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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

IAEA Warns Iran Quietly Pushing Limit on Heavy Water

Friday, November 18th, 2016

As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted from the start, Iran has repeatedly violated the nuclear deal it signed with the P5+1 world powers in Vienna in July 2015.

Tehran has carefully overstepped the limit on how much heavy water it’s allowed to stockpile — 130 tonnes — for the second time since January, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations, which is tasked with enforcing the deal.

The IAEA said in a report released last week that Iran has “slightly” exceeded its 130-tonne soft limit on the stock of heavy water.

On Thursday, the agency warned that the violations have to stop. All six nations who signed the agreement have expressed frustration with the difficulty presented by Iran’s behavior, and the dilemma of what to do about it.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said in a speech to the agency’s Board of Governors, “It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.)”

Amano added, “Iran has … made preparations to transfer a quantity of heavy water out of the country… Once it has been transferred, Iran’s stock of heavy water will be below 130 metric tonnes.”

Under the JCPOA, Iran’s domestic nuclear energy needs were estimated to require 130 metric tonnes of heavy water. The remainder was to “be made available for export to the international market.”

Iran’s nuclear development activities are allegedly monitored under the JCPOA — at least, to a point — in exchange for the removal of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, the IAEA has no access to Iran’s military sites, including those where nuclear activities take place.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

Setting the Record Straight: Clinton Bears Partial Responsibility for ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Candidate Trump accused Secretary Clinton and President Obama of bearing the responsibility for the creation of the Caliphate, a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump charged: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — […] they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.” Trump suggested that ISIS “wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.”

Clinton responded: “I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” She explained that “George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama. And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

Without taking sides, there is something to what Trump is saying. The fact checkers on Politico found his statement attributing the responsibility to Obama to be wrong, since, as they put it, “ISIS formed as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and Barack Obama became president, and long before the US began drawing down troops in Iraq.” But the fact is that the core of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and its splinter group ISIS that became much bigger and better organized than the original franchise, were Sunni Baath Party members who lost their government and military positions once the Americans had occupied Iraq and handed the national rule to the Shiite majority.

As Reuters reported in 2015, the rising Islamic State, with the help of former Saddam Hussein military officers, out-muscled the Sunni-dominated Baath Party troops which had been fighting a guerilla war against US troops in Fallujah and elsewhere, and absorbed thousands of them. The new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in the Islamic State.

It’s safe to say that President GW Bush, by invading Iraq and then sending hundreds of thousands of Saddam loyalists to the unemployment lines instead of incorporating them into the new, semi-democratic Iraq, created ISIS. The creation of the Taliban and later Al Qaeda, by the way, can be largely attributed to President Reagan, whose CIA recruited and trained the Arab Mujahideen insurgent groups who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Those same highly trained, largely Saudi troops were later galvanized into a disciplined and effective force in Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya.

So the bulk of the blame rests with the second Bush administration, which altered the Middle East forever. Incidentally, despite the citation of a lone radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern, in which Trump made a noncommittal, off the cuff comment supporting the Iraq invasion, he clearly has been one of the earlier voices against the American presence in Iraq, while Senator Clinton with her vote actually handed President Bush the keys to start the war. She says she and fellow Democrats had been duped by Bush, who promised not to use the war powers they gave him, but some in the Senate (Sen. Obama, for one) did not fall for it.

But the most devastating point was made by Secretary Clinton when she said the Obama Administration had no choice but to pull out of Iraq, because the Shiite government, practically operating on instructions from Tehran, wouldn’t agree to let them stay. Seriously? Had President Obama actually insisted on staying he couldn’t have come up with ways to persuade the Iraqis?

The fact was Obama had promised his voters to pull the military out of Iraq by the appointed time. He did not begin the withdrawal of troops, GW Bush did, starting in 2007. But it must be noted that the last US troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, just in time for the first Democratic primary in Iowa. They left behind a Sunni-owned Fallujah where only the US military had been able to maintain a semblance of law and order, with a combination of raids and bribes. As soon as the declared date for withdrawal had arrived, those same former Saddam loyalists who had been transformed several times over the previous decade, were ready for their current reincarnation as ISIS.

Many, including several US senators, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, begged for a contingency of troops to stay, just in case things went south in Fallujah. They urged Obama to sell the idea, with a measure of force if necessary, to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki. But as Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell told NPR in 2015, Obama never really tried. “This is one of the criticisms of Obama — that he sort of wanted the negotiations to fail,” Sowell said, “and, so, he didn’t even talk to Maliki until it was basically all over.”

To complete this fact check: the Obama-Clinton Administration did not start the complex and incredibly expensive process that led to the creation of ISIS, but there’s no doubt they could have stopped it with a comparatively low investment of troops and funds.

