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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

Iran Owes Terror Victims Billions of Dollars, Says Activist Lawyer

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

An Israeli lawyer who has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims has asked Obama administration officials why they are discussing letting Iran off the hook on sanctions while it owes American relatives colossal sums of money.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Israel Law Center, has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organization as well as banks and other agencies that aid terrorists or act as a pipeline for funds for them.

She wrote Under Secretary Wendy Sherman last month, “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.”

In a blog posted this past week on The Hill website based in Washington, Darshan-Leitner noted that Sherman did not respond, and she added, “As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

Darshan-Leitner pointed out that when George W. Bush was President, he conditioned repealing of any sanctions against Libya on payment of reparations to the victims of Libyan terror. “This move resulted in the payment of $1.5 billion dollars to the victims’ families,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Bush also removed North Korea from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2008, without compensation being paid to American families, she added.

“We fear this lack of response not only portends a potential Iranian exemption from paying reparations and giving due compensation to families affected by terror in return for normalization of relations, but that it also signals a softening of Sherman’s position on the proliferation of terrorist activity and most significantly, creates difficult implications for the United States’ reputation as a pillar of justice in the war on terror,” according to Darshan-Leitner.

Her blog continued, “As lawyers for American, Canadian and Israeli victims of Iranian terror, we call on Congress to take action and place a check on Under Secretary Sherman in this current round of negotiations… We call on all members of Congress to ensure that victims of terror are not forgotten and to help make the Iranian regime provide the proper reparations and due compensation for the innocent lives taken at the hands of terrorist activities and not to gain a free pass in the name of diplomatic maneuverings.”

Iran Unveils Drone that Can Reach Israel – or Is It Photoshop?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Iran announced on Monday it has manufactured a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can reach Israel and can carry two 330-pound bombs.

That really sounds scary. It conjures up a scene of a drone infiltrating Israel with two small nuclear bombs that can annihilate the country and bring an Islamic peace to the world. The threat, of course, is intended to strike fear into the hearts of Washington and Jerusalem, who now are expected to shiver in their boots and say “yes” to whatever Iran wants.

There is no proof that this new drone does not exist. Nor is there proof that is does exist.

Let’s assume for a minute the “Fotros” drone really does have a range of 620 miles.

Dr. Eldad Pardo, a Hebrew University expert on Iran, told The Jewish Press Monday, “It is one thing to make a drone that can reach Israel, but it is another thing to have the technological capability to do something with it.”

While not pooh-poohing Iran’s technological ability, Dr. Pardo said a drone needs highly sophisticated electronic systems to be able to do any damage.

He noted, “The drone looks very similar to others. We will have to wait for a few days and see if anyone notices something that would indicate it is a ruse.”

Iran bragged that the new drone “is equipped with state-of-the-art light cameras for reconnaissance.”

Its official media stated, “In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.”

Dr. Pardo pointed out that Iran also is capable of using Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at some of Iran’s amazing achievements, some of which have been announced one after the other in the past three years.

Most of the regime’s announcements came at a convenient time when it was necessary to counter Israeli and Israeli threats.

Last month, Iran unveiled a supposed suicide combat drone. It did not take long for even amateurs to notice that the nose and tail appeared to be held together by duct tape.

Last January, Iran said it sent a monkey into space but provided no details of when and where the launch took place, if it ever did.

“Before” and “after” flight pictures clearly showed different monkeys. Iran’s Propaganda Ministry quickly came up with an explanation. Someone in its media department simply mixed up a picture of a monkey two years, ago.

How’s that for quick thinking?

Two years ago, Iran claimed it launched a rocket with a mouse, a turtle and worms. Nothing has been heard about that achievement since then, but it would be interesting to know how everyone got along during the ride.

Dr. Pardo said that last November, Iran boasted of a UAV that had the capacity to take off vertically, “but they took the picture from a journal,” he told The Jewish Press. The image of the supposed vertical take-off drone the image looks almost identical to a picture of a drone from a university in Japan.

This past February, Iran released photos of a brand-new stealth fighter, a remarkable feat – until it became clear that it  was only three-quarters of the size of a plane. Furthermore, a photo showed the “stealth fighter” flying over a mountain at the same angle of a stock photo.

In 2008, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a photo of four missiles being launched. It was an amazing accomplishment. One of the rockets, including its exhaust trail, was exactly like another one of the rockets. If its rocket-producing capability is like its Photoshop capability, Iran really needs a new Propaganda Minister.

In November 2011, Iranian media announced is added two new submarines to its fleet. The following month, the official Fars (or is it Farce?) News Agency reported, “ The Iranian Navy plans to test-fire a mid-range surface-to-air missile,…  the first time that such a missile is launched from navy vessels.”

