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If Mr. Obama Secretly Planned to Give Iran Nuclear Weapons, Exactly What Would He Be Doing Differently?

The Obama administration is encouraging companies to do business with Iran in order to make last year’s nuclear deal irreversible, The Wall Street Journal reported (Google link) Thursday.

Administration officials told the Journal that they were encouraging businesses to make agreements with Iran in order to make it harder for future administrations to unravel the deal, since that would then threaten American jobs. The push for opening up Iran to American business has been led by Secretary of State John Kerry, which has put him at odds with the Treasury Department, which enforces sanctions on Iran.

“We’re not going to stand in the way of permissible business activity with Iran,” a senior administration official told the Journal. “As long as Iran is meeting the terms of the deal, then we’re going to uphold our end of the bargain, and that is going to result in some additional business activity with Iran.”

The administration is also trying to improve Iran’s standing with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a watchdog organization that works to prevent illicit financial transactions. The FATF temporarily suspended countermeasures placed on Iran due to its its money laundering and terror financing on Friday after securing commitments from Iranian officials to clean up its practices. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with the governor of Iran’s central bank in April to discuss improving Iran’s standing with the FATF, senior administration officials told the Journal. The efforts to improve Iran’s standing with FATF, and thereby ease Iran’s path towards rejoining the global financial system, came despite the fact that, as a Treasury official noted in letters to Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that were leaked to the Washington Free Beacon earlier this week, “Iran is a high-risk financial jurisdiction and has been designated as such by [FATF…and] is a Jurisdiction of Primary Money Laundering Concern….The concerns remain regarding Iran’s economy, such as transparency issues, corruption, and regulatory obstacles, have given businesses and banks pause when considering whether to engage with Iran.” The Treasury’s desire for Iran’s FATF rehabilitation, despite its statements to lawmakers (shortly before FATF suspended its countermeasures) that Iran remains a money-laundering concern, may raise suspicions that the government lobbied FATF to support Iran’s efforts in the same way that it has done for other international bodies.

The United States is also caught between opposing groups of allies regarding Iran’s desire to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). European allies have been pushing for Iran to join the WTO, while Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, oppose the membership bid. “The WTO accession process is based on consensus, and as of now, there are a number of countries that oppose appointing a chair to Iran’s working party on accession,” a State Department official told the Journal.

“Business diplomacy has been a core part of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy approach in engaging U.S. adversaries,” the Journal explained. “Mr. Obama sees the expansion of business transactions with the West in countries such as Iran and Cuba as the most promising means for solidifying the president’s policies there, his aides have said.” The controversial $25 billion sale of Boeing planes to Iran’s national carrier, Iran Air, is seen as “a boost” to these efforts.

Despite these efforts, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted a complaint earlier this month that they didn’t go far enough: “US didn’t fulfill key part of commitments; oil money isn’t paid to us, while we’ve done our part, 20% enrichment, Fordow & Arak are stopped.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D – Del.), criticized the administration earlier this week for its efforts to boost business with Iran, saying, “I don’t think it’s our job to act as the chamber of commerce for Tehran.” (For more from the author of “If Mr. Obama Secretly Planned to Give Iran Nuclear Weapons, Exactly What Would He Be Doing Differently?” please click HERE)

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Iran’s Unfriendly Skies

With the blessing of the Obama administration, Boeing Co. has negotiated the sale of a fleet of new jets to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

The $17.6 billion deal between the aviation giant and the Islamic Republic of Iran was made possible by the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran in January. It is a reckless piece of business that Congress must address.

Under terms of the memorandum of agreement, Boeing reportedly will supply 80 planes—including intercontinental jumbo jets—to state-owned Iran Air.

The carrier, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury, has been routinely commandeered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics to transport rockets, missiles, and other military equipment, including materials and technologies with ballistic missile applications.

Iran Air flights have also transported military components to Syria (another state sponsor of terrorism).

None of which concerns President Barack Obama, evidently. His nuclear deal with the ayatollahs, including $150 billion in sequestered funds, specifically lifted restrictions on the sale of commercial aircraft. Indeed, enabling Iran to modernize its timeworn fleet was “essential” to striking agreement with Tehran to (supposedly) restrict its nuclear operations in return for easing economic sanctions, according to Boeing executives.

To complete the sale, Boeing still must obtain an export license from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. Should a U.S. bank or investment firm wish to finance the purchase, it, too, would have to obtain a license from the Office of Foreign Asset Control. (Officials of the U.S. Export-Import Bank have said the bank charter prohibits financing for Iran, but they aren’t the most credible bunch.)

