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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear proliferation’

Now More than a Dozen Democratic Reps Against Nuclear Iran Deal

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) became the 13th Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives to announce that she will vote against the Nuclear Iran Deal negotiated by the U.S. and its P5+1 partners.

First elected to Congress in 1993, Maloney represents most of Manhattan’s East Side, as well as Queens and Brooklyn. Her district includes the United Nations and the Empire State Building.

Last night Congresswoman Maloney issued a statement opposing the JCPOA.

Maloney said she gave the agreement, “which is one of the most important issues to come before the U.S. Congress in decades,” thoughtful and detailed study, examining the issues, reviewing classified materials, speaking with administration officials, consulting with experts on both sides and listening to community leaders and constituents on both sides.

After tipping her hat to the President and Secretary of State for their diplomatic efforts, she said she had to oppose the agreement “as a matter of conscience.”

Maloney said, as have virtually everyone of the elected officials who have come out in opposition to the deal, that its fatal flaw is that “the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons.”

She pointed out that even given the restraints imposed by the deal, and as the President himself has acknowledged, the breakout time for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state at the end of the deal will have shrunk down to almost zero.

The absence of  so-called ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections and the lifting of embargoes on conventional weapons and on intercontinental ballistic missiles – for which there is no peaceful use – are all gravely troubling, as is Iran’s continued bankrolling of terrorist regimes throughout the Middle East, which will only be made easier by the infusion of billions of dollars as the result of lifting sanctions.

Maloney ended her statement with a poignant comment:

What we wanted out of this agreement was peace. But before the ink was dry, the Mullahs were declaring, “Death to America.” Some believe that if we can just delay Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a more moderate regime in a country with a young population will assume power and abandon Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We can hope for the best, but we need an agreement that assumes the worst.

Maloney had been the object of intense pressure by both sides of the Nuclear Iran Deal. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, a delegation from MoveOn.org gathered in front of her office, calling on her to vote in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. A grass roots coalition of opponents of the JCPOA also gathered, asking that she oppose the deal. Hours later Maloney issued her statement opposing the deal.

One American who feels strongly about the deal and shared his views with his congregation is Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, of Congregation Kehilath Jeshuran on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Rabbi Lookstein told the JewishPress.com that he discussed the Iran deal with his congregation and urged them to call their elected representative – Maloney – and tell her their own views of the deal.

For his part, Lookstein said he feels very strongly that the deal is a bad one. He said “it gives Iran a path to nuclear weapons, it provides a tremendous infusion of money which will be used to foment terror in the Middle East, and it gives Iran an opportunity to continue to build its weapons.”

In addition, the JCPOA “will once again provide them with access to intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to attack the United States,” according to Lookstein.

He said, the deal “is very bad for the U.S. and a terrible one for Israel. The entire political spectrum in Israel stands united against the deal.”

Menendez Dismembers Iran Deal, Suggests More Robust Deal

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) doubled down on his position that the Nuclear Iran deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and his American team of negotiators, along with the U.S. partners in the P5+1, is a bad one that should not go into effect.

Menendez did that by holding a highly-publicized address at 1:00 p.m. E.T., on Thursday, Aug. 18, from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations in South Orange, New Jersey.

During this address, Menendez meticulously explained why he will not vote for the Agreement and why he will vote to override the President’s veto.

When he completed his analysis, it was hard to understand how anyone could say the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is something any country except Iran would support.

AN OIL-RICH NATION DOES NOT NEED NUCLEAR ENERGY

The over-arching question, as Menendez put it, is why Iran, which has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil reserves, needs nuclear power for domestic energy. Given this vast reserve, there is no peaceful use of nuclear energy at all, and therefore no legitimate reason for Iran to have any right to enrichment.

Given Iran’s lack of a peaceful need for nuclear energy coupled with that nation’s repeated acts of “deceit, deception and delay” to evade United Nations Security Council Resolutions and thereby approach being a nuclear weapon state, it is indeed hard to make the argument for this Agreement.

