Friday, October 28, 2022

From Ian:

UN Watch: Rebuttal of Pillay Commission’s Report to UNGA
In response to the October 2022 report to the UN General Assembly by the Pillay Commission of Inquiry on Israel, UN Watch published the following rebuttal, prepared by UN Watch Legal Advisor Dina Rovner.

The fundamental failure of the report is that, contrary to its mandate to examine all sides in the conflict, the report examines and condemns only Israel. This follows the same completely one-sided format of the Pillay Commission’s June report to the Human Rights Council. The report is not the product of an objective and impartial examination of all sides, but an adversarial charge sheet where Israel is painted as the only actor and the only guilty party. This latest report underscores how the Pillay Commission of Inquiry (COI) is a travesty of justice. Accordingly, UN Watch calls for the termination of the COI, and has drafted this resolution and petition to commence the process.

Key Points
1. The Commission blames only Israel for the impasse in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the lack of implementation of the two-state solution, pointing exclusively to the “occupation” and “settlements,” ignoring the Palestinian’ rejection of Israeli peace offers, including the 2000 proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the 2008 offer by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The report ignores Palestinian terrorism and incitement. It completely disregards Israel’s willingness to dismantle settlements for the sake of peace, as it did in 2005 in Gaza and in 1979 in Sinai. For example:
- In paragraph 19, the report disregards Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza in which it unilaterally withdrew 8,500 Israelis from that territory, claiming “that Israel continues to occupy the territory…”
- In paragraph 51, the report expressly states that the “expansion of the settlements and related infrastructure actively contributes to the entrenchment of the occupation and makes the ‘two-state solution’ an increasingly unviable option.” This disregards Israel’s proven willingness to dismantle settlements for the sake of peace.
- Paragraph 54 blames “The extensive human rights violations and abuses, along with violations of international humanitarian law noted in these reports” directly on the “Israeli occupation,” but fails to mention murderous Palestinian incitement and terrorist attacks against Israelis.
- In the recommendations section, the report makes demands only of Israel. In paragraph 91, it calls only on Israel to “comply fully with international law and end without delay its 55 years of occupation of the Palestinian and Syrian territories,” directly implying that Israeli settlements are the only obstacle to peace, absolving the Palestinians of any responsibility.
- Likewise in paragraph 93, the report recommends to the General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice “on the legal consequences of Israel’s continued refusal to end its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory… and “ to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” indicating the Commission’s view that Israel is legally obliged to unilaterally end the occupation, while the Palestinians bear no responsibility whatsoever to cease incitement and terrorism or to participate in negotiations to end the conflict.
UN Commission of Inquiry says it will investigate ‘apartheid’ charges against Israel
The controversial, open-ended United Nations Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights abuses by Israel and the Palestinians said Thursday it will investigate charges of “apartheid” against Israel. Thus far, the commission’s two reports, including one presented to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, has focused almost solely on Israel, furthering concerns about the one-sided nature of the inquiry and biases among its three members.

The commission’s latest report calls on the U.N. Security Council to force an end to Israel’s “permanent occupation,” and urges U.N. member states to prosecute Israeli officials.

At a press conference with the three commission members on Thursday, JNS asked COI chairwoman Navi Pillay how, given her past rhetoric about Israel, including her declaring it an apartheid state and her advocacy for BDS, she could conceivably pitch her commission as being impartial, which is required for U.N. fact-finding missions. JNS cited her signature on a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden three weeks before Pillay’s appointment to the COI, calling for the White House to punish Israel.

“Well, it’s all news to me that I have done all this. I have signed no petition or made no statement,” said Pillay. When JNS countered that the letter and her statements are all on record and documented, Pillay replied that she would “like to see it. I’ve never seen it. You know, because then maybe somebody has used my name, I want to know. I recall one statement I made in South Africa because the press were there and they asked me about BDS, for instance. And I said that that was a strategy that worked in South Africa.”

