September 23, 2019

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05/01 Links Pt1: Derisive response to PM’s exposé shows world still refusing to get real on Iran; Iran’s past lies are very important now

From Ian:

Iran’s past lies are very important now
Exposing Iran’s past lies is an important tool for inspectors in their pursuit of current truths.

On Monday Netanyahu said the new trove contains evidence that Iran’s Project Amad was “a comprehensive program to design, build and test 5 warheads, each with 10 kilotons TNT yield, for integration on a missile.”

Did the program go away after the JCPOA was enacted? If so, the 2015 deal deserves the accolades of those who continue chiming that the Iranian are “in compliance.”

But after establishing that the deal was based on past Iranian lies, and presenting new documentation to back it up, Netanyahu sounds more credible when he assesses that Iran is storing the material in a secret place “to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.”

Especially that Tehran refuses to make the former head of the Amad Project, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, available for inspectors’ interviews. (Fakhrizadeh, a major player in Iran’s military research, is designated by the United Nations for international sanctions.)

The more we know about how Iran deceived us in the past about the depth of its program and its true intentions, the less we can confidently argue that Iran is currently in “full compliance.”

Netanyahu made his presentation after hosting new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Israel and after concluding a telephone call with President Trump Saturday. Contrary to instant commentary, Trump was not the target audience for the drama. Netanyahu made clear the US, as well as other close allies, already have the material Israel unearthed (the IAEA will get it soon, he added.)

Instead, by giving a pause to those, especially in Europe, who maintain that the nuclear deal is “working,” he forced them to try harder to “fix” the JCPOA if they want Trump not to “nix” it.

The deadline is May 12. Tick tock.

Stop playing make-believe

The information revealed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday was meant to prod the international community to stop playing make-believe around the Iranian issue. It essentially shows us that another Iran, benevolent and responsible, does not exist – rather only the same old Iran, dangerous and manipulative, which unrestrained will plunge the entire world into a hazardous tailspin. Israeli officials had poured over this material for several weeks.

Before it was made public, it was also transferred to the Americans, and now it will pass on to other friendly countries – specifically those signed to the nuclear deal with Tehran. Although none of this information is new or implicates Iran of currently violating the nuclear deal, peeling the Iranians’ mask off isn’t only geared toward pushing Trump to annul the deal (which is expected to happen May 12), but toward reforging an international coalition to again force Iran into a corner – among other means by exploiting its shoddy economy and deepening social rifts between conservatives and reformists. Israel has a double interest in this regard: First, Israel fears a nuclear Iran and wants to delay its path to a bomb as long as possible; and second, it hopes that exposing Iran’s activities at this juncture will also disrupt its efforts to establish a foothold in Syria.

These interlocking tracks have yet to garner a great deal of empathy from a fatigued international community (outside of Washington) still hoping to find big and easy money in Iran. Consequently, Israel has been abandoned in this fight. Alone, it has had to gather the intelligence used to expose Iran’s clandestine nuclear efforts (an extraordinary achievement by the intelligence community, spearheaded by the Mossad) and its activities in Syria.

Ben-Dror Yemini: Trump’s ‘madness’ may be doing the trick

The nuclear agreement with Iran is a bad agreement, mainly because it gave the Shi’ite country an open-ended ticket to a Middle Eastern expansion. Since the agreement was signed, Iran has turned into a regional power that controls—fully or partially—Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and influences Hamas as well. And its appetite is only growing.

It’s true that Iran is in the middle of an economic crisis. It’s true that the Iranian currency is collapsing. It’s true that there are different streams in Iran. But the thing is, as an exiled Iranian professor told me a decade ago, the Iranian regime doesn’t go by rational or conventional rules. Its logic is similar to Hamas’ logic: The most important thing is the damage inflicted on the enemy, regardless of the harm to Iran’s residents. That’s why it’s more important to invest a fortune in a military infrastructure in Syria than to solve Iran’s economic problems. Just like Hamas prefers to invest tens of millions of dollars in the industry of death than in the Gaza Strip’s reconstruction.

We must admit that the rational Western approach has failed miserably in the face of the North Korean and Iranian madness. Appeasement is perceived as weakness. So to make some kind of change, there may be a need for an American leader whose conduct is slightly “insane.” In this sense, contrary to what I myself thought, the Trump method may be providing to yield dividends. Kim wouldn’t have changed his stance if it weren’t for Trump’s tough stance.

Which leads us to the Palestinian arena. An American success vis-à-vis Pyongyang will weaken Tehran’s bargaining position, which in turn will affect Trump’s peace plan in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s possible, just possible, that the US is delaying the presentation of its peace plan until it reaches a much stronger position after the developments in the Korean and Iranian arenas.

In recent months, the Palestinians have adopted an ultra-scornful approach towards the US in general and Trump in particular. It’s possible that in a few weeks from now, they will meet a new Trump. Granted, that won’t make them give up fantasies like “the right of return,” and the right-wing government in Israel would not rush to accept a peace plan which includes conceding most of Judea and Samaria. But there is a difference between a plan presented by an inarticulate and rejected Trump and a peace plan presented by a president who has scored considerable achievements in the international arena.

We are in the midst of a fascinating diplomatic chess game. Trump is making unpredictable and unrecommended moves in every sphere, including moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. There’s no need to be one of his fans to admit that if he succeeds, we’ll be living in a slightly more civilized world. And I will be forced to eat my hat too. Inshallah.

David Horovitz: Derisive response to PM’s exposé shows world still refusing to get real on Iran

We knew they were lying, and that’s why we cut a lousy deal with them that allowed them to boast that they had faced down and outsmarted the West.

We knew they were lying, and that’s why, when the sanctions had finally put them on the ropes, we cut a lousy deal with them that lifted the economic pressure — and thus entrenched their repressive regime in power, the better to oppress their own people, and gave them the financial resources to spread havoc and bloodshed throughout the region.

It must have been galling for the P5+1 negotiators and their defenders to watch that irritating Netanyahu strutting around in front of those shelves of files and those racks of CDs, claiming vindication and underlining the negotiators’ scandalous failure.

But the fact is that the 2015 deal was a terrible, misconstructed accord. It let the duplicitous Iranians off the hook. It did not dismantle the weapons program they still lie about. It did not close their path to a nuclear weapons arsenal.

I wonder when the negotiators and their defenders will finally apologize for their failure. When Iran starts testing its nukes, perhaps? Or will they still be sneering then?

Full text of Netanyahu on Iran deal: ‘100,000 files right here prove they lied’

Full text of a presentation by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran’s nuclear program, in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2018. (Netanyahu, who began by hailing one of the “greatest achievements” of Israeli intelligence in obtaining the material he was showcasing, spoke in English and later delivered a Hebrew summary.)

Good evening.

Tonight, we’re going to show you something that the world has never seen before. Tonight, we are going to reveal new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.

We’re going to show you Iran’s secret nuclear files.

You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons. You can listen to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: “I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons.” You can listen to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani: “Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions.” This is repeated by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: “We didn’t have any program to develop nuclear weapons. Anyway, we consider nuclear weapons both irrational as well as immoral.”

Well, tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time.

White House: Iran Had a Robust, Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program

The United States is aware of the information just released by Israel and continues to examine it carefully. This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people. The Iranian regime has shown it will use destructive weapons against its neighbors and others. Iran must never have nuclear weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State: The Iran Nuclear Deal Was Built on Iran’s Lies

For many years, the Iranian regime has insisted to the world that its nuclear program was peaceful. The documents obtained by Israel from inside of Iran show beyond any doubt that the Iranian regime was not telling the truth. I have personally reviewed many of the Iranian files. Our nonproliferation and intelligence officials have been analyzing tens of thousands of pages and translating them from Farsi. This analytical work will continue for many months. We assess that the documents we have reviewed are authentic.

The documents show that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program for years. Iran sought to develop nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. Iran hid a vast atomic archive from the world and from the IAEA — until today.

Among the flaws of the Iran nuclear deal was the whitewashing of Iran’s illicit activities related to its military nuclear program. Iran had many opportunities over the years to turn over its files to international inspectors from the IAEA and admit its nuclear weapons work. Instead, they lied to the IAEA repeatedly. They also lied about their program to the six nations who negotiated the Iran nuclear deal. What this means is the deal was not constructed on a foundation of good faith or transparency. It was built on Iran’s lies. Iran’s nuclear deception is inconsistent with Iran’s pledge in the nuclear deal “that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons.”

Pompeo: U.S. has known about Iran nuclear files for ‘a while’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged that the United States had known about Israel’s cache of stolen documents about Iran’s nuclear program “for a while.”

Pompeo told reporters on the airplane traveling from Jordan to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington that he had been aware of the existence of the documents, and that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had discussed them when they met in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

“I know there are people talking about these documents not being authentic,” he added. “I can confirm for you that these documents are real; they’re authentic.”

Pompeo said that the files “spell out the scope and scale of the program that they undertook there, and I think makes – I think makes very clear that, at the very least, the Iranians have continued to lie to their own people. So while you say everyone knew, the Iranians have consistently taken the position that they’ve never had a program like this. This will – this will belie any notion that there wasn’t a program like this.”

He added that the administration would “leave that to lawyers,” when asked if there was there anything in there that suggests there’s an actual violation of the 2016 agreement.”

Minister Katz lauds ‘one of greatest intelligence operations in Israel’s history’

A day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released information collected by the Mossad on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz says he assumes the Iranians knew Israel got its hand on the files that same night.

“When the idea of the operation was first presented, I didn’t think it was feasible,” Katz said in an interview at the Ynet Studio on Monday. “What they did here is unprecedented. They took tons of authentic documents and brought them here.”

According to Katz, the information provides Israel with an advantage in the international arena against Iran.

“From an operational aspect, this is amazing, and all credit goes to the Mossad people. This is one of the greatest intelligence operations in the State of Israel’s history.

“This information significantly embarrasses Iran and presents it as a liar,” the minister added. “What happened yesterday arrived at a two-month delay. The Iranian leadership was aware of the fact that Israel got its hands on its most classified documents. The instruction to hide them was issued after the agreement was signed in 2015 and they wanted to hide the deception so that they would be able to use it in the future.”

A fantastic intelligence feat

One can argue whether what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed from the Iranian nuclear archive constitutes a smoking gun and debate its significance as pertains to Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. One cannot, however, dismiss the intelligence agency’s accomplishment.

The Israeli intelligence community has once again proved it has extraordinary capabilities. Reaching the secret archives, stored in an ordinary building in the heart of Iran so as not to attract the attention of foreign intelligence agencies, entering the facility and transferring the contents of those archives to Israel – these are all abilities that will remain important in future efforts to identify any Iranian attempt to deviate from the framework of the nuclear accord.

What should the Iranians internalize from the successful Israeli operation? They should understand that they have been penetrated, that Israel has the ability to reach the most sensitive places in Tehran and that they should think twice before they act. Even if it does not provide evidence of a current Iranian violation of the 2015 deal, this accomplishment by Israeli intelligence serves to delay to a certain extent any future violation by Iran.

The deal commits two grave sins that must be reckoned with: It allows the Iranians to continue to develop ballistic missiles and more explicitly, allows them to develop a new generation of centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. As a result, when the accord expires, the Iranians will find themselves much better off: possessing long-range missiles and centrifuges that are 10 or even 20 times faster than those they had before the deal. They could then return to the nuclear archive and easily pick up where they left off. This begs the question: Why did they risk holding on to an archive that could incriminate them and show the world their bold-faced lies?

U.S. Confirms Authenticity of Secret Iran Nuclear Docs, Officials See Game Over for Deal

U.S. officials and congressional insiders view the disclosure Monday by Israel of Iran’s ongoing efforts to develop a nuclear weapon as game over for the landmark nuclear deal, telling the Washington Free Beacon that new evidence of Iran’s top secret nuclear workings makes it virtually impossible for President Donald Trump to remain in the agreement.

Senior Trump administration officials confirmed the findings as authentic and praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s for disclosing thousands of secret documents proving Iran lied about its past work on a nuclear warhead, telling the Free Beacon the revelation was a “powerful presentation” by Israel outlining why the Iran deal must be fixed or killed.

