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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Bush Labels Obama ‘Desperate'; Trump: Our Country’s Going to Hell

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Donald Trump, who remains at the top of the overstuffed heap of Republican presidential candidates, dumped all over President Barack Obama for the new agreement with Iran and said, “This country’s going to hell.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were not much less harsh, with Bush comparing President Obama with Chamberlain’s appeasement to Hitler, while Rubio said the deal undermines America’s security.

The “ObamaDeal,” just like ObamaCare, is going to get a spanking in Congress but the President is counting on Democratic Senators to prevent a two-thirds veto-proof opposition to ObamaDeal.

Trump said what everyone in the Middle East knows. “The Persians are always great negotiators” and that’s why “they are laughing at us back in Iran,” he told CNN.

He noted that Iran is holding four Americans on charges of espionage and added:

Why couldn’t they make that part of the deal? It would have happened quickly — easily if you had the right messenger. And that should have actually happened earlier. That should have happened at the beginning of the negotiations….

I’ll be honest with you. I want to save the country. Our country’s going to hell. We have a problem. I want to make America great again.

Trump told NBC that President Obama “dealt from desperation,” and remarked, “You know the Iranians are going to cheat. They’re great negotiators and you know they’re going to cheat.

Bush compared President Obama with Chamberlain and said in a prepared statement:

This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement. The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America, and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist.

Sen. Rubio stated, “Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security. President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness, giving concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands, holds Americans hostage, and has consistently violated every agreement it ever signed.

He told Fox News:

For him [Obama], this whole deal, you know what it is? It is an exhibit in his presidential library.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton called the ObamaDeal “an important step which puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear programs.” Vermont Sen. and underdog Bernie Sanders was more extreme and congratulated President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for a “victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling [that] could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East.”

Others argue just the opposite, that ObamaDeal makes war inevitable.

Rubio was quoted in The Washington Times as saying:

Look at the press coverage of this issue: Some of it’s been glowing as some sort of historic deal — it’s ridiculous.  A third-rate autocracy has now been given equality with a world power, with the United States of America.

They are now a nuclear threshold country on a deal signed with the United States and other global powers. That’s why they’re cheering in the streets [of] Tehran; that’s why they’re celebrating. You don’t see any celebrations in America. You don’t see any celebrations in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, because they know this is a one-sided deal.

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.

Iranian Expert: Khamenei Says No to Signed Deal as Iran Already Getting All it Wants

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

According to an expert on Iran, there will be no deal between the U.S. and its western partners and Iran.

But that is not because the bad deal Iran is demanding will be rejected by the U.S. or its partners. It’s because the Ayatollah Khamenie has instructed his minions in Vienna not to sign anything.

Credit for this novel theory goes to Michael Ledeen, an international affairs analyst who has been covering Iran for decades.

Ledeen explained that the desperate attempts by President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and their team to cave to any demands uttered (or even considered) by the Iranians has led Iran’s Supreme Leader to conclude that “there is no reason for him to approve a hated deal with the devil. It’s much better to keep talking until all the sanctions are gone, and Iran’s ‘right’ to pursue its nuclear projects is fully recognized.”

What Ledeen predicts will happen is that what he has dubbed the “no deal deal” will represent a commitment to come to an actual agreement by the end of the calendar year. But in the meantime, Iran will enjoy the gold and money pouring in and the piecemeal, if not whole cloth, lifting of sanctions. What does the P5+1 get? Iran’s willingness to keep talking. What could be better?

For those who watched President Obama’s press conference from the Pentagon today about the threat of ISIS, they’d recognize an additional object of Ledeen’s sneer. That press conference took place at the Pentagon. Flanking the president at the podium were the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. Standing alongside his military men, Obama informed everyone, essentially, that “guns don’t defeat ideologies, only good ideas do.”

Ledeen wrote that if he were “a Pentagon official” standing next to a president who said that, “I’d have resigned on the spot.”

The way the “no deal deal” is likely to play out, if all goes as Ledeen predicts, is the players will act as if a deal has been accomplished, while “just some details” remain to be worked out.

This denouement will also pose a quandary to those in Congress who have been trying – some harder than others – to ensure that those elected officials will be able to have some say about whether a bad deal is implemented. But what happens when the deal is not actually a deal? There will be nothing for Congress to vote or take action on.

Kerry’s Dramatic Statement: ‘No Agreement Yet’

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

 

A senior U.S. official, code for the State Dept., put the press on red alert around 17:00 (10 a.m. EDT) with a statement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to make an announcement half an hour later from Vienna, where he and the other P5+1 powers are trying to hammer out an agreement with Iran on is nuclear program.

More than 20 minutes past the announced time, with journalists waiting with bated breath in Vienna, where temperatures are nearly 100 degrees, Kerry made this breathtaking statement:

Progress has been made. No, an agreement is not yet there. We are not there yet. We have difficult issues still to resolve.

Tweets direct from Vienna added more of the same old clichés:

Prepared to walk away if they can’t get a deal that satisfies.

Pushing for deal by July 7 deadline

We are not yet where we need to be….this negotiation could go either way

We want a good agreement…We’re not going to shave, anywhere, at the margins, just to get an agreement.

We are closer than we have ever been.

We’re not going to negotiate in the press.

Right now we’re aiming to finish this in the time frame we’ve set out.

I think there’s a lot of speculation. It’s now time to see whether we are able to close the agreement.

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.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/five-former-advisers-to-obama-publish-warning-on-iran-deal/2015/06/25/

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