She accused her critics of “twisting” her words into a campaign for BDS, and said her investigation is all based on international law. She and fellow COI member Miloon Kothari, who earlier this summer apologized for anti-Semitic comments, lobbed blame on Israel for not cooperating with the investigation.

"Pro-Israel Orgs Respond to ‘Oxymoron’ Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry"
As the United Nations prepared to hear the results of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which many are calling a demonization of the Jewish state, the parents of a 5-year-old boy who died during a Hamas bombing told their story to the media gathered outside the U.N. building in New York.

“Have you ever broken a promise you made to your child?” asked Asaf Avigal. “Have you ever had to bury your own child because you didn’t keep your promise? In my case, that’s exactly what happened.”

Avigal’s son, Ido, was hiding with his family in a safe room when he was hit and killed by shrapnel from a Hamas rocket in May 2021.

A day before Ido was “killed, murdered by Hamas,” Avigal said that his young son was terrified of the endless rockets and siren. “He asked me, ‘Daddy, what would happen if we couldn’t get to the shelter in time when the rockets came?’ I answered, ‘As long as you are with me you are safe.’ That was the broken promise I made to my child. My greatest wish is that you will be able to protect your kids and families.’”

The U.N. Human Rights Council created the “Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel” in spring of 2021 after Hamas sent more than 4,000 t rockets raining down on Israeli towns and cities, leading to the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Guardian of the Walls. The COI was conducted by three individuals—Navi Pillay, Miloon Kathari and Chris Sidoti—each of whom had previously demonstrated anti-Israel bias. The COI has no end date for its investigation and its research goes back decades to the founding of the State of Israel.

Noting that the final COI report, doesn’t mention Hamas or terrorism, yet vilifies Israel, Avigal said, “Apparently, not the rights of all humans are protected there.”

Ido’s mother, Shani, recounted the moment when the rocket crashed into the building next to them sending shrapnel crashing into their safe room. “Ido was hit in the head, chest and belly … I was severely injured by shrapnel.

“I tried to save my little boy,” she said. “I stepped over burning shards and glass and ran to my neighbors, but they didn’t hear me because they were in their own bomb shelter. I called the police and said my son and I are dying.”

Range of UN states come to Israel’s defense in face of latest Commission of Inquiry report
A number of United Nations member states came to Israel’s defense on Thursday as a controversial U.N. Commission of Inquiry presented its second report to the body.

Several states condemned the commission, mandated to investigate any and all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since its roots, for both its bias and an anti-Semitic remark made recently by one of its members.

In an interview with an anti-Israel website this summer, COI member Miloon Kothari alleged that social media was controlled by the “Jewish lobby.” He would later issue an apology for that remark, along with a comment in the same interview questioning whether Israel should be allowed to hold U.N. membership.

“We cannot ignore the fact that a current member of the commission made antisemitic comments in late August, referring disparagingly to the ‘Jewish lobby,’” U.S. envoy to the U.N. General Assembly Lisa Carty told the General Assembly’s Third Committee, where Thursday’s discussion was held.

“We categorically reject this statement, which we deem to be outrageous, inappropriate and corrosive,” Caty said. “We regret that senior U.N. leadership has still not publicly repudiated these repugnant statements or asked this commission member to step down.”

Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechia, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Uruguay were among the countries defending Israel’s position, along with the European Union, which issued a statement against the COI. It was a rare showing of strong vocal support from a wide range of countries at the U.N., including notably from Australia, whose government this month rescinded its recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Palauan representative questioned why the three members of the commission had been appointed, given “the numerous outright anti-Israel public statements made by the members both before and during their tenure.”

Hungary’s envoy said that her country was “outraged by the recent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments made by a member of the COI,” calling them “unworthy of the U.N.”

From Gaza to Tehran: The challenges facing Israel's next government
On Nov. 1, Israel will choose its future leadership, but regardless of whether the Netanyahu bloc will return to power, or the Lapid camp will keep its positions, the next government will have to tackle a series of challenges.

