Tuesday, June 15, 2021

From Ian:

Bret Stephens (NYTs): Israel’s Coalition of Patriotic Traitors
Israel’s new government must be a puzzle for anyone who thinks of the Jewish state as a racist, fascistic, apartheid enterprise.

Issawi Frej is Arab and Muslim and used to work for the Peace Now movement. Now he’s Israel’s minister for regional cooperation. Pnina Tamano-Shata is Black: The Mossad rescued her, along with thousands of other Ethiopian Jews, from hunger and persecution when she was a small child. She’s the minister for immigration and absorption. Nitzan Horowitz is the first openly gay man to lead an Israeli political party. He’s the health minister. At least one deputy minister, as yet unnamed, is expected to be a member of the Raam party, which is an outgrowth of the major Islamist political group in Israel.

As for Benjamin Netanyahu, “King Bibi” has finally left office — churlishly, bitterly, pompously — but in keeping with the normal democratic process. He faces criminal indictments in multiple cases. His immediate predecessor as prime minister, Ehud Olmert, spent 16 months in prison on corruption charges.

It’s some fascist state that subjects its leaders to the rule of law and the verdicts of a court. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, “postponed” elections in April. He’s in the 17th year of his elected four-year term of office.

A new government, even one as fragile and fractious as Israel’s, is always an opportunity for a course correction. But the course correction Israel most needs is not the one its critics generally suppose.

Netanyahu lasted in office as long as he did not because Israelis wanted a strongman or someone who would crush the Palestinians. He lasted because he was, in many ways, good at the job.
David Collier: An open letter to Boris Johnson – do not u-turn on antisemitism
Boris Johnson PM

I basically have just one question to ask you – are you a man of your word? After all that British Jews have been through over the last few years, after all your promises and supportive words – it seems as if you are about to go back on everything that you promised. You are about to betray British Jews.

We all know about Durban IV. It is an upcoming anniversary celebration of that vile, antisemitic UN event in 2001. The Iranian sponsored conference of hate that did not just spawn the anti-Israel boycott movement, it also helped to legitimise and spread antisemitism throughout the west. The then UK Prime Minister David Cameron, withdrew the UK in 2011 from the anniversary event, saying that it should be condemned not celebrated. That has been the UK policy. We clearly should not be going in 2021. Both the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council have asked that you follow the previous government position and boycott the event.

If you attend Durban IV you are reversing the UK policy on antisemitism. Why would you do this? If anything has changed since 2011, it has only got worse.

Looking back at the comments of Boris Johnson on Israel, antisemitism and the United Nations, this case is a simple one:

You have stated that you have ‘always been proud to be considered a friend of Israel’, even having spent time there as a Kibbutz volunteer. You rightfully recognise Israel as the only ‘pluralist, open society” in the region.

Boris Johnson has already shown that he knows that the boycott movement is a sinister extremist strategy to undermine and weaken Israel solely because it is the Jewish state. You spoke out against BDS even before you were Prime Minister. Your government has moved forward with anti-boycott legislation in order to thwart its spread, even including it in this years Queens Speech – thus making it an official part of your agenda. UK universities have faced growing pressure to reign in the toxic antisemitic activity and ideologies of their students. Given all this – it is unimaginable that under your watch the UK will actively participate in a conference that explicitly demonises Israel as a pariah state, and promotes the full BDS Boycott – with all of its sinister aims.
Campaigners call on Boris Johnson to boycott 'Jew-hate fest' Durban IV conference
Jewish groups have intensified calls on the Prime Minister to boycott the 20th anniversary of the notoriously antisemitic Durban conference at a time of rising Jew-hatred in Britain.

Tweeting under the hashtags #NoUKAtDurbanIV and #Durban IVTargetsJews, the Zionist Federation (ZF), Likud-Herut UK and Sussex Friends of Israel joined the Board of Deputies (BOD) and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) to demand that Britain pulls out of the "Jew hate fest".

"Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, don't betray UK Jewry," the ZF tweeted. "By pulling out of Durban IV, Boris Johnson will be placing the UK on the right side of history."

Lekud-Herut UK added: "Do the right thing and pull out of the Jew hate fest." And anti-racism campaigner David Collier tweeted: "Why is the UK promoting Jew hate? Get out now!"

They acted in advance of a planning meeting for Durban IV, scheduled for Wednesday, in which Government representatives are expected to take part.

The campaign groups warn that a planned revival of the UN’s infamously antisemitic 2001 ‘anti-racism’ summit in Durban, South Africa, set to take place in New York this September, may legitimise anti-Jewish bigotry on a global scale.

If Britain takes part, they say, it would risk fuelling a fresh wave of race hatred in this country, which has seen a rash of antisemitic incidents linked to recent pro-Palestine rallies.

Twenty years ago, the UN-hosted World Conference Against Racism resulted in the now notorious Durban Declaration, which singled Israel out for criticism.

Israeli and Jewish delegates were hounded and harassed, and antisemitic material was widely distributed.
Israel Advocacy Movement: UK must boycott Durban IV
It's shameful that as anti-Jewish racism surges in Britain, instead of protecting Jews, the British government is taking part in Durban IV… an antisemitic conference!

Legal Insurrection: VIDEO_ Israel Complies With The Law Of Armed Conflict When Defending Against Terrorists Hiding Among Civilians
On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the Legal Insurrection Foundation held an online event on How Israel Implements The Law Of Armed Conflict To Defend Against Terrorists Hiding Among Civilians.

The event was a reaction to the outrageous lies, misinformation, and disinformation spread regarding Israel’s conduct in the May 2021 conflict initiated by Hamas firing thousands of rockets at Israeli cities.

The original event post has full biographies of the speakers. You know me and Kemberlee, and we were honored to be joined by two experts in the fields of international law and the law of armed conflict:

Eugene Kontorovich is a Professor of Law and Director, Center for the Middle East and International Law, at George Mason’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. As head of the International Law Department at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem-based think tank, he is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent experts on international law and the Israel-Arab conflict. He is a widely sought-after speaker. He has testified repeatedly in both houses of Congress, and regularly briefs visiting European and American legislators and celebrities on their trips to Israel. Legal Insurrection readers may recall Prof. Kontorovich’s must-watch lectures, The Legal Case for Israel, and The Legal Case for Israel’s ‘Settlements’.

Eli Bar-On concluded his career in the Israel Defense Forces holding the position of instructor at the IDF National Defense College (the INDC). Prior to that position Bar-on served as the Deputy Military Advocate General of the IDF (2012 to 2015), where he was in command of approximately 1,000 lawyers and legal experts, including prior to, during and following Operation Pillar of Defense & Operation Protective Edge. He also served as the Chief Legal Advisor for the IDF in the West Bank from 2009 to 2012. A prolific lecturer, Bar-on has provided expert presentations to hundreds of high level, international delegations in Israel and throughout the international community. He is a Senior Legal Analyst at The MirYam Institute, lecturing and writing on a variety of topics related to the law of warfare.

The Highlight Reel below runs 28 minutes. The full event video, at the very bottom of this post, runs 1 hour and 28 minutes, so an hour of content, including the Q&A, was left on the Highlight Reel cutting room floor. But you can watch the full program at the bottom of this post.

Please note that the highlight reel (and transcript) compacts clips of statements by the respective speakers and are not single uninterrupted presentations, it should be obvious where the break in the original comes (but if there’s any doubt, you can watch the full video at the bottom of the post). Also, the transcript is mostly auto-generated, so there may be transcription errors.

Hamas’ Goals, Strategy, and Miscalculations
The 2021 Gaza War was provoked by Hamas to achieve political goals – and not to achieve tactical military goals. The initiation of the violence was not related to Gaza’s situation preceding the conflict, which was relatively stable and improving steadily.

Hamas was ready to take the leading role in the Palestinian domestic arena following the announced elections to the Palestinian parliament scheduled for May 22, 2021. However, when PA President Mahmoud Abbas realized that the rift inside Fatah would guarantee Hamas’ victory, he decided to postpone the elections.

