The Obama administration faced renewed criticism Thursday for entering nuclear talks with Iran without first demanding the release of U.S. citizens, following reports that imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini is facing threats on his life from other prisoners.
“It is unconscionable that senior American diplomats, including the secretary of State … could not bring themselves to even mention his name, or those of fellow Americans detained in Iran,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement.
The State Department earlier faced criticism after a six-month deal with Iran was announced that rolled back sanctions in exchange for a pause in parts of Iran’s nuclear energy program. The department acknowledged that the status of Abedini, and other American prisoners, was not part of those discussions.
On Tuesday at NATO headquarters in Belgium, Kerry defended the department’s efforts, saying the release of American prisoners in such countries as Iran, North Korea and Cuba remains a high priority.
Continue reading at Fox News.
The deal that has been offered to Iran—to soften some sanctions in return for a promise by the mullahs to preserve the status quo with regard to their nuclear program—does not serve the interest of peace. This is not to discourage further diplomacy and negotiation, but it is to underline what Secretary of State John Kerry has said: namely that a bad deal is worse than no deal. This is a very bad deal for America, its allies and peace.
Diplomacy is better than war but bad diplomacy can cause bad wars. The US is leading the noble efforts, stalled for the moment, to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough in our determination to prevent Iran from developing, or having the capacity to develop, nuclear weapons. There is little dispute about this essential goal: virtually everyone agrees that a nuclear armed Iran would pose unacceptably grave dangers to the United States and its allies. Read more.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says Israel has sent water and food across the border, and has been helping the Syrians prepare for winter.
The Israel Defense Forces has been providing humanitarian aid to Syrians living near the border, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon revealed on Tuesday during a tour of the frontier.
According to Ya’alon, Israel has sent water and food, including baby foods, across the border, and has been helping the Syrians prepare for winter.
“Given the fact that these villages are besieged and have no access to anyplace else, we are helping for humanitarian reasons,” the defense minister said. Haaretz has learned that the food is being transferred to the Syrian villages via the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. Sometimes, however, IDF soldiers lay aid packages just across the border and the village residents collect them.
Continue reading at Haaretz.
The deal that the Obama Administration reached with Iran in Geneva last month is looking worse with each passing day. This deal revives the Iranian economy by easing economic sanctions on Iran at the very point when these sanctions were beginning to work. In exchange for this very real economic relief, we got a handful of meaningless Iranian promises. This deal gives Iran a green light to continue enriching uranium up to 5% in violation of no less than six United Nations Security Council resolutions. The deal does not require Iran to dismantle any part of the vast nuclear infrastructure it assembled in direct contravention of these resolutions. And the deal does nothing to stop Iran from using its new installments of cash and time to advance the weakest parts of its nuclear program — bomb technology and the ballistic missiles needed to deliver such bombs to Israel, Europe or the U.S. CUFI will continue to do everything in our power to support the toughest possible sanctions on Iran as soon as possible since this is the only thing short of war that can stop the unthinkable prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.