You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the nuclear deal agreement between Iran and the P5 + 1 powers
On July 20, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal and paving the way to lifting longstanding sanctions on it. The vote was 15-0. As a result of the vote, the international community will remove punishing economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear activity. The agreement will now go before the US Congress for approval. A vote is expected by the end of September.
In Iran accepting this nuclear deal, Iran has only agreed to temporary curbs on its nuclear program but it has not abandoned atomic research and long-term uranium enrichment plans. When various nuclear experts examined the details of the 159-page nuclear deal, they warned that it ignores various key aspects of Irans’s nuclear program and that the lifting of arms sanctions may pave Iran’s path to nuclear-capable missiles. A glaring omission is seen in the absolute lack of any reference to the highly covert Parchin military base located southeast of Iran which is suspected of being the center of Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). IAEA reports in November 2011 pointed to nuclear weapons development previously conducted at the site and a 2012 IAEA report likewise confirmed explosives containment vessels were at the site and likely used to test nuclear detonations. Iran has repeatedly refused IAEA requests to inspect Parchin.
Not only does the deal not directly address military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program but critics warn it contains several loopholes that will greatly limit its effectiveness in stopping Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon. For one, the agreement calls for Iran’s “voluntary” compliance with the terms of the deal in several places instead of implementing mandatory steps Iran must fulfill.
What’s more, a section of the deal may allow Iran to avoid revealing its past nuclear weapons testing stating that Iran “may propose to the IAEA alternative means of resolving the IAEA’s concerns that enable the IAEA to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities inconsistent with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) at the location in question.” The deal also includes removing a large number of sanctions, including those targeting Parchin Chemical Industries (PCI), which operates sites at the Parchin base and is thought to be highly involved in the covert nuclear weapons program.
Aside from Parchin, experts were alarmed to see that the nuclear deal does not directly impose limits on or even reference the Russian-made Bushehr nuclear power plant which they warn can produce enough plutonium for a large number of atomic weapons. Regarding plutonium, after 15 years the deal stipulates that Iran will be able to “engage in producing or acquiring plutonium or uranium metals or their alloys,” and likewise conduct research and development “on plutonium or uranium (or their alloys) metallurgy, or casting, forming, or machining plutonium or uranium metal.”
At the Natanz nuclear facility, a limitation on 5,060 centrifuges in 30 cascade units will cease in ten years, and after 15 years Iran will be able to enrich uranium over 3.67% – a 20% enrichment is needed to build nuclear weapons. In eight years, Iran can start producing up to 200 partial advanced centrifuges each year, and two years later it can construct complete advanced centrifuges.
In addition to the details on Iran’s nuclear program, experts warn there are pitfalls in how the deal approaches – or ignores – Iran’s nuclear-capable missile program. Notably the deal avoids addressing Iran’s ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) program. It also removes sanctions against Iran’s Al Ghadir missile command based in Tehran which has been leading the development of missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, and is thought to hold operational control of Iran’s missiles.
A UN conventional arms embargo on Iran will end in five years due to the deal, and sanctions against selling ballistic missiles to Iran will likewise expire in eight years. However, it is possible that China and Russia will covertly sell arms to Iran before those dates, as they have done in the past.
US Ambassador Samantha Power said the nuclear deal doesn’t change the United States’ “profound concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program, from its support for terrorist proxies to repeated threats against Israel to its other destabilizing activities in the region. But denying Iran a nuclear weapon is important not in spite of these other destabilizing actions but rather because of them,” Power said. EU foreign ministers maintained that the deal as it stands is the best option available. “It is a balanced deal that means Iran won’t get an atomic bomb,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, applauded the nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers and said that the deal is “an important achievement” that must be implemented at once.
The nuclear deal with Iran was met with a profound worries in the Arab world. Arab countries are skeptical that a deal would stop Iran from building a weapon. Arab countries have deep fears of Iran gaining a nuclear weapon and some have been skeptical that a deal will prevent that from happening. But equally high for key Sunni-dominated Gulf allies of the United States is the worry that a deal gives Iran the means — through an economic windfall — and an implicit green light to push influence in the region where concerns are widespread that the easing of its international isolation could tip the already bloody contest for power in the region toward Shiite-led Iran. The Arab world has been polarized for years in a worsening proxy conflict between Iran and Gulf powers, particularly Saudi Arabia, fueling Sunni-Shiite tensions and stoking wars. In Syria, Iran’s support has ensured the survival of President Bashar Assad against Sunni rebels backed by Gulf nations in a devastating civil war now in its fifth year. Yemen has been torn apart this year as Saudi Arabia, leading a coalition air campaign, has tried to help fend off Shiite rebels supported by Iran. In Iraq, Saudi Arabia has opposed the growing power of Iran even since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein and the rise of a government led by Shiite politicians close to Iran.
