Tuesday, April 13, 2021

From Ian:

Vic Rosenthal: Irrational, Dangerous Iran Policy is No Accident
The contention that Trump’s program didn’t work is false – the regime simply was able to hold out until he left office. Something that the NY Times et al don’t mention is that the agreement with China, the enrichment to 20%, and the introduction of new-generation centrifuges prohibited by the JCPOA didn’t occur until 2021, when Trump was either already gone or about to be. The Chinese undoubtedly knew that Trump would retaliate economically if they made their agreement with Iran during his term. And the Iranian regime clearly feared the US president, who had eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the single most dangerous terrorist operative in decades.

Biden’s policy – or that of whoever is making decisions for him – will empower the Iranian regime in reaching its objectives. And those objectives are quite ambitious: the establishment of a Shiite caliphate in the region, the replacement of various regimes (e.g., in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain), the destruction of the Jewish state, the control of all Middle Eastern fossil fuel resources, and so on. Iranian expansionism has already turned Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen into failed states whose populations are suffering enormously as a result.

If Iran continues with its nuclear program past Israel’s redlines, or if it orders its proxies to attack Israel, the result will be regional war. Such a war would be disastrous, especially for Lebanon, whose southern part has been turned by Iran’s Hezbollah proxy into one big launching pad for an estimated 130,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel. Israel’s defensive capabilities, although the most advanced in the world, could not deal with the number of weapons that would be fired at it, and so it would be necessary to respond by bombing southern Lebanon. That would cause thousands of casualties in a country already suffering from disease and total economic collapse.

The regime in Iran has made it clear that America, “the Great Satan,” is its most important enemy. It and its proxies have killed Americans in Lebanon and of course Iraq. It will work together with other enemies of the USA to harm it in any way it can. It even played a role in the 9/11 attacks. It isn’t unthinkable that it will provide nuclear material to terrorists in order to attack her in a “plausibly deniable” way.

Is enabling this regime’s regional takeover and nuclear project in America’s national interest? I don’t think so. The best way to forestall its plans is for the US to return to the policy of maximum pressure: to squeeze it economically until either it has no option but to retreat from its aggression, or it falls and is replaced by the more moderate government that most of the Iranian people would prefer.

Having said that, I am certain that this will not occur. What is going on is more than just a repudiation of Trump. Whoever is behind the project of strengthening the Iranian regime and enabling it to obtain its objectives knows what they are doing, and must share those objectives. The ideology of appointed officials is too consistent, the historical precedents too clear, and the functioning of the PR echo chamber too slick for it to be anything but deliberate.

Israel can only defend herself. It’s up to Americans to do whatever is necessary to move their country off this dangerous path.

The Troubling US Deflection of Israel’s Concerns on Iran
While each of these American actions may have standalone rationalizations, the cumulative effect is to put Israel on the defensive—and I think that is exactly what the administration intends. Israel is being warned not to be too pushy about Iran policy or else the administration can pester Israel diplomatically in ways that will pinch.

This week, the Biden administration also is launching its own “Bibi-sitting” exercise, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin coming to soothe the concerns of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. It is not at all coincidental that this first cabinet-level visit of a Biden administration official comes at the time that talks with the Iranians are taking place (publicly in Vienna, and perhaps secretly elsewhere too).

I hope that Austin is authorized to discuss real policy with Jerusalem, not just hold the hands of Netanyahu and Gantz and warn them to back off.

And then there are some early signs of a defamation campaign coming from Washington. Joe Cirincione penned an NBC News op-ed this week in which he warned against the return of the old anti-Iran deal “coalition,” including hawks in Congress, the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia, and by insinuation also evangelical Christians and American Jews, whose “money and influence” could ruin everything for the Biden administration.

This is another way of saying, in thinly veiled sophisticate-speak: Get the damn Jews and Israelis and their allies the hell off our back while we responsible statesmen loyal to Biden (and Obama) get our nuclear deal with Iran back on track.

Cirincione is a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (a new, fiercely left-wing think tank funded by George Soros) and a former president of the Ploughshares Fund, which lavishly supported the original Iran deal campaign. He may be a bellwether of more hostile messaging to come.

In fact, after the administration leaked news of the “Israeli strike” on the IRGC ship in the Red Sea, Cirincione tweeted something to the effect that once again Israel is driving towards war. By implication, he was accusing Israel of dragging the United States into war, too.

Beware: Obama’s echo chamber is coming back in the service of Biden to bash Bibi and endorse another awful nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran fires missile at Israeli-owned ship near UAE - report
An Israeli ship called the Hyperion and owned by an Israeli company was attacked near the shores of the Fujairah emirate in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, according to reports in Lebanon. The attack came a day after Iran vowed to avenge the explosion at its Natanz nuclear facility, which it blamed on Israel.

Data available on MarineTraffic.com showed that the Hyperion, a vehicle carrier sailing under the flag of the Bahamas, was stopped off the coast of Fujairah. Arab media reports said that the ship was hit by an Iranian missile.

The vessel is associated with the Israeli Ray Shipping company, the same company that owns a vessel hit by an alleged Iranian attack in February.

Israeli media reported that the attack was likely carried out with a missile or drone and that only light damage was caused to the vessel. The IDF declined to comment on the reports.

Despite increased tensions with Iran and a security cabinet meeting planned for next week, Attorney-General Avi Mandelblit banned the security cabinet from meeting until a justice minister is appointed, according to Israeli media.

The attack comes just days after an alleged Israeli attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility and exactly a week after the Iranian Saviz ship was damaged in alleged Israeli attack in the Red Sea.

It also comes after two strikes against Israeli-owned vessels in the region and reports of dozens of earlier strikes carried out by Israel against Iran in locations ranging from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.

UNRWA and the Unique Treatment of Palestinians Prevents Peace
While I truly empathize with this young woman, the story begs the question: in what way is this about “critical assistance”? When one thinks of critical humanitarian assistance, it conjures up images of delivering emergency food or medicine to desperate populations in warzones or famines. Instead, Lazzarini spoke of a social problem affecting people everywhere. Even here in the US, who doesn’t know of children who have struggled through distance learning and limited access to devices?

The literacy rate in the West Bank and Gaza is an impressive 97.2%. Compare that with neighboring Egypt, where the literacy rate is only 71.2%. The UN’s Human Development Index also ranks the “State of Palestine” higher than nearby countries like Egypt and Morocco, to say nothing of the region’s conflict-ridden states.

Are Yemeni and Syrian children who dream of Oxford less special than a Palestinian child? It warms my heart to hear of a young person who dreams of an elite education, but surely many across the world with the same dream face far more challenging barriers.

In this way, Lazzarini highlighted the absurdity of UNRWA.

Why is an entire agency needed just for the Palestinian people? The truth is that UNRWA’s continued existence is pure politics. There is no legitimate reason why any humanitarian crises, real or imagined, facing the Palestinians cannot be handled like any other crisis by the UN’s main humanitarian agencies like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The agency’s apologists claim it is necessary because the Palestinian situation is “unique.” But what humanitarian situation isn’t unique? What about Somalis who have been living through conflict, famines, and the hopelessness of a failed state for decades? Are they less deserving? What of the region’s Kurds and Yazidis who have, through the decades, faced Saddam’s chemical weapons, ISIS genocide, or the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Turkish-occupied Syria?

President Biden has regrettably chosen to reinforce a narrative of Palestinian exceptionalism. When the world treats the Palestinians as uniquely deserving of special humanitarian treatment, it’s no surprise their leadership demands special political treatment. Reinforcing the narrative that Palestinians deserve special definitions and agencies will only embolden Palestinian demands for exceptional peace terms, like the non-existent “right of return,” which would be laughed out of any peace negotiation in any other part of the world.

“UNRWA is part of the problem, and not part of the solution,” wrote Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf in their book “The War of Return.” Perhaps before wasting $150 million on a failed institution, President Biden should have spent $20 on their book.
Exclusive — Sen. Ted Cruz: 'Americans Will Die' Because Joe Biden Is Sending $250 Million to Palestinians
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Americans and Israelis will be murdered as result of the Biden administration’s decision to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Palestinians during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak.

On Wednesday, the White House announced it would provide $250 million to Palestinians, despite a 2018 law — the Taylor Force Act — that prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting the Palestinian Authority (PA) while it pays stipends and pensions to terrorists and their families.

Cruz said, “In 2019, the Palestinian Authority expressed its intention to spend $342.6 million on rewards for terrorists and their families. We’re not talking about a few dollars here and there. … And now, with Joe Biden’s decision, a significant chunk of that $342 million is going to have come from you and me.”

