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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

Bomb Iran, Says John Bolton

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Bombing Iran is the only effective way to stop its nuclear threat in its tracks and prevent a regional nuclear arms race, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations wrote n The New York Times Thursday.

Bolton previously has called on Israel to bomb Iran. With the United States and the other P5+1 powers on the verge of signing a deal with Iran, Bolton wrote that neither sanctions nor a “bad deal” will prevent what he called a “bad situation” from becoming  the “brink of catastrophe”

Bolton wrote:

The arms race has begun….No way would the Sunni Saudis allow the Shiite Persians to outpace them in the quest for dominance within Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitical hegemony….

Ironically perhaps, Israel’s nuclear weapons have not triggered an arms race. Other states in the region understood — even if they couldn’t admit it publicly — that Israel’s nukes were intended as a deterrent, not as an offensive measure.

Iran is a different story. Extensive progress in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing reveal its ambitions. Saudi, Egyptian and Turkish interests are complex and conflicting, but faced with Iran’s threat, all have concluded that nuclear weapons are essential.

He pointed out that “Saudi Arabia has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with South Korea, China, France and Argentina, aiming to build a total of 16 reactors by 2030..” Pakistan, whose leaders recently met with Saudi officials, could supply Egypt and Turkey with nuclear technology, and there always is North Korea ready to make a buck by helping to arm the world with nukes.

“Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program,” Bolton wrote. “Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required.

“Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”

One of the formidable obstacles to an attack on Iran is the difficulty of reaching its underground nuclear sites, but Bolton argued Thursday that there is no need to destroy Tehran’s entire nuclear infrastructure.

It is enough to set back Iran’s nuclear program by three to five years, he said.

He concluded that if President Barack Obama does not stop Iran’s nuclear development program, his “biggest legacy could be a thoroughly nuclear-weaponized Middle East.”

With Minimal US Involvement, Arab Coalition Launches Operation ‘Firmness Storm’ Fighting Iranian Expansionism

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News

by Ilan Shavit

Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled his palace in the capital city of Aden shortly after the Shi’ite Houthi rebels television station claimed they had taken control of an air base that served U.S. and European troops, Al Jazeera reported. Witnesses described a convoy of presidential vehicles leaving Hadi’s palace. As he was fleeing, Hadi asked the UN to authorize a foreign military intervention in the country.

Sunni countries in the Gulf have been accusing Iran of interference through several Shi’ite proxies in the region—including Israel’s neighbor Hezbollah. Iran has supplied weapons, money and training to the Shi’ite Houthi militia, as Tehran steps up its regional power struggle with Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported, citing Yemeni and Iranian officials say.

And then something new happened last night. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab countries from the region launched operation “Firmness Storm” in Yemen against the Houthi.

Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Adel al-Jubair said on Wednesday that a coalition of 10 regional states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, had begun airstrikes against the rebels at 7 PM Eastern time.

“The operation is to defend and support the legitimate government of Yemen and prevent the radical Houthi movement from taking over the country,” al-Jubair told reporters.

Al-Jubeir said the U.S. is not involved in the airstrikes. But CNN military analyst Lt. Col. Rick Francona, a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, said the U.S. probably provides the intelligence.

“The Saudis don’t have the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability,” he said. “They needed help and it probably come from us.”

An Egyptian official told AFP that Egypt also plans to participate in the Yemen offensive.

The Saudis have announced that Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have “expressed desire to participate in the operation,” Saudi SPA state news agency said.

According to SPA, last week, commenting on the nuclear talks with Iran, Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told reporters “the United States will adhere to the negotiations with Iran and will prevent an Iranian development of atomic bomb, but this will not mean we will take our eyes off” the “tendencies of Iran in the region, which is one of the most leading elements of implanting instability in the region.”

Al-Faisal pointed out Iranian intervention in “Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq,” and possibly in other regions. He stressed that these practices must be halted should Iran wanted to be part of the solution in the region, not part of the problem.

This might be a good time to mention Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s much maligned, March 3 speech before Congress, when he warned, among other things:

“Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.”

Pressure on Iran Picking Up to Sign a Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

US Senate to Vote on Sanctions If No Iran Deal, EU Sanctions Already Reinstated

The United States Senate has threatened to impose sanctions on Iran if President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not successful in shepherding a nuclear technology deal through talks between world powers and Iran.

