January 21, 2021

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05/10 Links Pt1: Melanie Phillips: Doing what comes naturally – the West’s suicidal animus; To whom does the land of Israel belong? Ask Robert F. Kennedy


From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Doing what comes naturally – the West’s suicidal animus
As around 700 rockets rained down on southern Israel last weekend, leaving four Israelis dead and many more wounded, many in Western media were doing what comes naturally to them – suspending the normal rules of journalism to distort, twist or lie.

The usual, fundamental errors littered their reports – such as that Gaza was “occupied,” regardless of the fact that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.

There was the usual reversal of aggressor and victim, with sly implications of moral equivalency between Arab attack and Israeli defense.

There was the usual eagerness to believe the propaganda produced by the attackers, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and a corresponding unwillingness to believe the factual claims by their Israeli victims.

A number of British media outlets led their reports with the false accusation that a pregnant Gazan woman and her 14-month-old baby had been killed by the Israeli strikes. In fact, as PIJ eventually admitted, they were killed by a malfunctioning rocket fired from Gaza.

Some outlets corrected this error; others did not. None, though, pointed out that these particular casualties furnished graphic evidence that the Gazan warmongers weren’t only targeting Israeli innocents but using their own Gazan people as human shields by putting missiles in and around civilian homes – thus committing war crimes twice over.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, politicians on the Left were doing what comes naturally to them – either ignoring this latest, murderous onslaught from Gaza against Israeli civilians, or bashing Israel for its own victimization.

In the US, while President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence tweeted their support for Israel’s defense of its citizens and condemned the attacks by Hamas and PIJ, not one Democratic presidential contender saw fit to condemn the attacks from Gaza.

While some Democrats did back Israel, there was no party censure for their two Muslim congresswomen, who typically chose to defame Israel even as its citizens were being bombarded by Arab missiles.

To whom does the land of Israel belong? Ask Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy wrote a clear explanation of this despicable behaviour against Israel. In excerpts of his articles written in1948, while in his early twenties when he was in Israel working for the Boston Post, he gives examples of this collusion. He warned America that Jewish Rights in Israel were being trampled upon by both the British and the Arabs.

Robert F. Kennedy wrote that he grew to admire the Jewish inhabitants of the Land. When he became a Senator in 1965 he became a strong supporter and advocate for Israel until his assassination during his Presidential Campaign in June 5, 1968, exactly twenty years after he had published his June 5, 1948 articles favouring Israel. The assassin was a Palestinian terrorist who disapproved of Robert Kennedy’s support for Eretz Israel. Robert F. Kennedy died 26 hours after being shot.

I found Robert F. Kennedy to be a far more honourable man than I had thought, he stood on solid moral ground in his defence of a Jewish Eretz Israel. I think that he should be considered to be among the “Righteous of the Nations.”

Boston Post- Headline – “British Position Hit in Palestine. Kennedy says they seek to crush the Jewish Cause because they are Not in accord with it.”

“Once again the land of Israel was desolate and underdeveloped before the Jewish migration. (By Robert F. Kennedy June 5, 1948.)”

American Jews must never forget the execution of Habib Elghanian

As President Trump today announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran Deal, May 9th will mark a very painful day for many Iranian Jews worldwide who will remember the unjust execution of their community leader, Habib Elghanian 39 years ago at the hands of the current Iranian regime. While many American Jews may not remember or even know who Elghanian was, for my community of Iranian Jews, he was a remarkable leader whose execution sparked a mass exodus of Jews from Iran. Elghanian’s brutal execution has left a painful scare in the hearts and minds of countless Jews who fled Iran after the current Islamic regime took power in the country. After more than 2,500 years of living in Iran we, the Jews were suddenly and violently uprooted in massive numbers after receiving news of Elghanian’s execution by the new regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini. With many of America’s Ashkenazi Jews supporting former President Obama and other prominent Democrats who backed the disastrous Iran Deal three years ago, the time has long passed for the American Jewish community to wake up and realize that this regime in Iran is seeking a second mass genocide of the Jewish people. The time has come for us as American Jews to remember Elghanian’s shameful killing by the Iranian regime and see it as the best example of the regime’s undying hatred for Jews and that it cannot be trusted with nuclear technology nor nuclear weapons.

