Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Urges "Careful Scrutiny" of Iran Deal - Thomas Erdbrink (New York Times)
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Wednesday that the nuclear accord needed "careful scrutiny."
See also Khamenei Responds to Nuclear Deal (Twitter)
Ayatollah Khamenei said: "Bringing negotiations to a conclusion was a milestone; the prepared text, however, needs careful scrutiny and must be directed into the defined legal process, and in case of approval, be concerned about possible violation of commitments by the other parties and close paths to it. You are well aware that some of the six states participating in negotiations are not trustworthy at all."
Poll: 74% of Israelis Say Deal Won't Stop Nuclear Iran - Gil Hoffman and Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
74% of Israelis do not believe the Iranian nuclear deal will prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, while 10% think it will, according to a survey taken Wednesday for Israel's Channel 10 TV.
Does Iran's Behavior Suggest that It Will Abide by International Norms? - Aaron David Miller (Wall Street Journal)
There are reasons that critics say Iran's behavior suggests it wouldn't be a responsible partner that abides by international conventions and norms. These include Iran's human rights violations and its continued detention of four American citizens.
Then there is its support for the Assad regime in Syria, Shiite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Hizbullah in Lebanon.
These actions undermine confidence that Iran would abide by the nuclear accord.
The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
Iran Nuclear Deal: Peace in Our Time? Not with This Shoddy Agreement - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
You only had to look at the beaming smiles on the faces of the Iranian negotiating team to see who had emerged as the undisputed winners of the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. The outcome of the talks has surpassed even their wildest expectations.
Mr. Obama might have convinced himself that the deal cuts off all of Iran's "pathways to nuclear weapons," but that is certainly not how the deal will be viewed by those who have more intimate knowledge of the Iranian regime's devious tactics.
Eilat-Bound Jets Get Anti-Missile Defense Pods (Times of Israel)
The SkyShield missile defense system has been installed on Israeli Arkia and Israir commercial flights to Eilat due to concerns that terrorist groups operating in Sinai may try to attack planes flying near the border between Israel and Egypt, Yediot Ahronot reported Monday.
The system combines lasers and a thermal camera to thwart ground-to-air missiles and change their trajectory.
Why I Love Israel's New Iran "Stop the Bomb" Ad - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
Bezeq, Israel's national phone company, debuted a new TV ad featuring entertainer Gidi Gov flying into "Tehran" airport and ending up in a room full of Iranian ayatollahs and military chiefs counting down to the launch of a nuclear strike.
They have just chorused "three, two, one" and a general's palm is about to press down on the red button, when Gov urges, "Stop the bomb!" and, amazingly, they do stop, to hear his sales pitch.
It's a silly ad satirizing the Iranian nuclear threat, precisely when the real Iranians are threatening us and calling for our annihilation.
But it underlines that even in the face of Iran's murderous zealotry, we're not going to give up our sense of humor.
I wonder whether the Iranian leadership
are smart enough to internalize the confidence it exemplifies. Just one more reason why we're going to outlast Khamenei and his dangerous, humorless regime.
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- Netanyahu: Iran Nuclear Deal Poses Threat to U.S., Israel - Elizabeth Chuck
The Iran nuclear deal poses a threat to both Israel and the U.S., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told NBC News on Wednesday.
"Iran has killed more Americans than anyone other than al-Qaeda. They're going to get hundreds of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military machine," he said. "Iran is different. It's a zealot country." Netanyahu contends Iran cannot be trusted with any sort of nuclear program.
"I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them," he warned. "For 2,000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless." Netanyahu's wariness is shared by the Arab world, where countries expressed skepticism that a deal would really prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. "When Arabs and Israelis agree, it's worth paying attention," Netanyahu said. (NBC News)
See also Netanyahu: Iran Deal "Puts Us All in Danger" - Justin Fishel and Chris Good (ABC News)
- Israel: Iran Deal Like Emperor with No Clothes - Luke Baker
Israel's nuclear affairs minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Wednesday his country was like the boy in the fairy tale who pointed out the emperor had no clothes: "Israel is like the little child that is pointing its finger and saying, 'the king is naked, this agreement is naked.'" Steinitz described the deal as full of loopholes, particularly when it comes to verification and Iran's "breakout" capability.
"Those who think that giving Iran $150 billion will have no effect on the Middle East are naive," said Steinitz. "It's like pouring fuel on the burning Middle East." In the interim, he said, Israel reserved the right to defend itself, and would do so unilaterally if required.
