April 4, 2020

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12/05 Link Pt1: Plaque honoring teen suicide bomber at entrance to PA high school for girls; While Iran shoots protesters, Europe schemes to enrich it; Iran said exploiting Iraqi unrest to place missiles that could hit Israel


From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: The Settlements, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Danger of Conflating Politics with Law
Most objections to the State Department’s recent determination that international law does not prohibit Jews from living in the West Bank were based, Evelyn Gordon notes, on prudential rather than legal grounds. Citing as examples the statements of the presidential candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, she points to the dangers of this inability, or unwillingness, to distinguish policy from law:

[T]he concept of “it’s legal, but it stinks” has evidently gone out of style, especially on the left. When leftists think something stinks, they want it declared illegal, even if it’s not.

The advantages of this tactic are obvious. Policy questions, by definition, are disputable. . . . But law ostensibly eliminates controversy because once the courts rule something illegal, then everyone is supposed to accept that it must stop. . . . [The] problem is this tactic’s enormous cost, which far outweighs any possible benefit: when people start branding anything they object to as “illegal,” they turn the law into just another player on the political battlefield. And once that happens, legal decisions will be treated with no more respect than any other political pronouncement.

Gordon notes a perhaps far more dangerous parallel within Israel’s political system, in the form of the attorney general’s decision to indict Benjamin Netanyahu:

[T]he attorney general’s office and the courts have intervened in literally thousands of policy decisions over the past three decades, frequently in defiance of actual written law and almost always in the left’s favor. In short, both . . . have routinely behaved like political activists rather than impartial jurists. So rightists have no reason to trust their impartiality now.

[Moreover], Netanyahu has been targeted by frivolous investigations—including, in my view, two of the three now going to trial—ever since he first became prime minister in 1996. All involved genuinely repulsive conduct on Netanyahu’s part. But rather than treating such conduct as a problem on which the public, rather than the courts, must render judgment, the legal establishment repeatedly opened cases against him, to which they devoted countless man-hours before finally closing them.

Now, the legal establishment says it has finally found a real crime. But as in the story of the boy who cried wolf, Netanyahu’s supporters no longer believe it.

PMW: Plaque honoring teen suicide bomber at entrance to PA high school for girls

Every day when Palestinian girls enter their high school in Bethlehem the Palestinian Authority reminds them that the suicide bomber who was their age, 17-year-old Ayyat Al-Akhras who murdered 2 and wounded 28, is their role model.

At the entrance to this PA school is a sign in memory of the “Martyrs” of the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005) in which more than 1,100 Israelis were murdered, many in suicide bombings. The memorial, which was established in cooperation between the Education Directorate under the PA Ministry of Education and Fatah’s Shabiba Youth Movement, specifically names suicide bomber and Fatah member Ayyat Al-Akhras who blew herself up near a Jerusalem supermarket on March 29, 2002:

Text on sign: “This memorial was established in cooperation between the Education Directorate (i.e., branch of the PA Ministry of Education) and the Fatah Shabiba [Youth Movement] organization, in order to commemorate the Martyrs of the Al-Aqsa Intifada at the Bethlehem High School for Girls for the anniversary of the outbreak of the Palestinian revolution
Jan. 1, 2003
Martyr Ayyat Al-Akhras (i.e., suicide bomber, murdered 2, wounded 28)
Martyr Nida Al-Izza (i.e., Palestinian who apparently was accidentally shot by Israeli soldiers)”
[Facebook page of the Bethlehem High School for Girls, Nov. 19, 2019]

The wall to the left of the school entrance also bears a drawing of former PLO and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, and to the right of it the logo of the Fatah Shabiba Youth Movement that includes the PA map of “Palestine” that presents all of Israel as “Palestine” together with the PA areas in the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Palestinian Media Watch has exposed the PA’s child abuse through its educating even young children to seek death as Martyrs for Allah and for “Palestine.” Telling teenage girls that a suicide bomber of their age is an honored “Martyr” on a prominent plaque they see daily at the entrance to their school, sends two morally deplorable messages: First, that murdering Israelis is not only acceptable but honorable and second, that killing oneself in order to kill Israelis is likewise heroic.

