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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

      A former U.S. diplomat slated to become the No. 2 Iran official at the State Department serves on the board of a controversial Iran council that has argued against imposing sanctions on Tehran and has received funding from groups tied to billionaire George Soros.
 
      John Limbert, a former ambassador to Mauritania, reportedly was appointed to serve as deputy assistant secretary for Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. State Department sources were quoted by Politico as saying that Limbert would play an active role in negotiations with Iran, working with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns.
 
      Limbert, meanwhile, serves on the National Iranian American Council’s advisory board. NIAC describes itself as advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. It has been accused of largely toeing the line of the Iranian regime. Just last week, Limbert spoke at a NIAC conference on Capitol Hill.
 
      NIAC strongly opposes military action against Iran and has actively lobbied against imposing sanctions on Iran. NIAC also has strongly argued against U.S. funding for Iranian civil society groups and providing help to the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, which were meant to counter Iranian state-run news media.
 
      The group is led by Tria Parsi, who previously was director of fundraising for the American Iranian Council, which sought to promote better relations between the Iranian government and the U.S and is closely linked to the Iranian government.
 

      NIAC has acknowledged receiving funding from Soros’s Open Society Institute and from the Tides Foundation, to which Soros has reportedly donated more than $7 million. Additionally, NIAC has received funds from Cultures of Resistance, a radical anti-war organization that promotes programs in North Korea and the Gaza Strip.

 

PA Set To Unilaterally Declare

Palestinian State?
 
      The U.S. is considering adopting a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence in the West Bank and Jerusalem regardless of negotiations with the Jewish state, according to Israeli sources speaking to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.
 
      This column first reported in Septemberthat according to a top Palestinian Authority official, the Obama administration has largely adopted the PA position of creating a Palestinian state within two years based on the pre-1967 borders. Such a state would require Israel to retreat from most of the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
 
      Now Haaretz quoted Israeli sources stating that a plan by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad specifies that at the end of a designated period for bolstering national institutions, the PA, in conjunction with the Arab League, would file a “claim of sovereignty” to the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly over the 1967 borders.
 

      Fayyad also told Israeli officials the Obama administration did not oppose his plan.

      A senior Israeli foreign-policy official told Haaretz, “It’s a very dangerous move.”

 

Obama’s Non-Transparent Academic Past

 

      President Obama last week divulged to an audience that his daughter Malia scored a 73 on a sixth-grade science test. The president’s disclosure contrasts with his refusal to release his college transcripts.
 
      Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia in 1981. It has been confirmed that Obama graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a major in political science and that he did not receive honors, but further information about Obama’s academic performance, including transcripts, is sealed by the university.
 
      Obama had traveled to Pakistan with his college friends, staying there for three weeks in 1981 at a time when Pakistan was under military rule and difficult for U.S. citizens to travel to the country.
 
      In his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama goes into detail about certain periods of his life, including his early education and his days at Harvard Law School, where he led the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. But he just barely touches on his Columbia days.
 
      Wayne Allyn Root, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate in 2008, attended Columbia at the same time as Obama. He told this column he speculates Obama is keeping his Columbia transcript under wraps to conceal a less-than-stellar record, which would raise questions as to how he was accepted to Harvard.
 

      A September 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed noted, “Some think his transcript, if released, would reveal Mr. Obama as a mediocre student who benefited from racial preference.”  But the Journal pointed out Obama later graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, proving “he knows how to get good grades.” Obama has said he was involved with the Black Students Organization on campus, but students active then have stated they don’t remember him.

 

Israel, PA Investigating Hasan’s Family

 

      U.S. law enforcement agencies were in touch with the Palestinian Authority and Israel immediately following last week’s shooting massacre at a Texas military base to garner information on Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of carrying out the attack.
 
      Hasan is from a Palestinian Muslim family that lives in Ramallah as well as a Palestinian village outside of Jerusalem. Hasan’s parents moved to the U.S. from a Palestinian town near Jerusalem. He was born in Virginia.
 
      Hasan has a brother, Anas, who still lives outside Jerusalem. Anas did not return calls for comment.
 
      According to initial information from PA and Israeli sources, Hasan’s family is not on any list of Palestinians with known connections to Islamic militants.
 
      “Upon immediate inspection, the family seems to be regular. Nothing special stands out,” said a PA security source.
 

      Still, Israel and the PA launched an investigation into the family’s history and ties.

 

      Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.” Follow Klein on Twitter under the name “AaronKleinWND.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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