Friday, December 31, 2021

From Ian:

Mark Regev: The UN - where anti-Israel prejudice remains supreme
There are clear signs that Arab hostility towards the Jewish state is on the wane. The Abraham Accords normalized Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, an Israeli Defense Minister can make a very public visit to Morocco and even Saudi Arabia allows flights to and from Israel to cross over its territory. But there remains at least one bastion of anti-Israel enmity, the United Nations, where systematic, organizational prejudice against the Jewish state reigns supreme.

The opening act: Though not representing a member state, in 1974 Yasser Arafat was issued an extraordinary invitation to address the UN General Assembly (UNGA). His speech included a call for an end to Israel. The Jews, he said, could become citizens in the PLO’s “democratic Palestine.” Extreme content notwithstanding, and the fact that he spoke soon after his PLO massacred 25 hostages in Ma’alot, mostly high school students, Arafat received a standing ovation.

Infamously, the following year, the UNGA adopted Resolution 3379 which declared Zionism a “form of racism and racial discrimination”. Although that travesty was officially repealed in 1991, its annulment did not mark the end of the UN’s anti-Israel obsession – far from it.

Every year the UNGA routinely passes, with massive majorities, a series of blatant anti-Israel resolutions; in 2021 17 were enacted. Earlier this month, for example, the UNGA called upon Israel to withdraw from the “occupied Syrian Golan,” with delegates voting to hand over the Golan to Bashar Assad’s murderous regime.

But the story doesn’t end with these multiple resolutions, as some of them establish UN organs whose sole mission is to further propagate an anti-Israel agenda. The Special Committee to Investigate Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People is one such body. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which every year organizes the UN’s annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, is another.
Melanie Phillips: New Year’s resolution? Abolish the UN Human Rights Council
These visionaries failed to grasp that, since the world was dominated by states and regimes that were both repressive and deeply imbued with Jew-hatred and hostility to Israel, any world body or supra-national system of law would itself become an accomplice to tyranny and antisemitism.

That’s why “lawfare,” or the weaponisation of international law to wage war with better PR, has become a prime weapon against Israel, singling out the Jewish people alone for such unhinged attack.

And it’s why the UN, the world body set up to ensure that never again would crimes against humanity be repeated — a global aim which it has conspicuously failed to achieve — has itself turned into a weapon with which to commit them against the Jewish people once again.

In other words, the UNHRC has become an engine of evil.

In January, the US returns to the Council as a member. The Biden administration claims it will thus be able to stop its abuses. This is unlikely.

The UN is supposedly the world’s police force. But if a police force is in the pocket of a murderous and tyrannical cult, it turns into a protection racket where the innocent get gunned down and the guilty remain free to inflict yet more carnage.

This is not just Israel’s problem. As long as the west ignores the profound corruption of the UNHRC, it corrupts itself.

How to make the world a better place in 2022? Shut down the UNHRC.
v Caroline Glick: The escalating international war against Israel
And this brings us to the Human Rights Council's permanent inquisition whose operations a large majority of UN member nations voted to fund last week at the General Assembly. As Professor Anne Bayefsky explained in a detailed report published this week by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the commission of inquiry's mandate is effectively limitless. The commission is empowered to rewrite the entire history of the Arab conflict with Israel and determine that Israel's birth was an original sin which must be undone. The commission is empowered to carry out an "investigation" on the basis of "testimonies" which EU-funded anti-Israel groups will supply them describing entirely fraudulent "war crimes" that will form the basis of indictments of Israeli elected leaders, IDF commanders and line soldiers, and Israeli civilians who reside in Judea, Samaria and unified Jerusalem. The UN's political "courts" in turn will agree to try them for these made-up crimes.

Moreover, as Bayefsky noted, the commission is charged with making "recommendations on measures to be taken by third States to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem…[to ensure] that they do not aid or assist in the Commission of internationally wrongful acts."

A similar statement is made in the resolution's preamble regarding "business enterprises."

The message in both cases is self-explanatory. The reports the inquisition will publish will serve as the basis for economic boycotts of Israel to be enacted by both government bureaucrats and businesses.

