Monday, June 07, 2021

From Ian:

The West’s Nauseating “Post-Truth” Over the Gaza War
In the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict in May, an American author was suspended by Twitter for comparing a Boston Globe cartoon to Nazi propaganda. New York Times writers who, in expressing their sorrow over the fact that “most of the children who died were Arabs,” are in fact admitting that they would be happier if most of the children who died were Israeli Jews.

The NYT story did mention that “Hamas and other militant groups fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli towns and cities indiscriminately.” It also correctly stated that the Israeli air defense system had managed to stop about 90% of the rockets.

The article also noted that at least two of the children killed in Gaza may have been killed when Palestinian militants fired a rocket that fell short, and that one of the children killed in Israel, Nadine Awad, was Palestinian. “The low toll on the Israeli side also reflected an imbalance in defensive capabilities,” NYT concluded.

All the same, the paper’s pro-Hamas propaganda was deeply problematic in its evasive language. The authors of the op-ed, in expressing their sorrow over the fact that “most of the children who died were Arabs,” in fact covertly confessed that they would be happier if most of the children who had died were Israeli Jews.

Would the West’s underdog-nation romanticists feel better if Israel’s Iron Dome had failed, and Hamas rockets had killed 500 Israeli children instead of two? Is it really too hard to understand that 500 Israeli children were spared not because Hamas did not want to kill them, but because, as the NYT article pointed out, there is an imbalance in defensive capabilities? Is it Israel’s sin to have built the Iron Dome to minimize casualties when it is threatened by thousands of rockets flying over its skies?

If this is the precedent set by the “cradle of democracy,” the lesser democracies of the world will find it much easier to call for more Jewish blood.
Palestinian Authority pays $42,000 to family of terrorist who killed 2 Israelis
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday ordered that the family of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israelis be paid more than $40,000 and be given new housing, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam, an Abbas appointee, met with the family of Muhannad Halabi and gave them some 30,000 Jordanian Dinars ($42,000), reportedly to help them cover housing costs since their home was destroyed by the IDF following the killings, Kan said.

Ghannam also told the family that Abbas had instructed his security services to help them find permanent housing. Home demolitions are a controversial policy that the IDF says helps deter future terror attacks.

The payments are the first high-profile payments to terrorist families since the Biden administration took office, despite claims that the Palestinians were willing to rethink the controversial policy as part of an effort to improve relations with Washington.

Halabi killed two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita, and injured Banita’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on October 3, 2015.

Muhannad Halabi, 19, the terrorist who killed two Israelis on October 3, 2015 in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Israel Police)

He was shot and killed by Israeli security forces.

Ahead of Biden’s inauguration, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel that Ramallah was willing to alter the way it pays stipends to Palestinian security prisoners, as well as the families of terrorists and others killed by Israelis, in a bid to improve ties with Washington and Europe.

Because the PA hands out more money for longer sentences in Israeli prisons, those incarcerated for the most brutal terror attacks receive more funding from Ramallah.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs: Hamas and Iran Turned Gaza into Cemetery for Children
The Arabs are aware that Hamas's only interest is to appease the mullahs in Tehran for the sake of milking them for more money and weapons. The Arabs understand that this just is another farce by Hamas and particularly Iran.

It is... refreshing to see how many Arabs are aware of the dangers of Iran's involvement with Palestinian terrorist groups that seek the elimination first of Israel, then of them.

"The Hamas militias in the Gaza Strip belong to Iran.... Iran wants to use the Palestinian issue as a winning card at the Vienna negotiations..... to force the US to lift the sanctions on Iran in return for ending the security escalation which threatens Israel.... Iran's weapons are for destruction, not construction." — Amjad Taha, prominent Arab journalist, Twitter, May 27, 2021.

"The more killing and destruction, the more Hamas's income increases while the Palestinians continue to suffer from siege and poverty." — Saeed Al-Kahel, Moroccan writer and political analyst, Assahifa, May 29, 2021.

"Iran exploited Hamas and the Islamic Jihad for its own benefit only, and if it wanted the interest of the Palestinians, it would have contributed to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.... Tehran has not contributed or made donations for humanitarian or reconstruction projects in Gaza...." — Samir Ghattas, former Egyptian parliament member and head of the Egyptian Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies,, May 26, 2021.

