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61 items tagged "Iran Nuclear threat"

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PM: Hezbollah Plot in Cyprus is 'Another Wake-Up Call'

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 02 June 2015 09:31
BB - Frank -Walter SteinmeierPrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the news of a Hezbollah plot in Cyprus is “yet another wake-up call” regarding the dangers posed by Iran.
 
He also stated that no matter what deal the world powers strike with Iran, Israel will not allow Iran to endanger its survival and future.
 
He spoke after meeting German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Stenmeier, who stood beside him.
 
This is the text of Netanyahu's statement as regards Iran:
 
Frank, welcome back to Jerusalem. It’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk and exchange views on our friendship and also on our common challenges.
 
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. These are 50 years of friendship and cooperation that follows the darkest period in our history. That’s a reason for hope; it’s a reason for optimism, because over the last half century Germany has shown a genuine commitment to Israel's security. We’ve seen this most recently manifested in the provision of corvettes and submarines for the Israeli Navy. And Germany manifests this commitment in word and deed, and deed as well. And Israel deeply appreciates this commitment.
 
Foreign Minister,
 
We have spent not only this meeting but so many other meetings talking about what we perceive as the greatest threat to Israel’s security, to the stability of the region and to the peace of the world. And that is Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. But I have pointed out that Iran accompanies this campaign with another campaign – a campaign of aggression across the entire Middle East, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, around our borders on the Golan.
 
Today, Iran is sponsoring terrorism across the globe beyond the Middle East, in the Middle East, but also in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas. Iran is building a vast infrastructure of terror.
 
The news of a Hezbollah plot in Cyprus is yet another wake-up call. There is no Hezbollah without Iran.
 
Today Iran is also conducting an unprecedented, I would say, conventional arms build-up. It’s developing a huge arms industry, which includes drones, rockets, precision guided missiles, submarines and satellites as well. Iran gives many of these weapons to its proxies across the region, including to Hamas in Gaza and to Hezbollah in Lebanon and on the Syrian side of the Golan, Hezbollah under Iranian generalship is building another northern front against Israel.
 
Iran of course conducts cyberattacks against the West, against Israel, against Saudi Arabia, against Europe.
 
This is what Iran is doing today without nuclear weapons. What a threat Iran will be when it has a clear path to the bomb. It may take them a decade if they don’t cheat before. But if you couple all of that, this deal would give Iran a horizon of having many nuclear bombs in a few years, and it will also fill Iran’s coffers with billions, tens of billions of dollars and possibly hundreds of billions of dollars down the line, with which to conduct this multifaceted campaign of aggression across our region, across the world.
 
We think there’s a need to hold out for a better deal, to use biting sanctions that have proved effective only three years ago when they were applied in 1012, before that, effective sanctions weren’t there.
 
One objective should be to block Iran’s path to the bomb, not to facilitate it, and the second would be to block Iran’s path to nuclear aggression, to tie the two. If you want to have a nuclear industry, make sure that you are not developing bombs, make sure that you are not gobbling up countries one after the other.
 
This is a source of great concern for us. I appreciate the fact that Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier hear us out repeatedly. I never tire of making these points, and you, for some reason, never tire of listening to it, which is a great achievement.
 
But these are real concerns. And remember that Iran said two or three days before the conclusion of the Lausanne Framework that the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.
 
The survival of Israel is non-negotiable. No matter what deal is struck, we will not allow Iran to endanger the survival and the future of the State of Israel.

Boehner: Iran Deal an 'Alarming Departure' from Obama's Goals

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 April 2015 10:12
House Speaker John Boehner -ReutersJohn Boehner, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, said Thursday that the framework nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is an "alarming departure" from President Barack Obama's initial goals, Reuters reported.
 
He did not outline how the deal departed from initial negotiating goals, but he said Congress must fully review the deal before any sanctions on Iran are lifted.
 
"In the weeks ahead, Republicans and Democrats in Congress will continue to press this administration on the details of these parameters and the tough questions that remain unanswered," Boehner said, according to Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, Congressman Peter Roskam, who represents Illinois's 6th congressional district and is co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, said the talks between Iran and world powers are headed towards a “dangerous” agreement.
 
 “Yesterday may have been April Fools’ Day, but these endless negotiations with Iran are no joke,” Roskam said in a statement. “One year of talks has only yielded more talks and contours of a dangerous final agreement with Iran that makes no demonstrable progress on the legitimate security concerns of the American people and the international community.”
 
“The statement of progress announced today promises the Iranian regime everything it wants: billions of dollars in additional sanctions relief, renewed legitimacy on the international stage, and explicit permission to permanently maintain a robust nuclear infrastructure. In exchange the United States and our partners will get, at best, minimal restrictions on peripheral aspects of Iran’s nuclear program and more empty promises from a dictatorial regime that continues to sponsor the world’s worst terrorists organizations, imprison innocent American citizens, and call for the destruction of the United States and Israel. And, perhaps worst of all, the deal will likely expire in just ten years, at which point the mullahs can freely pursue a nuclear weapon,” he continued.
 
“As the Obama administration goes into full-spin mode to sell more talks to the American people, thousands of centrifuges will continue to spin in Iran. Republicans and Democrats alike agree that any final deal must first come to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote. In the meantime, Congress should immediately consider bipartisan, prospective sanctions on Iran to ensure that, should the talks fail, the United States will immediately and forcefully ratchet up economic pressure on Tehran,” said Roskam.
 
“While the Administration has evidently lost sight of its own objectives in its desperation to demonstrate some semblance of progress in these talks, their initial measure of success remains true today—no deal is better than a bad deal,” he concluded.
 
Several senators have been pushing for legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran and which Obama has threatened to veto.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that the Senate would vote on the sanctions bill if international negotiators miss their deadline for reaching a framework nuclear agreement.
 
If there is an agreement, he said, lawmakers would move ahead on a bill that would require Obama to submit the deal for Congress' approval. Obama has threatened to veto this bill as well.
 
Republicans have demanded that any deal with Iran be brought for approval before Congress, while Obama has made clear that he will not submit any deal for approval. 

Iran May be Allowed to Run Centrifuges at Secret Site

Category: News
Created on Friday, 27 March 2015 17:24
Bushehr nuclear power plant - AFPThe United States is considering letting Iran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials told The Associated Press (AP) on Thursday.
 
Western officials familiar with details of the negotiations told the news agency the deal would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at the Fordow facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections.
 
In return, according to those officials, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.
 
Instead of uranium, which can be enriched to be the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, any centrifuges permitted at Fordow would be fed elements such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science, the officials told AP.
 
The number of centrifuges would not be enough to produce the amount of uranium needed to produce a weapon within a year — the minimum time-frame that Washington and its negotiating partners demand.
 
Fordow, with nearly 3,000 centrifuges and dug deep into a mountain near the city of Qom, some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Tehran, is at the heart of international concerns over Iran's nuclear drive.
 
The site, whose existence was revealed in 2009, began in late 2011 to enrich uranium to purities of 20 percent, a few technical steps away from the 90-percent level needed for a nuclear weapon.
 
Iran has continuously refused to shut down the underground site despite demands by world powers to do so.
 
The officials spoke to AP only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the sensitive negotiations as the latest round of talks began between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
 
The negotiators are racing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach an outline of an agreement that would grant Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement is June 30.
 
The report came as reports indicated that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had conducted phone conversations with the leaders of Russia, France and Britain, in an indication that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations over Iran's nuclear program have entered their “final stretch” and are very near completion.
 
One senior U.S. official declined to comment on the specific proposal but said the goal since the beginning of the talks has been “to have Fordow converted so it’s not being used to enrich uranium.” That official would not say more.
 
Experts who spoke to AP warned that the compromise for Fordow could still be problematic, noted it would allow Iran to keep intact technology that could be quickly repurposed for uranium enrichment at a sensitive facility that the U.S. and its allies originally wanted stripped of all such machines.
 
In addition, the site at Fordow is a particular concern because it is hardened and dug deeply into a mountainside making it resistant — possibly impervious — to air attack. Such an attack is an option that neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out in case the talks fail.
 
David Albright of the Institute for Security and International Security said a few hundred centrifuges operated by the Iranians would not be a huge threat — if they were anywhere else but the sensitive Fordo site.
 
Beyond its symbolic significance, “it keeps the infrastructure in place and keeps a leg up, if they want to restart (uranium) enrichment operations,” said Albright, who is a go-to person on the Iran nuclear issue for the U.S. government. His institute has several times in the past exposed satellite images of cover-up work Iran was doing at its military site in Parchin.

Iranian Dissidents: Iran Has a Secret Underground Nuke Site

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 09:36
Iranian nuclear facility0A group of Iranian dissidents said on Tuesday that Iran has an "underground top-secret site" that is enriching uranium intended for nuclear weapons and which has been hidden from the West for years, Fox News reports.
 
According to the Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the complex, called Lavizan-3, is right outside Tehran, "buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities" with "radiation-proof doors" to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.
 
The revelations were unveiled during a Washington, DC, news conference by the NCRI, which first exposed elements of Iran's covert nuclear program in 2002.
 
"This site must be inspected," Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the NCRI's Washington, DC, office, said, according to Fox News.
 
"There is no way in the world you can assure Tehran is not developing nuclear weapons if you can't inspect those sites, especially if you are talking about a regime that has over two decades of a track record of lying and cheating and deceiving the whole world,” he charged.
 
The NCRI describes the underground complex as having an elevator that "descends several stories, deep underground, and opens into a 650-foot tunnel, which leads to four parallel halls. Because the ground is inclined, the halls are deeper underground," by as much as 164 feet below the surface.
 
The NCRI also said it smuggled out a photograph showing a 1-foot thick lead-lined door that shields the complex from radiation, and that the secret rooms and hallways are insulated for sound and radiation leaks so that they would remain undetected.
 
"If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of talks conditional on the IAEA immediately inspecting Lavizan-3 site," said Soona Samsami, the NCRI's United States representative.
 
"Any delay in doing so will enable the Iranian regime to destroy the evidence as it has done in the past."
 
The NCRI says that the Iranian regime has secretly used the site to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges since 2008, and is part of a long pattern of hiding its true nuclear activities in order to deceive the world powers.
 
"The notion that the Iranian regime will abandon their nuclear weapons program is misguided and a product of mullahs' duplicity and Western economic and political expediency," said Samsami.
 
The NCRI said that the revelations show that Tehran "has been continuing to lie for more than a decade and has deceived the world community. Research and Development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project. While the regime deceived the world into believing that it had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it had been, in fact, heavily involved in excavating tunnels and preparing this nuclear site from 2004 to 2008. It has clearly lied."
 
The NCRI exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water facility at Arak in 2002. In 2007, the NCRI declared that Iran had resumed its nuclear weapons program since at least 2004, one year after being ordered to shut it down.
 
In 2013, the group claimed that it had information on a new and covert site designated for Iran’s nuclear project located in the central Isfahan province, inside a heavily guarded 600-meter tunnel. Iran rejected those claims as “baseless”.
 
Tuesday’s revelations come as Secretary of State John Kerry had been meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, over the weekend in Geneva about the nuclear program.
 
The world powers are trying to reach a deal for a political agreement on Tehran's nuclear activities by the March 31 deadline. The goal is to stop Tehran from having the ability to build a potential nuclear bomb. In return, the West would drop billions of dollars of sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy.
 
The NCRI said it is skeptical that any agreement will stop Iran from having a nuclear bomb within its reach.
 
"Those who hope to secure the regime's cooperation in the campaign against fundamentalism by offering nuclear concessions to the mullahs are both increasing the chances of a nuclear-armed Iran and contributing to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism," the NCRI said, according to Fox News.

Iran 'Illicitly' Purchasing Material for Heavy Water Reactor

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 09:30
A general view of the water facility at ArakIran is illicitly stepping up purchases for its heavy water reactor in Arak, which if completed will produce enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons a year, UN diplomats said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The Arak research reactor is an issue of contention in talks between Iran and the six world powers to put long-term curbs on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
 
The six powers want Iran to agree to re-engineer Arak to a light-water reactor that produces only minuscule amounts of plutonium. The Iranians would rather re-engineer it to produce less plutonium but that process is reversible, and therefore opposed by the Americans.
 
The allegation against Iran by an unnamed country, if true, would suggest that Tehran is rejecting the U.S. reconfiguration into a light-water reactor, noted AP.
 
The accusation was contained in a report to the Security Council sanctions committee prepared by experts monitoring sanctions against Iran, according to two diplomats familiar with the report. They spoke anonymously because the report hasn't been made public.
 
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said he had no information about the purchase of any new equipment for Arak. "Iran has agreed not to set up new equipment in Arak facility and it has not done so ever since," he was quoted as having said.
 
The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran because of concerns it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and its refusal to suspend enrichment.
 
Tehran claims its nuclear program is peaceful and exists only to produce energy for civilian use.
 
Satellite images from two years ago showed that the Arak plant was operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Iran invited inspectors to visit the plant last year, shortly after an interim agreement was signed with world powers.
 
The sanctions, which have chipped away at Iran's economy, include a ban on the import of nuclear and missile-related materials. If the overseas purchases for Arak are confirmed, they would violate sanctions.
 
In theory, purchases for the Arak reactor could be a deal breaker in negotiations between Iran and six major powers on a long-term nuclear deal. But the Americans appear determined to try and work out an agreement nonetheless, even while acknowledging that Iran is trying to evade sanctions on its nuclear program.
 
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington not only knows and is concerned about "Iran's illicit procurement activities," but has spoken about them publicly and has imposed penalties on companies involved.
 
"Indeed it is in part precisely because of our concerns about Iran's procurement activities that we believe it is vital to see if we can conclude a comprehensive agreement that gives us transparency into Iran's nuclear program," she said, according to AP.

Iran Threatens US: Our Drones And Missiles Can Hit You

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 08 February 2014 19:37
Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Amid the ongoing nuclear talks to convince the West of its "peaceful" nuclear designs, in a move Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei revealed in January is an Islamic "taqiyya" deceptive tactic, Iran continues to roll out military advances and threats.
 
The official site of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned the US that its warships in the Persian Gulf were in range of their Karrar combat drones, as well as their Kowsar anti-ship missiles, both domestically produced.
 
Karrar drones sport a flight range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and a maximum speed of 900 kilometers per hour (559 mph). They are equipped with 125 to 250 kilogram (275-551 pound) bombs, and can additionally carry a Kowsar-class torpedo for combat against seagoing vessels. The drones are reportedly suitable for attacks deep in enemy territory.
 
As for the Kowsar missiles; Iran claims they feature remote-control and are built to withstand electronic jamming signals. They are deployed along the Iranian coast on the Persian Gulf.
 
With these weapons systems, the Revolutionary Guards' website boasted that American warships in the region "can no longer feel secure".
 
The statement comes after a new report from the Pentagon last week admitted that the US would have no clue if Iran obtained nuclear weapons. Iran has been steadily boosting its military capabilities, even as the US has lifted sanctions in the last 2 weeks.
 
The Islamic Republic has been working in earnest on producing its own domestically-made military hardware in order to circumvent international sanctions.
 
In December, Iran bragged of its new Qader cruise missile sporting a 200 kilometer (124 mile) range, as well as a new radar system for electronic warfare. In November, the Islamic regime released a new Fotros drone boasting a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles), making it able to attack Israel.
 
While this recent round of rhetoric from the Revolutionary Guards particularly threatened the US, last Saturday they announced "if the Islamic nation would unite, it could minimize the breathing room of the US and the West until the Zionist regime would no longer have room to breathe."
 
Iranian lawmakers have previously expressed such memorable sentiments as "having a nuclear bomb is necessary to put down Israel," Israel is "a cancer" in the region, and "only war can free Palestine."

Iran to Receive $550 Million on February 1

Category: News
Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 15:55
Bushehr nuclear power plant - AFPIran will receive the first $550 million installment of a total of $4.2 billion in previously blocked overseas funds on or about February 1, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Sunday.
 
The money will be transferred to Iran as part of the implementation of the nuclear deal reached with it in Geneva on November 24.
 
Earlier Sunday, President Barack Obama confirmed that the agreement would be implemented starting January 20. Under the agreement, six major powers agreed to give Iran access to $4.2 billion in revenues blocked overseas if it carries out the deal, which offers sanctions relief in exchange for steps to curb the Iranian nuclear program.
 