Israel's greatest security challenge. The source of all immediate and long-term, direct and indirect, evils and dangers. From nuclear bombs, through regional and global terrorism, to products of the Iranian military industry which are exported to many countries – even though Russia takes the lead in the headlines, Iranian warfare also stars in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; from cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to precision rockets and advanced technology.

The new government will be required to make dramatic decisions in regard to Iran. If a nuclear agreement is signed – it will postpone any confrontation with the potential of an Iranian bomb for several years, but if not, Israel may be forced to take independent action (and possibly quite soon, if the Iranians decide to create a breakthrough of the bomb or move to a 90% military level enrichment). For this purpose, Israel will have to define its red lines, form coalitions, formulate validity, and above all – complete military readiness and maintain a reliable and available military option, which, when activating, will keep the Iranian nuclear project at bay for a considerable period of time. The Iranian challenge will keep the next government occupied on numerous fronts: from the decision on the scope and nature of the secret attacks on Iranian soil (including cyber activities), through the formation of a regional and international front that will make the situation difficult for Iran, to the strengthening and expansion of ties with the countries that signed on the Abraham Accords, which have also been threatened by Iran (and have less abilities than Israel of protecting themselves).
The world awaits Netanyahu
On November 1st, Israel will decide whether to return to its former glory under Benjamin Netanyahu or continue to steep deeper into chaos and uncertainty under a coalition of adversaries and opportunists. Senior officials in Washington and across the Middle East, have told me they would choose Netanyahu.

Countries are ready to make peace and businesses are waiting to invest billions in a strong prosperous Israel.

Over the years, I have helped pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Israeli economy through real estate developments and by encouraging multiple U.S. states and municipalities that believe in economic integrity to view Israel as a safe conservative investment. Sadly, the past 18 months have made it very hard to advocate for the Start-Up Nation as a sound financial investment.

For those who suggest the Bennett-Lapid government was much of the same, here’s what was different:
Under Netanyahu, Israel forged four historic peace agreements in four months. Bennett and Lapid let the Abraham Accords go stale, with no additional nations joining the fold.

For thirty years Netanyahu has used every public and private platform to rally against the threat of a nuclear Iran. Today, Jerusalem appears silent as Tehran continues to race to the bomb, while a new Iran Deal is negotiated behind closed doors.

The Bennett-Lapid government has capitulated to Lebanon, an Iranian proxy – in the U.S. brokered maritime agreement, with gifts of sovereign territory and natural treasure – for nothing in return. Just days before an election and without the approval of a Knesset majority.

The deal may have been in the interest of America, but a savvy Israeli leader would have pushed back to get the best possible deal. History will show the Netanyahu doctrine as ‘Peace Through Strength’ and the Lapid legacy as ‘Take Whatever You Want – It’s Free.’
Right fumes after Michaeli claims Rabin was assassinated with Netanyahu's cooperation
Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli was harshly criticized Thursday for linking the assassination of former Prime Minister the late Yitzhak Rabin to political opponents Benjamin Netanyahu and Itamar Ben Gvir.

Speaking at an Israel Hayom pre-election conference, Michaeli said, Rabin was killed "in a political assassination with the cooperation of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben Gvir at the time."

Calling Michaeli's statements "dangerous," Ben Gvir said they stemmed from "her seeing the polls, which show that the Religious Zionist Party will garner 15 seats, while her faction is barely garnering the minimum."

"Michaeli's dangerous incitement repeatedly crosses red lines and legitimizes harming me. It's not for nothing that the level of threats against me has risen recently and the Knesset guard has had to increase its security for me," he said.

Likud MK Yoav Galant also criticized Michaeli and urged her to apologize.

"I condemn Merav Michaeli's reckless and irresponsible statement, and call on her to retract it and apologize. Shame," he wrote on Twitter.

Similarly, fellow Likud lawmaker Keti Shitrit accused Michaeli of "having lost it."
At Riyadh investor forum, top Israeli banker hails Saudi economy’s prospects
The head of an Israeli bank appeared at a Saudi investor forum Thursday and hailed “amazing” opportunities in the kingdom, a sign of the business world’s interest in seeing diplomatic ties between the nations.

