Tuesday, July 14, 2015

From Ian:

Six world powers adopt nuclear deal with Iran
Formally known as the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 100-page document amounts to the most significant multilateral agreement reached in several decades. Its final form is roundly opposed in Israel— by the government, by its opposition, and by the public at large.
The JCPOA allows Iran to retain much of its nuclear infrastructure, and grants it the right to enrich uranium on its own soil. But the deal also requires Iran to cap and partially roll back that infrastructure for ten to fifteen years, and grants the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, managed access to monitor that program with intrusive inspections.
In exchange, the governments of Britain, France, Russia, China, the US and Germany have agreed to lift all UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic— once Iran abides by a set of nuclear-related commitments.
The moment Tehran receives sanctions relief— including access to an estimated $100 billion in frozen assets overseas— will be on "implementation day," as one senior administration official put it on Tuesday morning in Vienna. That date is not set, and is entirely reliant on the pace of Iran's initial haste in preparing for life under the deal.
Once Iran has reduced its stockpile to just 300 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride, disconnected and removed some of its infrastructure and neutered its heavy-water plutonium reactor at Arak, the UN Security Council will vote to lift all sanctions at once.
A Joint Commission has been established to adjudicate disagreements in the deal and, if necessary, vote to demand access to a specific site, or to request the reimposition of sanctions. The commission will be comprised of one delegate each from the permanent five members of the Security Council, Iran and the EU.
Negotiators failed to meet the standard of achieving "anytime, anywhere" access that several members of the United States Congress had demanded as a part of any nuclear deal. Instead, in the event Iran objects to an IAEA request for access to a specific site, a "clock" will begin that grants the two sides 14 days to negotiate.
Netanyahu calls Iran deal ‘historic mistake for world’
Criticism of the deal came from both sides of Israel’s political spectrum as the pact, long feared in Israel as paving Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, was clinched by the sides after years of talks.
“From the initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is an historic mistake for the world,” Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders. “Far-reaching concessions have been made in all areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.”
Echoing comments he made a day earlier, Netanyahu said the agreement was inevitable when the US was willing to cave to Iranian demands even as Tehran officials led public calls of “Death to America.”
“I would like to say here and now – when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result.”
Netanyahu, who has lobbied incessantly against the emerging agreement, said he never opposed the deal, but rather Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything, and therefore we did not commit to preventing an agreement. We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands,” he said.


Netanyahu convenes security cabinet: Israel not bound by deal with Iran
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers has made the world a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday.
Netanyahu's comments came as he was set to convene his Security Cabinet to discuss Israel's response to the deal.
"The world powers bet our collective future on a deal with the world's number one sponsor of terror," the prime minister said.
He accused the world powers of gambling that Iran's regime will change in ten years' time when aspects of the deal expire. "The deal gives Iran every incentive not to change," he said. The deal will give Iran a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars which will fuel its efforts to destroy Israel, he said.
Netanyahu hinted that the military option was still on the table, saying that "is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."
Rouhani derides failure of ‘warmongering Zionist regime’
Declaring that the nuclear deal struck by Iran with world powers meets all of Iran’s aims, President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday also derided Israel for what he called its “failed” attempts to undermine his country’s interests.
“Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the usurper Zionist regime,” Rouhani said, in a speech in which he declared that “today major world powers recognized Iran’s nuclear program.”
“The Zionist state has failed in its efforts,” he said, speaking live in a nationwide televised address.
He also tweeted: “To our neighbours: Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the warmongering Zionist regime.”



In Full: Key Elements of Iran Deal
Key points of the deal:
- Iran will reduce its uranium enrichment capacity by two-thirds. This will involve stopping the use of its underground facility at Fordow for enriching uranium.
- Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium will be reduced by 95%, to 300 kg. This will be done either by diluting the enriched uranium or shipping it out of the country.
- The core of the heavy water reactor in Arak will be removed, and it will be redesigned so that it will not produce significant amounts of plutonium.
- Iran will allow UN inspectors to enter sites, including military sites, when the inspectors have grounds to believe undeclared nuclear activity is being carried out there. It can object but a multinational commission can override any objections by majority vote. After that, Iran will have three days to comply. Inspectors will only come from countries with diplomatic relations with Iran – therefore, they will not include Americans.
- Once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has taken steps to scale back its program, UN, US and EU sanctions on Iran will be lifted.
- Restrictions on trade in conventional weapons will last another five years.
- Restrictions on trade in ballistic missile technology will last another eight years.
- If there are allegations that Iran has not met its obligations, a joint commission will seek to resolve the dispute. If that effort is not successful within 30 days, the matter would be referred to the UN Security Council, which would vote on continuing sanctions relief. A veto by a permanent member would mean that sanctions are reimposed. The whole process would take 65 days.
Whitehouse [InfoGraphics]: Blocking the Four Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon
After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 -- the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany -- along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.
This deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.
Now, with this deal in place, the U.S., our allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Here's how:
Full Obama Speech: We Stopped a Middle East Nuclear Arms Race
US President Barack Obama delivered a statement on the deal struck between Iran and world powers at 7 a.m. EST (2 p.m. in Israel) from the White House.