Some payments are contingent on Iran diluting its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to no more than 5 percent enriched uranium. The U.S. official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said that the first $550 million will be transferred February 1, and will be followed by another  $450 million on March 1.
 
Other installments of $450 million and $550 million each will follow until July 20, the source said.
 
The official said immediate relief, which will hinge on UN inspectors confirming that Iran is curbing enrichment of uranium, would include imports for its auto manufacturing sector and trade in gold and other precious metals.
 
Shortly after the interim accord goes into force, an Iranian official said, the two sides will start negotiating a final settlement of their differences about activity the West suspects is aimed at obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.
 
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also confirmed the January 20 implementation date, and said the sides would now ask the United Nations nuclear watchdog to verify the deal's implementation.
 
"We will ask the IAEA to undertake the necessary nuclear-related monitoring and verification activities," she said in a statement quoted by Reuters, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
 
"Access to a portion of these funds will be linked to Iran's progress in completing the dilution process for 20 percent enriched uranium," the American official told the news agency.
 
"Iran will not have access to the final installment of the $4.2 billion until the last day of the six-month period."
 
The relief package would also entail allowing third-country purchases of Iranian oil to remain at current levels.
 
Meanwhile in the U.S., a bill to slap new sanctions on Iran if it goes back on the interim deal has gained support since it was introduced in December, aides to U.S. senators said last week.
 
The bill requires further reductions in Iran's oil exports and would apply new penalties on other industries if Iran either violates the interim agreement or fails to reach a final comprehensive deal.
 
President Obama is opposed to the bill and has threatened to veto it even if lawmakers pass it. Obama reiterated his objection to the bill in a statement he issued Sunday.

Iran Developing 'New Generation' of Centrifuges

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 29 December 2013 06:43
Nuclear IranIran is developing a “new generation” of centrifuges, the head of its Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, said Thursday.
 
According to Press TV, the Iranian nuclear chief said there are currently 19,000 centrifuges in the country. He added that “a new generation of centrifuges is being built, but they should undergo all tests before mass production.”
 
Salehi further underlined Iran’s achievements in its nuclear energy program, saying, “In the area of fuel cycle, the Islamic Republic...is among the countries that are capable of carrying out all fuel [production] stages from exploration to ore dressing and production of uranium fuel.”
 
Iran often boasts of its technological and/or military advances, but it is not clear how accurate these announcements really are and whether they are actually an attempt by the regime to convince Iranians of the country’s military strength.
 
The Islamic Republic is currently involved in technical talks with Western powers on how to implement the nuclear deal that was reached in Geneva in November.
 
Under the deal struck on November 24, Iran agreed to roll back or freeze parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for modest sanctions relief and a promise by Western powers not to impose new sanctions.
 
Since the deal was reached, Iran agreed to allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water plant for the first time in more than two years.
 
The Arak heavy water plant had been a sticking point in the negotiations because, once completed, it would produce plutonium as a by-product, potentially giving Tehran a second route to a nuclear weapons capability.
 
Satellite images from almost a year ago showed that the plant was operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.
 
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes that Iranian scientists conducted experiments aimed at developing a nuclear arsenal before 2003 and possibly since.
 
Iran has denied the charges, saying that purported evidence comes from faulty intelligence by the likes of the CIA and Israel's Mossad that Tehran has not been allowed to see.

Frontlines: The World is in Peril

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 13:39
Bushehr nuclear power plant - AFPIn 1938 there were many who could see the dark clouds forming and assembling above but no one knew the extent of the horror that was going to unfold over the next seven years.
 
The world is facing a similar situation in 2013. The stakes are even higher given the advent of the nuclear age. Iran is the "Germany" of today. The world should not think for one minute that the Iranians want a negotiated settlement just as Hitler never wanted anything but total and absolute control of the world. The West always has a hard time reading the Muslim world.
 
At best America is naive about the true intentions of Iran. It is actually a lot closer to irrational about their goals and ambitions. Iran wants to rule the Muslim world and they have used their proxies Hezbollah, Bashar Assad's Syria, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to this end.
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Iran values death even more than life itself. They did not hesitate to send tens of thousands into the line of fire in their war against Iraq. They are not acquiring nuclear capabilities to replace their huge oil reserves. They have absolutely no need for nuclear energy given their plentiful oil wells. There is only one reason and one reason only for the Iranians to make nuclear reactors. It is unquestionably and unequivocally to make nuclear weapons.
 
Although the destruction of Israel is certainly one of their goals, they have higher priority ambitions including controlling all of the Mideast's oil fields, and the economic and physical destruction of the United States of America who they view as the "Great Satan". They can destroy America economically by turning off the flow of oil from the Middle East, and they can destroy America physically by using a small nuclear explosion high up in the atmosphere (EMP) causing an electrical blackout of the entire country.
 
In a few years they can destroy America using ICBM's (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) with nuclear warheads which they are developing along with their ally North Korea.
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A negotiated settlement with Iran will be just like the agreement Neville Chamberlain made with Hitler over the Sudentenland. The appeasement strategy played right into Hitler's hands. Many underestimated Germany's intentions just as so many are underestimating Iran's ambitions and intentions. Hopefully, enough smart people exist in the world today to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Iran Could Have a Nuclear Bomb Within a Month

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 26 October 2013 20:17
Natanz nuclear facilityIran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month, according to a new estimate by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), considered one of the United States’ top nuclear experts.
 
ISIS made the estimate in a new report published on Thursday by USA Today.
 
"Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran," stated the report. "An essential finding is that they are currently too short and shortening further."
 
David Albright, president of the institute and a former inspector for the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the estimate means that Iran would have to eliminate more than half its 19,000 centrifuges to extend the time it would take to build a bomb to six months.
 
The Obama administration has said Iran is probably a year away from having enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. Requests for comment on the ISIS report from the National Security Council and the State Department were not answered.
 
In the report, Albright said negotiations with Iran should focus on so-called "breakout" times, or the time required to convert low-enriched uranium to weapons-grade, according to USA Today.
 
Albright, who has testified before Congress, said the negotiators should try to find ways to lengthen the breakout times and shorten the time that inspectors could detect breakout.
 
ISIS' analysis is based on the latest Iranian and United Nations reports on Iran's centrifuge equipment for producing nuclear fuel and its nuclear fuel stockpiles.
 
Iran's stockpile of highly enriched uranium has nearly doubled in a year's time and its number of centrifuges has expanded from 12,000 in 2012 to 19,000 today.
 
Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican whose Senate Banking Committee is considering legislation to tighten Iran sanctions, said the report shows that Iran is expanding its nuclear capabilities under the cover of negotiations.
 
"The Senate should move forward immediately with a new round of sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring an undetectable breakout capability," he told USA Today.
 
The White House has said new sanctions legislation should wait while current negotiations - scheduled to resume officially in Geneva next month - are moving forward.
 
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his country has no interest in nuclear weapons but that producing nuclear fuel is Iran's right. His foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has said Iran will not ship its nuclear stockpile to a third country.
 
Iran has refused to let international inspectors into its nuclear facilities to verify they are being used for peaceful purposes, access required under international agreements it has signed.
 
On Wednesday it was reported that a prominent Iranian lawmaker has claimed that Tehran does not need any more 20 percent-enriched uranium.
 
“Tehran reactor fuel has been supplied and currently no need is felt for production of 20 percent-enriched uranium," the lawmaker, Hossein Naqvi Hosseini, was quoted as saying.
 
He added that "Tehran is ready to convert its stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel rods and remove concerns over its non-peaceful use.”
 
The comments come a week after Iranian negotiators met with representatives of the so-called P5+1 - the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.
 
During the two-day session in Geneva, the first round of talks between the sides since the election of Rouhani, Iran presented what it described as a breakthrough proposal that would include snap inspections of its atomic sites.
 
The proposal was described by the White House as "useful". White House spokesman Jay Carney said it showed a "level of seriousness and substance that we have not seen before." Western negotiators described the talks as the most detailed and serious to date.
 
ISIS estimated in October of 2012 that Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb within 2-4 months. The new estimate is based on an analysis of the latest reports by Iran and the IAEA.
 
ISIS considered various scenarios, including if Iran decided to build a covert enrichment plant like it has under a mountain in Fordow, near the city of Qoms, that was designed for optimal efficiency and minimal time to enrich enough uranium for bomb making.
 
Such a facility built with current Iranian technology could produce enough material for a bomb in a week, according to the ISIS report.
 
"If they did that and they were caught it would be a smoking gun of a nuclear weapons program," Albright said, according to USA Today.
 
ISIS has in the past produced satellite imagery which proves that Iran was making alterations to the Parchin complex, a military site that the IAEA says was possibly used to test conventional explosive triggers for a nuclear blast.
 
Iran has refused to give the IAEA access to sites, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran FM Accuses Netanyahu of 'Lie Attack' on Nukes

Category: News
Created on Monday, 30 September 2013 06:57
Jawad Zarif - ReutersIran's Foreign Minister accused Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of peddling lies Sunday over Tehran's nuclear activities, and defended his country's "non-negotiable" right to enrich uranium.
 
Mohammad Jawad Zarif told ABC's George Stephanopolous that Netanyahu was wrong to allege that Iran's recent moves to cooperate with the West amount to little more than an insincere charm offensive.
 
Zarif insisted Rouhani in the past week had taken necessary first steps "towards removing the tensions and doubts and misgivings" Iran and the United States "have had about each other for the last 30-some years."
 
"A smile attack is much better than a lie attack," said Zarif, who speaks English well. "Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues have been saying since 1991, and you can check your records, that Iran is six months away from a nuclear weapon.
 
"We're 22 years after that and they are still saying we're six months away from a nuclear weapon," he added.
 
Zarif reiterated that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear bomb and does not need the military-grade uranium required for such, but he insisted that the Islamic state is entitled to pursue atomic energy plans "because that's our right."
 
He also said it was in the world's interest to allow Iran to pursue such activities as otherwise its nuclear scientists "could go on the black market, seeking employment opportunities."
 
But sanctions imposed by western governments in recent years are the major hurdle in the way of a deal being reached, he maintained.
 
"Sanctions are not a useful tool of implementing policy. And the United States needs to change that," Zarif said.
 
"Negotiations are on the table to discuss various aspects of Iran's enrichment program. Our right to enrich is non-negotiable," he added.
 
Zarif also condemned the Holocaust as a “heinous crime” and a “genocide,” dismissing as a poor translation the appearance of the word “myth” about the Holocaust on the Iranian Supreme Leader’s English website.
 
He was referring to the phrase “the myth of the massacre of Jews,” which appears in a translation of a speech from February 2006 by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamanei.
 
“The Holocaust is not a myth. Nobody’s talking about a myth,” Zarif told Stephanopoulos Sunday when asked about the quote. “If it’s there … it’s a bad translation, and it’s translated out of context… This is the problem when you translate something from Persian to English, you may lose something, as the film goes, ‘Lost in Translation,’ you may lose some of the meaning.”
 
“We condemn the killing of innocent people, whether it happened in Nazi Germany or whether it’s happening in Palestine,” Zarif said. “[The] Holocaust was a heinous crime, it was a genocide, it must never be allowed to be repeated, but that crime cannot be and should not be a justification to trample the rights of the Palestinian people for 60 years.”

Obama's UN Speech a Victory for Iran, Says Media

Category: News
Created on Friday, 27 September 2013 06:44
obama0CanadaA senior Iranian official welcomed on Wednesday the "moderate and respectful tone" of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly, as newspapers hailed a new path for the Islamic Republic, reports AFP.
 
"It seems a new climate has been created with the rise to power of a new Iranian government, and all international parties are trying to react to this new climate," said Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi.
 
"For example, Barack Obama has tried to use a more moderate and respectful tone," he said, in remarks quoted by the ISNA news agency.
 
"But no doubt what's important in foreign policy are actions," he said. If the world's major powers "respect Iran's nuclear rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, I think reaching a solution is imaginable."
 
Meanwhile, the Iranian press welcomed Obama's speech, saying it recognized Washington's “past mistakes."
 
In remarks before the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the U.S. president pushed for a “diplomatic path” with the new Iranian government.
 
The moderate Donya-e-Eqtesad daily greeted Obama's “different tone," while the conservative Jomhouri Eslami reveled in a declaration that “the United States does not seek regime change” in Iran.
 
The reformist Shargh newspaper hailed Obama’s speech for opening up “a new path” for the relationship between the two arch-foes, which have had no diplomatic ties since the Islamic Revolution.
 
“Even those most pessimistic to an opening in relations have accepted that the time for change has arrived,” its editorial said, according to AFP.
 
It added that the international situation has “significantly changed in Iran’s favor," and argued that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be “isolated” as a "warmonger."
 
Engaging in negotiations with Washington and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear drive, Shargh said, would culminate in the recognition of Iran’s “rights."
 
Etemad, another reformist daily, quoting ex-deputy foreign minister Mehdi Mohtashami, said Obama acknowledging “past mistakes” was a sign that the two sides “have the will to fight against mistrust."
 
Several newspapers, including the government-run Iran daily, reveled in Obama’s declaration in recognizing a religious decree by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on a ban against weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms.
 
However, optimism was not shared by all the Islamic republic's media.
 
The hardline Kayhan daily mocked Obama’s “jabbering against Iran," while saying his declared respect for Tehran to operate a peaceful nuclear program was “a sign of Iran’s power."
 
Political analyst Saeed Leylaz, writing in Shargh, was critical of “the illusion of a magic wand” that possible rapprochement with the United States would solve all of Iran's problems.
 
“Negotiations cannot solve the economic and political problems of Iran,” he said. “The solution must come from within.”
 
Since Rouhani was elected president, he has called for "constructive interaction" with the world, a dramatic shift in tone from the anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 
Rouhani has exchanged letters with Obama, who wrote to him that the United States is ready to resolve its nuclear dispute with Iran in a way that allows Tehran to show it is not trying to build weapons.
 
Senior administration officials said Tuesday that Obama was open to meeting Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, but Rouhani refused.

Israeli Embassy Mocks Rouhani in Twitter Post

Category: News
Created on Friday, 27 September 2013 06:14
NEWS090512iranfarsAn Israeli embassy on Wednesday derided Iran's new president as an expert salesman who is bullish on nuclear proliferation in a bitingly sarcastic tweet, reports the AFP news agency.
 
The tweet came from the Israeli Embassy in Washington and poses the question of what President Hassan Rouhani's LinkedIn page might look like.
 
The tweet came out just as the United States and Iran are showing signs of a thaw in long-antagonistic relations and a day after their presidents made hopeful sounding remarks at the UN General Assembly in New York on the Iranian nuclear standoff.
 
The spoof of the Iranian president's LinkedIn page has him describing himself thusly: "I'm a career politician, expert public relations professional, leading international salesman and longtime advocate of nuclear proliferation."
 
Western countries suspect that Iran's nuclear program is designed to build a nuclear weapon, but Iran says it is for civilian purposes.
 
The mock LinkedIn page goes on to quote Rouhani as saying of himself: "Since my election as President of Iran in 2013, I  developed and have executed an unprecedented PR campaign for the government of Iran."
 
"Through a series of statements, tweets, op-eds and smiles I have rebranded the human rights-suppressing, Ayatollah-led regime as moderate and a source of hope among the international community. In my role, I represent and am the public facing figure of Supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini," it added, according to AFP.
 
Further up on the page, in a section on Rouhani's "skills and expertise," these are said to include international sales, deceptive trade practices, nuclear weapons, military justice, illusion, weapons of mass destruction and ballistics.
 
Since being elected in June, Rouhani has indicated he would like a less confrontational approach to nuclear talks with six world powers than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also stressed soon after his election that Tehran would not consider halting the country’s uranium enrichment activities entirely.
 
He continued this rhetoric on Tuesday, when he told the United Nations General Assembly that “Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region,” while adding that his country is willing to hold time-bound talks on its nuclear program.
 
In response to Rouhani’s statements, United States President Barack Obama has reached out to Iran, first by exchanging letters with Rouhani and subsequently in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
 
In that speech, Obama reiterated American opposition to the idea of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, he expressed support for an Iranian civilian nuclear program.
 
Israel has warned that Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who will continue to develop Iran’s nuclear program while saying in public that he seeks a diplomatic solution.

Steinitz: Rouhani Speech Offers Zero New Steps

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 September 2013 10:17
Minister Yuval SteinitzStrategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz dismissed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the United Nations as offering nothing new.
 
Steinitz, the head of the Israeli delegation that boycotted Rouhani’s UN General Assembly address, said the new Iranian president tried "to cheat the world, and unfortunately many people are willing to be cheated."
 
"We heard a lot of new rhetoric but zero new steps or even zero new commitments to meet the UN Security Council resolutions," Steinitz was quoted by AFP as having told reporters.
 
"We didn't hear ... Rouhani regret or withdraw from previous denial of the Holocaust by previous Iranian leaders," he added.
 
"The greater the economic and military pressure on Iran, the greater the chances of diplomacy to succeed," Steinitz said.
 
"If this will be crystal clear to the Iranians that they have only one choice -- between saving their economy and giving up the nuclear project, or saving the nuclear project and destroying their economy and maybe also suffering from a military attack -- they might make the right decision," he stated.
 
In his speech earlier, Rouhani said that his country posed no threat and was not pursuing nuclear weapons.
 
He stood by Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program and urged U.S. President Barack Obama to ignore Abbas and Obama in Ramallah -  Reuters"war-mongering pressure groups" and make a deal.
 
Rouhani said his country is willing to hold time-bound talks on its nuclear program but also called on the world to recognize his country’s right to enrich uranium and insisted that Iran’s nuclear program is a peaceful one.
 
The Iranian president largely stayed away from the strident anti-Israel rhetoric of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who triggered outrage by questioning the Holocaust.
 
He did, however, denounce the “occupation of the Palestinian people”, claiming that they suffer from “structural violence.”
 
Responding to Rouhani’s speech, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said it was “cynical and full of hypocrisy.”
 
Netanyahu said that the speech reflects the Iranian plan, namely to "talk and buy time in order to promote the ability of Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Obama Won't Meet Rouhani

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 15:35
HollywoodThe White House denied on Monday that President Barack Obama has any intention of meeting with Iran's new president in what would be the first such encounter since the 1979 Islamic revolution, The Hill reported.
 
Reports over the weekend said that such a meeting could happen on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is expected to address the world body on Sept. 24.
 
“There are currently no plans for the president and President Rouhani to meet at UNGA,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told The Hill in an email.
 
Sunday’s reports on a possible meeting came in the wake of comments made by Obama in an interview with ABC News. Obama confirmed in the interview that he had communicated with Iran’s new president by letter.
 
Rouhani, who was elected in June, has been described by the West as a moderate cleric.
 
In a message to the Iranian people after Rouhani's election, the Obama administration said it would be open to engaging “directly” on the issue of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. The two countries broke off diplomatic ties in 1980.
 
"As we have said, we hope that this new Iranian government will engage substantively in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Meehan told The Hill.
 
“We remain ready to engage with the Rouhani government on the basis of mutual respect to achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue," she added.
 
Israel has warned the world that Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and would continue to develop Iran’s nuclear program.
 
The German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Monday that, in an attempt to convince the West to lift international sanctions on Iran, Rouhani is willing to dismantle the nuclear facility in Fordo, a site which is widely considered to pose a grave threat to Israel and the West. 

New Images Show Major Alterations at Iran Nuclear Site

Category: News
Created on Friday, 23 August 2013 15:31
Irans uranium enrichmentA U.S. institute tracking Iran's military program said on Thursday that recent satellite images show further major alterations of a military site that the UN atomic agency suspects may have been used in trying to develop nuclear arms.
 
The most recent imagery from satellite company Digital Globe is from August 13 and was seen by The Associated Press ahead of publication by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
 
The images show what ISIS says is progressive asphalting of a part of the Parchin complex that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says was possibly used to test conventional explosive triggers for a nuclear blast.
 
ISIS notes in a report on its website that a July 2013 letter to the IAEA from Iran only repeats its false and misleading statements about the IAEA, Iran’s safeguards obligations, and the verification challenges inspectors face in Iran, particularly with regard to the need for access to Parchin. 
 
Iran has refused to give the IAEA access to sites, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.
 
The letter from July, says ISIS, claimed that Iran was treated unfairly in an IAEA reported from May and that it has nothing to hide, while making what ISIS said was “a clumsy attempt at dismissing or misdirecting focus from the Parchin site.”
 
The IAEA visited the site twice in 2005 but says that since then it has obtained additional indications of activity there that make it want to go back.
 
A year ago, in a report dated August 1, 2012, ISIS assessed that apparent cleanup activities at Parchin were complete, because imagery showed what appeared to be the final result of considerable sanitization and earth displacement activity.
 
A later image, dated August 15, 2012, showed additional suspicious activity at a building suspected of housing high explosive experiments related to the development of nuclear weapons and at an adjacent, northern building that may have also hosted suspect activities.
 
The head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amaon, has called on Iran to allow immediate access to the Parchin military base "without further delay" and without waiting for stalled talks to reach an agreement on investigating other alleged "westernization" activities.

Iran Has 18,000 Centrifuges, Says Outgoing Nuclear Chief

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 August 2013 15:26
A uranium enrichment facility in Natanz Iran. File Photo- AFP
 
Iran has about 18,000 centrifuges, including 10,000 active ones, the outgoing head of the country's atomic agency said Saturday, according to the AFP news agency.
 
The comments confirmed figures from the UN watchdog overseeing its disputed nuclear drive.
 
"At the beginning of the month of Mordad (from July 23) we had 17,000 first generation centrifuges, of which more than 10,000 are active and 7,000 ready to start work," said Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, quoted by the ISNA news agency.
 
"Some 1,000 second generation centrifuges have also been installed and are ready to start work," he said, speaking at the handover ceremony for his role to Ali Akbar Salehi, who served as former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s foreign minister.
 
In May, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran had installed 17,600 centrifuges, including 16,590 first generation and 1,000 second generation.
 
Iran says it enriches uranium to five and 20 percent for peaceful purposes.
 
Officials in the Islamic republic say the higher level is needed for a medical research reactor in Tehran.
 
Western powers and Israel suspect, however, that Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program.
 
Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Tehran was ready for "serious" talks on the nuclear issue without delay and that his country's atomic program was an inalienable right.
 
Salehi said for his part that the president would "be personally responsible for the nuclear issue," reported AFP.
 
During his role as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, Rouhani accepted the suspension of the enrichment program.
 
Last week, he reiterated his insistence that Iran would not negotiate under the threat of economic sanctions or military action.
 
He hit out at "contradictory messages" from Washington, with the White House saying that it would be a "willing partner" in genuine talks, but the U.S. Senate urging tougher sanctions.
 
"Recent declarations from the White House show that some U.S. officials do not have a correct and realistic assessment of the situation here and the message that the Iranian people gave in the election," Rouhani said.

Israel May Attack Iran before U.S., PM Warns

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:39
Netanyahu 00Iran is moving "closer and closer" to building a nuclear weapon and Israel may have to act before the United States does, Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Sunday.
 
"They're edging up to the red line. They haven't crossed it yet," Netanyahu said on CBS News's "Face the Nation."
 
"They're getting closer and closer to the bomb. And they have to be told in no uncertain terms that that will not be allowed to happen."
 
Netanyahu went on to say that Israel had a more narrow timetable than Washington, implying it may have to take unilateral action to halt Iran's controversial nuclear program.
 
"Our clocks are ticking at a different pace. We're closer than the United States. We're more vulnerable. And therefore, we'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does," he said.
 
Netanyahu said Tehran has been building "faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much faster rate -- that is, within a few weeks."
 
Netanyahu said Iran's nuclear policies were unlikely to change under its next president, former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani, who will assume power on August 3.
 
"He's criticizing his predecessor (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) for being a wolf in wolf's clothing. His strategy is be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Smile and build a bomb," Netanyahu said.
 
He urged the United States to make clear to Rouhani that it will not allow Iran to build a nuclear weapon, and that military force "is truly on the table."
 
"We've spoken many times, President Obama and I, about the need to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.
 
"What is important is to convey to them -- especially after the election – (is) that (the) policy will not change," he said.
 
"If sanctions don't work, they have to know that you'll be prepared to take military action – that's the only thing that will get their attention," he added.
 
Iran for years has been at loggerheads with world powers over its nuclear drive, which Western nations believe is aimed at developing an atomic weapon capability.
 
Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but the sanctions imposed over the standoff have isolated it internationally.
 
Netanyahu declined to comment on reports that Israel had carried out air strikes on July 5 near the Syrian port city of Latakia to destroy Russian-supplied anti-ship missiles.
 
"Oh God, Every time something happens in the Middle East Israel is most often accused. And I'm not in the habit of saying what we did or we didn't do," he said.
 
"My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbullah and other terror groups," he said.

Iran Wants 200 Nuclear Bombs, Not Two

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 22 June 2013 16:14
Binyamin NetanyahuPrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned the international community not to be fooled by Iran’s new "moderate" president.
 
Speaking to the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth on Thursday, Netanyahu said that the elections in Iran “reflect a deep dissatisfaction of the Iranian people with its regime. Unfortunately, this result doesn’t have the power to change Iran’s nuclear ambitions. These are determined not by the elected president but by the so-called supreme leader, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei.
 
He noted that the nuclear program is “Guided and controlled by Khamenei. He remains committed to pursuing the path of arming Iran with nuclear weapons, and I’m afraid the elections are not going to change that.”
 
President-elect Hassan Rowhani “was chosen as one of a slate of candidates that conform to Khamenei’s extremist views,” said Netanyahu. “They eliminated hundreds of candidates and left seven. Rowhani used to be the national security adviser of Iran and the former nuclear negotiator. 
He’s the author of a doctrine — I call this doctrine ‘talk and enrich.’ He wrote the book on it.”
 
“We can’t let the Iranian regime play this game. They play for time. They continue to enrich. They broaden the base of their nuclear program. What Iran is seeking is not one or two bombs but 200 bombs. They’re building ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] parallel to developing their nuclear weapons program. The ICBMs are not intended for us; they’re intended for you. Within six to eight years, they intend to be able to reach the continental United States. To have a regime like this — that is, a rogue regime — have a nuclear arsenal with their messianic, apocalyptic ambitions is to imperil the entire world. It is to put the peace of the world in great jeopardy,” warned Netanyahu.
 
Asked about the efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu said, “We should enter immediately into negotiations without preconditions. That’s been my view for the last four years, and I hope it becomes the Palestinian view. If Secretary Kerry, whose efforts we support, were to pitch a tent halfway between here and Ramallah — that’s 15 minutes away driving time — I’m in it, I’m in the tent. And I’m committed to stay in the tent and negotiate for as long as it takes to work out a solution of peace and security between us and the Palestinians.”
 
He added that “there are many things that I need to successfully close a deal, but I don’t ask them of Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] in advance. Israel has withdrawn from territory, from Lebanon and from Gaza, with the express promise that once we do so we’ll have peace and security. But in fact, the opposite happened. We gave land, but we didn’t get peace. We got, in the case of Gaza, 12,000 rockets on our cities. In the case of Lebanon, we got an Iranian enclave with another 12,000 rockets. We can’t afford to have that happen again.”
 
“We’ll have to have an arrangement that assures our security, that tells us what’s on the other side in a Palestinian state,” stressed Netanyahu. “Is it another Iranian client-state that is committed to our destruction? That arms itself with missiles and rockets? Or is it something that actually changes the climate, that teaches its people and its children to live in peace with us and is genuinely demilitarized? These are questions that cannot be resolved before we enter the tent. They’ll have to be resolved in order for us to leave the tent with an agreement. But I don’t place any of our conditions and our demands in advance of the negotiations, and I hope the Palestinians don’t either.”
 
Referring to Abbas’s endless preconditions for starting negotiations, Netanyahu said, “I think placing preconditions before negotiations is the quickest way to undermine peace. That’s what has been done in the past four years and we’ve gotten nowhere. It’s time to look at a different course. It’s time to grapple head-on with the issues and negotiate. You can’t end negotiations unless you begin them. And you can’t begin them if you continually negotiate about the terms to begin negotiations.”
 
He added that the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem during his last term, after which Abbas still refused to come to the negotiating table, was proof that “the problem isn’t the settlements.”
 
“The real reason [for the continuation of the conflict] is the persistent refusal to recognize a sovereign Jewish state in any boundary,” Netanyahu told the Washington Post. “That was and remains the core of this conflict. To solve this, the Palestinians will have to recognize the Jewish state just as we recognize a Palestinian state. Both peoples, both nations, deserve a nation-state of their own. Palestinians, if they wish so, will go to the Palestinian state; Jews, if they so wish, can go to the Jewish state. And we’ll have to have security and demilitarization agreements between us. But the beginning of the conflict and the root of the conflict is the refusal to recognize Israel in any boundary. Once this is overcome, I think there is a chance for peace. I think that is never recognized because people are fixated on one of the results of conflict, which are the settlements, but it’s certainly not its cause.”

Khameini Decides on Nukes, No One Else

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 16 June 2013 07:28
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei R meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran Dec. 15 2009.Israel issued an unusually blunt reaction to the election of Iran's new president on Saturday by saying it was supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who decides on nuclear policy, not the president.
 
"Iran's nuclear program has so far been determined by Khamenei, and not by Iran's president," the foreign ministry said, after Hassan Rouhani was elected to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 
"After the election, Iran will continue to be judged by its acts, in the nuclear field as well as that of terrorism," the statement said.
 
"Iran must conform to the demands of the international community and stop its nuclear program and cease spreading terrorism in the world."
 
Rouhani was seen as a moderate candidate, but Israel's foreign ministry questioned the moderation attributed to Iran's president-elect.
 
"The president of Iran was chosen by Ayatollah Khamenei, who disqualified and prevented the candidates who did not conform to his extremist views from standing," the statement added.
 
But a senior Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP the election showed the Iranian people's desire for change.
 
"The Iranian people have showed their leaders that they oppose the path that has lead to sanctions and made their lives more difficult," he said.
 
"If Iran does not respect the demands of the international community and immediately cease its nuclear program, the international community must increase the pressure on Iran," he added.
 
The statement by the Foreign Ministry echoes similar words spoken earlier by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. The unusually quick and cold reactions to Iran's election may reflect a concern by Israel that the election of a moderate will be presented by opponents of a strike on Iran as supposed proof that the threat from Iran has been diminished, making such a strike unnecessary.

Israel, US, Mull Raids on '18 Chemical Targets' in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 15 June 2013 15:12
Air Force F-15Israeli and U.S. military officials are coordinating how to target and destroy Syrian president Bashar Assad’s arsenal of unconventional weapons under assorted scenarios, Israeli military and intelligence officials told TIME Magazine.
 
One scenario would be the sudden removal of Assad from the scene, the magazine said. “That would prompt the allies to launch operations on the estimated 18 depots and other sites where WMDs are stored,” Israei military and intelligence officials said.
 
“Search and destroy operations would also be launched if the weapons appeared to be about to fall into the hands of the rebels, which include Islamist extremists aligned with al-Qaeda.”
 
The Israeli officials emphasized, according to the magazine, that it has not been decided whether Israeli and U.S. forces would act together, and how the work would be divided between them if they did cooperate. “But the U.S. plans called for deploying forces on the ground as well as waves of airstrikes, to assure that the chemical and biological components are neutralized, according to the Israeli officials.”
 
“The main arms of concern to us are the arms that are already in Syria — these are anti-aircraft weapons, these are chemical weapons and other very, very dangerous weapons that could be game changers,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the BBC in April. “They will change the conditions, the balance of power in the Middle East. They could present a terrorist threat on a worldwide scale. It is definitely our interest to defend ourselves, but we also think it is in the interest of other countries.”

Obama Slaps Sanctions on Iran's Currency and Auto Industry

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 07:38
Iranian Rial AFPThe Obama administration on Monday announced new sanctions on Iran, targeting the country's currency and automobile industry, USA Today reports.
 
An executive order by President Barack Obama authorizes sanctions on foreign financial institutions that make transactions in Iran's currency, the rial, or keep accounts denominated in the rial outside the country.
 
The new rules, which go into effect July 1, penalize the sale of goods and services to Iran's auto industry, a key part of the country's economy, the report said.
 
"The steps taken today are part of President Obama's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, by raising the cost of Iran's defiance of the international community," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
 
"Even as we intensify our pressure on the Iranian government, we hold the door open to a diplomatic solution that allows Iran to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their obligations," he added.
 
The latest executive order is the ninth Obama has signed on Iran since the start of his presidency and the sixth in the last two years.
 