Samer Haj-Yehia, the Arab Israeli chairman of Bank Leumi since 2019, was addressing the Future Investment Initiative, a three-day conference held in the Saudi capital and often referred to as “Davos in the Desert.”

“The opportunities are amazing and the fintech industry in particular is on the rise,” he said during a panel discussion.

“You see the economy is very healthy, unlike other economies around the world, and the prospects for the future are very positive,” he added, highlighting strong access to capital in oil-rich Saudi and the young population’s adoption of “very advanced mobile technology.”

His comments follow rampant speculation about future bilateral ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which US officials stoked ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jeddah in July.

Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and did not join the 2020 US-brokered Abraham Accords that saw the Jewish state establish ties with two of the kingdom’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
Top Russian security official apologizes after deputy calls Chabad a cult
The head of Russia’s Security Council on Friday apologized for comments made by his deputy against the Chabad-Lubavitch movement earlier in the week, in which he referred to the Hassidic sect as a supremacist cult, drawing fierce criticism from the country’s chief rabbi and raising concerns of institutional antisemitism among Russian Jews.

In an article for the government-owned Argumenty i Fakty weekly newspaper calling for the “desatanization” of Ukraine, assistant secretary of the Russian Security Council Aleksey Pavlov wrote on Tuesday that the country was home to hundreds of neo-pagan cults, including in his list the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Chabad was founded in what was then the Russian Empire in the 18th century and is currently the dominant Jewish movement in the former Soviet Union, particularly in Ukraine and Russia. Russia’s own chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, is a member of the movement, as are the vast majority of the country’s religious leaders.

Lazar immediately denounced Pavlov’s claims as “vulgar antisemitism” and called for Russian officials to do so as well.

A spokesman for the Russian Jewish community, Baruch Gorin, said the remarks potentially indicated a return of the institutionalized, official antisemitism in Russia that was rampant in the Soviet Union and before it in the Russian Empire.
Turkey: A NATO Ally?
What do members, future members, dialogue partners and future dialogue partners of this exotic blend of nations [the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO] have in common?

With their growing democratic deficits and authoritarian-to-dictatorship regimes, they are at cold war with the world's democratic bloc of nations.

"I told Putin... Let us in so we'll break up with the EU. The Shanghai Five is better [than the EU]. It is much more powerful. [With membership] we'll have a chance to be together with the countries with which we share common values" — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, January 2013.

And finally, in September 2022, Erdogan became the first head of a NATO state attending an SCO summit, in Uzbekistan.... Erdogan went to the summit upon Putin's personal invitation.

This is the natural outcome of West's deaf ears and blind eyes. When Erdogan first spoke of SCO membership for Turkey a decade ago, Western capitals reacted with shy laughter and a misdiagnosis: that Erdogan was just bluffing to win quicker membership accession to the European Union.

Western bigwigs did not even get the message when in 2013 Erdogan spoke of Eurasian dictatorships as "countries with which we have common values." He was just speaking what, to him, was the truth.

Funny, Erdogan became the first NATO head of state attending an SCO summit while pressuring Congress for the delivery of U.S.-made F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft for his air force. Behind closed doors in Washington, his envoys and back channels will be telling their U.S. audience that "Turkey's future is in the Western bloc, that the SCO talk is for Turkey's balancing act between its commitment to the West and its inevitable proximity with Russia."
Off-duty soldier arrested for throwing rocks at troops in West Bank, claims IDF
An off-duty soldier was arrested by Israeli troops in the southern West Bank on Friday after he allegedly hurled stones at soldiers along with a group of Palestinians and left-wing activists, the military claimed.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, several suspects, including both Palestinians and Israelis, “violently attacked and threw stones” at troops operating near the illegal West Bank outpost of Avigayil, in the South Hebron Hills area.

The IDF said one of the suspects who allegedly hurled stones at troops is an off-duty soldier. He was arrested by troops, and handed over to police for further questioning.

An activist involved, however, strongly denied they had attacked troops.