A Saudi Arabian source said that “the Obama Administration made an enormous, historic mistake that will lead a great burden upon the next American government, from the perspective of dealing with and rectifying the mistake. The deal will bring about further hostility due to the manner in which it was achieved. In addition, Saudi Arabia issued a pointed warning, saying Iran must use any economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to improve the lives of Iranians, “rather than using them to cause turmoil in the region, a matter that will meet a decisive reaction from the nations of the region.” Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, warned earlier this year that a deal might fuel a regional arms race. “This agreement, from our point of view, represents an indirect threat to Gulf and Arab interests and peace,” said Tariq Al-Shammari, a Saudi analyst and president of the Council of Gulf International Relations.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the US Security Council vote as “hypocrisy,” stressing that Tehran “systematically violates UN resolutions and calls for the destruction of Israel — a member of the UN. There is no limit to hypocrisy,” Netanyahu charged. “The best way to combat this hypocrisy is to firmly and uniformly tell the truth.” Netanyahu said many countries in the Middle East see “eye-to-eye with Israel” on the nuclear deal. “History has proven that even when the world is united, it is not necessarily right,” he said.
“They say this agreement pushes war away but in fact it brings war closer. Firstly, because Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars and already now states openly that it will use this money to fund its terror proxies. Secondly, [the deal] will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.
Furthermore, Netanyahu said “This deal endangers our security, our survival even, and the security of the Middle East and the world,” and US lawmakers to reject the deal. Netanyahu dismissed talk of US military compensation to Israel as futile and ineffective. He said: “Everybody talks about compensating Israel. If this deal is supposed to make Israel and its Arab neighbors safer, why should we need to be compensated with anything? And how can you compensate my country against a terrorist regime that is sworn to our destruction and going to get a path to nuclear bombs?” Netanyahu asked. According to Netanyahu, an ideal agreement would be based on the notion of “dismantle for dismantle” — that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure in exchange for sanctions relief. “That was the original administration position and I think it was the right one,” he said, lamenting that under the current deal “Iran gets to … keep its infrastructure and it gets the full dismantling of sanctions in a very short time.”
Ya’akov Nagel, deputy chief of Israel’s National Security Council (NSC), warned about the dangers in the Iranian nuclear deal saying, “The (version of the) final deal reached Israel just very shortly before the public (announcement of the) deal,” explained Nagel. “Except for a few surprises, most of the deal was already known to us beforehand. The deal is a bad deal – and even a very bad deal compared to what we thought.” The security expert explained that “the bottom line is that Iran was permitted to continue enriching uranium on Iranian soil. What that means is that the centrifuges for enriching uranium will remain in Iran and will not be deconstructed. As of today Iran has ten tons of centrifuges to enrich uranium but the deal speaks about that being limited to 300 kilograms with excess being sold on the free market.” Nagel added that the deal gives Iran a “permit to research and develop advanced centrifuges which will allow Iran to significantly shorten the needed time to breakout to a nuclear weapon. Fifteen years from the deal all the limitations will be lifted on the enrichment of uranium.”
Regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which signed a “road map” deal with Iran to clarify the nuclear aspects of its nuclear program by the end of the year, Nagel said the agency previously “passed to Iran a list of 12 clauses connected to Iran’s military (nuclear) developments. As of today, Iran has not responded to the request or given a response about the status of these clauses, and this topic was not included in the deal. If Iran doesn’t give answers in the next four months, it will cast doubt as to the validity of the deal.”
Nagel emphasized that the deal has numerous loopholes regarding the inspection of Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programs. “IAEA inspectors can arrive at suspected sites, but that’s only possible after a long period of 24 days,” warned the security expert. “Other than a nuclear (detonation) experiment that can’t be hidden within 24 days, everything else can be hidden.”
The revelation is particularly significant in context of the covert Parchin military base, where Iran has admitted to testing exploding bridge wire nuclear detonators and where the IAEA has reported nuclear weapons experiments were likely centered. Satellite photos have shown Iran has been modifying the site possibly covering up evidence of ongoing nuclear tests. In conclusion, Nagel said, “Iran hasn’t abandoned and won’t abandon its vision of military nuclear (power). Due to the deal, Iran will receive a huge amount of money in a thawing of the sanctions, which will allow Iran to increase its involvement in terror and obtain technological knowledge regarding nuclear (power).”
