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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘negotiations’

Iran Standing Firm on Demands at Nuclear Talks

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

As talks wrapped up for the weekend, Iran had not budged from its refusal to allow “extraordinary” inspections at nuclear sites — in other words, its refusal to allow spot inspections of its military nuclear sites. And if sanctions are re-imposed in response to violations of the agreement – as the deal states now – Iran says it will escalate its enrichment of uranium, the nuclear fuel used to create atomic weaponry.

“We should be realistic,” said the Iranian official who spoke with journalists in Vienna on Thursday on condition of anonymity. He said the standard rules of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that govern access to government information, sites of interest and scientists should suffice in determining whether Iran is using nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

What Iran did commit to as part of the deal was the IAEA “additional protocol” for inspections and monitoring. That protocol allows the agency access “sensitive” information held by more than 120 governments that accept its provisions, and expanded access to declared and undeclared nuclear sites.

What it does not provide, however, is guaranteed free access for spot inspections by monitors at any and all sites they wish. In addition, there are no specific guidelines with regard to military sites. Moreover, the Iranian parliament specifically passed a law two weeks ago prohibiting access to military sites by outsiders – including the nuclear site where weapons research is being carried out at the Parchin base near Tehran.

On Thursday (July 2) IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano issued a statement following his visit to Tehran, saying, “I believe that both sides have a better understanding on some ways forward, though more work will be needed.” According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the sensitive issue of access by IAEA inspectors to military sites was among the issues covered during Amano’s visit.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond summed it up in a comment on the Twitter social networking site at week’s end that the delegation was “Not at breakthrough moment yet.”

The current deadline for reaching a resolution by the two sides is July 7 – but that doesn’t mean they won’t extend it again. Both sides agreed to extend the most recent deadline – June 30 – despite having said previously that it was a “final, absolutely final” date.

Hillary Clinton Wants US-Israel Relations on ‘Constructive Footing’

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been advocating to try and get the U.S.-Israel relationship “to a constructive footing,” according to numerous media reports this week.

The question is, “constructive” for whom?

Clinton spoke with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who called her, to discuss that and other issues. In that conversation, she reportedly reiterated her support for renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to work towards a “two-state solution.”

A statement provided by Hoenlein to the San Diego Jewish World Sunday evening read as follows: “Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We must ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue.”

Hoenlein added, “Secretary Clinton’s views are of special importance and timeliness given recent issues in the US-Israel relationship. We note her call for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, which, we believe, is the only possible route to a true peace.”

Neither acknowledged similar, repeated calls for direct talks by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since he entered office in 2009.

Among American Jews, there is a growing division in opinion over the issue of the “two-state solution” as well as over who should be held responsible for “solving” it.

America’s grassroots Jewish community is beginning to become aware of the fact that it is the Palestinians – and not the Israelis – who are the reluctant wedding partners in U.S. attempts to woo partners to the table.

Some are questioning where Hillary Clinton really stands on the issue, as more and more people begin to remember her previous positions. Not many were supportive of Israel, and there’s no reason to believe she is likely to change that view once the polls close.

One calls to mind her phone call to scold Israel’s prime minister for a perceived slight to Vice President Joe Biden over a routine announcement of a step in a years-long housing process in Jerusalem that was not been cleared with Netanyahu’s office and her notable lack of response to the naming of a Palestinian Authority square for a bloodthirsty terrorist that same week.

Unfortunately, just too many generations in the Palestinian Authority have passed with deep, subliminal conditioning at the early childhood through adult levels, teaching visceral hatred and murderous, mindless rage towards Israelis and – yes! – Jews to simply wave it away.

That kind of conditioning cannot be undone in a month or even a year, nor can it be wished away at the negotiating table or at the podium. It must be reckoned with by sober planning and security checks that will take into consideration the fact that a nation of potential murderers, ticking time bombs, are located next door. To ignore that would be completely foolhardy, and Israel’s current leadership is anything but foolhardy, American pressure notwithstanding.

Frankly, in many ways, grassroots Israelis and Palestinians are both just heartily sick of the entire thing, and neither has the stomach for more posturing. Many on both sides want peace, and many on both sides want to see their children grow up, marry and make a living.

But then, there’s the reality of how to keep everyone safe from every one of those who dream of murdering us all — Israelis, Jews and “collaborating, traitorous” Arab brethren. Not to mention the reality of naive or biased U.S. leaders.

US Secy of State Kerry Says ‘Demanding Iran Capitulate is Not a Plan’

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed members of the media on the progress made in talks between world powers led by the U.S. with Iranian negotiators over Tehran’s nuclear development program in Montreaux, Switzerland on Wednesday before leaving to return to the United States. Kerry responded to the speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Tuesday’s joint session of Congress, commenting sardonically that “simply demanding Iran capitulate is not a plan.” Not that Netanyahu said any such thing or implied it, contrary to the attempts by the Obama administration to characterize the prime minister’s remarks as such.

