Tuesday, May 17, 2016

From Ian:

Time to Leave UNESCO - Again
UNESCO's poisonous, fraudulent resolution is not only biased: it is negationist. All traces of Jewish presence in Jerusalem and Judea in ancient times are eliminated at the stroke of a pen.
Only six countries voted to reject the resolution: the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. France, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia accepted the text and voted yes. The resolution was presented with the support of several Muslim countries -- some often described as "moderate": Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
UNESCO is a branch of the United Nations, and the UN is an organization where democracies are in the minority, surrounded by a huge majority of ​​dictatorships and authoritarian regimes imbued with hatred toward the West. Israel is virtually the only country designated as guilty of violating human rights by the so-called Human Rights Council, and where, in 2009, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was welcomed as a hero.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The French peace initiative is doomed to fail
The French peace initiative was born in sin. It did not begin as an initiative, it began as a threat: If Israel doesn’t accept the diktat to recognize a Palestinian state, without negotiations and without the Palestinians having to recognize Israel, France will support Palestinian demands. The initiative includes demands made of Israel, like halting settlement construction beyond the Green Line—both in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem and in the main settlement blocs that will undoubtedly stay part of Israel in any future accord. But there are no demands made of the Palestinians—not on the "right of return," not on stopping incitement, nothing. This isn't serious.
The Israeli anger—which is entirely justified—led to a certain change in tone. The French are no longer promising the Palestinians that they would recognize a Palestinian state if the talks fail, and they've ambiguously dropped their other preconditions. The Israeli anger increased following the French support of the Arab resolution passed by UNESCO, which in practice rejects any connection between Israel and Jerusalem. When something like this is coming out of Tehran, we can mock it. But not so, when it's coming out of Paris?
The French realize they've made a mistake. They condemned their own vote in favor of the resolution. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Israel on Sunday. Next week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls—a serious and brave man—will visit Israel as well. They're trying to convince Israel to get on board with their peace initiative.
All peace initiatives so far have failed. Even the dream team of Yossi Beilin, Shlomo Ben-Ami and the late Yossi Sarid couldn't deliver the goods. The Palestinians, again and again, have insisted on the right of return. Not a partial right or return or a symbolic one—a mass one. Not that Netanyahu would've agreed to what Beilin proposed, but Abbas said "no" to Beilin.
Experience proves that it doesn't matter what the Palestinians are offered, it doesn't matter what the initiative entails. It's clear, even before the fact, that Abbas will say no. Even the French, despite Israel's anger at them, won't offer the Palestinians the right of return, and any proposal that does not include the right of return will receive the already-known answer. So, despite the pro-Palestinian bias, the result is known in advance.
Fred Maroun: The French Peace Initiative: From de Gaulle to Haaretz
France's peace initiative is French President François Hollande's equivalent of de Gaulle's betrayal of Israel.
France has already announced that if the peace initiative fails, France will recognize a Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rightly concluded that "this ensures that a conference will fail."
France knows that the peace initiative is pointless, but it is using it for theatrical value to embarrass Israel's government and curry favor with Arab regimes.
Those who claim to support peace, but who in fact work to undermine it, are partly responsible for the anti-Semitic campaign against Israel. They should be prominently named and exposed for collaborating with bigots, anti-Semites, and terrorists.

France delays May Israeli-Palestinian parley to allow for US to attend
France on Tuesday agreed to delay the May 30th launch of its new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative until some time this summer to allow for the US to attend.
It had intended to hold a ministerial meeting at the end of the month with representatives from some 20 countries — not including the Israelis and Palestinians — to lay the groundwork for a larger international peace conference in the fall.
The Palestinians have welcomed the initiative and the Israelis have opposed it. But the US, which has led all past Israeli-Palestinian peace processes has yet to formally state a position on the matter.
It had initially informed France that it could not attend for scheduling reasons.
During a brief visit to Israel on Sunday French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault said that his government would be happy to reschedule the event to accommodate US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Palestinians want French initiative to set timetable for Israeli West Bank withdrawal
The new French peace initiative should set a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told reporters during an English-language press conference in Ramallah on Monday afternoon.
“We hope that the peace conference… can set new parameters for peaceful settlement between us and Israel, in which all countries, at least the major countries, can participate,” Hamdallah said.