It marks the first time the White House has taken aim at Iran's currency. Administration officials aim to effectively make the rial unusable outside of Iran.
 
The value of the rial has fallen by more than half since the beginning of last year as Iran has endured mounting sanctions from the United States and international community. Several months ago the Iranian currency plummeted to an all-time low. Previous sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry have resulted in the country's exports also falling dramatically.
 
Ahmadinejad at UN - ReutersIran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a rare acknowledgment several months ago of the economic challenges his country is facing.
 
“This was a very difficult year for our economy,” Ahmadinejad said, accusing the United States of using its vast economic might to exert unfair pressure on the much smaller Iranian economy.
 
The country’s Finance Minister, Shamseddin Hosseini, recently said that international sanctions against his country had pushed inflation above 30% and were causing "a lot of trouble.”
 
At the same time he stressed that Iran's nuclear drive would not be halted.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that he is not optimistic that Iran's upcoming presidential election will result in any change in the country's nuclear ambitions.
 
"I do not have high expectations that the election is going to change the fundamental calculus of Iran," Kerry said. "This is not a portfolio that is in the hands of a new president or the president; it's in the hands of the supreme leader. And the supreme leader ultimately will make that decision, I believe."
 
Kerry said the U.S. would continue to pursue a peaceful resolution to the impasse but warned that time is running out. Iran's persistent defiance of international demands to come clean about its nuclear program makes the world more dangerous, he said.
 
"Iran needs to understand that the clock is ticking," warned Kerry.

Steinitz: Nuclear Iran is Like 30 Nuclear North Koreas

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 06:54
Yuval SteinitzInternational Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz warned on Sunday that Iran having a nuclear weapon would be equal to “thirty nuclear North Koreas”.
 
“We have the right and the ability to defend ourselves,” he said in a speech at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. “The cooperation with the United States is very important but ultimately each country will make its own decisions on maintaining its security,” said Steinitz, stressing that “Israel can deal with any threat.”
 
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80 years ago, said Steinitz, “only one person identified on time and warned the world against the rearmament of Nazi Germany. This was Winston Churchill, but people refused to listen. Some people even mocked him.”
 
“We shouldn’t repeat the same mistake again,” he added, referring to Iran. “The Nazis spoke about the final solution of the Jews in Europe, and the Iranians are talking about destroying the Jewish State in the Middle East. We have to learn from history, even if it doesn’t repeat itself exactly, and if there’s a lesson to learn from history, it is not to repeat the same mistake again and not to allow, come what may, the nuclearization of Iran.”
 
Referring to Syria, Steinitz rejected allegations that Israel asked the United States to take military action in the war torn country..
 
“We never asked and never encouraged the U.S. to take military action in Syria,” Steinitz told the conference, referring to reports that Israel has been pressuring the Obama administration to get involved in Syria, in the wake of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
 
“It is up to the U.S. to decide its policy on Syria,” said Steinitz. “Of course, we exchange views with the U.S. about the situation; it’s a very complex and difficult issue."
 
He emphasized that Israel will “do its utmost to prevent delivery” of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles to terrorist groups such as Hizbullah.

Iran has Passed Red Line

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 07:24
Netanyahu draws the line - ReutersFormer Military Intelligence head, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said Tuesday that "Iran has already crossed Israel's new 'red line'" regarding nuclear weapons development.
 
Yadlin, who is the Head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), said that in the summer, Iran will reach a distance of one or two months between a decision and a bomb." That is, it will be able to build a nuclear bomb within a month or two of deciding to do so.
 
"This is a breakthrough range that will make it very difficult to stop Iran, when it decides to have a bomb."
 
"Israel's new red line – a problematic definition in itself – enables Iran to build a wide nuclear infrastructure without crossing the line," he explained. "It enables other nuclear activities that are not included in the red line, and makes it possible to reach a bad agreement even without crossing the line that was set."
 
Yadlin said that without "a drastic change" in the pressures on Iran, it will keep on "buying time" and widening its nuclear program. For Iran to sign an agreement, he said, there has to be a price for not doing so.
 
Negotiations can succeed, he added, if the U.S. creates a credible military option. This will be achieved if the U.S. prepares for a surgical strike for stopping the nuclear program and makes clear that it will be able to deal with the escalation that will follow such a strike."

Obama: Iran a Year Away from Getting a Nuclear Bomb

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 March 2013 22:08
Obama.Iran is "over a year or so" from getting a nuclear bomb, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News on Thursday, a week before his visit to Israel.
 
Obama laid out a clear timeline for Iran to acquire a military nuclear capacity, while insisting that the U.S. would not wait until the last minute to take action to stop it.
 
"We think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously, we don't want to cut it too close," he said.
 
He emphasized that should diplomacy fail, all options remained "on the table" for stopping Iran.
 
"My message to (Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) will be the same as before: if we can resolve it diplomatically, that's a more lasting solution. But if not, I continue to keep all options on the table," said Obama.
 
Asked if there was a realistic option that he would order an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, he replied, "When I say that all options are on the table, all options are on the table and the United States obviously has significant capabilities.
 
"But our goal here is to make sure that Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel or could trigger an arms race in the region -- that would be extraordinarily dangerous at a time when obviously there are already a lot of things going on," he said.
 
Iran possessing a nuclear weapons would be "a red line" for the United States, Obama said, insisting that he would have the necessary support within his cabinet should a military strike become necessary.
 
"I think my cabinet is prepared for a whole range of contingencies," he said, adding, "Secretary (of State John) Kerry and Secretary (of Defense Chuck) Hagel share my fundamental view that the issue of Iran's nuclear capability is an issue of U.S. national security interest as well as Israel's national security interest."
 
Obama said his trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority is meant to "listen" to both sides and hear their views on how to move forward after over two years without peace talks.
 
"My goal on this trip is to listen. I intend to meet with Bibi (Netanyahu)... I intend to meet with Fayyad and Abu Mazen (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) and to hear from them what is their strategy, what is their vision, where do they think this should go?" said Obama.
 
"To Abu Mazen, I will say that trying to unilaterally go to, for example, the United Nations, and do an end run around Israel, is not going to be successful," he said.
 
"To Bibi (Netanyahu) I would suggest to him that he should have an interest in strengthening the moderate leadership inside the Palestinian Authority ...For example, making sure that issues like settlements are viewed through the lens of: Is this making it harder or easier for Palestinian moderates to sit down at the table," added Obama.
 
"I think we're past the point where we should be even talking about pre-conditions and steps and sequences. Everybody knows what's going to be involved here in setting up two states, side by side living in peace and security," he said.
 
"How we get into those conversations, whether they can happen soon or whether there needs to be some further work done on the ground, that's part of what I'll explore when I'll get there," he said.
 
In the same interview Obama said that he has no plan for pardoning Jonathan Pollard soon.
 
"This is an individual who committed a very serious crime," he said. "He has been serving his time. There is a justice system that allows for periodic review and the way I as president function here is to try and make sure that I am following the basic rules of that review.”

New Senate Resolution: Back Israel if it Attacks Iran

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:47
Irans uranium enrichmentA bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced a new resolution which says that the United States would back Israel militarily if the Jewish State were to attack Iran in self-defense.
 
The resolution was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and is co-sponsored by 15 Senators, including Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York).
 
The resolution declares that the United States has a vital national interest in and unbreakable commitment to, ensuring the existence, survival, and security of the State of Israel; reaffirms the United States support for Israel’s right to self-defense; and urges that if Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States will stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.
 
Speaking during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, Graham said the resolution is necessary to show Israel that the U.S. will support it if it decides to use military force against the Iranian regime.
 
“We have no better friends in that part of the world than Israel,” said Graham. “Last year President Obama told the people of Israel, ‘We have your back.’ Our resolution builds upon that statement and makes it clear that if Israel is one day forced to protect themselves we will stand with Israel.”
 
President Obama is scheduled to arrive in Israel for his first visit as President next month, and the group said it hopes to pass the resolution before the trip.
 
The issue of a nuclear Iran is expected to be a top priority during Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
 
“This is not a green light to Israel to do anything other than defend itself. ... We will be there,” Graham said.
 
This week, Iran held another round of negotiations with Western powers over its nuclear program. There was no sign of a major breakthrough in the Kazakh city of Almaty, but the sides agreed to hold new meetings, suggesting potential for progress.
 
As the negotiations took place, Britain's Daily Telegraph published satellite images which show that Iran's Arak heavy-water plan is operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.
 
The images appear to show steam rising from forced air coolers, suggesting heavy-water production at the plant, which has been closed to international inspectors for 18 months.
 
Heavy water is required in plutonium-producing reactors and that raises alarms that Tehran is seeking a second path to obtain the bomb.
 
A report released last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants in Natanz.
 
In the wake of the reports, Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Iran “is continuing to defy the international community,” calling on the international community to intensify the sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran Has 'Plan B' for Nuclear Bomb

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 07:48
A general view of the water facility at ArakSatellite images show that Iran's Arak heavy-water plan is operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
 
The newspaper published images on its website which appear to show steam rising from forced air coolers, suggesting heavy-water production at the plant, which has been closed to international inspectors for 18 months.
 
Heavy water is required in plutonium-producing reactors and that raises alarms that Tehran is seeking a second path to obtain the bomb.
 
Stuart Ray of consultancy firm McKenzie Intelligence Services told the Telegraph that the images, commissioned from commercial satellite operators, suggested that the heavily-guarded facility was “operational.”
 
According to the paper, western governments have known about activity at Arak for some time.
 
Plutonium is produced as part of the mix in spent nuclear fuel, along with unused uranium. To make plutonium usable, a reprocessing plant is needed to separate it from the other materials in spent fuel. It can then be embedded into the core of a nuclear weapon.
 
International efforts have so far been concentrated on the Islamic Republic's attempts to enrich uranium, but the Telegraph noted that the new evidence shows it is developing a "Plan B".
 
"Some think Israel's red line for military action is before Arak comes online," Mark Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. State Department official at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told the Telegraph.
 
"The option of a military strike on an operating reactor would present enormous complications because of the radiation that would be spread," he added.
 
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have been barred from the site since August 2011 and Iran has rebuffed appeals for information about the facility, the report noted.
 
The report came as world powers and Iran on Tuesday exchanged offers at talks in Kazakhstan aimed at breaking a decade of deadlock over Tehran's disputed nuclear drive.
 
A Western source told AFP the world powers are offering Iran permission to resume its gold and precious metals trade as well as some international banking activity which are currently under sanctions.
 
Iran, in exchange, will have to limit sensitive uranium enrichment operations that the world powers fear could be used to make a nuclear bomb.
 
Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons and wants the world to respect its "right" to enrich uranium, something current UN sanctions say it cannot do because of its refusal to cooperate with nuclear inspectors.
 
A report released last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants in Natanz.
 
Iran has claimed that the report is proof that its nuclear program is intended only for peaceful purposes.

Iran's Khamenei Rejects Direct Nuclear Talks with U.S.

Category: News
Created on Friday, 08 February 2013 12:49
Ayatollah Ali KhameneiIran's Supreme Leader on Thursday rejected a U.S. offer to negotiate one-on-one on Tehran's nuclear ambitions, ruling out such contacts so long as Washington keeps up its threats against the Islamic Republic.
 
"I am not a diplomat but a revolutionary and I speak frankly," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told air force commanders in remarks published on his website and quoted by AFP. "You (Americans) are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot."
 
"Some rejoice at the offer of negotiations ... (but) negotiations will not solve anything," he said, adding that those in Iran who prefer to risk "American domination" by negotiating with Washington would be dealt with.
 
Khamenei has the final say on all key issues in the Islamic Republic, including Iran's sensitive nuclear activities and foreign policy.
 
His stance appeared to contradict that of Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who said on Monday that he detected signs the United States was rethinking its approach towards Tehran.
 
Khamenei said, according to AFP, "Iran will not accept to negotiate with he who threatens us with pressure,” in reference to a list sanctions adopted by Washington to coerce Iran into curbing its nuclear program.
 
"The offer of talks is meaningful when the other side shows goodwill," he said.
 
Last week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden offered direct talks between Washington and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program. He also warned Iran that opportunities for diplomacy over its disputed nuclear program were not unlimited.
 
Khamenei’s remarks come at a time when Tehran and six world powers are preparing to resume stalled talks over Iran's nuclear program in the Kazakh city of Almaty on February 26.
 
Iran and the P5+1 group of the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany held three rounds of talks last year, the last of which ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.
 
Calls to roll back its atomic work were rebuffed by Tehran, which demanded world powers scale back sanctions which have caused pain for its struggling economy.
 
"Does imposing, in your own words, crippling sanctions show goodwill or hostility?" Khamenei said on Thursday, responding to Biden’s offer of bilateral talks.
 
In addition to the pressure from Western nations, Iran is also being pressured by the UN's atomic watchdog agency to allow broader access to its nuclear facilities in a bid to resolve outstanding issues over the Islamic Republic's past atomic activities.
 
A team from the agency is expected in Tehran on February 13.

Obama Set to Appoint Hagel Defense Minister

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 05 January 2013 18:01
Chuck HagelU.S. President Barack Obama is set to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, according to various reports. The move signals that the Administration intends to continue the Middle East policy that could be described as "speak softly and carry an even softer stick" vis-à-vis the resurgent Islamist threat.
 
"Key Democrats working closely on the nomination process" told The Daily Beast's Eli Lake that the president is expected to announce the Hagel selection Monday or Tuesday. These sources said Obama did not decide on Hagel until this week, after considering Ash Carter, the current deputy secretary of defense, and Michèle Flournoy, a former No. 3 at the Pentagon, for the job.
 
Sen. John Cornyn (R, TX) told Lake Friday, “Chuck Hagel’s opposition to Iranian sanctions and support for direct, unconditional talks with its leaders is both at odds with current U.S. policy and a threat to global security. To make matters worse, he has called for direct negotiations with Hamas. The worst possible message we could send to our friend Israel and the rest of our allies in the Middle East is Chuck Hagel."
 
"The next secretary of defense will preside over a period of budget austerity when the military will transform from a force capable of waging two land wars at once to a stealth military capable of counterterrorism missions," Lake wrote.
 
The nomination is going to encounter stiff opposition from Republicans, but some Democrats also oppose the move. "Many of the most right-wing GOP Senators have already categorically vowed that they will oppose the nomination," writes the Guardian, "claiming he's hostile to Israel, 'soft' on Iran and anti-military. Hagel's confirmation thus likely hinges on the willingness of Democrats to support it."
 
Some of the democrats who oppose the nomination, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Eliot Engel, agree with Republicans that Hagel's views on Hamas and Iran are soft.
 
But other liberals are opposed to Hagel because he voted in 1998 against appointing James Hormel as Ambassador to Luxembourg on the ground that Hormel, as Hagel put it, was "openly, aggressively gay."
 
In addition, some Democrats note that Hagel is a Republican, and say that Obama should nominate a Democrat "in order to show that Democrats are capable of running the Pentagon and military policy," writes the Guardian.
 
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Hagel made an objectionable statement when he served as president and CEO of the World USO from 1987 to 1990. Hagel reportedly "expressed intense opposition to the USO Haifa Center during a tumultuous 1989 meeting with Jewish leaders, according to multiple sources involved in the fight to keep the post open."
 
The Free Beacon quotes Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which led the battle to keep USO Haifa operational, who said: “He said to me, ‘Let the Jews pay for it.' He essentially told us that if we wanted to keep the USO [in Haifa] open—and when I say ‘we’, he meant ‘the Jews’—he said the Jews could pay for it,” said Halteman.
 
“I told him at the time that I found his comments to be anti-Semitic,” she said. “He was playing into that dual loyalty thing.”
 
Arutz Sheva recently posted an op-ed with Hagel's record. Click here to read it.

Iran Remains the Number 1 Threat

Category: News
Created on Friday, 04 January 2013 12:03
Netanyahu addresses ambassadorsIran's nuclear weapons program remains the number one threat over Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
 
Speaking to Israeli ambassadors and consuls at the conclusion of their annual gathering in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, "The number one threat has been and remains Iran, our commitment has been and remains to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
 
Netanyahu presented to the ambassadors his assessment of the current situation and predicted that in the short term the turmoil in the Middle East will continue, but "in the long run there is a possibility for change if Iran is prevented from achieving military nuclear capability."
 
He noted that as of right now, Iran has yet to cross the "red line" he set during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September - if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level.
 
