Above a children’s store called Mummy & Me (& Jon Stewart: “Sounds like a good partner for peace”)

July 22, 2015

* Please “like” these dispatches on Facebook here www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia, where you can also find other items that are not in these dispatches.

* There is another dispatch on the Iran deal here: “You know, 2 Jews, 3 opinions. Here you have 8 million Jews, almost one opinion”.

 

CONTENTS

1. Obama and Jon Stewart go head-to-head on Iran deal
2. UN ambassador Power steers through a unanimous endorsement of the Iran deal
3. Kerry “disturbed” by Supreme Leader’s anti-American, anti-Semitic diatribe
4. Fars: Deputy FM: Iran to continue supplying friends with arms
5. Jafari: “We will never accept” sections of the UNSC resolution
6. BBC Monitoring: Iran can deny access to nuclear, military sites under deal
7. Basij Commander: Vienna agreement increases hatred for U.S. in Iran
8. Iranian Foreign Ministry: Ballistic missiles “outside the domain” of the UNSC
9. Leader’s aide: Inspection of Iran’s military sites impossible
10. Defense Minister: Iran to keep missile program alive
11. Senior MP: No one can impose restrictions on Iran’s defensive capabilities
12. The Iran deal will help Russia’s arms industry
13. The risk in lifting pressure, on Iran’s weapons activities (Michael Singh)
14. Hizbullah’s growing domestic woes (David Schenker)
15. Inside Hizbullah’s European plots (Matthew Levitt)
16. Above a children’s store called Mummy & Me (The New Yorker)
17. The dangers of the Iran nuclear accord (Haaretz)
18. Iran inspections in 24 Days? Not even close (Wall Street Journal)
19. A richer Iran will target the Americas (Mary Anastasia O’Grady)

 

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to Sunday’s dispatch on the Iran deal: “You know, 2 Jews, 3 opinions. Here you have 8 million Jews, almost one opinion”

OBAMA AND JON STEWART GO HEAD-TO-HEAD ON IRAN DEAL

President Obama made his seventh appearance on Comedy Central’s the Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday, his last before Stewart leaves the show next month.

Obama: “They [The Iranian regime] are anti-American, anti-Semitic, they sponsor terrorist organizations like Hizbullah,’

Jon Stewart responds sarcastically: “Sounds like a good partner for peace.”

***

In his interview on the “The Daily Show”, Obama also said he was concerned about “the money” and “the lobbyists” being employed by opponents of his controversial nuclear deal with Iran.

This is thought to be a reference to the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby, even though the anti-Israel lobby is spending just as much on behalf of Obama.

 

AMBASSADOR SAMANTHA POWER STEERS THROUGH A UNANIMOUS UNSC ENDORSEMENT OF THE IRAN DEAL

I mentioned in the previous dispatch that Samantha Power (who says she went into politics to prevent ethnic cleansing and massacres) would likely rush through a vote at the UN Security Council on Monday morning in favor of the Iran deal, before that deal has even been discussed in Congress. And indeed she did so.

One consequence of the Iran deal is the immediate additional help the Iranian regime is providing to the Syrian despot Bashar Assad to continue his genocidal campaign that has seen him slaughter over 300,000 Sunnis in Syria.

While tears have been shed in recent few days to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre of almost 8,000 Sunni males of fighting age at Srebrenica, the world powers – through their Iran deal – are enabling a much greater massacre right now of Sunnis in Syria by Assad, Iran and Hizbullah – this one also involving women, children, barrel bombs and chemical weapons.

For those interested, below is a link to Power’s speech on Monday.

U.S. Mission to the United Nations: Explanation of Vote at a UN Security Council Vote on Resolution 2231 on Iran Non-proliferation

Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY
July 20, 2015

http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/245067.htm

***

Tom Gross adds: In the middle of her speech, she does at least bring in a human rights dimension so lacking in the Iran deal itself.