“And maybe we can set a time limit for the withdrawal of the Israeli troops and a time limit for the establishment of the Palestinian sovereign independent state over the 1967 borders [sic] with east Jerusalem as our capital,” he added.
The event, sponsored by the Foreign Press Association, took place just one day after French Foreign Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault visited Israel and the Palestinian territories to brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
'Without peace, Mideast extremism will hit Israel,' Abbas warns (not satire)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the French initiative for an international peace conference aimed at resolving the Middle East conflict.
“Let’s leave everything in the past and let’s meet,” the Palestinian leader said from his headquarters in Ramallah.
Netanyahu has rejected the idea of a peace conference in Paris, insisting that any talks between the two sides should be direct.
“When two sides are invited to a meeting, one cannot present preconditions,” the Palestinian leader said. “It’s the international community that should determine what is right and what isn’t.”
When asked by The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication Ma’ariv why he refuses the Israeli demand to explicitly recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas refused to comment.
Abbas, who met with a delegation of Israelis from the left-wing social democratic Meretz party, was asked if he lost faith in Netanyahu and his sincerity in negotiating peace.Abbas claimed that if Netanyahu refuses to go along with the French initiative, the Islamic State will gain a foothold in the region. A similar sentiment was echoed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault during his trip to the area.
“If there won’t be peace here, the extremists will take over everywhere,” Abbas said. “We are against terrorism and violence and we don’t want them here or in Europe, but if we don’t hurry up [and make peace], all of the extremism in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq will also arrive in Israel.”
Sisi touts Egypt's peace with Israel amid BDS push in Cairo
Amid growing opposition in Egyptian society to relations with Israel, manifested in a new BDS campaign launched in Cairo this week, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has lauded the peace treaty with Israel, claiming that it "wrote a bright chapter in the region's history."
Delivering a speech at the inauguration of a new power plant in the city of Asyut Tuesday, Sisi said: "When I meet American Congress members and delegations of Jewish communities, I always tell them that the step that was taken more than 40 years ago is the one that brought real peace and wrote a bright chapter of peace between people in our region's history."
"After signing the peace accords, no one thought that true and lasting peace, as it exists today between Israel and Egypt, could be achieved. However, it became a permanent peace due to the changing times and reality," Sisi stated.
The Egyptian president dedicated most of his speech to the efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Sisi said that "there is an opportunity to write a new chapter of peace in the area," calling on both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to take advantage of this opportunity.
"If we can all join forces in order to solve the Palestinian issue by creating hope for Palestinians and assuring security for Israelis, we will be able to write a new chapter that may prove to be more important than the peace accords between Israel and Egypt," Sisi added.
Netanyahu welcomes Egyptian president's call for peace
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to the President of Egypt's call for a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority earlier Tuesday.
"I welcome Egyptian President El-Sisi's remarks and his willingness to make every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us and the Palestinians and the peoples of the region," Netanyahu said in response.
"Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President El-Sisi's work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue."
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had issued a call to "join forces" to make regional peace more possible.
EU is shamefully ignoring number one Israeli concern – security
Europe’s media are rightly focused on the despicable recent Islamist stabbing attack in Munich that left one dead and three wounded.
So most Europeans will have undoubtedly missed that in Jerusalem, that same day two 80-year-old women out for a morning stroll were stabbed in the back by Palestinian assailants who fled the scene and went back to east Jerusalem.
Two 80-year-old women. Probably grandmothers. About as much threat to anyone as a feather duster.
Shlomi Tedegi, a medic, described the scene of the attack: “In an area adjacent to the promenade we saw two approximately 80-year-old elderly women lying in the dirt. They were fully conscious and suffering from stab wounds, one in the extremities and her upper body and the second in her upper body.”
Meanwhile in Gaza, the IDF keep uncovering fresh tunnels, and large amounts of the chemicals used to propel rockets.
The day of the attacks, Israel marked Remembrance Day, a day dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who have fallen in defense of the country, from 1948, 1967, 1973, two Lebanon wars and all the attacks and skirmishes in between, as well as to the thousands of Israeli citizens murdered to date by terrorists. It is rare to meet a single Israeli whose family circle or whose friends haven’t been touched in some way by terrorism, or the loss of a loved one on active duty. Remembrance Day in Israel doesn’t hark back to a bygone age, it reflects everyday reality and the price Israel pays for simply existing.
The numbers go up every year.
FT: Only Israel to Blame for 2014 Peace Talks Collapse
In the article, the FT looks back at the 2014 US-led talks, and why they failed:
The last round of US-led talks collapsed in April 2014 after delays in a planned release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel, and Palestinian anger over Israeli construction in illegal settlements and an Israeli demand that they recognize the country as a Jewish state.
Is this really the full story? Was Israel solely to blame for the collapse of the talks, and on three counts? What about the other side of the story that the article didn’t cover? Could it be that the Palestinians played some role in the failure of the talks?
For example:
- Abbas didn’t agree to extend the talks, and with their impending failure, the release of the prisoners was delayed.
- In a clear breach of agreements with the US and Israel, Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 15 UN and international bodies.
- Fatah announced an agreement with Hamas – the genocidal, terrorist organization – that they were to form a Palestinian unity government.

So why did the Financial Times choose to only report one side – the side that placed the blame wholly on Israel?
Abbas: All of Israel is occupation: "We have been under occupation for 67 or 68 years" since 1948
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "As we are building up man and his health, we are building an economy, agriculture, industry, and laws. All this exists, praise Allah, and is moving ahead naturally. There are many obstacles. I do not deny that countless obstacles and difficulties stand before us, but all of these are no match against our will. We have been under occupation for 67 or 68 years (i.e., since Israel’s establishment in 1948). Others would have sunk into despair and frustration. However, we are determined to reach our goal because our people stands behind us." [Official PA TV, March 11, 2016]

Bangladesh opposition official arrested over Israel meeting
Bangladesh police have arrested a senior official from the main opposition party and accused him of plotting against the state following his meeting with an Israeli political adviser, an official said Monday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is stepping up a crackdown on political opponents in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which is also reeling from a wave of killings blamed on Islamists.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) joint secretary general Aslam Chowdhury was arrested on Sunday after local media reported that he had met an Israeli government adviser in India in March.
“We’ve arrested Chowdhury for allegedly plotting conspiracies against the government by personally meeting an Israeli politician abroad,” detective police commissioner Abdul Baten told reporters.
Dhaka police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder said officers were preparing to file a criminal case against him.
Outrage after 1980 Paris synagogue bombing suspect walks free
The October 3, 1980, bombing of a synagogue on rue Copernic in Paris killed four people and marked the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II.
But the prime suspect for the bombing walked free Tuesday, wearing just an electronic bracelet.
"The arrest of Hassan Diab and his extradition to France in 2014 was a symbol of the determination of justice in the fight against terrorism," Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF, stated Tuesday.
"This release is outrageous and irresponsible. It is an insult to the victims and their families."
"It will be interpreted as an indulgence on terrorism that has hit France hard," he added.
The attack on the synagogue happened on a Friday evening, the eve of the Jewish Sabbath when it was packed with some 300 worshippers.
 OneFamily visits Beduin victim of TA terrorist attack
A Jewish-run NGO that visits wounded and the families of terrorism victims made a family stop on Monday at the home of taxi driver Amin Shaaban, who was murdered by Nashat Milhelm in a shooting rampage in Tel Aviv in January.
“We divide the country into regions and everyone who is wounded or killed in a terrorist attack gets a visit,” Marc Belzberg, the founder and chairman of the board of the OneFamily NGO, told The Jerusalem Post.
The NGO visits include soldiers and non-Jewish victims.
OneFamily visited Shaaban’s Beduin family in Lod, including the homes of his three wives and 15 children.
“One of the regional directors met them immediately after it happened,” noted Belzberg.
Each kid under 16 received a new bike and the older children each received NIS 2,000 checks. Each of the three wives and Shaaban’s mother got NIS 3,000.
Israeli Arab Balad Party posts video of father of murderer of 3 civilians on Facebook
Father of terrorist murderer Baha Alyan: "We met today with MPs of the Balad Party: Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas. The meeting was warm and productive. The Palestinian brothers, the MPs, listened to the pain and suffering of the relatives of the Martyrs whose bodies are being held [by Israel]. Their hearts were open, they listened to every word the Martyrs’ relatives said. They emphasized that they will make every effort to return the bodies by applying pressure on the [Israeli] government in parliament and by contacting the relevant political and security bodies of the Israeli government. It was agreed to continue meeting and to follow the matter in the near future." [Balad Party Facebook page, Feb. 2, 2016]
On Oct. 13, 2015, two Palestinian terrorists, Baha Alyan (22) and Bilal Ghanem (23) boarded bus in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood with a gun and a knife and attacked passengers, killing Israelis Haviv Haim (78), Alon Govberg (51), Richard Lakin (76) and wounding 3 Israelis. Alyan was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard at the scene and Ghanem, a Hamas terrorist who served time in Israeli prison in 2013-2014, was wounded.