This presented Hamas with an opportunity to take advantage of Abbas’ show of weakness and present itself as the leader of the Palestinians. It raised the old libel that the “al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger,” in tandem with disinformation about an imminent court decision regarding a few housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Hamas then launched seven rockets toward Jerusalem.

Hamas is satisfied with the results of the war. It has positioned itself as the most powerful force among the Palestinians and as the “protector of Jerusalem.” Moreover, Hamas feels reassured that Israel has no intention to recapture Gaza. In addition, Hamas managed to provoke a considerable part of Arab society in Israel to support the use of violence against Israelis.

At the same time, Hamas was surprised and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the Israeli response and expressed readiness for a ceasefire from the second day of the fighting. Israel demonstrated its intelligence dominance as it targeted key leaders, weapons production facilities, and other secret assets. Israel attacked 1,500 targets in Gaza with relatively little unintended collateral damage. Defensively, the Iron Dome missile defense system kept Israeli casualties relatively low.
Outgoing ICC prosecutor says court ‘not ignoring anything’ from Israel-Hamas war
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday that the global tribunal’s relationship with the United States — plunged into the deep freeze by former president Donald Trump — is undergoing a “reset” under his successor, Joe Biden.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda made the comments in an interview with The Associated Press, on the day Biden was meeting NATO allies in Brussels to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to the military alliance — in another break from the Trump era of deep skepticism toward multilateralism.

Bensouda spoke to the AP at the court’s headquarters in The Hague on the eve of leaving office, after her nine-year term as the ICC’s chief prosecutor. Her successor, British lawyer Karim Khan, takes office on Wednesday.

The Trump administration hit Bensouda with sanctions for pressing ahead with investigations into the US and its allies, notably Israel, for alleged war crimes. She was subjected to a travel ban in March 2019, and, 18 months later, a freeze on her US-based assets.

“I do believe that it was wrong. Really, a red line has been crossed,” Bensouda said of the sanctions.

Biden lifted the sanctions in April, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that Washington still strongly disagreed with some actions by the court.

“We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed” through diplomacy “rather than through the imposition of sanctions,” Blinken wrote.

Bensouda welcomed the change of tone.
Gay McDougall, Biden’s Radical, Anti-Israel Nominee for CERD, Faces June 24 Vote
Gay McDougall, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), faces a June 24 election despite concerns about her radical views on race and Israel.

McDougall was nominated to serve on CERD for four-year terms by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Both Presidents George W. Bush and President Donald Trump declined to renew her nomination when it expired.

When the UN held its infamous World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, which became a hotbed of antisemitic rhetoric and extreme anti-Israel bias, McDougall defended the conference against critics.

At the time, then-Democrat congressman Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, singled out McDougall for being reluctant to criticize the antisemitic atmosphere that pervaded the non-governmental organization (NGO) forum at the conference.

McDougall responded to Lantos by accusing him of measuring the success of the Durban racism conference only by “whether it was sufficiently supportive of Israel’s policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” which was irrelevant to the fact (witnessed at the time by this reporter, in person, in Durban) that the conference was explicitly antisemitic. In one instance, anti-Israel activists broke up a meeting on antisemitism that had nothing to do with the Middle East.

In 2019, McDougall used her position as a member of CERD to criticize Israel harshly, accusing it — falsely — of “wiping away the fundamental rights of large parts of the population.” She is considered a key supporter of the effort by Palestinians to have Israel declared an “apartheid” state by CERD, despite the committee’s lack of jurisdiction over complaints brought by the “State of Palestine,” which U.S. policy does not recognize in international forums.
Israel, US, Gulf states holding talks for ceremony marking 1 year since normalization agreements
Talks have been underway between Israel, the US, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain aimed at holding a ceremony in September to mark the one year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords normalizatioin agreements, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

It is not yet clear where the event will be held, whether in Israel, the US, the UAE, or Bahrain, or whether the ceremony might be used to announce the addition of another country to the normalization circle.
Shaping the Israel-India-US defense technology partnership
To take forward the idea of a start-up corridor, the three countries can initiate discussions for a formal collaboration between India’s Defence Innovation Agency, Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research & Development and the US’s Defense Innovation Unit. They can then institute flagship technology R&D programs to develop use case scenarios. The three countries can create a seed fund to enable partnerships between the respective defense innovation ecosystems. Such a fund will offer initial funding to the start-ups’ ideas, even before reaching the technology demonstration stage. The seed fund may take the form of a multi-year commitment from the three countries.