She says:

“And this deal will in no way diminish the United States’ outrage over the unjust detention of U.S. citizens by the Government of Iran. Let me use this occasion to call once again on Iran to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans: Saeed Abedini, imprisoned for his religious beliefs; Amir Hekmati, falsely accused of espionage; and Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent who just a year ago was covering the nuclear negotiations. I also call on Iran to help locate Robert Levinson, who has been missing from Iran since 2007. No family should be forced to endure the anguish that the Abedini, Hekmati, Rezaian and Levinson families feel, and we will not rest until they are home where they belong.”

 

JOHN KERRY “DISTURBED” BY SUPREME LEADER’S LATEST ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-SEMITIC DIATRIBE”

Regarding the speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday, as reported on in Sunday’s dispatch, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has since called the speech “very disturbing, it’s very troubling” -- as if such hate speech was all new to him.

Of course, Khamenei’s calls for “Death to Israel” and his ambition to eradicate what he calls “the filthy terrorist Zionists” are not new. Nor is his allegation (made again in Saturday’s speech) that the United States “created” ISIS.

***

Below are some other news items from the Iranian media and foreign ministry. Iranian views of what comes next are a world away from most of the reporting in western media such as the New York Times.

-- Tom Gross adds


DEPUTY FM: IRAN TO CONTINUE SUPPLYING FRIENDS WITH ARMS

From Iran’s Fars news agency:

Deputy FM: Iran to Continue Supplying Friends with Arms if Necessary
Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:59

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi underlined that the nuclear agreement inked by Tehran and the world powers doesn’t include any contents related to Iran’s weapons and missile power, adding that the country will continue arms assistance to its regional allies.

“We have told them (the Group 5+1 - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) in the negotiations that we will supply arms to anyone and anywhere necessary and will import weapons from anywhere we want and we have clarified this during the negotiations,” Araqchi told the state TV on Monday night.

The rest of the text is here:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940430000312

 

JAFARI: “WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT” SECTIONS OF THE UNSC RESOLUTION

Raja News:

http://www.rajanews.com/news/217425

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari discussed the nuclear deal and the draft of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution. He stated:

On the UNSC resolution: “Some of the things that were contained in the draft were particularly contrary to and in violation of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red lines, especially regarding armament capabilities, and we will never accept them.”

… “Fundamentally, the Americans’ arrogant and brutal nature tells us that if they had believed a little bit in their own military capability against Iran, they would not have sat at the negotiating table.”

“Not once, but several times, the Americans and their domesticated dogs – meaning the Zionist regime – have had their snouts rubbed in the dirt against such groups as Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance, which are considered a small part of the massive ability of the global Islamic revolution; therefore, a knowledgeable person not only does not take such ridiculous claims and threats from the Americans seriously, but also understands that it is clearer proof of their frustration and misery.”

 

BBC MONITORING: IRAN CAN DENY ACCESS TO NUCLEAR, MILITARY SITES UNDER DEAL

From BBC Monitoring Trans Caucasus Unit (which has very different content than the mainstream BBC English)
Tuesday July 21, 2015

Source: Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran - Radio Farhang, Tehran, in Persian 0440gmt 21 Jul 15

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran has secured its right to deny access to its sites for nuclear inspection and to ballistic missiles as part of a deal concluded with six world powers on 14 July. Zarif said this in an open Majlis session to brief MPs on the content of the nuclear deal on 21 July. The session was aired live by state-run Radio Farhang.

“Through severe resistance of the [Iranian] negotiating team, the opposite party fully abandoned its previous request of the inspection and verification of the missile programme and tests,” he added.

Zarif said that restriction on Iran’s missile programme has been removed from Chapter 7 of UN Resolution 1929 and “has turned into a non-binding restriction”. He said that all the inspections that the opposite party had been insisting upon a day before concluding the deal have been dropped.

 

BASIJ COMMANDER: VIENNA AGREEMENT INCREASES HATRED FOR U.S. IN IRAN

From Iran’s Fars news agency:

Basij Commander: Vienna Agreement Increases Hatred for US in Iran
July 22, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA) - Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi warned of Washington’s continued animosity towards the Islamic Republic, and said the contents of the last Tuesday nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers in Vienna boosts Iranians’ hatred for the US.

