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Deadline for Iranian Nuclear Deal

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

Today is the deadline for Western powers to agree with Iran on a deal regarding its nuclear program. With the Islamic Republic clearly having aspirations for nuclear weapons – which would threaten not only Israel and the rest of the Middle East, but the whole world – here is the list of five requirements for any deal to be successful:

  1. Iran must allow inspections of its nuclear sites
  2. Iran must be forthcoming about its past arms activity
  3. Iran must hold up its end of any deal in order to get sanctions relief
  4. Any nuclear deal must be kept in place permanently
  5. Iran must dismantle its nuclear weapons infrastructure

 

Update: The Times of Israel reports that today’s deadline was extended until July 7.

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at 8:33 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iranian Nuclear Deal, Part 5: Dismantlement

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

Today we conclude this week’s five-part look at the requirements that must be met for a meaningful nuclear agreement with Iran – a deal whose deadline is next week. The final condition the Islamic Republic would need to meet would be to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure so it would be left with no path to a nuclear weapon – a grave concern, as The New York Times’ David E. Sanger and William J. Broad report that Iran’s nuclear stockpile is growing:

The extent to which Iran’s stockpile has increased was documented in a report issued Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations organization that monitors compliance with nuclear treaties. The agency’s inspectors, who have had almost daily access to most of Iran’s nuclear production facilities, reported finding no evidence that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon, and said Tehran had halted work on facilities that could have given it bomb-making capabilities.

The overall increase in Iran’s stockpile poses a major diplomatic and political challenge for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who flew back to the United States from Geneva on Monday for treatment of a broken leg he suffered in a bicycling accident, as they enter a 30-day push to try to complete an agreement by the end of June. In essence, the administration will have to convince Congress and America’s allies that Iran will shrink its stockpile by 96 percent in a matter of months after a deal is signed, even while it continues to produce new material and has demonstrated little success in reducing its current stockpile…

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Friday, June 26th, 2015 at 8:10 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iranian Nuclear Deal, Part 4: Duration

(Photo: wikicommons/Dragan Tatic)

(Photo: wikicommons/Dragan Tatic)

As Stand for Israel continues to look at the major requirements that would need to be fulfilled by Iran for any nuclear deal to be successful for the safety of Israel, the West, and the free world, we come to the issue of an agreement’s duration. While any agreement would need to be kept in place permanently – in order to keep Iran from continuing its nuclear-weapons program – the Iranian Tasnim News Agency’s report shows that is not their intention:

A senior Iranian negotiator asserted on Tuesday that a possible final nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers will have a specific duration without anything permanent, a reaction to a US diplomat’s interpretation of perpetual commitments in the accord.

“The final agreement, if ever reached, will have a specific duration and none of its expected requirements will be permanent,” Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday…

 

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Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 8:19 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iranian Nuclear Deal, Part 3: Sanctions

(Photo: wikicommons/Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Photo: wikicommons/Presidential Press and Information Office)

While the U.S. and its allies expect Iran to fulfill its side of any nuclear deal, Iran also expects something – that international economic sanctions be lifted. The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink reports that Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately upon any agreement being made, while the West would first like to see the Islamic Republic hold up its end of the deal:

The pace of sanctions relief is a sticking point. The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on any nuclear deal, has demanded that all sanctions be lifted on the day the agreement is signed. Mr. Rouhani’s timetable would allow the United States, the European Union and the United Nations to wait to lift their sanctions until the day the deal takes effect. The United States and its negotiating partners want the sanctions lifted piecemeal, as Iran meets its obligations under the deal.

