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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageUS President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

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Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos

U.S. Embassy opening: Moving is a step towards peace

US Jerusalem embassy opening fallout

A breakdown of the controversy over the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Deadly clashes on Israel border ahead of U.S. Embassy opening

How are Palestinians reacting to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and violence in Gaza?

U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem, while Palestinian protesters are killed

Thank You President Trump’ on Walls of Jerusalem on Eve of Embassy Move

 

“Thank You President Trump.” That was the message projected onto the ancient walls of Jerusalem, together with the American and Israeli flags, on the eve of the formal transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on Sunday evening.

Inside those walls — most recently rebuilt by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I in the 16th century — tens of thousands of young Israelis danced and sang at the Western Wall plaza in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the 51st anniversary of the reunification of the city during the Six Day War of 1967.

This year, due to the peculiar nature of the Hebrew calendar — which combines both lunar and solar elements — the Hebrew date of Jerusalem Day fell one day before the Roman date of Israel’s 70th anniversary on May 14.

May 14 is also the 70th anniversary of the date that U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel, which is the reason the embassy transfer was scheduled for that date. (Israel celebrates its Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar, which fell in April this year.)

 

The coincidence of Jerusalem Day and the embassy move — plus Israel’s victory early Sunday morning in the Eurovision Song Contest — meant that the city has been in a state of celebration for several days, culminating in the dedication of the embassy move on Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. EDT and 6:00 a.m. PDT in the U.S.).

 

An official in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Breitbart News at a reception Sunday evening that the mood in his department was “somewhere between ecstatic and euphoric.”

In the modern center of the city, American flags and Israeli flags hung side-by-side, along with signs thanking President Trump and declaring him a “Friend of Zion.”

“Trump is Number One!” shouted one Israeli to Breitbart News reporters on the scene. It was a sentiment widely shared in a country that has seen so much hardship and struggle, and which feels that it finally has a friend in the White House — “the best friend Israel ever had,” as one Israeli put it.

The mood was even reflected in Israeli sports. Beitar Jerusalem, the local soccer team, officially renamed itself Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem in honor of the U.S. President.

Trump supporters also took out a massive wrap-around ad in the Jerusalem Post on Monday morning thanking President Trump for delivering on his promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and to end the Iran nuclear deal.

Across Israel, there was the repeated refrain: “He does what he says.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2018/05/13/thank-president-trump-walls-jerusalem-eve-embassy-move/

 

‘Big day in Israel. Congratulations!’ Trump tweets jubilantly at official opening by Jared and Ivanka of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem – as bloody day of violence sees Israeli snipers kill 52 and injure 2,400

  • US moving embassy from Tel Aviv today after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December  
  • Israeli snipers have killed scores of protesters near the Gaza border with more than two thousand injured
  • Mass protests taking place with Palestinian government accusing Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’
  • Comes after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for group’s followers to carry out jihad against the US 
  • Russia says embassy move risks increasing Middle East tension as Turkey says US is now ‘part of the problem’ 
  • The Arab League is planning to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss America’s ‘illegal’ embassy move 
  • US President’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner said opening showed US could be trusted and that when ‘Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Donald Trump rededicated the United States’ to its alliance with Israel on Monday as the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem officially opened.

Trump in a video address said that the U.S. will ‘always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace’ while honoring the nation and the city it claims as its capital as a ‘testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.’

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address. ‘May there be peace.’

In a tweet shortly after he said, ‘Big day for Israel. Congratulations!’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

The U.S. delegation had arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the foreign policy shift.

Israeli snipers have killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more as 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Donald Trump‘s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.

A 14-year-old was among 52 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

The festivities in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed on the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump (pictured) and Jared Kushner, have attended the opening of the embassy, relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

A child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border todayA child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border today
A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel today

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel today

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border

Huge crowds of protesters hid behind clouds of smoke from burning tyres but at times were forced to run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops

A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel's intervention during a protest to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 and against the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

At least 2,400 more have been injured with hundreds of them by live bullets, according to Gaza officials as the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’ and Amnesty International called the bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

Trump President tossed aside decades of precedent when he recognized the city as Israel’s capital in December – a decision that sparked global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis.

Russia said today it feared the embassy opening would increase tension in the Middle East while Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan warned the US it had forfeited its role as a mediator in the region and was now ‘part of the problem rather than the solution’.

As deadly clashes continued, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy has been a ‘long time coming’ and that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years. He added that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition’ and that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

Trump also said his ‘greatest hope’ is for peace and that he ‘remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement’. His on-in-law Jared Kushner said the opening showed the US could be trusted and that ‘when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the international community must bring those responsible to justice, in a post on Twitter.

‘Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.

‘The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims.’

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

A medic tries to hold an injured man's mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher 

A medic tries to hold an injured man’s mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A woman appears to be giving protesters medical assistance as she tends to them while they sit on the ground during clashes along the border with Israel

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Inside the event, the president’s daughter delivered an official welcome telling attendees after her father’s video address: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

She joined Mnuchin in unveiling the embassy seal and plaque commemorating her father’s involvement in the occasion.

Her husband, Jared, delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, in some of his most lengthy public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration.

Acknowledging his wife in his remarks, he said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world — including me, so I love you.’

‘I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people, and I am especially honored to be here today as a representative of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,’ he said.

Highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy, Kushner said, ‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.’

‘The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can,’ he told the audience. ‘We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give.’

Kushner said the U.S. ‘recognizes the sensitivity’ around Jerusalem, home to three religions, including Islam.

‘While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders throughout the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,’ Trump’s chief peace negotiator said.

At the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah blamed Hamas for the violence in Israel on Monday. He said he did not believe that the violence would undermine the United States’ positioning on a peace agreement.

‘The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,’ he asserted.

Shah demanded that Hamas stop its ‘cynical exploitation of the situation’ that has lead to the deaths.

The president’s spokesman said that embassy opening is ‘about following through on what the President promised and believes.

‘I think we’ve for decades you know walked on eggshells, pretending that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is. And this is just a recognition of reality.’

Shah said the ‘peace plan will be brought forward at the appropriate time, and it can be evaluated on its merits.

‘We don’t think it impact the peace plan,’ he said of the deaths in Gaza.

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

A severely injured man is carried. Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their livesA severely injured man is carried. Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives
American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. 'Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,' he said to warm applause.

American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. ‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,’ he said to warm applause.

Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip today

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

‘President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,’ he said, in forceful remarks. ‘Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.’

Netanyahu firmly declared: ‘We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay.’

‘Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.’

Netanyahu made a reference to the conflict on the Gaza border as he said in his speech that ‘our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak, we salute them all.’

‘The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,’ he said.

President Trump said earlier on Monday that it would be ‘a great day for Israel’ as the U.S. embassy prepared to open in Jerusalem.

‘The United States remains fully committed to precipitating a lasting peace agreement,’ he said in a video address.

He steered clear of the controversy over the relocation of the embassy, while noting, ‘We continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount.’

‘Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,’ he said.

‘We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,’ he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoonIvanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoon

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka

Jared Kushner embraces Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu during the opening ceremony today

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka (left) and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during the opening ceremony today

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a 'massacre' along the Gaza border

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a ‘massacre’ along the Gaza border

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a 'long time coming'. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a ‘long time coming’. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the "eternal, undivided" capital of Israe

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israe

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Trump in December announced that he would follow through on the pledge to move the embassy that U.S. presidential candidates have repeatedly made and then reneged on.

The Republican president said he would ‘move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’ in keeping with a decades-old U.S. mandating the relocation.

Presidents have typically signed a waiver every six months to skirt the requirement. Trump signed it his first year in office.

After a process that was expected to take up to four years, the U.S. said it would outfit a consulate in Jerusalem as an embassy while a new one is constructed.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors’: President Trump celebrates the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem from afar

Donald Trump said it was ‘a great day for Israel’ on Monday as the U.S. embassy was officially declared open in Jerusalem.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address.

It has been a ‘long time coming’, he added.

Trump said that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years, adding that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition.’

Trump added that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

The embassy move has enraged the Palestinians. Trump said he remained committed to ‘facilitating a lasting peace agreement.’

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a 'long time coming' as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message 

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a ‘long time coming’ as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message

Trump stressed a close bond with Israel. He also said he was ‘extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there to see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

Ivanka Trump, in an official welcome, after her father’s video address, told attendees: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump's decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, 'Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world - including me, so I love you'

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you’

Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy.

‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,’ Kushner said.

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you.’

The U.S. delegation arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the U.S. foreign policy shift.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not make the trip, either, but said Sunday in an interview that aired on Fox News that ‘the American people in that region are secure’ and ‘we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.’

Upon the arrival of the U.S. delegation on Sunday, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both Jewish, received a blessing from Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

‘Great to join the friends of Zion for an amazing evening commemorating the dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,’ Ivanka wrote in a tweet after landing.

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

As the ceremony took place this afternoon, the Israeli army revealed that warplanes had struck a Hamas facility in Gaza during bloody protests.

The military said it carried out five airstrikes after militants exchanged fire on three separate occasions with soldiers.

Brigadier General Ronen Manelis turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army viewed that number as a ‘failure for Hamas.’

He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest.

This morning, the Israeli military said troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests.

The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as the army said an Israeli aircraft had bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Amnesty International called the violence today an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

‘We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza…. This must end immediately,’ the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.

‘This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes,’ Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said in a separate statement.

‘As violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.’

Amnesty made the statement ‘responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed’ in the protests over the US embassy move.

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

‘The rising toll of deaths and injuries today only serves to highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo,’ Luther added.

‘While some protestors may have engaged in some form of violence, this still does not justify the use of live ammunition.’

The European Union’s foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the ‘principle of proportionality in the use of force’.

Federica Mogherini said that all should act ‘with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life’ and added that ‘Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest.’

At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and ‘must not exploit them for other means.’

The dramatic scenes today came after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri last night called for followers to carry out jihad against America.

In a new message, he said America’s decision was evidence that negotiations and ‘appeasement’ have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

Trump ‘was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad,’ Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border 

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

The celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protestedThe celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protested
A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinians burned tyres this morning ahead of mass protests at the Gaza border today

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

The announcement and the opening of the embassy sparked new chaos in Jerusalem, which the Israelis and Palestinians both claim as a holy site.

Still, the Trump administration says it is still charging ahead with a plan to bring peace to the region. A U.S. official told the Washington Free Beacon in advance of the embassy opening that the White House intends to unveil the deal that Trump’s son-in-law has taken a lead role in putting together in the coming months.

‘We’ve been working hard and want to give the plan the best chance for success,’ a senior official told the publication. ‘We want to get a lasting deal that is livable for both parties.’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was not on the trip and has been the point person for the Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, said the Middle East peace process is ‘is most decidedly not dead,’ in spite of the unrest that boiled over on Sunday.

‘We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well,’ he said.

Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said the administration believes the embassy move will enhance the peace process because it’s a recognition of reality.

‘I think it will make it easier. It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that’s where the American embassy should be, then you’re operating on a completely different wavelength,’ Bolton said.

Kushner likewise said in his speech on Monday at the embassy: ‘When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.’

‘I believe peace is within reach, if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past, that we are not condemned to relieve history, and that the way things were is not how they must forever be,’ he said. ‘It will not be an easy road, and it will be filled with difficult moments and tough decisions, but if we dream big and we lead with courage, we can change the trajectory for millions from hopeless to boundless.’

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning 

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning

Dozens have been injured - some of them seriously - by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza's Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Dozens have been injured – some of them seriously – by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Protests intensified on the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, as loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urged Palestinians to join a 'Great March of Return'. Black smoke from tyres burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted 'what an amazing day! Thank you @POTUS Trump' ahead of the opening

J Street, a liberal advocacy group pursuing Middle East peace, said the Trump administration had hurt the prospects of a deal with the embassy relocation in a scathing Monday statement called it a ‘victory for the far-right agenda of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu – but not for the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians or the United States.’

‘This move has only undermined the prospects for peace, exacerbated tensions and undercut US standing as an effective mediator,’ J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said. ‘This isn’t policy – it’s pandering to a narrow political base.’

The largest Jewish lobbying organization in the U.S., AIPAC, which has supported the move, noted that it was approved by Congress 1995 in a sweeping vote. It prodded other countries to follow the United States’ lead.

‘America was the first nation to recognize the independence of the Jewish state, and it is particularly appropriate that our country is once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and its standing in the world. We urge other nations to follow the Unites States’ lead and also locate their embassies in Israel’s capital,’ it said.

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Crowds built throughout the day in the Palestinian enclave less than 60 miles away from Jerusalem and sealed off from Israel by a blockade

Israel's military said 'approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence'

Israel’s military said ‘approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence’

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel's army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel’s army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

As tensions mounted today, the Arab League said it will hold emergency talks on Wednesday to discuss Washington’s ‘illegal’ decision.

The meeting will focus on ‘ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem’, the organisation’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.

He told reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet ‘at the request of the state of Palestine’.

Police and the Israeli military had planned major security deployments today.

Around 1,000 police officers were positioned around the embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for the inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israel’s army said it would almost double the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

Early this morning, witnesses said Israeli drones dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional 'layers' of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several 'significant attempts' to break through the fence

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional ‘layers’ of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several ‘significant attempts’ to break through the fence

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

Israelis began celebrating on Sunday, as tens of thousands of marched in Jerusalem, some holding American flags, to mark Jerusalem Day.

The annual event is an Israeli celebration of the ‘reunification’ of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Beyond the disputed nature of Jerusalem, the date of the embassy move is also key. May 14 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The following day, Palestinians mark the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Palestinian protests are planned on both days.

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel’s military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Israel's army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will 'act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians'. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

Israel’s army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will ‘act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians’. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

WHY THE US MOVED ITS EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

The United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.

The opening ceremony was timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognising Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had ‘taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.’

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a ‘slap in the face’ and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Initially, a small interim embassy will operate from the building in southern Jerusalem that now houses US consular operations, while a secure site is found to move the rest of the embassy operations from Tel Aviv.

WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL, AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?

There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a signature promise of his 2016 election campaign.

The decision was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, many of whom support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but to which other presidents since then – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – consistently signed waivers.

WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?

Religion, politics and history.

Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders.

It is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The city even has different names. Jews call it Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds, which means ‘The Holy’.

But the city´s significance goes further.

At the heart of the Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims internationally as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains of them above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.

Within yards of the wall, and overlooking it, are two Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century. Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.

The city is also an important pilgrimage site for Christians, who revere it as the place where they believe that Jesus Christ preached, died and was resurrected.

WHAT IS THE CITY’S MODERN HISTORY AND STATUS?

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the then British-ruled Palestine should be partitioned into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But it recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a ‘corpus separatum’ to be administered by the United Nations.

That never happened. When British rule ended in 1948, Jordanian forces occupied the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the ‘complete and united’ city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. But the United Nations regards East Jerusalem as occupied, and the city’s status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

DOES ANY OTHER COUNTRY HAVE AN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

In March Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US move.

Netanyahu said in April that ‘at least half a dozen’ countries were now ‘seriously discussing’ following the US lead, but he did not identify them.

In December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel´s capital. Nine voted against, 35 abstained and 21 did not cast a vote.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? HAS JERUSALEM BEEN A FLASHPOINT BEFORE?

Since Trump’s announcement there have been Palestinian protests and wider political tensions.

Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned the move could lead to turmoil and hamper US efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops in Gaza during a six-week border protest due to culminate on May 15, the day after the US Embassy move and when Palestinians traditionally lament homes and land lost with Israel’s creation.

Although the clashes have not been on the scale of the Palestinian intifadas of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.

In 1969 an Australian Messianic Christian tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque. He failed but caused damage, and prompted fury across the Arab world.

In 2000, the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, led a group of Israeli lawmakers onto the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif complex. A Palestinian protest escalated into the second intifada.

Deadly confrontations also took place in July after Israel installed metal detectors at the complex’s entrance after Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there.

Source: Reuters

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

A US delegation in Jerusalem includes Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides. She posted a picture of the couple on Twitter with Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara as she thanked the Israeli Prime Minister for his hospitality at a welcome reception

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Trump ‘feeble minded’ over embassy move, says Iran

Iran has denounced President Donald Trump as ‘feeble-minded’ over Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling for resistance from the Palestinians and the international community.

‘America has entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously,’ said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, at a conference on the Palestinian situation in Tehran.

‘I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,’ he added.

The United States was due to open its new embassy in Jerusalem — known as Al-Quds in Iran — later on Monday amid widespread Palestinian anger and praise from Israelis.

‘Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,’ Larijani said.

Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Larijani called for an ‘immediate reaction’ from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.

The US ‘must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,’ he said

There have already been weeks of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, with 54 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire there since March 30.

No Israelis have been wounded and the military has faced criticism over the use of live fire.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence

Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

In the decades since 1967, international consensus has been that the city’s status must be negotiated between the two sides, but Trump broke with that to global outrage.

He has argued that it helps make peace possible by taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’, but many have pointed out he has not announced any concessions in return from Israel.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said the US was ‘hard at work’ on the peace process, which he declared was ‘most decidedly not dead’.

Trump’s initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.

Meanwhile, Britain has no plans to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and still disagrees with the U.S. decision to do so, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday.

‘The PM said in December when the announcement was first made that we disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.

The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,’ the spokesman told reporters.

He was speaking on a day when the United States was due to open its embassy in Jerusalem, an event that has led to Palestinian protests.

Israeli gunfire killed two Palestinians and wounded at least 35 other protesters along the Gaza border on Monday, health officials said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - part of a Washington delegation - this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – part of a Washington delegation – this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The US is not the first embassy to open in Jerusalem – and won’t be the last

When the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday it will be the most high-profile diplomatic inauguration in the holy city, but not the first nor the last.

Several countries, mainly African and Latin American, have previously had their ambassadors based in Jerusalem and some are expected to return.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya severed relations with Israel in protest and closed the doors of their embassies in Jerusalem.

They later renewed relations but moved their missions to Tel Aviv.

In 1980 Israel enacted a law declaring Jerusalem, including the mainly Palestinian eastern zone, its ‘complete and united’ capital.

The United Nations Security Council branded the move illegal and adopted a resolution calling on ‘those states that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions’.

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

The Netherlands, Haiti and several Latin American countries complied.

Costa Rica and El Salvador returned to Jerusalem in 1984, but left again in 2006.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement on December 6, some at least are heading back – and Israel is hoping for more.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has said his country’s embassy will move to Jerusalem on May 16, and Paraguay’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would follow suit.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes would attend the opening ceremony, which would take place ‘by the end of the month’.

Romania’s government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, has adopted a draft proposal to move its embassy, which would make it the first European Union member to do so.

But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposes the move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and has called for Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s resignation.

On a visit to Jerusalem last month, Dancila acknowledged that at this stage she did not have ‘support of all parties as we would wish’ to carry out the embassy move.

Czech President Milos Zeman has said he too would like to see his country’s embassy transferred to Jerusalem.

He did not reveal any firm plan, however, and the government has only announced the reopening of its honorary consulate in Jerusalem and the establishment of a Czech cultural centre in the city.

On the other side of coin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas his country would not move its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem, official Palestinian media reported.

The EU is sticking firmly to the international community’s decades-long position that sovereignty in Jerusalem can only be decided by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after the Trump announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.

‘I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem,’ he told them, earning a chilly response from the bloc’s foreign policy head Federica Mogherini.

‘He can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side this move will not come,’ she said.

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See the source image

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Number of People Receiving Medicare (2016): *

Total Medicare beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.8 million

• 47.8 million

•   9.0 million

Part A (Hospital Insurance, HI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.5 million

• 47.5 million

•   9.0 million

Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance, SMI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 52.1 million

• 43.9 million

•   8.2 million

Part C (Medicare Advantage) beneficiaries   17.6 million
Part D (Prescription Drug Benefit) beneficiaries  43.2 million

·        Totals may not add due to rounding.

Medicare Eligibility:

  • Individuals ages 65 and over, who are eligible for Social Security payments
  • Individuals under 65 with a disability, who receive Social Security cash payments
  • People of all ages with end-stage renal disease

Average Benefit per Enrollee (2016):

Total: $12,829

  • Part A: $4,968
  • Part B: $5,558
  • Part D: $2,304

Status of Medicare Trust Funds (2016): *

Medicare Trust Funds (billions): HI (Part A) SMI

(Part B) (Part D)

Total
Assets at end of 2015 $193.8 $68.1   $1.3 $263.2
Total income in 2016

Payroll taxes
Interest
Taxation of Benefits
Premiums
General Revenue/Other

$290.8

$253.5
7.7
23.0
3.3
3.3

 $313.2  $106.2

—– —–
2.1   0
— — —–
72.1   13.8
239.0    92.4

$710.2

$253.5
9.8
23.0
89.1
334.7

Total expenditures in 2016

Benefits
Administrative Expenses

$285.4

$280.5 
     4.9

$293.4  $100.0

$289.5 $99.5 
      3.9     0.5

$678.7

$669.5 
     9.2

Net change in assets $ 5.4   $19.8   $6.3 $31.5
Assets at end of 2016 $199.1 $ 88.0    $7.6 $294.7

*Totals may not add due to rounding

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A (HI) Financing and Tax Rate:

Financing: Primarily financed by payroll taxes

  • Tax rate paid by employee: 1.45%
  • Tax rate paid by employer: 1.45%
  • Total tax rate paid by both employer-employee: 2.90%
  • Total tax rate paid by self-employed: 2.90%
  • Beginning in 2013, workers pay an additional 0.9 percent of their earnings above $200,000 (for those who file an individual return) or $250,000 (for those who file a joint income tax return)

Medicare Part A Benefits (2018):

Hospital Benefits – Initial deductible: $1,340

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 60th day)
  • $335 (61st ~ 90th day)
  • $670 (91st ~ 150th day, lifetime reserve days)
Skilled Nursing Facility Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 20th day)
  • $167.50 (21st ~ 100th day)
  • – No benefits starting the 101st day
Home Health Services Benefits – No deductible

– 20% of Medicare –approved amount for durable medical equipment

Hospice Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Up to $5 co-payment per prescription for outpatient drugs for pain and symptom management

Medicare Part B

Financing:

  • About 25% by monthly premiums;
  • About 75% from general federal revenues

Medicare Part B Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Physician and outpatient care, medical supplies, home health, and preventive services
Standard Monthly premiums: The standard Part B premium is $134.00. However, most people who receive Social Security benefits will pay less ($130 on average) because Part B premiums increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2018 Social Security benefits. Monthly premiums have been means-tested since 2007.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below $134.00
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $187.50
$107,001 – $133,500 $214,001 – $267,000 $267.90
$133,501 – $160,000 $267,001 – $320,000 $348.30
above $160,000 Above $320,000 $428.60
Initial deductible: $183.00
Co-pay: 20% of covered expenses
Penalty for late enrollment : 10% of monthly premium for each full 12 months of late enrollment for life (Exception: late enrollment due to cancellation of an employer-sponsored group insurance)

Medicare Part D

Financing:

• About 13% by monthly premiums;

• About 78% from general federal revenues

• About 9% from state payments and interest

Medicare Part D Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Outpatient prescription drugs
Monthly premiums: The national base beneficiary premium for 2018 is $35.02. As of 2011, monthly premiums are mean-tested.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below Plan Premium
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $13.00+Plan Premium
$107,001 – $160,000 $214,001 – $320,000 $33.60+Plan Premium
$160,001 – $214,000 $320,001 – $428,000 $54.20+Plan Premium
above $214,000 Above $428,000 $74.80+Plan Premium
Annual deductible $405*
Co-insurance: 25% of drug costs between $405 and $3,750*:
Coverage gap: 44% out-of-pocket spending for generic drug costs between $3,750~$5,000*. A 65% discount is available on covered brand-name prescription drugs at the time of purchase.
Extra help: Benefit for people with income less than $18,210 for an individual ($24,690 for a married couple living together) and up to $14,100 in resources ($28,150 for a married couple).
Note: Individual states might apply different criteria for extra help.
Penalty for late enrollment: 1% of the national average premium for each month not enrolled for life (Exception for late enrollment due to having prescription drug coverage that is as good as Medicare’s).

