October 8, 2021

IRAN: Biden Lifts Sanctions On Two Iranian Missile Producers. Iran’s Nuclear Transgressions Make Return to Deal Harder. Biden Withholds Report On Iran-Backed Hezbollah’s Financial Empire

The Daily Wire
written by Ryan Saavedra
Friday October 8, 2021

President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly lifted sanctions on two Iranian entities involved in Iran’s missile program just as Iran is believed to be closing in on having enough nuclear fuel to build a nuclear bomb.

“The sanctions, targeting the Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, were originally imposed by the Trump administration in September 2020 as part of efforts to increase a maximum pressure campaign of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activity and actions in the region criticized as malign and destabilizing,” The Hill reported. “The entities were identified as being ‘key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs.'”

The Trump administration had imposed crushing sanctions on Iran, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, in an effort to get the country to abandon its nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department issued the sanctions against the two entities, Mammut Industrial Group and Mammut Diesel, in September 2020:
Treasury designated Iran-based Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing support to an entity in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Mammut Industries and Mammut Diesel are key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs. Since early 2000, Mammut Industries has supported the production of ballistic missile equipment for Iran’s AIO and specifically, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), Iran’s primary developer of liquid propelled missiles. As of late-2019, Mammut Industries continued to support SHIG’s production of ballistic missile equipment.
A spokesman for the Biden administration’s Treasury Department said that the removal of the two entities from the sanctions list does “not reflect any change in U.S. government sanctions policy towards Iran.”

“They have nothing to do with JCPOA negotiation efforts,” the statement said. “The United States will continue to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, including through implementation of our sanctions.”

The report noted that the Biden administration did not address whether the entities had stopped providing support for Iran’s missile program.

Iran has recently failed to honor a key agreement that it reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about allowing international inspectors to monitor its nuclear activities.

The agency said in a statement:
The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran’s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September. …

Iran from 20–22 September permitted IAEA inspectors to service identified agency monitoring and surveillance equipment and to replace storage media at all necessary locations in Iran with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj complex.
Experts have warned that Iran is, if they haven’t already, dangerously close to having enough nuclear fuel to build a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned at a recent speech at the U.N. that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was “at a critical point.”

“All red lines have been crossed. Inspections — ignored. All wishful thinking — proven false,” Bennett said. “Iran is currently violating the IAEAs safeguard agreements — and it’s getting away with it. They harass inspectors and sabotage their investigations — and they’re getting away with it. They enrich Uranium to the level of 60 percent, which is only one step short of weapons-grade material — and they’re getting away with it.”

“Evidence which clearly proves Iran’s intentions for nuclear weapons in secret sites in Turquzabad, Teheran & Marivan — is ignored,” he continued. “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance.”

“Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning. There are those in the world who seem to view Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as an inevitable reality, as a done deal, or they’ve just become tired of hearing about it,” Bennett added. “Israel doesn’t have that privilege. We cannot tire. We will not tire. Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
The Washington Free Beacon
written by Adam Kredo
Friday October 8, 2021

The State Department says Iran’s refusal to permit international nuclear inspectors access to its most contested atomic sites is making it harder for the Biden administration to achieve its goal of returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Iran says it wants to return to a diplomatic solution but continues to take steps to make that harder," a State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday, responding to questions about the Biden administration’s stance on Iran’s violations of the nuclear deal.

Iran is restricting access to its nuclear sites, sparking a row between the country and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is required to inspect Iran’s sites as part of the original nuclear agreement. Since the United States abandoned the deal in 2018 under the Trump administration, Tehran has repeatedly sparred with the IAEA and violated the deal by producing highly enriched uranium, the key component in an atomic weapon.

Iran’s nuclear transgressions have sparked international backlash from European nations, which said in a joint statement last month that they remain "deeply concerned by Iran’s continued violations of its nuclear-related commitments, and recent escalations." The United States did not sign onto that statement but has expressed similar concerns about Tehran’s rush to enrich uranium and keep its nuclear sites secret.

This behavior has not been met with sanctions or any other punitive measures. The Biden administration has refrained from stoking tensions with Tehran as it pursues negotiations aimed at seeing the United States return to the nuclear deal, a move that would erase scores of sanctions on the Iranian government and give it access to much-needed hard currency. The Biden administration remains fully committed to negotiations with Iran—which have stalled since the election of Iran’s new hardline president and foreign minister—but also wants to see the country consent to nuclear inspections.

