White House strikes “secret side deal” with Iran over nuclear issue, despite State Dept denials, reports L.A. Times. How will Congress & Israel react?

(whitehouseWashington, D.C.) — The Obama White House appears struck a previously undisclosed “side deal” with Iran over the nuclear issue, despite the fact that just yesterday a State Department spokeswoman denied such a deal existed.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the existence of a secret 30-page document the spells out understandings between the U.S. and Iran regarding expectations of what Iran can and cannot do with its nuclear program, understanding not included in the official, public deal that is being negotiated in Geneva.

The Times indicates that according to the “secret side deal” worked out by the Obama administration:

  • not a single Iranian nuclear facility will be shut down
  • Iran will continue to enrich uranium
  • Iran’s nuclear research operations will actually expand; and
  • new, state-of-the-art centrifuges will be allowed to come on-line in Iran

Is this accurate? Is it the full picture? Will the document be released to the public, and to the full U.S. government and our allies?

Members of Congress are only just hearing about this now, and have yet to react.

No official reaction yet from Israel yet either, though the existence of a secret deal with Iran could add to the tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu governments over how to stop the mullahs in Tehran from being able to build operational nuclear warheads.

More on this story as it develops.

In the meantime, here are excerpts from the breaking news story out of Los Angeles:

“Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran’s chief negotiator said Monday,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.”

“The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” the Times notes. “When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn’t release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum. In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word ‘nonpaper,’ a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly. The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said.”…..

“Asked late Monday about the existence of the informal nonpaper, White House officials referred the question to the State Department,” reported the Times. “A State Department comment wasn’t immediately available…..A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, denied later Monday that there was any secret agreement.”….

“In his interview, Araqchi touched on the sensitive issue of how much latitude Iran will have to continue its nuclear research and development,” said the Times. “U.S. officials said Sunday that Iran would be allowed to continue existing research and development projects and with pencil-and-paper design work, but not to advance research with new projects. Araqchi, however, implied that the program would have wide latitude.”

“No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,” he said. “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Iran’s top ally warns war could be coming. White House and Netanyahu issue ominously similar warnings.

(Netanya, Israel) — Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization — Iran’s top ally in the Middle East — warned today that a major regional war could be coming soon if Iran and world leaders don’t make a deal. His warnings were ominously echoed by the White House and by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. It’s hard to remember when these three agreed on anything.

“To all Arab peoples in the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Oman: What is the alternative to an understanding between Iran and world leaders? It is regional war,” Nasrallah warned.

“The Obama administration Tuesday stepped up lobbying against congressional action for new sanctions on Iran, with the White House warning such a move would lead to war,” reported the Times of Israel.

“The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it’s achieved, has the potential to do that,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “The alternative is military action.”

“Carney told reporters that Americans did not want a ‘march to war,’ which is what new sanctions would bring, indicating that lawmakers could pay politically if diplomacy with Iran failed,” the Times noted.

“The currently discussed deal between six world powers and Iran could lead to war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, intensifying his campaign against a possible interim agreement on Tehran’s rogue nuclear program,” reports the Times of Israel, in a separate article.

“There are not just two possibilities on the Iranian issue: A bad deal — or war. This is incorrect. There is a third possibility — and that is continuing the pressure of sanctions,” Netanyahu said in the Knesset. “I would even say that a bad deal is liable to lead to the second, undesired, result.”

“There is no reason to submit to Iranian diktats; neither is there any reason to be hasty,” Netanyahu told the Knesset plenum. “Iran is under very harsh economic pressure and the advantage is with those applying the pressure. It is possible to reach a good deal to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear capability. This cannot be achieved by the proposal now being discussed in Geneva. That proposal would make a gaping hole… through which the air could escape from the pressure of the sanctions.”

Advisors to Netanyahu say the Prime Minister isn’t opposed to a deal with Iran — just a bad deal. The premier believes the key is:

  • stopping Iran from enriching uranium
  • forcing Iran to dismantle its centrifuges
  • requiring Iran to give its already enriched uranium to another country (or countries) and simply purchase the nuclear fuel its needs to run its civilian power plants, not build weapons
  • and forcing Iran to shut down its plutonium facilities

Iran and the P5+1 powers (U.S., Russia, China, U.K. and France, plus Germany) are scheduled to meet again on November 20th in Geneva.

Let’s not cease to pray for peace, even as we prepare for the possibility of war.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

EU leaders issue anti-Israel directive aimed at dividing Jerusalem & forcing Jews out of Biblical heartland.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, during their meeting in Jerusalem, on June 20, 2013. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO/Flash90/Times of Israel)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, during their meeting in Jerusalem, on June 20, 2013. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO/Flash90/Times of Israel)

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According to Bible prophecy, leaders in Europe will seek to impose a dangerous, ill-considered, unworkable “peace treaty” on Israel in the last days. It may be too soon to say we are there yet, but there is no question European leaders are turning increasingly anti-Israel and seeking to impose a final status agreement on the Jewish and Palestinian people.

Here is the latest example: On the eve of new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the European Union has made a sweeping and highly aggressive move to use its legal and financial muscle to force Israel to divide its capital city of Jerusalem and  abandon all of its activities in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, commonly known these days as the “West Bank” of the Jordan River.

Specifically, the EU barring all of its 28 member countries from doing any business or any other activity with any Israeli company, NGO, college, school or other entity that operate in East Jerusalem or the West Bank. There is grave concern among Israelis that this could effectively become a boycott or a full embargo against any Israeli company that is based in “Israel-proper” but has a factory or offices or affiliates that operate in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. If so, this could have a devastating financial consequence given the level of business Israel currently does with Europe. [To read the full text of the EU directive, please click here.]

There is no legal basis for the EU’s move, as noted below. Understandably, therefore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials are speaking out strongly against this “foreign dictate.”

THE EU DIRECTIVE

“A dramatic new directive published by the European Union bars its 28 members from all cooperation with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” reports the Times of Israel. “The directive, sent out on June 30 and set to take effect on Friday, extends to ‘all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes’ to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank….It also requires that any contracts between EU member countries and Israel henceforth include a clause stating that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are not part of the State of Israel.”

“Sandra de Waele, the deputy EU ambassador to Israel, said the measure was designed to ensure that EU financial support ‘not benefit [Israeli] entities’ beyond the Green Line, because it was the EU’s position that such entities were illegal,” the Times reported. “She said there had been concern that these entities had indeed been benefiting from EU funds. She stressed that the directive would not affect private businesses. A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the ruling was an ‘earthquake’ which unprecedentedly turns ‘understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line’ into ‘formal, binding policy….’”

“The European Union has been reported to be mulling sanctions against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem for some time, with new rules for labeling products produced over the Green Line on the table,” the Times noted. “The directive, to be in effect until 2020, is designed in part to stave-off a general boycott of Israel and to ensure that Israel’s participation in EU projects is ‘not put in question,’ the EU told Haaretz. Reportedly, the clause is already affecting negotiations over a proposed Israeli-EU youth project.”

NETANYAHU SPEAKS OUT

“As prime minister, I won’t allow hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and in Jerusalem — our united capital — to be harmed,” Netanyahu said, according to a separate article by the Times of Israel. “I expect those who really want peace and regional stability to deal with this matter [of West Bank settlements] after they solve more pressing problems in the region like the Syrian civil war and Iran’s race to get a nuclear weapon….We will not accept any foreign dictates about our borders. This matter will only be determined through direct negotiation between the [two] sides” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

EU DIRECTIVE’S FLAWED LEGAL BASIS

“This unprecedented and hostile EU fixation with Israel and its settlements, to the almost total exclusion of the other pressing issues in the Middle East, Europe, and throughout the world, is based on a series of long-standing and deliberately misleading and flawed legal and political assumptions regarding the illegality of Israel’s settlements and the status of the pre-1967 armistice lines as Israel’s border,” notes Ambassador Alan Baker, former legal advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israeli ambassador to Canada, in an analysis for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“These assumptions are all the more misleading and misguided in that they totally negate or deliberately flout the historic and legal rights granted by the international community, including Europe, to Israel and the Jewish people in a series of international agreements and commitments,” Baker argues. “The assumptions totally ignore the indigenous rights of the Jewish people in the area, as protected by international declarations. Similarly, they negate the very positions supported by the European states that endorsed UN Security Council Resolution 242 from 1967 calling for ‘secure and recognized boundaries,’ and negate the EU’s own commitments as signatory and witness to the Oslo Accords, to honour the content of those accords, and not to predetermine and undermine specific negotiating issues including the final status of the territories, borders, settlements, Jerusalem, and other issues. As such, the present EU policy, including the commission notice, specifically undermines the negotiating process by taking sides, and by pre-determining the negotiating issues of settlements, Jerusalem and borders. As such, this fixation prejudices and obviates any claim by the EU to impartiality, and precludes the EU from performing any function within the negotiating process.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

It is one thing to defend the right of the Palestinian people to have full autonomy and govern their own daily affairs. I wholeheartedly support and defend that right, as well. But the EU is trying to impose a final agreement on Israel and the Jewish people in defiance of international law and their own previously stated policies. The EU move is wrong-headed, reveals Europe’s increasingly anti-Israel attitude, and should make Israeli leaders wary about any EU involvement in the peace process.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog