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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Iran deal’

Cardin to Introduce New Legislation to Strengthen Insupportable Iran Deal

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the all-important Senate Foreign Relations Committee waited until the 13th hour, but on Friday, Sept. 4 he announced his opposition to the Nuclear Iran Deal in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

Cardin went through the many reasons why he (finally!) decided he cannot support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He also announced that he is introducing new legislation that addresses significant concerns raised by nearly all members of Congress in announcing their positions, both for and against the deal.

Whether those many elected representatives who announced their support for the deal, but hedged their support by voicing their deep concerns about its many limitations and about the trustworthiness of Iran will support this legislation is something their constituents will be closely watching. And then heads will swivel towards Iran to see whether that country will use Cardin’s legislation, should it get any traction, as (yet another) excuse to claim the U.S. is in breach of the deal and walk away.

The Maryland Senator said that he considered two questions as paramount while studying and consulting about the JCPOA. First, is the deal more or less likely to lead to Iran becoming a state with nuclear weapons, and second, would rejection of the deal be more or less likely to lead to Iran becoming a state with nuclear weapons.


First, the reasons Cardin gave for opposing the deal: once sanctions are lifted, it will be much harder, if even possible, to reimpose them. And so if Iran decides to cheat and develop nuclear weapons despite the conditions imposed by the deal, the rest of the world will be left with no option except for the military one.

Had the earlier opponents of the deal forcefully made use of that analysis, perhaps the debate would have begun with the obvious principle that “with the deal comes war,” rather than “either the deal or war.” Why Cardin waited until the 13th hour to roll it out is a question worth asking.

Cardin also mentioned the overarching concern voiced by nearly all opponents of the deal, which is that after 15 years Iran is left virtually free to produce nuclear weapons and with a very short breakout time. In other words, the deal would provide Iran, a rogue terrorist supporting country, with international legitimacy for its “industrial-scale nuclear program.”

The 24 day delay in inspections for Iranian sites where nuclear activity is suspected gave Cardin great pause, as did the side agreement which gives the International Atomic Energy Agency sole access to information about Iran’s possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its earlier nuclear weapons program.


In addition, Cardin said he cannot support the lifting of the arms embargo and intercontinental ballistic missile sanctions.

Why any argument against the deal did not begin with a discussion of Iran’s demand to be permitted access to ICBMs is hard to fathom, but few chose to mention this as a primary point.  And, as both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer pointed out, Iran does not need intercontinental missiles to reach Israel, those ICBMs will have American and European addresses coded in.

“Our European partners understand that they cannot effectively act without the United States,” Cardin writes just before explaining his new legislation – which he promises will be bipartisan and include both opponents and supporters of the JCPOA. Whether Cardin means the European lifting of sanctions is meaningless unless the U.S. also lifts those sanctions, or that policing of the deal is unrealistic without the U.S. or something else altogether, is unknown.

British MP Accuses UK of Supporting Iran ‘at Expense of Allies’

Friday, September 4th, 2015

By Alexander Apfel

A British Member of Parliament has accused Britain of supporting an “aggressive” Iranian regime “at the expense of our long-term allies in the region” following the British reopening of its embassy in Tehran.

Conservative MP Guto Bebb told Tazpit that UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond’s hopes for Iran as a reformable regime are “misguided” and also warned that the agreement will spawn a nuclear arms race.

The Aberconwy MP, who called for a parliamentary debate in June to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal then under discussion, added that the latitude given to the Iranian government would have been unacceptable to the UK government a year ago.

Bebb stated that he advocated the continuation of sanctions which he said were proving to be effective measures against Iranian aggression.

Rejecting Philip Hammond’s parliamentary remarks that the deal represented a victory for diplomacy and assurances to Prime Minister Netanyahu in July that it removes the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, Bebb told Tazpit that he is amazed “that the Foreign Secretary seems to consider this a success story; his predecessor Liam Fox considers this to be completely unacceptable.”