"We continue to call on Iran to provide the IAEA with the needed access immediately…. The United States has made clear that we are prepared to quickly reach and implement an understanding on a mutual return to full JCPOA compliance," the State Department official told the Free Beacon, referring to the nuclear deal by its official acronym. "Iran has stated that it shares the same goal."

"The access in question is necessary for the IAEA to preserve continuity of knowledge over JCPOA related nuclear activities, which would be important to quickly implement any understanding of a mutual return to JCPOA compliance," the State Department spokesman said.

Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium, a nuclear fuel that puts it a stone’s throw away from producing weapons-grade uranium, has jolted the international community, including European nations still party to the deal. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, known as the E3, said in mid-September during an IAEA board meeting that Iran’s most recent nuclear moves can only be viewed as part of its weapons program. This includes Iran’s production of uranium metal, which is used as fuel for the core of a nuclear weapon.

"Iran has no plausible civilian reason for such activity, which provides weapons-applicable knowledge gain. Iran should halt the production of uranium metal immediately," the nations said.

Iran, meanwhile, continues to push the Biden administration into granting it sanctions relief as a show of goodwill before nuclear talks resume. U.S. Iran envoy Robert Malley held talks with his South Korean counterpart this week about Iran’s desire to secure around $7 billion in frozen assets. The United States would have to waive sanctions in order for the transaction to go through, and Iranian leaders have made clear they expect this outcome.

State Department spokesman Ned Price on Thursday emphasized the Biden administration’s desire for Iran to return to talks in Vienna but said the window for talks will not remain open indefinitely.

"We would like negotiations to resume in Vienna as soon as possible. We have been saying this not for weeks now, but for months now," Price told reporters. "This is not a process that can drag out or that can be dragged out."

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday that his country is prepared to resume talks but that the United States must show its goodwill.

"We will not waste our time in negotiations," Amir-Abdollahian said in remarks carried by the country’s state-controlled press. "It is important for us to receive signals from the other side, including the United States, that the Americans have a strong intention to fully return to their commitments."

Advocacy organizations focused on nuclear proliferation are looking for the Biden administration and European nations to take punitive action against Iran.

United Against Nuclear Iran, a bipartisan advocacy group, said in a statement this week that the IAEA must respond to Iran’s provocative moves by adopting a formal resolution of disapproval. The IAEA should also mandate that Iran respond to its requests for access on a strict timeline, the group said, and if it does not, the matter should be referred to the United Nations Security Council for further action.
The Washington Free Beacon
written by Andrew Stiles
Thursday October 7, 2021

President Joe Biden has publicly refused the Iranian regime's demand for a "goodwill gesture" of $10 billion to restart negotiations over the country's nuclear program. Of course, that doesn't mean the White House isn't trying to figure out how to deliver the cash without anyone noticing.

The $10 billion ransom demand is significantly larger than the $400 million the Obama administration secretly delivered to Iran by plane on wooden pallets in January 2016. Fulfilling the rogue regime's request this time around would be a far more extensive undertaking, a Washington Free Beacon analysis has determined.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the "overwhelming majority" of international cash shipments involve large pallets of 640,000 bills in hundred-dollar denominations, with each pallet comprising $64 million. That means the Obama administration's $400 million shipment consisted of just over six pallets, whereas Biden would require more than 26 times that amount.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a pallet containing $64 million in hundred-dollar bills would weigh roughly 1,280 pounds. That's almost as much as the fattest man in recorded history. Obama's bribe to the Iranians would have weighed in at about 8,000 pounds, which is equivalent to two fully grown hippos. Biden's bribe would weigh significantly more.

According to the U.S. Air Force website, a C-130 Hercules aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 164,000 pounds, but typically can only accommodate six pallets worth of cargo. The plane itself weighs approximately 76,000 pounds. Add on about 10,000 pounds worth of safety equipment, and the maximum fuel load of 42,000 pounds, and you're left with 36,000 pounds for cargo—at least for the purposes of this analysis.

Obama's cash shipment was well within the parameters for a single-plane payload, whereas Biden would require a fleet of aircraft to deliver his $10 billion "goodwill gesture" to the Iranians.

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