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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iranian nuclear program’

Carney: US to Continue Iran Talks Despite Ship Seizure

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The United States will continue taking part in negotiations with Iran over the Iranian nuclear program, despite a recent Israeli seizure of an Iranian ship carrying weapons to Gaza.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged Wednesday that Iran’s state sponsorship of terror has continued during the talks. He also said that the U.S. “will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region, in coordination with our partners and allies, and [make] clear that these illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s [United Nations] Security Council obligations,” according to the Times of Israel.

But Carney said that despite Iran’s terror sponsorship, “it’s entirely appropriate to continue to pursue the possibility of reaching a resolution on the nuclear program,” in negotiations between Iran and Western powers.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces intercepted an Iranian ship laden with weaponry and bound for terrorist organizations in Gaza. Carney confirmed that U.S. intelligence had cooperated with the IDF on the operation.

Netanyahu Urges Kerry to Reject Deal with Iran

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the United States to reject a deal which, according to reports, would ease sanctions on Iran if it limits uranium enrichment to 3.5 percent purity.

Netanyahu said Israel “utterly rejects” the deal and is not obliged to abide by it.

“Israel is not obliged by this agreement and will do everything it needs to defend itself, to defend the security of its people,” he said prior to a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry announced last minute that he would fly to Geneva from Israel, where he is attempting to salvage Israel-Palestinian talks, in a bid to “narrow the difference in negotiations” between the major powers and Iran.

The deal would mean that Iran would stop enriching uranium to the 20 percent level that is close to weapons-grade and turn its existing stockpile of this material into harmless oxide but continue to enrich to 3.5 percent purity needed for nuclear power stations, according to a report Thursday in The Telegraph.

An agreement on what is being called a first-step deal is expected by Friday, when the current round of negotiations in Geneva between the major powers and Iran is scheduled to end.

Under the reported Western proposal, Iran would receive limited sanctions relief in exchange for an agreement to curtail nuclear enrichment activities.

Netanyahu said in a statement Friday that he told Kerry during a meeting in Israel that day that “no deal is better than a bad one” ahead of Kerry’s departure from Israeli to Geneva, Switzerland, where the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia and Germany are negotiating with Iran.

“The deal being discussed in Geneva is a bad one, a very bad deal,” Netanyahu said. Under the deal “Iran is not required to dismantle even a single centrifuge, yet the international community is easing sanctions for the first time in many years. Iran is getting everything it wanted at this stage but is giving nothing in return at a time when it is under heavy pressure,” Netanyahu added.

“I call on Secretary Kerry not to rush and sign but wait and re-evaluate to get a better deal,” Netanyahu also said.

An unnamed U.S. Senate aide, citing briefings from the White House, the State Department and sources in Geneva, told the Telegraph that in addition to the 3.5-percent limit, Iran would agree to limit the number of centrifuges being used for this purpose.

Iran would also agree not to use its more advanced IR-2 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium between three and five times faster than the older model, but would be under no requirement to remove or disable any other centrifuges.

Additionally, under the deal Iran would agree for a six-month freeze in some activities at its plutonium reactor at Arak, which could provide another route to a nuclear weapons-capability. Iran may, however, continue working on the facility.

Netanyahu, Obama to Meet during UN General Assembly

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will discuss stopping Iran’s nuclear program during a meeting with President Barack Obama later this month during the United Nations General Assembly, he told his Cabinet on Tuesday.

Until Iran actually stops its nuclear program “the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased,” Netanyahu said.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Monday that Iran is willing to close its uranium enrichment facility at Fordo under international supervision in return for an easing of Western sanctions. In addition, U.S. officials have suggested that the Obama administration would be willing to ease or lift some sanctions on Iran in return for progress in talks on stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu outlined four steps needed in order to call Iran’s nuclear program stopped: halting all uranium enrichment; removing all enriched uranium; closing Fordo; and stopping plutonium enrichment.

He reiterated that “Israel must continue to build up its strength so that it will always be able and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

Netanyahu and Obama also are expected to discuss during their meeting the threat of Syrian chemical weapons.

Russia Heats Up Cold War with Sale of Iran S-300 Missiles (Video)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Russian media reported Wednesday that Moscow now is ready to go through a long-promised deal to supply the Iranian regime with advanced S-300 missiles that can shoot down ballistic missiles and commercial airplanes from a distance of up to 120 miles.

It is one of most lethal, if not the most lethal, anti-aircraft system in the world. Iran signed a purchase deal in 2007  for five S-300 missile batteries, but the sale was frozen three years ago when the U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on Tehran..

Russia got around the embargo in its sale of the S-300 to Syria by claiming the weapons were for defense, and presumably that will be the excuse to sell them to Iran.

Just in case the international sanctions get in the way of the sale, Russia has come up with an alternative that might be just as useful for Iran and which does not fall under the sanctions. It would sell Iran the  Antei-2500, AKA S-300VM, or SA-23 Gladiato, according to the Russian Kommersant Daily.

The Antei-2500 was specifically tailored for the needs of ground forces, which could also be an advantage for Iran, known for its large land force,” the Iranian government-controlled Fars News Agency stated.

Kommersant said Iran has asked it to fulfill its promise to complete the S-300 missile sale, and Russia has thrown in an extra goodie by agreeing to build a second nuclear reactor in Bushehr, just what the United States and Israel don’t need.

The Russian and Chinese appetite for money has driven it to become huge weapons suppliers to Iran and Syria, giving them the lever to counter Western influence. The missile sale to Iran will add approximately $700 million to the Kremlin coffers.

Besides the financial angel, Putin is doing his best to establish Russia as the most powerful influence in the Middle East, at the expense of President Barack Obama. Moscow and Beijing have consistently thrown up barriers to American-led efforts to place sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Iran more than welcomes Moscow in its campaign to rid the world of American influence that goes against fundamentalist Muslim regime policies, such as the deprival of human rights..

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said earlier this week that Russia should complete the 2005 deal and supply Iran with S-300 missiles and “should believe themselves and don’t follow the US so much,”  Fars reported Wednesday.

‘Moderate’ Rouhani Misled West, Sneaked in Centrifuges?

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

There is a particularly interesting aspect to the video that has recently surfaced, in which Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, gloats over Iran’s success in coopting European negotiators to keep the Iranian nuclear program on track in the mid-2000s, in spite of pressure from the United States.

The video clip, from an Iranian news-program interview of Rouhani in Farsi, was published by Reza Khalili.  Ryan Mauro highlights it at the Clarion Project, tying it to a report from 31 July in which Mauro outlined Rouhani’s extensive history of using deception about the Iranian nuclear program back when he was the chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran.

The deception and Rouhani’s gloating are important (see especially his characterization of the top-cover he received from European negotiators); I will let readers visit the reports and soak in the information at your leisure.  What I want to focus on here is the timeline Rouhani refers to in the video.  If he is telling the truth – and there is no obvious reason why he would lie about the timing he refers to – the timeline he outlines for bringing Iranian centrifuge cascades online in substantial numbers makes a poignant contrast with the reporting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the time.

The contrast highlights just how in the dark IAEA was during this period, at least about the centrifuges.  (It’s also worth highlighting, in general, the timeline of what was going on during the EU-brokered negotiations Rouhani refers to in the video.)  Certainly, many in the West had an uneasy suspicion that, by the end of 2005, Iran may have accomplished more than IAEA was officially aware of.  But, as late as February 2006, IAEA acknowledged the following decisive condition:

Due to the fact that no centrifuge related raw materials and components are under Agency seal, the Agency is unable effectively to monitor the R&D activities being carried out by Iran except at the [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant],* where containment and surveillance measures are being applied to the enrichment process.

Rouhani’s timeline

The full timeline from the video develops as follows.  Rouhani summarizes it between the time hacks of 3:45 and 4:30.  His overall allusion is to the period from October 2003 to August 2005, when he was the chief negotiator for the Iranian nuclear program.

His initial discussion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr contains no surprises; it is couched in the following terms:

- First phase of Bushehr project completed – Beginning of 2004

- Next phase completed – Fall of 2004

These references are presumably to Russia’s completion of facility construction, which was noted at the time in Western reporting.

- Project completed – March 2005

This is probably a reference to an agreement between Russia and Iran, concluded in February 2005, under which Moscow would supply the enriched-uranium fuel for the light-water reactor at Bushehr.  (See here as well for a summary from 2006 alluding to the 2005 agreement.)

iran-nuc-facs

So far, so good.  Next, Rouhani speaks of the heavy-water reactor, or the plutonium reactor at Arak.

- “Production” started at the heavy-water plant – Summer of 2004

Construction of the reactor was begun in June of 2004, but Rouhani here appears to be referring to the heavy-water production plant (HWPP), a particular component of the Arak reactor system, which reportedly began operation (i.e., the production of heavy water) in November 2004.