Regardless, here is the verbatim transcript of the Secretary’s remarks, which make it clear that Kerry is determined to complete a deal with Iran, perhaps “no matter what,” unless the Iranians themselves decide that even with all the concessions, the price is just too high.

“So good afternoon to all, and thank you very, very much for your patience. We’ve been involved in some long discussions over the past few days, and even well before that. And before I leave Montreux, I wanted to quickly share with you where we are.

“From the beginning, these negotiations have been tough and intense, and they remain so. And we’ve made some progress from where we were, but there are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made. The purpose of these negotiations is not to get any deal; it’s to get the right deal, one that can withstand scrutiny – the scrutiny of experts on nuclear affairs all around the world, the scrutiny of other governments, the scrutiny of people, the scrutiny of the Congress of the United States, people in America, and the scrutiny of countries in the region that are affected by it. And so we know that. We approach these negotiations with a full understanding of the test that will be applied to this and of the expectations that exist.

“We also want an agreement that is sustainable over time, and particularly that achieves the singular goal of proving that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain peaceful. We aren’t going to be distracted by external factors or politics. We will continue to be guided by our experts, our scientists, our national interests and those of our partners and allies.

“Now, for all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And we know that absent a deal, Iran will have the ability to move ahead with its nuclear program; that we know for sure, because that’s exactly what’s happened to date. We also know that any deal that we would agree to would significantly increase the breakout time, leaving Iran further – far further than it is today – from producing enough fissile material for a weapon, while it undertakes the effort of proving to the world that the program is, in fact, peaceful.

“Clearly, increased breakout time makes any nation in the vicinity or any nation of concern safer. We also know that any deal that we reach would give us the intrusive access and verification measures necessary to confirm that Iran’s nuclear facilities are indeed on a peaceful path. And that would allow us to promptly detect any attempt to cheat or to break out, and then to respond appropriately. And contrary to some public reports, we are only contemplating a deal in which important access and verification measures will endure.

“We also know that the international sanctions, which many want to simply hang their hats on – they may have gotten Iran to the table, but to date they haven’t stopped Iran from advancing its nuclear program. In fact, the first and only thing that had stopped their program from progressing in almost a decade was the Joint Plan of Action that we negotiated and we reached in November of 2013, and that has been adhered to in every single respect since then.

“And most importantly, as President Obama said yesterday, we know that no one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan, and nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position. And it’s very important to remember we have partners in this effort – France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia – all of whom have similar feelings about the importance of what must be done here.

“So we continue to be focused on reaching a good deal, the right deal, that closes off any paths that Iran could have towards fissile material for a weapon and that protects the world from the enormous threat that we all know a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

“Now, we still don’t know whether we will get there, and it is certainly possible that we won’t. It may be that Iran simply can’t say yes to the type of deal that the international community requires. But we do know that we owe it to the American people in my case, people in the world, to try to find out. And we will return to these talks on the 15th of March, recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are ticking by, and important decisions need to be made. Thank you.”

Obama Says ‘Give Iran Talks a Chance; Israel Safer Than Ever

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama revealed in an exclusive interview with Reuters late Monday that American officials do not actually know how far Iran really is from “breakout” – that is, how far from reaching the ability to create a nuclear weapon.

The reason for this is because Iran is still failing to come clean about its nuclear program.

“There is a substantial disagreement in terms of how to achieve that. And what it boils down to is what’s the best way to ensure that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks that the best way to do that is either through doubling down on more sanctions or through military action, ensuring that Iran has absolutely no enrichment capabilities whatsoever. And there’s no expert on Iran or nuclear proliferation around the world that seriously thinks that Iran is going to respond to additional sanctions by eliminating its nuclear program.

“What we’ve said from the start is by organizing a strong sanctions regime, what we can do is bring Iran to the table. And by bringing Iran to the table, force them to have a serious negotiation in which a) we are able to see exactly what’s going on inside of Iran b) we’re able to create what we call a breakout period, a timeline where we know if they were to try to get a nuclear weapon it would take them a certain amount of time.

“And the deal that we’re trying to negotiate is to make sure that there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one.

“And as long as we’ve got that one-year breakout capacity, that ensures us that we can take military action to stop them if they were stop it. Now, we’re still in the midst of negotiations. What I’ve said consistently is, we should let these negotiations play out. If, in fact, Iran is agree, willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist …

REUTERS – Double digit years?

OBAMA – Double digit years. If we’ve got that and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon.

“Now, Iran may not agree to the rigorous inspection demands that we’re insisting on. They may not agree to the low levels of enrichment capabilities they would have to maintain to ensure that their breakout is at least a year. But if they do agree to it, it would be far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be.

“And we know that because during the period in which we applied sanctions for over a decade, Iran went from about 300 or a couple of hundred centrifuges to tens of thousands of centrifuges in response to sanctions.

