Russia’s Putin and Israel’s Netanyahu negotiate . . . about what?

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Russia's Putin and Israel's Netanyahu negotiate . . . about what?

“Russia has friendly relations with Israel, and more than a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel, but Iran is a strategic ally of Russia.”

Last week major state and corporate news outlets reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met and agreed on removing Iranian troops from Syria and/or Iran’s border with Syria. Then, on June 3rd, Haaretz and other outlets reported that Israel had, for the first time, participated in a NATO “exercise” near the Russian border. I spoke to Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist specializing in Syria, about what could be behind these reports.

Ann Garrison: I’d like to go through some of these disparate reports about Russia and Israel one by one, but first, what do you think of Israel’s first ever participation in NATO war games near the Russian border?

Rick Sterling: The head of NATO recently confirmed that NATO would NOT get into a war involving Israel because Israel is not a NATO member. But Israel is a “partner,” and in 2014 the US Congress designated Israel as a “major strategic partner.” So I think Israel may be participating in the war maneuvers to demonstrate that it’s a good partner. Of course, Russia sees the NATO military exercises on its border as provocative. They are countering with their own military exercises, so it’s just a continuation in the wrong direction away from peace and mutual acceptance.

AG: OK, now to these reports about negotiations between Russia and Israel. Just before the news that Israel had participated in NATO war games near Russia, Bloomberg News reported that Israel was campaigning to break the alliance between Iran and Russia. What do you think of that?

RS: It’s certainly true that Israel is playing the diplomatic game and trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, but the stories are highly exaggerated. They contain both contradictory information and outright disinformation. Russia has friendly relations with Israel, and more than a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel. But Iran is a strategic ally of Russia.

AG: On June 2nd, the Times of Israel reported that Israel denies inking a deal with Russia on Iranian withdrawal from Syria. What about that?

RS:Well, I haven’t seen any written deal. So what we’re going on are media reports, which are spun in different directions. So, number one, I don’t know if there was a written agreement. Number two, it’s certainly the case that Israel is not only saying that they don’t want Iranian militia or advisors anywhere near the border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, but also that they want them all out of Syria.

“Israel exaggerates the Iranian involvement in Syria for its own purposes.”

Russia and Syria may have agreed to relocate some of the Iranian advisors or Iranian militias away from the Golan Heights border. There were reports that some of those forces were headed out to eastern Syria to do combat there against ISIS, which continues to hold an important area. But even if Israel is trying to insist that no Iranian advisors or militia be in Syria, I can’t see Syria or any sovereign state agreeing to such a demand. Israel exaggerates the Iranian involvement in Syria for its own purposes.

AG: Asharq Al-Aswat reported, also on June 2nd, that Russia and Israel had agreed to keep Iran away from Syria’s South.

RS: Asharq Al-Aswat is a Saudi-owned newspaper coming out of London, so the Saudi influence and heavy anti-Iran bias is evident. The one element of this story that may be true is that the US may actually be uncomfortable with any agreement regarding the US forces that control the area around Al Tanf, a Syrian border area with Iraq. That’s the main highway from Baghdad to Damascus, and it’s currently controlled by US military and various armed militants—including former ISIS fighters—who are trained and controlled by the US. The US doesn’t want to give that up, but the Syrian foreign minister is not mincing his words. He’s saying that all the US forces must leave Syria eventually, and specifically that they should leave that area at the Syria-Iraq border soon.

Al Tanf and the highway between Iraq and Syria is a flashpoint. The US has no right to be there but seems to be digging in while Syria is getting increasingly adamant that they must leave. Things may come to a head there.

AG: Al Monitor says that Russia is “trying a new playbook to calm the escalation between Israel and Iran.” How about that?

RS: I think that’s true. What we’ve seen emerge in the last several years is that the diplomat in the room is Russia. If you look at what’s going on there, the Russian diplomacy is quite impressive and at times quite surprising. Six or eight months ago, the Saudi monarch flew to Moscow for the very first time. Russia brought Iran and Turkey together at the Astana talks, and Russia is trying to soothe the tension and danger of conflict between Israel and Iran. So that story is probably accurate.

AG: Have you seen any reports about negotiations between Russia and Israel on RT, Russia’s state- sponsored English outlet?

RS: I’ve seen some RT coverage, both stories and photographs. They certainly don’t put the spin on it that some of the Western and Israeli media do.

