Category Archives: Israel

George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East

George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East

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<p>Hold the applause.</p>  Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a closed-door meeting with Jewish Donors Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.

According to the attendee’s transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He’s smooth,” Bush said. “And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”

Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s “second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV.”

Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”

“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

Bush told several anecdotes about his old friend and rival Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush recalled that Putin met his dog Barney at the White House and then later, when Bush went to Moscow, Putin showed him his dog and remarked that he was “bigger stronger and faster than Barney.” For Bush, that behavior showed him that Putin didn’t think in “win-win” terms.

Bush also remarked that Putin was rich, divorced his wife and loves power. Putin’s domestic popularity comes from his control of Russian media, according to Bush. “Hell, I’d be popular, too, if I owned NBC news,” he said.

Regarding his brother Jeb’s potential run for the presidency, Bush acknowledged that he was a political liability for Jeb, that the Bush name can be used against him, and that American’s don’t like dynasties. He also said that foreign policy is going to be especially important in the presidential campaign and that the test for Republicans running will be who has got the “courage” to resist isolationist tendencies.

Regarding Hillary Clinton, Bush said it will be crucial how she plays her relationship with the president. She will eventually have to choose between running on the Obama administration’s policies or running against them. If she defends them, she’s admitting failure, he said, but if she doesn’t she’s blaming the president.

For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs.

Iran marks Army Day with cries of ‘Death to Israel, US’

Iran marks Army Day with cries of ‘Death to Israel, US’

Military parade near Tehran features truck carrying banner calling for destruction of Jewish state; Rouhani sets out ‘strategy of deterrence’

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF AND AP

Iran parade military guard

Iran on Saturday marked Army Day with a military parade featuring new weapons systems, as well as a truck carrying a massive banner reading “Death to Israel.”

A televised broadcast of the parade was punctuated by repeated cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

“If Israel makes a mistake,” the announcer on Iran television said during the broadcast, as heavy trucks carrying armored personnel carriers rolled past, “those in Tel Aviv and Haifa will not sleep at night, not one person.”

Broadcast on national television, military brass and political leaders, foremost President Hassan Rouhani, attended the procession south of the capital Tehran, which showcased the country’s military technologies.

Among the weapons systems paraded past dignitaries was a domestically produced version of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile, the Bavar 373.

Speaking at the event, Rouhani said Iran was adopting “a strategy of deterrence in order to prepare for peace and security in Iran and the Middle East.”

“Our method of action is defense and not offense,” he said.

Russia announced earlier this week that it would supply the S-300s to Iran shortly, having delayed delivery for several years. The announcement prompted bitter protests from Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned President Vladimir Putin, in vain, to ask him to cancel the deal.

Israel fears the S-300s would complicate any military intervention as a last resort to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive. It also fears Iran could supply the missile defense systems to Syria or Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s air supremacy over Syria and Lebanon.

On Friday, President Barack Obama said he was surprised the Russians had held back from going through with the deal for as long as they had.

Rouhani also harshly criticized Saudi Arabia Saturday, warning that the Saudi royal family in Riyadh will harvest the hatred it is sowing in Yemen through its airstrike campaign.

Since March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has been attacking Shiite rebels known as Houthis and allied fighters loyal to Yemen’s ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Iran supports the rebels but denies providing any military support.

“What does bombing the innocent … Yemeni people mean? What goals are you pursuing? Will killing children bring power to you? You planted the seeds of hatred in this region and you will see the response sooner or later,” Rouhani said. “Don’t bomb children, elderly men and women in Yemen. Attacking the oppressed will bring disgrace … for the aggressors.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already called the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen “genocide” and a “major crime.”

Iran has presented a four-point plan to end the conflict that includes humanitarian aid, dialogue and the formation of a broad-based Yemeni unity government after a proposed cease-fire was already rejected by Saudi Arabia.

Rouhani also accused Saudi Arabia of providing weapons and funding to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

“What does providing financial assistance and weapons to terrorists in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq mean,” he asked.

Iran is supporting both Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Iraqi government in its fight against Sunni Muslim extremists, including the Islamic State group. Tehran says Saudi Arabia and several other Middle East governments support the Islamic State group.

Prominent lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads the parliamentary national security and foreign policy committees, predicted that Saudi Arabia will find itself trapped in the Yemeni “quagmire.”

“We are so sorry that today Saudi Arabia and (its allies) have placed themselves in a quagmire and leaving it will definitely not be an easy task,” he told reporters Saturday.

Iran Accuses WH of ‘Lying,’ Being ‘Deceptive,’ and Having ‘Devilish’ Intentions

Iran Accuses WH of ‘Lying,’ Being ‘Deceptive,’ and Having ‘Devilish’ Intentions

BY THOMAS JOSCELYN

ayatollah Iran IranianPresident Obama has long known that the real decision maker in Iran is Ayatollah Khamenei, the so-called supreme leader. While other Iranian officials have negotiated with Western powers over the mullahs’ nuclear program, Khamenei’s opinion is the only one that really counts. It is for this reason that Obama began writing directly to Khamenei early in his presidency.

Earlier today, Khamenei broke his silence on the supposed “framework” the Obama administration has been trumpeting as the basis for a nuclear accord. Khamenei’s speech pulled the rug out from underneath the administration.

Khamenei accused the Obama administration of “lying” about the proposed terms, being “deceptive,” and having “devilish” intentions, according to multiple published accounts of his speech, as well as posts on his official Twitter feed.

Khamenei also disputed the key terms Obama administration officials have said were agreed upon in principle. Economic sanctions will not be phased out once Iran’s compliance has been “verified,” according to the Ayatollah. Instead, Khamenei said that if the U.S. wants a deal, then all sanctions must be dropped as soon as the agreement is finalized. Khamenei also put strict limits on the reach of the inspectors who would be tasked with this verification process in the first place.

Beginning earlier this month and in the days since, Obama and his advisers have attempted to portray the negotiations as major step forward. During an appearance in the Rose Garden on April 2, Obama said the U.S. and its allies have “reached a historic understanding with Iran.”

Khamenei does not agree. “There was no need to take a position” on the supposed deal before today, Khamenei said. “The officials are saying that nothing has been done yet and nothing is obligatory. I neither agree nor disagree [with any deal].”

“What has been done so far does not guarantee an agreement, nor its contents, nor even that the negotiations will continue to the end,” Khamenei elaborated.

“I neither support nor oppose it,” Khamenei reportedly said of the proposed deal. “Everything is in the details; it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details.”

It gets much worse.

When Obama announced that a “framework” for the deal was in place earlier this month, the administration released a fact sheet purportedly showing the agreed upon “parameters.” The White House said the terms outlined in the fact sheet “reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran.”

Khamenei would beg to differ.

“The White House put out a statement just a few hours after our negotiators finished their talks…this statement, which they called a ‘fact sheet’, was wrong on most of the issues,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters. Khamenei added that the fact sheet, which doesn’t match Iran’s understanding, exposes America’s “devilish” intentions.

Khamenei’s social media team emphasized many of these points on his official Twitter feed, which published quotes from his speech. One tweet reads: “It’s all about the details. The disloyal side may want to stab ‪#Iran in the back over the details; It is too early to congratulate. #IranTalks.”

 

Outline of Iran Nuclear Deal Sounds Different From Each Side

Outline of Iran Nuclear Deal Sounds Different From Each Side

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Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Federica Mogherini of the European Union. CreditFabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Negotiators at the nuclear talks in Switzerland emerged from marathon talks on Thursday with a surprisingly detailed outline of the agreement they now must work to finalize by the end of June.

But one problem is that there are two versions.

The only joint document issued publicly was a statement from Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, that was all of seven paragraphs.

The statement listed about a dozen “parameters” that are to guide the next three months of talks, including the commitment that Iran’s Natanz installation will be the only location at which uranium is enriched during the life of the agreement.

But the United States and Iran have also made public more detailed accounts of their agreements in Lausanne, and those accounts underscore their expectations for what the final accord should say.

A careful review shows that there is considerable overlap between the two accounts, but also some noteworthy differences — which have raised the question of whether the two sides are entirely on the same page, especially on the question of how quickly sanctions are to be removed.

The American and Iranian statements also do not clarify some critical issues, such as precisely what sort of research Iran will be allowed to undertake on advanced centrifuges during the first 10 years of the accord.

“This is just a work in progress, and those differences in fact sheets indicate the challenges ahead,” said Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Obama administration officials insist that there is no dispute on what was agreed behind closed doors. But to avoid time-consuming deliberations on what would be said publicly, the two sides decided during Wednesday’s all-night discussions that each would issue its own statement.

American officials acknowledge that they did not inform the Iranians in advance of all the “parameters” the United States would make public in an effort to lock in progress made so far, as well as to strengthen the White House’s case against any move by members of Congress to impose more sanctions against Iran.

“We talked to them and told them that we would have to say some things,” said a senior administration official who could not be identified under the protocol for briefing reporters. “We didn’t show them the paper. We didn’t show them the whole list.”

The official acknowledged that it was “understood that we had different narratives, but we wouldn’t contradict each other.”

No sooner were the negotiations over on Thursday, however, than Mr. Zarif posted to Twitter a message that dismissed the five-page set of American parameters as “spin.”

In an appearance on Iranian state television Saturday, Mr. Zarif kept up that refrain, saying that Iran had formally complained to Secretary of State John Kerry that the measures listed in the American statement were “in contradiction” to what had actually been accepted in Lausanne.

Mr. Zarif, however, did not challenge any nuclear provisions in the American document. Instead, he complained that the paper had been drawn up under Israeli and congressional pressure, and he restated Iran’s insistence on fast sanctions relief, including the need to “terminate,” not just suspend, European Union sanctions.

David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and an expert who has closely monitored the nuclear talks, said that Mr. Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran may be engaged in their own spin to camouflage the significance of the concessions they made.

“Iran conceded a considerable amount in this deal, and Zarif and Rouhani may want to break the news back home slowly,” Mr. Albright said.

Assuming that was the Iranians’ motivation, Mr. Albright noted a potential downside to the tactics.

“When negotiations resume, Iran may believe it created additional room to backtrack on its commitments, assuming the U.S. is right about what was agreed in the room,” he added.

A review of the dueling American and Iranian statements show that they differ in some important respects. The American statement says that Iran has agreed to shrink its stockpile of uranium to 300 kilograms, a commitment the Iranian statement does not mention.

The Iranian statement emphasizes that nuclear cooperation between Iran and the six world powers that negotiated the agreement will grow, including in the construction of nuclear power plants, research reactors and the use of isotopes for medical research. That potential cooperation is not mentioned in the American statement.

The American statement says that Iran will be barred from using its advanced centrifuges to produce uranium for at least 10 years. Before those 10 years are up, Iran will be able to conduct some “limited” research on the centrifuges. The Iranian version omits the word “limited.”

In other cases, the two sides agree on some measures, but explain the implications very differently. In an important compromise, Iran will be allowed to convert its Fordo underground nuclear installation to a science and technology center.

In explaining this provision, the American statement notes that almost two-thirds of the centrifuges at Fordo will be removed and that none of those that remain will be used to enrich uranium for 15 years. The provision, Obama administration officials assert, carries no serious risk for the United States but will enable the Iranians to save face.

The Iranian statement stresses that the deal means that more than 1,000 of the centrifuges will be kept there, though it suggests only several hundred will be in operation to produce industrial or medical isotopes. As reported by Iranian journalists, Abbas Araqchi, the country’s deputy foreign minister, said that the modifications made at the Fordo installation could be rapidly reversed if the United States did not hold up its end of the deal.

The starkest differences between the American and Iranians accounts concern the pace at which punishing economic sanctions against Iran are to be removed. The Iranian text says that when the agreement is implemented, the sanctions will “immediately” be canceled.

American officials have described sanctions relief as more of a step-by-step process tied to Iranian efforts to carry out the accord.

“We fully expected them to emphasize things that are helpful in terms of selling this at home,” said a second Obama administration official, who was granted anonymity to discuss the deliberations. “We believe that everything in our document will not need to be renegotiated.”

But with three months of hard bargaining ahead, some experts worry that the lack of an agreed-upon, detailed public framework can only complicate the negotiations — and may even invite the Iranians to try to relitigate the terms of the Lausanne deal.

“I think it is a troubling development,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s handling of the talks. “They will exploit all ambiguities with creative interpretations.”

US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel’s Nuclear Program

US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel’s Nuclear Program

Obama revenge for Netanyahu’s Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel’s top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move.

By Ari Yashar, Matt Wanderman

Dimona nuclear reactor circa 1960s
Dimona nuclear reactor circa 1960s

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program and how the deal being formed on that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout capabilities.

Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel’s sensitive nuclear program, it kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other NATO countries classified, with those sections blocked out in the document.

The 386-page report entitled “Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations” gives a detailed description of how Israel advanced its military technology and developed its nuclear infrastructure and research in the 1970s and 1980s.

Israel is “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” reveals the report, stating that in the 1980s Israelis were reaching the ability to create bombs considered a thousand times more powerful than atom bombs.

The revelation marks a first in which the US published in a document a description of how Israel attained hydrogen bombs.

The report also notes research laboratories in Israel “are equivalent to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” the key labs in developing America’s nuclear arsenal.

Israel’s nuclear infrastructure is “an almost exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories,” it adds.

“As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,” the report reveals, noting a time frame just after America tested its first hydrogen bomb.

Institute for Defense Analysis, a federally funded agency operating under the Pentagon, penned the report back in 1987.

Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the time had “a totally integrated effort in systems development throughout the nation,” with electronic combat all in one “integrated system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force.” It even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology “is more advanced than in the U.S.”

Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above, and given that the process to have it published was started three years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the American government.

US journalist Grant Smith petitioned to have the report published based on the Freedom of Information Act. Initially the Pentagon took its time answering, leading Smith to sue, and a District Court judge to order the Pentagon to respond to the request.

Smith, who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, reportedly said he thinks this is the first time the US government has officially confirmed that Israel is a nuclear power, a status that Israel has long been widely known to have despite being undeclared.

Benjamin Netanyahu dismisses Barack Obama’s criticism

Benjamin Netanyahu dismisses Barack Obama’s criticism

By NICK GASS

Israel Benjamin netanyahu Prime Minister

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected President Barack Obama’s criticism that he failed to offer “viable alternatives” to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, telling reporters upon his return to Israel that he was encouraged by the responses he got from U.S. lawmakers in both parties.

“I proposed a practical alternative that through tougher restrictions would extend the breakout time, by years, that it would take Iran to reach a nuclear weapon if it decides to breach the agreement,” the prime minister said, according to The Associated Press.

The prime minister told reporters that he got a good bipartisan impression at the U.S. Capitol.

“I got the impression that they better understand that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal and that the alternative is a better deal,” he said.

Netanyahu’s statement followed remarks from the president that dismissed the speech as “nothing new.”

One Year Until Iran’s Nuclear Mushroom Cloud: U.S. Concessions Handing Iran a Clear Path to Nuclear Bomb

One Year Until Iran’s Nuclear Mushroom Cloud: U.S. Concessions Handing Iran a Clear Path to Nuclear Bomb

Deal would leave Iran just a year away from functional nuclear weapon

John Kerry, Mohammad Javad Zarif

BY:

The Obama administration is pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran that leaves the Islamic Republic a year away from obtaining a nuclear bomb and which, according to experts, gives the United States insufficient leverage to dismantle Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure.

As negotiations with Iran hit a critical juncture, U.S. officials and policy experts from across the spectrum are warning that the Obama administration is poised to agree to a deal that all but guarantees Tehran the ability to build a nuclear bomb.

The position outlined by President Obama and key administration officials in recent interviews represent a significant shift in U.S. negotiating policy over the past few years. The administration, critics argue, has walked back its own red lines in talks, conceding to Iran the ability to retain its core nuclear infrastructure and the technological know-how to build a weapon.

More Lies From Obama: “I Will Not Let Iran Get a Nuclear Weapon”:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel expressed concerns over the administration’s stance on Tuesday during remarks before a joint session of Congress.

“If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

“We know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran,” Netanyahu added. “The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb.”

“According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished,” he said. “Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.”

Permitting Iran to retain the core of its program—and return to it after a reported 10-year period—would keep Tehran a year away from obtaining a nuclear bomb, Netanyahu said.

“Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short—about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s,” he said. “And if—if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.”

President Obama confirmed this timeframe Tuesday in a response to Netanyahu’s speech, saying that the proposed deal would “ensure that [Iran] did not have what we call a break-out capacity that was shorter than a year’s time.”

Many U.S. lawmakers agree with Netanyahu’s assessment and are beginning to signal that they will block the proposed deal.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is right to argue that the clear alternative to a bad deal is a better deal with Iran, one that only lifts crippling pressure on the Iranian regime when it stops its nuclear weapons program, stops aggression against its neighbors, stops supporting terrorism, and stops threatening to annihilate Israel,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), a critic of the White House’s strategy, said in a statement.

“Netanyahu made a powerful case to the American people on why a bad nuclear deal with Iran, one that allows the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism to keep vast capabilities to make the world’s worst weapons, is worse than no deal,” Kirk said. “A nuclear-armed Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to the United States, Israel, and our allies in the Gulf.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), a leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also expressed alarm about the administration’s clear shift in negotiating posture.

“I stand with Netanyahu’s demands today that Iran’s government must change its behaviors,” Inhofe said in a statement following the prime minister’s remarks. “This must be a non-negotiable item in any agreement the United States seeks to reach with Iran, and anything short of it will be a bad deal, not only for Israel but for the West.”

“I hope the president was listening today and will reverse course on the unfortunate leverage he has given the government of Iran over the past year to continue pursuing its nuclear weapon’s capabilities,” Inhofe said.

The key concession causing alarm among administration critics hinges upon the president’s approvalof a so-called sunset clause in the deal that effectively allows Iran to restart its nuclear program after a decade of relief from economic sanctions (a demand that Tehran has already rejected).

This differs from the White House’s negotiating posture in previous years, which focused on dismantling Iran’s nuclear program.

“While we go through these next six months, we will be negotiating the dismantling, we will be negotiating the limitations,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in November 2013. “You can’t always start where you want to wind up.”

Other top administration officials also made this claim.

“Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions,” White House National Security Council (NSC) Spokesman Tommy Vietor said in April 2012.

Bernadette Meehan,  spokeswoman for the NSC, also pushed the notion of Iranian concessions in December 2013 remarks.

“We are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment program in the end state, but only because the Iranians have indicated for the first time in a public document that they are prepared to accept rigorous monitoring and limits on level, scope, capacity, and stockpiles,” she said at the time.

Mark Dubowitz, a nuclear expert and executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said Iran has gained the upper hand in talks with the United States

“The Obama position has gone from dismantle and disclose to disconnect and defer,” Dubowitz said. “They have squandered their negotiating leverage to an Iranian regime that entered negotiations with a weak hand and looks likely to get what it also wanted—nuclear weapons, a growing economy, and regional dominance.”

Sanctions relief provided to Iran under an ongoing interim agreement also has emboldened Iran, Dubowitz said.

“The Obama administration significantly underestimated the value of the direct and indirect economic relief triggered by the JPOA and the de-escalation of sanctions pressure,” he explained. “Iran’s economy, which was once on its back is now on its knees and getting up to its feet. The Obama administration responded to Iranian declarations that key nuclear elements were nonnegotiable by agreeing to these demands.”

David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, said that the president is surrendering to Iran in negotiations.

“President Obama has repeatedly promised that he will never permit Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” said Brog. “Was this a word game? Does the content of this pledge depend upon what the meaning of the word “never” is? By all accounts the agreement taking shape in Geneva will allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. In the most optimistic scenario, it merely delays this dark day. This is surrender on the installment plan.”

One senior congressional aide called the president’s concessions mind-boggling.

“It boggles the mind just how much the Obama administration has already conceded to Iran, to include a significant ability to enrich uranium and make ballistic missiles, as well as sanctions relief that’s resuscitated Iran’s tanking economy, all before Iran has done anything to the world that it no longer has any secret nuclear activities,” the aide said.

The Obama administration’s repeated concessions to Iran are also being noticed with alarm among pro-Israel policy makers.

“We set out to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. And now we’re settling on allowing them to acquire that capability in a decade,” said one pro-Israel policy expert involved the debate. “If the president convinces Congress to capitulate on a bad deal, a decade from now, we will look at this moment the same way we now look at Chamberlin’s ‘peace in our time.’”

Another D.C.-based official with a pro-Israel organization said that in the past year, the White House has walked back its key demand that Iran completely shut down its nuclear program.

“A year ago the Obama administration demanded the benefit of the doubt, and promised that it would bring home a deal that would permanently shutter Iran’s nuclear program,” said the source, who declined to be named out of fear of offending the White House. “Now the president himself has declared that Iran will be allowed a full-scale nuclear program in 10 years. He’s putting the mullahs on the glide path to a bomb. What happened?”

 

Israel’s Prime Minister Destroys Iran and Obama with One Speech

Israel’s Prime Minister Destroys Iran and Obama with One Speech

Israel Benjamin netanyahu Prime Minister

Americans and the world just got a lesson in chutzpah. That’s the Jewish word for balls, bravado, courage, audacity, cajones. No one else in the world could have pulled off what Bibi just did. Talk about a masterful speech.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu walked into a joint session of the U.S. Congress like he owned it. Like he was the president of the United States. He received 29 standing ovations. He then held court for almost an hour like he was the most powerful man in the world. Like he held the key to saving the world. And just maybe…he does.

Bibi walked onto the biggest stage in America and embarrassed President Barack Obama. He schooled him. He took him to the woodshed. And here’s the masterful part – he killed him with kindness! Bibi pulled off a speech ripping America’s president to shreds, in front of the political leadership of America…in front of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi…in front of the American people…and he did it like only a master of communication, chutzpah and salesmanship could – by first praising him. By thanking Obama. By showering him with compliments.

Then he proceeded to strip him naked and pummel him into submission.

You can’t make deals with tyrants, terrorists, thieves and murderers whose word cannot be trusted.

When it was over, I guarantee you that a majority of the American people…at least a majority who watched the speech…would rather have Bibi as president than Obama. Certainly a majority would sleep sounder at night, would feel safer about the future of their children with Bibi as president than Obama.

What was the main takeaway of the speech?

That you can’t reward bad behavior. That you must punish bad behavior. That you can’t agree to deals with tyrants, terrorists, liars, thieves and murderers whose word cannot be trusted. That no deal is in fact better than a bad deal.

That the only deal worth doing punishes Iran and takes away their nuclear capabilities until they change their behavior…until they stop supporting and funding terrorism…until they stop vowing to annihilate their neighbor Israel and kill all the Jewish people…until they check their aggressive support of militant, radical Islam all over the world. That to allow any nuclear capability for a militant Muslim nation is suicide for the entire world.