REUTERS – Let’s talk a little bit specifically about the prime minister. Susan Rice said that what he has done by accepting the invitation to speak was destructive to the fabric of the relationship. Would you agree that it’s destructive? And if so, will there be any consequences for him or for Israel?

OBAMA – You know, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is sincere about his concerns with respect to Iran. And given Iran’s record and given the extraordinarily disruptive and dangerous activities of this regime in the region, it’s understandable why Israel is very concerned about Iran. We are too. But what we’ve consistently said is we have to stay focused on our ultimate goal, which is preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu ‘Will Go Anywhere Invited’ to Prevent Iran from Achieving Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened this week’s Sunday cabinet meeting with a grim warning about the current negotiations taking place between world powers and Iran — and the implications for Israel.

World powers currently negotiating with Iran are liable to reach a framework agreement in the coming weeks, Netanyahu said in a statement at the start of the meeting.

The agreement, if reached, is “an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger, first and foremost, the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu warned.

“This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iran,” he continued. “This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.

In a clear response to the past week’s brouhaha over Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress – not a first-time event for the prime minister in any case – Netanyahu then added:

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”

Obama Negotiated with Cuba ‘Behind Everyone’s Back,’ Lawmakers Charge

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama negotiated with Cuba to restore diplomatic relations “behind everyone’s back,” lawmakers charged Wednesday night after he announced the restoration of full diplomatic ties with the island nation.

News agencies in the United States buzzed on Thursday with the details of how Obama accomplished that task in a personal 45-minute telephone call on Tuesday with President Raul Castro. The call followed 18 months of secret talks between the White House and Cuban officials that also involved the highest levels of the Vatican – and Pope Francis himself.

As part of the deal, USAID worker Alan Gross returned from Cuba on a U.S. government 757 aircraft after five years in custody, along with a U.S. intelligence agent who had spent the last 20 years of a life term in prison.

The move, which was carried out without any knowledge of Congressional lawmakers on either side of the aisle, inflamed already hot tempers about Obama’s penchant for doing things on his own. Media commentators and some legislators on Thursday referred to the president as “King Obama.”

The president further exacerbated that anger by saying he was “ending an outdated approach that had failed to advance U.S. interests for decades… The previous approach failed to promote change, and it’s failed to empower or engage the Cuban people,” he said. “It’s time to cut loose the shackles of the past and reach for a new and better future with this country.”

Democratic lawmakers expressed shock and disappointment that the president had spent 18 months negotiating with an “enemy, Communist regime” without even consulting with any other legislator from his own party.

Members of the Cuban immigrant community were incensed that Obama had cut through more than half a century of sanctions and provided a “shot in the arm” to the repressive regime they fled for its brutality.

Castro said the 52-year embargo had caused enormous human and economic damage. He added there was still disagreement on many issues, including that of foreign policy.

Following the announcement, however, the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped, possibly in response. Media commentators began discussing what the economic implications would be if Congress could not control corporate financial and production flow in and out of Cuba.

Iran’s Best Shot Rapidly Approaching

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Iran is rapidly approaching its last and best chance with the United States to reach a diplomatic agreement over the parameters for its nuclear development program.

The November 24 deadline for the conclusion of negotiations between Tehran and world powers draws closer, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union senior adviser Cathern Ashton locked into intense discussions in Muscat, Oman, that began yesterday (Sunday, Nov. 9) and are continuing into today (Monday, Nov. 10).

The yawning chasm that separates the sides must still be closed before a deal can be reached to prevent Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. President Barack Obama, who appeared Sunday on “Face the Nation” on the CBS television network.

“There’s still a big gap. We may not be able to get there,” Obama said.

One of the major concerns in the Middle East – and the rest of the planet – is the possibility that once developed, Iran can and probably would sell its nuclear arms and/or technology to the myriad terrorist groups it generously supports. Most of those have set their sites on the destruction of Israel.

But the month of January will also bring with it a whole new world in the House of Representatives and the Senate – and with that, a drop in Iran’s options for compromise as well as possibly any wiggle room for further discussion, period.

U.S. President Barack Obama at that point will also be far more limited in his ability to protect the Iranian regime’s freedom to expand its uranium enrichment, which has allow it to continue its race towards an atomic weapon.

During Obama’s years in office, Iran has managed to enrich uranium far above the minimum level required for development of military-grade nuclear fuel. He approved a number of loopholes and exemptions for countries such as China and Turkey in economic sanctions imposed on international energy trade with Iran. The sanctions were designed to force Iran into compliance with United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests to inspect sites and recommendations for ensuring Tehran’s nuclear program would remain within the guidelines for peaceful civilian use.

Iran, for its part, has consistently refused to limit its nuclear production or development in any way, ever. The Islamic Republic has also vowed throughout each administration since 1979 — the Islamic Revolution — to annihilate Israel, including very recently, despite the current president’s image as a so-called “moderate.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/irans-best-shot-rapidly-approaching/2014/11/10/

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