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May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘International Atomic Energy Agency’

Iran’s Zarif Paints Iran as a Lamb, Israel as the Lion

Friday, March 6th, 2015

NBC News reporter Ann Curry had an exclusive interview with the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javad Zarif, on Wednesday, March 4. Although Curry doggedly asked the foreign minister several tough questions, the answers he gave with a straight face would be award winning, if the interview were meant to be fiction.

Throughout the interview, Zarif hammered away on his talking points which boil down to: Iran has no interest in building nuclear weapons, Iran’s nuclear program is purely peaceful, and Iran has been completely transparent and complied with every inspection and restriction placed upon it; while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a liar, is interfering in internal American politics, and Israel is the main aggressor, brutal occupier  and destabilizing force in the region.

Curry asked Zarif whether his country and the global world powers – the P5+1 – were making progress in the negotiations. Zarif responded that they have been able to move forward with many issues dealing with the technicalities because, he said, Iran “said all along that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

When asked what the major stumbling block is to an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Zarif claimed it has been the pressure against making the political agreement. He was referring to Israel’s Netanyahu.

Zarif ridiculed Netanyahu who, he said, has been predicting for years that Iran is only one year away from producing a nuclear bomb. Zarif then very calmly explained that there really is nothing to Netanyahu’s hysteria.

Iran is not about building nuclear weapon. We don’t wanna build nuclear weapons. We don’t believe that nuclear weapons bring security to anybody, certainly not to us. So – it’s important for everybody to come to the realization that – this is about nuclear technology, this is about scientific advancement, this is about pride of the Iranian people. It’s – it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. And once we reach that understanding, once this hysteria is out, once this fear mongering is out, then we can have a deal, and a deal that is not gonna hurt anybody.

Curry, to her credit, contradicted Zarif’s claim that Iran has been transparent. She mentioned the recent statement made by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors that Iran has been stalling and has not been transparent about its nuclear program, even as the negotiations have been ongoing. But Zarif smoothly pivoted, and went off on another tirade about Israel.

there have been allegations that have been made against Iran. Most of them, unfortunately, produced by Israel. And by the way, it’s important to know that Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in our region, is the only aggressor in our region, is the only occupier of other people’s territory in our region. And it still has the audacity to go out and make claims– about others. The prime minister, who is actually responsible for the carnage that took place in Gaza, is accusing a country that has not invaded any of its neighbors, or anybody else for that matter, for over 250 years, more than the life of many nations.

Incredibly, Zarif presented Iran as the ultimate pacifist nation, claiming it has not invaded or “aggressed upon” any of its neighbors, whereas Israel’s record is “disastrous.”

Perhaps Zarif’s greatest punch line was when he claimed that the Middle East has been “facing a very serious threat of extremism, of violence, and that Iran has “been a force for stability in this region.”

Really? Maybe Curry should have asked about Iran’s funding and supplying of weapons to the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, it’s destabilizing influence in Lebanon, its support for the brutal Assad regime, its murderous activities even in America’s own backyard, Argentina, and the hand-holding and cooperation with North Korea.

Curry did give a little pushback to this pipe dream of a peaceful Iran. She invoked Netanyahu’s statement in his speech to Congress on March 3, when he said Iran “has genocidal ambitions against the Jewish people.”

In a runner-up for best punch line, Zarif then invoked the Purim story, and claimed it was Netanyahu who does not know his own “scripture,” because he said (wrongly) that the Book of Esther is in the Old Testament, and in that scripture it is the Persian King who saves the Jewish people. From there, Zarif leaps over to the fact that there are Jews who live in Iran today who are not being “annihilated,” so Netanyahu is just plain wrong, according to Zarif.

In another effort at pushback NBC’s Curry produced a tweet from the Ayatollah Khameini from seven months ago.  The Ayatollah tweeted, referring to Israel: “This barbaric wolf-like and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime, has no cure but to be annihilated.”

What about that, Mr. Foreign Minister?

Zarif would have none of it, claiming that wanting to annihilate Netanyahu who has “butchered innocent children in Gaza” is not the same thing as wanting to annihilate Jews.

Then Zarif really got wound up and began blaming the Israeli regime for having caused the “oldest crisis in our region,” of having “aggressed upon all its neighbors,” of “occupying people’s territory,” and of “violating human rights on a daily basis.”  Zarif doubled down, saying that this Israel regime “should be annihilated,” because it is a threat to the region, one that engages in the killing of innocent children.

But, Zarif said, “Iran has not invaded any other country. We have not threatened to use force. Just exactly the opposite of Israel. Israel threatens to use force against Iran almost on a daily basis.”    

So, there you have the world according to Zarif. The Middle East is in danger because of the aggressor, the occupier, the evil nation – Israel is the one that has been threatening all its neighbors, while Iran is the stabilizing force for good in the region.

Why would anyone hesitate to sign a nuclear weapons agreement with these people?

Iran Reaches Accords on its Nuclear Program with UN Agency

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Iran reportedly will allow the United Nations to investigate possible military uses for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The agreement reported by news services on Sunday was among seven accords made by Iran during meetings with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The talks began Saturday.

Iran reportedly also agreed to provide information and access to a uranium mine, a nuclear yellowcake plant and a laser center, as well as answer questions about the Arak heavy water reactor.

Press TV, the Iranian state television network, reported Sunday that Iran and the IAEA released a joint statement reviewing progress on an agreement struck three months ago.

The negotiations are separate from Iran’s talks with the United States and other world powers, which are set to restart on Feb. 18.

Under an interim plan first agreed to in November with the world powers, Iran reportedly has frozen most of its nuclear enrichment capability, including not installing or starting up additional centrifuges or using next-generation centrifuges.

In return, the world powers have provided Iran with some economic sanctions relief. Under the deal, Iran will continue to enrich uranium up to 5 percent.

The interim deal is for six months as Iran and the world powers work to negotiate a final deal.

New Iran Crisis Looming

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Confirmed: Iran has installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, while continuing enrichment activities, and is creating a plutonium enrichment plant at Arak.

At a time when news headlines from the Middle East are dominated by battles in Syria, growing Sunni-Shi’ite conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and mass disturbances in Turkey, it is easy to forget about Iran’s nuclear program; but early warning indicators are signaling an impending, explosive crisis over Iran’s refusal to halt its covert nuclear weapons program.

At enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, Iran is continuing to inch closer to the point of nuclear breakout, as a report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently noted.

The report confirmed what defense analysts had been saying for months: that Iran installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, enhancing its nuclear program, while continuing enrichment activities.

Tehran has also taken steps to create a parallel path to nuclear weapons through its plutonium plant at Arak.

Iranian engineers are constructing a reactor at the heavy water plant at Arak, which could enable the production of a plutonium-based atomic bomb.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to deny IAEA inspectors access to its suspected nuclear trigger facility at Parchin, and has been busy shifting earth around the site to cover its activities. At this point, the IAEA said, even if inspectors were allowed to visit, the cover-up would mean they may not find a thing.

These developments have led leading Israeli defense experts at the Institute for National Security Institute in Tel Aviv to conclude that unless the White House soon adjusts its policy on Iran, the U.S. may end up adopting a policy of nuclear containment rather than prevention.

The analysts, Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the INSS, and Ephraim Asculai, a senior research associate, questioned President Barack Obama’s assertion that the US will know ahead of time if Iran took a decision to produce nuclear weapons. They cited historical failures by intelligence agencies, and cautioned that relying on the IAEA to identify the danger in time could prove disastrous.

Even if a timely warning were received, they said, it remains unclear that there would enough time to reverse Iran’s trajectory, or that the White House would be willing to employ force.

Most importantly, their paper said that it is now “blatantly apparent” that the diplomatic approach for solving the Iranian crisis has failed, “even though the US administration has yet to admit this.”

Their stance was echoed on Monday by the United Nation’s top nuclear diplomat, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Amano told the IAEA’s board of governors that talks with Iran are simply “going around in circles,” and described the past ten rounds of negotiations as failures.

Using unusually blunt language to underscore the dead-end situation, Amano said: “To be frank, for some time now, we have been going around in circles. This is not the right way to address issues of such great importance to the international community, including Iran.”

Iran’s intransigence, and its unwillingness to cooperate or provide assurances about the absence of nuclear material and activities were all to blame, he said.

“These activities are in clear contravention of resolutions adopted by the Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council,” Amano added.

Israel, which is more threatened by Iran’s nuclear program than is the U.S., as well as militarily weaker than Washington, has less time to make its up mind on how and when to proceed to avert a threat to its existence.

Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, reflected the urgency of the situation in a warning he sent out to the public last week. “Time is running out,” he said. “We have only a few months. The danger is a global one, which will change the face of history. Iran could have hundreds of atomic bombs and hundreds of long-range missiles.”

He added: “The danger is many times bigger than North Korea.”

Against this background, the Israeli military’s former intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, and former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James Cartwright USMC (ret.), published an analysis in the Atlantic examining what would happen if either Israel or the US launched military strikes on Iran’s nuclear program.

Yadlin and Cartwright simulated a classified phone call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, which would take place later this year. During the call, the two leaders agree that the diplomatic-sanctions route to stopping Iran has failed.

Their starting position is the current situation, and the timing of their piece is not coincidental. Their envisaged phone call may well occur sooner rather than later.

A central conclusion reached by the defense figures is that Israel has the highest moral authority to launch military action, as it faces the greatest threat.

Practically, an Israeli strike might also safeguard the U.S.’s ability to act as a broker and negotiate a permanent diplomatic solution to the crisis after a strike – a role the U.S. could not undertake if it carried out the strike itself. Nevertheless, the U.S. enjoys superior military capabilities to launch such an operation.

Iran’s response to an attack from either side could range from a limited retaliation to launching a regional war.

The other day, an Israeli defense official said the production of Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile defense systems – which intercept incoming long-range missiles in space – have been fast-tracked.

Eight months ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the international community at the United Nations that the clock was ticking for a resolution to the Iranian crisis, and that time could be up by the spring or summer of 2013.

A growing number of alarms are ringing.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Head of US Central Command: Iran Sanctions Useless

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

It’s official: the U.S. approach of mixing sanctions and diplomatic outreach in order to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program is not getting the job done. So testified the top U.S. commander in the Middle East before a Senate committee on Tuesday, describing the Iranian side as using denial and deceit while it continues “enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose.”

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, warned that he believes Iran is using the endless, ongoing negotiations simply to buy time, AP reported.

“That should not be in any way construed as we should not try to negotiate. I still support the direction we’re taking,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I’m just — I’m paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”

Mattis’ no-nonsense view should work like a bucket of icy water poured over any Western diplomat’s remaining delusions regarding the course of sanctions and talks. In fact,

Continuing international worries and uncertainty over the purpose of Iran’s enrichment programs. Tehran denies any work on, or interest in, nuclear weapons, but international leaders believe its uranium enrichment is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Yukiya Amano, the director general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Monday that he cannot guarantee that Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful. Not as long as Tehran remains uncooperative and inspectors are not allowed access to sites where they believe work on weapons development is taking place.

The Obama administration has not ruled out—at least theoretically—using military action to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon. Gen. Mattis told senators that the U.S. military has the capability of forcing Iran to shut down its nuclear business.

“There are number of means to do that,” he said, “perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that’s one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., asked what the U.S. needs to do to prove that it is serious that it will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran.

“I fear that if they (Iran) continue to use negotiations to delay, that we will be at a point where they have nuclear-weapons capability, and then it’s too late,” she said.

Gen. Mattis pointed out that Iran is still dangerously involved in the civil war in Syria, backing the Bashar Assad regime against rebel forces, and that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is directly involved in the fighting, with assistance from foreign mercenaries.

The General said chemical weapons sites in Syria are more vulnerable today, even after some of the weapons have been stored in more secure locations.

“Our planning is taking this into account to the degree that it can. And I’ll just tell you that we have options prepared,” he said.

Gen. Mattis noted that should the Assad regime fall, it would cause the “biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.” Assad’s collapse, Mattis believes, would push Iran to arm and fund militias inside Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Asked about arming the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, Mattis said he was troubled by the fact that a “significant minority” of the rebel forces has extremist Islamic views and are linked to al-Qaida.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/head-of-us-central-command-iran-sanctions-useless/2013/03/06/

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