Habib Elghanian was among the most affluent industrialists in Iran and the leader of the Jewish community in Iran. He, along with his business savvy brothers, pulled themselves up by their own boot-straps out of the poverty-stricken Jewish ghetto in Tehran to become successful captains of industry in the country. He was not only a proud Jew but an even more proud Iranian nationalist who believed in helping the nation of Iran grow and prosper during its 20th century age of modernizing. He not only built the first modern high-rise in Iran in the early 1960s, but hired thousands of Iranians of all faiths in his many industrial companies. Along with his business success, Elghanian was quite philanthropic towards Iran’s Jews and non-Jews. He even contributed financially to the building of a mosque in Tehran which was in the midst of construction and the builders had run out of money! For nearly two decades I have interviewed scores of friends, family members and colleagues of Elghanian who swore that he had an unconditional generosity to anyone who sought financial help from him for a worthy cause or a person in need.

Israeli Resilience: Dodging Missiles on Sunday, Dancing in the Streets on Thursday

While a good part of the country sat leisurely around the barbecue on Thursday waiting for the burgers to sizzle and the steaks to get medium rare, Sunday never felt so far away.

Last Sunday, that is. That day when hundreds of rockets pounded Ashdod and Ashkelon and Sderot and Nir Am. That day when four of our countrymen were killed by indiscriminate rocket fire just because they were, well, our countrymen.

Three days, only three days, separated dread about whether we were on the verge of sending our children into Gaza to fight a full-blown war, and a day when the main concern had to do with the inconsiderate guy on the next barbecue over playing his music too loudly.

Last Sunday, residents of communities around the Gaza Strip were worried about whether they would be able to shepherd their children into bomb shelters in under 20 seconds; on Thursday, the concern for many of them – like for so many of their compatriots – was about whether they could get a parking place at one of the crowded picnic areas across the land.

On Sunday, the country’s mood and feel was heavy and depressed. On Thursday, it was light and carefree.

And all that was separated by just three days.

Gil Troy: The Real Meaning of Yom Ha’atzmaut

If Zionism and Israel are merely burdens to defend or antiques to appreciate, we all lose. If they are launching pads for personal and collective exploration and fulfillment, wherein we see who we are and who we can be, we can all win. A robust, inspiring, liberal Jewish nationalism can remind us of what nationalism is and isn’t, what it can be, and isn’t always allowed to be.

In that spirit, I am now hoping others will pick up my torch and run their own Zionist salons, following the guidelines at zionistideas.com, which also has synagogues’ and educators’ guides, and at zionistsalon.co.il, which has material in Hebrew and English.

Various topics I mapped out reflect the modern Zionist agenda. “A Zionist salon for those wary of attending a Zionist salon” offers basic definitions and clears up assumptions. The second showcases key Zionist one-liners, from right to left, religious and nonreligious, inviting every participant to pull one quotation provided randomly and either agree, civilly disagree or simply learn about Zionism and life from a great Zionist. The third ponders what Zionism means in the 21st century.

“Will the real Zionist please stand up?” compares sabras born into Israel and into army service with immigrants who chose to move to Israel, framing a conversation about choice, sacrifice, commitment and belonging. “The shadow of anti-Semitism vs. the opportunity of statehood” asks whether Zionism is and should be defensive and reactive or proactive and visionary.

Greenblatt bashes Security Council, urges it to back Trump peace plan

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy on Thursday berated the UN Security Council for “rehashing tired talking points” criticizing Israel and said an upcoming US peace plan would provide a fresh approach.

Jason Greenblatt told a council meeting that the imminent proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace “will be realistic and implementable,” describing it as “the right package of compromises for both sides.”

“It is time for a new approach,” said Greenblatt, who is working with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement that are to be unveiled in June.

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Addressing the council, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki again voiced opposition to the US plan, which is expected to include economic development as a key component.