The Egyptian expert [Muhammad Mujahid Al-Zayyat, a consultant at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies]... is joining other Arabs in warning the Biden administration and the Western powers against allowing Iran to be rewarded for Hamas's war of terrorism against Israel.

It now remains to be seen whether the Biden administration and the Western powers will heed this warning or continue to bury their heads in the sand, pretending that the mullahs in Iran, in exchange for massive bribes from the US, will magically change their savage stripes. They did not last time; what will happen to the region if they again do not?

Why the Biden Administration Shouldn't Rush into a New Iran Deal
A new book by nuclear weapons expert David Albright, Iran's Perilous Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons, based on 55,000 pages of documentation from the archive of the Iranian nuclear program smuggled out of Tehran by Israeli agents, should set off further alarm bells for those inside a U.S. government hoping to patch things up with the Islamic Republic.

Albright concludes that "in 2003 they had a [nuclear bomb] design that was the diameter of a car tire. It was designed small enough to fit on their ballistic missiles. The bottom line is, they know more about making nuclear weapons than was known before the discovery of the archive, and they could make them quicker than was known before the discovery of the archive."

Other critical revelations include the fact that Iran has almost two dozen sites linked to its nuclear weapons program, of which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has visited only three, and that Iran has or is very close to having the ability to load its nuclear payload onto a medium-range ballistic missile that can hit Israel and southern Europe.

Finally, the documents shed light on how Iran continued its program well after 2003 and after the signing of the JCPOA, moving from design testing to virtual testing focused on a weapons on-demand program that allows Tehran a nuclear weapons option at a time of its choosing. The bottom line, according to Albright, is that "the archive has revealed a host of undeclared nuclear sites and activities, all previously dedicated to a covert, and illegal, nuclear weapons program."

In short, critical research on nuclear weapons and miniaturization have continued since the signing of the JCPOA, yet the Biden administration seeks to return to the deal as if the nuclear archive revelations never happened.

What needs to happen is a rethinking of the terms of the JCPOA, before U.S. leverage is lost. The IAEA must be allowed access to all the sites revealed in the nuclear archive, including the many it has never visited, and must be allowed to interview the scientists known to work at those sites. And the question of delivery vehicles must be addressed before Iran is once again relieved of sanctions and given billions in cash.
A two-state solution the UN rejects - opinion
The UN’s enthusiastic support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian dispute is well attested, but there is a certain two-state solution that the UN resolutely refuses to endorse.

Cyprus has been split apart politically ever since 1974, when Turkey invaded from the north, seized nearly 40% of the land, and set up a self-styled Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus. Its legitimacy has never been accepted by the UN, nor by any international organization or country other than Turkey itself, nor has its demand that Cyprus be split into two states.

Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and its illegal annexation of territory has a direct parallel with the unhappy history of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Indeed, Turkey’s action might have been based on it. In 1948, Jordanian forces attacked the newly-born Jewish state and seized the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In 1950, Jordan annexed them – a move not recognized by the UN or the Arab League, nor by any countries except the UK and Pakistan. When in 1967 Israel succeeded in regaining control of them, it would have been logical for the UN to applaud Israel for liberating illegally acquired territories. They did not seem to see it that way.

As for Cyprus, when the EU decided in 1996 to admit the whole of the country, with or without a resolution of its enforced partition, Turkey tried for a while to demand a two-state solution. When that failed, it finally agreed to participate in UN-sponsored talks focused on reuniting the people of Cyprus into a single, if bi-communal, nation. This idea was the basis of a plan proposed in 2004 by then-UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan. Put to the people of Cyprus in a referendum, though, it signally failed to gain the support of Greek Cypriots, since it would have involved a tacit recognition of Turkish aggression. Some two-thirds of Greek voters rejected the plan. The same percentage of Turkish voters supported it.

Cyprus is an issue that the UN cannot leave alone. Another international attempt to resolve the partition dilemma was made toward the end of April 2021. At the initiative of UN secretary-general António Guterres, the two principals and the three guarantor powers – Britain, Turkey and Greece – met in Geneva with reunification very much in mind. Ersin Tatar, recently elected president of Turkish Cyprus, pretty much doomed this round of talks from the start.