JCPA: A Non-Aggression Agreement between Israel and the Arab Countries

According to senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Israel is trying to advance a non-aggression agreement with four Arab countries that do not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel. These countries are Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.

This agreement would be a stepping-stone toward full normalization between Israel and these four countries, which are already conducting ties behind the scenes.

The agreement includes maintaining friendly ties between Israel and these Arab countries based on UN treaties and international law and the adoption of steps required to prevent hostile actions, such as the threat of war or terror activities, violence or incitement between both sides.

The agreement prohibits the signatories from joining or assisting alliances or organizations with a third party with a military nature.

The United States is trying to help Israel with this process. American sources state that Victoria Coates, Deputy Adviser for National Security at the White House, met with the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, and Morocco in Washington. She explained to them the new Israeli initiative and asked for their response. The ambassadors told her that they would convey the message to the political leadership in their countries, and they would respond as soon as possible.

None of the four countries mentioned above denied the media reports on this issue.

What Happens When Everyone’s Trying to Get Nukes?

For more than 50 years, Israel’s national security has been guided by the Begin Doctrine, named after the country’s sixth prime minister. It holds that no regional enemy committed to destroying the Jewish state can be allowed to obtain weapons of mass destruction. To that end, Israel’s air force destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syria’s al Kibar plutonium-producing facility in 2007.

Today’s cascade of nuclear technologies across the Middle East, however, is raising serious questions about Israel’s ability to enforce this mandate going forward. The debate over the Begin Doctrine’s viability will not only have a profound impact on Israel, but also on security in the broader Middle East. Israel has proven more than once to be the only regional player willing to curtail by force the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states, despite the international opprobrium the Jewish state has reaped for its actions. But current concerns inside Israel reflect just how much the threat of nuclear proliferation has increased in recent years as the countries of the Middle East have changed and transformed the region.

Israel views Iran as by far the most likely regional power to acquire nuclear weapons in the near term and has openly vowed to use military force to stop it. But a slew of other Mideast countries, some nominally Israel’s allies or strategic partners, have also made significant advances in their nuclear programs. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly warned in September that Ankara could seek to develop atomic weapons in response to its changing relationship with the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, has said his country would match any nuclear technologies that Iran, Riyadh’s arch rival, acquires.

Israeli officials and analysts say that, as a result of these evolving threats, the tools required to enforce the Begin Doctrine will need to change. Israel deployed cyber weapons, in collaboration with the U.S., to attack Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities in the late 2000s. The operation destroyed thousands of centrifuge machines, but Tehran’s overall nuclear-fuel production quickly returned to pace. Israel also signed on to the U.S. sanctions campaign that has used financial warfare to pressure Iran into giving up or constraining its nuclear activities. The strategy helped birth the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Obama-helmed Iran nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, which President Donald Trump pulled out of last year with the backing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both leaders believed the deal offered, at best, only a short-term solution to the Iranian nuclear threat while forfeiting the sources of economic leverage that may have forced Iran to accept more permanent restraints.

ICC prosecutor concerned about Israeli annexation of Jordan Valley

Five years after launching a preliminary review of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Thursday that she is concerned about potential Israeli moves to annex the Jordan Valley.

Bensouda made the comment in a key section of her annual report reviewing a range of conflict areas around the world which she is probing.

Her final decision could have a massive impact on Israel legally, diplomatically and in terms of the country’s image.

Like her 2018 annual report, Bensouda once again said that she was close to a broader decision about whether to delve deeper into the war crimes debate relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bensouda’s term expires in mid-2021 which means that the fall 2020 report will be her last major chance to issue a decision on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Though Bensouda’s 2018 report hinted that a decision might come down by mid-2019, it seems that her decision may have been pushed off by a combination of conflict with the US administration as well as the ongoing Gaza border conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Daniel Pomeranz on i24 News: “The UN is a political body, not a body of morality”

HonestReporting’s Daniel Pomeranz speaks on i24 News about media coverage of the brutal Iranian suppression of protests, the French declaration that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and the essence of the United Nations.

