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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘John Kirby’

Report: Obama Granted Iran Nuclear Program Secret Exemptions

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and his co-author, senior policy analyst Andrea Stricker, issued a report on Thursday saying the US and other world powers have secretly allowed Iran to exceed the nuclear deal’s limits on stockpiles of enriched uranium and other dangerous materials. Albright cited key secret exemptions which were made in secret meetings of the Joint Commission that was composed of Iran, the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and the European Union.

Albright is a physicist who took part in UN weapons inspections in Iraq, and has been a self-appointed watchdog over the Iran nuclear deal. He has repeatedly raised doubts that the deal is being implemented honestly.

Albright’s report claims Iran would not have been able to meet its compliance requirements by January 16, 2016—the deal’s Implementation Day: “The exemptions and in one case, a loophole, involved the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms, some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran,” the report reveals, citing a senior knowledgeable official who stated that “if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day.”

The report also suggests “the Joint Commission allowed Iran to store large amounts of heavy water in Oman that remained under Iran’s control, effectively allowing Iran to exceed its cap of 130 tons of heavy water as it continues to produce heavy water at its Arak facility.”

“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said, noting that “these decisions, which are written down, amount to additional secret or confidential documents linked to the JCPOA.” The report also claims that “the Joint Commission’s secretive decision-making process risks advantaging Iran by allowing it to try to systematically weaken the JCPOA. It appears to be succeeding in several key areas.”

“Given the technical complexity and public importance of the various JCPOA exemptions and loopholes, the administration’s policy to maintain secrecy interferes in the process of establishing adequate Congressional and public oversight of the JCPOA,” the report said, stressing that “this is particularly true concerning potentially agreement-weakening decisions by the Joint Commission. As a matter of policy, the United States should agree to any exemptions or loopholes in the JCPOA only if the decisions are simultaneously made public.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that “the Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material In excess of its (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits that it could use in a breakout scenario,” adding his assurance that “there’s been no cutting of slack.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed the administration’s “significant objections” to the Albright report, assuring reporters that “Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it.”

The Trump campaigned quickly took advantage of the report, with a statement by retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser, who said, “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day. It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes.”

Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying,
“This latest report further confirms that the Obama Administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal. First we learned about a secret side deal that allows Iran to upgrade its centrifuges, then it was the secret $400 million ransom payment, and now these secret exemptions that allow Iran to evade restrictions on their nuclear capabilities. Simply put, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have never been straightforward with the American people about Iran. It’s clear this is a dangerous and reckless deal with the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and no one who is serious about our national security could support it.”

JNi.Media

US Denies Conditioning $400 Million Payment on Prisoner Release Was Ransom

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The U.S. State Department continues to insist that a $400 million cash payment airlifted to Iran earlier this year was not a ransom payment for the release of four American hostages but new details initially revealed by The Wall Street Journal beg the point.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, were released January 17. A Jewish prisoner also held hostage — Bob Levinson — somehow was not included in the released. Oddly, the Iranians claim they have no knowledge of his whereabouts. As that was taking place, a separate aircraft had landed in Tehran with the cash. State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday the money was held back until the prisoners were freed.

“In basic English you are saying you wouldn’t give [them] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” asked a reporter during the briefing on Thursday.

“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.

Kirby said negotiations for the return of the money to Iran, which was related to a failed 1979 military equipment deal between the two countries, were separate from the talks about the prisoners. Another $1.3 billion is expected to be paid to Iran in interest on the failed deal.

But Abedini told reporters that he and the other hostages were kept waiting at the airport in Iran for more than 20 hours, and that he was told by a senior Iranian intelligence agent that their departure would depend on the arrival of a second plane.

The State Department has denied these claims.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama likewise insisted the money was not a quid pro quo. “This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” he told journalists during a news conference Aug. 4. “We do not pay ransom for hostages.”

