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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Obama Vows to ‘Walk Away’ From Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama says he’ll “walk away” from a bad nuclear deal with Iran.

The U.S. -led delegation of six world powers have extended their deadline for negotiations with Tehran until July 7 to reach a deal on halting Iran’s nuclear development program.

In return, the United Nations would lift the crippling economic sanctions that have been imposed against the Islamic Republic for years.

Obama said there must be a “strong, rigorous verification mechanism” in place for monitoring Iran’s nuclear sites before he is willing to agree to a deal. He warned that his instructions to negotiators in Vienna – including Secretary of State John Kerry – have been “extremely clear.”

Any terms of the deal, he said, must block Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon – at least for the next decade.

“If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem because I’ve said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal” he told a joint news conference with visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

“If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that – if the inspections regime, verifications regime, is inadequate, then we’re not going to get a deal,” Obama said.

“Ultimately, this is going to be up to the Iranians.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday that the current deal being negotiated between the world powers and Iran has gone “from bad to worse.”

In effect, he said, the deal will pave Iran’s way to being “not only a major power with one or two nuclear bombs, but with an unlimited arsenal within a decade with the possibility of achieving several atomic bombs beforehand, by violating the monitoring which, in any case, is full of holes.”

The current deal also gives Iran many billions of dollars, he said, “apparently hundreds of billions of dollars, within a short time.” Such an enormous amount of funding will allow Iran to finance its increasing aggression, Netanyahu pointed out.

The first goal, he said, would be to fund “the murderous stranglehold it is using around the State of Israel,” but he also noted there are “other parts of the Middle East that are subject to its aggression, such as Yemen, Iraq and many other places.

Obama Extends Deadline to Make a Deal with Iran

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The United States and the other P5+1 powers unsurprisingly have extended the June 30 deadline for reaching an agreement to supervise and limit Iran’s nuclear development program.

The extension is for one week, until July 7.

As The JewishPress.com reported here earlier this week, “deadline” has a different meaning in the Muslim Middle East than it does in Western countries.

The announcement came hours after a Western official was reported to have said that the IAEA will announce that Iran has lived up to its promise to reduce its enriched uranium stockpile.

Fears Grow of Assad Waging Last-Stand Deadly Chemical Attack

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has produced new chemical weapons that U.S. intelligence officials he might use in a last-ditch effort to save his own neck, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Islamic State (ISIS), Al Qaeda and rebel forces have taken over most of Syria.

President Barack Obama, with great fanfare, removed a threat last year to bomb Syria when an agreement was reached for Assad to allow international inspectors to remove his stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, forbidden under the Geneva Convention.

It is questionable whether Assad disclosed his entire stockpile, and all it takes is one warehouse of chemical weapons to unleash a nightmare.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer of the British army’s chemical-weapons unit, told the Journal:

Even if the regime had only one ton of VX left, that would be enough to kill thousands of people.

Trusting Assad is likely trusting Iran to come clean on its nuclear program.

And even if inspectors did find all of Assad’s weapons, nothing prevented him from producing new chemicals, which is exactly what he apparently has done.

Instead of sarin gas, which Assad used in 2013 in attacks that killed more than 1,400 people, he has developed a new chemical bomb using chlorine, according to the Journal, which added that U.S. official suspect that Assad may have hidden some of his chemical weapon stockpile last year.

That should not be surprising to anyone except the same American officials who really think that Iran will live up to an agreement just as Assad did not.

The American intelligence information on Assad’s chemical weapons is “being taken very seriously because he’s getting desperate,” according to officials quoted by the Journal.

The Assad regime, of course, denies it has any chemical weapons.”Experts have been saying for more than three years that Assad won’t last another six months.

Eventually, they will be correct.

Pre-Occupied UN Human Rights Council Debates One Issue – Israel

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Iran and Syria headlined the wolf pack verbal assault on Israel at today’s 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s pre-occupation with the “occupation.”

This is the first time I ever have watched this much-talked about about circus, but none of the previous reports of the Council’s Israel bashing could have prepared anyone for what must be described as a humanitarian disaster.

Country after country attacked Israel for apartheid, occupation, violation of human rights and freedom, searches on the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, crimes and the violations of human rights. Morocco claimed that Israel is harming the “Islamic identity” of Jerusalem.

Qatar’s representative stated that Israel is not serious about peace, and charged that Israeli forces “have taken control of the third flotilla that was going to Gaza.”

Syria alleged that Israel is supporting terrorists in the Golan Heights, with the backing of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s official noted that Israel ignores “any human rights norms” but that “many countries” do not condemn Israel, making the Council powerless to “give rights back to Palestinians under occupation.”

And the Palestinian Authority? It said that Israel is the biggest violator in the world of human rights.

China said the “Palestinian issue” is the “heart” of problems in the Middle East.

And in other news this week, Iran has passed a bill that allows men to marry their adopted children to protect their daughters from being married off.

