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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear program’

World Powers Give Up on Iran Nuclear Talks

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have collapsed.

Ashton said on Saturday that the two sides “remain far apart on substance,” after a second and, apparently, final day of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there was no agreement further talks – neither a date nor a place have been set.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili admitted there were differences between the two sides. He reiterated Iran’s position that it has a right to enrich uranium, and complained that Tehran was not receiving recognition, as well as more concessions from world powers, before agreeing to curtail its uranium enrichment production. He also stated that the demands and the sanctions “are a sign of enmity towards the people of Iran.”

In the two days of meetings in Kazakhstan, the major powers had hoped to reach a compromise with Iran, whom they believe is engaged in a covert effort to produce nuclear bombs.

Delegates from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany met with Iranian officials on proposals that would have allowed for exceptions to the international sanctions program against Iran, if the Iranians would shut down their nuclear facilities and turn over their stockpile of enriched uranium.

Earlier, a spokesman for Ashton urged Iran to take a “confidence-building step” and reassure the international community it is not engaged in a nuclear weapons program for military purposes.

Iran claims that its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes, namely power generation.

The United States attended the talks with the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as Germany.

Has Iran Already Won?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

It has long seemed to us that trying to persuade Iran to voluntarily abandon its goal of becoming a nuclear power was a fool’s errand. We never went along with the conventional wisdom of viewing Iran’s nuclear designs as somehow isolated from its general foreign policy objectives. Those objectives include projecting itself as a regional and even international power through intimidation of non-nuclear states and support of terrorist insurgencies and rogue regimes. So it is not surprising that Iran has engaged the Western powers in a series of negotiations designed to buy time as it completes its nuclear drive.

The course of the negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) is ready evidence of their folly. The talks have featured posturing by Iran and ever-escalating demands, including an insistence that all sanctions against Iran be removed as a precondition for substantive negotiations. When it is recalled that the principal Western response to Iran’s nuclear march has been the imposition of those sanctions, this insistence is all the more remarkable and further demonstration of Iran’s goal of parity with world powers.

It is also to be noted that five of the P5+1 countries negotiating with Iran on a more or less equal playing field are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – quite an achievement for the Iranian regime.

Unfortunately, Iranian recalcitrance has been rewarded with continuing concessions from the P5+1. Just last week, despite the fact that Iran has regularly refused to agree to talks, stonewalled international inspectors, and refused to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions limiting its stockpiling of enriched uranium, Reuters and other media outlets were reporting that the P5+1 countries had offered Iran some relief from sanctions.

Remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu to his cabinet after yet another round of negotiations proved inconclusive signaled his frustration with the drift in the international response to Iran’s challenge:

My impression from these talks is that the only thing gained from them is a buying of time, and through this time-buying Iran intends to continue enriching nuclear material for an atomic bomb and is indeed getting closer to this goal.

He expanded on this in his remarks on Monday to the AIPAC conference via satellite from Jerusalem. He said Iran is in position to becoming nuclear armed, though it has not yet crossed Israel’s “red line.” He continued, “I have to tell you, words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat.”

Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to take a softer tack during an interview with ABC News on Tuesday in which he acknowledged that despite the attempts at diplomacy and the sanctions against Iran, Tehran continues to move closer to a nuclear capacity.

“Lines have been drawn before and they’ve been passed,” said Mr. Kerry. “If they keep pushing the limits and not coming with a serious set of proposals or prepared to actually resolve this, obviously, the risks get higher and confrontation becomes more possible.”

We would have been more encouraged had he used the word “probable” rather than “possible.”

That the administration continues to send mixed signals on Iran was further evidenced by events of the past month. On the one hand, addressing the AIPAC convention earlier this week, Vice President Biden, speaking of America’s determination to halt Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons, said, “The president of the United States cannot and does not bluff. President Obama is not bluffing.”