French journalist: Hezbollah asked us to avoid saying Israel killed its military chief
Hezbollah asked western journalists not to report that Israel was behind the assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, Hezbollah's military chief, a prominent French journalist has alleged.
Georges Malbrunot, the Middle East reporter for the French daily newspaper Le Figaro, wrote a series of comments on his Twitter page on Saturday, regarding the assassination of Hezbollah's top commander.
"Hezbollah asked the journalists who asked for its reaction to Baddredine's liquidation to avoid saying that Israel is involved in the attack," Malbrunot wrote.
"On Friday, I spoke with a diplomat in the Levant who told me that the anti-Assad Syrian armed groups do not have the ability to produce such a sophisticated operation even if Israel could resort to use the services of one of these groups," the French reporter added.
According to Malbrunot, the foreign diplomat told him that "It could be little doubt that the assassination of Badreddine is the continuation of the Israeli liquidations of Hezbollah's senior leaders."
A statement released by Hezbollah on Friday emphasized that Badreddine was assassinated on Thursday night near Damascus airport by an artillery shell fired by a Syrian rebel group.
JCPA: Returning to Hamas’ Gaza Battlefield: Tunnels (Video only)
The Hamas tunnels are back in the news. What is Hamas up to? Have they changed their tactics? Have they changed their desire to destroy Israel? Has there been any moderation on their part?
Lenny Ben-David, Director of Publications and contributor to 'The Gaza War 2014' interviews Hirsh Goodman, editor of the Jerusalem Center’s 'The Gaza War 2014, The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted.'

Palestinian Museum Prepares to Open, Minus Exhibitions
When the $24 million Palestinian Museum celebrates its opening on Wednesday, it will have almost everything: a stunning, contemporary new building; soaring ambitions as a space to celebrate and redefine Palestinian art, history and culture; an outdoor amphitheater; a terraced garden.
One thing the museum will not have is exhibitions.
The long-planned — and much-promoted — inaugural show, “Never Part,” highlighting artifacts of Palestinian refugees, has been suspended after a disagreement between the museum’s board and its director, which led to the director’s ouster. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and other dignitaries are expected to attend the opening ceremony, but a spokeswoman acknowledged on Sunday that “there will not be any artwork exhibited in the museum at all.”
Omar al-Qattan, the museum’s chairman, said Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that it was worthwhile to open even an empty building. “Symbolically it’s critical,” he said, conceding that the next phase, including the exhibitions, “is the more exciting one.”
Gazans say Jordan is refusing to allow them passage
Gazans who endured a border blockade by neighboring Egypt and Israel for almost a decade thought they were finally catching a break when Israel slightly eased restrictions on travel from the Hamas-ruled territory in recent months.
But now Jordan appears to be emerging as an obstacle, routinely denying transit permits for Gazans and effectively preventing patients, university students and others with business abroad from leaving the territory.
With the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing — Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world — all but shuttered, Jordan has emerged as a key player in enabling Gazans to travel abroad. Over the past year or so, Israel has begun to allow growing numbers of Gazans to cross through its territory and the West Bank into Jordan, where they can catch flights to their final destinations.
But Gazans can only cross through Israel if they have a special visa from Jordan known as a “no objection” letter. And travelers and human rights groups say that Gazans are experiencing difficulties receiving these permits like never before.
The US-based Human Rights Watch has urged Jordan to facilitate travel for Palestinians from Gaza to third countries.
Senior Hamas official accuses Fatah of plotting to kill Egypt's Sisi
A Gazan terror cell forged by Tawfik Tirawi, a senior Fatah official and the former head of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Services, was plotting to assassinate Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a senior Hamas official has claimed.
In a press statement on Monday, Hamas representative Salah al-Bardawil said that the recently-arrested members of the alleged Fatah terror cell provided Hamas with information and documents that indicate that they had planned to assassinate Sisi and other senior Egyptian officials.