In this walk back through the Iranian nuclear program, it is worth recalling what the official line was about Arak at the time, in the big middle of the EU-3 talks with Iran:

Iran has started building a research reactor that could eventually produce enough plutonium for one bomb per year, ignoring calls to scrap the project, diplomats close to the United Nations said on Thursday. …

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran had created a “confidence deficit” by concealing parts of its atomic program for nearly two decades and urged Tehran to improve its transparency and cooperation with U.N. inspectors. A concluding statement from this week’s IAEA governing board meeting said the 35 members unanimously said it was “essential that Iran provide full transparency and extend proactive cooperation to the agency.” …

Netanyahu’s Attack on Rohani Was Based on Bad Translation

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office blamed an erroneous translation for his earlier call on westerners who believe Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani is a moderate to abandon their “illusion.”

Netanyahu’s office late Friday removed from the Twitter social media website tweets reflecting the statement and told the BBC that it was “based on a Reuters report with an erroneous translation.”

Netanyahu had reacted earlier in the day to statements picked up by wire services and originally attributed to Rohani by Iran’s semi-official ISNA and Mehr news agencies, which quoted him as saying, “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed.”

Netanyahu’s original statement said that Rohani had “revealed his true face sooner than expected.”

“This statement should awaken the world from the illusion some have taken to entertaining since the elections in Iran,” his statement said. “The president was replaced but the goal of the regime remained obtaining nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and the safety of the world. A country which threatens to destroy Israel must not have weapons of mass destruction.”

A number of news sites, quoting Rohani directly, rendered his statement differently, without the call for removal. ISNA soon retracted its original report.

“The day of Quds, which is one of the mementos of the Imam [Khomeini], may he be admitted to God’s paradise, is the day that the people display the unity of the Islamic world against any form of tyranny and aggression,” Rohani said, according to a New York Times translation. “In any case, in our region, a sore has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world for many years, in the shadow of the occupation of the Holy Land of Palestine and the dear Quds. This day is in fact a reminder of the fact that Muslim people will not forgot their historic right and will continue to stand against aggression and tyranny.”

Netanyahu’s blast could be seen as being aimed at U.S. President Obama and a number of U.S. lawmakers who have said Rohani’s expressed willingness to make Iran’s nuclear program more transparent should be tested.

A number of pro-Israel groups that had attacked Rohani in social media based on the misstatement, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee and The Israel Project, did not retract their attacks by midday Friday. One group, the AJC-affilaited U.N. Watch, corrected its statement.

International Quds Day, held annually since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, drew hundreds of thousands of participants in Tehran, according to news agencies.

Rohani, who is scheduled to be inaugurated in two days, is believed to have garnered the votes of Iran’s more reform-minded voters, although he is a veteran of the ruling clerical establishment and his candidacy was authorized by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In his own Quds Day remarks, Khamenei vowed that “Palestine will be free” and predicted the emergence of a new “Islamic Middle East.”

Last year, Ahmadinejad used a Quds Day event to call for the elimination of the “insult to all humanity” that is Israel, and said that confronting it constitutes an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings.” He too expressed confidence in the emergence of “a new Middle East” with no trace of Americans or of Zionists.

Cabinet OKs ‘Peace Process’ Referendum, Delays Vote on Terrorists

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Cabinet has approved a draft of a change in the Basic Law to require a referendum before giving up sovereign Israeli territory to the Palestinian Authority, but it has delayed for more than two hours a vote on freeing terrorists. Sovereign land refers to United Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all of which have been legally annexed to Israel, but it does not include Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is confronted with massive and bitter opposition to freeing 104 terrorists, including Arabs with Israeli citizenship, to fulfill a condition of Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas for renewing direct  talks.

The Prime Minister is scrambling for a majority, and the major sticking point is the idea of Abbas’ demanding that Israel free Arabs who are Israeli citizens.

Prime Minister Netanyahu packed the Cabinet to win a majority by adding Yesh Atid Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Peri  to the inner cabinet committee that will vote on freeing the terrorists.

Likud ministers are divided, but the party’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon caved into pressure and said he will back the release of the Palestiniain Arab terrorists but not those with Israeli citizenship.

Jewish Home’s three ministers said they will vote against Netanyahu, as will Likud Minister Israel Katz and Gilad Erdan. The clincher could rest with the Likud’s Israel Beiteinu faction, whose leader Avigdor Liberman has given them the freedom to vote as they please. At least two minsters are expected to oppose freeing more terrorists.

The Prime Minister is expected to win a small majority, but if the Cabinet insists on keeping Arabs with Israeli citizenship off the list, it could torpedo  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s grand design for the resumption of direct talks on Tuesday.

Palestinian Authority officials have said they want “all or nothing.”

Opposition among the Israeli public and even left-wing media is rampant. Netanyahu understood he would meet stiff opposition, and on Saturday night, he took the unusual step of writing an open letter to the Israeli public.

He admitted that freeing the terrorists contradicts the value of justice but nevertheless said it was good for the country to do so.

At the opening of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister continued to try to convince ministers to back him. “I believe that renewing the diplomatic process is important for Israel, both in order to bring an end to the conflict and in light of the complex realities in our region, primarily the security challenges from Iran and Syria,” he said.

Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home chairman and Minister of Economy, joined a Sunday morning protest against freeing the terrorists, many of whom murdered  elderly people and young children.

Yair Lapid, Finance Minister and chairman of the Yesh Atid party, reflected the view of those who are disgusted at the idea of releasing more terrorists but still hold out the hope against hope that it will help the cause of peace.

“These people should rot in prison all of their lives, but we need to do what is possible in order to start the peace process,” Lapid said.

One question remains unanswered: Why has Netanyahu broken his promises and stated policy – again?

He said direct talks must resume without any pre-conditions.

Maybe is gaining a promise from the Obama administration to take harsher action against Iran, or perhaps he is winning American agreement that the “red line” for acting against Iran is about to pass.

The U.S. government, like Netanyahu, have made lots of promises in the past.

‘Rohani the Moderate’ Helped Plan 1994 Bombing of Buenos Aires

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani, described as a “moderate” by media after he narrowly won this week’s election to success Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was on the committee that planned the mega-terrorist bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. He also has backed hiding Iran’s nuclear program.

Western diplomats’ knee-jerk reaction to any change on leadership in the Middle East, except in Israel, was full of praise for Rohani.

The United States “respected” the election results and is ready for “direct” engagement and intends “to aggressively push to resume negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program by August to test his new government’s positions.”

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was “fully committed” to working with Rohani’s government.

The Financial Times reported that Rohani “was the only moderate candidate in a race with five fundamentalists.”

How is he moderate? First of all, he is well-mannered. When someone tries to kill you, doesn’t it feel so much better when he smiles?

Secondly, Rohani is “pragmatic.”

He is very pragmatic. He was on the special Iranian committee that plotted the 1994 bombing in Argentina, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds of others.

Former Iranian intelligence official Abolghasem Mesbahi, who defected from Iran in the late 1990s, has previously testified that Rohani was then serving as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council in 1993 and was a member of the committee that approved the bombing, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

“Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei led the special committee, according to the indictment, and Khamenei and Rafsanjani made the ultimate decision to go ahead with the attack,” the Free Beacon explained.”

Reuel Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, told the Beacon, “Rohani’s power at that time comes directly from one individual, and that’s Rafsanjani. As far as that bombing was concerned, because Rafsanjani had to give his approval for that, there was no doubt Rohani was aware of it, and obviously his approval’s not necessary. He’s a subordinate. But he certainly would have been aware of all the discussions that led to the attack.”

How else is Rohanai a moderate? He supported the deadly suppression of crackdown on students protests in 1999.

Okay, so he hates Jews and is against protests? But maybe he is prepared to save the Iranian economy and ditch the nuclear program?

If his story is a clue, the answer is,“No chance.”

Rohani has supported concealing the Iranian nuclear program, saying that the West will accept it in the end just like it did hen Pakistan achieved nuclear capability. “The world started to work with them,” Rohani has stated.

Rohani was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. He said in a speech in Iran in 2004, “As for building the atomic bomb, we never wanted to move in that direction …”

But: “If one day we are able to complete the (nuclear) fuel cycle and the world sees that it has no choice, that we do possess the technology, then the situation will be different.”

In other words, “If we don’t have an atomic bomb, I don’t want it. Once we have it, that’ a different story.”

When Iran was caught try to hide its nuclear development towards the end of the 20th century, Rohani stated.  ”This (concealment) was the intention. This never was supposed to be in the open. But in any case, the spies exposed it. We did not want to declare all this.”

Rohanai is practical like a fox. He can be compared to Mahmoud Abbas, who wears a suit and a tie instead of Yasser Arafat’s kefiah and pistol. The difference between Abbas’ Fatah party platform and Hamas is style. Both have the same objective of destroying Israel.

Rohani is much more polite than Ahmadinejad, but his tacit approval of the murder of Jews in Buenos Aires show that his intentions are no better, if not worse.

Like Abbas, he will use is mild manner to try to convince the West how much he really wants to cooperate with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.

Rohani, in 2004, spoke in favor of cooperating with the West, according to Reuters.  He actually supported a freeze on enriching uranium, but only temporarily.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rohani-the-moderate-helped-plan-1994-bombing-of-buenos-aires/2013/06/20/

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