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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran deal’

Obama Extends Deadline to Make a Deal with Iran

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The United States and the other P5+1 powers unsurprisingly have extended the June 30 deadline for reaching an agreement to supervise and limit Iran’s nuclear development program.

The extension is for one week, until July 7.

As The JewishPress.com reported here earlier this week, “deadline” has a different meaning in the Muslim Middle East than it does in Western countries.

The announcement came hours after a Western official was reported to have said that the IAEA will announce that Iran has lived up to its promise to reduce its enriched uranium stockpile.

Five Former Advisers to Obama Publish Warning on Iran Deal

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The proposed deal with Iran to supposedly prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon “falls short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement,'” five of President Barack Obama’s former senior advisers said in a public letter.

They published their warning just before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are to meet in Vienna for negotiations to come up with a final agreement by next week, President Obama’s self-imposed deadline.

The ex-advisers are big time sluggers:

Dennis Ross, a semi reformed Oslo Accords architect;

David Petraeus, the former CIA director who once claimed that solving the Palestinian Authority Israel conflict was the key to all Middle East problems;

Robert Einhorn, a former member of the U.S negotiating team with Iran;

James Cartwright, a former vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

Gary Samore, a former Obama adviser on nuclear policy.

The letter, published in full below, states:

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The former advisers to President Obama urge him to reinstate a previous condition that Iran come clean on its previous research on nuclear weapons and allow international inspectors at military sites, which the regime in Tehran has repeated over and over the past two months it will not permit.

The letter, which is backed by a larger group that includes former Sen. Joe Lieberman, also calls on President Obama to take steps that would weaken Iran’s influence in the Middle East considering the huge economic boost Tehran would receive with the lifting of sanctions.

“Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran,” the letter states.

A White House sources insisted that a “large part” of the letter is on the same page as the American “negotiating position inside the negotiating room.”

Maybe so and maybe not,, but what about the ‘small’ part?

Here is the entire letter, as posted on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: 

The Iran nuclear deal is not done. Negotiations continue. The target deadline is June 30.  We know much about the emerging agreement. Most of us would have preferred a stronger agreement.

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The agreement does not purport to be a comprehensive strategy towards Iran. It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its “regional hegemony”), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people. The U.S. administration has prioritized negotiations to deal with the nuclear threat, and hopes that an agreement will positively influence Iranian policy in these other areas.

Even granting this policy approach, we fear that the current negotiations, unless concluded along the lines outlined in this paper and buttressed by a resolute regional strategy, may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a “good” agreement.

We are united in our view that to maximize its potential for deterring and dissuading Iran from building a nuclear weapon, the emerging nuclear agreement must – in addition to its existing provisions – provide the following:

Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the “IAEA”) charged with monitoring compliance with the agreement must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. This must include military (including IRGC) and other sensitive facilities. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere in the country that the inspectors need to visit in order to carry out their responsibilities.

Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities (“Possible Military Dimensions” or “PMD”). This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.

Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period. The goal is to push back Iran’s deployment of advanced centrifuges as long as possible, and ensure that any such deployment occurs at a measured, incremental pace consonant with a peaceful nuclear program.

Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran’s performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.

Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access. In addition, the United States must itself articulate the serious consequences Iran will face in that event.

Most importantly, it is vital for the United States to affirm that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from producing sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon – or otherwise acquiring or building one – both during the agreement and after it expires. Precisely because Iran will be left as a nuclear threshold state (and has clearly preserved the option of becoming a nuclear weapon state), the United States must go on record now that it is committed to using all means necessary, including military force, to prevent this.

The President should declare this to be U.S. policy and Congress should formally endorse it. In addition, Congressional review of any agreement should precede any formal action on the agreement in the United Nations.

Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran.

We urge the U.S. administration not to treat June 30 as an “inviolable” deadline. Stay at the negotiating table until a “good” agreement that includes these features is reached. Extend the existing Joint Plan of Action while negotiations continue.

