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British Government Backs Iran, Says It Has ‘Never Been Naive’ About Iran’s Nuclear Programme

Iain Burns

 Video provided by Fox News

 

Britain has never been ‘naive’ about Iran’s nuclear programme, a spokesman for the government said on Monday night, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Islamic Republic of lying to the world about its ambitions.

The spokesman also said inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are vital to ensure Iran’s nuclear programme is used for peaceful means.

Netanyahu stepped up pressure on the United States to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, holding a primetime address on Israeli TV to present what he called evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Downing Street on November 2, 2017 in London.        © Getty Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May greets the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Downing Street on November 2, 2017, in London.

 

‘We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions. That is why the IAEA inspection regime agreed as part of the Iran nuclear deal is one of the most extensive and robust in the history of international nuclear accords,’ a British government spokesman said in a statement.

‘It remains a vitally important way of independently verifying that Iran is adhering to the deal and that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful.’

Intelligence experts and diplomats said Netanyahu did not seem to have presented a ‘smoking gun’ showing that Iran had violated the agreement, although he may have helped make a case on behalf of hawks in the U.S. administration who want to scrap it.

a screen shot of a person: In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran's 'nuclear archives'       © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran’s ‘nuclear archives’

Most of the purported evidence Netanyahu unveiled dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although he said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then, and continued adding to its ‘nuclear weapons knowledge’.

Tehran dismissed Netanyahu as ‘the boy who cried wolf’, and called his presentation propaganda.

President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the United States out of the international deal unless it is renegotiated by May 12. After Netanyahu spoke, Trump repeated his criticism of the deal, suggesting he backed the Israeli leader’s remarks.

‘Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,’ Netanyahu said at Israel’s Defence Ministry, standing in front of stacks of files representing what he described as a vault full of Iranian nuclear documents obtained weeks before.

The premier accused the Islamic Republic of 'brazenly lying' to the United States and Europe by maintaining nuclear materials in a secret location - a violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action          © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The premier accused the Islamic Republic of ‘brazenly lying’ to the United States and Europe by maintaining nuclear materials in a secret location – a violation of…

‘Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.’

‘Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons programme,’ he said. ‘One hundred thousand secret files prove it did. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use.’

Although the presentation was live on Israeli television, Netanyahu made clear that his audience was abroad: he delivered most of his speech in English, before switching to Hebrew.

Netanyahu said he had shared the intelligence with the United States and would dispatch envoys to France and Germany to present it. He also spoke by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that his intelligence services have obtained documents proving that Iran maintained a secret nuclear program in violation of a landmark agreement Tehran reached with the West. Netanyahu points to a slide which is purported to show 'massive safes' where Iran's 'secret archive' were stored        © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that his intelligence services have obtained documents proving that Iran maintained a secret nuclear program in…

Tehran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons and accuses its arch-foe Israel of stirring up world suspicions against it.

A senior U.S. official said Netanyahu gave new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a heads-up about the presentation he would give while on a visit to Tel Aviv at the weekend.

‘We were made aware of his plans,’ the official said.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal struck by Iran and six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from the U.S. and other economic sanctions.

Trump gave Britain, France and Germany a May 12 deadline to fix what he views as the deal’s flaws – its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors visit suspect Iranian sites, and ‘sunset’ clauses under which some of its terms expire – or he will re-impose U.S. sanctions.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Before Netanyahu's speech, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the Israeli leader was 'the boy who can't stop crying wolf [and is] at it again'    © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Before Netanyahu’s speech, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the Israeli leader was ‘the boy who can’t stop crying wolf [and is] at it again’

Much of what Netanyahu presented is unlikely to surprise world powers, which have long concluded that Iran was pursuing atomic weapons before the agreement was signed in 2015: that is in part why they imposed sanctions in the first place.

The French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, tweeted that information about past Iranian nuclear activity was, in fact, an argument in favour of the nuclear deal, not against it.

A German government spokesman said it was vital to keep the independent inspections provided for under the deal.

Washington’s European allies say Tehran has generally abided by the terms of the deal since then, and have urged Trump not to scrap it. Some independent analysts and diplomats said Netanyahu appeared to be presenting old evidence.

Ali Khamenei wearing a hat: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is 'not merely' the United States and European countries           © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is ‘not merely’ the United States and…Eran Etzion, a former deputy Israeli national security adviser who now heads the Israeli-European think-tank Forum of Strategic Dialogue, said on Twitter: ‘No ‘smoking gun’ was revealed this evening, nor was it proven that Iran is today developing nuclear weaponry or violating the (nuclear deal) in any other way.’

A senior European diplomat told Reuters: ‘We knew all of this and what especially stands out is that Netanyahu doesn’t speak of any recorded violations’ of the deal itself.

Speaking after Netanyahu’s presentation, Trump told a White House news conference the nuclear deal was ‘a horrible agreement for the United States’. He said it would let Tehran develop nuclear arms after seven years and had ‘proven right what Israel has done today’ with Netanyahu’s disclosures.

However, Washington itself has concluded that Iran has not violated the deal’s terms. Two U.S. intelligence officials who have monitored Iran’s nuclear weapons program for years said nothing in Netanyahu’s remarks appeared to contradict that view.

‘We have seen no new and credible evidence that Iran is violating the agreement, whether in the Prime Minister’s remarks today or from other sources,’ said one of the officials, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Moments before Netanyahu spoke Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: ‘The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again’.

Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian foreign ministry official, was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency as calling Netanyahu’s presentation ‘a childish and ridiculous game’ with the goal of influencing Trump’s decision ahead of the May 12 deadline.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, though it neither confirms nor denies possessing atomic weapons.   (Daily Mail)

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Israel PM, Netanyahu Calls UN ‘House Of Lies’ Rejects Vote On Jerusalem |RN

Wade Massey
Donald-Trump-Benjamin-Netanyahu

Just a few hours before the UN General Assembly vote against the USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital “regardless of whether the UN recognizes it or not”.

Turkey and Yemen requested the meeting after an Egyptian draft resolution against the recognition was presented to the Security Council and was vetoed by the United States, although the 14 other members of the council voted for it.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft. “Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem“.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

“The State of Israel rejects this vote out of hand even before it was approved”, he added.

In the run-up to Thursday’s vote, Israeli diplomats stationed overseas made strenuous efforts to get as many countries as possible to oppose or abstain on the resolution.

“The attitude to Israel of many nations in the world, in all the continents, is changing outside of the UN walls, and will eventually filter into the UN as well – the house of lies”, he said.

The prime minister, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, has long argued that Israel’s diplomatic relations are flourishing due to the Jewish state’s technological and security prowess.

Netanyahu’s remarks, particularly his “house of lies” line, were met with instant ridicule on social media, with users pointed out the absurdity of a state founded thanks to a United Nations mandate slamming the worldwide body. “It won’t be forgotten”, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said after the vote.

“Ultimately, the truth will prevail”, he declared, speaking in English.

Unlike the UN’s 15-member Security Council, the US does not have veto power in the General Assembly. “Well, we’re watching those votes”.

With time ticking until the beginning of a UN General Assembly vote on a proposal to urge Washington to scrap its Jerusalem declaration, Tel Aviv has stepped up its rhetoric. (234VibesNews)

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Arab Ministers Demand Trump Rescind Jerusalem Decision |The Republican News

Donald-Trump-Benjamin-Netanyahu
          President Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. 

 

Arab foreign ministers on Saturday called on the United States to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and for the international community to recognise a Palestinian state.

In a resolution after an emergency meeting in Cairo, Arab League member ministers said that the United States had “withdrawn itself as a sponsor and broker” of the Israel Palestinian peace process with its controversial move.