* Varies by individual plans and indexed to the annual percentage increase in Part D expenditures thereafter.

Supplemental Insurance

Medigap:

  • Each state offers up to 10 standard plans.
  • Starting June 1 2010, plans E, H, I, or J are no longer available to buy. People who already have one of these plans are able to continue with it. Also, Plans M and N are new policies introduced in 2010.
  • 23% of all Medicare beneficiaries have a Medigap policy.

Medicare Savings Programs:

Benefit for dual eligibles (those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid benefits):

·   20% of Medicare beneficiaries received Medicaid in 2017.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries
(QMBs)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,032 for an individual or $1,392 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part A & B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs) – Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,234 for an individual or $1,666 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Qualifying Individuals
(QIs)
– Limited number of beneficiaries per year

– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,386 for an individual or $1,872 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Medicaid Only
(Non QMB, SLMB, or QI)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A and/or Part B and are eligible for full Medicaid benefits

– Typically, these individuals need to spend down to qualify for
Medicaid or fall into a Medicaid eligibility poverty group

– Coverage: Full Medicaid benefits, Medicare cost-sharing
liability

Note: Individual states might have less restrictive criteria for dual eligibility.

Medicare Advantage (MA):

  • Eligibility to choose a MA plan: People who are enrolled in both Medicare A and B, pay the Part B monthly premium, do not have end-state renal disease, and live in the service area of the plan.
  • Formerly know as Medicare+Choice or Medicare Health Plans.
  • Benefits are provided by private insurance companies.
  • Premiums, cost sharing, and coverage vary by plan.
  • 18.4 Million enrollees (32% of all Medicare enrollees) in 2016.

http://www.ncpssm.org/our-issues/medicare/medicare-fast-facts/

 

WATCH LIVE: President Trump to discuss lowering drug prices

Trump announces plan to bring drug prices “back down to Earth”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar On President Donald Trump’s Drug Price Plans | CNBC

Trump unveils sweeping plan to lower prescription drug costs

White House press briefing with Sarah Sanders | Friday, 11 May 2018

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Part D Options When You Don’t Take Prescription Drugs

Medicare Part D Stages of Your Journey

Medicaid

HHS Sec. Alex Azar Presents “The Most Comprehensive Attack On Prescription Drug Affordability In History”

Following Friday’s announcement on lowering prescription drug costs, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained the president’s new 50-point plan to lower health costs at the White House press briefing:

(You can watch Sarah Sanders answer questions for Friday here)

“There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president,” Azar explained.

Trump’s plan, called “American Patients First,” seeks to increase competition, improve negotiation and create incentives to lower list prices of prescription drugs. It also includes rebate-sharing in Medicare drug plans, promoting generics and copycat versions of drugs and requiring drug manufacturers to publish list prices for drugs in television advertisements.

AZAR: Thank you, Sarah. Good afternoon, everyone. Well, as the president said earlier, we need a system for prescription drug prices that puts American patients first and one that takes case of America’s patients and doesn’t take advantage of them. What I wanted to do was try to just put a frame together for the actions that you’ll see in the blueprint and what the president and I talked about today to – so you just have a sense where we’re going here.

There are four major problems that we face. The first is high list prices for drugs. The second is government rules that get in the way of plans getting good deals for our senior citizens in our Medicare program. The third if foreign countries free riding off of American innovation. And the fourth is high out of pocket costs, especially for our seniors.

So, as you heard from the president today, this administration has already made a lot of progress in this regard. So, in the first year and a half in office the FDA has approved more generic drugs than ever before in history saving $8.8 billion in the first year. We also changed Medicare’s reimbursement rules to bring down the out of pocket spending for senior citizens saving them $320 million out of pocket on the drugs that they buy each year.

That work and the work that we’re laying out now in the president’s blueprint, it’s focused on four strategies to help fix this very complex problem that we face. First, increase competition. Second, increased and better negotiation. Third, incentives to actually lower list prices. And, fourth, lowering out of pocket costs.

So, first, it’s crucial that we have more competition in the prescription drug markets. That means we need a vital and vibrant generic drug industry and generic drug market. We need to foster and nurture a new competitive biosimilar generic drug market. Those are the generics essentially for those really complex, expensive biologic medicines. AZAR: We need to foster and nurture that. We also have to get after pharma companies who engage in anti-competitive practices and try to block the entry of generics or biosimilar products to market by, for instance, blocking access to their product so they can’t do the studies they need to do in order to get approval of an affordable generic or biosimilar market.

So, we’re going to go after all these kinds of abuses. Second, we’ve got to bring more private sector negotiation and better tools to our Medicare program so we get the best deals.

The Part D drug discount program for senior citizens is now 15 years old. I was there when we created it and helped to launch it. And when we did it, it was the — it was — it still is a great program, but it had the best tools, it was the best at negotiating great deals for our senior citizens.

And really was able to drive type formularies that were very efficient, and that’s what’s helped keep the cost of that Part D drug plan down below forecast and constantly low premiums throughout its time. But, over 15 years as so often happens with government programs, it got frozen in place.

And the private sector kept adapting and learning, especially after the economic crisis in 2007 how to control drug spend even better, OK? Part D stayed more static. We need now to bring the same tools that are available to the private sector to those Part D drug plans so they can negotiate better.

We need to unleash them so they can drive great deals for our seniors. We also have another part of our program, a major part which is called Part B. These are the drugs the physician administers. Mentioned those in the Rose Garden.

Those are — these right now are paid basically on a list price plus a markup. They send us a bill, we write a check. There’s no negotiation involved in that at all and the President has proposed in his budget, and we are reemphasizing we have got to figure out ways to move those drugs, especially the high cost ones into the private Part D drug plan negotiations.

So that we can get a deal and start getting bargains on that for our seniors and for taxpayers, we need to look at other mechanisms. And you’ll see that in the blueprint, some other ones that also help us negotiate better deals there for those plans.

Third, and this is a very complex area. Right now we have to bring incentives to lower list drug prices, OK? Right now, every incentive in the system is to increase and have high list drug prices. Because everybody in the system except the patient and the taxpayer is wetting their beak along the way.

They’re getting a — they’re getting a percent of that list price. List price goes up, list price higher, everybody makes more money along the way, so that it’s just — the math just works that way. We need to try to flip the incentives backwards so that financially it makes less sense to increase prices.

So one of the things we’re going to do, the President — I talked about this in the Rose Garden, is that we are having the FDA look at how we can require, in direct to consumer TV ads, that you have to disclose the list price of your drug.

We believe it’s an important part of fair balance, that if you’re telling a patient, activating a patient to have a discussion with their doctor about a drug, telling them all the good things that drug can do for them, it’s material and relevant to know if it’s a $50,000 or a $100 drug.

Because often that patient is going to have to bear a lot of that cost. In addition, we have in Medicaid and Medicare some key incentives that we can turn around on list prices. As part of Obamacare, one of the deals with the pharma industry was capping the statutory rebates on drugs in the Medicaid program at 100 percent.

We are going to work with Congress to look at overturning that cap on rebates. That again will make the math work so that when you increase your list price, it’s going to cost more money if you’re a pharma executive thinking about raising prices. AZAR: We’re also proposing — we want to think about some really creative ideas of — in our programs of reversing those incentives. So right now in our drug discount program, if you have a drug that fits into one of these protected classes, it’s almost impossible for the drug plan to negotiate and get any kind of discount from you, OK?

Well, that’s a — that — everybody gets that. What if, instead, we say, “You only get to be in that protected class if you haven’t raised your list price in the previous 18 months”? What if we say, “You can be exempt from these specialty tiers, where you — where the patient has to pay a lot out of pocket, but only if you haven’t increased your list price in the previous 18 months”? So a lot of tools like that.

The other big area we have to look at is the entire system of rebates that we have with pharmacy benefit managers. We are calling into question today the entire structure of using rebates as the method of negotiating discounts in the pharmacy channel, because right now, every incentive is for the drug company to have a very high list price, and to negotiate rebates down, often in a very nontransparent way.

What if, instead, we said, “No rebates. Flat price, fixed price in the contracts”; take away this whole, what’s called the gross-to-spread that removes that, and makes people indifferent to what the list price is in — in — in that system, and takes away the incentives, where even the pharmacy benefit manager makes money from higher list prices?

We also have a — a real issue that we’ve got a look at, which is the role of compensation for pharmacy benefit managers. They’re taking it now from both sides. They’re getting compensated by their customers, the insurance companies, but they’re also getting compensated by the drug companies they’re supposed to be negotiating against. They’re getting rebates, and keeping some of the rebates. They’re getting administrative fees.

Should we move to a fiduciary model, where the pharmacy benefit manager works for the insurance company or the individual, and only is compensated by the insurance company or individual; forbid renumeration from the — from the pharmaceutical company, so that it’s all completely on one side there, complete alignment of interest?

And then finally, how do we lower out-of-pocket drug costs? Well, as the president talked about it, we’re going to get rid of — we’re going to get rid of these gag rules, OK? Right now, some pharmacy benefit managers are telling pharmacists, “You’re not allowed to tell the patient that if they paid cash for this generic drug, it would be cheaper for you than if you run it through your insurance.” We think that’s unconscionable, and in part D, we’re going to work to — we’re going to work to block that.

We also think it’s a right, that when you’re sitting there with your doctor, you ought to be able to know what your out-of-pocket is for drug you’re going to be prescribed under your precise drug plan, and you ought to have that information. And you ought to have information on what competing drugs are that your doctor’s not prescribing, and what you would pay out-of-pocket for that. And that ought to be across the part B plan, and the part D plan.

Let me give you an example: You’re in with a doctor. This doctor has an infusion clinic, OK, as part of their office. OK, so they write you a drug that might be an infused drug. You might have a $300 co-pay for that. Well, wouldn’t you like to know that if the doctor instead wrote you a self-injectable drug, you’d have a $20 co-pay? And you could at least have an informed discussion. So we think that kind of informed consumer on out-of-pocket will also help drive real savings in the system.

So these are just some of the measures. There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president. And I’m just grateful President Trump is, you know, standing behind us to — and — and encouraging us to do these kind of bold measures.

So with that said, let me open it up to questions.QUESTION: There’s a tremendous number of moving parts in — in this blueprint, many of which will require legislative action. How much of this works without the rest? Do you have to do it all, or can you do just part of it?

And — and how much can be done through executive action versus legislation?

AZAR: That’s a great question. Most of this, we believe, can be done by executive action. Now, we are more than happy to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis, so many of these solutions ought to be attracting bipartisan support. We all acknowledge this. These are problems we have to deal with.

But we believe most of these actions are steps that we can take using our regulatory authorities, especially with the power in the Medicare program.

They are — few of them are interdependent, and so it’s not as if any one is requiring a preceding act, there. We think we can attack many of these steps.

It is complex, though. It is very — because the system is rocket science. It’s unbelievably complex. And this — it is a very sophisticated approach, hitting at so many of the financial and business levers behind the system.

Instead of throwing just sort of political speak at this as — as it would have been easy to do, it’s a very business mindset focus on how do you actually change the underlying financial levers here to genuinely solve the problems?

That’s what the president wants. He wants it to actually solve the problem and lead to results.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Hi.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. How soon will consumers actually see lower drug prices?

AZAR: Yes, so already they’re seeing lower drug prices from that historic level of generic drug approval last year. That’s almost $9 billion a year from all those generics on the market. The cuts that we made on how we reimburse on Medicare drugs, $320 million a year from that already; As we make more of these — we’re going to — we are — we are certainly moving forward with any of these changes to make sure that they’re going to see it in the pocketbook right away.

You know, let’s — so it — it’ll — it’s going to take time. Some of this will take regulatory action. We’ll have to go through the administrative process.

But I can tell you, as soon as I walked out of the Rose Garden — you know what the first question the president and the chief of staff had was?

QUESTION: (Inaudible)?

AZAR: When’s the execution? I want the execution framework. We’re going to have a meeting next week on the timelines and getting it all done.

So there’s…

QUESTION: Is it a matter of weeks or is it months, that consumers could actually see that benefit?

AZAR: It’s — it’s going to be months for the kind of actions that we need to take, here. Again, this is — this is — it took decades to erect this very complex interwoven system.

We’re talking about entrenched market players, complex financial arrangements that have — would have to be redesigned.

So I don’t want to overpromise that, somehow, you know, on Monday, there’s a radical change. But there’s a deep commitment that this is — this is fundamental, structural change that we’re talking about, to — to our system.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much (ph). India is making a lot of jokes (ph). (Inaudible) how India is going to be effected to this (inaudible) today?

Also, at the same time, next month is Yoga International Day announced by the United Nations and the prime minister of India. How yoga can help — maybe you don’t need any drugs if you have yoga?

AZAR: Well, I’ll stick with the first one, which is the generic — which is generic drugs. Generic drugs, competition in our system is absolutely vital. That’s why — deep commitment of the administration to remove any anti-competitive barriers to generic competition.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: You talked about calling into question the entire rebate structure.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Specifically what steps are you doing to — now, and when might consumers see change on that?

AZAR: Yes. So as part of the blueprint, we’re releasing a request for information that’s the initiation of seeking input. This is — this is the restructure — this is the possible restructuring of a major sector of the economy.

One doesn’t do that lightly. It’s beginning a national dialogue with the public, with — with stakeholders, with Congress on — if we were to do this, if we were to outlaw rebates, say in the Part D Drug Discount Program, and instead require that the products be discounted at a fixed price.

So, for instance, just to explain how this works now, let’s say you have $1,000 drug. You go to the pharmacy benefit manager and say, hey, if you cover my drug, I’ll give you a 30 percent rebate on that after the fact if any of your patients use this. OK, so a $300 rebate on that.

What this would say is instead of that, you would have to negotiate and the contract would say you get reimbursed $700 this year, and then maybe $702 next year, if — for — for some inflation. So, it’s fixed and indifferent than to list price. So this game — what goes on now is frankly, a bit of a game, which is the drug company negotiates this 30 percent rebate and then, the next day, increases price 30 percent.

And it’s — it’s this game of chase that goes on. Instead, fix price, make everything indifferent to this list price and all the fees not be based on — on a percent of this artificial list price, which for so many people is like the rack rate on the back of your hotel room door. You know, almost nobody pays it. But too many people now in the health care system are paying it, and they’re suffering from that.

QUESTION: But, any timeline for this, like how long it’s going to take, or?

AZAR: Well that’s a — so, this is out today and we’re going to seek comment. And we want to learn. And then we’ll — we’re going to — we’re going to move forward on that if it makes sense. And we need to learn how to restructure — restructure things.

I believe that even one pharmacy benefit manager just yesterday talked about this precise issue of restructuring their contracts to get out of this rebate spread conundrum that the world is in. So I believe it’s doable and I think it will have tremendous systemic impact. Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there are a couple of notorious examples in the last couple of years of drug companies buying drugs that have been on the market for years and suddenly raising their prices extraordinarily.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Is there anything in this blueprint that addresses that…

AZAR: There is, yes.

QUESTION: … For example, the — the EpiPen situation a couple years ago?

AZAR: There is. So, one of the elements on increasing the power of negotiation that we’re doing in this plan is if a sole-source generic drug — which is what these instances that have gotten so much attention in the past several years, this is when you have one generic drug out there.

And if there is any increase in price by a sole-source generic, we are going to allow the drug plan to reopen their drug formulary immediately and take action against that drug, whereas right now they have to wait the — for the end of the year on the new plan cycle. They can immediately go after that drug, come up with alternative drugs or create preferential treatment for other drugs right away, if there’s any increase in price of a sole-sourced generic.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes. So you’re talking about the increases in drug prices, while in areas like Maryland and Virginia insurers are talking about double digit health insurance premium increases. There’s a Maryland regulator that’s said something like the ACA is in the death spiral and echoing past words (ph) of the president. What are you doing to deal with that? Does HHS just accept these premium predictions as reality? What are you doing to reduce those costs?

AZAR: So — so, some of these premium submissions right now, it is the very beginning of a process that happens with state regulators around — around those insurance designs. These price increases were happening under President Obama. They continue because of the structural infirmities in how Obamacare was designed.

This is why the president has been so adamant about producing alternative, affordable options for patients because for so many — the 28 million forgotten men and women in this country have been forced out of the individual market. And they’re sitting there without insurance, even though they were promised they would have accessible, affordable, competitive insurance that they could keep.

You know, 6.7 million Americans paid $3.1 billion in the Obamacare taxes for the privilege of not buying insurance they couldn’t afford and didn’t want. And 80 percent of them make $50,000 or less.

So we’re trying to bring short-term plans as an option for people. We’re trying to bring association health plans out of the Labor Department as options for people. The president is just — We want to keep looking for more options to get people out of some of the traps that the — the Obamacare system has created of these high-cost and uncompetitive plans for people.

Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have a question about another issue at HHS — HHS (ph), actually. Justice Department has indicated the department is set to change an Obamacare rule that would bar medical practitioners from denying mental treatment to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery. Will HHS repeal that rule?

AZAR: I’m not familiar with that — with that particular issue, so I’m going to — I’m — I’m going to talk about drug price. I’m not familiar with that. I’ll look into that when I get back over to the department. Thank you.

Yes?

QUESTION: Thank you. So you talked about Medicare Part B, negotiating better — better prices. That is same thing that the president referred to when he said that other countries’ socialized Medicare — medicine systems are — are ripping us off. Why is that OK for Medicare, but not for other countries?

AZAR: So the difference is — the difference is having entities negotiate in a competitive environment. So what happens in some of these socialist countries? I dealt with them in the past. What they do is they say, “You don’t come into this country unless you pay this low price, and here’s — here’s a low, below-market, noncompetitive price. You either pay it, or you don’t come into this country.” And they don’t really care if the people of their country don’t get access to that drug, and the people aren’t informed, even, that they don’t have access to that medicine in these — in these ration systems.

And so that’s completely different from what we’re doing, where we’re harnessing the power of the private negotiating market to negotiate deals.

So for instance, the way Part D works, the system that we want to try to emulate and use tools from in that Part B, is one drug plan might say, “I’m not going to cover this drug because I didn’t get a good enough deal,” and then another plan might cover that drug because they think they got a good enough deal. But the key is, the senior citizen’s in the driver’s seat. They get to say, “All right, then I’m going to choose. I need that drug. I’m going to buy this plan, and I’ll pay the premium for that plan, because I want insurance there.”

You know, if you’re in a socialized country, it’s one-size-fits-all. You can’t exit, except gone and — getting on an airplane to America, where you can get access to that medicine.

So yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. When people hear about this plan, read about this plan over the upcoming days, they’re presumably going to learn about yourself as well, and they might say, “Wait a minute. Somebody who was a pharma executive is now going to be the one in charge of lowering drug prices.” How is that going to work? Your pitch to Americans, that they can trust you to oversee this effort would be what?

AZAR: I’d say trust us by our actions, and by the deeds in the blueprint: over 50 action plans that are hard-hitting. It’s the hardest-hitting plan ever proposed by a president across the entire spectrum of every player in this industry to drive down drug prices, and make drugs more affordable. And this is exactly — I know this from having been on the other side, running a drug company, in these — and these issues, which is, I actually looked at, if you could lower drug prices. It didn’t work for any one company. You —

This is how perverse the system is: You put yourself at a disadvantage in the system by having a lower-list-price drug than others, again, because every player in the system makes more money as a percent off of that list price. This is precisely why I’m so excited to be here in government, with the knowledge that I’ve got, and this team has about how we can change the rules of the road, and actually change the system, so that we can reverse those incentives to make that work, make those choices work, bring down drug prices, and make things more affordable.

Trump Promises Lower Drug Prices, but Drops Populist Solutions

Image
The plan announced by President Trump and Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, on Friday would give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Friday to “bring soaring drug prices back down to earth” by promoting competition among pharmaceutical companies, and he suggested that the government could require drugmakers to disclose prices in their ubiquitous television advertising.

But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. And he chose not to allow American consumers to import low-cost medicines from abroad.

He would instead give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.

Speaking in the sun-splashed Rose Garden of the White House, Mr. Trump said that a “tangled web of special interests” had conspired to keep drug prices high at the expense of American consumers.Everyone involved in the broken system — the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others — contribute to the problem,” Mr. Trump said. “Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse. But under this administration we are putting American patients first.”

His proposals hardly put a scare into the system he criticized.

Ronny Gal, a securities analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said the president’s speech was “very, very positive to pharma,” and he added, “We have not seen anything about that speech which should concern investors” in the pharmaceutical industry.

Shares of several major drug and biotech companies rose immediately after the speech, as did the stocks of pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” who Mr. Trump said had gotten “very, very rich.” The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 2.7 percent on Friday. CVS Health, which manages pharmacy benefits for many insurers and employers, finished up 3.2 percent.

Mr. Trump and other Republicans are eager to show an achievement on health care this year to counter arguments by Democrats who say that Americans are losing coverage because of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Soaring pharmaceutical prices are directly hitting consumer wallets, and high-profile cases — like the sudden jump in the price of EpiPens or the jailing of the hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, who greatly increased the price of a drug under his control — have turned pharmaceuticals into a hot political topic.

