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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Iraq Vets Oppose Nuclear Iran Deal

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

There is a new group working to defeat the Nuclear Iran deal agreed to by the U.S. and its partners in the P5+1 and Iran. It is called Veterans Against the Deal.

This group takes issue with U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that those who do not support the Iran deal are choosing war. These are Iraq war veterans who, unlike President Obama, have seen war up close and definitely do not want more of it.

The Iraq war vets started Veterans Against the Deal last month, and it has begun its rollout. On Monday, Aug. 10, Veterans Against the Deal released its first video.

The first of the group’s ads features medically retired staff sergeant Robert Bartlett, and it is directed at Montana’s Senator Jon Tester (D).

Bartlett tells us that in 2005 he was blown up by an Iranian bomb. Half of his face was blown off, and his gunner lost both his legs.

“Every politician who is involved in this will be held accountable, they will have blood on their hands,” he says in the ad. “A vote for this deal means more money for Iranian terrorism. What do you think they are going to do when they get more money?”

Later ads will air in North Dakota and West Virginia, and will go on from there.

In an interview with Bloombergview’s Josh Rogin, VAD executive director Michael Pregent said “We are going to challenge those people who are on the fence.”

According to Pregent, “veterans know Iran better than Washington, D.C., does. You’ve got a lot of veterans out there who are pretty upset about this, so we are looking to capture their voices and make sure they are heard.”

The new group is composed of Republicans and Democrats.

“We don’t want to make this a partisan issue,” Pregent said. “We’ll have Democratic vets who voted for Obama participating in this as well.”

He said the veterans and families who are involved are motivated only by their own experiences and views.

“These guys want to be heard. They know this enemy. They have a constant reminder of permanent loss because of Iran,” he said. “If someone said to me, ‘Aren’t you exploiting these veterans and families?’ I would say, ‘No, aren’t you ignoring these veterans and families?’”

In the first ad, Bartlett says “every politician involved in this will be held accountable – they will have blood on their hands.”

MoveOn Members Yank Support From Schumer Over IranDeal

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

The U.S. debate over IranDeal is beginning to get dirty.

Less than 24 hours after Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York announced he would oppose IranDeal, the MoveOn advocacy organization released a statement saying it would withhold major campaign support from the senior senator.

MoveOn communications director, Nick Berning was quoted by The Huffington Post as saying, “We want to demonstrate to those who haven’t made their decision yet that there will be substantial political consequences for those who want to take us to war.”

Schumer announced last Thursday night he will oppose President Barack Obama’s deal with Iran over its nuclear development activities.

“After deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote ‘yes’ on a motion of disapproval,” Schumer said. “While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade [other colleagues] that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion,” he added.

The bottom line, he said, was this: “Are we better off with the agreement or without it?”

The answer, he said, was that after 10 years, “If Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.”

The senator, considered the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, explained that he was concerned that after ten years, Iran will still be free to build a nuclear weapon.

Schumer drew instant praise from Agudath Israel of America for his action, however. “Senator Schumer has spoken out consistently and forcefully over the past several years about the grave threat a nuclear empowered Iran would pose to America and its allies, especially Israel,” the group said in a statement issued Friday morning.

The senator was also “courageous.” in stepping out on a limb to make his decision, Agudath Israel noted. “He is the first and thus far the only Senator of his political party to publicly announce that he will be voting against the position of the Administration.

“His high rank among his Democratic Senate colleagues surely created an incentive for him not to buck the leadership of his party. Fortunately, however, as he said in the statement he issued in announcing his intention to vote to disapprove the JCPOA, Senator Schumer made his decision “solely based on the merits … without regard to pressure, politics or party.” For this he deserves our sincere admiration and deep appreciation.”

Obama needs 34 votes in the Senate in order to sustain a veto he has vowed to advance to override the legislation if the motion of disapproval is passed.

US Experts: That Activity in Parchin Site is No Road Renovation

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

(JNi.media) Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Saturday rejected US media claims about suspicious new developments at the Parchin facility, complaining that the Western media “have no other goal but to create an atmosphere of misunderstanding,” IRNA reported.

“The comments show that all the claims raised against the Islamic Republic of Iran on the issue are baseless,” Zarif insisted, adding that “it has been announced that a road building project has been implemented in the area.”

But the US-based think tank Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS, that’s actually their name, since 1993) is insisting that’s no road work over there, pointing to satellite images that show vehicles and containers being moved at Parchin.

Parchin is a military complex, some 19 miles southeast of Tehran. In July, the Iranian UN mission declared that there was no nuclear weapon production on the site and that the suspicions about Iran reactivating the site are born by a misconception caused by road reconstruction opposite the Mamloo Dam, which is located near the complex.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency is very suspicious about Iran’s Parchin facility, and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has voiced concern about the kind of access the IAEA expected to have there.