“This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable,” said Malki.

Jason Greenblatt (U.S. Mission to the UN): Why Doesn’t the UN Condemn Hamas Attacks on Israelis?

U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt told a UN Security Council meeting on May 9, 2019:

“It is baffling and disappointing to see the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias here….It is truly shameful that in these halls there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel – the region’s only real democracy – yet not one condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israelis or its abuse and neglect of the very people it purports to govern.”

“Forgive me for pointing out the elephant in the room, which is that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad – not Israel – are the problem here. The Israelis, as they celebrate their Independence Day, are reeling from 36 hours of unprovoked attacks on them, their families, and their homes by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

“Where is the urgent condemnation from this room for that unconscionable, sustained attack? Where is the sympathy and the solidarity for the people of Israel? All I hear is silence….I did not hear anyone – not one of you – mention the 10 Israelis who have been murdered and the hundreds injured by Palestinians in the past year in terror attacks.”

“Another critical issue that many ignore as an obstacle to peace is the Palestinian Authority’s practice of rewarding terrorists….What would you do if a neighboring government offered lifelong bounties for the killing of your citizens?”

“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution. This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

“We will continue to speak the truth, even when it is not welcome. The truth is that Israel, just days ago, came under a vicious, cynical, unprovoked attack that was intended to terrify, kill, and maim Israelis. The truth is that there has been no effort in the halls of the United Nations to hold the terrorists who perpetrated that attack accountable.”

US Crafting Surrender Plan, Not Peace Deal, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Claims

The United States seems to be crafting a plan for a Palestinian surrender to Israel instead of a peace deal, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a meeting at the United Nations attended by US Middle East peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

Greenblatt and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner have spent two years developing a peace proposal that they hope will provide a framework for renewed talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. The plan is expected to be unveiled in June.

“We cannot afford not to engage with any peace efforts, but the US administration efforts cannot be characterized, nor can qualify, as peace efforts, unfortunately,” al-Maliki told the informal meeting of members of the UN Security Council on Israeli settlements.

“All indicates thus far that this is not a peace plan, but rather conditions for surrender and there’s no amount of money that can make it acceptable,” he said.

The US Middle East proposal has two major components — a political piece that addresses core issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to strengthen the Palestinian economy. Kushner and Greenblatt have not said if it calls for a two-state solution, a goal of past peace efforts.

Palestinian FM says US seeking to renew ties ahead of peace plan’s unveiling

The US is seeking to renew contacts with the Palestinian Authority as it gears up to announce its Middle East peace proposal, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Friday.

The PA cut official ties with Washington in December 2017, following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

US President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to unveil the long-awaited plan possibly as early as next month, but the Palestinians have already rejected it as heavily biased in favor of Israel.

Malki told the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that US officials were making overtures to resume talks. But he stressed that “contacts are still completely cut off.”

He also said Washington “will not find a single Palestinian to accept” its deal if it does not propose a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

He rejected any notion of economic incentives swaying Palestinian opinion. “The issue is not financial, but a principle and the right of the Palestinians to lift the injustice upon them,” he said.

Pelosi: Israel one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th Century

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her commitment to the State of Israel and the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution in an interview with the Washington Post.

Aired May 8 on C-SPAN, Pelosi said she sees the establishment of the State of Israel “as one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th Century. It was a political, official establishment of a country and it was so exciting.”

She told the reporter that Israel – “America’s most serious friend in the Middle East” – have shared values, and therefore “Israel’s security is very important to us.”

A lot of debate in recent months about issue of Israel. You are leader of Democratic party, when think about recent violence on Gaza Strip, what is Democratic view of what has happened there?

She then noted that “some things have been said that are not a reflection of our consensus and we have pointed that out.”

How would a Democrat president respond to an invasion of Israel?

During each presidential primary season, friends of Israel wonder how the various candidates would respond in the event that the Jewish State was to come under military attack. It’s really a guessing game; we speculate, but we really can’t be sure.

Except this year.

