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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Iran Laughs at ‘Non-Binding’ Ban on Ballistic Missiles

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Iran’s Foreign Minister buried the Obama administration’s claim that the nuclear agreement will curtail Iran’s ballistic missile production and maintained that the prohibition is in a non-binding appendix of “ObamaDeal.”

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the state-controlled Fars News Agency as saying:

Using ballistic missiles doesn’t violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); it is a violation of a paragraph in the annex of the (UN Security Council) Resolution (2231) which is non-binding

This paragraph (of the annex) speaks about missiles with nuclear warheads capability and since we don’t design any of our missiles for carrying nuclear weapons, therefore, this paragraph is not related to us at all.

That is pretty fancy mouth-work, even better than President Barack Obama’s.

Zarif is laughing all the way to the nuclear bank. He admits that the nuclear agreement prohibits ballistic missiles but since it is non-binding, so what?

And it doesn’t make any difference because the missiles are not meant for carrying nukes.

If anyone wants to inspect the military sites to make sure he is telling the truth, he can’t because military sites are off-limits. The Islamic Republic’s international affairs adviser to the regime stressed on Tuesday that Iran will not allow international inspectors visit our military centers and interfere in decisions about the type of Iran’s defensive weapons.”

Velayati added:

Missiles like Shahab, Sejjil and the like, have never been used for carrying nuclear warheads, and therefore, are not subject to the paragraphs of the Vienna draft agreement.

Just take his word for it.

Zarif’s Foreign Ministry reassured everyone who still is listening that “Iran will continue its pioneering role in campaign against terrorism and violent extremism.”

For the record, just in case Congressional Democrats are awake, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate committee just before ObamaDeal was concluded:

We should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.

Secretary of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who is in Israel to go through the motions that ObamaDeal is good for Israel, told the Senate Armed Services Committee:

We want them [Iran] to continue to be isolated as a military and limited in terms of the kinds of equipment and material they are able to procure.

That is what he wants. That is not what he – and Israel – is going to get.

 

UN Security Council Votes Unanimously in Favor of ObamaDeal with Iran

Monday, July 20th, 2015

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously 15-0 for a resolution that sets the groundwork for ending international sanctions against Iran. The vote is a resounding show of support for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

The UNSC resolution is legally binding and defines the steps needed to end UN sanctions. It doesn’t affect US or EU sanctions, which are being lifted separately.

The resolution goes into effect in 90 days, which is after the 60 days Congress needs to vote for or against the Iran deal.

Some members of the US Congress are upset that the UNSC voted on the deal before Congress, and some see it as President Obama’s way of bypassing Congress.

The resolution doesn’t lift then arms embargo to Iran.

The resolution states that if Iran doesn’t abide by its commitments the sanctions automatically snap back without requiring vote.

Iran Celebrates ObamaDeal with Chants of ‘Death to America

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led tens led tens of thousands of Iranians to scream “death to America” and “death to Israel chants Saturday, five days after  the United States and five other world powers reached agreement on a nuclear deal.

Khamenei did not specifically criticize or praise the agreement, leading American pundits to conclude that he was just letting off steam to please the hard-liners., and so what if President Barack Obama hailed an agreement with a country that loves to hate?

Khamenei spoke on national television on Saturday, during the Eid a-Ftir celebrations concluding the daily fasts in the Muslim month of Ramadan, and poured salt on the fresh wound President Barack Obama has suffered in his weak defense of the deal.

Khamenei told throngs in Tehran:

Our policy regarding the arrogant U.S. government will not change. We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the U.S. on different issues in the world or the region.

Whether [the deal is] ratified or not, we will not give up on our friends in the region.

And who are his friends? For starters there is Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who owes his life to Iran for remaining alive, at least for the time being. And then there is Hezbollah, for which ObamaDeal is a multi-billion bonanza for buying even more missiles to aim at Israel and to fund terrorist attacks against Jews around the world.

Khamenei’s appearance dispels reports that he is about to die from cancer. His performance Saturday was at least par for the course in his making President Obama look like a dishrag. Congress may confirm the agreement, but Khamenei is going to embarrass the president as much as possible.

The Supreme Leader of Iran bragged that the United States has no other choice “but to tolerate the spinning of a few thousand centrifuges” in Iran.

President Obama last week admitted that the United States made foreign policy mistakes by backing a coup in 1953 and backing Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the eight-year with Iran in the 1980s.

