04/12/15

The PA and More

Arlene from Israel

Pesach is over and it’s back to “normal,” such as that may be.  Posting after posting, I have focused on Iran, and Obama.  With good reason: It is a most critical issue.  But I would like to at least begin with a look at the PA today. I feel I have been “neglecting” Abbas.

Abbas

Credit: Reuters

Actually, Mahmoud Abbas has been playing the game every which way that he thinks might work.  If you recall, about two weeks ago, the Israeli government announced that it would be releasing collected PA tax funds that had been withheld because of Abbas’s declared intentions of joining the ICC and bringing charges against Israel. This looked like a regrettable Israeli concession.  But then, Abbas announced that because of the taxes that were to be released, no action against Israel would be pursued in the ICC.  And, more than a concession, this began to look like an action against the PA that actually netted results.

What Israel said was that funds withheld through February would be released, and determination regarding release of taxes collected in March would depend the PA.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/In-exchange-for-freed-tax-funds-PA-wont-pursue-Israel-over-settlements-at-ICC-395505

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Ah, but this state of affairs did not last very long.  For Abbas quickly learned that Israel was going to retain a percentage of the tax money to cover some part of funds owed to Israel by the PA for services provided to the Palestinian Arab population.

This is what Abbas said last week:

”The Israelis have begun punishing us by withholding the money they collect on our behalf.

“They told us they would release our funds and they did, but after deducting one-third of the sum. Why? Are these debts? Who decides? We told them this is our money and you are not doing us a favor. This is not a donation. We insist on receiving all that belongs to us.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Abbas-issues-warning-to-Israel-to-turn-over-funds-or-face-charges-at-the-ICC-396240

What we have here is a sterling example of Abbas’s total disregard for facts.  As it happens, Israel turned over to the PA 1.37 billion shekels in withheld tax money.  Only 160,000 shekels was held back against the gargantuan PA electric bill of over 2 billion shekels.  Had we kept the entire sum of withheld tax funds it still would not have covered the outstanding PA debt to Israel.  And he complains?

It is Israel that should be saying, “Our electrical services are not a donation – we insist on full payment that belongs to us.”

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Abbas threated to return the sum that was given to the PA, but I have no information that he has done so.  The PA needs that money, and it is likely no more another threat.

But let us take a moment to examine WHY the PA so badly needs that money, according to the Palestinian Media Watch, as of October 2014 (emphasis added):

“The number [of public employees] currently registered in the [PA] General Workers’ Office comes to approximately 175,000. Yet the total number of recipients of government salaries exceeds 200,000 – if one includes the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and wounded, as well as the prisoners’ and released [prisoners’] pensions – [whose total stipends] constitute approximately 65% of the Palestinian government’s monthly expenditure.
The tax money [the PA] gets back from Israel, which represents two thirds of the Palestinian monthly income…constitutes the basis for the government’s ability to continue paying the salaries…”

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=1005

Do the math: families of “martyrs,” prisoners, etc. receive stipends that are far more generous than what is paid to ordinary workers.

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At the beginning of April, Othman Abu Gharbieh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, declared that Oslo was dead and that there would be no more peace negotiations. The PA, he declared, would be seeking Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lines.

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Senior-Palestinian-official-Oslo-accords-are-dead-395735

Yes, that again…

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However, last Thursday, according to AFP, announcement was made by Russian officials of a visit to Russia by Abbas that is expected to take place this week.  He will be meeting with Putin, and on the agenda will be “ideas on the process of Israeli-Palestinian talks.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Abbas-to-meet-Putin-in-Moscow-on-Monday-396689

Israeli-Palestinian talks?  These are the same talks that Abu Gharbieh recently said were dead, but never mind.

Abbas refers to the Russians as friends, and all together this is bad news.  The Soviets had a long-standing relationship with the PLO, and Russia today would be glad for a more significant foothold in the Middle East.