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said he would work with Netanyahu’s ruling coalition to thwart the Iran nuclear deal. Herzog said: “I had a meeting where I learned about the deal and I think it is bad for Israel. [Netanyahu and myself] will certainly cooperate when it comes to the security of Israel. As an Israeli patriot, this deal is dangerous.” MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said: “The day the agreement was signed, I said that the clear and immediate danger is strengthening Iran’s terror system,” said MK Livni. “The fact that the president of the United States now acknowledges and is aware that Iran will continue to meddle in terrorism despite the agreement and that the agreement was only intended to deal with the nuclear program forces the world to take the next step and act against Iran’s terrorism.” Livni added, “Israel must now demand from the US, without connection to whether or not the deal passes, security and operational steps to reduce the deal’s damage and to allow us to act against the immediate results in the region. This is a legitimate demand and necessary to Israel’s safety.”
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama told Netanyahu that the Iran nuclear deal was in Israel’s national interest and sent his defence secretary, Ash Carter, to travel to Israel to talk with Netanyahu about it. In response, Israeli political party leader of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, said Netanyahu was making a mistake by refusing to hear about compensation for the Iranian nuclear deal from American Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. He pointed out that the Israeli defense establishment wants compensation. “But the worst mistake is allowing the world, especially the Arabs to see that the US has stopped listening to Israel,” Lapid said. In response to Lapid, the head of the political party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett, said: “The Iran nuclear deal is the height of political evil. Instead of trying to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the world is now helping it to develop one. Instead of completely eviscerating their economy, they are developing it. Instead of taking away their weapons, they are giving them the opportunity to get more. During times like these there is no coalition or opposition,” said Bennett. Turning to Lapid, Bennett said “I would expect politicians to show some responsibility especially at a time like this.”
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was also heading to Israel to speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “to convey our message about the Iranian deal directly. I am also confident that Israel has shown, time and again, that it can be pragmatic and that once it has exhausted that avenue of opportunity, that it will seek to engage in a sensible and pragmatic way to deal with the new reality on the ground in the Middle East, to the benefit of everyone.” Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, criticized Israel for opposing the Iranian nuclear deal. The FM said that the deal is responsible and called to Israel to examine the deal scrupulously instead of roughly criticizing the agreement.
The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has accepted an invitation to visit Iran. France used to have a strong presence in Iran before the sanctions went into effect, with Peugeot and Renault being major players in the Iranian auto industry and energy giant Total heavily involved in the oil sector. Futhermore, Asian refiners are set to buy more crude oil from Iran once they receive word on when sanctions will be lifted expecting Tehran to price its oil competitively as it tries to rebuild market share in an oversupplied market. Iran has said its priority destination for selling its crude is Asia, not surprising since China, India, Japan and South Korea are its largest customers.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) UN Security Council unanimously approves Iran deal
2) European Union Backs Iranian Nuclear Deal
3) Netanyahu: To Combat UN’s Hypocrisy, We Must Tell the Truth
4) In Arab world, worries that deal will boost Iran’s power
5) Saudi Source: Obama Made a Historic Mistake
6) Merkel: Iran Deal an Important Achievement
7) Germany: Israel Should Examine ‘Responsible’ Iran Deal Carefully
8) British foreign minister heads to Israel to explain Iran deal
9) French foreign minister to go to Tehran for trade talks
10) French foreign minister to visit Tehran in sign of post-deal thaw
11) Asia ready to buy more Iranian oil when sanctions lifted
12) Top Security Official: Nothing in Deal Stops Iran Going Nuclear
13) Iran’s long-term nuclear ambitions survive deal
14) Experts Reveal Deal Ignores Iran’s Covert Nuclear Arms Program
15) Iran’s parliament votes to ban access to military sites and scientists
16) Nuclear Deal Silent on Iran’s Parchin Military Plant, Bushehr
17) Netanyahu: Iran deal endangers Israel, US compensation won’t help
18) Opposition head Herzog says he will work with PM against Iran deal
19) Livni to Obama: US Must Help Stop Iranian Terror
20) Lapid: The world sees that the US has stopped listening to Israel
21) Bennett Slams Lapid, Defends Netanyahu on Iran
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l