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May 4, 2015 / 15 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Congress to Prevail: Iran Nuke Deal Oversight Veto-Proof Following Compromises

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Are there teeth left in the legislation guaranteeing Congressional oversight of the Iran Deal, after compromises were struck to attain overwhelming bipartisan support? That’s the question as news begins to leak out regarding back room deals to make the legislation more palatable to Democrats and thereby ensure sufficient supporters to override President Barack Obama’s veto.

There will be a final vote on the measure this afternoon, U.S. east coast time. But early morning on Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and a lead co-sponsor of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), sounded confident that the marked-up measure would be voted out of committee by a wide margin and that it would have the necessary number of votes for the override.

Dozens of amendments were offered by Senators on both sides of the aisle, including ones intended to address the issue of Iranian funding of global terrorism and Iran’s threats to annihilate the Jewish State.

Going into the day the careful nose counters were predicting that Corker’s bill remained at least one solid vote short of the 67 necessary to override President Obama’s veto. But by early morning, Corker was jubilant.

“We have reached a bipartisan agreement that keeps the congressional review process absolutely intact, full of integrity,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The final language will not be made available until the vote is taken at the conclusion of the SFR Committee meeting, but leaked information suggested that language which would require the President to guarantee that Iran was not supporting or carrying out acts of terrorism against Americans or the United States was amended, and that the time period allotted to Congress for review may have been shortened from the 60 days in the original bill.

“We believe the American people want Congress to understand the details on their behalf,” Corker said during a CNN interview. When asked why Congress was not giving the President’s negotiating team the time that, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry asked for to allow the team to conclude their negotiations, Corker responded that perhaps there was a misunderstanding.

“We aren’t going to be involved while they are negotiating, but when they’re finished, we want this deal presented to Congress.” Corker said it should be put before Congress prior to any lifting of Congressional sanctions being lifted. While the CNN host attempted to pushback on Congress, suggesting it was overstepping its jurisdiction, but Corker insisted that Congress’s role was essential before anything happened which affected a Congressionally-mandated sate of sanctions.

“Iran is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world,” Corker said, “and

Corker also mentioned that he believes there is language in the latest version of the bill that “addresses concerns over whether Iran should recognize the state of Israel as part of the agreement,” according to the Politico news site. The specific language Corker claimed addressed this issue was not specified.

The other language people will be inspecting with a magnifying glass deals with with when international sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear activity will be lifted. Initial reports about the framework agreed to by the U.S. and its other P5+1 partners and Iran were flatly inconsistent on when sanctions would be lifted, with Iran claiming (and demanding) that as soon as a deal was reached sanctions had to be lifted. The Americans, in contrast, said that the parties had agreed that sanctions would only be lifted once Iran was shown to have fulfilled its obligations under the terms of the deal.

In anticipation of the committee session, Corker was working closely with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Maryland’s junior senator, Ben Cardin (D-MD).

2nd Generation Holocaust Survivors Fear Nuclear Iran

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

A Bar-Ilan University study reveals that the adult children of Holocaust survivors are more preoccupied with the threat of a nuclear Iran than their peers whose parents are not Holocaust survivors.

The university reported the study as Israel prepares to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day Wednesday night and Thursday.

The study, entitled “Transmitting the Sum of All Fears: Iranian Nuclear Threat Salience Among Offspring of Holocaust Survivors,” was published in a recent issue of Psychological Trauma, an American Psychological Association journal dedicated to the study of trauma and its aftermath.

Dr. Amit Shrira, of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, set out to test the hostile-world scenario among second generation Holocaust survivors. Hostile-world scenario is a term coined by Israeli researcher Prof. Dov Shmotkin to describe one’s image of actual or potential threats to one’s life, or more broadly, to one’s physical and mental integrity.

Shrira first studied a total of 106 people. Sixty three of the participants were born after World War II ended in 1945 and whose parents lived under a Nazi or pro-Nazi regime. Participants in the comparison group of 43 were also born after 1945, but their parents, of European origin, either immigrated to Israel before the war or fled to countries which were not under Nazi occupation.

Three main findings resulted from the study:

Second generation Holocaust survivors exhibit greater preoccupation with the Iranian nuclear threat than the comparison group.

Second generation Holocaust survivors are more sensitive to nuclear threat, and the more they are interested in the subject, the more general anxiety they report.

Second generation Holocaust survivors show not only more preoccupation and sensitivity to the Iranian threat, but also a more ominous outlook on the world in general – a world of threat and significant danger that can fall upon them, providing  proof of hostile-world scenario in this group.

To ensure that the results were accurate, Shrira performed a replication, an identical study on a second sample of 450 (comprised of 300 second generation Holocaust survivors and 150 comparison participants).  The same results were found, giving additional validity to the findings.

“In second generation survivors we most often see that they are a group with resilience and mental resources, and they generally exhibit good functioning on a daily basis. But they do have vulnerabilities which can be manifested during times of stress,” says Dr. Shrira.

Iran’s First Female Ambassador Since 1979 Islamic Revolution

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Iranian news agencies are reporting the Islamic Republic is preparing to appoint its first female ambassador since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham, one of the country’s highest-profile female public figures, has been tapped for the appointment according to the semi-official FARS and Mehr news agencies. It is not yet clear to which country Afkham would be assigned.

If the appointment is confirmed, Afkham would become the second female ambassador in the history of Iran. Mehrangiz Dolatshahi served as Iran Ambassador to Denmark in the 1970s.

President Hassan Rouhani has presented himself to the international community as a moderate and during his 2013 election campaign promised to improve the rights of women in the country. In 2009 Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was credited with having appointed Iran’s first female minister.

Domestic reform in Iran, as elsewhere in the Middle East, is a process that can take decades and is measured in micro steps, rather than milestones – a reality that few Westerners understand.

Girls as young as age 10 are forced into Islamic marriages in Iran, and as in other Muslim-majority nations, there is also a high rate of domestic violence. Neither issue is considered unusual in the Islamic world, although more community leaders are at least beginning to recognize it is a matter for “discussion.”

In October 2014, 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed in Tehran by hanging for killing a man who tried to rape her. A massive flood of international appeals to the Iranian government on her behalf to stay the execution proved worthless.

Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for killing a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. She was sentenced to death by a Tehran court in 2009 and the verdict was upheld in by the country’s Supreme Court. The scheduled execution, however, was delayed by several months following reception of an online petition bearing 240,000 signatures, urging her release.

Jabbari herself admitted to having stabbed the victim once from the back but said another man had actually done the killing. Amnesty International said her claim was believed never to have been properly investigated.

Those ‘United States’ Determine Their Own Sanctions Against Iran

Monday, April 13th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have the right to negotiate a nuclear deal on behalf of the country with Iran — but that doesn’t mean individual states won’t have a say in the matter.

The Executive Branch in America’s government is about to find out just how much power can be wielded by individual states when they are of a mind.

Some two dozen states have already enacted measures of their own, punishing companies operating in certain sectors of the Iranian economy. For instance, public pension funds worth billions of dollars in assets have been ordered to divest from the firms, and some have been barred from public contracts.

A specific example is Becton Dickinson and Co., a U.S. medical supplies company that sells to Iran legally under current federal regulations. In 2013 and 2014, Michigan divested $45 million from the company. Oddly, the company seemed completely unaware of the loss until contacted by reporters for a comment on the matter. It then issued a statement saying its trade with Iran is authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees federal sanctions.

More than a dozen states have implemented regulations that do not allow their restrictions to expire until and unless Iran is no longer designated to be a supporter of terrorism, and/or if all U.S. federal sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted. These conditions will be difficult to meet, to say the least.

In Kansas and Mississippi, state governments are reportedly considering additional sanctions to target Tehran.

“Our investment sanctions are not tied in any way to President Obama’s negotiations with the Iranians,” Florida GOP State Senator Don Gaetz told Reuters.

“They would have to change their behavior dramatically and we would not be necessarily guided by President Obama or any other president’s opinion about the Iranians,” Gaetz said. The state senator sponsored legislation in 2007 that punished companies with investments in Iran’s energy sector.

At least a dozen states contacted by the news agency said they were not considering changing their sanctions against Iran even in the event a deal negotiated with Iran were to be signed. Some said they would need to adjust their legislation to accommodate the divestment policies vis a vis the new federal status if a deal were signed.

In all of the states, the divestment measures had bipartisan support and typically were signed into law by Republican and Democratic governors alike.

Netanyahu Addresses Obama Via YouTube, Since the Telephone is Broken

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

The entire world, except President Obama, seems to have heard Prime Minister Netanyahu’s very specific criticisms and recommended amendments and alternatives to Obama’s current nuclear proliferation deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Perhaps hoping the President will pay attention if he hears the message through a more hip venue, Netanyahu has released his criticisms and recommendations via a YouTube video.

Next time the President says he’s still waiting to hear Netanyahu’s alternative plan, just send him this link.

Netanyahu points out that Iran is continuing its support of global terrorism, while refusing to agree to even the most basic of terms, including effective inspections and dismantling its nuclear capabilities with which it can still produce nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu reiterated “again” the two main components of his alternative to Obama’s “bad deal”.

1) “A better deal would significantly roll back these [nuclear development] capabilities”, and that includes shutting down the illicit underground nuclear facilities that Iran hid from the international community for years – something, quite surprising, Obama’s bad deal doesn’t do.

2) “Instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of the restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.” – In simple terms, Iran must not have the capability right now to make nuclear weapons, and the only time it should be allowed to have that capability, and apparently even have it completely unrestricted, is when it decides to join the community of nations as a member in good standing, and not as the neighborhood thug.

Netanyahu points out that Iran needs this deal more than anyone, and as such, this is the opportunity to reassert the world’s original demands, which Obama has backed down from.

He finishes off saying the global community should not allow Iran to have an easy path to nuclear weapons which will threaten the entire world.

A very clear message.

Echoing Netanyahu, Livni and Herzog Criticize Major Holes in Obama Deal

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Even Israel’s Left are unsatisfied with US President Obama’s nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While US President Obama ignores Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s very specific criticisms and recommended amendments of major faults in the P5+1 nuclear deal, which the Prime Minister has dubbed a “bad deal”, the Zionist Union party, led by Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni added their voices to the criticism, presenting their own alternative plan of action for Israel and the P5+1.

The two Leftwing leaders said the current deal was “problematic” and potentially dangerous over the long term, echoing the Prime Minister of Israel.

They said these problems must be fixed before a June 30th signing.

Among the changes they demanded in their alternate plan of actions, quite similar to some of Netanyahu’s demands, are eliminating Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, forbidding Iran from using both new or old centrifuges, allowing intrusive inspections, and only a gradual lifting of sanctions.

Unlike Netanyahu, the two want Israel to officially receive a green light from the US as part of an official understanding, where Israel can strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, with US permission and backing, if Iran violates the agreement and Israel is endangered.

The duo’s last demand is both understandable and problematic, as Israel doesn’t need a green light from anyone to defend itself from an existential threat, though knowing the US isn’t going to obstruct your attack is important.

The two added that Israel and US must hold immediate and deep strategic discussions before the agreement is signed. It appears that currently, at the highest level, those discussions are not happening.

The pair said, the US that needs to make clear to Iran, that US military action is still on the table, if Iran violates the agreement with the P5+1.

Obama Spins Tale that Netanyahu Offered no Alternative to Iran Deal

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu traded shots on the proposed deal with Iran through separate statements that continue what has become a conversation of the deaf.

The Prime Minister two weeks ago stated that a better deal would be one that “would significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear infrastructure [and] link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to a change in Iran’s behavior.”

He added:

Iran must stop its aggression in the region, stop its terrorism throughout the world and stop its threats to annihilate Israel. That should be non-negotiable and that’s the deal that the world powers must insist upon.

President Obama said on Saturday:

The Prime Minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it [the deal]. I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked –w hat is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.

The key word is “good” because Obama insists he has come up with a “good deal” that Netanyahu asserts is a “bad deal.”

Obama’s reasoning is that Iran will reject a “better deal,” which would mean “no deal,” exactly what Israel, Republicans, and some Democrats have said is better than a “bad deal.” For Obama, “no deal” is worse than a “bad deal” that he insists is a “good deal.”

It’s enough to drive a card player nuts, and since Iran is dealing most of the cards, it is the only one who knows what joker it has up its sleeve.

An outstanding example of President Obama’s frame of mind  that a deal is an end and not a means is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander said that eliminating Israel is “non-negotiable.” The Prime Minister responded that Iran’s recognizing Israel should be “non-negotiable.”

Obama replied that the idea simply is not practical. So forget it.

It also is not practical to make sure that Iran does not have the infrastructure to obtain a nuclear bomb in the future. So forget it.

Netanyahu said Saturday at a tradtional post-Passover Mimouna celebration, “To my regret, all of the things I warned about vis-à-vis the framework agreement that was put together in Lausanne are coming true before our eyes.

“This framework gives the leading terrorist state in the world a certain path to nuclear bombs, which would threaten Israel, the Middle East and the entire world. We see that Iran is being left with significant nuclear capabilities; it is not dismantling them, it is preserving them. We also see that the inspection is not serious. How can such a country be trusted? …

“We see that the sanctions are being lifted, immediately, according to Iran’s demand, and this is without Iran having changed its policy of aggression everywhere, not just against Israel, but in Yemen, the Bab el-Mandeb, the Middle East and through global terrorist networks. The most dangerous terrorist state in the world must not be allowed to have the most dangerous weapons in the world.

President Obama’s turning a deal with Iran into an end and not a means is illustrated in an article on The Hill website Saturday, in which it outlined five keys areas where the United States made concessions to Iran in order to reach a temporary framework agreement:

Banning uranium enrichment: Before talks began, the Obama administration and the United Nations Security Council called for Iran to stop all uranium enrichment. The framework agreement, though, allows Iran to continue enriching uranium and producing plutonium for domestic civilian use…The deal’s critics worry any enrichment could quickly be diverted to military use.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-spins-tale-that-netanyahu-offered-no-alternative-to-iran-deal/2015/04/12/

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