At Paris Air Show, Executives Welcome Potential Customer Iran - Robert Wall, Rory Jones and Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
At the Paris Air Show, the biggest aviation trade fair, business executives this week welcomed a potential new, big customer: Iran.
Visiting Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said Iranian companies could replace as many as 400 aircraft over the next 10 years, at a cost of at least $20 billion.
Swedish Supermarkets Back Out of Israel Boycott after Pro-Israel Campaign - Itamar Eichner
Pro-Palestinian organizations called on stores of the Swedish supermarket chain COOP in the city of Varberg
to take off the shelves any products manufactured in Israel.
In response, Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman turned to the company's management with arguments against the concept of a commercial boycott.
"We spoke in the name of fair trade and avoiding discrimination of any state," Bachman explained.
At the same time, pro-Israel activists in Sweden started posting against the supermarket chain's decision on social media and flooded e-mail addresses of the COOP chain's management with messages threatening to boycott the supermarket chain if it continues its boycott against Israel.
This led the chain's national management to reject the boycott and threaten that if the Varberg stores do not stop the boycott, they will no longer be a part of the chain, effectively putting an end to the boycott.
Israel Accuses UN Children's Rights Envoy of "Improper Conduct" - Louis Charbonneau (Reuters)
Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor has accused Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, of "biased conduct against Israel" for a report criticizing Israel.
Prosor said the report disproportionately focused on Israel, even though Iraq had the highest number of child casualties; the report includes 32 paragraphs on Israel, compared with eight on Iraq.
Zerrougui's report did not mention Hamas, even though Israel told Zerrougui's office how Hamas rockets severely damaged Israeli medical centers and schools.
Changing People's Minds, One Campus at a Time - Lital Shemesh (Israel Hayom)
The "Israeli Soldiers Tour" organized by StandWithUs is one answer to BDS efforts. I served in the Border Police and am still in active reserve service.
I speak about my country and my home, and afford the audience a chance to hear the story of Israel from someone who actually lives here. We try to visit as many cities, campuses, community centers and schools as possible.
I always end my lectures by saying, "I want peace more than anything else in the world. But until such peace is struck, I won't be made to apologize for defending myself or my right to live."
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
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- Iran Nuke Talks Impeded by Disagreement on All Main Elements - George Jahn
Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations, two diplomats said. Negotiators have been meeting five days a week in Vienna over the past few weeks, but Russian chief delegate Sergey Ryabkov said Friday the "the rate of progress...is progressively slowing down."
Diplomats described disagreement on up to 10 elements crucial to any deal. (AP)
See also Key Senator Says Obama Shouldn't Rush to Meet Iran Deal Deadline - Indira Lakshmanan and David Lerman
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker - the author of legislation that gives Congress the right to review and potentially reject any Iran deal - said the Obama administration should take as much time as it needs to get the best deal to curb Iran's nuclear program, rather than rushing to meet the June 30 deadline. "I would not support pressuring the administration to try to make a bad deal just to make a deadline," he said. "I want them to take their time."
Corker said he and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are shocked by reports suggesting that Iran might not be required to answer all the UN atomic energy agency's outstanding questions about its past work to develop a nuclear weapon, or that it may get relief from economic sanctions before those questions are resolved.
- Former CIA Chief Questions U.S. Knowledge of Iran's Nuclear Weaponization - Jennifer Rubin
Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday discussed the issue of Iran's disclosure of the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program. In response, former CIA chief Michael Hayden said:
"What he [Kerry] is saying is that we don't care how far they've gotten with weaponization." But the administration should not insist revelations of PMDs are unimportant. "He's pretending we have perfect knowledge about something that was an incredibly tough intelligence target while I was director and I see nothing that has made it any easier."
Mark Dubowitz, from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, added, "For Secretary Kerry to claim we have absolute knowledge of Iran's weaponization activities is to assume a level of U.S. intelligence capability that defies historical experience." (Washington Post)
See also U.S. Seen "Moving the Goal Posts" on Iran's Past Military Nuclear Work - Michael Wilner
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the world already knows the nature of Iran's past military nuclear work - and that negotiators were not "fixated" on forcing Tehran to reveal its activities. The comment was widely interpreted as a departure from past statements and a consequential U.S. concession to Iran. Patrick Clawson, Director for Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, called the development a "clear-cut case of moving the goal posts."