The fundamental fact is that Russia doesn’t want to go to war with the US. They realize how dangerous the situation in Syria currently is. They are not going to give up their long-term alliance with Syria, but at the same time, they’re doing everything they can to cool things down and avoid a head-on conflict.

AG: OK, so we’ve gone through just a sample of the wildly disparate reports and commentary about this, but after reading a lot of it, I had the feeling that this is headed toward the Balkanization of Syria, which has been much discussed for a long time. What are your thoughts about that?

RS: Well, that’s the reality on the ground right now. Turkey is occupying part of the north. Israel and Israeli-supported terrorists are occupying part of the south. The US and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control big swathes of eastern Syria. So Balkanization is already the informal reality on the ground.

In early 2016, John Kerry called it “plan B,” dividing up Syria and partitioning it. He didn’t say it quite that explicitly, but he was clearly suggesting that that’s where things were headed. Now, in opposition to that, you’ve got the Syrian government saying that it will not allow partition and that the US has to leave Syria. Both Assad and the Syrian foreign minister are saying that increasingly forcefully. So we’ll have to see. At the same time it’s dangerous because there’s also threatening talk coming from the United States.

“John Kerry called it “plan B,” dividing up Syria and partitioning it.”

The US, Turkey, and Israel are, of course, violating international law codified in the UN Charter by their military presence in Syria, but the Syrian government seems to be taking things step by step with the support of Russia and Iran. Hopefully, progress can be made and the conflict can be wound down. That would certainly be to the benefit of all Americans as well as Syrians and other peoples of the Middle East.

AG: Do you think that Russia is opposed to Balkanization?

RS: Oh, absolutely. They’re opposed to it. They saw what happened with the war in Yugoslavia and the split, the separation into smaller, weaker states.

Russia also has its own experience with Western and Saudi-funded terrorism. If you look at a map, Syria is not that far from Russia, so of course they are very concerned with the situation there. They have a big stake in seeing the conflict wind down and a peaceful resolution, remote as that may seem. They’re taking the lead in helping to resolve it and working toward reconciliation, which is going to require concessions on the part of Damascus. Russia has explicitly talked about an internationally supervised election in Syria, and hopefully that’s where things will end rather than in World War III.

The question is whether the US and its allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, will give up their goal of “regime change” in Syria. Or will they continue to finance and arm the opposition to further bleed Syria and its allies? The US and allies are prolonging the conflict behind a pretense of humanitarian concern. Meanwhile they ignore obvious travesties such as the Israeli killings at the Gaza border.

AG: And just one more point of clarification regarding the presence of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah in Syria. Their presence is legal, according to international law, because they’re there at the request of the Syrian government. Right?

RS: Yes, that’s correct. Russia, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are in Syria supporting Syrian sovereignty. The Iranian presence in the West tends to be wildly exaggerated, but they do have militia there. They also have advisors, and they’ve lent economic support to Syria. Both Lebanon and Iran know that their own governments are at risk there.

Of course, it was General Wesley Clark who said, back in 2007, that the US had a hit list of seven countries, and we’ve already seen several of them overthrown. Lebanon and Iran know they’re on that list. I’m sure they all realize that if the Syrian state is destroyed, if the government there is toppled and chaos reigns as it does in Libya, they’ll be the next targets. So they’re there for their own sake and for regional stability, not just to support their ally Syria.

By Ann Garrison/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Liars Club: Ollie North and General Kelly