The admission gave Khamenei an opening that he stretched, saying:

He [Obama] mentioned two or three points but did not confess to tens of others. I am telling you, you are making a mistake now, in different parts of this region, but especially about the Iranian nation. Wake up, Stop making mistakes. Understand the reality.

Isn’t it interesting that Obama is getting the same message from Israel, Saudi Arabia and more than half of Congress?

Below is a video from CNN of Khamenei’s speech and the hate chants.

Meet the 16 Democratic Senators Who Can Scuttle ObamaDeal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Opponents to the agreement with Iran are lacking approximately nine Democratic senators to override a Presidential veto of its rejection, but the truth that is an opposition victory might have limited meaning.

Congress cannot strike down the agreement, which was made along with five other Western powers. All it can do is block President Obama’s agreement to lift U.S. sanctions.

Doing so would be very significant, both politically for President Obama and the Democratic party as well as for American’s relations with the other P5+1 countries and Iran.

There are seven undecided Democratic senators, according to a tally by the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips.

If all of them turn against President Obama, it will be easier to convince a couple of others whose positions are not yet known.

The seven undecided Democrats, acceding to Phillips, are:

Michael Bennet of Colorado;

Ben Cardin of Maryland;

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania;

Joe Donnelly of Indiana;

Tim Kaine of Virginia;

Bill Nelson of Pennsylvania;

and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Cardin is one of the most important of the undecided. He attends Baltimore’s largest and wealthiest modern Orthodox Beth Tfiloh Congregation, which is highly pro-Israel.

He told NPR this week:

Israel’s security issues are of major concern. We don’t want to see an arms race in the Middle East, so it is a factor. And it’s a factor that I’m sure we will carefully consider.

Earlier in the week, Cardin told Bloomberg:

There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments.

The nine Democratic Senators whose positions are not known are:

Cory Booker of New Jersey;

Maria Cantwell of Washington;

Claire McCaskill of Missouri;

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota;

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland;

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington;

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

One of the most pivotal of the “unknowns” is McCaskill. She stated this week:

Preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is paramount to our national security, and if this agreement accomplishes that goal, it will make the world a safer place for America and our allies. I plan to spend the coming weeks taking a hard look at the agreement’s details to ensure that it will result in a verifiable way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Phillip’s tally shows 43 senators “leaning” to vote against ObamaDeal, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, and only 26 are in favor or are leaning in favor.

Guess What Each of the US Jewish Organizations Are Saying About the Iran Deal

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

We know the Iran deal is bad. How bad it is is we all may be spending the rest of our lives finding out. That is, unless enough members of Congress are able to inject sufficient spine-strengthening and -straightening serum to override President Barack Obama’s already promised veto of any effort to derail the deal.

So let’s take a stroll through the playground of American Jewish organizations and see what they have to say about the proposed deal which allows many of the things American leaders swore would not be permitted and forbids many of the things that were promised would be included.

First, let’s lay out the general parameters of the deal, as they are currently understood, based on analyses of the 159 page document.

According to the Iranians themselves, the deal blesses Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear programs and will lift sanctions from Iran through a new UN Security Council resolution. It allows all of Iran’s nuclear installations and sites to continue, none of them will be dismantled. Plus, research and development on key and advanced centrifuges will continue.

There will be no “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Instead, there will be a mechanism in place that will ensure that at least 24 days elapses before inspectors can visit any facility which Iran decides it doesn’t want visited.

And although the U.S. administration and its representatives repeatedly insisted that the nuclear program deal would have no impact on any other sanctions imposed against Iran, guess what? It does.

The P5+1 have agreed to lift the arms embargo against Iran within five years, and the embargo on missile sales will be lifted within eight years. Of course, the unfreezing of between $100 and 150 billion is perhaps the most frightening immediate effect of the deal. As with the nuclear and military sites, there will be no transparency to ensure that the money does not get funneled into Iran’s other favorite activity: financing global terrorism, especially murderous terrorism directed at Israel.

Most of the major Jewish organizations either blasted the agreement with Iran or punted, assuming a wait and see stance. However, one “pro-Israel, pro-peace” outfit was thrilled with the deal. More on that in the body of the article.

Here they are, summaries of the statements on the Iran deal issued by American Jewish organizations.In alphabetical order.

The Anti-Defamation League unhappy

Usually known for a more even-keeled approach to most administration ventures, the ADL is highly critical of the Iran deal. The ADL leadership said they were “deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran” which “seems to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.” The ADL leadership praised the administration’s negotiators for sticking to it for so long and for appearing to put off Iran’s ability to become a nuclear state in the short term, but it fails to prevent it for the long term.

The ADL further blasted the “front-end loaded infusion of billions of dollars in sanctions relief [which] will finance Iran’s ongoing global campaign of terror against Israel and other U.S. allies, and be used to further exert its influence across the Middle East, thereby harming U.S. interests.”

While stopping short of calling on Congress to do its best to derail the job, the ADL leadership took the time to urge those debating the matter to do so in a civil and respectful manner.  Some jaded commentators might wonder whether such admonishments are ladled out when the plan of someone considered to be right wing is under attack.

Americans for a Safe Israel angry

Not surprisingly, the small, New York-based, staunchly Zionist organization AFSI is unalterably opposed to the Iran deal. As Helen Freedman, AFSI’s long-time executive director wrote regarding the deal crafted by Obama and Kerry, “there was never any doubt in our minds that this deceitful duo would cross all the red lines and give Iran everything it demands-  and more. Our ‘leaders’ even made it difficult for Congress to do anything to Stop Iran by insisting this is not a treaty, only a ‘deal.’ Only those who applaud the naked emperor will celebrate this travesty.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee worried

AIPAC’s deep affinity for diplomacy and close connections with the administration as well as members of Congress puts the organization in a bit of a bind. Its statement reflects that dilemma. AIPAC had previously outlined several requirements any deal with Iran had to meet. Those included:”anywhere, anytime” inspections – that ain’t happening; sanctions relief should only come after Iran satisfies all its commitments – nope; any deal had to prevent Iran from the ability to acquire nuclear weapons for decades – not that either; and Iran had to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure – nope again.

“We are deeply concerned based on initial reports that this proposed agreement may not meet these requirements, and thereby would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.” Deeply concerned? Even the President’s talking points make clear that AIPAC’s red lines have not been met.

AIPAC, as did several of the other organizations, signaled that it would continue to review the deal and issue updates on its position.

American Jewish Committee worried

The AJC spent the first third of its statement praising the administration’s negotiators and leadership for its attempt to reach an accord. AJC’s executive director David Harris then called on Congress to ” thoroughly review, debate, and, ultimately, vote it up or down.” Towards the end of the statement, Harris finally gets around to venturing an opinion about the deal. He said that the nuclear deal does not appear to address certain “extremely troubling aspects of Iranian behavior.” He then lists out five different concerns of the AJC regarding the deal, including its reign of terror in the Middle East and its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program (which cannot have a peaceful purpose), and its systematic repression of human rights.

But rather than urging its members to take any particular action, the AJC director concludes his statement by noting that however “Congress decides to vote on the nuclear deal,” Harris concluded, “the need for vigilance regarding Iran will not for a single moment be diminished.”

Endowment for Middle East Truth angry

EMET expressed “profound disappointment” that the deal with Iran is “more deplorable than we had even anticipated. Of particular concern to EMET is that the “Administration has caved on almost every one of its initial criteria. It also pointed out that the Iranian Ayatollah maintained all of his red lines, even those which are contrary to UN resolutions.”

Sarah Stern, the president and founder of EMET said, “we all understand and appreciate that Americans are not eager for armed conflict, but willfully blinding ourselves to the reality of a bad deal does not prevent war.” EMET blasted the deal as a “diplomatic disaster of historic proportions.”

The Israel Project unhappy

TIP’s president, Josh Block, said of the deal with Iran that it “is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome – a bad deal that enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability.” TIP unequivocally called on Congress to reject “this bad deal.” The Israel Project has been providing nearly daily, and extremely detailed, updates and analyses of the negotiations for many months, and is considered extremely knowledgeable regarding both the process and the details of the agreement as it has evolved.

J Street  happy

J Street founder and president Jeremy Ben-Ami once described his nascent organization as “President Obama’s blocking back.” It apparently still sees itself that way. While hedging its bets a tiny bit by calling the deal “complex and multi-faceted,” J Street takes President Obama at his word and concludes that the deal “appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.” Tellingly, the statement does not mention what those criteria are.

Every other organization that praised the negotiators did so for their efforts. Not J Street. J Street congratulated them for bringing the negotiations “to a successful conclusion.”

J Street mentioned the upcoming review of the deal by Congress, but sent its own thinly-veiled threat: Congress should be “mindful of the likely consequences of its rejection: a collapse of diplomacy and international sanctions as Iran pushes forward with a nuclear program unimpeded.”

