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Posts Tagged ‘Reuters’

Iran Rejects US, UN, Proposal to Resolve Nuclear Impasse

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Vindicating the skepticism expressed by Israeli leaders earlier in the week, Iran on Thursday rejected a proposal by the P5+1 (US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany) to rein in Iran’s nuclear program and accused the six world powers of creating a “difficult atmosphere” for compromise.

On the second day of talks in Baghdad, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, met with his counterpart – European Union foreign policy chief and P5+1 representative – Catherine Ashton and conveyed his displeasure with the bloc’s proposal.

Iranian officials and media painted the six-nation bloc as the source of intransigence and focused its ire specifically at America. “What we heard in Istanbul was more interesting,” an Iranian delegate told Reuters, referring to meetings last month that appeared to offer progress in the resolution of the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. “We believe the reason [the P5+1] are not able to reach a result is America. [The P5+1] came to Baghdad without a clear mandate so we think the atmosphere is difficult.”

The P5+1′s proposal calls on Iran to stop enriching its uranium to 20% – which brings it close to the threshold of weapon’s grade. It offers Iran badly-needed spare parts for civilian airliners, medical isotopes, and nuclear safety cooperation as incentives to agrement. Iran, on the other hand, is demanding an immediate easing of current economic sanctions and suspension of the onerous sanctions set to be imposed in the summer; in return, Tehran is offering a pledge of broader access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, plus other minor concessions.

As it stands now, the P5+1 has refused to consider suspending the impending sanctions. A US official stressed that the bloc’s proposal includes measures to alleviate the sanctions’ hardships, and that they should suffice in the confidence-building process. Nevertheless, Iran has made it clear that suspending the sanctions is the key to compromise.

“It seems that the basis for another round of negotiations doesn’t exist yet,” the Iranian delegate said. But characteristic of Iranian negotiating tactics, he left the door open for continued dialogue, thereby allowing Iran to pursue the dual track of continuing its quest for nuclear power while declaring its readiness to resolve the issue at the same time.

These are exactly the kind of tactics that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned of on Tuesday when he said: “It appears that the Iranians are trying to reach a ‘technical agreement’ which will create the impression of progress in the talks, in order to remove some of the pressure…as well as to put off the intensification of sanctions.” He encouraged the P5+1 to remain “clear and unequivocal” in their demands.

 

 

Egyptian Candidates Run on Hate for Israel

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Animosity toward Israel is playing a significant role in the Egyptian presidential race, according to a report by Reuters.

One ex-air force commander, Moneim Abol Fotouh,  hopes to garner votes by recalling his role in shooting down Israeli aircraft in 1973, referring to Israel as “the enemy” and the “Zionist entity” rather than “Israel”.  Yet another, Hamdeen Sabahy promises his support for Palestinian militant activity against Israel, while another, preacher Safwat el-Hegazi, hopes to oversee the creation of a Palestinian state where Israel is today, with Jerusalem as its capital.  All the candidates recommend reconsidering the degree to which Egypt enjoys relations with Israel.

Egypt suffered a major economic downturn during and following the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in January and February 2011.

Report: IDF Engages Terrorist Squad at Gaza Border, Injures 7

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

IDF soldiers opened fire on terrorists approaching the Gaza Strip security fence in the early hours on Thursday. Reuters reported that seven Palestinians were injured in the incident.

“Terrorists approach the security fence in order to place explosives, plan terror attacks, and attempt to kidnap IDF soldiers, endangering Israeli civilians and security forces stationed in the region,” the IDF spokesperson said in a statement. Palestinian medics told Reuters that two of the wounded were in a critical condition.

US Senate to Consider Tougher Sanctions on Iran

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

The US Senate will consider a new sanctions package against Iran on Thursday, in which oil and economic embargos will be considered in order to force Iran to abandon its nuclear development program.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will introduce the new legislation, to strength penalties signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.  The new legislation would close loopholes enabling trading with Iranian banks and oil and tanker companies which exist in the December legislation.  It will also include sanctions on companies supplying telecommunications equipment used to monitor opposition.

According to Reuters, the bill is a revised version of one passed in February by the Senate Banking Committee and has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  That bill was brought before the Senate in March, but failed to receive a “unanimous consent” voice vote because some senators sought amdnemdnets which would sanction companies that insure trade with Iran.

On May 23, Tehran is set to resume nuclear program-related talks with representatives from the UN Security Council – US, Britain, China, France, Russia – and Germany which began on April 14.

In the meantime, Iran continues to funnel illegal weapons to Syria to assist Syrian President Bashar Assad in his crackdown on opposition in his country, according to a report on Wednesday by the Associated Press.

An anonymous UN Security Council diplomat identified at least two new illegal arms shipments to Syria, with a possible third cargo containing rockets for arming the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The U.N. Security Council imposed its first sanctions on Iran in December 2006.  Since then, Iran has continued to enrich uranium, despite increasing international pressure.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

According to a panel of sanctions-monitoring experts to the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee, Iran has circumvented sanctions by routinely changing the names, ownership, and flags of seafaring vessels, as well as using front companies, falsifying documents, and obtaining contraband through Iranian nationals around the world, as well as utilizing money transfer businesses to keep business up to speed.

Israel and the United States have made frequent allusions to the possibility of  military response to Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program.  In a closed meeting on Tuesday, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said the United States has prepared and tested military methods to attack Iran, if it should become necessary to employ that option.

Israel Excluded from NATO Summit at Turkey’s Request; Pakistan Invited

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

While Pakistan has been invited to the NATO summit in Chicago next week, Israel has been left out, at the request of Turkey, according to Reuters.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has not yet responded to the invitation.

Israel, NATO’s most dependable Middle East ally in the war against terrorism, did not even an invitation to the summit, because, as a NATO officials stated, Israel does not partake in primary NATO missions.

Other reports suggest that Israel was not invited because NATO member Turkey’s objection.

A GOP foreign policy analyst condemned NATO officials for mistreating Israel while inviting Pakistan, which has been a haven for terrorists in recent years.

“It’s a sad day when the same military alliance formed out of the ashes of the Holocaust, which pledged to the world ‘Never Again,’ shuns the democratic State of Israel while welcoming a nation that supports terrorist groups responsible for murdering NATO soldiers,” said the source. “With a single phone call, President Obama could make sure Israel gets an invitation to attend the NATO summit in Chicago as a NATO partner observer. His unwillingness to stand up for Israel inside the NATO council is very telling.”

China’s Prime Minister: Auschwitz Visit Left Indelible Impression

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

According to Reuters, China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who toured the Auschwitz  death camp on Friday, said his visit introduced him to “an unforgettable, dark page in the history of humankind” which “cannot be forgotten.”

“Only those who remember history can build a good future,” he added.

Speculation is that Wen’s visit to Auschwitz was intended to show that he understood war-time suffering in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Wen has been trying to present himself as supporting some political reform and “universal values,” despite his own government’s crackdowns on political dissent.

Obama to Erdogan: There’s Still Time to Solve Iran Issue Diplomatically

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Reuters has reported that President Obama spoke with Turkish PM Erdogan Sunday morning, and told him that Iran still has time to solve the nuclear issue diplomatically, but that the window is closing.

President Obama is currently in South Korea for a nuclear security conference in Seoul. He made a symbolic gesture by first visiting the De-Militarized Zone between North and South Korea, underscoring the United States’ commitment to South Korea’s security amid rising tensions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-to-erdogan-theres-still-time-to-solve-iran-issue-diplomatically/2012/03/25/

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