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Wow! Angelina Jordan (8): “What a Difference a Day Make”
Exclusive Sen Tom Cotton says Iran is calling the shots
America’s Forum | Col. Derek Harvey discusses the Iran nuclear negotiations
Amb. John Bolton • “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” • 3/30/15 •
More delays as U.S. and Iran struggle to reach nuclear agreement
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US faces calls to ‘walk away’ from Iran talks
Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline; U.S. Threatens to Walk Away
January 2014 Breaking News Mounting evidence suggests Israeli strike on Iran approaching
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Raid on the Reactor !
Is the US getting anywhere with Iran nuclear talks?
Israeli reaction to US Iran nuclear negotiations
Iran – Nuclear negotiations waste of time says Saudi Arabia
Published on Jul 12, 2012
Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a “waste of time” and it should be pushed forward towards time-limited talks says Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Fisal
News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions
Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.
Tom Jones I Who Have Nothing
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just walk away
Walk Away Renee – The left Banke
Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away
Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
Shania Twain – Dance With The One That Brought You
Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency
By Greg Jaffe
Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.
The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.
The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.
The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.
Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.
The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.
“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”
The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.
“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”
Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.
The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.
Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.
In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.
His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.
Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.
The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.
The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.
“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”
A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.
In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
[Why Yemen chaos could force Obama to take a harder line with Iran]
Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.
It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.
“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”
Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline
U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday
By LAURENCE NORMAN
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.
But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.
The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.
Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.
The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.
Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.
“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.
U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.
The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.
Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.
President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.
An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.
“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.
The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.
Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.
After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.
The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.
As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.
Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.
U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.
Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.
Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.
At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.
While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.
A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.
“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.
—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.
Corrections & Amplifications
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.
Iran Nuclear Talks Q&A: Objectives and Deadlines
By FELICIA SCHWARTZ
Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:
Is Tuesday the big day or not?
It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.
What’s the objective here?
The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.
Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.
The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
So, what’s the deal with the deadline?
The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.
U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.
Is there a harder deadline?
The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.
What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?
There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.
Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.
Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?
It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.
What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?
Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.
Have they done any of that?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.
Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?
Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.
Have sanctions been eased already?
Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.
That’s a lot of money!
Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.
What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?
The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.
Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?
He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.
Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark., sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.
Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.
Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.
How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?
This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.
The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.
Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.
Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel
White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord
By GERALD F. SEIB
As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.
In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.
This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.
As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.
All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.
The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.
Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.
In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.
Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.
In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.
Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.
And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.
What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.
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