At the same time, Netanyahu noted, pressure must continue on Iran to get it to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions.
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The comments came in the wake of reports that Iran's ability to attack Israel has been compromised significantly in the past year.
 
According to a study by Defense Ministry officials, Iran's attempts to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the weakness of Hizbullah has taken a great toll in manpower and funds from the Islamic Republic.
 
The officials, quoted in Maariv, said that neither Syria nor Hizbullah are in any position to not only start a war with Israel, but would also be largely unable to respond on behalf of Iran in the event of an Israeli strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. Syria is too badly divided at this point to respond, and without the material support in men and weapons from Damascus, Hizbullah would be too feeble to respond effectively.
 
Regarding the deadlock in the peace process with the Palestinian Authority and the West's anger over Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, "The settlements are not an obstacle to peace, but rather the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people."
 
Netanyahu explained that "Hamas can take over the Palestinian Authority any day and therefore we must ensure that there are solid security measures, ensure that any arrangement would guarantee a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and demand a true declaration of an end to the conflict."
 
He added that "the Arab demand of the right of return means the elimination of Israel.''

Iran Claims It Downed another US Spy Drone

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 06:13
ScanEagle droneIran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday they downed another American spy drone hours after reports that the United States stepped up spying on the Bushehr nuclear plant.
 
The Guards captured a ScanEagle drone over the Persian Gulf waters upon its intrusion into the Iranian airspace, Iran’s regime-controlled Press TV and Fars News Agency reported. There was no mention of when the aircraft was intercepted.
 
Guards Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said, “Such drones are usually launched from large aircraft carriers.”
 
The ScanEagle drone is a long-endurance aircraft built by a subsidiary of Boeing, and Fars stated, “ScanEagle is based on Insitu's Seascan miniature robotic aircraft and draws on Boeing's systems integration, communications and payload technologies.
 
“As standard payload ScanEagle carries either an inertially stabilized electro-optical or an infrared camera. The...camera allows the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets, providing real-time intelligence."
 
Arutz Sheva quoted a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday that the United States has stepped up efforts to spy over the Bushehr nuclear plant, where American officials are concerned Iran is storing weapons-grade plutonium for a nuclear weapon.
 
Last year, Iran claimed it downed a stealth aircraft over the city of Kashmar, near the Afghan border, and last month, it said it “repelled” a US drone that entered the country.
 
The United States has not commented on Tuesday’s claim of a downed drone, but the Guards released footage of the captured unmanned aircraft.

Ahmadinejad: Having Nuclear Bombs is 'Retarded'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 09 November 2012 07:53
AhmadinejadAny country still stockpiling nuclear weapons is “mentally retarded,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday.
 
Speaking to reporters in Bali, Indonesia, Ahmadinejad said, “The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over … Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded.”
 
He added, “The Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor do they need to build an atomic bomb … For defending ourselves we do not need a nuclear weapon.”
 
Ahmadinejad then said that representatives of any government or agency could visit the Islamic Republic to verify that it was not developing nuclear weapons.
 
Last week, the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereidoun Abbasi, said that Iran is completing its nuclear activities.
 
Asked about recent media reports on Iran's new centrifuges in the Fordow uranium enrichment facility, Abbasi told reporters that Iran is completing its nuclear activities as scheduled “regardless of the negative western media speculations and reports.”
 
"We are doing our job according to our specified timeline and we are accomplishing them. Our response to such reports is working harder," Abbasi was quoted as having said.
 
His remarks came a week after Western diplomats said that it appears as though Tehran is in its final stages of placing centrifuges at Fordow.
 
The diplomats noted that for some unknown reason the new centrifuges have not yet been activated. They added that they received indications that Iran has placed 640 centrifuges out of the 2,800 that were supposed to be installed in the Fordow facility.
 
The reports seemed to confirm remarks by a Western diplomat registered with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The diplomat said previously that it is believed Iran continues to install centrifuges at the Fordow plant.
 
Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons, and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Iran Completing its Nuclear Activities

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 01 November 2012 19:40
Irans uranium enrichmentThe Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereidoun Abbasi, said this week that Iran is completing its nuclear activities, the Fars news agency reported.
 
Asked about recent media reports on Iran's new centrifuges in the Fordow uranium enrichment facility, Abbasi told reporters at the end of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday that Iran is completing its nuclear activities as scheduled “regardless of the negative western media speculations and reports.”
 
"We are doing our job according to our specified timeline and we are accomplishing them. Our response to such reports is working harder," Abbasi was quoted as having said.
 
His remarks came a week after Western diplomats said that it appears as though Tehran is in its final stages of placing centrifuges at Fordow.
 
The diplomats noted that for some unknown reason the new centrifuges have not yet been activated. They added that they received indications that Iran has placed 640 centrifuges out of the 2,800 that were supposed to be installed in the Fordow facility.
 
The reports seemed to confirm remarks by a Western diplomat registered with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The diplomat said previously that it is believed Iran continues to install centrifuges at the Fordow plant.
 
The IAEA reported in August that Iran had installed 350 new centrifuges since May, in addition to a previously-reported 1,000 that have been installed as part of Iran’s plan to have 3,000 centrifuges working.
 
A report published several weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal warned that Iran will be able to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel in the next two to four months. 
 
The Fordow facility near Qom is underground, heavily fortified and protected by the armed forces, making it a very difficult target for air strikes.
 
The existence of the facility only came to light after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.

Iran in Final Stages of Placing Centrifuges in Fordow

Category: News
Created on Friday, 26 October 2012 07:51
Irans uranium enrichmentWestern diplomats said on Thursday that it appears as though Tehran is in its final stages of placing centrifuges in the underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow.
 
The diplomats, who spoke to the Reuters news agency, noted that for some unknown reason the new centrifuges have not yet been activated.
 
The sources said that they received indications that Iran has placed in the Fordow facility 640 centrifuges out of the 2,800 that were supposed to be installed there.
 
The reports seem to confirm remarks by a Western diplomat registered with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The diplomat said last week that it is believed Iran continues to install centrifuges at the Fordow plant.
 
"Iran continues to build up enrichment capacity,” the official warned. “We think that they have continued installing centrifuges at Fordow. We think that their pace has continued the same as it was, which was pretty rapid.”
 
The IAEA reported in August that Iran had installed 350 new centrifuges since May, in addition to a previously-reported 1,000 that have been installed as part of Iran’s plan to have 3,000 centrifuges working.
 
A report published two weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal warned that Iran will be able to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel in the next two to four months. 
 
The assessment was made by former inspectors for the IAEA and other nuclear experts.
 
The Fordow facility near Qom is underground, heavily fortified and protected by the armed forces, making it a very difficult target for air strikes.
 
The existence of the facility only came to light after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.

Egyptians: We Want Nuclear Bombs and to Break Treaty with Israel

Category: News
Created on Monday, 22 October 2012 11:57
Atomic bombMost Egyptians want their country and Iran to have nuclear weapons, and they also favor renewing ties with Tehran and breaking off relations with Israel, according to a poll by The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy group.
 
Eighty-seven percent of the respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb, and Iran is more than happy to lend Cairo a hand.  "We are ready to help Egypt to build nuclear reactors and satellites," Iran’s deputy defense minister said when Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi visited Iran last month.
 
Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt.” 
 
The results of the poll belie an impression Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been trying to spread. He visited Iran several weeks ago but denied he is considering renewing ties with Iran, after more than three decades of a freeze following the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the Islamic Revolution.
 
Cairo's new ambassador to Israel told President Shimon Peres last week that Egypt will retain the peace treaty, but Morsi's advisers have spoken more assertively against the peace treaty, echoing Morsi's own anti-Israeli statements during his campaign for president.
 
The Israel Project poll, widely headlined in Iran’s state-controlled media, revealed that 65 percent of Egyptians back renewed diplomatic ties with Iran and that 61 percent support Iran’s nuclear development. Three years ago, a similar poll showed that only 41 percent of Egyptians backed Iran’s nuclear project.
 
The only sour note towards Iran was the view of 68 percent of the respondents who expressed an unfavorable view of Shi’ite Muslims.
 
Israel Project CEO Josh Block told The Foreign Policy “Cable” that a nuclear Iran would set off a regional race for nuclear weapons.
 
"Very scary to people opposed to proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone to unstable countries in the world's most turbulent part of the world, is the 87 percent who want Egypt to build nuclear weapons," he said. "Morsi’s dangerous embrace of Iran is leading a surprising shift in favor of support for Tehran,” which Egyptians formerly saw as a threat.
 
The respondents also clearly opposed Cairo’s retaining diplomatic ties with Israel, with 74 percent wanting a break, nearly three times as many as in a 2009 poll, when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in office.
 
Seventy-seven percent agreed that "The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved."
 
More than two-thirds of the respondents also said that President Barack Obama favors Israel more than Arabs, and 60 percent thought that the Obama administration has been "a negative thing" for the Arab world.

Experts Confirm Bibi’s D-Day: Iranian Bomb in Several Months

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 18:51
Irans envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh - AFPExperts have confirmed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warning that Iran can have enough enriched uranium next year to produce a nuclear bomb. The Prime Minister told the United Nations two weeks ago, "Ladies and gentlemen, I've been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years…
 
“Iran is well into the second stage and by next spring it will have moved on to the final stage. From then it's just a few months or weeks until they have enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb."
 
Any doubts of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s dire predictions were removed by experts at the Institute for Science and International Security. Their new report released on Monday, quoted by AFP, warns that Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to make an atomic bomb within two to four months and then would need only an additional eight to 10 months to build the device.
 
It concluded, “The most practical strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is to prevent it from accumulating sufficient nuclear explosive material."
 
Netanyahu draws the line - ReutersThe report stated that the United States and United Nations weapons inspectors would be able to detect any attempt at a "breakout" – but only for the moment.
 
It offers estimates on uranium stockpiles and enrichment rates based on figures from inspections of Iran's program by the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 
To amass the 25 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium needed for one nuclear weapon, Iran "would require at least 2-4 months," the report said. To reach that goal, Iran would have to draw on its uranium enriched to 3.5 percent as well as stocks of 20 percent enriched uranium.
 
Once Iran had generated enough highly-enriched uranium, it could take about eight to 10 months to construct a nuclear weapon, David Albright, a leading expert on Iran's nuclear project and one of the authors of the report, told AFP on Monday.
 
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on September 11 that the United States would have about a year to take action if Iran decided to build a nuclear weapon.
 
The time needed for Iran to quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and "dash" or "break out" to make the bomb would give the United States and its allies time to react if necessary, the report said.
 
"Although Iran's breakout times are shortening, an Iranian breakout in the next year could not escape detection by the IAEA or the United States,” it added. However, Iran's expanding network of centrifuges could make it increasingly difficult for inspectors to spot Tehran's progress. "Iran may be seeking the ability to produce sufficient WGU (weapons grade uranium) faster than the IAEA inspectors could detect it," the authors wrote.
 
The United States is under pressure from Israel to set a precise deadline for military action but prefers for now to pursue a course of ever tighter sanctions to try to force Tehran to the negotiating table.
 
Once Iran possesses enough weapons-grade material for a bomb, it would be extremely difficult for UN monitors or outside countries to determine if Tehran had built a nuclear device, the report said.
 
"If Iran successfully produced enough WGU for a nuclear weapon, the ensuing weaponization process might not be detectable until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons," it said.

Iranians Scared by Netanyahu Speech

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 06 October 2012 20:14
Netanyahu-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly placed fear into the hearts of Iranians, a Muslim woman from Tehran told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Friday.
 
The woman, Shahanaz, agreed to be interviewed to the Israeli channel despite the risks involved. She was first interviewed two months ago and was interviewed again on Friday, two days after scuffles broke out in Tehran as citizens protested the country’s failing economy.
 
“The economic situation has worsened [over the last two months],” she said, adding, “The prices have gone up. The prices of dairy products, gold and the dollar rate have gone up considerably and this made our lives even more difficult. Fruits have become very expensive, and people only buy essential goods, other than the rich people among us of course. We, the middle class, cannot buy many things. Meat, poultry and dairy products are the most difficult to obtain, because their cost has increased significantly within ten days.”
 
Asked about the demonstration on Wednesday in Tehran's largest bazaar, Shahanaz said, “I suddenly saw regime forces coming out of all sides towards the demonstrators in the bazaar. There were large crowds because that day that the dollar jumped suddenly from 2400 to 4200. There were many regime forces, even more at night, in the afternoon they were all armed and they arrested a lot of people. I saw them beat people. This time the demonstrators were mainly merchants who protested the economic situation, because with the situation of the dollar now, everyone will go bankrupt. I fear the planes will not be able to take off from Iran soon because of the difficult economic situation in the country.
 
“I wanted to show you the pictures I took of the prices of fruits and vegetables and other products,” she added. “I wanted to show the people who live on the street corners, or a wall full of ads for sales of human kidneys. Photographs of people who cannot finish the day. These are things I see every day, and every day it increases. The middle class is quickly getting closer to the poverty line.”
 
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman predicted this week that a Tahrir-style revolution could take place in Iran and called on the West to help the Iranian people bring down their regime. Asked about the possibility of this happening, Shahanz said, “I think we have no specific leader, the people here are not so correlated. At this point, I think only we can help ourselves - no one can help us, because first we must know what we want. Any outside assistance could only harm us.”
 
Addressing Netanyahu’s UN speech, she said, “It was a speech full of charisma. I heard of his red lines and it scared the people in Iran a bit. The authorities here may say that the things that were said are not serious, but the people take it very seriously. I read online that the red line is a message for Obama from Israel.”
 
Shahanaz emphasized, “The message of the people of Iran to the Israeli people is that we have no war with you, not over matters of religion or over any other. It is time we put our religious differences and personal beliefs aside and look at each other as human beings.”

Iranian Official Mocks Netanyahu's UN Speech

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 06:00
Netanyahu draws the line - ReutersA senior Iranian foreign ministry official mocked on Sunday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's over his bomb diagram during his UN speech last week.
 
Addressing a ceremony in Iran's southern city of Kangan on Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Expatriates' Affairs Hassan Qashqavi said, according to the Fars news agency, “The fake regime of Israel is mocked by everyone in the world today, although such cheap actions of the leaders of the occupying Zionist regime are nothing new.”
 
He added that the Islamic Republic's dignity and might has angered Israeli regime officials so much that they show such silly reactions.
 
In his speech at the UN, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran's uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.
 
A day earlier, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran was being threatened “by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation”.
 
Meanwhile on Sunday, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi stressed the high capability of the country's cyberwar experts, and said the Iranian cyber forces have easily infiltrated enemies' data systems and accessed top secret information.
 
"Today our cyber forces have easily accessed the enemies' highly classified information, and (our) cyberwar codes have been promoted in a desirable manner," Fadavi was quoted by Fars as having said at a ceremony to inaugurate the IRGC Navy's Information Technology (IT) Systems in Tehran.
 
He also stressed the vital importance of information and cyber security for the IRGC, and said, "Today, the enemy is ready to pay billions of dollars to access even the most insignificant pieces of information of us."
 
A report on Sunday by Reuters revealed that Azerbaijan has looked into the possibility of assisting Israel with a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
 
The report, published by correspondent Thomas Grove, is based on "local officials with extensive knowledge of Azerbaijan’s military policy." According to these sources, Azeri authorities have, along with Israel, looked into how Azeri air force bases and the drones at its disposal could help the IAF to carry out attacks in Iran.

Iran's Statements on 90% Uranium Enrichment Exposed

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 September 2012 09:09
Ahmadinejad In recent months, Iranian regime spokesmen have conducted a campaign of statements regarding Iran's intent to enrich uranium for use in nuclear-fueled ships and submarines, according to a Thursday report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
MEMRI has found that regime officials, regime dailies, and websites close to the Iranian regime have issued no fewer than 12 such statements, in which they declared Iran's intent to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel to power both surface sea craft and submarines. It should be noted that while nuclear fuel for surface craft entails uranium enrichment of 50-60%, nuclear-powered submarines require enrichment of 90%, which is the same level needed for the production of a nuclear bomb.
 
MEMRI’s report translates and quotes the statements made on this issue by Iranian officials.
 
A report in the Fars news agency on July 17 said that Majlis (Iranian parliament) members prepared a draft bill requiring the government to design nuclear-powered merchant ships and provide them with nuclear fuel.
 