Israel to sell Iron Dome radars to Czech Republic

Israel on Thursday agreed to sell eight Iron Dome radar systems to the Czech Republic in a deal worth an estimated $125 million, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the eight ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radars will be delivered to Prague over the course of three years, from 2021 to 2023. They are the radar arrays used in cooperation with interceptor missile launchers in Israel’s Iron Dome batteries.

“The acquisition of eight ‘Iron Dome’ radars is one of the key modernization projects on behalf of the Czech Armed Forces and specifically the Air Defense branch,” said Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar.

The contract will be fulfilled by the Israeli Aerospace Industries subsidiary ELTA, which manufactures the radar systems, with 30 percent of the money required to be spent within the Czech defense industry under the agreement, meaning “significant parts of the systems will be produced locally,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The agreement was signed at an official ceremony in the Czech Republic.

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Portugal adopts IHRA definition of anti-Semitism amid Netanyahu visit

The development comes just a day after France’s National Assembly passed a similar motion

Portugal has become the latest country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

The development comes just a day after France’s National Assembly passed a similar motion declaring anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism, incorporating examples outlined by the IHRA.

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Portugal’s decision coincides with a visit from embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who earlier Wednesday landed in Lisbon to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Before departing on his trip, Netanyahu said the two were planning to discuss Iran’s threat to the region and forwarding a defense pact between Israel and the United States.

Prosecutors announce bribery charges in vast submarine corruption case

State prosecutors announced charges Thursday against former defense officials and associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including his cousin who was his former lawyer, in a major graft case involving alleged corruption in the purchase of naval vessels.

Case 3000, as it is known, centers on a possible conflict ‎of ‎interest surrounding the multi-billion-shekel procurement of military boats and submarines from German shipbuilder ‎Thyssenkrupp in 2016. Prosecutors allege Israeli officials were bribed to push a massive deal for the vessels worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The case has been described by some as the biggest graft scandal in Israel’s history.

A statement from the Justice Ministry said Miki Ganor, Thyssenkrupp’s former agent in Israel, was being charged with bribery, money laundering and tax offenses, as was Eliezer Marom, a former head of the Israeli Navy.

The ministry also announced charges of bribery, breach of trust and money laundering against David Sharan, a former aide to Netanyahu and to Energy Minister Yuval Steinetz, as well as charges of bribery, money laundering, fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses against former minister Eliezer Sandberg.

Report: Airstrikes Target Iranian Weapons Stores in Eastern Syria

Unidentified aircraft bombed an Iranian-controlled weapons storehouse in eastern Syria on Wednesday night, causing a massive explosion, a Syrian opposition news site reported.

According to the Step News agency, the planes fired several missiles at warehouses belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at the al-Hamdan airport, outside Deir Ezzor, in the Abulkamal region of Syria, an area that has reportedly been targeted several times by Israeli airstrikes on Iranian facilities in the past year.

Troops on the ground fired anti-aircraft weapons at the attacking planes, the news site reported.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Israeli military as a rule does not comment on its airstrikes in Syria, save for those that are in retaliation to attacks on Israel.

US Christians build field hospital in Gaza, deepening rift between PA and Hamas

A field hospital being built by a US Evangelical Christian aid group in the northern Gaza Strip has become a source of controversy for the already feuding Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership and the Hamas terrorist group that controls the coastal enclave.

An official in the West Bank has claimed the project, spearheaded by pro-Israel donors, is a front for American and Israeli intelligence operations, an allegation Gaza’s rulers have dismissed as “unfounded.”

Over the past several months, trucks carrying materials and equipment for the hospital have entered Gaza, which suffers from inadequate health infrastructure. Now American volunteers affiliated with Friend Ships, the aid group, have begun building the medical facility adjacent to the Erez crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway between Israel and the enclave.

