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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Iran deal’

Iranian President Says Nuclear Deal a ‘Non-Committal Agreement’

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Iran has given U.S. Congressmen the perfect reason to oppose the nuclear deal by saying that the Iranian parliament should not make it a legal obligation for the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference Saturday that the deal is only a political understanding, and he urged parliament not to vote on it so that it does not become a legal obligation.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Saturday:

President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Joint Comprehensive of Action (JCPOA) does not need the Majlis (Iranian parliament) approval for its implementation.

‘Under the Iranian Constitution, a treaty has to be submitted for approval or disapproval to the Parliament if it has been signed by the president or a representative of his,’ President Rouhani said, addressing a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.

‘That is not the case about the Iran-Group 5+1 nuclear agreement or the JCPOA,’ the Iranian president added.

Rouhani emphasized that parliamentary approval of the JCPOA would mean that he has to sign it, “an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided,” according to IRNA.

The Associated Press added that Rouhani said:

Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?

President Barack Obama needs only four more Democratic senators to back the bill in order to prevent a veto-proof majority if Congress rejects the agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the United States will be obligated to honor it unless it can catch Iran cheating, a process that could involved months or even a year.

On the other side of the ocean, Rouhani has made it clear that the deal has no legal standing in Iran.

Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Sen. Tom Cotton, one of the loudest voices against the nuclear deal with Iran, will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a week-long visit that can be assumed is aimed at arming him with more ammunition to try to shoot down the nuclear Iran agreement in the Senate.

The Israel government announced:

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) will be visiting Israel from Sunday, August 30, to Saturday, September 5, 2015.  During his trip to Israel, the Senator will be updated on strategic and diplomatic issues, as well as other major developments in the region.

Senator Cotton, in office as of January 2015, serves on the Armed Services, Intelligence, and Banking committees.

Updating him on “strategic and diplomatic issues” just before Congress returns from a summer recess with the Iran deal the number one item on the agenda means that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will send Sen. Cotton back with a suitcase full of arguments to try to win a veto-proof majority against the deal when it comes for a vote.

Sen. Cotton was behind the controversial letter that he and several senators sent to Iran to “inform” it that a nuclear deal would not be binding on the next president.

Earlier this month, he told Israeli reporters that the Obama administration has not made it clear to Iran that it could use force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. He then said that the U.S. Armed Forces could bomb Iran’s nuclear program “back to zero.”

Sen. Corker stated:

You can destroy facilities. I don’t think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the U.S. military is not capable to setting Iran’s nuclear facilities back to day zero,

Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero.

That is music to the ears of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the timing of next week’s visit is not coincidental.

The Prime Minister and President Barack Obama are desperately campaigning against and for the deal, respectively.

Media continue to report more evidence that the deal is full of holes and that Iran already is has taken moves to get around it, such as the report Thursday that it has built an addition to its Parchin nuclear facility.

However, party loyalty usually is paramount to intellectual honesty. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer came out against the deal and promptly faced a campaign prevent him from becoming the next party leader in the Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid, who backs the deal.

Even Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker admits that Obama will win. He told The Tennessean:

Understand that at this moment it looks very unlikely that we’ll have a veto-proof majority to disapprove, but I know we’re going to have a bipartisan majority that will disapprove.

The Hill reported that President Obama lacks only five out of 15 undecided Democratic senators to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

State Dept Spox: No Worries, Parchin has No Nuclear Dimensions

Friday, August 28th, 2015

A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site.

Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It is the focus of speculation regarding possible testing of weaponization of nuclear material by the Iranians.

A November, 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency report revealed satellite imagery of certain structures and chambers or vessels which indicate that Iran conducted various activities consistent with nuclear blast assessments.

But the U.S. State Department, according to its spokesperson during a public briefing on Thursday, Aug. 27, has already conclusively determined – or at least concluded – that no such activity has taken or is taking place. Not to worry.

The confidential IAEA report issued on Thursday, Aug. 27, obtained by Reuters, said: “Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building” appeared to have been built.

