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July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear deal’

No Deal with Iran by June 30 Deadline, Europeans Say

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

“It’s not yet in the bag.”

That was the assessment by British Ambassador Peter Westmacott, who told the Atlantic Council think tank at a panel discussion Tuesday in Washington a deal with Iran does not appear likely by the June 30 deadline, according to a report by The Hill.

French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud agreed. “It’s very likely that we won’t have an agreement before the end of June – or even after June,” Araud said.

“The Iranians for the moment are obviously not negotiating to get an agreement very shortly.”

The main issues blocking the way to an agreement between the U.S.-led world powers and Tehran remain the details of international inspections of Iranian nuclear technology facilities, and the timing of sanctions relief.

Iran will have to limit the pace of its nuclear technology program in exchange for any relaxation of sanctions, and allow inspectors unrestricted, 24/7 access to all nuclear facilities – which it still bluntly refuses to do.

Talks between the “P5+1″ and Iran have dragged on since last summer, with deadlines having been extended from November and then again from April. The next so-called “final” deadline on talks is set for June 30.

Israel has warned repeatedly that Iran cannot be trusted, and that the current deal being negotiated is a “bad deal.”

US Navy Escorting US-Flagged Vessels in Strait of Hormuz

Friday, May 1st, 2015

At least for now, U.S. Navy ships deployed in the region are escorting commercial vessels sailing under the flag of the United States of America through the Strait of Hormuz.

The decision was made by the Defense Department, military officials said Thursday. It followed Iran’s seizure Tuesday of a Danish vessel sailing flagged under the Marshall Islands. Such vessels are protected by the United States by treaty.

“Out of an abundance of caution, because of the unpredictability of our Iranian friends, we’re now positioned so that, should the Iranians decide that they’re going to be stupid, we’re ready to respond,” a U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal.

Even as the U.S. escalates its defensive posture in protecting vessels from Iranian piracy in the Strait of Hormuz, Vice President Joe Biden praised efforts to sign a deal with Tehran over its nuclear technology program.

Biden told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Thursday the pending deal is “a historic opportunity to forge an enduring peaceful solution… We put together not only the toughest sanctions regime in history but one of the most broad-based,” the vice president maintained.

Biden also claimed the path to plutonium enrichment would be closed “forever” under the deal being negotiated. At present, he contended, Iran is already capable of producing eight atomic weapons. The agreement under discussion would “radically” alter the time line on Iran’s ability to achieve nuclear weapons capability, Biden said.

However, he added, the U.S. was not yet ruling out a military option. President Barack Obama might still walk away from the table, he said.

Iran is refusing to allow access to its military sites and is demanding that all sanctions be lifted immediately upon implementation of the agreement.

The United States and the five world powers negotiating the deal is reportedly insisting on sanctions relief phased in gradually over time, and a “clear” snap-back mechanism to be activated at the United Nations Security Council if Tehran violates the deal.

Final signatures are expected to be on the document by the end of June, if at all.

Iran Talks Stuck Over What Stops First, Nukes Or Sanctions

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News

by Ilan Shavit

The timing for lifting international sanctions on Iran is now a major hurdle before an agreement can be reached on limiting its nuclear program by the deadline, March 31 deadline, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing American, European, and Iranian officials.

The Iranians now insist that UN backed sanctions on their energy, finance, and transportation sectors are terminated as the first phase of the deal. The other side wants a gradual removal of the sanctions over several years, depending on Iran’s compliance, especially in its cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.

A senior European diplomat told the WSJ the Iranians “say it’s a deal breaker. They don’t want it at all,” adding that “there’s no way that we would give up on that…. No way.”

Stalemate.

The same official said the U.S. and the Europeans expect the process of lifting the restrictions on Iran to last at least one year, more likely two.

However, the process of lifting the sanctions could start as early as a few weeks following the signing of the deal, the WSJ notes. This would include Iran starting to reclaim its frozen assets in Western banks, to the tune of $100 billion.

According to Bloomberg, the IAEA is willing to accelerate the assessment of the Iranian program, but expects Iran to significantly improve its cooperation with monitors.

“We are prepared to assist them in the resolution of all outstanding issues,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on March 2. “Iran needs the confidence of the international community.”