"Today, after 2 years of negotiations, the US, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive, long-term deal that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he said.
Obama stated that the deal fits with a "long tradition of American leadership," quoting John F. Kennedy saying, "let us never negotiate out of fear, but never let us fear to negotiate."
According to the president, the deal blocks the risk of nuclear arms proliferation in the Middle East.
Obama urges Iran to end calls to eradicate Israel
Hailing American diplomacy and asserting that the deal struck with Iran cuts off “all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon,” President Barack Obama also sought to address Israel’s concerns over the accord.
He said the US shares the concerns of Israel and other regional allies over Iran’s support for terrorism, “but that is precisely why we are taking this step: Because an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon would be far more destabilizing and far more dangerous to our friends and to the world.”
“We will continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel’s security, efforts that go beyond what any American administration has done before,” Obama vowed in early morning remarks from the White House.
He said it was incumbent on the US to “continue to test whether this region, which has known so much suffering, so much bloodshed, can move in a different direction.”
“It is possible to change,” he said, castigating Iran’s hardline stance to date, including its threats to “attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel.” This approach, he said, was “a dead end.” What was needed from Iran, he said, is a “different path… This is an opportunity, and we should seize it.”
Netanyahu launches Farsi Twitter account
With Iran and world powers close to a nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a Twitter account in Farsi Monday to reach out to the Iranian public.
In his first tweet, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately criticized the ongoing negotiations. Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of the emerging deal.
Netanyahu’s office said Monday that the Farsi account will publish content similar to Netanyahu’s English and Hebrew accounts to engage directly with the Iranian people.
The Israeli leader has a popular following on Twitter and often tweets videos and photos with messages critical of the Iranian government and nuclear negotiations.
Iranian Official: 'We Will Take 1,000 Americans Hostage' if US Considers Military Action
Iran’s secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council and recently-returned head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohesen Rezaei says Iran is prepared to take 1,000 Americans hostages and demand billions of dollars in ransom for each of them if the United States even considers waging war against Iran.
In an interview with Iran’s State TV IRIB on Saturday, Rezaei made this solemn vow:
I am promising you, I promise the people of Iran, that as a soldier of Iran and a revolutionary militant, if America even thinks about taking military action against Iran, they can rest assured that in the first week we will take 1,000 Americans hostage and demand millions of dollars in ransom for each of their releases. That will likely help solve our economic issues as well. We are warning them in advance so that they can get this thought out of their minds.
Rezaei then went on to suggest that Iran will not back down from acquiring nuclear missiles. “If tomorrow Israel decides to attack Iran, shouldn’t Iran be able to respond to them [with nukes]?”
Kerry Admits He 'Can't Vouch For' Iran's Compliance with Deal
Speaking at a press conference following the signing of a nuclear deal with Iran earlier Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that despite reaching a deal plenty of challenges still lie ahead.
"The fact of the signing of this agreement does not eliminate all of the challenges," Kerry emphasized. "It's the implementation that will matter."
"I'm not going to stand here and tell you that everything is going to work without a bump, without hitch in the road, without a misunderstanding or some effort that needs clarification," he told reporters.
"What I do know is that the negotiators absolutely affirmed to us on several occasions - and most imortantly in the last 24 hours - that they are operating with a full mandate from the president, Rouhani, and from the Supreme Leader."
That said, Kerry stated that he was confident the deal would be successfully implemented, given that the "consequences" for Iran of not doing so were clear.
But he admitted that he "can't vouch for" the fact that Iran will comply, and not simply reap the benefits of the deal while continuing to deceive inspectors as it has done in the past.
Will US Lift Iran Arms Embargo? White House Ducks and Weaves
Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, last Monday added an additional demand in negotiations over its nuclear program insisting that the UN embargo on conventional arms against it be lifted - will the US concede to this demand?
That is the question one intrepid journalist tried to get White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to answer on Monday, with very limited success.
ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl clearly asked Earnest: "is lifting the arms embargo on Iran on the table in the final stages of the negotiations?"
But Earnest began bobbing and weaving like a prize fighter, saying that the deal is to involve relief to Iran on sanctions targeting its nuclear program in exchange for Iranian "demonstrations" that it will not militarize its nuclear program.
Karl was not about to be so handily riposted, and doggedly asked, "is the president willing to go along with the lifting of the arms embargo? Would he go along with that under any circumstances?"
Earnest Dodges on Whether U.S. Would Lift Iran Arms Embargo


Russia says arms deliveries to Iran possible if approved by UN
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, after a deal was reached on curbing Iran's nuclear programme, that arms deliveries to Tehran will be possible if approved by the United Nations Security Council.
He also said Russia was counting on the United States carrying out a promise, which he said it had made in 2009, not to deploy missile defence systems in Europe once a nuclear deal was reached with Iran.
Saying arms deliveries would be possible to Iran under certain conditions even before an arms embargo expires, he said in comments broadcast from Vienna by Russian television: "In the next five years deliveries of arms to Iran will be possible, under the conditions of the relevant procedures, notification and verification by the U.N. Security Council."
IAEA Chief Announces Iran 'Nuclear Weapon' Road Map
Alongside the Iran nuclear deal reached Tuesday, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano announced Tuesday that a "road map" to resolve the military aspects of Iran's nuclear program has also been completed.
