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April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’

Pressure on Iran Picking Up to Sign a Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

US Senate to Vote on Sanctions If No Iran Deal, EU Sanctions Already Reinstated

The United States Senate has threatened to impose sanctions on Iran if President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not successful in shepherding a nuclear technology deal through talks between world powers and Iran.

The European Union has already reinstated sanctions against 40 Iranian companies, including dozens of shipping firms, in order to increase pressure on Iran to sign on the dotted line.

The EU General Court lifted the sanctions on firms that were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines carrier (IRISL) in January, saying the EU had not proved the IRISL was actively supporting nuclear proliferation.

IRISL attorney Maryam Taher told the Reuters news agency the move was “purely politically motivated and not based on any proper evidence. The whole purpose of the EU sanctions is to leverage pressure on the Iranian government to come to an agreement in relation to nuclear proliferation.”

On Monday, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it could not state definitively that Iran’s nuclear program had no “military dimensions.” Issues meant to resolve suspicions of weaponization work remain, according to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in his report, despite what he called “good cooperation” from Tehran regarding the November 2013 comprehensive safeguards agreement.

However, he said, “We continue to verify the non-divergence of nuclear material declared by Iran, but we are still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful purpose.”

If international negotiators come up empty-handed this time around (they have already missed one deadline), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday at a weekly news briefing “Another heavy dose of sanctions would be an appropriate remedy.”

If an agreement is signed, the lawmakers would pass a bill requiring the president to submit the deal to Congress for its approval. The bill also contains a provision that would temporarily remove Obama’s ability to waive sanctions.

Obama says he will veto both bills.

Negotiators took a break on Friday and reconvene this week as the March 31 deadline inches closer. World leaders will try again to close a deal with a nation whose Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Saturday for “Death to America,” while its President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism that an agreement could still be reached.

Iran’s Rouhani Optimistic ‘Possible to Reach Agreement’ on Nuclear Deal

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appeared optimistic on Saturday about the chances of reaching a deal with the U.S. and world powers on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

“In this round of talks, shared points of view emerged in some of the areas where there had been a difference of opinion which can be a foundation for a final agreement,” Rouhani told the IRNA state news agency.

“I believe it is possible to reach an agreement and there is nothing that cannot be resolved,” he added, after a visit with wounded military veterans at a rehabilitation center.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told media on Saturday that world powers agreed “substantial progress” had been made on “key areas.”

That having been said, however, the UK, U.S., France and Germany were more reserved in their joint statement on how much farther the negotiators had to go in order to reach an agreement.

“We agreed that substantial progress had been made in key areas although there are still important issues on which no agreement has yet been possible,” Hammond said. “Now is the time for Iran, in particular, to take difficult decisions,” he said.

Mr. President, Show Me the Fatwa

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Last week, in President Obama’s Nowruz statement, where the Iranian people learned they will probably be subjugated by the Ayatollahs forever, Obama mentioned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa, an official religious ruling, against the development of nuclear weapons. Obama added that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.

One teensy, beensy eensy little problem – apparently no such Iranian fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons actually exists.

There’s an Iranian press release written in 2005 that says, “The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has issued the fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons.”

But that’s not a fatwa. That’s a propaganda statement released by the Iranian government for international consumption.

In Iran, a fatwa has legal standing — and no one has ever seen this mysterious Iranian anti-nuke fatwa.

It’s never been released, because it doesn’t exist.

In 2013, the Washington Post questioned if the fatwa exists.

The Washington Post showed a similar example of another non-existent Iranian fatwa against chemical weapons.

If a chemical weapons fatwa ever existed, it was clearly ignored when Iran was forced to eventually admit that it had produced chemical weapons.

In 2013, when President Obama endorsed the fatwa, MEMRI – the Middle East Research Institute, with their trove of translators went looking for the fatwa.

They found lots of other fatwas, but no fatwa against Iran having nuclear weapons.

In short, there is zero evidence that any actual Iranian fatwa exists against the Islamic Republic’s acquisition or use of nuclear weapons.

If President Obama is going to rely in any way on this apparently imaginary fatwa, then for the sake of the American people, and the world, he had better demand the Iranians show it to all of us, in writing.

Mr. President, show me the fatwa.

Iran Talks Stuck Over What Stops First, Nukes Or Sanctions

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News

by Ilan Shavit

The timing for lifting international sanctions on Iran is now a major hurdle before an agreement can be reached on limiting its nuclear program by the deadline, March 31 deadline, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing American, European, and Iranian officials.

The Iranians now insist that UN backed sanctions on their energy, finance, and transportation sectors are terminated as the first phase of the deal. The other side wants a gradual removal of the sanctions over several years, depending on Iran’s compliance, especially in its cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.

A senior European diplomat told the WSJ the Iranians “say it’s a deal breaker. They don’t want it at all,” adding that “there’s no way that we would give up on that…. No way.”

Stalemate.

The same official said the U.S. and the Europeans expect the process of lifting the restrictions on Iran to last at least one year, more likely two.

However, the process of lifting the sanctions could start as early as a few weeks following the signing of the deal, the WSJ notes. This would include Iran starting to reclaim its frozen assets in Western banks, to the tune of $100 billion.

According to Bloomberg, the IAEA is willing to accelerate the assessment of the Iranian program, but expects Iran to significantly improve its cooperation with monitors.

“We are prepared to assist them in the resolution of all outstanding issues,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on March 2. “Iran needs the confidence of the international community.”