According to Bardawil, the terrorist cell conspired to put the blame for Sisi's assassination on Hamas, thereby wreaking havoc on Hamas's relations with Egypt, which have recently grown warmer.
"We will convey these documents to Egypt and to other regional parties to show them the grave conspiracy created by Tirawi," Bardawil stated, adding that Hamas will not allow anyone to damage Egypt's national security.
A user named Gareeb Gaza, who presents himself as a fighter in Hamas's military wing, al-Kassam Brigades, wrote a series of remarks about the ongoing affair on his Twitter account.
Report: Mughniyeh's son appointed Hezbollah military commander
Hezbollah appointed Mustafa Mughniyeh military commander following the death of his uncle Mustafa Badreddine last weekend in a shelling at Damascus airport, the London based Asharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday morning.
Mustafa Mughniyeh is the son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah's military commander who was assassinated in Syria in 2008 in an operation attributed in foreign media to the Mossad.
The report, based on Lebanese sources, says the 1983-born recent appointee was named after his uncle when Badreddine was serving jail time in Kuwait for involvement in bomb attacks.
Mughniyeh has long remained under-the-radar and has steered clear of media attention; His photos are nearly impossible to come across. Some believe his identity remained concealed in order to secure his cover in covert Hezbollah operations overseas.
According to the report, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani traveled to Beirut following Badreddine's death to oversee the promotion of Mughniyeh.
Al Qaeda Calls For Killings Of US Businessmen
An online al Qaeda magazine is calling for jihadis to damage the US economy by killing business leaders and entrepreneurs, according to analysts.
An article in Inspire, which was published on Saturday, calls for "Professional Assassinations" and features the image of a hooded man watching a home from the outside.
It also includes a photo montage showing Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a gun and a blood spatter, the Washington Times reported.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which obtained a copy of the magazine, said it provides detailed information on preparing for and carrying out targeted assassinations.
It quotes Inspire editor Yahya Ibrahim as saying : "The prophet ordered the killing of many criminal leaders using this method... and here we are, following the footsteps of the prophet on how he dealt with his enemies and friends".
He adds: "We will never put down our weapons until we fulfil what Allah wants from us.
Al-Qaeda in New 'Inspire' Issue: Clock Boy 'Even Inspired Us in a Way'
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's new issue of Inspire magazine includes a shout out to the "Clock Boy" while slamming President Obama's programs to counter violent extremism.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was arrested at his Texas high school in 2015 for bringing a homemade clock to school encased in what resembled a small briefcase. The device was seized by his English teacher and the cops were called. He was not charged with any crime.
"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great," Obama tweeted in support of boy. A month later, Ahmed met Obama during White House Astronomy Night event on the South Lawn of the White House.
The new al-Qaeda issue featured a picture of the two meeting as well as the clock bomb, with the notation: "Obama, 'because of his sensitivity towards Muslim discrimination,' sees an opp to further his PR by acknowledging a brilliant 14 yr old Muslim boy (who in fact even inspired us in a way)."
The Inspire issue features step-by-step photos of how to build a parcel bomb, a magnetic car bomb, and a door-trap bomb.
Iran's Soft War Against America
Iran is waging a "soft war" offensive -- media, social media, charm -- against the United States. Tehran believes it is scoring significant victories in this war, and it clearly has, as can be seen by the so-called "Iran deal" -- technically no "deal" at all: one side, Iran, got everything.
Iran's sophisticated employment of asymmetrical tactics, such as "soft war" -- which relies on the other side's wishes, conscious or not, to be taken in -- is apparently part of Tehran's strategy to level the playing field against the U.S., despite America's overwhelming military superiority.
Tehran seems to think, with justification, that it has successfully exploited the Obama administration's uncorseted desire for better bilateral relations into granting Iran concessions that are not part of the original Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA).
One of these concessions is granting Iran access to the U.S financial system; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent last week trawling through Europe, imploring bankers to do business with Iran, despite that minor detail that America will not.
Another concession is the U.S. offer to buy Iran's heavy water, a product of its planned plutonium bomb-making reactor in Arak.