The ministers met at the league’s headquarters in Cairo to formulate a response to the US decision, which has been roundly criticised in the Arab world and internationally.

The move by US President Donald Trump is “denounced and condemned,” Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit told the ministers at the beginning of the meeting.

The ministers agreed on “demanding that the United States rescind its decision on Jerusalem…and the calling on the international community to recognise the state of Palestine…with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

They also said they would head to the United Nations Security Council for a resolution condemning the US decision as a violation of international law.

The decision has sparked protests and clashes in Palestinian territories since Trump announced the decision on Wednesday which drew criticism from every other member of the UN Security Council at an emergency meeting on Friday.

Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas has cancelled a scheduled meeting the US Vice President Mike Pence in Ramallah later this month.

In Egypt, which Pence will also visit, the country’s top Muslim and Christian clerics have both cancelled scheduled meetings with Pence in protest at the decision.

There have been fears of a much larger escalation of violence after Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group both renewed that call on Saturday.

Abbas’s Fatah organisation urged Palestinians to “keep up confrontation and broaden it to all points where the Israeli army is present” in the West Bank.

Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The international community does not recognise the ancient city as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in negotiations.

AFP

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Palestinians Warn Trump Not To Abandon Their Dream Of Independent State

William Booth

JERICHO, West Bank — Palestinian officials pleaded with the White House on Wednesday not to abandon the two-state solution for a possible peace deal with Israel, as President Trump signaled he could “live with” other outcomes.

The Palestinian leadership appeared stunned that a Trump official told reporters in Washington late Tuesday that the White House was open to a new approach that does not emphasize two states — one for Israelis and one for Palestinians, living side by side, as previous administrations have.

At a White House news conference on Wednesday, Trump said he had once believed the two-state solution was the “easier of the two” options, but he said the United States could embrace alternatives, if Israel and the Palestinians agreed.

“I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said.

The comments came during the first face-to-face talks between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the November election. It also followed disclosures that CIA chief Mike Pompeo held secret talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, according to a senior Palestinian official.

Palestinians play cards in Hebron, West Bank, as a TV screen shows a joint press conference by President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Feb. 15, 2017.© Mussa Issa Qawasma/Reuters Palestinians play cards in Hebron, West Bank, as a TV screen shows a joint press conference by President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Feb. 15, 2017.  

Netanyahu has been under pressure by his right-wing governing coalition to abandon the two-state solution, which he formally backed in 2009. Trump’s position on the two-state paradigm has not been clear — and still remains fuzzy.

“It’s something the two sides have to agree to. It’s not for us to impose that vision,” a Trump official said Tuesday. “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the potential U.S. policy change.

Many Palestinians would view such a shift as an abandonment of a principle adopted by preceding U.S. administrations, both Republican and Democratic, as well as the European Union and the United Nations.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Trump cautioned that the Israelis “are going to have to show some flexibility, which is hard, it’s hard to do.”

Trump advised that Netanyahu “hold back on settlements for a bit.” He added, “We’ll work something out.”

Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official and former peace negotiator, said: “We believe undermining the two state solution is not a joke. It’s a disaster and a tragedy for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Erekat, a veteran of seven U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel, said the Palestinian Authority remains committed to the two-state goals.

He said it was the Israeli leaders and supporters of the 600,000 Israelis living in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who were opposed to a Palestinian state.

Erekat said the alternative to the two state vision was “a single democratic secular state for Jews, Muslims and Christians,” with full rights for all. Such a single state, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, would hold almost equal numbers of Jewish and Muslim voters. Israelis and American supporters of Israel fear that a single state would either undermine the democratic or Jewish nature of Israel.

Today, Palestinians in the West Bank live under an almost 50-year military occupation. In the Gaza Strip, the population lives under severe trade and travel controls.

“To those who think the current system is acceptable, having one state with two systems, this is apartheid,” said Erekat. “I don’t think they can sustain it, not in the 21st century.”

Netanyahu has argued in the past that while Israel remains committed in theory to the idea of two states, now is not the time. The Palestinian leadership is weak and rejectionist, he said. “There’s no partner for peace,” Netanyahu said.

In Washington, Netanyahu restated his claims that no peace talks are possible until Palestinians agree to accords that Israel believes are essential for its safety, including giving Israeli security forces a continued presence in the West Bank.

Netanyahu has warned that a new Palestinian state could quickly by taken over the Islamist militant movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is committed to Israel’s destruction. Israel and Hamas have fought three years in the last nine years.

The last time Netanyahu ran for office in 2015, he promised voters a Palestinian state would never be created under his watch. He later walked the statement back.

The Israeli minister for public security and member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Gilad Erdan told Israel’s Army Radio earlier this week that “all the cabinet ministers oppose a Palestinian state, including Netanyahu.”

The two-state solution has often been declared moribund. But most of the world continues to think it is the region’s best chance for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, speaking in Cairo on Wednesday, warned, “There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states, and we should do all that can be done to maintain this.”

WP

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Israeli Police Question Netanyahu Over Corruption Allegation |The Republican News

By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (Gali Tibbon/Pool photo via AP)

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was grilled by police investigators for over three hours at his office Monday night, opening what could be a politically damaging criminal investigation into suspicions that he improperly accepted gifts.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, but the arrival of the national fraud squad indicated questions raised about him are considered serious enough to merit an investigation. Police said Netanyahu was questioned “under caution,” a term signaling that he is a suspect.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Netanyahu was questioned on “suspicions he received benefits.” She said there would be no further details released at this stage.

The police team did not speak to journalists, but Israeli media said they are looking into suspicions that Netanyahu inappropriately accepted expensive gifts from two businessmen. A black screen was had been placed in front of the building in apparent anticipation of the investigators’ arrival and to obstruct the view of journalists seeking to film them.

Netanyahu has denied what he calls “baseless” reports that he received inappropriate gifts, a point he reiterated at a meeting of his Likud faction earlier in the day.

“We’ve been paying attention to reports in the media, we are hearing the celebratory mood and the atmosphere in the television studios and the corridors of the opposition, and I would like to tell them, stop with the celebrations, don’t rush,” he said. “There won’t be anything because there is nothing.”

Israel’s Channel 2 TV has said that Netanyahu accepted “favors” from businessmen in Israel and abroad and that he is the central suspect in a second investigation that also involves family members.

The newspaper Haaretz said billionaire Ronald Lauder, a longtime friend of Netanyahu’s, was linked to the affair. Channel 10 TV has reported that Netanyahu’s oldest son, Yair, accepted free trips and other gifts from Australian billionaire James Packer.

In October, Lauder was summoned by police for questioning “related to a certain investigation conducted by them and in which Mr. Lauder is not its subject matter,” said Helena Beilin, Lauder’s Israeli attorney. “After a short meeting, he was told that his presence is no longer required and that there shall be no further need for additional meetings.”

Israel’s Justice Ministry declined to comment.

A campaign is underway by Erel Margalit, an opposition lawmaker of the Zionist Union party, seeking for Netanyahu to be formally investigated over suspicions of prominent donors improperly transferring money for the prime minister’s personal use as well as reports that Netanyahu’s personal attorney represented a German firm involved in a $1.5 billion sale of submarines to Israel.

Netanyahu has long had an image as a cigar-smoking, cognac-drinking socialite, while his wife, Sara, has been accused of abusive behavior toward staff. Opponents have portrayed both as being out of touch with the struggles of average Israelis.

Over the years, reports have been released about the high cost of the Netanyahus’ housekeeping expenses.

In one case, he was chided for spending $127,000 in public funds for a special sleeping cabin on a flight to London. Even their costly purchases of scented candles and pistachio-flavored ice cream have been derided.

The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing, and say they are the target of a witch hunt by the Israeli media.  (Associated Press)

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