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On November 24 – a week from today – the extended deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran is set to expire. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that even if the United States doesn’t make a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, it has still caved to a nation that supports terrorism:
The White House has caved on so much already that whether or not a final agreement is reached at the end of the month, American interests have already been damaged by the administration’s pliant dealings with a state sponsor of terror. Its record on Iran—not only during nuclear negotiations, but also in its larger regional policy—is nothing but a chronicle of concessions to the Islamic Republic.
It’s instructive to recall that very early in his presidency Obama promised that the military option was still on the table, if all else failed to stop the Iranians from building a bomb. The concern, as White House officials warned back then, was that strikes—American or Israeli—on Iranian nuclear facilities might cause Tehran to retaliate against American -targets in the region, especially U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Never mind that the Iranian regime was already responsible for thousands of American deaths, and tens of thousands of wounded, in those two theaters. What’s telling is that the White House saw the U.S. military not as the guardian of American interests, the best friend of American allies, and the dread enemy of American adversaries, but as potential hostages.
In other words, Obama was keen to forfeit his advantages from the outset of his dealings with Iran. In due course, he would trade away American leverage and get nothing in return …
What did the Obama administration get in exchange for rescuing the Iranian economy and thereby saving the clerical regime from domestic turmoil that might have toppled it? Nothing.
Instead, the interim deal acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium. It ignored Iran’s ballistic missile program (the most obvious delivery mechanism for a bomb), despite…Read More » Comments (13) »
Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Stand for Israel
Last week the United Nations released a report on the ongoing (and worsening) human-rights abuses in Iran. Two news reports discuss this list of Iranian abuses, abuses being performed by the same nation with which the Western world is preparing to make a nuclear agreement. Christian Daily writes that Iran continues to persecute religious minorities (these often being Christians):
A new report released by United Nations complies a list of extreme persecution that religious minorities have faced in Iran including closing down churches, raiding services, arrests without proper warrants, psychological abuse, and death threats.
“At least 49 Protestant Christians are currently detained, many for involvement in informal house churches,” the UN report writes. “In April 2014, security forces reportedly raided an Easter service in a private home in southern Tehran and detained six individuals.”
The 28-page report was compiled together by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran. President Hassan Rouhani was elected as Iran’s president in 2013 and promoted a new era of tolerance in the region, but Shaheed’s report shows the persecution of minorities has been prevalent since his election.
In the report, Shaheed also makes note that many religious minorities who are arrested in Iran are not given proper representation or due process in court.
“The Baha’i International Community and Iranian Evangelical Christian leaders added that many of the lawyers who had accepted sensitive Baha’i or Christian cases had been imprisoned or had to flee the country,” the report states.
Before Rouhani was elected he stated, according to Fox News, that, “All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice. Long live citizenship rights!”
Among the pastors that are imprisoned for their faith is Saeed Abedini, who has been in Iranian prison for over a year. His case has received international attention, and last month more than 500 cities in 30 countries held prayer vigils in honor of Pastor Saeed.
An additional pastor detained in Iran is Behnam Irani who…Read More » Comments (6) »
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 at 8:07 AM | Stand For Israel
Yesterday Stand for Israel reported on Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s meeting with his American counterpart, Chuck Hagel, where Hamas’ presence in both Gaza and Turkey was discussed. The men also discussed Israel’s concern over Iranian nuclear aspirations. After the meeting, Ya’alon voiced his nation’s worry over the impending nuclear agreement with Iran – and what kind of deal it might be – while still emphasizing the strong U.S.-Israel partnership:
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Israel is concerned about the shape of an international agreement with Iran over its nuclear aspirations, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday night after talks with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel in Washington DC.
“The Iranian issue indeed worries us,” said Ya’alon in a Hebrew audio message released by his office after the meeting with Hagel at the Pentagon. “The question of if there will be an agreement and what kind of agreement worries us. I’m talking about that here and behind closed doors we express our concerns.”
“We’ve said all along that better no agreement than a bad agreement and the question is what are they discussing at the moment, are they talking about how many centrifuges there will be and if so, why should they have centrifuges at all?” Ya’alon said.
“Are they talking about other elements of the Iranian military nuclear project such as missiles ready for nuclear warheads?”
Ya’alon said he and Hagel had also talked about the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the US-Israel defense partnership. Between Israel and the United States, he said, “arguments exist, but we must remember that the US is Israel’s most important strategic ally in every respect.”
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Stand for Israel
Even while Israel has come under attack from closer enemies, we have kept you updated on the nuclear threat posed by Iran. And as the deadline for a nuclear deal with the Iranians nears, Yediot Achronot now reports that the United Nations has realized Iran has not been transparent with its nuclear investigators:
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Iran has still not implemented all the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to carry out by late August, the head of the UN atomic energy agency said on Monday, suggesting little headway in an inquiry into suspected bomb research.
Western officials say Iran must cooperate more with United Nations nuclear sleuths if it wants to settle a protracted dispute with six world powers over its nuclear program and be rid of crippling financial sanctions.
Nearly two months after an Aug. 25 deadline for answering questions about alleged activity that might be used to develop atomic arms, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made clear that Iran had not yet fully done so.
Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 2:48 PM | Stand for Israel
As the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other brutal terrorist organizations make the headlines, Iran is still a powerful threat to Israel, the United States, and the free world. Professor Efraim Inbar writes that while the smaller groups are a threat, the danger they pose remains small compared to Iran:
The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) on the battlefields of the civil war in Syria, and its subsequent spectacular successes in conquering parts of Syria and Iraq, have grabbed international attention. The gruesome pictures of IS’s barbaric beheadings supplied to the international media has only added to IS’s notoriety …
This organization is a reflection of the rise of radical political Islam in the Middle East over the last decades. Islam has always been a central component in the identity of the peoples of the Middle East. While Egypt, Iran and Turkey succeeded in maintaining a strong ethno-statist parallel identity, most of the Arab states have failed to instill statist identities through their education system …
Therefore, the Islamic State of today, which displays religious extremism and transnational tendencies, is the result of historic dynamics in the fledgling Arab civilization. Any long term look at the performance of the Arab states could reach the gloomy conclusion that their societies are doomed to poverty and political instability for a long while yet.
While the military and political successes of the Islamic State seem remarkable, its achievements are taking place in a political limbo with no real power to oppose it. The Islamic State has not faced yet any real test in state building and in overcoming violent opposition. Therefore, it is probably much too early to conclude that the Islamic State is able to govern and impose law and order in the swaths of land it has conquered.
Will it be spared the typical processes of fragmentation taking place among radical groups? Can the Islamic State take on Turkey or Iran – the rising powers in the Muslim Middle East? Can this organization be…Read More » Comments (5) »
Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Stand for Israel
Last week, a massive explosion occurred at Iran’s military base at Parchin – a facility also believed to be one of its illicit nuclear facilities. Much speculation has been made about why the explosion occurred. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that Iran blames Israel – and its ally, the United States – and is using its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, to retaliate:
Experts continue to debate whether the explosion at an Iranian military base at Parchin earlier in the week was an act of sabotage.
The New York Times notes that the satellite images of the incident showed evidence “reminiscent of pictures of a missile-development site 30 miles west of Tehran that was virtually destroyed during a test in November 2011 that killed 17 people, including Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the leading force behind Iran’s advanced missile efforts.”
Nonetheless David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Times that it “could have been an accident.” However, Hussain Abdul-Hussain, writing in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai, reports that European diplomatic sources in Washington confirm that ”the massive blast … was no accident, but a premeditated attack by a foreign country.”
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Stand For Israel
As the United States continues its strikes on the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), the nation with many troops on the ground in Iraq is Iran. Writing at The Daily Beast, Eli Lake says that while Iran has ordered its Quds Force (“America’s most dangerous foe in the region”) not to fight Americans, this truce is for a self-serving reason and cannot be trusted:
U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the apparent Iranian decision not to target American troops inside Iraq reflects Iran’s desire to strike a nuclear bargain with the United States and the rest of the international community before the current negotiations expire at the end of November.
“They are not going after Americans,” one senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast familiar with the recent assessments. “They want the nuclear talks to succeed and an incident between our guys and their guys would not be good for those talks.”
The Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, are believed to have hundreds of troops in Iraq. As the primary arm of the Iranian state that supports allied terrorist organizations, their operatives worried Obama’s predecessor so much that the Treasury Department began sanctioning its members in 2007 for sabotaging the government of Iraq. The U.S. military accused the Quds Force of orchestrating cells of terrorists in Iraq. In 2012, Wired magazine dubbed Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani the most dangerous person on the planet. In 2013, the New Yorker arrived at a similar conclusion, and claimed he has “directed Assad’s war in Syria.”
Exactly how long this informal Quds Force truce lasts is anyone’s guess. But Kimberly Kagan, the president of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War and a one-time adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, cautioned that this…Read More » Comments (9) »
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 8:50 AM | Stand For Israel
This week, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned the United Nations and President Obama of Iran’s continuing quest for nuclear weapons, and their threat to Israel. If the world still wonders whether the Iranian government has any love for the Jewish state, an anti-Semitic conference sponsored in Tehran – sponsored by the Iranian government, no less – should provide some clarity. The Algemeiner reports that the annual “New Horizon Conference” is being held in Iran, attended by some of the world’s most rabid and vile anti-Semites:
Anti-Semites and radical anti-Zionists from the United States and Europe have converged on Tehran for the so-called “New Horizon Conference” – a three-day jamboree dedicated to libelous conspiracy theories about the influence of the “Zionist Lobby.”
Among those attending are the French-Cameroonian provocateur and comedian, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the originator of the anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture. Also present are Medea Benjamin of the left-wing American organization CodePink, which supports the elimination of the State of Israel, and Thierry Meyssan, the French author of a book claiming that the 9/11 atrocities were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by the US government.
The conference, which is being hosted by the Iranian regime, is the latest in a series of similar events over the last decade. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, notorious for his Holocaust-denying rhetoric, staged the original “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005; the current conference indicates that the trend of hosting and promoting anti-Semites from across the globe is continuing under Ahmadinejad’s successor, Hasan Rouhani, who is often described as a “moderate.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported that the conference “was opened with remarks by the personal adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohsen Ghomi, who boasted that the conference itself is ‘the biggest threat to Zionists,’ and that ‘American officials are puppets of the Zionist lobby who are taking advantage of American ignorance.’ Anti-Israel journalist Garth Porter said during his presentation on Monday that the Mossad and CIA are responsible for manufacturing the nuclear…Read More » Comments (3) »
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 4:13 PM | Stand For Israel
The New York Times reported yesterday that Iran is supplying weapons and intelligence – and, according to some reports, combat personnel – to the Iraqi government in its ongoing struggle with the terror group ISIS. That publication and a lot of other observers – including those who have long wanted us to ignore Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons – are savoring the perceived irony of the United States and Iran being on the same side of a fight.
But are we on the same side of this fight as Iran? Well, no.
To begin with, Iran is a predominantly Shia country. ISIS is a militant Sunni group that visits as much violence on Shia civilians as it does on the Iraqi military. A violent, expansionist, pan-national army of hard-line Sunnis isn’t something Iran wants on its doorstep. That’s the Iranian line on why they’ve gotten involved. In the larger Muslim world where the war between Sunni and Shia is deadly serious, that reason plays well.
But their real reason is power.
ISIS had been devoting most of its resources to fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria – another thing that put them at odds with Iran – and was closely aligned with al-Qaeda until the better-known terrorist organization swore them off earlier this year (how crazy do you have to be for al-Qaeda to reject you?). Now they have turned their attention to the apparently softer target of Iraq. Their military gains – they have driven up the Euphrates river, taken the city of Mosul, and are now a serious threat to Baghdad – have even made President Obama reconsider his policy of pulling out of Iraq.
While the President reconsiders, Iran has stepped in with actual help. In the end, Iran help may obviate any possible need for American assistance. Which will, of course, mean that Iraq will become – as Syria and Lebanon already are – an Iranian client state. Iran’s influence will grow in the region, as will their ability to export…Read More » Comments (15) »
Friday, June 27th, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Jonathan Greenberg
As the situation in Iraq grows more worrisome and the ISIS insurgency grows more fearsome, there is only force nearby with any chance to handle the situation – Iran. Even as the U.S. “negotiates” to keep the nation from developing nuclear weapons, it also now considers Iran a major part of its Middle East strategy. Writing at Tablet, Lee Smith says that a predatory and not-so-powerful Iran is not the partner the U.S. needs in the Middle East:
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The Iranians always understood the sanctions regime as a matter of will: If you stick to your position, the Americans will blink first, they’ll soften their position because it’s in their nature—what the Americans fear more than anything is not to be loved for their fairness …
However, this is the flip-side: The Iranians are not capable of shouldering the weight that Obama wants them to carry. Just like America’s traditional allies, Iran is limited in its ability to project power.
Thursday, June 19th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand For Israel