Hizbullah Says Nuclear Deal a Victory for Iran (Reuters-Chicago Tribune)
Hizbullah on Monday hailed a nuclear deal between its patron Iran and world powers as "a major victory" for Tehran.
"(It is) a model victory and world class achievement which the Islamic state adds to its record which shines with victories and achievements."
Israeli Medical Team Leaves Philippines (JTA)
The Israel Defense Forces emergency medical team left the Philippines on Monday, 11 days after arriving to aid typhoon victims.
The IDF field hospital in Bogo City treated more than 2,600 patients, including 800 children, conducted 52 surgeries, and delivered 36 babies.
Report: Islamist Rebels Capture Syria's Largest Oilfield - Erika Solomon (Reuters)
Islamist rebels led by al-Qaeda-linked fighters seized the al-Omar oil field, Syria's largest, in the eastern Deir al-Zor province on Saturday, activists said.
"Now, nearly all of Syria's usable oil reserves are in the hands of the Nusra Front and other Islamist units," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Australia Will No Longer Vote Automatically Against Settlements in UN - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Australia will no longer reflexively vote against Israel on settlements in the UN, but rather judge each vote on its merits, the new Liberal-National government of Tony Abbott clarified in recent days.
The Australian newspaper on Monday quoted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as saying the shift in voting "reflected the government's concern that Middle East resolutions should be balanced."
Sir Tom Jones Speaks Out Against Anti-Israel Protesters - Richard Eden (Telegraph-UK)
When Sir Tom Jones announced that he was to sing in Israel, he declined to respond to protesters who urged him to boycott the country.
"I was in Israel two weeks ago, where a lot of singers won't go," he said. "I don't agree with that. I think entertainers should entertain. They should go wherever - there shouldn't be any restrictions. I did two shows in Tel Aviv, and it was fantastic."
Palestinian Rights Activist Attacked by Arabs in Jerusalem - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli attorney specializing in Israeli-Palestinian relations, was hospitalized following a rock-throwing attack while driving his car in eastern Jerusalem on Saturday.
The attack occurred when he encountered a traffic jam near a school in a Palestinian neighborhood.
"The rock was probably thrown at point blank range; it smashed the side window with enough force to leave a deep gash in the back of my head," he wrote on his Facebook page.¯
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- Israel Resumes Campaign Against Iran - Josef Federman
Israeli officials are planning a fight to shape a final agreement on Iran's nuclear program that negotiators hope to reach in six months.
Israeli officials say the final deal must roll back the achievements they say has made Iran a threshold nuclear weapons state. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would dispatch his national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, to Washington in the coming days to coordinate the next move with the Americans. "This permanent agreement has to lead to one result: dismantling the Iranian nuclear military capability," Netanyahu said.
To Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran threatens its very survival, with hostile Iranian rhetoric referring to Israel's destruction, Iran's support for militant Arab groups along Israel's borders, and Iran's development of long-range missiles capable of reaching the Jewish state. For Washington, Iran is a distant issue, one of a plethora of difficult challenges it is facing.
"The final status should be that Iran cannot remain a threshold nuclear country, that Iran cannot remain one or two steps from the bomb," Israeli Minister for Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz told European diplomats.
See also below Observations: Key Implications of the Geneva Agreement on Iran's Nuclear Program (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- U.S. and Saudis in Growing Rift as Power Shifts - Robert F. Worth
There was a time when Saudi and American interests in the Middle East seemed aligned, but those days are over. The Saudi king and his envoys - like the Israelis - have spent weeks lobbying fruitlessly against the interim nuclear accord with Iran that was reached in Geneva on Sunday.
The Saudis fear expanded Iranian hegemony across the region. Already, the Saudis have watched with alarm as Turkey - their ally in supporting the Syrian rebels - has begun making conciliatory gestures toward Iran, including an invitation by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to his Iranian counterpart to pay an official visit.
The Saudis' anxiety is not just that the U.S. will leave them more exposed to Iran, but that it will reach a reconciliation and ultimately anoint Iran as the central American ally in the region. As the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh put it: "The Geneva negotiations are just a prelude to a new chapter of convergence" between the U.S. and Iran.
"The Saudis are feeling surrounded by Iranian influence - in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Bahrain,” said Richard W. Murphy, a retired American ambassador who spent decades in the Middle East. (New York Times)
- Iran Talks Reverberate through Web of Mideast Alliances - Patrick J. McDonnell
The Middle East is abuzz with speculation about a thaw between Washington and Tehran emerging from the Geneva talks. "It's about a new alignment and its potential impacts in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in all the regional arrangements," said Paul Salem, an analyst at the Middle East Institute.
The Sunni-dominated Persian Gulf kingdoms accuse Shiite Iran of meddling from Syria to Lebanon to Bahrain. "The traditional Arab allies of the U.S. in the region, the Saudis specifically but also the Jordanians, are shocked by this American transformation," said Fahed Khitan, an Amman, Jordan-based political analyst. "The Saudis and the Israelis are, perhaps for the first time, in a camp together."
Iran has in fact cultivated a regional sphere of influence extending from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. To the east, Iran has sought to foster ties with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
It is also close to the Shiite-dominated government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. (Los Angeles Times)
- Iran's Nuclear Program Is Still Growing - Robert Satloff
The most consequential aspect of the Geneva deal is an apparent promise that, at the end of the process, Iran may be able to enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants.
That emerges from language buried in the Joint Plan of Action concerning the parameters of a final agreement that is supposed to be negotiated over the next six months.
Washington is on record now agreeing that the final accord will allow Iran to enrich uranium, putting the last nail in the coffin of six UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its enrichment activities and providing a potentially huge payoff for Iran.
When viewed in combination with the outcome of the Syria chemical weapons episode, there is little doubt that America's threat of force has lost much of its credibility.
The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- The Dilemma with the Iran Deal - Charles Lane
On June 20, 2009, a government thug fired a bullet through the heart of Neda Agha Soltan, 26, as she stood watching protests against blatant fraud in the Iranian elections. Video of her dying moments went viral, and Neda became a global symbol of the Green Revolution. With the nuclear deal that the world's great powers, led by the U.S., signed last weekend with Ayatollah Khamenei's representatives amid much smiling and backslapping, no one's talking about Neda. Maybe we should be.
If a regime would defraud, imprison and murder its people, or support terrorism throughout its neighborhood, why would it hesitate to deceive and manipulate other nations in its pursuit of nuclear weapons?
The endgame of the mullahs in Tehran will not be Persian perestroika but endless discussion about Iran's nuclear capability, which would never be surrendered but would always be in play diplomatically - the better to secure the gradual loosening of sanctions. So much for the memory of Neda Agha Soltan.
- Allies Fear a U.S. Pullback in Mideast - Gerald F. Seib
The underlying worry of America's allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia is that the negotiations with Iran represent just the latest evidence that a war-weary U.S. is slowly seeking to close the books on a series of nettlesome long-term problems, allowing Washington to pull back from the Middle East.
In this view, the attempt to bring the nuclear dispute with Iran to a close without military action is of a piece with other steps the Obama administration has taken: withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan; an agreement on Syria that leaves Bashar al-Assad in power, without his chemical weapons but also without being subjected to a U.S. military strike; even an effort to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that could finally close the book on that decades-old conflict. When taken together, those steps indicate the U.S. has simply lost its appetite for continued entanglements in the region.
Israel and Saudi Arabia in particular worry that a deal that accepts even a diminished or constrained Iranian nuclear program will result in a region in which Tehran plays a bigger role and America, freed of the need to suppress Iran's nuclear ambitions, a smaller one.
(Wall Street Journal)
- When the U.S. Let Iran Off the Hook - David Horovitz
If the U.S. had been negotiating with a dependable and credible interlocutor, the Geneva deal might make a certain amount of sense. The problem is that Iran is not a dependable or credible interlocutor. It is, rather, a cunning and deceptive adversary, and the U.S. has let it off the hook. (Times of Israel)
Key Implications of the Geneva Agreement on Iran's Nuclear Program (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Unprecedented international recognition of Iran's enrichment program - Under the Geneva agreement, Iran will retain its vast enrichment capabilities. For the first time, the international community recognizes Iran's enrichment program and agrees that it will not be rolled back - contrary to a longstanding policy enshrined in several UN Security Council resolutions.
- International acceptance of the heavy water reactor in Arak - The elements of the comprehensive solution mentioned in the Geneva agreement lack any commitment to the dismantling of the Arak heavy water reactor, which is uniquely suitable for the production of military grade plutonium.
- Current stock of low-enriched uranium will remain intact - Iran is allowed to preserve its current stock of about 7 tons of uranium enriched to a level of under 5%.
- Iran will be able to easily reverse the measures taken under the agreement -
Iran is not required to roll back or dismantle anything. Its nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, enabling it to resume full operations once it is politically convenient.
- The military dimensions of Iran's program are completely absent from the agreement -
The Geneva agreement does not contain any clear requirement from Iran to provide answers, access and information relating to the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
- The agreement undermines the sanctions regime - The pressure of economic sanctions is what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. Reducing sanctions without any real Iranian concessions is extremely counter-productive: Iran is now less likely to agree to any significant restrictions on its nuclear program.
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