The European Union has already reinstated sanctions against 40 Iranian companies, including dozens of shipping firms, in order to increase pressure on Iran to sign on the dotted line.

The EU General Court lifted the sanctions on firms that were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines carrier (IRISL) in January, saying the EU had not proved the IRISL was actively supporting nuclear proliferation.

IRISL attorney Maryam Taher told the Reuters news agency the move was “purely politically motivated and not based on any proper evidence. The whole purpose of the EU sanctions is to leverage pressure on the Iranian government to come to an agreement in relation to nuclear proliferation.”

On Monday, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it could not state definitively that Iran’s nuclear program had no “military dimensions.” Issues meant to resolve suspicions of weaponization work remain, according to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in his report, despite what he called “good cooperation” from Tehran regarding the November 2013 comprehensive safeguards agreement.

However, he said, “We continue to verify the non-divergence of nuclear material declared by Iran, but we are still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful purpose.”

If international negotiators come up empty-handed this time around (they have already missed one deadline), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday at a weekly news briefing “Another heavy dose of sanctions would be an appropriate remedy.”

If an agreement is signed, the lawmakers would pass a bill requiring the president to submit the deal to Congress for its approval. The bill also contains a provision that would temporarily remove Obama’s ability to waive sanctions.

Obama says he will veto both bills.

Negotiators took a break on Friday and reconvene this week as the March 31 deadline inches closer. World leaders will try again to close a deal with a nation whose Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Saturday for “Death to America,” while its President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism that an agreement could still be reached.

Iran’s Rouhani Optimistic ‘Possible to Reach Agreement’ on Nuclear Deal

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appeared optimistic on Saturday about the chances of reaching a deal with the U.S. and world powers on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

“In this round of talks, shared points of view emerged in some of the areas where there had been a difference of opinion which can be a foundation for a final agreement,” Rouhani told the IRNA state news agency.

“I believe it is possible to reach an agreement and there is nothing that cannot be resolved,” he added, after a visit with wounded military veterans at a rehabilitation center.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told media on Saturday that world powers agreed “substantial progress” had been made on “key areas.”

That having been said, however, the UK, U.S., France and Germany were more reserved in their joint statement on how much farther the negotiators had to go in order to reach an agreement.

“We agreed that substantial progress had been made in key areas although there are still important issues on which no agreement has yet been possible,” Hammond said. “Now is the time for Iran, in particular, to take difficult decisions,” he said.

US Removes Iran, Hezbollah from National Intelligence Terrorist List

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Both Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, have been removed from the National Intelligence list of terrorism threats – the most authoritative document produced by the National Intelligence Agency.

Fox NewsOn The Record with Greta Susteren reported late Tuesday on information found in the unclassified version of the report, the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities 2015 (PDF), dated February 26, 2015. An annual report, this one was delivered recently to the U.S. Senate by National Intelligence Director Lt.-Gen. (ret.) James Clapper.

The document noted Iran’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners and de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.” Also noted was the fact that “Iranian leaders – particularly within the security services – are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran… Iran’s actions to protect and empower Shia communities are fueling growing fears and sectarian responses…”

The intelligence report added that Tehran’s “overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige and regional influence” have led it to “pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so.”

Whether or not Iran would choose to do so it still not clear, according to the U.S. intelligence assessment. However, if the Iranian government decides to go ahead, there exist no “insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon,” American intelligence experts concluded, most likely to be delivered via intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told Fox News journalist Greta Susteren that he believes the removal of Iran and Hezbollah from the terrorist list was not a simple “format change” as reporters were told at a briefing, but rather a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to deceive the American public.

“What we’re having now is an Orwellian example of disappearing references to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the terrorism report,” Bolton said, during an exchange with Susteren on Fox. “This was a concession, I think, by the administration relating to the nuclear negotiation. You will not find it in the signed deal.

“How many other concessions has the administration made that are not in the deal — that may not even be related to the nuclear program — in this desperate effort to get a deal?”

Meanwhile, Iran is moving to widen its sphere of influence in South America, where its diplomatic ties are already strong with Argentina and even warmer with Venezuela, which has the largest reserves of uranium in the Western hemisphere, outside of Canada.

Photos that flashed across Fox News during a report by Susteren showed a heavily guarded facility that was set up in Bolivia in 2011, allegedly with Iranian backing.

“There are elements of that facility which is supposed to be some type of military academy,” Susteren reported, “but is very heavily fortified. And the suspicion is that it’s being used by Iran as a way to have a footprint in Bolivia” which she described as “not a friend of the United States.”

Despite the disappearance of Iran from the terror map in the 2015 National Intelligence assessment, Fox journalist Cathern Herridge also noted that “the documents, the photos and Congressional testimony show that Iran is really effectively expanding its influence into South America, into our neighbor.”

In effect, Herridge said, Iran is “creating a launching pad into North America.”

Bolton concurred in his own remarks. “Look, Iran has terrorist networks all over this hemisphere,” he pointed out. “Remember, three years ago, the Justice Department indicted senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards Corps for conspiring to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States in Washington by infiltrating through the Mexican border.

“I think this is just another example of Iran’s activities.”

47 GOP Senators Send Open Letter to Iran

Monday, March 9th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama may sign a 10-year deal with Iran this month, but if the Congress has its way, that agreement won’t be worth the paper it’s written on, once Obama is out of office.

All 47 Republican senators banded together to send an open letter about the deal to Iran this week. The letter warned that nation’s leadership that any nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration without Congressional support would be a “mere executive agreement.”

As such, the letter went on, “the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded that the “letter is a continuation of a partisan strategy” and said the lawmakers were “interfering in a delicate moment” in the talks, which are due to resume on March 15. The deadline for an agreement is March 31.

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on Monday and explained that the letter to Iran simply meant, “If this is a bad deal, it will be revisited. We are going to represent the views of the American people.

“Iran has said it does not understand our governmental system. This is a civics lesson for Iran, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate… This just says that the deal better represent U.S. interests as well as Iran interests… If it’s a bad deal, then there will be repercussions.”

The move was organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton, but signed by the Senate’s entire Republican party leadership, as well as three presidential candidates, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Because the Congress has been blocked from having any role to play in the negotiating process, lawmakers are very frustrated. As long as the agreement does not have to be ratified by Congress, the Secretary of State or the president can sign the document at the executive branch level, leaving the legislative branch with no role.

Indyk, Ross Suggest US-Israel ‘Nuclear Guarantee’ Over Iran

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Former US envoy the Middle East Martin Indyk and US diplomat Dennis Ross proposed a “nuclear guarantee for Israel” on Tuesday at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv.

Apparently it has not occurred to either former diplomat that one cannot “guarantee” the behavior of a rogue Islamic Republic.

Indyk suggested a joint Israel-U.S. Nuclear defense agreement that he called a “treaty arrangement” to address Israel’s concern that Iran is about to cross a nuclear threshold.

 The plan he suggested was similar to that proposed in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton at Camp David.

Intended as a way to ensure Israel’s safety if Iran puts the Jewish State in the cross hairs, Indyk said, “It was approved then, and the U.S. president said if there is a deal, we’ll do this.”

Ross, who serves as counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, added that spot inspections of Iranian facilities must be implemented along with stricter protocols.

“You have to ensure that you can verify that a program that has a thousand or two centrifuges is dramatically less than what is required if you have tens of thousands and you’d have to come up with an approach that allows you a high level of confidence that you can cover that,” he said. “There should be use of force worked out with the Hill that says, ‘if we catch them in the following kind of violation, the implication is we will take out those facilities.’

 “That would deter the Iranians, that would go a long way toward addressing one of the basic Israeli concerns,” Ross said.

 Retired Israeli Brig.-Gen. Yosef Kuperwasser injected a breath of reality into the discussion, however: he said flatly that Israel is clear that Iran cannot be trusted on compliance. Period.

“They would not believe [the U.S.] really mean business and it would mean that they would continue to move forward – cautiously, but continuously,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro did what he could to pour oil on the troubled waters between his country’s administration and Israel over the Iranian nuclear threat. “The United States is determined to prevent [a nuclear Iran] and we will prevent it,” Shapiro vowed. “Our cooperation and consultations with Israel on this shared goal will continue, even at moments when we may disagree with one or another aspect of the approach.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/indyk-ross-suggest-us-israel-nuclear-guarantee-over-iran/2015/02/19/

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