Israel has no choice but to fight this commission and any business, government or judge that uses its reality-free reports. Israel must ensure that the antisemitic propaganda the commission puts out does not turn into "law" through the actions of radical justices and government attorneys. And Israel must reconcile itself to the fact that the EU bureaucracy and much of Europe is waging a war against it, and launch a vigorous counter-assault.
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep31 – Lawfare – Domestic and Foreign | Guest: Prof. Avi Bell
In Episode 31 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline was joined by Prof. Avi Bell from Bar Ilan University and University of San Diego law schools. Caroline and Avi discussed first Israel’s legal fraternity’s transformation of Israel from a democracy to an authoritarian aristocracy of lawyers. Given Israel’s legal fraternity’s focus on seizing the power of Israel’s elected leaders, it is not surprising that if fails to understand the nature of the international lawfare being waged against Israel, first and foremost by the UN. The two discussed the nature of the UN-led political war against Israel and the central role of pseudo-legal claims play in the efforts. Caroline ended the show with a discussion of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s role in mainstreaming contemporary anti-Semitism.

A Note to Political Observers: Israelis Are Not Americans
While many Israelis have an impressive command of English, most do not follow American news in detail. Current events in the United States do elicit more interest in Israel than events from just about any other country, but the debates that consume Americans still don’t register at nearly the same level.

Therefore, when asked if they approve or disapprove of the president in an opinion poll, Israelis don’t see the question the same way an American would. They see it through an Israeli-specific lens. Most Israelis believe Jerusalem is the capital of the country, that the Golan Heights must remain part of Israel forever, that the JCPOA was a terrible deal, and that normalization with Arab states is a very positive step. On each of those issues, most Israelis saw President Trump’s policies as more supportive than President Obama’s policies. That doesn’t necessarily mean they think President Trump was a better president, or that they would be more likely to agree with him on any other policy, if they were American citizens. It simply means they believe he was more supportive on the issues he dealt with that they directly care about.

This is not a phenomenon that will change. And it is not tied to American partisan politics. Israelis care if someone is a Likudnik or Laborite, but they don’t care if someone is a Democrat or Republican. Bill Clinton was popular in Israel because Israelis felt he genuinely cared about their welfare, not because he was a Democrat. His utterance of a single Hebrew phrase at Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral, and the emotion he showed, meant more to most Israelis than his personal scandals or stewardship of a strong economy. Donald Trump was popular in Israel because Israelis believed his policies advanced Israel’s national interests. His partisan identification, and his controversial statements and actions were far less relevant.

When it comes to the average Israeli doctor, business owner, cab driver, engineer, or teacher, their opinion will usually be based on Israel and Israel alone, and they will form their opinion based on whether the president’s policies meet their view of what is best for Israel.
Will Indonesia be the next Abraham Accord nation?
Today this history is so distant that to younger Israelis it sounds like prehistory. Over the past 30 years, Israel has had full diplomatic, commercial and cultural relations with all the superpowers. Trade with all of them is vibrant, and some of it is in fact strategic, like the defense relationship with India or the exchange of academic and infrastructure enterprises with China.

This means that by shunning Israel the way it does, Indonesia is relegating itself to the company of economic laggards like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Indonesia, with 270 million people sprawled on more than 17,000 islands between Oceania and China, is in a position to become a major world power. Shunning Israel will not serve that cause.

The foolishness is about the Indonesian attitude’s Arab context.

Back when Suharto shaped Jakarta’s attitude, Israel was at war with the entire Arab world, and he consciously surrendered to Arab pressure not to recognize the Jewish state. Today, Israel is formally at peace with five Arab countries, including the largest, Egypt, and is in the process of normalizing relations with a sixth country, Sudan. Collectively, these countries are home to half the Arab world’s population.

Where in this configuration does Indonesia want to belong: alongside Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, or between Syria and Yemen? Beyond diplomacy and economics looms the most crucial reason for which Jakarta should reconcile with Jerusalem: religion.

Like almost any other country, Indonesia is threatened by Islamist violence. But unlike any other country, it is in a position, as the world’s largest Muslim-majority state, to inspire a great reconciliation between Islam and the rest of mankind. That is indeed where its leaders seem to be aiming.

However, shunning the Jewish state is, for millions of Jews worldwide, an affront, and thus hampers Indonesia’s potential role as a leader of mankind’s inter-religious reconciliation. This is Indonesia’s strategic calling, and its leaders know this. That is why the next Abraham Accord will be signed between the world’s largest Muslim domain, and only Jewish state.
US announces nearly $100M in funding for UNRWA
Echoing previous promises by Washington, the statement added that the "US remains focused on the agency's accountability, transparency, neutrality, and stability."

In April, US President Joe Biden's administration announced that it would begin to restore funding to Palestinians via the UNRWA.

Still, head of the UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said in November that the agency was unable to pay its 28,000 employees punctually, warning of potential cuts in vital services amid the COVID pandemic.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on member states "to provide financial contributions to the UNRWA that match its political support," Haaretz reported.

"As more states step up with contributions, they should also join the US in urging UNRWA to establish a more sustainable financing model and adhere to humanitarian principles," she added.

According to The Times of Israel, Lazzarini said last week that perennial budget shortfalls had forced the agency to introduce severe measures.

"The financial crisis is of an existential nature," he said, attributing it to the stagnation of funds as the refugee population continues to grow along with "poverty and vulnerabilities."

He added that the resumption of US funding was too little to make up for the shortfall.

AOC Staffer: Israel a ‘Racist European Ethnostate Built on Stolen Land’
One of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) staffers called Israel a “racist European ethnostate built on stolen land” in one of his social media posts.

Hussain Altamimi is a legislative assistant to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who joined the office last month. He reportedly shared a picture of himself with the Congresswoman on Instagram, adding the caption, “New beginnings,” in November.

Altamimi used his Instagram account to target Israel, a key middle eastern ally to the United States. In a Christmas Eve Instagram story, Altamimi wrote, “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!”

His caption was added to a post he shared from an account called, “Let’s Talk Palestine,” according to a screenshot obtained by Fox News Digital.

The post he shared criticized Israel further, claiming the country has a “racial hierarchy.”

“This reveals the principle underpinning Israeli apartheid: It’s not about where you’re born. It’s about whether you’re Jewish or non-Jewish. Your ethnicity determines your rights & level in the racial hierarchy,” the post read. “Israel is an exclusive ethnostate, established to serve one ethnic group at the expense of another.”

The Instagram profile for Let’s Talk Palestine lists it as a “nonprofit organization.” The profile features multiple posts dedicated to criticizing Israel, including one that claims Israel is engaging in “a campaign of ethnic cleansing” of Jerusalem’s Palestinian population.

In 2021, the IDF saw action on six fronts
It’s been a busy year for the Israeli military, with thousands of operational sorties by the Israel Air Force, thousands of targets struck on multiple fronts, tens of special operations, and hundreds of drills.

The IDF has been active on six fronts in six different dimensions throughout the year, and despite May’s 11-day conflict with Hamas and fighting ongoing terrorism in the West Bank, the military views the past year as a success.

It carried out operations almost every day in the Middle East over the past year, and Israel’s continued “war between the wars” campaign has led to a decrease in weapons smuggling by Iran into Syria, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has said.

“The increase in the scope of operations over the past year has led to a significant disruption of all smuggling routes into various arenas by our enemies,” he told reporters on Sunday ahead of the New Year.

To put it in perspective, the IAF conducted dozens of airstrikes on targets in Syria with hundreds of bombs, an increase from the number of operations in 2020 and nearly twice as many as in 2019.

With Iran in mind, Israel signs deal with US for heavy choppers, refueling planes
Israel on Thursday signed a long-awaited agreement to purchase a dozen heavy transport helicopters and two additional refueling planes from the United States, in a weapons deal worth over $3 billion, the Defense Ministry said.

These aircraft, along with a number of additional F-35 fighter jets that Israel plans to purchase from the US, are specifically meant to counter threats posed by Iran, including its nuclear program.

According to the ministry, in addition to the fighter jets, transport helicopters and refueling planes, this includes “advanced aerial munitions, air defense systems, new naval and land-based platforms, and cyber and digital systems.”

The 12 CH-53K Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy transport helicopters will replace Israel’s aging fleet of CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, which have been in use for over half a century and have seen a number of maintenance issues in recent years. The first CH-53K helicopters are scheduled to arrive in Israel in 2026, according to the ministry.

Under the agreement, Israel has the option to purchase six more CH-53K helicopters in the future as well.
IDF thwarts stabbing attack at West Bank bus stop, kills terrorist
The IDF thwarted a stabbing attack against civilians at a bus stop at the Giti Avishar junction in the Samaria region of the West Bank, killing the Palestinian terrorist.

No Israelis or soldiers were injured in the Friday morning attack.