“Any Iranian who reads the Vienna documents will hate the US 100 times more (than the past),” Naqdi said on Tuesday.

He also referred to the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231 approved on Monday, and said, “All paragraphs of the resolution that the US proposed to the UNSC are full of enmity towards Iran and show the US deep grudge against the Iranian nation.” …

He said that Islamic Iran will never yield to excessive demands of the enemies while safeguarding its defensive and security capabilities.

The rest of the text is here:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940430000738

 

IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: BALLISTIC MISSILES ARE “OUTSIDE THE DOMAIN” OF THE UNSC

Official Statement from Iranian foreign ministry

In an announcement released after the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 20, the Foreign Ministry stated:

“Iran’s military capabilities, including ballistic missiles, are exclusively for self-defense; this equipment [will not] carry nuclear weapons; therefore, it is outside the domain of the UNSC and its attachments.” (MFA)

http://mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&pageid=176&newsview=349928

See also:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940430000489

 

LEADER’S AIDE: INSPECTION OF IRAN’S MILITARY SITES IMPOSSIBLE

From Iran’s Fars news agency:

Leader’s Aide: Inspection of Iran’s Military Sites Impossible
Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:15

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader’s top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati stressed that Iran will never allow any outsider to inspect its military sites.

“They (the westerners) have made some comments about defensive and missile issues, but Iran will not allow them to visit our military centers and interfere in decisions about the type of Iran’s defensive weapons,” Velayati said on Tuesday.

The rest of the text is here:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940430000961

 

DEFENSE MINISTER: IRAN TO KEEP MISSILE PROGRAM ALIVE

DM: Iran to keep missile program alive
News ID: 2862322 - Mon 20 July 2015 - 18:00

http://en.mehrnews.com/news/108677/Iran-to-keep-missile-program-alive

TEHRAN, Jul. 20 (MNA) – Iran’s defense minister has said no access to military and security confidential data and centers would be granted to any authority.

Hossein Dehqan who was addressing a meeting of the ministry on Monday, emphasized that Iran’s missile program had been not a subject for nuclear negotiations and would continue stronger than ever.

***

See also:

DM: Iran Not to Allow Access to Military Sites
Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:22
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940429001105

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan underlined that Tehran will not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites…

The Iranian Defense Minister reiterated that the time has come now for the Americans to realize that they are not the world’s super power and no one recognizes them as such any longer…

***

See also:

Dehghan: Iran is moving forward with “its missile programs.”

Speaking at a meeting of Defense Ministry officials regarding the nuclear agreement, Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated:

“Issues related to missiles have never been on the agenda of the talks, and the system [of the Islamic Republic] will implement its programs in this field [of missiles] with determination.”

“This agreement was the result of the resistance and courage of the country of Iran, and a measure of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s wisdom and the nuclear negotiating team’s intelligence and strength, which led to the major world powers’ acceptance of the dignified stance of the Islamic Republic; it is the first step on the path to resolve…Iran’s nuclear issue, that its implementation requires complete respect for…Iran’s red lines by the P5+1 and [gaining] the trust of the nation of Iran by the P5+1 and international organizations.” …

http://www.sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=8a7f08e1-f3bc-4aa3-aafd-f3e80f0289c9

***

See also:

Iranian DM Rules Out Any Access to Military Sites
July 20, 2015 - 18:12
http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/805144

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan reiterated Tehran’s red line on any access to military sites under the pretext of nuclear inspection, saying that the Islamic Republic will not give any international authority access to its military secrets…

 

SENIOR MP: NO ONE CAN IMPOSE RESTRICTIONS ON IRAN’S DEFENSIVE CAPABILITIES

Senior MP: No One Can Impose Restrictions on Iran’s Defensive Capabilities
Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:29
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940429000522

TEHRAN (FNA)- Vice-Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mansour Haqiqatpour underlined the parliament’s strong opposition to any restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles program under a final nuclear deal…

 

THE IRAN DEAL WILL HELP RUSSIA’S ARMS INDUSTRY

http://www.business2community.com/world-news/the-iran-deal-will-help-russia-have-a-stealth-air-force-01277064

The Iran deal will boost Russia’s arms industry and make it possible for Russia to replace Iran’s older aircraft with newer stealth models.