Speaking to The Times of Israel, the activist said he and another man were assisting a Palestinian shepherd in the area. At one point troops showed up and claimed they were in a closed military zone, and attempted to clear the trio out of the area.

The activist said there was no violence toward troops as they began to leave the closed military zone, during which the other activist was arrested. Stones were thrown near the sheep in order to direct them out of the area, and not at troops, according to the activist.

A video filmed by the activist showed the suspect seemingly being arrested without resisting.

The detained activist was later released after being questioned by police, and was barred from the South Hebron Hills area for 15 days.
Israel warns Syria it will step up attacks over Iranian weapons transfers
Israel has warned Syria that it will step up attacks if Syria continues to help Iran send weapons to the area, Al Arabiya reported.

According to unnamed sources, Iran is sending weapons disguised as aid to Syria and Lebanon via air, land and sea.

The report came after Israel was blamed for a third strike in Syria in three days. The Israeli Air Force struck multiple targets in the Damascus area early on Thursday, according to Syrian state media.

Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) sent a massive supply of Iranian drones to its proxies in Syria, according to an Oct. 23 report by the Syrian opposition website Euphrates Appeal Media Network (Nida Al-Furat) thay was shared with JNS by the Middle East Media Research Institute’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced the end of his armed group’s mobilization on Thursday, following the completion of a maritime demarcation agreement brokered by the U.S.

In a televised speech, Nasrallah declared that the signing of the agreement was a “very big victory for Lebanon,” adding that the Lebanese government was careful not to take any steps “that even smelled of normalization” in the indirect deal with Israel, reported Reuters.
What's Behind Israel's Reluctance to Share Iron Dome With Ukraine?
To make matters worse, some in Israel worry Russia could capture an Iron Dome system sent to Ukraine and then provide the system and its information to Iran. Tehran and its terror proxies would undoubtedly then use the information to develop capabilities to circumvent Iron Dome's defenses, reducing its effectiveness and increasing the ability of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to kill Israelis in future conflicts.

While the risks of a Russian capture of an Iron Dome system could be significantly mitigated by deploying it only in areas far from the frontlines, the concern in Israel is certainly understandable given the growing relationship between Russia and Iran, Tehran's constant aggression against Israel, and the importance of Iron Dome in saving Israeli lives.

This is not to say that Israel should sit on its hands when it comes to helping Ukraine's military. Israel should provide Kyiv as much intelligence as possible regarding the Iranian weapons Russia is using in Ukraine. Israel should also provide early warning sensors and systems to Ukraine to provide valuable forewarning of impending attacks.

Meanwhile, some in Congress are seeking to increase the U.S. Army's inventory of Patriots and expand the associated production capacity. Section 1704 of the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 highlights the need for more Patriot systems and authorizes the procurement of up to four additional battalions. The House bill also would authorize an additional $1 billion for the procurement of four additional fire units to equip the U.S. Army's 16th Patriot battalion.

In terms of U.S. air and missile defense support for Ukraine, Washington should take every possible measure to expedite the delivery of the eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) while sending Avenger air defense systems and counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) systems.

The United States can afford to send these systems to Ukraine without dangerously undermining U.S. military readiness or incurring unacceptable additional risk when it comes to protecting the homeland.

The same cannot be said when it comes to Iron Dome and Israel, which confronts a growing missile threat and an insufficient missile defense capacity for a war against Hezbollah.

That's why those sitting in safety in the United States and Western Europe should cut Israel some slack when it comes to sending Iron Dome to Ukraine.

Israel is surrounded by terrorist organizations with a propensity for launching rocket and missiles barrages with the goal of killing as many Israeli civilians as possible. One can understand why a country confronting such threats might be reluctant to reduce its means of self-defense.
New Israeli System Digitally Maps Battlefield, Changing How Wars Are Fought
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have established a new high-tech system that provides real-time tracking of troop locations and where they may be exposed to enemy fire, offering a significant digital edge on the battlefield. Two senior Israeli officers discussed with Newsweek how the "Identify & Alert" (I&A) platform works and what it means for the future of warfare.

