Khamenei Tweets Plan to End Israel (Ha'aretz)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has put forth a plan to eliminate Israel, saying that the only way to stop the "Israeli crimes" is to eliminate the "fake Zionist regime."
Until the plan can be put into motion, however, Khamenei prescribes "powerful confrontation and resolute and armed resistance."
He also accused Israel of poisoning Yasser Arafat.
See also Iran's Supreme Leader Calls for Annihilation of Israel on Eve of Nuclear Talks - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
On the eve of the nuclear talks in Oman on Nov. 9, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameini repeated his call to annihilate Israel and arm the Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Supreme Leader's statements demonstrate Iran's growing self-confidence, fed by several recent developments in the region (Shi'ite opposition taking control of Yemen; Assad's survival; greater hold over Iraq; escalation of the situation in Jerusalem) and the mixed messages from Washington and the West tying the conclusion of a nuclear agreement to the general normalization of relations with Iran and to joint efforts to combat the Islamic State.
Iran continues to be uncompromising in its position on Israel and the Palestinians, meaning: no political arrangement, believing the solution is to involve all Arabs in the struggle until Israel is annihilated.
Report: U.S. to Discuss Renewal of Diplomatic Ties with Iran if Nuclear Deal Reached (Jerusalem Post)
The London Times reported on Monday that the U.S. was ready to discuss renewing diplomatic ties with Iran if a nuclear deal was reached.
The report states that talks between officials from both sides were happening this week in Baku, Azerbaijan, in addition to the nuclear talks.
The U.S. has denied the report.
U.S. Strikes Convoy of Islamic State Leaders in Iraq - Erin Cunningham and Missy Ryan (Washington Post)
U.S. warplanes struck a gathering of Islamic State commanders near the militant-held city of Mosul on Friday. The strikes destroyed a convoy of 10 armed trucks, CENTCOM spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder said.
See also In Iraq, Islamic State Fighters Seize Sunni Tribesmen for Resisting Rule - Erin Cunningham (Washington Post)
The Islamic State has seized 500 men and boys from the Jubouri tribe in militant-controlled al-Alam, about 100 miles north of Baghdad, after some youths tore down the group's black banner from a town square and replaced it with an Iraqi flag, raising fears that IS plans to kill the hostages as punishment.
In recent weeks, the Islamic State has massacred more than 300 members of the Sunni Albu Nimr tribe for resisting IS.
Israeli Navy Thwarts Gaza Smugglers (AFP)
The Israeli navy fired on two boats off the Gaza coast, destroying both boats, a Hamas security official said.
The Israeli military said that naval vessels had tracked a boat engaged in smuggling from Egypt. "The forces followed the boat and identified it heading back towards Gaza, fully loaded."
The Israeli ships fired warning shots before targeting the vessel when it failed to respond.
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- Iran Nuclear Threat Greater by Fivefold, Says Former Watchdog Chief - Richard Kerbaj
Olli Heinonen, who spent 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iran could have up to 5,000 IR-2m centrifuges rather than the 1,008 it has claimed. The IR-2m devices are up to five times more effective in enriching uranium than older IR-1 types. Heinonen said Tehran "could have up to 4,000 to 5,000 centrifuges or raw materials for them" located outside two of its largest nuclear sites, Natanz and Fordow. Heinonen is concerned the negotiations will merely focus on what needs to be done about Iran's 18,000 or so IR-1 centrifuges and the 1,008 IR-2m devices.
"There are indications Iran has acquired carbon fiber, the key raw material for the advanced IR-2m centrifuges, to manufacture several thousand. The IAEA has seen 1,000 of them in Natanz and the key question is: where are the rest?" He warned any agreement that does not compel Iran to open all its nuclear facilities to scrutiny would "make no sense."
"It is important to have in this verification scheme an agreement that the IAEA can also verify all the centrifuges in Iran and not only those which are in Natanz or Fordow." (The Times-UK)
- Report: Iran Nuclear Program More Advanced than Previously Believed - Adam Kredo
Iran's illicit nuclear program could be more advanced than previously believed, according to new information released Friday by an Iranian dissident group. Iran is said to have built and still be in possession of two explosive chambers that have allowed the regime to conduct advanced testing of nuclear weapons, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group that has exposed Iran's clandestine nuclear activities in the past.
"The chambers were to be used for special tests, particularly for high explosive impact as part of the nuclear weapons program of Iran," the NCRI claimed. One of the two chambers is said to have been installed at the Parchin complex.
"The clerical regime is ceaselessly and secretly forging ahead with the military dimensions of its nuclear program and has no intention whatsoever of abandoning that program," said Soona Samsami, the NCRI's U.S. representative.
(Washington Free Beacon)
- Iran's Uranium Stockpile Grows before Deadline for Nuclear Deal - Fredrik Dahl
The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a confidential report on Iran to IAEA member states on Friday, noting that Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas has grown by 8% to nearly 8.4 tons in about two months. Western experts say Iran would now be able to amass enough high-enriched fissile material for one bomb in a few months, if it opted for such a weapon of mass destruction. (Reuters)
- Obama Doubts Iran Nuclear Deal as Oman Talks Go into Monday
Iran, the U.S. and EU will hold an unscheduled second day of talks on Monday, on disagreements blocking resolution of a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, a U.S. official and Iranian state media said. In the U.S., meanwhile, President Barack Obama said a final step in the talks would involve Iran providing "verifiable, lock-tight assurances that they can't develop a nuclear weapon."
