In a scoop, Foreign Policy is reporting that the US has accused Iran of secretly breaching U.N. nuclear sanctions:
The United States has privately accused Iran of going on an international shopping spree to acquire components for a heavy-water reactor that American officials have long feared could be used in the production of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium.
A U.S. delegation informed a U.N. Security Council panel of experts monitoring Iranian sanctions in recent months that Iranian procurement agents have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment for the IR-40 research reactor at the Arak nuclear complex.
The American allegations, which have never before been reported, come more than a year after the Iranian government pledged as part of an interim agreement with the United States and other big powers to scale back Iran’s most controversial nuclear-related activities, including the enrichment of high-grade uranium, in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. They stand in stark contrast to recent remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, who has repeatedly credited Tehran with abiding by the terms of the November 2013 pact, which bound Tehran to suspend some of its work at Arak. “Iran has held up its end of the bargain,” Kerry said last month in Vienna as he announced a seven-month extension of the timetable for big-power talks.
Kerry has some explaining to do to Congress.
This video going viral on Facebook was sent to me by Robert Eisenman, the esteemed Dead Sea scholar, who pointed out that the mood of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) is wildly different than in previous wars. In Hollywood, you would say, “This time it’s personal.” In Israel, you would say, “This time it’s Biblical.”
Shades of King David. Watch this video.
(Thumbnail on Tatler homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)
In honor of the wrteched Bashar Assad and all his equally disgusting enemies at Al Nusra. Oh, What a Lovely War:
You think chemical weapons are bad, just wait for Iranian nukes. (Obama, are you listening? Sorry, no.)
Yes, according to a former Muslim Brotherhood official, Egypt’s General al-Sisi is a “member of the tribe” and is acting according to – what else – The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Don’t believe me? See it all on this video from Al Gorezeera as recorded by the invaluable MEMRI.
(h/t: Dan Friedman)
The headline “MYSTERY: Nation’s Debt Unchanged – for 87th Straight Day?!” is at the coveted upper left of the Drudge Report at this writing. According to CNS:
The Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service (FMS), which publishes both the federal government’s official Daily Treasury Statement and its official Monthly Treasury Statement, is reporting that in July the federal government ran a deficit of $98 billion but that the federal government’s debt remained exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for the entire month. –
But a mouse click away at the website U.S. National Debt Clock, it’s business as usual, the debt moving as ever at a breakneck pace toward 17 trillion.
Could somebody be lying to us? Or covering up?
They should do a better job.
I bet you thought the self-respecting jihadist had to wait until the afterlife to bed (or cloud) down with a bevy of virgins. Not so, according to our good friends at the ever-useful Daily Mail:
At least 13 Tunisian girls reportedly travelled to rebel-held Northern Syria to offer themselves as sex workers to opposition fighters.
The report comes as concerns in Tunisia grow about religious orders or ‘fatwas’ that have circulated the internet calling on women to perform jihad through sex.
Last week, a Tunisian minister of religious affairs appealed to girls not to be influenced by Islamic preachers outside of Tunisia who, it has been reported, made a number of ‘sexual fatwas’.
Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected ‘sexual jihad’ fatwas, urging Tunisian people and state institutions to not respond to them.
Tunisian newspapers reported that a young Tunisian man divorced his wife, and that they both headed to Syria almost a month ago to ‘allow her to engage in sexual jihad with the mujahideen’ there.
Sounds like a new form of three-way, but never mind. The real question is WHICH rebels are getting the jihadist nook – the Islamists or the moderates? Excuse me for being cynical, but this seems, once again, another blow for extremism.
From The Guardian:
Stephen Hawking‘s decision to boycott an Israeli conference in protest at the state’s 46-year occupation of Palestine was derided as hypocritical by some, who pointed out that the celebrated scientist and author uses Israeli technology in the computer equipment that allows him to function.
Hawking, 71, has suffered from motor neurone disease for the past 50 years, and relies on a computer-based system to communicate.
“Hawking’s decision to join the boycott of Israel is quite hypocritical for an individual who prides himself on his whole intellectual accomplishment. His whole computer-based communications system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. I suggest if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin.
Attorney Darshan-Leitner is a contributor to PJMedia.
The brave Mamba smiles for the camera as he heads into surgery only hours after draining two threes and then rupturing his Achilles tendon, ending his season and undoubtedly the narrow playoff hopes of the once mighty Los Angeles Lakers. Will this incredible athlete – easily one of the most popular in the world for years despite his many detractors – come back after this? Think human mortality, the lives of heroes and, yes, Achilles himself.
Here’s what Kobe himself had to say on Facebook at 3:30AM this morning:
This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me…Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake.
Forgive my Venting but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn Achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.
“If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear.” I’ve always loved that quote. That’s “mamba mentality” – we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.
I know it’s a long post but I’m Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge.
Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.
UPDATE ON ABOVE: Isn’t it interesting how many of the truly great athletes are really smart? Ever listen to Roger Federer talk?
— khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2013
.@khamenei_irBoogie, boogie, boogie!
— Roger Simon (@rogerlsimon) March 21, 2013
Read the first two graphs of the latest Associated Press dispatch by Julie Pace and Matthew Lee from Obama’s trip to Israel:
President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned appeal Thursday for Israel to recognize that compromise will be necessary to achieve lasting security and to take steps to reverse an “undertow” of international isolation that is worsened by its failure to make peace with the Palestinians. Militants again underscored Israel’s vulnerability by firing rockets into a southern border town.
Obama declared anew that Israeli expansion of housing settlements in disputed territory only hinders chances for fruitful negotiations with the Palestinians, but he did not say as he has in the past that they must be halted.
First of all, the militants did hardly anything of significance, but ignore that for the moment. Also, leave aside the tedious pieties about the necessity of compromise. When was it not necessary? The real bombshell is in the second paragraph, not in the first where it belonged. Obama did not say settlement construction must cease.
I am privy to absolutely no inside information on this, but that is a rather amazing omission, considering it comes from Barack Obama. Has he learned from his own recent history when Israel stopped such construction for nine months in the hopes the Palestinians would negotiate — and they didn’t?
Maybe he is beginning to understand what many of us long realized — that the Palestinians do not want a two-state solution. If they did, they would have had a state of their own years ago. The parameters of a compromise have been known literally for decades, down to the street.
Paradoxically, anyone who truly wants a two-state solution would turn their backs on the Palestinians until they actually do something about it. Tough love. Who knows if they would understand it, but nothing else has worked.
More from Roger: I Exchange Tweets with Ayatollah Khamenei
Well, not nobody, but pretty close. According to The Hill:
Environmental groups gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Sunday and marched on the White House for a climate change rally largely aimed at pressuring President Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
Organizers said 35,000 activists attended the rally, where speakers portrayed the battle over the pipeline as a struggle between grassroots green groups and deep-pocketed special interests.
35,000? That’s a pathetic number in a country of 313,914,040, according to the most recent U. S. Census. And that’s the number being bandied about by the organizers. We all know they usually exaggerate. The reality is probably closer to 10,000, but who cares? It’s negligible either way.
If this is supposed to be a rallying moment against the Keystone pipeline, it’s hardly impressive. As one who used to consider himself an environmentalist, I think the Green movement is getting increasingly reactionary and anti-science. Ironically, Exxon is more likely to make real progress for cleaner energy than all the Green groups combined and squared. The Greens are now no more than stalking horses for socialism (Van Jones!) and, when it comes to scientific innovation, socialism is bad news (Lysenko!).
Iranians from Ayatollah Khamenei on down have been insisting for years that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but a major Iranian official essentially denied all that today, making clear that Iran’s nuclear intentions are military:
Last week, Reuters reported world powers were planning to offer to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other precious metals with Iran in return for steps to shut down Fordow [underground uranium enrichment].
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, referred to the reported offer on Sunday and dismissed any idea of a closure, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.
“Fordow will never be shut down because … our national duty is to be able to defend our nuclear and vital centers against an enemy threat,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by the agency.
“This suggestion (shutting down Fordow) is meant to help the Zionist regime (Israel),” he added.
“Enemy threat?” Unless Boroujerdi is referring to some mysterious Israeli plot to interfere with Iranian cancer treatments, what he is clearly saying is that the purpose of Fordow is to supply material for nuclear weapons.
Most people already suspected this, but the Iranians are evidently no longer bothering to hide it.
While Al Gore — who recently gained 100 million personally from the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera — may be laughing all the way to the bank, as the saying goes, reporters have been fleeing the once supposedly unbiased Qatar-based network in droves. Reason? It’s turning into a propaganda station. From Spiegel Online:
Since the Arab Spring, though, many former dissidents have risen to power across the region — and these fledgling leaders often show little respect for democratic principles. Al-Jazeera, however, has shamelessly fawned upon the new rulers.
Today, when Egyptians protest against President Mohammad Morsi and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Jazeera is often critical of them, in the style of the old pro-government TV station. Conversely, according to ex-correspondent Suliman, Al-Jazeera executives have ordered that Morsi’s decrees should be portrayed as pearls of wisdom. “Such a dictatorial approach would have been unthinkable before,” he says. “In Egypt we have become the palace broadcaster for Morsi.”
This is rather surprising considering that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar and financier of the network, used to ban such blatant influence peddling. The walls of the TV station’s modern headquarters in Doha are decorated with quotations from free-thinkers like Bob Dylan and Mahatma Gandhi.
What? No quotations from Chairman Al?
Maybe the better question would be is the entire Islamic Middle East mentally ill? But never mind. From the JPost:
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday slammed both Israel for reported strikes in Syria earlier in the week, as well as Syria for its failure to respond to the attacks, Turkish daily The Hurriyet reported.
“Why didn’t [Syrian President Bashar] Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?” The Hurriyet quoted Davutoglu as saying.
He further suggested that Assad’s inaction was due to “a secret agreement” with Israel and vowed that Turkey would not sit still in the face of an Israel attack on any Muslim country.
BTW, I am not going to reveal any of my own “secret agreements” – but I may have them. (doo-doo-doo-doo….)
You would think so, considering the former mighty Soviet Union’s namby-pamby response to yesterday’s Israeli air force attack on a target or targets inside Syria. Via Reuters:
“If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Unacceptable, you say? My word, sir. I will take that under advisement. Meanwhile, the world knows what Israel had in mind with its attack – sending a message to Assad, Hezbollah and the mullahs that their Russian armaments and chemical weapons should stay in their closets or else.
As for the onetime Bear, well, growl-growl but that’s about it. I doubt they want to tangle with the IAF and now everyone knows it.
It’s been a while (1960) since the late Natalie Wood and Bob Wagner made their iconic film – All the Fine Young Cannibals- but not to fear. Other more contemporary sources are taking up the flesh-eating cudgel, which has even made the curriculum at Cairo’s Al -Azhar University – Islam’s premier educational institution – where we learn cannibalism is A-okay… as long as you’re eating non-muslims. From Walid Shoebat’s blog:
In a recent video interview, one Egyptian scholar exposed the high school curriculum coming from Al-Azhar university, the most reputable of all Islamic schools, showing that it condoned cannibalizing non-Muslims:
We allowed the eating of the flesh of dead humans… under necessary conditions. It [dead human flesh] must not be cooked or grilled to avoid Haram (wrongdoing) …and he can kill a murtadd (apostate) and eat him
The interviewer commented:
The book that is being taught to general high-school students mentions that those who don’t pray can be grilled & then eaten
More at the Shoebat link including a video of the professor explaining this “wisdom.” (Are we actually giving F-16s to these people?)
The ink is barely dry on Al Gore’s 100 million dollar personal profit on the sale of worthless Current TV to Al Jazeera, when the former Veep turned climate huckster has made another killing, this time on Apple stock. According to Apple Insider, Gore, a board member since 2003, bought 59 thousand shares of Apple yesterday at the board member’s price of $7.475, a total purchase price of $441,000. Meanwhile, to the rest of us outsiders, Apple was selling at $502.68 a share or a cool $29,658,120 for Gore’s haul.
Who says the Apple stock doesn’t fall far from the tree? And by the way, in case you missed it, Al Gore is now richer than Mitt Romney.
Special thanks to Hugh who is my favorite interviewer and talk show host.
Barack Obama will apparently be nominating Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, for Secretary of Defense tomorrow. Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., a psychotherapist, explains what it means:
The compelling question for today is: Why does Obama want Hagel as defense secretary? Fresh from his reelection triumph, Obama can appoint almost anyone he wants and the Democratic-controlled Senate will approve almost any nomination.
Obama, after all, credits himself with reversing the official ban on gays serving in the military. (Gays and lesbians always did serve in the military; they were not allowed to openly acknowledge their sexual orientation, until recently.) Why in the world would the leftist Obama go out of his way to choose an anti-gay Republican?
The answer lies in why so many conservative Republicans oppose Hagel’s nomination. The answer lies in Hagel’s views on foreign policy and defense—specifically, Iran, Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
Hagel is on record as opposed to unilateral sanctions against Iran, a country whose government denies the existence of the Holocaust and pledges to wipe Israel “off the map” once it acquires nuclear weapons to do so.
In 2009, Hagel appealed to the newly elected President Obama to open direct negotiations with Hamas, the infamous anti-Israeli terrorist group.
Hagel, who served as president and CEO of the World USO from 1987 to 1990, expressed intense opposition to the USO Haifa Center during a tumultuous 1989 meeting with Jewish leaders, according to multiple sources involved in the fight to keep the post open.
“He said to me, ‘Let the Jews pay for it’,” said Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which led the battle to keep USO Haifa operational. (Source: Commentary magazine online, 1/4/13)
More at the link.
Meanwhile, the Hagel nomination provides an opportunity for the Republicans to expose the true intentions of Obama’s foreign policy.
How stupid is Chuck Hagel? Pretty stupid, I’d say – stupid enough to have bought the Iraq War for Oil canard, apparently. From the Weekly Standard:
In a post yesterday waxing enthusiastic about Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, Michael Moore called attention to a statement of Hagel that I don’t believe had been previously much noted. Here it is, from September 2007:
“People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are,” said the Republican Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel to law students of Catholic University last September. “They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.”
He also makes bigoted statements about gays and Jews – just the guy for Secretary of Defense.
PREDICTION: With Kerry at State and Hagel at Defense, Obama will be far more dangerous (and free to do what he wants) in the foreign policy area than the economy.
Some people have had enough of “Ho-ho-ho!” We all know that Old Saint Nick has been under assault by aggressive secularists – and not just by those atheist Uncle Scrooges in Santa Monica. Ruthie Blum writes of this on Xmas day from the perspective of an American Israeli:
Today, so many decades later, Christmas is under assault, even in America, of all places. Who could have predicted that it would become a symbol of “offense” to those who do not celebrate it? Who could have understood that the fall of the shah of Iran and the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 would be the turning point for Christians the world over?
As Jews, we always knew what that was like, though we didn’t expect that the worst anti-Semitism was going to arise from the marriage of radical Islam to the Left (a subject on which Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a chilling book).
Egg nogs first, perhaps, but read the whole thing on Israel Hayom.
Sometimes I think Alan Dershowitz is so politically schizophrenic he deserves a diagnosis title of his own in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM – Dershowitzophrenia.
Today the Harvard Law professor has an excellent article in NRO (one wonders if he offered it first to the NYT, WaPo, etc.) taking President Obama to task for his potential nomination of Chuck Hagel for SecDef. Given Hagel’s record on Iran (not even branding the Republican Guard as terrorists, etc.), Dershowitz correctly states the former senator’s appointment would send a message to the mullahs that the administration is not serious in their threat of using force to prevent the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons.
But, hello…. What kind of person would Obama nominate for SecDef and what does the president himself really think about Iran? The professor surely recalls Obama’s extraordinary indifference when the demonstrators in the streets of Tehran cried out for the president’s support.
It’s perfectly natural and predictable Obama would want a Hagel — or someone like him — at Defense. Where was Dershowitz? Ignoring what everyone else knew?
And it’s not just Defense. Who would Obama nominate for the even more important secretary of State? If he can’t get the prevaricating Susan Rice, a mindlessly progressive bloviating Assad apologist like John Kerry will be just the ticket.
No one but a certain Harvard professor and consistent public supporter of Barack Obama would be surprised.
BTW, the American Psychiatric Association has announced its Fifth Edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will appear next May. Dershowitizophrenia anyone?
More from Powerline’s Scott Johnson.
From The Corner: “On al-Jadeed TV, geopolitical analyst Dr Taleb Ibrahim debates the future of Syria with Lebanese Member of Parliament Khaled al-Dhaher:
Shut up, you ape..! My shoe and my urine are more dignified than you… We will crush you like cockroaches!
If I were the new programmer at poor doomed CNN, I’d be suggesting David Gergen try that line on Wolf Blitzer.”
Michael Solomon over at The Daily Beast has assembled a great list of YouTube Chanukah songs including works from the familiar (Adam Sandler) to the less familiar (Darlene Love with THAT VOICE). My favorite, the late-great Tom Lehrer… but check them all out at the link. Just fab.
And, course, Happy Chanukah (or is it Hannukah?) to all!
We are beginning to doubt whether Bashar Assad is a genuine reformer. Our latest clue comes from NBC News, which reported yesterday that “the Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from [dictator] Assad.”
As of yesterday, “the nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs,” which “could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers,” according to the NBC report. “U.S. officials stressed that as of now, the sarin bombs hadn’t been loaded onto planes and that Assad hadn’t issued a final order to use them.” Well, that’s a relief. Or not: “If he does [give the order], one of the officials said, ‘there’s little the outside world can do to stop it.’ ”
The international community is responding. “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad urging him not to use chemical weapons,” Reuters reports. Ban told the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that “any use of such weapons would be an outrageous crime with dire consequences.” Who knows, Moon may get angry enough to write a second letter.
This seems as good a time as any to mention the Walter Duranty Awards, a brand-new journalism prize for whose inaugural dinner in October this columnist served as master of ceremonies. Winning first prize, edging out CBS’s Bob Simon and What’s Left of Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan, were Anna Wintour of Vogue and writer Joan Buck, for a March 2011 cover story titled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.”
More at the Taranto link. And more here.
A Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran was shut down last month to limit any damage after stray bolts were found beneath the fuel cells, a Russian nuclear industry source said on Friday.
The explanation for the shutdown of the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr plant contradicted assurances by Iran that nothing unexpected had happened and removing nuclear fuel from the plant was part of a normal procedure.
“Indicators showed that some small external parts were … in the reactor vessel,” said the source, identifying them as bolts beneath the fuel cells.
The West suspects the Islamic Republic of trying to develop nuclear arms. It denies the accusations, and its first plant near the Gulf city of Bushehr is a symbol of what it says are it’s purely peaceful nuclear ambitions.
The U.N. nuclear agency said in a confidential November 16 report that fuel assemblies – bundles of fuel rods loaded into the reactor – had been transferred from the reactor core to a spent fuel pond in October, but gave no reason.
It was the second time in less than two years fuel has been unloaded from the reactor, which Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said in late August had been powered up to full capacity.
Second time in two years? What’s going on here? Debka thinks it might be Stuxnet all over again? They can’t be wrong all of the time.
Politico’s Dylan Byers reports that the AP is eliminiating such terms as “ethnic cleansing,” “Islamophobia” and “homophobia” from its official lexicon:
The online Style Book now says that “-phobia,” “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness” should not be used “in political or social contexts,” including “homophobia” and “Islamophobia.” It also calls “ethnic cleansing” a “euphemism,” and says the AP “does not use ‘ethnic cleansing’ on its own. It must be enclosed in quotes, attributed and explained.”
“Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities, a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO.
Bravo for the AP. Personally, I have found “Islamophobia” one of the most deliberately misleading locutions to appear in some time. Those accused of it are usually not phobic of Islam at all, but disdainful of it on an ideological basis.
It’s clear long time Democratic Party pollster Pat Caddell has had it with mainstream media suppression of Benghazi in this excerpt from the Jeanine Pirro on Fox Saturday night. (Caddell comes in at 1:15 after Ann Coulter).
Juicy bit: I am appalled right now.
This White House, this President, this Vice President, this Secretary of State, all of them, are willing, apparently, to dishonor themselves and this country for the cheap prospect of getting reelected — willing to coverup and lie.
And the worst thing is the very people who are supposed to protect the American people and the truth, the leading mainstream media, and I said in a speech a week ago — because I’m stunned. I’ve never seen in an issue of national security like this, but I will tell you this, I said it then they have become a threat, a fundamental threat to American democracy and then enemies of the American people.
For all those bewildered about why Barack Obama made no attempt to reach out to the democracy demonstrators dying in the streets of Tehran (shades of Benghazigate), it seems our president had his eyes set on a bigger prize – diplomatic relations with Iran’s Islamofascist Mullahs.
From the Times of Israel:
Soon after he took office, President Barack Obama began a process ultimately designed to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with Iran, including a reopening of embassies, an Israeli daily reported Sunday. The initiative, part of a wider shift in America’s diplomatic orientation, aimed at reaching understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”
The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them.
But Iran rebuffed the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported. The Islamist regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.
The information — the lead item on Maariv’s front page, headlined “Obama offered to renew relations with Iran” — comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the US and Iran held back channel contacts toward establishing direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program. Both the White House and Iran denied those reports.
According to Maariv, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for an hour in 2009, and one other meeting between officials from both sides took place as well.
Included in the diplomatic incentives package offered by Washington would be, in the first stage, the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, with the possibility subsequently of expanding to full diplomatic ties, including US and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, Maariv claimed.
As part of restored diplomatic relations with Iran, Maariv reported, Washington was ready to hold senior level diplomatic contacts, to agree to reciprocal visits, to approve security cooperation between the countries, direct flights between the US and Iran, and the granting of visas to Iranians wishing to visit the US.
Like the guy trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in downtown D. C.
UPDATE: As Michael Ledeen has pointed out frequently on PJM, back channel discussions between the US and Iran have been going on literally for decades, so this is really a big yawn. On the other had, it’s interesting to see what Obama was selling.