"The system can define potential lines of exposure [of Israeli forces] from anti-tank missile fire in advance," said Lt.-Col. Idan Hariri. "We created a system that knows how to alert our situation room and the soldier in the field in a matter of seconds when soldiers enter an area that is under the threat of anti-tank missile fire. The system is automatic." Hariri said that during two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in August, the IDF "proved that the I&A system saves lives." The system has been integrated near Israel's border with Lebanon and also is being deployed near Syria.

The system replaces the longstanding practice of checking in via radio communications. Now, units can communicate via an internal chat resembling WhatsApp.
Israel Developing Drone Swarm for Urban Battlefield
Israel is converting infantry support companies into "seek and strike" units equipped with swarming drones to search buildings and carry out attacks. The swarm is powered by Legion-X, an "autonomous networked combat solution" developed by Elbit Systems.

The Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 kamikaze drones which Russia is using in Ukraine are often described as swarming drones, but this is not correct. Although the drones are launched in groups, they do not exchange information or co-ordinate their movements like a true swarm. Israel has taken the lead in enabling multiple drones to work together, directed by one human operator.

In 2021, the IDF used swarming drones in operations in Gaza. Mortar support companies were re-equipped with drones which gathered intelligence, located targets, and carried out attacks on Hamas forces. They also provided targeting information for guided mortar weapons and carried out more than 30 "successful operations" against militants attempting to launch rockets at Israel.
The IDF Underwater Missions Unit
The IDF Special Forces Underwater Missions Unit (UMU) is an elite force specializing in diving, sabotage, search and rescue, and special missions up to 42 meters under the sea.

The unit, founded in 1963, is comprised of less than 100 soldiers - both women and men.

The unit specializes in handling explosive devices such as the remains of missiles that fall into the sea or naval mines.

It also assists the Navy in thwarting the infiltration of Hamas frogmen.

In January, the unit participated in the recovery of a Navy helicopter that crashed off the coast of Haifa.

In 2018, the unit was sent to Brazil and helped discover victims after a large dam collapsed.
The IDF Desert Reconnaissance Battalion
The Israel Defense Forces' largely Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, established in 1986, is comprised of volunteers from Muslim, Christian, and Circassian backgrounds. Lt.-Col. Guy Madar, 33, the current commander of the battalion, said, "When I joined, I discovered how amazingly they operated....It is a group of fighters who want to contribute. They are strong, good fighters, and know the sector like the back of their hand."

Sgt. Hassan Fudi, from Taibe village near Afula, said, "I enlisted in the Bedouin patrol unit. My family did not accept it and was very angry with me. As far as they are concerned, they are Palestinians. Since my decision to enlist I have not spoken to my parents....But I got used to it. I'm happy with my decision....It is true, I am Arab, but we are brothers. This is my country and we need to protect it."

Chief Warrant Officer Ami Mazariv is a testament to what fighters in the unit can achieve. In 2004, Ami could not even read Hebrew. By 2022, he has a bachelor's degree in management and recently began studying law. "We have a unit that is making the State of Israel proud, soldiers with courage above and beyond, who fight all the time to protect, with the richest history in the field of counterterrorism. We have lost 30 fighters over the years, but we are not giving up, and continue to stand guard."

Biden cannot ignore Iran
In order to avoid a repeat of former President Barack Obama's retrospective regret of not supporting the Iranian Green Movement in 2009, the Biden administration must stop legitimizing a thug regime that is butchering its own citizens to remain in power. The Biden administration should review and reevaluate its Iran policy in four ways to maintain stability in the Middle East and contain Russia.

First, the Biden administration should stop negotiations with Iran on the nuclear deal because they do not solve the Iran nuclear problem. Furthermore, the concessions made, such as sanctions lifted by the deal, will only be used against U.S. counterterrorism efforts and continuing support of Ukraine. Additional access to funds resulting from a deal will jeopardize the security of key U.S. allies, which will then have no choice but to embark on a nuclear arms race. Moreover, by January 2031, the JCPOA will allow Iran to enrich uranium without restrictions, freeing it to employ sophisticated centrifuges that it has hidden from the IAEA. A return to the JCPOA would produce irreversible damage to our core national interests.

