June 10, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Expert: Iran Has Shortened Nuclear Breakout Time Quite Dramatically - Omri Nahmias (Jerusalem Post)
    David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told a conference call hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Monday that in its new report, "The IAEA's clearly decided to sound an alarm that Iran is not allowing access to two sites to see if there's a presence of 'undeclared uranium' or 'undeclared nuclear-related activities'."
    "What you have is the IAEA pretty much telling the world that there is a huge problem here, and that it's time for the world to get involved, to try to solve this problem."
    "We're finding that Iran has accumulated so much low-enriched uranium...it's enough material in order so that you can shorten the breakout times quite dramatically...down to as low as three months."

    See also Iran Closer to Nuclear Weapons Breakout - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh (Gatestone Institute)
    The Iranian regime is now comfortably violating all the restrictions of the nuclear deal, according to the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
    Its stockpile of low-enriched uranium is eight times what the regime was allowed under the deal.
    Yet the IAEA's recent report is still woefully underestimating the scope of the mullahs' nuclear program.
    The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, declared that Iran has an adequate supply of 20% enriched uranium - a higher enrichment level than that reported by the IAEA.
    The writer is president of the International American Council on the Middle East.

Iran's Massive Drone Force - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Iran now possesses the largest fleet of combat drones in the Middle East, its media reported on Sunday.
    The sheer number of drones, increasing ranges and recent tests, including drones that are basically kamikaze weapons, show that Iran is trying to produce as many drones as possible in preparation for future confrontations with the U.S., Israel or Saudi Arabia.

UC Davis Student Government President Vetoes Boycott Israel Resolution - Marcy Oster (JTA)
    The president of the student government at the University of California, Davis, last week vetoed a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
    Kyle Krueger said he acted "because it included minimal to no input from the Jewish community beforehand," and the resolution "has been widely condemned by Jewish students of many different sects/beliefs who feel marginalized" by it.
    Krueger said the student government has failed the campus Jewish community, pointing to a history of anti-Semitism on campus. "Our respect for the Palestinian community cannot come at the expense of the respect for the Jewish community," he said.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia, China Seek to Protect Iran from U.S. Sanctions Threat at UN - Michelle Nichols
    Russia and China have written to the Security Council and UN chief Antonio Guterres opposing U.S. threats to trigger a return of UN sanctions on Iran if the council does not extend an arms embargo due to expire in October. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wrote on May 27 that the U.S. was being "ridiculous and irresponsible," calling the U.S. move "absolutely unacceptable."
        China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, wrote on June 7, "The United States, no longer a participant to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) after walking away from it, has no right to demand the Security Council invoke a snapback." The U.S. argues it can still trigger the sanctions snapback because the 2015 UN resolution still names it as a participant. (Reuters)
        See also below Commentary: Removing the UN Arms Embargo on Iran Will Reward Tehran's Malign Actions - Col. (res.) Udi Evental (Atlantic Council)
  • Amid U.S. Tension, Iran Builds Fake Aircraft Carrier to Attack
    Iran has constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills. Seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by AP, the vessel resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz. The replica carries 16 mock-ups of fighter jets on its deck. The fake carrier's appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran's Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a mock-sinking it conducted in 2015. (AP-Boston Herald)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Considers Applying Israeli Law to Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, Home to Large Jewish Populations - Shalom Yerushalmi
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will initially announce the application of Israeli law to three West Bank blocs, top Israeli officials have said. They said Netanyahu will focus on the blocs of Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, home to large Jewish populations. Israelis believe there is relative consensus, domestically and in Washington, around Israel holding onto the three areas. The areas are relatively well-defined and would not require much mapping work. Officials believe initially focusing on the blocs would avoid some friction with Jordan. (Times of Israel)
        See also Applying Israeli Law in Parts of West Bank Expected between July and September - Ariel Kahana
    Applying Israeli law in parts of the West Bank will be implemented between July and September, diplomatic officials involved with the planning estimated on Tuesday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Reports 148 New Coronavirus Cases
    Israel's Health Ministry on Tuesday evening said 148 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the past 24 hours. As more and more businesses reopen, the number of daily infections has consistently surpassed 100.  299 people have died and there are 2,722 active patients, with 24 on ventilators. Health officials conducted 14,343 coronavirus tests on Monday. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian with Knife Caught Trying to Infiltrate Jewish Community in West Bank- Jacob Magid
    The IDF arrested a Palestinian carrying a knife just outside Itamar in the northern West Bank on Tuesday. The community's civilian security squad had spotted the man trying to cut the security fence. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran's Pre-Deal Deceptions - Editorial
    The foundation of the 2015 nuclear deal was ostensibly an honest accounting of Iran's nuclear misdeeds. Yet the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Friday, and Tehran's intransigence in denying access to two sites, make clear the country has been hiding nuclear facilities and material. The evidence raises anew the suspicion that the regime's plan was to reap the accord's economic rewards, then - assisted by hidden materials and research - move to produce a weapon once the deal's restrictions expire.
        It would be downright foolish to ease sanctions on Iran amid its IAEA dispute. There's no way to negotiate a new deal, or return to the old one, without a real accounting of the country's nuclear materials and research. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Removing the UN Arms Embargo on Iran Will Reward Tehran's Malign Actions - Col. (res.) Udi Evental
    Israeli policymakers unequivocally support the U.S. demand to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October. Removing the embargo will amount to a capitulation to Iran, which for years has repeatedly disobeyed UN Security Council resolutions forbidding it to export weapons to other countries, non-state actors, and terror organizations.
        In violation of UNSCR 1701, Iran has supplied Lebanese Hizbullah with advanced weapon systems and military technology. Iran is arming the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. Iran is transferring missiles and weapon systems to the Houthis in Yemen. In Iraq, Iran is deploying missiles and arming the Shia militias. The expectation that Iran would scale down its malign activity in the region following the 2015 nuclear deal failed the test of reality.
        Should a Russian veto block the U.S. effort to extend the embargo, Israel will actively support any American-led initiative to form a like-minded coalition of willing states that will apply a rigid arms embargo on Iran. Such an embargo would aim to increase the pressure on Russia to avoid selling problematic and balance-shifting weapon systems to Iran. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya. (Atlantic Council)
  • Jordan Fears the Palestinians - Dr. Dan Schueftan
    The Palestinian national movement is the most dangerous enemy of the Hashemite regime in Jordan. The Palestinians are eyeing not only Jaffa and Haifa, but also Amman. If an independent Palestinian state is founded in the West Bank, it will first channel its subversion efforts towards Jordan, a majority of whose residents are Palestinian. If and when it succeeds in overthrowing the Hashemite regime and linking up to radical Arab and Iranian elements in the region, it will be easier for the Palestinians to fight Israel more effectively.
        Whoever thinks that Palestinians will suffice with a small and backward state between Jenin and Jericho is pathologically addicted to self-deception. They are ignorant of one hundred years of Palestinian political culture.
        The current situation is the most comfortable for Jordan. Israeli control prevents Hamas from taking over the West Bank, and the Israeli buffer in the Jordan Valley prevents uncontrolled contact between the Palestinians and Jordan. The Jordanians have an interest in lasting Israeli control in the Jordan Valley, with or without sovereignty. The writer is head of the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)

  • Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev responded on June 8 to a letter by prominent members of the British Jewish community expressing concern at the prospect of extending Israeli law to parts of the West Bank. Regev said: "The policy of consecutive Israeli governments has in fact always been that Israeli law must be extended to parts of the West Bank as part of any final status reality."
  • "The pre-1967 lines brought Israel neither peace nor security, and it was for this reason that, in the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, the Labor governments of Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir rejected returning to those frontiers. Eshkol extended Israeli law into formerly Jordanian-controlled territory, and under Meir's government, the Allon Plan was developed, which recognized the particular strategic significance of the Jordan Valley and Golan Heights. Menachem Begin applied Israeli sovereignty to the latter some three decades ago."
  • "Yitzhak Rabin, who...as prime minister signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, firmly believed that any sustainable peace would have to be built on robust security arrangements. In his final speech before the Knesset...Rabin outlined his vision of a final status peace, which he said would demand Israeli control over the Jordan Valley 'in the broadest meaning of that term'."
  • "Israel's friends in the international community have long understood secure borders to be a cornerstone of any durable peace." Regev said the U.S. peace plan builds on the "core principles" of Israel's security being protected by "control over the Jordan Valley."
  • It was "regrettable but unsurprising that this plan was immediately rejected outright by the Palestinian leadership, who dogmatically cling to one-sided UN and EU 'peace plans' that consistently ignore Israel's vital concerns."
  • Rejecting suggestions that Israel's "international standing" will be undermined, Regev said, "In moving forward, Israel's new unity government will remain cognizant of our steadily improving relations across the Arab and Muslim world, and our critically important partnership with Jordan."
  • "We will continue to engage with Washington about how best to seize the historic opportunities inherent in the American initiative, which offers the hope of a more peaceful and secure future. It is high time for the Palestinians to come to the table and constructively do the same."

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