web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Obama Finally Forced to Admit Iran’s Nuclear Breakout Time ‘Zero’ in 13 Years

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

It took a lot of pressure and many more speeches and harangues by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu than anyone probably wanted to hear, but at the end of the day, it paid off:

U.S. President Barack Obama was finally forced on Tuesday to admit the truth: In 13 years – if not fewer – Iran’s breakout time to an atomic bomb will be zero.

That means the world will have practically no warning whatsoever as to when Iran actually reaches its nuclear weapons capability – if it has not already done so by then, without telling anyone.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Obama told NPR News that for the first decade following the new deal reached last week with world powers led by the United States in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tehran will be capped at 300 kilograms of enriched uranium. The president insisted this was not enough to convert to a cache of weapons-grade fuel.

But then the president said this:

What is a more relevant fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.

By then, restrictions on Iran’s enriched uranium stockpiles will have been eased for the two years prior – in Years 11 and 12 – which means there will already have been two years in which to gather enriched nuclear fuel.

The admission confirms just one of a long list of concerns that Israel’s prime minister had underlined to the U.S. Congress – and to the rest of the world – in his repeated explanations of why “an even greater danger” exists that Iran could “get to the bomb by keeping [this] deal.”

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday issued a government statement outlining “the irresponsible concessions given to Iran” in the agreement. The document also showed “how dangerous the framework is for Israel, the region and the world.”

Among the changes demanded by Israel to the current agreement between Iran and world powers prior to the June 30 final deadline (which the United States has ignored):

  • Bar further Iranian research and development on advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges;
  • Significantly reduce the number of centrifuges available to Iran for it to reactivate in violation of the deal;
  • Close down the Fordow underground enrichment facility;
  • Require Iranian compliance in detailing previous nuclear activities with potential military dimensions;
  • Ship Iran’s stockpile of lower-enriched uranium out of the country;
  • Ensure “anywhere-anytime” spot inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The document (click here for the PDF file) also made clear – as has Netanyahu, repeatedly in statements to the media – that the current agreement “ignores the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to Israel.” The prime minister emphasized that a “better deal” can and must be reached with Iran, “an enemy of the United States whose regime, even during the negotiations, continued to conduct aggression in the region and to call for the destruction of Israel.”

The document pointedly calls attention to the fact that under the current agreement:

  • Not a single nuclear facility will be shut down;
  • Iran is allowed to continued advanced uranium centrifuge enrichment research and development;
  • Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile program development is altogether ignored;
  • Sanctions that could be used to regulate Iran’s compliance are instead removed.

Included in the document are 10 questions aimed at those who negotiated this deal and support its passage into law:

1. Why are sanctions that took years to put in place being removed immediately (as the Iranians claim)? This removes the international community’s primary leverage at the outset of the agreement, and make Iranian compliance less likely.

France Warns There’s ‘Insufficient Progress’ With Iran on Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

French Ambassador to the United Nations Francois Delattre told a meeting of the UN Security Council Tuesday that “insufficient” progress has been made towards a nuclear deal with Iran.

The UNSC session had been convened specifically to discuss the issue of UN sanctions on Iran.

“Iran must now make difficult choices if it truly wishes to regain the trust of the international community,” Delattre told ambassadors at the session.

Gaps still remain on the issues of sanctions and research and development, Reuters reported. Likewise, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in a briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday, that although there had been “substantial progress” in the talks, “important gaps remain… We have an opportunity to get this right,” he added, urging Iran to make the “fundamental decisions” that would prove its interest in peace, not nuclear weaponry.

But as Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu predicted in his speech to the U.S. Congress earlier this month, Iran’s behavior reflects anything but an interest in peaceful relations with the West.

An Iranian official scolded the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiyo Amano, for requiring unannounced inspections of its nuclear sites as part of its inspection protocols.

The request, which Amano contended would reassure the international community and restore Iran’s credibility, harmed negotiations between world powers and Tehran, said Iran nuclear spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi.

Iranian state television quoted Kamalvandi as saying, “It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA’s seasonal and monthly reports.”

The deadline for the talks – conducted with Iran by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — is set for March 31, with a final agreement to be tied up by June 30.

Kerry’s Gaffe Exposes ‘IsraelPhobia’

Monday, March 16th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke enthusiastically about Egypt in a speech on Friday but made a very undiplomatic boo-boo by stating that Egyptian President Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is committed to Israel’s future.

Yes, that is what he said. Here is the entire sentence, according to the official U.S. State Dept, transcript of his speech at American Chamber of Commerce of Egypt in Sharm el-Sheikh.:

President Sisi has engaged on a bold and critical path to implement reforms. He’s committed to restoring investor confidence in Israel’s future.”

The State Dept. later noted that he meant to say “Egypt’s future.”

How could a mistake like that have been made by the  Secretary of the State of the United States of America, the man who knows he can bring peace between Israel and the Arab world, and between Iran and the rest of the world? The U.S. Embassy in Cairo had a nifty explanation for the blooper and posted on Twitter:

“Clear theme of @JohnKerry speech/visit today: confidence in #EGYPT’s future. All night flight+morning event=unintended slip (wrong country!)

Jet lag is definitely a problem for diplomats like Kerry, who seem to spend more time on the plane than at home.

But excuses are not going save the world when he sits with Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and says “Hamas, whoops I mean Israel,” or sits with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and says, “Jews, whoops I mean settlers.”

But all of that could be forgiven because his talks with the Palestinian Authority and Israel were nothing more than a way to boost profits for hotels where he stayed, but what happens when he talking with Iran over its nuclear program?

First of all, he has to remember he is in Switzerland today and not in Swaziland.

His aides need to remind him he is talking to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and not Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

And Kerry needs to be reminded that “peaceful nuclear energy” in Iran means in plain English, “A nuclear bomb to destroy not only Israel but also the United States.”

