WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today released the following statement on her intent to oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1:
Since President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced an agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, I have given the agreement, which is one of the most important issues to come before the U.S. Congress in decades, the thoughtful and detailed study it deserves. I have carefully examined the issues, reviewed classified material, talked with administration officials, consulted with experts on both sides, and heard from numerous community leaders and constituents.
The President and the Secretary deserve credit for choosing the path of diplomacy in an effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. There are strong arguments for and against the agreement but, as a matter of conscience, I have decided to oppose it.
This is an agreement with a nation that has not honored its non-proliferation commitments in the past. I am concerned that, even if Iran complies with the restraints spelled out throughout the life of the agreement, the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons. It could also make the region even more dangerous by giving Iran access to financial resources, weapons and power.
As President Obama himself has acknowledged “in year 13, 14, 15, Iran will have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” It will be recognized by the international community as a nuclear threshold state, just as it is today.
One of the other concerning provisions is that the agreement forbids access to inspectors for 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites. If Iran were genuinely committed to nuclear non-proliferation, it wouldn’t need even 24 hours. Read Congresswoman Maloney’s full statement at her website.
Israeli Air Force (IAF)
Air force targets weapons facility after projectile explodes in Eshkol region; no casualties reported on either side
The Israeli military carried out an airstrike in the central Gaza Strip Wednesday night, in response to a Palestinian rocket attack earlier.
The army said it struck a Hamas weapons production facility in the center of the territory, stating that it considered Hamas to be solely responsible for the happenings in the Gaza Strip.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Palestinian side.
The military noted that eight rockets had been fired from Gaza since the beginning of the month. Read more at Times of Israel.
A group of nearly 200 retired generals and admirals will send a letter to Congress Wednesday urging lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear agreement, which they say threatens national security.
The letter is the latest in a blizzard of missives petitioning Congress to either support or oppose the agreement with Iran, which lifts sanctions if Iran pares back its nuclear program. Letters have been sent by ad hoc groupings of rabbis, nuclear scientists, arms control and nonproliferation experts — and now, retired senior military officers, many of whom have worked in the White House during various administrations dating back to the 1980s.
The letter, addressed to Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House, is a response to one sent last week by three dozen retired senior military officers who support the nuclear deal.
“The agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies,” the letter states. Read more at The Washington Post.
Business interests will dominate and impede European countries from invoking snap-back sanctions.
By Benjamin Weinthal
With the opening of the UK’s embassy in Tehran on Sunday, a new wrench has been tossed into the nuclear deal approval process: Britain’s likely reluctance to enforce violations.
UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond arrived in Tehran with a business delegation and announced that British businesses have a “huge appetite” for trade relations. He noted the desire among the business community to invest in Iran and optimize banking conditions for financial transactions, and zoomed in on restarting “oil negotiations” as the joint British-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is slated to release $3 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
The odds weigh heavily against Western and Central European nations – the key beneficiaries of the dissolution of Iran sanctions – aggressively monitoring Iran for violations of the Iran deal because of a clash with powerful business interests.
In a Foreign Policy article titled “How to Get a Better Deal With Iran,” Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where this writer is a fellow, wrote: “Once European companies are sufficiently invested in Iran’s lucrative markets, any Iranian violations of the deal are likely to provoke disagreements between Washington and its European allies. Indeed, why would Europe agree to new sanctions when they have big money on the line?” Dubowitz notes: “Would Europe agree to a US plan to reimpose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran if it was found – once again – to be financing terrorism? This is doubtful given that Tehran would threaten to return to its nuclear activities including large-scale uranium enrichment, putting not just European investments but the entire deal in jeopardy.”
It is worth recalling Germany – the economic powerhouse of Europe – and its policy of prioritizing financial gains over stopping Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapons device and the 2010 attempt by US President Barack Obama to persuade Chancellor Angela Merkel to shut down the Hamburg-based European- Iranian trade bank (EIH). The columnist John Vinocur wrote at the time in the International Herald Tribune: “I also have been told that similar reluctance, this time involving German hesitation to clamp down on a bank in Hamburg facilitating suspect European deals with Iran, resulted in a recent phone call, to no immediate avail, from Mr. Obama to Chancellor Angela Merkel.” Read more at The Jerusalem Post.