Thanks to the deal approved by the U.S., the allies and by Russia, the arms embargo on Iran will “officially” be lifted in 5 years. But the rush to sell arms to Iran has been on for some time and defense companies from Europe along with the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans have been flocking to Tehran offering their wares.

The biggest single need for Iran is fighter and bomber aircraft. There have been many reports that iran has already made deals with China and Russia, but the big deals are still ahead of us. That’s because until now Iran did not have the cash. The nuclear deal is pouring cash into Iran most of which will be spent on arms…

 

EXCERPT FROM NETANYAHU’S REMARKS AT THE KNESSET

The following is an excerpt from remarks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made on Monday, 20 July 2015, at the Knesset:

“On the day on which the ruler of Iran has reiterated his intention to destroy the State of Israel, the UN Security Council is giving its approval to that same country, which has systematically violated the UNSC’s decisions and which calls for the destruction of Israel, a member of the UN. The hypocrisy knows no bounds. The best way to fight this hypocrisy is to tell the truth in a strong and unified manner. Here is the truth:

They say that this agreement makes war more distant. This is not true; this agreement brings war closer. First, because Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars and it is already openly declaring that it will use this money to finance and arm its terrorist movements and its aggression in the region and around the world. Second, there will be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

They also say that a UN decision is the end of the story. This is not true, because as long as US Congressional sanctions are in place – and I remind you that the American economy is 40 times as large as the Iranian economy – Iran will be compelled in the end to make concessions, and not just receive them.

They say that ‘It cannot be that the whole world is wrong’ and from this they conclude that the agreement is good; this is not true. First, the entire world is not wrong and many in the Middle East see eye-to-eye with Israel and concur that this agreement is dangerous, dangerous to them, dangerous to the region and dangerous to the world. Second, history has already proven that when the world is united it is not necessarily right.

Just a few years ago there was broad international agreement on a nuclear agreement with North Korea and today North Korea has approximately a dozen nuclear bombs and it is on the way to attaining many more. This truth must be said loud and clear because the truth serves the interests of Israel.”


ARTICLES

THE RISK IN LIFTING SANCTIONS, AND PRESSURE, ON IRAN’S WEAPONS ACTIVITIES

(For space reasons, I include extracts only -- TG)

The risk in lifting sanctions, and pressure, on Iran’s weapons activities
By Michael Singh
Wall Street Journal
July 21, 2015

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/07/21/the-risk-in-lifting-sanctions-and-pressure-on-iran-weapons-activities/tab/print/

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this month that “we should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Yet under the Iran nuclear agreement announced last week and endorsed Monday by the U.N. Security Council, sanctions on conventional arms are to be lifted in five years and missile sanctions in eight years (possibly sooner under certain conditions). And Iran appears to be making no promises to limit its activities in either area…

Iranian arms trafficking to Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and others threatens stability in the Middle East. Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel in 2006 were carried out using Iranian rockets and missiles. Conflicts in Yemen, Gaza, and Syria are fueled by Iranian arms, and such Iranian intervention feeds Sunni grievances that benefit the likes of the Islamic State.

As Iran develops more advanced missiles and more sensitive nuclear technology, these capabilities, too, could be shared. The U.S. does have other authorities to interdict arms shipments to terrorist groups, as President Obama has noted. But interdiction requires having intelligence and opportunity, and the latter often involves depending on the will and capacity of Iran’s neighbors to assist. These tasks would be far easier if the arms are prohibited from reaching Iran in the first place….