"There's still a big gap," he said. "We may not be able to get there."
See also Transcript: Obama on Iran - Bob Schieffer (CBS News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Palestinians, Iranian Leader Khamenei Calling for Israel's Destruction
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday:
"We are not prepared to tolerate more demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which Hamas or ISIS flags are waved and calls are made to redeem Palestine with blood and fire, calling in effect for the destruction of the State of Israel."
"Standing behind this incitement are - first of all - the various Islamic movements: Hamas and the Islamic movement in Israel....Also standing behind this incitement is the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Abu Mazen [Abbas]. The website of their official body, Fatah, explains that the Jewish people were, in effect, never here, that the Temple was never here, that David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the kings and prophets of Israel - are all fiction."
"The leader of Iran, Khamenei...just yesterday he called for our destruction....Against such an Iran, which is controlled by such a regime, we must do everything so that it does not acquire nuclear weapons or the ability to produce nuclear weapons on short notice....Israel will not countenance an agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Man Stabbed by Palestinian in Tel Aviv Terror Attack - Yaniv Kubovich
A young man was stabbed at a train station in Tel Aviv on Monday in a terror attack. Police arrested the assailant, a Palestinian from the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
- Following Spate of Vehicle Terror Attacks, IDF to Deploy Barricades across West Bank - Yaakov Lappin
Following a spate of terrorist attacks in which Arabs in vehicles have slammed into Israelis, the IDF will deploy protective barricades at 20 of the busiest hitchhiking posts and bus stops in the West Bank over the coming week. "Today, every Palestinian who owns a car turns into a potential terrorist," said Capt. Irad Hershkowitz, engineering officer of the Samaria Brigade. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Video: Arabs Attack Israeli Car in Jerusalem (YouTube)
- Obama's Latest Outreach to Iran's Supreme Leader - Suzanne Maloney
President Barack Obama reportedly penned a personal appeal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last month. The move betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Iranian leadership, and is likely to hinder rather than help achieve a durable resolution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Khamenei's mistrust and antipathy toward Washington has been a consistent feature of his public rhetoric. Anti-Americanism is Khamenei's bedrock, engrained in his worldview, and as such it is not susceptible to blandishments - particularly not from the very object of his loathing. Obama's appeal at this critical juncture in the nuclear diplomacy will surely be read as a supplication - and as further confirmation of American desperation and weakness in the face of Iran's position of advantage.
As he explained recently, "the reason why we are stronger is that [America] retreats step by step in all the arenas which we and the Americans have confronted each other."
There is simply no plausible scenario in which a letter from the U.S. President to Ali Khamenei generates greater Iranian flexibility on the nuclear program, which the regime has paid an exorbitant price to preserve. Just the opposite - the letter undoubtedly intensified Khamenei's contempt for Washington and reinforced his longstanding determination to extract maximalist concessions.
The writer, a former U.S. State Department policy advisor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
- Obama's Bet on Iran - Jackson Diehl
Since Jimmy Carter, presidents have sought to fashion an Arab coalition to contain the Islamic regime in Iran and thwart its aim to establish itself as a regional hegemon. Obama's final push, if it works, would allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure while ceding Tehran a role in the pacification and political reconstruction of the lands from Baghdad to Beirut.
The Israeli government and most leaders of the Persian Gulf states continue to view Iran as an existential threat, best treated with crippling economic sanctions, proxy war against its allies in Syria and Lebanon and, if necessary, direct military action against its nuclear installations. A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress agrees with them.
Netanyahu to EU: To Recognize a Palestinian State without Demanding Equal Recognition of the Jewish State Is Irresponsible (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting EU foreign policy representative Federica Mogherini on Friday:
- "Militant Islamic incitement is trying to fan violence in Israel, and especially in Jerusalem and especially on the Temple Mount, with the effort of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount....We are faced with a consistent campaign of vilification and slander that presents Israel as seeking to undermine the [al-Aqsa] mosque, to change the procedures that are there. This is absolutely not our policy. We stand behind the status quo arrangements that have been there for many years."
- "At the same time, we've watched with growing concern the fact that Islamist parties...have joined in a campaign of inflammation, calling for any action, including violent action, to stop Jews from exercising their right to merely enter the Mount. This is an arrangement that has been there for many decades, since the Six-Day War. We stand by the rights of Jews to go to the Mount."
- "The bogus claim that this conflict persists...because of this or that settlement is false because I believe that the issue is not about territory; it's about our existence. It's about the failure to recognize Israel in any boundary, in any border, in any configuration. That was and remains the core of this conflict, that is, the persistent refusal to recognize that the Jewish people have a right to a state of their own."
- "The Palestinians expect us to recognize that they have a right to a state of their own, yet they say to the Jewish people who have been here for close to 4,000 years, from the time of Abraham: You do not have a right for a state of your own. That's absurd."
- "To accord, as some European countries have, recognition to a Palestinian state without demanding an equal recognition on their part to the nation-state of the Jewish people is irresponsible. To give recognition to a Palestinian state that doesn't either recognize the Jewish state or agrees to security arrangements that are necessary for its security and survival is irresponsible."
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