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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Iran nuclear program’

Rohani Demands ‘Right to Enrich Uranium’

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Iranian President Hassan Rohani Sunday unknowingly backed up a U.S. Congresswoman’s claim that he is full of deceit when he stated that the West must recognize Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium.

In a speech during Iran’s annual military parade on Sunday, Rohani declared that the West must accept “all the rights of the Iranian nation, especially the nuclear rights and uranium enrichment on Iranian territory in the framework of international rules.”

Der Spiegel, quoting anonymous intelligence officials, reported that Rohani is prepared to close down the Fordow uranium enrichment plant” with the probably demand that the United States and European Union return the favor by removing sanctions.

Last week, after the White House hinted that President Barack Obama might meet with Rohani at the United Nations next week, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, warned that “Rohani is a master of deceit who has been putting on an all-out charm offensive since he took office… and in many ways Rohani is much more dangerous than Ahmadinejad.”

She explained,” At least with Ahmadinejad you get what you see – his hatred for Israel and the United States is not disguised with rhetoric or spurious gestures of goodwill.

Is Rohani a Moderate Game-Changer or a Diversion?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

A reader at The Optimistic Conservative pointed out that the media outlets hailing the election of Hassan Rohani, a so-called “moderate,” as the next president of Iran are the same outlets that consider the Tea Parties in America to be “radical.”

Given that most of these media outlets would agree that the clerical mullahs of Iran’s Guardian Council are radicals, the task for the Tea Parties seems clear: simply proclaim some among their membership to be “moderate.”  Send the moderate members to talk to the media and negotiate political issues.  The moderate Tea Partiers need never make a concession or give any ground; their only requirement is to serve as the self-proclaimed moderates of the Tea Party movement.  A few tweets would help too.  The media outlets should greet the Tea Party moderates with acclaim and be excited to see them elected to public office.

Election of a ringer?

If it works for the Iranian government, it should certainly work for the Tea Parties.  The fertile TOC comments section provided a preview for another significant point, which is that the clerical council effectively positioned Rohani as a “moderate,” in the hope that doing so would give him an electoral victory with a reform-hungry people.  What I said on the topic was this:

We could even suggest that Khamenei suffered [Rohani] to be talked up as a reformer in order to pacify the people with his win.

At The Tower, Avi Issacharoff quotes Dr. Soli Shahvar of Haifa University:

“[Rohani] never called himself a reformist … But he uses rhetoric that is less blustery than that of Ahmedinejad, and speaks more moderately, including on the subject of nuclear negotiations.” Shahvar’s conclusion with respect to Rouhani’s win is unambiguous. “I interpret his election in one way only: The regime wanted him to win. If they had wanted one of the conservatives to win, they would have gotten four of the five conservatives to drop out of the race, paving the way for [eventual runner-up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bagher] Ghalibaf to win. But they didn’t do that. Moreover, it was the regime that approved the candidacy of Rouhani [sic] alongside only seven others. This is striking evidence that Khamenei wanted Rouhani to win, both internally and externally.”

Shahvar goes on to basically outline my theory from the comments at the link above:

“Victory for a candidate who is perceived as more moderate yet still has the confidence of Khamenei, serves the regime in the best way. Externally, Iran today is in a very difficult situation with regard to sanctions and its international standing. A conservative president would only have increased Tehran’s isolation in the world. A victory for someone from the ‘moderate stream,’ however, will immediately bring certain countries in the international community to call for ‘giving a chance to dialogue with the Iranian moderates.’ They will ask for more time in order to encourage this stream, and it will take pressure off the regime. And so we see that in the non-disqualification of Rouhani and especially in the non-dropping-out of four of the five conservative candidates there is more than just an indication that this is the result the regime desired.”

(See here for a separate, very worthwhile summary of Rohani’s victory.)

Rohani’s election positions the regime to cater – superficially – to reform-minded voters in Iran, while improving Iran’s prospects in international negotiations.  There is no doubt that the international media will provide governments with a cover story about Rohani and “reform” in Iran.  They are already doing it.  With Rohani depicted as a moderate and a reformer, nations like Germany, India, Japan, and Brazil – nations which have been conflicted on the sanctions against Iran, and have trod a convoluted course to both honor and circumvent them – will see a handy justification for modifying their stances.

Sanctions roll-back?

Iran can expect a rush of trade relaxations some time after Rohani takes office.  It is worth taking a moment to reflect on how robust Iran’s trade relations already are, in spite of the sanctions: economic powerhouses like Germany, China, and India have continued to do robust trade with Iran, even when that trade is clearly boosting Iran’s nuclear program (see here for more on the story, the latest in a list of such stories coming from Germany.  Here’s another one, albeit with – apparently – a happier ending).

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.

Mossad Discusses Iran and Syria with Turkish Intelligence Chief

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo met with a senior Turkish intelligence officer this week to discuss Syria and Iran, as well as the protest movement in Turkey, according to the country’s independent Hurriyet newspaper.

The meeting was secret, and the newspaper did not provide details except from sources who said Pardo and Turkish intelligence agency undersecretary Hakan Fidan shared information on Iran and Syria as well as the continuing protest movement in Turkey. Some of that information is that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Assad are planting seeds against Turkey.

The Syrian civil war has spilled over into Turkey, where Syria has attacked rebels on the border several times. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled to Turkey, making it a source of worry for Assad who already is paranoid enough.

Iran also may be interested in stirring up unrest in Turkey, partly because of its necessity to keep Assad in power and partly because of the possibility that Israel could use Turkish air space to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who dumped Israel’s friendship four years and raced into the waiting arms of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad, beat a hasty reverse last year.

He totally misjudged his newfound friends and now finds Syria and its ally Iran breathing down its neck. Erdogan’s belligerent attitude has kept him from publicly embracing Israel, and he continues to support Hamas in Gaza.

Hurriyet reported that Pardo wants to meet with Erdogan, who has not yet replied one way or another.

Earthquake Damages Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Facility

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

One or more earthquakes have damaged Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility, causing cracks several yards long, according to an Associated Press report based on information picked up by several countries monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

Diplomats told the Associated Press that at least one concrete section of the facility sustained long cracks but not in the vicinity of the reactor core. However, other damage cannot be ruled out since the information that was available was very limited.

The earthquakes occurred in April.

The Bushehr plant began operation 19 months ago but has been plagued by technical problems.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in February and May that Iran had informed that the site was shut down temporarily, without any explanations. One of the quakes was registered at 7.7 on the Richter scale, and Iran claims the Bushehr site can withstand a quake of 8.0 on the scale.

Damage to the nuclear reactor could cause a massive catastrophe not only in Iran but also in nearby Kuwait and other Arab countries.

Tehran maintained several weeks ago that the quakes did not damage the Bushehr plant, but government reports are totally unreliable.

Iran is located on massive areas of seismic fault lines and experiences an earthquake of various magnitudes almost every day.

Iran has not signed the nuclear safety convention, precluding any authority for the IAEA to inspect its nuclear sites for safety.

Kerry’s Heart Bleeds for Dead IHH Terrorists as for Boston Victims

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Turkish officials that the anguish of Americans over the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon helped him understand the frustration of Turks over the death of IHH thugs who were killed in the May 2010 flotilla clash after kidnapping and seriously wounding several Navy soldiers.

Nine Turks, members of the terror-linked IHH “charity” organization, brutally clubbed and knifed the commandos who reach the deck of the Mavi Mamara by climbing down a rope from a hovering helicopter and armed with nothing more than personal pistols and paint guns.

Kerry compared the American reactions to the terrorist attack in Boston with those in Turkey to the Israeli counterterrorist attack on the IHH.

“It affects the community, it affects the country. But going forward, you know, we have to find the best way to bring people together and undo these tensions and undo these stereotypes and try to make peace,” he stated.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) criticized Kerry or his remarks. “It is never helpful when a moral equivalency is made confusing terrorists with their victims,” Danon told The Times of Israel. ”The only way to deal with the evils of terrorism it to wage an unrelenting war against its perpetrators, wherever they may be.”

Kerry visited Ankara to try to bring Turkey and Israel closer together after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s four years of snubbing Israel and falling into his own trap by embracing Iran and Syria.

The new Secretary of State, who already is a candidate to surpass his predecessor Hillary Clinton’s record for traveling around the world several times, tried to pull his diplomatic weight to convince Erdogan not to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza next month.

The trip ‘‘would be better delayed and that it shouldn’t take place at this point in time… Our sense is that it would be more helpful to wait for the right circumstances.”

Kerry met with Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu but not with Erdogan, whose ego could not possibly allow anyone less than the President of the United States to sway his plans.

President Barack Obama used his trip to Israel last month to convince Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to offer an apology to Erdogan for the outcome of the flotilla clash and even agree to compensate families of those who planned and carried out the attacks on the commandos.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry quickly replied to Kerry’s request in the negative.

