Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei Raps U.S. Ahead of Geneva Talks - Vasudevan Sridharan (International Business Times-UK)
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday poured scorn on the U.S. ahead of talks with world powers in Geneva.
Khamenei said the "arrogant governments" spearheaded by the U.S. "conceal their true character with the help of comprehensive and advanced propaganda tools."
Dubbing the U.S. as one of the "leaders of global arrogance," the Ayatollah said the Obama administration is threatening scores of countries across the world with military intervention, economic clampdown and various "other acts of sabotage."
The Tunnel Discovery: Gaza's Only Export Is Violence - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)
Israel enforced a blockade of Gaza to prevent the import of construction materials that could be used for military purposes. Due to international pressure, Israel relaxed that blockade to allow in concrete.
Israel has now discovered a tunnel built to provide easy access into Israeli territory for terrorists to kill and/or kidnap Israelis. It was built with 500 tons of cement that had been allowed into Gaza, a terrorist enclave whose only export is violence.
So will everyone who opposed Israel's blockade of Gaza now realize they were wrong? Don't bet on it.
Israel to Make Helmets for U.S. F-35 Fighter (AFP)
Israel's Elbit Systems and its U.S. partner Rockwell Collins have been chosen by the Pentagon and F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin to supply helmets for the next generation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Sunday.
Elbit Systems designed the helmet for the fighter. Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot said, "The new helmet, which is to be manufactured in the United States, is capable of putting flight data as well as data about weapons systems and intelligence before the pilot's eyes."
"The helmet allows the pilot to see images from the cameras on the plane, including on its nose. This allows the pilot to 'see through' the front of the plane and is very helpful in dogfights and in bombing targets on the ground."
EU Accuses Palestinians of Wasting 2 Billion Euros in Aid - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
The Palestinian Authority squandered nearly 2 billion in European aid through corruption and mismanagement, Britain's Sunday Times has claimed.
The European Court of Auditors found that the EU had little control over 1.95 billion ($2.64 billion) spent in the West Bank and Gaza between 2008 and 2012, noting "significant shortcomings."
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- U.S. Keeping Measured Expectations in Nuclear Talks with Iran - Paul Richter and Ramin Mostaghim
A senior Obama administration official cautioned Monday that "no one should expect a breakthrough overnight" in international talks that begin in Geneva on Tuesday on Iran's disputed nuclear program.
The official said any search for a solution will be "very, very difficult."
Officials quoted in Iran's state-controlled media insist that Iran won't halt production of low-enriched uranium, and that the country won't close its underground enrichment facility at Fordow, or the Arak heavy-water plant.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Israel: Don't Prematurely Ease Iran Sanctions
Israel's Security Cabinet released a statement on Tuesday as negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran were set to begin in Geneva:
Iran has repeatedly deceived the international community about its nuclear program, including its efforts to conceal enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom. Iran has also systematically defied UN Security Council resolutions which call upon it to end its enrichment. Iran continues to develop missiles of various ranges, including intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.
It would be an historic mistake not to take full advantage of the sanctions, by making concessions before ensuring the dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Peaceful programs do not require uranium enrichment or plutonium production.
Israel will embrace a genuine diplomatic solution which would bring about the dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately, we have seen no evidence that Iran is willing to accept such a solution. (Prime Minister's Office)
- U.S. Senators Willing to Ease Iran Sanctions Only After Concessions
A bipartisan group of leading U.S. senators say they are open to suspending the implementation of new sanctions on Iran but only if Tehran takes significant steps to slow its nuclear program.
In a letter sent to President Obama last week and released Monday, the 10 senators said the U.S. should consider a "suspension-for-suspension" agreement, in which Iran suspends uranium enrichment and Washington suspends the implementation of new sanctions.
See also below Observations: Appeasement Won't Reduce the Peril of a Nuclear Iran - Mark Kirk (Telegraph-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel-Palestinian Talks May Break Up over Israeli Control of Jordan Valley - Shalom Yerushalmi
The talks between Israel and the Palestinians have stalled over the presence of IDF forces on the border with Jordan. Israel opposes the presence of international forces in the area.
Netanyahu understands that the Americans may pressure him on the issue of international forces, and told the Knesset Monday: "Under any agreement, in the security arena, the importance of our insistence on being able to defend ourselves through our own forces against any threat is becoming clear, and our security will not depend on foreign forces." (Maariv-Hebrew)
- Netanyahu: No Accord without Palestinians Recognizing Jewish Israel - Gavriel Fiske
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Monday that there could be no peace agreement with the Palestinians until they recognize Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish people.
Netanyahu said Israel did not need that recognition from the Palestinians. Rather, he said, the Palestinians had to come to terms with Israel's Jewish legitimacy. "What's so difficult about recognizing this basic historic fact [that Israel is the Jewish state]?" he asked.
(Times of Israel)
- The World Must Tell Iran: No More Half-Steps - Ray Takeyh
While Iran is now presumed to be ruled by pragmatists who seek to end its isolation, the critical decisions will be made by Iran's Supreme National Security Council, which increasingly is populated by a cohort of hard-liners who have spent much of their career in the military and security services. The head of the council is Ali Shamkhani, a hardened member of the Revolutionary Guards and former minister of defense.
Shamkhani and his advisers sense that this is a propitious time for the Islamic Republic to claim the mantle of regional leadership. They also believe that Iran needs a nuclear capability to enhance its influence.
It is time for the great powers to have a maximalist approach to diplomacy with Iran. It is too late for more Iranian half-steps and half-measures. Tehran must account for all its illicit nuclear activities and be compelled to make irreversible concessions that permanently degrade its ability to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program at a more convenient time.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- The Dangers of Double-Talk for Rouhani - Amir Taheri
Taqiyya means hiding one's true faith in order to deceive others in a hostile environment. Kitman means keeping an adversary guessing by playing one's hand close to the chest. Do-pahlu means an utterance that could have two opposite meanings at the same time. The closest equivalent in English is double-talk. In George Orwell's novel 1984, the same concept is introduced as "doublespeak."
For more than three decades, Iran's mullahs and their associates have used that arsenal of deception against foreign powers and internal adversaries. What is new is that the mullahs and their associates are starting to use this against each other.
In New York, Rouhani tried to seduce the Americans with smiles and sweet words. Rouhani called America "Great Nation" rather than "The Great Satan." Then there was the telephone call with Barack Obama.
If things turn out well, Khameni could claim he had supported Rouhani's quest for an opening with Washington. If Rouhani falls on the roadside before reaching even the first stage of normalization with the Americans, Khamenei could wear that "I-told-you-so" smile.
If Rouhani could be second-guessed, let alone vetoed, on every move, even symbolic ones such as a telephone call, no one is going to take him seriously as a negotiating partner. If he is perceived as just a messenger boy, everyone would prefer to wait until it is possible to directly talk to those who sent him.
The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.
(Asharq Al Awsat-UK)
- Muslim Brotherhood in Retreat - Jonathan Spyer
At the beginning of 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood held power in Egypt and Tunisia. A Syrian insurgency dominated by militias with similar ideas to the Brotherhood looked to be heading for victory.
A Brotherhood-related party was in power in Turkey, and Qatar, through its immensely popular Al Jazeera channel, had emerged as the cheerleader and financier of the Brothers' advance across the region.
Since then, the Brotherhood was forcibly removed from power in Egypt in a military coup in July. Tunisia's al-Nahda party has agreed to dissolve the government and hold new elections.
In Syria, Assad's regime has rallied.
In Qatar, the emir was replaced in June by his son, and Qatar has virtually disappeared from the regional stage.
In Turkey, where the Brotherhood-aligned AKP had expected to form an alliance of like-thinking Brotherhood-style Sunni Islamist regimes across the region, these events appear to be taking a toll.
A broadcast featuring Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan discussing the crushing of the Brotherhood in Egypt had to be stopped recently when the Turkish leader began weeping uncontrollably.
Appeasement Won't Reduce the Peril of a Nuclear Iran - Mark Kirk (Telegraph-UK)
- Ayatollah Khamenei wants to build and maintain a nuclear weapons capability - not to construct an atomic device immediately, but to have the technical ability to do so at a moment of his choosing. Such a capability might include the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium, the ability to produce plutonium, and the ability to launch missiles capable of travelling long distances with heavy payloads.
- Iran has already mastered the technical ability to enrich uranium beyond the lower levels suitable for electricity generation. So the large and growing stockpile of low-enriched uranium at its Natanz facility presents no less of a danger than the smaller stockpile of medium-enriched uranium at Fordow.
- With the installation of advanced centrifuges at Natanz, Iran could agree to suspend all enrichment at the Fordow facility and still be in a position to produce weapons-grade uranium without detection by the middle of next year.
- According to official U.S. estimates, Iran could flight-test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching both sides of the Atlantic by 2015.
- Seven years ago, the Security Council ordered Iran to halt its entire nuclear program. We should not change course now and reward the Islamic Republic for agreeing to do something far less.
- My colleagues in the U.S. Senate and I will not be fooled by hollow declarations of "peace for our time." We will not accept any level of uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. We will not accept an Iranian plutonium reactor. And unless we see Iran take immediate steps to comply with all its Security Council obligations, we will move forward with a new round of sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian revenue and reserves.
The writer is a U.S. senator (R-Ill.).
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