 

HIZBULLAH’S GROWING DOMESTIC WOES

(For space reasons, I include extracts only -- TG)

Hizbullah’s growing domestic woes
By David Schenker
National Interest
July 21, 2015

The nuclear agreement with Iran may represent a dramatic shift in geopolitics in favor of the Shiite theocracy, but for Lebanese Shiites, domestic concerns prevail. Lebanon’s 1.6 million Shiites are worried about the Islamic State and Jebhat al Nusra. And for good reason. Over the past four years, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah has been fighting in Syria, helping the Assad regime kill nearly 300,000 mostly Sunni Muslims. In response, these Sunni jihadis are targeting Shiites in Lebanon. Yet according to recent polling conducted by the Lebanese NGO Hayya Bina, 80 percent of Lebanese Shiites believe Hezbollah’s deployment in Syria is making the community safer. Indeed, the “Party of God’s” mission in Syria is regarded as so critical that 47 percent of Lebanese Shiites now believe that “liberating” Israeli occupied Shebaa Farms should no longer be the militia’s priority.

To date, the evolving raison d’etre of Hezbollah -- from “resisting” Israel to conducting military campaigns in support of Iran from Yemen to Iraq to Syria -- has not diminished the militia’s support among its domestic constituency. But Hezbollah’s new role as Iran’s regional Praetorian Guard as well as its missteps at home are clearly raising concerns for many Lebanese Shiites.

Hezbollah’s deployment in Syria has already taken a heavy toll on Lebanon’s tight knit Shiite community. Since 2011, an estimated 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have been killed or wounded in action in Syria alone, so many that over 50 percent of Shiites polled said they knew someone “martyred” in the war. Almost every day, there are reports of burials in Lebanon; just this month four Hezbollah militiamen returned home from Syria in body-bags. Still other Hezbollah agents have died carrying out their “jihadist duties” elsewhere…

 

HIZBULLAH CONTINUES TO PLOT ATTACKS AROUND THE WORLD, WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON EUROPE

Inside Hezbollah’s European Plots
The Lebanese terrorist group continues to operate in Europe despite warnings from the EU
By Matthew Levitt
Daily Beast
July 20, 2015

Three years ago this month, Hezbollah blew up a bus of tourists in Bulgaria. The European Union then banned the military wing of Hezbollah. But despite both being blacklisted by Brussels and being heavily invested in the Syrian war, Hezbollah continues to plot attacks around the world, with a particular focus on Europe.

Recent Hezbollah plots were exposed as far afield as Peru and Thailand, but the latest plot was thwarted in Cyprus, where Hussein Bassam Abdallah, a dual Lebanese-Canadian citizen, stockpiled 8.2 tons of ammonium nitrate, a popular chemical explosive. Last week, Abdallah pled guilty to all eight charges against him -- including participation in a terrorist group (read: Hezbollah), possessing explosives, and conspiracy to commit a crime. It was the second time in three years that a Cypriot court has sentenced a Hezbollah operative to prison for plotting an attack in Cyprus. But this latest plot is different, in part because it reveals that the EU’s warnings to Hezbollah not to operate on European soil have not dissuaded the group at all.

Back in July 2012, Cypriot authorities watched Hussam Yaacoub, a dual Lebanese-Swedish Hezbollah operative, conduct surveillance of Israeli tourists and arrested him in his hotel room a few hours later (he was ultimately convicted and jailed). A few days later, a group of Hezbollah operatives -- one of them a French citizen -- blew up a bus of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria. Brussels was faced with the reality that Hezbollah was dispatching European operatives to carry out operations on European soil.

After months of often acrimonious deliberations, senior European officials gathered in Brussels in July 2013 to announce that all 28 EU member states agreed to add Hezbollah’s military wing -- not the organization itself -- to the EU’s list of banned terrorist groups. At the time, European officials pointed to the blacklisting as a shot across the bow. “This is a signal to terrorist organizations,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned. “If you attack one of our European countries, you get an answer from all of them.”

