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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’

Swiss Lifting Sanctions on Iran, Invite others to ‘Pass Through’?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Even before Iran has met conditions contained in the Nuclear Iran deal, the ever-eager Swiss have begun lifting sanctions on Iran in a show of support for the Nuclear Iran deal negotiated by the U.S. and its P5+1 partners with Iran. They are also darn happy with their good relations with Iran.

The Swiss Federal Council announced the decision it reached on Aug. 12 to officially list sanctions beginning on Thursday, Aug. 13. The Swiss government had been engaged in direct dialogue with Iran and had already suspended the sanctions in Jan. 2014.

In announcing that it was lifting certain sanctions, the Swiss government explained the path it had taken.

In recent decades, Switzerland has pursued a consistent, neutral and balanced policy with regard to Iran. In part due to its protecting power mandate for the USA, it has always been committed to dialogue and to keeping communication channels open. At the same time, Switzerland has always defended its own values and views. Today Switzerland is perceived in Iran as a reliable and credible discussion partner.

As of Thursday, the ban on precious metals transactions and requirements to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products, as well as the transport of Iranian crude oil will be lifted.

The value above which reporting and licensing obligations are triggered in relation to money transfers from and to Iranian nationals was increased tenfold.

Despite Switzerland’s eagerness to improve its bilateral relations with Iran, those sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council will remain in force for the time being, according to the Swiss government.

And if the JCPOA fails, the Swiss government “reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.” In other words, it may “snap back” sanctions if Iran is caught cheating. Then again, it may not.

The Swiss government’s statement included other curious language. In addition to making clear its support for the global nuclear negotiations with Iran, it specifically stated it wished to “signal that Switzerland’s positioning with respect to Iran, which was developed and maintained over a number of years, should be used to promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran.”

Whether that language invites other countries to deal with Iranian crude oil using the Swiss as a pass-through is unclear.

Iranian FM on Regional Tour to ‘Sell’ Nuclear Deal

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif set out on a three-stop tour of the region Sunday to begin an effort to “sell” the P5+1 nuclear deal to skeptical Arab nations in the Middle East.

A number of countries in addition to Israel harbor grave doubts about Iran’s motivations for making the deal, let alone its ability to stick to the terms of the agreement. Among those who view the deal with extreme caution are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Bahrain is also giving the accord a second look, but finds itself in a difficult position. Host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, the country can hardly say it lacks for protection from Iranian aggression – even nuclear aggression.

That didn’t stop Iran from providing covert assistance and strong encouragement to a Shi’ite-led opposition movement within Bahrain during the Arab Spring. Nor has it apparently stopped Iran from sponsoring nascent terror operations in the country.

A smuggling ring was recently caught trying to bring weapons, ammunition and explosives into the kingdom; authorities told reporters that two of the suspects caught in the sting were Bahraini nationals who received military training in Iran, and who confessed to receiving the contraband from “Iranian handlers.”

Nevertheless, in a speech earlier this month, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei included Bahrain in the list of “regional friends” Iran would continue to support despite its nuclear deal, along with Yemen, Syria, Iraq and “the oppressed Palestinian nation.”

But Bahrain was not Zarif’s itinerary: on Saturday, Manama announced it was recalling its ambassador to Iran for consultations in the wake of “continued hostile statements made by Iranian officials toward Bahrain,” according to the official Bahrain News Agency.

Zarif began his tour with a visit to Kuwait, where he was greeted by Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah in a red-carpet welcome at the airport. Within hours Zarif was in talks with Kuwait’s head of state, emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

The Iranian diplomat is slated to travel to Qatar and then to Iraq, where he will brief the heads of state in both countries – as he has in Kuwait – on the details of the nuclear deal Iran signed with the U.S.-led delegation of world powers. According to Iranian state-run media, Zarif will also discuss ways to “improve cooperation and fight terrorism” as well.

In the case of Qatar, Iran shares with Doha control over a huge underwater natural gas field, the development of which may come up for discussion due to the imminent lifting of sanctions as part of the deal that was signed.

With regard to Baghdad, Iran months ago sent its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps and other troops to battle Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists which currently control one-third of that country. Most of the Iraqi territory that is not controlled by Da’esh at this point is controlled by Iran.

“Iran and the regional countries are facing common threats that should be confronted through mutual cooperation,” Zarif said, according to the Iranian FARS news agency.

President Obama Issues Executive Order that Jon Stewart Cannot Leave ‘The Daily Show’

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015


President Obama made his final appearance on the Daily Show ahead of Jon Stewart’s departure after 16 years as host. The announcement that Stewart was leaving was met with dismay among his huge fan base.

After President Obama took the stage, he said, “I can’t believe you are leaving before me. I’m issuing an executive order that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.”

Of course, it was added that such an order would be contested in the courts.

Joking about conspiracy theories that have been generated about President Obama in social media, Stewart remarked on the fact the President has only 18 months remaining in his second term. “You don’t have that much time to take away America’s guns, declare martial law and put hardworking Americans into labor camps. You’d better get started,” Stewart said.

Stewart went right to the controversial Iran nuclear deal which has drawn vociferous criticism from Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and many pro-Israel groups.

“Whose team are we on in the Middle East?” Stewart asked.

“Iran are anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic,” replied Obama, “and they sponsor terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.”

“Sounds like a good partner,” said Stewart.

“Well, as is said frequently, you don’t make peace with your friends,” the President said.

Obama reiterated points stated in defense of the deal, that it will take definitive measures to ensure Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon, that the inspection capability is “unprecedented,” that there is no chance Iran can get away with cheating. If caught, sanctions can be put in place, said the President. He added that with a deal, the US government can have greater visibility into Iran’s nuclear program.

Critics of the Iran nuclear deal do not approve of having to give Iran 24 days’ notice before checking its facilities, while some experts say 24 days, in the world of nuclear science, is not a long time, and it will be impossible to hide traces of the material. Critics of the deal also highlight the danger of freeing up large amounts of money for Iran, which has called for the destruction of Israel and finances terrorist organizations.

Jon Stewart, who was born Jon Stuart Leibowitz, received heat following his criticism of the Israeli military during last summer’s conflict with Gaza. Responding to those on social media who labeled him a “self-hating Jew,” Stewart responded, “I have many reasons to hate myself and being Jewish isn’t one of them.”

On his first day back following his vacation, a launching pad for his final three weeks on “The Daily Show,” Stewart welcomed the opportunity to ridicule real estate tycoon and now presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose unusual hair and insulting language are considered a boon to satirists.

“I’m sure the Republicans are enjoying Donald Trump,” said the President. Following his controversial statement that Senator John McCain, who spent 5 years as a POW, was not a war hero because he was captured, Jon Stewart imagined that Trump could inspire a new Jewish holiday. “I really feel this is a sort of Jewish holiday waiting to happen. Like, ‘we thought the craziness would only last a day, but by a miracle, it burned for eight, 10, days…”

Interestingly, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka took the name Yael and converted to Orthodox Judaism, so who knows? She might start producing Trump menorahs.

Obama Calls Netanyahu to Assure Him of ‘Concerns’ for Iranian Terror

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

President Barack Obama placed a check mark on his list of duties of protocol night and called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to assure him that the agreement with Iran ensures “the peaceful nature” of Tehran’s nuclear program. The White House summary of the phone call omitted Netanyahu’s response, which included two major concerns that he raised:

One, the agreement allows Iran to develop extensive capabilities that will serve it in arming itself with nuclear weapons whether at the end of the period of the agreement in another 10-15 years, or earlier if it violates the agreement.

Two, the agreement channels hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran’s terrorism and war machine, a war that is directed against us and against others in the region.

President Obama’s “reassurance” on the aspect of terror was nothing but an expression “of our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.” He did expound on how his “concerns” will thwart terror.

According to the White House version, President Obama noted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.

The White House was careful not to admit that Iran has 24 days to hide the evidence between the time that IAEA inspectors will ask to sniff for nuclear weapons development and the time they actually arrive.

“Snap inspections,” which Obama once said would part of the final deal, will not happen.

The President is going through the motions to show Congress how much his administration is Israel’s greatest ally and supporter, and he reminded Prime Minister Netanyahu last night that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will visit Israel next week.

The President told the Prime Minister that the visit “is a reflection of the unprecedented level of security cooperation between the United States and Israel, and that the visit offers a further opportunity to continue our close consultation on security issues with Israeli counterparts as we remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region.”


Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet last night that if weren’t for Israel, Iran would have nuclear weapons today. He explained:

The pressure that we applied and the actions that we undertook over the years led to the fact that Iran did not arm itself with nuclear weapons and I can safely say that were it not for Israel’s actions, including by governments that I led, Iran would have already armed itself with nuclear weapons.

And therefore, at present there is one mission – to ensure that it does not arm itself with nuclear weapons in the future.

Zarif Says Deal Heralds ‘New Chapter of Hope’ (for what?)[video]

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif said Tuesday, “Today could have been the end of hope but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.”

Zarif said:

I believe this is an historic moment. We are reaching an agreement that is not perfect for anybody but is what we could accomplish. Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.

The question remains, “hope for what?”

For the hope of Iran to be able to obtain a nuclear weapon and threatened Israel and the entire Middle East?

‘Peace for Our Time’ – Iran Nuclear Deal Announced on ‘Black Tuesday’

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Iran and the P5+1 powers announced a final agreement shortly after noon (Israeli time) on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. It will take a year to understand if the deal actually stops helps Iran get its hands on a nuclear weapon.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned yesterday that Israel’s failure to prevent a “bad deal” does not change its determination to use whatever means necessary to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said the nuclear deal will sufficient for “at least for the period of the first 10 years.”

Congress has 60 days to review the bill, but it will not be able to torpedo it unless there is a wholesale rebellion of Democrats that would prevent a presidential veto of non-approval by legislators.

Rouhani has provided plenty of ammunition for opponents to the deal, having said that Iran still will consider the United States an enemy country.

Western Officials Promoting ‘Breakthrough’ in Talks with Iran

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Western diplomats Saturday “leaked” to media that a “breakthrough” has taken place in talks with Iran over a deal to supervise and limit its nuclear program, but an agreement clearly is not in hand.

Iran denied that a partial agreement had been reached.

The presumed progress centered on future sanctions, but there were no indications that negotiators had hurdled the issues of development of advanced centrifuges and of lifting United Nations sanctions.

There also is no agreement on a mechanism or re-imposing sanctions if Iran does not live up to its end of the deal. The issue of having to renew sanctions could be one of the most controversial when Congress reviews a deal, if one is concluded.  The temporary agreement reached earlier this year would make renewal of sanctions a long and drawn-out process  that would take so long that it Iran might be able to produce a numeral weapon in the meantime.

Iran’s government-controlled Fars News Agency reported Saturday:

A source close to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers underway in Vienna, Austria, rejected reports about partial agreement between Iran and the sextet, stressing that any final agreement with the world powers should include detailed solutions and mechanisms for resolving all issues.

Given the principle that ‘nothing will be agreed upon as long as there is agreement on everything’, the questions asking if there has been a specific agreement on a certain topic is basically wrong,’ the source who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the talks told FNA on Saturday.

The new deadline for concluding a deal is July 7, three days away, which means that nothing conclusive and reliable can be believed until a few hours before the deadline, if it not extended again.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry celebrated  the Fourth of July Saturday, as the Jewish Press.com reported here might happen, by meeting twice with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/western-officials-promoting-breakthrough-in-talks-with-iran/2015/07/05/

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