The IAEA says Iran is yet to turn over key documents and permit them access to key sites as well as face time with scientists who have worked on the nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, bolstered by his decisive victory in Tuesday’s national elections, on Thursday demanded the broadening of the sanctions on Iran, to force its leadership to give up not just its nuclear program, but also end its support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

Netanyahu told NBC News: “The most important thing is that the lifting of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would depend on Iran’s change of behavior, that it would stop supporting terrorism, stop its aggression against just about every country in the region, and stop calling [for] and threatening the annihilation of Israel.”

Update: Iran May Have Faked Events to Show that Khamenei is not Dead

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei supposedly met with environmental activists in Tehran on Sunday, two days after he was hospitalized and hours after social media chatter said he is dead.

“Frequent news about the death of Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, the Persian State might be a serious historical change doors,” tweeted Gamal Sultan, a Cairo-based journalist for Rassd News.

The claim by the regime’s propaganda organ Fars News Agency of his supposed attendance in public was not accompanied by any photograph or quotes, another indication that the paranoid propaganda machine is keeping a gag order on his reported death until it feels dissidents won’t exploit a power vacuum.

Fars reported Sunday:

The public meeting that was held in the national Week of Natural Resources was particularly important as it put an end to Israeli driven rumors in the social media and a number of western websites in the last three days that alleged the Iranian leader has been hospitalized due to critical health conditions.

Some western media outlets pushed the rumor so much that they claimed that Tehran would soon announce the leader’s demise.

But it was Iranian media that reported on Friday he had been hospitalized, and if he had been released, Fars certainly would have headlined it.

Furthermore, Khamenei’s “public meeting’ supposedly with environmentalist activists, is not an event that deserves headiness in Iran.

The Jewish Press reported here on Friday that Khamenei was critically ill from a stage four cancer condition.

Khamenei has ruled for 26 years and has led a regime based on strict Islamic law. He was behind the brutal suppression of the protest movement in 2009, which resulted in the deaths and disappearance of thousands of demonstrators, and the murders of American soldiers in Lebanon in the 1980s.

It is hard to ignore the timing of Khamenei’s hospitalization and reported death with Purim and talks on an agreement on Iran’s nuclear development.

His critical condition – or death – will make it difficult for the Islamic Republic to reach an agreement with the P5+1 powers by the end of the month.

Khamenei has called the shots, and a power vacuum leaves all of the little power mongers clawing at each other to replace him. If there is not an immediate replacement, it might give a green light to dissidents to come out of the woodwork and demand an end to the Islamic regime.

Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely

Friday, February 27th, 2015

An agreement that limits the number of centrifuges Iran can possess makes them useless for nuclear energy but very useful for producing a nuclear weapon, according to a former CIA director who now is an analyst for CBS. Michael Morell said on Charlie Rose:

If you are going to have a nuclear weapons program, 5,000 is pretty much the number you need. If you have a power program, you need a lot more. By limiting them to a small number of centrifuges, we are limiting them to the number you need for a weapon.”

Iran has about 19,000 centrifuges, 10,000 of which are operating. The Obama administration’s proposal for a deal with Iran reportedly offered to let Iran enrich uranium with around 6,500 centrifuges. The Obama administration has countered the numbers, some of which are supplied by the Netanyahu administration, by arguing that the type and size of centrifuges are no less important than the number when it comes to enriching uranium.

President Barack Obama thinks that he can negotiate a deal that will keep Iran from making a nuclear weapon for two decades. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says Iran simply is buying time, cannot be trusted to honor any agreement, and that any deal to which it agrees will be a “bad deal.”

Obama supposedly wants to cut the number of centrifuges to approximately 5,000, which Morrell said is enough to produce a nuclear weapon.

PunditFact verified Morell’s claim with several experts, including Georgetown Associate Prof. Matthew Kroenig, who has little faith that Iran will honor any agreement; Arms Control Association official Daryl Kimball; David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security; and Harvard Prof. Matthew Bunn. Bunn told PunditFact:

People think surely you must need a bigger enrichment system to make 90 percent enriched material for bombs than to make 4-5 percent enriched material for power reactors. But exactly the opposite is true. A nuclear reactor, which Iran claims it is building for peaceful purposes, requires tons of uranium. A nuclear bomb can be produced with only 50 pounds of highly enriched uranium.

Bunn explained that producing low-grade uranium makes it possible to produce the enriched stuff, even though it is harder.

That is why Netanyahu told the United Nations three years ago Iran must be allowed zero percent uranium. Once Iran has 5 percent grade uranium, “you’ve already done more than 2/3 of the work of going all the way to 90 percent U-235 for weapons,”

Bunn said. “So the amount of work needed to make bomb material is only a modest amount more per kilogram, and the number of kilograms you need for bombs is 1,000 times less.”