He predicted that the deal will likely result in a nuclear arms race in the region beginning with Saudi Arabia. Recounting meetings with representatives of British allies in the region, Bebb claimed that they had all expressed concern for any deal which provides Iran with too much flexibility.

While expressing his concern for Israel’s security, Bebb insisted that fears of a nuclear arms race were not restricted to Israel and that the debate he called “was not an issue for Israel alone.”

Addressing Israel, the MP told Tazpit that it is important to “understand the difference between a peaceful and democratic state that is trying to live within its own borders and Iran that will use its nuclear capacity to dominate the Middle East.”

In July 2014, the British Conservative Friends of Israel, of which Bebb is a member, issued a statement decrying the economic sanctions relief which, they said will serve to embolden terror groups funded by Iran.

Cory Booker + 2 More Senators Announce Support for Nuclear Iran Deal

Friday, September 4th, 2015

When the retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced her support for the Nuclear Iran Deal yesterday, Sept. 2, hers was the last vote commitment in support needed to defeat hopes of a veto override. However, the pile on today of three more Senators expressing support for the deal was still painful for its opponents.

New Jersey’s Senator Cory Booker was someone opponents considered a possible “no” vote, in particular given the extraordinarily high praise given to him by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, someone who has known and been close with Booker since the then Rhodes-scholar was at Oxford where Boteach ran an organization for Jewish students. Boteach studied Torah with Booker during his time at Oxford.

At a recent event Boteach held with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie specifically to call upon Booker to oppose the deal, Boteach gave several reasons why he believed Booker would not support it.

Boteach recounted that when Booker was mayor, he refused to perform heterosexual marriages until gay marriage was legalized. With such a strong position, Boteach questioned, how could Booker possibly validate a regime that publicly hangs homosexuals.

The Englewood rabbi also said that a “senator at the forefront of prison reform in the United States could not legitimize a government that locks up thousands of people just because they are political opponents of the regime.”

However, on Thursday, Sept. 3, Booker announced his support for the Nuclear Iran Deal. But his statement suggests that the entire negotiations process was wrong from the start, and culminated in a deeply flawed deal. He said the following in the announcement of his decision:

We began negotiations with Iran at a time when our sanctions regime was having its most significant impact on the Iranians. We were gaining maximum leverage on Iran through coordinated economic sanctions with our international partners. We joined with our partner nations at the outset of negotiations with the stated intention of preventing Iran from having the capability to get a nuclear weapon.

Unfortunately, it’s clear we didn’t achieve that objective and have only delayed — not blocked — Iran’s potential nuclear breakout.

But, with the JCPOA, we have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached, leaving our nation to choose between two imperfect, dangerous and uncertain options. Left with these two choices, I nonetheless believe it is better to support a deeply flawed deal, for the alternative is worse.

Also on Thursday Senator Mark R. Warner, Democrat of Virginia and freshman Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat representing North Dakota, announced their support for the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Sen Cotton in Israel: ‘It Isn’t Over ‘Til the Votes are Counted’

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is in Israel this week meeting with Israeli government and military officials.

While conferring with Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu and other high level government and military officials about various matters, but in particular about the Nuclear Iran Deal, he took the time to discuss with the JewishPress.com what’s next for opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal.

On a day of gloom for most opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal, Cotton was surprisingly contained. Clearly, for this Senator, the Deal isn’t over no matter how many “announced” votes in support.

“Until we have the actual vote, they don’t have the votes,” Cotton said, pointing out that “the coalition opposed to the deal is broad and bipartisan, while those in favor of the deal is the narrow and partisan base of the president.”

There are several scenarios in which certain members of Congress might still decide to change their votes, especially if more information is released about, for example, thus far secretive aspects of the agreement, dealing with Iran’s possible military dimensions of their nuclear program.

A cursory review of recent statements in support of the deal issued by congressional members reveals one curious fact: nearly every one expresses extensive concerns about the deal. Pushing on any of those weak pressure points with additional evidence of wrongdoing or evasiveness by Iran could produce very different results when the vote actually takes place later this month.