Bibi understands three things Obama clearly doesn’t (or does, and doesn’t care because he’s a Muslim sympathizer):

The art of negotiating. Bibi compared negotiating with Iran to negotiating at a Persian bazaar. Hilarious, and so true.

“If they threaten to walk away, let them.” Bibi said. “Because they’ll be back.”

It takes an Israeli to understand the human nature of Persians. That threat of walking away is just part of a negotiation. Bibi understands that. I understand that. Can Obama be that stupid? Bibi sure made him seem that stupid.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

But I know Bibi knows what I know. He just can’t say it in public. Obama is not stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s not on Israel’s side. So Bibi had to play a masterful game of chess with Obama. So he painted him as naïve and stupid. He embarrassed him in front of the world. He made it clear the deal Obama has negotiated is Neville Chamberlain all over again. It’s a repeat of the worst deal ever agreed to – Chamberlain’s deal with Hitler.

Secondly, Bibi made it clear that Iran is not a normal country. It shouldn’t be treated like a normal country. It is a militant Islamic country. It is a rogue terrorist state no different than Islamic State. Iran is the enemy of Islamic State, so Bibi had to make a very interesting point.

Iran and Islamic State are the same people. They want the same thing. They say it. They tweet it. Iran wrote it in their constitution. They are dedicated to killing, conquering, converting and enslavng the entire region, then the world. Iran is only fighting Islamic State to determine who gets to do it in the name of Allah.

Bibi then drove the nail home, “the enemy of your enemy…is your enemy.” Masterful.

Thirdly, Bibi made a simple clear point that the American people can understand. Forget intellectual arguments. Forget the fancy words of lawyers and Ivy Leaguers like Obama, meant to obscure, confuse, distract and deceive the people.

Bibi spoke from the heart. Bibi painted a picture of militant radical Muslims like Islamic State and how they act – they commit atrocities…they cut off heads…they torture…they throw gays off buildings…they parade prisoners in cages…they set people on fire…they rape and kill women and children…even babies are cut in half and mutilated at the hands of militant radical Muslims.

And Obama wants to allow them to possess NUCLEAR WEAPONS? And he thinks that’s okay? He thinks they’ll change? He thinks they’ll stop being angry and aggressive with a nuclear weapon now in their hands? That image ends the debate.

Bibi’s point was clear, somber and frightening: No militant Islamic state can ever be allowed to possess nuclear weapons…or they will certainly use them. No one in the world will be ever sleep soundly again. No one’s children will ever be safe again. People that cut off heads…stone woman for having sex…throw acid in a little girl’s face for wanting to go to school…set fire to a prisoner in a cage…people like that will use a nuclear weapon.

Bibi made it clear Obama’s deal with Iran allows them to possess nuclear weapons. It’s only a matter of when. That cannot be allowed to pass.

I think I heard Obama and Valerie Jarrett screaming at the TV in the White House.

Bibi embarrassed them. Thrashed them. Emasculated them. The emperor has no clothes. By the way, not only is it clear Obama does not like Israel…that Obama is a Muslim sympathizer…that Obama is trying to weaken Israel and put her people in danger…but the ruler of Obama’s White House is Valerie Jarrett. Where was Valerie born? Iran.

Obama’s actions and negotiations are no mistake…fluke…coincidence…not done out of naivete. Bibi knows that as well as I do. So he had to deconstruct Obama and his Iranian-born svengali in a nice way…in front of the Congress…in Obama’s own house.

Bibi had to kill Obama with kindness. He could not win over the American people by ripping our president in our own home court. So he never once named Obama as the bad guy. He never once blamed Obama for a bad deal, or bad negotiations. He never said out loud “your president is trying to hurt Israel.”

But he didn’t have to. We all know.

Bravo Bibi. You just showed us all what a real leader looks like – someone who stands up to evil, instead of negotiating and compromising in the face of another Hitler. Bibi made his point subtly…as subtly as a jackhammer and blowtorch. Best of all, it was a two-for-one sale: Bibi destroyed both Iran and Obama with one masterful speech.