Fast forward two years. New evidence reveals that Hezbollah’s military wing is still plotting attacks across Europe. We now know that the explosive material recently found in Cyprus was stored in the basement of a house in a residential Larnaca neighborhood sometime in 2011. In other words, these two Cyprus plots were not consecutive, but overlapping and possibly connected. By the time the EU banned Hezbollah’s military wing, the recently seized explosives had already been in the country for over a year, maybe two. Hussein Abdallah made around ten trips to Cyprus to check on the explosives stockpile starting in 2012. He was paid handsomely to serve as guardian of chemicals: he was arrested carrying 9,400 euros, which he conceded was his latest payment from Hezbollah.

Abdallah admitted that Hezbollah planned to mount attacks in Cyprus targeting Israeli or Jewish interests there, but that was hardly the full scope of the operation. Indeed, the amount of explosives Hezbollah stockpiled would have facilitated many attacks. According to Israeli investigators, Hezbollah was using Cyprus as a “point of export” from which to funnel explosives elsewhere for a series of attacks in Europe. Indeed, the plot was already in motion: investigators believe the explosives used in the 2012 Burgas bus bombing may have come from the batch of chemicals stored in Cyprus.

The threat to Europe was real. Not only did Hezbollah actively maintain an explosives stockpile in Cyprus, the group retained the operatives, infrastructure and reach to engage in operations across Europe. Over the course of time Abdallah maintained this explosives stockpile, Hezbollah remained active across Europe, from a 2012 bombing thwarted in Greece to the arrest and deportation of a Hezbollah operative in Denmark in 2013 who arrived on a commercial ship for purposes still unknown. Four months after the EU ban, in late 2013, two Lebanese passengers at a Brussels airport were caught with nearly 770,000 euros in their possession. At least some of this cash was suspected to be intended for Hezbollah’s coffers, Europol reported. A few months later, Germany raided the offices of the Orphan Children Project Lebanon in Essen, accusing the group of serving as a Hezbollah fundraising front organization. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency recently reported that Hezbollah maintains some 950 active operatives in the country.

Hezbollah weapons and technology procurement operations continued in Europe as well. In July 2014, the US Treasury blacklisted a Lebanese consumer electronics business, Stars Group Holding, along with its owners, subsidiaries, and “certain managers and individuals who support their illicit activities.” Together, they functioned as a “key Hezbollah procurement network” that purchased technology around the world -- including in Europe -- to develop the drones Hezbollah deploys over Israel and Syria.

Abdallah’s last assignment was to find a storage facility where the explosives stockpile could be stored, suggesting the plan to move small batches of the material to multiple locations across Europe may have been moving forward. While Abdallah traveled on his authentic Canadian passport, Hezbollah provided him a forged British identity card to use locally in Cyprus to rent the facility. This may have been his undoing, since traveling on authentic documents and using forgeries to conduct local, non-governmental business has become a preferred modus operandi for Hezbollah. Otherwise, authorities may not have picked up on the shipments themselves: Hezbollah reportedly is using commercial front companies under deep cover -- some as far away as China and Dubai -- to ship the dual-use chemicals it uses to manufacture explosives.

When the EU banned Hezbollah’s military wing, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius pledged, “there’s no question of accepting terrorist organizations in Europe.” Now, as Europe marked the third anniversary of the July 18 Hezbollah bus bombing in Bulgaria, there is abundant evidence that Hezbollah is doing just that: engaging in terrorist activities in Europe.

In other words, the EU banned part of Hezbollah and warned it to cease activities in Europe, and Hezbollah promptly called Brussels’ bluff. Which leaves us with Mr. Fabius’ question: will the EU accept a terrorist organization operating in Europe?

 

ABOVE A CHILDREN’S STORE CALLED MUMMY & ME

(For space reasons, I include extracts only -- TG)

The Deal
By Steve Coll
The New Yorker
July 27, 2015 Issue

In the late nineteen-eighties, in Switzerland, Iranian officials met with collaborators of A. Q. Khan, the scientist who fathered Pakistan’s nuclear-bomb program. The parties may also have met in Dubai, where Khan maintained a secret office above a children’s store called Mummy & Me. In 1987, the Iranians received a one-page document that included the offer of a disassembled centrifuge, along with diagrams of the machine. They reportedly ended up paying as much as ten million dollars for information and materials that helped Iran advance its nuclear program during the nineteen-nineties. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a scientist sometimes described as the closest thing to an Iranian Robert Oppenheimer, oversaw the Orchid Office, working secretly on detonators and on the challenge of fitting something like a nuke on a missile. In 2003, the agency confronted Iran with evidence that it maintained a clandestine nuclear program. Tehran denied any wrongdoing and parried inspectors, then built a centrifuge facility under a mountain near Qom, whose existence was revealed by the United States, Britain, and France in 2009.

This record of deception is one reason that the nuclear accord that Secretary of State John Kerry brought back to President Obama last week runs to a hundred and fifty-nine pages of text and annexes…

Inevitably, some uncertainty about Iran’s past weapons experiments – and, therefore, its present bomb-making capacity – will remain.

 

THE DANGERS OF THE IRAN NUCLEAR ACCORD

(For space reasons, I include extracts only -- TG)

The dangers of the Iran nuclear accord
By Abraham H. Foxman
Haaretz (JTA)
July 20, 2015

Today is the last day of my long tenure as national director of the Anti-Defamation League. It has been a highly satisfactory and meaningful 28 years as director and 50 years as a professional at this prestigious organization.

So why am I choosing to write an article on my last day? It is the same imperative that has motivated me all these years: If I see something troubling to the Jewish people, I cannot be still.

And I am deeply troubled at this time by the agreement between the P5+1 nations and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program…

I do not believe Congress will be able to fix this deal. But even if it cannot, a congressional ‘no’ and override of a presidential veto would send a number of clear messages…

I hope this critical debate over the next 60 days is conducted in a civil manner. Those who oppose the deal should not criticize the administration’s motives in reaching an agreement. On the other hand, the administration should desist from the kinds of demagogic accusations and insinuations claiming that opponents of the deal are warmongers.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.667002

 

IRAN INSPECTIONS IN 24 DAYS? NOT EVEN CLOSE

(For space reasons, I include extracts only -- TG)

Iran Inspections in 24 Days? Not Even Close
Iran can easily stretch out the inspection of suspect nuclear sites for three months or more.
By Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby
Wall Street Journal
July 22, 2015

The Obama administration assures Americans that the Iran deal grants access within 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites. But that’s hardly how a recalcitrant Iran is likely to interpret the deal. A close examination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action released by the Obama administration reveals that its terms permit Iran to hold inspectors at bay for months, likely three or more…

Opportunities for delay abound. Iran will presumably want to know what prompted the IAEA’s concern. The suspect site identified by the IAEA is likely to be remote, and Iran will no doubt say that it must gather skilled people and equipment to responsibly allay IAEA concerns. Iran may offer explanations in stages, seeking IAEA clarifications before “completing” its response. That could take a while…

Only if Iran’s “explanations do not resolve the IAEA’s concerns” may the IAEA then “request access” to the suspect site. Oddly, the agreement doesn’t specify who judges whether the explanations resolve concerns. If Iran claims that it has a say in the matter, the process may stall here. Assuming Iran grants that the IAEA can be the judge, might Iran claim that the “great Satan” improperly influenced IAEA conclusions? Let’s assume that Tehran won’t do that…

Now the IAEA must provide written reasons for the request and “make available relevant information.” Let’s assume that even though the IAEA may resist revealing the secret sources or technical means that prompted its suspicions, Iran acknowledges that a proper request has been supplied.

Only then do the supposed 24 days begin to run. First, Iran may propose, and the IAEA must consider, alternative means of resolving concerns. This may take 14 days. Absent satisfactory “arrangements,” a new period begins…

http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-inspections-in-24-days-not-even-close-1437521911

 

“PRESIDENT OBAMA IS BOASTING THAT HIS DEAL IS REAGANESQUE. BUT REAGAN DID NOT ABANDON LATIN AMERICA TO ENEMIES OF LIBERTY”

A Richer Iran Will Target the Americas
Last October police in Lima found detonators and TNT in the home of a Hezbollah operative.
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Wall Street Journal
July 20, 2015

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-richer-iran-will-target-the-americas-1437342912?