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Oliver North is a liar. He was also part of a conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine. Furthermore, he was part of another conspiracy to build, arm and train mercenaries to fight a public/private enterprise known as the Contra war in Nicaragua. He is a shameless egocentric maniac loved by several million US television viewers who watch his nonsensical FOX series War Stories. When he was forced to testify about his activities in the aforementioned crimes, he did what most dishonorable crooks do. He snitched, spreading the blame around, implicating then Vice President George HW Bush and hinting that President Reagan was also aware of what he was doing. In other words, he wasn’t the kind of Marine who would fall on a grenade to save his brother-in-arms. Despite his non-heroism, North ultimately took the fall and was convicted of a few counts of lying. As it turned out, the conviction was overturned on a technicality after then president GW Bush pardoned several of North’s co-conspirators. Draw your own conclusions.
I was surprised when I read that Oliver North was to become the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA.) Not because that doesn’t make perfect sense, but because I figured he would have a job in the Trump White House by now. After all, he is an arrogant self-centered protofascist who thinks his military career qualifies him as an expert on all policy matters, foreign and domestic. Kind of like that Marine in the Trump White House, John Kelly.
Kelly’s most recent comments regarding the separation of children from their parents when a family is caught illegally crossing the border are a perfect example. According to Kelly, it is “not cruel” to separate children from their parents. After all, the parents are breaking a law and the law, of course, is the law, no matter how discriminatory it is or how arbitrarily it is applied. Kelly followed these remarks by telling an interviewer that immigrants did not have the necessary skills to live in the United States. Either Kelly is ignorant of the demographics of immigration or he is intentionally using xenophobic and racist rhetoric in his campaign against migration. Either way, both remarks reveal a deeper fear and hatred that abounds in current regime in Washington.
Something else Kelly said last week was that he was not rich. As far as I can tell, he is worth around 4.5 million dollars. While that may not be rich to billionaires, let me tell you it is rich to most of the rest of us. The question I have though is how does a career military officer become a multimillionaire? This question leads me to wonder as to what types of graft and inside dealing did he participate in to accumulate that wealth? I have friends and relatives who retired from the military as officers and have nothing close to that amount of assets unless they went into the private sector after their military retirement. Kelly did no such thing. In fact, his career took him from the Marines to Homeland Security. From there, he was appointed to his current position in the Trump White House. Like most of the individuals in Congress, it appears that General Kelly took advantage of his position to fatten up his bank account. While Forbes magazine claimed in a December 22, 2016 article that most of Kelly’s worth came from his military pension, they did not break this number down or state where the rest of it came from. An article on military pensions dated January 9, 2014 reported that a four-star general with forty years in the military would receive $237, 144 a year, with cost of living increases raising that amount each year. If one counts Kelly’s original enlistment from 1970-1972, he was in the Marines for forty-two years. Now I don’t understand high finance like a stockbroker on Wall Street, but I can do addition and multiplication. I just can’t figure out how anyone collecting about a quarter million dollars a year for two years can have made that into 4.5 million . In other words, if Forbes magazine is correct when it writes that Kelly made almost all of his 4.5 million dollars from his military pension and he had only been collecting that pension for less than a year when the Forbes article was written, how did he get to be worth 4.5 million dollars? Even when one adds the income Kelly reported on hispublic disclosure form he submitted before he was appointed by Trump to head DHS, the numbers do not seem to add up. Maybe Kelly had friends who helped him invest some of that money? If so, I would like to meet those kind of people because they got some serious mojo going on. More likely, however, is something a little less magical.
Milo Minderbinder is a character in Joseph Heller’s classic satire of modern war, Catch-22. Minderbinder is a sergeant who buys and sells everything and anything he can get his hands on, from prostitutes to military weaponry. Furthermore, he sells to anyone, no matter what side they might be on. Journalist John Sack had a similar personality in his new journalism work on the Vietnam war, the book titled M. The difference between Minderbinder and Sack’s profiteering cynic was that Sack’s character was a colonel, not an NCO. I bring these characters up primarily in relation to a potential, yet unverified source of General Kelly’s financial fortunes. It is a fairly well known fact, after all, that millions of US dollars went missing during the heyday of the US military occupation of Iraq. Most of that money has not been officially recovered. Other generals, like Kelly’s fellow Marine, Mad Dog Mattis, end up on the payroll of defense contractors (Mattis sits on the board of General Dynamics)–a much safer and legal way to engage in profiteering of war makingand preparing for war. As for Kelly, he was on the board of DynCorp—a security outfit known for its mercenaries in Iraq and its coziness with Homeland Security—for a while before he became head of DHS.
Like Oliver North, General Kelly is an embarrassment to some of his fellow marines. The arrogance and self-importance of Kelly and North leaves a sour taste in the mouths of those who believe they served all those in the US, not just those whose politics they agreed with or whose bank accounts they could benefit from. Those Marines (and their fellows in the other military branches) did what they did without expectations of reward during or after the time in. Many of them have only their consciences to consider when their deeds in uniform are remembered. From where I sit, the longer Kelly and Mattis serve the current regime in DC, the more I can see just the kind of consciences they have.

By Ron Jacobs/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Is Trump Being ‘Played’ by Israel With Bogus Intel on Iran?