“We’re sending American taxpayer funds to [the Palestinian Authority] so they can fund terrorists,” he continued, “and as a result of Joe Biden’s decision, Americans will die. Israelis will die. This money that Joe Biden is sending to terrorists will be used to commit more acts of terrorism, to incentivize terrorists, to murder women, to murder children.”

He added, “Joe Biden decided that funding terrorists who kill Americans apparently is a good idea.”

Transparency Now: Sign Petition to Ensure Aid to Palestinians Doesn’t Violate US Law
The Biden Administration has announced the restoration of hundreds of millions of dollars of US assistance to the Palestinians.

However, the decision might violate laws that restrict Washington from transferring aid that would benefit the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

While USAID assured HonestReporting that funds would only be allocated “in accordance with anti-terrorism requirements and all relevant US laws,” the move raises serious questions.

The media is meant to play a crucial role in holding politicians accountable. But in this case, journalists have failed to adequately address the potential controversy.

HonestReporting is calling on the White House to be transparent, and for news outlets to fulfil their duty.

Any discussion about prospective aid to the Palestinians requires a fully informed public. Please sign our petition to ensure US taxpayers will know how their money will be spent.

Sudanese delegation said planning first visit to Israel next week
Sudan is tentatively planning to send its first official delegation to Israel next week following the normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Khartoum, according to a Tuesday report.

The Sudanese representatives will include security and intelligence officials, the Reuters news agency reported, citing an anonymous source.

The Kan public broadcaster previously reported that Israel and Sudan were holding talks about a prospective visit by a Sudanese security delegation.

Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen visited Sudan in January, becoming the first Israeli minister to visit the Arab country following the signing of a normalization deal between the two countries.

Cohen led a delegation from his ministry and from the National Security Council, holding talks with senior Sudanese officials, including Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, and Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim. Cohen signed a memorandum of understanding with Ibrahim on security-related issues and invited Sudanese leaders to visit Israel.

The planned visit by the Sudanese delegation came after ministers in Khartoum voted last week to annul the so-called Israel boycott law as part of the normalization efforts.

The decision to scrap the 1958 law was confirmed by the Sudanese prime minister’s office, which said ministers also affirmed Sudan’s support for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
The Palestinian democratic boomerang
After 15 years of a de-facto dictatorship, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas announced in January that the P.A. will hold general elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (the P.A. parliament) in May, followed by elections for P.A. chairman in July.

The U.S. administration and the European Union pushed Abbas to hold elections with the intention of promoting democracy and lending legitimacy to the Palestinian leadership. The result, however, will not be an endorsement of democracy, but will rather highlight the terrorist nature of the P.A.

According to lists published by the P.A. Central Elections Commission, among the parties set to participate in the upcoming elections, two are designated by both the United States and the European Union as terrorist organizations: Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The terror groups’ electoral lists include convicted terrorists, some of them murderers and even mass murderers. In some instances, I was personally involved in their prosecution/incarceration.
Palestinian Factions Threaten Election Suspension Unless East Jerusalem Participates
Just as it seemed that the first Palestinian elections in some 15 years would take place, several factions — including that of ruling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party — warned they would not take place unless East Jerusalem residents can participate.

“There will be no Palestinian elections without Jerusalem, and Israel possesses no veto to this,” the Palestinian factions said in a joint statement following a meeting to discuss the subject, reported the Times of Israel.

“The election process must become a state of confrontation and comprehensive popular resistance in Jerusalem and all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967,” the PLO factions added.

However, Palestinian civil society activists maintained that the Palestinian leadership’s threat to delay or cancel the vote, using Jerusalem as an excuse, was the wrong move.

Palestinian officials hinted over the past few weeks that the elections would be called off if Jerusalem’s Arab residents, who hold Israeli-issued ID cards, are excluded, according to the Jerusalem Post. They demanded, in addition, that Israel allow Arab residents to cast their ballots in the city, and not in areas located outside the Jerusalem Municipality boundaries.

Israel has yet to officially announce its position vis-a-vis the participation of Jerusalem residents in the Palestinian elections.
Dahlan plays the long game - opinion
DAHLAN MAINTAINED that Hamas and Fatah were conspiring to allow the 85-year-old Abbas to run unopposed in the forthcoming presidential election “as if he were 40 years old and his future was ahead of him.”

Without elaborating as to whether he would also run, Dahlan declared enigmatically, “Abbas will not be the only presidential candidate in the elections.”