Many of Mr. Trump’s ideas can be put into effect through regulations or guidance documents. Some will require legislation.

Republicans in Congress welcomed the president’s attention to high drug prices and promised to review his proposals, which Mr. Trump said would “derail the gravy train for special interests.”

Democrats embraced the opportunity to push health care back to the center of the political debate.

“President Trump offered little more than window dressing to combat the rising cost of drugs — a problem that is pinching the pocketbook of far too many Americans,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said after the speech. “We Democrats have offered a better deal on prescription drugs through true transparency, Medicare Part D negotiation, and a cop on the beat to police and stop exorbitant price hikes.”

After supporting some of those same proposals on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pivoted to a different approach. He said his administration would provide new powers for Medicare’s private prescription drug plans, known as Part D, to negotiate lower prices but he would not use the purchasing power of the federal government to conduct direct negotiations. He said he would make it easier for pharmacists to inform patients of cheaper alternatives and would speed the approval of over-the-counter drugs “so that patients can get more medicines without prescription.”

Mr. Trump also denounced foreign countries that he said “extort unreasonably low prices from U.S. drugmakers” so that their citizens often pay much less than American consumers for the same drugs.

“America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries,” Mr. Trump said. He directed his trade representative to “make fixing this injustice a top priority” in negotiations with every trading partner.

“It’s time to end the global freeloading once and for all,” Mr. Trump said.

It is not clear why higher profits in other countries would be passed on to American consumers in the form of lower prices, and officials in those countries pushed back hard.

“With our price regulations, drug companies are still making profits — just lower profits than in the United States,” said Dr. Mitchell Levine, the chairman of Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which reviews prices to ensure they are not excessive.

The administration floated several ideas that could radically change the marketing of prescription drugs.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said the Food and Drug Administration would explore requiring drug companies to disclose list prices in their television advertisements.

The government, he said, will consider whether to “outlaw rebates” — the discounts and price concessions that are a key link in the drug supply chain. Pharmacy benefit managers are hired by insurers and large employers to negotiate lower drug prices, but they also receive rebate payments from drugmakers, creating a potential conflict of interest, the administration said.

Mr. Trump said he would end “the dishonest double-dealing that allows the middleman to pocket rebates and discounts that should be passed on to consumers and patients.”

Mark Merritt, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents drug benefit managers, said the real problem was the high prices set by drugmakers.

“Getting rid of rebates and other price concessions would leave patients and payers, including Medicaid and Medicare, at the mercy of drug manufacturers’ pricing strategies,” Mr. Merritt said.

Thomas M. Moriarty, an executive vice president of CVS Health, said his company already offers clients the option to share rebates and discounts with consumers when they fill prescriptions.

Experts said some of the president’s ideas could help lower drug prices.

“It’s framed as a pro-competitive agenda, and touches on a range of government programs that the administration can change through regulation — so that the president can take unilateral action,” said Daniel N. Mendelson, the president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company. “The trick here for the administration is to do something visible before the midterm elections, so they can take credit for an action that reduces drug prices for consumers.”

Mr. Trump’s “blueprint to lower drug prices” has four main themes: increasing competition in drug markets; giving private plans more tools to negotiate discounts for Medicare beneficiaries; providing new incentives for drug manufacturers to reduce list prices; and cutting consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

The administration would lower out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients by requiring prescription drug plans to pass on some of the discounts and rebates they receive from drug manufacturers. Patients could see those savings at the pharmacy counter. At the same time, Medicare officials say, there could be a modest increase in premiums for Medicare drug coverage.

Health policy experts like this idea because it reduces the burden on patients with serious chronic illnesses and spreads the expense of needed medications across the entire insured population.

But Democrats said Mr. Trump’s policy prescriptions fell far short of what was needed, especially next to the populist promises he made during the 2016 campaign.

“I think very expensive champagne will be popping in drug company boardrooms across the country tonight,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who has been investigating drug prices for the last year. “The president is apparently abandoning his campaign promise to authorize Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prices.”

Administration officials were somewhat defensive about the president’s plan, saying it was bold and significant even though it was not what Democrats wanted — or what candidate Trump favored.

In a round of television interviews on Friday, Mr. Azar said the president’s plan included “over 50 different initiatives — very sophisticated, the kind of thing you’d expect from a C.E.O. like Donald Trump, getting at the real heart of the business problem.”

Mr. Azar said the president’s plan would “unleash those who negotiate for us with the greater powers of the private sector” to obtain good deals.

In trade negotiations, the White House wants to put pressure on other countries to increase the prices of brand-name drugs, with the expectation that pharmaceutical companies would then lower prices here at home.

America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Mr. Azar, a former top executive at the drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company. “And they’re doing it on the backs of their patients. God help you if you get cancer in some of these countries.”

Other nations, also struggling with high drug prices, scorned Mr. Trump’s advice on this issue.

“Drug manufacturers in the United States set their own prices, and that is not the norm elsewhere in the world,” a spokesman for the 28-member European Union said on Friday. “E.U. member states have government entities that either negotiate drug prices or decide not to cover drugs whose prices they deem excessive. No similar negotiating happens in the U.S.”

Katie Thomas contributed reporting from Chicago, and Peter Baker from Washington.

6 Takeaways From Trump’s Plans to Try to Lower Drug Prices

Image
Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, and President Trump announced a “blueprint” to try to lower drug prices.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

President Trump has the power to sink pharmaceutical stocks with a single jab about high drug prices.

But in a much-anticipated speech on the topic on Friday, Mr. Trump largely avoided the issues the industry fears the most, such as allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, or allowing Americans to import drugs. Investors noticed: Stocks of major drug companies rose after his speech, as did those of pharmacy benefit managers, or the “middlemen” that Mr. Trump said were getting “very, very rich.”

As the health care world parsed the president’s newly released “blueprint” to lower drug prices, the overarching insight seemed to be this: The drug industry’s formidable lobbyists had won some key victories, even if they did not escape entirely unscathed. Many proposals were light on detail and will need action by Congress to become real.

Yet Mr. Trump won some praise for having taken a stab at tackling such a complex and vitally important issue to many Americans.

Here is a rundown of the key proposals unveiled on Friday.

Lower drug prices for older people

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump embraced allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of the drugs it buys for older people, an issue traditionally supported by Democrats but long opposed by Republicans — and the powerful drug industry.

Friday’s proposal falls far short of that goal. But it does include some ideas for giving the government better leverage in negotiating with drug companies. It calls for exploring whether to allow Medicare drug plans to pay different amounts for the same drug, depending on the illness involved. And it would experiment with “value-based purchasing” in federal programs, essentially a money-back guarantee in which a drugmaker promises to refund money if a medication does not work as expected. Drug companies and insurers are increasingly entering into these kind of arrangements, although the evidence is far from clear that they lower costs.

The administration also reiterated earlier proposals: making generic drugs free for some low-income older people on Medicare and allowing people to keep a portion of the rebates that are normally pocketed by the insurers that manage the Medicare drug program.

Persuade other countries to pay more

One key proposal would involve pressuring other countries to raise their prices for prescription medicines. Drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world; many countries with centralized health care systems have successfully negotiated lower prices from pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Trump, echoing the longstanding position of the drug industry, has said these companies are “free-riding” off the ingenuity of American corporations, and that high drug prices in the United States are subsidizing innovation that benefits the whole world.

The Trump administration plans to work with several federal agencies to address what it described as this “unfair disparity.”

But it is unclear whether other countries would be willing to raise their prices, or whether doing so would lead drug companies — which are beholden to shareholders hungry for profit — to lower prices in the United States.

Require drug ads to include the price

Prescription drug commercials are ubiquitous. But what if those ads had to disclose the drug’s price? That is something the Trump administration says it wants to explore.

The idea would certainly grab attention, and fear of a consumer backlash could pressure some drugmakers into dropping their prices.

But the notion poses a lot of issues For one: which price? The list price, which is about what a pharmacy would charge if someone paid for the drug in cash? Or the discounted price that insurers and employers pay? Most consumers have health insurance and pay a much smaller out-of-pocket cost, although that can still add up to thousands of dollars a month.

Other questions include whether such a requirement would survive a First Amendment challenge, and whether posting a high sticker price — which few ultimately pay — could dissuade patients seeking out a necessary drug.

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Oleg Deripaska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oleg Deripaska
Дерипаска Олег Владимирович.jpg

Deripaska in 2012
Born Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska
2 January 1968 (age 50)
DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastRussian SFSR
Residence Moscow, Russia
Citizenship Russia
Cyprus[1]
Alma mater Moscow State UniversityPlekhanov Russian Academy of Economics
Occupation Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element Company
Net worth DecreaseUS$3.7 billion (April 2018)[2]
Spouse(s) Polina Yumasheva (m. 2001)
Children 2
Awards
Website Basic Element
Deripaska.com

Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska (Russian: Оле́г Влади́мирович Дерипа́ска; born January 2, 1968)[3] is a Russian oligarch of Jewish descent, aluminium magnate and philanthropist.[1] He is the founder and owner of one of the largest Russian industrial groups Basic Element. He was the president of En+ Group and United Company Rusal, the second largest aluminium company in the world,[4] until 2018.[5]

After graduating from Moscow State University with a degree in physics, Deripaska became a metals broker specialized in trading aluminium before expanding into energy, machinery, financial services and agribusiness. In 2000, Deripaska founded Rusal, the result of a partnership between Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital.[6] In 2007, Rusal merged with SUAL Group and Glencore International AG to form UC Rusal, with Deripaska as chairman.[7]

He was once Russia’s richest man, worth $28 billion, but nearly lost everything due to mounting debts amid the 2007–08 financial crisis. As of May 2017, his wealth was estimated by Forbes at $5.2 billion.[8] Deripaska is also known for his close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as his connection to American political consultant Paul Manafort, whom Deripaska employed from at least 2005 to 2009.[9]

Deripaska is also the founder of Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest charitable foundation, and is reported to have donated more than $250 million to mostly educational causes. He is married to Polina Yumasheva, step-granddaughter of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and daughter of Valentin Yumashev, Yeltsin’s son-in-law and close advisor.

Deripaska was also granted Cypriot citizenship in 2017.[1]

Education and early career

Early life

Deripaska was born in DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastSoviet Russia and grew up in Ust-LabinskKrasnodar Krai. His parents were from Kuban[10]. He is of Russian-Jewish ancestry.[11]. Deripaska grew up on the family’s small farm, where from the age of 5 or 6, he learned how to live off the land from his grandparents,[12] who primarily raised him after his widowed mother, an engineer, had to leave to find work.[13] Deripaska credits his grandparents for teaching him the discipline of hard work along with farming.[12] Both his grandfathers fought in the Second World War; one was killed in battle and buried in a mass grave in Austria, the other returned to Russia after the war ended.[14]

Deripaska’s first job was at the Ust-Labinsk plant where his mother worked. At age 11, he became an electrician’s apprentice doing maintenance on electrical motors.[14] Deripaska acquired a passion for reading; his favorite authors were Mayne Reid and Jack London.[14]Today, Basic Element’s headquarters contain walls of books, reflecting Deripaska’s lifelong love of reading.[14] His talent for math allowed him to enroll at the physics faculty of Moscow State University in 1985.[12] One year into his studies, he was conscripted into the armed forces and served in the Soviet army’s Strategic Missile Forces[12] in the Trans-Baikal area, Siberia, from 1986–1989.[14]

Education

In 1993, Deripaska graduated with honors in physics from Moscow State University;[15] however, the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly eliminated academic funding and made it impossible for him to continue his studies as a theoretical physicist.[14] There were no stipends or grants for students either. “We had no money. It was an urgent and practical question every day. How do I earn money to buy food and keep studying?” he recalls.[14] In 1996, he earned a master’s degree from the Plekhanov University of Economics.[13]

Early career

At the age of 25, teaming up with fellow physicists, engineers and rocket scientists, Deripaska set up his first metal trading company, VTK. He adopted a systematic, scientific approach to commodity trading. “I represented companies that were buying and selling raw materials”, Deripaska said.[12] Deripaska undertook export arbitrage, buying metal at low Russian prices and selling it abroad at significantly higher international market prices. Deripaska traded primarily through the Baltic state of Estonia as the Russian system of export licenses was in disarray.[12] “I started my business at an unusual moment in history. The country in which I was born raised had disappeared, although the new country was not fully formed. The first one gave me an excellent education; the second one gave me the chance of success”, Deripaska recalled in an interview with Metal Bulletin.[14]

He used nearly all his arbitrage and trading profits to acquire his initial package of shares in the Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter in Southern Siberia.[16] Between 1993 and 1994, Deripaska bought vouchers and shares in Sayanogorsk, and accumulated a 20% stake in the factory, becoming the biggest individual shareholder after the Russian State — to the annoyance of the plant’s Communist-era bosses.

In 1994, Deripaska became director general of the plant at the age of 26.[12] In 1997, the smelter became the core asset of Sibirsky (Siberian) Aluminium Group.[17] Deripaska was general manager and the main shareholder of the Sayanogorsk Smelter (1994–97) and held the post of president of Sibirsky Aluminium Investment Industrial Group (1997–2001), which later became the core asset of RUSAL.[18]

Growth with RUSAL

RUSAL went on to become the largest aluminium producer in the world, until the China Hongqiao Group surpassed it in 2015. In 2010, under Deripaska’s leadership, Rusal became the first Russian company to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[14]

Beyond metals, which remain at the core of his diversified industrial holding, Deripaska has acquired stakes in a wide range of companies in various sectors, including energy, manufacturing, commercial vehicles, auto components, financial and insurance services,[19]leasing businesses, construction,[20] aviation, and agriculture. Among his assets are a Siberian power company EuroSibEnergo,[21] that is Russia’s biggest private energy company; Ingosstrakh, one of Russia’s largest insurance companies; GAZ Group, a producer of cars, trucks and buses, agricultural business (Kuban Agro Holding);[22][23] and transport companies, such as a cluster of airports in the Krasnodar region, including Sochi and Krasnodar.[24] All these assets form part of the diversified investment and industrial group Basic Element.[25]

In fact, Basic Element built several Olympic facilities for 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, including the Coastal Olympic Village, Imeretisnkiy sea port, Doubler of Kurortny Avenue in Sochi, renovation of the Sochi International Airport. The total investments account for over $1.4 billion.[26]

Later business career

EN+ Group

The group was formed in 2006, with Oleg Deripaska as President and controlling shareholder.[27] The EN+ Group is a diversified mining, metals and energy groups. It owns a majority stake in UC Rusal (48.13%[28]) and in EuroSibEnergo. EN+ also holds interests in SMR, one of the world’s largest ferromolybdenum producers.

In 2017, it reported adjusted core earnings of $2.3 billion, on revenues totaling $9.8 billion.[29] Due to ongoing recovery in the commodity industry, EN+ Group announced plans to be listed at the London Stock Exchange in the first half of 2017.[30] EN+ could be valued between $10 billion and $12 billion.[30]

Basic Element

Deripaska is the sole owner and Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element, a diversified investment group established in 1997. Basic Element’s assets are concentrated in five sectors: energy, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, construction and aviation. The major assets include United Company RUSAL[31] the world’s largest aluminium and alumina producer; GAZ Group, an automotive companyIngosstrakh, the country’s oldest insurance company; Bank SOYUZ (Банк «СОЮЗ»);[32] Aviakor aircraft manufacturer; EuroSibEnergo (ЕвроСибЭнерго), an investment and energy supply company;[21] Glavmosstroy (Главмосстрой), a construction company;[33] Kuban Agroholding, an agricultural company;[22] and Basel Aero, an aviation business comprising the four largest airports in the Krasnodar territory (in joint venture with Changi Airports International).[24]

Basic Element owns companies and subsidiaries in Russia, the CIS countries, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America. It employs as many as 250,000 people.[25]

Metals and mining

RUSAL

United Company RUSAL is the world’s second largest aluminium company. It was the largest until it was overtaken by China Hongqiao Group in 2015. UC RUSAL accounts for almost 7% of the world’s primary aluminium output and 7% of the world’s alumina production. UC RUSAL was formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2000, Deripaska’s Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital created a partnership to manage the aluminium and alumina assets they controlled, and founded RUSAL.[34]

In 2003, businesses led by Deripaska increased their stake in those companies under common management to 75% by acquiring half of the interest managed by Millhouse Capital.[35]

In 2004, the consolidation of RUSAL’s ownership by companies related to Deripaska was completed with the acquisition of the remaining 25% equity interest in RUSAL managed by Millhouse Capital.[34]

In order to ensure a stable supply of alumina to its smelters, several mergers and acquisitions were accomplished by RUSAL under Deripaska’s guidance. At the beginning of the 2000s, RUSAL acquired bauxite mines in Guinea, a country with the world’s largest bauxite reserves. Subsequently, RUSAL acquired a stake in an alumina refinery in Australia. After the merger with Glencore, bauxite and alumina assets in Jamaica, Italy and Ireland were added to RUSAL’s portfolio. These transactions converted RUSAL from a company with few supplies of the raw material bauxite into a vertically integrated corporation.[36]

In parallel, Deripaska invested significantly in the operational improvement of smelters inside Russia. He said, “We consolidated the industry, and located bauxites that do not exist in Russia. We established the company that became the leader of industry in less than twelve years. But to become the number one alumimium producer in the world, we had to improve our operations practice. To apply the best practices in the world, we looked at Toyota, which had utilized a precise, deep and well thought-through process for almost thirty years of operations.”[37]

Deripaska himself has been an active supporter Japanese production efficiencies made popular by the “Toyota Way.” RUSAL smelters have adopted the concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement and involves training workers in standardized production techniques. “It’s important to change both the company’s mind set and reporting lines,” Deripaska said. “Instead of top-down management, you should understand everything is in the hands of your operator and empower that operator to drive efficiencies and improvements directly on the factory floor.”[12]

Under Deripaska’s leadership, RUSAL undertook large-scale modernization projects at a number of its facilities, including the Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk aluminium smelters.[38]

At Deripaska’s behest, in 2007, RUSAL; SUAL Group, one of the world’s top 10 aluminum producers; and Glencore International AG, the Swiss natural resources group, merged their assets to form United Company RUSAL, the world’s largest aluminum and alumina producer.[39]

With the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, UC Rusal was provided with a $4.5 billion loan from Russian state bank VEB to ease the company’s debt burden.[40]

In the middle of the financial crisis, Deripaska returned in 2009 to RUSAL as CEO to lead the company through the debt restructuring process. “I worked 16-hour days. We were in default, although none of the parties involved wanted to call it default.” As part of contingency measures, Deripaska cut costs at RUSAL by 25% in 2009. By December 2009, Deripaska reached a final agreement with over 70 Russian and international lenders to refinance US$17 billion of debt.[12]

In 2017, Rusal issued two Eurobonds to finance its debts. The first one, worth $600 million, was issued in February[41], followed by the second one in April, worth $500 million.[42] Also in February, plans were announced to sell 10 billion yuan worth of seven-year onshore bonds to finance purchases in China. This made Rusal the first foreign company to offer panda bonds on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[43] The company also agreed on a pre-export finance mechanism with international lenders worth $1.7 billion for debt refinancing.[44]

In 2013, Deripaska was awarded the “Aluminium Industry Ambassador Award” in the Metal Bulletin Awards for Excellence for his “great influence within the global aluminium industry and the wider market”.[45]

As of 2017, Deripaska maintains his position as president of RUSAL, focusing on the strategic development of the company, which employs more than 61,000 people in 20 countries on five continents.[46]

Energy

EuroSibEnergo

Oleg Deripaska owns a 100% stake in EuroSibEnergo, the world’s largest private hydrogeneration company and the largest private power company in Russia.[47] It controls and manages 18 power plants with a combined installed energy capacity of 19.5 GW, including 15 GW provided by hydrogeneration. The company produces approximately 9% of all electricity in Russia and is also the leader in the Siberian energy market, with a market share totaling 41%. Some of EuroSibEnergo’s key clients include the largest aluminum plants in Russia. The company owns large fuel resources, which satisfy over 85% of the coal needs of its thermal power and boiler plants. Its coal reserves amount to 1.26 billion tons, with annual coal production exceeding 12 million tons.[47]

Deripaska’s En+ Group, of which EuroSibEnergo is a subsidiary, is investing in a joint venture with China’s largest hydroelectric power generation company China Yangtze Power Co to build new power plants in Siberia, primarily hydroelectric ones, with a total capacity of up to 10 GWt.[48]

Machinery

Russian Machines

Russian Machines corporation was established in 2005 and unites Oleg Deripaska’s machine building assets. It comprises industrial and engineering assets in the following industries: automotive OEM (GAZ Group), automotive components (RM-Systems), rail industry (RM Rail), aircraft OEM (Aviacor), road construction (RM-Terex) and agricultural machinery (AGCO-RM).[49]

Russian Machines Corporation manages 24 facilities located across 12 regions in Russia.[49]

GAZ Group

In 2000, Deripaska started acquiring machine building assets. His first acquisition was Nizhny Novgorod-based Gorkovsky Automobile Plant (GAZ), which was previously a government-run company. In 2005, GAZ Group was established by combining the businessman’s machine building assets.[50]

The Russian automotive conglomerate, GAZ Group, comprises 18 manufacturing facilities in eight regions of Russia, as well as sales and service organizations. GAZ Group produces light and medium commercial vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, cars, road construction equipment, power units, and automotive components.[49]

Airports

Oleg Deripaska’s airport business is managed by Basel Aero, a company-operator of the SochiKrasnodarGelendzhik, and Anapa airports.[51]

These airports handle more than 7% of the total passenger flow in Russia.[52] Sochi International Airport was the main gateway to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and successfully serviced the guests and participants of the Games.[51]

In October 2014, Sochi was granted open skies status, meaning that any foreign carrier may pick up and drop off passengers and cargo with no restrictions on aircraft type, frequency, and regardless of interstate agreements.[53]

Financial services

Deripaska personally holds 10% of Ingosstrakh‘s ordinary shares. The company is a leading insurer of complex risks such as insurance for ship owners, ship hull insurance, insurance against aviation and space-related risks, and insurance of transportation companies. Ingosstrakh has 83 branches in Russia and the company’s offices operate in 220 Russian towns and cities.[54]

Agribusiness

Oleg Deripaska fully owns Kuban Agroholding, a massive agribusiness in southern Russia. The company integrates two dairy farms, а 16,000 pig capacity breeding complex, three elevators with non-recurrent grain storage capacity of more than 270,000 tonnes, three-seed plants, a sugar factory and the Sunrise horse breeding farm, specializing in the breeding of English thoroughbred horses. It is one of the top-20 largest agribusinesses and top-5 most efficient land users in Russia.[55]