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President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal at the White House. (Evan Vucci / AP)

Editor’s note: Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the United States will be withdrawing from its nuclear deal with Iran The following memo by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) was first published on Consortiumnews on Monday.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Being “Played” By Bogus Evidence on Iran

NOTE: The evidence presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30 alleging a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program shows blatant signs of fabrication. That evidence is linked to documents presented by the Bush Administration more a decade earlier as proof of a covert Iran nuclear weapons program. Those documents were clearly fabricated as well

We sent President Bush a similar warning about bogus intelligence—much of it fabricated by Israel—six weeks before the U.S./UK attack on Iraq, but Bush paid us no heed. This time, we hope you will take note before things spin even further out of control in the Middle East. In short, Israel’s “new” damaging documents on Iran were fabricated by the Israelis themselves.

Executive Summary

The Bush administration account of how the documents on Iran got into the hands of the CIA is not true. We can prove that the actual documents originally came not from Iran but from Israel. And the documents were never authenticated by the CIA or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Two former Directors-General of the IAEA, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, have publicly expressed suspicion that the documents were fabricated. And forensic examination of the documents yielded multiple signs that they are fraudulent.

We urge you to insist on an independent inquiry into the actual origins of these documents. We believe that the renewed attention being given to claims that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons betokens a transparent attempt to stoke hostility toward Iran, with an eye toward helping “justify” pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

* * *

Mr. President,

We write you in the hope that you will be informed of our views before you decide whether to continue to adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran. We fear that upcoming decisions may be based, in part, on unreliable documents alleging secret nuclear weapons activity in Iran.

On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed some of those documents in his slide show on what he called the Iranian “atomic archive.” But those are precisely the same fraudulent documents that were acquired by the CIA in 2004.

The official accounts offered by the senior officials of the CIA about the provenance of these documents turned out be complete fabrication. Journalists were told variously that the documents (1) were taken from the laptop computer of an Iranian working in a secret research program; (2) were provided by a German spy; or (3) simply came from a “longtime contact in Iran.”

However, Karsten Voigt, the former German Foreign Office official in charge of German-North American cooperation, revealed in an on the record interview with historian/journalist Gareth Porter in 2013 that senior officials of the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, told Voigt in November 2004 that the documents had been passed to the CIA by a BND source. That source, the senior BND official said, was not considered trustworthy, because he belonged to the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), the armed Iranian opposition group that was known to have served as a conduit for information that Israeli intelligence (Mossad) wanted to provide to the IAEA without having it attributed to Israel. (In 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed MEK from the list of terrorist organizations.)

Voigt recalled that the senior BND officials told him of their worry that the Bush administration was going to repeat the error of using fraudulent intelligence, as was the case with the notorious “Curveball,” the Iraqi living in Germany, whom the BND had identified as unreliable. Nonetheless, Curveball’s fictions about mobile biological weapons laboratories in Iraq—with “artists renderings” by the CIA of those phantom labs—had been used by Colin Powell in his error-ridden presentation to the UN on February 5, 2003, leading to war on Iraq.

As for the purported Iranian documents, the CIA never ruled out the possibility that they were fabricated, and the IAEA made no effort to verify their authenticity. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recalled in his memoirs that he had believed the documents were not really from the Iranian government and that, as he put it, “it made more sense that this information originated in another country.” ElBaradei stated publicly from 2005 through 2009 that the documents had not been authenticated, and he refused to use them as “evidence” of a covert Iranian weapons research program. And ElBaradei’s predecessor as Director-General, Hans Blix, has said he is “somewhat more worried” about the intelligence on the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program than about the dubious intelligence he saw on Iraq, because “there is as much disinformation as there is information.”

Each of the documents mentioned by both Netanyahu and the IAEA reports bears tell-tale signs of fraud. The most widely reported document in the collection is a set of schematic drawings showing efforts to redesign the re-entry vehicle of Iran’s Shahab-3 missile to accommodate a nuclear weapon. But the slide that Netanyahu displayed on the screen in his slide show provides visual confirmation of fraud. The drawing shows clearly the “dunce cap” design of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle. But Iran’s Defense Ministry had already discarded that “dunce cap” reentry vehicle when it began to develop a new improved missile. That redesign began in 2000, according to the Congressional testimony in September 2000 of CIA national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs Robert D. Walpole. But the earliest dates of any of the alleged Iranian nuclear weapon program documents on the project for redesign of the reentry vehicle in theMay 2008 IAEA report on the entire collection are from summer 2002 after the “dunce cap” was replaced. The “baby-bottle” shaped reentry vehicle on the redesigned missile was not known to the outside world until the first test of the new missile in mid-2004. So those drawings could not have been done by someone who was actually involved in the redesign of the original Shahab-3 reentry vehicle; it was clearly the work of a foreign intelligence agency seeking to incriminate Iran, but slipping up on one important detail and thus betraying its fraudulent character.