And, as Cotton pointed out, there are other options for Congress to further protect the world from the radical Islamic Revolutionary regime. One is by reauthorizing the Iran sanctions act, which will expire next year. Another is to deal aggressively with Tehran’s active involvement in regional and global terrorism.

When the JewishPress.com asked the Senator whether Iran’s recent threat to consider any increased imposition of sanctions, even for acts of terrorism, as a breach of the Iran Deal is a threat it is holding over America, one given to it by the Deal, Cotton agreed.

“This deal has a weak inspections regime, all kinds of hurdles against enforcement, and yet if we try to hold Iran even to what it promised, Iran can walk away, pocketing all the goodies it gained by agreeing to the deal in the first place,” Cotton said.

As for regular citizens who support this deal, Cotton said, it is imperative that people opposed to the deal succeed in helping those who think they are in favor of it to “recognize it is a false choice” to say that “it is this deal or war.”

In addition to simply reverting to ’60’s chanting about loving peace and hating war, Cotton sees at least the congressional supporters as falling into the category of “kicking the can down the road, rather than confronting our mortal enemies now.” The Senator said all that will bring is “confrontation with our enemy later, when it is even stronger.”

Cotton, of course, was the senator who discovered the existence of the secret so-called “side deals” between the Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, while meeting with the agency in Vienna on July 17.

The Arkansas Senator and his colleague Sen. Mike Pompeo  (R-KS) disclosed the existence of those side deals and called on the administration to disclose them immediately.

In a press release after discovering the side deals, the Senators blasted the administration for agreeing to engage in negotiations while permitting – and keeping secret from the American public – secret agreements regarding essential features of the agreement framework.

In failing to secure the disclosure of these secret side deals, the Obama administration is asking Congress and the American people to trust, but not verify. What we cannot do is trust the terror-sponsoring, anti-American, outlaw regime that governs Iran and that has been deceiving the world on its nuclear weapons work for years. Congress’s evaluation of this deal must be based on hard facts and full information. That we are only now discovering that parts of this dangerous agreement are being kept secret begs the question of what other elements may also be secret and entirely free from public scrutiny.

During Cotton’s questioning of Secretary of State Kerry in the course of a hearing on the Nuclear Iran Deal in Congress, Kerry admitted that our negotiators accepted that the American public would be kept in the dark about the agreement.

Bad Day for Nuclear Iran Deal Opponents

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Sept. 1, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced they were supporting the Nuclear Iran Deal. As the afternoon wore on, word came that first Senator Bob Casey (D) of Pennsylvania, and then, to close out the afternoon, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) also came out in favor of the agreement.

The three members of the House of Representatives who said they will support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are Rep.s Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18), Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09). None of these were real surprises.

But people were quite hopeful that Casey might swim against the tide. In fact, his statement announcing his support went on for 17 pages.

Casey, like so many other politicians who say they will vote to support the deal, admits that the chances of Iran cheating are significant. He began his analysis with this understanding.

So why support it?

Casey weaves a tale punctuated by “there is no alternative,” and “our allies have decided this is the best deal.” He also cites the letter from 36 U.S. military officials endorsing it (ignoring the letter from more than 200 retired officers opposing it) and mentioned that certain Israeli military leaders support it (ignoring the universal opposition to the deal across the Israeli political spectrum, including its defense department.)

Casey concluded his statement strongly endorsing the need for the U.S. to ensure Iran understands the U.S. will take military action if Iran attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, and stating that the U.S. should aggressively work to curtail Iran’s destabilization of the region through its terror proxies and direct participation in terrorism.

His constituents should watch to see whether Casey does anything to make this happen, because it is doubtful this administration will do any such thing.

Coons told the Washington Post that he was still undecided as recently as ten days ago. But he called Vice President Joe Biden, whose Senate seat Coons now holds, and that conversation finally convinced him to support the deal.