The report was generated as part of the IAEA’s inquiry into possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear activity. Such “PMD”s, as it is known, were a serious point of discussion in the lead-up to the July 14th Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by the U.S. and the other member nations of the P5+1.

Many expressed great disappointment that there is nothing included in the JCPOA regarding PMDs. That issue, along with inspections of Parchin itself, are covered by the two side agreements which are exclusively between Iran and the IAEA.

According to Reuters, the IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since U.N. inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence, suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as “fabricated.”

“It’s funny that the IAEA claims there has been a small extension to a building … Iran doesn’t need to ask for the IAEA’s permission to do construction work on its sites,” Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

State Department spokesman John Kirby‘s response to a media question about building at Parchin not only echoed Najafi’s response, but put the rabbit in the hat. Nukes? What nukes?

Here are the question and answer from the briefing:

QUESTION: There was just one element I wanted to ask you about. I think the report – without getting too much into the details, I mean, it confirmed broad compliance. But there was some mention of the Parchin base again and about construction or other activity that was going on there. Independent of the report, is that something the United States has noted and is also concerned about?

MR KIRBY: Well, I’d say, without getting into the specifics here – as I said, we’re not going to do that – I think it’s important to remember that when you’re talking about a site like Parchin, you’re talking about a conventional military site, not a nuclear site. So there wouldn’t be any IAEA or other restrictions on new construction at that site were they to occur. (emphasis added)

In other words, Kirby, representing the official position of the State Department, has declared that Parchin is simply a regular military site and, despite earlier reports by the IAEA and believed by many analysts, there is no and was no PMD activity there at all.

Not to worry.

Obama and Biden Running after the Jews to Back ‘ObamaDeal’

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

President Barack Obama is beginning to sweat over diminishing Jewish support for the deal with Iran, especially among Congressmen.

He and Vice-president Joe Biden are shifting into high gear to convince Jews to persuade their Representatives and Senators to vote for “ObamaDeal.”

Several Jewish senators already are in the “no” camp and key Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin on the fence, and a continuing drop of support for the deal in the polls is turning the Jews into the best friends Obama ever had.

Biden is scheduled to meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida next week in an event whose organizers include Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads the Democratic National Committee. She has not yet announced whether she will vote for or against the deal.

President Obama is scheduled to connect with Jews with a webcast Friday. Although it is long-shot that the Senate or the House of Representatives can come up with a veto-proof majority against the deal, the  president is not taking any chances.

The webcast will be viewed through the site of the Jewish Federations of North America..More than a dozen local Federations have come out against the agreement with Iran, and approximately 100 or more have been non-committal.

The webcast is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. tomorrow, and pre-registration is available here.

The organization, in a carefully worded and neutral statement, wrote on its website:

We are hopeful that diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and we appreciate the hard work President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Under Secretary of State Sherman have put into crafting this agreement.

At the same time, we are concerned. 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.

President Barack Obama and his administration have repeatedly said that any deal with Iran must shut down Iran’s uranium enrichment pathway to a weapon, cut off all four of Iran’s potential pathways to a bomb, and track Iran’s nuclear activities with unprecedented transparency and robust inspections throughout its nuclear supply chain. We agree.

We urge Congress to give this accord its utmost scrutiny.

The Federations earlier this month provided Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a platform to speak out against the deal.

The  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is a co-sponsor of Friday’s webcast, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have announced their opposition to ObamaDeal.

J Street supports it.

Abbas Insists He Will Visit His ‘Sister’ Iran

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Mahmoud Abbas has an insatiable appetite.

The Palestinian Authority chairman insisted this week that he will visit Iran, which he referred to as a “sister and neighbor state” in comments made to Polish journalists

He declared his intentions the same day of his reported resignation from the PLO Executive Committee, an announcement that has been denounced as false and reiterated as true a dozen times.

Iran has not been particularly in love with Abbas because he removed, at least for English media, the adjective “armed” from noun “resistance,” the Arab code word for terror.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was president of Iran in 2012, invited Abbas to visit but was rejected.

Since then, a lot has happened. Iran and Hamas have had an off-an-on relationship reflecting Middle East instability, particularly in Syria where Iranian Revolutionary Guards are trying to keep Basher al-Assad’s regime from falling.

