Monday, July 25, 2022

07/25 Links Pt1: How the Abraham Accords are helping the Middle East come to terms with Israel’s existence; Multiple Russian-Jewish organizations sent warnings by Russian gov't

From Ian:

How the Abraham Accords are helping the Middle East come to terms with Israel’s existence
Most of the Middle East (Iran and its proxies and partners notwithstanding) now seeks some new paradigm, something pragmatic that will meet the demands of the people. Happily for Israel, its demography, geography and entrepreneurial economy are all suited to regional rapprochement.

Both Israel and its regional partners would do well to emphasize through its diverse citizenry that it’s not some colonial aberration but very much of the region — culturally, religiously and socially.

Arab leaders were willing to deal with Israel in part due to frustration with the Palestinian rejection of successive opportunities for peace deals. And while Palestinian leaders in the West Bank today call the Abraham Accords “a knife in the back,” the accords may offer job-hungry Palestinians the opportunities that their political leaders deny them.

It is Palestinian leaders, not the people, who benefit from the status quo. Arab states may play a role in this development: through direct investment, the creation of special economic zones in the West Bank or even pressure on the Palestinian Authority to revoke regulations that forbid Palestinians to work for Israeli settlers (as tens of thousands currently do).

International diplomatic pressure can be brought against countries such as Lebanon and Iraq to rescind their laws that forbid contact with Israelis. States in the region that are shifting toward openness might grant visas to adherents of Abrahamic faith communities to make pilgrimage to the holy sites of their faith. (Lebanese Christians, for example, cannot travel to Jerusalem, the most sacred site in Christianity, because of anti-Zionist laws that remain in place since modern Israel’s reconstitution.)

Finally, Western and regional governments might reduce or cut off aid to countries that refuse to rescind anti-normalization laws and teach antisemitism in schools or preach hatred through state-funded religious institutions.

Perhaps as a prelude to these steps, Western and regional partners can work behind the scenes with some governments of the region that exiled their Jewish communities after 1948 to grant special visitor visas to the descendants of those refugees, and to begin public education efforts that acknowledge the presence and cultural significance of those communities. Thousands of synagogues, cemeteries, schools and other structures attest to millennia of Jewish lives.

There are few places in the world as ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse as Israel. For all the emphasis on Israel’s Europeanness, it is today, as in many ways it always was, principally a Middle Eastern nation. Israel’s neighbors who grasp this fact will benefit immensely — first through trade, then culture and perhaps one day through civil society and governance. Israel’s diverse citizenry, Israeli Arabs and Sephardim among others, may speed the process of regional rapprochement along as much as state-level diplomacy.

Israel Has Strengthened America Many Times Over the Years
“Israel did not grow strong because it had an American alliance. It acquired an American alliance because it had grown strong,” said Professor Walter Russell Mead, a leading historian of American foreign policy. He was right.

In 1948, Israel was misconstrued by the U.S. State Department as a burden upon the U.S. It believed the newborn state would be too feeble to withstand an all-out Arab military offensive, jeopardize U.S. ties with the Arab World and potentially turn pro-Soviet.

Since 1967, however, Israel has emerged as the most effective, reliable and democratic ally of the United States, as well as a formidable force multiplier.

In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel devastated the pro-Soviet Egyptian military. Egypt was then on its way to becoming a pan-Arab leader and aimed to topple the pro-U.S. regimes of the Arab oil-producing countries, at a time when the U.S. was heavily dependent on them for its energy needs. The resounding Israeli victory spared the United States a huge economic and national security setback, and denied the USSR a geostrategic gold mine.

Twenty-five U.S. military experts went to Israel to study the lessons of the Six-Day War and examine captured Soviet military systems. Their findings upgraded the performance of the U.S. armed forces and defense industries.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a team of 50 American experts arrived in Israel, collecting information that benefited the U.S. military and American industry, bolstering the defense of Europe in the face of Soviet threats.

The December 1969 “Operation Rooster 53” highlighted Israel’s unique intelligence and battle tactic capabilities, which were shared with the U.S. An Israeli commando unit snatched an advanced Soviet P-12 radar system, which was stationed throughout the world, from Egypt. The Soviet radar was studied by Israel and transferred to the U.S., as were additional Soviet military systems, enhancing the capabilities of U.S. intelligence, special operations forces and defense industries.
Former IDF Military Intelligence Chief: We Don't Need a Middle East NATO
Former IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Tamir Heyman, now executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said that Israeli officials should lower their tone about a regional air defense system.