“We are negotiating for a two-state solution,” he announced as the talks began. But a two-state deal would have to involve recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – something the UN and the Greek Cypriots had resolutely refused to do for nearly 50 years.
India’s Stand on the Israel-Gaza Conflict
India condemned in unequivocal terms Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel during the recently concluded 11-day war and called Jerusalem’s response retaliatory, recognizing the Jewish state’s right to defend itself. This reflects a clear change in New Delhi’s thinking, which is opposed to all forms of violence that affect human lives.

The fourth major flare-up between Hamas and Israel in a decade ended with a ceasefire on May 21 after 11 days of fierce fighting during which the Gaza-based terror groups fired barrages of rockets on civilian centers in the Jewish State. Israel responded by fiercely pounding thousands of terror targets in the Strip.

The loss of innocent lives and the rubble on both sides evoked sharp reactions from the international community. India’s position came under sharp scrutiny, particularly after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu extended his thanks to 25 countries for standing with Israel but did not include India. The rebuke by many who thought New Delhi should have stood by its strategic partner softened somewhat after Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission at its embassy in India, Rony Yedidia Clein, expressed satisfaction with New Delhi’s position. While India did not make a “public expression of support” to Israel, Clein said, “we did have an understanding” with India. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also thanked India for extending its support to Israel.

India’s permanent representative at the UN T. S. Tirumurti delivered two well-drafted and carefully articulated statements on India’s position on the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the first at the UN Security Council on May 16 and the second at UN General Assembly debates on May 20.

Referring to the timing of the tensions, India asserted at the UNSC that the violence “began in East Jerusalem a week back and is now threatening to spiral out of control.” This reflects the Indian position that the violence in East Jerusalem and Hamas’s provocative military action against Israel were two different phenomena. The issue in East Jerusalem was an internal Israeli matter, and Hamas’s intervention through rocket attacks was therefore unilateral and provocative.
Hamas using ‘cheap manipulation’ with fake hostage video, Israel says
Hamas is using the issue of Israeli captives to try to cover up for its losses in its last escalation with Israel, the government’s chief negotiator for the release of hostages, Yaron Blum, said Sunday night.

He made his remarks after Hamas released a tape to Al Jazeera that it claimed was of an Israeli captive.

Hamas has held two mentally ill Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, in captivity since 2014 and 2015, respectively, and the bodies of two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, since 2014.

In the recording, someone speaking in awkward and heavily accented Hebrew says he is an Israeli soldier “in the captivity of [Izzadin] al-Qassam Brigades” – though no living soldiers are known to be held in Gaza – and that he “dies every day.”

“I hope the State of Israel still exists... I hope I will soon be in the arms of my family,” he says.

Hamas has “bargaining chips to complete a respectable prisoner-exchange deal, and the inmates are the most important thing that is now on the table,” Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called “military” wing of Hamas, told Al Jazeera.

“Hamas is in distress after the severe blows it suffered in Operation Guardian of the Walls and is using cheap and transparent manipulation,” Blum said.

The Home Front in the 2021 Gaza War
During the 2021 Gaza War there were an average of 400 rocket attacks each day, nearly four times the average during the 2014 War or the 2006 Second Lebanon War. 120 rockets were fired toward central Israel, including Tel Aviv. Ashkelon was the target of 111 barrages of 960 rockets. Ashdod was targeted by 253 rockets and suffered much physical damage.

The civilian front displayed a high level of functional resilience. Recovery was orderly and rapid. The public in general felt that the military campaign was justified, partly because it was Hamas that began the fighting. The protection provided by the Iron Dome defense system, the improved warning system (with 1,700 localized alarm zones), and detailed and clear Home Front Command instructions enabled a sense of security. This time the Israeli civilians living near Gaza were protected from terrorist infiltration through attack tunnels thanks to underground and aboveground barriers constructed at a cost of more than $1 billion.

As in the past, particularly in the Gaza envelope communities, many residents decided to leave their homes until the fighting was over. This is now accepted as normative conduct, particularly for families with children.
As Mainstream Media Continues to Peddle Hamas’ Narrative, New Evidence Shows Most Gaza Casualties Were Terrorists
While the mainstream media continues to peddle the narrative of Palestinian civilians being the main victims of the Israeli military response in the wake of the recent conflict with Hamas and other terrorist groups, the evidence emerging from Gaza paints a very different picture. The counter-terrorism strikes carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were precise and effective in eliminating terrorist targets, the research based on the initial days of fighting shows.

At least two-thirds of the casualties reported in Gaza were Palestinian terrorist operatives, a detailed report released by the Israel-based thinktank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) showed.

“It is evident from the examination that of the 58 remaining fatalities, at least 42 (about two-thirds) were terrorist operatives,” the report which examined the first two days of the fighting (from May 10-12) found.

The mainstream media outlets have acted as useful idiots for Hamas terrorist group by parroting its propaganda meant to paint Israel as the aggressor, without caring to examine the facts on the ground. Pro-Hamas Arab media outlets and social media accounts presented slain terrorists as civilians, a narrative picked up by many Western mainstream media outlets.

“The Hamas administration is trying to create a false impression that the vast majority of those killed were uninvolved civilians. In its announcements, the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip emphasizes the number of women, children and seniors killed and, unlike in the past, it does not publish detailed lists that include the names of those killed,” the 32-page report reviewed by the Legal Insurrection showed. “Many of the dead terrorist operatives are also presented on social media and by Arab media outlets as “civilians” for the same reason.”
Israel Diverted Missiles Five Times to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Gaza
Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliwa, head of the IDF Operations Directorate, said Sunday that during the 2021 Gaza War, the IDF fired five very expensive missiles, some of the most advanced we have."

"While they were in the air, we received new, updated intelligence which made it unclear whether combatants were at the target site. We opted to divert the missiles toward the sea, just so there wouldn't be any doubt. We held our fire at the last minute."
JPost Editorial: Hamas has no intention of using aid to help Gaza
The 11-day war between Israel and Hamas last month started after the terrorist group launched seven rockets at Jerusalem as Israel was celebrating Jerusalem Day. It continued as Gaza-based terrorist organizations released barrages of more than 4,000 rockets and mortars indiscriminately on Israel. Each of those rockets is a war crime.

Operation Guardian of the Walls took a toll in human lives; in the sphere of physical and mental health, and, of course, economically – on both sides, in Israel and in Gaza. As has happened in previous operations and mini-wars between Israel and Gaza, no sooner was it over than the effort began to mobilize the West and the Arab world to pour more funds into the Gaza Strip to rebuild it. There was the usual talk of helping solve the severe poverty there in an effort to prevent economic despair that could erupt into another round of war.

Unfortunately, while sound in theory, this aid in practice ends up helping boost Hamas. Even worse, it signals to Palestinians under the Palestinian Authority areas in the West Bank that violence, rather than cooperation, pays off.

If the past teaches us anything, it’s that Hamas has no intention of using the funding to peacefully rebuild its quasi-state to benefit all those living there. It was true after the 2014 war, and was proven again over the weekend in a speech by Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in Gaza. As noted by The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh, Sinwar gave a defiant “victory speech” claiming that Israel had failed to destroy “the capabilities of the Palestinian resistance” during Operation Guardian of the Walls. He also claimed that Israel destroyed less than 3% of Hamas’s tunnels.

“Our people proved to the occupation and the rest of the world that our ummah (Muslim community) is ready to defend al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sinwar said.
Is Egypt planning to retake control of the Gaza Strip?
Scenes of dozens of Egyptian bulldozers, cranes and trucks entering the Gaza Strip last Friday have left some Palestinians wondering whether Egypt was planning to return to the coastal enclave it ruled between 1948 and 1967.

The Egyptian decision to send building equipment and engineers to the Gaza Strip came in the context of Cairo’s pledge to contribute to reconstruction efforts there after the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has pledged $500 million to help rebuild the houses and buildings that were destroyed during the fighting. The presence of the Egyptian construction teams in the Gaza Strip means that Hamas and other Palestinian factions will not be able to resume the rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Post.

“It will be hard for Hamas to initiate another round of fighting with Israel when there are many Egyptians inside the Gaza Strip,” the sources said. “If Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad start firing rockets at Israel while the Egyptian construction teams are working in the Gaza Strip, the two groups will get into trouble with Egypt.”

