Trump Reacts to Iran Snubbing His Offer to Meet: ‘It Doesn’t Matter – It is Up to Them’

On his way to a rally in Ohio on Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted about Iran.

“Iran, and it’s economy, is going very bad, and fast!” Trump wrote. “I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!”

Trump’s tweet appeared to be in response to the news from earlier this week that Iran had rejected an offer to meet with Trump.

In addition, according to the Fox News report — which just so happened to air a segment on the topic shortly before Trump tweeted — Iranian officials snubbed an offer from Trump who “this week said he would sit down with the country’s leader without any preconditions.”

The report also featured National Review columnist John Fundinsisting Trump’s offer to meet with Iranian’s leader amounted to “shadowboxing” and was not actually going to happen anyhow.

“So Donald Trump is trying for a third [meeting] with the deplorables of the nations of the world,” Fund said. “He knows the Iranians are not going to meet because they have no incentive to meet…This is shadowboxing.”

The chyron underneath Fund also reinforced Iran’s snub, reading: “Iran rejects President Trump’s offer to meet without any pre-conditions.”

[Mediaite]

Trump warns Iran’s President Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN’

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened his Iranian counterpart in a late Sunday evening Twitter post:

The tweet from the president follows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioning the American leader on Sunday about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying: “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Still, he did not rule out peace between the two countries.

“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to reports of efforts by Washington to destabilize Iran’s Islamic government.

Ahead of Trump’s Twitter-posted threat, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeolaunched a rhetorical assault on Iran’s leaders on Sunday, comparing them to a “mafia” and promising unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.

Pompeo, in a California speech to a largely Iranian-American audience, dismissed Iranian Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated a nuclear deal with the United States and five other countries, as “merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry.”

Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear accord designed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

[CNBC]

Dubious Fox News article appears to have sparked Trump attack on Obama

President Donald Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report Tuesday morning to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations.

“Just out that Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials,” Trump tweeted. “How big (and bad) is that?”

Jeff Prescott, the former senior director on Obama’s National Security Council, called Trump’s allegation “absurd and entirely false.”

Prescott shared with CNN immigration data from the Department of Homeland Security which showed that the number of Iranians naturalized in the United States over the course of the Obama and Bush administrations was relatively consistent.

“There was no connection between the Iran nuclear deal and immigration policy,” Prescott added.

The unsubstantiated claim first gained attention with a Monday story on Fox News’ website that relied on the word of an Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

The article, written by Chris Irvine, a Fox News senior editor, cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric, who said the Obama administration provided citizenship to 2,500 unidentified Iranians during nuclear deal negotiations.

The article itself quoted, toward the end of the story, the network’s own commentator, former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, saying, “This sounds like totally made up BS.” The story said the Department of Homeland Security and State Department declined to comment, and that a representative for former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson could not be reached.

Prior to the Fox News article, the claim had not received any noticeable attention from the US media.

But after Fox News published its story, other outlets, primarily in the conservative media space, published similar stories. Those outlets included The Daily Mail, The Gateway Pundit, and TownHall.

The claims were also shared on Twitter by Fox News host Sean Hannity and frequent Fox guests David Clarke and Charlie Kirk.

On Tuesday morning, just hours before Trump’s tweet, the story made its way to Fox News’ airwaves on “Fox & Friends First,” the network’s early morning show. It also later aired on “America’s Newsroom,” a late-morning news program on Fox News.

“It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this is a case of Donald Trump parroting Fox News, which is peddling the claims of an Iranian hardliner,” Prescott told CNN.

Jake Sullivan, a former Obama official who was involved at the start of the Iran nuclear negotiations, also skewered Trump for relying on Fox News’ thin report to make what he called a “completely false” claim.

“What is interesting about this is that what happened is a hardline crank in Iran just randomly made this comment, Fox News writes a story on it, and then Trump tweets it,” Sullivan said on “The Situation Room.”

[CNN]

Trump working with Chinese president to help China’s ZTE ‘get back into business’

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping are working to give Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp “a way to get back into business, fast.”

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The Chinese technology company earlier this month suspended its main operations after the U.S. Commerce Department banned American supplies to its business.

As one of the world’s largest telecom equipment makers, ZTE relied on U.S. companies such as Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp for components.

[Reuters]

ZTE is banned from selling devices in the US because they violated our own sanctions and sold equipment to Iran. Remember, just this week Trump thought sanctions on Iran are so important he left the Iran deal to impose new sanctions on the country.

Do you realize how insane this is?

The company reached a settlement in March 2017 with the Commerce Department and Treasury Department for $1.19 billion and the promise to terminate several employees and punish others.

ZTE disclosed earlier this year that while it had gotten rid of several employees, the company hadn’t properly reduced the bonuses of some workers, or issued letters of reprimand. The inaction wasn’t consistent with a progress report ZTE issued in July. It’s because of those false statements that the Commerce Department decided to act.

Trump: We didn’t pay for release of prisoners from North Korea

President Trump on Thursday evening touted the release of three Americans prisoners from North Korea who arrived home this week, noting that the U.S. did not pay for their release.

“[North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un did a great service to himself and to his country by doing this. But those hostages came out, with respect, we didn’t pay for them,” Trump said during a rally in Elkhart, Ind.

“What he did was the right thing, but they came out for nothing and the others came out for $1.8 billion in cash,” Trump added.

Trump appeared to be referring to a January 2016 deal in which the Obama administration agreed to pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle a case related to the sale of military equipment before the Iranian revolution.

The payment coincided with the release of five imprisoned American citizens who were released in exchange for seven Iranians detained in the U.S.

The White House at the time disputed that it was a ransom payment.

Trump early Thursday morning greeted the three Americans who were freed from captivity in North Korea earlier this week. He has touted their release as an act of good will by Kim ahead of a planned summit between the two leaders on June 12 in Singapore.

“The relationship is good, and hopefully, I mean for all of us, for the world, hopefully something very good is going to happen,” Trump said at Thursday’s rally.

[The Hill]

Reality

In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

The $1.7 billion dollars Trump mentioned was a settlement of claims, and was announced by the State Department months before Iranian detainees were transferred back home to America.

Media

White House blames ‘typo’ for major claim on Iran’s nuclear program

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday blamed a “typo” for a controversial statement issued late Monday that initially said Iran currently “has” a secret nuclear program — a conclusion that would have major implications for the Iran nuclear deal.

In the statement issued under Sanders’ name, the Trump administration originally wrote that “Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” a position that conflicted with international monitors who have found Iran to be in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal it signed with other nations, including the U.S., in 2015.

The statement was later amended online to switch to the past tense, that “Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.” On the White House website, the statement is published without a correction or other acknowledgment of the error, and a corrected email was not sent to reporters.

“We think the biggest mistake that was made was under the Obama administration by ever entering the deal that you referenced in the first place,” Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. “The typo that you referenced was noticed, immediately corrected and we are focused on moving forward on the safety and security of our country.”

The White House statement came in response to a Monday presentation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal, lambasting the agreement and accusing the Iranian government of deceiving the international community on the subject of its nuclear program.

Netanyahu’s presentation was met with skepticism by many who argued that it contained little new information, and Sanders, in her Monday statement, said “the United States is aware of the information just released by Israel and continues to examine it carefully.”

Despite having to defend the White House’s edited statement, Sanders still went on the offensive at Tuesday’s briefing, slamming the Iran deal that the president has often threatened to withdraw the U.S. from.

“The problem is that the deal was made on a completely false pretense. Iran lied on the front end. They were dishonest actors and so the deal that was made was made on things that weren’t accurate and we have a big problem with that,” she said.

[Politico]

Trump calls for DOJ to investigate Obama over Iran

President Donald Trump was up early Sunday morning, tweeting that he can’t understand why former President Barack Obama was not investigated for the Iran deal before then launching an attack on House intel member Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Hours after undermining his own National Security Adviser on Twitter, Trump went after Obama.

“Never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!” Trump wrote.

You can see the tweets below:

[Raw Story]

Reality

In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

US Sees ‘No Indication’ Iran Launched a Ballistic Missile, Despite Trump Tweet

US intelligence radars and sensors “picked up no indication” of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test, according to a Trump administration official familiar with the latest US assessment.

Iranian reports that the nation tested a new ballistic missile so far does not appear to be true, the official said, adding: “As far as we can see, it did not happen.”
State-run broadcaster Press TV reported the launch on Saturday, according to footage broadcast on Iranian state television.

“Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during a military parade in the capital city of Tehran,” Press TV said.

But the telemetry, or electronic signals, of a ballistic missile launch would have been picked up by a variety of US assets in the region who keep an around the clock eye on Iran’s weapons activities, the official said.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the apparent launch on Saturday: “Iran just test fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!”

The footage shown on Iranian television appears most likely to be a re-run of a previous test launch, the official said.

The official did not know if Trump received an intelligence briefing about the launch before sending the tweet.

Fox News was the first to report that the US believes the launch did not take place.

[CNN]

The Trump administration just quietly admitted that the Iran deal is working

In February, President Donald Trump said that the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran was “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen.” His comments were a direct echo of candidate Trump’s rhetoric: In one 2016 speech, he said, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

While Trump refused to commit to tearing it up on day one, he repeatedly suggested that the deal was a “disaster” and that his administration would enforce it more harshly or perhaps seek to renegotiate its terms and make it a “totally different deal.”

Tuesday night, the Trump administration quietly took a very different line.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that “certifies” Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, including the terms that place strict limits on its ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The deal, Tillerson said, was working.

Tillerson was careful to note that Tehran was “a leading state sponsor of terror,” and announced that Trump was initiating a review that will “evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [Iran deal] is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

But that kind of high-level review of major policy initiatives is actually quite normal for new administrations. According to experts across the political spectrum, the clear upshot of this letter is that the Iran deal is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

“My sense is the deal will be left largely intact,” Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow in the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy says. “[Tearing it up] is more trouble than it’s worth.”

That’s not to say that the US and Iran will be on good terms. The Trump administration is likely to take a more confrontational line on Iran when it comes to other issues, like Tehran’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian ballistic missile program.

But it does mean that US-Iran relations, which focused on the nuclear standoff for years, won’t be changing as much under Trump as the president’s own words had suggested.

(h/t Vox)

Trump Declares He Would Start a War Over Iranian Ships Bothering American Ships

Donald Trump said Friday night that he would shoot Iranian vessels “out of the water” if they bother American ships.

“Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,” the GOP presidential candidate said at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida.

is comments follow the fifth time in about a month that Iranian boats have harassed US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.

The US Navy has fired defensive warning shots, but not “shot [them] out of the water,” as Trump would like.

Military analysts suspect the Iranian fast-attack craft have been conducting such maneuvers mainly because they are unhappy with the US nuclear deal — an agreement Trump also opposes.

Earlier this week, the real-estate mogul also released his plan for the military if elected president.

It calls for 540,000 active-duty Army soldiers, 350 Navy ships, 1,200 combat-ready Air Force jets, and 36 Marine Corps battalions — numbers he reiterated at the rally Friday night. On the technology side, Trump calls for a modernization of the missile-defense system.

This buildup will likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars, according to Military Times.

The US military, Trump said, will be “so strong that nobody’s going to mess with us.”

(h/t Business Insider)

Reality

Get ready for yet another Republican-led war in the Middle East should we elect a President Donald Trump.

It is scary to have a presidential candidate hold a policy of American military aggression, reinstating torture techniques that are proven not to work, while calling for a military buildup, ignoring international laws, and replacing career generals who he disagrees with puts our country on a highly volatile and dangerous path.

Media

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