Friday, December 6, 2013

Iran updates December 6 , 2013.......Iran nuclear talks hitting snags in US Congress ! Democrats threatening to blow up either the Interim or any Final Deal with Iran ? Saudis and Israel plotting their own way to stop Iran ?

Uh oh: House Democrats ready to blow up Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran?


The problem with O asking them to eat one crap sandwich after another on ObamaCare is that eventually there’s no room for dessert.
They abandoned him when he asked for congressional approval to bomb Assad. They’re not going to abandon him on this too. Are they?
The worry is that Dem Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two House Dem, may join with GOP Rep. Eric Cantor on a resolution or bill that will either criticize the current temporary deal with Iran, or call for a new round of sanctions, or set as U.S. policy some strict parameters on a final deal with Iran, such as opposition to any continued uranium enrichment, House Democratic aides say. House Dems and outside foreign policy observers have communicated such worries to Hoyer’s office, sources add…
Any resolution or bill along these lines that has the support of any House Dem leaders would increase the pressure on Senate Democrats to pass a measure of their own, which the White House opposes. And some fear that a measure in the House itself — even if the Senate didn’t act — could have an adverse impact on international talks…
Senate Democrats are already debating whether to vote on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran that would take hold after the six month expiration of the temporary deal. But the White House has called on Dems to hold off, arguing that passing sanctions legislation could make it harder for both sides to continue negotiating after the six month mark if a deal is close. The administration also fears sanctions legislation could give Iran a way of arguing — and could create suspicions among the U.S.’s international partners — that the U.S. is negotiating in bad faith.
The last sentence is the killer. It’s one thing to make a deal with Iran that barely restrains their enrichment program, it’s another to break that deal yourself, giving them an opportunity to argue that the U.S. doesn’t want peace and can’t be trusted to keep its commitments, which means now they need a nuclear weapon — sorry, I mean “nuclear energy program” — more than ever. At the very least, you’d think Obama would have huddled with Reid, Pelosi, and Hoyer before the deal was struck and asked for their word that they wouldn’t support the GOP’s attempt to impose new sanctions. By keeping the split in Congress strictly (or mostly) partisan, Obama could have reassured Iran that anything passed by the House is simple contrarianism by the minority party and has no force of law. As it is, if Democrats join with the GOP and pass some form of new sanctions, Obama’s either going to have to symbolically side with Iran by vetoing it or they’re going to pass it with two-thirds majorities in both houses and impose sanctions over his veto, which will kill the deal. I assumed, after the Syria “red line” debacle, that he’d know by now to line up congressional support before doing or saying anything dramatic on foreign policy. Nope.
But look at it from the Democrats’ perspective. How do they sell a deal to their constituents that would let Iran continue to enrich uranium?
The White House is currently examining ways to enable Iran to have its own “domestic” uranium enrichment program, according to a senior Obama administration official…
“Over the next six months, we will explore, in practical terms, whether and how Iran might end up with a limited, tightly constrained, and intensively monitored civilian nuclear program, including domestic enrichment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Caitlin Hayden told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Any such program,” she said, “would be subject to strict and verifiable curbs on its capacity and stockpiles of enriched uranium for a significant number of years and tied to practical energy needs that will remain minimal for years to come.”
There are ways to sell that to voters, but no way I can think of that doesn’t involve (a) first tutoring them on the difference between low-enriched uranium for reactor purposes and highly-enriched weapons-grade stuff and (b) asking them to trust that the UN, with help from western intelligence, will somehow ferret out any Iranian attempt to covertly convert one of those forms of uranium into the other. Bear in mind, per Walter Russell Mead, the UN is already saying that it needs more money to inspect Iran’s nuke facilities properly, so this process is beginning with the chief watchdog underequipped for the task. And the problem for O is that, realistically, Iran will never give up enrichment. Rouhani has pledged repeatedly since the Geneva deal was struck that the program will continue; the White House likely agreed to continued enrichment for just that reason, because they realize it’s a point of nationalistic pride for the regime and that demanding an end to it would mean the end of the deal.
Exit question: Imagine for a moment you’re a member of Congress. How much of your credibility would you want to stake on a big international agreement when the two parties to it are already bickering over what it does and doesn’t say?

Congress to Obama: Cancel Iran deal

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Adam Kredo
December 6, 2013 1:05 pm
Congressional opposition to the recently announced nuclear accord with Iran reached a critical tipping point this week as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle publicly lambasted the deal while pushing for tighter economic sanctions on Tehran.
As the details of an interim nuclear deal reached last month in Geneva become clear, Congressional opposition has grown, leaving the White House to sell a deal that even its allies have dubbed as worrisome.
The White House held a classified briefing with members of Congress on Wednesday to push them against passing new sanctions in 2014, giving Iran at least another year of economic reprieve, according to Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.).

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency “reveals” that Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad are “co-conspiring to produce a computer worm more destructive than the Stuxnet malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.” The report appeared Monday, Dec. 2, during foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s tour of Arabian Gulf capitals,with the object of easing tensions between the emirates and Tehran. Riyadh was not on his itinerary.

In 2010, Stuxnet, reputed to have been developed by the US and Israel, was the malworm which attacked the software of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and caused a major slowdown, as well as disrupting its only nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

The Iranian agency now claims that Saudi intelligence director Prince Bandar Bin Sultan and the head of Israel’s Mossad Tamir Pardo met in Vienna on Nov. 24, shortly after the six world powers signed their first interim nuclear agreement with Iran in Geneva.  