Still another concession is the U.S. administration's failure to increase sanctions on Iran for repeatedly launching potentially nuclear-capable ballistic missiles -- in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Tehran Nuclear Chief: Iran “Enhancing” Its Nuclear Program, Uranium Enrichment Process
Iran has been “enhancing” its nuclear program and bolstering its uranium enrichment capability, Iran’s atomic energy chief told a group of the country’s ambassadors and envoys in Tehran on Saturday.
“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, according to Fars news agency. He further asserted that the quality of the country’s process of uranium enrichment was improving, Tehran Times reported.
Salehi added that Iran’s nuclear program was on the “right path” and was “compatible with the strategic plans of the country,” according to the IRNA state news agency. He also said that Iran is beginning to sell its heavy water on the open market.
Salehi’s remarks recall a concern raised last year by Mark Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who warned that details leaked about the nuclear deal suggested that “eventually the regime could legally develop an industrial-size enrichment program, reducing its bomb breakout time to days and increasing the risk of uranium diversion to covert sites.” Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in his speech before Congress last year that the deal “creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal.”
President Barack Obama acknowledged last April that given the nuclear advances that Iran could achieve over the course of the deal, Iran’s nuclear “breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero” by the time that the accord expires.
MEMRI: IRGC Aerospace And Missile Force Commander: The Americans Are Telling Us 'Don't Talk About Missile Affairs, And If You Conduct A Test... Don't Mention It'
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace and Missile Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said at a conference of religious students in Qom on May 14, 2016:
"The arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] is trying to create [among us] the belief that Iran is at a crossroads, and that it has no choice but to compromise with America or be eternally subjected to American pressure and the problems that stem from that... At the same time, within Iran the belief has taken root that it is not possible to solve [Iran's] problems without America...
"If we stand fast against this move by the Americans, who have stolen the funds of the [Iranian] nation, they will abandon this habit [of thievery].But if we compromise with them, the[ir] thievery will end up [taking] $40-$50 billion of Iran's assets and its blocked funds. The Americans understand only the language of force; they do not understand the language of reason. They cannot be trusted. We must face them down firmly, and we must act. If we do not, we will witness daily their exaggerated and evil demands.
Elliott Abrams: John Kerry Impersonates the Iranian Chamber of Commerce
The termination of sanctions pursuant to its nuclear deal with the West has not done enough to boost Iran’s economy—or so Tehran has complained. In response, John Kerry traveled to Europe last week to persuade investors to do business with the Islamic Republic. Elliott Abrams comments:
Iran has the “right” to an end to nuclear sanctions, but has no “right” to additional business. There are many reasons companies might hold back, ranging from American terrorism-related and human-rights sanctions, to uncertainty about future U.S. policy, to fear that entities in Iran with which they may undertake business are also involved in illegal or terrorist activities.
Moreover, Iran is not a democracy with a reliable legal system, but a dictatorship run by the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guard where legal rights cannot possibly be guaranteed. There is simply no defensible reason for an American official, much less our top diplomat, to concern himself with how much investment and profit Iran can eke out of the nuclear deal. The effort to do so betrays America’s real interests in the Middle East, which are challenged by a richer and better-resourced Iran.
Texas Governor Refuses Obama’s Request to Lift State Sanctions on Iran; Says Nuclear Deal Undermines US Security, Poses Existential Threat to Israel
The governor of Texas sent a harsh letter to US President Barack Obama on Monday, announcing that his state would not only maintain its sanctions on Iran, but strengthen them, The Algemeiner has learned.
Governor Greg Abbott explained that the letter was in response to a written appeal made by Obama on April 8, requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic – as was promised to Tehran in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers reached in July.
“I strongly oppose the Iran deal because it undermines the national security of the United States and its strategic allies abroad – especially our most important Middle East ally, Israel,” Abbott wrote to Obama. “Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for ‘death to America,’ and repeatedly articulates antisemitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities.”
Asserting that the nuclear deal poses an existential threat to the Jewish state, Abbott stressed Texas’ steadfast support for Israel – where he had just returned from a trip sponsored by casino magnate Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson. He then described why he sees a parallel between Israel and his own life story.
Iran MPs want US to pay damages for ‘hostile action’
Iran’s parliament on Tuesday voted through a law obliging the government to demand damages from the United States for 63 years of “hostile action and crimes,” state television reported.
“The government has the duty to take the necessary measures seeking compensation for material and moral damages caused by the United States” to the country and Iranians over the past 63 years, the text reads.
