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

Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’

Kerry Might Celebrate 4th of July by Talking with Iran on Deal

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

A senior U.S. official said Sunday it is prepared to extend talks with Iran beyond the June 30 deadline, which is a surprise to no one.

This is why The JewishPress.com has been laying low on the negotiations between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic.
It was clear as the nose on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s face that “deadline” in the Persian language means “maybe tomorrow.”

Talks have been going on for three years, and the “final” deadline of last November has been extended, as was every other deadline before and after.

President Barack Obama knows that Iran is playing games. Iran knows that Obama knows, and Obama knows that Iran knows… and so on and so forth.

The problem is that the game is over a nuclear weapon, which under Iran’s definition of peaceful purposes would be used as a threat to annihilate Israel and rid the world of Zionism, which is responsible for horrors such as the mobile phone, instant messaging, WAZE, drugs against Muscular Sclerosis, USB, Rummikub, the model for desalination, solar energy, drones, computer chips, breast tumor imaging and Natalie Portman.

We will back with more news around July 2 or maybe the 4th of July, when Iran can force Kerry to celebrate American Independence Day by sweating over a bad deal.

As for now, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is playing out the script and returning to Tehran tonight. He will back on Monday for the next act.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made one of the most unimportant comments of the year, stating that a final deal can be achieved if both show “strong political will.”

She added, “We stick to the foreseen timetable. If a few days more are needed, we can take them.”

Some say “a few is eight,” and even more. That would push talks dangerously close to mid-July and might muck up President Barack Obama’s rumored invitation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at that time.

If the invitation is valid, it would set the stage for President Obama to snicker at Prime Minister Netanyahu over a deal that Israel would rather go the way of the Titanic, or brag how he backs Israel so much that he did not agree to a lousy deals that he knows Congress won’t approve.

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.

Iran’s Meddling in Iraq, Yemen, Bleeds into Kerry- Zarif NY Nuclear Talks

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

U.S. officials have acknowledged that Iran-supported Shiite violence in Iraq and Yemen has been influencing the talks between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program, AFP reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry said before his Monday talk with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that he was “confident that Yemen will be mentioned certainly, because Iran is obviously a supportive party to the Houthis.”

Kerry told reporters: “I will certainly urge that everybody do their part to try to reduce the violence and allow the negotiations to begin,” putting the blame for the Yemen situation on “external parties and proxies.”

Iran and the P5+1 group are negotiating against the clock, which ticks its final tock on June 30.

Kerry and Zarif met at the home of Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, after both had addressed a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Kerry told the conference that “the vast majority of the world has come to the conclusion — united around the belief that nuclear weapons should one day be eliminated. Today the race to nuclear arms that once sparked the fear of imminent Armageddon in billions of human beings and hearts, that has been supplanted in a wary but steady march… toward the promise of peace.”

That’s if one doesn’t count the Saudis, whose response to the U.S. treaty talks with Iran has been a vow to get its own nuclear weapons, most likely from Pakistan.

“If we can get there, the entire world will be safer,” Kerry insisted, not addressing the possibility of a Middle East nuclear arms race and war directly resulting from his success.

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.

Iran Says No to Deal Without Immediate Lifting of Sanctions

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that “unless all economic sanctions are lifted on the first day of the implementation of the agreement,” nothing would be signed with the P5+1, according to an Iranian PressTV report.

The statement was made during Iran’s Nuclear Technology Day, where Iran showed off their “nuclear achievements” and claimed they weren’t working towards a nuclear bomb.

Iran Contradicts US, Plans to Use Advanced Centrifuges Immediately

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif and nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told a closed-door Iranian parliament session on Tuesday morning that as soon as the nuclear deal is in effect Iran will begin using the advanced IR-8 centrifuges, according to the Iranian FARS agency.

Iran would start by injecting UF6 gas into those latest generation centrifuges.

The US claims the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran requires that those centrifuges be put in storage and not used.

“The AEOI chief and the foreign minister presented hopeful remarks about nuclear technology R&D which, they said, have been agreed upon during the talks (with the six world powers), and informed that gas will be injected into IR8 (centrifuge machines) with the start of the (implementation of the) agreement,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Javad Karimi Qoddousi said following the closed-door session at the legislature today.

Iran also plans to release its own “fact sheet” detailing the Iranian narrative of the Lausanne negotiations.

Yesterday, President Obama said that the Iranians would have zero breakout time 13 years after the deal was signed. That statement assumed they don’t breach the agreement earlier, as they’ve just made clear they will.

France Warns There’s ‘Insufficient Progress’ With Iran on Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

French Ambassador to the United Nations Francois Delattre told a meeting of the UN Security Council Tuesday that “insufficient” progress has been made towards a nuclear deal with Iran.

The UNSC session had been convened specifically to discuss the issue of UN sanctions on Iran.

“Iran must now make difficult choices if it truly wishes to regain the trust of the international community,” Delattre told ambassadors at the session.

Gaps still remain on the issues of sanctions and research and development, Reuters reported. Likewise, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in a briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday, that although there had been “substantial progress” in the talks, “important gaps remain… We have an opportunity to get this right,” he added, urging Iran to make the “fundamental decisions” that would prove its interest in peace, not nuclear weaponry.

But as Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu predicted in his speech to the U.S. Congress earlier this month, Iran’s behavior reflects anything but an interest in peaceful relations with the West.

An Iranian official scolded the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiyo Amano, for requiring unannounced inspections of its nuclear sites as part of its inspection protocols.

The request, which Amano contended would reassure the international community and restore Iran’s credibility, harmed negotiations between world powers and Tehran, said Iran nuclear spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi.

Iranian state television quoted Kamalvandi as saying, “It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA’s seasonal and monthly reports.”

The deadline for the talks – conducted with Iran by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — is set for March 31, with a final agreement to be tied up by June 30.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/france-warns-theres-insufficient-progress-with-iran-on-nuclear-deal/2015/03/25/

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