Menendez spoke for nearly a full hour. He explained why Iran does not need nuclear energy and he reminded his audience of Iran’s repeated evasions of inspections.

EVERY RED LINE WAS ERASED

The New Jersey Senator also described the many ways in which the JCPOA falls far short of so many absolute red lines and guarantees made by the U.S. administration during the course of the negotiations.

♦  The original goal was to “fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability,” a “roll-back your infrastructure and we’ll roll-back our sanctions.”

Instead, Menendez explained, the JCPOA is the equivalent of “an alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system for inspections to verify their compliance.”

♦ When Menendez asked Secretary of State Kerry about dismantling Arak, Iran’s plutonium reactor, Kerry said: “They will either dismantle it or we will destroy it.”

Arak will not be dismantled, merely “redesigned.”

♦ The original position was that Iran’s underground Fordow facility would be closed because a peaceful civilian nuclear program would not need to be underground.

Fordow will not be dismantled, merely “repurposed.”

♦ Iran was supposed to “come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.”

Iran will not be required to disclose the possible military dimensions of their nuclear program at Parchin.

Menendez said that over the course of the negotiations, the original goal of preventing nuclear proliferation instead become merely one of “managing or containing” nuclear proliferation.

Just as alarming is that during the course of the deal under its current terms, Iran is allowed to continue its research and development. By the end of the term of the Agreement, Iran will be in a better position – meaning further along on its path to nuclear weapons capability – than it was before the deal was adopted.

“The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment,” Menendez explained.

In addition, the terms of the JCPOA ensure that the EU and the U.S. will not reintroduce or reimpose the sanctions lifted under this deal. That’s because, if sanctions are reintroduced or reimposed, that will “relieve Iran from its commitments in part or in whole.” There will be no incentive for any party to this agreement to find any violations, as that would erase any progress that was made.

Full Text of Speech on Nuclear Iran Deal Given by Sen. Menendez

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Remarks Prepared for Delivery:

“For twenty three years as a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, I have had the privilege of dealing with major foreign policy and national security issues. Many of those have been of a momentous nature. This is one of those moments.

“I come to the issue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with Iran, as someone who has followed Iran’s nuclear ambition for the better part of two decades. I decide on whether to support or oppose an issue on the basis of whether, it is in my judgment, in the national interest and security of our country to do so.

“In this case a secondary, but important, question is what it means for our great ally — the State of Israel — and our other partners in the Gulf.

“Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it. My vote against the Iraq war was unpopular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

“I also don’t come to this question as someone, unlike many of my Republican colleagues, who reflexively oppose everything the President proposes. In fact, I have supported President Obama, according to Congressional Quarterly, 98 percent of the time in 2013 and 2014. On key policies ranging from voting in the Finance Committee and on the Senate Floor for the Affordable Care Act, to Wall Street Reform, to supporting the President’s Supreme Court Nominees and defending the Administration’s actions on the Benghazi tragedy, his Pivot to Asia, shepherding the authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to stop President Assad’s use of chemical weapons, during the time I was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to so much more, I have been a reliable supporter of President Obama.

“But my support is not – and has not been driven by party loyalty, but rather by principled agreement, not political expediency. When I have disagreed it is also based on principled disagreement.

“The issue before the Congress in September is whether to vote to approve or disapprove the agreement struck by the President and our P5+1 partners with Iran. This is one of the most serious national security, nuclear nonproliferation, arms control issues of our time. It is not an issue of supporting or opposing the President. This issue is much greater and graver than that.

“For me, I have come to my decision after countless hours in hearings, classified briefings, and hours-and-hours of serious discussion and thorough analysis. I start my analysis with the question: Why does Iran — which has the world’s fourth largest proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the world’s second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — need nuclear power for domestic energy?

“We know that despite the fact that Iran claims their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, they have violated the international will, as expressed by various U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and by deceit, deception and delay advanced their program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state. It is because of these facts, and the fact that the world believes that Iran was weaponizing its nuclear program at the Parchin Military Base — as well as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in Fordow, built deep inside of a mountain, raising serious doubts about the peaceful nature of their civilian program, and their sponsorship of state terrorism — that the world united against Iran’s nuclear program.

Centrist American Jewish Committee Rejects the Iran Deal

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The American Jewish Committee is one of the oldest and most centrist of American Jewish communal organizations.

It is a slow-moving, deliberative organization and it took its time coming to a decision on what virtually everyone discussing the nuclear deal with Iran has described as critically important, or, in the AJC’s words: “one of the most consequential policy issues in a generation.”

The AJC’s long-time executive director David Harris issued a statement expressing the organizations opposition to the deal on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Harris, who has been at the helm of the AJC for 25 years, articulated the many steps taken by the AJC to come to its decision, and listed numbers of the people with whom its leadership met during its deliberations.

But after weighing the pros and the cons – all of which are familiar to those who are following the matter – at the conclusion of its deliberation, “AJC’s leadership concluded overwhelmingly that we must oppose this deal.”

The reason Harris gave for the AJC’s position boiled down to the P5+1’s abandonment of its initial position, which was to dismantle sanctions in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear infrastructure. That was also the position Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was the “better deal.”

Instead of that original dismantle for dismantle position, the P5+1 replaced its stance “with what is essentially a temporary freeze on its program.” With that retreat, “the P5+1 has indeed validated Iran’s future status as a nuclear threshold state,” Harris explained. And that is something the AJC cannot accept.

“It is too ominous, too precedent-setting, and too likely to trigger a response from Iran’s understandably anxious neighbors who may seek nuclear-weapons capacity themselves, as well as, more immediately and still more certainly, advanced conventional arms, adding an entirely new level of menace to the most volatile and arms-laden region in the world. Surely, this cannot be in America’s long-term security interests.”

The AJC called on members of Congress to oppose the deal.

In addition to the AJC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Israel Project, the Orthodox Union, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America have gone on record as firmly opposing the JCPOA.

Read the AJC’s full statement here.

Obama Offers His ‘Deal or War’

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

This critical period during which Congress is mulling over the nuclear deal made by U.S. negotiators and their P5+1 partners with Iran has turned into a hotly contested debate between those committed to preventing the deal from being approved and those who are desperate to ensure that it will be approved.

Yesterday, Aug. 4, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke to thousands of Americans and explained why he believes the deal is a bad one. It boiled down to “Keep or Cheat.” However Iran decides to act under this agreement, it will attain nuclear threshold status.

Today President Barack Obama gave a midday televised speech from American University in Washington, D.C.. During the speech he ridiculed those who criticize the deal, and explained why, according to him, the choice is either the deal or war.

Obama sought to compare the current situation in which Iran is seen by many as threatening the U.S. and its closest allies, and perhaps the world, to the time in which the Soviet Union, also a supporter of terrorist proxies, was considered the global danger.

This comparison is useful because the tensions and stakes were similar, and the danger was handled through diplomacy, rather than a resort to war.

Of course, diplomacy is not a generic concept, and its success depends greatly on the diplomats involved and the deals they are able to strike.

This American administration and its negotiating team are not the teams who handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, nor have they woven treaties like the SALT and START Treaties. In fact, one clear red flagging difference is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty, or at least is not being called one, with all the consequences that entails.

The President agrees with many of his critics about one factor: the importance of the issue. He described the deal and the foreign policy debate surrounding it as “one of the most consequential” the United States government has engaged in, in years.

Unfortunately, unlike Netanyahu’s speech, which was entirely respectful of President Obama, this one was smug, threatening, nasty and insulting, especially regarding Netanyahu, but also towards any other critics of the deal.

In refusing to take the high road, it may be that Obama lost the opportunity to win over those who were wavering. Or, and perhaps more likely, the threats he raised, including the specter of disaster that will befall the United States should the deal be rejected, may be sufficient to capture those who are susceptible to such tactics.

