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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘persia’

Obama and Peres Polish Up their Persian for Iran’s New Year

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

President Shimon Peres and President Barack Obama delivered their annual greetings to Iranians celebrating the new Persian year and played up prospects of peace.

Peres showed off his language skills – actually those of his speech writers – by starting with, “Iraniane Gerami, Novruzetan Piruz Bad,” which can be translated as “Iranian citizens, wherever you are, Happy Nowruz.”

Obama began his video greetings with “Dorood,” or “to praise.” It is said by Muslims every time they hear the name of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.”

Presidents love impressing foreign people with greetings such as “Shalom,” which they don’t understand not only mneans “Peace” and “Hello” but also means “goodbye,” but unfortunately without the connotation of “good riddance.”

“The Jewish people and the Persian people, the Iranian people have a very long history and we’re going to have a long future,” said Peres, implying optimism that Iran will not succeed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

“We are old cultures, we learn history, we make history and we respect history,” he said.” We have a heritage of values; we are not just business peoples but two nations that respect culture, that respect human dignity. We call to live in peace and understanding.”

That is why brining Israeli flags is such a popular sport in Iran.

On the other side of the ocean, President Obama said, “Since taking office, I’ve offered the Iranian government an opportunity –if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”

The odd thing is that that he already has given Iran a spot closer to center stage in the international community although it has not met its “international obligations,” but there is nothing like trust to usher in the new year.

“Last fall, I spoke with President Rouhani,” Obama continued, “It was the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian leader since 1979. I conveyed to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people, just as he expressed his respect for the American people….

“Since then, we’ve made progress. For years, the international community has had concerns that Iran’s nuclear program could lead to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, which would be a threat to the region and to the world. Under the initial agreement we reached in November, the Iranian government has agreed to limit key parts of its nuclear program. Along with our international partners, the United States is giving Iran some relief from sanctions.” Iran has “agreed” but has not carried out the agreement, but trust the president, because he said, “As I’ve said before, I’m under no illusions…. If Iran meets its international obligations, we know where the path of dialogue and greater trust and cooperation can lead…

“Real diplomatic progress this year can help open up new possibilities and prosperity for the Iranian people for years to come.

And what happens is Iran does not meet its international obligations? Obama undoubtedly will be back next year with the same speech.

If you want to hear all four minutes and 47 seconds of it, here it is.

Israel Museum Buys 1,500-Year-Old Persian Coin Collection

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The Israel Museum has bought more than 1,200 silver coins that were used in Persia in the 4th and 5th centuries and which includes several rare coins.

Referring to a rare silver artifact called the “first Jewish coin” because of the inscription of the word “Judea” in Aramaic, the museum’s chief curator of archaeology, Chaim Gitler, told the Times of Israel, “It’s the earliest coin from the province of Judea.”

The “Jewish coin” was reportedly found in the southern Hevron Hills, between Hevron and Be’er Sheva, and was bought by New York collector Jonathan Rosen, who agreed to donate his collection to the Israel Museum.

Forget the Smiles: US, Israel Still Divided on Iran

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel constituted a welcome, long overdue outreach to the Israeli people, who have received him warmly and enthusiastically.

The bond that ties Israelis and Americans is deep, and encompasses shared values, common strategic challenges, and the closest military and intelligence cooperation to date.

The visit’s timing, however, was directly linked to Iran’s continued march towards a nuclear weapon, and Obama’s concern over potential Israeli military action, despite attempts by the U.S. president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to present a united front on the Iranian threat.

The U.S. President used the visit to speak directly to Israelis, and tried to set up a channel of communication with them over the head of Netanyahu.

This is why he declined to speak at the Israeli Knesset, and urged the Israeli public to pressure Netanyahu to restart the diplomatic process with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

During the visit, Obama and Netanyahu worked hard to generate an image of warmth and friendship among one another, and tried to undo years of public and damaging clashes.

Yet it remains apparent that the two leaders remain out of sync on the most urgent and serious threat to global security: Iran’s nuclear program.

The disagreement does not stem, as it once did, from differences in intelligence assessments of Iran’s nuclear progress. Today, the intelligence communities of both counties agree that Iran is close to a nuclear breakout phase.

A glance at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s February report reveals the disturbing fact that Iran continues to make good progress in its uranium enrichment project, while stalling for time through round after round of fruitless discussions with the international community.

Although sanctions are causing real harm to Iran’s economy, and stirring up resentment among ordinary Iranians, they have not yet managed to cause Tehran to change its mind on its nuclear program.

Iran currently possesses just under 170 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent (medium enriched uranium) according to the IAEA, meaning that it needs between 60 to 90 more kilograms to have enough for its first atomic weapon.

Israeli defense observers note that that final enrichment process, from medium to high enriched uranium, is the easiest and fastest phase.

Meanwhile, Iran has recently installed faster centrifuges at its Natanz uranium facility, a factor that will speed up the enrichment process. IAEA inspectors seeking access to Iran’s classified Parchin military site, where a suspected nuclear trigger is being developed, have been blocked at every turn.

These developments lie at the heart of Obama’s visit. Behind closed doors, it seems reasonable to assume, Obama sought to ascertain how close a potential Israeli strike might be.

He may also have sought to dissuade Netanyahu from acting alone.

Publicly, at least, Netanyahu and Obama agreed on a way to present their differences in a useful way.

During Obama’s three-day visit, both leaders stressed the right of their respective countries to take military action.

Obama acknowledged Israel’s right to “make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action, and Israel is differently situated than the United States.”

Going even further, Obama implicitly recognized that Washington’s red line for action was significantly behind that of Israel’s. “I would not expect that the prime minister would make a decision about his country’s security and defer that to any other country, any more than the United States would defer our decisions about what was important for our national security,” he said.

This, then, is the new public American-Israeli stance. The U.S. will not let Iran go nuclear, but is willing to let its sanctions experiment play out, while Israel, because of its more limited strike capabilities, cannot wait much longer before it loses the ability to act.

Because Israel’s core defense doctrine is based on the principle of never entrusting the Jewish people’s fate to others – even the best of allies – Israel may go it alone, with American approval, if Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei does not freeze his nuclear program soon.

It is far from clear whether these public stances are reflections of the positions privately held by Netanyahu and Obama.

Khamenei, for his part, wasted little time in responding to the messages coming out of Jerusalem, threatening to “annihilate Tel Aviv and Haifa” if Israel attacked his country.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/forget-the-smiles-us-israel-still-divided-on-iran/2013/03/28/

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