Kuban Agroholding is one of the few agrocompanies in Russia involved in embryo transfer technology that allows for the reproduction of high-yielding milk cows out of less productive recipients.[56]

The company has gained significant media attention about its corn-seeding program, deploying several dozen corn brands selected by its genetic specialists.[56]

Other business appointments

In 2004, Deripaska was appointed by the President of Russia to represent the country in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He has been Chairman of ABAC Russia since 2007. Deripaska is the vice president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, chairman of the executive board of the Russian national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Council, an agency of the Russian government.[57]

He has been a permanent participant at World Economic Forum sessions since 2007, when RUSAL became a WEF strategic partner.[58]

In May 2007, Magna International chairman Frank Stronach announced that Deripaska was becoming a strategic partner in Magna.[59]

Deripaska is also a member of the International Council at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[60]

Deripaska personally initiated construction of the Centre for Epidemic and Microbiological Research and Treatment in the Guinean Kindia province. The Centre was designed and constructed by RUSAL specialists with the assistance of Rospotrebnadzor scientists (RUSAL has invested $10 million).[61]

Controversies

Cherney lawsuit

Michael Cherney brought legal action against Deripaska in the Commercial Court of the High Court in London.[62] Cherney sought a declaration that he was the beneficial owner of 20% of RUSAL stock which, he claimed, Deripaska held in trust for him. The claim was denied. On 3 May 2007, Justice Langley ruled that Deripaska had not been properly served, and that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claim as Deripaska did not live in England or Wales.[63]

On 3 July 2008, Justice Christopher Clarke ruled that the case should be tried in England, although “the natural forum for this litigation is Russia”, because, he held, “risks inherent in a trial in Russia…are sufficient to make England the forum in which the case can most suitably be tried in the interest of both parties and the ends of justice”.[64] On 22 July 2008, he granted Deripaska leave to appeal. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales refused the appeal on 31 July 2009.[65]

At a June 2011 case management conference, the judge deferred a decision on whether Cherney would be allowed to give evidence by video link from Israel rather than appear in person. An outstanding arrest warrant issued by Interpol meant that the British would detain him if he travelled to the UK.[66][67] In late July 2011, the High Court ruled to allow Cherney to give evidence at the trial by video link from Israel, and also set trial for April 2012.[68] Deripaska denied that Cherney was owed any stake in RUSAL, and asserted payments made to Cherney had been for unavoidable “protection” at a time when violence was sweeping the region and posed an existential threat to any profitable business in the country. In an interview with The Telegraph, Deripaska said he was one of the few who worked to clean up Russian industry and provided support to law enforcement agencies. However, in this early chaotic period paying protection money to criminal gangs was inescapable, as revealed in court testimony.[69]

In September 2012, Cherney terminated his UK lawsuit against Deripaska.[70]

U.S. investigation

In 2015, Deripaska filed a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley, accusing the bank of using insider information to short sell the businessman’s $1.5 billion investment in shares of Magma in 2008.[71]

In 2007, Deripaska’s Veleron investment vehicle acquired stock in Canadian based Magna International through a $1.2 billion loan from BNP Paribas, with Magna shares serving as collateral.[72] Morgan Stanley was involved in the deal through a swap agreement with BNP Paribas where the US bank assumed the risks of the loan in return for a fixed payment from Paribas.[73]

In September 2008, Magna’s stocks plummeted, hit by the global economic downturn. BNP issued a $93 million margin call to Veleron. Morgan Stanley, in turn, learned that Veleron was unlikely to meet the call and sold the stock short.[74] Deripaska claimed that Morgan Stanley abused its duties and engaged in unlawful insider trading that resulted in significant financial damage to Veleron, estimated at $15 million to $25 million.[73] A New York jury determined in November 2015 that Morgan Stanley had “acquired inside information and traded on it despite a duty to keep it confidential and not trade on it,” finding as well that Morgan Stanley did not have the intent to defraud Veleron. Veleron strongly disagreed with and said it would file an appeal.[74][when?]

In July 2006, whilst Deripaska was involved in a bid to buy the Daimler Chrysler Group, it was reported that the United States canceled his entry visa; the unnamed official declined to give a reason for the revoking of the visa. The Wall Street Journal reported that it could have been because Deripaska has been accused of having links to organized crime in Russia and cited as their sources two unnamed U.S. law enforcement officials.[75] Deripaska had received a multiple-entry visa in 2005; a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigationspokesman refused to comment. Lobbying on his behalf had been done by former Senate Republican leader and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole and his Alston & Bird law partners, Senate records show. Alston & Bird was paid about US$260,000 in 2005 for work on “Department of State visa policies and procedures” tied to Deripaska.[75]

In 2009, Deripaska was again allowed entry and visited the United States twice. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to two unnamed FBI administration officials, Deripaska had met with agents regarding a continuing criminal probe, the details of the probe were not known or reported. During Deripaska’s visits, he met with leading management figures from investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The Aluminum company that Deripaska heads, United Company RUSAL, was in preparations for an initial public offering. The easing of Deripaska’s visa issues which were an issue for possible investors helped to reassure bankers. The State Department has never said why it revoked his visa and refused to comment on his 2009 visits. The visits were arranged outside of the usual process as the U.S. continues to have concerns about Deripaska’s business associations. Deripaska has repeatedly denied a connection to any organized crime and said business rivals have caused the visa to be revoked by smearing him. When interviewed by the BBC in July 2009, Deripaska said that the authorities in the United States had been attempting to blackmail him by revoking his visa and thus affecting possible investors in a negative way and thereby hoping to push Deripaska into cooperating with them.[76]

Spanish investigation

According to an article in El Mundo, Deripaska and Iskander Makhmudov (head of UGMK) were asked by Spanish police to answer questions in relation to a money-laundering enquiry.[77] The Spanish state prosecutor’s office subsequently confirmed Deripaska’s interrogation.[78]

While Deripaska has been interrogated previously as a witness in Spain and England and by the FBI in cases of money laundering, he has never been charged with any crimes in those probes.[79]

On 25 January 2010, the Financial Times published a story “Rusal: A lingering heat” exploring Deripaska’s business relations with Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, alleged heads of Russian organized crime groups.[80] Deripaska has accused Michael Chernoy of using Malevsky and the Izmailovskaya syndicate to extort US$250 million from him as part of a protection racket.[81] However, Deripaska has himself been accused of having similar links to Malevsky, who, with his brother Andrei, owned a 10% stake in Deripaska’s company. Deripaska denies the claims.[82]

In November 2011, Spain’s High Court sent the criminal cases against Deripaska to the Russian General Prosecutor’s office because the root of the cases is Russian.[83]

Political relationships

Vladimir Putin and Deripaska, March 19, 2002

Vladimir Putin

Deripaska is noted for his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their relationship was visibly strained amidst Deripaska’s financial struggles in 2009, but in a widely broadcast incident on Russian television, Putin visited a stalled cement factory owned by Deripaska and berated its management. He forced Deripaska to sign a contract promising to pay nearly $1 million in unpaid wages.[13][84] Their relationship recovered, however, and Deripaska has been described as “Putin’s favorite industrialist“.[85] Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad”.[86] In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Tye Burt, who knows Deripaska and is the CEO of Kinross Gold said that, “I believe Russia recognizes Oleg’s major role in building a renewed economic base in a broad range of domestic businesses and rejuvenating ailing companies and infrastructure.”[13]

Nathaniel Rothschild and Peter Mandelson

Deripaska is a friend of Nathaniel Rothschild, a major investor in both Glencore and United Company RUSAL. Together Deripaska and Rothschild hosted George Osborne and Peter Mandelson on Deripaska’s yacht in Corfu in the summer of 2008.[87] Osborne was then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a friend of Rothschild from school and university. It was reported that Peter Mandelson have maintained private contacts over several years with Oleg Deripaska[88]

News of the contacts sparked criticism because, as European Union Trade Commissioner, Mandelson had been responsible for decision to cut aluminium tariffs from 6 to 3%, a decision that had benefited Deripaska’s Company RusAl.[89] Mandelson insisted that he had never discussed aluminium tariffs with Deripaska.[90] On 26 October 2008 the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed the “whole country” wanted “transparency” about Mandelson’s previous meetings with Deripaska. In response, Prime Minister Gordon Brownsaid Mandelson’s dealings with Deripaska had been “found to be above board”.[91] Mandelson said that meeting business figures from “across the range” in emerging economies was part of his brief as EU Trade Commissioner.[92] On 29 October 2008, while Mandelson was on a ministerial visit to Moscow,[93] it was alleged in the British press that Valery Pechenkin, the head of security at Deripaska’s company Basic Element, had organised a swift entry visa for Mandelson when he turned up in Moscow to visit Deripaska in 2005.[94]

Paul Manafort

On 22 March 2017, the Associated Press published a report alleging that Paul ManafortDonald Trump‘s former presidential campaign manager, negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[95] Both Deripaska and Manafort have confirmed to have worked together in the past,[96] but rejected the contents of the AP story. Manafort argued that his work had been inaccurately presented, and that there was nothing “inappropriate or nefarious” about it.[97]

Responding to the allegations, on March 28, 2017, Deripaska published open letters in the print editions of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, in which he denied having signed a $10 million contract with Manafort in order to benefit the Putin government.[98] He also stated his willingness to testify before the United States Congress to dispel these allegations,[99] and argued that the accusations fall “into the negative context of current US-Russian relations.”[100] According to Congressional sources cited by The New York Times, lawmakers declined Deripaska’s request, after it emerged that he had asked for immunity. Unnamed officials argued that “immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators”.[101]

On May 15, 2017, Deripaska filed a defamation and libel lawsuit against the Associated Press in a U.S. District Court in D.C., arguing that[102] the outlet’s report falsely claimed that Deripaska had signed a contract with Manafort to advance the goals of the Russian government.[103] However, the lawsuit was dismissed in October 2017 on the grounds that Deripaska had not disputed “any material facts” in the story by the Associate press [104]

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[105][106] Behaviors such as these were seen as an attempt by Manafort to please an oligarch tied to Putin’s government.[107]

Navalny video

In February 2018, Alexei Navalny published a video about a meeting between Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Sergei Eduardovich Prikhodko on a yacht traveling near Norway. According to Navalny, Deripaska probably served as a middle man between the Russian government represented by Prikhodko and Paul Manafort during Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[104] Prikhodko denied the allegations, accusing Navalny of “mixing the facts” about his “friend” Deripaska, Donald Trump and Paul Manafort, while also voicing his wish to have talk with Navalny as a “man with a man”.[108][109][110]

A day after the video was published the Roskomnadzor added the video to the Federal List of Extremist Materials, thus making accessing the video illegal for all Russian citizens.[111] It also ordered YouTube to remove seven videos and Instagram to take down 14 points that were cited in the investigation; neither YouTube nor Instagram had responded as of February 12, 2018. According to a Roskomnadzor representative who spoke to Vedomosti, a “court injunction of this sort against content hosted on Instagram and YouTube is unprecedented for Russia”. The New York Times noted that this may presage a “more aggressive approach by the Russian government” to control online activities.[112]

The New York Times reported on 5 March 2018, that Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian national currently incarcerated in Bangkok, claims to have over 16 hours of audio recordings she says could shed light on possible Russian interference in American elections. She is offering the recordings to American authorities in exchange for asylum, to avoid extradition to Belarus. Vashukevich claims to be close to Deripaska and asserts the recordings include him discussing the 2016 presidential election with associates Vashukevich did not name. “Deripaska had a plan about elections,” The New York Times quoted Vashukevich as saying. She stated that some of the recorded conversations, which she asserts were made in August 2016, included three individuals who spoke fluent English and whom she believed were Americans. The New York Times reported that her claims might be easily dismissed were it not for the Navalny video.[113]

U.S. sanctions

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals.[114][115] In the statement from the United States Department of the Treasury it was stated that Deripaska “has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering”. According to the US treasury statement there are allegations that Deripaska ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group.[116]

Personal life

In February 2001, Deripaska married Polina Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin‘s top adviser Valentin Yumashev and stepdaughter of Yeltsin’s daughter Tatyana. While Yeltsin was president, Deripaska’s close ties put him in Yeltsin’s inner circle, dubbed “The Family”.[117] The Deripaskas have two children: a son, Pyotr (born 2001), and daughter, Maria (born 2003).[118] Deripaska practices yoga, swimming, horseback riding, and hiking. His favorite pets are dogs. At his home near Moscow, he has seven horses and six dogs.[12]

In March 2018, it was reported that Deripaska had successfully purchased Cypriot citizenship in 2017 under Cyprus’ “golden visa” that generates billions of revenue for the island nation. According to documents seen by The Guardian, Deripaska’s first attempt to become a citizen of a country in the EU was unsuccessful because of an preliminary inquiry into his activities in Belgium. The inquiry was dismissed in 2016.[1]

Philanthropy

Volnoe Delo

In 1998, Deripaska established Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest[citation needed] private charitable foundation.[119][additional citation(s) needed] The fund supports over 400[citation needed] initiatives across Russia aimed at developing education and science, preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, and improving standards in public health.[120][additional citation(s) needed] It helps children, old people, talented youths, teachers, eminent scientists and other participants of the programs. Since 1998, Oleg Deripaska has invested more than RUB10.6 billion[citation needed] in more than 500 charity programs in 50 regions of Russia.[121][additional citation(s) needed]

Volnoe Delo has supported research activities in the 2,550-year-old city of Phanagoria since 2004. More than $10 million has been allocated to Phanagoria fieldwork over the past[which?] decade. Today, Phanagoria is one of the best-equipped archeological expeditions in Russia and has its own scientific and cultural center, cutting edge equipment and technology for above-ground and underwater excavation as well as a large team of specialists involved in the excavation process.[122]

In 2014, Volnoe Delo foundation launched a programme on students’ early career guidance and professional training—JuniorSkills.[123] The first, pilot, championship on professional skills, JuniorSkills Hi-Tech, was held in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in 2014, part of the nationwide championship on cross-industry blue-collar professions in high-tech WorldSkills.

Climate change

Deripaska is one of the 16 global business leaders who drafted CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders, a document outlining the international business community’s proposals to tackle global warming. The proposals were signed by more than 100 of the world’s leading corporations and handed to the Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda on 20 June 2008. The G8 leaders discussed the recommendations during the summit in Japan on 7–9 July 2008. The process was coordinated by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.[124]

Deripaska actively advocates cutting the global carbon footprint and calls for the creation of an enforcement mechanism with consequences for countries that do not reduce carbon-intensive emissions, such as those produced by coal-fired powerplants.[125] He also remains a strong advocate of a legally binding climate change deal, but has publicly voiced concern about the potential competitive impact of a Paris climate agreement and also about the absence of binding measures to curb each country’s emissions in the near future.[125] “Everyone is in favour; we just need to have more or less fair regulation. There shouldn’t be any pockets where people can cheat the system. People shouldn’t agree on something that creates another Kyoto protocol that creates nice polished statements”, he told the Financial Times in January 2016.[125]

Other activities

In February 2014, Deripaska financed the construction of makeshift kennels to house stray dogs that had been abandoned by construction workers after completing work on the Sochi Olympic Village. Officials said the number of strays exceeded 2,000 and the animals presented a risk of rabies, so they contracted out their extermination. Many of these dogs were saved and more were re-homed in a global adoption program that Deripaska created.[126]

He sits on the board of trustees of the School of Business Administration, the School of Public Administration, and the School of Economics at Moscow State University as well as the School of Business Administration at St. Petersburg State University. Deripaska is a co-founder of the National Science Support Foundation and the National Medicine Fund. In 1999, he was awarded the Order of Friendship, a state award of the Russian Federation. He was named businessman of the year in 1999, 2006, and 2007 by Vedomosti, a Russian business daily.

He sits on the board of trustees of the Bolshoi Theatre, and has financed ballet performances like Flames of ParisLa Sylphide, and Paquita as well as operas like The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden FevroniyaCarmen, and Wozzeck.[127]

Net worth

In 2008, Forbes estimated his wealth at US$28 billion, making him the then ninth richest man in the world.[128] In 2009, Deripaska’s ranking fell to a ranking of No. 164, with Forbes stating: “[H]e may not withstand collapsing markets and heavy debts”.[129] In 2010, however, his estimated $10.7 billion fortune allowed him to rise to No. 57 of the World’s Billionaires list.[130] According to Forbes magazine, he removed the heads of his two largest companies and personally negotiated with the Russian government, banks, and other creditors to restructure his loan obligations.[131] Deripaska himself in 2007 was reported to have consistently said that the estimate of his wealth was exaggerated, that it did not completely account for the amount of debt he incurred, and that he should be ranked far below the top ten on the list of the Russian billionaires.[132]

Deripaska has owned the Haft mansion near Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., through a company incorporated in Delaware since 2006.[133]

Forbes estimated his fortune at $3.3 billion in 2015[2] and $5.2 billion in 2017.[8]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Deripaska

 

 

Robert Levinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Levinson
Robert-Levinson.png

Levinson while in captivity, taken November 2010
Born March 10, 1948 (age 70)
Disappeared March 9, 2007 (aged 58)
Kish Island
Status Missing for 11 years, 2 months and 6 days
Nationality American
Known for Disappearance in Iran

Robert Alan “Bob” Levinson (born March 10, 1948)[1] is an American former Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared mysteriously in 2007 in Kish IslandIran. He is believed[according to whom?] to be currently[when?] held captive by the government of Iran.[2][3] He disappeared on March 9, 2007, when visiting Iran’s Kish Island while supposedly researching a cigarette smuggling case.

U.S. officials believed Levinson had been arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the U.S. government believed Levinson was probably dead.[4] He was last seen alive in photographs from April 2011, wearing a jumpsuit and holding signs apparently asking for help in broken English.[5]

On December 12, 2013, the Associated Press reported that their investigations revealed that Levinson had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[6][7] contradicting the U.S.’s statement that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture.[8]

In an interview, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts.”[9] John Miller of CBS described this statement as a “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”.[10]

Iranian involvement

On April 4, 2007, a little over three weeks after Levinson was arrested, an article by Iranian state-run PressTV stated that he “has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9” and “authorities are well on the way to finishing the procedural arrangements that could see him freed in a matter of days”. The same article explained that it was established that Levinson’s trip to Kish “was purely that of a private businessman looking to make contact with persons who could help him make representations to official Iranian bodies responsible for suppressing trade in pirated products which is a major concern of his company”.[11]

On January 8, 2013, the Associated Press reported that “the consensus now among some U.S. officials involved in the case is that despite years of denials, Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family. ‘The tradecraft used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them’, the officials said… While everything dealing with Iran is murky, their conclusion is based on the U.S. government’s best intelligence analysis.”[12]

Family investigation

Media reported in August 2007 that Christine Levinson, wife of Robert, was planning a trip to Iran with their oldest son, Dan. The Department of State stressed that there was a travel warning to that country and they would be doing so at their own risk.[13] Iran announced on September 23, 2007, that they would be allowed to visit the country.[14]

In December 2007, Christine and Dan traveled to Iran to attempt to learn more about Levinson’s disappearance. They met with Iranian officials in Tehran and traveled to Robert’s hotel on Kish, the Hotel Maryam.[15] Airport officials allowed Christine and Dan to view the flight manifests for all flights leaving Kish during the time Robert was due to leave, but his name did not appear on any of the lists provided. They were also able to view Robert’s signature from the hotel check-out bill on March 9. Iranian officials promised to provide an investigative report to the family, but have yet to do so.[16] In July 2008 and subsequent interviews, Christine and Dan have said they wanted to travel to Iran again soon.[17]

President Ahmadinejad’s statements on Levinson

Pressed by Charlie Rose in an interview for CBS This Morning in September 2012, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “did not deny Iran still has Levinson in its custody, and hinted that there had been talks about a prisoner exchange”. Rose asked, “Is there anything that could happen, a trade or something, that could allow him to come back to the United States?” Ahmadinejad responded:

I remember that last year Iranian and American intelligence groups had a meeting, but I haven’t followed up on it. I thought they’d come to some kind of an agreement.