This will freeze Iran’s nuclear activity and international sanctions at current levels. While the United States should extend the Iran Sanctions Act so it does not expire, it should not increase sanctions while negotiations continue. U.S. alternatives to an agreement are unappealing, but Iran’s are worse. It has every incentive to reach an agreement and obtain relief from sanctions and international isolation well in advance of its elections next February. If anyone is to walk out of the negotiations, let it be Iran.

Some argue that any nuclear agreement now simply further empowers bad Iranian behavior. And there is a lot to this argument. This is why we believe that the United States must bolster any agreement by doing more in the region to check Iran and support our traditional friends and allies.

This does not mean major U.S. ground combat operations in the Middle East. But it does mean taking initiatives like the following:

In Iraq: Expand training and arming not only of Iraqi Security Forces but also Kurdish Peshmerga in the north and vetted Sunni forces in the West. Allow U.S. Special Forces to leave their bases and help coordinate air strikes and stiffen Iraqi units. Sideline Iranian-backed militia and separate them from Shiite units (“popular mobilization units”) that are not under Iranian control.

In Syria: Expand and accelerate the U.S. train and equip programs. Work with Turkey to create a safe haven in northern Syria where refugees can obtain humanitarian aid and vetted non-extremist opposition fighters can be trained and equipped. Capitalize on Bashar al-Assad’s increasing weakness to split off regime elements and seek to join them with U.S. trained opposition elements. Interdict the transshipment of Iranian weapons into Syria in coordination with the Kurds and Turkey, and consider designating as terrorist organizations Iranian-backed Shiite militias responsible for egregious atrocities.

In Yemen: Expand support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in pressuring the warring parties to the negotiating table while seeking to split the Houthi elements away from Iran.

Regionally: Interdict Iranian arms bound for extremist groups and continue to counter its efforts to harass commercial shipping and our naval forces. Reaffirm U.S. policy to oppose Iran’s efforts to subvert local governments and project its power at the expense of our friends and allies.

Collectively, these steps also strengthen U.S. capability against Daesh (the misnamed “Islamic State”). Acting against both Iranian hegemony and Daesh’s caliphate will help reassure friends and allies of America’s continued commitment. And it will help address Israel’s legitimate concerns that a nuclear agreement will validate Iran’s nuclear program, further facilitate its destabilizing behavior, and encourage further proliferation at a time when Israel faces the possible erosion of its “qualitative military edge.”

We urge the U.S. administration to create a discreet, high-level mechanism with the Israeli government to identify and implement responses to each of these concerns.

Taking the actions we propose while the nuclear negotiations continue will reinforce the message that Iran must comply with any agreement and will not be allowed to pursue a nuclear weapon. This will increase, not decrease, the chance that Iran will comply with the agreement and may ultimately adopt a more constructive role in the region. For the U.S. administration’s hopes in this respect have little chance so long as Iran’s current policy seems to be succeeding in expanding its influence.

Possible Revised F-35 Could Make It for Israel Easier to Attack Iran [video]

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Lockheed-Martin is studying an Israel request for a longer flight range that would make refueling easier.

The manufacturer of the F-35 stealth attack plane, which Israel might use to attack Iran, is examining an Israeli request to extend the flight range by 30 percent, Amir Rapaport of the Israel Defense website reported Thursday.

Approximately 1,000 miles (1,500 kilometers) separate Israel and Iran, and the current F-35 is designed to fly approximately the same distance without refueling.

The IDF has asked the range to be extended to 1,500 miles, according to Rapaport.

That still would require refueling before Israeli attack planes could return home, but a longer flight range would preclude refueling en route or having to use a base closer to Iran, such as Azerbaijan. A longer flight range also would widen the choices where Israeli pilots could land for refueling on their way home from a bombing mission.

Israel Defense noted that special versions of the F-15 and F-16 include additional fuel tanks, but that option is less practical for the F-35. Even adding fuel capacity by 30 percent would make the airplane larger, challenge engineers to retain the F-35’s stealth capabilities.

IAF teams reportedly are working with Lockheed-Martin in Texas before the first F-35s are due to arrive in Israel towards the end of 2016.

As in the previous planes, Israel has introduced several improvements for the stealth fighter.
Rapaport wrote that sources said:

Israel will significantly improve the aircraft as it once did with the F-15 and F-16.

The F-35 is considered by many Israeli defense officials to be its answer to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if an agreement between the P5+1 powers and Tehran does not halt the program.
Below: Video of F-35 in action

‘Obama Invited Netanyahu For a Visit after Iran Deal to be Signed’

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

President Barack Obama has invited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a “working visit” to the White House two weeks after a deal with Iran is to be signed but before Congress will decide whether or not to ratify it, State Dept. sources told Yediot Achronot.

The office of the Prime Minister made no comment, and time will tell if the White House is telling the truth by denying the report.

The visit is supposed to take place on July 15 or 16, according to the Israeli newspaper.

The timing makes perfect sense for President Obama, whose mastery as a manipulator cannot be matched by anyone except Prime Minister Netanyahu, which probably explains their war-like relationship.

If the report is correct, and it probably is, it means that President Obama is confident that the talks with Iran over its nuclear program will be over before then. Obama has set a deadline of June 30 for a deal, but if history is a guide, it likely will be extended by one or even a few days.

If there is no deal, then Obama can welcome Netanyahu and say, “See, I told you that you could count on me not to make a “bad deal.”

If there is a deal, Congress has 30 days to have its say, and Netanyahu would not have such an easy time denouncing the deal in the White House as he did in Congress last March. The Prime Minister would have to face the cameras as President Obama expounds on how much he has done for Israel while promising he will never, never, never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon or do anything that would endanger Israel.

President Obama also would offer Israel large bribes of military aid in exchange for its buying the deal.

If Netanyahu were to speak out against it without being 100 percent sure of being able to prove it endangers Israel’s security, which is difficult because it means proving an hypothesis, he would have to do as he sits next to the President in the Oval Office, with the cameras capturing every body gesture and word.

Americans’ overblown patriotism does not suffer a foreign official publicly telling their president he is wrong Netanyahu would risk losing American support for Israel against the Palestinian Authority campaign for backing in the United Nations and International Criminal Court.

Obama could refrain from vetoing a Security Council vote to make the Palestinian Authority a full member of the United Nations, thereby giving it de facto recognition of its definition of Israel’s borders.

Obama may or not have led one of the United States’ most disastrous foreign policies, but he has done so by masterfully putting everyone else in their place.

Netanyahu is an excellent chess player, but he might be checked when playing on Obama’s board.

Khamenei’s Cancer May Kill Iran Deal

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Ayatollah Khamenei may end up saving President Barack Obama and Israel from a “bad deal” because of a reported terminal cancer and scramble for power by hard-liners anxious to replace him.

TheJewishPress.com reported here in March that Iran may have faked events to show that Khamenei had not died. Reports of his death were premature, but it increasingly clear that the leader of the Islamic State has terminal cancer.

Iran’s regime-controlled news agencies recently have carried fewer articles highlighting Khamenei’s speeches, and the London Telegraph reported this week he has undergone several operations for prostate cancer,

Several reports, which Iran will probably never confirm, say that he has only a few months to live, which would explain why senior Iranian hard-liners are busy campaigning against a deal with the United States and the other P5+1 powers over its nuclear program.

Preaching compromise is dangerous to one’s health in Iran.

Hassan Rowhani controls Iranian policies by virtue of being president but is subservient to the Ayatollah, whose replacement may have already have been engineered with the jockeying by Sadeq Larijani, whose brother Ali is Iran’s senior negotiator with the Western powers.

If Khamenei dies, the Islamic Assembly of Experts, so they call themselves, will chose his replacement.

Lo and Behold, a hard-line ally of Khamenei named Mohammed Yazdi was named to the Assembly in March, giving Larijani more solid support since he is protégé of Khamenei.

Sadeq Larijani heads Iran’s judiciary and has begun an investigation of those who are alleging that Khamenei is corrupt.

And who is behind the allegations? None other than a contender to replace Khamenei, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, an ally of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjan. Remember him? He is a moderate, keeping in mind that everything is relative.

With Larijani set to take over, and a deal supposed to be signed in two weeks, statements from Iranian officials that the “deadline” may be extended are sounding more reasonable and not just rhetoric.

If Larijani wants to prove to the Assembly that he can be trusted to not let President Barack Obama get away with a deal that could actually force Iran into a situation that would endanger Iran’s nuclear weapons program, June 30 is going to be marked as nothing more than the end of the month, and the same night be said for July 31.

Larijani might want to bury the deal along with Khamenei.

 

“Iran Satellite Linked to ICBMs with Nukes’ – Fox News

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Iran launched in February a satellite with technology that could “contribute” to the development of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, Fox News reported.

The report was based on a U.N. panel of experts, which said that Iran intends to launch three more satellites by next March.

A variant of the 1,000-mile range Shabib-3 missile, which is believed to be able to carry a nuclear weapon, was used to launch the satellite

The negotiations between the Obama administration and other P5+1 countries with Iran over its nuclear program do not deal with the ICBMs.

If Iran were to agree and abide by terms of a final agreement, its ICBM program would continue unabated and could allow the Islamic Republic to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon procured from another country, such as North Korea.

Fox News noted that the U.N. panel concluded from an earlier report that a previous satellite launch “was related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” in violation of U.N. sanctions.

President Barack Obama is trying to assure Americans, and Israelis, that Iran will not violate terms of the final deal that is supposed to be concluded by the end of this month.

US Poll: Keep Negotiating with Iran and Let Israel Bomb their Nukes

Monday, June 8th, 2015

A large plurality of Americans prefer that the Obama administration take a more dovish approach to end the Iranian nuclear threat but at the same time back Israel’s bombing the Islamic Republic

The Zogby Analytics poll, published Monday by Forbes, offered two options to 909 likely voters nationwide: Continue negotiations for a deal that limits Iranian nuclear development and allows for U.N. inspections, with the lifting of sanctions, or stop negotiations and “tighten the sanctions against Iran until Iran is ready to end all nuclear development, even if it means the US losing support of countries like France, Germany and Britain.” The first and more dovish option won support of 42 percent of the respondents, compared with 32 percent for the more hawkish diplomatic alternative.

But in the words of Zogby, “voters do not mind the US encouraging Israel doing the dirty work.” The poll asked:

Do you mainly support or oppose the US allowing Israel striking against Iranian nuclear sites?

The results were startling, with 45 percent supporting an IDF attack and only 23 percent opposing it. The other 32 percent were undecided.

Support for an Israeli military attack grows with age, 44 percent among 18-19 year olds and 49-50 percent for those over the of 50.

Among likely Democrat voters, 36 percent back and 28 percent back an Israeli strike. On the Republican side, the hawks outnumbered the doves by 4-1, with a whopping 59 percent giving their voice of approval to an attack.

Zogby asked, “What should we make of this?” and answered that most likely voters support American diplomacy with both Iran and the major powers, prefer a deal rather than the risk of war but also would like to see a quick solution if Israel can end the nuclear threat.

The poll’s report concluded:

Few Americans will cry if Iran’s nuclear acquisition is halted but American cannot stomach another long-term military engagement.

The questions imply many assumptions that are wrong. Even Israel admits that attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities does not necessarily mean ending the threat. It is speculation whether Iran will bounce back in three or four years and come close to getting it hands on a nuclear weapon, as the Obama administration argues, or will take the hint and invest its resources into more productive areas.

It also is not so certain that Americans think that a U.S. attack on Iran would mean a long war or one that would put soldiers on the ground.

The poll suggests a few other conclusions:

–Americans have lost faith in their armed forces to do what has to be done;

–They really are not sure that a deal will end the Iranian nuclear threat. At best, it will kick the can down the road a few years, maybe;

–And Americans trust Israel.

It is the last suggested conclusion that is the most significant. Israel may not have Obama’s back but when things got sticky, it probably has the back of most Americans, and that has huge implications when it comes to the BDS movement, aid for Israel and the Obama administration’s insistence to pander to the Palestinian Authority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-poll-keep-negotiating-with-iran-and-let-iran-bomb-their-nukes/2015/06/08/

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