This “licensing” procedure seems downright silly considering that Iran has been designated for years by the U.S. Department of State as “the leading state sponsor of terrorism globally.” As noted in the 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Terrorism, “Iran continues to provide support to Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.”

There is little reason to think that U.S. engagement with Iran is now moderating the regime, according to James Phillips, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs. Despite the agreement, he reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has repeatedly challenged U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf.

For example, the Guard Corps vessels launched rockets within 1,500 yards of the carrier Harry S. Truman near the Strait of Hormuz in late December, and in January flew drones over U.S. warships and detained and humiliated 10 American sailors. In March, the Guard Corps launched a series of missiles, including two that were emblazoned with the message “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew.

To their credit, Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Peter Roskam, R-Ill., aren’t quite as trusting of Iran as the Obama administration. In a June 16 letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, the lawmakers said they “strongly oppose the potential sale of militarily-fungible products to terrorism’s central supplier,” and sought assurances that the company would repossess or remotely disable aircraft if Iran violated the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Roskam has introduced the No Dollars for Ayatollahs Act, which would impose an excise tax of 100 percent on any transaction that involves Iran conducting a financial transaction in U.S. currency.

According to Roskam, “It’s tragic to watch such an iconic American company make such a terribly short-sighted decision. If Boeing goes through with this deal, the company will forever be associated with Iran’s chief export: radical Islamic terrorism.”

In addition, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., has introduced the Preventing Investment in Terrorist Regimes Act, which would deny U.S. tax credit to Boeing for the foreign taxes it would pay on the income derived from the Iranian deal.

Both measures are co-sponsored by all six subcommittee chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee. But whether either measure would prove effective in halting the sale, using the tax code to steer the actions of a multinational corporation is a lousy way to set policy.

Besides, Boeing generated more than $96 billion in revenue last year, and its market cap exceeds $86 billion. It also paid a lot of money to lobby in favor of the nuclear deal, including hiring Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador to Israel and the United Nations, to testify before Congress, write letters to high-level officials, and submit op-eds in support of lifting the sanctions. All of which is perfectly acceptable—except that he systematically failed to disclose his relationship with Boeing.

Boeing executives say the proposed sale is necessary to remain competitive against Airbus, the European aviation manufacturer that has struck a $27 billion deal with Iran for 118 planes. But that’s the same lame argument Boeing made in lobbying for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank—from which Boeing was the top beneficiary of export subsidies.

The fact is, projected demand for commercial planes is forecast to rise for years to come, and both manufacturers are carrying huge backlogs that will take years to fulfill.

Rather than tweak the tax code, Congress should, at the very least, explicitly prohibit financing from the Export-Import Bank for the sale of Boeing planes (or any other product) to Iran.

Additional actions are needed as well. The administration has already increased the risk of yet more death and destruction by the terrorist state. Lawmakers should ensure that Boeing and other U.S. companies don’t become tools of Tehran. (For more from the author of “Iran’s Unfriendly Skies” please click HERE)

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Nearly a Year Since Nuclear Deal, Tom Cotton Alarmed by ‘Empowerment of Iran’

Nearly one year after a group of six nations led by the United States reached a nuclear deal with Iran, one of the loudest critics of the agreement is warning about the “consequences” of an accord that he believes has emboldened Tehran to provoke terror across the world.

Sen. Tom Cotton, a freshman Republican from Arkansas, injected himself into the Iran nuclear debate back when the Obama administration was negotiating the agreement by writing a letter to Iranian leaders declaring that the deal could be thrown away by the next president.

Now that the deal has been implemented, and Iran has constrained its nuclear capability in exchange for billions in sanctions relief, Cotton says he has seen enough to confirm his long-standing fears.

“What we’ve seen in the past year is the more immediate, non-nuclear consequences of the deal, which is the empowerment of Iran throughout the region and the consequences that has for U.S. interests and our allies,” Cotton said Wednesday during a briefing for reporters at The Heritage Foundation.

Referencing specific aggressive behavior from Iran, Cotton mentioned Tehran’s involvement in the wars in Syria and Yemen, its continued support for U.S.-declared terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, and its recent ballistic missile tests.

“Over the last year we’ve seen nothing but the continued aggression of Iran, and the consequences of the nuclear deal with Iran are growing worse and spreading farther out, and they have an impact not just inside the Middle East but all around the world,” Cotton added.