CBS’ John Miller says that “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”, in and of itself, “is a big step”.[10]

In a 2008 interview with NBC‘s Brian Williams, Ahmadinejad was questioned regarding Levinson’s case and its status. He responded:

There was a claim made some time ago, some people came over, the gentleman’s family came over. They talked and met with our officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran through official channels, to have problems here. Our security officials and agents have expressed their willingness to assist the FBI, if the FBI has any information about his travels around the world. We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter. There are certain informations that only the FBI at the moment has. I am not an expert in that field, as you might appreciate, so I’m not going to make a judgment here whether that information, as they say, is true and only held by the FBI or other parties for that matter.[18]

U.S. government investigation

President Barack Obama meets with Christine Levinson in the Oval Office on March 6, 2012

In June 2007, President George W. Bush released a statement on Levinson’s case, saying: “I am … disturbed by the Iranian regime’s refusal so far to provide any information on Robert Levinson, despite repeated U.S. requests. I call on Iran’s leaders to tell us what they know about his whereabouts.” [19]

On January 13, 2009, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson revealed during Hillary Clinton‘s confirmation hearing that he believes Robert Levinson is being held in a secret prison in Iran. “The door has been closed at every turn,” Nelson said during Clinton’s confirmation hearing. “We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison.”[20]

According to The New York Times, Levinson had been meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, (an American convert to Islam wanted for the 1980 murder of an Iranian dissident in the US) “just before he went missing”.[21][22]

On March 8, 2013, the Obama administration released a statement to mark the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s kidnapping. Press Secretary Jay Carney said,

Finding him remains a high priority for the United States, and we will continue to do all that we can to bring him home safely to his friends and family, so they may begin to heal after so many years of extraordinary grief and uncertainty. The Iranian Government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues.[23]

Secretary of State John Kerry also met with Levinson’s wife and son “to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family”.[24]

Reward

On March 6, 2012, approaching the five-year anniversary of Robert Levinson’s captivity, The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $1-million reward for information leading to his safe recovery and return. In addition, a campaign was launched, using billboards, radio messages, flyers, and a telephone hotline to publicize this reward and obtain information of his whereabouts.[25] In conjunction with this announced reward, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it was giving the two youngest Levinson children $5,000 each to help with their college costs.[25]

On March 9, 2015, the CIA increased the reward to up to $5 million for information regarding Levinson’s whereabouts.[26]

Proof of life

According to the Associated Press, Levinson’s family received “irrefutable proof” of life late in 2010.[27] On December 9, 2011, the family released the hostage video dated from November 2010. In the video, Robert appears to have lost considerable weight, and repeatedly pleads for help in returning home.[28]

On January 8, 2013, Levinson’s family released photos to the media showing the former agent in an orange jumpsuit with overgrown and unkempt hair. A family spokesman told CNN the photographs were received in April 2011. CNN reported: “Asked why the family is releasing the images now, more than 18 months later, the spokesman said: ‘The family is anxious that not enough is being done. There is frustration with the lack of progress on the case.'”[5]

President Rouhani’s statements on Levinson

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts”, Rouhani told Amanpour, “and we’re willing to cooperate on that”.[9]

In a subsequent interview with Charlie Rose, Rouhani said, “As to where his whereabouts when he disappeared, I personally have no information on those details, but naturally when someone disappears their family is suffering in specific. Everyone must help. It’s natural that everyone must help”.[29]

President Obama’s discussion of case with Rouhani

During the Obama-Rouhani phone call on September 27, 2013, the first communication between the presidents of the two countries in 34 years, President Obama noted his concern about Levinson’s disappearance to Rouhani, and expressed his interest in seeing him reunited with his family.[9]

Recent status

On November 26, 2013, Levinson, if he is still alive, became the longest-held hostage in American history, surpassing Terry A. Anderson. According to his family, he suffers from type 1 diabetesgout, and hypertension.[30] His passport has never shown up in any other country.[31]

United States Senate call for release

In a unanimous decision, on May 11, 2015, the United States Senate voted on a resolution for the release of Robert Levinson, which passed without amendment.[32] This resolution states that it is U.S. policy that: (1) the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should immediately release Saeed AbediniAmir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return Robert Levinson; and (2) the U.S. government should undertake every effort using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their release.[33]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “- INTERPOL”interpol.int.
  2. Jump up^ Goldman, Adam (December 13, 2013). “National Security”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Pat Milton (2007-05-10). “Intrigue Surrounds Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in Iran Two Months Ago”San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-01-08.
  4. Jump up^ “Missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in hostage video: ‘Help me'”. Associated Press. 2011-12-09.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Family releases photos of captive American”. CNN.com. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  6. Jump up^ Missing American in Iran was working for CIA, Associated Press, December 12, 2013, retrieved December 12, 2013
  7. Jump up^ “American who vanished in Iran was on unsanctioned CIA mission – report”rt.com.
  8. Jump up^ “White House: Robert Levinson not a government employee”BBC News, BBC, December 13, 2013, retrieved December 13,2013
  9. Jump up to:a b c “U.S. official: Obama, Rouhani discussed fate of three Americans – CNN.com”. Edition.cnn.com. September 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  10. Jump up to:a b “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drops clue about Robert Levinson, ex-FBI agent who vanished 5 years ago in Iran”. CBS News. 2012-09-25.
  11. Jump up^ “Ex-FBI man in Iran not “missing” at all”. PressTV. 2007-04-04.
  12. Jump up^ “US sees Iran behind hostage photos of ex-FBI agent”. PAP. 2013-01-09.
  13. Jump up^ “U.S. woman plans trip to Iran to search for missing former FBI agent husband”. International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-02.
  14. Jump up^ “Iran: Missing American’s family can visit”CNN. September 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  15. Jump up^ Fathi, Nazila (December 24, 2007). “In Iran, Search for American Yields Little”New York Times.
  16. Jump up^ Levinson, Daniel (June 22, 2008). “Missing a Father in Iran”The Washington Post. p. B07. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  17. Jump up^ “Wife of ex-FBI agent to repeat Iran visit in search of her husband”Payvand. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  18. Jump up^ “Transcript: ‘Response … will be a positive one'” (NBC Nightly News). msnbc.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  19. Jump up^ “No ‘miracle’ for American missing in Iran”CNN. December 22, 2007.
  20. Jump up^ “Senator Says Former FBI Agent Who Vanished in 2007 Is in Secret Iran Prison”Fox News. January 13, 2009.
  21. Jump up^ Mackey, Robert (September 16, 2009). “Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran”.
  22. Jump up^ “Former FBI agent held in Iran: report”Reuters.
  23. Jump up^ “Statement by the Press Secretary on Robert Levinson”The White House.
  24. Jump up^ “John Kerry meets with family of ex-FBI agent missing in Iran”Reuters.
  25. Jump up to:a b “FBI — $1 Million Reward Offered for Missing Retired Agent”. Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  26. Jump up^ “FBI — Eight Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of Robert A. Levinson”FBI.
  27. Jump up^ ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO Associated Press (2011-03-03). “Years After Vanishing in Iran, US Man Proven Alive – ABC News”. Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  28. Jump up^ “Robert Levinson, missing ex-FBI agent in hostage video: ‘Help me'”Associated Press. December 9, 2011.
  29. Jump up^ mwolda (Sep 27, 2013). Charlie Rose asks Rouhani about Robert Levinson. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  30. Jump up^ “Son of captured American pleads for father’s release”Fox News.
  31. Jump up^ “Family Asks For Help Locating Man Possibly Missing In Iran”Daily Press. September 30, 2007.
  32. Jump up^ Deb Riechmann (11 May 2015). “Senate Passes Resolution for Release of Americans in Iran”. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015 – via washingtonpost.com.
  33. Jump up^ James, Risch, (20 May 2015). “S.Con.Res.16 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A concurrent resolution stating the policy of the United States regarding the release of United States citizens in Iran”http://www.congress.gov.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Levinson

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1074, May 9, 2018, Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos — Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — Videos

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Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos —

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Gina Haspel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gina Haspel
Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg
Acting Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
April 26, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Herself
Preceded by Mike Pompeo
6th Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
February 2, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by David Cohen
Acting Director of the
National Clandestine Service
In office
February 28, 2013 – May 7, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by John Bennett
Succeeded by Frank Archibald
Personal details
Born Gina Cheri Walker
October 1, 1956 (age 61)
Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jeff Haspel (divorced)
Education University of Kentucky
University of Louisville (BA)
Awards Presidential Rank Award
Donovan Award
Intelligence Medal of Merit

Gina Cheri Haspel (née Walker;[1] born October 1, 1956[2]) is a fascist torturer and an American intelligence officer serving as the Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since April 26, 2018,[3] while holding the official title of Deputy Director.[4][5][6]

She became Acting Director following her predecessor Mike Pompeo‘s resignation to become United States Secretary of State. Haspel has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become the permanent CIA Director. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first female CIA Director having already been the second female CIA Deputy Director.[5][6][7][8][9]

Haspel has attracted controversy for her role as chief of a CIAblack site in Thailand in 2002 in which prisoners were tortured.[10][11][12][13]

Early life

Haspel was born Gina Cheri Walker in 1956[1] in Ashland, Kentucky.[14][15] Her father served in the United States Air Force.[15] She has four siblings.[15]

Haspel attended high school in the United Kingdom.[15] She was a student at the University of Kentucky for three years and transferred for her senior year to the University of Louisville, where she graduated in May 1978[2] with a BA degree in languages and journalism.[15] From 1980-1981, she worked as a civilian library coordinator at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.[2][16][17]

Career

Career timeline published by the CIA for Gina Haspel

Early CIA career

Haspel joined the CIA in January 1985 as a reports officer.[1][18] She held several undercover overseas positions, for many of which she was station chief.[19][20] Her first field assignment was from 1987-1989 in Ethiopia,[18][21] Central Eurasia,[18] Turkey,[1] followed by several assignments in Europe and Central Eurasia from 1990-2001.[18][14]

From 2001-2003, her position was listed as Deputy Group Chief, Counterterrorism Center.[18]

Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that are considered by many to be torture although those methods were deemed legal at the time by agency lawyers. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as station chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.[14]

From 2004-2005, Haspel was Deputy Chief of the National Resources Division.[21][18]

After the service in Thailand, she served as an operations officer in Counterterrorism Center near Washington, D.C.[18] She later served as the CIA’s station chief in London and, in 2011, New York.[14][22]

National Clandestine Service leadership

Haspel served as the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and Chief of Staff for the Director of the National Clandestine Service.[20]

In 2005, Haspel was the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service. In his memoir, Rodriguez wrote that Haspel had drafted a cable in 2005 ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapesmade at the black site in Thailand in response to mounting public scrutiny of the program.[14][23]

In 2013, John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Haspel as acting Director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe.[24] However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program.[25] Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate.[14][22]

Deputy Director of the CIA

On February 2, 2017, President Donald Trump appointed Haspel Deputy Director of the CIA,[26] a position that does not require Senate confirmation.[19] In an official statement released that day, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes(R-CA) said:[27]

With more than thirty years of service to the CIA and extensive overseas experience, Gina has worked closely with the House Intelligence Committee and has impressed us with her dedication, forthrightness, and her deep commitment to the Intelligence Community. She is undoubtedly the right person for the job, and the Committee looks forward to working with her in the future.

On February 8, 2017, several members of the Senateintelligence committee urged Trump to reconsider his appointment of Haspel as Deputy Director.[28] Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) quoted colleagues Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who were on the committee:

I am especially concerned by reports that this individual was involved in the unauthorized destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, which documented the CIA’s use of torture against two CIA detainees. My colleagues Senators Wyden and Heinrich have stated that classified information details why the newly appointed Deputy Director is ‘unsuitable’ for the position and have requested that this information be declassified. I join their request.

On February 15, 2017, Spencer Ackerman reported on psychologists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, the architects of the enhanced interrogation program that was designed to break Zubaydah and was subsequently used on other detainees at the CIA’s secret prisons around the world. Jessen and Mitchell are being sued by Sulaiman Abdulla Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Obaid Ullah over torture designed by the psychologists. Jessen and Mitchell are seeking to compel Haspel, and her colleague James Cotsana, to testify on their behalf.[29][30]

Nomination as Director

On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Haspel to be the CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo—whom he tapped to become the new Secretary of State.[31] Should Haspel be confirmed by the Senate,[32] she would become the first woman to serve as permanent CIA director (Meroe Park served as Executive Director from 2013-2017 and acting director for three days in January 2017).[33][34]Robert Baer, who supervised Haspel at the Central Intelligence Agency, found her to be “smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed.”[35]

Republican Senator Rand Paul stated that he would oppose the nomination saying “To really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be head of the CIA? I mean, how could you trust somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA? To read of her glee during the waterboarding is just absolutely appalling.”[36] Soon after Paul made this statement, the allegation that Haspel mocked those being interrogated was retracted. Doug Stafford, an aide for Rand Paul, said, “According to multiple published, undisputed accounts, she oversaw a black site and she further destroyed evidence of torture. This should preclude her from ever running the CIA.”[37]

Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain called on Haspel to provide a detailed account of her participation in the CIA’s detention program from 2001-2009, including whether she directed the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and to clarify her role in the 2005 destruction of interrogation videotapes.[38][39][40] McCain has been a staunch opponent of torture in the Senate, having been tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. McCain further called upon Haspel to commit to declassifying the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

Multiple senators have criticized the CIA for what they believe is selectivity in declassifying superficial and positive information about her career to generate positive coverage, while simultaneously refusing to declassify any “meaningful” information about her career.[41][42]

Torture and destruction of evidence controversy

Memo on Gina Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of tapes

Haspel has been criticized for using torture during her career at the CIA, and for involvement in destroying records of such torture.[43]

In late October 2002, Haspel became a chief of base for a “black site” CIA torture prison located in Thailand.[44][45] She worked at a site that was codenamed “Cat’s Eye”, which would later become known as the place where suspected al Qaedaterrorist members Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were detained and tortured with waterboarding.[19][23] In early February 2017, The New York Times and ProPublica reported that these waterboardings were both conducted under Haspel.[46][47] In March 2018, U.S. officials said that Haspel was not involved in the torture of Zubaydah, as she only became chief of base after Zubaydah was tortured. ProPublica and The New York Times issued corrections to their stories but noted that Haspel was involved in the torture of al-Nashiri.[45][46] Haspel played a role in the destruction of 92 interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations.[48][45][49]

On December 17, 2014, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) pressed criminal charges against unidentified CIA operatives, after the US Senate Select Committee published its report on torture by US intelligence agencies. On June 7, 2017, the ECCHR called on the Public Prosecutor General of Germany to issue an arrest warrant against Haspel over claims she oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects. The accusation against her is centered on the case of Saudi national Abu Zubaydah.[50][51][52]Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described Haspel as “quite literally a war criminal.”[53][54]

On May 1, 2018, Spencer Ackerman, writing in The Daily Beast, reported that former CIA analyst Gail Helt had been told that some of the controversial torture recordings had not been destroyed, after all.[55] On May 9, 2018, the day prior to her confirmation vote, The New York Times reported [56] that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, architect of the 9/11 attacks and victim of various forms of torture, requested to submit six paragraphs of information for the Senate committee to review before its vote. The contents of these paragraphs, and whether they implicate Haspel directly in Mohammed’s torture, are still not publicly known.

Awards and recognition

Haspel has received a number of awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism,[57] the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award.[20]

Personal life

Haspel married Jeff Haspel, who served in the United States Army, circa 1976; they were divorced by 1985.[1][15][58] Haspel currently lives in Ashburn, Virginia.[59] She does not use social media.[15] Haspel is unmarried and has no children.[2]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gina_Haspel

Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — “The Path to 9/11” — Disney Caved To Clinton and Democratic Politician Pressure — Videos

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Video Shows Bill Clinton Talking Bin Laden Just Before 9/11

Bill Clinton on bin Laden: ‘I nearly got him’

Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Bill Clinton on Osama Bin Laden in the 90’s & 911

Former CIA Officer Defends Torture Programme He Designed

Michael Scheuer drops truth about Trump Russia story and BBC cut him off

Michael Scheuer on “Inside 9/11”

Dr. Michael Scheuer: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speech, Emmanuel Macron & More…

Dr. Michael Scheuer Weighs In On President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet Picks

‘I Had Chance To Kill Osama Bin Laden,’ Bill Clinton Said – TOI

Newsmax Prime | Michael Scheuer discusses how his book was found in Bin Laden’s compound

Osama Bin Laden’s Bookshelf Had One Of Michael Scheuer’s Books

Ex-CIA Agent: America creates its own enemies

See the source image

Conversations With History – Michael Scheuer

Blocking The Path To 9/11 Trailer

PATH TO 9-11: The scene they didn’t want you to see

The Controversy over “The Path to 9/11” tv show

“Blocking the Path to 9/11”

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” part 1

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 2

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 3

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 4

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 5

ABC’s Path to 9/11, Part 2

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

Thomas H. Kean, Dec. 5, 2005
Thomas H. Kean, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, delivers remarks during a news conference to issue a final assessment of progress on the commission’s recommendations in Washington, in this Dec. 5, 2005 file photo. The controversial ABC film,\”The Path to 9/11,\” was sold as \”based on the 9/11 Commission Report.\” Kean was on board as an executive producer for the film to certify it’s authenticity.

Who was blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’?

Over the past few years, perhaps no film controversy has inspired more outrage from conservatives than the Walt Disney Company’s handling of the ambitious 2006 miniseries “The Path to 9/11.” In the wake of Michael Moore’s 2004 anti-Bush documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the 2003 CBS biopic “The Reagans,” the Disney censorship fiasco has been a frequent bone of contention on right-wing blogs, AM talk radio and other media outlets. In addition to making cuts in its ABC-TV telefilm after complaints from political forces, the company also shelved plans for a subsequent DVD release.

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

Now the imbroglio has been revived for a direct-to-video documentary called “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’,” produced by right-wing rabble-rouser David Bossie and directed by former radio host John Ziegler. On its surface, the new video is a fascinating piece of behind-the-scenes investigative work. But, like the original telefilm and its quashing by the Clinton camp, it is not without its own political intrigue. Indeed, “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11′” raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma.

The new documentary, currently available for sale on its website, will soon be offered at other locations, with plans also calling for select theatrical screenings in Southern California to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks next month. Last week, the film’s worldwide premiere at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles drew a sold-out crowd that gave it a lengthy standing ovation.

Ziegler, who first raised questions about “Path’s” forced cuts and its cancelled DVD release on his radio show, is hopeful that his newest work will expose the machinations of Disney, Clinton and the Hollywood left.

“This is a conservative film, and that means there’s automatically two and a half strikes against it,” he said. Still, he believes his examination of the controversy should “hit a nerve” with others, and he’s still astounded Disney “decided to take a dive on their own movie” in order to placate the Clintons. According to Ziegler, Disney’s executives believed their liberal bona fides were so strong that they never suspected they’d be accused of a right-wing hit job and were “totally shocked” when Clinton’s camp complained. (Disney’s Iger has contributed to many Democrats running for office, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and has also donated to a handful of Republican candidates. Iger’s wife, former cable news anchor Willow Bay, is a top editorial executive at the decidedly leftist Huffington Post.)

https://www.politico.com/story/2008/08/who-was-blocking-the-path-to-9-11-012671

The Path to 9/11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Path to 9/11
Genre Drama, History
Screenplay by Cyrus Nowrasteh
Directed by David L. Cunningham
Starring Harvey Keitel
Donnie Wahlberg
Stephen Root
Barclay Hope
Patricia Heaton
Shirley Douglas
Penny Johnson Jerald
Dan Lauria
Amy Madigan
Michael Murphy
Trevor White
William Sadler
Shaun Toub
Theme music composer John Cameron
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Marc Platt
Cyrus Nowrasteh
Cinematography Joel Ransom
Running time 240 minutes
Production company(s) Marc Platt Productions
Touchstone Television
Budget $40,000,000 USD
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 10 – September 11, 2006

The Path to 9/11 is a two-part miniseries that aired in the United States on ABC television on September 10 – 11, 2006, and also in other countries. The film dramatizes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York Cityand the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The film was written by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh,[1] and directed by David L. Cunningham; it stars Harvey Keitel and Donnie Wahlberg.[2] The film was controversial for its alleged misrepresentation of events and people[3] and required last-minute editing before broadcast.[4] ABC spent $40 million on the project, but The Path to 9/11 was beaten in the ratings by an NFLgame.[5]

Plot

The miniseries presented a dramatization of the sequence of events leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States, starting from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and up to the minutes after its collapse in 2001. The movie takes the point of view of two main protagonists: John P. O’Neill, and a composite Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, “Kirk”. O’Neill was the real-life Special Agent in charge of Al Qaeda investigations at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He died in the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11 shortly after retiring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and taking the position of Director of Security for the World Trade Center. The composite CIA agent “Kirk” is shown dealing with various American allies, especially Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, in Afghanistan. In addition, “Patricia”, a CIA headquarters analyst, represents the views of the rank and file at CIA headquarters. The miniseries features dramatizations of various incidents summarized in the 9/11 Commission Report and represented in high-level discussions held in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The final hour of the movie dramatizes the events of 9/11, including a recreation of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Tom Burnett‘s calls to his wife, and John Miller’s reporting near the scene of the attacks. The film concludes with information about the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, as well as the performance evaluation the Commission gave the government when it reconvened in 2005.

Production history

According to ABC, the movie is based on the “9/11 Commission Report and other sources”,[6] including interviews and news accounts.[7] The first indication that ABC was running a miniseries appeared in a brief article in the New York Post.[8] In it, the producers identified shooting locations and revealed that Harvey Keitel would play John O’Neill. At the time, ABC had a working name of Untitled Commission Report and the producers used the working title Untitled History Project, with the project beginning filming in July 2005 and scheduled to end post production by January 2006. Preview screenings were made in May for foreign broadcasters.[9] The film was first publicly announced at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in July.[citation needed]

According to Advertising Age, the miniseries was a personal project of ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson, who began to look for a producer shortly after reading the 9/11 Commission Report.

The White House asked the major networks for airtime to present a Presidential Address to the nation. The interruption delayed the broadcast of the second half of Path to 9/11 by approximately 20 minutes in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Otherwise, the movie aired without any interruption.

Filming was conducted in MoroccoNew York CityTorontoHamilton, Ontario[10] and Washington, D. C. The production was one of the few allowed to film at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia.[11]

Controversy and criticisms

ABC received a range of criticism from terrorism experts and people portrayed in the film that The Path to 9/11 contained false scenes, distorted events and misrepresented actions of people, with ABC receiving letters from Richard Clarke, Chief Executive Officer Bruce R. Lindsey of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Douglas J. Band, Counselor to President Clinton, Samuel R. BergerMadeleine AlbrightJohn Beug, Democratic Representatives John Conyers Jr.John DingellJane Harman and Louise Slaughter and others.[12] Before the miniseries aired, some screeners of The Path to 9/11 asserted that certain scenes misrepresented the real-life events upon which they were said to be based, and that some scenes were complete fabrications.

9/11 Commission members

Members of the 9/11 Commission criticized the accuracy of the film.[13] 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, the ranking Republican, served as both a consultant and as a co-executive producer.[14] Shortly before the film’s release, Kean said, “People in both parties didn’t particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren’t going to love this one”.[14] In response to one particular scene, Kean told an interviewer he “was all right with the made-up scene” where Clinton administration is accused of blocking a chance to kill bin Laden, saying “I don’t think the facts are clear.”[15] Just weeks before the broadcast he “asked for changes that would address complaints raised by the former Clinton aides and that ABC is considering his request.”[16]

Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste said that the miniseries misrepresented facts presented in the 9/11 Commission report.[17]

Advance viewing copies selectively distributed

The extensive pre-broadcast controversy over the film was based on content that was present in viewing copies sent to conservative political groups, talk show hosts and bloggers, including radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, and conservative movie critic Michael Medved.[18] The office of former President Clinton repeatedly requested a preview copy, but was denied one,[19] as was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.[20] However, a version was shown at a Washington DC screening to members and guests of the National Press Club,[21] and to attendees of the Midwest Security and Police Conference in Chicago.[22]

According to Jay Carson, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, Clinton’s office requested a copy of the movie so that they could view it before it aired, but the request was denied.[23] However, Limbaugh has at least partially disputed this, claiming that Ben-Veniste and others saw the film before him.[24] Carson has also stated that Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger had also requested a copy and had also not received them.[25]

This prompted Albright and Berger to write letters [26][27][28] to ABC asking why they had not received copies and why ABC have chosen to run a movie whose accuracy is highly in question.