Israel’s Netanyahu Says Obama/Iran Deal Threatening Existence of Israel

Israel’s Netanyahu Says Obama/Iran Deal Threatening Existence of Israel

Obama, Israel’s Netanyahu clash over Iran diplomacy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while addressing the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu clashed over Iran nuclear diplomacy on Monday on the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s hotly disputed address to Congress, underscoring the severity of U.S.-Israeli strains over the issue.

Even as the two leaders professed their commitment to a strong partnership and sought to play down the diplomatic row, they delivered dueling messages – Netanyahu in a speech to pro-Israeli supporters and Obama in an interview with Reuters – that hammered home their differences on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Neither gave any ground ahead of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday when he plans to detail his objections to ongoing talks between Iran and world powers that he says will inevitably allow Tehran to become a nuclear-armed state.

Netanyahu opened his high-profile visit to Washington on Monday with a stark warning to the Obama administration that the deal being negotiated with Tehran could threaten Israel’s survival, saying he had a “moral obligation” to sound the alarm about the dangers.

He insisted he meant no disrespect for Obama, with whom he has a history of testy encounters, and appreciated U.S. military and diplomatic support for Israel.

Just hours after Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, Obama told Reuters that Iran should commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on its most sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached. But with negotiators facing an end-of-March deadline for a framework accord, he said the odds were still against sealing a final agreement.

The Reuters interview gave Obama a chance to try to preemptively blunt the impact of Netanyahu’s closely watched address to Congress.Previewing his coming appearance on Capitol Hill, Netanyahu told a cheering audience at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): “As prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them.”

At the same time, Netanyahu said the relationship between his country and the United States was “stronger than ever” and not in crisis.

EASING TENSIONS

Obama also sought to lower the temperature by describing Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress as a distraction that would not be “permanently destructive” to U.S.-Israeli ties and by saying the rift was not personal.

Obama refused to meet Netanyahu during the visit, on the grounds that doing so could be seen as interference on the cusp of Israel’s March 17 elections when the prime minister is seeking re-election against a tough center-left challenger. On Monday, the president said he would be willing to meet Netanyahu if the Israeli leader wins re-election.

But he said Netanyahu’s U.S. visit gave the impression of “politicizing” the two countries’ normally close partnership and of going outside the normal channels of U.S. foreign policy in which the president holds greatest sway. Netanyahu’s planned speech has driven a wedge between Israel and congressional Democrats. Forty two of them plan to boycott the address, according to The Hill, a political newspaper.

Netanyahu, who was given rousing bipartisan welcomes in his two previous addresses to Congress, is expected to press U.S. lawmakers to block a deal with Iran that he contends would endanger Israel’s existence but which Obama’s aides believe could be a signature foreign policy achievement.

The invitation to Netanyahu was orchestrated by Republican congressional leaders with the Israeli ambassador without advance word to the White House, a breach of protocol that infuriated the Obama administration and the president’s fellow Democrats.

The partisan nature of this dispute has turned it into the worst rift in decades between the United States and Israel, which normally navigates carefully between Republicans and Democrats in Washington.

Netanyahu wants Iran to be completely barred from enriching uranium, which puts him at odds with Obama’s view that a deal should allow Tehran to engage in limited enrichment for peaceful purposes but under close international inspection.

Obama said a final deal must create a one-year “breakout period” for Iran, which means it would take at least a year for Tehran to get a nuclear weapon if it decides to develop one, thereby giving time for military action to prevent it.

Netanyahu has said such a deal would allow Iran to become a “threshold” nuclear weapons state, that it would inevitably cheat on any agreement and that the lifting of nuclear restrictions in as little of 10 years would be an untenable risk to Israel. He has hinted at the prospect for Israeli military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities as a last resort, though he made no such threat in his AIPAC speech on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Emily Stephenson in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Montreux, Switzerland; Writing by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Howard Goller and Stuart Grudgings)