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Hamas-Fatah relations are growing increasingly tense (after a recent bid to try again to re-establish a unity government).  Just two days ago, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar charged that Abbas has no legitimacy as president of the PA.  I will skip over matters such as PA security cooperation with Israel, which Hamas considers “treachery,” and go to the heart of the matter.

Al-Zahar says that Abbas’s term expired years ago. And he is absolutely correct.  Abbas’s term as president expired in January 2009.  It is a mark of international hypocrisy that Abbas is treated as an official who represents the PA. Everyone just ignores the fact that new elections have not been held.

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And now, before closing, just a brief overview of the latest with regard to the Iran nuclear issue.  The situation has deteriorated into one of absolute farce, with the two major issues being the matter of sanctions relief and inspections/verification.

Last Thursday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei gave a speech.

Iran

Credit: Reddit

The entire translation can be found here: http://defenddemocracy.org/iran-press-review-9-april Significant highlights shared by Omri Ceren of The Israel Project:

Politically, the most damage will probably come from Khamenei’s declaration that nothing was agreed to at Lausanne, and that White House claims otherwise are ‘incorrect and contrary to the substance of the negotiations.’

Substantively, Khamenei’s new red lines – if US negotiators ultimately accept them – would detonate the possibility of a verifiable, enforceable deal…

“On verification, he blasted inspections of military sites and ruled out any ‘unconventional inspection or monitoring’ in general. The military sites demand would gut the IAEA’s ability to ensure the Iranians aren’t enriching at military bases like Fordow (which they’ve done) or developing nuclear warheads at military bases like Parchin (which they’ve also done). Administration officials have been talking about ‘managed access’ to such sites, which is less than what former IAEA officials say the agency needs and less than the ‘snap inspections’ lawmakers were told negotiators would bring home – but still more than Khamenei is willing to give. The ‘unconventional’ demand would prohibit the unprecedented inspection regime President Obama has emphasized is necessary to prevent the Iranians from cheating.”

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Eli Lake has written an article for Bloomberg that Ceren quotes:

Now [Senator] Kirk feels that there isn’t much of an agreement at all. As he told me Thursday, ‘Because Iran refuses to agree to the same framework for a final deal as the United States, and because Iran still strongly disputes basic issues like how a final deal will address comprehensive sanctions relief, uranium enrichment, and coming clean on Iran’s military nuclear activities, I believe the full Senate should vote, sooner rather than later, on the bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015.’”

The issue is not even one of who is telling the truth in the dispute between the US and Iranian version of the agreement.  It is, rather, that if Iran has not signed on to the US version, and is determined to get its way, there is no agreement.

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Let’s close with some good news:

“British Christian groups are circulating a declaration expressing appreciation for Israel as a safe haven for Middle East Christians, support for bolstering ties with the Jewish state, and a call to combat anti-Semitism.

“Called the ‘Shalom Declaration,; the document states, ‘We deeply appreciate that Israel is the only country in the Middle East which extends freedom of worship to all its citizens and where the Christian community is growing.’”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/10/uk-groups-circulate-declaration-of-appreciation-for-israel-as-safe-haven-for-christians/

04/9/15

Mid-Pesach

Arlene from Israel

Here in Israel, the world sort of floats in limbo over the Pesach week; and so I thought that perhaps I would not post until the holiday was over. But life does go on, and I’ve decided to write.

But before I move to the serious matters calling for attention, let me share this lighthearted video for Pesach, done by the students of the Technion (a top notch university – Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa, specifically for Pesach:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baQfqoZrEvI

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Then, moving on, and hoping your spirits have been lifted…

I’m seeing a huge number of commentaries regarding the Iran situation, and obviously cannot share any significant portion of them.

Actually, what I am finding most interesting is the way in which Obama is walking back several of his positions of last week.  This is, of course, in response to severe criticism that has been directed at the framework agreement with Iran and at his hard-nosed attitude.  I will come back to this.

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Whatever my other disagreements and disappointments with Bibi Netanyahu, I continue to salute him for speaking out on the Iran issue.  There are those (writing in some of those commentaries) who think he’s wasting his breath because no one is listening.  I disagree.  He has affected the dialogue on Iran and modeled a forthright approach.

Yesterday, Bibi asked some particularly pertinent questions (the deal is so full of holes there are always more questions):

Why doesn’t the framework address Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads?” (Emphasis added)

And…”What is to stop Iran from using the over one hundred billion dollars that will be unfrozen as part of this agreement to fund aggression and terror in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere?”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193787#.VSVc4ZuJjIV

Hmm…That first question is particularly pertinent, as Iran aims to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that reach the US.

Joining Bibi in his forthright approach have been members of his government, such as Yuval Steinitz.

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And I am pleased that Israel is is not alone in criticizing the agreement.

There are Arab nations highly critical of Obama, although their criticisms are less direct than Israel’s.  See Khaled Abu Toameh’s piece on this:

“Arab leaders and heads of state were polite enough not to voice public criticism of the agreement when President Barack Obama phoned them to inform them about it. But this has not stopped Arab politicians, political analysts and columnists reflecting government thinking in the Arab world from lashing out at what they describe as ‘Obama’s bad and dangerous deal with Iran.’”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5493/arabs-blast-obama-deal-with-iran

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Most significantly, there are key members of Congress speaking out.

Right after the framework deal was announced, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) blasted it in no uncertain terms (emphasis added):

”Neville Chamberlain got a lot of more out of Hitler than Wendy Sherman [State Department negotiator] got out of Iran,” he declared.

There’s nothing for Iranians to do but go at breakneck speed to a nuclear weapon.  We’re moving straight to forcing Israel to clean up this mess … when the West does nothing, Israel over and over has done something….we shouldn’t force our best ally in the region to clean up the mess.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/mark-kirk-iran-deal-react-nazi-116632.html

A man who pulls no punches.

Credit: Politico
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On April 14, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be voting on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which would require the Obama administration to submit the final nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for review and approval.

Committee Chair, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Sunday that ”it’s very important that Congress is in the middle of this, understanding, teasing out, asking those important questions.”

Then on Monday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stated that:

“We cannot forget that Iran is pursuing a full-spectrum campaign to expand its sphere of influence in the greater Middle East.

“The administration needs to explain to the Congress and the American people why an interim agreement should result in reduced pressure on the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/04/07/senate-foreign-relations-committee-to-vote-on-iran-nuclear-agreement-review-act/

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It is a matter of certainty that Obama will veto this bill, and so 67 votes supporting it are needed to override that veto.  Senator Corker has indicated that there are already 65 who will be voting in favor. Two more votes are necessary.

And so, please! contact your Senator without delay.  If you are certain that he or she will be voting for this bill, offer thanks and express your understanding of how important this is.  If you are in doubt as to whether your Senator will be supporting the bill, urge that he or she do so. Say it is a matter of critical importance, and that you will be watching.

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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Now, as to the Obama walkback: nothing is more astonishing (and disingenuous!) than his new, improved stance on Israel.  In an interview with Tom Friedman on Sunday, he declared that:

“It’s been a hard period. It has been personally difficult for me to hear” accusations that “this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest…if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-05/obama-says-iran-accord-doesn-t-forgo-defense-or-abandon-israel

This is best read on an empty stomach.  What would be personally difficult for most of us would be to swallow this self-serving drivel.  But I imagine that, unfortunately, there are some who will buy it.

Obama now feels so kindly disposed to Bibi that he is planning on inviting him to the White House after the coalition is formed.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-to-invite-bibi-after-coalition-formed/2015/04/06/

Yes, this is the same Obama who refused to see Bibi when he came to address the Congress.

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Elliot Abrams, Former US Deputy National Security Adviser, has penned a potent response to Obama’s hot air assurances to Israel (emphasis added):

“Several times in this interview the President went out of his way to suggest that he fully understands Israel’s security problems, but the full text suggests that he does not–because he believes that his statements that ‘if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there’ and would ‘stand by them’ actually solve any of those problems…

What does ‘messes with Israel’ mean? No one has the slightest idea. The President unfortunately uses this kind of diction too often, dumbing down his rhetoric for some reason and leaving listeners confused. Today, Iran is sending arms and money to Hamas in Gaza, and has done so for years.  Is that ‘messing with Israel?…Iranian Revolutionary Guards, along with Hezbollah troops, are in southern Syria now near the Golan. Is that ‘messing with Israel?’ And what does the President mean by ‘America will be there?’ With arms? With bandages? With the diplomatic protection his administration is now considering removing at the United Nations?”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/04/07/leading-former-official-says-israelis-wont-be-reassured-by-obamas-security-pledges-following-iran-agreement/

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At some level, Bibi has little choice but to accept this new approach at face value – i.e., he will have to go to the White House.  It falls to him to spin it so that it is of maximum utility to Israel – perhaps extracting certain military guarantees.  Unfortunately, the “two state” solution is likely to be at the top of Obama’s agenda when they meet.  (And in coming days I’ll have much to say about that issue, which never dies.)

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One of the most convoluted statements that has been offered by Obama on the benefits of the deal is this, from an NPR interview:

It is, he said “a relevant fear” that “in year 13, 14, 15, [the Iranians] would have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.

“Keep in mind, though, currently, the breakout times are only about two to three months by our intelligence estimates.  So essentially we’re purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year…that if they decide to break the deal, kick out all the inspectors, break the seals and go for a bomb, we’d have over a year to respond.  And we have those assurances for at least well over a decade.

“And then in years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter, but at that point we have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves. We have much more insight into their capabilities. And the option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193763#.VSVjQZuJjIV

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Immediate and vociferous criticism followed this statement: The president, went the charge, has now admitted that the deal would not stop Iran from every getting a nuclear weapon, as promised.  It would simply make it perhaps a bit more difficult for some 15 years, after which breakout would be close to zero.

Spokespersons for the White House argued that the “zero breakout time” the president referred to was only if there was no deal.

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Our prime minister certainly isn’t buying this.  Iran’s post-deal breakout time will be zero, he says. And with good reason:

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has now announced that once a deal is signed at the end of June, and sanctions are lifted, Iran will move over to using its most advanced centrifuges.

These are the IR8 centrifuges, which enrich uranium 20 times faster than the current IR-1 models, meaning they would radically reduce the breakout time needed for Iran to obtain a nuclear arsenal. (Emphasis added)

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193800#.VSVpo5uJjIX

Dear friends, digest this information carefully. Be very afraid of where this is leading, and very furious at the president of the US, who has the gall to promote his deal.

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The good news here – if there is any good news on this – is that there really is no deal.  Not yet. And so there’s time to stop what Obama would like to achieve.

Bret Stephens, writing in the WSJ, tells us that:

”what the president calls ‘this verifiable deal’ fails the first test of verification—mutual agreement and clarity as to what, exactly, is in it….

“The deal cannot be verified,” he says, as “there are significant discrepancies between the U.S. and the Iranian versions of the deal.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-obama-and-the-inevitable-critics-1428361609

According to Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, the French have still another version.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/4817/report-internal-french-document-shows-troubling

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Times of Israel editor David Horovitz writes, in “The unfolding farce of Obama’s deal with Iran” that:

”Time and again, President Barack Obama and his indefatigable secretary of state promised that they and their P5+1 negotiating partners would not sign a bad deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons program.

“And, lo, they were as good as their word. They didn’t sign a bad framework deal in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week. They just agreed on one in principle, and left it unsigned, allowing for multiple conflicting interpretations.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-unfolding-farce-of-obamas-deal-with-iran/

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Of course, it is Obama’s deepest hope that this unsigned agreement will go through in one version or another (likely the version most satisfactory to Iran – regardless of what the president has told his people and the world), and become a signed deal by the end of June.

But it is the responsibility of every individual who can see past the president’s hype to the dangers looming large, to do everything possible to make sure it does not become a signed deal.

In the US, the most important vehicle for blocking Obama is Congress – a Congress that must be informed by its constituency of its urgent concern.

But it is also important to inform those Americans who may be buying what they are told.  Write letters to the editor and Internet talkbacks on this issue.  Speak to people.

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In Israel, we must pray that our government will have the strength to do whatever must be done.

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Tomorrow night is holiday again – the seventh and in Israel the last day of Pesach.  (Outside of Israel, there is an eighth day.)

I want to end here with one of my very favorite songs, which I have shared before: Yehi Sheamda.

This video features Yaakov Shwekey and Yonatan Razel, who wrote the vocal arrangement, at the piano.

The words. The words are straight out of the Pesach Haggadah:

And so it has stood for our fathers and for us, that it wasn’t just one nation alone that rose up against us to destroy us, and The Holy One, Blessed is He, saves us from their hand.

A song of faith and of hope.  Appropriate for this Pesach season, and for this time of threats to the Jewish people.  Our history is a story of miracles.  Let it be so now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6WMef3SP0

Enjoy!

04/3/15

The Only Clarity

Arlene from Israel

Tomorrow night begins Pesach.  (tonight)

A quintessential moment in the Jewish year, providing a powerful perspective: The Almighty heard the cry of the Children of Israel, who were suffering bitter slavery in Egypt. And He brought us out.  Not an agent, but the Almighty.  “Us” because we are commanded to consider ourselves as having been rescued then.


Credit: jfjfp

In that rescue, that Exodus from Egypt, we became a nation – ultimately brought to Mt. Sinai to receive the law, which instructs us to this day.  And then brought to the land.  It is of one piece.

Let us not forget the lessons of seder night.  And may those lessons transcend what is going on in the world today.

To all who celebrate, Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach.

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After days of tortuous dragging out of negotiations with Iran, a  “sort-of” conclusion has been announced.  The advent of the holiday makes it impossible for me to comment at length on what is currently going on.  Details will be forthcoming in my postings next week, after time spent with family and when I have returned to a “normal” writing schedule.  Here I wish to simply review fairly quickly.

There is no signed agreement. There is only a “framework”  – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  – that will require much working out of specifics by the end of June.

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Obama tonight called the agreement “historic” – if finalized it “would cut off every path” to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, and would include the toughest inspections “ever negotiated…If Iran cheats, the world will know it.  If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/world-powers-iran-announce-framework-for-nuke-deal/

Give us a break!  Only those eager to be taken in, only those who are so hungry for this issue to be put to rest, would believe this.  Unfortunately, this describes a good number of people.  Remember that Iran has a history of cheating, of moving ahead in secrecy on nuclear development.

The US speaks about re-imposing sanctions immediately if Iran were found cheating. But this is a dubious proposition, as Russia and China are likely to balk, so that Iran would be able to cheat AND have sanctions relief.

According to Jeffry Lewis, nuclear proliferation expert, “These treaties never really have an enforcement mechanism, which is, from a legal perspective, kind of weird and kind of a bummer, but totally understandable in a world of states that jealously guard their sovereignty.”  (Emphasis added)

https://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8336723/iran-nuclear-deal-transcript

No enforcement mechanism? This means Iran must be trusted to keep the deal?

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Obama has the unmitigated gall to say there is no daylight between Israel and the US with regard to the security of Israel. This deal, he claims, is the best way to protect Israel.  He’s slick – attempting to sideline Netanyahu as an aggressive individual who prefers tough sanctions or even a military attack to this splendid deal that solves everything.

Israeli officials say they will continue to fight this agreement until its date for being finalized in June.

They referred to the framework as “a capitulation to Iranian dictates.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, they called it “a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement.” If finalized, it would make the world “far more dangerous.”

The agreement, they maintained, constitutes “international legitimization of Iran’s nuclear program” whose “only purpose is to build nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/world-powers-iran-announce-framework-for-nuke-deal/

We have yet to hear from members of Congress – but we will.

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I note, as well, that all Western negotiating partners are not on board with the same enthusiasm that Obama exudes.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President Francois Hollande welcomed the “framework” but expressed the opinion that there was much work to do to before there could be an acceptable deal.

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I share this, from Omri Ceren of The Israel Project (emphasis added):

“[Iranian Foreign Minister] Zarif just finished his speech…some of what Zarif revealed has already generated controversy. There was a lot of braggadocio in the speech: no closing of facilities, R&D will continue on Iran’s scientific schedule, enrichment will continue, the heavy water at Arak will be modernized, etc.

“Perhaps most relevant to people who have been following the day-to-day in Lausanne, is that Zarif confirmed the U.S. has completely caved on the Fordow concession that the AP blew open on Thursday. Recall that Fordow is the underground bunker, built into the side of a mountain, which the Iranians emptied and made into an illicit enrichment facility. The assumption had always been that the Iranians would have to close it under any reasonable deal.

“President Obama was saying as late as 2012: ‘We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program’

“The Iranians simply said no…So the Americans caved and said that they could keep it open as a research facility, but they had to remove all the centrifuges for storage…there was a lot of talk of Iranian flexibility when they accepted it…Then this week, it emerged that in fact the Iranians would be allowed to keep centrifuges spinning inside the mountain.

“But instead of spinning uranium, the centrifuges would be spinning germanium or similar non-nuclear elements. Centrifuges spin isotopes into lighter and heavier elements, thereby enriching’ the material. That’s what they do. In fact that’s all they do. The administration has gone all-in on a talking point can be defeated by a Google search for ‘centrifuges enrich germanium’…

This isn’t a minor point. The concession has the potential to gut the whole deal.”

“[It] allows…centrifuge R&D beyond the reach of the West- since the process is the exact same process, Iran will have a hardened facility where it will be able to research and develop N-generation centrifuges. Zarif bragged from the stage in Lausanne that Iranian R&D on centrifuges will continue…the development of advanced centrifuges would give the Iranians a leg up if they decide to break out, and will put them instantly within a screw’s turn of a nuke when the deal expires.

“[It] leaves Iranian nuclear infrastructure running beyond the reach of the West – if the Iranians kick out inspectors and dare the world to respond, the West will have zero way to intervene…”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/04/02/critics-say-just-announced-framework-deal-between-p51-and-iran-raises-many-concerns/

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A bit of clarification here, regarding the Fordow site and the enrichment of germanium:

“…the centrifuges could only be used to enrich germanium, zinc, and other non-fissile materials. But the centrifuges are identical in design to those used for uranium enrichment, and can quickly be retooled for uranium enrichment.

Critics are concerned that Fordow could be used to perfect advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges using uranium stand-ins and in a location secure from outside attack.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-nuclear-deal-chances-2015-3

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And in closing, this additional information just in from Omri Ceren:

“The issue of sequencing sanctions relief – how, when, and to what extent sanctions will be lifted in exchange for Iranian compliance – was one of the key sticking points over the last week…

“Achieving an understanding on sanctions would have to be counted as a major achievement, and it’s already being claimed as such. But there’s something wrong here. I haven’t figured out what it is yet, but I’m pretty sure I don’t like it…

“The EU/Iran joint statement says sanctions will be terminated ‘simultaneously’ with Iran implementing its obligations…

“The White House factsheet says sanctions will be suspended ‘after’ Iran has taken ‘all’ of its nuclear-related steps…

Zarif is already saying the White House is lying about how sanctions will be lifted… (emphasis added)

“The last time Zarif accused the Obama administration of lying on a factsheet was after the JPOA was announced, in the context of granting a ‘right to enrich.’ He was 100% right and the Americans were 100% wrong.

“It’s not clear what the actual sanctions deal is, but it’s worrying that there are already differences…If the Iranians are right, then the White House is again misleading journalists and lawmakers about the actual scope of their concessions.”