The White House now has 32 Senators who have announced support for the agreement. It only needs one more Democrat to ensure that any congressional effort to defeat his veto of legislation opposing the deal, should he need one, will fail.

And as the numbers increase, the White House is surely beginning to hold out hope that its supporters in Congress will be able to filibuster and thereby prevent any vote against the agreement at all. Senate supporters would need 41 votes to achieve that.

Eleven Senate Democrats have still not revealed how they will vote. Opponents of the deal need each one to go their way or the agreement will be approved.

The remaining fence-sitting senators to watch include Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who is up for re-election in the fall, as is Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, and New Jersey’s Cory Booker.

‘Undecided’ Sen. Cardin Predicts Congress Will Back Obama on Iran Deal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said Tuesday he remains undecided on how to vote on the nuclear deal but that he is sure President Barack Obama will win the needed support in the Senate to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Speaking to students at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, Sen. Cardin did not name which Democratic senators will fall in line but said thematic number of 34 will be reached by the end of the week.

The Associated Press said that Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware is scheduled to talk about the deal later today and probably will support President Obama.

Cardin is facing intense pressure from Jewish voters in Maryland to vote against the agreement. He is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox synagogue that generally is very supportive of Israel.

3 NYC Ds Disappoint Area Residents and Announce Support for Nuclear Iran Deal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Three members of the New York City Congressional Delegation came out in favor of the Nuclear Iran Deal on Monday, Aug. 31.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9), said that after much review and discussion, she now believes that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is “the most effective means by which the United States and her allies can achieve the goal of preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weaponry.  It will set new rules of engagement regarding nuclear capabilities with one of the world’s most hostile and menacing regimes.  As one of the premier state sponsors of terrorism in the world, the Iranian regime has made its intentions clear through words and actions that it will, if left unchecked, create a nuclear weapon.”

Clarke is entitled to support the deal, but, as the saying goes, she is not entitled to create her own facts about it. She is incorrect when she included the following in her statement:

Through this agreement, Iran must allow full access at all times to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to monitor every aspect of its nuclear supply chain, to verify that Iran fulfills its pledge not to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. Inspectors will be able to access and monitor all sites ‘where necessary, when necessary’ to ensure Iran’s compliance with the agreement. Only when Iran has fully implemented the agreement will the economic sanctions be removed.

In fact, one of the major criticisms directed against the Nuclear Iran Deal is that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry dropped their initial insistence that there would be “anywhere, anytime” inspections by members of the IAEA of suspected nuclear sites. Instead, if there is a suspicion that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in a previously undisclosed site, various procedures need to be followed, which means Iran will have nearly a month before any inspectors are allowed to enter the site.

Clarke represents a district which is heavily populated with Orthodox Jews. Her district is in Brooklyn and includes Crown Heights and Flatbush. Clarke had been the focus of intense attention by neighborhood residents and politicians who oppose the deal.

Community resident Yaacov Behrman told the JewishPress.com that congresswoman Yvette Clarke personally told him several months ago she would review the deal and that she would reject a bad deal.

‘I brought her message of hope back to the community. Tonight we all feel betrayed,” Behrman said.

The other two New York Democrats who announced they will support the Nuclear Iran Deal on the same day are Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-7), who represents parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg, Lower Manhattan and Queens.

Velázquez issued a statement in which she said “after several months of deliberation, it is my deeply held belief that the JCPOA is the best option we have for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the near term. I will support the agreement when it comes before the House for a vote.”

Announcing his support for the deal, Rep. Meeks said ““In my review, I placed great importance on the verification and inspection process,” and he also claimed that if “Iran violates the deal, sanctions will snap back into place.”

Weeks represents Far Rockaway, Jamaica, Queens and parts of Manhattan.

New York politicians and community leaders opposed to the deal are already discussing potential candidates to challenge those elected officials who vote to support the deal.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/3-nyc-ds-disappoint-area-residents-and-announce-support-for-nuclear-iran-deal/2015/09/01/

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