The second document from that same collection turned over to the IAEA that has been widely reported is the so-called “green salt project”—a plan for a bench-scale system of uranium conversion for enrichment given the code name “Project 5.13” and part of a larger “Project 5.” Other documents that had been provided by the MEK showed that “Project 5” also included a sub-project involving ore processing at a mine designated “Project 5.15,” according to a briefing by IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen in February 2008.

But when Iran turned over detailed documents to the IAEA in response to its questions about Project 5.15 in 2008, the IAEA learned the truth: there had been a real ore processing project called Project 5.15, but it was a civilian project of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran—not part of a covert nuclear weapons program—and the decision to create Project 5.15 had been made on August 25, 1999—more than two years before the initial date of the project found in the collection of supposedly secret nuclear weapons research documents. That fact gives away the ruse surrounding the numbering system of “Project 5” adopted by intelligence specialists who had fabricated the document.

A third document that purportedly shows Iranian nuclear weapons research is about what Netanyahu called “Multi-Point Initiation in hemispheric geometry” and the IAEA called “experimentation in connection with symmetrical initiation of a hemispherical high explosive charge suitable for an implosion type nuclear device.” Significantly, that document was not part of the original collection that the CIA had passed to the IAEA, but had been given to the IAEA years later, and officials from the IAEA, Europe and the United States refused to reveal which member country had provided the document. Former Director-General ElBaradei revealed in his memoirs, however, that Israel had passed a series of documents to the IAEA in 2008-09, in an effort to make the case that Iran had continued its nuclear weapons experiments until “at least 2007.”

The summary picture we offer above includes unusually clear evidence of the fraudulent nature of the documents that are advertised as hard evidence of Iran’s determination to obtain nuclear weapons. One remaining question is cui bono?—who stands to benefit from this kind of “evidence.” The state that had the most to gain from the fabrication of such documents was obviously Israel.

Completely absent from the usual discussion of this general problem is the reality that Israel already has a secret nuclear arsenal of more than a hundred nuclear weapons. To the extent Israel’s formidable deterrent is more widely understood, arguments that Israel genuinely fears an Iranian nuclear threat any time soon lose much of their power. Only an extreme few suggest that Iran’s leaders are bent on risking national suicide. What the Israelis are after is regime change in Tehran. And they have powerful allies with similar aims.

We therefore urge you, Mr. President, not to go along with these plans or to decide to pull the U.S. out of the six-nation nuclear deal with Iran based on fraudulent evidence.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Kathleen Christison, Senior Analyst on Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain,Wing Commander, RAAF (ret.); Intelligence Officer & ex-Master SERE Instructor

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, Ph.D., former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; CIA Presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Gareth Porter, author/journalist (associate VIPS)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, Colonel, US Army (ret.); also Foreign Service Officer who resigned in opposition to the US war on Iraq

This Memorandum was drafted by VIPS Associate Gareth Porter, author of “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” 2014

From VIPS / Consortiumnews

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The Iran Deal Is Still a Good Bargain It’s in America’s national security interest to stay in the agreement.

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The case against the nuclear deal with Iran is reminiscent of what Woody Allen once said: “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering—and it’s all over much too soon.” The agreement, critics insist, is terrible and doesn’t last long enough.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said on NPR Tuesday, “The problem is that the restrictions that the deal puts in place are automatically removed in a few years. This was the core problem of the deal from the beginning.”
If it’s not a good deal for the U.S. and Israel, shouldn’t we prefer that it be over as quickly as possible? The weird logic of the opponents is that because parts of the accord will end too soon, we should end the whole thing even sooner—right now. Their implication is that all the flaws would be acceptable if only they would remain in effect until the end of time.