In the foreword to the 2014 book “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America,” former Colombian Defense Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez wrote that Venezuela’s “ ‘axis of unity’ with Iran embodies Latin America’s growing distance” from the U.S. “This is not to distract from the many conflicts the U.S. is engaging in the Middle East or elsewhere,” she noted. But she wanted “to remind our northern neighbors of the kind of disengagement in Latin America that led to a nuclear standoff in 1962.”

Now the Obama administration has agreed to phase out many economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for its promises to disable parts of its nuclear program. The deal provides for winding down international restrictions on trade and investment with Iran. It is also expected to gradually liberate more than $100 billion in Iranian assets frozen by the U.S. and other countries.

This means that even if the agreement prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, it will make the world less safe. National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted as much last Wednesday when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked if “support [for] international terrorism” might be one use for the liberated assets. “In fact,” Ms. Rice said, “we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”

And not only in the Mideast. One likely destination for some of that money will be the Islamic Republic’s military, ideological and terrorist activities in the U.S. backyard. As Joseph Humire, executive director of the Washington-based Center for a Secure Free Society, put it to me last week, “if Iran gets access to the global financial system, they’re going to double down in Latin America.”

Iran has targeted Latin America since the mid-1980s by establishing mosques and cultural centers to spread the revolution. An arm of Hezbollah, Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist proxy, took responsibility for the 1992 terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Argentine prosecutors named Iran as the mastermind behind the 1994 terrorist attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in the same city.

Iran has “observer” status in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, a coalition of pro-Castro governments in the hemisphere launched during the Venezuelan presidency of Hugo Chávez. ALBA’s members include Cuba, six other Caribbean countries, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The alliance relationships with Iran mean Iranian and Hezbollah operatives now move about the Americas easily. A 2014 paper published by Mr. Humire’s center notes that intelligence officials in the region believe Tarek El Aissami, Venezuela’s interior minister from 2008-12, provided new identities to 173 Middle Easterners.

In 2013 Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who was investigating the AMIA case, released a 500-page report about the extensive Iranian terrorism network in the hemisphere. One of his more chilling findings was that the foiled 2007 plot to blow up New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was an Iranian operation, run by a Guyanese recruit. In January Nisman was found in his Buenos Aires apartment with a bullet through his head.

One argument for lifting the sanctions is that Iranians are suffering economically. But their hardships have done nothing to diminish the Islamic Republic’s Latin American adventures.

Iranian investment in the region is not about securing food or economic growth but rather about meeting strategic goals. There is solid evidence that since 2007 Iran has invested in uranium exploration – presumably tied to its nuclear interests – in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador. The Iranian military has at least one joint venture with Venezuela, located in the state of Aragua, where Mr. El Aissami is now governor.

Propaganda is an Iranian priority. HispanTV, launched in 2011, is a Spanish-language channel run by Iran. It has partnership agreements with state-run television in a number of ALBA countries. In his 2014 book, “Remote Control,” the respected Bolivian journalist Raúl Peñaranda alleged that Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad donated $3 million to President Evo Morales to finance and equip Bolivia’s state-owned television station Abya Yala.

Gen. Douglas Fraser , former head of the United States Southern Command, testified to Congress three years ago that Iran was backing at least 36 Shiite Islamic cultural centers in Central America, the Caribbean and South America. This year Gen. John Kelly, who now runs Southern Command, testified that there are more than 80.

Last October a Hezbollah operative was arrested in Lima on suspicion of plotting terrorism in Peru. Press reports said that police discovered detonators and TNT in his home, and evidence that he may have been scouting out the Jorge Chávez International Airport for a possible attack.

President Obama is boasting that his deal is Reaganesque. But Reagan did not abandon Latin America to enemies of liberty.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.