Europe Given Control of Iran Sanctions "Snap Back" Mechanism - Steven Rosen (Washington Times)
The "snap-back" provision that would reimpose sanctions on Iran if it violated the nuclear agreement would require the U.S. to win the unanimous support of Germany, the UK, France, and the EU in order to have the five votes required under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism to override objections from Iran, Russia, and China.
At the same time, key decisions by the EU require unanimous approval by all 28 members. This means that sanctions could not be reimposed unless all of Europe went along, at a time when a new gold rush of European companies wooing Iran is underway.
The spin-meisters may label it "snap back," but that's the last thing that's going to happen in the event of an Iranian violation.
The writer, Washington Project Director of the Middle East Forum, was previously Foreign Policy Director of AIPAC.
EU: No Plans to Boycott Israeli Banks - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
The EU is not planning to impose sanctions on Israeli banks, a senior EU official said Wednesday, after an EU think tank released a report recommending such action.
"We have no intention of imposing restrictions on Israeli banks that do business in the settlements. This entire issue is complete nonsense. This issue has never been considered," the diplomat said.
Hizbullah Losses Mounting in Syria - Or Heller (Israel Defense)
According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hizbullah has lost more than 1,300 combatants and 5,000 wounded in Syria.
Iranian Officers Interrogate Prisoners in Yemen - Arafat Madabish (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Iranian officers were directly involved in the interrogation of Yemeni government loyalists detained by Houthi rebels in Aden, anti-rebel sources say.
Iranian Nuclear Deal Is a Win for Anti-Semitism - Rabbi David Wolpe (TIME)
Fully half of the membership of my congregation in Los Angeles are Persian Jews. The vast majority came to the U.S. after 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took over.
They left not only because of the summary execution of a respected leader of the community, but because it was increasingly clear that confiscation and brutality were replacing the shah's regime of tolerance.
We have just concluded a deal with people infected with the oldest and most virulent pathology of hatred the world has known - anti-Semitism. This is no time for celebration.
The writer is Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
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- Experts Question Verification Process in Iran Deal - Michael R. Gordon
The Obama administration's claim that the Iran nuclear accord provides for airtight verification procedures is coming under challenge from nuclear experts with long experience in monitoring Tehran's program. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector in Iraq, said that three weeks might be ample time for the Iranians to dispose of any evidence of prohibited nuclear work. Among the possibilities, he said, were experiments with high explosives that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, or the construction of a small plant to make centrifuges. "If it is on a small scale, they may be able to clear it out in 24 days....They are practiced at cheating. You can't count on them to make a mistake."
Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the IAEA, said there had been cases in which Iran had successfully hidden evidence of illicit nuclear work even when nuclear enrichment was involved. When the atomic energy agency sought to inspect the Kalaye Electric Company site in Iran in 2003, the Iranians kept inspectors at bay while they spent weeks removing the equipment and renovating the building where it had been kept. Heinonen noted that the Iranians would be better prepared to remove the evidence of illicit work if they decided to cheat on the accord.
"There will likely be plans to be executed promptly to avoid getting caught," he said.
(New York Times)
- Washington Post Petitions UN for Release of Reporter Jailed by Iran - Rick Gladstone
The Washington Post on Wednesday filed an urgent petition with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, accusing Iranian authorities of "numerous violations of international law" in their imprisonment and treatment of Jason Rezaian, the newspaper's Tehran correspondent. Rezaian, 36, who has been incarcerated in Iran for over a year, appears to be in the final phase of a secretive trial in a Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges including espionage. President Obama and both houses of Congress have called on Iran to release Rezaian and two other Americans.
(New York Times)
See also Jason Rezaian's Unjust Year of Detention in Iran - Editorial (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Italian Prime Minister Denounces "Stupid" Boycotts of Israel - Lahav Harkov
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hailed ties between his country and Israel and railed against "stupid" boycotts in a speech to the Knesset Wednesday. He noted that the Jewish people's right to a state in its homeland "does not exist because of the world's generosity after the Holocaust. Israel existed hundreds of years before....You are a fulcrum of the world and we will stand with you."
"Whoever thinks to boycott Israel does not understand that he is harming himself and betraying his future. Italy will always stand for cooperation and never for boycotts, which are stupid and futile." (Jerusalem Post)
- The Invention of the Arab Village of Susiya - Ari Briggs
On July 16, State Department spokesperson John Kirby pressured Israel not to enforce demolition orders against an illegal Arab encampment adjacent to the Jewish community of Susiya. The demolition orders had been confirmed by Israel's High Court in May 2015 after years of appeals and the State Department was apparently misinformed about basic facts of the case. While the Nawajah family's "struggle" has become a cause celebre for foreign-funded NGOs, Israel's High Court established that the Nawajah family members have permanent homes in Yata, a West Bank city under full PA rule.
The Nawajah family had been encouraged by the PA to illegally establish "facts on the ground" in an area under full Israeli authority, as per the Oslo Accords.
At least 20 illegal structures, funded directly by the EU and proudly bearing the EU flag, were strategically placed between the Jewish community of Susiya and the Susiya archaeological site, which includes a magnificent ancient synagogue. (Jerusalem Post)
- Report on PA Education System Shows Widespread Glorification of Terrorism
Hate, anti-Semitism, and honoring murderers are fundamental elements of PA education. A new report, "Palestinian Authority Education: A Recipe for Hate and Terror," reveals why there won't be peace in the next generation unless this PA education process is immediately reversed.
The report includes chapters on names of schools (dozens named after terrorists), school activities (e.g., visiting homes of terrorists), statements and activities of educators (e.g., presenting murderers as role models and promising a world without Israel), schoolbooks, informal education (children reciting poems on kids' TV programs: e.g., Jews are monkeys and pigs; Tel Aviv is "occupied Palestine"), and a chapter with examples of honoring Hitler.
(Palestinian Media Watch)
Read the report - Palestinian Authority Education: A Recipe for Hate and Terror (Palestinian Media Watch)
- Iran to Become a Muscular Nuclear Tiger - Ari Shavit
The Iranian negotiating team succeeded in destroying completely the sanctions mechanism that had been activated against Iran. It also managed to prevent real, effective supervision of secret, unknown nuclear sites. Consequently, if the Islamic Republic decides to develop a covert nuclear program, it will have no difficulty doing so. The chance of its getting caught is low and the chance of reactivating the sanctions is slim.
The Vienna agreement recognizes Iran's right to develop advanced centrifuges. This means that the international community is actually ensuring the establishment of a new Iranian nuclear program, which will be immeasurably more powerful and dangerous than its predecessor. In fact the Iranians are giving up an outdated deployment in order to build an innovative, legitimate one, with the world's permission. It will lead to Iran becoming a muscular nuclear tiger with an ability to produce dozens of nuclear bombs.
- A Two-Track Strategy on Iran - William A. Galston
Favoring the Iranian nuclear agreement (as I do, despite its flaws) does not imply relaxing opposition to the challenge Iran poses throughout the Middle East. On the contrary, a much more forceful U.S. policy is needed to counter that threat.
Iranian domination of the Middle East would threaten the core interests of the U.S. We can approve the nuclear agreement while making it clear to Iran's leaders that we have no intention of allowing them to take over the region, directly or through the Shiite proxies they support. Such a strategy mirrors Iran's. Speaking Saturday in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made it clear that his country had no intention of abandoning its anti-American policies or of pulling back its support for allies in regional conflicts.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Deal Channels Resources to Iran's "Nefarious Activities" - David Rothkopf
The greatest threat Iran has long posed has not been its nuclear program, but rather its "nefarious activities" (as President Obama described to the New York Times' Thomas Friedman), like sponsoring terrorism, seeking to impose its will, and aggressively expanding its influence throughout the Middle East. Focusing on a deal that addresses, at least for the near term, only the second- or third-greatest threat posed by Iran to the region, while ignoring a greater and more current threat, may actually amplify the biggest threat by channeling more resources to an "untransformed" Tehran. And this deal does exactly that with the massive sanctions relief it affords Iran, estimated as in excess of $150 billion.
The Iranian Inspections Mirage - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
- The nuclear deal specifies that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors will first have to ask Iran's permission to visit a suspicious location. After that, Iran has the chance to propose "alternative means" to address IAEA suspicions. All of that will take some unspecified period of time.
- Only then, presumably, does the clock start ticking on the IAEA request. But depending on how Iran interprets such ambiguous clauses as "relevant information" and "alternative means," this process could stretch to a lot longer than 24 days.
- The Administration is also boasting that the deal establishes a dedicated "procurement channel" through which Iran will be required to purchase all of its nuclear-related material. This is supposed to stop Iran from illicitly shopping for spare nuclear parts - which it has repeatedly been caught doing during the 18 months of negotiations.
- Yet as sanctions on Iran are lifted and Iranian companies (or their middlemen) gain commercial access to the West, it will become all but impossible to prevent Iran from buying whatever it wants, wherever it wants.
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