According to Amnesty, Iran also made a retrogressive amendment in Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedures, limiting the right to access an independent lawyer of one’s choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases.

In Syria, Assad’s forces killed 13 civilians and wounded dozens of others in a barrel bomb attack.

Christian Today reported Monday:

Things have taken a turn for the worse for Asia Bibi, 50, the falsely accused Christian woman who has been languishing in Pakistani prison for six years now despite her declining health.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan for sharing her faith in God to other women, according to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International. She was then sentenced to death, although an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court with no news yet on when her case will be heard.

And in Saudi Arabia, the ministry said it support internationally recognized human rights but not those that are specific to homosexuals.

As noted above, today is the first time I ever watched the live video of the United Nations so-called Human Rights Council.

God willing, this will be the last time, also.

Kerry Might Celebrate 4th of July by Talking with Iran on Deal

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

A senior U.S. official said Sunday it is prepared to extend talks with Iran beyond the June 30 deadline, which is a surprise to no one.

This is why The JewishPress.com has been laying low on the negotiations between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic.
It was clear as the nose on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s face that “deadline” in the Persian language means “maybe tomorrow.”

Talks have been going on for three years, and the “final” deadline of last November has been extended, as was every other deadline before and after.

President Barack Obama knows that Iran is playing games. Iran knows that Obama knows, and Obama knows that Iran knows… and so on and so forth.

The problem is that the game is over a nuclear weapon, which under Iran’s definition of peaceful purposes would be used as a threat to annihilate Israel and rid the world of Zionism, which is responsible for horrors such as the mobile phone, instant messaging, WAZE, drugs against Muscular Sclerosis, USB, Rummikub, the model for desalination, solar energy, drones, computer chips, breast tumor imaging and Natalie Portman.

We will back with more news around July 2 or maybe the 4th of July, when Iran can force Kerry to celebrate American Independence Day by sweating over a bad deal.

As for now, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is playing out the script and returning to Tehran tonight. He will back on Monday for the next act.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made one of the most unimportant comments of the year, stating that a final deal can be achieved if both show “strong political will.”

She added, “We stick to the foreseen timetable. If a few days more are needed, we can take them.”

Some say “a few is eight,” and even more. That would push talks dangerously close to mid-July and might muck up President Barack Obama’s rumored invitation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at that time.

If the invitation is valid, it would set the stage for President Obama to snicker at Prime Minister Netanyahu over a deal that Israel would rather go the way of the Titanic, or brag how he backs Israel so much that he did not agree to a lousy deals that he knows Congress won’t approve.

Iran Grants Venezuela $500 Million Line of Credit

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Iran has granted Venezuela a $500 million line of credit, according to the Saudi website, Aawsat.

The line of credit is part of a larger framework of six economic cooperation agreements with Venezuela.

Back in 2012, when Iran was banned from SWIFT banking transactions, which could have actually kept it out of much of the international markets and made the sanctions even more effective, Iran easily bypassed the problem with an alternative, rogue financial system it help set up with some South American countries, including Venezuela.

The system had already been set up by Iran in anticipation of the SWIFT ban.

The Iranians are demanding an immediate lifting of sanctions and freeing of their assets as part of the nuclear deal with President Obama.

Sometimes it appears the Iranians are always 2 steps ahead of the U.S.

Five Former Advisers to Obama Publish Warning on Iran Deal

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The proposed deal with Iran to supposedly prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon “falls short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement,'” five of President Barack Obama’s former senior advisers said in a public letter.

They published their warning just before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are to meet in Vienna for negotiations to come up with a final agreement by next week, President Obama’s self-imposed deadline.

The ex-advisers are big time sluggers:

Dennis Ross, a semi reformed Oslo Accords architect;

David Petraeus, the former CIA director who once claimed that solving the Palestinian Authority Israel conflict was the key to all Middle East problems;

Robert Einhorn, a former member of the U.S negotiating team with Iran;

James Cartwright, a former vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

Gary Samore, a former Obama adviser on nuclear policy.

The letter, published in full below, states:

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The former advisers to President Obama urge him to reinstate a previous condition that Iran come clean on its previous research on nuclear weapons and allow international inspectors at military sites, which the regime in Tehran has repeated over and over the past two months it will not permit.

The letter, which is backed by a larger group that includes former Sen. Joe Lieberman, also calls on President Obama to take steps that would weaken Iran’s influence in the Middle East considering the huge economic boost Tehran would receive with the lifting of sanctions.

“Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran,” the letter states.

A White House sources insisted that a “large part” of the letter is on the same page as the American “negotiating position inside the negotiating room.”

Maybe so and maybe not,, but what about the ‘small’ part?

Here is the entire letter, as posted on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: 

The Iran nuclear deal is not done. Negotiations continue. The target deadline is June 30.  We know much about the emerging agreement. Most of us would have preferred a stronger agreement.