In addition to requesting an answer, Albright also stated the following reason for wanting a copy:

For example, one scene apparently portrays me as refusing to support a missile strike against bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistanis; it further asserts that I notified the Pakistanis of the strike over the objections of our military. Neither of these assertions is true. In fact, The 9/11 Commission Report states (page 117), “Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.”[26]

Criticisms of historical inaccuracy by FBI consultants

Two FBI agents refused advisory roles on the film, with one criticizing the film for creating a work of fiction and claiming it was inaccurate. Thomas E. Nicoletti had been hired by the filmmakers as a consultant, but quit[29] because “There were so many inaccuracies…I’m well aware of what’s dramatic license and what’s historical inaccuracy,” Nicoletti said. “And this had a lot of historical inaccuracy.'”[30]

Dan Coleman, who retired from the FBI in 2004, said he also was concerned when he read the script in the summer of 2005 after being approached by producers about being a technical advisor. He described, “They sent me the script, and I read it and told them they had to be kidding,” Coleman said. “I wanted my friends at the FBI to still speak to me.” Coleman went on to express a belief in ghosts as a reason for not accepting the advisory role—he did not want to be “haunted” by deceased colleagues who were falsely portrayed.[30]

Alleged assassination opportunities not used by Clinton

Critics claim many inaccuracies in the film, including the depiction of the Clinton administration. For example in one scene, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is portrayed as unwilling to approve a plan to take out a surrounded Osama bin Laden. He leaves it to former CIA Director George Tenet to decide if he will take responsibility. In the original version of the film,[31] Berger hangs up the phone on Tenet, and Tenet calls off the operation. No reliable verification of this event has ever been discovered. In fact, even Richard Miniter — a conservative author and critic of the Clinton administration — was quoted as saying

“The idea that someone had bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there’s zero factual basis for that.”[32]

Nowrasteh has said that the abrupt hang-up portrayed was not in the script and was instead improvised. It was later removed from the version shown in the United States.[33] Moreover, Nowrasteh maintains that a certain amount of dramatic license must be allotted in the process writing a dramatic script with a historical underpinning (see docudrama and biopic). Although the precise conversations depicted in the script may never have taken place, the general tone and content of events depicted in The Path to 9/11 are alleged true. Nowrasteh has said that the film “dramatizes the frequent opportunities the administration had in the 90’s to stop bin Laden in his tracks but lacked the will to do so.” [34] When asked if he thought of the script as a “historical document,” Nowrasteh has responded:

No, but I stand by the original version of the movie, and I stand by the edited version… There has to be conflation of events. The most obvious problem any dramatist faces is that of sheer length. I had to collapse the events of eight and a half years into five hours. I don’t know any other way to do it except collapse, conflate, and condense.[35]

Anti-terrorism expert Richard Clarke said the film was “180 degrees from what happened”[17] and made the following criticisms of the film:[36]

  1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan to have spotted bin Laden. (When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Nowrasteh stated, “I’ve interviewed CIA agents who have told me otherwise. But that is the one concession we made. [In the original,] we had a CIA agent on the ground near bin Laden’s compound—inside the wall even—and we took that out for the final presentation.”[35])
  2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern AllianceAhmed Shah Massoud, was nowhere near the alleged bin Laden camp and therefore could not have seen Osama bin Laden.
  3. Contrary to the movie, Tenet actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced, and there would be no way to independently confirm bin Laden’s presence in the target area by the time an already launched cruise missile would have reached it.

A member of the 9/11 Commission, Richard Ben-Veniste also stated that the scene depicting Berger hanging up the phone on Tenet is fictional.[37]

Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Unit during the Clinton administration, a critic of President George W. Bush‘s Iraq policy, says it was not Berger who canceled assaults on bin Laden, but rather Clarke on Clinton’s behalf. Scheuer states, “Mr. Clarke, of course, was at the center of Mr. Clinton’s advisers, who resolutely refused to order the CIA to kill bin Laden. In spring 1998, I briefed Mr. Clarke and senior CIA, Department of Defense, and FBI officers on a plan to kidnap bin Laden. Mr. Clarke’s reaction was that “it was just a thinly disguised attempt to assassinate bin Laden.” I replied that if he wanted bin Laden dead, we could do the job quickly. Mr. Clarke’s response was that the president did not want bin Laden assassinated, and that we had no authority to do so”.[38]

On May 13, 2012, the former Deputy Director of the Counter-Terrorism branch of the CIA, Hank Crumpton, relayed his experiences that verified both Scheumer and Path to 9/11’s account regarding Clinton’s failure to stop Bin Laden when he had the chance in a CBS 60 minutes interview. In it, he specifically cited that they had been led to a small village near Khandahar, saw evidence of Bin Laden’s presence (security detail, a convoy, and Bin Laden himself exiting the vehicle) and immediately alerted the White House upon the optics being beamed towards to the CIA headquarters, but were ordered to stand down and abort the operation due to it taking several hours to arm and launch the TLAMs, and requested that they give his exact location five to six hours from then, and the White House wasn’t willing to allow the Afghan CIA agents to attack the compound directly.[39][40]

Berger scene

Besides criticism of an inaccurate script, other fictional and inaccurate scenes were created by the cast. In the film, CIA agents who have infiltrated bin Laden’s Afghan compound try to put an assassin named Kirk (Donnie Wahlberg) in contact with National Security Advisor Sandy Berger (Kevin Dunn); Berger, who was later convicted of illegally removing and destroying documents regarding the subject from the National Archives,[41] is portrayed as “dithering” before hanging up on the agents.[42] The scene was strongly contradicted by both Berger and the 9/11 Commission, including commission member Richard Ben-Veniste.[42][43][44][45][46]

Former Secretary of State Albright questions her portrayal

Another scene in question supposedly portrays Madeleine Albright refusing to shoot missiles at Osama bin Laden without authority from Pakistan and eventually getting “permission” from them against the military’s wishes. Albright insists that this is completely inaccurate.[47][48] As Secretary of State, Albright had no involvement in military decisions.

Inaccuracies regarding airline travel

In the opening scene of the film, American Airlines is depicted as ignoring a security warning regarding hijacker Mohammed Atta. The airline involved was actually U.S. Airways.[49]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report: “While Atta had been selected by CAPPS [a security warning at a U.S. Airway ticket counter] in Portland [Maine] three members of… [Atta’s] hijacking team – Suqami, Wail al Shehri, and Waleed al Shehri – were selected [at an American Airline counter] in Boston. Their selection affected only the handling of their checked bags, not their screening at the checkpoint. All five men cleared the checkpoint and made their way to the gate for American 11.” [50] The incorrect depiction of location and airline may be justified as “time compression and compositing”, as described in the film’s disclaimer, or it may be an example of careless writing and sloppy fact-checking.

As a result of the inaccuracy, American Airlines stated they planned to pull all advertising from the ABC network and were considering legal action.[51]

Clinton responds

Clinton pointedly refutted [sic] several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

“The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely,” the four-page letter said.[52]

Senate Democrats’ letter to ABC

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan sent a letter to Robert A. Iger, the President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Their letter includes the following statement:

Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

“The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.”[53]

Scholastic Press announcement

Scholastic Press, which had a deal with ABC to distribute “educational materials” based on the movie, pulled the materials in question from their website on September 7, substituting them with materials focusing on “critical thinking and media literacy skills”.[54]

Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic Press, had this to say on the matter:

After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues… at the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.[54]

Responses from cast and crew

Harvey Keitel, who plays John P. O’Neill—the lead role in the film, said he was told that the script was “history” project, but “it turned out not all the facts were correct” and by the time ABC tried to “heal the problem” it was “too late.”[55] In an interview two weeks before the film was to air he said more scenes needed to be corrected because “you cannot cross the line from a conflation of events to a distortion of the event.”[55] Keitel also said there was “discussion” and “argument” on-set during the filming about what was truthful and what was not, and that he disagreed with certain decisions.[55]

Producer Marc Platt has acknowledged that the script was based in part on a book co-written by a Bush administration official. The book, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It was co-written by John Miller, who serves as the assistant director of public affairs for the FBI.[56]

Cyrus Nowrasteh, script writer for the film, said it was “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”[57]

Response from Barbara Bodine

On September 8, former Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine complained in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed about her portrayal in the film: “According to the mythmakers, a battle ensued between a cop obsessed with tracking down Osama bin Laden and a bureaucrat more concerned with the feelings of the host government than the fate of Americans and the realities of terrorism. I know this is false. I was there. I was the ambassador.”[58] The ABC miniseries compressed Bodine’s role to a single extended scene, suggesting she was dismissive, hostile, and vulgar toward FBI investigator John O’Neill from the moment of his October 2000 arrival in Yemen (see USS Cole bombing).

Television actress Patricia Heaton, who played Bodine and who has her own independent ABC development deal, did not comment on the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11 nor its worldwide broadcast on September 10–11, 2006.[citation needed]

Errors and other criticism

In addition to the fictionalized scenes and misrepresentations, preview copies contained several smaller errors that prompted criticism that the film is sloppy in its fidelity to facts. For example, a caption in the film misspelled Madeleine Albright’s name.[59][not in citation given]Another example is a scene portraying a warning popping up on a computer when Mohamed Atta boarded American Airlines Flight 11 in Boston. The scene was factually inaccurate; Atta actually boarded a connecting U.S. Airways flight in Bangor, Maine.[60]

During production of the movie, there was a controversy in the Toronto media over the use of discarded medical charts and records as document props. The Privacy Commissioner for the province of Ontario launched an investigation and the producers destroyed footage including the garbage and sent all remaining documents to a shredding service for disposal.[61]

Republican William Bennett joined those saying there is “no reason to falsify the record” or “falsify conversations”. During an appearance on CNN he called on ABC to correct the inaccuracies of the show and for fellow conservatives to join him in such a demand.[62]

On December 22, 2006 Media Matters for America named ABC as “Misinformer” of 2006 for, among other things in The Path to 9/11, calling it:

a two-part miniseries that placed the blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Clinton administration and whitewashed some of the Bush administration’s failures leading up to the attacks.[63][63]

Advertising discrepancies

While in the U.S. the film was marketed as a loose dramatization of events based on the 9/11 Commission Report, television advertising for the film in countries outside the U.S. called the film the “Official True Story”.[64] Further, an Australian TV listing called the film “the story of exactly what happened”, which later changed to “The thrilling dramatised investigation” as the airing time drew near.[65]

Allegation of non-profit involvement

Allegations of religious involvement surfaced in 2006, when journalist Max Blumenthal commented on David Loren Cunningham and his former links to the international mission organization Youth With A Mission. David is the son of Youth With A Mission founder Loren Cunningham. This connection to Youth With A Mission, and past allegations of a political agenda within the organization, were mentioned by Blumenthal. He also noted the previous intentions of David Cunningham to ‘revolutionize’ film and television by founding an auxiliary group within Youth With A Mission called TFI (The Film Institute). Youth With A Mission International Chairman Lynn Green acknowledged the allegations, yet rebutted these concerns, insisting that the organization, “had nothing to do with financing the film, nor did any YWAM personnel have any influence on the content of the film.”[66][67][68]

Support for The Path to 9/11

Responses from the right

Prior to its broadcast, conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt described as “a very accurate docudrama” and claimed the controversy by suggesting that what they call “the deep anger of the Clinton political machine” or the “narcissistic whining of the Clinton coterie” amounts to “self-serving complaints,” to “an irrelevant diversion,” to a “repellent” “hissy fit”.[69] Brent Bozell wrote, also before it was broadcast, that both “Clinton and Bush officials come under fire, and if it seems more anti-Clinton, that’s only because they were in office a lot longer than Team Bush before 9-11. Indeed, the film drives home the point that from our enemies’ perspective, it’s irrelevant who is in the White House. They simply want to kill Americans and destroy America. The film doesn’t play favorites, and the Bush administration takes its lumps as well.” [70] Hewitt added that the “program is not primarily about the Clinton stewardship—or lack thereof—of the national security. It is not even secondarily about that. Rather the mini-series is the first attempt — very successful — to convey to American television viewers what we are up against: The fanaticism, the maniacal evil, the energy and the genius for mayhem of the enemy.”[69]

To date, the miniseries has not been released on DVD. Writer and producer Cyrus Nowrasteh said that a stalled release is not due to lack of interest but rather political pressure, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2007 they were protecting Bill Clinton‘s presidential legacy and shielding Hillary Clinton from criticism for her 2008 presidential campaign.[71][72] According to the LA Times, an ABC spokeswoman reached September 4, 2007 said that the company “has no release date at this time,” and she declined to comment further.[71]

Documentary revisits controversy

In August, 2008, talk show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler and producer David Bossie of Citizens United premiered a documentary co-produced, written and directed by Ziegler entitled Blocking The Path to 9/11, which revisits the political controversy behind the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11.[73][74][75] Through interviews with the Path to 9/11 filmmakers and others, news clips regarding the controversy, and footage from the miniseries itself, the documentary argues not only that accusations of the filmmakers’ covert political agenda were unfounded, but that they were generated by Clinton-era politicians concerned that the miniseries tarnished their political legacy, and were reported uncritically by bloggers and a biased news media. The documentary also asserts that Disney/ABC ultimately shelved plans to release a DVD of the miniseries as a result of pressure from the political left, specifically the Clintons themselves. As noted in the documentary, Disney/ABC denies this and claims the decision not to release a DVD was purely a business decision.[76]

Jeffrey Ressner of The Politico, wrote Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11 mirrored The Path to 9/11 because it “raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma”.[77]

Awards

  • 2007 Emmy Award: Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • 2007 Emmy Award nominations: Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Main Title Design; Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score); Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special;
  • 2007 American Cinema Editors Eddie Award: Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Commercial Television

Ratings in the United States

During the first night of the original broadcast in the United States, The Path to 9/11 was beat by NBC‘s Sunday Night Football with 20.7 million watching the game, with Path tying a rerun of the film 9/11 shown on CBS with 13 million viewers.[5][78][79] During its second night, The Path to 9/11 was again beat by an NFL doubleheader, this time the premiere of Monday Night Football on ESPN, with 10.5 million households watching those games, and The Path to 9/11 coming in second.[80]

Ratings
Shown/Network Rating Share
Sunday Night Football (NBC) 15.1 23
Path to 9/11 (ABC) 8.2 12
9/11 (CBS) 8.2 12

Cast

Broadcasting

United States

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm–10:45 pm (shortened from 11 pm) at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:00 pm–9:00 pm at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2 (continued): September 11, 2006 at 9:20 pm – 10:17 pm at EDT on ABC (After President Bush National Address) (See exception)

ABC’s broadcasts though originally planned to be shown “with limited commercial interruption” were aired with no commercials, since the network was unable to obtain sponsorship.[81] The broadcasts were also watched in Canada, where the network is available on cable and satellite.

Part 2 of the miniseries, also uninterrupted, aired in the San Diego, California market on KGTV nearly a week later, on September 16, 2006, from 8:30pm–10:30 pm.[citation needed]

Australia

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:30 pm on Channel Seven
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:30 pm on Channel Seven

Belgium

  • Part 1: September 13, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 2: September 20, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 1: August 20, 2008 at 9:10 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 2: August 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 3: August 20, 2008 at 10:50 pm on RTL-TVI

Croatia

  • Part 1: March 6, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV
  • Part 2: March 13, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV

Finland

  • Part 1: November 11, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 2: November 18, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 3: November 25, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 4: December 2, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 5: December 9, 2007 on MTV3

In Finland the miniseries was shown in five parts as distinct from normal two.

India

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio

Italy

  • Part 1 & 2: March 13, 2007 on Sky

Japan

  • Part 1 & 2: January 14, 2007 at 8:00 pm on Wowow
  • Synopsis: September 13, 2009, from 9:00 pm – 10:54 pm on TV Asahi

New Zealand

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One

Norway

  • Part 1: January 3, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 2: January 4, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 1: September 12, 2008 on TVNorge

South Africa

  • Part 1: September 11, 2007 on M-Net
  • Part 2: September 11, 2007 on M-Net

Spain

  • Part 1: September 12, 2007 at 10.00 pm on Antena 3
  • Part 2: September 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm on Antena 3

United Kingdom

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm on BBC2
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:30 pm on BBC2

BBC2’s broadcasts were also watched in IrelandBelgium and the Netherlands, where the channel is available on cable.

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Path_to_9/11

 

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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location ViennaAustria
Signatories IranRussiaChinaEuropean UnionUnited States(withdrawing)[3]
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOAPersianبرنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, translit. barnāme jāme‘ eqdām moshtarakacronymبرجامBARJAM[4][5]), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChinaFranceRussiaUnited KingdomUnited States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement. In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the “Roadmap Agreement” made between Iran and the IAEA.[8]

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.

On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.[9] On 30 April 2018, the United States and Israel stated that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons program to the IAEA, which was required in the 2015 deal.[10][11]

IAEA inspectors spend 3,000 calendar days per year in Iran, installing tamper-proof sealings and collecting surveillance camera photos, measurement data and documents for further analysis. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano stated (in March 2018) that the organization has verified that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments.[12]

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement.[13][14]

Background

nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[15][16][17] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[18] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary for nuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[19] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[17][19]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[20] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[20]

In 1979 the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[20] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[20]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khannetwork.[20] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment”.[20] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencieshave long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[20] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[21]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility.[20][22] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[20] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[22] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[22]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[20][22] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[22] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[20][22] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[20] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[20]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[22][23] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[20][22] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[20][22]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[20][22] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[22] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[22] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[22] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[22] Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[24] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[24] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[20][22] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[24][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[20] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[30] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[22]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[31] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[31] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[31]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[32] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[32]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerryshakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran’s nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[22][33] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[22][34] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[35] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[36] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[22][36] Former officials alleged that, in order to advance the deal, the Obama administration shielded Hezbollah from the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Project Cassandrainvestigation regarding drug smuggling and from the Central Intelligence Agency.[37][38] As a result of the Politico report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations.[39]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[40] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[36] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[41] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[36][41]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the ArakIR-40heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[42]

Negotiations

Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 nations, the European Union, and Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 24, 2014

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[43][44]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[45] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[46] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[47] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[48]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[49][50] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2015, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburglasting for seventeen days.[51] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[51] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[51] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[51]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[52] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[53]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[54][55] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[54] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[54]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system”.[56]

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[57]

Signatories

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[44] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[44][58][59]

Nuclear

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[60]Belfer Center[61]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0 Unconstrained
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained Unconstrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg Unconstrained
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg Unconstrained
  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[44][62][63][64] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[62][63][65] However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[66] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[62][63][64] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[61][67]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[44][62] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[42][63][64] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[68][69] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[62]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[42] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[62]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[70] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[42] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[71] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[72] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[42]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[42][62][64]
  • Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[73]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[62][63][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[84] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[85] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[85][86] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[54][87] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[84]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[54]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[86] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[88] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[86] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[86] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[86] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[89][90] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[89] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[90]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[44][62][91][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[61] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[93][94] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[95]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[44][91] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[44][91] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[61]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to 16 January 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[96] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[97]

Sanctions

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[98]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[99]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[100] by presidential action or executive waiver.[101]Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[102]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[100][103][104]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[44][105]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[64][106] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[99]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[107]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[62][63][107]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[64][108] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[108] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[53][108] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[68]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[108] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[109]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[110][111][112][113][114] The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II, according to BBC Persian.[115]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing country[115][116] and backs an agreement signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[115][117] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country—Iran—was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it—169617371747180318351929—without even one day of implementing them.[115]Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[115]

Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[115][118][119] All other cases have ended through either regime changewar or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[120]

Gary Sick states that during the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put such extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[121]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[122]Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[115] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[123] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[115]

Pictured here, Iranian Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquartersfor the first time.[124]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates—sometimes multiple occasions a day—and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[125] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[125][126] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General AssemblyU.S. PresidentBarack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[127] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[128]

Reactions

Political and diplomatic reactions

There was a significant worldwide response following the announcement of the agreement; more than 90 countries endorsed the agreement,[129] as did many international organizations.