The same month – it seems the Propaganda Ministry was working overtime – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi “announced Iran’s high capabilities in building UAVs, and said the country is mass-producing new types of combat drones.” Fars reported. He also said Iran has “already produced several types of combat drones, as well, and we are now mass-producing a number of them.”

Obama is Losing Israelis’ Back

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The Obama administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear threat has cost President Barack Obama the support of Israelis, who usually give Washington the benefit of the doubt.

A Smith survey released Thursday revealed that 55 percent of the respondents said they do not count on the United States to “take care of its [Israel’s’ security in negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue.”

Only one third of the respondents said they “count on” the Obama administration.

The distrust of Washington was further highlighted by answers to the question, “Do you think the U.S. government gave or did not give Netanyahu  a reliable and accurate picture of the negotiations with Iran?”

Only 24 percent replied in the positive and that an accurate picture was given, while 42 percent responded in the negative. The others had no opinion.

Regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the U.S. government, 40 percent said it was justified and only 9 percent said it was not justified and was excessive. Another 22 percent said it was justified but excessive.

Thursday morning, Israel’s Home Front Minister Gilad Erdan, a senior and ideological Likud member, railed against  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for complaining to senators on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is arguing against a deal with Iran before it is concluded. Erdan, said here, “I have not heard such a claim for many years.”

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party that is part of the Netanyahu coalition government, is in Washington to lobby against easing sanctions on Iran.

Kerry, who told senators on Wednesday to “stop listening to the Israelis,” may also have been referring to Bennett, whose presence in Washington is far from applauded by President Barack Obama.

Bennett posted on his Facebook page a letter he sent to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Jewish Federations of North America, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization and the Russian Jewish Congress.

“When Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments,” Bennett wrote. “The free world stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges.”

Even the liberal ADL has turned its back on the Obama administration, after having agreed  not to lobby for or against sanctions. AIPAC immediately refused a National Security Council request to suspend lobbying against sanctions.

ADL Director David Harris wrote in Haaretz this week that while he understands President Obama’s concern that new sanctions could disrupt talks with Iran, “It is the ever-toughening sanctions that got Iran to negotiate in the first place; there needs to be a reminder that things will get still worse for Tehran if nothing changes soon on the ground.

“Elaborate efforts on Iran’s part to buy time — with Tehran’s mastery of modulated feints, nods, winks, and hints of openness — just won’t wash.

Home Front Minister ‘Astounded’ by Kerry’s Anti-Israel Remarks

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Home Front Defense and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said Thursday morning he was “astounded” at  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim at a Senate committee session Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is arguing against a deal with Iran before it is concluded.

“I have not heard such a claim for many years,” Erdan told  a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). He explained that Iran “is a country that wants to destroy Israel. What do they expect from an Israeli prime minister? Not to cry out when the knife is in the hand, but only when it is across our throat?

“It is only thanks to the discussion about the terms being discussed in Geneva, behind closed doors, that we have received an additional delay of several days and perhaps even an improvement in the terms of the agreement.”

Netanyahu Gives Three Choices: War, a Bad Deal or Sanctions

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Wednesday there are three choices on dealing with the Iranian threat – a bad deal, war or sanctions.

“I would even say that a bad deal is liable to lead to the second, undesired, result,” he added. “There is no reason to submit to Iranian diktat; neither is there any reason to be hasty. “

The Prime Minister added, “Iran is under very harsh economic pressure and the advantage is with those applying the pressure. It is possible to achieve a good deal to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear capability. This cannot be achieved by the proposal now being discussed in Geneva. That proposal would make a gaping hole in the sanctions through which the air could escape from the pressure of the sanctions.

“Iran is being asked to do very little. All of its centrifuges would be left intact; not even one centrifuge would be dismantled and the underground facilities would also remain. This is not necessary because it is possible to continue the pressure.”

 

Guardian’s Cartoon of Powerful Jews Manipulating Western Leaders

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last November we posted about a political cartoon at the Guardian by Steve Bell depicting British foreign minister William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Binyamin Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support by these leaders during the war in Gaza.  Bell’s image evoked the canard of powerful Jews controlling western politicians for their own nefarious purposes and was hauntingly similar to more explicitly antisemitic cartoons routinely found in Arab and Islamist world.

The Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row a couple of weeks later, and actually rebuked Bell for ‘unintentionally’ using the visual language of antisemitic stereotypes.