He waved off the suggestion of posting the Israeli Iron Dome systems and lasers in the UAE or other Abraham Accords countries as wildly unrealistic or relegated to the very distant future. Rather, he said the current air defense talk is about radar and sharing data relating to detecting threats.

On a technical level, Israel "can do a [regional] defense system immediately, without it being publicized, with the U.S. and with cooperation and reciprocal respect from all of those involved. We just attach all the radar systems and benefit from having more connected sensors." But he emphasized that "it is forbidden for Israel to lead it. The U.S. needs to lead."

Asked about a Middle East NATO, he said, "We don't need an alliance. They don't want it, and we don't....In NATO, if one country is attacked, everyone must counterattack the attacker. We don't want to be in this situation" where Israel is obligated to go to war on behalf of a Sunni Arab country.

"We don't want them to intervene [militarily to help Israel] - we don't need it; we do not want to rely on them." On the other hand, "We do have common threats. There are relative benefits to cooperation, but we need to do it quietly, under the table and with modesty....Do not talk about an alliance."

Multiple Russian-Jewish organizations sent warnings by Russian gov't - exclusive
Multiple Russian Jewish organizations have received threatening letters from the Russian Justice Ministry regarding their work in recent weeks, similar to the letter received by the Jewish Agency earlier this month.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that a few Jewish organizations operating in Russia are in a similar situation to the Jewish Agency, which has received a letter from the Russian government, stating that it may be considered to be a foreign agent, which could result in their organization being forcibly closed down.

One of the organizations responded to the Post's request for comment and sent a statement claiming that "there is no change in our work in Russia." Yet the Post understands that these organizations, mainly kept in operation by American or Israeli funds, have decided to lower their profile and only do work that is necessary or urgent.

Jewish organizations that are considered to be local, without any foreign funding or influence haven’t received similar letters and can continue to operate freely - even though many of them are still choosing to keep a very low public profile.

Russian-Jewish sources explained on Monday that the Jewish Agency in Russia has been under close surveillance for many years now.

“I remember participating in an aliyah conference of the agency in Russia about 7 years ago and it was closed down by The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB RF),” one source who participated in the conference said of the main successor agency to the Soviet Union's KGB.

“The FSB RF agents actually accompanied the Israeli participants of the conference to Israel on their flight,” the source added.
Lapid: If Russia shutters Jewish Agency office it will harm ties
With mixed messaging on the reasons behind Russia's decision to shutter the Jewish Agency's local operations, Prof. Ze'ev Khanin says Israel should look at Putin's recent meeting with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts to understand the geopolitical motivations, and how to proceed diplomatically.

‘Israel Should Have No Illusions About Russia,’ Says Prominent Jewish Businessman Who Fled Putin’s Regime
A prominent Russian-Israeli businessman who ran afoul of President Vladimir Putin has called on those Jews who remain in Russia to leave the country at the first opportunity.

In a post on his telegram channel, Leonid Nevzlin — an energy executive and philanthropist who fled Russia for Israel in 2003 — cited last week’s announcement from the Russian ministry of justice that it is seeking to shutter the Jewish Agency’s operations in the country.

“Israel should have no illusions about Russia, which has become a country unfriendly to Jews,” Nevzlin wrote.

“It is enough to recall Lavrov’s antisemitic statements,” Nevzlin continued, referring to the outrage triggered in May by comments from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accusing Israel of backing “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine and opining that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler may have had “Jewish blood.”

Nevzlin said the initial court hearing on the closure of the Jewish Agency, scheduled for Thursday, marked a “new stage” in Russia’s offensive against its Jewish community.

“The Jews must flee from Russia as soon as possible,” Nevzlin declared. “And Israel should stop doubting and send weapons to Ukraine. Protecting democracy is our common cause.”

Nevzlin argued that Russia’s desire to prevent the Jewish Agency from operating in Russia, where it assists Jews seeking to emigrate to Israel, was motivated by Putin’s fear of a “brain drain” of talented Russian citizens opposed to the invasion of Ukraine.

“But, as he often does lately, Putin will achieve the exact opposite: brains from Russia will not just flow, but will rush in a stream,” Nevzlin said. “This was already the case after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, which led to a new, ‘Putin’s aliyah’ – a stream of Russian Jews who no longer want to have anything to do with that country. ”
Russian Police Detain Opposition Politician Gozman Over Dual Israeli Citizenship
Russian police detained Leonid Gozman, an opposition politician, on Monday, his lawyer said, after a criminal case was opened over his alleged failure to inform the authorities swiftly enough about his citizenship of Israel.

“At the entrance to the Frunzenskaya metro station, he was detained by metro police officers,” Gozman’s lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov, said on Facebook.

Gozman was the last leader of the small Union of Right Forces political party, which brought together free-market reformers such as Anatoly Chubais, who has left Russia, and Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in 2015 close to the Kremlin.

Since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, political dissent has become more dangerous inside Russia. Protesters are routinely arrested and public criticism of the war risks prosecution.

Gozman had argued publicly that President Vladimir Putin has inflicted more damage on Russia by invading Ukraine than any other Russian leader since Josef Stalin, and that post-Soviet Russia had essentially died with the war.
Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine: Ukraine Is Learning Self-Reliance, Like Israel Did
Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky told Interfax-Ukraine, "You will simply have no other choice for Ukraine to continue to exist as a strong independent state, other than to become 'Israel' in some sense." There are three points that Ukraine can use.

"The first is to rely only on itself....Surely, we have partnerships with many countries, we have strategic relations with the United States, this is a very important trump card, but in the military sense, Israel relies only on itself....It proceeds from the fact that in a moment of danger one cannot count on anyone's help."

"The second point is to preserve democracy and freedom of speech at all costs....This is the strength of the state, in different opinions, the opportunity to express their opinions, to conduct discussions. Despite wars...there is a danger of slipping into authoritarianism, strangling freedom of speech. Israel did not follow this path and it was right. Ultimately, this would weaken society and the state."

The third is "everything that concerns connection with the diaspora." "The Ukrainian diaspora is growing....You can look at this as a loss, or you can look at it as an asset of the state with which you need to work. And which in the end can support the country in difficult times and not only. This is what Israel had from the very beginning."
Former Minister Kara Invites Azerbaijan to Join Abraham Accords
Former Communications Minister Ayoob Kara (Likud) last Thursday called on Azerbaijan to join the Abraham Accords Agreement. Speaking at an exhibition hosted by Azerbaijan’s Tourism Office in Tel Aviv, Kara suggested that “the Abraham Accords Agreements need not remain within the Gulf states, but can expand to other areas of the world. Azerbaijan is already a strategic partner of the State of Israel and we want this friendship to grow and expand.”

Azerbaijan’s Tourism Office’s special exhibition featured artworks by Azerbaijani-Israeli artist Rami Meir, and magical carpets created by Azerbaijan’s carpet manufacturer Azerca.

Azerbaijan’s Tourism Attache Jamilya Talibzadeh said: “We hope that by being impressed by the carpets displayed here, you will be eager to visit Azerbaijan.”

Talibzadeh added on her Facebook page: “People in legends dream about flying carpets taking them far far away. We suggest you take a direct flight to Baku and make your dream come true.”

She noted that Azerbaijan, especially its Quba region, showcases the country’s great Jewish heritage.

Former Minister Kara said that “every day, the relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan grows stronger and stronger. We try to find different ways to help the government of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a good friend of Israel and we have to support them.”

Kara also said he hoped that Israel would use its influence to help the Azerbaijani people obtain peace, and for Israelis to visit Azarbaijan. “I don’t want Israelis to only stay in Abu Dhabi, but to go everywhere in the Middle East. And of course, I want to stress that I want Azerbaijan to become part of the Abraham Accords Agreement.”
The Israel Guys: New Settlement Movement is Growing in Israel
Former Envoy Jason Greenblatt says that Biden’s views on Jerusalem are inconsistent with US law. A new poll here in Israel gives us an update on what elections might look like in November. A powerful explosive was disarmed in southern Israel by Israeli police after being discovered in the entrance to a restaurant, and an all inclusive update on the attempts to establish brand new communities in Judea & Samaria.

Neo Nazi demonstrations sprouting across the US
Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, discusses a disturbing phenomenon seen across the US in recent months: groups waving Nazi and SS flags outside political rallies and most recently a Holocaust museum in Tampa

Joe Truzman: Conflict Resumes in the West Bank During IDF Operations in Nablus
On Sunday morning, Israeli forces conducting counterterrorism operations in Nablus clashed with militants, resulting in the deaths of two members of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the injury of a number of other gunmen.