From countries that are parties to the JCPOA

  •  China
    • Foreign MinisterWang Yi said, “the most important achievement of the comprehensive agreement is that the international nuclear non-proliferation system is safeguarded. It can be said that China had played a unique and constructive role and thus is highly praised and affirmed by all parties. In the next step, there are still many matters to be attended to concerning the implementation of the agreement. China will continuously make new contribution [sic] to this end with a responsible attitude.”[130]
  •  European Union
  •  France
    • In a Bastille Day speech, PresidentFrancois Hollande praised the deal and called upon Iran to “show that it is ready to help us end” the Syrian civil war.[133] French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Monde that the pact was a “robust agreement” that would last at least a decade.[134] Both Hollande and Fabius pledged that France would be “extremely vigilant” in the implementation of the agreement.[133][134]
    • Fabius visited Iran on 29 July, telling reporters in Tehran, “this deal allows the relations between our countries to develop and allows us to renew cooperation.” His visit was controversial in Iran and met with public anger for several reasons.[135][136]
  •  Germany
    • ChancellorAngela Merkel said that the agreement was “an important success” of international diplomacy.[137]
    • Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the agreement was a “historic breakthrough”.[138] In mid-July 2015, Gabriel, along with a delegation of German industry and science representatives, completed a three-day visit to Iran focused on bolstering German-Iranian trade.[138] Gabriel said there was “great interest on the part of German industry in normalizing and strengthening economic relations with Iran”.[138]
  •  Iran
    • Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei who initially issued a letter of guidelines to President Rouhani, ordering him on how to proceed with the deal,[139][140] threatened to ‘set fire’ to nuclear deal if West violates.[141]PresidentHassan Rouhani said the final agreement proved that “constructive engagement works” and presented the deal as a step on the road towards a wider goal of international cooperation: “With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”[131]
    • Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif called it an “historic moment” and said: “Today could have been the end of hope on this issue, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope. Let’s build on that.”[142]
    • In a 21 July speech to the Iranian Parliament, Zarif said that the agreement was a defeat for Israel, saying, “Never before was the Zionist regime so isolated, even among her own allies.”[143] On 12 August, after a meeting with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Zarif said that the agreement “created a historic opportunity to [sic] for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity”.[144]
    • Many Iranian families and youth celebrated at Vanak Square and elsewhere on the streets of Tehran on the evening of the agreement’s announcements.[145] Some held signs calling for the release of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest.[145] Other ordinary Iranians cheered the announcement on social media.[145]
    • On 16 July 2015, two days after the agreement was signed, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his first public comments on the final agreement in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani posted on Khamenei’s website.[146] Khamenei wrote, “bringing the negotiations to a conclusion was a milestone” but, “the prepared text, however, needs careful scrutiny”.[146] Iranian hard-liners took the letter as a signal of openness to criticize the deal.[146][147] In a speech in Tehran marking the end of Ramadan made two days later, Khamenei said, “Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all,”[148] adding, “the Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon … They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa, declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”[149] However, Khamenei also praised the negotiators who arranged the deal, which was taken as a symbol that he would not seek to block the deal in the Iranian parliament or the Supreme National Security Council.[148] Khamenei also expressed support for the agreement, saying: “After 12 years of struggling with the Islamic republic, the result is that they [the P5+1 nations] have to bear the turning of thousands of centrifuges in the country.”[150] Khamenei is believed to have approved the negotiations and the agreement, giving Rouhani crucial political cover to do so.[151]
    • The New York Times reported, “Iran’s influential hard-liners, who have criticized Mr. Rouhani in much the same way that President Obama has been denounced by Republicans in the United States, signaled their intent to undercut the agreement,” which they believe to be too favorable to the West.[145] Foad Izadi, a professor at the University of Tehran, complained that of the 19 Iranian “major red lines” identified by the supreme leader during negotiations, “18 and a half have been crossed.”[147] Conservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani said “celebrating too early can send a bad signal to the enemy.”[131]
    • Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency stressed that under the agreement “world powers have recognized Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and are to respect the nuclear rights of (Iran) within international conventions.”[152] The IRNA report also said, “The policy on preventing enrichment uranium is now failed” and stressed, “no Iranian nuclear facilities or centrifuges will be dismantled.”[152]
  •  Russian Federation
  •  United Kingdom
    • Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the agreement, saying that it would help “make our world a safer place” and that Iran now had a “real opportunity” to benefit economically.[137]
    • Foreign SecretaryPhilip Hammond criticized the Israeli government’s position on the JCPOA, saying in the House of Commons, “no agreement with Iran would have been enough for Netanyahu” and “Israel prefers a permanent state of standoff” with Iran.[155][156]At a joint press conference the next day in Jerusalem, Hammond and Netanyahu “sparred publicly” over the agreement, “veering off prepared comments … in an awkward back-and-forth that extended what is usually a standard, brief public appearance with visiting officials into a spirited debate”.[156]
  •  United States
    • President Barack Obama addressed the nation in a 7 a.m. televised address from the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.[157][158] Obama stated that the agreement “meets every single one of the bottom lines we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.”[158] The president emphasized that the agreement is “not built on trust—it is built on verification”.[44][158] Obama vowed to veto any congressional action that would block the agreement’s implementation, saying: “I am confident that this deal will meet the national security needs of the United States and our allies, so I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal. We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict, and we certainly shouldn’t seek it.”[158] Obama stated: “I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement” and added, “This is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world’s major powers, offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”[158]
    • At a press briefing in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the agreement was “a measureable step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation” and “the specter of conflict” and “there can be no question that this agreement will provide a stronger, more comprehensive, and more lasting means of limiting Iran’s nuclear program than any realistic alternative.”[65] Kerry also stated, “The deal we have reached … gives us the greatest assurance that we have had that Iran will not pursue a weapon covertly.”[65]Addressing critics of the agreement, Kerry stated, “those who spend a lot of time suggesting that something could be better have an obligation to provide an alternative that, in fact, works” and “sanctioning Iran until it capitulates makes for a powerful talking point and a pretty good political speech, but it’s not achievable outside a world of fantasy.”[65] Kerry also stated, “we are under no illusions that the hard work is over. No one is standing here today to say that the path ahead is easy or automatic. We move now to a new phase—a phase that is equally critical and may prove to be just as difficult—and that is implementation.”[65]
    • Republicans lined up against the deal.[131] The candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 uniformly condemned the deal; for example, Jeb Bush called the agreement “dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted” while Lindsey Grahamasserted that the deal was a “death sentence for the state of Israel”.[159][160][161] Former Obama advisor Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted, “none of these GOP contenders would end this Iran Deal if they got to the White House,” and that it would “massively damage US in the world”.[154]
    • Candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 welcomed the deal. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the agreement an “important step that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear programs”; Senator Bernie Sanders called it “a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling” that “could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East”.[161]
    • Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner, a Republican, called the JCPOA a “bad deal”.[162]
    • House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said “I’ve closely examined this document. And it will have my strong support.”[163] Pelosi said that the agreement was “the product of years of tough, bold, clear-eyed leadership on the part of President Obama” and called it “a strong, effective option, for keeping the peace and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.[163]
    • Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell, a Republican, opposed the agreement, saying “The comprehensive nuclear agreement announced today appears to further the flawed elements of April’s interim agreement because the Obama Administration approached these talks from a flawed perspective: reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal of ending Iran’s nuclear program.”[164]
    • Senate Minority LeaderHarry Reid, a Democrat, issued a brief statement on 14 July saying that the agreement was the result of years of hard work and, “now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”[165] On 23 August, Reid endorsed the agreement, saying that the agreement “is the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” and that he would “do everything in my power to ensure that it stands”.[166]
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, a Republican, pledged to hold hearings on the deal during the sixty-day congressional review period and said that he is “totally opposed to” the agreement.[167]Senate Foreign Relations Committeechairman Bob Corker, another Republican, also opposed the deal, saying that he believed that the West had conceded too much.[168]
    • The New York Times editorial board wrote that the agreement “is potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics”. They wrote: “It would be irresponsible to squander this chance to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.”[169]
    • On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump called the agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”[170] and announced the United States of America would withdraw from the agreement.[171]

From other countries

  •  Holy See
    • The Vatican applauded the deal, saying in a statement: “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See.”[172]
  •  Israel
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction, we will always defend ourselves.”[173] Netanyahu called the deal a “capitulation” and “a bad mistake of historic proportions”.[174]Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the deal an “historic surrender” and said that Israel would “act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified”—indicating that it would try to use its influence to block the agreement in the U.S. Congress,[131]Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi party (which is a member of the government coalition), said: “The history books have been rewritten again today, and this period will be deemed particularly grave and dangerous.”[174]
    • Most Israelis were similarly critical of the agreement.[175] Netanyahu’s leading political opponent, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, opposed the deal, stating that it “will unleash a lion from the cage” and make Iran “a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so”;[176]another Zionist Union member of the KnessetShelly Yachimovich, called the JCPOA a “dangerous, damaging agreement”[174]Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party, called the agreement “Israel’s biggest foreign policy failure since the establishment of the state”.[177] At the same time, many of these figures also criticized Netanyahu’s diplomatic campaign against the plan, calling it ineffectual and counter-productive. Yachimovich said that Netanyahu should “immediately cease and desist from confronting the Americans”.[174] Lapid called on the prime minister to resign,[174] stating: “I also am not thrilled by Obama’s policies. But Netanyahu crossed a line that caused the White House to stop listening to Israel. In the last year we weren’t even in the arena, we had no representative in Vienna, our intelligence cooperation was harmed, and the door to the White House was closed to us.”[174]
    • The head of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, described the agreement as a “surrender to terror”.[174]
    • Zehava Gal-On, head of the opposition Meretz party, voiced cautious support for the JCPOA, writing, “The agreement is not perfect, it does not turn Iran into lovers of Israel all of the sudden, but it does aim to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb, regulate the international mechanisms to monitoring it and allows the international community to act if the agreement is violated.”[178]
    • The Joint (Arab) List party of Arab Israeli MKs welcomed the agreement.[178]
    • Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and former commander of the Israeli Navy, said that the agreement was “the best option” for Israel, saying, “When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months.”[179] Ayalon said that opposition to the deal in Israel was “more emotional than logical”.[179][180]Efraim Halevy, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad from 1998 to 2002, wrote in support of the agreement in Yedioth Ahronoth, arguing that the JCPOA includes “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” and warning that a collapse of the agreement will leave Iran “free to do as it pleases”.[180] Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and current senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times arguing that the JCPOA is “a good deal for Israel” and that by avoiding the threat of a nuclear Iran, the agreement “will enable Israel to divert precious resources to more immediate threats” and to pressing domestic needs.[181]
  •  Italy
    • Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “The agreement sows new hope for a regional peace project. Italy will actively support this process, and will ensure that it can benefit all countries of the region, without exception, with the aim of reaching a Middle East finally stable, where all peoples can live in peace and security.”[182]
  •  Kazakhstan
    • Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan on the regulation of the situation around Iran’s nuclear programme.[183]
    • President Nazarbayev said, “… in 2013 Almaty hosted two rounds of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which contributed to the resumption of negotiations between “P5+1″ and Iran. We are proud that the results of those two rounds of talks in Almaty have served as foundation for JCPOA adopted two years later.”[183]
  • Arab states of the Persian Gulf
    •  Kuwait: Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, congratulated all the nations involved in the negotiations and hoped the deal would lead to stability in the region.[184]
    •  Oman: Oman welcomed the agreement.[185] Oman and its leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, were praised for its key role in the talks by diplomats and leaders from both Iran and the P5+1.[185] Oman has good relations with both Iran and the United States and played a key role in the beginning of the talks; Oman offered to establish a back channel between Iran and the United States in 2009, and the first secret talks were held between U.S. and Iranian diplomats in July 2012 in Muscat.[186][187]
    •  Qatar: The government welcomed the agreement as a “significant step” toward enhancing regional peace and stability.[188]
    •  Saudi Arabia: On 14 July, the official Saudi Press Agency released a statement attributed to an “official source” saying, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always believed in the importance of reaching a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program that ensures preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and at the same time includes a specific, strict and permanent mechanism for inspecting all sites—including military ones—along with a mechanism for rapidly and effectively re-imposing sanctions in case Iran violates the deal.”[189] U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said that Saudi Arabia approved of the international agreement, despite the fact that “the Saudis, along with other Sunni Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, view the predominantly Shiite Iran as a regional adversary.”[190] The Saudis have undertaken a military campaign in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents there.[190]
  • Elsewhere in the Muslim world
    •  Afghanistan: Afghan presidentMohammad Ashraf Ghani congratulated “the government and people of Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion and reiterates that the government of Afghanistan welcomes any efforts that result in expansion of political and economic relations between states as well as consolidation and strengthening of peace and stability in the region.”[191]
    •  Egypt: The Egyptian foreign ministry said the deal will prevent an arms race in the Middle East. The statement expressed hopes that the Middle East can be free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.[192]
    •  Iraq: The Iraqi government applauded the agreement.[184]
    •  Pakistan: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “welcomed” the agreement, saying, “reciprocal confidence-building measures … auger well for peace and security in our region.”[193] Former President Asif Ali Zardari welcomed the deal as “a triumph of diplomacy and negotiations over coercion and hostility” and called upon the government to push forward with plans for construction of an Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline.[194]
    •  Syria: President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally, called the agreement as “a great victory” and wrote in a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, that the agreement would be a “major turning point in the history of Iran, the region and the world”.[195]
    •  Turkey: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement in a statement saying that its implementation would contribute to regional peace, security and stability.[196] Observers noted that although Turkey would benefit economically from the lifting of sanctions in the future, Turkish officials seemed to be “uneasy” of the potential for Iran to reemerge as a regional power that might overshadow Turkey.[197]
  • Other countries
    •  Australia: Minister for Foreign AffairsJulie Bishop endorsed the agreement, saying: “What it has done is [bring] Iran into the international regime of inspections of nuclear programs, and that is a good thing. I think we have to give this comprehensive plan a chance.”[198]
    •  Canada: Foreign MinisterRob Nicholson stated at the time of the announcement: “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words. To this end, Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments.”[199] The Globe and Mail reported at the time that Canada would keep its sanctions in place, at least initially, although Canada’s own sanctions will have little impact on the Iranian economy.[200] While the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper was opposed to the agreement, the new Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported it, and in February 2016, following the implementation of the agreement, Canada lifted most of its sanctions on Iran.[201]
    •  Colombia: PresidentJuan Manuel Santos applauded the agreement as “another triumph of diplomacy over confrontation” and praised President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for their “courage” in securing the deal.[202]
    •  India: The Indian embassy in Tehran stated, “India welcomes the announcement of lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. The milestone represents a significant success for patient diplomacy and signals a new chapter of peace and prosperity. India looks forward to further developing its longstanding, close, and mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Iran, including in the spheres of energy and regional connectivity.”[203]
    •  North Korea: The Foreign Ministry said that North Korea had no interest in a nuclear disarmament agreement, saying: “We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes.”[204]
    •  Norway: In a statement, Foreign MinisterBørge Brende said: “This historic agreement will benefit the international community, the Middle East and Iran. It will also pave the way for closer political and economic contact with Iran.”[205]
    •  Philippines: The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement, saying that it was an important measure to promote both regional and global security. They also called on the international community to maintain the positive momentum for long-term peace created by the agreement.[206]

From international organizations

  •  United Nations
    • Secretary-General of the United NationsBan Ki-moon issued a statement saying: “I warmly welcome the historic agreement in Vienna today and congratulate the P5+1 and Iran for reaching this agreement. This is testament to the value of dialogue…. The United Nations stands ready to fully cooperate with the parties in the process of implementing this historic and important agreement.”[207][208]
    • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Director General Yukiya Amano welcomed the agreement and congratulated Iran, the P5+1 countries and the European Union and said he is confident that IAEA is capable of doing the necessary monitoring and verification activities when requested.[209]
  • Other international organizations and figures
    •  NATO Secretary GeneralJens Stoltenberg called the agreement a “historic breakthrough” and stated: “It is critical for Iran to implement the provisions of today’s agreement and to fulfill all its international obligations and advance security in the region and beyond.”[210]
    •  Arab League Secretary-GeneralNabil Elaraby said he hoped the JCPOA would bring “stability and security” to the Middle East.[211]
    •  Gulf Cooperation Council – The Gulf Cooperation Council publicly announced backing for the agreement at a 2 August 2015 summit in DohaQatar.[212]Khalid al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar (which currently chairs the GCC) said at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry following the summit, “This was the best option amongst other options in order to try to come up with a solution for the nuclear weapons of Iran though dialogue, and this came up as a result of the efforts exerted by the United States of America and its allies. [Secretary Kerry] let us know that there’s going to be a kind of live oversight for Iran not to gain or to get any nuclear weapons. This is reassuring to the region.”[212]
    • Association of Southeast Asian Nations – On 6 August 2015, following the 5th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN nations, along with the foreign ministers of India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, endorsed the deal, welcoming it as an “important resolution” to a pressing global concern.[213][214] Shortly before the joint ASEAN statement was released, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Kuala Lumpur to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.[213]
    • Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, hailed the agreement as a triumph of diplomacy.[154]
    • The International Crisis Group called the deal “a triumph of nuclear diplomacy” and urged both the United States Congress and Iranian Majlis to approve it.[215]

Expert reactions

Following the unveiling of the agreement, “a general consensus quickly emerged” among nuclear experts and watchdogs that the agreement “is as close to a best-case situation as reality would allow”.[216] In August 2015, 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts signed a statement endorsing the deal as “a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” that exceeds the historical standards for arms control agreements.[217] The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invited top international security experts to comment on the final agreement.[218]

  • Jeffrey Lewis, arms control expert and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, reviewed the final agreement and gave it a positive assessment, saying that he would give it an “A” grade.[219] While Lewis was skeptical about the chances of a workable deal emerging in 2014, during the negotiations, Lewis said that the final agreement was “a good deal because it slows down [the Iranian] nuclear program … And it puts monitoring and verification measures in place that mean if they try to build a bomb, we’re very likely to find out, and to do so with enough time that we have options to do something about it. There’s a verifiable gap between their bomb option and an actual bomb. That’s why it’s a good deal.”[219] Lewis said that the final agreement was very similar to the April 2015 framework agreement.[219] Lewis does not believe that the agreement will fundamentally alter the U.S.-Iranian relationship, seeing the agreement instead as “a really straightforward measure to slow down an enrichment program that was going gangbusters”.[219]
  • Lawrence Korb and Katherine Blakeley, senior fellow and policy analyst, respectively, at the Center for American Progress, wrote that the agreement was “one of the most comprehensive and detailed nuclear arms agreements ever reached”.[218] Korb and Blakeley wrote, “a good look at the three main legs of the agreement shows that this deal is, in fact, a good one, for the United States and for the international community.”[218] Korb and Blakey said that the agreement “precludes Iranian development of a nuclear weapon by shutting down all of the pathways Iran might use to accumulate enough nuclear material to make a weapon” and praised components of the agreement which keep Iran subject to the constraints of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, provides for robust IAEA monitoring and verification, and links the phased lifting of nuclear-related sanctions to IAEA verification of Iranian compliance.[218]
  • Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, wrote, “The July 14 agreement is a political miracle” in which “Iran has agreed to back away from the nuclear-weapon threshold in exchange for a lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.”[218] Von Hippel wrote, “The Obama administration argues—and I agree—that the ratcheting back of Iran’s enrichment capacity will give the world a much longer warning time should Iran attempt to build a bomb.”[218] Von Hippel suggested that once the first ten years of the agreement were complete, “One option that should be explored is multinational ownership and management of Iran’s enrichment complex by a group of countries—perhaps including the United States.”[218]
  • Frederick H. Fleitz, former CIA nonproliferation analyst and currently of the Center for Security Policy, wrote, “The provisions of this agreement… contains minor concessions by Iran but huge concessions by the United States that will Iran to continue its nuclear program with weak verification provisions. Conditions for sanctions relief will be very easy for Iran to meet. Iran will not only continue to enrich uranium under the agreement, it will continue to develop advanced centrifuges that will reduce the timeline to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”[220]
  • William H. Tobey, senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was critical of the agreement, writing that given Iranian hostility to the United States and Israel, the agreement provides little “more than a speed bump on the path to Iran’s nuclear ambition”.[218] Tobey wrote that that “speed bump” is not “a good trade for at least $150 billion in sanctions relief”.[218]
  • Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that although the JCPOA is “not perfect”, it “will be a net plus for nonproliferation and will enhance U.S. and regional security”.[218] Reif wrote that it was “clear that Tehran had to retreat from many of its initial demands, including in the areas of the scale of uranium enrichment it needed, the intrusiveness of inspections it would tolerate, and the pace of sanctions relief it would demand”.[218] Reif also wrote that the JCPOA “will keep Iran further away from the ability to make nuclear weapons for far longer than the alternative of additional sanctions or a military strike possibly could”, and as a result, the threat of regional proliferation throughout the Middle East was diminished.[218] Reif added: “A perfect deal was not attainable. Overall, it’s a very strong and good deal, but it wasn’t negotiations that resulted in a score of 100-0 for the [United States]. That’s not how international negotiations go…. The monitoring and verification regime in this deal is the most comprehensive and intrusive regime that has ever been negotiated.”[216]
  • Siegfried S. Hecker of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University wrote, “the Iran nuclear deal was hard-won and is better than any other reasonably achievable alternative.”[218] Hecker wrote, “Iran agreed to considerably greater restrictions on its program than what I thought was possible.”[218] Hecker’s view is that it is “imperative that the international community develops a credible and decisive response in the event of an Iranian violation of the agreement”.[218] He noted, “this agreement was one of the most technically informed diplomatic negotiations I have seen,” with both sides advised by “world-class nuclear scientists”: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry by U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz, and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali-Akbar Salehi.[218]
  • Zia Mian of the Program on Science & Global Security at Princeton University wrote that the JCPOA offers three “important lessons for those wanting to make progress towards nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world”.[218] The first lesson was, “nuclear diplomacy can work. But it requires hard political work of many kinds”; Mian praised both the “creative technical and policy analysis work from within and outside governments to create options for negotiators to find common ground” as well as “the patient grassroots work to engage and mobilize public constituencies that brought to power leaders in the United States and in Iran willing to engage with each other and to take risks for a more peaceful relationship between their countries”.[218] The second lesson was, “International nuclear politics is bound to domestic politics, for good and ill. The Iran agreement has come despite determined hostility from conservatives within the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Iran. Seeing the world as a hierarchy shaped by power and fear, and locked in rigid, exclusivist national or religious identities, they press for advantage and privilege or to maintain the status quo. Sharing a propensity for mistrust, coercion, and violence, they would risk war with those they see as enemies rather than try dialogue and possible agreement on a peaceful future based on the ideals of equity and respect for others. These opponents will derail the Iran deal if they can.”[218] The third lesson is, “nuclear disarmament issues do not exist in isolation”; Mian called for more foreign minister-level talks in the Middle East, rather than expanded U.S. military assistance in the region.[218]
  • Ernest MonizU.S. Secretary of Energy and a nuclear physicist and former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was a key member of the U.S. negotiating team, stated that the JCPOA helps put Iran further from a nuclear weapon not only in the first fifteen years, with “lots of very, very explicit constraints on the program that roll back current activities”, but also beyond that period, because the agreement commits Iran to join the Additional Protocol.[221][222] Former IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen and former Iraq weapons inspector David Albright expressed concerns with the length of a review process for inspecting undeclared facilities, stating that a delay up to a maximum of 24 days was too long.[223] Heinonen said, “it is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks’ time without leaving traces,” but said there was a risk that the Iranians could hide small-scale work, such as creating uranium components of a nuclear weapon, particularly because they have experience with cheating.[223] Albright said that activities on “a small scale”, such as experiments with high explosives or a small plant to make centrifuges operation could possibly be cleared out in 24 days.[223] Former U.S. State Department official Robert J. Einhorn, who took part in P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran from 2009 to 2013, said, “a limit shorter than 24 days would have been desirable,” but “it is probably the case that the greater the significance of a covert activity, the more difficult it will be to remove evidence of it in 24 days.”[223] U.S. Energy Department officials said that if the Iranians attempted to conduct centrifuge test, uranium conversion, or other activities, contamination would be generated that is very difficult to conceal.[223]
  • At a September 2015 panel discussion at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with Albert Carnesale (a former SALT I negotiator), Dalia Dassa Kaye (of the RAND Corporation), and Aslı Bâli and Steven Spiegel of UCLA, the panelists came a general consensus that the JCPOA “should be given a chance to work” and “despite its flaws, the agreement was worth pursuing and that the alternative would have been no agreement at all.”[224]
  • Henner Fürtig, a senior member of German Institute of Global and Area Studies and a professor at the University of Hamburg wrote that the accord contains multiple victories for all sides. It is a “triumph of international diplomacy” and “rarely reached consensus” for the United Nations and the UNSC, but “it is no panacea” resolving other conflicts in the Middle East.[225]

In popular culture

The American TV series Madam Secretary built a whole season around the negotiations.[226] Five years before the deal, in 24season 8, the negotiations between the United States leaders and “President Hassan” of Islamic republic of Kamistan to abandon his nuclear technology programme was shown, which drew comparison to the US-Iran dispute.[227] However the deal was contrarily to Homelandseason 3 plot that “fueled nuclear paranoia” against Iran.[228]

