Wednesday, August 03, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah again brags it killed 11,000 Israelis
Fatah yesterday posted a list of Fatah’s achievements on behalf of Palestinians. Significantly, Fatah did not cite even one peace-seeking or peace-promoting achievement, but only listed Fatah acts of violence and terror. Fatah even boasted that its attacks have killed 11,000 Israelis. While Fatah and the PLO have been killing Israelis since 1965, this number is a gross exaggeration.
One of the acts it bragged about was being the "first Palestinian faction to reach the [Israeli] nuclear reactor." This is a reference to Fatah's bus hijacking and murder of three Israeli civilians on their way to work at the Dimona nuclear plant in 1988.
Throughout the recent terror wave, Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA and Fatah have promoted violence and terror against Israelis, both in Israel and in the West Bank.
The following is yesterday's Fatah post celebrating and bragging about Fatah's murder of Israeli civilians:
"To those who argue [with Fatah], to the boors, and to those who do not know history:
  • Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis
  • Fatah has sacrificed 170,000 Martyrs (Shahids)...
  • Fatah was the first to carry out operations (i.e., terror attacks) during the first Intifada (i.e., Palestinian violence and terror against Israel, 1988-1993), and it was the first Palestinian faction to reach the nuclear reactor in Dimona (i.e., 1988 murder of 3 working mothers on way to the Dimona plant)
  • Fatah was the first to fight in the second Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005) (Baha Al-Sa'id, an officer in the Preventive Security Forces, infiltrated an Israeli settlement on the border with Gaza) [parenthesis in source]...
  • Fatah was the first to defeat the Zionist enemy (Battle of El-Karameh) [parenthesis in source]...
  • Fatah led the Palestinian attack on Israel in the UN."
PM ‘shocked’ by clip of Palestinian father urging soldiers to kill son
In the latest in a string of social media videos, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged the Palestinian leadership to stop encouraging “parents to call for the death of their own children,” citing recently filmed footage of a Palestinian father telling Israeli soldiers to shoot his own son.
The clip by the prime minister was spliced with footage filmed by Palestinian activists during a protest in the West Bank village of Ni’lin last week. In that footage, a Palestinian man was seen carrying a young boy toward Israeli border police, who were standing next to an armored jeep. The man then pushed the boy toward the officers, challenging them to “shoot this little boy.” As the boy turned back, his father urged him to approach the armed police, while shouting at them, “Kill him. Shoot him.”
“I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being,” Netanyahu told the camera in English from his Jerusalem office. “In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists,” he said.
When the boy, described by Netanyahu as having “his shirt tightly tucked into his bright red shorts,” reached the officers, one of them extended his hand and the boy gave him a high-five.
This interaction was cut out of a version of the footage broadcast on Palestinian TV, according to the Palestinian Media Watch watchdog.

Israel's Statement at UNSC's debate on Children in Armed Conflict
"Instead of nourishing their youth with the dreams of a bright future, Palestinian children are fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel and glorification of violence. We are paying the price of this glorification of terror on the streets of Israel today."
Amit Heumann, Israel's Legal Adviser, addressed the Security Council debate on Children in Armed Conflict.
Share if you believe children shouldn't be educated to hate.

MEMRI: Syrian Opposition TV Host Takes Palestinian Activist to Task over "the World's Number One Cause"
During a July 24 interview on the Syrian opposition Orient News TV channel, host Dima Wannous asked her guest, Muhammad Masharqa, spokesman for the Free Palestinian-Syrian Assembly, why the Palestinian cause remained "the world's number one cause" over the years, even though the total number of Palestinians displaced equaled the number of people who fled Syria and Iraq in the past three months. Masharqa's response that the establishment of the state of Israel "was a colonialist enterprise with Western goals" did not satisfy Wannous, who said that unlike the Palestinians, the Syrians would not have forgiven Saddam his crimes against his own people merely for fighting their enemy. The Free Palestinian-Syrian Assembly, which was established in May in Gaziantep, Turkey, emphasizes Palestinian involvement in the Syrian revolution.
Dima Wannous: "Why has the (Palestinian cause) become the world's number one cause? I mean, the calamities of the other Arab nations over the years were no less tragic than the tragedy of the Palestinian people."
Muhammad Masharqa: "You can look at it from another perspective. The colonialist enterprise that brought about the state of Israel did not target only the Palestinian people but the entire Arab region. All the destruction in the Arab world can be traced back to the fact that there is an advanced post in the region for the colonialist powers, and it is called 'the state of Israel.'"
Dima Wannous: "In 1948, the years of the Nakba, the Palestinian people were driven out of their homes and their land. Approximately 750,000 people were displaced. You know the figures better than me. 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, only 150,000 of whom were expelled from Palestine. The others remained in their historical homeland, although in different places. If you take the total figure of 750,000, this is equal to the number of people who fled Syria and Iraq in the past three months. I repeat the question in another way, because you did not answer me the first time. Why is the Palestinian cause the world's number one cause?"
`Muhammad Masharqa: "It is not the world's number one cause..."
Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate threatens Israel in new video
A video purportedly by Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate has delivered a threat to Israel, saying the Jewish state will soon “pay a high price,” a media watchdog group said on Tuesday.
Released on Monday, the 35-minute video titled “Desert Flame” also purports to show footage of alleged attacks by IS militants against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, according to the US-based group Middle East Media Research Institute, which translated the clip.
Jihadists in the video accuse the Egyptian army of arresting and killing its fighters, and urge more foreigners to come join their ranks in an effort to “build the foundation of the Caliphate.”
In the clip, the narrator claims that in light of Egypt’s “failure” to protect Israel from jihadist attacks from the Sinai Peninsula, “the Jews started protecting themselves by “strictly protecting [the border], recruiting agents, and [launching] airstrikes.”
The voiceover then says: “Oh Jews, wait for us. The punishment [we have prepared for you] is severe and soon you will pay a high price.”
The footage ends with kidnapped Egyptian servicemen Mohammad Abd Al-Raheem Al-Qalawi and Majdi Majdi Mas’ad being shot in the head.
JCPA: The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank
The Fragmented West Bank: The Whole Is Less than the Sum of Its Parts
The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. As a result, some districts of the West Bank are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA’s disintegration.
In Hebron, for instance, the large clans of Mount Hebron have linked up with each other, reestablished the Tribal Council of Mount Hebron, and sent a delegation to Amman to express loyalty to the king of Jordan under the Jordanian flag.
In Ramallah, the PA’s de facto seat of government, Europe seeks to organize a phalanx of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a political force. This effort is opposed by the PA, which wants the NGOs to be under its own rule. It was because of this pressure that former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned from the leadership of the key NGO Palestine of the Future.
Nablus, for its part, has gone into a tailspin of total anarchy. It is under the rule of gangs, with exchanges of gunfire in the heart of the city and attempts at political assassinations.
Enduring Myths about U.S. Middle East Policy
4. Israeli-Palestinian peace should be a top priority for the next administration.
No it shouldn’t. Not only is the conflict impossible to resolve right now without Israeli and Palestinian leaders doing more themselves, the issue is not the most pressing priority for the U.S. in the region.
Dealing with ISIS, the meltdown in both Syria; dysfunction in Iraq and Libya; managing relations with traditional partners such as Saudi Arabia; Israel and Egypt—all suggest a threatening and fragmenting region that will not be substantially ameliorated or repaired by a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which just isn’t possible now.
Nor are the Arab states, now far more preoccupied with their own internal problems—the challenge from Iran and the Sunnis jihadis—all that focused on the Palestinian issue.
Next year at this time Israel will have occupied much of the West Bank for half a century. And there’s little indication that either Israelis or Palestinians are willing or able to exchange that reality for something better.
PA Mulling New Lawsuits Against Israel at ICC
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is continuing with its unilateral efforts against Israel in international institutions and is mulling more lawsuits against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Dr. Wasel Abu Yusuf, a member of the committee responsible for monitoring the activity of the International Criminal Court, on Tuesday told the Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper that the committee members recently discussed whether to file additional legal claims with the court in The Hague, or wait until the investigation of complaints that have already been filed is completed.
“Palestine” officially joined the ICC on April 1, 2015, and immediately filed a series of legal complaints with the court, including a claim that Israeli “settlement” are “an ongoing war crime”. Additional complaints revolve around the war in Gaza in 2014, the issue of terrorist prisoners in Israel, and others.
Palestinian Arab non-governmental organizations, collaborating with Israeli organizations, have submitted evidence of Israel's alleged “crimes” against civilians and UNRWA schools in Gaza in the summer of 2014.
PA president meddled in Israeli election, mayor claims
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas actively meddled in 2015 Knesset election in an effort to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam told Israel Radio on Tuesday.
Salam said that on election day, March 17, 2015, Abbas called him and enticed him to bolster the turnout in his city, the largest Arab city in Israel, with the hope that this would translate into more votes for the Arab parties (which ran on a joint list called the Joint Arab List). Prior to the election, some speculated that if no clear winner emerged, the Arabs could make Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog prime minister by throwing their support behind him (although they have principally opposed to entering a coalition).
Salam confirmed that he worked hard to bolster turnout that day and his efforts paid off: Voter turnout spiked from 20% at noon to 90% in the evening. Salam said Abbas promised him a quid pro quo, by pressing one of the factions in the city to sign a coalition deal with his administration and thus increasing his clout. It is unclear when that promise was made.
On Wednesday, Israel Radio interviewed Muhammad Al-Madani, a senior Palestinian official and a close associate of Abbas, who refuted Salam's version of events. He denied Abbas tried to pressure Salam to increase turnout to the benefit of the Joint Arab List.
'Never before, since 1948, has the world been so open to Israel'
Still, the former ambassador to the US described ambitious ideas for a “whole new strategic direction,” in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in the Knesset cafeteria.
“We’ve been fighting feelings with facts,” Oren said. “Using a fact against a feeling is like firing a ping pong ball against a tank.”
According to Oren, the boycott Israel movement is an idea, whereas Israel is treating it like an organization. “You can’t bomb an idea,” he stated. “The only effective weapon against an idea is a better idea.”
Oren plans to rethink the way Israel can fight the ideas that harm it.
One thought he raised was to find “a new Exodus,” a reference to the 1960 Paul Newman film which he called “the best act of public diplomacy ever,” which “changed the dialogue about Israel for a generation.”
At the same time, the soon-to-be deputy minister had a rosy view on Israel’s stature in the world.
“As much as we’re facing challenges, this is a period of unprecedented opportunity, and I’m speaking as a historian,” he said. “Never before, since 1948, has the world been so open to us.”
Knesset committee recognizes Armenian genocide
The Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee announced on Monday that it recognizes the Armenian Genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by Ottoman Turks during WWI.
“It is our moral obligation to recognize the Holocaust of the Armenian nation,” committee chairman MK Ya’acov Margi (Shas) said.
Margi expressed regret that the Knesset had yet to recognize the genocide and called on Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein to declare that the Israeli parliament recognizes the Armenian Genocide.
Last year Edelstein told the education committee that he would try to promote the issue and said he hopes that “MKs will know the right way to vote in the moment of truth.”
Netanyahu to Meet with African Leaders at UN in Latest Bid to Expand Ties
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said that Jerusalem’s recent diplomatic gains with African nations may get another boost in September at the UN General Assembly, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with a number of African leaders, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
Danon is currently leading a dozen UN ambassadors on a diplomatic tour of Israel. The envoys hail from a variety of nations, including three African ones: Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, and Tanzania.
Danon said that Israel’s diplomatic outreach to Africa is reflected in his own experiences at the UN, where he takes part in many joint programs with African colleagues. He added that such initiatives can advance Israel’s interests by improving personal relationships, which can have a policy impact. Danon noted that not all UN ambassadors are instructed to vote a certain way by their government, so “sometimes the ambassadors of small countries decide on their own. There are some who were once foreign ministers, who have the status of being able to determine policy.”
Israel to fly alongside Pakistan, UAE in US Air Force drill
Israeli aircraft will fly alongside Pakistani and United Arab Emirates planes in the United States Air Force’s Red Flag exercise in the Nevada desert later this month.
Red Flag is considered the US military’s “premier air-to-air combat training exercise,” in which participating countries are divided into two teams and simulate dog fights to improve both their aviation skills and their military’s international connections, according to the US Air Force.
Last year, Israeli pilots took part in the Red Flag exercise for the first time in six years. During the aerial simulation, Israeli Air Force planes flew with — and reportedly refueled — Jordanian fighter jets.
In 2016, there will be four Red Flag exercises at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The first ran from January to February, the second from February to March and the third in July, while the final exercise will be conducted August 15-26, according to the US Air Force.
Palestinian Terrorist Attacks Decline
The number of terrorist attacks in Israel last month was one of the lowest in 10 months. There were six attacks in July, according to the IDF, a drastic fall from the 70 seen last October.
Since the current wave of terrorism began, 41 Israelis and foreigners and about 250 Palestinians have died.
A senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the July number shows that recent tactics used by the security system are working.
These include a combination of precise intelligence from the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) with daily and nightly IDF operations to distinguish terrorists from the rest of the population in the West Bank. The operations allow the majority of Palestinians, including 100,000 holders of Israeli work permits, to continue with their day to day routines.
The success in pinpointing and stopping terrorism, most of which has come from “lonewolf” attackers, will be a major issue brought up by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot during his visit this week to the United States. Eisenkot is a guest of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is the third meeting between the two since Eisenkot entered his position a year and a half ago. Dunford has been a guest of the IDF in Israel twice.
Builders sought for underground Gaza border wall
The Defense Ministry has published the first tender for a project to build a massive barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip — both subterranean and aboveground — intended to stop terror groups from tunneling into Israel.
A closed tender was sent earlier this week to 20 Israeli companies to build the wall, the Hebrew-language Ynet news website reported on Wednesday.
The project would cover the first 10-kilometer section of the planned 60-kilometer wall.
Due to the specialist nature of the work, which involves deep drilling, the Israeli companies will need to avail themselves of foreign contractors’ expertise. But many qualified foreign companies have refused to take on the project, citing the political sensitivity of working on Israeli defense projects, the report said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hezekiah’s Tunnelers Keep Bumping Into Hamas (satire)
Workers laboring under King Hezekiah of Judah to divert Jerusalem’s water source from use by the advancing Assyrian army have repeatedly encountered Hamas forced laborers in the process of digging passages of their own, sources in the king’s palace said today.
In a report to the ministers and military officials overseeing the Siloam Tunnel project, supervisors of the dig spoke of running into Arabic-speaking children forced to lug buckets of earth and rock through the underground passageway. The project managers warned that continued disruption of the dig by the presence of those children threatens the completion of the water-rerouting channel in time to deprive the Assyrians of a natural water source before they reach the Judean capital and lay siege.
“We must find a way to eliminate these incursions into our dig, as they are throwing off the schedule and endanger the project itself,” said Hababa Mahteret, an overseer. “There is only so much we can do to clear the tunnels of these urchins, who have apparently been assigned to dig passages for Hamas. It’s barbaric, the way these kids are being treated by their bosses, but we can’t do anything for them because we have our own problems.”
Haniyeh: There’s No Distinction Between Hamas’ Military, Civilian Wings
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh revealed that the terrorist organization makes no distinction between its civilian and military “wings,” vowing in a statement on Hamas’ website to take payments intended for government employees and funnel them to “military personnel.”
Qatar recently agreed to transfer $31 million to Hamas in order to pay government workers, who over the past three years have only received around one-third to one-half of their official salaries. In response, Haniyeh stated that the payments will go to pay all of the terrorist organization’s employees, including its fighters. He rejected those who say that there is a distinction between Hamas’ military and civilian employees, saying that both are “legitimate” because both have been “appointed by the decision of a legitimate government.”
The statement was first reported in English by The Times of Israel.
While the United States and other countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, the United Nations distinguishes between Hamas’ political organization and its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Regional Implications of the Failed Coup in Turkey
In the wake of the failed coup d’état, Turkey is going through a massive and convulsive wave of repression, apparently aimed against anything remotely related to Fethullah Gulen's supporters and the Hizmet network of educational projects. The fallout in terms of the regional balance of power is bound to be significant. There is little to cheer, even if the timely conclusion of the reconciliation with Turkey has so far spared Israel the traditional accusation of being behind the plot (and may even put Israeli diplomacy in a position to be of help in reducing the flames).
The failed coup d’état and subsequent purge in Turkey have rattled both local and distant onlookers. To begin with, the self-mutilation of the second-largest army in NATO can hardly be of benefit to anyone but those who seek to destabilize the region (and Europe). As the anti-IS alliance gathered this week in the US to weigh its next steps, and with the decisive battle of Mosul looming on the immediate horizon, the effective absence of Turkey from the battlefield is keenly felt – as is the decision by Erdoğan to disable all operations from Incirlik AFB.
Tensions between Turkey and the US have been rising for a while, as the Obama administration came reluctantly to the conclusion that the Kurdish forces in northern Syria (and their brethren in Iraq) are the most committed fighting force in the war on Baghdadi's "Caliphate". Just as opportunities to reduce IS seem to be taking shape, and an extra impetus is needed in any case after the horror in Nice, Turkey appears to be signaling that this objective is scarcely on Erdoğan's radar – despite the Istanbul Airport massacre and the rising cost for Turkey of past tolerance of IS practices.
Moreover, Erdoğan's aggressive and persistent demand that Gulen be extradited – a demand with which the US is unlikely to comply – is adding fuel to the fire. Given what is at stake, it will be necessary for some European players to suppress their outrage at Erdoğan's overreactions and focus on securing his cooperation with a strategically important campaign at a decisive moment in the war against IS.
At least 30 injured in chemical weapons attack in Syria
Syrian rebels accused government forces of launching toxic gas attacks on civilians in a town southwest of Aleppo on Tuesday. The government rejected the claim and accused the rebels of using chemical weapons themselves.
Rebel sources provided video of people receiving treatment who they say were among the victims of a gas attack, but the images were not conclusive and neither of the gas attack claims by the rebels or the government could be independently verified.
The accusations on both sides came amid heightened fighting around the contested northern city that killed at least 20 people, activists and government media reported.
Rescuers and doctors in rebel-held Saraqib, a town in the northwestern Idlib province, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Aleppo, reported dozens of cases of severe breathing difficulties, saying the symptoms pointed to a chlorine gas attack.
Elliott Abrams: More Chemical Weapons in Syria
This was supposed to be impossible. On July 20, 2014 Secretary of State Kerry told us that “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.”
Defenders of that claim by the administration say it really didn’t refer to chlorine, but to sarin and other chemical agents. But it seems the Assad regime may have used sarin this year as well. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on May 2d that “A little over a week ago, Syria’s embattled Assad regime used chemical arms against ISIS east of Damascus, despite the 2013 agreement to dismantle the regime’s chemical weapons. The regime apparently decided to use the lethal gas sarin after ISIS fighters attacked two Syrian air force bases considered vital military assets.” If there was an aggressive American investigation to determine if this report was true, I must have missed it.
The Obama administration’s reaction continues to be inaction. Assad gets away with murder, literally. The use of poison gas as a weapon is denounced in principle, but permitted in practice. If President Obama had reacted strongly to previous uses of poison gas by Assad, this would not be happening in Syria today. It is yet another reason why, as I said in my last blog post on Syria, his inaction will be a permanent stain on his presidency.
Iran Deepens Political, Religious Split in South America
Lima- Peruvian media outlets were lately busy with Iran’s political and religious activities in Peru, particularly following a decision taken by some nationals to converted to Shi’ism and establish a political entity in the country under the name of “Hezbollah” similar to the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah.
The Peruvian young men who were captured by Iran years ago, had been trained in Tehran in the past years, to return home and criticize their country’s policies, in an attempt to apply the Iranian regime model and export the Iranian Revolution.
Few weeks ago, a Peruvian news agency broadcasted a report about a group of Peruvians led by an Argentinian Shiite Sheikh called “Sheikh Pohl.”
The report said the young Peruvians came mostly from the mountainous region of Abancay, where Iran has lately exerted efforts and convinced 20 young Peruvians to visit Tehran and receive training on Islamic Shi’ism ahead of being resent home for advocacy.
However, what is new in the report is the fact that this group has effectively started establishing a political party in the country under the name of “Hezbollah Branch in Peru,” driving ire concerning the role Iran plays in the country and the reasons behind its political and religious presence in Peru.
Brazil ‘Drug Trafficking’ Arrest Turns Out to Be Hezbollah Member
Brazilian authorities have announced the arrest of Lebanese Hezbollah member Fadi Hassan Nahba, wanted by Interpol for drug trafficking since 2013. Authorities admitted they did not know he was working with the jihadi terror group until he personally told them after his arrest this week.
Nahba, Brazilian outlet O Globo reports, was rounded up in Sao Paulo as part of a crackdown preceding the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, set to begin on Friday. Authorities had arrested him in 2003 for drug trafficking but ultimately released him; by 2013, he was wanted for deportation due to continued drug offenses.