Pictures posted on Facebook last week showed the volunteers erecting tents a short distance from the barrier separating Israel and Gaza.

The construction of the hospital is one part of the unofficial ceasefire understandings between Israel and terror groups in Gaza, which the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has fiercely protested.

Friend Ships, whose evangelical founders Don and Sondra Tipton have expressed strong support for Israel, has described the project as “a multi-faceted mobile (tent-based) medical facility.”

Palestinians to resume protests along Gaza-Israel border

After a three-week lull, the weekly protests near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel are expected to resume on Friday.

The High National Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, which consists of several Gaza-based Palestinian groups, announced that Friday’s demonstrations will be held under the banner: “The March is Continuing.”

The announcement was issued in the Gaza Strip after a meeting of representatives of Palestinian groups. The commission urged Palestinians to “preserve the popular and peaceful character” of the protests. It also called for wide participation in Friday’s planned protests.

As’ad Judeh, member of the commission, said that the decision came in order to refute claims that the weekly protests have ended.

The weekly protests, which began in March 2018, are called the “Great March of Return.”

The commission said that the protests were canceled in the past three weeks “due to the dangerous security situation” and “in light of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s threats to launch a new comprehensive aggression on the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas says 5 countries sought to broker recent failed prisoner swap with Israel

A senior Hamas member on Thursday said five countries took part in recent efforts to broker a prison swap between the Gaza-ruling terror group and Israel.

Musa Dudin, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said Egypt led efforts to broker an agreement, along with Qatar, Turkey, Germany and Sweden. He said this push for a deal took place recently, but did not further specify.

He accused Israel of torpedoing a potential agreement.

“It’s impossible to implement a new deal until the occupation releases the prisoners it rearrested,” he told Palestinian media, according to Channel 12 news.

Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part of a 2011 deal in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas in 2006. A number of those were rearrested over further violations.
IDF soldiers Oron Shaul, left, and Hadar Goldin, right.

Dudin, who previously was imprisoned in Israel on terror offenses before his release as part of the Shalit deal, suggested the months-long political paralysis in Israel was making an agreement more difficult.

Erdogan Has Remade Turkey

Since his party came to dominate Turkish politics in 2002, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has transformed Turkey from a reliable Western partner to a regional adversary. U.S. officials comfort themselves in the belief that Turkey will revert to its previous character after Erdogan dies or is defeated, but this is a dangerous self-delusion.

Over the past 16 years, the Turkish curriculum and broader education system have changed to promote Erdogan’s religious and foreign policy agendas. He privileged graduates of Imam Hatip schools – Turkey’s system of madrasas – as they sought to enter the state bureaucracy. Within ordinary schools, he forced Sunni theological studies upon non-Sunnis.

Erdogan has likewise transformed the Turkish military, using a series of coup conspiracies to purge top brass and those deemed too connected with NATO and the West. Whereas the Turkish army once stood as the constitutional guardian of secularism, today it is a driver for Islamism.

Erdogan’s assault on the free press completed his strategy for national indoctrination. Punitive and politicized audits led most television and newspaper owners either to amplify Erdogan’s positions or to sell their media outlets to him or his immediate family members. Those who did not take the hint found themselves bankrupt, imprisoned, exiled, or dead.

Erdogan has diverted tremendous resources to promote not only Islam generally, but also a Muslim Brotherhood worldview, which sees only its own strict version of Sunni Islam as legitimate, treating all other forms as deviant. At least 20% of Turks are Alevi, an offshoot of Shia Islam to which Erdogan has long been hostile. He has forced Sunni religious education upon Alevi students in public schools and torn down Alevi prayer halls.

According to the Pew Global Attitudes surveys, Turkey is among the most anti-American countries on earth. This is the result of more than a decade of anti-American incitement in Turkey’s state-controlled media. Turkey’s recent turn toward Russia is a reflection of Erdogan’s animosity toward America.

Not only should the U.S. remove its nuclear weapons from Turkish soil at Incirlik air base, it should also consider evacuating Incirlik altogether. It should also quarantine Turkey within NATO, excluding it from meetings and preventing Turkish officers from accessing classified documents. The U.S. should also provide Cyprus with the means to prevent Turkish theft of its maritime resources.