It would be wrong to evaluate these [Kerry’s statements] as a ‘U.S. reaction to Erdogan’s Gaza visit,’” an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told daily Hürriyet, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“For now there isn’t any change in the prime minister’s Gaza schedule. The issue will be discussed during Erdogan’s visit [to the United States] on May 16. This is what Kerry says, too. After the U.S. trip, Erdogan’s Gaza trip will be realized,” he said.

Perhaps President Obama can convince Erdogan to cool off a bit, especially if Turkey wants to feel more secure against the prospect of neighboring Iran as a nuclear threat.

In return, perhaps Erdogan can convince President Obama to compensate the families of the brothers who murdered three people, wounded 200 others and threw Boston into mayhem in the Boston Marathon Massacre.

Divine Hint: Netanyahu and Mofaz Must Lead against Iranian Threat

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

We’re filing this one under the “Purim Torah” category, but on a day rife with miracles and secret hints and unpronounced plots and narratives, it might as well be something to consider year-round.

Let’s start with the fact—acknowledged by many, including the late Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook—that there are two kinds of antisemitism. Over the years they’ve become intertwined, and so they’re hard to tell apart sometimes, but the distinction is important if we wish to understand the mythical hatred of God’s archenemy Amalek (For he said, Because God has sworn that God will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Ex. 17:16).

One kind of antisemitism is not very different from any other ethnic conflict, over new and ancient disputes, like the conflicts between Serbs and Muslims, Tutsi and Hutus, Flemish and Walloon. I would include the hatred of Palestinians towards Jews in this context, because, essentially, it is rooted in a dispute over land. It may have expanded by now to darker regions, but its inception was in a “normal” ethnic conflict.

Then there’s the ideological antisemitism, the Amalek kind. It was not born by anything the Jews have done to anyone, it comes from a baseless hatred, or, if you will, as the verse in Exodus suggests, a hatred of God which is expressed through the hatred of His children.

On October 4 and 6, 1943, SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler told SS officers in Posen, Poland:

“I mean the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. It’s one of those things it is easy to talk about, ‘the Jewish race is being exterminated,’ says one party member, ‘that’s quite clear, it’s in our program, elimination of the Jews, and we’re doing it, exterminating them.’ And then they come, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew.”

After which that clever monster calls on his men to disregard those emotional urges, stare straight at the piles of corpses, and harden their hearts, because “The difficult decision has to be taken, to cause this Volk to disappear from the earth.”

That’s the cold, unwavering essence of Amalek, that’s the spiritual source that made Auschwitz happen, and that’s the driving force behind horrid monstrosities like the Ayatollahs and their clown, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They see us, whether for racial or for religious reasons, as the essential evil in the world and they want us—all of us, including the Neturei Karta idiots who kiss their hands—dead.

Now, just as there are two kinds of antisemitism, there are also two kinds of Jewish leaders: the sons of Leah and the sons of Rachel, our patriarch Jacob’s sister wives.

Traditionally, we’ve been led by the tribe of Juda, a son of Leah. This is because Juda, like his most beloved great grandson King David, have been able to teach us how to do T’shuva-repent. They’ve taught us—and the world—that repent involves first and foremost accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done, then expressing full regret for having done it, then fixing as best we can what we’ve done, and, finally, resolving to never repeat it.

Those skills are useless against Amalek. As soon as we reveal what we’ve done wrong, that’s all Amalek wants to hear. Anything we’ll add will only bolster his resolve to annihilate every last one of us, wherever we reside, men, women and children.

This is why in our history the only ones deposited with the mission of fighting Amalek have been the children of Rachel—because the children of Rachel are perfect.

It disqualified them from being our long-term rulers, implies the gemora in Yoma 22b: “Shmuel said: Why didn’t the kingdom of Shaul last longer? Because he had no imperfection. As Rabbi Yochanan said citing Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: We do not appoint a public leader unless there’s a can of vermin dragging behind him, so that, should he feel haughty, we’ll tell him: Look behind you.”

I’m not sure why the children of Rachel have been so perfect. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Rachel was Jacob’s true love: why, the moment he saw her he couldn’t help himself, grabbed her and kissed her (to the chagrin of more than one commentator). Perhaps it takes that kind of love to spawn perfect children. Leah’s love was troubled and tormented, rife with self doubt – the stuff that makes for introspective children with a weakness for poetry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/divine-hint-netanyahu-and-mofaz-must-lead-against-iranian-threat/2013/02/24/

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