[PHOTO] Iran-Iraq Border: Iranian Female Students Play Around an Abandoned Tank in Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran

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‘There are relics left along the Iran-Iraq boarders. A group of Iranian female students play around an abandoned tank [in Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran]. Among them, one girl stands on the tank with her arms open.’ (Yanan Li / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest)

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Source: Winners of 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest


Why Are They Cheering in Tehran?

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Frederick Kagan writes: The nuclear agreement with Iran announced Tuesday is an astoundingly good deal, far surpassing the hopes of anyone . . . in Tehran. It requires Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges enriching uranium by about half, to sell most of its current uranium stockpile or “downblend” it to lower levels of enrichment, and to accept inspections (whose precise nature is yet to be specified) by the International Atomic Energy Agency, something that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had wanted to avoid.

“The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation.”

But the agreement also permits Iran to phase out the first-generation centrifuges on which it now relies and focus its research and development by exclusively using a number of advanced centrifuge models many times more efficient, which has been Tehran’s plan all along. The deal will also entirely end the United Nations’ involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 10 years, and in 15 years will lift most restrictions on the program.

“Experts will debate the value of the concessions Iran has made on the nuclear front, but the value to Iran of the concessions the U.S. has made on nonnuclear issues is immeasurable.”

Even that, though, is not Tehran’s biggest win. The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation. Most of the sanctions are likely to end in a few months. Thus the agreement ensures that after a short delay Iran will be able to lay the groundwork for a large nuclear arsenal and, in the interim, expand its conventional military capabilities as much as the regime pleases. The supreme leader should be very proud of his team.

“The Obama administration seems to be betting that lifting sanctions will cause Iran to moderate its behavior in both nuclear and nonnuclear matters. The rhetoric and actions of the regime’s leaders provide little evidence to support this notion and much evidence to the contrary.”

The agreement consists of 159 pages of opaque prose, and key sections are referred to but are not clearly marked. Even figuring out the timeline embodied in the deal is hard, but it appears to run about as follows:

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

“Finalization Day” was July 14. The agreement stipulates that a resolution will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council “promptly after the conclusion of the negotiations . . . for adoption without delay” that will “terminate” all preceding U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran. The document doesn’t mention the 60-day window for review by the U.S. Congress, and the language in this section suggests that action in the U.N. will not await any congressional vote. Read the rest of this entry »


Israel and Saudi Arabia Present United Front over Iran Deal

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Iran’s enemies unsettled by its deal with the West, but Bashar al-Assad of Syria says it is ‘a great victory’

 writes: The nuclear deal with Iran caused fury in Israel and consternation around the region at the likely increase in influence and resources of a newly enriched Iran.

Most telling was the loudest expression of support. “I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a message to his Iranian opposite number, Hassan Rouhani.

“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu during an earlier, tense press conference (Reuters)

Israel and the Sunni Arab world have set aside old grievances to stand together against the West’s engagement with Iran.

The more strident denunciations came from Israel, which regards Iran as a direct threat. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said the country would not be bound by what he called a “stunning historic mistake”.

“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran,” he said in a televised address hours after the conclusion of the accord. “Iran continues to seek our destruction and we will defend ourselves.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Mr Netanyahu, who had condemned the deal even before it had been announced, said its terms failed to achieve the goal of denying Iran the capacity to build a nuclear bomb while, by lifting sanctions, enabled its theocratic rulers to increase their support for groups Israel considers terrorists.

“The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly as Iran’s President Rouhani said today – the international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear programme,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Kultur av Korruption: Clinton Foundation’s Sweden Fundraising Arm Cashed In as Stockholm Lobbied Hillary on Sanctions

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Söt kontanter: The William J. Clinton Foundation’s Swedish Entity Insamlingsstiftelse was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials

John Solomon and Kelly Riddell report: Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.
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“As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. Clinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.”

The Swedish entity, called the William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse, was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials, even though one of its largest sources of donations was a Swedish government-sanctioned lottery.

[Read the full text here, at Washington Times]

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“Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran.”

— A 2009 cable alert to Mrs. Clinton’s office in Washington

As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. PANTSUIT-REPORTClinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.

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“Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran” and believes “more stringent financial standards could hurt Swedish exports,” one such cable from 2009 alerted Mrs. Clinton’s office in Washington…(read more)

Washington Times

 


Iran Unveils New Ground-Based Cruise Missile System

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Iran unveils newly developed long range cruise missile called Soumar that looks like a reverse engineered KH-55

“Soumar long-range ground-to-ground cruise missile system has been designed and built by experts of the defense ministry’s aerospace industries organization,” Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan told reporters after the unveiling ceremony.

“The designing and building of this weapon whose navigation and propulsion systems and its structure enjoy complicated and new technologies is seen as a wide stride taken to enhance the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defensive and deterrence power,” he added.

Dehqan also announced the mass delivery of Qadr and Qiyam long-range ballistic missiles to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Aerospace Force, and said these missiles are capable of destroying IMAGE635614086663178000different types of targets under any type of conditions due to their tactical capability, sustainability in the battleground and radar-evading features.

He also announced that the defense ministry will deliver upgraded versions of these long-range and high-precision missiles to the Iranian military forces next year.

Also during the ceremony, IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh hailed Iran’s advancements in missile technology under the harshest sanctions imposed on the country, and underlined that Iran will never allow its defense program and cruise missiles become a topic in its negotiations with the world powers.

The Iranian Armed Forces have recently test-fired different types of newly-developed missiles and torpedoes and tested a large number of home-made weapons, tools and equipment, including submarines, military ships, artillery, choppers, aircrafts, UAVs and air defense and electronic systems, during massive military drills.

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Defense analysts and military observers say that Iran’s wargames and its advancements in weapons production have proved as a deterrent factor.

Iran successfully tested second generation of Sejjil missiles and brought it into mass production in 2013.

Sejjil missiles are considered as the third generation of Iran-made long-range missiles.

Also, Iran’s 2000km-range, liquid-fuel, Qadr F ballistic missile can reach territories as far as Israel. Read the rest of this entry »