U.S. officials who reviewed the secret documents confirmed their authenticity and said that Israel has shared the information fully with the United States, most likely to help build the case for Trump to abandon the nuclear deal, rather than try to fix what the White House views as a series of insurmountable flaws.

A State Department official confirmed to the Free Beacon Monday evening that it is “aware of the information just released” by Israel and is “examining it carefully.”

“The United States has reviewed many of the documents Israel has obtained relating to Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” an official confirmed to the Free Beacon. “We assess that the documents that we have reviewed are authentic.”

Mossad’s stunning op in Iran overshadows the actual intelligence it stole

Israel’s newly acquired half-ton of Iranian nuclear plans show the Islamic Republic lied and continues to lie about its desire to obtain an atomic bomb — but that was already well established. The trove also undoubtedly provides vastly more information about the specific, technical details of its weapons programs than was known before — if nothing else, this is a potentially massive score for historians and nuclear scientists.

The revelation of the Mossad’s operation in Iran can also be seen as a display of force directed at the Islamic Republic, an embarrassing and public reminder of the far reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

For Israel, this might be of value especially now, in light of its long-simmering fight against Iranian entrenchment in Syria, which is threatening to boil over following a number of high-profile airstrikes against Iranian targets in the country, many of which have been attributed to the Jewish state.

Defense analyst David Makovsky from the Washington Institute of Near East Policy said the operation was “an intel achievement no less than Stuxnet,” the computer virus that attacked Iran’s centrifuges, which is widely believed to have been a joint Israeli-American cyber operation.

Alas, Netanyahu did not share the specifics of the Mossad’s heist. Who cracked the safes? How do you transport a half-ton of paper documents in one night without anyone noticing? Why not move the files from the CDs to far more portable flash media?

We’ll have to wait for the movie to find out.

How did the Mossad seize troves of Iranian nuclear evidence?

Anything can be smuggled, including heavy, bulky items, such as home appliances. Many of the regions on Iran’s border are dominated by minority groups that loathe the regime. These groups include Kurds and the Baloch people, among others. The Financial Times article mentioned Iranian Kurds in Baneh, not far from Iraq. It claimed that some businessmen, even those working for state industries, ran a thriving smuggling business. Many poor families in these area have been reduced to smuggling as a result of the oppression of the regime, which does not hesitate to shoot smugglers who get caught, along with the horses they use.

A story on Radio Free Europe in 2017 claimed that hundreds have been killed for smuggling or on suspicion of smuggling by Iranian authorities.

If the mountain route seems dangerous, a smuggler can choose a less-dangerous sea route. In January, the Iran Border Guard Command, or coast guard, stopped eight freighters filled with smuggled items – including 15,000 blankets and 13,000 cans of soda – that were crossing from the Gulf Arab states into Iran’s Khuzestan Province.

Smugglers ply the Persian Gulf in a brisk trade. When dark settles on the Strait of Hormuz, speedboats rush goods back and forth between Iran and Oman. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps also, according to a report by Reuters last August, operates its own smuggling network, in which guardsmen “funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies” in Yemen.

How? They send parts of missiles, launchers and drugs via Kuwait, according to one Iranian official. In July 2017, Bahrain stopped an Iranian smuggling operation and found 33 kilograms of hashish and one kilogram of methamphetamine.

The picture that is being painted of Iran’s borders is one of thousands of kilometers of underdeveloped areas teeming with lawlessness and smugglers. Everything from bulldozers to missiles, convoys of oil trucks and carpets are going back and forth.

Through the thriving shadow economy – even with Iran’s crackdown after the nuclear deal was signed in 2015 – a half-ton of old CDs and some binders would have passed unnoticed. Or you could simply scan them onto a thumb drive.

Netanyahu on Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘If You Want Peace, Oppose This Deal’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday that arguments in defense of the Iran nuclear deal are flawed and those who want peace should oppose the deal.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo told Netanyahu that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the Iran deal was made with the understanding Iran would try to cheat.

“So it wasn’t done assuming that they would change as a state actor,” Cuomo said. “Nobody went into it with their eyes closed to that reality. But it’s better than nothing, right? If there were no deal in place right now, you would have no idea what’s going on.”