"A terrorist got out of a vehicle with a knife in his hand and ran towards the bus stop where there were civilians and fighters," the IDF said. "Soldiers shot at the terrorist and killed him," the IDF added.

The IDF later arrested a man who was driving the car that the terrorist got out of. He was not carrying weapons and was taken in for questioning.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in effort to thwart a violent Palestinian uprising in the West Bank.

Jerusalem resident charged with aiding Hezbollah terror group
Prosecutors filed an indictment in Jerusalem’s District Court on Friday against a resident of the city, accusing him of aiding the Hezbollah terror group.

Ahmad Zahra, 32, is charged with contact with a foreign agent and providing information to the enemy in order to harm state security.

Prosecutors say Zahra contacted a man in Lebanon nine years ago and told him he wanted to make contact with Hezbollah in order to work for it inside Israel. They say he was given encrypting software by the organization for the purpose of exchanging messages.

Throughout the years Zahra was in contact with his handlers on various occasions, they said. He was given various tasks, including providing the terror group information on the goings-on in the capital, and Palestinian unrest there.

Zahra is also accused of photographing satellite dishes he believed were a strategic site and sending the pictures to Hezbollah.

Prosecutors said that at a certain point contacts stopped for several years, but were renewed this past year. During his honeymoon in Turkey, they said, Zahra received funds and a cellphone with encryption technology to allow him to once again contact handlers, which he did upon his return to Israel.
PA President Abbas accuses Israel of ‘organized terrorism, ethnic cleansing’
In his first public comments since Tuesday’s meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas launched a scathing attack on Israel on Friday, accusing it of practicing “hideous policies of ethnic cleansing and organized terrorism” against the Palestinians.

Abbas was speaking on the 57th anniversary of the launch of the first attack on Israel by his ruling Fatah faction.

Abbas did not mention in his speech the meeting with Gantz, which has been strongly condemned by several Palestinian factions and activists.

“The anniversary of the launch of our revolution comes in extremely critical and difficult circumstances due to the continuation of the abhorrent Israeli occupation, the escalation of its repressive practices and persecution against our people, the theft of our land and natural resources, the stifling of our economy, the withholding of our tax funds, and racial discrimination,” Abbas said.

Abbas praised the Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli prisons for their “sacrifices and patience,” stressing that the Palestinian leadership will not abandon them or their families.

He also praised the “heroes of the popular resistance.”

“Popular resistance” refers to Palestinian attacks and protests against the IDF and settlers.

Abbas and other Fatah leaders have repeatedly called on the Palestinians to step up the “popular resistance” in response to Israeli “crimes.”

Palestinians accuse Facebook of suppressing their content without justification
Palestinian journalists are accusing Facebook of unjust suppression of their content, a claim backed by rights groups but rejected by the social media giant.

On December 4, Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi posted a video on her Facebook account in which Israeli security forces were seen shooting a Palestinian terrorist on the ground, killing him. He had just carried out a knife attack on an Israeli civilian.

Shortly after she posted her video, Rinawi, who has nearly 400,000 followers, noticed it had been removed from her account.

This was not her first experience with Facebook’s enforcement, and Rinawi said her account had already been restricted after she shared footage of a November attack in Jerusalem.

In both cases, Facebook said it intervened because the posts violated the platform’s standards.

A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said its policies “were designed to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps… We apply these policies to everyone equally, regardless of who is posting.”

Hamas' woes in Gaza
The article adds that “Gazans also blame Hamas for exacerbating conditions through nepotism, corruption and incompetence, and for diverting too much money from social programs to military infrastructure.”

I recall reading that during an Israeli bombing attack that Hamas urged Gaza residents to climb to the roof of a building so that their presence can either deter an attack or martyr themselves so the world can witness Israel’s murder of innocent civilians. Some Gazans balked at the idea.

Even if most Gazans blame Israel for the deaths of their neighbors, they do not sound like people whose top priority is fighting with Israel. They first want to live normal lives. If they still seek Israel’s destruction, it is probably because of Hamas’ propaganda. Obviously, the news they receive conveniently ignores important information that might lead the people of Gaza to a different conclusion as to who did what-when and, especially, who is really oppressing them.

With all that, Hamas can breathe easy if a senior Israeli Army official’s take is correct. “We don’t want to defeat Hamas,” he said as quoted anonymously in the Times, because its main adversary in Gaza “is not better than Hamas.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with Israeli protocol.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Hamas co-founder, erroneously compared Israel to Afghanistan when he said “the Americans escaped” in response to the Taliban’s approach to Kabul last August.

Just where do Israelis have to escape to? Israel is their home and they turned it into a thriving, modern, democratic country. They created the only Jewish nation because that is where they are from. They designed their military to defend their homeland, not to invade another country. The military is run by Israelis, not citizens of another country.

This is a matter of underestimating the enemy. Hardly the wisest start to waging a war.
Israel seizes NIS 2.6M in cryptocurrency from Hamas
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has signed an order for the seizure of 2.6 million shekels ($836,168) in cryptocurrency from a currency exchange firm with ties to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, Israel Hayom has learned.

According to defense officials, the seizure was one of the largest in recent years and dealt a significant blow to the currency exchange.

The move follows a similar order issued by Gantz for the seizure of crypto wallets belonging to the Gazan family that runs the currency exchange just months ago. According to the Defense Ministry, the exchange ramped up its activity in May 2019, after the Israel Defense Forces assassinated Hamed Ahmed Khudari, a Gazan terrorist responsible for transferring Iranian funds to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The terror-financing network was exposed in a joint operation involving IDF Intelligence, the National Headquarters on Terrorist Economic Counter-Terrorism at the Defense Ministry, the cybercrimes department of the Israel Police's Lahav 443 Major Crimes Unit, and the State Attorney's Office's Cyber Unit.
Palestinian Factions Launch Military Maneuvers in Gaza
Although JOR activity has been heavily promoted by militant groups in the Gaza Strip, there isn’t sufficient evidence showing the alliance of Palestinian factions have been effective at launching attacks and countering the Israel Defense Forces.

Using the May conflict as an example, it was Hamas that led the battle with rocket attacks and continuous publications by its spokesperson, Abu Obeida, warning Israel about upcoming attacks. JOR publications about its activity was sporadic which was unusual for the most significant conflict with Israel since 2014.

It is also noteworthy to mention that a breakout of conflict with Israel doesn’t necessarily mean the JOR is active – at least in any substantial way. In Feb. 2020, PIJ retaliated against Israel for dragging a militant’s body in front of cameras after he was killed attempting to plant an IED at the security fence. The retaliation sparked a two-day conflict between the two actors without the apparent involvement of the JOR.

The joint training does serve a military purpose. Although, the mass coverage by Palestinian media during the last day of the exercises hints that at least in part, the military maneuvers were a public performance to show off the capabilities of the Palestinian factions. And from what was published, there weren’t any noteworthy military hardware on display compared to last year’s exercises.

Nonetheless, the goal of the joint military exercises is to send a message of deterrence to Israel by projecting unity and military strength among the factions in Gaza. Although, it’s unlikely Israel will be swayed by the display of a Palestinian military alliance since it was only a few months after the first military maneuvers in Dec. 2020, that Israel launched Operation Guardian of the Walls.

MEMRI: Editorial in ISIS Weekly 'Al-Naba' Calls On Muslims To Turn Christian Holidays Into 'Funerals And Tragedies' For The Celebrators
The December 30, 2021 issue of the Islamic State (ISIS) weekly Al-Naba features an editorial calling for attacks on the Christians during the holiday season. The editorial exhorts the organization's supporters to do their utmost to transform the Christian holidays into "funerals and tragedies," in retaliation for the Christians' attacks on the Muslims and as punishment for their belief in the divinity of Christ. The editorial also castigates Islamic preachers who permit Muslims to extend holiday greetings to Christians and even to participate in Christian holiday celebrations, contrary to the position of those ISIS considers the true Islamic scholars, some of whom even rule that whoever does this is an apostate.

Titled "'Issa [Jesus] Son of Maryam [Mary], the Messenger of Allah," the editorial says: "Every year, the infidel Christians mark what they claim is the birthday of God the Messiah, and [celebrate] this by filling the world with noise, promiscuity, adultery and madness. We ask: Could God have been created? Could He have been crucified and killed? Can this invented god be celebrated with adultery and Satanic rituals?"

