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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Greece Talks About Ties with Iran

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Greek and Iranian government officials met this week in Athens for talks on developing economic, trade and industrial ties between the two countries.

Such a move could become a threat to the Jewish State, which has worked hard to develop closer ties with Athens. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded an honorary doctorate to Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos during his state visit to Israel on March 30, citing his “warm relations with the State of Israel and the Jewish world.”

Iranian leaders have consistently maintained that government’s determination to “wipe the Zionist state off the map.”

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi met with Greek Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis, and Minister of Environment of Energy Panos Skourletis, according to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Both sides “declared their political will to develop ties in different fields” according to the news outlet.

Greece has an embassy in Tehran, and Iran is represented by its embassy in Athens. A small Christian Greek community exists in Iran; there is a Greek Orthodox church in Tehran which opens mostly during the Greek Holy Week. But relations that date back millenia between the two nations — at one point, two empires — have laid dormant for decades.

The officials discussed development of oil and gas and renewable energies, pharmaceutical industries, “modern technologies,” shipbuilding and shipping, tourism and “promoting banking relations.”

Both nations allegedly expressed willingness to implement a document that was signed following a February 7 visit to Iran by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, according to the Iranian news agency.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Engaged in Secret Efforts to Obtain Restitution for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The State of Israel is engaged in clandestine efforts to obtain restitution for the lost or stolen property of Jews who fled Arab countries after the State of Israel was founded. This was revealed in a discussion of the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on Wednesday morning.

“The expatriates from Arab countries fled, leaving their property behind,” said MK Avraham Neguise, the committee chairman. “We want to do historical justice by making sure that this property is finally restored to its owners.”

Hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Arab countries and the Middle East already faced persecution on the eve of Israel’s establishment in 1948. Once Israel declared its independence, they had to flee.

According to Avi Cohen, director general of the Social Equality Ministry, which helps funnel support to the poorer sectors in Israeli society, Israel has already been acting clandestinely to restore some of the property that belonged to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, investing millions of shekels to do so.

“Classified work is currently underway, in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry, in which we will invest millions to restore the property of Arab and Iranian Jewry,” Cohen said. “The work will come to fruition within four to six weeks. I cannot say more than that.”

Although Iran’s Jewish community did not face the same repercussions as Jews in Arab countries did in 1948, tens of thousands of Iranian Jews fled Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The officials at the meeting made other suggestions regarding restitution. Opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman MK Isaac Herzog hinted that a regional agreement would give Israel an opportunity to make the issue a top priority.

“The topic was mentioned explicitly in our elections platform,” Herzog said. “If there should be movement toward a regional agreement, the topic must definitely be placed on the agenda.”

Ze’ev Ben Yosef, a member of the World Likud executive committee, was skeptical of Herzog’s idea.

“It’s problematic to link the issue of restitution to a political agreement because the other side is in no hurry to reach such an agreement,” he said.

Others who were present argued that the issue of the lost or stolen property belonging to Jews who fled Arab and Muslim countries should gain more international recognition, especially since the UN gave refugee status to Palestinians and their descendants who fled their homes during Israel’s War of Independence.

“The moment that the UN supports refugees from Arab countries, it must recognize that there are Jewish refugees,” said Eli Gabbay, a former MK of the National Religious Party. “It must be guaranteed, through a political process, that just as the UN grants funds to the Arab refugees, it will make restitution to the Jewish refugees.”

MK Anat Berko (Likud), a descendant of Jewish refugees from Iraq, echoed Gabbay’s statement. “If you want to recognize Arab refugees, you must also recognize Jewish refugees,” she said. “I, too, see myself as a daughter of Iraqi-Jewish refugees.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Danon Warns UN Security Council Hezbollah Snuggles Bases Among Civilian Homes, Schools

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon warned the UN Security Council at a special meeting Tuesday that Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist group is aiming some 120,000 missiles at Israeli cities; a number far higher than the 7,000 rockets the group had in 2006.

In fact, Danon produced evidence that supported his claim that Hezbollah possesses more missiles in its underground arsenal than the entire European membership of NATO together maintain above ground.

Worse, perhaps, is the fact that the group has built many of its bases next to children’s schools — a human-shield tactic used by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

At the meeting, which was held to discuss the situation in the Middle East, Danon shared new intelligence which included aerial imagery of a village that had been transformed into a terrorist base.

“The village of Shakra in southern Lebanon has become a terrorist stronghold,” Danon told the Council. “One in every three buildings there is being used for terrorist infrastructure which includes launching pads for missiles, weapons caches and more.

“Nor has Hezbollah stopped here; it chose to situate its bases next to schools and other public structures. And in so doing, it has endangered innocent civilians,” he said.

Weapons are also being stored in civilian areas, according to IDF soldiers who spoke with the BBC. “Every mission that I’ve been on personally has been observing Hezbollah operations in a heavily populated area,” a soldier told the UK-based media outlet. “In a house with a family living in it, or in a house next door or behind it.” “It is the responsibility of the UN Security Council to evict Hezbollah from southern Lebanon,” Danon emphasized.

The IDF pointed out in an article published Tuesday on its English-language blog that Hezbollah has joined Iran in working to destablize the entire Middle East, with footholds around the world. “This Shi’ite militia from Southern Lebanon has grown into a sizable international threat,” according to Israel’s military analysts.

Hezbollah trains, funds and fights alongside armies and militias that promote Iranian interests and ideologies, exacerbating conflicts not only throughout the Middle East, but also by exporting chaos well beyond their borders.

Former national security adviser IDF General (ret.)Yaakov Amidror told the BBC on Tuesday that Hezbollah’s firepower is magnified more than ten-fold over what it was before the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“Now they have more than 120,000 rockets and missiles,” Amidror said. “It’s a huge number that you don’t find in any country in Europe, for example. When you see all these efforts, you ask yourself one question: what for?”

Hana Levi Julian

Iran Violates the Deal. Now What?

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

In the months since the Iran nuclear deal went into effect, the Obama administration has acknowledged that the behavior of the Islamist regime hasn’t changed much. The Iranians continue to act as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, test illegal ballistic missiles, threaten their neighbors, and seek regional hegemony while its leaders spewed hate at the West, the United States, and Israel. Indeed, in April, the president admitted that the Iranians were undermining “the spirit” of the pact while insisting that they were nonetheless observing the letter of the agreement. But it turns out his trust in the law-abiding nature of his negotiating partners was misplaced. A new report published by German intelligence that was backed up by a statement in the Bundestag by Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that the Iranians have violated the letter of the deal via a clandestine effort to obtain “high-level” nuclear technology without permission from the United Nations Security Council.

The report from the German FBI—the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution spoke of Iran’s support for terrorists inside Germany including Hezbollah and Hamas. But just as alarming was the finding that Iran made at least nine recent attempts to acquire technology for nuclear arms development. Though it claimed the majority of those attempts were thwarted by German intelligence, the agency said there was no doubt the Islamist regime would continue “its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

The implications of this report cannot be overestimated.

This means that despite all the happy talk from the United States and its Western allies about compliance with the terms of the nuclear pact, their confidence is unfounded. Instead of merely reaping the enormous benefits that have accrued to it from the ending of sanctions and waiting patiently for the pact to expire in ten years before resuming their push for a weapon, Iran has never stopped working to achieve its nuclear ambition. President Obama made concession after concession and allowed Iran to keep its nuclear infrastructure and research programs because he believed the regime wanted to “get right with the world.” But as the Germans have made clear, critics who have said all along that the president’s trust was misplaced were correct.

The facts published by the Germans can’t be viewed in isolation. That can’t be the only country where Iran is working to cheat its way to a nuclear weapon. Iran’s overseas reach is considerable both in terms of its secret intelligence operatives as well as the vast terror network that it helps orchestrate via its Hezbollah auxiliaries.

Moreover, if the German FBI knows this, it is highly likely that American intelligence also is aware of these activities. That raises questions about whether U.S. officials in the White House and the State Department that have continued to assure us that the letter of the agreement is being observed have been lying to the American people. The revelations also put President Obama’s comments in recent months about the need to encourage Iran to be more open to the world in a different light.

What action can the West take to deal with these violations?

A year ago when the president and Secretary of State John Kerry were selling the virtues of the deal to a dubious Congress and American people, they told us that sanctions would be snapped back in the event of violations. But this is highly unlikely. As deal skeptics predicted, the administration and the West are too heavily invested in the notion of détente with Iran to respond with the sort of alacrity that might impress Tehran. America’s European allies were never enthusiastic about the Iran sanctions in the first place, and the gold rush of Western businesses to Iran has created a vast constituency for continued appeasement.

Yet that should not deter Congress from taking up the issue of Iranian cheating at its earliest opportunity.

The first order of business should be to call a halt to the deal the Boeing Company has struck with Iran to sell it commercial aircraft and related goods and services. That agreement was already raising concerns on both sides of the aisle because of the possibility that companies controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the entity that runs Tehran’s terror networks would be involved with Boeing. But, given the evidence of Iranian nuclear espionage, a strong message must be sent, and that should mean Congress putting a stop to the effort to allow Boeing to get into bed with terrorists. In addition to that Congress must also make it clear that it will not allow the administration to further relax sanctions or to let foreign companies use dollars to conduct business with Iran.

Just as important, this report should signal both Donald Trump—an avowed opponent of the nuclear deal—and Hillary Clinton—who supports it but didn’t take part in the negotiations and isn’t as invested in the myth of Iranian moderation as the president—that U.S. policies toward Iran must change in January. No matter the identity of the next president, President Obama’s successor must begin the work of clawing back the West’s leverage over a rogue regime that cannot be trusted and which presents a clear and present danger to world peace.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Netanyahu to Rwanda President: ‘We Cannot Outsource Our Safety’

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a joint news conference Wednesday with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame that neither of their nations can afford to “outsource [their] safety and security.”

Netanyahu and his wife Sara were welcomed by Kagame and his wife upon their arrival on Wednesday morning. The two leaders met privately at the Rwandan president’s residence after a visit to the memorial museum, where Netanyahu signed a guest book in a wing dedicated to the Rwandan genocide. He also saw the wing dedicated to genocide in other countries and the Children’s Room at the museum.

The two leaders met privately at the Rwandan president’s residence after a visit to the memorial museum. Netanyahu signed a guest book in a wing dedicated to the Rwandan genocide. He also saw the wing dedicated to genocide in other countries and the Children’s Room at the museum.

Speaking to reporters after the visit, Netanyahu said he was “deeply impressed” with the country, calling “vibrant” and “resolute.” He complimented the president, saying the nation and people have accomplished “amazing things, and these achievements are even more impressive given the horrors that you had to overcome.”

Speaking at a joint news conference following the visit to the museum, Netanyahu called the morning’s tour “exceptionally moving, jolting even… to see the pictures of children, sometimes babies, their briefest life stories put before us. Families that were cut down by neighbors, murdered by people, they lived next to them all their lives. And there are haunting evocations of your tragedy with our tragedy.

“My people know the pain of genocide as well, and this is a unique bond that neither one of our peoples would prefer to have. Yet we both persevered. Despite the pain and despite the horror, we survived. We never lost hope; and you never lost hope.

“Today Israel and Rwanda are successful states and models for progress. We have learned, both our peoples, I think a valuable lesson from our tragic pasts: Genocide is preceded by incitement to mass murder. Words matter. They have the power to kill. And broadcast words, whether on the radio or now through other means, they have the power to kill even further.

“In Rwanda, radio broadcasts dehumanized people long before they were slaughtered. You asked for those broadcasts to be stopped as part of your battle against genocide, and you were unsuccessful.

“The Nazis too began dehumanizing Jews long before they started murdering millions of our people. So today, when we see leaders in Gaza calling for the murder of every Jew around the world, we all have a duty to speak out. When we hear the Supreme Leader of Iran calling for the annihilation of Israel, we have a duty to speak out. We have a duty to alert the world to the danger of these hateful words.

“This the first lesson we learned, but we learned another one and that in difficult times, we must be able to defend ourselves by ourselves. In Rwanda, UN peacekeepers failed to keep the peace. They not only failed to keep the peace, they failed to respond to urgent calls for salvation against an impending genocide. They ran away. We cannot, neither one of us, outsource our safety and our security,” Netanyahu warned.

Hana Levi Julian

Nasrallah: Everything Hezbollah Eats and Drinks, Its Weapons and Rockets, Come from Iran

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

In a Friday speech marking 40 days after the death of senior Hezbollah commander Mustafah Bedreddine in Damascus, the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah announced that his group is “open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Which is why no matter how many new sanctions the US and the West would place on it, Nasrallah said, Hezbollah “will not be affected.”

Nasrallah said: “As long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it…”

As Al Arabia pointed out, the Nasrallah speech is a major embarrassment to the Obama Administration, since it appears that by approving the thawing of Iranian funds in return for a dubious nuclear agreement the US is now “playing a critical role in assisting and facilitating the ways through which Hezbollah receives this significant aid from the Iranian government.”

Two of the major beneficiaries of the sanctions relief have been Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Iran has also been able to increase its military budget by $1.5 billion from $15.6 billion to $17.1 billion.

Nasrallah’s speech now indicates that US money transfer to Iran’s bank and the sanctions relief have empowered both the Iranian government and Hezbollah, this after a few years in which the Lebanese terror organizations has suffered the worst string of casualties in its proxy war in Syria alongside the IRGC.

With that in mind, Nasrallah said on Friday that since thousands of Hezbollah’s Sunni enemies have recently entered Syria through Turkey to take over the northern city of Aleppo, he will send more fighters to the Aleppo area, where Hezbollah has suffered heavy losses in the past. “We are facing a new wave […] of projects of war against Syria which are being waged in northern Syria, particularly in the Aleppo region,” Nasrallah said, declaring, “The defence of Aleppo is the defense of the rest of Syria, it is the defense of Damascus, it is also the defense of Lebanon, and of Iraq.”

Nasrallah also admitted that 26 Hezbollah fighters had been killed so far in June, adding to the estimates of more than a thousand Hezbollah dead, including several senior leaders, in the Syrian civil war.

JNi.Media

Iranian Medalist Avoids Photo With Israeli Colleague, Boycotts Ceremony

Friday, June 24th, 2016

An Iranian silver medalist didn’t show up for his own awards ceremony at the World Cup event in Baku, Azerbaijan on Thursday. The no-show was the winner’s way of making sure he would not be photographed next to an Israeli fellow sportsman.

Hossein Bagheri won silver in the 10-meter air rifle competition, with Israeli shooter Sergey Richter, 27, claiming the bronze medal. Richter, a former European champion, is slated to represent Israel at the upcoming Olympics this summer in Rio. The gold medal went to Filip Nepejchal of the Czech Republic.

In order to be certain the two would not be photographed side by side, Bagheri boycotted the ceremony. He did not, however, boycott the event itself, nor did he really boycott his fellow sportsman: Richter told reporters that the two did shake hands, well away from the cameras.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iranian-medalist-avoids-photo-with-israeli-colleague-boycotts-ceremony/2016/06/24/

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