Archive for November 3, 2018

Why is the ISRAELI ARMY so POWERFUL? 

November 3, 2018

 

 

Iran is the most potent of Islamic militant forces, Netanyahu says – TV7 Israel News 2.11.18 – YouTube

November 3, 2018

 

 

 

PM: Iran ‘most potent force of militant Islam’; threatens Israel, Europe alike

November 3, 2018

Source: PM: Iran ‘most potent force of militant Islam’; threatens Israel, Europe alike | The Times of Israel

In Bulgaria for international forum, Netanyahu says West must ‘stand together’ in countering threat to its civilization

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Varna, Bulgaria, on November 1, 2018 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Varna, Bulgaria, on November 1, 2018 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday night called Iran the “most potent force of militant Islam” in the world and warned Europe of possible Iranian attacks on its soil.

Speaking to reporters after talks with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borissov, Netanyahu said radical Islam is a threat to the world, and that Israel has recently revealed a number of Iranian plots to carry out attacks on European soil.

He said Israel and Europe “stand together” in the face of such attacks.

Israeli officials said Wednesday that the Mossad intelligence service had provided its Danish counterpart with information concerning an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate opposition activists in its territory.

“We are part of the same civilization, a civilization that values liberty, peace and progress, and today this civilization is under attack, most notably by the forces of militant Islam. Militant Islam attacks all of us. It attacks Arabs. It attacks Europeans. It attacks Israelis. It attacks everyone,” he said.

Netanyahu arrived in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna for Friday’s meeting of the Craiova Forum, which includes the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, as well as the president of Serbia.

Ahead of his trip, Netanyahu said he wants to strengthen ties with these countries and “change the hostile and hypocritical approach of the European Union” toward Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Varna, Bulgaria, on November 1, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

The premier said he would discuss with Bulgaria’s prime minister cooperation on military matters, trade, cyber-security, health and science.

“Israel is an innovation nation and it can help the people of Bulgaria and the other countries here by cooperating in ways that will help us and will help you in every field,” he said.

Netanyahu said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen Israel’s relationship with Balkan nations, but also to promote his agenda with the European bloc, which he has long chastised for what he claims is an anti-Israel bias.

Netanyahu didn’t specify which of the EU’s policies he takes issue with, but he has previously been at loggerheads with the bloc over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Iran nuclear deal. Members of the coalition and some in the opposition also often claim that the union treats the Jewish state unfairly and often stands on the wrong side of history.

Brussels’ adamant opposition to settlement expansion and to Israel’s demolition of Palestinian structures, as well as European funding of leftist nonprofits, have angered right-wing Israelis for years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, in Jerusalem, on May 20, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Israel’s ties with the 28-member state union significantly worsened after the EU’s November 2015 decision to label settlement products. In its initial anger, Israel suspended contacts with the EU, but soon reinstated them. There were other signs of a detente, for example when a senior official in Brussels said in late 2016 that the union was willing to reconvene the EU-Israel Association Council, a bilateral forum on ministerial level, after a five-year hiatus.

But relations quickly went south again. In July 2017, Netanyahu was overheard, during a visit to Budapest, calling the EU “crazy” for insisting on linking the advancement of bilateral ties to progress in the peace process.

Tensions were exacerbated after US President Donald Trump’s December 6, 2017, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move the union vehemently opposed.

Brussels also assumed the role of chief defender of the Iranian nuclear deal after Trump announced the US’s withdrawal from the landmark pact on March 8. Brussels not only condemned the president’s move but also vowed to protect European companies from reimposed sanctions.

Israeli attacks on the union have since increased in frequency and intensity. Ministers openly accuse the EU of funding anti-Israel boycottsand even organizations with terrorist links.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

 

Iran’s Khamenei: Trump has ‘disgraced’ US prestige 

November 3, 2018

Source: Iran’s Khamenei: Trump has ‘disgraced’ US prestige | The Times of Israel

Lashing out at Washington days before fresh sanctions to be reimposed, supreme leader says America in decline and will be the ultimate loser against Islamic republic

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to thousands of members of the Basij paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in their gathering at the Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran, on October 4, 2018. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to thousands of members of the Basij paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in their gathering at the Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran, on October 4, 2018. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that US President Donald Trump has “disgraced” US prestige and would be the ultimate loser from renewing sanctions on the Islamic republic.

“This new US president… has disgraced the remnant of America’s prestige and that of liberal democracy. America’s hard power, that is to say their economic and military power, is declining too,” he said on his Persian Twitter account, quoting a speech in Tehran.

A defiant Khamenei dismissed the renewed US sanctions — including an oil embargo — that take effect on Monday.

“The challenge between the US and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far and the US has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare,” he said.

“There’s a key fact here: in this 40-year challenge, the defeated is the US and the victorious is the Islamic republic.”

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on October 31, 2018. (Mandel NGAN / AFP)

On Friday, the Trump administration restored US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, but carved out exemptions for eight countries that can still import oil from the Islamic Republic without penalty.

The sanctions take effect Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors. They are the second batch the administration has re-imposed since Trump withdrew from the landmark accord in May.

