Biden, Iran Wobble Ahead in Phased Deal
IRAN RECEIVES US RESPONSE TO NUCLEAR DEAL DRAFT, LAPID DECRIES DEAL: Iran received the US government’s response to the latest demands from Tehran in nuclear negotiations, via the talks’ EU coordinator on Wednesday, August 24.
Tehran made the demands the previous week after the EU tabled what it said was a final draft of the agreement. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said the Islamic Republic began a “detailed review of the American side’s comments and… will announce its views in this regard to the coordinator after completing the review.” Prime Minister Yair Lapid had earlier said US President Joe Biden would not be fulfilling his commitment to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon if it joins the Iran deal as it stands. “In our eyes, [the Iran deal] does not meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” he said. At the same time, Lapid said the US and Israel maintain an open dialogue. “I appreciate their willingness to listen and work together,” he said. “The United States is and will remain our closest ally, and President Biden is one of the best friends Israel has ever known.” In recent days Lapid also spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose countries are parties to the Iran talks. He said he has a “close, almost daily, dialogue with the UK.” (JPost / VFI News)
LAPID: US ADOPTED ISRAELI STANCES IN IRAN RESPONSE: The US adopted some of Israel’s points opposing Iran’s latest demands in nuclear talks, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Thursday, August 25, the day after Washington submitted its response to the most recent draft of the deal.
“This is a bad deal… The Americans accepted a large part of what we wanted them to put into the draft and that is a welcome change,” Lapid said at a Yesh Atid faction meeting. “The dialogue with them is good and we will continue.” In response to a question about opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism that the government is not being aggressive enough in its opposition to the Iran deal, Lapid said, “We are working with the US administration in the right way, with patience and determination, and bringing results.” The prime minister also attributed Israel’s success in influencing the American position to National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata’s “intensive talks” in Washington this week, including with his counterpart, Jake Sullivan, and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN DEAL DRAFT REPORTEDLY INCLUDES 4 PHASES, WOULD TAKE FULL EFFECT AFTER 165 DAYS: According to an unsourced report, the EU draft proposed last month included four incremental steps in the halting of Iran’s nuclear activity, and in the lifting of Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic, with the fourth and final step taking effect 165 days after the deal is signed.
The first step, taking effect on the day of the signing, would see Iran freeze its uranium enrichment, although it will be allowed to hold on to the enriched uranium it will have stockpiled before that date. The report said the second step would take 30 days and will see the administration of US President Joe Biden bring the deal to Congress for approval. The third step, 60 days after congressional approval, would see Washington notify the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its decision to rejoin the pact. The fourth and final step — after an additional 60 days — would see the US formally return to the deal, with the sides removing more sanctions and halting their violations of the JCPOA, according to the report. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAELI STRIKE DESTROYED OVER 1,000 IRAN-MADE MISSILES IN SYRIA – SOHR: An airstrike Thursday, August 25, on the Syrian city of Masyaf attributed to Israel hit a missile warehouse containing more than 1,000 Iranian-made missiles, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday.
The warehouse, in the city’s Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) complex, stored thousands of medium-range, surface-to-surface missiles assembled under the supervision of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “expert officers,” the report said. Syrian air-defense systems were activated in northwestern Syria on Thursday, with Syria’s state news agency SANA reporting that local forces were “confronting hostile targets” above Masyaf. Later, the agency said the airstrike was an Israeli attack. According to SOHR’s report, 14 Syrian civilians sustained injuries with varying levels of severity during the Masyaf airstrike, in addition to casualties reported among officials of Iranian-backed militias guarding the SSRC. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL SEIZED 300 ILLEGAL WEAPONS ON EGYPTIAN, JORDANIAN BORDERS IN 2022: Security forces have seized an estimated 300 weapons on the Jordanian and Egyptian borders this year, a report released on Sunday, August 28, said. In addition, more than 2,100 kg. of drugs (over 4,600 lbs.) have been seized along the borders.