In other words, unless Congress approves the deal, or fails to override the promised veto, J Street is telling its followers that the alternative will be an Iran with nuclear weapons. You can bet that is how they will couch their calls to supporters in the upcoming congressional review period.

Jewish Federations of North America hmmmm

The parent organization of the Jewish Federations and JCRCs was careful to thank the negotiators for their efforts and to express its support for diplomacy, but clearly signaled its discomfort with the way the deal has shaped up, given Iran’s terrorist history. The JFNA statement expresses its concern: “Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries – including Israel – make the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran untenable.”

But the JFNA resorted to mouthing the assurances that President Obama has been making – even while the facts regarding them have been changing – for nearly the entire period of the negotiations. The JFNA concluded its statement by urging Congress to give the accord its “utmost scrutiny.”

National Jewish Democratic Council can't talk

Perhaps not surprisingly, the NJDC takes absolutely no position on the content of the deal and does not state one word about it. Instead, the statement issued by the NJDC focuses on the process of deliberations going forward and the need “to take partisan politics completely out of this situation.” In fact, it preemptively takes those who oppose this deal to task for turning the Iran deal into a “wedge issue” which divides Jews. It appears the NJDC did not take the temperature of its erstwhile center and center-left Jewish organizational playmates, as virtually every one of them, and they all contain large numbers of Democrats, are highly critical of the deal.

Republican Jewish Coalition angry

The RJC called the agreement “a bad deal” because “it is not enforceable, verifiable or in America’s national security interest.” The group called on Congress to stop the deal or “the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.” The RJC called on all members of Congress to reject the deal.

Simon Wiesenthal Center worried

The Wiesenthal Center’s leadership said they are “deeply worried” about the deal which they said “confirms Iran as a threshold nuclear power” and that “will end economic sanctions against the Mullahocracy.” The SWC called on Congress to review the document carefully and to vote against it if it is as dangerous as it appears to be.

World Jewish Congress hmmmm

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, expressed strong skepticism about the Iran deal. He also mentioned the hard work of the negotiators but repeatedly stated that Tehran has a long history of misleading the world and that there is no reason to trust Iran over the implementation of the deal.

“I fear we may have entered into an agreement that revives the Iranian economy but which fails to stop this regime from developing nuclear weapons in the long terms, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire region and the world.” The WJC urged the international community to stand ready to reimplement sanctions immediately if Iran fails to meet its obligations under the agreement.

Zionist Organization of America angry

No surprises from the ZOA leadership on this issue. If they didn’t use a thesaurus to find every word that means bad to describe this deal, it is only because they have been using those words to describe this deal that way since its infancy.

The ZOA is “deeply horrified, but not surprised by the truly terrible nuclear agreement,” the statement begins. In a highly detailed recitation of how and why the deal is so bad, long-time ZOA president Mork Klein said that the nuclear agreement “is quite simply a catastrophe and a nightmare. It leaves the world standing at an abyss.”

In addition to decrying the lack of spontaneous inspections, the huge boatloads of cash to spend on its terrorist activities and subordinates and the egregiously antagonistic behavior of the Iranian leadership even over the past few days, Klein made another point.

“Two years ago, the Iranian economy was collapsing under the weight of sanctions. President Obama could have intensified pressure and international resolve to compel Iran to relinquish its nuclear program. He never even tried. Instead, he preemptively relieved the pressure on Iran by easing sanctions which enabled Iran to withstand every demand. As a result, we now stand on the precipice of an era of nuclear terror.”

The ZOA, as did several other organizations, urged Americans to call their elected federal representatives through the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and urge them to oppose the nuclear deal.

****

While there are two outliers, it turns out the Iran deal is so bad that nearly every major American Jewish organization is, at minimum, extremely concerned about it. That’s quite a feat.

Obama: ‘Don’t Judge Me on Whether Deal Ends Iran’s Aggression’

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

President Barack Obama told Thomas Freidman in an interview that he is confident Bibi will not be able to convince Congress to torpedo the agreement with Iran but also admitted that the deal has nothing to do with Iran’s aggression towards Israel.

Friedman, The New York Times columnist who is President Obama’s favorite spokesman, talked with the President for 45 minutes after the agreement was announced Tuesday.

The interview reveals inherent contradictions between President Obama’s understanding of foreign relations and his solutions for them. It shows that the President, like his predecessors, sees Israel’s security through its own eyes even though he believes he can put himself momentarily in the shoes of Iran.

He also likes to think he can pull strings that will determine how other countries will act, just like he encouraged the Arab Spring rebellion in Egypt to bring about democracy and respect for human rights, which still is waiting in the wings along with 72 virgins.

President Obama told Friedman that by helping Iran strengthen economically, perhaps – in his wishful thinking – the Iranian people will be able to influence the regime that “it’s not necessary for them to be great to denigrate Israel or threaten Israel or engage in Holocaust denial or anti-Semitic activity.”

Obama also thinks that once one of Iran’s neighboring countries is strong economically and militarily, it makes it more unlikely that Iran will attack it.

He was referring t Muslim countries. The Jewish State of Israel is a different matter.

President Obama said:

[Iran] has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic [and] sponsors terrorism.

Hezbollah has tens of thousands of missiles that are pointed toward Israel. They are becoming more sophisticated. The interdiction of those weapon flows has not been as successful as it needs to be…

Iran is acting in an unconstructive way, in a dangerous way in these circumstances. What I’ve simply said is that we have to keep our eye on the ball here, which is that Iran with a nuclear weapon will do more damage, and we will be in a much worse position to prevent it.

That is going to be one of Obama’s loudest arguments when defending the agreement in Congress, but if he lived in Israel, he would not be so blasé about the ability of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah army to bring Israel to its knees with a massive missile attack.

The agreement may or may not stop Iran from getting its hands on a nuclear weapon, but by all accounts, it will pump $150 billion into Iran’s coffers. Not much of that money is going to be used to implement equality for women or for opening up an embassy in Israel.

By fueling terrorism, Obama is allowing himself, or his successor, to force Israel to beg for American help to prevent a threat it created, so Prime Minister Netanyahu better think twice when he tried to fight against the bill in Congress.

Obama stated:

Perhaps he thinks he can further influence the congressional debate, and I’m confident we’re going to be able to uphold this deal and implement it without Congress preventing that.

But after that’s done…we then ask some very practical questions: How do we prevent Hezbollah from acquiring more sophisticated weapons? How do we build on the success of Iron Dome, which the United States worked with Israel to develop and has saved Israeli lives?

First, he creates a greater threat to Israel be fueling Iranian-backed terror and then he wants to ask Israel how “we” can solve it.

Do you want money for an Iron Dome? Be nice. Maybe freeze settlements.

Obama Calls Netanyahu to Assure Him of ‘Concerns’ for Iranian Terror

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

President Barack Obama placed a check mark on his list of duties of protocol night and called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to assure him that the agreement with Iran ensures “the peaceful nature” of Tehran’s nuclear program. The White House summary of the phone call omitted Netanyahu’s response, which included two major concerns that he raised:

One, the agreement allows Iran to develop extensive capabilities that will serve it in arming itself with nuclear weapons whether at the end of the period of the agreement in another 10-15 years, or earlier if it violates the agreement.

Two, the agreement channels hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran’s terrorism and war machine, a war that is directed against us and against others in the region.

President Obama’s “reassurance” on the aspect of terror was nothing but an expression “of our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.” He did expound on how his “concerns” will thwart terror.

According to the White House version, President Obama noted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.

The White House was careful not to admit that Iran has 24 days to hide the evidence between the time that IAEA inspectors will ask to sniff for nuclear weapons development and the time they actually arrive.

“Snap inspections,” which Obama once said would part of the final deal, will not happen.

The President is going through the motions to show Congress how much his administration is Israel’s greatest ally and supporter, and he reminded Prime Minister Netanyahu last night that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will visit Israel next week.

The President told the Prime Minister that the visit “is a reflection of the unprecedented level of security cooperation between the United States and Israel, and that the visit offers a further opportunity to continue our close consultation on security issues with Israeli counterparts as we remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region.”

Uh-huh.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet last night that if weren’t for Israel, Iran would have nuclear weapons today. He explained:

The pressure that we applied and the actions that we undertook over the years led to the fact that Iran did not arm itself with nuclear weapons and I can safely say that were it not for Israel’s actions, including by governments that I led, Iran would have already armed itself with nuclear weapons.

And therefore, at present there is one mission – to ensure that it does not arm itself with nuclear weapons in the future.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-calls-netanyahu-to-assure-him-of-concerns-for-iranian-terror/2015/07/15/

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