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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

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.

Possible Revised F-35 Could Make It for Israel Easier to Attack Iran [video]

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Lockheed-Martin is studying an Israel request for a longer flight range that would make refueling easier.

The manufacturer of the F-35 stealth attack plane, which Israel might use to attack Iran, is examining an Israeli request to extend the flight range by 30 percent, Amir Rapaport of the Israel Defense website reported Thursday.

Approximately 1,000 miles (1,500 kilometers) separate Israel and Iran, and the current F-35 is designed to fly approximately the same distance without refueling.

The IDF has asked the range to be extended to 1,500 miles, according to Rapaport.

That still would require refueling before Israeli attack planes could return home, but a longer flight range would preclude refueling en route or having to use a base closer to Iran, such as Azerbaijan. A longer flight range also would widen the choices where Israeli pilots could land for refueling on their way home from a bombing mission.

Israel Defense noted that special versions of the F-15 and F-16 include additional fuel tanks, but that option is less practical for the F-35. Even adding fuel capacity by 30 percent would make the airplane larger, challenge engineers to retain the F-35’s stealth capabilities.

IAF teams reportedly are working with Lockheed-Martin in Texas before the first F-35s are due to arrive in Israel towards the end of 2016.

As in the previous planes, Israel has introduced several improvements for the stealth fighter.
Rapaport wrote that sources said:

Israel will significantly improve the aircraft as it once did with the F-15 and F-16.

The F-35 is considered by many Israeli defense officials to be its answer to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if an agreement between the P5+1 powers and Tehran does not halt the program.
Below: Video of F-35 in action

Hamas UAV Crashes in Attempt to Invade Israeli Airspace

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

BREAKING NEWS:

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) tried to invade Israelis airspace from Gaza but crashed at the security fence shortly after 3 pm. (5 a.m. EDT) Thursday.

The IDF has not stated if the drone was carrying surveillance equipment or an explosive device.

Hamas has tried several times to send UAVs into Gaza, and Hezbollah successfully did so two years ago before the IDF shot it down over the southern Heron Hills, northeast of Be’er Sheva.

Iran, which backs Hezbollah, lately has resumed financing Hamas.

Soldiers from the IDF Engineering Corps forces retrieved the UAV for inspection.

The Air Force said it had been monitoring the drone since it launch, and it scrambled warplanes, which did not have anything to shoot at since it the UAV couldn’t even fly past the security fence.

 

 

Kerry Travels to Vienna for Final (?) Nuclear Talks with Iran

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to return to the negotiating table on Friday for another round of nuclear talks with Iran.

“Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Vienna, Austria on June 26 to participate in the ongoing EU-coordinated P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran,” spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement Thursday.

The delegation led by the U.S. includes Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

The six world powers are trying to reach an agreement with Tehran that would allow spot inspections of all Iranian nuclear facilities by United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.

Under the agreement Iran would halt its uranium enrichment and nuclear technology development for the next ten years, in exchange for the UN lifting the crippling sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.

Thus far, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has nixed the terms of the deal, despite an offer from the delegation to provide everything Iran needs to produce peaceful nuclear energy, which Iran claims is all it seeks.

Among the items being offered are “high-tech light-water nuclear reactors and other state-of-the-art nuclear equipment,” according to a secret eight-page document obtained earlier this week and revealed exclusively by The Associated Press. Dated June 19 and entitled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” the report appears to call Iran’s bluff – but as Omri Ceren of The Israel Project noted in a response brief, it’s not that simple.

“Some country in the P5+1 will be helping the Iranians develop next generation centrifuges in a facility impenetrable to American and Israeli bombs,” Ceren contended. He added that “any country that wants to sabotage that development will be unable to do so, because the program will be protected and maintained by a major power.”

Although the centrifuges will be spinning non-nuclear elements during the course of the ten-year agreement, they will be primed and ready to enrich nuclear fuel the moment the agreement ends.

“The international community will literally be investing in helping Iran achieve a zero breakout,” Ceren warned.

The negotiations, which have already been extended twice before, are scheduled to conclude on June 30.

US, World Powers Offering Nuclear Equipment to Iran

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

A secret eight-page document obtained Tuesday and revealed exclusively by The Associated Press shows just how far the U.S. and world powers are willing to go for a nuclear deal with a Iran.

Dated June 19 and entitled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” the document appears to make it clear the international delegation is providing everything Iran needs to produce peaceful nuclear power. Among the equipment to be provided are “high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment.”

Also on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on national state television that Tehran would not agree to a long-term freeze on nuclear development. Nor would he allow international inspectors into military nuclear sites. Finally, he demanded that all sanctions against Iran be lifted immediately upon signing a deal with the U.S. led group of world powers.