Although Dahlan’s participation in the forthcoming Palestinian Legislative Council election virtually relies on the toss of a coin, Jerusalem Post political commentator Khaled Abu Toameh believes he is hoping that his supporters will win enough seats to allow them to be part of a future government coalition. Once Dahlan loyalists are in the parliament and government, Abu Toameh believes the plan will be for them to negotiate their leader’s participation in the presidential election scheduled for July 31.

If this is indeed Dahlan’s strategy, its outcome is highly unpredictable. He might, in fact, be playing a longer, more subtle game. Assuming the reported Hamas-Fatah deal holds and Abbas is indeed returned as PA president for another four-year term – and if he survives – by 2025 he will be pushing 90. By then Dahlan, at 63, would have had time and opportunity to consolidate and strengthen his support among the Palestinian population – a process he has already begun by arranging delivery of tens of thousands of the Russian Sputnik V COVID vaccine to Gaza, courtesy of his UAE patron.

He is also promising a swift solution of the endemic problem of inadequate electricity supplies in the Gaza Strip.

“One of my business associates could resolve it easily,” said Dahlan in his TV interview. “This isn’t such a big deal. We’re not talking about some enormous grant. It is the political divides and personal rifts that have – and I’m sorry to put it like this – turned the Palestinian people into beggars.”

A more covert move at strengthening his influence within the Palestinian political scene has been the deal Dahlan is reported to have struck with Hamas. Under its terms, Dahlan apparently agreed to pay blood money to the families of dozens of Palestinians killed by his men in the past three decades. In return, his supporters would be permitted to return to the Gaza Strip. And indeed, in the past few weeks scores of Dahlan loyalists began returning under assurances from Hamas that they would not be arrested or killed.

In the long term, the real significance of these Palestinian elections may be that Mohammed Dahlan, after years of exile in the UAE, is making a formal return to the political scene.

Jpost Editorial: Israel needs to stop the chatter about secret operations - editorial
In the past, classified operations were kept under wraps, allowing Israel to operate with impunity and carry out successful missions without claiming responsibility for them.

Dramatic strikes that “according to foreign reports” were carried out by Israel against targets such as Syria’s nuclear facility in 2007 are a good example for when officials kept silent and there were no deliberate leaks to the media.

Another example is the series of Stuxnet attacks uncovered more than a decade ago that caused substantial damage to Iran’s nuclear program. While neither Israel nor the US openly admitted responsibility, the cyber-weapon behind Stuxnet was “widely understood” to have been built jointly by both countries in a collaborative effort known as the “Olympic Games.”

In all these examples, the people who needed to know – Israel’s enemies – knew, but Israeli officials stayed mum to give the country the ability to maneuver and follow a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

Leaking reports of a cyberattack – or any other clandestine operations, for that matter – on the same day as the incidents themselves is a clear break with tradition. And if politicians talk, then it’s also difficult to separate the attack from the political mess the country is currently facing.

Of course, there is also the danger of Israel’s enemies not only pointing a finger at the Jewish state, but also threatening and carrying out retaliatory action. Iran’s Nournews website said the person who caused the electricity outage had been identified, and “necessary measures” were being taken.

Israeli officials may have gone too far this time in saying too much, too soon. We urge them to reinstate the dictum made famous by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: “When you have to shoot... shoot! Don’t talk.”
Natanz attack hit 50 meters underground, destroyed most of the facility
The alleged Israeli attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility targeted an electrical substation located 40 to 50 meters underground and damaged "thousands of centrifuges," Iranian officials revealed in recent days.

Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, former head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told Iranian media on Monday that the attack hit an electrical substation located deep underground and managed to damage both the power distribution system and the cable leading to the centrifuges in order to cut power to them.

The Iranian official stressed that such an operation takes years, saying "the design of the enemy was very beautiful."

Davani added that the substation was built underground in order to protect it from air and missile strikes, and that the attack was carried out either via cyber, sabotaged equipment or sabotage committed by agents.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that the attack was carried out through an explosive device that was smuggled into the facility and detonated remotely. An intelligence official told The New York Times on Tuesday that the attack took out both the primary and backup electrical systems. Apparently, the initial explosion set off secondary explosions, causing even greater damage.
The real Iran deal needs to include all the relevant actors
There is an obvious alternative to this sorry state of affairs, the real deal the people of Iran need and deserve: the Cyrus Accords. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that if you cannot solve a problem, you should enlarge it. So rather than trying to stovepipe the nuclear issue from all the Iranian regime’s other bad behavior, a new deal should be comprehensive and resolve the issues impeding the systemic changes necessary to modernize Iran into a secure and prosperous nation that is accountable to its people, and can then reclaim its rightful position as a friend to the United States, Israel and our partners and allies in the Middle East.

The fundamental principle that would have to be part of any real deal for Iran would be the renunciation of hostilities between the parties. This would be pro forma on the part of the United States and Israel, neither of which have an ideological impulse to annihilate Iran, but it would be a seismic shift on the part of the current regime in Iran. If this shift were made, however, it would open a broad range of possibilities for cooperation that would swiftly and decisively change Iranian quality of life.

Both the US and Israel can be prepared with an expansive menu of public-private partnerships that would build Iranian capacity in everything from mitigating Iran’s acute climate and water degradation to building critical civilian infrastructure in communications and logistics.

In partnership with regional neighbors, Iran could upgrade its energy industry and engage in a collective security construct that would encourage stability and reduce the need for such an imbalanced expenditure of resources on offensive military programs, and redirect them to desperately-needed nation building at home.

As we wrote in our original piece outlining the vision for the Cyrus Accords, the descendants of Abraham and Cyrus have millennia-old traditions that have successfully intertwined in the past. The day when they reconnect again is not only possible, but probable. The United States, for its part, has a distinguished history of investing heavily in other countries with no imperial intent, but rather in the hopes of cultivating allies who will freely contribute to our mutual prosperity and security.

Two remarkable examples of this practice are Germany and Japan, which less than a century ago were America’s mortal enemies. Following a fundamental renunciation of aggression, however, they were, with our support, able to transform into key democratic allies with thriving free-market economies.

With American leadership, the Abraham Accords have shown the way for a comparable transformation of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The Cyrus Accords can follow suit for the people of Iran.
Seth J. Frantzman: China and Russia will keep Iran from building a bomb
Why does Iran openly telegraph its nuclear-material stockpile? Prior to the 2015 accord, Iran never built a bomb. Instead it used claims that it was “moving toward a nuclear weapon” to wring concessions from other nations. It also used talking points about political “hardliners” and fear of “another war in the Middle East” to get the U.S. to the bargaining table. Now Iran once again has trotted out the “hardliners” equation, claiming that if the U.S. doesn’t agree to a new deal, the hardliners might win an upcoming election. This is a talking point that Iran uses only in its discussions with the West; it doesn’t appear to ever mention hardliners in its own media or in talks with Russia, China and Turkey.

That means Iran doesn’t threaten Beijing or Moscow with “hardliners” who might emerge if those countries don’t give in to Iran’s demands. Having China and Russia as part of the Iran deal keeps Iran from developing a nuclear weapon because it would anger Moscow and Beijing — and Iran can’t risk its ties to those countries.

Iran uses talk of uranium enrichment, political hardliners and possible war as leverage over the United States. But leaders in Beijing, Moscow and Ankara don’t appear to have much concern about such matters, including whether Iran builds a bomb or goes to war in the Middle East. This is because China and Russia are happy to use Iran’s destabilizing policies to counter and distract the United States, and realize that Iran apparently won’t violate the JCPOA to the extent of actually building a bomb (it had ample opportunity to do so before the accord).

What if the U.S. were to propose that China and Russia restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions? This would hand them a hot potato and relieve the U.S. of the need to constantly respond to Iran’s threats. China’s economic policy in the Middle East is predicated upon stability, not nuclear conflict. The new China deal likely encourages Iran not to upend things with its nuclear ambitions.

America should call Iran’s bluff, knowing that China and Russia don’t want it to build a nuclear weapon. With that off the table, a better discussion could be held with Iran that doesn’t give its mullahs all the leverage with threats of “enrichment” and possible war.
Iran informs UN it will raise enrichment to 60%, its highest-ever levels
Iran will begin enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, higher than the program ever has before, after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, an Iranian nuclear negotiator said Tuesday.

Abbas Araghchi was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as saying that Iran would increase its enrichment from its current rate of 20% in response to the weekend attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, which has been blamed on Israel. That would put Iran a short technical step away from weapons-grade levels.

The International Atomic Energy Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Press TV, the Iranian state television’s English-language arm, said the IAEA had been informed that the enrichment would begin Wednesday.

The broadcaster also quoted Araghchi as saying Iran would install another 1,000 centrifuges at Natanz, without elaborating.