Claiming that the tenets of the Christian faith are rife with contradictions and lies that are exposed by the Quran, and that Christianity is basically polytheistic, the editorial wonders how "reasonable people who consider themselves Muslim dare to take part in the Christian [celebrations] and to greet the Christians on their polytheist festivals! [But] the greatest criminals," it adds," are the [Muslim] preachers of evil who permit this, some of whom even regard it desirable or mandatory, when the Islamic scholars agree that it is forbidden and some have even ruled that whoever does this is an apostate…"

The editorial goes on to say that, in addition to their polytheism, today's Christians, and especially the "Crusader coalition" that is fighting ISIS, "spearhead the offensive war against Islam and the Muslims." Therefore, "it is the duty of the Muslims to treat the Christians just as the Christians treat the Muslims. Just as they tore Muslims to pieces with their attacks and bombardments, we must strive to turn the Christian holidays into funerals and tragedies, [which is] ‘a befitting recompense [for their deeds; Quran 78:26]. We must fight them by every means during their holidays and festivals, for that is more painful for them, and it is also easier for us to reach them [during their celebrations]. Their polytheism and their claim that 'Issa [Jesus] is God is reason enough to fight them, not to mention their war on Islam and the Muslims."
Report: Since 2015, Hezbollah-Led Drug Network Attempted to Smuggle 600 Million Pills Out of Lebanon
Since 2015, there have been attempts by a Hezbollah-led drug network to smuggle over 600 million pills out of Lebanon, a report by Firstpost stated this week.

According to the report, over $3 billion worth of Captagon amphetamine has been seized since February last year.

“The Hezbollah-led drug menace is increasingly becoming difficult to tame. With the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] shipping ban in place, the Hezbollah is now trying to smuggle drugs through new transit routes,” it stated.

“Lebanon has badly failed to stop the export of the scourge of drugs from its land. It has not taken any action against Hezbollah that is behind the brazen drug trafficking in the Middle East,” said the report.

Meanwhile, a shipment of fake oranges that hid millions of Captagon pills was intercepted by Lebanese authorities in the latest regional seizure of the stimulant drug, AFP reported on Wednesday.

The Biden Team Knows Its Iran Policy Is Failing
First, Iran began producing uranium metal, a crucial element in nuclear weapons, in February. Tehran also started enriching uranium to 60 percent purity in April—its highest level ever and a short distance to the 90 percent purity needed for nuclear weapons. The knowledge Tehran’s scientists have acquired is irreversible.

The United States and its European allies condemned Iran’s actions and emphasized there is no civilian need for such advances. But Tehran faced no consequences.

Second, Tehran has obstructed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) investigation into Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities at several suspect nuclear sites. Last month, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi warned that Iran’s stonewalling “seriously affects the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.” Again, no consequences.

Third, Iran reduced its cooperation with the IAEA at declared nuclear sites as of February. Since then, the agency cannot review data from surveillance equipment and other techniques used to monitor Iran’s nuclear program’s status. Grossi said Iran’s actions “seriously undermined” the agency’s verification and monitoring activities. Consequences? None.

Fourth, Tehran has increased production of advanced centrifuge parts since August but has not allowed the agency to inventory or verify the location of this equipment. Grossi brokered a deal with Iran in mid-December that will allow the agency to install new surveillance cameras. But he also warned that even if monitoring and verification is restored, “there might be gaps. And these gaps are not a good thing to have.”

Fifth, the Biden administration has allowed each IAEA Board of Governors meeting this year to conclude without a censure resolution against Iran. One could argue the Biden administration was still getting its Iran policy and personnel in place during its first months in office, so the March board meeting was an inopportune time. No such excuse exists for the June, September, and November meetings. At the last meeting, the U.S. representative suggested the board should be recalled by the end of the year for a special session if Tehran does not cooperate.
France Says Iran’s Space Launch ‘Regrettable’ Amid Nuclear Deal Talks
France on Friday condemned Iran’s satellite rocket launch and said it was “all the more regrettable” as nuclear talks with world powers were making progress, echoing concerns expressed by the United States and Germany.

Iran said on Thursday it had used a satellite launch rocket to send three research devices into space, as indirect U.S.-Iran talks take place in Austria to try to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal.

The satellite launch was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions, France’s foreign ministry said.

“These activities are all the more regrettable as they come at a time when we are making progress in the nuclear negotiations in Vienna,” the French foreign ministry said.

“We call on Iran not to launch further ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, including space launchers.”

Iranian state TV showed footage on Thursday of what it said was the firing of the launch vehicle from the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran at dawn.


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