Kimball is more dovish than Kroenig and thinks that since it would take Iran a year to produce enough enriched uranium for one bomb, “That would give you enough time to detect that activity.”

That means the deal, if one is made, comes down to inspections, something which Iran has circumvented for years. Either it allows inspections after removing evidence that its nuclear development is aimed at building a nuclear weapon, or it simply allows them after it has moved its operations to another unknown facility.

The National Coalition of Resistance of Iran insists that the Iranian regime has systematically lied to United Nations nuclear inspectors and has built and is running a secret “Lavizan-3″ underground enrichment operation near Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a report last week that was obtained by Reuters and the Associated Press, stated that Iran is living up to its commitment to reduce enrichment activities but did not erase suspicions that it is carrying out research for making a nuclear bomb. The IAEA report said:

Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures.

Obama apparently thinks Iran can be trusted, and that is why he is so incensed that Netanyahu is trying to convince Americans that the president is letting himself be conned – again.

Obama Plotting to Undermine Netanyahu’s Speech in Congress

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

President Barack Obama is gearing up for a publicity blitz to undermine Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States and speech in Congress March 3, the Associated Press reported Friday evening.

The president’s advisers apparently have rejected an idea that Obama rebut Prime Minister’s speech that willow focus on the Iranian nuclear threat and the president’s softball approach towards Tehran.  A rebuttal could work in favor of Netanyahu, giving him press coverage that Obama wants to be negative. Obama might have a tough time proving that Netanyahu’s analysis is wrong.

The president has said he won’t meet Netanyahu because it is so close to elections in Israel that a meeting would be considered as interference in favor of him.

But interference is at the top of the agenda of the White House, which has made no secret that it would love to see an Israeli center-left coalition that endorses the “peace process” that even the Palestinian Authority has rejected but which remains has become a religious rite for Washington’s foreign policy gurus and their enthusiasts in Israel.

The Obama administration’s most obvious snubs of Netanyahu are its directing senior officials not to attend the speech and, so far, it’s not scheduling a leading name to speak at the annual AIPAC conference, which Netanyahu will address and which traditionally has been a political Super Bowl for Republican and Democratic candidates to outsmart each other in proving how much they love Israel.

The second-guessing is that President Obama will fulfill his political obligation by sending a third-level politician to speak. In 2012, the president address AIPAC but that was the year he was running for re-election. Biden appeared in 2013, and last year Kerry spoke.

Secretary of State John Kerry will be out of the country when Netanyahu speaks, but he hasn’t yet figured where to go. Ditto for Vice President Joe Biden, who will dutifully ditch his usual role of attending joint session of Congress, especially when a foreign leader is speaking.

Obama’s advisers have other tricks up their sleeves, according to the Associated Press.

Senior security officials might pop up on Sunday television news programs

The more that Obama can show that his relationship with the Netanyahu is bitter cold, the more the Herzog-Livni duo, which dubs their new merged parties as the “Zionist Camp, can win headlines by the eager Israeli establishment media that has gleefully sponsored the “Dump Bibi” campaign.

Ayatollah Khamenei Sends Secret ‘Love Letter’ to Obama

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Iranian  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sent a “secret letter” in response to President Barack Obama’s letter on its nuclear program and suggested Iran can be an American ally n the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Obama sent Khamenei a letter last October concerning languishing negotiations to restrict and inspect Iran’s nuclear development, which it insists is for peaceful purposes and which virtually everyone else except Russia, Syria and China admit is to obtain a nuclear warhead and aim it at Israel.

The American-led war on the ISIS has given Khamenei an opportunity to reply to the letter with an overture to help Washington defeat the terrorist army that controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and is recruiting eager jihadists throughout the world.

Khamenei’s letter was “respectful” but non-committal, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting a diplomat.

Judging from Khamenei’s comments, he is not about to cave in to Western demands but is using as bait Iran’s fear of the ISIS. He knows, better than most Western leaders, that if the ISIS takes control of Iraq and Syria, Jordan is next in line, followed by other Middle East countries, including Iran.

Israel also would like to see the ISIS disappear, but Khamenei hasn’t sent any love letters to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, probably because the Prime Minister has not courted him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ayatollah-khamenei-sends-secret-love-letter-to-obama/2015/02/15/

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