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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Tim Kaine’s Decision to Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech Could Hurt Hillary

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

When Hillary Clinton’s choice for VP, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, joined the Democrats who avoided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress, he announced: “There is no reason to schedule this speech before Israeli voters go to the polls on March 17 and choose their own leadership.” Revealing that he had labored to delay the Netanyahu appearance, Kaine said, “I am disappointed that, as of now, the speech has not been postponed. For this reason, I will not attend the speech.”

Before Kaine made his announcement, only three other senators had planned to boycott the speech: the two anti-Netanyahu Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy, and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. All the other Democratic senators were reluctant to commit either way, and told the press they were thinking about it. Even the biggest Democratic opponent of the Iran deal, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, did not forcefully call on his fellow Democrats to show—not willing to upset an already irate President Obama. Most Democratic legislators who said they’d avoid the speech came from blue states and blue districts. But when Kaine, whose state of Virginia until 2008 voted Republican for president, gave permission to Democrats from red states to boycott Netanyahu when he declared he was skipping the speech.

The Forward on Friday wrote that Kaine “Will be the Jewiest Vice President” under Hillary Clinton, describing him as “a friend to the Jewish community for about as long as he’s been in public service.” But when one reads the reasons why Kaine is so “Jewey” according to the Forward, one realizes Kaine would be a bonanza to leftwing Israeli Jews, very much like the folks who are currently in the White House.

Kaine supports a two-state solution, argues the Forward; also, he is a religious Catholic (so he knows all about the auto-da-fé); during his time as the governor of Virginia, Sabra built the world’s largest hummus factory outside Richmond, and hummus is Jewish, isn’t it, ask anyone from Cairo to Ramallah to Damascus; and Kaine hosted several Passover seders and played matchmaker to Conservative Rabbi Jack Moline’s daughter.

So, in considering Kaine’s pros and cons regarding Israel, you have his support for a nuclear deal with Iran, and his support for a Palestinian State, while on the plus side you have lots of hummus.

JNi.Media

AP: Secret Iran ‘Side Deal’ Allows Tehran To Accelerate Nuclear Development

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

When the P5+1 deal was first revealed the review on these pages after reading it, was “there is no other way to describe the Iran deal—it stinks!” Associated Press reporter George Jahn did something I didn’t think was possible, in an exclusive report on Monday he revealed that the Iran deal was even worse than we first thought. Jahn got hold of a secret side deal which allows to upgrade its centrifuges and increase its enriching capacity, all before the deal officially expires in 15 years. The projection is this will reduce the time for Iran to build a bomb to 6 months instead of the year time frame that was promised.

The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved both by Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.

One of items that was fuzzy in the public version of the P5+1 deal is what happens between years 10 and 15. Mr. Jahn’s scoop explains that period, “It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.” Those advanced centrifuges are about 5x more efficient than the centrifuges it now uses. They will only be allowed between 2,500-3,000 of the high-tech centrifuges but because they are better at enriching uranium, Iran will be able to enrich at twice the speed as before.

As a result, Obama’s promise that the Iran deal would ensure that Iran would need at least a year to “break out” to a bomb was (not surprisingly) a lie.

But based on a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines, if the enrichment rate doubles, that breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double, a possibility the document allows for.

The document also allows Iran to greatly expand its work with centrifuges that are even more advanced, including large-scale testing in preparation for the deal’s expiration 15 years after its implementation on Jan. 18.

(…) A U.S. official noted, however, that the limit on the amount of enriched uranium Iran will be allowed to store will remain at 300 kilograms (660 pounds) for the full 15 years as well as being restricted to a level used for reactor fuel that is well below weapons grade. Like the diplomats, he too demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the document.

In other words, the deal sets them up with the centrifuges necessary to go nuclear six months after the expiration of the deal.

In the Iran deal as first presented did not require Iran to close a single nuclear facility, not one centrifuge gets dismantled, some of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium gets “converted” but all of it stays in the country. Their entire nuclear infrastructure remains intact, they gets to continue its nuclear research, the ballistic missile program continues, the sanctions come off as Iran complies, and while there are provisions for sanctions to snap back, any such action needs to be approved through the U.N. Security Council and vetoes from Russia and/or China.

Thanks to the AP’s Mr. Jahn we learn that it also helps Iran cut the time it needs to leap to a nuclear bomb from a year to six months. And thanks to Barack Obama, the United States of America, our Sunni allies in the gulf region, and Israel are in worse danger than before.

Jeff Dunetz

14 Senate Democrats Call for Extending Sanctions on Iran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Fourteen Democratic senators introduced legislation last week calling for an extension of existing sanctions on Iran, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) are leading the push for renewing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which aims to prevent foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. Both voiced their opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran after it was announced.

“After extensive consultations with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act before the end of the year,” said Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Doing so is vital if the United States wants to retain a credible deterrent of snap back sanctions.”

Cardin and Schumer called on their colleagues in both chambers to quickly advance the legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.

“It is essential that Congress keep Iran’s feet to the fire to make sure they do not violate the [nuclear deal]. This bill would provide the sanction authority that helps us do just that,” said Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

On Friday, many of the same Democratic Senators who originally supported the nuclear deal wrote a letter criticizing the agreement’s inspection procedures and calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to release more information from its inspections.

Despite international criticism, including from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles. The Islamic Republic reportedly launched a ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, the ninth such test it carried out since reaching a nuclear deal with global powers last year.

Tower Magazine

Iran Negotiating Sale of Heavy Water to Russia, Enriched Uranium May Be Included

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Iran may sell to Russia some 40 ton of heavy water, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Tuesday, TASS reported. “We are currently in negotiations with Russia on the sale of 40 tons of heavy water, there are also other buyers ready to purchase it from us,” the minister said.

Araghchi noted that the negotiations are still going on, adding, “I don’t known when [the agreement will be reached], these are commercial negotiations, they continue.”

According to Araghchi, the Iranians have recently sold 32 tons of heavy water to the US. “The deal has been finalized, the money has already been transferred to the accounts of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization,” he said.

In January, Iran removed the core of its Arak heavy water nuclear reactor and filled it with cement as required under a nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers, TASS reported. Like the US, Russia is eager to purchase Iran’s excess heavy water and enriched uranium, Alexei Karpov, the Russian deputy permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ll be ready, as a possible option, to continue such work on enriched uranium in the future, if Iran requests,” he said. “As for heavy water, we are also ready to assist Iran in this issue by buying the needed amount of this material.”

Heavy water is a form of water that contains a larger than normal amount of the hydrogen isotope deuterium, rather than the common hydrogen-1 isotope that makes up most of the hydrogen in normal water. Deuterium oxide is used in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy when the solvent of interest is water and the nuclide of interest is hydrogen.

Iran produced deuterated solvents in early 2011 for the first time at its plant for production of heavy water at Khondab near Arak.

David Israel

Secret Document Shows Iran Can Restart Uranium Enrichment in 2027 [video]

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

A document obtained Monday by AP, which is the only part of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran, the US and five other powers that has been kept secret, was described it as an appendix to the nuclear deal, which Iran sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, describing its plans to restart its uranium enrichment program not after 15 years, as the world has been led to believe, but after only 10 years from the start of the nuclear deal.

The anonymous diplomat who leaked the secret document to AP said that it had been knowingly approved by the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, which then went ahead and lied to their citizens about the actual time constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

According to AP, the document sets January 2027, 11 years after the deal was implemented, as the date when Iran will be allowed to operate thousands of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium to levels ranging from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research to being placed in the core of a nuclear warhead. Iran’s new centrifuges, as many as 3,500, will be fewer in number than the current 5,060 centrifuges, but far more efficient, according to the document, allowing Iran to enrich at more than twice the current rate.