“We cannot get [IAEA head Yukiya Amano] to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin,” Corker told reporters last week.

We probably will not.

ISIS said the satellite images were taken after Iran signed its deal with the 5+1 world powers on July 14.

“This renewed activity occurring after the [signing of the deal] raises obvious concerns that Iran is conducting further [cleanup] efforts to defeat IAEA verification,” the think tank’s report states.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Thursday that a cleanup effort, if one is taking place, would be “cause for concern.” But he insisted the US is confident it knows what’s taking place at Parchin and is able to detect nuclear activity at any Iranian site.

“You can’t cover up past nuclear activity very easily. It lasts for decades, even longer,” Toner said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest played down the possibility of Iranian efforts to restart nuclear works, but also said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss specific intelligence matters.

Alan Dershowitz Says Obama Checkmated by Iran Deal

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz in a recent book claims that President Obama changed the focus of the Iran nuclear deal after he was re-elected and allowed himself to be “checkmated,” because he gave Iran hope of developing a nuclear weapon and took the US military option off the table.

In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat, staunch supporter of Israel and author of “The Case for Israel” and “Chutzpah,” spent a sleepless night after the Iran deal was announced. He emailed his eBook publisher and asked if it was possible to have a book written about the Iran deal in time for the Congressional debate. His publisher gave Dershowitz two weeks, but it was finished in eleven days. A day after it was released, “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran From Getting Nukes” was rated the number one Kindle international best seller just a day after it was released.

If President Obama seems to be saying something different about Iran as a potential nuclear power than what he said in previous years, it isn’t just memory playing its tricks. Dershowitz points out that the President’s statements about the Iran deal changed dramatically after his re-election. Previously, Obama was emphatic that Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, calling the move a “game changer” and promised to do “whatever it takes” to prevent Iran, which has stated its desire to destroy Israel, from becoming a nuclear power.

There is a cynical explanation, and a more straightforward one, as to why the President changed his mind, Dershowitz suggests. He could have sincerely reconsidered his position in the process of negotiating with Iran. The other explanation that includes certain suspicions, but which “seems to be supported by the data,” is that once Obama was re-elected for a second term and the Republicans dominated the Senate “he was going to do what he always wanted to do and was less completely candid with those of us whom he told that the military option was on the table and Iran would never be able to develop nuclear weapons.”

Obama’s main mistake, explains Dershowitz, was dealing with Iran as an equal, which was the result of his taking the military option off the table.

“That was an extraordinarily naive and wrong thing to do,” said Dershowitz, who insists that position is supported not just by Obama’s political opponents, but other liberal Democrats.

Supporters of the deal say it prevents war and they challenge opponents to come up with a better version of a deal. Dershowitz thinks war is a greater possibility now that Iran has been strengthened financially, given credibility and the military avenue has been dispensed with.

He thinks sanctions could have been removed if the US negotiated with Iran from a position of strength, demanded 24/7 inspections capability, the complete scrapping of Iran’s nuclear program, and military consequences if the deal was violated. “Now the problem is we negotiated as equals and are playing checkers against the people who invented chess, and they checkmated our President and our Secretary of State,” he says.

A way out for the next administration is not to acknowledge the Iran deal, which Dershowitz, a constitutional scholar, thinks may not have authority. Dershowitz explains that the Iran deal likely falls under the definition of a treaty the Framers said would need 2/3rds approval in Congress. “It is unlikely that they would have allowed the President alone to make an enduring and international agreement.”

It is possible that, with the next Administration, “the Iran agreement won’t have the force of law,” Dershowitz says.

Centrist American Jewish Committee Rejects the Iran Deal

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The American Jewish Committee is one of the oldest and most centrist of American Jewish communal organizations.

It is a slow-moving, deliberative organization and it took its time coming to a decision on what virtually everyone discussing the nuclear deal with Iran has described as critically important, or, in the AJC’s words: “one of the most consequential policy issues in a generation.”

The AJC’s long-time executive director David Harris issued a statement expressing the organizations opposition to the deal on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Harris, who has been at the helm of the AJC for 25 years, articulated the many steps taken by the AJC to come to its decision, and listed numbers of the people with whom its leadership met during its deliberations.

But after weighing the pros and the cons – all of which are familiar to those who are following the matter – at the conclusion of its deliberation, “AJC’s leadership concluded overwhelmingly that we must oppose this deal.”

The reason Harris gave for the AJC’s position boiled down to the P5+1’s abandonment of its initial position, which was to dismantle sanctions in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear infrastructure. That was also the position Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was the “better deal.”

Instead of that original dismantle for dismantle position, the P5+1 replaced its stance “with what is essentially a temporary freeze on its program.” With that retreat, “the P5+1 has indeed validated Iran’s future status as a nuclear threshold state,” Harris explained. And that is something the AJC cannot accept.

“It is too ominous, too precedent-setting, and too likely to trigger a response from Iran’s understandably anxious neighbors who may seek nuclear-weapons capacity themselves, as well as, more immediately and still more certainly, advanced conventional arms, adding an entirely new level of menace to the most volatile and arms-laden region in the world. Surely, this cannot be in America’s long-term security interests.”

The AJC called on members of Congress to oppose the deal.

In addition to the AJC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Israel Project, the Orthodox Union, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America have gone on record as firmly opposing the JCPOA.

Read the AJC’s full statement here.

Obama Offers His ‘Deal or War’

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

This critical period during which Congress is mulling over the nuclear deal made by U.S. negotiators and their P5+1 partners with Iran has turned into a hotly contested debate between those committed to preventing the deal from being approved and those who are desperate to ensure that it will be approved.

Yesterday, Aug. 4, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke to thousands of Americans and explained why he believes the deal is a bad one. It boiled down to “Keep or Cheat.” However Iran decides to act under this agreement, it will attain nuclear threshold status.

Today President Barack Obama gave a midday televised speech from American University in Washington, D.C.. During the speech he ridiculed those who criticize the deal, and explained why, according to him, the choice is either the deal or war.

Obama sought to compare the current situation in which Iran is seen by many as threatening the U.S. and its closest allies, and perhaps the world, to the time in which the Soviet Union, also a supporter of terrorist proxies, was considered the global danger.

This comparison is useful because the tensions and stakes were similar, and the danger was handled through diplomacy, rather than a resort to war.

Of course, diplomacy is not a generic concept, and its success depends greatly on the diplomats involved and the deals they are able to strike.

This American administration and its negotiating team are not the teams who handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, nor have they woven treaties like the SALT and START Treaties. In fact, one clear red flagging difference is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty, or at least is not being called one, with all the consequences that entails.

The President agrees with many of his critics about one factor: the importance of the issue. He described the deal and the foreign policy debate surrounding it as “one of the most consequential” the United States government has engaged in, in years.

Unfortunately, unlike Netanyahu’s speech, which was entirely respectful of President Obama, this one was smug, threatening, nasty and insulting, especially regarding Netanyahu, but also towards any other critics of the deal.

In refusing to take the high road, it may be that Obama lost the opportunity to win over those who were wavering. Or, and perhaps more likely, the threats he raised, including the specter of disaster that will befall the United States should the deal be rejected, may be sufficient to capture those who are susceptible to such tactics.

Time will tell.

In the hour-long speech, the President reiterated what he and the other proponents of the deal have been touting since the JCPOA was signed two weeks ago. This is the best possible deal, snap-back of sanctions will be available if Iran cheats, the inspections regime covers all contingencies (but while admitting the Iranians will have 24 days before inspectors can visit contested sites, Obama promised “we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.”)

A careful review of the speech, however, reveals several significant inconsistencies.

SANCTIONS NOT ENOUGH, BUT IF THEY CHEAT, WE’LL SNAP BACK SANCTIONS

The President spent a great deal of time deriding the idea that sanctions would be enough to deter Iran from driving towards its nuclear weapons goal, and ridiculing the idea of America going it alone on sanctions should Congress reject the deal. He pledged that should Iran cheat, “we can catch them, and we will.”

He then said, “If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won’t need the support of the other members of the U.N. Security Council, America can trigger snap back on our own.” So what happened to the idea that America can’t go it alone? Or that sanctions are sufficient?

Chuck Schumer Explodes as 60 Jewish leaders Look On

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) Sen. Charles Schumer was meeting with some 60 Jewish American leaders in Washington DC last week, when he couldn’t take the pressure any more, and by pressure we mean the voices of Jews everywhere telling him to vote with the Republicans, against President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

One source told The NY Post that Schumer, who is about as even tempered as they come most days, “exploded” in the meeting.

On his Monday press conference in his Midtown office, which included his distant cousin, comic actress Amy Schumer, the Senator said he would discuss gun control, or anything else, really, just not how he would vote on the Iran nuclear deal.

“This is such an important decision that I will not let pressure, politics or party influence [me],” Schumer said.

Schumer has received an estimated 10,000 phone calls to his office over the past two weeks, most of them from opponents of the Iran agreement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chuck-schumer-explodes-as-60-jewish-leaders-look-on/2015/08/05/

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