The two spy chiefs brought with them teams of Israeli and Saudi cyber specialists to discuss “the production of a malware worse than Stuxnet to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program,” according to Fars. Riyadh was willing to put up the funding estimated roughly at $1 million.

This plan was approved after the Geneva deal was roundly castigated by Saudi Arabia for acknowledging Iran’s rights to enrich uranium as “Western treachery,” while Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called it “a historic mistake” and a danger to the world.  

Without spelling this out, the Iranian source suggested that President Barack Obama, who in 2010 was ready to go along with the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, had changed course and opted out of further cyber war after deciding to make Iran his strategic partner in the Middle East.

Israeli intelligence had therefore turned to Saudi intelligence, said the Iranian source.

The same source “disclosed,” without citing dates, that the Saudi prince and the Israeli spy chief had rendezvoused a number of times in the Jordanian port of Aqaba. When those meetings became an open secret in the Middle East, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is said to have warned Bandar that the close direct collaboration between the two agencies was causing concern in the royal house.

In another “revelation,” Fars claimed that Prince Bandar secretly visited Israel under cover of French President Francois Hollande’s state visit on Nov. 17-18, ahead of the Geneva meeting on Iran’s nuclear program. This source said the Saudi prince took part in the high-powered Franco-Israeli discussions in Tel Aviv on ways to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources infer four motives from the manner and timing of the Iranian news agency’s story:

1.  To draw the Crown Prince into reprimanding Bandar for being over-zealous in his partnership with an Israeli head of intelligence and so embarrass him at home. This fits into the context of the succession struggle which our Gulf sources report is afoot in Riyadh. A group of princes is campaigning for Salman’s removal as Crown Prince. Bandar is one of them.

By highlighting his association with Pardo, the Fars publication seeks to discredit Bandar and stir up trouble to sharpen the infighting in Riyadh, with a view to weakening Saudi Arabia’s hand against Iran.

2.  Tehran is getting seriously worried about the Saudi-Israeli intelligence partnership and the prospect of them acting together for covert operations, including cyber warfare, against their nuclear projects. Going public on this partnership is intended to show the Iranian people that the regime is on top of these dangers and well prepared to forestall them.

3. Detractors of the Geneva accord in Tehran are being warned by the regime that formidable external threats lie in wait for the national nuclear program and they would be well advised to desist from their opposition to the deal with the six powers, because it weakens the country’s defenses.

4. The Fars disclosures were picked up and run by Russian media on Dec. 2 - albeit shunned by Western publications – evidence of the close cooperation between Iranian and Russian intelligence services.
No part of these reports is confirmed from any other sources.

The gunning down of Hajj Hassan Hollo al-Laqqis, a high-ranking Hizballah commander and close crony of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, raised the stakes of the clandestine war running between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two weeks after two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
The Hizballah officer was killed by five shots to the head and throat in the underground parking lot of his home in the Hadath neighborhood southwest of Beirut, when he returned home from work after midnight Tuesday, Dec. 3. The Hizballah statement, which said: “Israel is automatically held responsible for the crime,” described al Laqqis as an elite member of the organization’s military wing who for many years served as its technology and arms chief.

A photo published by the Lebanese state news agency shows a man in his mid-40s in military clothing.
DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources report: It seems obvious that the al-Laqqis hit was timed to take place shortly after the Hizballah leader went on the air for an extraordinarily arrogant television interview, during which he made a point of sneering after every reference to the US, Saudi Arabia or Israel. He also appeared to glory in the big power status conferred on the Islamic Republic (and himself) by the Obama administration after the signing of the Geneva nuclear accord.

Nasrallah praised that accord as signaling “the end of the US monopoly on power” and preventing war in the region. He said Israel couldn’t bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities without a green light from the US. But, he said, America is tired of war. The Saudi war against Iran, he said, has never stopped. He accused a “Saudi-backed group” of being behind the Iranian embassy bombing in Beirut.

The killing of a high-placed Nasrallah insider was intended to illustrate to Hizballah members and the rest of the region that the Hizballah leader’s outburst of hubris was hollow, that his own innermost command elite is deeply penetrated, and that whoever sent the assassins could at any time sow mayhem within the pro-Iranian organization’s ranks.

It also carried a wider message for Tehran and Gen. al-Soleimani: Your own Hizballah holds wide sway over Lebanon and its capital. If you can’t nonetheless keep the symbols of Iranian power in Lebanon and your proxy’s commanders safe, neither can you guarantee the security of Syrian president Bashar Assad in Damascus.

Accusing Israel of the deed and threatening revenge apparently made more sense to Hizballah that accusing Riyadh, which is out of its reach for punishment. Its leaders were even willing to allow people to deduce that Israeli intelligence had penetrated Hizballah’s top ranks and center of government in Beirut deeply enough to pick off its commanders.

There is little doubt in Tehran or Beirut that Riyadh’s hand was behind the slaying of the Hizballah commander, or that Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies are working hand in hand against Tehran in Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

Additional news items......

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Iran, Powers Meet Next Week on Nuclear Deal Implementation

ADL's Foxman Favors New Iran Sanctions, Blasts US Administration's 'Hysterical' Response

Key Israel Lobby Groups Back Off Attacks on Iran Deal