According to the sources, the Egyptians have warned Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar against initiating another round of fighting while Cairo pursues its efforts to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.
Attorney-General Mandelblit throws Sheikh Jarrah issue back to the court
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has no intention of intervening in the High Court of Justice proceedings with respect to the pending eviction of four Palestinian families from the east Jerusalem Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The four families are awaiting a court decision over whether to accept their appeal of two lower court verdicts that they must leave their homes.

The appeal proceedings were paused, however, to allow for Mandelblit to decide if he would weigh in on the proceedings.

On Monday his office said that Mandelblit had reviewed all the materials. "In view of the many legal proceedings conducted over the years in relation to the real estate at the center of the dispute, the attorney-general came to the general conclusion that there is no room for him to appear in the proceedings," his office stated.

His statement frees the High Court to decide whether or not to hear the appeal.

The four families are part of a group of 28 families, in danger of eviction over a 50-year property dispute as to the ownership of their homes. The Palestinian families originally lived within what is now sovereign Israel, in places such as west Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa, but fled to east Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence.

In 1954 they struck a deal with the Jordanian government that ruled east Jerusalem at the time, that they would receive homes on land that had been owned by two Jewish companies prior to 1948, if they would give up their refugee status.
Jonathan Tobin: What Can a Skeptical World Expect From Naftali Bennett?
The knock on Bennett in that time and during the last two years of political stalemate is not that he lacks talent or knowledge. Indeed, he is one of his country’s best and brightest. But he is considered a political lightweight who is easily outmaneuvered, especially by his former mentor. Netanyahu has relied on the votes of Bennett’s party to form his governments, but he has been particularly focused on diminishing his former aide’s prospects. At least up until now, he always got the upper hand. Unlike other, more marginal figures on the right, the prime minister perceived Bennett to be a plausible successor to him and marked him for oblivion. Perhaps that is why Netanyahu seems to be confident that, even now, he can somehow outfox him.

But if Netanyahu fails to prevent his eviction from the official residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street, this may be the moment when, finally, Bennett will have the chance to show that his security credentials, financial expertise, and attractive personality are exactly what Israel needs at the moment.

The notion that he will be weak on security issues is rooted in the presence of his unlikely left-wing allies in the new coalition. Still, Netanyahu has also been flexible and sometimes compromised on his core beliefs when he thought it was politically expedient to do so. It was, after all, Netanyahu who withdrew Israeli forces from Hebron in the 1990s, as well as the man who endorsed a two-state solution and accepted a settlement freeze in a futile attempt to ingratiate himself with former President Barack Obama. With Netanyahu lurking in the opposition, Bennett is more likely to stick to his principles both on the conflict with the Palestinians and the threat from Iran than those now calling him a “traitor” are willing to admit.

And merely by replacing Netanyahu, he is likely to get at least a smidgeon of goodwill from the Biden administration and American Jews, even if that won’t last long as the debate about appeasing Iran heats up.

In such a polarized political era, both in Israel and the United States, it’s hard to imagine an attempt to reach across ideological divides being anything other than a disaster. But Bennett represents the chance for a new generation of leadership in Israel to prove that the sky won’t fall without Benjamin Netanyahu being there to hold it up. Though some may not be willing to admit it, no one — not even a Netanyahu — is indispensable.

Bennett’s prospective government’s internal contradictions may be too great to permit him to succeed. But if he takes office, at the very least, he deserves the good wishes as well as the help of those who love Israel. We should all be willing to retain the ability to be happily surprised if, as unlikely as it may seem now, he does far better in maintaining his predecessor’s achievements than his detractors think.

Jerusalem Flag March cancelled after police reject Damascus Gate route
A controversial flag march through the Old City of Jerusalem was called off on Monday after Israel Police rejected the organizers’ request that participants be allowed to march through the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

The march was viewed as a possible way to set off violence on the eve of the swearing in of a new government in the Knesset.

The police emphasized that the current route of the march has been rejected, but that it could be approved if the route were to change to exclude Damascus Gate.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the police inspector-general and additional security authorities to discuss the march.