In the same report Majlis member Allahoradi Dehqani explained, "The government must enrich uranium to the level needed to provide fuel for these ships, since we cannot end our trade relations with other countries due to Western sanctions. Because of sanctions leveled by Western countries against Iran, which include a ban on providing fuel to Iranian vessels, Iran will replace fossil fuel with nuclear fuel in order to bypass the need to refuel during long voyages."
 
Another Majlis member involved in the initiative, Abolghasem Jarareh, said in a report in Fars three days later, "This [nuclear] fuel will undoubtedly [be enriched to a level] higher than 25%- to about 50-60%."
 
In an analysis published July 16, 2012, the website Mashreg News, which is close to security circles in Iran, claimed, "Iran's nuclear industry will have to increase nuclear enrichment to the average level of new marine reactors, in the range of 50-60%. Considering the new sanctions and pretexts meant to prevent the transfer of fuel to Iran's oil tankers, this move could be a substantial step that will bring about the neutralization, uprooting, and bypassing of the sanctions..."
 
The head of the Policy-Making Council of Iran's Friday Prayer Leaders, Hojjatoleslam Seyed Reza Taghavi, warned on July 22 that Tehran would enrich uranium to 56% if the pressure on it continued. He was quoted in the Entekhab newspaper.
 
MEMRI also quoted a declaration dated June 12 by Iranian Navy Deputy Commander for Technical Affairs Rear Adm. Abbas Zamini, who said that Iran had taken preliminary steps toward the construction of super-heavy nuclear-fueled submarines: "Right now, we are at the initial phases of manufacturing atomic submarines," he said according to Fars.
 
Amir Mousavi, a former advisor to the defense minister, said in a report on Al-Alam TV dated July 23, that Iran has the necessary knowhow to enrich uranium to the 50-60% level needed to fuel nuclear ships and submarines, but added that it was prepared to discuss Western demands if the West recognized its right to develop civilian nuclear technology.
 
MEMRI translated a report on the Iranian website Fa.irannuc.ir, which is close to Iran's team of nuclear negotiators, and which claimed on July 17, "Producing [nuclear] fuel for submarines and ships entails raising the level of enrichment beyond 20%. However, it is extremely important to note that this is an entirely civilian move, as, according to the NPT, Iran has the right to enrich [uranium] to any level it wishes, for civilian use. This [comes as] a direct response to Europe and the U.S.'s recent sanctions against Iran..."
 
The daily Etemad explained in a report dated July 18 that the move would serve Iran in future nuclear talks. "According to several Western commentators, the issue of producing nuclear fuel for submarines will enable Iran to pave the proper way for nuclear progress, as it will [entail] enriching uranium to a grade higher than 20%. Under these conditions, Iran will benefit from a greater potential for progress in future talks with the 5+1,” said the report.
 
The website Yjc.ir, which is close to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), claimed on July 28 that "according to authoritative reports published by scientific sources, producing fuel for nuclear submarines or ships necessitates uranium enrichment to a level of 90%, but technical experts in Tehran say that not all nuclear submarines require [fuel] enriched to 90%, and that fuel [enriched] to 52-57% will be sufficient."
 
However, noted MEMRI, in an apparent belated realization that the statements regarding nuclear submarines and 90% had incriminated Iran in intending to enrich uranium for military purposes beginning in early August 2012, Iranian media and regime mouthpieces are now refraining from mentioning the demand or the ability to enrich uranium to a level beyond 20%.
 
Furthermore, since late July 2012, regime officials have stressed that Tehran does not at this stage require enrichment beyond 20%, according to MEMRI.
 
On September 19, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) director Fereydoon Abbasi stated, following a meeting with IAEA chief Yukiya Amano at a gathering of the IAEA Board of Governors, “Iran has no intention of enriching uranium beyond 20%."
 
Majlis speaker Ali Larijani was interviewed by the Financial Times on September 22, 2012. Asked about Iran's decision to build nuclear submarines, which require enriched uranium beyond 20%, he said, "If the IAEA allows us to have some products for peaceful technology and under its supervision, then we can do it. But for now, we do not need it. If the IAEA had met its obligations and had provided the Tehran nuclear reactor with fuel plates, we would not have produced [even] 20% enriched uranium..."

Sanctions Hit Iran 'Hard'

Category: Reports
Created on Thursday, 27 September 2012 17:19
Iranian President Ahmadinejad A new report says Iran is being hard hit by international sanctions, but the evidence indicates its nuclear development activities are galloping ahead. 
 
The report, leaked Thursday allegedly by Israel's Foreign Ministry indicates the Islamic Republic is being hard hit by international economic sanctions. Oil exports from Iran have declined by 50 percent over the past year, and the prices of food and electricity have skyrocketed, according to claims published by the Israeli Hebrew-language Ha'aretz newspaper. 
 
Several international news outlets pounced on the report, confirmed to the newspaper anonymously by a Jerusalem source not authorized to speak to media, insisting it will undercut efforts by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to persuade members of the United Nations to finally set a “red line” for Iran on its nuclear development program. Efforts by Arutz Sheva to reach the Foreign Ministry spokesperson to verify the report were unsuccessful.
 
Netanyahu is scheduled to address the international body's General Assembly on Thursday afternoon, EDT.  The prime minister is expected to again call for increased pressure on Iran, stressing that the current sanctions are not having the desired effect.
 
While Iranians at home may well be facing hardships as a result of the sanctions, there is no evidence whatsoever the Islamic Republic has slowed down its uranium enrichment and other nuclear development activities.
 
In fact, if anything, Iran's uranium enrichment program has been stepped up, and its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated his calls for Israel's annihilation.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, chose to spend his off-the-floor time at the U.N. General Assembly at the television studio chatting with the host of The View. However, Obama insisted he had no time to spare for a meeting with Netanyahu, or with any other head of state. The decision received rather jaundiced reviews, especially following televised remarks on the CBS program '60 Minutes' in which he referred to Israel's repeated concerns over the Iranian nuclear threat as "noise." 
 
Obama said during the interview that he understands and agrees with Netanyahu's insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race -- but any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out -- any noise that's out there.”
 
While in New York, however, he did manage to take time to visit with entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z, and do a little fundraising for his re-election campaign.

Obama on Israel's 'Red Lines': Noise I Try to Ignore

Category: News
Created on Monday, 24 September 2012 09:13
Netanyahu speaks to ObamaU.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday likened Israeli pressure on him to draw a clear “red line” over Iran's nuclear ambitions to "noise" he tries to ignore, AFP reports.
 
Interviewed for Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes" on broadcaster CBS, Obama said he understands and agrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race.
 
At the same time, however, he added, “When it comes to our national security decisions – any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out -- any noise that's out there.”
 
Obama then said, “Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we're in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They're one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”
 
The comments come after a rise in tensions between Obama and Netanyahu over Iran. Netanyahu has demanded that the U.S. set clear “red lines” that Iran cannot cross in its campaign to obtain nuclear weapons.
 
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Obama rejected the idea of placing “red lines” for Iran during a phone conversation with Netanyahu two weeks ago, and received backing from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”
 
On Thursday, the United States sternly warned Iran that “time is running out” for its unsupervised nuclear program, in what may have been thinly-veiled support for Netanyahu’s “red line” demands.
 
"We will not engage in an endless process of negotiations that fail to produce any results. We must therefore remain clear and united in seeking resolution of the international community's concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. Time is wasting," Ambassador Rice said told a United Nations Security Council meeting on nuclear sanctions against Iran.
 
She added, "Iran's approach remains to deny, to deceive and distract.”
 
Meanwhile, Obama's contender for the presidency, Republican Mitt Romney, said Obama’s behavior was no way to treat an ally.
 
The decision not to meet with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, he said, also in an interview with "60 minutes", "is a mistake and sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what's necessary."
 
A spokeswoman for Romney's campaign, Andrea Saul, argued that Obama's reference to Israel as "one of our closest allies in the region" was unacceptable.
 
"This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East," Saul said, according to AFP. "Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and ...as president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel."

Ahmadinejad: Zionists Are 'At the End of the Line'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 September 2012 21:23
NY Daily News greets Ahmadnejad in 2007Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated that should Israel attack his country, the Islamic Republic will retaliate.
 
Ahmadinejad made the comments in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. The full interview will air on Monday, but excerpts were released on Sunday.
 
Asked by Morgan what his country’s response will be if it is attacked by Israel, the Iranian President replied, “The response of Iran is quite clear, I don't even need to explain that; any question in any nation has the right and will indeed defend herself. But my question is this, why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply-rooted historical, ancient country, such as Iran. A great country, such as Iran, based on an excuse of his own fabrication. So anyone can do this. Another country can say, I am guessing that country B is doing activity X, therefore I will attack that country. Can this be a successful formula for the management of the world?”
 
Morgan asked Ahmadinejad if he fears that war is imminent and whether he fears that there will be military conflict, perhaps before the end of this year, between Iran and Israel.
 
“Of course the Zionists are very much, very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things and I think they see themselves at the end of the line and I do firmly believe that they seek to create new opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors,” Ahmadinejad responded.
 
The interview also focused on the protests in the Middle East over the “Innocence of Muslims” film. Asked whether he condemned the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered, Ahmadinejad answered, “Fundamentally, first of all, any action that is provocative, offends the religious thoughts and feelings of any people, we condemn. Likewise, we condemn any type of extremism.
 
“Of course, what took place was ugly,” he added. “Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn’t take place and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy, or sanctity. But we also believe that this must also be resolved in a humane atmosphere, in a participatory environment and we do not like anyone losing their lives or being killed for any reason anywhere in the world.”
 
Asked whether he thinks the protests in the Middle East threatening the staff of American embassies should stop, the Iranian President replied, “You see, I cannot determine what people or nations should do, but I do think that extreme, extremism gives birth to following and subsequent extremists. Perhaps if the politicians take a better position in the West vis-a-vis offensive words or thoughts or pictures towards what we hold holy, I think conditions will improve.”
 
Ahmadinejad, together with a high-ranking delegation, arrived in New York Saturday evening to attend the 67th annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.
 
The Iranian President is scheduled to address the UN on Wednesday, September 26, which happens to also be Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
 
Despite protests from Jewish and non-Jewish groups alike, Ahmadinejad is expected to stay at the posh Warwick New York Hotel on Sixth Avenue. The hotel has refrained from publicly commenting on the matter.
 
Meanwhile, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday that Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike if Israel prepares to attack it,
 
Should Israel and Iran engage militarily, "nothing is predictable... and it will turn into World War III," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran's Arabic-language television network.
 
Hajizadeh, who is in charge of Revolutionary Guards missile systems, said: "In circumstances in which they (the Israelis) have prepared everything for an attack, it is possible that we will make a pre-emptive attack. But we do not see this at the moment."
 
He added that Iran would deem any Israeli strike to be conducted with U.S. authorization, so "whether the Zionist regime attacks with or without U.S. knowledge, then we will definitely attack U.S. bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan."

Iran Admits: We Might Attack First

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 September 2012 15:35
Patriot Missile BatteryIran could launch a pre-emptive strike if Israel prepares to attack it, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander told broadcaster Al-Alam on Sunday, a day after his boss warned that conflict was inevitable, the AFP news agency reports.
 
Should Israel and Iran engage militarily, "nothing is predictable... and it will turn into World War III," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran's Arabic-language television network.
 
Hajizadeh, who is in charge of Revolutionary Guards missile systems, said: "In circumstances in which they (the Israelis) have prepared everything for an attack, it is possible that we will make a pre-emptive attack. But we do not see this at the moment."
   
He added that Iran would deem any Israeli strike to be conducted with US authorization, so "whether the Zionist regime attacks with or without US knowledge, then we will definitely attack US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan."
 
He warned that Israel "cannot imagine our response -- and it will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration."
 
On Saturday, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said war between Iran and Israel "will eventually happen, but it is not certain where and when."
 
Jafari, quoted by the ISNA and Fars news agencies, also said such a conflict would lead to the annihilation of Israel.  "If they begin (aggression), it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story," he said.
 
On Sunday, Jafari's deputy, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, told Fars in an interview that Iran's "defensive strategy is based on the assumption that we will engage in a war, a massive battle against a global coalition led by the US."
 
He said the Islamic republic had made preparations to "crush" the enemy by hitting "enemy bases in the region, the security of the Zionist regime (Israel) and the energy market, as well as the lives of enemy forces."
 
He added: "We will not start a war. But if someone wages war against us, we will launch continuous offensives."
 
Tensions have risen significantly in recent weeks, with Israel threatening to unleash air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel believes Iran's nuclear program to be aimed at developing an atomic weapons capability that would menace its existence. Iran insists that its atomic program is exclusively for peaceful, civilian ends, but it is locked in a deepening stand-off with the UN nuclear watchdog and the UN Security Council over the issue.

Iran Threatens to Hit Israel and U.S. Bases

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 15:46
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari - AFP-Atta KenareThe head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Sunday warned of retaliation against the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz, U.S. bases in the Middle East and Israel if his country was to be attacked.
 
According to a report by AFP, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaking in a very rare news conference in Tehran, also said that he believed Iran would abandon the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should it be targeted for military action.
 
Jafari said that the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel at the entrance of the Gulf through which a third of the world's traded oil passes, would be a legitimate target for Iran should it be attacked.
 
“This is a declared policy by Iran that if war occurs in the region and the Islamic republic is involved, it is natural that the Strait of Hormuz as well as the energy (market) will face difficulties,” he said, according to AFP.
 
Jafari suggested that U.S. military bases -- such as those in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia -- would also be fair game for retaliation by Iranian missiles or proxy forces.
 
“The U.S. has many vulnerabilities around Iran, and its bases are within the range of the Guards' missiles. We have other capabilities as well, particularly when it comes to the support of Muslims for the Islamic republic,” he said.
 
He added that Tehran believed Israel was unsuccessfully trying to push the United States to take part in military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.
 
"I do not think the attack would be carried out without U.S. permission," said Jafari.
 
However if Israeli jets or missiles did strike Iran, "nothing of Israel will be left, considering its size," he warned.
 
"I do not think any part of Israel will be untouched given our missile capabilities. Thus, our response is in itself a deterrent,” said Jafari.
 
Jafari said that his personal opinion was that, in case of attack, Iran would leave the NPT which is meant to prevent states developing nuclear weapons while permitting atomic energy generation.
 
"In case of an attack, Iran's obligations will change. My assessment is that Iran may leave the NPT -- but it would not mean a dash towards a nuclear bomb because we have a religious edict from the supreme leader" against atomic weapons, he said.
 
Jafari’s threats came in the wake of repeated speculation that Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pushing the U.S. to define clear “red lines” that Iran cannot cross in its nuclear program, but President Barack Obama has rejected that idea.
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta backed Obama on the weekend and dismissed Netanyahu’s “red line” demand, saying that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”
 
Meanwhile, The London Telegraph reported Sunday that Obama and Netanyahu would meet in an unannounced meeting. There was no confirmation or denial from Washington - but the Prime Minister’s spokesman Mark Regev told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that the newspaper’s report they will meet on Sunday is “incorrect.”
 
Netanyahu, meanwhile, has harshly criticized Iran in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” which will air on Sunday, saying that Iran’s leaders are guided by "unbelievable fanaticism."
 
 “I think Iran is very different. They put their zealotry above their survival. They have suicide bombers all over the place. I wouldn't rely on their rationality," Netanyahu said, suggesting Iran cannot be contained in the same way as the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
 
Netanyahu said that critics who argue that taking action against Iran's nuclear program was "a lot worse" than a nuclear-armed Tehran, or that an Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East, "have set a new standard for human stupidity."

Netanyahu Reiterates 'Red Line' Demand on CNN

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 15:30
Netanyahu Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted once again on Sunday there must be "red lines" on halting Iran's nuclear ambitions, a stance the United States has rejected, AFP reported.
 
“They're moving very rapidly to completing the enrichment of the uranium that they need to produce a nuclear bomb. In six months or so they'll be 90 percent of the way there,” Netanyahu was quoted as having told CNN's "State of the Union" program.
 
“It's important to place a red line before Iran, and I think that actually reduces the chance of military conflict, because if they know there's a point, a stage in their enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they'll face consequences, I think they will actually not cross it,” he added.
 