MEMRI: Advisor At Iranian Embassy In Damascus: Opening Of Syria-Iraq Border – A Step Towards Creating Regional Bloc Comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon

Following the opening, on September 30, 2019, of the Al-Bukamal-Al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, which had been closed for five years due to the Syria war, Abu Al-Fazel Salehiniya, a culture advisor at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, published an article in the pro-regime Syrian daily Al-Watan, in which he presented the opening of the crossing as a step towards the realization of Iran’s vision of a new Middle East. He explained that Iran planned to establish a political, economic and cultural bloc consisting of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which will impact the power-balance in the region and world, and thwart what he called the American and Western plan to fragment the Middle East into tiny states under Western control. For many years, he said, the U.S. and Israel have been working in various ways to prevent the creation of this bloc, including by instigating protests in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; however, they have failed thanks to the resistance axis, which is now stronger than ever and has attained impressive achievements.

It should be mentioned that the creation of a geographic continuum from Iran to Lebanon, through Syria and Iraq, has long been a strategic goal of Iran’s, and in the recent years it has devoted considerable efforts to realizing it. Such a continuum provides Iran with access to the Mediterranean, enabling it to import and export goods via its ports while bypassing the U.S. sanctions. As part of this, Iran, Syria and Iraq are currently discussing the building of a railway connecting the three countries.[1]

The following are translated excerpts from Salehiniya’s article.[2]
“The official opening of the Al-Bukamal-Al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, for the first time since 2014, is not just a passing event… but an event that heralds the birth of a new political, economic, educational and cultural bloc that so far comprises Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. It can be seen as the first step towards the creation of a new Middle East according to the plan of the local peoples, instead of the new Middle East that the West sought to create, and whose imminent birth it even declared during the July 2006 war [between Israel and Hizbullah], as though it was inevitable and the peoples of the region and their governments had no choice but to succumb [to it]…

Netanyahu: Iran’s empire is tottering. Let’s make it totter even further

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called for increased action against Iran, indicating that the recent unrest in the Islamic Republic offers an opportunity to topple the regime.

“Iran’s aggression is growing, but its empire is tottering. And I say: let’s make it totter even further,” he said at the beginning of a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Iran is increasing its aggression as we speak, even today, in the region,” he added. “They’re trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, from Iraq, from Syria, from Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen. And we are actively engaged in countering that aggression.”

However, he refused to comment on reports in the Arab media about a Wednesday airstrike on an Iranian-controlled weapons storehouse in eastern Syria.

“I never talk about that,” he responded to a reporter’s question.

Iran in flames and ‘experts’ didn’t foresee it due to Trump-hate blindness

The problem here isn’t that so many experts were so wrong — even the best thinkers can sometimes miss the mark. The problem is that all of our experts were wrong in exactly the same way, for precisely the same reason.

Blinded by their disdain for Trump, they could credit no narrative that didn’t feature the president as the ultimate bumbler. Otherwise, they’d have had to accept two rather obvious points: that the billions paid by Team Obama kept the despised mullahs afloat; and that Trump imposing strict sanctions ­deprived the mullahs of the ­resources they need to keep ­oppressing the Iranian people.

So much was clear to anyone who actually bothered looking at Iran soberly. Sadly, this excludes more or less our entire liberal foreign policy establishment, most of academia and the media.

It’s a troubling turn of events, but pay it little mind: As our ­experts are busy with their own #Resistance, a real resistance is unfolding in Iran.

Pentagon Official: Indications Iranian ‘Aggression’ Could Occur

A senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday that there were indications that Iran could potentially carry out aggressive actions in the future, amid simmering tensions between Iran and the United States.

Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks on global energy infrastructure.

“We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won’t go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur,” John Rood, the Pentagon’s No. 3 official, told reporters.

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Rood did not provide details about what information he was basing that on or any timeline.