The IAEA says Iran is yet to turn over key documents and permit them access to key sites as well as face time with scientists who have worked on the nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, bolstered by his decisive victory in Tuesday’s national elections, on Thursday demanded the broadening of the sanctions on Iran, to force its leadership to give up not just its nuclear program, but also end its support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

Netanyahu told NBC News: “The most important thing is that the lifting of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would depend on Iran’s change of behavior, that it would stop supporting terrorism, stop its aggression against just about every country in the region, and stop calling [for] and threatening the annihilation of Israel.”

BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

The deadline for the talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 is now less than two days away.

As the time nears for either the ability to announce an “historic agreement” about nuclear weapons with Iran or failure on yet another front, there are reports of an alarming shift in the wind blowing out of the west: a growing inclination to allow Iran to avoid admitting “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of its nuclear program in order to have a historic agreement.

Many news outlets are referring to the condition as merely a “mea culpa” demand, useful only as a tool to humiliate Iran. The suggestion is that the PMD requirement should be relaxed in order to allow Iran to “save face.”

Others, including former members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, have warned that allowing Iran to evade the requirement now, and easing sanctions without securing an agreement from the ayatollahs to acknowledge the PMD of its nuclear program will sabotage any chance of future verification programs.

From the beginning of his administration, U.S. President Barack Obama has soothed potential detractors with his assurance that he would force full Iranian disclosure. “Iran is on notice,” the president said in September of 2009, “they are going to have to come clean.”

Less than two years ago Secretary of State John Kerry reinforced the president’s longstanding demand, stating that “the president has made it definitive” that the Islamic Republic needs to answer all “questions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.”

But it isn’t just that the U.S. president  – indeed, the entire Western diplomatic effort – has rested on the need for Iran to come clean about its past that makes the PMD absolutely essential. Rather, allowing Iran to evade full cooperation with the IAEA inquiries would neuter any ability of the west to measure what kinds of progress Iran is making with respect to its nuclear program.

This point was made forcefully in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this past spring, “Making Iran Come Clean About Its Nukes.” David Albright, a former Iraq U.N. inspector, and Bruno Tertrais, senior research fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris, were unequivocal about the need for Iran to address the questions it has been evading by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear weapons development.

To be credible, a final agreement must ensure that any effort by Tehran to construct a bomb would be sufficiently time-consuming and detectable that the international community could act decisively to prevent Iran from succeeding. It is critical to know whether the Islamic Republic had a nuclear-weapons program in the past, how far the work on warheads advanced and whether it continues. Without clear answers to these questions, outsiders will be unable to determine how fast the Iranian regime could construct either a crude nuclear-test device or a deliverable weapon if it chose to renege on an agreement.

Without the essential benchmark information provided by PMD disclosure, any information going forward would be virtually meaningless.

The experts asked the world to consider why anyone should believe that if Iran is given a free pass now to evade questions about its weapons program when “biting” sanctions on its oil exports and financial transactions are in place, how could there be any hope of forcing the Islamic Republic to answer those questions later, after sanctions are lifted?

“Washington and the Europeans have arrived at a critical juncture. If the West fails to demand that Iran verifiably fess up to the military dimensions of its nuclear program, the odds are good that Ayatollah Khamenei would be able to build the bomb without fear of discovery,” Albright and Tertrais wrote.

So Called Moderate Rohani Wins Iranian Vote

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Hassan Rohani won outright majority of the votes and was declared President-elect of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IRNA reported.

Just under 37 million Iranians voted in Friday’s elections, out of some 50 million eligible voters—close to a 75 percent turnout—with about one million votes disqualified. Hassan Rohani won 18,613,629 votes, or just around 51 percent, which means there won’t be a runoff election.

According to a Reuters reporter stationed in Dubai, it appears the elections were surprisingly free and fair – of course, after a very large number of candidates had been shaved off the ballots by the ruling ayatollahs before the vote began.

The British Foreign Office said in a statement that it hoped President Elect Rohani would use his victory to engage with international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

“We note the announcement that Hassan Rouhani has won the Iranian presidential elections,” the statement said. “We call on him to use the opportunity to set Iran on a different course for the future: addressing international concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, taking forward a constructive relationship with the international community, and improving the political and human rights situation for the people of Iran.”

Rouhani has been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Expediency Council since 1991, member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.

Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for 16 years. His career at the Council began under President Hashemi Rafsanjani and continued under his successor, President Khatami. He served as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator from October, 2003 to August, 2005. That period began with international revelations about Iran’s nuclear energy program and adoption of a strongly-worded resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Rouhani and his team based their efforts on dialogue and confidence building. They managed to prevent further accusations against Iran, by suspending some parts of Iran’s nuclear activities voluntarily. While preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran still succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle. But Rouhani was not liked by incoming president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, who made him resign from his post as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council after 16 years of leading it.

Just based on his public record, it is clear that the historic differences between Rouhani and his predecessor Ahmadinejad have never been over substance – they both insist on Iran’s right to a fully developed nuclear program, both for peaceful and ends as for weapons production. Rouhani is simply more patient and better at duplicity.

This could mean a change for the worse in terms of Israel’s worries about the Iranian bomb, because Rouhani could turn out to be a lot more accommodating to the European and American negotiators, which would isolate Israel in its hawkish position against Iran’s nuclear program.

Rouhani is known as a friend of Iran’s Green Movement, but he also enjoys close ties to Iran’s ruling ayatollahs.

According to Reuters, Iranian voters gave Rouhani what amounted to a landslide victory – 51 percent in a very crowded race, because they are weary of years of economic isolation and tightening political restrictions. They’ve greeted his victory with a mix of euphoria and relief that eight years under hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were finally over.

But, clearly, Israel is not about to let down its guard.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/so-called-moderate-rohani-wins-iranian-vote/2013/06/15/

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