Gurlitt Museum Admits Picasso Painting Was Stolen from Jews

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Swiss museum that was given Nazi-era art has already admitted that at least one of is expensive pieces of art was stolen from Jews.

As reported here last week, Cornelius Gurlitt, whose father dealt with art in the Nazi era, left his collection of art to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland, which agreed with Germany and the state of Bavaria last week that it would take possession of the works in the Gurlitt collection, except for those that are suspected of having been looted.

The museum published the list of its “Salzburg collection” on Thursday and later admitted that the “Paris Kathedrale” probably is the Picasso work of art from 1902 and which was stolen from Jews by the Nazis.

“We ourselves recognized that this is looted art,” museum director Matthias Frehner said on Friday. He promised that “we will do our utmost to arrange for a swift restitution.”

Some 1,400 works were confiscated from Gurlitt’s Munich home in 2012 in the course of an investigation for tax evasion. Other works were subsequently found in Gurlitt’s second home in Salzburg, Austria.

Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told The New York Times, ” Just a little bit of hunting and pecking, and things immediately surfaced. This underscores the necessity for the research, and it shows us why the transparency is so important.”

Who Gave $1 Million for Museum That May Deal with Nazi-Looted Art?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

An anonymous donor has given more than $1 million to help a Swiss museum take care of a bequest of hundreds of artworks, which may include Nazi-looted art.

The donation will help the Kunstmuseum Bern, or Bern Museum of Fine Arts, to house the collection of the late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt of about 1,000 artworks, the French news agency AFP reported Thursday. The donor asked to remain anonymous.

The museum on Monday formally agreed to accept the collection but said that it would work with German officials to ensure that all looted art in the collection is returned to its owners or their heirs. Gurlitt named the museum his sole heir before his death in May.

The collection reportedly is worth about $1.26 billion. The museum said it had no prior relationship with Gurlitt.

A German task force will continue to investigate the provenance of the artworks to determine which pieces were looted and to discover their rightful owners. Pieces for which no owners can be identified will be displayed in Germany in order to try to find the owners or heirs, according to the museum.

Some 1,400 works were confiscated from Gurlitt’s Munich home in 2012 in the course of an investigation for tax evasion. Other works were subsequently found in Gurlitt’s second home in Salzburg, Austria.

Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer on assignment to the Nazis. When Hildebrand Gurlitt died in 1956, his son inherited the collection, which includes works by Picasso, Durer, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Beckmann and Matisse.

In April, Gurlitt signed an agreement with the state of Bavaria and the German federal government in which the provenance of all works would be researched, paving the way for the return of the paintings to the heirs of the rightful owners.

The work of the task force in searching for possible rightful owners continued after Gurlitt’s death.

The museum is set to publish this week a list of all the artworks in the collection, the first time such a comprehensive list will be available, according to AFP.

Swiss Jew Wounded in Hate Crime

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

An Orthodox Jew from Belgium was lightly wounded in an assault in Switzerland, which witnesses called an anti-Semitic attack.

The victim of the Monday evening assault in the Davos area is a 26-year-old tourist from Antwerp, according to a report published Wednesday in the online edition of the Swiss Jewish weekly Tachles.

The victim, identified as A. Wachsstock, was walking toward his car, where his wife and four children were waiting for him, when a man in his 60s began hitting him and shouting anti-Semitic profanities, including “Juden raus,” or “Jews, get out” in German.

Wachsstock entered his car with lacerations on his right hand from the assault and drove away, Tachles reported. The man’s family witnessed the assault.

Wachsstock complained to police about the assault but no suspects are in custody.

In 2011, a man in his 20s seriously wounded a French Jew in the parking lot of Geneva’s Natural History Museum while the victim was putting a baby carriage in the trunk of his car. He was stabbed four times in view of his family.

The man suspected of the attack was declared last year unfit to stand trial for mental reasons.

Geneva Lawmaker Wants to Ban Hanukkah

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

A city council member from Geneva, Switzerland, has warned his municipality against allowing a public Hanukkah event, which he said would violate Swiss law.

“I’m not afraid of being called anti-Semitic, because my request is not directed at a religious community [but at] the authorities, which do not comply with the law by issuing an authorization for this event,” council member Pierre Gauthier is quoted as telling the Tribune de Geneve daily newspaper this week.

In a letter to the mayor, Gauthier, who is the secretary of a not-for-profit called “Geneva Secular Coordination,” cited Switzerland’s Law of Foreign Worship, which states that “no celebration of worship, procession or any religious ceremony is allowed on public roads.”

He urged the mayor’s office to cancel a public candle-lighting event on Mollard Square scheduled for Dec. 3. The organizer of the event, Rabbi Mendel Pevzner of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, told the Tribune, “This is not a religious event but a moment of sharing, open to all faiths. Since 1991, we have never encountered a problem.”

On Tuesday, another council member from Geneva, Denis Menoud, wrote on Facebook that he was pleased with the signing of a deal between world powers and Iran on its alleged nuclear weapons program because, “The bottom line is that Israel is on the path of carbonization.” The deal was reached last week after talks in Geneva.

MCG President Roger Golay condemned Menoud’s words and said the party expected him to resign.

Johanne Gurfinkel of CICAD, a Swiss group that monitors anti-Semitism, called on Menoud to “publicly apologize for his statement.” Gurfinkel also asked Menoud’s rightist MCG party to take a stand against “this type of hateful comments.”

Menoud told the Tribute de Genève that the “sentence was taken out of context,” and that he only meant to say that this situation in the Middle East will create a new paradigm. “The loser is Israel, strategically and politically.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/geneva-lawmaker-wants-to-ban-hanukkah/2013/11/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: