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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Wendy Sherman’

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.”

Senators Appalled by Kerry’s Anti-Israel Remarks in Iran Briefing

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

In what was described as a “purely emotional” appeal that did not reveal the necessary specificity to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about a deceptive Iran on the brink of acquiring the ability to produce nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with members of the U.S. Senate banking committee on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 13.

Kerry remained adamant that if congress ups the sanctions, it will push away Iranians from the negotiating table.  And many members of congress seemed to be just as adamant that de-fanging sanctions at this stage of negotiations, when the Iranians remain unwilling to make major concessions, will mean any deal will be at great cost to the west and have little substantive effect on Iran’s nuclear abilities.

“Our hope is that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that, if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we are negotiating with,” Kerry said before entering a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, according to CNN.

“It could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement,” he added, “and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialogue that’s taken 30 years to achieve.”

But after the meeting, the few congressmen who were willing to speak had harsh words both about the content of what was discussed, but also the atmospherics.

“It was fairly anti-Israeli,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said to reporters after the briefing. “I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”

A Senate aide told BuzzFeed that during the meeting, “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.’”

“They had no details,” the aide said. “They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have questioned the sagacity of removing sanctions at this point in the negotiations, rather than ratcheting them up now, and then dialing them back down if an acceptable deal is reached.

Kerry’s approach, which placed the onus in exactly the opposite direction, was that the U.S. and the rest of the global community could “dial back up” sanctions later, if no agreement is reached with the Iranians.

“If this doesn’t work, we reserve the right to dial back up the sanctions. I will be up here on the Hill asking for increased sanctions, and we always reserve the military option,” he said. “Let’s give them a few weeks, see if it works, and we have all of our options at our disposal.”

In addition to Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden and State Department’s lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman were also present at the meeting.  Bret Stephens held up a non-rose-colored lens to Sherman’s career in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.

 

State Dept Says New Iran Sanctions Should Be Delayed

Friday, October 4th, 2013

U.S. State Department official Wendy Sherman, America’s lead negotiator with Iran, recommended that the U.S. Senate hold off on additional Iranian sanctions before scheduled Western talks with Iran on Oct. 15 in Geneva, Reuters reported.

Republican senators, however, slammed Sherman and said they plan to go ahead with Iran sanctions regardless of negotiations.

“The State Department should not aid and abet a European appeasement policy by pressuring the Senate to delay sanctions while the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism races toward a nuclear weapons capability,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a leading advocate of sanctions, said in a statement.

In an interview with Charlie Rose of PBS on Oct. 2, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that all Iran sanctions should be maintained.

“The policy should be not to let Iran… wiggle away with a partial deal in which they make cosmetic concessions, you lift the sanctions or part of them. Once you do that, the sanction regime can collapse,” Netanyahu said.

US: Iran Still Has Time to Change Course on Nuclear Program

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs testified today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She said she wanted to use this opportunity to speak clearly about the challenges facing U.S. foreign policy, especially from Iran. Here is her entire written statement to the committee:

The Nuclear Challenge

Iran’s nuclear activity – in violation of its international obligations and in defiance of the international community – is one of the greatest global concerns we face. A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to the region, to the world, and to the future of the global nuclear proliferation regime. It would risk an arms race in a region already rife with violence and conflict. A nuclear weapon would embolden a regime that already spreads instability through its proxies and threatens chokepoints in the global economy. It would put the world’s most dangerous weapons into the hands of leaders who speak openly about wiping one of our closest allies, the state of Israel, off the map. In confronting this challenge, our policy has been clear: we are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Our preference is to resolve this through diplomacy. However, as President Obama has stated unequivocally, we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, and there should be no doubt that the United States will use all elements of American power to achieve that objective.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has asked why it is that the international community does not believe that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. The answer is simple: Iran has consistently concealed its nuclear activities and continues to do so, denying required access and information to the International Atomic Energy Agency. As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has responsibilities to the international community, and it is that blatant disregard for those responsibilities that has made Iran the subject of four UN Security Council resolutions imposing mandatory sanctions.

From his very first months in office, President Obama put forward a clear choice to the Iranian government: Meet your international responsibilities on your nuclear program and reap the benefits of being a full member of the international community, or face the prospect of further pressure and isolation. Unfortunately Iran has so far chosen isolation. There is still time for it to change course, but that time is not indefinite. I want to be clear that our policy is not aimed at regime change, but rather at changing the regime’s behavior.

The Dual-Track Policy

Since this Administration took office in 2009, we have pursued a dual-track policy. Working with the P5+1 – the five members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany, under the auspices of the European Union – we have actively pursued a diplomatic solution to international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. As a result of Iran’s continuing disregard for its international obligations, we have ratcheted up the pressure on the Iranian government. We have built and led a global coalition to create the toughest, most comprehensive sanctions to date on the Iranian regime. The international community is united in its determination to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Today, Iran is isolated and sanctions are having a real impact on the ground, exacerbated by the regime’s own mismanagement of its economy. Iran exports over 1 million fewer barrels of crude oil each day than it did in 2011, costing Iran between $3-$5 billion per month. All 20 importers of Iranian oil have either significantly reduced or eliminated oil purchases from Iran. Financial sanctions have crippled Iran’s access to the international financial system and fueled the depreciation of the value of Iran’s currency to less than half of what it was last year. Foreign direct investment into Iran has decreased dramatically as major oil companies and international firms as diverse as Ernst & Young, Daimler AG, Caterpillar, ENI, Total, and hundreds more have divested themselves from Iran. The International Monetary Fund projects the Iranian economy will contract in 2013, a significant decrease from the over 7 percent growth six years ago, and far below the performance of neighboring oil-exporting countries. Put simply, the Iranian economy is in a downward spiral, with no prospect for near-term relief.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-iran-still-has-time-to-change-course-on-nuclear-program/2013/05/15/

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