Speaking on the nuclear deal’s anniversary Thursday, President Obama said it had succeeded in “avoiding further conflict and making us safer.” But the AP predicted Republicans on the Hill would start voicing their loud objections to Obama’s assessment once they realize that Iran could go back to working on a bomb in 10 years. Israel will surely not be pleased with the news, either.

David Albright, head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, a major resource on Iran’s nuclear program, told AP that the document “will create a great deal of instability and possibly even lead to war, if regional tensions have not subsided.”

JNi.Media

Global Forum on Anti-Semitism This Year in Buenos Aires

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

For the first time, the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism (GFCA) traditionally held biennally in Jerusalem is taking place this weekend (July 16-18) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference this year is organized by the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional chapter of the World Jewish Congress.

Anti-Semitism is rising around the world, and this year’s conference is focused on creating an action plan to respond to the attacks on an international level.

On Monday forum participants are slated to attend a ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. The attack was suspected to have been perpetrated by Iran via its Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah. In that attack 85 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.

“The first GFCA in Latin America presents a unique opportunity to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Latin America and develop an action plan that would complement the one drafted at the last GFCA in Jerusalem in June 2015,” the HILC said in a statement.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent experts to the conference to participate in a panel discussion on best practices in tackling cyberhate – the spread of anti-Semitism online.

ADL resources which have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese are being presented during a session on identifying and opposing cyberhate and community safety online.

“With the advent of various social media platforms, and the volume of pernicious content, no continent is immune to the growing phenomenon of online hate,” warned Jonathan Vick, ADL Assistant Director for Cyberhate Response.

Hana Levi Julian

One Year in: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Alleviate Global and Israeli Fears?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany—was a watershed event in international diplomacy and a key moment for U.S. President Barack Obama, who staked his legacy on the deal’s success. One year later, should world nations, and perhaps most notably Israel, still view the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat?

“In terms of compliance with the deal itself, I think it is going very well,” Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corporation, told JNS.org. “Basically, the bargain was Iran rolling back of key elements of the nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—those two key aspects of the deal have been met.”

In May, U.S. Ambassador and Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Stephen Mull said in testimony to the U.S. Senate that the Iran nuclear deal “has been implemented by all participants.”

According to Mull, Iran has completed dozens of specific actions to “limit, freeze, or roll back its nuclear program and subject it to greater transparency by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

This includes Iran disconnecting two-thirds of its installed centrifuge capacity, terminating uranium enrichment at its secretive Fordow nuclear facility, reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and filling the core of its Arak heavy water reactor with concrete.

As such, Mull concluded that these actions have increased Iran’s so-called “breakout time”—the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—from two or three months to at least a year.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told JNS.org that while the deal is “holding for now,” the Iranians “remain within the letter of the agreement but not the spirit of it.”

“They have been a little more transparent in their nuclear processes, but it has not fundamentally changed Iranian behavior,” Berman said, alluding to Iran’s continued military buildup; support for terrorist organizations; and hostility towards Israel, the U.S., and America’s Arab allies.

Many policymakers and analysts also remain concerned about the economic ramifications of the nuclear deal. One of the principle concerns had been the estimated $100-$150 billion in sanctions relief that Iran would receive as a result of the unfreezing of foreign assets once the Islamic Republic met its obligations under the agreement.

According to Berman, the deal has set in motion a “vast sanctions give away that is far more expansive than most people understand.”

“It is not only the $100 billion or so incorporated into the deal, but also measures like the White House’s attempts to facilitate Iranian access to the U.S. dollar and pressure on state governments to roll back Iranian divestment measures,” he said.

“What they set in motion was this grand reorientation of global economics in favor of Iran,” Berman added.

Despite these concerns, there are still a number of non-nuclear U.S. sanctions in place on Iran relating to terrorism, Iran’s ballistic missile program, and human rights violations—creating financial uncertainty for Iran, and making a number of international companies and banks wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic. Those sanctions are in place in large part because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, is heavily involved in Iran’s economy.

As such, with Iran not seeing the economic windfall that it had hoped for and had promised its people, Iranian leaders have publicly complained that the U.S. has not held its end of the bargain in the nuclear deal.

“On paper, the Americans say banks can trade with Iran, but in practice they act in such an Iranophobic way that no trade can take place with Iran,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in April, while accusing the U.S. of engaging in “obstruction and deception.”

Yet Berman dismissed these complaints by Iranian leaders, saying that it is important to “separate what Iran says from what it is actually doing.”

Just weeks after the implementation of the nuclear deal in January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, where both nations agreed to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Russia used the pretext of the lifting of nuclear sanctions to renew its deal to provide Iran with the advanced S-300 air defense system.

Even India, which has seen significantly warming relations with Iran’s enemy, Israel, under President Narendra Modi, signed a dozen agreements with Tehran during a visit by Modi to the Islamic Republic in May, including a $500 million deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Before the nuclear deal, Iran “didn’t lack for global ambition, but lacked resources,” said Berman. Now, he explained, “the powers of global politics are such [that] the Iranians can start thinking about what it looks like to not just be a participant in Middle East politics, but a key driver of it, [and] not just be a partner of rogue regimes like North Korea or Venezuela, but to actually be a patron of them….That’s a fundamentally new dynamic for the Iranians.”

For Israel, the nuclear agreement represented a major blow to the efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke out strongly and regularly against the pre-deal nuclear negotiations and has argued that the deal does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Yet a year after the deal was signed, there appears to be less concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions within Israel’s leadership and more of a focus on Iran’s regional ambitions, its involvement in Syria, and Iran’s support for its terror proxies.

This sentiment was clear in recent remarks by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who stated at the Herzilya Conference in June that Iran’s nuclear program “has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel.”

Similarly, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said during a speech in January that a current “decline” in existential threats to Israel comes due to a variety of emerging trends, including the Iran nuclear deal.

The Rand Corporation’s Kaye, who recently returned from a trip to Israel, said that “there is a wide consensus among Israeli analysts that the Iranians are likely to adhere to this agreement.”

But Israeli military officials are now more deeply concerned about the possible economic and military consequences that a richer and more emboldened Iran will bring forth, especially through its support for its terror proxy nations. Kaye cautioned that for Israel, attention “has really turned to Iran’s role in Syria and its relation with Hezbollah as well as a permanent Iranian presence along Israel’s northern border in southern Syria.”

Berman said that “even if you take away the existential question of Iran getting a nuclear weapon later, which is where they (Israeli security officials) still think Iran is headed. What you are looking at is a very negative cycle of economic attrition. [Israelis] expect all the proxies that Iran is funding —Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad—to have a greater resources in the near future as a result of the nuclear deal.”

As a consequence, Berman said, Israel will need to step up its security and deterrence, and spend more money on defensive weapons and technology such as the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems or anti-tunneling technology.

Nevertheless, Kaye contended that by taking the nuclear threat off the table for the time being, Israel might have more of a chance to act boldly against Iran’s terror proxies without the concern of potentially igniting a nuclear conflict with Iran.

“One of the motivations [of the deal] to begin with was to ensure that Iran would not be engaging in this type of behavior under a nuclear umbrella. I think in that context, there is some relief that Iran is at least hemmed in on the nuclear front,” Kaye said.

While it appears that Iran’s compliance with the letter of the deal has so far reduced the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran in the short term, there is continued concern among policymakers and analysts over Iran’s aggressive behavior moving forward.

“I think the focus will now only increase towards implementation as well as planning and preparation for what might happen once some of the key elements of this deal start to expire in 10 years,” Kaye said. “The only exception to that will be increased momentum and focus on the missile front. There won’t be a renegotiation on the existing agreement. But there may be a push to expand on the current agreement to include more restrictions on Iranian missile testing and development in exchange for further economic relief.”

Sean Savage

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/one-year-in-does-the-iran-nuclear-deal-alleviate-global-and-israeli-fears/2016/07/17/

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