Iran: Geneva Deal Not Legally Binding (Reuters)
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted by the state-run Fars news agency as saying the Geneva deal was not legally binding and Iran had the right to undo it if the powers failed to hold up their end of the bargain.
"The moment we feel that the opposite side is not meeting its obligations or its actions fall short, we will revert to our previous position and cease the process," Araqchi said.
"We are in no way optimistic about the other side - we are pessimistic - and we have told them that we cannot trust you."
U.S. Freed Top Iranian Scientist as Part of Secret Talks Ahead of Geneva Deal - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
The U.S. in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran's military-nuclear programs, the Times of Israel has been told.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to Israeli intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon.
In the past three years, as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners via Oman, and the U.S. responded in kind. Atarodi was the fourth Iranian prisoner to be released.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes the scientist played an important role in Iran's missile and nuclear programs.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the U.S. at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps]," Solomon said.
Hizbullah Being Targeted by Mysterious Website - Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy-Toronto Star)
A mysterious website offering financial rewards for information about members of Hizbullah's international operations wing has become a major topic of conversation in intelligence circles around the Middle East.
The site claims to be the work of an alliance of Western intelligence agencies, but two Western security officials said it is likely an Israeli operation.
The site, www.stop910.com, says its mission is to bring attention to Hizbullah's "Unit 910," which performs operations around the world.
The site contains photographs of dozens of operatives along with offers of rewards for phone numbers, real names and even home addresses of the men.
Ombudsman Raps Radio-Canada's Israeli-Palestinian Coverage - Janice Arnold (Canadian Jewish News)
Radio-Canada's ombudsman says the network should improve its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after his office received 75 complaints, almost all from those who felt the reporting was inaccurate or biased against Israel.
In his annual 2012-2013 report, Pierre Tourangeau says the complaints were well-substantiated. He recommended that corrections or clarifications be made in 12 of them.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Rouhani: No Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities - Lionel Barber, Roula Khalaf and Najmeh Bozorgmehr
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview with the Financial Times:
FT: Is dismantling nuclear facilities in Iran a red line for your government?
Rouhani: 100 percent. (Financial Times-UK)
See also Iran "Will Never Abandon Arak Heavy Water Reactor"
Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi has said Tehran will never abandon the Arak heavy water reactor, considering it a "red line" in talks with world powers,
state broadcaster IRIB reported Sunday. In addition,
Abbas Araqchi, a deputy foreign minister and member of the nuclear negotiating team, insisted Arak "should remain as a heavy water power plant," the official IRNA news agency reported. (AFP)
- Foreign Minister Zarif: Iran Has Final Say on Nuclear Enrichment
"Iran will decide the level of enrichment according to its needs for different purposes," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday. "We have always said we will not allow anyone to determine our needs." His remarks appeared to conflict with the nuclear deal struck in Geneva which states that the enrichment level must be mutually defined and agreed upon by both sides in further negotiations. (AFP)
See also Iran Foreign Minister Says Country Won't Talk to Israel
Iran "would not attend a meeting in which the occupying regime [Israel] participates,"
Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday, as reported by IRNA. "We definitely will not be in the room in which representatives from the Zionist regime will have presence....We do consider the Zionist regime as the biggest regional and world danger."
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought Islamist leaders to power, Iran does not recognize Israel and supports militant anti-Israeli groups like Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon's Hizbullah. Previous Iranian leaders have called for the Jewish state to be destroyed.
- Poll: Most Egyptians Oppose Ouster of Morsi - Alaa Shahine
According to a poll by Zogby Research Services conducted in September and published on Nov. 26, 51% of Egyptians said President Mohamed Morsi's overthrow in July was a mistake, compared with 46% who said the army was right. 46% said they had confidence in Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi, while 44% reported confidence in Mohamed Morsi. (Bloomberg)
See also Poll Results: Egyptian Attitudes-September 2013 (Zogby Research Services)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Ex-CIA Chief: Iran Far Too Close to Nuclear Weapon - Yitzhak Benhorin
Former CIA director Michael Hayden told Fox News on Sunday that "right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon."
Following the interim nuclear deal in Geneva, "at the end of the day, Iran's going to be a nuclear threshold state."
"It says in the agreement that we will come to an agreement with regard to their right to enrich, which is very different from the UN Security Council resolutions to date, which say that they do not have a right to enrich....We have hit the pause button. Now we've got to negotiate hitting the delete button with them."
"Let's be honest with ourselves. We have accepted Iranian uranium enrichment. There is no question about that. That's a different red line than we used to have."
- Arabs Attack Car of Palestinian Family Misidentified as Jews - Noam Dvir
Rashuan Salman, his wife and their baby daughter, a Muslim family from east Jerusalem, was attacked two weeks ago by three Arabs near Sur Baher. They were driving on the same road used later by the Jewish family of two-year-old Avigail Ben Zion, who was hit in the head by a rock on Nov 28.
"Three Arab youths jumped up on us," Salman told Ynet on Sunday. "They tried to pull us out of the car and hit us, it seemed they were intent on lynching us. They tried opening the doors and my wife begged them to leave us alone. She spoke to them in Arabic and only then did they understand that we ourselves are Arabs, and left us alone." (Ynet News)
See also Toddler Injured by Rock-Throwers Released from Hospital (Ynet News)
- PA Forces Arrest 20 Salafists in West Bank
Palestinian security forces arrested 20 Salafists, a senior PA source said Sunday. They "embrace the Salafist ideology but are not affiliated with al-Qaeda." "All of them are former members of Hamas and embrace the global Muslim Brotherhood ideology." (AFP)
- Faith-Based Negotiations - Reuel Marc Gerecht
It's impossible to find a Western parallel to the "supreme leader" of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or to that regime's particular fusion of church and state.
Like his predecessor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ali Khamenei sees Islam as under siege from the West, and especially the U.S.
The Obama administration wants to believe that the supreme leader just might forsake his historic mission - the quest for nuclear weapons begun under Khomeini and carried forth at great cost by Khamenei and every single Iranian president - because the U.S., "the epicenter of evil," has rallied the West against Iran.
The all-important psychology of escalating sanctions, and the increasing American willpower that produced them, will soon be replaced by a spirit of compromise and, among foreign businesses, greed and a new resolve to test the administration's willingness to punish companies, especially European and Chinese firms, that violate U.S. sanctions. And without crippling sanctions, Washington will have no real leverage left over the Iranian regime.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Implications of the Iran Deal
A Wall Street Journal panel discussed the Iran deal on Saturday on Fox News:
Bret Stephens: The real problem with this deal is it allows Iran to keep its nuclear infrastructure intact and even continue to grow it while we enter into a process of endless negotiation with the Iranians. The way I see it, Iran is at mile 23 of its nuclear marathon and we're saying: "You know what, guys? Don't sprint to the finish line, let's bring it down to a jog."
Dan Henninger: The president is doing something very unique here. He is essentially taking the military option off the table and saying he's going to pursue diplomacy only. That is going to have implications for alliances all over the Middle East, because they've always relied on the U.S. being there when they need them.
Stephens: The Israelis for a long time were biding their time, thinking when the chips are really down, this president is not going to allow Iran to become a nuclear-weapons state. After the capitulation in Syria, the Israelis are looking at this in a whole new way. I've been having conversations with Israelis. They simply don't think that America is a credible security guarantor.
(Wall Street Journal)
- New Blood Libel Film on Israeli Bedouin - Ben-Dror Yemini
A new propaganda film portrays Bedouins in Israel as the victims of a terrible expulsion decree by the government.
The debate over the proper procedure of the settlement of the nomadic Bedouins is important and the state decided on a generous arrangement.
Every Bedouin family is entitled to a plot of land in one of the Bedouin towns built in the region where they live, and there are plans for the construction of many more towns. This is affirmative action favoring the Bedouins, as no Jew is entitled to receive free land.
The film charges: "The Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran is slated to be turned into Hiran, a community for Jews only." In fact, when Hiran was being planned, there were only a few Bedouins there, if any. Their move to Umm al-Hiran occurred mainly in the wake of the plans for the new town. Aerial photographs prove this.
Moreover, adjacent to the compound of the Al-Qian tribe, whose members are the focus of the current fuss, the state built Hura, a proper Bedouin village, with paved roads, electricity and water infrastructure. Most of the tribe - 3,000 of the 4,000 members - felt this was a fair arrangement, and moved to Hura.
Furthermore, Hiran is not designated only for Jews, and any Bedouin who wishes to buy land there is entitled to do so.
(Times of Israel)
See also Opponents of Bedouin Resettlement Seek to Create Arab Territorial Contiguity between West Bank and Gaza - Shirly Seidler (Ha'aretz)
In Iran, Human Rights Cannot Be Sacrificed for a Nuclear Deal - Shirin Ebadi and Payam Akhavan (Washington Post)
- Even as Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sat with his Western counterparts in Geneva, the lifeless body of a young man hung from a crane in a public square in Tehran, spreading fear among Iranians, who suffer the world's highest per capita rate of executions.
- A handful of political prisoners have been released as a symbolic gesture, but many still languish in inhumane conditions. The torture of dissidents and the censorship of the media continue as before. The persecution of religious minorities such as Bahais and Christians and of ethnic groups such as Ahwazi Arabs, Balochis and Kurds likewise continues unabated.
- If pundits believe that appeasement of those espousing a hateful religious ideology will guarantee long-term security, they should understand the difference between political "realism" and wishful thinking.
- An authoritarian regime without legitimacy will invariably rule through militarization. The concept of security differs in a democratic context. Consider how in the 1980s Argentina and Brazil, and then post-apartheid South Africa in the 1990s, abandoned military nuclear programs once they achieved democratic rule. A government that is answerable to its citizens has different priorities.
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian human rights lawyer and the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Payam Akhavan is a founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and a professor of international law at McGill University in Montreal.
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