[Sunday] President Obama issued orders for the government to begin the process of lifting sanctions against Iran as required by the nuclear deal. But do we even have a deal? The Iranian parliament, the Majlis, approved the deal last week, but that doesn't mean anything. Moreover, the Iranians are again demanding that sanctions be "terminated" rather than suspended.
[Sunday] President Obama issued orders for the government to begin the process of lifting sanctions against Iran as required by the nuclear deal. But do we even have a deal?
The Iranian parliament, the Majlis, approved the deal last week, but that doesn’t mean anything. Moreover, the Iranians are again demanding that sanctions be “terminated” rather than suspended.
The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Ayatollah Jannati, secretary-general of Iran’s Guardian Council, said Friday: “There are those who think that approval by the Majlis means approval of the execution of the agreement in Iran. This is not so… Leader [Khamenei] still has not signed it.”
What is the supreme leader saying? “Negotiation with America is forbidden,” was the message on Ayatollah Khamenei’s Facebook page Friday.
9/11 & Immigration
Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have been trading shots for the past few days. It all started last week when Trump appeared to blame George W. Bush for the 9/11 attacks. Trump said, “I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time.”
I don’t see the value in suggesting, even indirectly, that George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11. But it was the second half of Trump’s argument that intrigued me. [O]n Fox News Sunday, Trump said:
“I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things … I doubt that those people [the 9/11 hijackers] would have been in the country.”
Pundits were quick to denounce Trump’s rhetoric as wishful thinking. Several noted that most of the 9/11 hijackers were here with legally approved visas.
I did some research to refresh my memory, and Trump has a limited point. The visas may have been approved, but they shouldn’t have been.
ABC News reported that an examination of the visas held by the 9/11 hijackers found errors so serious that at least 15 of the terrorists should have been denied entry. For example, two hijackers listed their destination in the U.S. as “Wasantwn.” Their visas were approved.
We know that visa overstays are a huge contributing factor to our illegal immigration problem. Four of the 9/11 hijackers were in the country illegally, having overstayed their visas.
Yet it appears we have learned virtually nothing. In the years following the 9/11 attacks, we have increased the number of student visas to Saudi nationals by 500%.
Last year the Department of Homeland Security admitted that it had “lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas.”
Most of the 9/11 hijackers had driver’s licenses or identification cards issued by the state of Florida.
In my view, border security and immigration policy are key aspects of national security. As we talk about the critical issues confronting our nation, I hope we can keep the conversation focused on the problems and on common sense solutions.
Will Joe Run?
After the Democratic debate, most observers (myself included) felt that Hillary Clinton did well enough to discourage Joe Biden from entering the 2016 Democratic primary. We may find out soon if we were right.
MSNBC reports that Biden may make an announcement in the next two days — just before Hillary Clinton testifies in front the Benghazi committee. Then again, there have been 12 previous reports about imminent Biden announcements.