See also Israel: Inspection Clauses in Deal "Worse than Worthless" - Raphael Ahren
The nuclear deal's inspections regime is "worse than worthless" and actually helps Iran more than the international inspectors, Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday. "Unfortunately, when you examine the details, you discover that the inspection [mechanism for undeclared military sites] is actually just a mirage." By instituting a mechanism that gives Iran close to a month of advance notice to conceal any illicit nuclear activity before it needs to grant access to inspectors, the agreement renders useless any intelligence suggesting that Tehran is violating the deal. (Times of Israel)
- Washington Turns to UN to Make Nuclear Deal Legally Binding on Next President - Colum Lynch and John Hudson
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, on Monday circulated a legally binding draft to the UN Security Council that, if adopted, would give the body's backing to the Iran nuclear pact. If a resolution is approved by the Security Council, any president, Democratic or Republican, would be legally bound to enforce its terms.
Moreover, the U.S. has not included the decision to lift an embargo on conventional weaponry in five years and ease restrictions on the development and import of ballistic missile technology in eight years in the nuclear accord that will be reviewed by Congress. Instead, those provisions are embedded in the new UN Security Council resolution, which congressional critics of the deal will have no power to block. (Foreign Policy)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Ya'alon: Iran Nuclear Agreement Built on "Lies and Deceit" - Yaakov Lappin
The Iran nuclear agreement is built on "lies and deceit," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday. Iran "arrived at the negotiating table in a weak position, and has emerged victorious. Instead of fighting terror with all its might, the free world has granted legitimacy to Iran's hateful, murderous ways. This agreement is a tragedy for all who aspire for regional stability and fear a nuclear Iran."
"This agreement is bad. It rewards deceit, terror and warmongering. The mere thought of accepting the chief terrorist regime back into the family of nations is beyond belief." (Jerusalem Post)
- Palestinian Who Murdered Israeli Arrested in West Bank - Gili Cohen
The Israel Security Agency announced on Wednesday that it arrested Mohammad Abu Shahin, 39, from Kalandia for the shooting attack which killed Danny Gonen at a spring near Dolev in June.
In the past weeks a number of Palestinians from the Ramallah area have been apprehended who admitted they were involved in the shooting attack, as well as several other attacks. Abu Shahin, who was imprisoned in the past for involvement in stabbing and shooting attacks, is a Fatah-Tanzim militant who receives a salary from the Palestinian Authority. Among those arrested was Asama Asad, another Tanzim member who was released in the Gilad Shalit deal. (Ha'aretz)
- Israeli Soldier Stabbed in the Back in West Bank Attack - Gili Cohen
An Israeli soldier was stabbed in the back Wednesday by a Palestinian woman while standing by a guard tower northwest of Ramallah. During questioning, Rowan Abu Matar, 22, admitted that she intended to kill a soldier.
- The Real Reason Obama Did the Iran Deal - Leslie H. Gelb
According to top administration officials, Mr. Obama has always been after something much bigger than capping Iran's nuclear program, and he got it - the strategic opportunity to begin converting Iran from foe to "friend."
Iranian negotiators understood well what's been driving the U.S. president, and they have used the prospect of becoming "a friend" as their best bargaining card. For over a year now in small private conversations and strolls, they have been painting rosy pictures of Iranian-American cooperation.
The Iranian list of possibilities goes to most of Washington's principal worries in the Middle East. They would step up their fighting alongside Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State in Iraq. And they would do much more in Syria to go after the forces of ISIS there. They spoke of finding "solutions" to the civil war in Yemen. They raised hopes of forging better relations with America's "partners" in the Gulf.
However, they said little or nothing about Lebanon, so as not to jeopardize the strong position there of their Hizbullah allies, or about their backing of Hamas in Gaza. And U.S. diplomats couldn't get anything positive from them about Israel, the country that feels greatly threatened by Iran.
The writer, a former senior State and Defense Department official, is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
- The China-Iran Nuclear Pipeline: How to Shut It Down - Orde F. Kittrie
President Obama has said that the final nuclear deal with Iran will "cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon." Yet there could be a pathway that would include Iran creating a secret, parallel nuclear program with technology and materials covertly procured from foreign suppliers. Both the U.S. and the IAEA will have limited capacity to detect either secret nuclear facilities within Iran or the covert receipt by Iran of nuclear-related materials. It is therefore critical to be able to deter or prevent foreign suppliers from sending nuclear-related materials to Iran.