But even as critics like Cotton sound off against the deal in public, Republicans in Congress haven’t passed an Iran-related bill since the agreement formally went into effect in January.

Cotton hinted that Congress may act soon, and he defended his own attempts at action.

Last month, the Senate voted down Cotton’s amendment to an energy spending bill that would have prohibited the U.S. from buying heavy water—a key component in nuclear weapons development—from Iran.

On Wednesday, Cotton also expressed support to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, a core element of U.S. sanctions on Tehran that punishes foreign entities supporting Iran’s energy sector and purchase of advanced conventional weapons.

While some have speculated that Iran would view the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act—which expires at the end of 2016—as a violation of the nuclear deal, the Obama administration has expressed openness to extending the legislation.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is preparing broader sanctions legislation, along with pushing for the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act.

Micah Johnson, Corker’s communications director, told The Daily Signal the proposed legislation would expand sanctions against Iran on issues unrelated to the nuclear agreement, like its support for terrorism and ballistic missile tests.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is working on similar legislation. Yet these actions could have little practical impact—and be resisted by the Obama administration—because they may give Iran less incentive to comply with the nuclear deal.

“I think Obama has the votes to veto and block any legislation that he sees as undermining the nuclear agreement,” Gary Samore, Obama’s former chief adviser on nuclear policy, said.

“Obama won’t allow that to happen because it would give Iran an excuse to renege on the deal,” Samore told The Daily Signal in an interview. “So whatever Congress does at this point seems pretty irrelevant, until there is a new president.”

Iran is already declaring itself unsatisfied about what it has gained under the nuclear deal, as it has struggled to reintegrate with world markets—even after the removal of U.S. and European sanctions.

“The Iranians are unhappy with the degree of sanctions relief they are getting,” Samore said. “The European banks remain very cautious about investment and handling big financial transactions with businesses connected to Iran because there’s still very restrictive non-nuclear sanctions that remain in place on Iran, and that creates legal liability for the banks.”

While Samore doesn’t think Iran is angry enough to renege on the nuclear deal, Cotton argues that Tehran’s frustrations put into question the durability of the agreement. Most of the limits on Iran’s nuclear program expire after 10 to 15 years.

“We’ve seen over the last six months in particular that the leadership of Iran does not view the deal as settled,” Cotton said. “They view it as something subject to continual negotiation and more demands.”

For now, Samore says, Iran is fulfilling its commitments under the nuclear deal, eliminating centrifuges and most of its uranium stockpile, redesigning a research reactor designed to produce plutonium, and allowing international inspectors access to its facilities.

“The agreement has rolled back Iran’s nuclear capacity, so from that standpoint the agreement is a success,” Samore said. “It has achieved what it was intended to achieve, removing the imminent threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But for those thinking the agreement would be transformative, and have some positive effect on Iran’s domestic policy and foreign policy, that simply hasn’t happened.”

Though proponents of the deal with Iran say it was only intended to address the nuclear issue, Cotton is worried about Tehran’s aggressive behavior in other arenas, and he believes Congress needs to draw a line where he says the Obama administration won’t.

“There has been certainly near-term no sign of moderation from Iran,” Cotton said. “And we are seeing time and time again the imbalance on the two sides of the deal. At least the U.S. government, and maybe the entire Western negotiating partners, want the deal much more than Iran does.” (For more from the author of “Nearly a Year Since Nuclear Deal, Tom Cotton Alarmed by ‘Empowerment of Iran'” please click HERE)

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State Department Admits Briefing Footage on Iran Deal Intentionally Deleted

The State Department, in a stunning admission, acknowledged Wednesday that an official intentionally deleted several minutes of video footage from a 2013 press briefing, where a top spokeswoman seemed to acknowledge misleading the press over the Iran nuclear deal.

“There was a deliberate request [to delete the footage] – this wasn’t a technical glitch,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday, in admitting that an unidentified official had a video editor “excise” the segment.

The State Department had faced questions earlier this year over the block of missing tape from a December 2013 briefing. At that briefing, then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked by Fox News’ James Rosen about an earlier claim that no direct, secret talks were underway between the U.S. and Iran – when, in fact, they were.