After his arrest this week, Nahba confessed to being an active Hezbollah member, a fact Brazilian police appeared to have only been alerted to at that moment. “I talked to him directly, he told me that he spent two years serving the special Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. He had a vast knowledge of weapons and explosive materials,” Sergeant Geraldo Castro told Globo‘s television network.
“We have been looking for him since May because he was wanted for drug traffic, not terrorism,” police spokesman Augusto Roque admitted to Reuters. The news agency notes that a significant hurdle to investigating cases of potential Hezbollah membership is the fact that Brazil does not recognize the group as a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah is a Shiite terrorist organization operating out of Lebanon and Iran, operating with funding from Iran. The U.S. State Department has repeatedly warned that the group has established itself in Latin America, trafficking in drugs to fund terrorist activities around the world. The group often uses a series of over 80 “cultural centers” established throughout the continent by the Iranian government to operate.
US sent Iran $400m as prisoners were freed — report
The US government is said to have airlifted $400 million worth of cash to Iran in a secret operation that coincided with the release in January of four Iranian-American prisoners held by the Islamic Republic, including the Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian.
An Obama administration spokesman denied any link between the payment and the release of the prisoners.
According to the Wall Street Journal late Tuesday, the funds were procured from banks in Switzerland and the Netherlands and were flown in euros, Swiss francs and other currencies in an unmarked cargo plane into Iran. Since a transaction with Iran in US dollars is illegal under US law, Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials sought the help of the Dutch and the Swiss and then transferred the equivalent of the sum to their central banks.
Citing US and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the secret operation after-the-fact, the Journal Reported that the money was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement deal between Iran and the US to resolve a disputed arms deal just before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the fall of the shah.
State Department Spokesman Grilled Over Cash Payment to Iran
State Department spokesman John Kirby was grilled Wednesday on Fox News over a new report that the Obama administration airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran in January as the Islamic Republic released four Americans it had detained.
The payment, reported by the Wall Street Journal, has drawn accusations that it was a ransom payment for the Americans held hostage by the Iranian government. The Obama administration insists that it is a part of a resolution to a decades-old arms deal made with Tehran before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
“Well, first of all, it was their money, this was $400 million in a trust fund that had been frozen back in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s,” Kirby said. “So, this was a longstanding claim. It was their money, and as the president said at the time, and we spoke to this at the time, that now with the prisoners’ release, now with the Iran [nuclear] deal done, it made no sense for us to continue to drag out this claim and so we settled it.”
Fox News’ Bill Hemmer pressed Kirby on how the money transfer was made.
When you see video, at night of an unmarked jet with pallets of euros and Swiss francs being unloaded as a payment for Iran, it looks bad and it smells,” Hemmer said.
Kirby said that he would leave it to Hemmer to characterize the money transfer for himself.
Nuclear Experts: Secret Annex Gives Iran Breakout Time of 4 Months After 13 Years
Iran will be able to produce enough nuclear material for an atomic weapon in as little as four months by 2029, the Institute for Science and International Security concluded in a report released Tuesday. A secret addendum to last year’s nuclear deal, which was obtained by the Associated Press last month, stated that between the 11th and 13th years of the deal, Iran will be allowed to install advanced centrifuges that are up to five times as efficient as the ones currently in operation. The AP reported that the centrifuges’ increased efficiency would halve the “breakout period” from one year to six months, but the think tank’s new calculations led its experts to conclude that there will be “a breakout timeline of 4 months at the end of year 13.”
The think tank concluded last year, before the revelation of the secret addendum, that there would be a six-month breakout at that juncture. Their reduction of the breakout timeline, Tuesday’s report stated, “is based on data presented [in the report] that is more detailed than the information we had in August 2015.” When asked about the report by veteran AP journalist Matthew Lee on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, “I’ve not seen it, Matt. And as far as I know, nothing has changed about our own assessments, and the assessments made by the P5+1 in the negotiations about breakout time.”
President Barack Obama admitted in an interview with NPR in April 2015 that in “year 13, 14, 15, [Iran will] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” Afterward, the State Department tried to walk back the president’s statement. Then-Spokesperson Marie Harf said that what Obama “was referring to was a scenario in which there was no deal. … He was not indicating what would happen under an agreement in those years.”

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