By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) It was bad enough when a former secretary of state, John Kerry, the architect — along with President Obama — of the worst foreign policy mistake in our lifetimes, the Iran ‘nuclear deal,’ was found to have been negotiating behind the Trump administration’s back with officials from Tehran to undermine the current sanctions regime.
Now, it seems, a sitting member of the Republican Party, and someone who has played golf with POTUS Trump before, is doing the same thing: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
According to Politico, Paul has been pressing POTUS to become an emissary to Iran with the objective, according to reports, of getting sanctions eased:
Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked President Donald Trump’s blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission.
Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea.
With Zarif in New York City this week for U.N. meetings and private sitdowns with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
Mind you, Politico doesn’t have the best record of accuracy when it comes to reporting on this president. But it hasn’t got the worst record, either. And so far, the president hasn’t pushed back on this story like we know he would were it not true.
Besides, a more reliable source has additional information. Per the Washington Free Beacon, it appears as though Paul is angling to become the latest best friend Iran has in D.C.:
The Obama administration’s pro-Iran “echo chamber” has found an unlikely ally in Republican senator Rand Paul, who recently engaged in shadow diplomacy with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif—part of what multiple U.S. officials described to the Washington Free Beacon as a larger campaign by the Islamic Republic and its American advocates to erode support for the Trump administration’s hardline policies.
With the Iranian economy teetering on the brink of collapse, senior Iranian officials and their allies in the former administration’s self-described pro-Iran echo chamber have been scrambling to drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and his national security team. This has included efforts by former top Obama administration officials to disseminate the Iranian regime’s anti-Trump talking points to friendly media outlets and others, as the Free Beacon has reported multiple times.
In a bid to amplify pressure on Trump to back away from his hardline policy on Iran, the echo chamber has turned to Paul, an isolationist senator who says he can serve as the president’s emissary to Iran. Multiple U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter told the Free Beacon that Paul is allowing himself to be used by this pro-Iran echo chamber in its last-ditch effort to rescue the nuclear deal — known by the acronym JCPOA — and ensure its survival throughout Trump’s presidency.
But why save it? The president hates it, his advisers hate it, and it was poorly crafted and never adhered to. Iran wants a nuclear capability, period, and like North Korea, unless stopped, will continue to push for one — hence this effort to enlist a pro-deal Republican with some presidential pull.
“The number one thing they’re [Iran] trying to obtain is sanctions relief, to be able to survive, outlast Trump and keep the JCPOA intact,” according to one U.S. official who would only discuss the sensitive diplomatic matter on background.
“It’s whoever they can get with this echo chamber noise,” the source said. “We all know that. [Paul] is the latest pawn in a very well-orchestrated influence campaign by Iran.”
Politico reported that it wasn’t clear whether Paul would get to meet with Zarif; the Free Beacon reports that he already has, or at least has made contact:
Paul, in recent days, has been in contact with the Iranian foreign minister, though the exact nature of these discussions remains unknown, sources told the Free Beacon.
Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson has also come out against taking a tougher line with Iran because everyone seems to think that POTUS Trump is champing at the bit to start another Middle East war.
“This is effectively an Iranian influence camp that’s cultivating Tucker Carlson and Rand Paul,” said the U.S. official. “The truth is this is not Rand Paul standing up and saying, ‘I have an idea, I’d like to broker a dialogue.’ This is Javad Zarif’s plan as communications director and propaganda chief for the Iranian regime to try and have an influence campaign against the president to try and relieve sanctions.”
“This collaboration to preserve the JCPOA beyond Trump is a combined effort of the Iranians led by Zarif with the Obama team that wants to preserve their horrible deal legacy, along with certain European leaders and, then, now, with outreach to Tucker Carlson and Rand Paul,” the source added.
“The Iranians spent the last two years getting the New York Times and Sen. Bernie Sanders to repeat their talking points,” said another source, who works extensively on Iran issues. “Since that obviously didn’t work they changed their strategy to getting Reason magazine and Sen. Rand Paul to repeat their talking points. It’s not going to work this time either, since their demands are still for Trump to drop sanctions and let them keep attacking Americans, which Trump isn’t going to do.”
It’s hard to blame Iranian officials for attempting to drive wedges between rival factions within the Trump administration. After all, the regime is attempting to survive; we’d do the same thing if the situations were reversed.
But Iran may just have a death wish in terms of getting a couple of nuclear weapons it can use against Israel, even at the risk of its own survival. There is that much enmity towards Israel in Tehran.
So it becomes paramount to prevent Iran, especially under the current regime, from ever gaining a nuclear weapons capability. If we don’t, and Trump is undermined or otherwise unsuccessful, then our children and/or their children will have to deal with a nuclear-armed menace located smack dab in the middle of the world’s energy breadbasket.
Paul the fiscal conservative and Rightist policymaker is an asset to America and to the president.
Paul the Libertarian isolationist is dangerous. Letting a regime survive hellbent on obtaining the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is lunacy, period, especially when we possess the means to stop it without using force (i.e., the sanctions are working).
We can’t ‘hope’ our way out of this one. That didn’t work with North Korea and it won’t work with Iran. Buying time for a teetering regime by easing off tough sanctions while reimplementing terms of a deal that wasn’t being followed anyway is just stupid.
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