This week, we learned that Trump’s new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, has apparently put former UN Ambassador John Bolton on the blacklist, preventing him from advising President Trump on the Iranian nuclear deal. Bolton, who is one of many conservatives who believes that deal was one of the worst missteps of the previous administration, released his plan to get the U.S. out of the deal in an op-ed in National Review.
Now, if we needed any further reason to pressure President Trump into scrapping the deal, an explosive new report from the Washington Free Beacon shows that the Obama administration may have deliberately looked the other way on some of Iran’s most disturbing activities in Syria. According to several Republicans in Congress, photographic and documentary evidence indicates that Iran has been using its civilian-controlled airline, Iran Air, to ferry terrorist militants into Syria to fight for the crippled Bashar al-Assad regime. They contend that there’s almost no way the Obama administration was unaware of this practice when they lifted sanctions and flew around the world to encourage countries and businesses to play nice with the Islamic regime.
“The Obama administration lifted sanctions against Iran Air as a political concession during nuclear negotiations with Iran, not because of any change in its activity,” Rep. Peter Roskam told the Free Beacon. “Using social media and public flight tracking websites, any person with a computer can document Iranian military transports to Syria on commercial jets. The Obama administration undoubtedly knew Iranian airliners were being used to fuel Assad’s atrocities in Syria, but the administration officials who were globetrotting as Tehran’s chamber of commerce trying to shore up the nuclear deal didn’t care.”
Roskam and his colleagues are calling on the Treasury Department to investigate photographic evidence that proves that the regime is using Iran Air to send troops into Syria in violation of international law (and the nuclear agreement).
“Iran’s use of commercial aircraft for military purposes violates international agreements as well as Iranian commitments under the JCPOA,” lawmakers wrote. “We believe these photos mandate a thorough investigation of these practices and a comprehensive review of Iran’s illicit use of commercial aircraft.”
This is the kind of issue that demands close scrutiny by the Trump administration, which came into office promising voters that we had turned a corner on Obama’s short-sighted approach to the Iranian regime. Now, with many of Trump’s biggest Iran hardliners having been forced out of the White House, it remains to be seen if the president will live up to those promises.