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by
Bridget Johnson

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January 20, 2014 - 2:15 pm

The Obama administration hailed the first day of the interim nuclear agreement with Iran while quietly chiding Tehran over an invitation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the Islamic Republic to join Geneva talks on Syria.

Syrian opposition figures threatened to pull out of the talks and the U.S. said Iran needs to endorse the end of Assad’s rule in favor of a power-sharing transitional administration. Both parties also oppose Iran’s continued supplying of arms and other support to Bashar Assad’s regime.

“Today, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran has taken the initial specific steps it committed to on or by January 20th, as part of the Joint Plan of Action between the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, coordinated by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton), and Iran. As a result, implementation of the Joint Plan of Action will begin today,” White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement this morning.

“Specifically, the IAEA has verified in a written report and subsequent briefing for P5+1 technical experts, that Iran has, among other things, stopped producing 20% enriched uranium, has disabled the configuration of the centrifuge cascades Iran has been using to produce it, has begun diluting its existing stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, and has not installed additional centrifuges at Natanz or Fordow.  These actions represent the first time in nearly a decade that Iran has verifiably enacted measures to halt progress on its nuclear program, and roll it back in key respects.  Iran has also begun to provide the IAEA with increased transparency into the Iranian nuclear program, through more frequent and intrusive inspections and the expanded provision of information to the IAEA.  Taken together, these concrete actions represent an important step forward,” Carney continued.

But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) recently stressed that Iran has continued construction at the Arak heavy water reactor, has built additional centrifuges and admitted it has more than originally disclosed, and fired a rocket into space and showcased long-range ballistic missile capability. The Iranian parliament is also weighing a bill to increase uranium up to 60 percent, and the Iranian walkout from negotiations when the Treasury Department blacklisted 19 companies for evading sanctions last month demonstrated the regime’s “customary bluff-and-bluster techniques.”

Iran stressed that the P5+1 agreement let them proceed with their “new generation” centrifuges for “research purposes.”

“In reciprocation for Iran’s concrete actions, the United States and its P5+1 partners – the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union -  will today follow through on our commitment to begin to provide the modest relief agreed to with Iran.  At the same time, we will continue our aggressive enforcement of the sanctions measures that will remain in place throughout this six-month period,” Carney said.

“Following the actions taken today, the P5+1, EU, and Iran will also begin the process of negotiating a long-term, comprehensive solution that seeks to address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The United States remains committed to using strong and disciplined diplomacy to reach a peaceful resolution that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said today is anything but a milestone.

“The U.S. now begins suspending its sanctions against Iran in return for limited nuclear concessions,” Royce said. “While the positive economic impact on Iran will go beyond this relief, as foreign investors are rushing in, our leverage over Iran shrinks. Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear program continues.”

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman left for Geneva today to launch the next round of talks.

“These actions today are significant steps in our efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “The coming negotiation to reach a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of the international community’s concerns will be even more complex, and we go into it clear-eyed about the difficulties ahead. But today’s events have made clear that we have an unprecedented opportunity to see if we can resolve this most pressing national security concern peacefully. That remains our goal, and that is our challenge ahead.”

Yesterday, though, Psaki was expressing concern about Iran’s underhanded actions in backing the Assad regime in a statement about the UN’s extension of an invitation to Tehran for the Syria talks.

“The United States views the UN Secretary General’s invitation to Iran to attend the upcoming Geneva conference as conditioned on Iran’s explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva communique including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities. This is something Iran has never done publicly and something we have long made clear is required,” Psaki said.

“We also remain deeply concerned about Iran’s contributions to the Assad regime’s brutal campaign against its own people, which has contributed to the growth of extremism and instability in the region. If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique, the invitation must be rescinded.”

“We accept no precondition for participating in the Geneva II [conference] and, based on the official invitation, Iran will take part in the conference without preconditions,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.

Badr Addin Jamous, the secretary general of the Syrian Coalition, said he believes Russia put pressure on the UN to invite Iran “to foil the conference.”

“We cannot sit with the Iranians at the negotiating table because they have been taking part in the killing of the Syrian people,” Jamous said.

Ban withdrew the offer later on Monday, with his spokesman saying the UN secretary-general “continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva communiqué.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Who would ever have thought that an American president would allow the Iranians to build the bomb - and actually nurture them along? You just can't make this kind of crap up.

There is no doubt in my mind that this action is the manifestation of a personal hatred of Israel - and of Jews. Did some Jewish kid beat him up when he was young?

When the time comes this German-American will stand with Israel when the chips are down. If Zero wants to drone my ass I'll phone in the coordinates.

Does this make me a racist?

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (9)
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my Aunty Amelia recently got a fantastic gold BMW 3 Series Wagon by working parttime at home... visit the site >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>http://goo.gl/ir34zP
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
my classmate's mother-in-law makes $69 every hour on the computer . She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $12329 just working on the computer for a few hours. straight from the source.......
w­w­w.J­o­b­s8­4.C­o­m
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything this administration does is backwards and contrary to common sense. Inferring that an Islamic dictatorship is a strong and disciplined democracy seems to be par for this group. Allowing Iran to get neclear weapons will be the crowning disaster of this inept administration. In less than five years Obama has turned this country from being a world power into the laughing stock of the world.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
You must have missed the part where the State Department said that this was unprecedented. That means double-plus good in this administration's vernacular . . .
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I could find was "Disciplined diplomacy". I had assumed the Regime (Obama"s) had actually called Iran a democracy.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Barry, Kerry and Harry
A wimp, a simp and a pimp.

They have combined to put Iran on a trajectory to become the counterweight to pro-Western democracy in the Middle East.

The abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan, the clear jackpotting of Israel and the student body left end sweep around Congress, tees up Iran to do absolutely nothing but take gobs of cash and pretend to comply while they conduct "research".

It is quite clear from a lifetime surrounded by virulent Jew haters, many of whom don't even attempt to hide behind "Zionist" faux "distinctions", Obama is painting Israel into a corner.

We now don't need to see the tape that the LA Times has taken hostage. We know what's on it. Obama revealing his inner Khalidi/Abunimah.

Having already taken down America's leverage several notches, he is looking to complete the gambit by weakening Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This makes Russia, Iran and Valerie Jarrett very happy.

Tell the LA Times their work is done.

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who would ever have thought that an American president would allow the Iranians to build the bomb - and actually nurture them along? You just can't make this kind of crap up.

There is no doubt in my mind that this action is the manifestation of a personal hatred of Israel - and of Jews. Did some Jewish kid beat him up when he was young?

When the time comes this German-American will stand with Israel when the chips are down. If Zero wants to drone my ass I'll phone in the coordinates.

Does this make me a racist?

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Disciplined democracy". Pick one.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. StrangeObama and how he learned to love the Iranian Bomb.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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