It cites “material or moral damage” caused by the US during the coup against nationalist leader Mohammad Mossadegh (1953), in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), in the destruction of oil platforms in the Gulf and in espionage against the Islamic republic.
The parliament did not specify a sum, but Vice President Majid Ansari said during the debate that “Iranian courts have already ruled that the US pay $50 billion in damages for its hostile actions” towards the country.
The law was passed by the conservative-dominated outgoing parliament in response to a US Supreme Court decision last month.
Senators Demand Obama Fire Top Aide for Iran Deal Deception

The lawmakers are pressing Obama to fire deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes following revelations he and other officials “spearheaded the charge to mislead elected lawmakers and the American people about the Iran nuclear deal and the negotiations that led to this agreement,” according to the letter.
Rhodes will skip a Tuesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee as it investigates claims he and other senior White House officials waged a misinformation campaign to garner approval for the contested Iran deal, according to sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.
The White House kept congressional sources in the dark until late Monday afternoon, when officials finally disclosed that Rhodes would not testify as the result of “constitutional concerns,” according to conversations with congressional insiders and a letter sent by the White House.
Rhodes’ reported spin campaign has become a flashpoint following a lengthy New York Times magazine profile detailing his attempts to mislead reporters and D.C. insiders about the contents of the nuclear deal.
White House: Obama aide won’t testify on Iran deal
The White House said Monday that a senior adviser to President Barack Obama won’t testify before a House committee about how he promoted the Iran nuclear deal to the public.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a letter to the House Oversight Committee that allowing deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to testify would threaten the president’s “ability to receive candid advice.”
Rhodes stirred up controversy last week when he told The New York Times Magazine that he intentionally created an “echo chamber” of supporters to build public support for the nuclear agreement.
Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Rhodes should have to explain and clarify his remarks.
White House Angrily Calls Republicans Liars About Iran Deal
White House press secretary Josh Earnest lashed out at Republican lawmakers Monday for inviting Obama aide Ben Rhodes to testify in a congressional hearing this week on the Iran nuclear deal, calling opponents of the nuclear accord in Congress liars who are deceiving the public about its content.
Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke asked Earnest at the White House daily press briefing if it would be “instructive if not enlightening” for Rhodes, the president’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, to appear before Congress to discuss the Iran deal.
“Ben Rhodes is the person who told the truth about the Iran deal, and it’s Republicans who are either badly misinformed or outright lying about the Iran deal,” Earnest said in response.
Iranian models arrested and forced to give public self-criticism for posting pictures without headscarves
A leading Iranian model has been forced to give a public self-criticism after being charged with “promoting western promiscuity” for posting pictures of herself online without a headscarf.
Elham Arab, famous for her blonde hair, doll-like looks and wedding dress model shoots, is one of a string of Iranian models caught up in a sting operation code-named “Spider 2”. It is aimed at models and other figures in the fashion industry who have advertised themselves or appeared on Instagram and other social media sites.
Before a hearing at the Iranian Revolutionary Court in a case brought by the special cyber-crimes unit, Ms Arab was questioned on camera by the prosecutor, Abbas Doulatabadi.
Wearing black chador over her newly dark locks, she said she regretted entering the fashion business in the first place, describing it as a “mistake”. “I think all humans are interested in admiring beauty and becoming famous,” she said.
“But they must first consider at what cost and what they will lose in return. For an Iranian film star they may not lose much but for a model she will certainly lose her hijab and honour.”
In Islam, hijab can refer both to the headscarf women wear to cover their hair and the principle of modesty that underlies the practice.
The crackdown on the fashion industry is part of a broader renewed emphasis on “Islamic values” under President Hassan Rouhani. Although he has a reputation as a moderate compared to his hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the regime has been trying to reassert its revolutionary credentials since the nuclear deal with the West.
MEMRI: Iranian TV Report on International Holocaust Cartoon Contest Held in Tehran
On May 15, Al-Alam TV broadcast a report on the opening of the third International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in Tehran. The exhibition features caricatures of Israeli PM Netanyahu, comparing him to Hitler and to ISIS terrorists. The organizer, Shojai Tabtabai, said that the exhibition was "a response to the publication of cartoons by the French Charlie Hebdo magazine, which affronted the Prophet Muhammad, as well as an expression of [our opposition] to the massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian people."

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