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May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Obama and Netanyahu’s Different Versions of Same Phone Call on Iran

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The White House and the office of the Prime Minister issued two statements on a phone call between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the “key parameters” of a deal with Iran were announced, and it is difficult to believe they were referring to the same conversation.

President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu after the fuzzy agreement, as reported here, was announced, and according to the White House, Obama said:

The President emphasized that, while nothing is agreed until everything is, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.

He underscored that progress on the nuclear issue in no way diminishes our concerns with respect to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and threats towards Israel and emphasized that the United States remains steadfast in our commitment to the security of Israel.

The readout of the call also referred to Netanyahu’s re-election, saying that Obama told the Prime Minister “that he has directed his national security team to increase consultations with the new Israeli government about how we can further strengthen our long-term security cooperation with Israel and remain vigilant in countering Iran’s threats.”

The White House did not refer at all to what the Netanyahu had to say, a clear message that he cares about what Israel thinks about the deal as much as he cares what Congress thinks.

The difference is that he has to deal with Congress, which can ditch the agreement, if it wants.

Obama did not want to tell anyone what Netanyahu said in the conversation because it would work against public opinion that the president wants to beat back Congressional opposition.

The office of the Prime Minister said of the phone call:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US President Barack Obama this evening and expressed Israel’s strong opposition to the framework agreement with Iran which poses a grave danger to Israel, the region and the world.

Netanyahu said, ‘A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel. Just two days ago, Iran said that the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable, and in these fateful days Iran is accelerating the arming of its terror proxies to attack Israel.

This deal would legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, bolster Iran’s economy, and increase Iran’s aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Such a deal would not block Iran’s path to the bomb.  It would pave it.’

Obama Calls Netanyahu About Nuke Deal

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu, from Air Force One, to update Netanyahu on the terms of the Iran nuclear framework.

Iran and P5+1 Agree to ‘Key Parameters’ with Unknown Clauses [video]

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Iran and the P5+1 powers announced Thursday afternoon they have reached an understanding of “key parameters” for a final agreement that will remove sanctions on Iran and would require it to allow verified inspections of its nuclear program.

Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that “many technical details” must be ironed out.

President Barack Obama called it a “good deal” that will keep Iran from getting its hands on weapons grade plutonium and would require enriched uranium to be shipped out of Iran.

He said the arrangement is better than “bombing Iran and starting a new war in the Middle East” and would only set back Iran’s nuclear program for a few years. Kerry said that the nuclear facility at Natanz is the only plant that will continue to operate and where the uranium is low grade.

No other enrichment material will remain, and the Fordo nuclear plant will be converted to a “research and development “center.

Kerry also said that the heavy water reactor will be converted so that it cannot be used for the development of a nuclear weapon.

Iran is required to ship all enrich uranium out of the country, and it is committed not to build any more heavy water reactors for at least 15 years.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced, “Our decision today will be the base for the start of drafting the Joint the Plan of Action (the final deal) which should end by the July 1 deadline.”

He said all sanctions will be lifted, but Kerry stated that this will happen in stages until a final agreement is made by midnight June 30.

One of the most interesting parts of the “key parameters” is that  some clauses may not be made public except to governments and Congress.

The key elements are inspections and access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, to which Kerry said Iran has agreed.

President Obama said in his remarks after the announcement of “key parameters” that he is maintained to the security of Israel and that he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Iran will reduce the number of its centrifuges to around 6.000, including 5,000 at Natanz for industrial-scale enrichment and 1,000 at Fordo, but not for enrichment.

The kicker is Zarif’s statement that not everyone will understand the “key parameters” the same way. Fars News Agency reported::

He [Zarif] cautioned that the seven nation’s party to the nuclear talks might present today’s agreement in different ways as they see fit.

The same Foreign Minister Zarif said earlier today that “no agreement will be announced today,” a sure sign that something would indeed be announced, even it is called “key parameters.”

But Obama reassured the American people that although the emerging deal will not remove distrust between Iran and the United States, Iran is committed to using its nuclear program for peaceful purposes.

How does he know?

Because the Islamic Republic has supposedly issued a religious fatwa forbidding nuclear weapons.

The Washington Post reported a year and a half ago on whether the there is such fatwa or it is simply a statement:

Even if one believes the fatwa exists — and will not later be reversed — it clearly appears to have evolved over time. U.S. officials should be careful about saying the fatwa prohibits the development of nuclear weapons, as that is not especially clear anymore.

President Obama covered all the bases in his remarks at the White House,. He said he has spoken with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia and is looking forward to a lively debate” with Congress.

France Leaves Iran Nuclear Talks, Will Return When ‘Useful’

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is leaving the marathon negotiations that have gone into overtime led by the United States between world powers and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear technology activities.