The 2015 deal, one of former president Barack Obama’s biggest diplomatic achievements, gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, which many believed it was using to develop atomic weapons. Trump repeatedly denounced the agreement as the “worst ever” negotiated by the United States and said it gave Iran too much in return for too little.

In a statement issued Friday night, Trump said, “Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice: either abandon its destructive behavior or continue down the path toward economic disaster.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions are “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He has issued a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet to get the sanctions lifted that include an end to its support for terrorism and military engagement in Syria and a halt to nuclear and ballistic missile development. He said US allies such as Turkey, Italy, India, Japan and South Korea will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products as they move to end such imports entirely.

But proponents as well as the other parties to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — have vehemently defended it. The Europeans have mounted a drive to save the agreement without the US, fearing that the new sanctions will drive Iran to pull out and resume all of its nuclear work.

This photo from March 12, 2017, shows a an Iranian oil facility on Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

Friday’s announcement comes just days before congressional midterm elections in the US, allowing Trump to highlight his decision to withdraw from the deal — a move that was popular among Republicans.

Washington says it wants a new deal with Iran, curtailing its regional interventions and missile program — demands which have been flatly rejected by Tehran.

 

European signatories to Iran nuclear deal condemn new US sanctions

November 3, 2018

Source: European signatories to Iran nuclear deal condemn new US sanctions | The Times of Israel

France, UK, Germany and EU ‘deeply regret’ American measures, call accord ‘essential for the security of Europe, the region and the whole world’

From left, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pose for a photo during a meeting of the foreign ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, on May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)

From left, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pose for a photo during a meeting of the foreign ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, on May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)

PARIS — France, Germany, Britain and the European Union issued a joint condemnation Friday of the US move to place fresh sanctions on the Iranian economy, vowing to protect European companies doing “legitimate” business with Tehran.

“We deeply regret the reimposition of sanctions by the United States stemming from their withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the statement said in reference to the hard-fought 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Struck between world powers and Tehran after years of fraught negotiations, the deal was aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for sanctions relief.

But US President Donald Trump announced in May that he was walking away from the deal and would reimpose sanctions, leaving the EU scrambling to protect companies that have forged trade links with Iran.

US President Donald Trump is flanked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, as he speaks during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Friday’s statement from EU nations defended the deal as “essential for the security of Europe, the region and the whole world.”

“Our objective is to protect European economic actors involved in legitimate commercial trade with Iran,” it added.

Europe will also seek to “maintain financial channels operational with Iran and to ensure the continuation of Iranian oil and gas exports,” it said.

US officials said Friday that Washington was adding 700 individuals and entities to its Iran blacklist and pressuring the global SWIFT banking network to cut off Tehran when expanded sanctions are put in place next week.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions were aimed at getting Tehran to halt its nuclear activities and what the US says is broad support for terrorism in the region.

The EU says 12 consecutive reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency show that Iran has stuck to the terms of the deal.

 

US reimposes all sanctions on Iran lifted under nuclear deal 

November 3, 2018

Source: US reimposes all sanctions on Iran lifted under nuclear deal | The Times of Israel

Pompeo says new measures aimed at forcing Tehran to give up ‘its well-documented outlaw activities,’ grants temporary waivers to 8 countries

This image taken from the Twitter account of President Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump, shows what looks like a movie-style poster that takes creative inspiration from the TV series 'Game of Thrones' to announce the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran.  Trump tweeted a photo of himself with the words 'Sanctions are Coming' Nov. 5. The US sanctions on Iran had been lifted under a 2015 nuclear pact, but they are taking effect on Monday.  (Donald J. Trump Twitter account via AP)

This image taken from the Twitter account of President Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump, shows what looks like a movie-style poster that takes creative inspiration from the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ to announce the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran. Trump tweeted a photo of himself with the words ‘Sanctions are Coming’ Nov. 5. The US sanctions on Iran had been lifted under a 2015 nuclear pact, but they are taking effect on Monday. (Donald J. Trump Twitter account via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, ramping up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic as President Donald Trump completed the unraveling of what had been one of his predecessor’s signature foreign policy achievements.

The sanctions, which will take effect on Monday, cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors and are the second batch the administration has reimposed since Trump withdrew from the landmark accord in May. The rollback ends US participation in the nuclear deal, which now hangs in the balance as Iran no longer enjoys any relief from sanctions imposed by the world’s largest economy.

Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted a movie poster-like image of himself walking out of what appears to be fog with the phrase “Sanctions are Coming, November 5.”

With limited exceptions, the sanctions will hit countries that do not stop importing Iranian oil and foreign firms that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including its central bank, a number of private financial institutions, and state-run port and shipping firms, as well as hundreds of individual Iranian officials.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions are “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He has issued a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted. Those include ending support for terrorism and military engagement in Syria and a complete halt to its nuclear and ballistic missile development.

“Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country,” Pompeo told reporters in a conference call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Maximum pressure means maximum pressure.”