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The agreement does not purport to be a comprehensive strategy towards Iran. It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its “regional hegemony”), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people. The U.S. administration has prioritized negotiations to deal with the nuclear threat, and hopes that an agreement will positively influence Iranian policy in these other areas.

Even granting this policy approach, we fear that the current negotiations, unless concluded along the lines outlined in this paper and buttressed by a resolute regional strategy, may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a “good” agreement.

We are united in our view that to maximize its potential for deterring and dissuading Iran from building a nuclear weapon, the emerging nuclear agreement must – in addition to its existing provisions – provide the following:

Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the “IAEA”) charged with monitoring compliance with the agreement must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. This must include military (including IRGC) and other sensitive facilities. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere in the country that the inspectors need to visit in order to carry out their responsibilities.

Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities (“Possible Military Dimensions” or “PMD”). This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.

Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period. The goal is to push back Iran’s deployment of advanced centrifuges as long as possible, and ensure that any such deployment occurs at a measured, incremental pace consonant with a peaceful nuclear program.

Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran’s performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.

Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access. In addition, the United States must itself articulate the serious consequences Iran will face in that event.

Most importantly, it is vital for the United States to affirm that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from producing sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon – or otherwise acquiring or building one – both during the agreement and after it expires. Precisely because Iran will be left as a nuclear threshold state (and has clearly preserved the option of becoming a nuclear weapon state), the United States must go on record now that it is committed to using all means necessary, including military force, to prevent this.

The President should declare this to be U.S. policy and Congress should formally endorse it. In addition, Congressional review of any agreement should precede any formal action on the agreement in the United Nations.

Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran.

We urge the U.S. administration not to treat June 30 as an “inviolable” deadline. Stay at the negotiating table until a “good” agreement that includes these features is reached. Extend the existing Joint Plan of Action while negotiations continue.

This will freeze Iran’s nuclear activity and international sanctions at current levels. While the United States should extend the Iran Sanctions Act so it does not expire, it should not increase sanctions while negotiations continue. U.S. alternatives to an agreement are unappealing, but Iran’s are worse. It has every incentive to reach an agreement and obtain relief from sanctions and international isolation well in advance of its elections next February. If anyone is to walk out of the negotiations, let it be Iran.

Some argue that any nuclear agreement now simply further empowers bad Iranian behavior. And there is a lot to this argument. This is why we believe that the United States must bolster any agreement by doing more in the region to check Iran and support our traditional friends and allies.

This does not mean major U.S. ground combat operations in the Middle East. But it does mean taking initiatives like the following:

In Iraq: Expand training and arming not only of Iraqi Security Forces but also Kurdish Peshmerga in the north and vetted Sunni forces in the West. Allow U.S. Special Forces to leave their bases and help coordinate air strikes and stiffen Iraqi units. Sideline Iranian-backed militia and separate them from Shiite units (“popular mobilization units”) that are not under Iranian control.

In Syria: Expand and accelerate the U.S. train and equip programs. Work with Turkey to create a safe haven in northern Syria where refugees can obtain humanitarian aid and vetted non-extremist opposition fighters can be trained and equipped. Capitalize on Bashar al-Assad’s increasing weakness to split off regime elements and seek to join them with U.S. trained opposition elements. Interdict the transshipment of Iranian weapons into Syria in coordination with the Kurds and Turkey, and consider designating as terrorist organizations Iranian-backed Shiite militias responsible for egregious atrocities.

In Yemen: Expand support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in pressuring the warring parties to the negotiating table while seeking to split the Houthi elements away from Iran.

Regionally: Interdict Iranian arms bound for extremist groups and continue to counter its efforts to harass commercial shipping and our naval forces. Reaffirm U.S. policy to oppose Iran’s efforts to subvert local governments and project its power at the expense of our friends and allies.

Collectively, these steps also strengthen U.S. capability against Daesh (the misnamed “Islamic State”). Acting against both Iranian hegemony and Daesh’s caliphate will help reassure friends and allies of America’s continued commitment. And it will help address Israel’s legitimate concerns that a nuclear agreement will validate Iran’s nuclear program, further facilitate its destabilizing behavior, and encourage further proliferation at a time when Israel faces the possible erosion of its “qualitative military edge.”

We urge the U.S. administration to create a discreet, high-level mechanism with the Israeli government to identify and implement responses to each of these concerns.

Taking the actions we propose while the nuclear negotiations continue will reinforce the message that Iran must comply with any agreement and will not be allowed to pursue a nuclear weapon. This will increase, not decrease, the chance that Iran will comply with the agreement and may ultimately adopt a more constructive role in the region. For the U.S. administration’s hopes in this respect have little chance so long as Iran’s current policy seems to be succeeding in expanding its influence.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/five-former-advisers-to-obama-publish-warning-on-iran-deal/2015/06/25/

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