November 11, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Able to Enrich Uranium up to 60 Percent (Reuters)
    Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60%, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Saturday.
    See also Iran Producing More Low-Enriched Uranium Daily (Mehr-Iran)
    The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Monday that the country is now producing at least 5.5 kg. (12 pounds) of low-enriched uranium daily, compared to about 450 grams (1 pound) per day that Tehran had been producing.

Argentina Asks Azerbaijan to Arrest Iranian Involved in Jewish Center Bombing (JTA)
    Argentina has asked Azerbaijan to arrest former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati - who has been implicated in ordering the bombing in 1994 of the Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center - when he attends a conference in Baku on Nov. 14-15.

UNESCO Book Fair Offers Anti-Semitic Texts (Simon Wiesenthal Center)
    The current Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) in the UAE is being held under the auspices of UNESCO.
    Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels wrote to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay that the fair features "stand after stand of Hitler's Mein Kampf, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery, and countless titles referring to Jewish conspiracies."
    "The organizers are known to carefully vet all titles on display for Islamophobia, but leave Jew-hatred in pride of place."

India Uses Israeli Drones to Combat Smuggling on Border with Bangladesh (Sputnik-Russia)
    India's paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) has confirmed the acquisition of Israeli-made equipment to curb illegal cross-border smuggling along the country's 4,156 km. border with Bangladesh.
    These include tethered drones, thermal imaging cameras, Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensors, as well as pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras.
    The Israeli tethered drones are equipped with day and night vision cameras that capture images over a 2 km. distance.

Israeli Researchers Produce Honey without Bees - Aryeh Savir (TPS-World Israel News)
    A team of Technion researchers has developed a "bee-free" honey using engineered bacteria, which processes a nectar-like solution using secreted enzymes that mimic the honey bees' stomach environment.
    The development's significance is magnified by the decline of bee populations in many parts of the world.