At his briefing Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside a giant screen filled with two words: “Iran lied.” This assertion was a surprise on the order of finding snow in Siberia. The United States entered negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program precisely because we didn’t believe the claim that it had only peaceful purposes.
Had the Obama administration taken the Iranians to be paragons of honesty, it would not have held out for the most intrusive inspections regime ever imposed on a country. National security adviser Susan Rice said in 2015, “Our approach is distrust but verify.”
The Israelis point out that the inspectors didn’t unearth the files Netanyahu released. They didn’t need to. “All of it was information that the International Atomic Energy Agency already had and has already commented on,” Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told CNN.
“Even if the documents assembled by Israel are genuine, they do not appear to reveal that prohibited nuclear weapons research and design activities continued in an organized fashion beyond 2003,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told me.

Besides, the nuclear inspectors aren’t supposed to spend their time finding out what the Tehran government did 15 years ago. They are supposed to ensure that Iran is complying with its current obligations, and they’ve found over and over that it is.
The important part of the session was what Netanyahu didn’t say. He didn’t say Iran has violated the agreement.
The White House responded to his slide show with a statement that the disclosures prove Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people”—and then had to correct the statement to say Iran “had” such a program. Meaning: It no longer does. That would be thanks to the accord.
The deal put severe limits on Iran. It had to give up 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium, dismantle its plutonium reactor, and surrender 70 percent of its centrifuges. Inspectors can gain access to any site where they detect suspicious activity. The curbs on Iran are why Donald Trump’s own defense secretary, James Mattis, has said it’s in our national security interest to stay in the agreement.
The president, however, says it must be revised or he’ll withdraw. But why would Iran agree to changes without new concessions on our part? And why would Iran see any point in amending an agreement with a government that feels free to renege on its established commitments?
Some restrictions on Iran’s activities expire after 10 or 15 years. But if the administration would like to see those limits extended, the best hope is to abide by our obligations. Over time, Iran might grow more confident that it doesn’t need nuclear weapons and agree to longer terms.
Trump’s threats are likely to have the opposite effect. They tell the Iranian government it can’t rely on multilateral agreements and had better have a good military deterrent against its enemies.
Trump accuses Barack Obama of sticking him with “a terrible deal.” If the U.S. abandoned the deal, Iran would be free to evict the inspectors and resume the very activities that Netanyahu decried.
At that point, we would be presented with the same choice that the agreement served to avert: Allow Iran to proceed with its nuclear program or start a war to try to prevent it. Talk about a terrible deal.

By Steve Chapman/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Russia to build 2 nuclear power plants in Iran

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Russian experts will help the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) construct two new nuclear power plants in the country’s southern city of Bushehr, according to Iran’s Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

“The contract has been signed between the AEOI and Russia, and includes building two 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants, the construction of which is about to start,” said Chitchian.

can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ confirms https://www.rt.com/news/382523-russia-iran-bases-use/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome#.WNoi8dXwm_U.twitter 

Photo published for Russia can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ Tehran confirms — RT News

Russia can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ Tehran confirms — RT News

Russia can use Iranian military bases for airstrikes targeting terrorists in Syria on a “case by case basis,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters.

rt.com

Russian energy major Gazprom has sealed a cooperation agreement with its Iranian counterpart for the development of local gas deposits.

During his visit to Moscow last month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani highlighted the importance of the energy sector in bilateral relations and the possible creation of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union that includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Netanyahu calls nuclear deal ‘mistake of historic proportions’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the nuclear deal announced by world powers and Iran on Tuesday a “mistake of historic proportions” and vowed to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

EPA ISRAEL NETANYAHU PRESSER POL GOVERNMENT ISR

Image: Ahikam SerI, EPA

“I call on all of Israel’s leaders to set aside petty politics and to unite around the most fateful issue for the security of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem later Tuesday, the Israeli leader said his nation is not bound by the deal and reserves the right to defend itself.

The deal makes the world a “much more dangerous place,” Netanyahu said, adding it will free up billions of dollars that Iran can use to support terrorism.

More from USA Today

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Netanyahu’s Great Fear: Iran Will Comply With Nuclear Deal

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Image: newsantiwar.com

Israeli officials have loudly and repeatedly condemned the Iran deal as insufficient, but those familiar with the situation have revealed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s great fear is not Iran violating the deal, but rather them abiding by it.

“Netanyahu said at the meeting it will be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not,” noted one of the officials. This is in direct contrast to his repeated claims Iran could not be trusted on the deal.

The big problem from the Israeli perspective is that this changes the status quo over the last 35 years, where new sanctions were easy and Israel could threaten to attack Iran all it wanted.

More from Newsantiwar.com

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