent a second email to congressional offices at 11:12 a.m. stating the sanctions announcement had been “delayed for a few hours,” according to a copy of the communications seen by The Wall Street Journal.

In a final White House email sent just after 10 p.m., officials said the sanctions had been delayed, and didn’t specify when they might go ahead.

“We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests, and as such we will not be announcing any additional designations today,” the White House email said. “We will continue to keep you informed as we work through remaining issues.”

The message of weakness sent by this equivocation is provocative in the extreme. It is another Syrian red line debacle, evidence that the United States is what the Chinese call a Paper Tiger.

How Adm. John Kirby, now retired and working as a State Department spokesman, lives with himself, forced to justify this kind of weakness, is beyond me:

Asked to comment, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the timeline for missile-related sanctions was unrelated to threats made by Iran on Thursday and the broader nuclear deal recently reached with Tehran. The State Department offered no explanation for the delay.

Mr. Kirby said: “We’ve been clear from the outset that—outside the parameters of Iran’s nuclear program—we would continue to take appropriate actions to address Tehran’s destabilizing behavior.”

This is pure speculation on my part, but my guess is that Valerie Jarrett, born in Iran, put the kibosh on the sanctions. And knows that in the New Year’s Day black hole for serious news, it will get little notice. (Except in Tehran, Pyongyang, Beijing, Damascus, and Raqaa, among other places.)

The Obama administration embarrassed itself yesterday, backing away from sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program (as Rick Moran predicted here yesterday). Behaving like an abused spouse, the White House repeatedly delayed implementing sanctions that had previously been scheduled to take effect, and offered no timeline for implementation.

Jay Solomon reports in the Wall Street Journal:

The White House on Wednesday morning sent a notification to Congress that the Treasury Department would announce at 10:30 a.m. new sanctions on nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their alleged role in developing Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The sanctions would have been the first imposed on Iran since the nuclear agreement was reached last July in Vienna.

The White House then sent a second email to congressional offices at 11:12 a.m. stating the sanctions announcement had been “delayed for a few hours,” according to a copy of the communications seen by The Wall Street Journal.

In a final White House email sent just after 10 p.m., officials said the sanctions had been delayed, and didn’t specify when they might go ahead.

“We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests, and as such we will not be announcing any additional designations today,” the White House email said. “We will continue to keep you informed as we work through remaining issues.”

The message of weakness sent by this equivocation is provocative in the extreme. It is another Syrian red line debacle, evidence that the United States is what the Chinese call a Paper Tiger.

How Adm. John Kirby, now retired and working as a State Department spokesman, lives with himself, forced to justify this kind of weakness, is beyond me:

Asked to comment, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the timeline for missile-related sanctions was unrelated to threats made by Iran on Thursday and the broader nuclear deal recently reached with Tehran. The State Department offered no explanation for the delay.

Mr. Kirby said: “We’ve been clear from the outset that—outside the parameters of Iran’s nuclear program—we would continue to take appropriate actions to address Tehran’s destabilizing behavior.”

This is pure speculation on my part, but my guess is that Valerie Jarrett, born in Iran, put the kibosh on the sanctions. And knows that in the New Year’s Day black hole for serious news, it will get little notice. (Except in Tehran, Pyongyang, Beijing, Damascus, and Raqaa, among other places.)