Archive for August 22, 2018

Left happy at Trump saying Israel will pay a price – Arab-Israeli Conflict 

August 22, 2018

Source: Left happy at Trump saying Israel will pay a price – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

Addressing a rally in West Virginia, Trump said that the Palestinians would soon “get something very good” in return for the May embassy move “because it’s their turn next.”

 AUGUST 22, 2018 12:14
Left happy at Trump saying Israel will pay a price

US President Donald Trump’s statement that Israel will pay a “high price” in its negotiations with the Palestinians because it won something “very big” with America’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalembrought joy Wednesday to the Israeli Left, which praised him.

Addressing a rally in West Virginia, Trump said that the Palestinians would soon “get something very good” in return for the May embassy move “because it’s their turn next.”

Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz said that “when dealing with a president who thinks like a businessman it was clear it would only be a matter of time until he asked for something in return” for the embassy move.

“No one can claim that this is a hostile president with demands that are not legitimate,” Peretz said in a reference to statements made about Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. “Netanyahu cannot deny the need to make courageous decisions. Solving the dispute and dividing the land into two states for two peoples is not a deal with the US but an Israeli interest that will allow our state to remain both Jewish and democratic.”

His Zionist Union colleague, MK Eitan Cabel, said it was “time for the Right to wake up from its misconception that if Israel will merely keep waiting, the diplomatic issue will resolve itself.” He said Israel should preempt Trump’s plan with steps to save the two-state solution like freezing construction in isolated settlements and compensating those willing to leave them.

On the Right, Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev said Israel must tell Trump that just like he realized Jerusalem belonged to Israel, the rest of the Land of Israel also belongs to the Jewish state and must remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.

Trump should be told that Israel should retain all their land for several reasons, including a promise from God, the history of Jewish control of the land, the fact that Arabs fare better under Jewish rule than Arab rule, and strategic and security reasons

Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of persuading Trump to support the creation of a Palestinian state after it initially appeared the US president would be open to other alternatives.

“Netanyahu led Trump to the views he expressed in his Bar-Ilan speech, his terrible two-state idea, and the continuation of the Oslo process,” Feiglin said. “The result will be that in return for moving the embassy sign from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, our capital will be divided and there will be an additional US embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine.”

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

August 22, 2018

Donald’s Trump’s sanctions would drive Iranian oil exports down in order to force behaviour change on Tehran regime

US national security adviser John Bolton.

By Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor The Guardian Wed 22 Aug 2018

Source Link: US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

{The Mother of All Economic Bombs is fixing to drop. – LS}

The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.

“Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime’s behaviour,” Bolton said on a visit to Israel, as he claimed current sanctions had been more effective than predicted.

Donald Trump took the US out of Iran’s nuclear deal with the west in May and is imposing escalating sanctions, both to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and to end Tehran’s perceived interference in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

Complete removal of Iranian oil from world markets would cut oil supply by more than 4% probably forcing up prices in the absence of any new supplies.

Bolton was speaking as the new UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, met the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for the first time in Washington to discuss how to reduce Iranian influence, despite Britain’s continued support for the nuclear deal.

In an interview with Axios, a US political website, Hunt praised Trump’s willingness to talk with leaders deemed to be hostile to the US, denying he was an isolationist. Trump has already met the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and has even hinted at talks with the Iranian leadership.

“The traditional western foreign policy has been that if we disapprove of something someone’s done, we don’t just take action but we stop the engagement as well,” he said. “[Trump] takes the view that actually you need to engage with people. I think it’s a business mentality. He’s always looking for a way to recast the deal.”

Hunt is maintaining UK support for the deal signed in 2015, and according to Iran, the UK has even stepped in to advise Tehran on how to remain compliant with the deal by limiting plutonium from one of its heavy nuclear reactors.

Hunt has suggested the existing level of US sanctions already has the potential to change Iran’s “destabilising regional behaviour”, but additional pressure that led Iran to pull out of the nuclear deal completely might lead only to a more dangerous anti-western government being installed in Tehran.

Hunt stressed that the UK would not withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, but acknowledged it was an open question whether Tehran would decide if the remaining economic benefits warranted remaining inside the deal.

Sweeping US secondary sanctions on businesses that trade with Iran make it difficult for European governments to persuade EU companies it is worth the risk of continuing to do business with the country.

Bolton was bullish about the growing impact of sanctions. “We expect that Europeans will see, as businesses all over Europe are seeing, that the choice between doing business with Iran or doing business with the United States is very clear to them,” he said.

“[Trump] has made it very clear – his words – he wants maximum pressure on Iran, maximum pressure, and that is what is going on.”

British officials acknowledge that the US administration policy for the moment has secured Trump the best of both worlds – Iranian refusal to restart its nuclear programme due the EU’s continued support for the deal, and the imposition of a regime of secondary economic sanctions that is placing great pressure on the Iranian economy.

Fuller US sanctions, including actions against countries that trade in Iranian oil are due to come into force on 5 November, 180 days after the initial Trump announcement to withdraw.

The measures against Iranian oil importers, and banks that continue to trade with the Central Bank of Iran, will ratchet the pressure to a higher level.

Pompeo has set up an Iran Action group inside the US State Department to coordinate US leverage on companies and countries that cannot show that their trade, including in oil, has fallen significantly by November.

Measures may also be taken against firms that insure ships carrying Iranian crude.

It is expected some of the major Iranian oil importers, such as Russia, China and Turkey, will either ignore the threat of US sanctions, or, possibly in the case of Iraq, Japan and South Korea, seek exemptions.

China takes a quarter of all Iran’s oil exports, and with Chinese banks little exposed to the US it can avoid the impact of Trump’s sanctions.

Major importers of Iranian crude in Europe include Italy’s ENI and Saras, Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum. All these companies depend on access to US dollar financing and US suppliers, and most have significant operations in the US.

The EU in August introduced a blocking statute designed to give European firms immunity from US sanctions for trading with Iran. But its legal force is questionable since it requires EU firms to sue the US government for any losses caused by US sanctions. The statute is untested in court.

EU foreign ministers will meet at the end of the month to discuss the measures they have taken to protect the deal.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javed Zarif, this week demanded clearer practical steps from Europe to protect the deal, saying: “Europeans have been very good in declaring their positions, but to pay that price they need to make a decision and they have only a limited time for that decision and cannot wait for ever.”

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maase, in an article in the German business daily, Handelsblatt, on Wednesday called for the EU to protect itself from secondary sanctions by increasing its autonomy from the US financial system.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she agreed with her foreign minister that relations with the US were changing but she stopped short of backing his call for a separate EU system for cross-border payments system to save the nuclear deal with Iran.


Iranian cleric: If US attacks Iran, we will target Israel, US 

August 22, 2018

Source: Iranian cleric: If US attacks Iran, we will target Israel, US – Israel Hayom

Top Iranian cleric threatens Tehran will target Israel if US attacks

August 22, 2018

‘Any aggression against Iran will inflict costs not only on America, but also on Zionist regime,’ Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warns

In this January 5, 2018 photo, Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

By Michael Bachner and TOI staff August 22, 2018 Times of Israel

Source Link: Top Iranian cleric threatens Tehran will target Israel if US attacks

{Now that’s some real sound military strategy…when attacked, retaliate against your attacker’s ally. Sounds a bit suicidal, but then Tehran seems to prefer the hostage approach. Remember how that worked out for Saddam? – LS}

A senior Iranian cleric on Wednesday warned that Tehran would target Israel if the United States harmed the Islamic Republic, continuing an escalating war of words over sanctions reimposed by Washington.

“The costs of a possible US war on Iran will be definitely heavy for Americans, and any aggression against Iran will inflict costs not only on America, but also on its ally, the Zionist regime,” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

In June, the deputy commander of Iran’s hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps boasted that Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Lebanon were awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel.

“We are creating might in Lebanon because we want to fight our enemy from there with all our strength,” he stated. “Hezbollah today has tremendous might on the ground that can on its own break the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime has no strategic-defensive depth.”

In the speech for the anti-Israel al-Quds Day, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hossein Salami said that “the life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now.”

The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s regional rivals and has demanded that Tehran curb its ballistic missile program. It is in the process of reimposing crippling sanctions in a bid to force it to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear pact.

In May, the US announced it was abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing nuclear-related sanctions, threatening global companies with heavy penalties if they continue to operate in Iran.

In a bid to salvage the accord, the EU and European parties to the deal — Britain, France, and Germany — presented a series of economic “guarantees” to Iran last month, but they were deemed “insufficient” by Tehran.

Khatami also dismissed US President Donald Trump’s proposal to hold talks with Tehran, claiming his administration wasn’t open to concessions.

“Americans say you should accept what we say in the talks,” he charged, according to comments carried by Iran’s Mizan news agency and translated by Reuters. “So this is not negotiation, but dictatorship. The Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation would stand up against dictatorship.”

Trump has offered talks on a “more comprehensive deal” but Iran has balked at negotiating under the pressure of sanctions and has instead leaned on its increasingly close ties with fellow US sanctions targets Turkey and Russia.

The sanctions that went into effect earlier in August target US dollar financial transactions, Iran’s automotive sector, and the purchase of commercial planes and metals, including gold. Even stronger sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.

AFP and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.