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March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Obama Administration, VP Joe Biden Escalates Spat Over Senate Letter to Iran

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The Obama administration is escalating its fiery spat over an open letter sent by a group of senators to Iran: this time Vice President Joe Biden, who spent 30 years as a leading senator in the Congress, hit back hard in response.

“The letter sent on March 9th by 47 Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere,” Biden said in a statement late Monday.

The letter warned that any deal signed by the president can be nullified during the next administration. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” the senators pointed out.

“This letter, in the guise of a Constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States,” Biden contended.

“Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safe or stronger,” he said.

“In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country-much less a longtime foreign adversary – that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them,” Biden wrote.

“This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments – a message that is as false as it is dangerous.”

“The decision to undercut our president and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.”

Obama Accuses GOP Senators of ‘Common Cause with Iran Hardliners’

Monday, March 9th, 2015

President Barack Obama responded Monday to an open letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators to Iran, about the limitations of any agreement signed by his administration with Tehran acquiescing to a nuclear development program the Congress may not like.

Obama accused the senators — who included three presidential candidates — of aligning with Iranian hardliners.

The letter said that any such agreement signed by the president or Secretary of State John Kerry might only last as long as Obama remains in office because it is formatted as an “executive agreement.”

“It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition,” Obama told reporters in a brief news conference in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon.

Asked what might happen following any agreement signed by the U.S. and world powers if Congress does not like the deal, the president replied, “If we do (sign) then we’ll be able to make the case to the American people.”

47 GOP Senators Send Open Letter to Iran

Monday, March 9th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama may sign a 10-year deal with Iran this month, but if the Congress has its way, that agreement won’t be worth the paper it’s written on, once Obama is out of office.

All 47 Republican senators banded together to send an open letter about the deal to Iran this week. The letter warned that nation’s leadership that any nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration without Congressional support would be a “mere executive agreement.”

As such, the letter went on, “the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded that the “letter is a continuation of a partisan strategy” and said the lawmakers were “interfering in a delicate moment” in the talks, which are due to resume on March 15. The deadline for an agreement is March 31.

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on Monday and explained that the letter to Iran simply meant, “If this is a bad deal, it will be revisited. We are going to represent the views of the American people.

“Iran has said it does not understand our governmental system. This is a civics lesson for Iran, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate… This just says that the deal better represent U.S. interests as well as Iran interests… If it’s a bad deal, then there will be repercussions.”

The move was organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton, but signed by the Senate’s entire Republican party leadership, as well as three presidential candidates, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Because the Congress has been blocked from having any role to play in the negotiating process, lawmakers are very frustrated. As long as the agreement does not have to be ratified by Congress, the Secretary of State or the president can sign the document at the executive branch level, leaving the legislative branch with no role.

Dermer: ‘When Israelis and Arabs Are on Same Page, People Should Pay Attention’

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, warned a cable news interviewer on Sunday that it pays to pay attention “when Israelis and Arabs are on the same page” about the threat to the region presented by Iran. Dermer was speaking to CNN about last week’s speech to the U.S. Congress by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which ruffled more than a few feathers in the Obama administration.

Nevertheless, Israel’s military intelligence chief is slated to visit the United States this week. Major-General Hertzi HaLevy is scheduled to meet with U.S. defense officials, although it is not clear whether he will also meet with newly-appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. HaLevy, who was appointed in September, will also attend a fundraiser for Israel. The visit has been described as routine.

Last week Netanyahu warned lawmakers about the dangers to Israel from the deal being negotiated by the U.S. and world powers with Tehran over its nuclear development program.

On Sunday, CNN‘s Michael Smerconish interviewed Dermer on the State of the Union program about reaction to the prime minister’s speech. “Well, hindsight is always 20/20 and we regret very much that there was a perception, a partisanship before the speech,” Dermer said.

“That was the last thing we wanted to do was inject Israel into your partisan debate. Israel has always been above politics in the United States and it’s important for the U.S./Israeli alliance that it remained above politics and the prime minister made that clear in his speech on Tuesday.”

Dermer underlined, however, that the prime minister meant what he said when he told Congressional lawmakers that Israel is prepared to stand alone if necessary:

“What he is saying is that Israel always reserves the right to defend itself. We have in Iran a regime that threatens Israel with annihilation and that works every day in order to destroy Israel.

“They have surrounded Israel with three terror tentacles in the north in Lebanon through Hezbollah, on the Syrian Golan. They have maybe a couple of thousand of Iranians who are there now through Hamas and Islamic jihad in Gaza.

“So, you have these three terror tentacles around Israel and Iran is vowing to annihilate Israel and we cannot accept the situation where Iran would develop a nuclear weapon to achieve that goal.

“But understand it’s not just a threat to Israel, it’s a threat to the region and it’s a threat to the world,” Dermer pointed out.

“What’s interesting, Michael, is that Israelis and Arabs are on exactly the same page when it comes to the Iranian issue. And when Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people should pay attention. That happens about once a century.”