How did Israeli security forces do it? The drug haul, worth around NIS 135 million, involved 40 thwarted smuggling attempts. In addition, 18 thwarted attempts to smuggle ammunition across the Jordanian border resulted in the seizure of some 300 weapons. An IDF statement said these numbers “reflect an increase in the scope of the attempts to smuggle drugs and weapons into Israeli territory, alongside a significant increase in the scope of countermeasures. “Our forces will continue to act… to maintain the security of the residents of the south, alongside strengthening the necessary partnership with other security bodies in the region.” In all of 2020, NIS 150m. worth of drugs were seized, and in 2021, NIS 209m. (JPost / VFI News)
TERROR CHARGES FILED AGAINST ISLAMIC JIHAD LEADER, WHOSE ARREST SPARKED GAZA CONFLICT: Military prosecutors on Thursday, August 25, filed an indictment against a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad member, whose arrest at the beginning of the month sparked a round of fighting between Israel and the terror group in the Gaza Strip.
Bassem Saadi’s indictment included charges of membership in a terror group (the PIJ), conducting operations on behalf of the terror group, incitement to terrorism, assisting others to contact an enemy, and assuming a false identity. Saadi, the leader of the terror group in the West Bank, was arrested on August 1 by Israeli troops in the Palestinian city of Jenin. His arrest followed intelligence information indicating that Saadi had continued to be active in the PIJ, a military source said. According to the indictment, Saadi worked to assist two other Palestinians to “advance activities” of the PIJ’s student council, which is considered by Israel to be a part of the outlawed group. The pair received $5,000 from a terror operative in the Gaza Strip for the activities, according to the indictment. (TOI / VFI News)
THE ALGORITHMS BEHIND THE SPREAD OF ONLINE ANTISEMITISM: Antisemitic incidents have shown a sharp rise in the US. The Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based Jewish civil rights group that has been tracking cases since 1979, found that there were 2,717 incidents in 2021. This represents an increase of 34% over 2020. In Europe, the European Commission found a sevenfold increase in antisemitic postings across French language accounts, and an over thirteenfold increase in antisemitic comments within German channels during the pandemic.
Hatred against Jews on social media is often expressed in stereotypical depictions of Jews that stem from Nazi propaganda or in denial of the Holocaust. Antisemitic social media posts also express hatred toward Jews that is based on the notion that all Jews are Zionist – that is, they are part of the national movement supporting Israel as a Jewish state – and Zionism is construed as innately evil. However, today’s antisemitism is not only directed at Israelis, and it does not always take the form of traditional slogans or hate speech. Scholar Sophie Schmalenberger found that antisemitism is expressed not just in blunt, hurtful language and images on social media, but also in coded forms that may easily remain undetected. For example, on Facebook, Germany’s radical right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD, omits the mentioning of the Holocaust in posts about the Second World War. It also uses antisemitic language and rhetoric that present antisemitism as acceptable. (TOI / VFI News)
LIFE-SAVING BREAKTHROUGH FOR HEART DISEASE AT HADASSAH MEDICAL CENTER: Instead of performing open-heart surgery, with all its risks, to repair a defective aortal arch that has an aneurysm – a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall – interventional cardiologists at the Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem are the first in Israel to fix it by minimal catheterization.
The first case, on an elderly man at high risk of death, was performed in May without official Health Ministry approval on compassionate grounds. There have been two more cases since then. The fourth patient who underwent the two-and-a-half-hour procedure on Thursday, August 25, Meir Yitzhak of Kiryat Yam, is only 55. He was the first case in which the $32,000 implant was a commercial product recognized by the health ministry and paid for by his health fund, Maccabi Health Services. It is threaded toward the heart via arteries in the leg and/or the arm and covers the balloon-like aneurysm in the aorta that then doesn’t have to be removed. Several hundred patients in Europe and New Zealand underwent implantation of the delicate Dacron implant called Nexus – developed by the Endospan company in Herzliya Pituah – in clinical trials. It now has certification from the European CE authority after the product was deemed to meet EU safety and health requirements. (JPost / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff