web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran Sanctions’

Obama is Losing Israelis’ Back

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The Obama administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear threat has cost President Barack Obama the support of Israelis, who usually give Washington the benefit of the doubt.

A Smith survey released Thursday revealed that 55 percent of the respondents said they do not count on the United States to “take care of its [Israel’s’ security in negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue.”

Only one third of the respondents said they “count on” the Obama administration.

The distrust of Washington was further highlighted by answers to the question, “Do you think the U.S. government gave or did not give Netanyahu  a reliable and accurate picture of the negotiations with Iran?”

Only 24 percent replied in the positive and that an accurate picture was given, while 42 percent responded in the negative. The others had no opinion.

Regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the U.S. government, 40 percent said it was justified and only 9 percent said it was not justified and was excessive. Another 22 percent said it was justified but excessive.

Thursday morning, Israel’s Home Front Minister Gilad Erdan, a senior and ideological Likud member, railed against  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for complaining to senators on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is arguing against a deal with Iran before it is concluded. Erdan, said here, “I have not heard such a claim for many years.”

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party that is part of the Netanyahu coalition government, is in Washington to lobby against easing sanctions on Iran.

Kerry, who told senators on Wednesday to “stop listening to the Israelis,” may also have been referring to Bennett, whose presence in Washington is far from applauded by President Barack Obama.

Bennett posted on his Facebook page a letter he sent to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Jewish Federations of North America, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization and the Russian Jewish Congress.

“When Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments,” Bennett wrote. “The free world stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges.”

Even the liberal ADL has turned its back on the Obama administration, after having agreed  not to lobby for or against sanctions. AIPAC immediately refused a National Security Council request to suspend lobbying against sanctions.

ADL Director David Harris wrote in Haaretz this week that while he understands President Obama’s concern that new sanctions could disrupt talks with Iran, “It is the ever-toughening sanctions that got Iran to negotiate in the first place; there needs to be a reminder that things will get still worse for Tehran if nothing changes soon on the ground.

“Elaborate efforts on Iran’s part to buy time — with Tehran’s mastery of modulated feints, nods, winks, and hints of openness — just won’t wash.

Netanyahu Says Iran Deal Is ‘Historic Mistake’

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Amid reports that a deal is near that would ease crippling sanctions on Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “historic mistake.”

An agreement on what is being called a first-step deal is expected by Friday, when the current round of negotiations in Geneva between Western powers and Iran is scheduled to end.

The P5+1 world powers, comprised of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United States, China, France and Britain) plus Germany, began a new round of negotiations on Thursday with Iran in an effort to halt the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Under the reported Western proposal, Iran would receive limited sanctions relief in exchange for an agreement to curtail nuclear enrichment activities.

“This is the deal of the century, for Iran,” Netanyahu told a group of visiting U.S. congressmen on Thursday. “Because Iran is essentially giving nothing and it’s getting all the air taken out, the air begins to be taken out of the pressure cooker that it took years to build in the sanctions regime.

“What we’re having today is a situation that Iran is giving up, at best, a few days of enrichment time, but the whole international regime’s sanctions policy has the air taken out of it. That’s a big mistake. It will relieve all the pressure inside Iran; it is a historic mistake, a grievous historic error.”

Iran insists that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes.

‘No Pause’ in AIPAC Iran Sanctions Campaign

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said there would be “no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts” to seek new sanctions on Iran.

The statement late Saturday came after days of reports that top pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, had agreed in a meeting with senior White House staffers to suspend for 80 days lobbying for increased sanctions on Iran.

“AIPAC continues to support congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts,” said the statement by AIPAC President Michael Kassen.

Obama administration officials have said that passing intensified sanctions would be counterproductive while renewed negotiations are underway with Iran aimed at making its nuclear program more transparent and ensuring that Iran is not working to make a bomb.

Top officials have met with senators in recent days to ask them not to advance intensified sanctions passed over the summer by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressional proponents of the sanctions, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said that sanctions forced Iran to the negotiating table and should be upheld to extract meaningful concessions.

That outlook was echoed in the statement by AIPAC’s Kassen.

“AIPAC supports diplomatic efforts to achieve an end to Iran’s nuclear program,” Kassen said.

“Diplomatic talks have been made possible because of the strong sanctions passed by Congress and implemented by the administration,” he said. “Until Iran suspends its enrichment program, additional sanctions are vital for diplomacy to succeed.

Kirk, Ayotte Press Pentagon on Contractor’s Alleged Iran Violations

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Two Republicans in the U.S. Senate asked the Pentagon whether it planned any action against a contractor that shipped supplies to an American airbase in Afghanistan through Iran.

The Oct. 22 letter from Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to the Defense Department’s inspector general focuses on Anham FZCO, a logistics contractor based in the United Arab Emirates with offices in the Washington area.

Last month, Anham revealed to U.S. agencies that construction supplies headed for Bagram, the U.S. military airfield in Afghanistan, had been shipped through Iran.

In reporting the violation of U.S. sanctions policies, the company said its senior executives had been unaware of the Iran leg of the transport, which took place in the first half of 2012.

However, a series of emails first reported last month by Defense News and reviewed this week by JTA show that Fadi Nahas, the company’s program manager since 2007, was aware of the shipments.

“Anham executives allegedly knew of their subsidiaries’ activities in Iran long before the company voluntarily informed the Departments of Defense, Commerce and the Treasury of such violations in September 2013,” said the letter to Jon Rymer, the Defense Department’s inspector general. “These same executives were also allegedly aware of such activities prior to signing a major support Defense Department contract in June 2012.”

The senators asked Rymer if contracts with Anham may be voided and if the Defense Department officials is considering action against Anham.

The emails underscore the difficulties of transporting goods in and out of Afghanistan, and also the lengths those moving these materials go to obscure the Iran leg of the journey.

Nahas at one point in the emails writes of “slush funds;” a former Anham official told JTA these were bribes designated for officials who could hinder the transport.

Anham and the Defense Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Iran Still Imports $18.6 Million of US Goods in Two Months

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

American sanctions on trade with Iran have enough exceptions that the Islamic Republic imported from the United States 4,000 tons of goods valued at $18.6 million in the last two months, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported Tuesday.

Iran measures the two-month period from March 21, the beginning of its calendar year. The imports of approximately 4,000 tons of goods included packed butter, pharmaceutical and food complementary products, alloy sheets, vegetable seeds, antibiotics, and medical equipment

The news agency also said that in the same period, Iran exported to the United States 42 tons of goods worth $106,000, mainly carpets, saffron, and raisin.

Lawmakers: Obama Watering Down Iran Sanctions, PA Punishment

Friday, December 14th, 2012

There are some in Congress who are fed up not only with the unilateral actions taken by the Arab Palestinians to subvert the agreed-upon path to Middle East conflict resolution, but also with this administration’s repeated efforts to create unlevel footing such that Israel is doomed to stumble and fall on the world stage.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO5), is one long-time supporter of Israel who is deeply unhappy about recent events that endanger the Jewish State, and the reluctance of this administration to aggressively block – and sometimes is the one that needs blocking – of those actions.

In response to the Arab Palestinian effort to upgrade their status at the United Nations from non-state to state non-member observer, pro-Israel, pro-peace (the real kind) members of the U.S. Senate moved to impose consequences on the Arab Palestinians for thumbing their noses at the Obama administration and Congress and for shredding the remnants of the Oslo agreements.

Even before the U.N. Resolution passed, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and James Inhofe (R-Okla. ) introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to cut funding to the PA and to close the PLO mission in Washington, D.C., which is what the Arabs were told would happen if they moved forward with their U.N. ploy.  Pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the National Council of Young Israel and the Zionist Organization of America condemned the U.N. resolution and urged that stiff consequences be imposed.

However, when the NDAA was reported out of the Senate in early December, the amendments designed to enforce consequences on the PA for its unilateral U.N. action had been stripped from the bill.  There was some speculation at the time that it was pressure from the White House, or even that it was  left-wing anti-Israel political heft that forced lawmakers to remove those measures.

According to Washington, D.C. journalist Alana Goodman, the amendments were removed because of Senate procedural rules. She wrote,

The amendment was dropped from the bill because of a technicality in Senate procedure, according to Senator Lindsey Graham’s office, which sponsored it.

“Once cloture was invoked, the amendment was not eligible for a vote because it was not technically germane to the legislation,” said Graham spokesperson Kevin Bishop.

Cong. Lamborn believes that “the NDAA is too far along in the process – it is going to conference, probably by next week” – to affect aid to the PA through that vehicle, but he told The Jewish Press that concerned members are already working on vehicles to impose the necessary consequences on the Arab Palestinians.

THE PATTERN CONTINUES WITH WATERING DOWN IRAN SANCTIONS

But Lamborn is also deeply concerned with continued efforts by the administration to “water down” the latest sanctions on Iran.  While U.S. administration cheerleaders continue to extol their efforts in passing “biting” sanctions, there have been reports that even in the latest efforts to sanction – i.e. punish, deter, prevent wrongdoing – Iran for moving forward on its path towards nuclear weaponization, this U.S. administration insists on weakening the efforts.

The latest sanctions which passed unanimously through the Senate on Nov. 30 as part of the NDAA, would blacklist Iran’s energy, port, shipbuilding and shipping sectors, and impose new barriers to Iran’s ability to obtain insurance for those industries.  It would also greatly increase U.S. support for human rights in Iran and impose harsh penalties on those who divert humanitarian assistance to other purposes.

But Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council’s Spokesman, explained that it is “the White House’s view the sanctions aren’t needed and aren’t helpful at this time,” according to Josh Rogin in White House Opposed New Iran Sanctions,” in Foreign Policy.

Journalist Rosie Gray posted in an article the administration’s redlined draft of the Senate amendments to the current Iran sanctions bill she said were submitted to the Armed Services Committee of the House and Senate.  One of the most significant proposed changes is the doubling of the time in which the sanctions would take effect, from the 90 days which the Senate proposed, to 180 days.  Gray said the document was provided to her by a Democratic source.

Gray writes,

The bill as passed by the Senate would bar transactions with businesses owned by Iran’s government, which are on a Department of the Treasury list of “specially designated nationals,” or SDN’s. The administration wants to prevent this part from applying to any of these business entities that aren’t already flagged for terrorism, human rights abuses or proliferation. The administration also wants to remove sanctions from metal providers.

Perhaps of greatest concern is that the administration continues to insert or offer additional waivers to countries, thereby undercutting what other wise might actually be biting sanctions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/lawmakers-obama-watering-down-iran-sanctions-pa-punishment/2012/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: