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August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Javad Zarif’

Foreign Ministers Leave US, Iranian Negotiators Alone in Vienna

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The going has finally gotten tough enough to force the tough to get going – and they’re gone.

All of the foreign ministers from the P5+1 group of world powers left U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna late Tuesday to get whatever he can on a deal with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with journalists in the Austrian capital to say the two sides are too far apart for a deal.

Nearly 10 issues still separate the delegation of six nations (Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) led by the United States and Tehran.

Iran continues to insist on full, immediate sanctions relief but refuses to allow spot inspections and access for United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to its military nuclear sites.

The new deadline for conclusion of the talks – which is also “flexible” – is set for this Friday, July 10.

The team of American delegates left to negotiate in Vienna, meanwhile, told a small group of international reporters Tuesday they were “insulted” by implications the U.S. is “eager” for an agreement at any cost. The delegates have traveled to Austria 18 times over the past two years to negotiate this deal, they said.

“Quite frankly, when people say that we’re rushing to an agreement, I find it somewhat insulting,” said a senior U.S. official, “to me, to the team and to the secretary and to the president…. we have seen more of each other than our actual families.”

The official who spoke with reporters warned that once the team leaves Vienna this time, however, “we are in less control of what happens in this negotiation. It gets more complicated, not less complicated.”

If an agreement is initialed by July 10, Congress will have 30 days to review it.

But if it takes longer, then lawmakers will have 60 days to comb through the fine points and decide whether to give a green light or not.

Russia Steps Up in U.S.-led Nuclear Talks with Iran

Monday, July 6th, 2015

With a wide gap remaining between the delegation of world powers led by the United States and Iranian negotiators, the prospects for a nuclear deal look questionable with one more day till the July 7 deadline.

On Monday, July 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met separately in Vienna with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in an effort to break the deadlock.

Russia has been deeply involved in helping Iran with its nuclear technology development from the start. Moscow has helped Iran build a number of nuclear energy plants in the Islamic Republic, and has also sold Tehran a sophisticated surface-to-air anti-missile defense system as well.

“A mutual desire to find as soon as possible mutually acceptable solutions on disputed issues was expressed,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a cryptic statement released to media.

Iran, however, appears to still not be budging on its positions, with the deadline less than 24 hours away. An Iranian source told news agencies that ‘serious differences’ remained between the two sides.

“The ministerial meeting between Iran and the [six] world powers showed there are still serious differences,” a source close to the Iranian negotiating team told the Iranian state news agency IRNA. “But both sides are also serious about resolving the differences.”

Negotiators on both sides indicated they may stretch the deadline past July 7, as had been done with the June 30 deadline and the deadline prior to that.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing on Monday, “I wouldn’t set any expectations at this point… I would say that it’s certainly possible” that the “final, firm” deadline for the talks could once again “slip.”

What is even more likely is that Iran will continue to demand impossible concessions — and the world powers will be forced to decide whether they are willing to simply cave to Tehran, or find the strength to walk away from the table.

Iran’s Zarif Paints Iran as a Lamb, Israel as the Lion

Friday, March 6th, 2015

NBC News reporter Ann Curry had an exclusive interview with the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javad Zarif, on Wednesday, March 4. Although Curry doggedly asked the foreign minister several tough questions, the answers he gave with a straight face would be award winning, if the interview were meant to be fiction.

Throughout the interview, Zarif hammered away on his talking points which boil down to: Iran has no interest in building nuclear weapons, Iran’s nuclear program is purely peaceful, and Iran has been completely transparent and complied with every inspection and restriction placed upon it; while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a liar, is interfering in internal American politics, and Israel is the main aggressor, brutal occupier  and destabilizing force in the region.

Curry asked Zarif whether his country and the global world powers – the P5+1 – were making progress in the negotiations. Zarif responded that they have been able to move forward with many issues dealing with the technicalities because, he said, Iran “said all along that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

When asked what the major stumbling block is to an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Zarif claimed it has been the pressure against making the political agreement. He was referring to Israel’s Netanyahu.

Zarif ridiculed Netanyahu who, he said, has been predicting for years that Iran is only one year away from producing a nuclear bomb. Zarif then very calmly explained that there really is nothing to Netanyahu’s hysteria.

Iran is not about building nuclear weapon. We don’t wanna build nuclear weapons. We don’t believe that nuclear weapons bring security to anybody, certainly not to us. So – it’s important for everybody to come to the realization that – this is about nuclear technology, this is about scientific advancement, this is about pride of the Iranian people. It’s – it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. And once we reach that understanding, once this hysteria is out, once this fear mongering is out, then we can have a deal, and a deal that is not gonna hurt anybody.

Curry, to her credit, contradicted Zarif’s claim that Iran has been transparent. She mentioned the recent statement made by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors that Iran has been stalling and has not been transparent about its nuclear program, even as the negotiations have been ongoing. But Zarif smoothly pivoted, and went off on another tirade about Israel.

there have been allegations that have been made against Iran. Most of them, unfortunately, produced by Israel. And by the way, it’s important to know that Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in our region, is the only aggressor in our region, is the only occupier of other people’s territory in our region. And it still has the audacity to go out and make claims– about others. The prime minister, who is actually responsible for the carnage that took place in Gaza, is accusing a country that has not invaded any of its neighbors, or anybody else for that matter, for over 250 years, more than the life of many nations.

Incredibly, Zarif presented Iran as the ultimate pacifist nation, claiming it has not invaded or “aggressed upon” any of its neighbors, whereas Israel’s record is “disastrous.”

Perhaps Zarif’s greatest punch line was when he claimed that the Middle East has been “facing a very serious threat of extremism, of violence, and that Iran has “been a force for stability in this region.”

Really? Maybe Curry should have asked about Iran’s funding and supplying of weapons to the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, it’s destabilizing influence in Lebanon, its support for the brutal Assad regime, its murderous activities even in America’s own backyard, Argentina, and the hand-holding and cooperation with North Korea.

Curry did give a little pushback to this pipe dream of a peaceful Iran. She invoked Netanyahu’s statement in his speech to Congress on March 3, when he said Iran “has genocidal ambitions against the Jewish people.”

In a runner-up for best punch line, Zarif then invoked the Purim story, and claimed it was Netanyahu who does not know his own “scripture,” because he said (wrongly) that the Book of Esther is in the Old Testament, and in that scripture it is the Persian King who saves the Jewish people. From there, Zarif leaps over to the fact that there are Jews who live in Iran today who are not being “annihilated,” so Netanyahu is just plain wrong, according to Zarif.

In another effort at pushback NBC’s Curry produced a tweet from the Ayatollah Khameini from seven months ago.  The Ayatollah tweeted, referring to Israel: “This barbaric wolf-like and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime, has no cure but to be annihilated.”

What about that, Mr. Foreign Minister?

Zarif would have none of it, claiming that wanting to annihilate Netanyahu who has “butchered innocent children in Gaza” is not the same thing as wanting to annihilate Jews.

Then Zarif really got wound up and began blaming the Israeli regime for having caused the “oldest crisis in our region,” of having “aggressed upon all its neighbors,” of “occupying people’s territory,” and of “violating human rights on a daily basis.”  Zarif doubled down, saying that this Israel regime “should be annihilated,” because it is a threat to the region, one that engages in the killing of innocent children.

But, Zarif said, “Iran has not invaded any other country. We have not threatened to use force. Just exactly the opposite of Israel. Israel threatens to use force against Iran almost on a daily basis.”    

So, there you have the world according to Zarif. The Middle East is in danger because of the aggressor, the occupier, the evil nation – Israel is the one that has been threatening all its neighbors, while Iran is the stabilizing force for good in the region.

Why would anyone hesitate to sign a nuclear weapons agreement with these people?

The Artful Inaccuracies of Iran’s Foreign Minister

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

As we march towards the July 20 deadline for reaching agreement on stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons program, it is worth gauging Iran’s intentions by looking at the words of its foreign minister, Javad Zarif. On June 13, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Zarif entitled Iran is Committed to a Peaceful Nuclear Program. The op-ed is a skillful piece of propaganda aimed at dismissing skeptics of Iran’s peaceful nuclear intentions. However, Zarif’s arguments are marked by inaccurate assertions, significant omissions, and a threatening tone. The central paragraph of Zarif’s op-ed characterizes the concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons program as a “phobia.”

While reaching a realistic deal is the best available option for the West to prevent such a remote possibility, it may be instructive to take that phobia at face value. Let’s put it to a logical test. If Iran ever wanted to break out, all IAEA inspectors would have to be expelled from the country. Iran’s program would then have to be reconfigured to make weapons-grade fissile material, which would have to be converted to metal, be molded into the shape required for a bomb and undergo countless other complex weaponization processes. None of these capabilities exist in Iran and would have to be developed from scratch. This would take several years — not a few months.

In its assessment of breakout times published last October, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) argued that a breakout time of less than six months would allow Iran to develop a nuclear device undetected:

As in the October 2012 iteration, the estimates in this report do not include the additional time that Iran would need to convert WGU [weapons grade uranium] into weapons components and manufacture a nuclear weapon. This extra time could be substantial, particularly if Iran wanted to build a reliable warhead for a ballistic missile. However, these preparations would most likely be conducted at secret sites and would be difficult to detect. If Iran successfully produced enough WGU for a nuclear weapon, the ensuing weaponization process might not be detectable until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the most practical strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is to prevent it from accumulating sufficient nuclear explosive material, particularly in secret or without adequate warning. This strategy depends on knowing how quickly Iran could make WGU.

Zarif’s “breakout time” estimate differs from that of ISIS as the former includes activities such as weaponization and the creation of delivery systems, both of which could evade detection. ISIS’s breakout time estimate addresses the production of sufficient fissile material to make a bomb. In an analysis of a dubious study that is apparently the basis for Zarif’s claim of a breakout time of “several years,” ISIS researchers observed that the methodology of the study is so systematically skewed, “that it requires all the breakout estimates to be dismissed as woefully too short” and concluded, “[t]his Iranian study is a political tool for Iranian officials to point to as negotiations unfold.”

Later on, Zarif writes, “For years, small but powerful constituencies have irrationally advanced the idea that Iran can produce enough fissile material for a bomb in months.” Thus Zarif shifts the argument from “Iran cannot produce a nuclear device in a matter of months,” which is true, to “Iran cannot produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb in a matter of months,” which is false.

Furthermore, a “logical test” could be applied the other way too. If Iran’s nuclear program has no military aspect, why is it developing ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear payload? If Iran’s nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, why is it planning to build a heavy water reactor when a light water reactor would suffice for any civilian needs? If Iran’s nuclear program only has peaceful aims, why did Iran refuse guarantees for a steady supply of enriched uranium and instead insist on mastering fuel cycle technologies (i.e. uranium enrichment)?  And why has Iran not allowed an on site inspection of the Parchin facility, which is believed to have housed experiments for nuclear detonators? In addition, Iran has asphalted the site hiding evidence of its experiments.

Iran Accuses Israel of Faking Ship Raid

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Iran accused Israel of faking a raid on a ship laden with arms bound for the Gaza Strip.

“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza. Captured just in time for annual [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] anti-Iran campaign,” Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said Thursday on his official Twitter account. “Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week to attend the annual AIPAC conference, where he pressed for a tougher U.S. posture in nuclear talks underway between Iran and the major powers.

Israeli troops on Wednesday seized the Panama-flagged ship in the Red Sea. They said the ship was laden with M-302 long-range missiles to be smuggled into Gaza via Egypt.

The missiles, which Israel said originated in Iran, would allow rockets fired from Gaza to reach anywhere in Israel; currently, the range for rockets fired from Gaza is Israel’s south.

Despite Veto Threat and Heavy Pressure, Schumer Supports Sanctions Bill

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The Democratic senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, remains on track with the new bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill despite intense lobbying by the White House and the threat of a presidential veto.

The new sanctions bill is called the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.”  It  is co-sponsored by Schumer, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Under this bill, new sanctions would not be imposed until after the six-month negotiations window between the U.S. and Iran passes, or if Iran breaches the interim deal.

But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told Time magazine earlier this month that any new sanctions, even ones that take effect after the interim agreement expires, would kill any chance of a more comprehensive deal.

At Thursday’s press briefing, the president’s spokesperson Jay Carney said he saw no need for this sanctions bill and assured everyone that if it becomes law the president will veto it.

“We made it very clear to the Senate that it is not the time for new Iran sanctions. We don’t think it will be or should be enacted,” Carney told reporters.

Schumer said he discussed the sanctions issue with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday, according to BuzzFeed. The New York senior senator downplayed the idea of bad feelings over the matter between the White House and him, saying he supports the idea of negotiating an interim agreement with Iran, “but I don’t think the reduction of sanctions made much sense.”

“Basically, it’s a judgement call. We have a disagreement with them,” Schumer said. “Many of us believe that by ratcheting up sanctions, not by reducing sanctions, is the best way to produce peace and get Iran to forego a nuclear weapon.”

The bill has 26 co-sponsors. Co-sponsors from the Democratic party include senators Ben Cardin (Md), Bob Casey (PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

 

Iran Nukes Talks to Renew in November

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Talks between Iran and major powers on Iran’s nuclear aims were “good” and will renew next month, the Iranian foreign minister said.

“The talks will continue in a few weeks in Geneva and during this period the members of the P5+1 will have a chance to acquire the necessary readiness regarding the details of Iran’s plans and the steps that they must take,” Javad Zarif said in a post Wednesday on his Facebook page, according to a New York Times translation.

The P5+1 refers to the five permanent veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China – and Germany.

Top officials from these nations met from Tuesday to Thursday in Geneva with Zarif, where he presented what he had described in previous Facebook posts as a PowerPoint presentation on what Iran was prepared to do to end the impasse over his country’s nuclear ambitions. He did not reveal the details of the proposal, although in his Facebook posting he said there were “good discussions.”

The major powers suspect Iran of running a nuclear weapons development program; Iran insists its program is peaceful. Under its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, Iran has offered increased transparency in exchange for an easing of crippling sanctions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-nukes-talks-to-renew-in-november/2013/10/17/

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