After the deal, a joke began circulating in Iran that the name of city of Arak would change to “Barack” in honor of Obama, and that in return, the United States would change the name of Manhattan borough to “Mash Hassan” (Persianمش حسن‎) which is a very casual way of referring to Rouhani.[229]

Javad Zarif‘s efforts in the negotiations drew comparisons to mythological Arash the Archer, and two former Prime Ministers: Mohammad Mosaddegh, who led the withdrawal of foreigners and nationalization of the Iran oil industry and was overthrown by American–British coup d’état, because both fought foreigners for Iran’s rights; and Amir Kabir, because both faced domestic hostility through their way to gain more interest for the nation.[230]

Public opinion surveys

United States (nationwide)

Public polling on the issue has yielded varied and sometimes contradictory results, depending on the question wording,[231] whether the poll explains the provisions of the agreement, and whether an “undecided” option is offered.[232] Polls have consistently shown polarization by party affiliation, with majorities of self-identified Democrats supporting the agreement and majorities of self-identified Republicans opposing it.[233][234][235][236]

Poll Sample Conducted Sample size
margin of error
Question(s) Asked Findings Reference
YouGov U.S. adults 14–16 July 1000; ±3.9% Support/oppose (major provisions described) 43% support, 30% oppose, 26% unsure [233][237]
Abt-SRBI for Washington Post/ABC News U.S. adults 16–19 July 1,002; ±3.5% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Confidence that agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons
56% support, 37% oppose, 7% no opinion
35% very/somewhat confident, 64% not confident
[238]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 14–20 July 2,002; ±2.5; 1,672; ±2.7% Have you heard about agreement?
Support/oppose based on what you know (provisions not described)
34% heard a lot, 44% heard a little, 22% have not heard
(Among those who have heard at least a little) 48% disapprove, 38% approve, 14% do not know
[235]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal U.S. adults 16–20 July 505 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
28% support, 24% oppose, 48% don’t know enough to say
41% approve, 38% disapprove, 21% undecided.
[239][240][241]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal Jewish American adults 16–20 July 501 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
47.5% approve, 27.6% oppose, 24.6% don’t know enough to say
53.6% approve, 34.7% oppose, 11.7% don’t know
[239][240][242]
YouGov for The Economist U.S. adults 18–20 July 1000; ±4.3% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Do you want your Senators to support or oppose the international agreement?
15% strongly support, 26% tend to support; 16% tend to oppose; 17% strongly oppose; 16% not sure
45% support; 27% oppose; 27% not sure
[243]
Public Policy Polling U.S. registered voters 23–24 July 730; ±3.6% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress allow agreement to go forward or block it?
35% strongly support; 19% somewhat support; 6% somewhat oppose; 32% strongly oppose; 8% not sure
54% go forward; 39% block; 7% not sure
[244]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 22–25 July 1,017; ±3% Should Congress approve or reject the deal? 44% approve; 52% reject; 5% no opinion [245]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 23–28 July 1,644; ±2.4% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 28% support; 57% oppose; 15% don’t know/NA [246]
Public Opinion Strategies & Hart Research Associates for Wall Street Journal/NBC News U.S. adults 26–30 July 500 Support/oppose (major provisions described) 35% support, 33% oppose, 32% do not know enough [236][247][248]
Anderson Robbins Research & Shaw & Company Research for Fox News U.S. registered voters 11–13 August 1,008
±3%
In you were in Congress, would approve or reject the deal? 31% approve, 58% reject, 10% don’t know [249][250]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Favor/oppose a hypothetical agreement (major provisions explained) 50% favor, 46% oppose, 4% no opinion [251]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Should Congress approve or reject the deal? (provisions not described) 41% approve, 56% reject, 2% no opinion [251]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 20–25 August 1,563; ±2.5% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 25% support; 55% oppose; 20% don’t know/NA [252]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 3–7 September 1,004; ±3.6% Approve/disapprove the agreement 21% approve; 49% disapprove; 30% don’t know/refused [253]
University of Maryland Program on Public Consultation/Center for International and Security Studies U.S. registered voters who took part in National Citizens Cabinet
(policymaking simulation involving a briefing and hearing of expert-vetted arguments from both sides of the debate)
17–20 September 702; ±3.7% Final recommendation after hearing alternatives 55% approve agreement; 14% pursue better terms; 23% ramp up sanctions; 7% threaten military force [254][255]

United States (specific communities)

  • According to a Zogby Research Services poll for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, conducted 20–31 May 2015, 64% of Iranian Americans support the Iran deal, and 8 in 10 say it will improve Iran’s relations with the West.[256]
  • A poll of American Jewish adults conducted by GBA Strategies for J Street (which supports the agreement) from 21–23 July found that 60 percent of American Jews support the agreement.[257] The poll found that: “There is broad support for the agreement, regardless of age, gender, region, Jewish organizational engagement, and awareness about the agreement.”[257] The poll found that support was strong across every denomination except for Orthodox Jews, with 67% of Reform Jews in support, 63% of Jews of no particular denomination in support, and 55% of Conservative Jews in support.[257]
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll taken 30 July – 4 August 43% of New York City voters oppose the agreement, while 36% support it; 42% said that the agreement would make the world less safe, while 40% said it will make the world more safe. Among Jewish voters in New York City, 33% support the agreement while 53% oppose it, and 51% say the agreement will make the world less safe, while 37% say that the agreement will make the world more safe.[258]
  • According to a Public Policy Polling poll of New York City voters taken 11–12 August, 58% of New York City voters support the Iran agreement, while 35% oppose it; 49% of New York City voters want their members of Congress to let the agreement go forward, while 33% want their members of Congress to block the agreement. The agreement achieved majority support from women and men; whites, African Americans, and Hispanics; and in every age group.[259]
  • GfK poll of American Jews conducted for the American Jewish Committee between 7 and 22 August found that American Jews narrowly favored the agreement with 50.6% approving and 47.2% disapproving.[260]

Iran

  • According to a poll conducted from 12–28 May 2015 by the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research, the independent, Toronto-based firm IranPoll, and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, 57% of Iranians support the deal, whereas 15% opposed it.[261]
  • According to First Vice PresidentEshaq Jahangiri‘s interview on 6 August 2015, an Iranian government poll indicates that 80%-88% of Iranians support the Iran deal, whereas 4% oppose it.[262]
  • A poll conducted 27 May to 29 May 2015, by private Virginia-based Information and Public Opinion Solutions LLC (iPOS), suggests that a 63% majority of Iranians favor a deal, with 12% conditional approval (they would support it only if certain advantages for Iran are contained within a final agreement). Answering “If Iran and the West reach a nuclear deal, do you agree or disagree (with) a normalization of relations between Iran and the US?”, 52% agreed and 20% disagreed. The poll was conducted by phone with a random sample of 680 Iranians 18-years-old and older.[263]

Germany

  • A July 2015 nationally representative survey of German adults conducted by YouGov Germany Omnibus found that overall, “63% of Germans support the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, while only 18% oppose it and 20% don’t know.”[233]

Process

Incorporated into international law by the United Nations Security Council

As provided for in the JCPOA, the agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council,[264][265] incorporating it into international law.[266][267] There was initially disagreement on if the deal is legally binding on the United States.[e] The U.S. State Department clarified this in a 19 November 2015 letter to Congress, stating, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1, and the EU.”[274] According to the State Department Political Commitments are non-binding.

On 15 July 2015, the American ambassador to the UNSamantha Power, circulated a fourteen-page draft to Council members.[265] On 20 July 2015, the Security Council unanimously approved the fourteen-page resolution—United Nations Security Council resolution2231[275]—in a 15–0 vote.[267] The resolution delays its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for U.S. Congressional consideration under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.[266][267] The resolution lays out the steps for terminating sanctions imposed by seven past Security Council resolutions, but retains an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban.[264][267] The resolution also did not affect the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.[267] The resolution also codifies the “snapback” mechanism of the agreement, under which all Security Council sanctions will be automatically reimposed if Iran breaches the deal.[264]

Speaking immediately after the vote, Power told the Security Council that sanctions relief would start only when Iran “verifiably” met its obligations. Power also called upon Iran “to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans”, specifically naming Amir HekmatiSaeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, were imprisoned by Iran was detained at the time, and Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in the country.[267][276] Hekmati, Abedini, and Rezaian were subsequently released in a January 2016 prisoner exchange, which Secretary of State Kerry said had been accelerated by the nuclear agreement.[277]

Approved by European Union

On the same day that the Security Council approved a resolution, the European Union formally approved the JCPOA via a vote of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (the group of EU foreign ministers) meeting in Brussels. This sets into motion the lifting of certain EU sanctions, including those prohibiting the purchase of Iranian oil.[267][278] The EU continues its sanctions relating to human rights and its sanctions prohibiting the export of ballistic missile technology.[267] The approval by the EU was seen as a signal to the U.S. Congress.[278]

Review period in the United States Congress

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew defending the JCPOA at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July 2015

Under U.S. law, the JCPOA is a non-binding political commitment.[279][280] According to the U.S. State Department, it specifically is not an executive agreement or a treaty.[274] There are widespread incorrect reports that it is an executive agreement.[281][282] In contrast to treaties, which require two-thirds of the Senate to consent to ratification, political commitments require no congressional approval, and are not legally binding as a matter of domestic law (although in some cases they may be binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law).[281][f]

Under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which was signed into law on 22 May 2015,[g] the agreement is undergoing a sixty-day review in the United States Congress.[291] Under that Act, once all documents have been sent to the Capitol, Congress will have sixty days in which it can pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing.[291] The Act includes additional time beyond the sixty days for the president to veto a resolution and for Congress to take a vote on whether to override or sustain the veto.[292] President Obama has said he will veto any resolution of disapproval.[291] Thus, Republicans will only be able to defeat the deal if they can muster the two-thirds of both houses of Congress needed to override a veto of any resolution of disapproval.[291][293] This means that 34 votes in the Senate could sustain a veto and place the JCPOA into effect.[292][294]

On 19 July 2015, the State Department officially transmitted to Congress the JCPOA, its annexes, and related materials.[295] These documents included the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community‘s Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report.[295] The sixty-day review period began the next day, 20 July,[295][296] and ended 17 September.[297] On 30 July, Senator Ted Cruz introduced a resolution seeking a delay in the review period, arguing that the sixty-day congressional review under the Act should not begin until the Senate obtains a copy of all bilateral Iran-IAEA documents.[298][299]

Obama administration

The “international community” had long sought a landmark diplomatic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, and such an agreement was also a long-sought foreign-policy goal of the Obama administration.[300][301][302]

In comments made in the East Room of the White House on 15 July 2015, President Obama urged Congress to support the agreement, saying “If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly, for letting this moment slip away.”[303] Obama stated that the inspections regime in the agreement was among the most vigorous ever negotiated, and criticized opponents of the deal for failing to offer a viable alternative to it.[303] Obama stated: “If 99 percent of the world’s community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say ‘this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb,’ and you are arguing either that it does not … then you should have some alternative to present. And I haven’t heard that.”[304][305] The same day, Obama made a case for the deal on the agreement in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.[306] Obama stated:

With respect to Iran, it is a great civilization, but it also has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, sponsors terrorism, and there are a whole host of real profound differences that we [have with] them… [T]heir argument was, ‘We’re entitled to have a peaceful nuclear program.’… You know, I have a lot of differences with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that [we] were able to verify an agreement that [was negotiated] with the evil empire [the Soviet Union] that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be… I had a lot of disagreements with Richard Nixon, but he understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path. You test these things, and as long as we are preserving our security capacity—as long as we are not giving away our ability to respond forcefully, militarily, where necessary to protect our friends and our allies—that is a risk we have to take. It is a practical, common-sense position. It’s not naïve; it’s a recognition that if we can in fact resolve some of these differences, without resort to force, that will be a lot better for us and the people of that region.[306]

Also on 15 July, Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, where he made a presentation on the agreement.[307]

On 18 July, Obama devoted his weekly radio address to the agreement, stating, “this deal will make America and the world safer and more secure” and rebutting “a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it”.[308] Obama stated “as commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.”[308] On 23 July, President Obama met in the White House Cabinet Room with about a dozen undecided House Democrats to speak about the agreement and seek their support.[309]

The debate over the agreement was marked by acrimony between the White House and with Republicans inside and outside of Congress. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that under the agreement “the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world.”[310] Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called the president “naive” and repeatedly invoked the Holocaust, saying that the president’s policy would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”.[311] This comparison was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and various Israeli government officials.[311][312][313] At a 27 June news conference, Obama specifically criticized Huckabee, Cruz, and Cotton, saying that such remarks were “just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad”, especially from “leaders in the Republican Party”.[310] Obama stated that “fling[ing] out ad hominem attacks like that … doesn’t help inform the American people” and stated: “This is a deal that has been endorsed by people like Brent Scowcroft and Sam Nunn … historic Democratic and Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping America safe. And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now.”[314]

On 5 August, Obama gave a speech before an audience of around 200 at American University, marking a new phase in the administration’s campaign for the agreement.[315][316] Obama stated: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”[315] In his speech, Obama also invoked a speech made by John F. Kennedy at American University in 1963 in favor of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[315] Obama also said that the opponents of the agreement were the same people who created the “drumbeat of war” that led to the Iraq War and criticized “knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision made to be a disaster, a surrender”.[315]

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a senior Democrat, made a different assessment of prospects for war by distinguishing between nuclear and non-nuclear aspects of the agreement. In each case he asked whether we are better off with the agreement or without it and his conclusion was: “… when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.” Then Schumer assessed the Iranian government, saying, “Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years? To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.” And, finally, Schumer concluded: “I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”[317]

In the same speech, Obama stated: “Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘Death to America‘ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”[316][318] This statement was criticized by congressional Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “crass political rhetoric” that was a strategy to “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get the Democrats all angry, and rally around the president.” McConnell said “This is an enormous national security debate that the president will leave behind, under the Constitution, a year and a half from now, and the rest of us will be dealing with the consequences of it. So I wish he would tone down the rhetoric and let’s talk about the facts” and promised that Republicans would discuss the agreement respectfully in September.[319][320] Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee, asserted that the president was “trying to shut down debate by saying that those who have legitimate questions, legitimate questions—are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in Iran”.[321] The president subsequently stood by his statement, with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a “statement of fact”[319] and the president saying in an interview, “Remember, what I said was that it’s the hard-liners in Iran who are most opposed to this deal. And I said, in that sense, they’re making common cause with those who are opposed to this deal here. I didn’t say that they were equivalent.”[318] In the same interview, Obama said: “A sizable proportion of the Republicans were opposed before the ink was even dry on the deal.”[318]

In comments made at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado in July 2015, Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper said that the JCPOA will improve the U.S. ability to monitor Iran, saying “[The agreement] puts us in a far better place in terms of insight and access” than no agreement.[322] While Clapper remains “concerned about compliance and deceit”, but “pointed out that during the negotiation period [Iran] complied with rules” negotiated under the interim agreement (the Joint Plan of Action).[322]

Public debate

An intense public debate in the United States took place during the congressional review period.[294] “Some of the wealthiest and most powerful donors in American politics, those for and against the accord”, became involved in the public debate,[323] although “mega-donors” opposing the agreement have contributed substantially more money than those supporting it.[324] From 2010 to early August 2015, the foundations of Sheldon AdelsonPaul Singer, and Haim Saban contributed a total of $13 million (at least $7.5 million, at least $2.6 million, and at least $2.9 million, respectively) to advocacy groups opposing an agreement with Iran.[324] On the other side, three groups lobbying in support of the agreement have received at least $803,000 from the Ploughshares Fund, at least $425,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and at least $68,500 from George Soros and his foundation.[324] Other philanthropists and donors supporting an agreement include S. Daniel AbrahamTim GillNorman LearMargery Tabankin, and Arnold Hiatt.[323]

Many Iranian Americans, even those who fled repression in Iran and oppose its government, welcomed the JCPOA as a step forward.[325] The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian American Bar Association, and other Iranian American organizations welcomed the JCPOA.[326] The NIAC released a statement saying: “Our negotiators have done their job to win a strong nuclear deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon, all the while avoiding a catastrophic war. Now is the time for Congress to do theirs. Make no mistake: if Congress rejects this good deal with Iran, there will be no better deal forthcoming and Congress will be left owning an unnecessary war.”[327] NIAC created a new group, NIAC Action, to run advertisements supporting the agreement.[324] NIAC also organized an open letter from 73 Middle East and foreign affairs scholars stating, “reactivating diplomatic channels between the United States and Iran is a necessary first step” to reduce conflict in the region, and that while “the nuclear deal will not automatically or immediately bring stability to the region … Ultimately, a Middle East where diplomacy is the norm rather than the exception will enhance U.S. national security and interests,”[328] Signatories to the letter include John EspositoEhsan YarshaterNoam ChomskyPeter BeinartJohn Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt.[328]

U.S. pro-Israel groups divided on the JCPOA.[329] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposes the agreement, and formed a new 501(c)(4) group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, to run a television advertising campaign against the JCPOA.[315][329][330][331] In August 2015, it was reported that AIPAC and Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran plan to spend between $20 million and $40 million on its campaign.[332] From mid-July to 4 August 2015, AIPAC’s Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran spent more than $11 million running network television political advertisements opposing the agreement in 23 states, spending more than $1 million in the large states of California, Florida, New York, and Texas.[332][333] In the first week of August, AIPAC said that it had 400 meetings with congressional offices as part of its campaign to defeat the agreement.[332]

In contrast to AIPAC, another pro-Israel organization, J Street, supports the agreement, and plans a $5 million advertising effort of its own to encourage Congress to support the agreement.[332][334] During the first week of August, J Street launched a $2 million, three-week ad campaign in support of the agreement, with television ads running in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.[335][336] From mid-July through early August, J Street reported having 125 meetings with congressional offices.[332] J Street has also paid to fly prominent Israelis who support the agreement (including Amram Mitzna, a retired Israeli general, member of the Knesset, and mayor of Haifa) to the United States to help persuade members of Congress to support the agreement.[332]

The group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) opposes the agreement and committed to spending more than $20 million on a national “TV, radio, print and digital campaign” against the agreement.[324][337] After UANI announced its opposition, the group’s president and co-founder, nonproliferation expert Gary Samore, announced that he had concluded “that the accord was in the United States’ interest” and supported the agreement.[324][338] Samore thus stepped down as president and was replaced by ex-Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.[338] By 20 August, UANI had released its third national television ad against the agreement.[337]

Anti-JCPOA bus advertisement in New York City. The bus ad was sponsored by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an opponent of the agreement.[339]

Various other groups that have also run ad campaigns for or against the agreement. John R. Bolton‘s Foundation for American Security and Freedom has run advertisements against the agreement, as has “Veterans Against the Deal”, a group which does not disclose its donors.[340] Various pro-agreement ads were run by MoveOn.org (which ran an ad with the title “Let Diplomacy Work” theme), Americans United for Change (which warned “They’re back—the Iraq war hawks are fighting the Iran deal, want more war” over photos of Bolton, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld), and Global Zero (which ran a humorous ad featuring actors Jack BlackMorgan Freeman, and Natasha Lyonne).[340]

The New York-based Iran Project, a nonprofit led by former high-level U.S. diplomats and funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with the United Nations Association of the United States, supports the agreement.[341] The Rockefeller fund has also supported the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, which has spent several years marshaling support for an agreement.[341]

On 17 July 2015, a bipartisan open letter endorsing the Iran agreement was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials.[342][343] The ex-ambassadors wrote: “If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. In our judgment the [plan] deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.”[342][343] Among the signatories to the letter were Daniel C. KurtzerJames R. JonesFrank E. LoyPrinceton N. LymanJack F. Matlock Jr.Donald F. McHenryThomas E. McNamara, and Thomas R. Pickering.[343]

A separate public letter to Congress in support of the agreement from five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel from administrations of both parties, and three former Under Secretaries of State was released on 26 July 2015.[344] This letter was signed by R. Nicholas BurnsJames B. CunninghamWilliam C. HarropDaniel Kurtzer, Thomas R. Pickering, Edward S. Walker Jr., and Frank G. Wisner.[345] The former officials wrote: “We are persuaded that this agreement will put in place a set of constraints and monitoring measures that will arrest Iran’s nuclear program for at least fifteen years and assure that this agreement will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next ten to fifteen years. This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically.”[345]

Another public letter to Congress urging approval of the agreement was signed by a bipartisan group of more than sixty “national-security leaders”, including politicians, retired military officers, and diplomats.[344] This letter, dated 20 July 2015, stated: “We congratulate President Obama and all the negotiators for a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran…. We have followed carefully the negotiations as they have progressed and conclude that the JCPOA represents the achievement of greater security for us and our partners in the region.”[344][346] Among the Republicans who signed this letter are former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Trade RepresentativeCarla Anderson Hills, and former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum.[344] Among the Democrats who signed the letter are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Senate Majority Leaders George J. Mitchell and Tom Daschle, former Senator Carl Levin, and former Defense Secretary William Perry.[344][347] Also signing were former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; Under Secretaries of State R. Nicholas Burns and Thomas R. Pickering; U.S. Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Stuart Eizenstat; Admiral Eric T. OlsonUnder Secretary of Defense for PolicyMichele Flournoy; and Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn.[347]

On 8 August 2015, 29 prominent U.S. scientists, mostly physicists, published an open letter endorsing the agreement.[348][349] The letter, addressed to President Obama, says: “We congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more than Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.”[349] The letter also states that the agreement “will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements”.[348][349] The 29 signatories included “some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control”, many of whom have held Q clearances and have been longtime advisers to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.[348] The five primary authors were Richard L. Garwin (a nuclear physicist who played a key role in the development of the first hydrogen bomb and who was described by The New York Times as “among the last living physicists who helped usher in the nuclear age”); Robert J. Goldston (Director of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security and former director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory); R. Scott Kemp (an MIT professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a former science advisor for nonproliferation and arms control at the State Department); Rush D. Holt (a physicist and former U.S. Representative who is now the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science); and Frank N. von Hippel (Princeton Professor of Public Policy and former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). Six Nobel Prize in Physics laureates co-signed the letter: Philip W. Anderson of Princeton UniversityLeon N. Cooper of Brown UniversitySheldon L. Glashow of Boston UniversityDavid Gross of the University of California, Santa BarbaraBurton Richter of Stanford University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[348] Among the other scientists to sign are Siegfried S. Hecker (a Stanford physicist and the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory); Freeman Dyson (of Princeton), and Sidney Drell (of Stanford).[348]

On 11 August 2015, an open letter endorsing the agreement signed by 36 retired military generals and admirals, titled “The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security: An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals”, was released.[350]