This year, we know—because last week, Israel came under military attack by the terrorist army which rules Gaza, and we saw how the candidates for the Democratic nomination responded: nearly all of them remained utterly and completely silent.

It’s much easier to make bold statements when someone is a candidate rather than when they actually become president. It’s almost expected that presidents will not fulfill many of their campaign promises. But during a campaign, when the candidate is hunting for votes without having to deal with the consequences of actual policy decisions, supporting Israel shouldn’t be that hard to do.

Yet for the Democratic presidential candidates, it appears to be very hard to do.

Keep in mind that last week’s circumstances made it unusually easy for the Democrats to be pro-Israel. The crisis had nothing to do with controversial borders or settlements. It had nothing to do with Prime Minister Netanyahu or any of his policies. It was a black-and-white, clear-cut case of a terrorist regime firing 700 rockets at Israel,

The Cleverest Kind of Lie: Accusing Israel of Future Crimes

One tool of verbal demonization that is extremely difficult for Israel to combat is accusations of crimes it supposedly will commit in the future. These are far more difficult to contest than outright lies about current events. An example of this kind of manipulative lie is a remark in an interview by the outgoing French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, in which he said that Israel will officially be an apartheid state in the future.

In a parting interview with The Atlantic, he said that Israel will have to either make Palestinians totally stateless or turn them into its citizens. “They won’t make them citizens of Israel,” he said. “So they will have to make it official … which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.”

Peculiar semantics aside, Araud’s slander is smart. It levels an accusation about what may happen in the future, which is extremely difficult to refute. If someone tells an individual, “You are a rapist,” proof can be demanded. But if one says instead, “You will be a rapist someday,” nothing has to be proven.

Of all people, a French ambassador should be among the last to slander Israel in this way.

Carr ‘Stunned’ by Absence of Antisemitism in Ukrainian Presidential Elections

US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Elan Carr said earlier this week that it was “stunning and unprecedented” that the Jewish identity of Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, played no role in last month’s elections.

Carr made his remarks on Sunday during a panel on combating antisemitism at the Kyiv Jewish Forum organized by Boris Lozhkin, president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine.

Ukraine is the only country other than Israel to have both a Jewish president and a Jewish prime minister.

The participants of the forum shared their mutual concerns about the new threat of antisemitism masquerading as anti-Zionism. They also discussed potential strategies to counter antisemitism on the Internet, as well as the need to act as a united front in combating this “vile disease.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who took part in the panel, stressed that fighting antisemitism cannot just be a national effort but an international one.

Report: Identities of Palestinian Arabs killed in the latest fighting

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, reported that during the escalation of May 4-6, 2019, 27 Palestinians were killed. As usual, he did not give details about their identities and the list he issued contains terrorist operatives as well as civilians, with no distinction between them. An initial examination carried out by the ITIC revealed that during the IDF attacks, 23 Palestinians were killed whose names were included in the list issued by the ministry of health.[1]

Of the 23 fatalities, at least 17 (about 74%) were terrorist operatives or members of the terrorist organizations.[2] The terrorist operatives killed belonged to the military wings of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (eight) and Hamas (two). Some were members of Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Six were apparently civilians who were near the targets and operatives when they were attacked.

The following is a summary of the identities of the terrorist operatives or members of the terrorist organizations who were killed during the most recent round of escalation:
– Eight PIJ operatives
– Five Fatah operatives
– Two Hamas operatives: one an operative in the “Battalions of the defenders of al-Aqsa,” headed by senior Hamas figure Fathi Hamad; the other a pregnant female officer in one of Hamas’ security forces.
– One PFLP operative.

Six of the Palestinians killed were apparently civilians (among them a child and infant killed by Palestinian Arab fire) who were near terrorist targets and operatives when they were attacked. The ITIC examination relates exclusively to Palestinians killed by IDF attacks. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health, included a pregnant woman and her child in the list of Palestinians killed in IDF attacks. The IDF spokesman reported that the woman and her child were killed in the misfiring of a rocket launched from Gaza City by the terrorist organizations (IDF spokesman, May 5, 2019) and the Gazans admitted that was so..