Speaking to reporters outside Vienna's Palais Coburg where the negotiations were held, Amano said an agreement had been reached on the "possible military dimensions" (PMD) of Iran's nuclear program, reports the Financial Times.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the agreement with the IAEA on Twitter, posting a picture of Amano signing the deal with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late Monday night, accompanied by the words: "Just now, Iran and @iaeaorg agree to accelerate cooperation with aim to fully resolve all prior issues."
David Horovitz: 16 reasons nuke deal is an Iranian victory and a Western catastrophe
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unsurprisingly hailed the nuclear agreement struck with US-led world powers, and derided the “failed” efforts of the “warmongering Zionists.” His delight, Iran’s delight, is readily understandable.
The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, allows it to retain core nuclear facilities, permits it to continue research in areas that will dramatically speed its breakout to the bomb should it choose to flout the deal, but also enables it to wait out those restrictions and proceed to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy. Here’s how.
1. Was the Iranian regime required, as a condition for this deal, to disclose the previous military dimensions of its nuclear program — to come clean on its violations — in order both to ensure effective inspections of all relevant facilities and to shatter the Iranian-dispelled myth that it has never breached its non-proliferation obligations? No. Rather than exposing Iran’s violations, the new deal solemnly asserts that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has failed to honor “remains the cornerstone” of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The deal provides for a mechanism “to address past and present issues of concern relating to its nuclear programme,” but Iran has managed to dodge such efforts for years, and the deal inspires little hope of change in that area, blithely anticipating “closing the issue” in the next few months.
Raphael Ahren: With Iran deal in the bag, what’s Israel to do now?
Once Jerusalem realizes that it’s impossible to avert the evil decree of Tuesday’s nuclear deal, maybe it’s time for the government to change tack and ask the Americans for a handsome compensation package. Washington went to great lengths to reassure the Gulf States, making generous promises. Israel would be well-advised to likewise appeal to the administration’s largesse and try to make the best of a bad situation. It could ask for additional F-35s and Iron Dome batteries, for specific security guarantees or an increase to the Washington’s annual defense payments.
Before the agreement was finalized, officials in Jerusalem didn’t want to discuss such requests, insisting to fight the prospective deal to the bitter end. It stands to reason that, at least initially, Netanyahu will not publicly talk about compensations. Rather, he will attack the agreement with everything his verbal arsenal has to offer. His next move will likely be to try to influence American lawmakers, who can still kill the deal.
The deal announced in Vienna is now headed for scrutiny by the US Congress, which fought hard for the right to review the agreement. But it currently appears highly unlikely that the American lawmakers would overturn it. Even if the Republican-controlled Congress were to pass legislation seeking to tank the deal, the president will use his veto.
Despite Obama’s lame duck status and the assumption that, in the fight for the presidential nomination, many Democrats will want to prove their pro-Israel credentials, very few analysts believe that a two-thirds majority against the deal is realistic. It would need 13 Democratic senators voting against their own president — a rather outlandish scenario.
And yet, some Israeli pundits believe that Netanyahu will now launch a “world war” in Congress. After his controversial March 3 speech there nobody can claim that he shies away from rabble-rousing at the Hill. “Israel certainly is expected to give its opinion to all the branches of the US government that have a role under the US Constitution on foreign affairs,” said Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, emphatically including Congress.
But again, it is unclear whether openly taking sides in a Republican-Democratic standoff on Capitol Hill would be the smartest course of action.
Aaron David Miller: Five Things to Watch for in the Wake of Iran Nuclear Dea
Whether you’re about to break open the champagne or don sack cloth over the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, you may have questions about the agreement. Here are five things to look out for in the coming days, as we all assess the text of the agreement and reactions to it:
1. Are U.S. and Iranian negotiators and the leaders who empowered them reading the agreement the same way? Even though both sides have agreed to the same words, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Washington and Teheran are on the same page. We encountered this problem with the Lausanne framework released in April; Iran and the U.S. had talking points on some key issues, such as when sanctions would be lifted, and it resulted in more than a few problems. This accord is supposed to be the final deal. If the creative ambiguity required to produce it is too creative (read: ambiguous), it could lead to the sort of destructive ambiguity that blows things up. Watch for areas of disagreement in how each side discusses the agreement publicly.
2. How were the sensitive issues resolved? More than a few diplomats have talked about a “draft” in describing the putative accord in recent days. A final agreement should lay to rest the sensitive issues that led to three extensions of the negotiations. Have the Iranians agreed to anywhere, anytime inspections? What specific limits have been placed on research and development of advanced centrifuges? What process has been designated to establish the baseline for past military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program (the “military dimensions” issue)? Iran’s demand to terminate the U.N. Security Council embargo on importing arms led to a last-minute standoff. These are some of the key issues that Congress and opponents of a deal will be scrutinizing. Whether the answers are good or bad, the agreement should provide them clearly.