Netanyahu has been pushing the U.S. to define clear “red lines” that Iran cannot cross in its nuclear program, but President Barack Obama has rejected that idea.
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta backed Obama on the weekend and dismissed Netanyahu’s “red line” demand, saying that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”
 
Netanyahu maintained during the interview with CNN that telling Iran there is a definite point it cannot cross would serve as a pre-emptive and effective deterrent.
 
“There wasn't such a red line before Saddam Hussein, on the eve of the Gulf War, when he invaded Kuwait, maybe that war could have been avoided," Netanyahu said.
 
“As Iran gets closer and closer to its completion of its nuclear program, I think it's important to put a red line before them and that's something we should discuss with the United States," he added.
 
In a second interview he gave to NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Netanyahu fired at Iran, saying its leaders are guided by "unbelievable fanaticism."
 
 “I think Iran is very different. They put their zealotry above their survival. They have suicide bombers all over the place. I wouldn't rely on their rationality," Netanyahu said, suggesting Iran cannot be contained in the same way as the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
 
Netanyahu said that critics who argue that taking action against Iran's nuclear program was "a lot worse" than a nuclear-armed Tehran, or that an Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East, "have set a new standard for human stupidity."
 
Meanwhile on Sunday, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned of retaliation against the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz, U.S. bases in the Middle East and Israel if his country was to be attacked.
 
General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel at the entrance of the Gulf through which a third of the world's traded oil passes, would be a legitimate target for Iran should it be attacked.
 
He suggested that U.S. military bases -- such as those in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia -- would also be fair game for retaliation by Iranian missiles or proxy forces.

Obama Rejected Netanyahu's Request for 'Red Line'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 14 September 2012 20:35
Netanyahu speaks to ObamaPresident Barack Obama rejected, during his phone conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, an appeal by Netanyahu to spell out a specific “red line” that Iran could not cross in its nuclear program, a senior administration official has told The New York Times.
 
The official said this deepens the divide between the allies over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
 
According to the official, in the hour long telephone conversation on Tuesday night, Obama deflected Netanyahu’s proposal to make the size of Iran’s stockpile of close-to-bomb-grade uranium the threshold for a military strike by the United States against its nuclear facilities.
 
Obama, the official told The New York Times, repeated the assurances he gave to. Netanyahu in March that the United States would not allow Iran to manufacture a nuclear weapon. The president was unwilling to agree on any specific action by Iran, like reaching a defined threshold on nuclear material, or failing to adhere to a deadline on negotiations, that would lead to American military action.
 
“We need some ability for the president to have decision-making room,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks, told The New York Times. “We have a red line, which is a nuclear weapon. We’re committed to that red line.”
 
Israeli officials, however, say this guarantee may not be enough for Israel, which Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened with annihilation. Diplomatic talks, the Israelis say, have done nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear program nor have economic sanctions, though they have inflicted significant damage on the Iranian economy.
 
The telephone conversation came after a tense day between the sides. It began with comments by Netanyahu that the Obama administration had no “moral right” to restrain Israel from taking military action on its own if it refused to put limits on Iran. It continued with reports that the White House had rebuffed a request by Netanyahu’s office for a meeting with Obama during the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month. The White House denied those reports, saying the two were simple not in New York at the same time. 

Langfan Challenges U.S. Senator Over Letter to Netanyahu

Category: Reports
Created on Friday, 14 September 2012 18:28
U.S. Senator Barbara BoxerNew York attorney Mark Langfan, a staunch supporter of Israel and a regular op-ed contributor to Arutz Sheva, challenged a U.S. Senator this week after she sent an angry letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He received no response.
 
On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent Netanyahu an angry letter in response to his comments that “those in the international community who refuse to place red lines before Iran have no moral right to place a red line before Israel.”
 
Boxer wrote Netanyahu, “I write to you as one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress to express my deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel and commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Your remarks are utterly contrary to the extraordinary United States-Israel alliance, evidenced by President Obama’s record and the record of Congress.
 
“As the author of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, I know that President Obama’s support for Israel is unshakeable. I cannot tell you how proud I was to stand next to the President as he signed this important legislation into law in July, further enshrining the strong security ties and friendship between our two nations.
 
“As you know, this law addresses many of Israel’s top security priorities, including extending loan guarantees to Israel and increasing the U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel, which is available for Israel’s use in the event of a crisis. The bill also recommits the United States to vetoing any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council.
 
“President Obama has made clear time and time again that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Boxer went on to say. “During a speech earlier this year, he stated: ‘I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power,’ including ‘a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.’ Anyone who has watched our President go after al Qaeda knows that he is resolute.
 
“President Obama has also reaffirmed that Israel has the right to make its own decisions regarding its security, stating that Iran ‘should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also repeated these commitments.
 
“In addition, President Obama has worked tirelessly to enact a crushing sanctions regime against Iran. He has helped rally the international community to make difficult economic decisions regarding imports of Iranian oil in a time of severe economic crisis. Today, the European Union imports no oil from Iran and other countries are reducing their purchases every day. Iran is also completely isolated from international financial markets.
 
“In light of this, I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel’s closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System?
 
“As other Israelis have said, it appears that you have injected politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time – Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.
 
“I urge you to step back and clarify your remarks so that the world sees that there is no daylight between the United States and Israel. As you personally stated during an appearance with President Obama in March, ‘We are you, and you are us. We’re together. So if there’s one thing that stands out clearly in the Middle East today, it’s that Israel and America stand together.’”
 
Upon reading the letter, Langfan e-mailed Boxer’s press officer Zachary Coile, who refused to answer any questions except to say that the “letter speaks for itself”.
 
Coile asked Langfan to supply him with written questions regarding the letter, which Langfan did on Thursday. As of the time of the writing of this article, Langfan has not received a response from Boxer’s office. The following are Langfan’s questions which refute Boxer’s letter to Netanyahu:
Did Senator Boxer seek President Obama’s, or the White House’s, approval or input before issuing her Netanyahu letter?
 
Did Senator Boxer seek any other Senator co-signors of the letter before she sent the letter? If so, why aren’t there any more Senator co-signors?
 
Did Senator Boxer call Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to privately talk to him about his concerns before she issued her public Netanyahu letter claiming she is “stunned”?
 
If no, then hasn’t Senator Boxer’s public letter to PM Netanyahu “injected politics onto one of the most profound security challenges of our time- Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons”?
 
Does Senator Boxer agree with President Obama’s “No Iranian Red Line” policy?
 
Is Senator Boxer aware of the Section 721 Intelligence reports issued by the United States Director of National Intelligence (USDNI) which goes back to 2008, and earlier, which shows that virtually all of Iran’s 6000K of enriched 3.8% U235 as enriched and stockpiled solely on President Obama’s watch?
 
In light of the USDNI’s unclassified Section 721 reports of Iranian enriched U235 stockpiles, how can Senator Boxer claim PM Netanyahu’s “remarks” “are utterly contrary to” the Iranian nuclear evidence of “President Obama’s record.”?
 
In light of the USDNI’s unclassified Section 721 reports, how can Senator Boxer claim President Obama has done “everything in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”?
 
How can Senator Boxer hope to hear Netanyahu repeat “that Israel and America stand together,” when President Obama is refusing to even sit down with PM Netanyahu this trip to the US?
 
Does Senator Boxer believe it is appropriate to issue such a letter to what Senator Boxer claims is a US ally on the same day an American Ambassador and 3 embassy staff were murdered by Muslim extremists?
 
Does Boxer agree to the following deletions in the 2012 Democratic Party Platform?
 
On Jerusalem - “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…”
 
On Palestinian refugees - The peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”
 
On Hamas - “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”
 
On Israel - “Israel, our strongest ally in the region…”

Canada Closes Embassy in Iran, Expels Iranian Diplomats

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 September 2012 17:04
Iranian Emassy in CanadaCanada announced on Friday that it is closing its embassy in Iran and would be expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada.
 
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement, “Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada.
 
“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” said Baird.
 
“The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime; it refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program; it routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide; it is among the world’s worst violators of human rights; and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, requiring the Government of Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.
 
“Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel,” said Baird’s statement. “Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our number one priority.
 
“Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. All Canadian diplomatic staff have left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days.
 
Canadian flag“Canada has updated its Travel Reports and Warnings to advise Canadians to avoid all travel to Iran. Canadians who have Iranian nationality are warned in particular that the Iranian regime does not recognize the principle of dual nationality. By doing so, Iran makes it virtually impossible for Government of Canada officials to provide consular assistance to Iranian-Canadians in difficulty.”
 
Canada’s announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose office said in a statement on Friday, “A week after the show of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the Canadian government has adopted a highly moral step. The determination shown by Canada is very important so the Iranians realize they cannot continue the race for nuclear weapons.
 
“This practical step should be an example to the international community of morality and responsibility,” said the statement. “It is important that the international community join this pressure by presenting clear red lines for Iran.”

Time is Running Out' on Iran

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 02 September 2012 09:50
Binyamin NetanyahuA meeting last week between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a visiting U.S. lawmaker ended on a sour note over the Iranian nuclear issue, the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday.
 
The report quoted officials who attended a meeting between Netanyahu and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI). The sources said that Netanyahu strongly criticized U.S. President Barack Obama during the meeting, claiming that he is not doing enough to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
 
“Instead of effectively pressuring Iran, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack its nuclear facilities,” Netanyahu reportedly said. He then criticized what he termed the Americans’ “stalling” and the declarations on the part of U.S. officials that there is still time for diplomacy. “Time is running out,” he was quoted as having said.
 
According to the report, the escalation came when U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, who also attended the meeting, fired back at Netanyahu and accused him of misrepresenting the position of President of the United States.
 
Shapiro reportedly quoted Obama, who promised he would not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and has often said that “all options are on the table.”
 
Officials at the meeting also told Yediot Aharonot that the argument between the two intensified to an exceptional level. The U.S. Embassy chose not to comment.
 
Friday’s report came a day after the U.S. military's top officer made statements which appear to warn Israel that it should not expect U.S. assistance if it chooses to attack Iran's nuclear weapons program.
 
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program.” He added: "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."
 
Dempsey said he did not know Iran's nuclear intentions, since intelligence does not reveal intentions. What was clear, he said, was that the "international coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely".
 
Also on Thursday, a new report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity by at least 30% in the last four months

Iran Has Installed Hundreds of New Centrifuges, Say Diplomats

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 23 August 2012 20:28
Irans uranium enrichmentIran has accelerated its activities at the Fordo underground nuclear facility near Qom, international diplomats said Thursday. The information is of concern to Israel, which fears Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
 
The information revealed by the diplomats comes several days before the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is set to publish a new report on Iran’s nuclear program. According to the diplomats, the report will say that Iran has installed new centrifuges at the Fordo uranium enrichment facility.
 
One of the diplomats estimated that hundreds of centrifuges were recently installed at Fordo and said that the IAEA’s basic premise is that Iran is continuing to install them. He added that the newly installed centrifuges are not yet active.
 
Iran admitted last year it was moving more centrifuge machines for enriching uranium to the underground Fordo facility, which is carved into a mountain to protect it against possible attacks.
 
The existence of the facility near Qom only came to light after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009. The UN’s nuclear watchdog has already confirmed that Iran begun enriching uranium at the plant.
 
If the new IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program verifies the diplomats’ claims, it may cause greater concern among Western countries of Iran's intentions and be used as proof that it continues to defy the international community’s demands that it stop its nuclear program.
 
The newest information was revealed two days after the IAEA announced that it will renew its efforts to acquire access to the Iranian military installations in which experiments involving nuclear warheads are suspected to have taken place. The negotiations are set to begin on Friday.
 
In addition to the Fordo site, the IAEA is also concerned about the Parchin military complex, a suspected nuclear-trigger test site, near which Iran razed two buildings several months ago.
 
The last round between the UN’s nuclear watchdog and Iran took place in June. The two sides failed to agree on a deal allowing greater access to Tehran's contested nuclear program, including Parchin.
 
A senior diplomat who was asked on Tuesday about the possibility that the Iranians have cleaned up the evidence of nuclear activity in Parchin, said that Iran has entered the “final stages” of the clean-up of the evidence.
 
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that the information he provided is based on satellite photographs of the facility, but would not elaborate.

Attack on Iran Means Regional War

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 12 August 2012 07:54
Jericho III MissileAn Israeli military attack on Iran would ignite a regional war, former IDF Operations Commander Yisrael Ziv told Army Radio Sunday.
 
Reiterating other officials' observations that an attack cannot be compared with the aerial strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Ziv said, “We are talking about a number of operations and not just one.”
 
He also warned that a flood of statements from the offices of the Prime Minister and the Defense Ministry signal a “worrisome lack of security” in the government.
 
Knesset Member Tzachi HaNegbi issued a public plea to politicians on Sunday to keep quiet on Iran, but pundits both in Israel and elsewhere continue to make predictions and develop analyses in the wake of the latest reports that Iran is rapidly approaching its goal of developing a nuclear warhead that can be placed on a missile aimed at Israel.
 
Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The Atlantic on Sunday, echoed Ziv’s warnings. “A strike could trigger an overt war without end… and an all-out missile war may escalate into something especially horrific, so in essence, Israel would be trading a theoretical war later for an actual war now,” he wrote.
 
Goldberg listed six other reasons against an Israeli military attack, ranging from the risk of the deaths of innocent people, both Iranian and Israeli, to a possible “disaster for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
 
The recent escalation in warnings that Iran is rapidly approaching its unstated goal of developing a nuclear warhead, that presumably would be pointed at Israel, has been followed with analyses and predictions that cover every possibility of whether Iran nuclear capability is imminent or in the distant future.

Financial System Preparing for Iran Strike

Category: News
Created on Friday, 10 August 2012 18:22
Professor Stanley FischerBank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said on Friday that the financial system is preparing for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and for a possible downturn in the economy which may result.
 
Speaking to Channel 2 News, Fischer said, “The primary responsibility of each country is to maintain its security. It is possible to describe situations of widespread war which would be very difficult to deal with. We are preparing for a major crisis and for security situation which is much worse.”
 
During the interview, Fischer also addressed the pressing economic issues at hand, especially the economic measures recently approved by the government. These include a tax hike and across-the-board budget cuts for government ministries.
 
“Netanyahu and Steinitz are working in a measured way,” he said, praising the work being done by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister. “Most of the taxes will be imposed on the relatively higher levels of society, and much less on the poor and middle class.”
 
Fischer warned that there may soon be a global financial crisis, similar to the one in 2008, saying, “If Greece leaves the eurozone and it snowballs, we will be in deep trouble, because there will be a global financial crisis like in 2008. This will cause us problems which we can deal with if we are in the best condition possible.”
 
He added, “The economy is in good condition. It’s not in great condition. I’ve said that and this continues to be the case. We are handling the crisis. When the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister see the future and deal with the crisis before an election - this is a courageous policy.”

The World Talks as Iran Acts to Destroy Israel

Category: Reports
Created on Thursday, 09 August 2012 06:57
Michael OrenThe world wasted 10 years of Israeli warnings on Iran’s nuclear program and another eight years before imposing belated sanctions, says Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
 
His op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal was another implied hint that Israel cannot wait much longer before trying to delay Iran’s nuclear program with a military attack, and such articles by the ambassador to the United States presumably are coordinated with Israel's highest officials.
 
“Historically, Israel has exercised that right [to defend itself] only after exhausting all reasonable diplomatic means,” he wrote. “But as the repeated attempts to negotiate with Iran have demonstrated, neither diplomacy nor sanctions has removed the threat.”
 
Oren noted that Israel exposed to the world in 2002 that Iran built a secret nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz. Since then, “The ayatollahs systematically lied about their nuclear operations, installing more than 10,000 centrifuges, a significant number of them in a once-secret underground facility at Qom.
 
“Iran is also the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It has supplied more than 70,000 rockets to terrorist organizations deployed on Israel's borders and has tried to murder civilians across five continents and 25 countries, including in the United States… By providing fighters and funds, Iran is enabling Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to massacre his own people.”
 
Oren underscored that Iran has become a global terror threat even without nuclear weapons, and if they are acquired, it will be easier for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to carry out his policy stated last week that "the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the key for solving the world problems."
 
The Israelis ambassador, a native of the United States, said that Iran’s rhetoric makes it clear it has no plans for forfeiting its nuclear ambitions.   
 
“Iran will continue to drag out the negotiations while installing more centrifuges. These, according to the IAEA, are spinning even faster. The sanctions, which have dealt a blow to Iran's economy, have not affected the nuclear program. Meanwhile, more of Iran's expanding stockpile will be hidden in fortified bunkers beyond Israel's reach.”
 