A French official told France 24 today (Wednesday, April 1) that Fabius was leaving the talks and would return from France when it was “useful.”

Speaking at a joint news conference with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, French President Francois Hollande said it would be better to have no deal than a bad deal – the same opinion expressed last month by Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu while speaking to the U.S. Congress.

And yet, talks are continuing in a marathon effort to reach a deal which by all accounts other than those of the negotiators themselves, appears to be a bad deal, at least for everyone other than Iran.

The deadline for talks had been set for March 31 – a supposed “hard” red line that U.S. President Barack Obama vowed would not be crossed.

Today that line was crossed with ease, in Obama’s desperation to reach a deal with Tehran – as was the “red line” set by Obama over the use of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens by President Bashar al-Assad.

It was not clear what prompted the French foreign minister to leave. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had told Russia’s TASS news agency that a general accord had been reached all “all key aspects.”

Both Iran and Russia had expressed optimism in the wee hours of Wednesday as talks broke for the night that an agreement was within reach.

Hamid Baidinejad, a senior Iranian negotiator, told reporters his team is willing to talk until the deadlock is resolved. “Iran does not want a nuclear deal just for the sake of having a deal,” he said. “A final deal should guarantee the Iranian nation’s nuclear rights.”

Those rights would include unfettered Iranian nuclear research, and development into even more advanced uranium enriching centrifuges than already exist, when the 10-year limit of the agreement is reached.

Iran has been demanding that all United Nations sanctions be lifted prior to any cessation of nuclear activities without automatic reinstatement upon violation of the agreement. “There will be no agreement if the sanctions issue cannot be resolved,” Iranian negotiator Majid Takhteravanchi told the Iranian FARS news agency.

The five world powers led by the United States (P5+1) meanwhile warned that nothing could be done without concessions from Iran as well. These include access to sites where nuclear research is being conducted, a severe reduction in the number of centrifuges operating to produce enriched uranium and other issues still to be worked out.

But Israel is maintaining that the deal as it currently stands is altogether a bad deal – that no centrifuges should be allowed to operate, and that Iran should not be allowed to produce any enriched uranium, the fuel that powers atomic weapons of mass destruction.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing in Washington that U.S. negotiators won’t keep talking “until June” to reach a deal. “If we’re not able to reach a political agreement, then we’re not going to wait … until June 30 to walk away,” he said. June 30 is the date a final agreement was originally to be signed, sealed and delivered – not just a basic outline.

At this point, Obama seems to have painted himself into a no-win situation: if negotiators reach a deal in Lausanne, Switzerland, America’s allies in the Middle East will be profoundly unhappy. Israel is not the only nation that does not trust Iran’s word at the negotiating table: Saudi Arabia and many other nations in the region have been urging the United States to end the talks or — more to the point — consider a “better” deal.

Netanyahu Warns Iran-Yemen-Nuclear Deal Axis ‘Dangerous to Humanity’ [video]

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that the deal shaping up with Iran on its nuclear program is “even worse than feared” and that the “Iranian-Lausanne talks-Yemen axis is dangerous to humanity and must be stopped.”

He told the Cabinet:

Even as meetings [in Lausanne] proceed on this dangerous agreement, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are overrunning large sections of that country and are attempting to seize control of the strategic Bab-el-Mandeb straits which would affect the naval balance and the global oil supply.

After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincers movement in the south as well in order to take over and conquer the entire Middle East.

Talks are dragging on in Lausanne, and it is not clear if the P5+1 will strike an agreement. Reports of concessions include Secretary of State John Kerry’s willingness to allow Iran retain 6,000 centrifuges at is main nuclear site, where it can continue to enrich uranium.

Netanyahu has become Public Enemy Number 1 to the Obama administration for his defiant speech in Congress earlier this month, where he warned of a “bad deal” with Iran.

He is winning more backing, not only from Congress but also from The Washington Post and even the London Economist, which is far from friendly to Netanyahu.

The Post wrote in an editorial Friday:

Negotiators — including the supposedly hard-line French, who have taken the lead on the ‘military dimensions’ issue — have reportedly agreed to let Iran’s noncompliance slide. The IAEA’s unanswered questions will be rolled over and rebundled into the new agreement, with a new time line. That means that Iran will have some sanctions lifted before it complies with a commitment it first made eight years ago.

The question this raises was articulated months ago in congressional testimony by nuclear weapons expert David Albright: ‘If Iran is able to successfully evade addressing the IAEA’s concerns now, when biting sanctions are in place, why would it address them later when these sanctions are lifted? In its rush to complete a deal, the Obama administration appears eager to ignore the likely answer.

The Economist wrote on Saturday, “Mr. Obama was right to chastise Mr. Netanyahu over Palestine. But he should not ignore him altogether. This is a vital moment in the Middle East. Mr. Obama may this week embrace Israel’s greatest foe, Iran, by agreeing on the outline for a nuclear deal. As cynical as Mr. Netanyahu may be about Palestine, he deserves to be heard on the risk that a deal will turn Iran from a pariah into a legitimate and overbearing regional power.”

Senate Warns Obama by 100-0 Vote for Pro-Sanctions Amendment

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Senate sent a warning to President Barack Obama Thursday by passing by a unanimous 100-0 vote a non-binding amendment that approves the cost of imposing sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic reneges on a deal that might be signed as early as Sunday.

The vote was non-binding because it will not become law, but the unanimous approval of Republican Sen. Mark Kirk’s amendment makes it clear where the political winds are blowing.

Some Democrats are claiming that the vote makes it easier for Obama to negotiate with Iran because it does not demand the president send a deal to the Senate for review, but Sen. Kirk told Politico:

The bipartisan Kirk-Brown amendment on Iran is now even more consistent with the Kirk-Menendez Iran bill to immediately impose sanctions if Iran cheats. When you vote for the Kirk-Brown amendment, you support Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions.

If and when legislation comes to the floor to demand a review of a deal, yesterday’s vote may provide the basis for a veto-proof majority.

Iran and the P5+1 are negotiating in Switzerland, and a deal might be signed as early as Sunday, according to Omri Ceren, press director at The Israel Project.

“Rumors are swirling about a deal as early as Sunday the 29th. Lavrov is slated to fly in for the 27th-29th, Kerry is supposed to be in Boston on the 30th, and the Iranians are talking about where they want to move the talks for the signing ceremony,” he told reporters.

The Obama administration’s anxiety for a deal may come at the cost of concessions.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “The U.S. and its diplomatic partners are revising their demands on Iran to address these concerns before they agree to finalize a nuclear deal.”

If Obama breaks his promise that Iran must come up with full disclosure on its nuclear development program, the Senate might be voting on a new bill to scuttle the deal much sooner than expected.

 

 

NATO Chief Added to Obama’s ‘Diss List’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama — America’s Commander-in-Chief — seems to have added the head of the North America Treaty Organization, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to his “diss list.” No one has any idea why, however.

Stoltenberg, whose office notified the White House staff of the dates well in advance, but his office didn’t even receive the courtesy of a reply from the White House, according to Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin.

The NATO chief is in Washington DC for a three day visit that includes attendance at the annual NATO Transformation Seminar. NATO leaders, various experts and top officials from the host company gather to brainstorm on strategies in the sessions, organized by the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia and the Atlantic Council.

Bernadette Meehan, spokesperson for the National Security Council, could not say why Obama did not respond to Stoltenberg’s request for an informal meeting. At last minute, the NATO leader was able to obtain a meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But there’s just no getting around the fact that Obama’s behavior is an outright insult. Where was he and what was so incredibly important that he could not make time for the head of NATO –an alliance in which the U.S. is a pivotal member?

The only event on Obama’s schedule for Wednesday, media moguls said, was a short speech to launch the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday he is also pretty free: he heads to Alabama to deliver a speech. Wow. Stressful…

And Stoltenberg isn’t exactly small potatoes: the NATO chief served two terms as Norway’s prime minister prior to starting in October as head of the largest military alliance in the world.

Moreover, he’s on a pretty tight schedule: on Monday he met in Toronto with Canada’s Stephen Harper, where the two discussed the crisis in Ukraine and the threat of the Daesh terror organization, known also as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Both issues are of equal concern to the United States, so one would think that President Obama might at least be somewhat invested in hosting Stoltenberg at the White House.

Tuesday he was involved in other affairs. Wednesday was the seminar.

But nary a phone call, text or email was made. Not even an acknowledgment of the request for a meeting. Weird, particularly when one considers the fact that America’s membership in NATO is its main treaty obligation.

In particular, the president has ticked off former U.S. permanent representative to NATO Kurt Volker, who actually served under Obama, as well as under Pres. George W. Bush before him.

“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO, given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” Volker told Josh Rogin at Bloomberg.

Perhaps he was not present to cover the day Obama had his first tiff with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, stalking out of the Oval Office and leaving Israel’s top leader to hang around while the president had dinner in his private quarters with the family.

Or the time he sneaked Netanyahu out through a side door of the White House, and the time he refused to end a meeting with the routine joint news conference to address questions from international media, because he didn’t want Netanyahu to have the benefit of a photo op.

The list is endless, petty and getting stranger by the day.

It is not at all clear what minor infraction the NATO chief has committed against Barack Obama, but clearly it was something he considers to be of magnified importance – important enough to risk offending the chief of the largest allied military force in the world.

I sure hope it’s worth it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nato-chief-added-to-obamas-diss-list/2015/03/26/

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