In offering cutting-edge light-water nuclear reactors to replace its heavy-water facility at Arak – which if completed can produce several atomic weapons per year – in effect the group appears to call Iran’s bluff. Either it truly wants to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, or not. If Iran turns the offer down, its intentions are clear.

But according to Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, it may not be that simple. “There is no ‘peaceful only.’ All of this stuff can be re-purposed for weapons work,” he wrote in an emailed reply to JewishPress.com.

“As the annex is written right now… this is no longer a deal to stop the Iranian nuclear program,” he pointed out in a brief prepared for TIP. “It’s a deal to let the Iranians perfect their nuclear program with international assistance and under international protection.

“Some country in the P5+1 will be helping the Iranians develop next-generation centrifuges in a facility impenetrable to American and Israeli bombs,” Ceren contended. “Conversely, any country that wants to sabotage that development will be unable to do so, because the program will be protected and maintained by a major power.

“As the centrifuges are being developed they’ll be spinning non-nuclear elements, but once they’re perfected the Iranians will be able to use them to enrich uranium. The international community will literally be investing in helping Iran achieve a zero breakout.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Nixing Terms for Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Iranian nuclear scientists are expected to maintain their pace and make good progress in the field – with or without sanctions or a deal for relief – according to a report on state TV.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it clear Tuesday that he has ruled out any freeze on sensitive nuclear work, state television reported.

The deal being offered by the six world powers (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China) offers relief from sanctions imposed on Tehran, linked to verifications by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has halted its sensitive nuclear development program. The deal is to extend over a 10 year period.

In return, the UN is to lift the economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, using a step-down system linked to IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear plants and research facilities.

But Iran’s Supreme Leader has nixed all that, and demands that sanctions be removed immediately as well.

“Freezing Iran’s research and development for a long time, like 10 or 12 years, is not acceptable,” Khamenei responded in a speech that was broadcast live over Iran state television.

“Sanctions should be lifted immediately when the deal is signed and it should not be linked to verification by the UN watchdog body.

“Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines.

“America is hoping to destroy our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators’ aim is to safeguard Iran’s integrity … and our nuclear achievements during the talks.”

It is Khamenei who has the authority to make the final decision on anything dealing with nuclear technology in Iran; thus as it stands now, it is likely that unless he suddenly changes his mind – or the delegation is willing to accept his terms — the deal is likely to be scrapped.

Or talks will again be extended, as they have been twice before.

Negotiations so far are scheduled to end – “one way or the other” – on June 30.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pressuring the world powers to walk away from “this bad deal” and warning Iran would not keep its end of the bargain. It has already been discovered that Iran was increasing its uranium enrichment production during the nuclear agreement talks, even though it had already committed to halting such production as a good faith measure during negotiations.

Israel maintains that Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill its side of any future deal, either.

WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Cable: ‘Iran Sent Nukes to Sudan’

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Iran may have sent advanced nuclear equipment to Sudan in 2012, according to a cable from the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum revealed by WikiLeaks.

“The embassy’s sources advise that Iranian containers arrived this week at Khartoum airport containing sensitive technical equipment in the form of fast centrifuges for enriching uranium, and a second shipment is expected to arrive this week,” the document was quoted by Reuters as saying. It was allegedly marked “TOP SECRET” and dated February 2012.

More than 60,000 cables and documents released by WikiLeaks were alleged to be official Saudi communications. Riyadh has not commented on the specific documents, and has said they are “probably faked.”

The international watchdog organization publishes news leaks of secret and classified information; it said it will eventually publish up to 500,000 Saudi documents but did not reveal the source.

There were no details about the source of the information, nor was any further evidence made available. The international community is not aware of any nuclear program existent in Sudan, and there have been no previous public reports of Iran having sent any nuclear equipment to the African nation.

However, Iran has in the past used Sudan as a conduit through which to ship weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza and its warships have made the Port of Sudan a routine stopping place in the region.

A Sudanese munitions factory was mysteriously destroyed in October 2012. The government of Sudan claimed the Khartoum factory was blown up in an air strike by Israeli fighter pilots.

Israel declined to comment about the accusation. But senior officials did not hesitate to mention Sudan’s role in serving as a transit point for weapons being shipped from Iran via the Sinai Peninsula to terror groups in Gaza and elsewhere.

In March 2014, Israel intercepted the Klos-C off the shores of Sudan as it was headed to Gaza, laden with long-range M-302 missiles and other weapons shipped from Iran.

Tehran is the second-biggest supplier of arms to the African nation, according to a Small Arms Survey report issued last year. However, until this point, there has been no mention that any of the materials, equipment or weapons were nuclear.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/wikileaks-reveals-saudi-cable-iran-sent-nukes-to-sudan/2015/06/23/

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