Oren diplomatically wrote that Israel appreciates “the determination of President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the sanctions and their pledge to keep all options on the table” and reminded readers that “the president has affirmed Israel's right "to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," and "to make its own decision about what is required to meet its security needs."
 
Oren said that sanctions along with “a credible military threat—a threat that the ayatollahs still do not believe today – may yet convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear dreams. But time is dwindling and, with each passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly imperiled.
 
“The window that opened 20 years ago is now almost shut.”

Iran's Rial Sinks to Historical Low

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:54
06-06-12Iran's rial sank about five percent in trading against the U.S. dollar on Monday, after the central bank said it would change the currency's official exchange rate, prompting fears of another devaluation as the economy suffers from international sanctions.
 
Reuters reported that the rial was trading in the free market at around 21,510 per dollar, down from about 20,440 on Sunday.
 
The report said that most dealers in Tehran's major currency trading district stopped selling dollars on Monday and removed signs from windows advertising their rates. The local Mehr News Agency said the rial fell as low as 22,000 before partly recovering to 21,400.
 
Central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani said on Sunday he would announce a change to the government's “reference rate” of 12,260 rials to the dollar “within the next 10 days.”
 
He did not elaborate, but Iranian media speculated the new reference rate might be between 15,000 and 16,000 rials. Most Iranians are unable to obtain dollars at the official rate and must instead use the free market, which is far more expensive.
 
Iran's economy has been hit hard in the past year by sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program. The country has largely been cut off from the international banking system and the rial has lost about half its value against the dollar in the free market.
 
In January it was reported that the Iranian currency sank by 80 percent in just one month, after the European Union slapped sanctions on oil imports. The rate in December was 10,700 rials to the dollar.
 
Last week, the United States Congress passed a new package of sanctions against Iran. The sanctions aim to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil. A day earlier, President Barack Obama announced sanctions against foreign banks that help Iran sell its oil, specifically citing China's Bank of Kunlun and an Iraqi bank.
 
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, admitted last week that the main threat to his country is the “soft war” being waged against it.
 
Soft war is a term which usually describes steps such as sanctions, cyber warfare and espionage activities.

An Attack on Iran 'Within Weeks or Months'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 August 2012 17:09
Nuclear IranAharon Ze'evi-Farkash, former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, predicted on Friday that an Israeli attack on Iran could take place in the near future.
 
“It could happen within weeks or months,” Ze’evi-Farkash said in an interview with Channel 2 News.
 
“There is a need to stop Iran's nuclear program,” he clarified, adding, “I do not know if Israel plans to attack soon, the prime minister said the issue has not yet been decided. But the way I understand the big picture, it seems it will happen soon.”
 
Ze’evi-Farkash also sided with other former senior defense officials, such as former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, who have expressed their opposition to the move. Ze’evi-Farkash warned that an attack on Iran may cause significant damage to Israel, saying he believes Israel should prepare a plan for military action, but at least for now - not apply it in practice.
 
“We must take into account that at this time we should re-evaluate the picture that emerges regarding our ability to act, when required to do so,” he said, stressing that his remarks should not be seen as a call to remove the military option off the table.
 
“The Iranians need to understand that if they do not cease their efforts to become nuclear, the moment will come when they will have to absorb a blow - especially to their military bases,” said Ze’evi-Farkash, who predicted that in such a case the IDF will not operate alone. “The blow will be dealt by a coalition, an American one or even an Israeli one.”
 
The main message Ze'evi-Farkash wanted to convey was in regards to priorities he feels the Israeli political leadership should adopt.
 
“There are several options, only the last of which should be attacking,” he stressed. “We have to give the coalition that is pressuring Iran a chance to act and let things settle. Only if all of this will not work, there will be a need to take military action.”
 
He also noted the great importance, in the event of military action against Iran, of raising as broad a support as possible within the international community.
 
“If ultimately we have no choice we’ll have to make decisions according to the situation at the time,” said Ze’evi-Farkash. “The fact that a coalition putting pressure on Iran has been formed is a stunning achievement which should be given the chance to gain strength.”
 
Ze’evi-Farkash’s comments come after former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy indicated on Thursday that Israel is likely to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in a matter of weeks.
 
“If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks,” he told the New York Times.
 
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, admitted on Friday that the main threat to his country is the “soft war” being waged against it.
 
Jafari did not clarify exactly what he meant, but soft war is a term which usually describes steps such as sanctions, cyber warfare and espionage activities.
 
On Wednesday, the United States Congress passed a new package of sanctions against Iran. The sanctions aim to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.

Israel Will be Destroyed if it Attacks

Category: News
Created on Monday, 02 July 2012 07:34
AhmadinejadThe Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Unit, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, threatened Israel on Sunday, saying it will be destroyed if it “ventures an attack” on Iran. His remarks were quoted by the Iranian IRNA news agency.
 
Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Hajizadeh said that Iran was in the final stages of producing its new anti-radar ballistic missiles that had a range of 300 kilometers. IRNA quoted him as having said the missiles were “able to target any radar centers on land or sea with high accuracy and destroy it several times faster than the speed of sound.”
 
A report in the Tehran Times noted that the Revolutionary Guards will start a three-day missile exercise, entitled the Great Prophet 7.
 
Amir Ali HajizadehThe report quoted Hajizadeh as having said, “During the war games, long-range, medium-range, and short-range missiles will be used and will be fired from different points across the country at 100 designated targets.
 
He also said that domestically manufactured missiles will be fired at bases modeled on airbases of the extra-regional powers, which have been constructed in the heart of the Semnan desert in north central Iran in order to allow experts to assess the precision and efficiency of warheads and missile systems.
 
During the maneuvers, unmanned aircraft will carry out operations, Hajizadeh said.
 
Meanwhile on Sunday, expanded sanctions by European countries against Iran went into effect. The sanctions ban nearly all imports of oil from Iran, and European companies will no longer be allowed to insure Iranian oil ships.
 
Iran Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic is "easily" selling its oil despite western sanctions, because some countries have received waivers from the U.S. to import Iranian oil despite the measures.
 
Bahmani said Iran would take action against the sanctions, but did not specify what it had in mind. "We have not remained passive. For confronting the sanctions, we have plans in progress," he said.

Ahmadinejad: World Powers Wasting Time

Category: News
Created on Friday, 08 June 2012 07:54
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused major world powers on Wednesday of looking for ways to “find excuses and to waste time” in talks over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.Ahmadinejad
 
“Iran is ready to pursue negotiations in Moscow, and even in Beijing, and has made good proposals,” Ahmadinejad said in the Chinese capital, according to AFP, referring to talks set for later this month in Moscow.
 
“But taking into account that, after a meeting in Baghdad and, in conformity with what was agreed, our efforts to arrange a meeting between the deputies of (EU foreign policy chief Catherine) Ashton and the deputy of (Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili) have not been successful, we consider that the West is looking for excuses to waste time,” he added, in remarks posted on the government website.
 
Earlier on Wednesday, Jalili said that Iran doubts the willingness of world powers to succeed in upcoming talks in Moscow over its disputed nuclear program.
 
“Delay by the other side in holding the meeting of experts and deputies is casting doubt and uncertainty on the willingness (of the P5+1) for success in the talks in Moscow,” state news agency IRNA quoted Jalili as saying in a letter to Ashton.
 
“The process of talks only for (further) talks is fruitless,” added Jalili.
 
Iran's doubts were publicized a day after reports that it had sent two letters to Ashton’s deputy, asking for a preparatory meeting of experts as agreed in talks last month in Baghdad.
 
Iran's Supreme National Security Council, which oversees the nuclear talks, found the EU response to the letters “unsatisfactory” and only touching on “general topics,” AFP reported.
 
Ashton spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told AFP on Wednesday that to succeed in Moscow “engagement on substance is key, not the process.”
 
“The issue is of (a) political nature and we need (a) clear signal of Iranian readiness to engage on the substance” of proposals made by the P5+1 in Baghdad, she said, adding that “Ashton will take up the issue directly” with Jalili.
 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week the Islamic Republic must act by this month's talks with world powers in Moscow.
 
“Our negotiations with Iran have never been about intentions or sincerity, but about actions and results,” Clinton said, adding the U.S. needed to see “concrete actions” at the talks in Russia's capital, which are set to begin June 17.
 
Meanwhile, Iran accused the United Nations nuclear watchdog of spying and vowed never to suspend uranium enrichment.
 
Tehran's IAEA envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said “Iran will resist to the end” and “will not permit our national security to be jeopardized” by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors working for Western intelligence agencies.
 
Soltanieh added, “Iran will never suspend its enrichment activities.”
 
Earlier this week the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) reported that Iran may be building a third gas centrifuge enrichment plant.
 
The report cited concerns that Iran’s position that it can delay telling the IAEA about the construction of a nuclear facility until six months before the introduction of nuclear material, means it can essentially finish building a plant before notifying the IAEA of its existence.

Iran Thinks US and Israel Unable to Attack

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 20:39
F16 01Iran is convinced that Israeli and the United States are unable to stage an attack on its nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Wednesday morning.
 
He added that Iran is only trying to buy time while it tries to reach the point where it cannot be successfully attacked and can develop the capability to manufacture a nuclear weapon.
 
Speaking at an INSS conference at Tel Aviv University, Barak warned, “The Iranian threat is significant and is not disappearing. We are at a fateful crossroads." Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spelled out at the conference Tuesday night Israel’s demands from the world powers trying to reach an agreement with Iran over international supervision of its nuclear program. Iran already is enriching  20 percent grade uranium, a key element for a nuclear weapon, and Israel wants it to be restricted to "zero enrichment."
 
“Why not draw clear red lines,” Barak said in his lecture, adding that the Iranian Ayatollah and his aides “are not dumb and correctly understand [their nuclear program] is being exposed and that action might be taken to endanger their progress.
 
Barak also warned, “The practicality of their actions is to buy more time until it is immune to an attack and can take the additional step of manufacturing a nuclear weapon.”
 
He explained that the  “Iranians work systematically and  patiently” towards their nuclear objective.
 
The Defense Minster said the world’s objective must be “to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capability, and no option should be taken off the table.”
 
He said that besides the Iranian threat, Israel faces other challenges from terrorism in general and from the entire situation in the Middle East.
 
Noting that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu do not “take decisions by ourselves in some dark room," Barak declared, “The government of Israel is responsible for taking decisions on the future of the security f the country – and I carefully add for the Jewish people, most of whom live in our tiny country.”

Attack on Iran Would be Better than Nuclear Iran

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 06:37
Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said on Tuesday that military action in Iran would be less dangerous to Israel than if Iran obtains a nuclear bomb.Amos Yadlin
 
Speaking at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Yadlin said, according to Army Radio, “Attacking Iran would be less dangerous for Israel than a nuclear Iran, but we need to work out a strategic plan not only for the attack itself but also for the day after the attack.”
 
Speaking at the same conference, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his disappointment over the way the negotiations between world powers and Iran, over its disputed nuclear program, were going.
 
“Not only should the sanctions on Iran be increased, the demands for which the sanctions were imposed must be increased and it must be insisted that Iran meets these requirements in full,” Netanyahu said.
 
He added, “Iran should stop all enrichment of nuclear material, it should remove all the material that has been enriched up to now and it should shut down the underground nuclear facility in Qom. Only an explicit Iranian commitment to realize all three of these requirements and ensuring their implementation can stop the Iranian nuclear program. This should be the target of the negotiations, but I say with regret that this is not what is demanded from Iran today.”
 
Also speaking at the conference was Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who warned that “Any military strike will only delay, not destroy, Iran’s nuclear program.”
 
According to Flournoy, who cited the INSS paper that was distributed ahead of the conference, “It is something that would buy us time, but it would not by itself solve the problem in any enduring way.
 
The paper, she pointed out, said a military strike would need to be followed by international pressure on Iran. This means that the international community would need to have supported a military strike in the first place.
 
“If Israel, or any other country, were to launch a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear program prematurely, it would undermine the legitimacy of the action in the eyes of the broader international community and would undermine the ability of the international community to come together for this critical longer term campaign,” said Flournoy.

Striking Iran Prematurely Would be Wrong

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 06:24
Michele FlournoyMichèle Flournoy, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, spoke on Tuesday at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv.
 
During her remarks, Flournoy spoke of some of the challenges faced by both the United States and Israel in the wake of the changes in the Middle East, and offered some solutions that should be considered.
 
“We don’t know yet who is going to win Egypt’s runoff elections, but we do know that the Muslim Brotherhood is very well organized and positioned for the race,” she said.
 
Flournoy noted that it is an important priority to ensure that both Egypt and Jordan remain committed to the peace agreements they signed with Israel, no matter what changes occur in both countries.
 
She said that “failing to implement these treaties would be disastrous for all parties, not just Israel,” adding that “I think the United States and Israel must engage with new leaders to help them understand the importance and that it’s in their interests to continue to abide by these commitments.”
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“The U.S., for its part, should be willing to use our leverage,” said Flournoy. “Whether it’s our security cooperation programs, our influence with regard to international financial institutions and the assistance packages they put together, we need to be prepared to use our influence to ensure that these countries understand that keeping the peace and keeping their obligations to peace is a requirement for their support.”
 
She called on Israel to continue strategic dialogue with the Egyptian leadership, no matter who ends up being elected, and ensure that military cooperation between the two countries continues in order to control the anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula.
 
Flournoy stressed the importance of Israel working to repair its strained relations with Turkey.
 
“This is a really important opportunity for Israel to repair its relationship with Turkey,” she said, adding, “Turkey has emerged in the region as one of the strongest and most influential voices. It remains a close and valued NATO ally for the United States and I believe it does share our interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.”
 
“I understand that past events have made concrete steps towards reconciliation difficult, but if there’s ever a time for Israel to rise above past differences with Turkey, now is that time,” said Flournoy. “Israel must act more strategically, and I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to rebuild its partnership with Turkey.”
 
Finally, Flournoy addressed the Iranian nuclear issue and, while she stressed that President Obama will take no options off the table, she added, “Any military strike will only delay, not destroy, Iran’s nuclear program. American estimates suggest a delay of one to three years for an Israeli strike.”
 
“It is something that would buy us time, but it would not by itself solve the problem in any enduring way,” said Flournoy, who cited the INSS paper that was distributed ahead of the conference.
 
The paper, she pointed out, said a military strike would need to be followed by international pressure on Iran. This means that the international community would need to have supported a military strike in the first place.
 
“If Israel, or any other country, were to launch a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear program prematurely, it would undermine the legitimacy of the action in the eyes of the broader international community and would undermine the ability of the international community to come together for this critical longer term campaign,” said Flournoy.

Hamas Won't Fight Israel Over Iran, Says Haniyeh

Category: Reports
Created on Saturday, 12 May 2012 12:28
Ismail Haniyeh0Hamas’ Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reiterated on Thursday that his organization will not be dragged into war against Israel if the Jewish State decides to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
 
“Hamas is an organization which works in the Palestinian arena and operates in a way that is compatible with the interests of the Palestinians,” Haniyeh said in an interview, according to Israel’s Channel 10 News.
 
Haniyeh stressed that the Islamic Republic did not seek any support from Hamas should Israel decide to attack Iran.
 
“Iran did not ask for anything and we think it does not need us,” said Haniyeh, adding that an Israeli attack in Iran would lead to serious consequences in the Middle East. “I cannot predict what will happen, but such a battle would have implications on the region.”
 
Several months ago, senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil claimed the terror group will not do Iran's bidding in any war with Israel.
 
“If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war,” Bardawil said, adding, “Hamas is not part of military alliances in the region. Our strategy is to defend our rights.”
 
Iran, once a supporter of Hamas, has been at odds with the terror group over the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. As a result of Hamas’ refusal to support Assad in the uprising, an angry Iran reportedly stopped supplying the terror group with weapons.
 
It is believed the weapons arsenal Iran sends to Gaza is intended solely for the Islamic Jihad and to organizations such as the Popular Resistance Committees.
 
Earlier on Thursday Channel 10 reported that the United States is worried that Shaul Mofaz and his Kadima party’s joining a unity government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could result in an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities at any given moment.
 
Israel – like the United States, its European allies, and Gulf Arab states – believe Iran is conducting nuclear work with military applications.

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