While such cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays, the damage done by such toxic ideas regarding ‘Jewish control’, in any form, should be taken seriously.  The Guardian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in news reports and commentaries, often includes passages with the unmistakable  suggestion that Israel (and the pro-Israeli lobby) wields enormous power over ineffectual Western leaders – a theme present in a report by Harriet Sherwood and Julian Borger titled ‘Iran nuclear programme deal in danger of unravelling’, Nov. 11.  The story centered on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) which ultimately unraveled largely due to concerns that the agreement would have eased sanctions on Iran without requiring that it cease enriching uranium.

The report by Sherwood and Borger included the following:

In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that the intended deal would not harm his country’s national interests.

The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu’s power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days’ time.

More immediately, Netanyahu demonstrated over the weekend that he could sway the Geneva talks from the inside through his relationship with Paris.

These passages of course strongly suggest that US congressional leaders take their marching orders from Jerusalem and that the French government’s position was not motivated by what it saw as its own national interests but, rather, as a result of the influence of the Israeli prime minister.

However, the deal was fatally flawed, according to many experts, due in part because it would have fallen short of the requirements in six resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council over the years which called on Iran to suspend ALL uranium enrichment – resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, rendering them binding under international law.

As Adam Chandler observed in an essay published at Tablet about the superficial analysis by Sherwood and Borger:

[Their argument] smacks of that paranoid, evergreen charge that all wars and international campaigns are waged on behalf of Israel, a claim that devolves from Israel into “the Jews” as it goes through portal after conspiratorial portal.

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to nonetheless be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.  As Walter Russell Mead observed recently about the broader intellectual dynamic which unites antisemitism with anti-Zionism:

Weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.

Guardian “journalists” may fancy themselves sophisticated, erudite and worldly, but their frequent ‘Zionist root cause’ explanations betray both their ideological bias and the extraordinarily facile nature of their reasoning.

Visit CIFWatch.

Not Everyone is Charmed by Iran’s Charm Offensive

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In response to many reports in recent weeks that the U.S. government is succumbing to what is known as Iran’s “charm offensive,” the Republican Jewish Coalition issued a release calling on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to tighten, not weaken, sanctions against Iran.

“When the Senate reconvenes next week, we hope that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson and Majority Leader Harry Reid will press forward on strong sanctions against Iran. We cannot soften the U.S. position on sanctions unless and until the Iranian regime stops talking and takes measurable, concrete action to end the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” RJC executive director Matt Brooks stated in a press release dated Friday, Oct. 25.

In July, the House of Representatives passed a stiff bill to increase sanctions on the Iranian regime unless it demonstrates it has ceased its race to create nuclear weapons. The House sanctions bill would slash Iranian exports almost entirely.

But last month the administration was successful in getting the relevant Senate committee to hold off on its own hearing on similar proposed legislation.  The reason given for the delay was  “the administration wants more time to give negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program a chance,” according to Reuters.

“I don’t understand why you would weaken the sanctions now, or you would not strengthen the sanctions,” Elliot Abrams, an aide on the Middle East to former President George W. Bush, told the Reuters Washington Summit on Thursday. “The sanctions are what brought the Iranians to the table.”

And it isn’t only the opposition that believes strict sanctions have played a big role in forcing Iran to seek relief.

Just a few months ago, U.S. Treasury Under-Secretary David Cohen said that the sanctions were having a significant impact on the Iranian economy.  Many firms have dropped their business relationships entirely with Iran because the cost of doing business there became so great.

But the combination of Iran thus far not having been deterred from moving forward on its quest for nuclear weapons, plus that charm offensive personified by the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, seems to have convinced this U.S. administration to try to end the stand-off through more negotiations.

The next round of talks regarding Iran’s race towards nuclear weapons will take place in Geneva on November 7 – 8, with the P5+1 group, which includes U.K., U.S., France, China, Russia and Germany.

Israel has repeatedly called for the world to remain firm in its approach to Iran and to maintain and strengthen the current sanctions until Iran demonstrably and definitively dismantles its nuclear weapons program.

White House Presses Congress Not To Intensify Sanctions

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The National Security Council has asked Congressmen at a White House briefing to delay passing new Iran sanctions, according to BuzzFeed.

The meeting with top staffers from congressional committees dealing with Iran sanctions was called after the Obama administration launched renewed talks this month with Iran in the wake of pledges from its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, to cooperate with major powers in making Iran’s nuclear program more transparent.

Administration officials have said sanctions will remain in place until Iran tangibly shows it is abiding by U.N. Security Council resolutions and suspending uranium enrichment, but some congressional leaders, in line with the policy advised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, want to intensify existing sanctions as a means of increasing leverage over Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/white-house-presses-congress-not-to-intensify-sanctions/2013/10/24/

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