Religious Zionist MK Bezalel Smotrich called the decision a “shameful surrender to terrorism and Hamas threats.” His fellow party member, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said that he would still march the planned route. “I do not plan to give up,” Ben-Gvir said.

Likud MK May Golan, who was heavily criticized on Monday for referring to Yamina and New Hope Party leaders Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar as “suicide bombers” due to their decision to form a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said she would join Ben-Gvir in marching anyway.

The Joint List released a statement in response to the cancellation which said that “Racist hate demonstrations and calls for murder are not protected under freedom of expression and protest. Especially when it comes to occupied territory.”
Growing number of Evangelical leaders voice support for possible Bennett-Lapid government while Jewish and Christian leaders denounce vitriolic statements by Mike Evans, prominent Christian Zionist, as ‘absolutely crossing the line’
The apparent, though not yet final, emergence of a new government here in Israel is drawing growing support from pro-Israel Christians around the world who say they will stand unconditionally with the Jewish state, regardless of who serves as prime minister.

It has also triggered a painful and public firestorm of controversy due to the incendiary statements of Mike Evans, a prominent Christian Zionist leader, who vows to fight the new government with everything he has.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS was founded, in part, to report on and analyze events and trends in Israel and throughout the Middle East and North Africa for the world’s 600 million Evangelical Christians.

We are, therefore, committed to covering this story from multiple angles.

Let’s begin with the latest statements of openness to – even support for – the possible new “change government” in which Naftali Bennett, the right-wing leader of the Yamina party, would become Israel’s next prime minister, and Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the Yesh Atid party, would become the foreign minister.

After two years, Bennett and Lapid would rotate their roles.

The new government is expected to be sworn in this week – or next Monday at the latest – though Netanyahu and his allies have vowed to do everything in their power to derail the effort.
Honest Reporting: Media Parrot Al Jazeera Lie: Reporter Arrested ‘For No Apparent Reason’ Pushed Israeli Officer

IAEA says lack of cooperation 'seriously affects' actions in Iran
Iran has failed to answer questions about the discovery of uranium particles at former undeclared sites in the country, the head of the international nuclear watchdog said Monday, calling on Tehran to provide information "without further delay."

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been pushing Iran for answers on three sites dating back many years where inspections had revealed traces of uranium of man-made origin, suggesting they were once connected to Iran's nuclear program.

The issue is separate from the ongoing negotiations aimed at bringing the United States back into Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

Grossi said in March that Iran had agreed to sit down with international technical experts investigating the discovery, and said he hoped to "come to some satisfactory outcome" by the time of the IAEA board meeting in June.

But in comments Monday to the IAEA's board of governors, Grossi said "after many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles at any of the three locations where the agency has conducted complementary accesses." He said Iran also hasn't answered questions regarding another undeclared location.

"The lack of progress in clarifying the agency's questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," Grossi said.

"For objectivity's sake, I should say that the Iranian government has reiterated its will to engage and to cooperate and to provide answers, but they haven't done that so far," he told reporters later. "So I hope this may change, but as we speak, we haven't had any concrete progress."
Iranian Hezbollah founder, who survived alleged Israeli book bomb, dies of COVID
Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a Shiite cleric who as Iran’s ambassador to Syria helped found the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and lost his right hand to a book bombing reportedly carried out by Israel, died Monday of the coronavirus. He was 74.

A close ally of Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mohtashamipour in the 1970s formed alliances with Muslim groups across the Mideast. After the Islamic Revolution, he helped found the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Iran and as ambassador to Syria brought the force into the region to help form Hezbollah.

In his later years, he slowly joined the cause of reformists in Iran, hoping to change the Islamic Republic’s theocracy from the inside. He backed the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi in Iran’s Green Movement protests that followed the disputed 2009 re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“If the whole people become aware, avoid violent measures and continue their civil confrontation with that, they will win,” Mohtashamipour said at the time, though Ahmadinejad ultimately would remain in office. “No power can stand up to people’s will.”

Three years earlier, he participated in a much-maligned conference put on by Ahmadinejad with the purpose of denying the Holocaust.

“All the studies and research carried out so far have proven that there is no reason to believe that the Holocaust ever occurred and that it is only a tale,” he said at the conference.


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