Iran must recognize Israel's right to exist in deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday demanded that any final deal include a "clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel's right to exist." Netanyahu has been perhaps the most vocal critic of nuclear talks with Iran, insisting again and again it can't be trusted. He took his case to the U.S. Congress last month, at a time before negotiators had hammered out any sort of agreement, over the objections of President Barack Obama. There's never been any dispute about his take, but the Prime Minister has sharpened his rhetoric in recent days, saying the deal increases the risk of a "horrific war."Obama's response
Well, let me say this — it's not that the idea of Iran recognizing Israel is unreasonable. It's completely reasonable and that's U.S. policy.... There's still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran, and one of the most profound ones is the vile, anti-Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime. But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons, in a verifiable deal, on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.Comment: It is fundamental naivety on Obama's part. The US holds the high hand here with the embargoed funds and sanctions!
Editorial: Make the Iran nuclear deal better, but don’t scrap it
Obama has presented Congress with a false choice, suggesting that the only option to this deal is war. How about resuming negotiations and hammering out a better deal? Of particular concern are the limits on international inspectors’ access, and the fact that Iran could retain a “breakout” period of one year to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. That’s not good enough. This nation must demonstrate united and unwavering resolve. Iran only benefits from a contentious debate in which the president says one thing and Congress says the opposite. As Ray Takeyh, of the Council on Foreign Affairs, told this newspaper last week, rarely has an international accord of this magnitude been signed by a U.S. president who lacked majority backing from Congress. Obama must not close his ears to the skeptics’ concerns. He should summon congressional leaders and charge them with itemizing the five or six big items that really worry them about this agreement. This should not be an opportunity for congressional showboating with unrealistic demands for Iran to renounce terrorism or recognize Israel’s right to exist. The mission is to refine the technical terms specific to Iran’s nuclear program.Comment: The above editorial finds my views unrealistic but still demands a better deal on technical terms
The issue of rhetoric: Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publishes book to destroy Israel
In a 416-page manifesto called Palestine, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei details his view on the destruction of Israel and the deception of the US. The book, which credits Khamenei as "The flag bearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem," is only available in Iran, the NY Post revealed. According to the Post, Khamenei quickly asserts his belief that Israel does not have a right to exist as a state. He does this by using three words: nabudi meaning annihilation, imha meaning fading out and zaval meaning effacement. The book allegedly states Khamenei's strategy for the destruction of Israel is through "well-established Islamic principles". One of those principles is that a land under Muslim rule, no matter how brief, can never be returned to non-Muslim rulers. The Post reported that Khamenei lists Israel as a special case because it is an "ally of the American Great Satan," it has waged war against Muslims and because it occupies Jerusalem, which he calls "Islam's third Holy City." In his new book, the Iranian religious leader calls for long periods of low-intensity warfare that makes like unpleasant or impossible for a majority of Israeli Jews so they leave Israel. He does not, however, call for the complete destruction of the country or the massacre of Jewish people.Comment: We hold the high card. Don't fold on this.
Iran nuclear deal: What does it mean for Americans held in Iran?
With the announcement of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, their families and friends hope that the fight to free their loved ones won't be ignored. They include Naghmeh Abedini, whose husband, Saeed Abedini, is a Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran. "With the announcement of a deal and yet silence as to the fate of Saeed and the other Americans held hostage in Iran, their fate lies now in the hands of Congress," she said in a statement, pleading with Congress to keep the detained Americans in mind as it reviews the deal. "My children have desperately missed the loving embrace of their father for the last three years of their lives. They have grown up almost half of their lives without their father," she said. "Please help us ensure the remainder of their childhood includes both a mother and a father." Hekmati's family also released a statement after the nuclear deal was announced. "Amir is an innocent man who traveled to Iran to visit family, yet there is no denying that his imprisonment has been prolonged pending an outcome in these negotiations," the statement said. "While Amir himself has said that he should not be part of any nuclear deal, his immediate release would demonstrate a strong gesture of good faith to the international community."Iran: Release 4 Americans Now!
Comment: We should be absolutists about this! Image above from the Dallas News editorial (screen grab)