Second, the Biden administration should reestablish the maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime. Canada took the lead following Iran’s human rights abuses against protesters by imposing sanctions on the regime, including three entities and 17 people, such as former Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. In fact, even Switzerland, which has already adopted U.N. and EU sanctions against Iran, is considering wider sanctions, given Iran’s crackdown on protesters. The Biden administration has the ability to choke off Iranian financial institutions that are utilized to fund the ayatollahs’ terrorist and hostile operations. Through a policy of maximum pressure sanctions, the U.S. can cut Iranian players off from the necessary funds to fuel the oppression of their citizens.

Third, the Biden administration should work with its allies to address the non-nuclear Iran challenge. As Ukraine is fighting against kamikaze drones and initiating cooperation with Israel on air and missile defense, the U.S. can utilize the framework of the Abraham Accords to move toward an Abraham Accords 2.0, where military collaboration is encouraged to increase intelligence sharing between U.S. allies and facilitate counterterrorism efforts against an imperialist and revolutionary Iran.

Fourth, it is clear that the Iranian regime has lost its legitimacy. Iranians have no desire to negotiate with their government, and they have shown that they will not only burn the hijab but destroy billboards of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Qassem Soleimani, and other figures central to the Islamic Republic. The Biden administration and its allies should plan for what is next. A post-IRGC Iran is possible, and it is necessary to prepare for one in order to avoid a civil war and catastrophic collapse that could lead Iran to end up in a Syria-like spiral, with Putin still supporting the regime in place.
i24NEWS speaks to Iranian Nobel Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi
Can the current Islamic regime in Iran be reformed or is there no alternative to it being overthrown?

Iranian Noble Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi joins i24NEWS Middle East Now host Laura Cellier to discuss the Mahsa Amini protests and the past and future relations between Israel and Iran

Iranian ambassador barred from Nobel Prize ceremony over regime crackdown
The ambassador of Iran has been excluded from this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm because of “the serious and escalating situation” in the country, the private foundation that administers the prestigious awards said Friday.

Earlier this week, the envoys of Russia and Belarus were barred from attending the glittery event because of the war in Ukraine.

“We believe that given the serious and escalating situation, Iran’s ambassador should not be invited to the Nobel Prize award ceremony,” the Nobel Foundation said in a statement. Normally, ambassadors stationed in Sweden are invited to the annual event on December 10.

With the slogan #WomanLifeFreedom, the demonstrations in Iran first focused on women’s rights and the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf for women.

But they quickly evolved into calls to oust the Shiite clerics that have ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests have also galvanized university students, labor unions, prisoners and ethnic minorities like the Kurds along Iran’s border with Iraq.

Since the protests erupted, security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrations, killing over 200 people, according to rights groups.

Putin Urges Increased Russian-Iranian Cooperation in ‘Fight Against Terrorism’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for greater cooperation with Iran in the “fight against terrorism” in the latest demonstration of the burgeoning military and security relationship between Moscow and Tehran.

Putin issued his call in a message to his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, following a bloody gun attack on a Shi’a Muslim shrine in the city of Shiraz on Wednesday that reportedly took the lives of at least 15 people, among them children. The Islamist terrorist group ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Please accept my sincere condolences on the tragic consequences of the terrorist act committed in Shiraz,” Putin told Raisi in a message that was reported by official Russian news outlets.

“I would like to confirm the readiness of the Russian side to further build up cooperation with Iranian partners in the fight against terrorism,” the Russian leader added.

In comments that will likely roil political and military leaders in Ukraine, where more than 15,000 casualties have been recorded since the Russian invasion at the end of February, Putin said that it was “difficult to imagine a more cynical crime than the murder of civilians — including children and women — within the walls of a religious shrine.” Terrorism violated not just the “laws” of humanity but its “norms” as well, Putin remarked.

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