Abbas, a modern Jules Verne who has circled the world several times since taking over the Palestinian Authority after Yasser Arafat’s death, has built up universal diplomatic for the Arab dream of annihilating Israel, if not by force then by simply shrinking its borders and setting off the demographic weapon called “refugees” to finish off of what would be left of the country.

Now that Iran is holding on to its uranium cake and eating it at the same time, Abbas sees political opportunity. Bringing in Iran under his international umbrella would go down well with the folks in Ramallah while showing up Hamas.

Whether or not the Iranian regime really will welcome him is a question.

Abbas sent envoys to Tehran two weeks ago to discuss “the Palestinian situation” with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency:

Our relationship with Iran is an urgent necessity concerning international and regional developments.

The “developments” are nothing more and nothing less than the deal with Iran, which virtually every world leader with the exception of President Barack Obama acknowledges, implicitly or tacitly, as an exponential increase in Iran’s prestige and influence.

Abbas is not likely to get much out of any revival of relations with the paranoid Iranian regime except for more headlines, but that is the oxygen that has kept him alive politically.

Israel Fears Hezbollah Will Grab Iranian 300-Mile Ballistic Rocket

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Israeli security sources expressed concern that the new missile revealed by Iran this weekend will come into Hezbollah’s possession, Israel Radio reported.

The sources said the new missile, named Fateh 313, can reach every point in Israel if it gets into the hands of the Lebanese terror organization.

President Hassan Rouhani announced the new Iranian precision-guided missile on Saturday morning, during a ceremony marking the National Daily of Defense Industry. Rouhani uncovered the latest achievement of Iranian experts in devising a precision-guided ballistic missile.

According to IRNA, this makes Iran one of only a handful of countries that possess missiles with a range of 300 miles using compound solid fuel.

The missile is designed and manufactured by Iranian scientists using solely domestic resources. Having passed performance tests successfully, the new missile will be mass produced by Iran’s Defense ministry.

The Israeli security sources added that Iran does not pay attention to any section of the agreement it has signed recently with the world powers. “The agreement is not worth the paper it is signed on,” said one of the sources.

UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which approved the nuclear deal between Iran and the great powers last month, called on Iran not to pursue the development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran claims that none of its missiles were designed for this purpose. The same UN decision also contains a weapons embargo against Iran for the coming eight years, but Iran said it would not comply with this part of the resolution.

During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets at Israel, at a rate of more than 100 a day, unprecedented since the Iran-Iraq war.

About 95% of these were 122 mm Katyusha artillery rockets, carrying warheads of up to 66 lbs and had a range of up to 19 miles. An estimated 23% of these rockets hit residential areas across northern Israel.

Key Democratic Senators Cardin and Mikulski Still on the Fence on Iran

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Two Democratic U.S. senators from Maryland – Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski – remain undecided about the agreement. Cardin is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Congress is in the midst of a 60-day period to review the Obama administration-brokered Iran nuclear deal.

While it is expected that virtually all 54 Republicans in the Senate will vote against the Iran deal, 67 anti-deal votes are needed to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a possible Congressional rejection of the pact. The only two Senate Democrats who have publicly come out against the agreement so far are Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.).

Asked where Cardin stands on the nuclear deal, and whether or not his decision will be affected by the recent report that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog made a side agreement with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to carry out its own inspections at the Parchin nuclear site, Cardin spokesperson Sue Walitsky said the senator told JNS:

[He] continues to review all aspects of the agreement to determine what decision he’ll make.

He continues to study the details of this deal, reach out to experts for answers to his many questions, and engage Marylanders to get their thoughts.

There is great intensity on all sides of this issue, but the feedback has been decidedly mixed. He believes that each senator and member of Congress has to make his or her own decision based on what is right for our country—not party, not president, but the national security of the United States of America.

He does not plan to rush his decision based on what others may decide.

When contacted by JNS.org, Mikulski’s office said the senator is currently traveling and unable to return a request for comment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/key-democratic-senators-cardin-and-mikulski-still-on-the-fence-on-iran/2015/08/23/

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