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Pro-Terrorist PA Senior Compares IDF Actions to ISIS Terrorism

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Shortly after Israeli forces last week eliminated Muhammad al-Faqih, who had murdered Rabbi Miki Mark ZL in a drive by shooting, top Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat issued an announcement condemning the killing of the terrorist, calling it a crime. Hamas has also praised the same terrorist as “Hero of the attack in Otniel.” It should be noted that locals from al-Faqih’s hiding place, Surif village, have blamed the PA security service of informing on the murderer to their Israeli counterparts. Perhaps this explains the PA high official’s protesting too much those actions by Israel.

It also means that come January 17, 2017, the pro-PA Obama Administration will make room for a new tenant in the White House, and at least in case said tenant sports an orange pompadour and employs the word “huge” as both adjective and verb—the PA’s path to Washington would be all but blocked. And so the boys from Ramallah will be using the coming few months to squeeze as much as they can in anti-Israeli gestures from the Obama team. That, too, will necessarily be limited to the period after November 8, up until which Democratic criticism of Israel could cost candidate Clinton the election.

This past week has seen a general increase in the energy and zeal of the PA in pursuing a sharply anti-Israeli line of attack under the guise of participating in the peace efforts, the French peace efforts to be precise. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has absolutely rejected the French initiative last April, insisting that the “best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is through direct, bilateral negotiations.” And so, naturally, the PA brass migrated to Paris for the Vacance months, seeking peace on the banks of the Seine with French and US diplomats.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Paris on Saturday to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, to devise new ways to push the French-invented (imagined?) peace process forward.

Last Thursday, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Kerry’s meeting with Abbas would be devoted to discussing the “prospects towards helping us create conditions for a two-state solution,” because, as he put it, “there is a possibility there could be additional bilateral meetings while we’re in Paris.” The fact that all these multi-lateral gymnastics are being planned and conducted without the only truly decisive power in the saga was not mentioned.

In fact, in the same spirit of talking strictly to themselves, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Abbas and Ayrault will meet by the end of the year to work on implementing the multilateral French peace initiative, which is going to feature yet another international summit on the Isralil-Palestinian conflict — so at least 50% of the sides in the conflict would be there.

Meanwhile, Erekat has raised the flame under his attacks on Israel for its audacious killing of Arab terrorists, possibly looking to link in the Europeans’ minds the horror Arab terrorists are inflicting on their civilian population with the IDF and Israel police efforts to enforce law and order in Israel’s cities and on the highways.

“Those who murder children in Europe in the name of religion are no different from those who murder children on Palestinian land,” Erekat told the press on Saturday. Because, as we all know, the slaughtered children in Europe have all taken up knives and Molotov cocktails to attack lone wolf ISIS terrorists.

Both Erekat and Abbas have been demanding that Secretary Kerry furnish them with a timetable for the re-launching of the peace talks, as well as a timetable for the implementation of the one-sided, pro-Palestinian agreements they view as the only legitimate outcome of such talks. “We need a timetable for restarting negotiations, a timetable for implementing agreements, and an international framework to oversee any future agreements,” Erekat insisted.

JNi.Media

Turkey Escalates Media Crackdown in Wake of Failed Coup

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Two advocacy groups, NY based Committee to Protect Journalists, and DC based Freedom House, on Wednesday sounded an alarm about the arrests of more than a dozen Turkish journalists since the weekend, and the shutting down of dozens of media outlets by the Turkish government. The move was given a single, unified reasoning: all these individuals and outlets are accused of being affiliated with dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who is living in exile in Philadelphia but, according to the Edrogan government was behind the recent military coup attempt.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova told the Voice of America: “We’re obviously extremely concerned about the developments, particularly against journalists, but this sort of behavior from the government is nothing new. For months, the Turkish authorities have gone after journalists who were critical of their policies. It’s escalated now and in the post-coup period.”

News outlets in Turkey reported on Wednesday that the Turkish government had ordered the closing of 45 newspapers, 23 radio stations, 16 TV channels and three news agencies. An Istanbul prosecutor issued detention warrants for 47 former employees and executives of Zaman, a media group accused of links to Gulen.

Journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, who was on the Zaman detention warrant, was arrested in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Mugla early on July 26. She was pulled out of her car and taken to the Bodrum Police Station, and then sent to Istanbul for legal actions.

Five other journalists: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya and Cihan Acar, have also been detained so far, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Freedom House official Nate Schenkkan told VOA that unofficial lists circulating on pro-government social media sites suggest at least 150 other journalists could be targeted, many of whom may have no ties to Gulen.

State Department spokesman John Kirby voiced the US concern about press freedom in Turkey: “I think we’d see this as a continuation of … a troubling trend in Turkey where official bodies, law enforcement and judicial, are being used to discourage legitimate political discourse.”

The crackdown on Turkish media dates back to December 2013, when Turkish prosecutors launched a massive corruption investigation of associates of then-Prime Minister Erdogan, which resulted in a government backlash and mass arrests of journalist. Since 2013, Freedom House has set Turkey’s press freedom status a at 71 out of 100, with 100 being the worst. This shameful score is certainly going to be increased soon.

David Israel

US State Dept Questions Israel’s Desire to Reach ‘2-State Solution’

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

The U.S. State Department is questioning whether Israel really wants to make peace with the Palestinian Authority, and whether the Netanyahu government really supports the “two-state solution.”

State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that Washington is “deeply concerned” over Israel’s decision to approve a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba and construction of 800 new housing units in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.

“If it’s true, this report would be the latest step in what seems to be the systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalization of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Kirby told reporters.

“This action risks entrenching a one-state reality and raises serious questions about Israel’s intentions.”

The approvals came in response to two deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated against Israelis within a 24-hour period last week. A 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death by a Palestinian Authority Arab who climbed in her bedroom window last Thursday morning. The killer stabbed young Halle Yaffa Ariel, hy’d dozens of times, her blood spraying all over her room, after he scaled the security fence around Kiryat Arba.

The next day Arab terrorists opened fire at Rabbi Miki Mark, the administrator of the Otniel yeshiva as he drove near the community on Route 60 with his wife and children just a few hours before the Sabbath. The rabbi died instantly as he lost control of the vehicle and the car flipped over; his wife Chava was critically injured. Two of his ten children were also wounded.

Hallel Ariel, hy’d, was an American citizen. So is Chava Mark. But although the State Department issued the standard condemnation of violence perpetrated against U.S. citizens, there was complete silence from the White House.

Israel’s security cabinet met Saturday night to determine a response to the escalation in deadly attacks. By Sunday morning the government ministers were presented with a list of measures that were gauged to signal Israel’s determination not to buckle under the violence, including more boots on the ground in the Hebron area.

The Quartet for Mideast Peace issued a report on Friday (July 1) blaming Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria — even routine building connected with the natural growth in any community, within the municipal boundaries of existing towns — for the violence.

On Tuesday, it seemed the U.S. was joining that bandwagon and adding more fuel to the fire, blaming the approval of badly-needed housing units in existing communities for the Palestinian Authority’s unwillingness to join direct final status talks — and the unprovoked bloodbaths by Arab terrorists against innocent Israeli civilians.

Kirby added the U.S. would continue to “look for leaders in the region to do what they need to do … to demonstrate leadership to take down the violence, reduce tensions.”

Hana Levi Julian

State Department Q&A on Israeli Supplemental Aid to Communities Suffering from Arab Terrorism [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
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Yvonne Diamond

@JewishPress Don’t know about that, but they’ve been bombing at MCAGCTC for two solid days now . . .

The following is the transcript and video from the State Department Press briefing on June 20th, 2016, regarding the supplemental aid package that Israel approved yesterday to aid Israelis whose businesses have suffered due to the Palestinian Authority Arab terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, and to help improve security for the communities in Judea and Samaria.

Time: 29:55 on the video.