Time will tell.

In the hour-long speech, the President reiterated what he and the other proponents of the deal have been touting since the JCPOA was signed two weeks ago. This is the best possible deal, snap-back of sanctions will be available if Iran cheats, the inspections regime covers all contingencies (but while admitting the Iranians will have 24 days before inspectors can visit contested sites, Obama promised “we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.”)

A careful review of the speech, however, reveals several significant inconsistencies.

SANCTIONS NOT ENOUGH, BUT IF THEY CHEAT, WE’LL SNAP BACK SANCTIONS

The President spent a great deal of time deriding the idea that sanctions would be enough to deter Iran from driving towards its nuclear weapons goal, and ridiculing the idea of America going it alone on sanctions should Congress reject the deal. He pledged that should Iran cheat, “we can catch them, and we will.”

He then said, “If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won’t need the support of the other members of the U.N. Security Council, America can trigger snap back on our own.” So what happened to the idea that America can’t go it alone? Or that sanctions are sufficient?

Iran Laughs at ‘Non-Binding’ Ban on Ballistic Missiles

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Iran’s Foreign Minister buried the Obama administration’s claim that the nuclear agreement will curtail Iran’s ballistic missile production and maintained that the prohibition is in a non-binding appendix of “ObamaDeal.”

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the state-controlled Fars News Agency as saying:

Using ballistic missiles doesn’t violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); it is a violation of a paragraph in the annex of the (UN Security Council) Resolution (2231) which is non-binding

This paragraph (of the annex) speaks about missiles with nuclear warheads capability and since we don’t design any of our missiles for carrying nuclear weapons, therefore, this paragraph is not related to us at all.

That is pretty fancy mouth-work, even better than President Barack Obama’s.

Zarif is laughing all the way to the nuclear bank. He admits that the nuclear agreement prohibits ballistic missiles but since it is non-binding, so what?

And it doesn’t make any difference because the missiles are not meant for carrying nukes.

If anyone wants to inspect the military sites to make sure he is telling the truth, he can’t because military sites are off-limits. The Islamic Republic’s international affairs adviser to the regime stressed on Tuesday that Iran will not allow international inspectors visit our military centers and interfere in decisions about the type of Iran’s defensive weapons.”

Velayati added:

Missiles like Shahab, Sejjil and the like, have never been used for carrying nuclear warheads, and therefore, are not subject to the paragraphs of the Vienna draft agreement.

Just take his word for it.

Zarif’s Foreign Ministry reassured everyone who still is listening that “Iran will continue its pioneering role in campaign against terrorism and violent extremism.”

For the record, just in case Congressional Democrats are awake, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate committee just before ObamaDeal was concluded:

We should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.

Secretary of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who is in Israel to go through the motions that ObamaDeal is good for Israel, told the Senate Armed Services Committee:

We want them [Iran] to continue to be isolated as a military and limited in terms of the kinds of equipment and material they are able to procure.

That is what he wants. That is not what he – and Israel – is going to get.

 

Arab League Presses for Israel to Disclose Nuclear Development

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The other shoe has fallen.

The Arab League has used the “ObamaDeal” nuclear agreement as a lever to exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to “join the non-proliferation agreement (NPT) as a non-nuclear state.”

Israel, assumed to have stockpile nuclear warheads, has maintained a position of “nuclear ambiguity” whereby it clams up about any nuclear weapons.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said:

It’s time for the international community… to stop its policy of double standards and to undertake its responsibilities by pressuring Israel.

The U.N. General Assembly last year adopted a resolution calling for Israel to join the NPT and open the Dimona nuclear reactor to IAEA inspection.

Israel also possesses five German-made Dolphin-class submarines that reportedly can carry cruise missiles with nuclear warheads.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-league-presses-for-israel-to-disclose-nuclear-development/2015/07/21/

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