According to local reports, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops entered Nablus around 2:00 a.m. and surrounded the home of the al-Azizi family located in the al-Yasimna neighborhood of Nablus. An armed clash ensued that resulted in the deaths of Muhammed Bashar al-Azizi and Abdul Rahman Jamal Subh, both members of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

It’s unclear if Azizi and Subh were the primary targets of the IDF’s raid. Unconfirmed Palestinian reports say the target of the IDF’s raid in Nablus was Ibrahim Nabulsi, a militant who survived a firefight with the IDF in February. Since his escape, Nabulsi has been wanted by the IDF and has eluded several attempts to capture him.

While Nabulsi was not at the residence at the time of the IDF’s raid, he was later seen at the funeral of the slain militants hours after clashes ended.

Following the event, Katibat Nablus (Islamic Jihad umbrella group in Nablus) issued a statement claiming it engaged IDF troops in Nablus alongside al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades fighters. The statement also claimed the group received assistance from its counterpart Katibat Jenin.

“Al-Quds Brigades, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades fighters confronted the Zionist occupations forces, which at two o’clock in the morning stormed the Old City of Nablus and besieged some of the homes of our honorable fighters where armed clashes took place. We also confirm, in Al-Quds Brigades, that some of our fighters from the valiant city of Jenin succeeded in reaching the confrontation arena in Nablus and joined forces with their brothers in the field who rained direct bullets on the occupation forces,” the statement said.
In northern West Bank, gunmen call the shots, tired of Palestinian Authority - analysis
The PA is both afraid and unwilling to deal with the gunmen, he said. “Many of these armed men belong to Fatah, and that’s why they are treated as if they are part of the Palestinian security apparatus,” he pointed out. “[PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas is afraid that these men will turn against him if he orders a crackdown on them. He also has no reason to go after them as long as they don’t pose a threat to his regime.”

Some Palestinians are concerned about the sight of large numbers of gunmen patrolling their neighborhoods and streets.

In recent weeks, many Palestinians have complained about scenes of anarchy and lawlessness, especially in the Jenin and Nablus areas, where a number of Palestinians were shot and injured in several attacks there.

Earlier this week, unidentified gunmen shot and injured a retired security officer and his son in Nablus. Last Friday, gunmen shot and injured Nasser al-Shaer, a Nablus academic who previously served as deputy prime minister in the PA government.

Last month, clashes erupted at An-Najah University in Nablus between Fatah and Hamas supporters. In addition, at least 23 Palestinians were injured in several shooting incidents in the Nablus and Jenin areas in the past two weeks, according to a PA security source.

Sunday morning’s armed clashes between IDF troops and gunmen in Nablus are yet another indication of how the armed groups of Fatah and PIJ have become the de facto sheriffs of the city. The phenomenon has also spread to large parts of Ramallah, where Fatah-affiliated gunmen and activists seem to have established their own law-enforcement agencies.

Residents of Nablus said that the PA security forces have long been aware of the activities of the gunmen in their city, but have not lifted a finger to stop them. The same applies to the Jenin refugee camp, where they are seen by the residents as not-so-Lone Rangers.
Two Palestinian Gunmen Killed in West Bank Clashes With Israeli Forces
Two Palestinians were killed and several injured during violent clashes on Sunday morning between Israeli security forces and militants in the West Bank city of Nablus.

“The policy of this government is clear: We will not sit and wait for Israeli citizens to be attacked,” said Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid during Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. “We will go out and take the fight to the terrorists wherever they are.”

The clashes left two Palestinians — Muhammad Al-Azizi, 25, and Aboud Al-Sabah, 28, — killed and at least six injured, two of them seriously, the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry said. Al-Azizi and Al-Sabah were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

In a joint operation, the Israel Defense Forces, Israeli Security Agency and Israel Border Police conducted raids in Nablus to arrest armed terror suspects, seizing a cache of illegal weapons and handguns in an apartment of one suspect.

“During the activity, an exchange of fire took place between the armed suspects and Israeli forces,” the IDF said in a statement. “Rioters hurled explosive devices and rocks and shot at IDF soldiers, endangering their lives.”

The forces responded with live fire, the Israeli army said, with “hits on a number of terrorists” identified.
IDF Thwarts Suspected Stabbing Attack in West Bank
Israeli forces reportedly thwarted a suspected stabbing attack in the West Bank on Sunday evening, hours after clashes broke out between Israeli forces and militants in Nablus.