"It is discouraging for the USG [U.S. government] to suggest that a political process, such as the Iran-P5+1 talks, will substitute for the judgment of the IAEA," Clawson said in an e-mail. "The IAEA should be allowed to do its work without diplomats undercutting its authority. Technical issues about verification should not be decided in a political venue." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Kerry Walks Back Comments Hinting at Iran Deal Concession - Elise Labott
On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Secretary of State John Kerry had reached out personally to assure him that he was not backing off requiring Iran to acknowledge past efforts to develop nuclear weapons as part of any overall nuclear agreement. (CNN)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- UNRWA Chief: Gaza Militants Hid Weapons in Our Facilities - Elior Levy
Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner General for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said in an interview, "We were the ones who found the weapons stockpiles in our facilities" during the 2014 Gaza war. "The reason the world found out was because we were the ones who told everyone....The publication of the incident should serve to show that we will not stand for it." (Ynet News)
- EU Drive to Label West Bank Settlement Exports Unlikely to Harm Israel - Judy Maltz
With the EU planning to require labeling of all goods produced in the West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, how much are these goods actually sold in Europe? A high-ranking Israeli authority on foreign trade matters said the overwhelming majority of industrial exports from these areas are not finished goods, but rather components - pipes, tubes, spare parts - that rarely find their way onto supermarket or department store shelves. Agricultural exports to Europe from these areas total no more than "a few million dollars," mostly dates and grapes grown in the Jordan Valley.
- How to Make Sure Iran's One-Year Nuclear Breakout Time Does Not Shrink - Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson
Iran's current timeframe for acquiring enough high-enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb - known as breakout time - is around two or three months, and the U.S. wants a deal that extends that period to at least one year.
In Washington's view, a full year would provide enough time to detect noncompliance and take diplomatic or military action if Tehran seems poised to make an illegal dash for a nuclear weapon. Yet the use of more efficient centrifuges would shorten that time, so Iran's determination to develop more advanced machines is as much a concern as, for example, its continuing retention of large low-enriched uranium stockpiles despite a commitment in the parameters that they be converted into less contentious forms.
Close attention to several technical factors is essential to the success of a nuclear deal, including the number and type of installed, operable centrifuges; Iran's inventories of enriched uranium; the dismantling of excess centrifuges; unfettered inspection access; and enhanced intelligence on and enforcement of compliance. Olli Heinonen is a senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center and a former deputy director-general for safeguards at the IAEA. Simon Henderson is director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Israel Sees Chaos on Its Borders - Ben Judah
From Majdal al-Shams in the Golan Heights, the Israeli military watches over Syria. But there is no more Syria here: every village is for itself; some are starving, or cut off, and all are armed, run by the most violent who live among them, pledging often-notional allegiance to the warlords who can protect them. The villages loyal to Assad must more and more raise their own militias to defend themselves.
What Israeli officials see replacing the states of the Middle East is an ethnic patchwork where the Jewish state is surrounded by Shiite, Druze, Sunni, and Kurdish enclave-states and they are no longer the only vulnerable ethnic-outsider. What was once considered a flight of fancy of 1948 war-hero Yigal Allon, that Israel needed to see the birth of Druze and Kurdish states to break the Arab hegemony in the Levant, is fast becoming a reality.
- Even a Limited Boycott of Israel Is Problematic - Joseph S. Spoerl
Even a limited boycott of Israel's West Bank settlements is problematic. The two-state solution envisioned by the Oslo accords was based on the assumption that the larger Jewish communities just east of the 1949 armistice line, such as the ancient Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Etzion Bloc, would be incorporated into Israel as part of any final peace treaty. Surely it is unfair to penalize Jews who wish to live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
Moreover, Israel has legitimate security interests in keeping control of the Jordan River valley and its adjacent high ground to prevent movement of terrorists and weapons into the West Bank, especially since Hamas and its Iranian supporters have openly stated their goal of arming their cadres in the West Bank.
The writer is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Saint Anselm College.
(Concord [NH] Monitor)
Don't Take an Iran Bomb Deal for Granted - David Wolpe (TIME)
- Despite repeated denials, Iran wants a bomb badly. Nuclear weapons confer power, and the Iranian regime is hungry for hegemony.
Even the negotiations themselves have provided Iran with an opportunity to advance its progress toward a bomb.
- The U.S. cannot afford to get this wrong, or to be lulled into complacency, or be grateful to get this problem off our plate. We succeeded in overcoming the Soviet threat because we never took it for granted, never tired, and always understood the gravity of a slave state as superpower. History has ratified that long, twilight struggle.
- If we sign an inadequate agreement, we won't have to wait for history to weigh in: The verdict will be clear very quickly that in a desire to be peaceable and wise, we were played for knaves and fools.
The writer is the Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
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