Foreign Ministers ‘Don’t See Need to Reach Iran Deal Forthwith’

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Foreign ministers from the world powers involved in the U.S.-led talks with Iran said over the weekend they do not see the need to reach a deal “forthwith,” according to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Several of the ministers said following Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this past week that they will wait “until the right agreement is found,” the prime minister said. He added, “I hope that these words will find tangible expression.

“The right agreement is one that links between the lifting of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and the cessation of Iran’s terrorist actions around the world and, of course, its threats to annihilate Israel. The right agreement is one that extends by years Iran’s breakout time to achieve a bomb, given the feasibility of violating the agreement,” Netanyahu said.

“As of now, the deal being formulated between Iran and the major powers will give Iran a breakout time of one year or less,” he continued. “This assessment is based on the State of Israel’s professional intelligence elements, which delivered this assessment to the major powers.

“We will continue to take all possible action to deny the largest terrorist state in the world the ability to produce the most dangerous weapon in the world, a weapon which is aimed, first and foremost, against us,” Netanyahu said.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, told American news media Sunday morning, “If we cannot verify that they are not going to achieve a nuclear weapon…then we would walk away.”

However, not only does Israel’s prime minister have his doubts about that, but forme US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also wonders how committed the Obama administration is to that plan.

“There’s nothing in this deal on the weaponization and ballistic missile aspect of this program,” Bolton said.

“Whatever the Iranians see and agree to, Congress should insist they and the American people should see and agree to,” Bolton told Fox News.

“No secrets… They are still state sponsors of terrorism… We are giving legitimacy to the regime. We are endangering our allies, we are endangering Israel. What else could be wrong with this deal?” Bolton added.

Update: Iran May Have Faked Events to Show that Khamenei is not Dead

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei supposedly met with environmental activists in Tehran on Sunday, two days after he was hospitalized and hours after social media chatter said he is dead.

“Frequent news about the death of Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, the Persian State might be a serious historical change doors,” tweeted Gamal Sultan, a Cairo-based journalist for Rassd News.

The claim by the regime’s propaganda organ Fars News Agency of his supposed attendance in public was not accompanied by any photograph or quotes, another indication that the paranoid propaganda machine is keeping a gag order on his reported death until it feels dissidents won’t exploit a power vacuum.

Fars reported Sunday:

The public meeting that was held in the national Week of Natural Resources was particularly important as it put an end to Israeli driven rumors in the social media and a number of western websites in the last three days that alleged the Iranian leader has been hospitalized due to critical health conditions.

Some western media outlets pushed the rumor so much that they claimed that Tehran would soon announce the leader’s demise.

But it was Iranian media that reported on Friday he had been hospitalized, and if he had been released, Fars certainly would have headlined it.

Furthermore, Khamenei’s “public meeting’ supposedly with environmentalist activists, is not an event that deserves headiness in Iran.

The Jewish Press reported here on Friday that Khamenei was critically ill from a stage four cancer condition.

Khamenei has ruled for 26 years and has led a regime based on strict Islamic law. He was behind the brutal suppression of the protest movement in 2009, which resulted in the deaths and disappearance of thousands of demonstrators, and the murders of American soldiers in Lebanon in the 1980s.

It is hard to ignore the timing of Khamenei’s hospitalization and reported death with Purim and talks on an agreement on Iran’s nuclear development.

His critical condition – or death – will make it difficult for the Islamic Republic to reach an agreement with the P5+1 powers by the end of the month.

Khamenei has called the shots, and a power vacuum leaves all of the little power mongers clawing at each other to replace him. If there is not an immediate replacement, it might give a green light to dissidents to come out of the woodwork and demand an end to the Islamic regime.

Rabbi Lau Hints at Israel’s Real Enemy

Friday, March 6th, 2015

There’s a Midrash (external story to the written text) that says when King Achashverosh asked Queen Esther, “Who is this, and which one is he, that has the audacity to do such a thing?” referring to the plot to kill the Jews, Queen Esther pointed her finger back at the King, and said, “A man who is a persecutor and an enemy.”

The Midrash says that an angel then pushed her hand away from the king to point it at Haman and, realizing what she had done, Esther continued, now pointing at Haman: “This evil man, Haman!”

Former Chief Rabbi Rabbi Yisrael Lau cited the above Midrash in an appearance on a Kol Yisrael radio Friday afternoon news show. He said that sometimes we can’t say out loud who the real enemy and the real persecutor actually is. You start to point your finger, and you realize that the target is too dangerous.

This is, for instance, why a Torah portion dealing with the great, evil wizard Bala’am is named after the weakling king Balak who merely hired his services.

Likewise, these days, the Rabbi continued, we point our finger at Iran, accusing it of plotting to kill all the Jews. Because we can’t afford to point our finger at the true culprit.

And then, the good Rabbi concluded with the quip: “V’hamevin yavin.” Meaning, if you get what I mean, fine, if not – ask someone…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-lau-hints-at-israels-real-enemy/2015/03/06/

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