No Agreement on Starting Date for Iran Deal (AP-Washington Post)
The UN will probably not begin expanded inspections under the Iranian nuclear deal until early next year, officials said Wednesday.
Even then, they will be limited to sites the Iranians have confirmed and not those critics suspect may exist secretly.
Officials involved in negotiating the Geneva deal say there is still no start date. They say the IAEA must verify that Iran is keeping its end of the deal before the clock starts ticking down on the agreement's six-month time frame and the start of sanctions relief.
IAEA head Yukiya Amano may not submit a plan on verification until January because of the upcoming holiday period.
U.S. Poll: 43 Percent Oppose, 41 Percent Favor Nuclear Deal with Iran (Rasmussen Reports)
According to a telephone survey conducted Nov. 25-26, 43% of Americans favor and 41% oppose the deal on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Palestinians See Peace Talks with Israel as a Mistake (AFP)
Most Palestinians believe the renewal of peace talks with Israel was a mistake and over two-thirds think the negotiations will fail, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC).
51% said the decision to renew talks with Israel was a mistake, while 34% said it was the right decision.
21% believed the talks would yield an agreement, while 69% expected them to fail.
49% said Palestinian security coordination with Israel should be stopped, while 36% said it should continue.
Qatar Grants Palestinians $150M (Reuters-Ynet News)
Qatar has granted $150 million in debt relief to the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Wednesday.
Israel Showcases Unmanned Defense Technology - Aharon Lapidot (Israel Hayom)
An international exhibition in Rishon Lezion on Tuesday offered a glimpse into the impressive capabilities of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles.
Israel Aerospace Industries' Harop combat suicide UAV, which self-destructs upon reaching its target, drew special attention. The drone is designed to attack missile batteries and can reach targets up to 1,000 km. away.
Israel Has Best Gender Equality Record in Mideast - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
Israel received an award for gender equality from the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) of the European Parliament on Wednesday for having the best record in the Middle East and North Africa.
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- Iran to Increase Production of Enriched Uranium
Iran plans to increase its production of 5%-enriched uranium.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's nuclear department, said the machines that were producing 20%-enriched uranium will be engaged in producing low-level enriched uranium, "Hence, the production of 5%-enriched uranium will increase," the official IRNA news agency reported Thursday. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Iran to Continue Building at Arak Nuclear Site Despite Deal
Iran will pursue construction at the Arak heavy-water reactor, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Wednesday. "Capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there," Zarif told parliament.
Former chief UN nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen said:
"Technically, such efforts are not reasonable if the goal is either to dismantle the reactor or modify it to a more proliferation-resistant, smaller light-water reactor."
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said: "The ink has not even dried on the agreement and already we are hearing provocative announcements from Iran, like this." (Reuters)
See also U.S. Backs Iran Claim that Some Work OK at Arak Site
The U.S. says Iran can undertake some construction work at the Arak nuclear facility as long as fuel isn't produced and advances aren't made on a planned heavy water reactor.
- Iran: We Have Emerged Victorious over the West
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, told Al-Alam TV on Nov. 25:
"After ten years, we have emerged victorious over the West. They wanted to prevent us from acquiring nuclear technology, but we have reached that point....Now we have emerged victorious heroes. It was in our best interest to sign this agreement."
"We have now entered a new stage. We expect good results. The nuclear dossier will be removed from the agenda of the UN Security Council, and...they have acknowledged Iran's uranium enrichment. In addition, the economic siege on the Islamic Republic will be lifted."
"They said that they did not recognize our right to enrich uranium, but at the same time, they say that Iran agreed not to enrich above 5%. This constitutes an official acknowledgement of that percentage. They officially recognized that. We consider this to be a great victory for Iran." (MEMRI)
- Jewish Groups Raise Concerns on Iran Nuclear Deal
White House national security officials tried to assuage American Jewish leaders about the nuclear deal with Iran in several conference calls this week. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said there is "every reason to be skeptical when you're dealing with the Iranians."
"Their history is one of deception, manipulation, lying...and there's nothing to indicate a change....[Iranian President] Rouhani...was the key interlocutor from 2003 to 2007, and he wrote a book where he clearly proclaims how he lied, distorted, and manipulated in order to buy time for them to move ahead with their nuclear program." (JNS.org)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- UN Passes Six Resolutions Condemning Israel - Maya Shwayder
The UN General Assembly passed six resolutions concerning Israel on Monday, including one declaring 2014 as the "International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People." Others called for Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria and to cease imposing its jurisdiction on Jerusalem.
See also Israel: UN Gives Palestinians "False Sense of Reality" - Yoni Hirsch
As the UN General Assembly held a special session on Monday to mark "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People," Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said:
"Anti-Israel bias pervades the UN system all year round. In 2012, [the General Assembly] found the time to pass 22 resolutions condemning Israel - compared with only four that single out other nations. The worst human rights abusers receive a fraction of the condemnation that Israel - the only democracy in the Middle East - receives....The states that rubberstamp the anti-Israel resolutions every year have given the Palestinians a false sense of reality and fed their culture of victimhood."
"One of these resolutions condemned Israel's treatment of the Syrian people....It is inconceivable that while Israeli hospitals are treating the Syrians who escaped Assad's massacre, the UN is denouncing Israel's treatment of the Syrians." (Israel Hayom)
- Terror on the Road: Jerusalem Plagued by Stone-Throwing - Noam Dvir
An Israeli woman was wounded on Tuesday after stones were hurled at her car near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the latest in a growing line of nationalistically motivated attacks in Israel's capital.
Earlier this month, ten Arab teens were arrested who hurled firebombs and stones at an army base and the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University. An investigation suggests they are associated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (Ynet News)
- Iran - The Next Stage - David Ignatius
Obama administration officials are planning strategy for the decisive second-round nuclear deal with Iran that, over the next six months, will seek a broader and tougher comprehensive agreement.
These negotiations promise to be more difficult because the U.S. will seek to dismantle parts of the Iranian program, rather than simply freeze them.
The negotiators' agenda: First, the U.S. wants no heavy-water reactor at Arak, rather than just a halt in supplies for it, because this reactor would generate plutonium that could be reprocessed for a bomb. Second, the U.S. will press Iran to dismantle a substantial number of its 19,000 centrifuges, perhaps more than half. Third, the U.S. will urge closure of Iran's enrichment facility at Fordow, dug into a hillside.
U.S. officials don't see any sign yet that Iran wants to expand negotiations beyond the nuclear file to include regional issues. (Washington Post)
- How to Think about Obama's Deal with Iran - Dennis Ross
One urgent order of business for the Obama administration is to address the concerns of those who lament the deal instead of dismissing them. The Israelis fear that the sanctions will fray as countries and companies begin to position themselves for a post-sanctions future. This is not fanciful but it is also not a given. Similarly, the Israelis worry that the first step will be the last, and essentially leave Iran poised with a breakout capability.
The writer, counselor of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as special assistant to President Barack Obama from 2009-11. (Politico)
- Iran Deal Risks Creating Another North Korea - Michael Rubin
Rather than preventing Iran's nuclear breakout, historians may mark the Geneva deal as the step that most legitimized Iran's path to nuclear weapons capability.
If Iran's nuclear program has always been peaceful as Tehran claims, then it would have had no need to hide enrichment plants and other facilities from inspectors. It is all well and good to compliment Iran on allowing inspections of key plants once discovered, but a sincere Tehran would not offer transparency only when intelligence services discover subterfuge.
The writer, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former Pentagon official (2002-2004).
A Most Dangerous Deal: The Iran Agreement Does Not Address the Nuclear Threat - Yaakov Amidror (New York Times)
- Just after the signing ceremony in Geneva on Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran declared that the world had recognized his country's "nuclear rights." He was right.
Iran made only cosmetic concessions to preserve its primary goal, which is to continue enriching uranium.
- With North Korea, too, there were talks and ceremonies and agreements - but then there was the bomb. This is not an outcome Israel could accept with Iran.
- The deal will only lead Iran to be more stubborn. Anyone who has conducted business or diplomatic negotiations knows that you don't reduce the pressure on your opponent on the eve of negotiations. Yet that is essentially what happened in Geneva.
- And while the Obama administration maintains that the military option is still on the table in case Iran does not comply with the new agreement, that threat is becoming less and less credible.
- Supporters of the agreement emphasize that future inspections in Iran will be frequent and strict. But if the Iranians decide to deceive the inspectors, they will succeed; they have in the past.
- The West has surrendered its most effective diplomatic tool in exchange for baseless promises of goodwill. The Geneva agreement has made the world a more dangerous place. It did not have to be this way.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror was the head of the Israeli National Security Council from March 2011 until November 2013.
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