Another way to forge collaboration between start-ups is to hold hackathons where teams representing the three countries will work on problem statements identified by their militaries. An additional layer will be an academic collaboration among the three countries’ premier tech institutions. Potential partners can be the Indian Institutes of Technology (India), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States).

Finally, India will host the G20 Summit in 2023. The G20 does not deal with defense cooperation issues, but it is the world’s most influential economic multilateral forum. More importantly, its members include 11 of the world’s top 20 arms exporters. The host country can invite non-G20 members through the regional consultation mechanism process. India can leverage this to make a symbolic gesture and invite Israel to attend the G20 Summit. With its unique experience in start-ups and innovation, Israel will fit the bill at the G20 meetings.

Technology has become the main driver of contemporary international relations, shaping emerging potential alliances. Keeping up with this broader trend, Israel, the US, and India can take the lead to A ‘Rocks’ air-to-surface ‘bunker buster’ missile displayed at the Aero India trade show in Bangalore, India, in February 2019. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems).
Israel an Apartheid State? Look at the new government
The state of Israel has a new Prime Minister. After four rounds of elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political opponents have banded together to form a government. And for the many anti-Zionists who claim Israel isn’t a democracy – even an apartheid state if you will – it is relevant to review the parties that this new government consists of.

First, this government wouldn’t have been able to be formed without The United Arab List (Ra'am), an Arab political party,the political wing of the Southern Branch of the Islamic movement. The leader of this party, Mansour Abbas attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to study dentistry, and later studied political science at the University of Haifa. Abbas's party said that they joined the government because it provides 53 billion shekels ($16 billion) to improve infrastructure and curb violent crime in Arab towns as well as giving a large swathe of the Negev to the Bedouin Arabs.

Then, there is the party of Russian born Avigdor Liberman who is perceived as anti-Orthodox and has no qualms in saying so. He is intent on eliminating funding for projects of the haredi and haredi Zionist communities – hence his position as Finance Minister of the new government.

Naftali Bennett, the new Prime Minister was the former leader of the YESHA Settlement Council representing the Jewish settlers of Judea & Samaria (aka the West Bank), he is a liberal Orthodox Jew, and supports the right of Jews to all of the land of Israel.

The Labor Party is headed by a former television journalist, Merav Michaeli, a fierce feminist who in Hebrew adds “feminine plurals” to her language and does not believe in the traditional family as an institution.

The far-left Meretz Party is headed by an openly gay man, a leftist environmentalist: Nitzan Horowitz.

This is a very unusual alliance of very different ideologies and ways of life – which seems to me the very essence of Western liberal democracy
Fact Check: Does Israeli PM Naftali Bennett ‘Mostly Represent Jewish West Bank Settlers’?
For example, consider the following sentence that appeared in an article produced by the Associated Press: “Bennett, 49, is a former chief of staff to Netanyahu whose small party is popular with religious Jews and West Bank settlers.”

Israeli journalist Noga Tarnopolsky took this contention one step further, writing in The Daily Beast that Yamina “mostly” represents “Jewish West Bank settlers.” Similarly, The Nation’s Jeff Halper suggested that Bennett’s base consists of “religious settlers.”

However, voter data from the March election that propelled Bennett to power proves that these assertions are flat-out wrong.

In fact, the vast majority of those who voted for Bennett do not live in the West Bank. Over 75 percent of the votes Yamina garnered were cast by Israeli citizens residing in towns and cities inside the Green Line such as Petah Tikva, Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, Netanya and Haifa. Another 14.5% came from absentee ballots cast by Israeli diplomats stationed abroad, soldiers, prisoners and hospital patients. In the March election, those in quarantine due to the coronavirus also voted using these so-called double envelopes.

Indeed, only 10% of the total votes Yamina garnered were cast in the West Bank. Moreover, only about 13 percent of all ballots cast by Israelis living in the West Bank went to Bennett. More specifically, Yamina received the most votes of any party in only 21 out of 126 Jewish communities in the West Bank. Far more popular were the Religious Zionism party (leading vote-getter in 51 localities) and Netanyahu’s Likud (37).

Therefore, the claim that Bennett “mostly” represents “West Bank settlers” is patently false. Stating otherwise constitutes yet another example of lazy journalism, further evidence of reporters once again relying on faulty narratives rather than bothering to dig into the numbers.

Facts, as always, reveal the true story.
Israel's Security Challenges During Netanyahu's 12-Year Tenure

Tom Gross: Will Naftali Bennett be a successful Israeli PM? Is Bibi’s career over? A panel discussion (14.6.21)
After 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu left office this morning and Naftali Bennett became Israel’s new prime minister. What will Bennett be able to achieve with his waifer-thin majority? And can Netanyahu really make a come back as he claims?

A discussion with Tom Gross, Mitchell Barak (a former aide to Netanyahu), and Dutch-Palestinian analyst Mouin Rabbani. (TRT World, June 14, 2021)

Flag march is 'unrestrained provocation' - Ra'am head Mansour Abbas
Ra’am Party head MK Mansour Abbas said on Tuesday afternoon that his party, a coalition partner, urged all sides to show restraint as the flag march proceeds through the Old City of Jerusalem, a move which he said was an "unrestrained provocation" and which should have been canceled.

The march will stop outside the Damascus Gate for dancing and proceed outside the Old City walls to the Jaffa Gate where it will wind through the Arab market between the Jewish and Muslim quarters and into the Western Wall plaza.

The march is being staged by nationalist right-wing and religious organizations. In normal years, marchers frequently chant anti-Arab slogans during the procession through the Muslim Quarter.

"The flag parade in Jerusalem today is an unrestrained provocation, its essence lies in shouts of hatred and incitement to violence, and an attempt to reignite the region for political purposes," Abbas sad in a statement. "The Internal Security Minister and the police should have canceled it."

"I call on all parties not to be dragged into escalation and to maintain maximum restraint," he said.

"There is no doubt that the aim of the initiators of the march is to challenge the new government and exhaust it in a series of explosive incidents in the near future, and to take us back to an unnecessary escalation that will endanger human lives, simliar to what we experienced last month."
Hamas' incendiary balloons set fields ablaze just hours before Jerusalem march
Alongside Hamas' threatening rhetoric aimed at deterring Israel from holding the traditional flag march in Jerusalem on Tuesday, its terrorists also sent incendiary balloons to southern communities the hours leading up to the event, marking a violation of the temporary truce following Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Firefighters responded to more than 10 blazes as a result of the attacks, and Iron Dome troops were reinforced in the area to handle potential missile attacks as well.

Residents of the south said they were undeterred by the threats and said Israel should go ahead with the controversial march in Jerusalem, as it does every year, to celebrate the reunification of the capital.

"We are for the flag march, we don't want to show that we give in to terrorism," one resident told Israel Hayom.

5,000 Joyous Jerusalem Flag Dance Marchers Head to Old City; IDF on High Alert"
housands of joyous marchers paraded through the streets of Jerusalem waving Israeli flags, singing and dancing as they headed towards the gates of the Old City. They reached the Damascus Gate at around 7 pm. They are proceeding around the Old City and are expected to enter through the Jaffa Gate, where they will then proceed through various quarters of the Old City before arriving at the Western Wall.

Some two thousand Israel and Jerusalem police officers were deployed Tuesday to secure the estimated 5,000 parade participants in the annual event.

The parade reached the Damascus Gate at around 7 pm and despite the best efforts of Israel and Jerusalem District Police, clashes broke out between the marchers who carried Israeli flags and Arab youths waving Palestinian Authority flags.

Police had cleared out extraneous spectators and would-be rioters prior to the event from around the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City and in streets close to the route of the parade in an effort to prevent further violence.

In the Jerusalem neighborhoods near the Old City, at least 20 people were hurt in clashes with the police, according to Ynet, albeit with most sustaining mild injuries. Three rioters were evacuated to a hospital.

At the end of the route, the parade concludes with a celebration at the Western Wall complete with singing, dancing and prayers to mark the reunification of the eternal Jewish capital in 1967.

PMW: PA, PLO, and Fatah inciting and promoting violence against Israeli flag march in Jerusalem
Fatah before flag march, urges martyrdom-death for Jerusalem:

“We will come out as one line to defend our eternal capital [Jerusalem], and we will not allow our holy city to be harmed. Jerusalem is the rock of our existence, and for its sake any price is paid… We will redeem it with our souls and with all that we have. They will definitely not pass, as the men of Jerusalem are waiting for them.”

“All options are open for our people in order to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem the capital… Our people, our leadership, and our [Security] Forces are used to confrontation and are not afraid of dying for the sake of the homeland’s freedom. We will defend our honor and our holy sites on behalf of the Arab and Islamic nations, we will stand firm on our land, and the occupation will certainly pass.”

Fatah secretary urges Palestinians to die for Jerusalem: “What is required of us at this stage, according to the instructions of the Palestinian leadership, is to emphasize the continuation of the popular national activity… The Palestinian people, which has sacrificed thousands of Martyrs, thousands of prisoners and wounded, is prepared to sacrifice thousands of Martyrs, wounded, and prisoners for the sake of Jerusalem”

Fatah implicitly calls for violence in Jerusalem and “is prepared to sacrifice thousands of Martyrs”

In the Iran nuclear crisis, the IAEA stands alone
“And how many divisions does the Pope have?” former Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin is alleged to have quipped in response to a political comment by the Vatican. Though outdated, the retort remains instructive. In international relations, it always helps to have a credible enforcement mechanism. Such a mechanism is missing in action in the escalating drama between the UN nuclear watchdog and Iran.

At a recent press conference, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi declared that the agency will investigate Iran’s nuclear breaches even if it lacks political cover from member states. Though principled, the comments reflect a crisis in the making. An international organization with a monitoring and verification mandate should not have to go it alone against an aspiring nuclear rogue.

Fortunately, President Joe Biden can reverse course, but by taking a page from Iran’s playbook: threaten progress on one track — the current negotiations to re-establish the nuclear deal — to bolster another: IAEA investigations. The Biden administration should condition any nuclear talks on Iran first thoroughly clearing its case with the IAEA.

As the IAEA digs-in to defend the non-proliferation regime, U.S. and international support lags. Washington’s cognitive dissonance on the nuclear issue has been on display for months, seen in round after round of talks to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Meanwhile, the list of Iranian nuclear violations grows, and its illicit procurement and proliferation-sensitive activities continue. By over-focusing on the fast-expiring JCPOA instead of pressing for answers on undisclosed nuclear activities, sites, and material, the U.S. and Europe are playing into Tehran’s hands.

Iran’s ability to wield nuclear escalation and obfuscation to elicit concessions is well-known. Earlier this year, Tehran extorted the IAEA by threatening to delete agency recordings and measurements at nuclear sites if it did not get reprieve from sanctions. Tehran did this both to increase pressure on the agency to accept subpar answers to inquiries and drive the U.S. to the negotiating table. In so doing, Iran sufficiently spooked America and Europe from bringing pressure to bear over its non-proliferation violations at a spring meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.

Rather than allowing Iran to treat the IAEA as a punching bag and liability, Washington should look to the agency as an asset to bolster.
Iran Says It Produced 6.5 Kg of Uranium Enriched to 60%
Iran has made 6.5 kg (14 lb) of uranium enriched to up to 60%, the government said on Tuesday, detailing a move that rattled the country’s nuclear talks with world powers by taking the fissile material a step towards nuclear weapons-grade of 90%.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted by state media as saying the country had also produced 108 kg of uranium enriched to 20% purity, indicating quicker output than the rate required by the Iranian law that created the process.

Iran said in April it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that would take the uranium much closer to the 90% suitable for a nuclear bomb, after Tehran accused arch-foe Israel of sabotaging a key nuclear site.

Tuesday’s disclosure came as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in Vienna aimed at finding ways to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Iran’s hardline parliament passed a law last year to oblige the government to harden its nuclear stance, partly in reaction to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Trump’s withdrawal prompted Iran to steadily overstep the accord’s limits on its nuclear program designed to make it harder to develop an atomic bomb, an ambition Tehran denies.
Israel's Foreign Affairs Min.: The Iranian Regime is a Danger to the International Community
The leading candidate in this week's Iranian elections is a notorious extremist, designated by the U.S. Treasury for terrorism, torture and a direct responsibility for 30,000 extrajudicial executions.

Nikki Haley warns Biden Iran policy 'death wish' to Israel
Reentering the Iranian nuclear deal is a “death wish” for Israel and the world, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Monday.

“The idea right now that you have multiple countries around the world, including the United States, looking to figure out how to redo this Iran deal is nothing more than a death wish for Israel and eventually a death wish for the world,” she said during a conversation with a select group of reporters from her Jerusalem hotel.

Haley was in the country on a solidarity mission organized by Christians United for Israel. She spent Sunday touring the rocket-tattered South and Monday in meetings with top Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Although she was in touch with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, she was unable to meet with him, she said.

Haley lashed out at the Biden administration’s recent efforts to engage with the Islamic Republic, saying Biden’s “falling over himself to get back into the Iran deal is pretty disgusting.”

“Iran is never going to change its ways,” she said. “It is never going to stop saying death to Israel. It is never going to stop saying death to America. And the only way that we can effect change is to pull the money back and pull the purse strings back.”

Iran directly funds Israel’s enemies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, Haley said.
Nikki Haley in Israel as Part of Solidarity Mission

Iran intensified efforts for nuclear weapons, missile tech in Germany
Germany’s federal intelligence agency on Tuesday released the findings of security threats faced by the federal republic in 2020, ranging from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s drive to obtain illicit technology for its nuclear weapons program to its increased attempts to secure material for its missile program.

The report showed a dramatic increase in the number of members and supporters from the internationally recognized terrorist movements, Hamas and Hezbollah, who are active in Germany.

The Jerusalem Post examined the 420-page German language report for The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution—the formal name for the national intelligence agency.

According to the report, “the indications of proliferation-relevant procurement attempts by Iran for its nuclear program increased in 2020.” The intelligence officials wrote "However, a violation of the JCPOA in these cases could not be determined," The report appears to contradict itself. On the one hand, the document asserts Iran's regime sought illicit nuclear weapons technology in 2020 in Germany but, on the other hand, the attempts are not a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It is unclear how German intelligence arrived at different conclusions. Germany's government is one of the strongest advocates of the atomic deal and Berlin has long been the most important European trade partners for Tehran. Germany stands to benefit economically from the Iran nuclear accord.
Congress Investigates Biden Admin for Dropping Sanctions on Assad Ally
Congress is probing the Biden administration for unilaterally lifting sanctions on a key funder of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing war, a decision made by the State Department late last week without congressional consultation.

Rep. Bryan Steil (R., Wis.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and two of his Republican colleagues are demanding the Biden administration hand over internal documents related to its decision to lift sanctions on businesses connected to Samer Foz, a Syrian oligarch who has worked closely with the Iranian regime to fund Assad’s war machine. The Biden administration also lifted sanctions on several former Iranian government officials and companies tied to the country's illicit oil trade, which has included smuggling crude oil to Syria.

Steil, along with Reps. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) and Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), maintains that these sanctions were lifted as part of an effort to placate Iran as negotiations over a revamped nuclear deal resume in Vienna this week. They are requesting all internal "documents and communications relating to these delistings," as well as information supporting the administration’s claim that sanctions were lifted only after officials verified that the entities were no longer violating American sanctions.

"The timing of the delistings on Foz’s companies as well as on the Iranian entities coming a few days before the next round of nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna raises major questions," the lawmakers write in a letter sent Monday to the Treasury Department and obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. "We are committed to investigating any and all sanctions relief provided to Iran and its allies."

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