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Iran Ends All Restrictions under Nuclear Deal; Israel Backs US over Killing of General

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Iran on Sunday decided to withdraw from all remaining “key” restrictions under the Iran nuclear deal in what was described as the fifth and final such step, just days after Iran’s top spymaster general was killed in an American attack. Meanwhile, Israel reiterated their support for United States President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Qods Force commander General Qassem Soleimani, while Iran threatened Israel if the Jews didn’t return to Europe as part of their reaction to Soleimani’s death.

The Iranian government, according to PressTV, announced that they would no longer observe any restrictions on the level or amount of uranium enrichment for nuclear fuel, a critical component of the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iranian statement specifically said they would end restrictions on their number of centrifuges, which can be used to make nuclear fuel for civilian and military purposes. PressTV quoted the statement as saying the move “eliminates the last key operational restriction” under the JCPOA.

The Iranian decision comes as part of their months-long process of reducing their observance of the nuclear deal in an effort to pressure European nations into providing economic benefits to Iran to counter US sanctions. However, the move also comes just two days after Soleimani’s death, an attack that received Israel’s support and led to brutal threats against Israel from Iran. … Continue Reading

Despite Iran’s Malignant Actions, China, Russia Hold Joint Naval Exercise with Tehran

Iran is conducting naval drills with China and Russia. Illustrative naval ship in the Middle East. By Joshua Spurlock

In the face of American sanctions and continuing malevolent activity by Iran, China and Russia joined the Islamic Republic starting last Friday in joint naval drills for the first time since the Islamic Revolution put Iran’s radicals in power in 1979. Fars News Agency noted the first-time nature of the exercises, done in the Indian Ocean and Sea of Oman and dubbed “Marine Security Belt.”

The two world powers’ partnership with Iran doesn’t look to be ending any time soon. “The Iranian Navy’s joint drills with China and Russia is just the beginning of our cooperation and it will continue,” Iranian Rear Admiral Sayyari was quoted by Fars as saying on Sunday.

China and Russia have long supported Iran at the United Nations and elsewhere, but the joint naval exercise is a stepped up partnership even as the United States has been seeking to isolate Iran for its nuclear program and support for terrorism. In recent months, Iran has advanced their nuclear program in contravention of their nuclear deal with world powers, attacked shipping and the oil industry in the region and downed an American drone. … Continue Reading

Israel, US Talk Better Cooperation to Counter Iran as Rouhani Boasts of Advanced Centrifuges

December 18, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Israel and the US are sticking together to push back against Iran. PM Netanyahu and US President Trump. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Iran is testing their next round of advanced centrifuges—the IR-9, which are used for the enrichment of nuclear fuel—and the same day Israel and the United States discussed enhanced cooperation to push back against Iran. Rouhani, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website, was quoted as telling Iranians living in Malaysia, “Today, our new IR6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR9’s are being tested”.

In the Russian news agency Sputnik’s report on Rouhani’s comments, it was noted that the IR-9 is 50-times faster than the original IR-1 centrifuges according to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The announcement comes as Iran has repeatedly stepped away from commitments under the tottering Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA are intended to pressure Europe into making economic concessions for Iran.

Meanwhile, the same day Rouhani made his announcement, the national security advisors for Israel and the US met to discuss their joint work against Iran. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Slams Europe for Evading Iran Sanctions, ‘Supporting Murderous Regime’

December 1, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Netanyahu sternly critiqued Europe’s Iran policy. PM Netanyahu and EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Avi Ohayon (GPO).

Against the backdrop of Iranian attacks in the region and the regime cracking down on protestors at home, six more European nations recently joined the economic tool intended to circumvent American sanctions on Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was incensed at the “absurd” European move and voiced his concerns on Sunday.

“These European countries should be ashamed of themselves. Have they learned nothing from history? Well, apparently not,” said Netanyahu in a statement released by his office. “They are enabling a fanatic terrorist state to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, thereby bringing disaster to themselves and upon everyone else.”

The Israeli premier’s frustration came after the main three European nations—France, Germany and the United Kingdom—last Friday “warmly” welcomed a half dozen other European nations agreeing to join the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). The move “demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran and is a clear expression of our continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA)” nuclear deal with Iran, said the statement published by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson. … Continue Reading

Europe Threatens to Begin Withdraw from Nuclear Deal If Iran Continues to Advance Nuke Program

Germany one of multiple EU nations wanting new nuclear deal with Iran. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The European Union last week threatened Iran that they may withdraw from the international nuclear deal and resume global sanctions on Iran if Tehran takes another sizable enough step in their nuclear program. The Guardian reported last Thursday that the message comes as Iran—having already withdrawn from certain components of the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—have threatened a fourth move in November if economic relief is not granted them. Before re-engaging sanctions, Europe would need to engage the JCPOA’s dispute mechanism to arbitrate the disagreement between the sides.

The response from Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Monday, according to the Fars News Agency, was to call a move by Europe to trigger the dispute mechanism “illegal” and “already dead”. Seyed Abbas Mousavi was quoted by Fars as saying that if Europe does not make a significant enough economic move for Iran, the Islamic Republic would carry out their threat to continue its withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

With that in the background, the United States believes the recent Iranian drone and missile attack on the Saudi oil industry has changed the calculus for Europe and that a number of European allies believe the JCPOA needs to be amended—something the Trump Administration has been demanding for years. … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Further Escalate Nuclear Program Conflict with Third Step

August 4, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Iran is planning new antagonistic nuclear steps.
Illustrative official meeting. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Having already increased their nuclear fuel stockpile and the quality of their nuclear fuel enrichment beyond the limits imposed under the nuclear deal, Iran is now warning that their third step in withdrawing from commitments in the deal is coming up. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the Fars News Agency as telling the Iranian Parliament on Saturday they would “assuredly” take that next step if the world powers fail to boost economic benefits to Iran. What that third move would be was not made clear.

The Iranians in recent months began reneging on their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), warning that they would continue to expand their nuclear program if the Europeans didn’t effectively mitigate United States’ sanctions on Iran. While the nuclear program remains solidly in the civilian range—Iran has announced 4.5% uranium enrichment quality has been achieved, whereas 90% is needed for nuclear weapons—there are threats of advancing that element further to medical research levels and even beyond.

The Fars News report noted that recently Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said there wouldn’t be “any problem” for Iran to advance to 20% enrichment quality—the level needed for medical research—and that there are “options even higher than that.” He did claim that they would act based on Iran’s needs and not just go for higher levels as a scare tactic. … Continue Reading

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