The Single Most Important Question to Ask About the Iran Deal
If I thought that preventative war—air strikes against Iran’s three or four most important nuclear facilities—could have led to the permanent de-nuclearization of this anti-Semitic terror state, I might have considered supporting such a notion. But I suspect that war would have only accelerated Iran’s push for a bomb. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, played an absolutely crucial role in motivating the world, and the Obama administration, to oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But he has become an impotent player in this drama in part because he seeks a perfect solution to the Iranian challenge. There is no perfect solution.
I worry that Obama’s negotiators might have given away too much to the Iranians. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s dream—of total Iranian capitulation—was never going to become a reality. The dirty little secret of this whole story is that it is very difficult to stop a large nation that possesses both natural resources and human talent, and a deep desire for power, from getting the bomb. We’ll see, in the coming days, if Obama and Kerry have devised an effective mechanism to keep Iran far away from the nuclear threshold.
Iran Deal: 5 Scenarios, from Rainbows to Doomsday
On Tuesday, world powers reached a nuclear agreement with Iran after nearly two years of intense talks, and a decade of confrontation. U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the deal, and threatened to veto any attempt to stop it. The Iranian regime, too, celebrated it as a victory for diplomacy. Israel, meanwhile, panned a “terrible deal” and a “mistake of historic proportions.”
So who is right?
At the moment, there seem to be five possible scenarios, based on potential political and military outcomes to the deal. Almost all of them lead to war, sooner or later.
1. “Unicorns and Rainbows”: Under this scenario, the deal will encourage the Iranian regime to rejoin the international community as a responsible partner. It will not only stop its march towards a nuclear weapon, but will also temper its support for international terrorism, and establish what President Barack Obama calls a “new equilibrium” in the Middle East. Iran renewed threats in recent days to destroy both the U.S. and Israel, and the agreement reportedly lifts an arms embargo against Iran. Nevertheless, Obama’s true believers persist.
2. “New Cold War”: Under this more realistic scenario, the Iran deal will pass Congress (either through a vote or a failure to override a presidential veto), and will take effect against Israeli objections. Israel will decide not to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran, for fear of alienating the Obama administration. Instead, it will live with a nuclear threat hanging over its existence, much as South Korea does–but more precariously, given U.S. withdrawal from the region and Saudi and Egyptian determination to develop their own nuclear weapons. A Iraq-style confrontation will be inevitable, and events in the region will soon slip away from U.S. diplomatic or military power to manage.
Obama's Snap-Back Sanctions Won't Snap Back
The framework requires that Iran be confronted with any, “disagreements about the performance of JCPOA commitments,” through, “A dispute resolution process.”
It certainly seems fair that if Iran is accused of wrongdoing there should be a procedure to examine the situation before they are simply declared guilty and sentenced. The problem is not the idea of “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” The problem is that even once proven guilty, sanctions would still not snap-back.
Once found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, assuming that to be the standard of the “dispute resolution process” (my how western values have taken over) the only thing Iran would have to do would be to, “resolve disagreements about the performance of JCPOA commitments.” That is to say, if you get caught, just correct your behavior. Thanks for trying, come back and try again soon.
The reapplication of UN sanctions requires, “significant non-performance [that] cannot be resolved through [the dispute resolution] process,” and even in such an event the wording is that sanctions, “could be re-imposed.”
When it comes to sanctions imposed by the US and EU, though, the framework is clear that they would snap-back, “If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments.” How that would fit in with the “dispute resolution process” and the opportunity to “resolve” violations, is not so clear.
Israel's military option won't vanish in a post-Iran deal era
The reason the nuclear deal is bad is because it leaves too much enrichment capability in Iranian hands and infrastructure that can lead to nuclear weapons in the future. A good agreement would have ensured that Iran would not possess enrichment abilities for many years.
Instead, Iran is left with a high number of centrifuges and no guarantee that these won't be diverted into a nuclear weapons production drive in the future. That is bad news for Israel, the region, and for international security.
The Iranian regime continues to officially call for Israel's destruction, and so long as Tehran retains a basis from which it could one day build nuclear weapons, the defense establishment will retain its ability to intervene, if ordered to do so.
In the meantime, the IDF and intelligence agencies will have their hands full with Iran's regional subversive activities and aggression, and its weapons and funding network, for Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Islamic Republic's many activities in Syria.
30-year journey to stop Iranian nukes may soon move to Congress
Rather, now his arguments against the accord will move to Congress, the last place where changes in the agreement might possibly still be made. If then ambassador Michael Oren – as he writes in his recent memoir – was given instructions to call congressmen in 2011 and say “Israel felt abandoned” after US President Barack Obama delivered a speech adopting an Israeli-Palestinian deal based on the 1967 lines with land swaps, then one can only imagine what Oren’s successor, Ron Dermer, will tell the congressmen when he calls about this agreement.
And that type of campaigning in Congress against a policy that Obama sees as his foreign policy “legacy,” and which US Secretary of State John Kerry views as his possible Nobel Prize winning ticket, is not bound to win Netanyahu any points in the White House, where his credit is already depleted.
The final year of the Obama-Netanyahu era, therefore, most likely will be more fraught than even the seven years that came before.
But Netanyahu will go ahead – feeling duty-bound as a son of the Jewish people so soon after the Holocaust and as the prime minister of the world’s only Jewish state – to do whatever he can to try and override the agreement. If not to stop it, at least to change it so that when the history books are written it will be noted that he – alone among the world’s leaders – fought until the very end an accord that ultimately may place the world’s most lethal weapons into the hands of one of the world’s most extreme regimes.
Twice Before When Iran Walked Away…
There’s an air of expectation in Vienna among journalists, analysts, and diplomats; many of whom believe an Iran deal is tantalizingly close, if not imminent. While this may be the most public frenzy of optimism, it’s not the first time diplomats believed the United States and Iran were on the verge of a breakthrough, only to have the Supreme Leader throw cold water on their hopes and order Iranian officials to walk away.
The first time was in 1989, when, after a decade of revolutionary turmoil and war, it finally looked like the stars might align into an opportunity for rapprochement. When George H.W. Bush entered office, Iranian-backed terrorists held nine Americans hostages in Lebanon. As a former diplomat, however, Bush preferred diplomacy. His inaugural speech was actually quite similar in tone to Barack Obama’s two decades later. Like Obama, Bush used his big speech to offer Iran an olive branch. “There are today Americans who are held against their will,” Bush declared, adding, “Assistance can be shown here, and will be long remembered. Goodwill begets goodwill. Good faith can be a spiral that endlessly moves on.” And just like Obama repeated his offer in his fist television interview as president, Bush also reaffirmed his desire to improve relations over subsequent days. “I don’t want to… think that the status quo has to go on forever,” he said. “There was a period of time when we had excellent relations with Iran.”
Khomeini wasn’t interested. “Iran does not need America,” he declared. Unlike Obama today, Bush took no for an answer and waited for the Iranian leadership to change its mind. He didn’t need to wait long. Just six months into Bush’s term, Khomeini died, and Ali Khamenei, the titular president, became the new Supreme Leader. Just as today, journalists and diplomats succumbed to a lot of wishful thinking. Many described Khamenei as a moderate. Then, on August 3, 1989, Rafsanjani became president. Speaking the next day, Rafsanjani suggested that “reasonable, prudent solutions” could free the hostages, and privately he told Pakistani intermediaries that U.S. gestures might grease the process. Bush said Rafsanjani’s statement “offers hope” and State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler suggested her belief that “Iran is genuinely engaged.” Hassan Rouhani, today Iran’s president, was the powerful chairman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, a body setting policy and answering to the Supreme Leader.
Iran deal could lead to improved covert Arab-Israel cooperation
Mordechai Zaken, an Israeli expert of minorities in the Middle East and a former Arab affairs adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that when it comes to the Arab world and Israel, there is “no love, only interests.”
Even if a deal is reached, he said, the Arabs are not going to attack Iran, but would be happy if Israel does.
“At the end of the day, most of these Arab countries would not have been happy to declare and expose their relations or cooperation with Israel,” continued Zaken, adding that “in the Middle East, it is not something to brag about.”
In recent years, Israeli officials have met counterparts from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf at nuclear non-proliferation talks in Switzerland, gatherings the Israelis say have helped melt a certain amount of ice.
There have also been meetings between recently appointed director-general of Israel's foreign ministry Dore Gold, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki, an informal effort to see where the two countries' interests coincide, especially on Iran.
Obama vows to veto efforts to foil Iran agreement
Obama vowed to veto any Congressional effort to block the deal, reached between Tehran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Underscoring the tectonic shift in relations, Iranian state television broadcast Obama’s statement live, only the second such occasion since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Obama said the deal ensures that “Iran will not produce … the material necessary for a nuclear bomb,” and that even though it currently has a stockpile of uranium sufficient for producing ten nuclear weapons, the accord will ensure that the stockpile will be shipped abroad.
“This agreement is not built on trust, it is built on verification. Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear sites,” Obama said. “If Iran violates the deal, all the sanctions will snap back into place. Iran must complete key nuclear steps before it receives new sanctions relief.”
The lack of an agreement with Iran would encourage other countries in the Middle East to seek their own nuclear weapons, he claimed.
Senior Republican: ‘No chance’ Congress will support Iran deal
The agreement sealed Tuesday morning is “incredibly dangerous for our national security, and it’s akin to declaring war on Sunni Arabs and Israel by the P5+1 because it ensures their primary antagonist Iran will become a nuclear power and allows [Iran] to rearm conventionally,” Graham told Bloomberg.
The presidential hopeful said he would not uphold the “nightmare” of a deal if elected, and said Congress would likely torpedo it.
“There is no chance that this deal will be approved by Congress,” he said. Graham anticipated that “an overwhelming super majority in both the House and the Senate” would reject the deal.
“My initial impression is that this deal is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner said the deal will only “embolden” Tehran and trigger an atomic weapons race.
“Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world,” said the Republican Boehner in a statement, adding that US lawmakers will “review every detail of this agreement very closely.”
Israel to focus on Congress as it sees Iran deal as inevitable
Netanyahu views Congress as 'last line of defense against a bad deal,' but US lawmakers have yet to be briefed on details of agreement; 'There's a lot of questions members of Congress have before they decide whether they can support this agreement,' says Senator Ben Cardin.
Israel appears to have reluctantly accepted the inevitability of an Iranian nuclear agreement, and is now focusing its efforts on stopping the deal's approval in Congress.