Little attention has been paid to the longtime leading suppliers of Iran's nuclear program: ostensibly private brokers based in China. Foremost among them appear to be Karl Lee (also known as Li Fangwei) and Sihai Cheng, who, according to U.S. federal and state prosecutors, have shipped vast quantities of key nuclear materials to Iran. One recent analysis by experts closely tied to the UK Defense Ministry concluded, "China continues to be the key source of goods and technology for the prohibited nuclear and missile programs of Iran and North Korea, with some officials estimating that China is used as a transit route for up to 90% of goods destined for those programs."
The massive scale of Iran's nuclear and missile program procurement from China in recent years is a sign that China serves as a potentially pivotal back door source of nuclear materials for Iran. If a nuclear deal is to succeed, its implementation will require much more cooperation from Beijing than it has provided thus far.
The writer is a professor of law at Arizona State University and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who participated in negotiating several U.S.-Russian nonproliferation agreements.
- The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Tehran "Achieved All It Wanted" - Dov S. Zakheim
As the Iranian Mehr News Agency has pointed out, Iran has achieved all that it wanted in the nuclear deal. All economic and financial sanctions against Iran will be removed. None of its nuclear sites will be shut down. Iran will continue nuclear enrichment. No centrifuge will be destroyed and research and development on advanced centrifuges will continue. Billions of Iran's blocked revenues in foreign banks will be unfrozen.
In reality, America, with its allies in tow, has made concession after concession to an economically starved state whose delusions of grandeur will now be greater than ever. Iran will have little trouble cheating IAEA inspectors while it proceeds along its path of nuclear-weapons development. It did not have to be this way. The writer served as undersecretary of defense (comptroller) in 2001-2004 and as deputy undersecretary of defense (planning and resources) in 1985-1987.
- Iran Deal Misses the Point - Danielle Pletka
Both Iranian procurement and International Atomic Energy Agency reporting indicate Iran is game to wait until it has both the means and the materiel to break out with an arsenal of nuclear weapons, rather than a single bomb. If that is the case, the new deal will not stop it.
The nuclear deal does nothing to limit nuclear weapons research, enrichment research, miniaturization or delivery work. Indeed, the agreement will reportedly allow cooperation between Iran and other nuclear powers that will only enhance its efforts.
It is often said that the Iranians are canny negotiators. Consider that as a reward for signing a deal that does little to constrain their ultimate ambition, they are on the verge of securing more than a $100 billion windfall. The writer is senior vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Iran Got a Far Better Deal Than It Had Any Right to Expect - Elliott Abrams (National Review)
- It has taken decades to build the structure of international sanctions against Iran, and now we are entirely abandoning it. To believe that these sanctions can or will "snap back" if Iran engages in some violation is foolish. Soon enough, the EU will have a huge economic investment in Iran and its companies and trade unions will strongly resist any sanctions that could hurt profits or employment. The idea of restoring the sanctions regime is a fantasy.
- The administration has most recently acted as Iran's lawyer, defending its violations of the previous agreement and attacking the press for suggesting that violations had occurred. The agreement even says that the federal government will fight any move by any state to impose or maintain state sanctions on Iran - for example, for human-rights violations, support of terror, aggression in the region, or any other reason.
- Iran has been arguing for years that it has the right to enrich uranium. The U.S. has always said "no." Now we allow Iran 6,000 centrifuges. Decades of American nonproliferation policy are dead.
- At five years, Iran begins rearming without any limits; at eight years, it begins modernizing and enlarging its ballistic missiles; after ten years, the nuclear limits start falling away. That is, Iran can then develop warheads and it will have the missiles on which to put them.
- The agreement says the deal "will mark a fundamental shift" in how we approach Iran and its nuclear program.
The fundamental shift in behavior comes from the U.S., not Iran. The Islamic Republic remains an implacable enemy, holding hostages, supporting terror, organizing "Death to America" marches, even as its negotiators sat smiling across the table at U.S. negotiators.
The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor.
See also Iran's President Rouhani Describes Iran's Gains in Nuclear Deal - Thomas Erdbrink
"Our objective was to have the nuclear program and have sanctions lifted. At first they wanted us to have 100 centrifuges; now we will have 6,000. They wanted restrictions of 25 years; now its 8. First they said we could only have IR1 centrifuges, now we can have IR6, 7, and 8, advanced centrifuges. Heavy water plant at Arak had to be dismantled; but now it will remain with heavy water under conditions. Fordo had to be closed; now we will have 1,000 centrifuges there." (Twitter)
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