The ITIC has published its initial findings concerning the “Identities of the Palestinians killed in the most recent round of escalation (PDF)”.

“Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, reported that during the escalation of May 4-6, 2019, 27 Palestinians were killed. As usual, he did not give details about their identities and the list he issued contains terrorist operatives as well as civilians, with no distinction between them. An initial examination carried out by the ITIC revealed that during the IDF attacks, 23 Palestinians were killed whose names were included in the list issued by the ministry of health. Of the 23 fatalities, at least 17 (about 74%) were terrorist operatives or members of the terrorist organizations. The terrorist operatives killed belonged to the military wings of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (eight) and Hamas (two). Some were members of Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Six were apparently civilians who were near the targets and operatives when they were attacked.”

180,000 Muslims pray peacefully at Al-Aqsa Mosque on first Friday of Ramadan

Tens of thousands of Muslims, including many from the West Bank, prayed peacefully at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, the first in Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan, officials said.

The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf organization, which runs the site estimated that there were 180,000 worshipers, some 50 percent higher than last year, when around 120,000 people attended the first Friday prayers. Israeli estimates varied between 135,000 and 180,000.

Azzam al-Khatib, director general of Waqf, said the crowds reached the site “despite checkpoints and a large security presence.” The prayers ended without any major incident, he told AFP

Israel Police said that they had deployed hundreds of officers and Border Police “to ensure that tens of thousands of worshipers could reach the site and at the same time prevent any incidents throughout the day.”

Police on high-alert in Jerusalem’s Old City on first Friday of Ramadan

Police took security measures and precautions, remaining on high alert over Friday in and around the Old City of Jerusalem as visitors arrived and prayers commenced on Temple Mount for the first Friday of Ramadan.

“Police units and Border Police have been mobilized in different parts of the Old City to allow thousands of people to make the area accessible, whilst preventing any incidents,” the Israel Police said in a media statement. “Buses will transport thousands of people from the checkpoints around Jerusalem to the Old city. Roads in and around the Old City were closed to allow thousands of people to enter the area on foot.”

It added that police measures would be continuing into the late afternoon.

In the past Ramadan has been marred with violent riots on the Temple Mount and in the West Bank and Gaza.

While Under Urgent Medical Care in Tel Aviv, BDS Leader Obstructs Spanish Team’s Visit to Jerusalem

PLO bigwig Jibril Rajoub, who used to be famous for breaking opponents’ knees in broad daylight as head of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Force, on Thursday was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv for urgent medical treatment. And while receiving the best medical care in the Middle East, Rajoub, in his current role as Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, continues to exert heavy political pressure designed to cancel the visit of the Atlético Madrid soccer team in Israel for a friendly match against Beitar Jerusalem. The game is scheduled for May 21.

Rajoub sent a letter to the Spanish team, warning that the game would take place in “occupied Palestine,” and threatening sanctions against Atlético, as well as suing the team in international courts should it decide to participate in the game in Israel.

For the record, Teddy Stadium, where the friendly match is going to take place, is located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Malha, which has been part of the state of Israel since 1948.

Thousands gather for Gaza border protest in test of truce after major fighting

Several thousand Palestinians gathered on the Gaza Strip border Friday for weekly protests in a major test for the calm that has prevailed since intense fighting last weekend between Israel and terror groups in the coastal enclave.

Some 6,000 Palestinians took part in demonstrations at five locations along the border. Several hundred people were rioting, throwing explosives and rocks at Israeli forces. IDF soldiers responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry reported three Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

Ahead of the protests, UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov spoke with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The two discussed efforts to implement understandings reportedly reached between Israel and Hamas to prevent renewed violence, the Kan public broadcaster quoted Haniyeh’s office as saying.