QUESTION (Matt Lee): Did you guys have any reaction to this additional – the supplementary funding that was approved for the West Bank settlements for – over the weekend, yesterday?

MR KIRBY: Yeah. I actually put a statement out.

QUESTION: You did?

MR KIRBY: I did —

QUESTION: I missed it.

MR KIRBY: — yesterday. I can’t believe you’re not sitting around —

QUESTION: Yeah, Sunday —

MR KIRBY: — waiting for my statements.

QUESTION: Sunday afternoon, Kirby, I’m just sitting there looking – staring at my phone —

MR KIRBY: Well, if you had been —

QUESTION: — waiting for your emails.

MR KIRBY: — then you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.

QUESTION: If you’ve already put something out, then —

MR KIRBY: Okay. I’ll let the statement stand. Seems like everybody else got a chance to read it.

QUESTION: We like to hear it directly from you, though.

MR KIRBY: But you did hear it directly from me. I signed it.

QUESTION: You know what I mean, with your own voice. It sort of gives it an added —

MR KIRBY: We’re aware of the funding package. We’re looking into further details. Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent: We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution, and actions such as these we believe does exactly the opposite.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait, but this isn’t for settlement activity, per se. This was not to expand or build new homes.

MR KIRBY: It’s approving more than like $18 million for settlements. It’s approving funding for —

QUESTION: But not for building them. This is for, like, helping businesses and security.

MR KIRBY: But it still runs counter to our view about settlement activity, period.

QUESTION: So securing – adding security to settlements is the same as settlement activity?

MR KIRBY: As I said, we’re still – we are still – we’re aware of this funding package and we’re still looking into it for details. But settlement activity, as we’ve said – there’s nothing – nothing has changed about our concerns about that.

QUESTION: So any money that goes into anything in a West Bank settlement is bad according to you guys?

MR KIRBY: I didn’t say that. I said we are aware of this funding package and we’re looking into the details.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Okay.

QUESTION (New Reporter): Well, the worry here by the Palestinians is that these kind of steps make annexation of the West Bank all but a foregone conclusion, and they say that some of this money is basically geared to encourage, let’s say, tourism and to expand tourist projects and so on in the occupied West Bank, in the settlements and so on. What do you say to that?

MR KIRBY: As I said in my statement and just a few minutes ago, we’re looking into what this funding package really means. And I think I’m going to leave it at there to – for right now.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Will Keep Golan “With or Without Deal”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a face to face meeting in Moscow on Thursday that Israel would not relinquish the Golan Heights. The meeting marked 25 years of Israeli-Russian relations.

“Israel has clear red lines for self-defense,” Netanyahu told Putin according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. “We act to the best of our ability to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said.

Russian troops and airpower are fighting alongside the Syrian army, Iranian forces, and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah against a host of rebel militias in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Netanyahu recently acknowledged that Israel conducts military airstrikes in Syria as well.

“I came here with one central goal: to strengthen the security coordination between us in order to prevent accidents, misunderstandings, and unnecessary conflict,” Netanyahu told Putin.

“As for the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu continued, “we will not return to the days when they fired on our communities and children from the heights of the Golan. Therefore, with or without a deal, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

The firm declaration comes amid reports that some in the international community intend to demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal in the Syrian civil war. Israel captured the northern territory from Syria in the 1967 war and formally annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

To counter such an initiative, Netanyahu held a rare cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday, vowing never to withdraw from the territory. Following the unusual public display, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby announced that “those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”

Netanyahu and Putin also reached an agreement about pensions paid by Russia to citizens that have emigrated to Israel—a deal Netanyahu described as “a nice Passover present.”

After Putin offered a blessing for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Friday night, Netanyahu replied that “during the holiday, the people of Israel will sit at the Seder table, including over a million Russian-speaking Israelis, who form the living bond between our peoples.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/netanyahu-to-putin-israel-will-keep-golan-with-or-without-deal/2016/04/21/

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