On the other hand, that robust claim came on the heels of President Obama’s selection of Chuck Hagel as his new secretary of defense. Mr. Hagel is well known for his opposition to any military action against Iran. And Mr. Hagel’s Congressional testimony – before it was clarified – about the president’s “clear” policy on “containment” of Iran’s nuclear ambition – as opposed to “prevention” – was chilling. Certainly the Iranians had to be encouraged by the choice of Mr. Hagel.

There are, of course, many reasons to assume the Obama administration would find a nuclear-armed Iran unacceptable. It would radically alter the international power structure to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies; it would allow Iran to hold even the United States hostage to its nuclear capacity; it would tend to foster terrorism and insurrection; and it doubtless would spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Iran Installs Advanced Centrifuges, Gets Closer to Bibi’s Red Line

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

United Nations nuclear watchdogs said Thursday that Iran has installed next-generation centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly responded that it has come closer to his “red line.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it saw the centrifuges earlier this month, adding that “this is the first time that centrifuges more advanced than the IR-1 have been installed” at Natanz.

The report added that no new equipment has been installed at the underground Fordow plant, which can enrich uranium at a much higher grade than at Natanz.

“This is a very grave report which proves that Iran is continuing to make rapid progress toward the red line” that the Prime Minister drew in his speech at the United Nations in September, according to statement from his office.

The report makes the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat even more pressing for discussions with President Barack Obama when he visits next month, the Prime Minister’s office added.

The White House warned that the window for diplomacy “will not stay open indefinitely.”

Netanyahu: Sanctions Alone Won’t Stop Iran

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors that sanctions alone will not stop Iran, as evidence by North Korea’s continued nuclear program, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Only if sanctions are backed by “credible military threat” will there be a chance that Iran will peacefully halt its nuclear program, Netanyahu said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that “all options are on the table” when it comes to stopping Iran, though he has indicated that U.S. has a different time table than Israel when it comes to resorting to the use of force.

Furthermore, various statements by administration officials, Obama’s refusal to set publicly set a red line for when the U.S. might use force, and the nomination of Chuck Hagel who in the past opposed applying sanctions against Iran, have left room to doubt whether Obama is indeed ready to use military force against Iran if necessary.

State: Unilateral Talks between the US and Iran Are on the Table

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

If we were to read between the lines of an exchange during a State Dept. daily press briefing, Wed. Dec. 12, 2012, then the U.S., through our European allies, are busy trying to get bilateral, face to face negotiations going with the Iranians, over Iran’s nuclear program.

As was the case with the North Korean negotiations over the past decade plus, the Jury is out on which works better in the end, group talks or US-only face-to-facers. If anything, the Korean example seems to prove that neither approach really works if the other side is comprised of habitual liars hell bent on destroying us.

That aside, pay attention to the ease with which State’s Spokesperson Victoria Nuland glides into the possibility of bilateral talks with Iran.

Nuland took a question on Israeli reports that the Administration is looking to pursue direct talks with Iran over the next four or five months and is doing so without asking Israel’s permission.

NULAND: I haven’t seen those Israeli reports. What I can tell you is that the European Union has just made clear that earlier today, EU Deputy Secretary General Helga Schmid, who is Cathy Ashton’s deputy, had a phone call with the Iranian deputy negotiator Dr. Bagheri in order to discuss the way ahead, including possible dates and venues for another [P-5+1] plus Iran meeting. So we continue to make clear to the Iranian side that in that structure, the door remains open to talks if they are serious.

QUESTION: In the premise of the question, there was the idea that … you would have unilateral talks with the Iranians without the Israelis’ permission. I’m wondering … does the Administration think that it needs to get Israel’s permission to do that?

NULAND: …In the context … of P-5+1 Iran talks, we’d be prepared to meet bilaterally with Iran. The Israelis are well aware that that is our view and that is the way we would pursue it. So it’s not a matter of permission or not permission. They are our ally and partner, and we consult with them regularly, and we’re completely transparent in terms of how we’re trying to proceed here.

QUESTION: … But you wouldn’t ask for their permission, would you? Even if it was outside the P-5+1 context … does this Administration need to ask Israel for permission to … to talk with any other country in the world, including Iran?

NULAND: Again, Israel is our ally. Israel has an existential interest in the way this goes forward. We are very transparent with Israel on how this goes forward. So I don’t even think that scenario would arise one way or the other.

QUESTION: Well, can you just say that the Administration – that this country doesn’t ask permission from Israel to have talks with any countries –

MS. NULAND: I would say that this country doesn’t ask permission from any other country to act. Okay?

Iranian Money Laundering Network Running through Vienna

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

According to reports in the Austrian news magazine “Profil” and the British “Telegraph,” the Iranian regime uses Austrian banks to launder money in order to circumvent the sanctions and to provide technology for its nuclear program. A representative of the Iranian Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation (CITC) has been in Vienna as recently as September. CITC is closely related to the office of President Ahmadinejad and has been sanctioned by the US due to its direct involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile program.

Stop the Bomb, a European coalition which works towards the enactment of economic and political sanctions against the Iranian Islamist regime, has criticized the lack of action by the Austrian authorities: “Apparently, the authorities knew about the years of excessive traveling of a representative of the CITC, without taking an interest,” says Simone Dinah Hartmann, STB’s spokesperson. “We demand that this case and the general involvement of Austrian banks be fully investigated and conclusions be drawn. The latest reports prove that only a solid EU travel ban for all representatives of the Iranian regime can prevent Iran from continuing to procure critical components for its nuclear program and laundering money in Europe,” Hartmann added.

STB points out that the laxity of the Austrian authorities as well as the suspected involvement of Austrian banks in the circumvention of the sanctions stand in the tradition of Austria’s previous policy towards Iran. Back in 2006, the president of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Ali-Naqi Khamoushi, named Austria the “gateway to the European Union” for Iran. STB states that the recently passed EU sanctions that were supported by Austria, in particular the prohibition of the import Iranian natural gas, are steps in the right direction. However, these sanctions are hardly enough to stop the regime in Tehran from continuing its nuclear weapons program and the brutal repression of the Iranian people. Austrian companies, in spite of all previous sanctions resolutions, are continuing to do business with Iran in the extent of hundreds of millions, STB reports. While exports are declining slightly, imports have exploded in the first half of 2012 and several hundred of Austrian companies are still active in Iran.

Despite of the massive criticism, which has been voiced by STOP THE BOMB and numerous Members of the European parliament, including its Vice-president, as well as two democratic members of the US senate, the Austrian MEP Josef Weidenholzer (SPÖ) will still partake in a trip to Iran planned by the “Delegation for relations with Iran” of the European Parliament. Simone Dinah Hartmann stated: “We continue to call for the cancellation of this courting of the Iranian regime. Dialogue, as being preached by politicians like Weidenholzer, only buys the Iranian regime more time to work on its nuclear program and undermine the efforts of the Iranian opposition. Weidenholzer should follow the example set by Belgian social democrat Kathleen van Bremt who has withdrawn her participation from the Iran trip publicly.”

Report: White House Has Secret Plan to Negotiate With Iran

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections a National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said following the publication of a New York Times report saying the White House and Iran agreed to hold direct negotiations over its nuclear program after election day.

According to the New York Times, secret exchanges between US and Iranian officials began early in President Barack Obama’s term, but Iranian officials stalled, wanting to wait until after upcoming presidential elections so Tehran would know if it could count on agreements made with Obama, or if Obama would be replaced.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Michael Oren said Israel had not been informed of these plans by the White House.  “We do not think Iran should be rewarded with direct talks,” Oren said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Sunday “I want to believe the White House’s denial, and I want to believe that they learn from experience,” Liberman said. “All the Iranians want to accomplish through direct negotiations is the lifting of sanctions.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/report-white-house-has-secret-plan-to-negotiate-with-iran/2012/10/21/

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