"The assumption is that there'll be an agreement," an Israeli official said, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views the US Congress as a "last line of defense against a bad deal."
Israel's diplomats were instructed to put an emphasis on the loopholes in the agreement, including concessions made on the number of centrifuges Iran is allowed to keep, research and development, the mechanism of supervision and most importantly, concessions made on Tehran's military program.
"We'll put an emphasis on Iran's conduct - the burning of flags, not meeting their commitments," the official said.
Graham Dismantles Nuclear Deal: ‘This Is The Most Dangerous, Irresponsible Step I’ve Ever Seen’ in Middle East Foreign Policy
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) held nothing back when asked to share his thoughts of the Iran nuclear deal agreed to on Tuesday by the Obama administration as part of the p5+1 negotiations in Vienna.
“This is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I have ever seen in the history of watching the Mideast. Barack Obama, John Kerry have been dangerously naive about the Mideast in general,” the presidential candidate said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, adding that the agreement created a potential “death sentence” for Israel, Iran’s mortal enemy.
Graham immediately angled to warn his colleagues in the Senate not to vote for the deal. Congress will have 60 days to review the deal and vote whether to remove sanctions against Iran. Obama has promised to veto any legislation Congress passed to keep sanctions on the rogue state that funds extremist organizations, causing havoc in the region.
“They have taken it to a new level, and any senator who votes for this is voting for a nuclear arms race in the Mideast, and is voting to give the largest state sponsor of terrorism $18 billion,” Graham said. “And what do you think they’ll do with the money? Put it in roads and schools? It’s going to go to Assad, to Hezbollah and Hamas.”
Senate Dem: ‘Amazing To Me’ We Included Lifting Arms Embargo, Missile Ban As Part of Iran Nuclear Deal
Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) said Tuesday he was amazed that the Iran deal includes provisions on the arms embargo and missile technology.
On Tuesday morning, President Obama announced that the United States reached an agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program. As the details of the final deal are released, they show numerous concessions from the United States.
Menendez told MSNBC he is concerned that the Obama administration included a lift on the arms embargo and the continuation of Iran’s development of ballistic missile technology.
“It’s amazing to me that we included the arms embargo and the missile technology question as part of this deal,” Menendez said. “The reality is that there’s a reason why Iran wants that. It wants to be able to continue to deploy its terrorism throughout the region as it is presently doing, even in desperate economic straits. I worry about intercontinental ballistic missiles and their ability to produce it.”
Another concern for Menendez is the lift of financial sanctions that will allow Iran to receive billions of dollars and allow them to fund their terrorist activities in the Middle East.
John McCain: ‘Delusional and Dangerous’ Iran Nuclear Deal Built on ‘Hope’
Arizona Sen. John McCain (R.) slammed the nuclear agreement reached by Iran and world powers Tuesday, labeling it a “bad deal” that is “built far too much on hope.”
McCain, who chairs the Senate Committee on Armed Services, criticized the Obama administration for making too many concessions to Iran in the deal. The move, he said, will strengthen Iran’s ability acquire weapons and allow the country to retain “an industrial scale nuclear program.”
“It is built far too much on hope—on the belief that somehow the Iranian government will fundamentally change in the next several years, such that it can be trusted with a growing arsenal, a huge influx of cash, and the infrastructure of a nuclear program,” McCain said in the statement.
“This is delusional and dangerous,” the Republican lawmaker continued, “especially as we see Iran on the offensive in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region. Instead, I fear this agreement could undermine the very goals we have maintained for 35 years—weakening the Islamic Republic, constraining its threatening influence, strengthening Israel and our Arab partners, lessening regional tensions, and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”
Tom Cotton Defies Obama: ‘I Believe That Congress Will Kill The Deal’
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) denounced the Iranian nuclear deal hailed by President Obama early Tuesday morning, calling it a mistake.
“This proposed deal is a terrible dangerous mistake that’s going to pave the path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon while giving them tens of billions of dollars of sanctions relief,” he said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Cotton, a freshman senator, has made his opposition to the deal the center of his emerging political career.
He described Iran as an “outlaw, terrorist sponsoring, anti-American regime” and criticized the deal for leaving its nuclear program intact.
Cotton appeared confident that Congress would oppose the deal, once the full details of the deal were released, exposing key provisions such as lifting the arms embargo on Iran, and the weakness of requirements of nuclear inspections.
“The American people will repudiate this and I believe Congress will kill the deal,” he stated.
Cotton: Anyone Who Votes For Iran Deal Puts 'Their Political Fate In Hands Of The Ayatollah'
With a potential Iranian nuclear agreement in the cards, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told “The Hugh Hewitt Show” Monday any U.S. senator who votes for the deal is putting “their political fate in the hands of the Ayatollah.”
Cotton, who has been one of the more outspoken opponents to a potential bad deal with the Iranians, also argued that “this is not just any old vote,” telling the host if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, “the American people will want to know who supported the deal.”