Pompeo said eight nations will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as they move to end such imports entirely. He said those countries, which other officials said would include US allies such as Turkey, Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, had made efforts to eliminate their imports but could not complete the task by Monday.

The waivers, expected to be announced Monday, will be valid for six months, during which time the importing country can buy Iranian oil but must deposit Iran’s revenue in an escrow account. Iran can spend the money but only on a narrow range of humanitarian items. Pompeo said two of the eight countries would wind down imports to zero within weeks.

Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions rolls. Those, he said, would include more than 300 that had not been included under previous sanctions.

“We are sending a very clear message with our maximum pressure campaign: that the US intends to aggressively enforce our sanctions,” he said.

In this photo from November 17, 2007, a worker repairs a part of a unit of the Tehran oil refinery, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran hawks in Congress and elsewhere were likely to be disappointed in the sanctions as they had been pushing for no oil import waivers as well as the complete disconnection of Iran from the main international financial messaging network known as SWIFT.

One group that has been highly critical of the deal welcomed the new sanctions but said there should be no exceptions.

“We encourage the Trump administration to fulfill the promise of a maximum pressure campaign — no exceptions — until Iran permanently and verifiably changes its behavior,” United Against a Nuclear Iran said in a statement. “Oil and gas firms, including those from friendly countries like India, South Korea and Japan, should not be granted sanctions waivers. Similarly, financial entities — including SWIFT — must sever ties with Iranian banks and financial institutions.”

Mnuchin defended the decision to allow some Iranian banks to remain connected to SWIFT, saying that the Belgium-based firm had been warned that it will face penalties if sanctioned institutions are permitted to use it. And, he said that US regulators would be watching closely Iranian transactions that use SWIFT to ensure any that run afoul of US sanctions would be punished.

Pompeo, meanwhile, defended the oil waivers, saying US efforts to cut Iran’s petroleum revenue had already been successful. He noted that since May, when the US began to press countries to stop buying Iranian oil, Iran’s exports had dropped by more than 1 million barrels per day.

Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.

Then-US Secretary of State John Kerry with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif April 19, 2016, at the United Nations in New York. (AFP/Don Emmert)

The 2015 nuclear deal, one of former president Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements, gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, which many believed it was using to develop atomic weapons. Trump repeatedly denounced the agreement as the “worst ever” negotiated by the United States and vowed to withdraw from it during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump and other critics of the deal said it gave Iran too much in return for too little, allowed Iran to gradually resume nuclear activity that could eventually be used for weapons development and did not address any of the country’s other problematic activities.

Obama-era officials as well as the other parties to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — have vehemently defended it. The Europeans have mounted a drive to save the agreement from the US withdrawal, fearing that the new sanctions will drive Iran to pull out and resume all of its nuclear work.

 

Iran inaugurates production line of local fighter jets ahead of US sanctions

November 3, 2018

Source: Iran inaugurates production line of local fighter jets ahead of US sanctions | The Times of Israel

Defense minister says domestically made Kowsar aircraft symbolizes Islamic Republic’s battle against ‘global ‘arrogance’ led by the US

Iran's Kowsar fighter jet. (Twitter screen capture)

Iran’s Kowsar fighter jet. (Twitter screen capture)

Iran on Saturday inaugurated the production line of its domestically produced fighter jet, a day after the Trump administration announced the reimposition of remaining US sanctions on Tehran to ramp up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami said the production line highlighted the capabilities of Iranian experts despite “sanctions by enemies,” according to state-run news outlet Press TV.

Hatami said inaugurating production of the Kowsar fighter was “the very symbol of fighting the [global] arrogance and standing against the excessive demands of the imperial system, which is being led by the Great Satan, the United States.”

Speaking at an industrial complex in the Isfahan province, Hatami added that the “fourth-generation” fighter, with “advanced maneuvering capability” and multi-purpose radar would be service the entire Iranian Air Force “soon.”

Hatamui’s announcement comes days before the US sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal were set to be reimposed on the Islamic Republic. The sanctions take effect Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors. They are the second batch the administration has reimposed since Trump withdrew from the international accord in May.

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Mark Pyruz@INTELonIRAN
The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s regional rivals, and says the reimposition of the crippling sanctions is a bid to force Tehran to end its military deployments and support for militias in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the region.

Iran unveiled the Kowsar fighter in August, but analysts quickly noted similarities between the Iranian jet and the American F-5 fighter, made by Northrop-Grumman in the 1950s, and expressed doubts that the plane was actually new.

At the time, state TV said the Kowsar had already been through successful testing and showed footage of the plane on the runway, though the broadcast stopped before the plane took off.

The F-5 was sold to Iran in the 1960s and first entered operation in the Iranian Imperial Air Force in 1965. In the West, the F-5 line of jets is mostly used for training purposes.

Iran has already used the F-5 platform — and, some observers suggest, actual parts from its aging fleet of non-flying F-5s — to develop its newer jets. The Saeqeh, first flown in 2004, was one such plane.

In 2013, Iran unveiled its “first,” domestically-made fighter jet, the Qaher F313, but it was quickly derided by numerous experts in the West who said the plane was actually a plastic model, and was unable to fly.