Advantage Trump.

JNi.Media

Iran Threatens to Turn Tel Aviv, Haifa to ‘Dust’

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Tehran is back to threatening Israel, this time during a parade marking the anniversary of the 1980 Iraqi invasion of Iran, a war that lasted eight years.

A wide variety of military hardware was on display Wednesday during the parade, which made its way down the main drag in the nation’s capital. Included was the Qadr H missile, which allegedly has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

Long-range ballistic missiles, tanks and the Russian-produced S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system were all in full view as the gala parade was broadcast on state television.

One military truck displayed a banner shown prominently on the broadcast that read:

“If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake, then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust.”

The Iranian Navy showed off 500 vessels, along with submarines and helicopters, at the port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf.

Iran has tested American mettle more than 30 times so far this year with close encounters in the Gulf between its vessels and those of the United States Navy, according to U.S. officials quoted by Reuters.

Hana Levi Julian

Shurat HaDin: Obama Secretly Transferred $1.7 Billion to Iran to Keep It Out of Terror Victims’ Reach

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, representing American the families of terror victims who have won US court judgments against the government of Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, on Tuesday released a letter it sent US Congress members alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of the $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January 2016 in order to evade efforts by their clients to recover those funds to satisfy outstanding court awards.

In the past, American terror victims have been successful in seizing Iranian bank accounts when those had been located.

The letter, sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York, recalls that on January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the US in a Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) program account since 1979. The Obama Administration agreed to pay the $400 million it finally conceded it owed Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest on that amount.

Then, “in recent weeks, the $1.7 billion which was secretly paid out in cash has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom to Tehran for the release of American hostages.”

However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that “it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding US judgments.”

The Shurat HaDin letter cites a “suspicious revelation at the Congressional subcommittee hearing that the United States and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-US Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties.”

Shurat HaDin asserts that under a legislation passed in 2000, the US was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims’ judgments, and this way eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.

Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement: “We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made was part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran’s debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud against the terror victims. It appears the secret cash transfers were specifically done as an end run around the ability of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments.”

Why didn’t the Treasury ever tell the families they were holding these funds?” Darshan-Leitner demanded to know.

Had either the settlement or an award against the United States at the Iran-US Tribunal been entered on the books, and Iran had sought to have the settlement or award confirmed in US court, then terror-victims with judgments against Iran could have legally “attached” any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror-compensation judgments, Shurat HaDin contends, explaining that “instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion purported settlement was shrouded in secrecy, was never reduced to writing or even recorded with the Tribunal in Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible in order to head off any chance that Iran would be forced to forfeit any amount to pay legal judgments it owes to American terror victims.”

Shurat HaDin urged Congress to continue to investigate these issues, and to take action to guarantee that further payments to Iran do not take place as long as Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a threat to its neighbors, “and until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner addressed her letter to Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Ed Royce, who have each introduced legislation in response to the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, and to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy, whose subcommittee held a special hearing on the $1.7 billion payments last Thursday, September 8, 2016.

JNi.Media

UK, Iran Exchange Ambassadors After 5-Year Hiatus

Monday, September 5th, 2016

The United Kingdom has exchanged ambassadors with Iran for the first time in five years.

The last British ambassador fled Tehran in 2011 when a mob stormed the British embassy in the Iranian capital and tore it apart.

The ISNA Iranian state news agency announced the appointment of Hamid Baeidinejad, 53, as the new Iranian envoy to London.

At the same time, the British charges d’affairs in the Iranian capital, Nicholas Hopton, was promoted to the post of UK Ambassador to Tehran.

Britain was one of the first nations to send diplomats to Iran after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal with Iran by six world powers in Vienna.

Hana Levi Julian

Iran ‘Not Worried’ About Falling Oil Prices

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Iranian Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia says his country has been the “least to suffer” from a recent fall in oil prices, and as a result, Tehran’s economy has been the least damaged by the decline.

“Based on newly released statistics of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran was the least to suffer from the fall in oil prices, and that means that Iran has lowered its vulnerability of overseas shocks in the economic domain,” Tayebnia said, according to the Iranian Oil Ministry’s SHANA news website.

The report by the IMF quoted by the Iranian finance minister said Iran had been able to “retool its economy under sanctions pressure to that inflation declined from 45 percent in 2013, to around 8 percent this year,” according to the UPI website.

Tayebnia estimated that Iran’s inflation is now hovering at around two percent, with the Central Bank of Iran estimating a growth rate in the GDP of around five percent through early 2017.

Iran is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC.) Total production for Tehran in July was at its highest level since 2014.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-not-worried-about-falling-oil-prices/2016/08/29/

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