Donald Trump’s elimination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the most powerful military leader in Iran, generated a surprising level of opposition among the Democrats who feared an escalation of the confrontation with Iran. But it could be that another reason lies behind the Democrats’ support of Iran.
The partisan support for Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is so incongruous that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley commented on it in a recent Fox News interview.
“You don’t see anyone standing up for Iran,” Haley said. “You’re not hearing any of the Gulf members, you’re not hearing China, you’re not hearing Russia. The only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat Presidential candidates.”
“The only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat Presidential candidates.” pic.twitter.com/IZJJqpxkBE
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 7, 2020
Indeed, the conflict between Trump and Iran really began soon after he entered the Oval office. In May 2018, the president announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.
The JCPOA, essentially a trade agreement that reversed the longstanding policy of economic sanctions, was also known as the P5+1 since it included six nations, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany and the European Union.
The JCPOA reversed a policy of economic sanctions instituted in November 1979 after a group of radical students seized the American Embassy in Tehran and took the people inside hostage. These sanctions were reinforced in 1984 during the Iran-Iraq War and again by President Clinton in 1994 in response to Iran’s role in sponsoring terrorism. Clinton’s executive order was also focused on curtailing Iran’s nuclear program.
The JCPOA removed these sanctions until President Trump began reinstating them incrementally beginning in November 2018.
It is important to note that on Monday, in the wake of the drone strike that took out Soleimani, Iran declared that it would no longer abide by the limitations of the nuclear deal.
It is interesting to note that the Obama administration was connected to Iran through a network of personal relationships. John Kerry, former President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State and the chief U.S. negotiator for the JCPOA, seemed especially dedicated to the deal. Soon after Trump withdrew from the agreement, Kerry conducted secret meetings with Iranian officials, advising them on how to save the agreement. The meetings were unprecedented for a former White House official and some questioned whether Kerry was in violation of the Logan Act.
Kerry’s Iranian connection took on a personal angle when his daughter, Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry married Dr. Brian Vala Nahed in 2009. Nahed, a physician, is of Iranian descent but was born and raised in the U.S. During the Iran deal negotiations, rumors of a connection between Nahed and Zarif that would have implicated Kerry were denied by the Iranian government.
Obama had yet another Iranian connection in his inner circle. Valerie Jarrett, his senior adviser, was born in Iran to U.S parents and was fluent in Persian.
Another strange Iran connection to the Obama administration was revealed during the Mueller investigation into foreign interference into the 2016 elections. Peter Strzok, a former United States FBI agent, was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Strzok opted to not indict Clinton despite finding her in violation of using a personal computer server. At the same time, he pursued an investigation into Trump’s connection with Russian election interference based on questionable sources. Strzok was fired on the basis of phone messages that expressed an unprofessional level of bias against Trump during the investigations.
Strzok is the son of a U.S. Army colonel and spent some of his childhood years in Iran and later in Saudi Arabia. It is also interesting to note that Lisa Page, the recipient of those phone messages and Strzok’s lover, has an Iranian mother.
Aan additional connection to Iran was hinted at in May 2018 when Middle East analyst for The Jerusalem Post, Raman Ghavami tweeted that Hassan Ghashghavi , the deputy foreign minister of Iran, had threatened to expose Western diplomats who had accepted bribes to push through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal.
H.J.Ansari Zarif’s senior advisor: “If Europeans stop trading with Iran and don’t put pressure on US then we will reveal which western politicians and how much money they had received during nuclear negotiations to make #IranDeal happen.”
That would be interesting.#JCPOA
— Raman Ghavami (@Raman_Ghavami) May 8, 2018
Ghasghavi was the senior adviser to Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Ansari Zarif during the JCPOA negotiations.