“We’ve sent very clear and blunt signals to the Iranian government about the potential consequences of aggression,” Rood said.

Iran said exploiting Iraqi unrest to place missiles that could hit Israel

Iran is taking advantage of unrest in neighboring Iraq to stockpile short-range ballistic missiles there, according to a report Wednesday.

Quoting American intelligence and military officials, the New York Times reported the missile buildup was part of an Iranian effort to project power in the Middle East as the United States increases its military forces in the region following a series of attacks blamed on Iran.

The intelligence officials said the missiles threaten US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as American troops stationed in the area.

The officials would not comment on the type of missiles Iran is secreting into Iraq, but the report noted a short-range missile with a range of 600 miles (965 kilometers) could strike Jerusalem from Baghdad.

Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who recently visited Iraq, told the newspaper Iran’s placement of missiles in its western neighbor was being overlooked.

US Warship in Gulf Seizes Missile Parts of Suspected Iran Origin

A US Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea, US officials said on Wednesday, as Trump’s administration pressures Tehran to curb its activities in the region.

In a statement, the Pentagon confirmed that on Nov. 25 a US warship found “advanced missile components” on a stateless vessel and an initial investigation indicated the parts were of Iranian origin.

“A more thorough investigation is underway,” the statement said.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the guided missile destroyer Forrest Sherman detained a small boat and a detachment of US personnel boarded the vessel, where the missile parts were found.

The crew on the small boat have been transferred to the Yemeni Coast Guard and the missile parts are in the possession of the United States, the officials added.

One of the officials said they believed from initial information that the weapons were bound for Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen.

While Iran shoots protesters, Europe schemes to enrich it

Once Trump pulled America out of the nuclear deal, he began reimposing and tightening sanctions that posed a particular challenge to Europeans, who were still lusting after Iran’s cash. Though Obama and his media “echo chamber” had claimed that the United States could never successfully enforce sanctions on Iran by itself without the permission of Europe, Trump quickly debunked that prediction. Faced with a choice of cutting off ties with the largest economy in the world or chasing a profit in Tehran, most have wisely decided not to mess with the Americans.

Western Europeans hope to evade US sanctions with a barter system, though few financial experts think that it can work effectively to provide Iran with a reliable conduit to sell their oil.

Even if it was a viable option, what the Europeans are doing is essentially sending money to the same people, including the IRGC that also runs much of the Iranian economy, who are killing people in the streets and financing terrorists. Like the nuclear deal, which led to the United States sending Iran plane loads of pallets of cash and other foreign exchange, INSTEX is a lifeline for a tyrannical regime. The nuclear pact enriched and empowered the ayatollahs. INSTEX seeks to keep them in power by the same means, enabling them to go on shooting and torturing their own people, while threatening other nations like Israel.

Many supporters of Obama’s deal who are critical of Trump’s decision often like to pose as human rights advocates when it comes to criticizing Israel, yet they are strangely silent about the atrocities going on in Iran. Perhaps just as outrageous as that hypocrisy is the willingness of supposedly enlightened Western Europe to try to prop up the Islamist regime with INSTEX just at the time when decent people should be doing all they can to isolate it.

UK, Germany and France slam Iran for working on nuclear-capable missiles

France, Germany and the United Kingdom say “Iran’s developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” go against a UN Security Council resolution calling on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles.

Ambassadors from the three European nations urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter circulated Wednesday to inform the council in his next report that Iran’s ballistic missile activity is “inconsistent” with the call in a council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The letter cites footage released on social media April 22, 2019, of a previously unseen flight test of a new Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile variant “equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle.” It says: “The Shahab-3 booster used in the test is a Missile Technology Control Regime category-1 system and as such is technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”

The Europeans noted that a 2015 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program concluded “that extensive evidence indicated detailed Iranian research in 2002-2003 on arming the Shahab-3 with a nuclear warhead.”

Officials in the Trump administration also have said Iran is working to obtain nuclear-capable missiles, something the Iranians deny.

Tehran may be preparing to withdraw from 2015 nuclear agreement

On Nov. 7, two days after Rouhani’s announcement, the IAEA’s board of governors met for a special session to discuss not only Tehran’s latest violation but also its prolonged failure to come clean on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelation in his Sept. 27, 2018 UN address that Iran had removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material from a warehouse in Tehran’s Turquzabad suburb and “spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence.”

Indication of the veracity of this claim was afforded by the last IAEA report (Nov. 11, 2019), which noted that its inspectors had “detected natural [not enriched] uranium particles of anthropogenic [man-made] origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”

Assuming this included the 15 kilograms noted by Netanyahu, which, according to the IAEA’s findings, comprised man-made natural uranium, it is possible that it was a dummy nuclear weapon core for the purpose of conducting a “cold test” to simulate a nuclear explosion. In this scenario, the casting of the natural uranium core would have been carried out at one of the Parchin site facilities, where Iran’s nuclear weapons development tests had previously been conducted.

Responding to Rouhani’s announcement, US Secretary of State Pompeo estimated that Tehran may be preparing to break out in 2020 toward nuclear weapons. A joint report by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Institute for Science and International Security (issued on Nov. 13) was similarly grim, setting the possible breakout time between eight and 10 months.

Russia suspends project with Iran due to uranium enrichment

Russia’s state-controlled nuclear fuel company said Thursday it has suspended a joint research project with Iran because of its move to resume uranium enrichment.

The TVEL company that makes nuclear fuel components said in a statement that Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at Fordo facility makes it impossible to convert the facility to produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes.

The company noted that uranium enrichment is technologically incompatible with production of such isotopes. It added that Iran would need to disassemble the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and decontaminate the room to continue the medical project.

The company said it had informed Iran of its decision.

Anti-hijab law activist sues Iran in US over harassment

An Iranian-American activist famous for her campaign against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarf, or hijab, for women has sued Iran in a US federal court, alleging that a government-led harassment campaign was targeting her and her family.

Masih Alinejad’s lawsuit seeking monetary damages comes in the aftermath of nationwide protests in Iran over spiking gasoline prices that reportedly killed at least 208 people in November.

Dissent continues as Iranian authorities separately said on Thursday that they broke up a plot to cause a gas explosion at a student dormitory at a Tehran university.

But even before the latest unrest, authorities had already announced that women face a possible 10-year prison sentence for sending videos to Alinejad’s “White Wednesday” civil disobedience campaign against the mandatory head covering.

The harassment, including the imprisoning of her brother, was to “preclude Ms. Masih Alinejad from continuing her career as a journalist, author, and political activist working to criticize the Iranian government and bring international attention to the regime’s human rights abuses, in particular women’s rights,” alleges her lawsuit, filed on Monday in Washington.

PreOccupiedTerritory: BDS Suddenly Very Circumspect On Sanctions Of Murderous Iran Regime (satire)

Leaders of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement that targets Israel over treatment of Palestinians resorted to uncharacteristic rhetoric urging patience, skepticism, and detachment regarding ways to pressure the Tehran government over the brutality of its crackdown on protests, with a death toll in the last two weeks alone far greater than the number of Palestinians Israel has killed in the last five years.

BDS activists around the country encouraged adherents and supporters to wait for more information on the veracity of claims by human rights organizations that forces loyal to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have killed more than a thousand Iranians and injured, tortured, or imprisoned far more.

“We can’t rush into demanding the world take such drastic measures in the face of these developments,” explained self-proclaimed journalist Ali Abunimah, editor of Electronic Intifada. “That would be irresponsible and counterproductive. A few hundred, or even a few thousand, dead civilians isn’t always a big deal. Context matters when calling for BDS.”

Abunimah elaborated that while Iran has pursued ethnic cleansing in swaths of Syria and Iraq and settled its own Shiites in the now-vacated towns, such behavior does not rise to the threshold that the movement has set for demanding international action against the perpetrator. “There’s a key element to the equation that’s just not present, but if you look carefully at all of our other advocacy and protest actions you’ll be able to figure out what that common thread is.”

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