TOM COTTON: I suspect we’ll take up consideration promptly in the Senate, Hugh, but you should also think about the political consequences of this vote, because I can assure you senators and congressmen are thinking about it. This is not just any old vote. This is not like a vote for, say, higher taxes, or Democrats, you know, you wanted a little bit more money coming into the government, you’re going to face an attack ad or two next year, and then it’s all going to be water under the bridge. Any congressman or senator who votes for this deal is voting to put their political fate in the hands of the Ayatollah for the rest of his or her life in the public spotlight, because if Iran gets a nuclear weapon in a year, or five years, or 10 years, the American people will want to know who supported the deal that gave them that nuclear weapon. And they will hold that person accountable. So that’s what every Democrat congressman and senator is going to be thinking about when they present this very dangerous deal to the Congress that they reach in Vienna.
Oren: Iran Deal an Existential Danger Unknown for a Generation
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), who is a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, responded sharply to the announcement of a final deal on Iran's nuclear program on Tuesday.
"This is a bad deal that places us in existential danger such as we have not experienced for a generation," warned Oren. "The picture from Iran in which they're burning American flags proves that the Iranian threat is not only against Israel, but is against the American nation and the entire West."
The former ambassador concluded, saying, "Israel today is at the start of a months-long struggle to prevent the approval of the deal in Congress, and we must continue to do all we can so as to defend ourselves and the future of our children."
World Jewish Congress Leader: 'No Reason' to Trust Iran
World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder voiced strong skepticism about Tuesday's nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in Vienna aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
“We are still looking forward to getting all the details of this agreement, with the hope that the verification process will allow inspectors to determine Iran’s true aims," Lauder stated Tuesday afternoon, shortly before an official press conference on the deal.
“So far, this agreement is just a piece of paper," he added. "It is not a legally binding treaty, and there is no reason to trust Iran over its implementation."
"Tehran has a long history of misleading the world," he continued. "Last Friday’s government-sponsored ‘Quds Day’ rallies, in which the masses again shouted ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,’ are a good example of why we shouldn’t be overly optimistic.”
Jewish Groups Slam Iran Nuclear Deal as Realization of ‘Deepest Fears’
Jewish groups railed against President Barack Obama’s announcement on Tuesday that negotiators had reached a deal with Iran over the country’s nuclear program, warning that it had manifested critics’ “deepest fears.”
“Today’s announcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome,” said Josh Block, the president and chief executive of pro-Israel media group The Israel Project.
“The deal will give Iran billions in cash and sanctions relief to fuel its terror and war machines, shred the hard-won sanctions regime beyond repair, and enable the Iranians to get away with hiding the full extent of their nuclear work, infrastructure, and know-how,” said Block. “It will not have an enforceable inspections regime or a workable way to re-impose pressure on Iran when it cheats.”
J Street hails Iran Nuclear Deal, Praises Obama
Ultra-liberal Jewish group J Street released a statement hailing the agreement as “meet[ing] the critical criteria for...a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”
“We congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the other members of the P5+1 for having the resolve, determination, patience and persistence to bring such a difficult negotiation to a successful conclusion,” J Street said in a statement.
The group warned Congress not to reject the agreement for fear of “the likely consequences – a collapse of diplomacy and international sanctions as Iran pushes forward with a nuclear program unimpeded.”
“Following our own review of the agreement, we expect to call on Congress to support the deal as the best – if not only – means of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons,” J Street said.
Syria Congratulates Iran on Nuclear Deal
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has congratulated Iran on the nuclear deal struck with the European Union (EU) and P5+1 powers Tuesday, Syrian state news agency SANA said Tuesday.
In a message to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Assad congratulated Tehran on a deal he said would be a "major turning point in the history of Iran, the region and the world."
Iran is the key backer and ally of Assad and has provided him with military support during his fight against rebels trying to topple his regime.
Arab Israeli MKs welcome Iran nuclear agreement
Breaking with the large majority of Israel’s body politic, the Joint List of Arab political parties welcomed Tuesday’s nuclear agreement with Iran and praised Tehran for failing to give in to world powers.
The Joint (Arab) List welcomed the nuclear agreement reached by Iran and world powers Tuesday after 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiations that capped years of sporadic talks aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.
In an official statement, the opposition lawmakers called the landmark agreement “a victory of the will of Iranians in their struggle against a blockade and sanctions imposed on them without caving to international demands.”
Russia: 'The World Heaved a Sigh of Relief' over Iran Deal
Russia said Tuesday that it welcomes the agreement reached in Vienna concerning Iran’s nuclear program.
"We are certain that the world heaved a sigh of relief today," an official statement said. "The negotiations supported by the UN Security Council and involving Russia, China, the USA, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iran and the European Union went on for many years. We are satisfied that the solution found is based on the principle of phasing and mutuality which our country has been consistently supporting at every stage of these complicated negotiations.
"The IAEA will carefully monitor the implementation of the agreed steps to prove the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program," Russia added. "Iran gets the opportunity to develop this program, including uranium enrichment, under IAEA control and with the gradual lifting of sanctions imposed against Tehran, something we have long called for. This is also important for the implementation of large-scale plans of peaceful nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran that got support in the documents approved today... Our bilateral relations with Iran will receive a new impetus and will no longer be influenced by external factors.