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 7:42 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iranian Nuclear Deal, Part 2: Past Arms Activity

(Photo: wikicommons/Paolo Contri/IAEA Imagebank)

(Photo: wikicommons/Paolo Contri/IAEA Imagebank)

Today we continue our week-long look at what Iran would need to do for any nuclear agreement to mean anything. The requirement we focus on today is one written about in The Times of Israel by Bradley Klapper – that Iran must be forthcoming about its prior work on nuclear armament:

World powers are prepared to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that doesn’t immediately answer questions about past atomic weapons work, US and Western officials said. Washington has said such concerns must be resolved in any final deal…

Much of Iran’s alleged work on warheads, delivery systems and detonators predates 2003, when much of Iran’s nuclear activity first came to light. But Western intelligence agencies say they don’t know the extent of Iran’s activities or if Iran persisted in covert efforts. An International Atomic Energy Agency investigation has been foiled for more than a decade by Iranian refusals to allow monitors to visit suspicious sites or interview individuals allegedly involved in secret weapons development…

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 8:07 AM  | Stand For Israel

Negotiations with Iran, Part 1: Inspections

(Photo: wikicommons/ Nick Taylor)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Nick Taylor)

The end of June marks the deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran. And with just days left, this week Stand for Israel will be taking a look at five requirements for a good deal. The first requirement is one that Iran continues to balk at, per USA Today’s Oren Dorell – that the Islamic Republic must allow inspections of its nuclear sites.

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Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

UN: US Failed to Report Iran’s Sanctions Violations

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

The deadline for nuclear talks between Iran and the United States and Western powers is June 30, less than three weeks away. In the meantime, The Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith writes about a troubling U.N. report about Iranian sanctions violations:

“The current situation with reporting could reflect a general reduction of procurement activities by the Iranian side or a political decision by some member states to refrain from reporting to avoid a possible negative impact on ongoing negotiations” between Iran and the P5+1, the UN panel said in its June 1 report, and made public today.

“This is a clear political decision not to publicize these examples of sanctions evasion in order to ensure that public reporting on this doesn’t in any way jeopardize the talks or harden congressional resolve,” executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz told Bloomberg Business. “The Obama administration has bent over backwards to try and whitewash Iranian violations both on the nuclear side and also on the sanction-busting side.”

A possibility raised in an AP piece this afternoon is that the White House has put itself in a position where it has no choice but to look the other way. As Matt Lee and Bradley Klapper report, it will be very difficult for the White House to disentangle the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran from other sanctions, like those related to terrorism, or ballistic missile research…

Counter to the White House’s demurrals, eliminating the non-nuclear related sanctions would provide an enormous windfall for the clerical regime in Tehran and its regional allies, including Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite terrorist groups with American blood on their hands.

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Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 8:14 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israelis and the Obama Administration

(Photo: wikicommons/Ben Kelmer)

(Photo: wikicommons/Ben Kelmer)

I like being right. But, when it comes to Iran I hope that I’m wrong. Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to Iran, all of us who oppose the nuclear deal being touted as a major success have never been so right about anything.

Earlier this week, The New York Times – not exactly one of President Obama’s fiercest critics – reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found a 20% increase in Iran’s uranium stockpile, an increase which occurred during the same negotiations Obama has hailed as having frozen Iran’s enrichment program.

It will be interesting to see the White House explain this debacle especially since its press secretary claimed on March 2 that negotiations have rolled back Iran’s nuclear development:

But in the context of these talks, we’ve actually succeeded in not just halting Iran’s progress as it relates to their nuclear program but actually rolling it back in several key areas, including reducing and eliminating their stockpile of highly enriched uranium. So I think the evidence indicates that this sanctions regime has been effective.

It would be great if this fanciful storyline were true, that the West has Iran in a corner, and that the negotiations have accomplished something other than enabling Iran to become a nuclear power.

But I live in the Middle East. My house is within the Iranians’ reach. So my fellow Israelis and I cannot engage in such wishful interpretations.

Here in Israel, the frustration with the Obama administration’s handling of Iran is palpable. The American president’s Israeli television interview this week only made matters worse.

During his interview with Israeli Channel 2, Obama lectured us Israelis about our values, and urged us not to worry about Iran or Palestinian terror – he’s got our back, so what could go wrong?

President Obama then then explained that Prime Minister Netanyahu, who just won a landslide election, is “predisposed” to worry about security threats. So are we to believe that because of his hyper-sensitivity to the safety of the millions of Israeli lives…

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Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 1:08 PM  | Stand for Israel

Making a Mistake with Iran?

(Photo: wikicommons/ Nick Taylor)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Nick Taylor)

We all make mistakes. Parents, teachers, doctors, and yes, even world leaders often make mistakes. They’re the result of poor judgment, miscalculations, or outright carelessness. But when a person receives ample warnings that they are about to drive off a cliff, from numerous and diverse sources, and they decide to ignore all those warnings and continue to drive off the cliff, is that a mistake?

I’m not sure that what we are seeing in Obama’s policy towards Iran is a mistake. I am not suggesting in the least that Obama wants Iran to become a nuclear power. Yet, so many in the Middle East, and I’m not just talking about Israelis, are confused and dismayed with this U.S. administration’s capitulation to Iran in nuclear talks.

President Obama attempted to hold a summit with Gulf State leaders in a failed effort to assure them that the deal being hammered out with Iran is in their best interest. In the end, four out of six of those heads of states opted not to show up, and, in their stead, they sent lower level politicians to meet with the leader of the free world.

As it turns out, Gulf leaders headed by Saudi Arabia have given Obama an ultimatum. They have requested a defense pact with the US, which would land American boots on the ground in the event that they go to war with Iran. Such a treaty, assuming Obama would agree to one, would never gain the necessary approval from the U.S. Congress anyway. Especially, after considering how many precious American lives have been sacrificed in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since Obama cannot agree to a defense pact with the Gulf, they have already stated clearly that they too will seek to acquire nuclear weapons. At a recent conference in South Korea, a senior Gulf leader said, quite simply, “Whatever the Iranians have [nuclear weapons,] we will have, too.”

And so, the nuclear arms race which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned would happen as…

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 11:10 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iran’s Maritime Power Play

(Photo: wikicommons/Aspahbod)

(Photo: wikicommons/Aspahbod)

Recently, Stand for Israel reported on Iran’s seizure of a cargo ship, and this past week news leaked of Iranian naval vessels firing on a tanker from Singapore. Yediot Achronot writes that with these glaring displays of maritime aggression even as it seeks a nuclear agreement with the West, Iran is testing international limits while projecting power:

The incidents coincided with a push by Washington to reassure Gulf Arab monarchies that their interests would not be threatened by a nuclear accord that Tehran and world powers are trying to reach by the end of June.

In an escalating confrontation with Saudi Arabia over Yemen, Tehran criticized Arab states for recklessness and brutality in that country, where a Saudi-led coalition is attacking an Iranian-allied militia.

Iran has also sent an aid ship, the Iran Shahed, to the Yemeni Red Sea port of Hodaida to test a naval blockade enforced by the coalition. Several Iranian military officials have warned of war if the Iran Shahed is attacked by Saudi-led forces. It expected to reach the port by Thursday.

“Iran’s recent measures in the Strait of Hormuz have one clear message to Saudi Arabia. No one can ignore Iran’s key role,” said an Iranian official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“Whether reformist or hardliner, Iranian leaders have consensus on securing Iran’s influence in the region,” said the official…

On two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2010, Iran threatened to disrupt oil flow in the Gulf by shutting the Strait of Hormuz if there were any military strike on its nuclear sites.

Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily through the Bab el-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz to Europe, the United States and Asia, waterways which pass the coasts of Yemen and Iran.

Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Russia and China are in talks aimed at clinching a long-term deal by June 30 to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for an…

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

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In the Midst of Tragedy, God Is with Us

Last week’s tragic attack that left nine dead in a historic African-American church in Charleston, SC, sickened me, showing yet again that such hate and violence still exist…


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