Netanyahu said he disagreed with that assessment, but Cuomo continued to push back, saying “If by all accounts Iran has slowed or stopped what it was doing prior to the deal, how would you be safer without a deal?”

“There are many premises that are incorrect in your statement,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister argued that if you have a “dangerous deal,” it is dangerous whether or not Iran is violating it or not.

“It’s completely flawed. It’s based on lies,” he said.

Netanyahu: European delegations will come to examine Iran evidence

Delegations from Germany, France and the United Kingdom plan to arrive in Israel as early as this weekend to study a trove of 100,000 Iranian nuclear documents Israel secretly managed to obtain from a hidden vault in Tehran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the leaders of those E3 countries after he unveiled some of the documents at a televised press conference on Sunday night. He then spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as China’s Xi Jinping.

Those two nations have yet to decide whether or to accept his invitation.

Israel obtained the documents from the Iranian vault in February and Netanyahu personally presented the information to US President Donald Trump at a meeting between the two men in Washington on March 5.

Trump agreed that Israel would publish the information before May 12, the date by which he is due to decide whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers – the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

All of the secret documents, which are in the original Farsi, have been studied by all relevant authorities.

EU: Netanyahu exposé erodes Iran’s credibility, but that’s why we needed deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations about Iran’s past illicit nuclear weapons program do somewhat diminish the Islamic Republic’s credibility, but Iran’s dishonesty is one of the reasons why the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran was necessary in the first place, according to a European diplomat.

“All of this obviously raises some questions regarding Iran’s credibility,” the official told The Times of Israel on Monday evening, immediately after Netanyahu had concluded his presentation, in which he detailed Iran’s nuclear weapons as documented through to 2015 in Iran’s own archive, obtained by Israeli intelligence. “But we made the nuclear deal precisely because we don’t trust the Iranians, not because we considered them very trustworthy.”

Commenting later Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini similarly argued that six world powers struck the nuclear deal with Iran precisely because of Tehran’s history of lying about its secret nuclear weapons programs.

The pact “was put in place exactly because there was no trust between the parties; otherwise we would not have required a nuclear deal to be put in place,” she said.

Netanyahu failed to present any evidence showing that Iran was violating the terms of the agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, she stated.

“What I have seen from the first reports is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not put into question Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA commitments, meaning post-2015 nuclear commitments,” she said in response to Netanyahu’s presentation, delivered at the Tel Aviv headquarters of Israel’s defense establishment.

Putin, Macron urge ‘strict observance’ of Iran nuclear accord

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for the “strict observance” of the current Iran nuclear accord, with US President Donald Trump still deciding whether to scrap the agreement.

“The Presidents of Russia and France spoke in favor of keeping the plan and its strict observance,” the Kremlin said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The statement was released after Macron called Putin to inform him of his talks with Trump in the United States.

Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide on the fate of the Iran nuclear accord and is demanding changes that European capitals believe would represent a legal breach.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the mercurial US president had not yet decided whether to scrap the accord.

Macron, who held talks with Trump last week, has positioned himself as an emissary for European officials seeking a compromise that would keep the deal intact.

Macron had earlier proposed an additional deal that extends Iran’s nuclear restrictions.

Profiling the ‘father of the Iranian bomb’

Present at a North Korean nuclear test

“If Iran one day attains nuclear weapons, Fakhrizadeh will be known as the bomb’s father,” a Western diplomat told the Reuters news agency in the past. A senior Iranian official echoed his sentiments, dubbing the shadowy figure an “asset” and an expert.

Fakhrizadeh dedicated all of his time to the country’s technological development, he added, and was afforded the full support of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The 57 year old is considered to have headed Iran’s nuclear program, known as Project 111 or Project Amad. An IAEA report from 2010 noted that Fakhrizadeh, then a senior officer for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was still in positions relating to Iranian efforts to attain nuclear weapons.

In fact, the nuclear scientist was the only one explicitly singled out by name in the annex to the international nuclear watchdog’s serious report on Iran’s nuclear program.

His name was again floated in a 2007 United Nations resolution regarding his alleged involvement in nuclear research and ballistic missiles. Another IAEA report published the following year once again mentioned him briefly.

In 2013, Western intelligence sources revealed that Fakhrizadeh had attended a North Korean nuclear weapons test held that same year.

Iranian media, on the other hand, has almost never made mention of the scientist. In 2006, the Iranian news agency Mehr described him as a scientist working for the Defense Ministry and former head of a physics research institute. Several Iranian websites, meanwhile, characterized him as a university physics professor.

Iran warns it will further enrich uranium if US exits nuclear deal

Iran has the technical capability to enrich uranium to a higher level than it could before a multinational nuclear deal was reached to curb its nuclear program, state TV quoted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has given world powers involved in a 2015 deal meant to curb Iran’s nuclear aspirations a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” in the agreement, or he will withdraw from it, effectively burying it.

Salehi warned Trump against taking that course.

“Iran is not bluffing,” he said. “Technically, we are fully prepared to enrich uranium higher than we used to produce before the deal was reached.”

“I hope Trump comes to his senses and stays in the deal,” Salehi added.

Under the deal, which led to the lifting of most international sanctions in 2016, Iran’s level of uranium enrichment cannot exceed 3.6%.

Iran mocks Israeli prime minister as ‘boy who cried wolf’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif derided Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, shortly after Israel declassified documents Netanyahu said prove Iran lied about not pursuing nuclear weapons on the eve of a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

“Breaking: The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again,” Zarif tweeted after Netanyahu staged a presentation Monday, unveiling what he termed a “half a ton” of documents procured by Israeli intelligence agents proving Iranian deception.

Mocking Netanyahu’s use of a cartoon bomb diagram in a 2012 address at the United Nations General Assembly, the tweet said Iran was “undeterred by the cartoon fiasco at UNGA. You can only fool some of the people so many times.”

Zarif called Israel’s accusations regarding Tehran’s nuclear program “old allegations” that had already been resolved in the past by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On May 12, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to decide whether to restore crippling economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 agreement. Should he decide to reimpose sanctions, the deal, meant to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, would effectively collapse.

‘No credible indications’ of Iran nuclear weapons program after 2009 – IAEA

The UN’s nuclear watchdog reiterated Tuesday it had “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009,” citing its assessments from 2015.

A spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement that its board of governors had “declared that its consideration of this issue was closed” after it was presented with a report in December 2015.

The statement came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled what he said was new “proof” that Iran’s nuclear weapons program could be reactivated at any time.

Without referring to Netanyahu’s claims directly, the IAEA spokesman said the agency “evaluates all safeguards-relevant information available to it.

“However, it is not the practice of the IAEA to publicly discuss issues related to any such information,” he added.

Netanyahu said on Monday that he would share the material with other countries and with the IAEA.

In the statement, the IAEA pointed to its previous findings relating to Iran’s activities before 2009.

Claims Iran is complying with the JCPOA are not true

Like the provisions of “Section T,” the issue is not non-compliance but that we can not be sure Iran is complying.

Iran was in violation of the provision limiting the number of advanced centrifuges. ” It had also run 13-15 IR-6 centrifuges in a cascade that was supposed to be limited to ten centrifuges.” But lucky for them, some of their other centrifuges broke down putting them in compliance again.

Here’s the bottom line according to ISIS:

Iran has repeatedly tested the boundaries of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in many cases crossed the line into a violation. Many of these violations and efforts to push the boundaries have not been reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its quarterly reports to member states, reflecting a failing on its part. But the information is not classified, and we have reported on these violations and controversies in previous reports.

The IAEA can only report that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA because of its refusal to report its violations, along with its refusal to push the issue of military site inspections per the terms of the JCPOA deal, thus giving the rogue regime cover to violate the deal where or whenever it wants.

These aren’t the only reasons President Trump should pull out of the deal, just a review of compliance, Reasons Trump should pull out of the deal are outlined here Why Trump MUST Pull Out Of The Iran Nuclear Deal.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Khamenei Finds Mossad Tunnel Behind Poster Of Raquel Welch (satire)

Iran’s Supreme Leader discovered a secret passageway in his headquarters that Israeli intelligence used in obtaining a large quantity of classified material on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program, PreOccupied Territory has learned, after checking behind a large photo of a Hollywood sex symbol of the 1960’s and 70’s.

According to eyewitness accounts, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei flew into a rage at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s televised presentation Monday night detailing the printed and magnetic media that the Mossad had obtained in a bold operation from deep inside a facility thought to be secure. During the tirade the Supreme Leader seized a chess piece and flung it at a poster of Raquel Welch from a publicity still for the 1966 film One Million B.C. that features the actress in a doe-skin bikini. Instead of bouncing off the solid wall behind the poster, the piece pierced the paper and disappeared, making faint noises of clanking down a tunnel. Khamenei and his staff peeled back the Welch poster to reveal the entrance to a tunnel wide enough to fit the boxes of archival material that the Mossad had stolen.

Subsequent investigation found that the tunnel led outside the facility, to a spot where Mossad agents are now thought to have loaded the binders and discs into a crate for a flight out of the country. The revelation threatens to undermine the prestige and authority of the Supreme Leader, whose abuses of power have become well-known, but whose allies and strongmen have so far managed to avoid or suppress long-term negative consequences. Israel’s access to the sensitive archival material and Netanyahu’s willingness to share it with others such as US President Donald Trump carries dangerous implications for the survival of President Obama’s 2015 deal with Iran to limit the latter’s nuclear weapons program, as it demonstrates Khamenei and his officials have been less than forthright about the regime’s past efforts in that regard, calling into question their commitment to the deal.

3 Palestinians charged with planning attack for Hamas

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged three Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem with planning to carry out an attack against Israelis on behalf of the Hamas terrorist group.

According to the indictment filed at the Jerusalem District Court, Naseem Hamada, Izz al-Din Atun and Obeida Amira were “terrorist operatives” known to Israeli security services.

The three, all from East Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighborhood, were charged with contact with a foreign agent, membership in a terrorist organization and conspiring to carry out a terror attack.

A fourth suspect, identified only as A.A., was under investigation for suspected involvement in planning the attack, but the state prosecutor’s office has yet to decide whether to file charges against him.

The charge sheet said Hamada, Atun and Amira were arrested in “recent weeks” after a joint police-Shin Bet operation uncovered their plan to open fire on IDF soldiers at a bus stop outside the settlement of Oranit, in the central West Bank.

During interrogation, Hamada revealed that he was the group’s ringleader, and was taking orders from Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip.

Bracing for an Israel-Iran Confrontation in Syria

Israel and Iran are on course for a collision in the near future. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is determined to transform Syria into a platform for a future war against Israel. The past five years have already seen more than 120 Israeli Air Force strikes against weapons shipments to Hizbullah, Iranian attempts to instigate cross-border incidents along the Golan Heights, and Israeli targeting of arms-production facilities introduced by Iran.

Despite harboring deep suspicions about the Sunni rebel groups conducting the uprising against Assad, Israel nevertheless yearned to see Assad’s downfall. The removal of the Assad regime would deprive Iran of what Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called “the golden ring in the chain of resistance” against Israel.

The Iranian loss of Syria – following an investment of $20 billion to prop up the regime – could reduce a mighty Hizbullah proxy force to an isolated actor in Lebanon. Iran would thus be blocked from implementing its regional plan, based on surrounding Israel with Iranian allies and forging land corridors from its borders all the way west to the Mediterranean.

Since August 2015, Iran has focused on its long-term campaign to deepen its offensive capabilities within Syrian territory. At least five Syrian air bases already accommodate Iranian units, along with their UAVs, missiles, and intelligence facilities. The number of Shi’a and other militiamen at Iran’s disposal in Syria is steadily growing, and their training and equipment are improving.

Contacts between Israel and Iran through a variety of Track II channels have failed to produce any prospect for near-term tacit understandings. The Iranians refuse to consider any restriction on their activities in Syria or toning down of their calls for the destruction of the “Zionist regime.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has privately told Western interlocutors that he does not want Syria to become a “Persian colony” and that he has no interest in watching a war erupt between Iran and Israel. However, the Kremlin still requires the Iran-sponsored militias to complete the destruction of the remaining rebel bastions. Therefore, it may take time before Putin is willing to rein in his Iranian allies.

Above all, to prevent an all-out Israel-Iran war, which could easily expand to Lebanon and Gaza, the U.S. must lend its support to a sustained Israeli campaign to destroy Iranian facilities in Syria and continuously raise the cost of the IRGC effort, to the point that both Tehran and Damascus will have to reconsider its viability.

Satellite captures destruction on Syrian base after alleged Israeli strike

An Israeli satellite company on Monday revealed the damage caused to at least 13 buildings on an allegedly Iranian-controlled military base in northern Syria by an airstrike the previous day.

Late Sunday night, explosions were reported at two alleged Iranian facilities in northwestern Syria, one near the city of Hama and the other near Aleppo.

The immediate effects of the Hama strike — a massive fireball — could be seen from kilometers away and registered a 2.6 on the Richter scale on nearby seismographs.

he attack on the weapons depot destroyed some 200 surface-to-surface rockets, a member of the pro-regime coalition told The New York Times.

Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin noted that the size of the blast indicated the rockets were equipped with powerful explosives.

Iran has few options to avenge alleged Israeli strikes in Syria

After a second suspected Israeli strike killed Iranian forces in Syria this week, the Islamic Republic has few ways to retaliate as its leaders wrestle with both unrest at home and the prospect of its nuclear deal collapsing abroad.

Though it has long made threats about Israel’s existence, Iran doesn’t have a modern air force to take on Israel. Launching ballistic missiles also remains a question mark, considering Israel’s anti-missile defense system, the near-certainty of massive Israeli retaliation and the risk of further alienating the West as US President Donald Trump threatens to withdraw from the atomic accord.

Meanwhile, Iran’s long-favored strategy of relying on allied groups and proxies faces limits as well. Hezbollah, now bloodied and battered from Syria’s long war, may not have the appetite for another conflict as the Shiite terrorist group tries to further integrate into local Lebanese politics.

Here’s a look at what happened and the challenges confronting Iran as it weighs its response.

Iranian women sneak into soccer game dressed as men

A group of female soccer fans from Iran last week sneaked into a stadium dressed as men to watch a championship game, in defiance of the Islamic Republic’s strict religious law.

The women wore men’s clothes, donned fake wigs and beards to slip past security guards at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch their favorite team be crowned national champions.

Images of the young women watching Persepolis beat Sepidrood Rasht 3-0 on Friday from deep in the stands surrounded by men went viral on social media and earned praise from activists.

Women have been barred from attending soccer games, and some other sports events since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with officials saying they must be protected from the “vulgar atmosphere.”

ISIS Leader Faces Backlash After ‘Caliphate Correspondents’ Dinner’ Roast (satire)

ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum for his performance at the annual Caliphate Correspondents’ Dinner, with many observers calling his speech offensive.

Baghdadi’s performance began well, with jokes about his terror group’s diminishing territory. “I know things haven’t been going so well for us recently,” Baghdadi acknowledged. “Even Toys R Us called us to offer condolences.”

But when he turned his attention to US President Donald Trump, Baghdadi’s speech turned from light-hearted satire to mean-spirited fat-shaming. “So the US says it’s going to make Kim Jong Un get rid of all his atomic weapons, but have you seen the guy? I doubt he’d even give up his atomic wings,” Baghdadi said to groans from the audience. “And Trump doesn’t look much better. I heard he just fired [Defense Secretary] Mad Dog Mattis and appointed Colonel Sanders!”

Things just got worse from there. Baghdadi turned to Gaza, where protestors on the edge of the strip have burnt tires to obstruct the vision of Israeli snipers. “You know, when we burnt tires,” Baghdadi reminisced, “they had people inside them.”

Once again, however, the tone shifted from fun to offensive, as Baghdadi resorted to bald-shaming the Israeli prime minister. “Israel says it shot those Palestinian journalists because they posed a threat,” Baghdadi said. “But I suspect they somehow found out that Bibi [Netanyahu]’s hair is a combover.”

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