Iranian Media Gloats, Demonizes America
So how are the Iranians assessing the nuclear deal? Clearly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is pleased: He has been grinning from ear-to-ear. President Hassan Rouhani is as well. Before accepting President Obama’s offer to talk, Iran’s economy was in the red, declining at least 5.4 percent over the previous year, but ever since talks began — with billions of dollars infused into the economy as an incentive — it has been back in the black. Now, with more than $100 billion due to enter the economy, he can fund almost any project he desires; not only in Iran, but also in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
The Islamic Republic may be faction-ridden, but it is not free. The regime tolerates only a tiny fraction of the spectrum of political discourse, and that segment of permissible speech constantly shrinks (that is the real reason why, for example, a son of a former president and former presidential candidates now find themselves in prison or under house arrest). Within the range of permissible debate, factions control newspapers and so their attitudes can be divined by their headlines, articles, and editorials.
Turkey Hails Nuclear Deal, Saudi Arabia Grim on Future
Turkey expressed congratulations over the nuclear agreement signed between world powers and Tehran on Tuesday, but Saudi Arabia sees the deal with entirely different eyes.
Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek hailed the nuclear deal signed between U.S.-led world powers and Iran on Tuesday as a possible boost for the Turkish economy.
The “Iran nuclear deal is great news for the Turkish economy,” Simsek wrote in English on his Twitter feed. “It’s likely to boost trade and investments between the two countries.
A Saudi Arabian official told the Reuters news agency in Riyadh on Tuesday, however, the agreement will prove to be a bad thing if Tehran were allowed as a result to “wreak havoc in the region.”
Iran has destabilized the entire Middle East, the official said, through its activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It is likely the region will become even more dangerous if through this new deal Iran is allowed to receive concessions, he said.
Iranian court orders US to pay $50 b. in ‘damages’
An Iranian court on Monday ordered the US to compensate the Islamic Republic with $50 billion for damages incurred since the 1979 revolution, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
The verdict was announced by Iran’s Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, formerly the attorney general, as world powers and Iran in Vienna were working to finalize a nuclear deal.
The ruling maintains the Obama administration must “compensate for a part of the losses it has inflicted on Iranian legal entities and real persons.”
“Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the US has inflicted heavy loss and damage on the country, including killing the Iranian nationals by assisting their enemies, including Saddam and different terrorist groups against Tehran,” the Fars report said.
Zionist Conspiracy Behind ‘Historic’ Iranian Nuclear Deal (satire)
It’s now been revealed that the recently brokered ‘historic’ deal, somewhat limiting Iran’s nuclear capability, was in fact a machination brought about by an international Zionist conspiracy.
Chief Zionist, Jewdah Cohen-Bergstein, congratulated those who had guessed as much in an interview with The Israeli Daily: ‘We had such fun choosing the location of the conference. Who remains the Zionist poster boy with that sexy beard? Theodor Herzl. Where did the conference take place? Vienna’s Herzl Square!
‘And somehow no one picked up on that, so we dropped a few other hints. You know how many times the Zionists have been blamed for the Iranian nuclear program? We’ve actually lost count…but hey, there’s truth in that!’
Asked why the Zionists would wish to secure the destruction of the Jewish State – a state they admit to forcing into creation – Cohen-Bergstein continued: ‘Why do you think?
PreOccupied Territory: Opposition Claims Bibi Omnipotent: ‘Could Have Prevented Iran Deal’ (satire)
Israeli Opposition lawmakers expressed dismay that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had failed to prevent the international agreement with Iran to remove economic sanctions, saying that Netanyahu, who is obviously all-powerful, could have done more to keep the deal from being reached, and obviously chose not to.
The US and other Western powers reached an accord late Sunday night, allowing the Islamic republic to maintain its nuclear facilities and enrich uranium, and removing the economic sanctions that have left Iran’s economy in distress. In exchange, Tehran will submit to a regime of inspections, but Israel and other opponents of the Ayatollahs fear Iran will circumvent inspections and other terms of the deal and develop nuclear weapons as North Korea did under a more restrictive agreement. Leaders of the Knesset Opposition factions laid the blame at the feet of the prime minister, who, by implication, was the only one standing in the way of an Iranian nuclear weapon.
“This is clearly Netanyahu’s failure,” said Opposition head Isaac Herzog of Labor. “He sabotaged our relationship with the US, undermining any effort to convince them of the folly of this deal,” Herzog explained, evidently under the impression that US President Barack Obama did not have just such an agreement in mind long before his relationship with Netanyahu soured, despite clear indications of just such an aim early in Obama’s first term.
Experts say the perception of Netanyahu as all-powerful may stem from Herzog’s – and the Israeli Left as a whole – experience with the prime minister. Despite what they describe as his warped priorities, ham-fisted diplomacy, political cowardice, lack of vision, and possibly even overt racism, Netanyahu has still defeated the manifestly better-qualified and more enlightened candidates from Labor in several consecutive elections. Those defeats have left Labor and its allies feeling that Netanyahu must be able to bend reality to his will, as no electorate anywhere would knowingly reelect such a colossal, unmitigated failure, which is the only possible way to view him. Consequently, say political experts, it takes only a small logical leap to believe that Netanyahu also exerts near-complete control over American foreign policy, and it was only his lack of will or competence that allowed an Iran deal to materialize.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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