MEMRI: On Twitter, Arabs Criticize Hamas For Recent Firing Of Hundreds Of Rockets From Gaza Strip Into Israel – Part II: Arab Journalists, Clerics Accuse Hamas Of Serving As Iranian Tool

The firing of hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and the Israeli military response to this, have been widely discussed on Arab social media. Along with Saudi tweets expressing sympathy with Israel and concern for its wellbeing, wishing it victory, and criticizing Hamas and its policy,[1] some journalists from the Arab world, as well as Australian Shi’ite cleric Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, tweeted harsh criticism of Hamas. They accused Hamas of acting as a tool of Iran, of using the Gaza Strip residents as a human shield, and of pocketing funds that Arab countries donate for rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

The following are prominent examples of these tweets:

Lebanese Journalists: Iran Motivated Hamas To Fire On Israel – And The Palestinians Are The Victims
Lebanese journalist Jerry Maher, who is known to be anti-Hizbullah, anti-Iran, and anti-Hamas and who occasionally writes for the Saudi press, compared Hizbullah’s firing of rockets into Israel in 2006 with Hamas’s doing the same in the past few days. He said that in both cases, rockets were fired into Israel on Iran’s orders, and in both cases, the result was disaster for the local populations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, respectively.

On May 5, 2019, he tweeted: “In 2006, when international pressure on Iran increased because of its nuclear program, it motivated Hizbullah to attack Israel, and the result for Lebanon and its people was a catastrophe. Today, as sanctions on Iran are increased, it [Iran] is motivating Hamas, and the victim – as always – is the Palestinian people, that is captive to the whims of Iran and the organizations that do its bidding in Gaza.”[2]

Also on May 5, Lebanese Shi’ite journalist Nadim Koteich, a columnist for the Saudi Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily who is also known to be anti-Hizbullah and anti-Iran, criticized Hamas and how much it was spending on firing rockets while the Gaza Strip population was in dire economic straits. He tweeted: “How many meals for breaking the [current Ramadan] fast could be purchased with what the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza cost?”[3]

Iran Was Developing Shock Wave Generator for Nuclear Weapons Program (PDF)

The Iranian Nuclear Archive reveals that under its early 2000s nuclear weapons program, Iran was developing and manufacturing a key nuclear weapon subcomponent called a “shock wave generator.” A full-scale, hemispherical test of the shock wave generator, using sophisticated diagnostic equipment, was conducted. The archive indicates that Iran had completed almost 2/3 of the tasks associated with the Shock Generator Project by 2002. Foreign assistance from at least one former member of the Soviet nuclear weapons program was key to Iran’s development of this technology.

Preserving these complex nuclear weapons capabilities was a priority for Iran in its 2003 reorientation plan. After 2003, the Shock Generator Project activities were given a cover purpose of performing non-nuclear military and non-military explosive tests, and some activities were shifted to universities, such as Malek Ashtar University of Technology, and research institutes. Iran prioritized maintaining the project’s workforce. Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) appears to have inherited the personnel and capabilities of the project.

Will Iran Really Develop Nuclear Weapons?

Iran had threatened to withdraw from the JCPOA nuclear deal in response to increased U.S. pressure. It also said the U.S. wouldn’t dare attack Iran, but Trump has not ruled out a military plan. INSS fellow Emily Landau analyzes.

Hezbollah blasts US over new Iran mining sanctions

The parliamentary bloc of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has blasted the United States over new sanctions it imposed on Iran, describing them as “unjustified.”

The bloc said in a statement Thursday that the US move against Iran shows the Trump administration’s “tyrannical and dictatorial trend.”

Hezbollah, which is backed and armed by Iran and sees the destruction of Israel as its main mission, is represented in Lebanon’s cabinet and parliament and has been under US sanctions for many years.

The group said in a statement Thursday that America’s unilateral sanctions do not respect international laws, and that Washington “behaves in accordance with the law of the jungle.”

It added that Iran had the power to defend itself.

The comments came a day after US President Donald Trump tightened the screws further on Iran with sanctions on its mining industry in response to a frustrated Tehran, which said it would suspend some promises it made under a 2015 nuclear deal rejected by Washington.

On Wednesday, Iran said it would immediately stop implementing some restrictions on its nuclear program set down in the 2015 deal — a move aimed largely at pressing Washington’s European allies to step up to preserve the agreement.

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