Psaki at the time seemed to admit the discrepancy, saying: “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”

However, Fox News later discovered the Psaki exchange was missing from the department’s official website and its YouTube channel. Eight minutes from the briefing, including the comments on the Iran deal, were edited out and replaced with a white-flash effect. (Read more from “State Department Admits Briefing Footage on Iran Deal Intentionally Deleted” HERE)

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THANKS, OBAMA! Only Eight Iranian Missile Launches Since Nuke Deal Signed!

First, the Obama administration lied its collective asses off regarding every detail of the Iran nuclear deal, virtually guaranteeing a war or a major terror attack involving the West.

Next, they molded a Gumby-spined media into a propaganda arm of the administration, using payola and low-information journalists to spread their message of horses***.

As a result, in addition to kidnapping U.S. service personnel and humiliating them on global television, Iran has begun aggressively launching missiles in all directions, threatening its neighbors and embarrassing President Mom-pants.

In the 10 months since the Iran nuclear agreement was signed, the Islamic Republic has increased the frequency of its ballistic missile testing, according to researcher Michael Elleman, who testified before a US senatorial committee this week … investigating the effects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the Iran nuclear deal signed in July 2015.

Since then, Iran’s ballistic missile program has become a central issue in the debate surrounding the nuclear deal, with opponents of the agreement saying test launches violate the terms of the JCPOA, while proponents argue missile tests are “inconsistent” with United Nations resolutions but not necessarily illegal.

According to the UN decision, “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” until October 2023.

As they’re only “called upon not to” test missiles, but not expressly forbidden from doing so, Iran has used that loophole to increase its testing with impunity.

When war comes, and it will, let’s all remember to thank Puppet-master Obama, the traitorous Democrat Party, and a complicit media. (For more from the author of “THANKS, OBAMA! Only Eight Iranian Missile Launches Since Nuke Deal Signed!” please click HERE)

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Obama Admin: U.S. Stopped Sanctioning Iranian Human Rights Abusers After Nuke Deal

The Obama administration has not designated a single Iranian as a human rights abuser since finalizing last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement, despite rising abuse in the Islamic Republic, including state-sanctioned killings and the imprisonment of opposition figures.

The administration’s hesitance to use sanctions as a tool to confront Iranian human rights abuses, despite past promises made to Congress, has prompted outrage on Capitol Hill among lawmakers who were given assurances the administration would act.

A senior administration official admitted during questioning on Capitol Hill Wednesday that the U.S. has not sanctioned a single Iranian human rights abuser since the deal was finalized. The disclosure calls into question further administration promises to continue using sanctions as a tool to pressure Iran . . .

Republicans and Democrats alike are now accusing the administration of misleading Congress about its commitment to sanctions and saying that it has avoided such designations in order to prevent the Iranian regime from walking away from the deal.

“We were told during this process that getting the nuclear issue off the table was so critical and we could actually expect Iran to engage in additional destabilizing activity,” Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.) said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee examining the administration’s promises regarding Iran. (Read more from “Obama Admin: U.S. Stopped Sanctioning Iranian Human Rights Abusers After Nuke Deal” HERE)

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Iran Threatens to Destroy Israel in ‘Less Than Eight Minutes’

A top Iranian commander has claimed that the Islamic Republic had the ability to destroy Israel “in less than eight minutes,” according to comments offered on the same day that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that Iran would continue to build its ballistic missile arsenal in defiance of U.S. demands.

“If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes,” Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp’s al-Quds Force, was quoted as stating, according to regional reports.

The threat comes as Khamenei declared in a speech Monday that U.S. “cries” over Iran’s ballistic missile program will not alter the regime’s behavior.

“They [the U.S.] have engaged in a lot of hue and cry over Iran’s missile capabilities, but they should know that this ballyhoo does not have any influence and they cannot do a damn thing,” Khamenei was quoted as saying during a speech Monday in Tehran, according to Iran’s state-controlled media.

“Jihad still exists,” Khamenei added “Great Jihad means not abiding by the enemy whom we are fighting; not abiding by enemy in economy, politics, culture and art is the great Jihad.” (Read more from “Iran Threatens to Destroy Israel in ‘Less Than Eight Minutes'” HERE)

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Iran Is Demanding Reparations From US for 63 Years of ‘Spiritual and Material Damage’

Iran is demanding the U.S. pay for 63 years of “spiritual and material damage.” The Iranian parliament cited examples of U.S. “hostile action” towards Tehran such as alleged U.S. support for a 1953 military coup in Iran.

This claim is delusional. Iran is one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism and has a long history of inciting violence in the Middle East.

For instance, it’s known that in 2004 Iran flooded Iraq with improvised explosive devices, which took the lives of 500 soldiers and Marines.

Jim Phillips, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs, notes that:

This [move] is part of the current regime’s efforts to blame all of Iran’s problems on the U.S., which they denounce as the “Great Satan.”

The U.S. has always been a convenient scapegoat for Iranian leadership.

Phillips also notes that:

Iran has long been in denial about the fact that the 1953 coup was carried out by Iranians. Although the CIA helped them get organized to overthrow Mossadegh, the coup plotters were motivated by their own deep opposition to Mossadegh’s disastrous leadership.

Blaming the U.S. is a strategic win-win for Iran.

Iran’s vice president for parliamentary affairs said Iranian courts have ruled the United States owes $50 billion for hostile actions. Obviously, this isn’t really about “spiritual damage” inflicted on Iran.

Iran’s claim is in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month demanding Iran hand over nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to the survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks that Iran organized, including the 1983 bombing of a U.S. marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241.

Shortly after the court ruling, Iranian President Rouhani said Tehran was preparing international legal action to recover the nearly $2 billion in frozen assets.

“We will not allow the United States to swallow this money so easily” he told a crowd of thousands.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Iran knows it’s in the power seat in the relationship with the Obama administration. This is because the White House is desperate to claim the Iranian nuclear deal as a positive legacy.

It seems President Obama is willing to go so far as to blur truth in order to accomplish a legacy item—just ask Ben Rhodes.

In the end Iran’s actions are purely a retaliatory move designed to flex its muscles, provoke the U.S., and test its limits. What’s most troubling is that the Obama administration will likely look the other way and allow continued Iranian aggression. (For more from the author of “Iran Is Demanding Reparations From US for 63 Years of ‘Spiritual and Material Damage'” please click HERE)

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Classified Details of Iran’s Treatment of U.S. Sailors Will Shock Nation

The classified details behind Iran’s treatment of several U.S. sailors who were captured by the Islamic Republic during a tense standoff earlier this year are likely to shock the nation, according to one member of the House Armed Services Committee, who disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that these details are currently being withheld by the Obama administration.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.) told the Free Beacon in an interview that the Obama administration is still keeping details of the maritime incident under wraps. It could be a year or longer before the American public receives a full accounting of the incident, in which several U.S. sailors were abducted at gunpoint by the Iranian military.

“I’ve had a full classified briefing” from military officials, Forbes told the Free Beacon. “It could be as long as a year before we actually get that released.”

Details of the abduction are likely to start an uproar in the nation and call into question the Obama administration’s handling of the incident, which many experts say violated international and maritime law.

“I think that when the details actually come out, most Americans are going to be kind of taken aback by the entire incident, both how Iran handled it and how we handled it,” Forbes disclosed. “I think that’s going to be huge cause for concern for most Americans. That’s why I’ve encouraged members of Congress to get that briefing so they do know exactly what did take place.” (Read more from “Classified Details of Iran’s Treatment of U.S. Sailors Will Shock Nation” HERE)

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Iran: U.S. Encouraging Islamic Republic to Keep Illicit Missile Tests Secret

A senior Iranian military commander claimed that U.S. officials are quietly encouraging the Islamic Republic to keep its illicit ballistic missile tests a secret so as not to raise concerns in the region, according to Persian language comments.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace and Missile Force, said in recent remarks that the Obama administration does not want Iran to publicize its ongoing missile tests, which have raised questions about the Islamic Republic’s commitment to last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement.

“At this time, the Americans are telling [us]: ‘Don’t talk about missile affairs, and if you conduct a test or maneuver, don’t mention it,’” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying during a recent Persian-language speech that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“If we agree to this, they will advance another step, and say: ‘Don’t conduct [a missile test] at this time, and also don’t do it in the Persian Gulf region.’ After that, they will tell us: ‘Why do you need your missiles to have a range of 2,000 km [anyway?]?’ Hajizadeh reportedly said . . .

“After that, they will tell [us]: ‘Next, we will check whether your missiles can really carry nuclear weapons. Bring us the details [of the missiles].’ After that, they will say: ‘We need to set up cameras.’ And, finally, they will say: ‘Either saw [the missiles up into pieces] or, like [Libyan dictator Mu’ammar] Gadhafi, load them onto a ship and hand [them] over to us.’” he said. (Read more from “Iran: U.S. Encouraging Islamic Republic to Keep Illicit Missile Tests Secret” HERE)

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