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March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran nuclear’

US Insists Israel in the Loop on Nuclear Talks with Iran

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

The Obama administration is keeping Israel up to date on talks with Iran for an agreement to contain and supervise its nuclear program despite reports that Washington is fed up with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu because of his planned speech in Congress next month.

“Conversations continue with Israel on the Iran nuclear negotiations, State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday.

She cited as examples a meeting between Under Secretary Sherman and Israeli NSA Cohen and the Minister for Intelligence and Strategic Planning Steinitz in Munich and a subsequent meeting this week. “Iran negotiations were obviously the main topic of negotiations,” according to Psaki.

“As you know, Secretary Kerry regularly speaks to the prime minister about this issue, as well as many others,” she added, “And as our NSC colleagues have noted, NSA – National Security Advisor Rice maintains regular contact with her Israeli counterpart, National Security Advisor Cohen, on the full range of issues, including, of course, this issue…

“And reports that that has been cut off or we are no longer consulting are simply inaccurate…. As it relates to our relationship with Israel, our consultations on Iran are ongoing at many levels and many, many high levels, and reports over the weekend are just inaccurate.”

Ayatollah Khamenei Sends Secret ‘Love Letter’ to Obama

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Iranian  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sent a “secret letter” in response to President Barack Obama’s letter on its nuclear program and suggested Iran can be an American ally n the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Obama sent Khamenei a letter last October concerning languishing negotiations to restrict and inspect Iran’s nuclear development, which it insists is for peaceful purposes and which virtually everyone else except Russia, Syria and China admit is to obtain a nuclear warhead and aim it at Israel.

The American-led war on the ISIS has given Khamenei an opportunity to reply to the letter with an overture to help Washington defeat the terrorist army that controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and is recruiting eager jihadists throughout the world.

Khamenei’s letter was “respectful” but non-committal, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting a diplomat.

Judging from Khamenei’s comments, he is not about to cave in to Western demands but is using as bait Iran’s fear of the ISIS. He knows, better than most Western leaders, that if the ISIS takes control of Iraq and Syria, Jordan is next in line, followed by other Middle East countries, including Iran.

Israel also would like to see the ISIS disappear, but Khamenei hasn’t sent any love letters to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, probably because the Prime Minister has not courted him.

Elie Wiesel to Attend Netanyahu’s Speech in Congress

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Elie Wiesel will attend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress next month, activist Rabbi Shmuley Boteach announced Thursday.

He also said he is buying advertising space in The New York Times and The Washington Post to promote Wiesel’s decision, with the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner stating:

I plead with you to put aside the politics that have obscured the critical decisions to be made. Surely it is within your power to find a solution that will permit Israel’s Prime Minister to deliver his urgent message. Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?

Wiesel’s support for the Prime Minister’s controversial visit may slow down, if not reverse, the rush of many Congressmen to boycott the speech because it will be delivered two weeks before elections in Israel.

The speech also comes three weeks before President Barack Obama and Iran may agree on terms for a deal on containing Tehran’s nuclear development. Prime Minister Netanyahu will focus on the Iranian nuclear threat in his speech, emphasizing that Iran is stalling for time and not conducting honest negotiations.

Wiesel carries a big stick in American public opinion, and President Obama is known to have warm regard for him.

In the Short Run, Biden Might Well Keep his Promise that Iran Won’t Get Nukes

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

{Originally posted at author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

It’s not just the promise, of course.  It’s the Bidenesque way he makes it:

Monday, Biden had to remind Israeli leaders that the U.S. is not seeking a negotiation with Iran at Israel’s expense.

“I have heard so much malarkey about our position on Iran,” Biden said. “We will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, period. I would not put my 42-year reputation on the line if I were not certain when I say it. We mean it.”

Daniel Greenfield casts a doubt or two on that 42-year reputation, and that’s fair enough.  We would be fools to take seriously such assurances from Joe Biden.

But there are reasons why Iran may well delay that moment of focused provocation when the radical Islamic regime proves itself nuclear armed.  If the Iranians don’t have the means to offer that proof yet, they are very close to it – so close that it is now their choice how fast to move, and in what way.

Where we are

Iran now lacks only the public demonstration of uranium enrichment to a weapons-grade level (above 95%), and a detectable warhead detonation.  To talk of a “breakout” capacity – a bomb-in-waiting – as something we are still looking for is now misleading.  Using such terms suggests that there is something more we need to see from Iran, before we officially set the breakout watch.

But the reality is that there is nothing we have yet to see that we can reliably expect to see.  We’ve reached the point at which it is prudent to assume the breakout watch has already started – and imprudent not to.

Fifteen years ago, Iran did not have a reliable uranium enrichment process; did not have an industrial-scale infrastructure for enrichment; did not have a stockpile of enriched uranium; did not have her own uranium production capacity; did not have a detonator mechanism for a uranium warhead; did not have a missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead; and did not have anything close to an intercontinental missile capability.

As little as six years ago, moreover, the United States had more than enough ready combat power, between our Air Force and Navy, to quickly strike a meaningful blow against an Iranian nuclear infrastructure that was still comparatively rudimentary and geographically concentrated.

Both of those conditions have changed significantly.  Iran now does have all the things she lacked in 1999: enough low-enriched uranium for at least 7-8 warheads; a proven enrichment process, including enrichment to higher purity (19.75%); an industrial-scale infrastructure, with geographic dispersion; an indigenous uranium production capacity (see here and here); a tested detonator mechanism for a nuclear warhead; at least one medium-range ballistic missile series that could deliver a nuclear warhead; and a satellite/rocket program advanced enough to support ICBM testing in as little as 1-3 years.  Iran has acquired almost all of these things since UN sanctions were implemented in 2007, and under the regime of IAEA inspections.

Reminder: Nothing has interrupted the trend of Iran’s uranium enrichment. Red column shows low-enriched UF6 stockpiled (versus total cumulative enrichment in blue), once Iran began enriching some stock to 20% in Jan 2012. Although Iran has “downblended” her 20%-enriched stock, the rate of increase in the total stockpile of 5% LEU has been robust: 17% from 11/13 to 11/14. (Data source: IAEA)

Reminder: Nothing has interrupted the trend of Iran’s uranium enrichment. Red column shows low-enriched UF6 stockpiled (versus total cumulative enrichment in blue), once Iran began enriching some stock to 20% in Jan 2012. Although Iran has “downblended” her 20%-enriched stock, the rate of increase in the total stockpile of 5% LEU has been robust: 17% from 11/13 to 11/14. (Data source: IAEA)

American military power, in the meantime, has declined to such an extent that mounting a quick, comprehensive strike on the Iranian infrastructure is no longer feasible.  We couldn’t do it quickly.  Not only could we not do it quickly; we couldn’t do it without first restoring the readiness of military units we no longer keep at their highest readiness level.  It would take months to prepare for a comprehensive strike campaign – and would require the prior allocation of special funding from Congress.

Where Iran once wanted to be

Iran’s vision for the future has been shaped, as everyone’s has, by the consequences of the Arab Spring.  It has also been shaped by the withdrawal of American power under Obama.

Four or five years ago, Iran took as a given the U.S. posture in the larger Middle East.  That posture included a key strategic presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan; close partnerships with almost all the Gulf Cooperation Council nations; special relationships, including military cooperation, with both Egypt and Israel; and unchallenged supremacy on the regional seas.

Iran’s basic objective was to peel America’s partners away through the pressure of proxy insurgencies (and other underhanded tactics), and thus squeeze us out of the region.  The first-order purpose of having the bomb was to immunize Iran against retaliation in that process, as the USSR had immunized itself with a nuclear “deterrent” force when it worked through proxy conflicts in the Cold War.

Iran also set her sights on chokepoints in the regional waterways, from the Strait of Hormuz through the Red Sea and all the way to Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar.  No one was close to having a navy that could challenge the U.S. Navy, but even great navies are vulnerable in chokepoints.

At a kind of eschatological-strategic level, meanwhile, just as the Arab Spring was unfolding in early 2011, Iranian TV was running a mullah-approved “documentary” that outlined a scheme of military preparation for the arrival of the “twelfth imam.”  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad figured as a great military commander from Shia prophecy in this fantastical oeuvre, which depicted a dénouement in the armed conquest of Jerusalem.  (“Rescuing” Jerusalem had already figured for years in Iranian policy rhetoric, as well as in the concept of some major military exercises.)

Where Iran now wants to be

In the years since Obama took office, much has changed.  One thing hasn’t, and that’s Iran’s interest in gaining leverage at critical chokepoints in the regional seaways.  But some of the focused urgency has been bled out of the pressure campaign against America’s regional partners, in part because of the Arab Spring, and in part because Barack Obama has been doing an excellent job of peeling them away from us himself.

The momentum of Iran’s efforts has shifted to a new, more geographically focused vector, one that as recently as 2011 appeared to be unthinkable.  Where once Iran was confined to putting general pressure on various American partners in the region, and perhaps maneuvering to leapfrog nearby territory in which we seemed established – Iraq, Jordan, Israel – Iran can now realistically contemplate making an “internal” line of communication (LOC) through that territory.  She might accomplish that by proxy first, and then, eventually, exploit the LOC directly.

In fact, with much of the territory in question now disputed between ISIS and a weak Iraqi government, Iran has all the more reason for being there, with advisors and military equipment.

The bonus?  The U.S., weakened and compromised as our power is, has signed up to do at least some of the fighting against ISIS.  If Iran plays her cards right, American forces will open her strategic LOC through the heart of the Middle East for her.

Netanyahu Connects Hitler with Nuclear Iran

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

World leaders do not understand the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran just as they misjudged or did not even want to understand “the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday night, the beginning of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Speaking at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister asked rhetorically, “Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time? In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as a trickle and transformed into a huge wave….

“Very few world leaders understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism….. The bitter and tragic truth is this: it is not that they did not see it. They did not want to see it. And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that world leaders in the 1930s adopted of a policy that was based on “one axiom – avoid another confrontation at any cost.”

He quoted the Biblical phrase from the Book of Psalms, “They have eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear.”

Netanyahu then turned his attention to Iran, which has called for destroying Israel and is recognized by the virtually the entire western world as retrying to develop a nuclear weapon.

“Today, just like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as one that serves domestic purposes,” he said. “Today, just like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation – a will that should be accepted.

“And just like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.”

Netanyahu quoted the Bible throughout his speech and concluded a train of thought that implied that the Jews in Israel, unlike those in without a Jewish state under the Nazi regime, will not let themselves be destroyed.

He cited the fourth Book of the Torah (BaMidbar, or Numbers, 23:13-26,) in which the non-Jewish told King Balak, who had paid him to curse Israel, “The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion; it will not lie down until it consumes prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.”

Israel Opens Gates for Turkish Hospital on Ruins of Gush Katif Town

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has approved allowing the entry of  570 truckloads of construction materials, electrical equipment, telecommunications and plumbing materials into Hamas-controlled Gaza for construction of a Turkish hospital on the ruins of the destroyed Jewish community of Netzarim.

Turkey initiated the project three years ago without any coordination with Israel at a time when both countries’ relations were in the deep freeze.

The government of Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who keeps a door open to Iran by embracing the Hamas terrorist government, had no problem in getting around Israel’s restrictions on “dual-use” equipment that also is used to build rockets and factories for weapons used to attack Israel. It simply used tunnels to smuggle equipment for  the 160-bed complex that is to cover 34 acres.

Ya’alon’s announcement came a day after  the Turkish deputy prime minister was quoted as saying that Israel is about to sign on the dotted line to pay millions of dollars to families of terrorists who tried to kill Israeli Navy commandos in the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship four years ago.

It is nice to know that Hamas finally is using the ruins of Gush Katif communities for something other than terrorist training camps. It needs a hospital to care for terrorists who are wounded by Israeli soldiers when they attack Israel with rockets or try to blow up Israeli soldiers at the security fence.

The Israeli government did not ask former residents of Netzarim for permission to bless Turkey’s grand humanitarian gesture.

If there is one place in the world that it is difficult for even President Shimon Peres to think that there will be peace, it is Gaza. Peres was his usual smug self with his head in the clouds when he assured everyone that expelling Jews and withdrawing Israel’s military eyes and ears from Gaza would bring peace and quiet.

After Hamas attacked Ashkelon, and then Ashdod, and Rehovot, the same Shimon Peres as President of the State of Israel, made a fool of himself by saying, in public no less – and this is a paraphrase but very close to the original quote –  “ I can’t understand why Hamas would so such a thing after all that we did for peace.”

The number of Israelis who trust Hamas is close to zero. The more Mahmoud Abbas and the entire Palestinian Authority regime proves to even Israel’s bleeding heart media that the Arabs have no interest in peace with Israel, the more the expulsion wrenches the stomach.

Hamas needs the hospital for Gaza civilians, many of whom have no problem hating Israel while at the same time begging for medical care at Israel’s hospitals. Some of the patients even change their minds after  medical care and realize that Jews actually are human beings and  not apes and pigs depicted by  Muslims preachers.

The idea of a hospital sounds great, but as awful as it is to think, hate is hate and it is a two-way street. Here is the response of one former Netzarim resident to The Jewish Press: “When the hospital is full, it should be blown up.”

That could be the ugly end to this ugly story, but a look at the reasons for the Israeli government’s second marriage with Turkey makes this article even uglier.

Turkey and Israel were great friends for years, carrying out joint military exercises and enjoying a healthy flow of goods and merchandise in two directions. Tens of thousands of Israel tourists flocked to Turkey’s resorts.

All of that changed when Erdogan got on his high horse during the Operation Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign more than five years ago.

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sen-carl-levin-garners-23-dems-for-softer-toned-iran-talks-letter/2014/03/27/

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