The incident took place at Tapuah Junction, a major intersection located south of Nablus in the West Bank. According to the military, “an assailant armed with a knife advanced toward an IDF soldier who was conducting routine security activity.”

The suspect stopped after the soldier fired warning shots into the air, the military said. He was apprehended before being handed over to authorities for further questioning. No injuries to Israeli forces were reported, and a photo of the knife possessed by the detainee was shared by the military.

Hours earlier, violent clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Nablus. Two Palestinian men who were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — a US-designated foreign terrorist organization — were killed, while at least six others were injured.
Abbas describes Biden visit as ‘big zero’ for Palestinians - report
US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the region was a “big zero” and did not achieve anything for the Palestinians, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have told his confidants in Ramallah.

Palestinian sources quoted Abbas as saying that he was “surprised” that he was unable to obtain from Biden a single sentence that could be presented as progress in the political process with Israel, according to the Lebanese Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar.

After Abbas and Biden met in Bethlehem on July 15, Biden assured the PA president that his commitment to the two-state solution had not changed.

“Two states along the 1967 lines, where mutually agreed-to swaps, remain the best way to achieve equal measures of security, prosperity, freedom, and democracy for the Palestinians as well as Israelis,” Biden said.

According to the sources, Abbas told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah that he was unhappy with the results of his meeting with Biden.

Sisi and Abdullah tried to calm him down by noting that major regional issues imposed themselves on the US president’s agenda after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, the sources said. The two Arab leaders also told Abbas that Biden would not activate the political process as long as the Israelis did not want it, the sources added.
PMW: Abbas’ moves to consolidate Fatah’s dictatorial dominance over the Palestinian Authority
On July 15, 2022 US President Joe Biden met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. After laying out the efforts of his administration to renew its ties with the PA, President Biden added:
“Now is the time to strengthen Palestinian institutions, to improve governance, transparency, and accountability.

All of this work is critical. And it will help build a society that can support a successful, democratic future, and a future Palestinian state. And the United States will work with you, President Abbas, at every step.”

[Website of the White House, July 15, 2022]

While the aspirations of the US administration are clear, Abbas knows that any association between the PA and a “democratic future” for the Palestinians or to “strengthen Palestinian institutions, to improve governance,” is today, further than ever from being an achievable goal.

Over the last three and a half to four years, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has made decisions and implemented fundamental changes in the Palestinian political system. The decisions merged, integrated, and replaced the Palestinian Authority institutions with those of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The cumulative goal of these decisions is to abolish completely the last remaining iota of the already almost non-existent Palestinian democracy.

Facing the reality that he may, at any stage, be incapable of fulfilling his duties, and in an effort to guarantee that his Fatah party will continue to dominate the PA, Abbas has been busy fundamentally changing the Palestinian political system.

The first change Abbas made was to make structural changes in the PLO that would grant him enhanced control. The Palestinian National Council (PNC) is the legislative institution of the PLO. Due to its size and the geographical dispersion of its members, the PNC almost never convened. In order to facilitate his control over the PLO, in May 2018, Abbas ensured that the PNC transferred its powers to a much smaller and more easily dominated Palestinian Central Committee (PCC). The move would later be used, in February 2022, by Abbas to push through the streamlined PCC, a decision ordering the PLO Executive Committee to reformulate the institutions of he PA
Palestinian Lawyers Protest Against Abbas ‘Rule by Decree’
Hundreds of Palestinian lawyers held a rare street protest on Monday against what they described as the Palestinian Authority’s “rule by decree,” condemning president Mahmoud Abbas for governing without a parliament.

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) — created under the Oslo Peace Accords with Israel — has been inactive since 2007, meaning Abbas has led without a functioning parliament for nearly all of his tenure as president. However, a new leadership at the Palestinian Bar Association seeks to pressure Abbas.

The association’s president, Suheil Ashour, told AFP at the protest that his body would stand firm against legislation delivered by presidential decree that curbed Palestinian “rights and freedoms.”

“Our demand is either to stop their implementation now or to cancel” a raft of restrictive laws, said Ashour, who pushed for reforms when he was elected association president earlier this year.

The draft Palestinian constitution allows for presidential decrees “if necessary,” in cases where the PLC cannot act, but lawyers said Abbas has gone too far. Riot police prevented the demonstrators, clad in their black robes, from marching to the nearby office of prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Man Struggles To Explain Science Behind Prioritizing Palestinian Issue In Climate Change Policy (satire)
Most of the activist’s attempts faltered. “I’m not well-versed in explaining the obvious,” he yelled. “You’re blind if you can’t see how the Zionist-military-industrial complex oppresses Palestinians through pollution, fossil fuels, and manipulation of capitalist-industrial markets so they can achieve hegemony at the expense of indigenous People of Color. I shouldn’t have to lay it all out for you, You can see facts for yourself. Are you a Zionist?”

That rhetorical journey typified Jamal’s exchanges through the course of the late morning and the afternoon. A second activist joined him for half-and-hour later in the day, but proved no more adept at invoking sound science to buttress the Palestine-climate case.

“Probably the ones who refused to be convinced were Zionist provocateur agents,” the pair agreed. “That’s a well-documented phenomenon. If I’m not mistaken, Christians have been saying for more than a thousand years that it’s a Jewish trait not to see the manifest truth even when it’s pointed out. That would make sense with our observations out here today, as well.”

Jamal took a short break from being interviewed to accost a Hasidic family and call them Nazis.

Iran Takes Putin's Side in Ukraine War
The leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia who gathered in Tehran last week did not focus on Israel. Iran has wholeheartedly taken Putin's side against the U.S. by justifying Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Supreme Leader Khamenei declared that "the U.S. and its European allies left Moscow with no choice but to invade," and that they would have declared war on Russia in any case if Moscow had not pre-empted them.

Iran can assist Russia in bypassing sanctions and providing it with weapons systems that it lacks, such as drones. At the same time, it is important to remember that between Iran and Russia and between Turkey and Russia there are difficult historical legacies of wars and crises, and inherent strategic rivalries.

The war in Ukraine also creates tensions between Moscow and Tehran. They are competing for the Chinese oil market, which bypasses sanctions, and Beijing is exploiting their situation to demand lower prices. In Syria, Iran and Russia have a complex relationship of partnership and competition. They each support Assad while competing for influence over the regime, the military, infrastructure projects and revenues.
Seth Frantzman: Iran's satellite program is a growing threat - analysis
Back in 2019, a launch at the Imam Khomeini Space Center led to an explosion. This occurred during the final launch preparations for the Safir SLV.

Iran’s Tasnim media noted that Hajizadeh made the comments about the space race during an event honoring a drone named after the Gaza war.

Hajizadeh “stated that the Gaza drone is one of thousands of projects of the IRGC Aerospace Force,” indicating that the satellite comments come in the context of threatening the US and Israel.

Iran says it has weakened US superiority in drones. "They say that airspace and drone and missile power is a more important issue than nuclear power, and they also know that the same is the case in the defense sector,” Hajizadeh continued in his speech, before slamming Israel, comparing it to a disease.

“Surface-to-air defense missiles based on drones are an Iranian invention, and we have many such cases, and I must emphasize that both in the accuracy of missiles, in the field of defense, and in the field of radar and drones, the success is due to the strict implementation of the Supreme Leader's measures.”
Amir Ali Hajizadeh

The IRGC commander then praised Iran’s inventions, saying that “surface-to-air defense missiles based on drones are an Iranian invention, and we have many such cases, and I must emphasize that both in the accuracy of missiles, in the field of defense, and in the field of radar and drones, the success is due to the strict implementation of the Supreme Leader's measures.”

Iran believes that its space program is part of its attempt to obtain “sovereignty,” a kind of independence from the other great powers. Tehran points to its success launching the Omid satellite in 2009 and the Rasad satellite in 2011. Iran’s president is reportedly interested in developing the space industry and investing in new SLVs as well as the existing Zuljanah SLV. Iranian officials say they have several satellites on hand for launching into orbit – and that this will make the country an exporter of space services.
Iran Will Keep IAEA Cameras Turned Off Until Nuclear Deal Is Restored
Iran will keep the UN nuclear watchdog’s cameras turned off until a 2015 nuclear deal is restored, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization said on Monday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) it had removed IAEA equipment, including 27 cameras installed under the 2015 pact with world powers, after the agency passed a resolution criticizing Tehran in June.

“We will not turn on the IAEA cameras until the other side returns to the nuclear deal,” Iranian nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami said.

The 2015 nuclear pact imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions. Then-president Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, reimposing tough economic sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s ruling clerics responded by breaching the pact’s nuclear restrictions.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Monday accused IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi of having “unprofessional, unfair and unconstructive views” on Tehran’s nuclear program.

He also added that Tehran hopes a return to the nuclear deal can be reached soon should the United States show goodwill.

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