Gas Production from Israel's Giant Leviathan Field to Begin in December - Simon Griver (Globes)
    Noble Energy, operator of Israel's giant Leviathan offshore gas field, said production will begin in December, noting that "the Leviathan project is ahead of schedule and below budget."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pompeo Confirms Israel's Nightmare Scenario on Iranian Nuclear Weapons - Ben Caspit
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Nov. 7: "Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran's latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran would behave with a nuclear weapon." He confirmed the estimate of Israeli intelligence that the Iranians will violate the nuclear agreement gradually, in slow steps, until they reach a range from which they could break through to a military nuclear program within a few months.
        "Unfortunately, experience teaches us that not all of the Trump administration's declarations are translated into deeds," a former high-ranking Israeli intelligence official told Al-Monitor. "This time we are reaching an existential crossroad that might force us to choose an independent path. This time this isn't North Korea, but Iran, whose declared intention is to erase Israel from the map of the world."  (Al-Monitor)
  • Erdogan Guards Attacked U.S. Secret Service in Washington in 2017, New Documents Show - Laura Kelly
    Turkish President Erdogan's visit to Washington this week is raising concerns about a repeat of violent protests from his 2017 trip. More than a dozen Turkish security officials were identified two years ago as instigating violence against protesters demonstrating outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington.
        State Department memos, written from the point of view of three U.S. security officers, detail Turkish security officers attacking both civilians and U.S. security agents in multiple instances. Two Diplomatic Security special agents, six U.S. Secret Service officers and one Metropolitan Police officer sustained multiple injuries. U.S. security agents described how seven Turkish security officials jumped out of the diplomatic convoy transporting Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to attack a lone, female protester, who "ran away and escaped being assaulted."  (The Hill)
  • Man Accused of Sending Tech Secrets to Iran
    Amin Hasanzadeh, 42, a post-doc researcher at the University of Michigan, has been accused of stealing confidential data about a secret project involving an aerospace industry supercomputer from a company in Metro Detroit and sending it to his brother, who is linked to Iran's nuclear weapons industry, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday. Hasanzadeh, a permanent resident in the U.S., is charged with fraud for lying about having served in the Iranian military, as well as interstate transportation of stolen property. (Detroit News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Facts Matter: U.S. Congressman Misled by Palestinians over Water Infrastructure in West Bank
    On Nov. 6, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) tweeted, "Yesterday, I traveled to the southern West Bank, including the Palestinian village of Susya....We watched the government utility, right before our eyes, lay in pipes right across the village's land to deliver tap water to an illegal Israeli outpost nearby."
        In response, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories tweeted on Nov. 7, "We were surprised to read @RepAndyLevin's tweet. The pipe is part of a major water infrastructure project for the region and will serve all populations in the area, mainly the Palestinians. We regret that your hosts misled you and misrepresented the situation. #factsmatter."  (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
  • Jordan to Allow Israeli Farmers to Harvest Crops from Border Enclave until May 2020
    Two areas along the Jordan border recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty under the 1994 peace treaty but leased to Israel for 25 years were declared closed by the IDF on Sunday. However, 31 Israeli farmers will be allowed access to the land until May 2020 in order to harvest crops that were planted before the lease agreement expired. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iraqi Shi'ites Demand Regime Change - Zvi Bar'el
    For over a month now, Iraqi Shi'ite youth have been flooding the streets, staging sit-down strikes in front of government buildings, and demanding regime change. There is criticism and protest by some against Iran and anger at the Shi'ite militias. These are young people with nothing to lose. Most of them have been unemployed for months. Some are university graduates who can't make a living, purchase an apartment, or start a modest business.
        The country with such huge potential for wealth and some of the largest oil reserves on earth has bled billions of dollars into the private pockets of the well-connected: senior ruling party officials, contractors who received small fortunes for projects that were never built, and army commanders who lied about the number of soldiers in their units just to sweep their salaries into their own pockets. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Polling Insights on Iraq's Shia Revolt - Munqith Dagher and Karl Kaltenthaler
    Iraq's Shia majority is protesting its Shia-dominated government. Iraq's political system is deeply riven by corruption, fails to treat the average Iraqi citizen with respect, and cannot provide basic services like clean water and electricity, much less education and healthcare. The economy is in shambles and a very large portion of Shia youth are unemployed. Polling by IIACSS found that while Sunni Iraqis have become more optimistic after the defeat of ISIS, Shia Iraqis are increasingly pessimistic about a political system that had promised so much but delivered so little.
        Unfavorable views toward Iran among Iraqi Shia have grown substantially over the last five years. In 2014, 86% had a favorable view of Iran, while in 2019 that dropped to 41%.
        Munqith Dagher is CEO of the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies (IIACSS) in Baghdad. Karl Kaltenthaler is a Professor of Political Science and Director of Security Studies at the University of Akron. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Growing Threats to Iran's Middle East Empire - Amir Taheri
    For almost two decades, Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani has been in charge of the Islamic Republic of Iran's empire-building scheme. Yet the current popular uprisings in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as Iran's humiliating marginalization in Syria, are raising doubts about Soleimani's achievements.
        To me, it is clear that Soleimani has achieved virtually nothing in Syria apart from helping prolong a tragedy that has already claimed almost a million lives and produced millions of refugees. Moreover, in the medium-term, Soleimani's militias in Lebanon are likely to be in self-preservation mode rather than acting as the vanguard of further conquests.
        Iraq is home to the third largest community of Shiite Muslims after Iran and India. However, the majority in Iraq sees itself as Iran's rival for regional leadership. For Iraqi Shiites, it is Najaf in Iraq, not Qom or Tehran in Iran, that is the beating heart of the faith. The writer was executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Gatestone Institute)
        See also The Anti-Iran Revolution Is Well Underway - Con Coughlin
    Thanks to the determination and bravery of anti-government protesters in Lebanon and Iraq, Iran's designs of regional domination in the Middle East are rapidly unraveling. The writer is defense and foreign affairs editor of the Telegraph (UK). (Gatestone Institute)

  • At the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, 95 out of 111 countries praised Iran for its human rights achievements.
  • According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, more than 200 Baha'is have been executed for their religious beliefs.
  • According to an August 2019 report from the UN Secretary-General, women in Iran face ongoing repression and discrimination. Women who object to compulsory veiling are regularly harassed and arrested. The 2018 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Iran 142 out of 149 countries.
  • Journalists, writers and media workers are routinely subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and harassment, according to a UN report. Iran is ranked by the Committee to Protect Journalists as one of the "most censored" countries in the world.
  • Freedom House gives Iran one of the lowest ratings for political and civil rights. The Guardian Council vets all candidates and rejects those who are not deemed fully loyal to the clerical establishment.
  • According to a 2018 report from Amnesty International, Iranian authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained thousands of individuals. Torture was widespread. Floggings and amputations have been carried out by the state.