The announcement comes after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Tuesday morning that the attack on its main nuclear enrichment site at Natanz could hurt ongoing negotiations over its tattered atomic deal with world powers.
Inside Iran’s Torture Prisons: Tehran Quick to Jail Those With Pro-Israel Ties
Thanks to a rare glimpse inside the Islamic Republic of Iran’s vast penal establishment in Tehran, Fox News has obtained exclusive information about Iranians condemned to harsh sentences for mere contact with Israelis, including, for one, a betrayal by Turkish intelligence — an alleged ally of the U.S.

“A woman who was incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison — where the regime keeps most of its political prisoners — was arrested leaving the Israeli embassy in Ankara by Turkish intelligence,” a source told Fox News. Ankara, however, deported her to Iran and into the hands of the Revolutionary Guards, the source said.

The Turkish government under the rule of political Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ostensibly an ally of the United States because Turkey is a member of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and that classification remains in force. The Guards have been responsible for the murders of hundreds of Americans in the Middle East.

The source, who declined to be named, said the woman “had been given 16 years on espionage and terrorism charges. She had an Iranian boyfriend whom she had met in Europe and who she says works as a doctor for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces].”

The source added that “the woman had visited Tel Aviv with him on her Iranian passport and most likely was involved in doing something for the Israelis. She is a practicing Muslim and would pray regularly yet somehow felt drawn to or connected to Israel.”

It was not the first time Erdogan has betrayed Israel. In 2013, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that Erdogan “is said to have disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.”
German Foreign Minister Rebuked After Saying Sabotage of Iranian Nuclear Facility ‘Not a Positive Contribution’
The foreign minister of Germany was criticized on Monday after he expressed disapproval of the sabotaging over the weekend of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which has been widely attributed to Israel.

The details of the Natanz incident remain unclear, but reports indicate that it involved a systemic power failure caused by a massive cyber-attack, resulting in serious damage to the facility. There were no casualties in the incident.

The Iranian regime blamed Israel for the attack, which it called “nuclear terrorism,” and said it would take revenge.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Natanz incident was “not a positive contribution” to the diplomatic process underway in Vienna, where the US and Iran are holding indirect talks on a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal from which former president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, criticized Maas and the diplomatic process, telling The Algemeiner, “Foreign Minister Maas is 100% correct. The sabotage won’t help talks whose main agenda is to get rid of tough sanctions on Iran.”

“This is a regime that has violated the nuclear agreement time and time again, threatens genocide against Israel, poses an existential threat to the Gulf States, and blatantly puts in place a spy/terror network across Europe,” he noted of Iran.

“The sabotage at the nuclear facility was only necessary because European powers have blinked every time Tehran advances its nuclear weapons development,” Cooper asserted. “Germany has made it abundantly clear that its deep economic ties with Iran override all other concerns.”
Quincy Institute Fellow Worries ‘Israeli Lobby’ Will Scuttle New Iran Deal
A top official at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is claiming the "Israeli lobby" in the United States is waging a coordinated effort to scuttle the Biden administration’s renewed diplomacy with Iran.

Joe Cirincione, a distinguished non-resident fellow at Quincy, claimed during an MSNBC interview last week that special interest groups controlled by the Israeli government are surreptitiously working to undermine the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"There’s the Israeli lobby in Washington that’s very effective that’s pressing" against a new deal, Cirincione told MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.

Cirincione was likely referring to pro-Israel American-based groups that work to strengthen ties between the two allies. Many of these advocacy groups oppose the nuclear deal and sanctions relief for Iran due to the threat it poses to Israel. Cirincione’s claim that these groups are controlled by the Israeli government is inaccurate and part of a larger effort by the Jewish state’s detractors to portray American Jews as more loyal to Israel than America.

The Quincy Institute, an isolationist think tank bankrolled by George Soros and Charles Koch, has repeatedly come under fire for promoting experts who parrot anti-Semitic talking points and other narratives that paint Jewish Americans as warmongers. The think tank also has been at the forefront of efforts to support the Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran. Cirincione and Quincy executive vice president Trita Parsi served as key cogs in the former Obama administration’s self-described pro-Iran "echo chamber," which disseminated false and misleading information about the accord.

Cirincione’s claims about the so-called Israeli lobby even struck MSNBC host Hasan as out of bounds. "I think you meant to say the pro-Israeli lobby in D.C.," Hasan said. "The various lobbying organizations in Washington, D.C.; there are a lot of hawkish groups putting a lot of pressure on this administration."

Cirincione went on to claim that Israel is moving toward a full-scale war with Iran.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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