Iran Stalls on Nuke Talks
PALESTINIAN CONSULATE IN JERUSALEM JEOPARDIZES ISRAELI GOVERNMENT: The US plans to reopen its Jerusalem Consulate General – which directly worked with the Palestinian Authority – would jeopardize Israel’s government, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned on Wednesday, September 1, adding that this viewpoint has been conveyed to Washington.
“We have an interesting yet delicate structure of our government, and we think this might destabilize this government, and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” Lapid said. The former Trump administration closed the Consulate General in 2019, folding its services into that of the US Embassy, which the US had relocated to Israel’s capital from Tel Aviv the previous year. The United States first opened a consulate in Jerusalem’s Old City in 1844, moving it to a nearby location outside the city walls on Agron Street in 1912. After the 1993 Oslo I Accord, the consulate acted as a de facto embassy to the PA, which viewed its closure as one more symbolic step the Trump administration had taken to sever the ties between them and to disconnect it from Jerusalem. “I know the history,” Lapid said. “Once it was closed, reopening it will send the wrong message, not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians but also to other countries. We don’t want this to happen,” he said. Israel holds that Jerusalem is its united capital, but has received scant recognition of that sovereignty either over the western part of the city, which has been within its borders since 1948, or over the eastern part of the city, which it annexed in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. Since then-president Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, Israel has campaigned for other countries to follow suit. President Joe Biden, who in the past has acknowledged that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, has not taken any steps to rescind any of Trump’s decisions on the status of the city. Upon taking office in January, Biden pledged to reopen the consulate but has not yet set a date for the restoration of that mission. (JPost / VFI News)
NUCLEAR TALKS IN IRAN WON’T RESUME FOR TWO TO THREE MONTHS: Stalled talks aimed at reviving Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers will likely not resume for another two to three months, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said on Wednesday, September 1.
The negotiations were adjourned on June 20, two days after ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election, and no date has been set for a resumption of dialogue. “We are not seeking to flee the negotiation table and the… government considers a real negotiation is a negotiation that produces palpable results allowing the rights of the Iranian nation to be guaranteed,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said. But “the other party knows full well that a process of two to three months is required for the new government to establish itself and to start taking decisions.” Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but current President Joe Biden wants to bring Washington back into the agreement. The talks in Vienna involve Iran and the five other remaining parties to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia. The United States also takes part in the talks but has no direct contact with Iran. This week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry stated that Iran will downscale its nuclear activities only if the United States fully returns to all of its commitments under the 2015 deal. He added that Vienna talks are “one of the questions on the foreign policy and government agenda.” (INN / VFI News)
NO PLANS TO LIMIT SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION FOR NOW: Despite the change of administration in Washington, Israel’s settlement building policies will remain largely unchanged, an Israeli government official said on Wednesday, September 1.
The official said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government will operate based on the understandings his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu reached with former President Donald Trump, whose administration allowed for Israel to continue building in settlements across Judea and Samaria, so long as the construction did not expand beyond communities’ “existing footprints.” This agreement allowed settlement building to skyrocket during the Trump era, with approved projects beyond the Green Line more than doubling compared to former President Barack Obama’s second term. “The (Trump-era) understanding may well be adapted, but as of now, it is still the only game in town,” the official said. “President Biden only spoke generally about his opposition to settlement building, and his team has not gotten into specifics with us.” The official said that Bennett is aware of the issue’s sensitivity and acted to delay the convening of the Defense Ministry body that approves settlement construction in order for it not to coincide with his visit to Washington last week. (TOI / VFI News)
TALIBAN GIVES US TANKS, MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO IRAN: The Taliban has begun turning over American-made military equipment to Iran, according to a report by Iran International.
According to the report, images on social media show military equipment which was given to the Afghan army by the US in Tehran and other parts of Iran. Photographs also show armored tanks and Humvees being transported towards Tehran. Two of the images were posted by the acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan Bismallah Mohammadi, who called Iran a “bad neighbor” and said that the country’s “bad days are not eternal.” Last week, Iran offered to resume fuel shipments to Afghanistan to prevent an economic collapse. The US left behind billions of dollars worth of equipment behind in Afghanistan when it completed its withdrawal from the country Tuesday morning. (INN / VFI News)
IRAN, RUSSIA, OTHER ADVERSARIES HOPE US HAS NEW ‘VIETNAM SYNDROME’—ANALYSIS: In the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States is now charting a new course in which it will refrain from military interventions and “nation-building.”
That is what US President Joe Biden has said. “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” the president said. So what are media and commentators saying in Tehran, Moscow, and elsewhere? Since Iranian media tend to reflect the views of the regime, it is easy to know what Iran is thinking by reading its state-linked media such as Tasnim or Fars News. A recent report on Tasnim news presents a two-for-one in this respect by quoting a Russian military expert in Iranian media. According to this report, a senior member of the committee on the policy of the Federation Council in Russia analyzed the US decision. He compared the US ending military operations in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the military forces of the United States from Vietnam. “The 20-year American military operation in Afghanistan was completely meaningless and fruitless.” In this context, he argued that the withdrawal from Vietnam and the collapse of South Vietnam led to the so-called Vietnam Syndrome, which he argued “deeply affected US society and caused a rift. The United States now has the ‘Afghanistan Syndrome’… The most important feature is the loss of American faith in military power and the impact of its actions. Of course, this time, the loss of confidence in US military action is not limited to the United States and is seen around the world.” Alexei Pushkov in Russia argued that the US has a new geopolitical calculation to make on the world stage. It is soul-searching having wasted some $2 trillion on the Afghan war. In fact, the real figure spent in Afghanistan and Iraq is estimated at between $5t. and $8t. What does this mean? It means that Iran and Russia think they will be able to do as they please for the next few years, as the US will not want to use its military. (JPost/ VFI News)
IRANIAN FUEL SHIP ENTERS SYRIAN WATERS TO HELP HEZBOLLAH: An Iranian ship carrying fuel reportedly reached Syria’s territorial waters. This will be a major gamechanger for Lebanon and Hezbollah, which aims to profit off the Iranian fuel that is being shipped. The fuel will supposedly be offloaded at a Syrian port and then transferred to Lebanon.
In July 2019, UK Royal Marines temporarily seized a large tanker named the Grace 1, which was on its way to Syria. Tehran has also sent ships to Venezuela carrying gasoline. The US seized fuel from some of those ships in the summer of 2020. Hezbollah has been at odds with the US and wants to use the fuel delivery to show it can run Lebanon’s economy. Hezbollah also wants closer ties with China via Iran. The terrorist group has, in the past, slammed US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea. “As US officials, we are working hard to find ways to resolve the fuel crisis, and there is no incentive for Lebanon to rely on Iranian fuel or any other fuel being shipped from Syria,” US Senator Chris Murphy said in Beirut yesterday, according to reports. The same reports note that Syria is under sanctions from the US. “Informed sources report that due to technical reasons, Iraqi oil is expected to enter Lebanon with a delay, and also in the shadow of the ambiguity of the US decision to import gas from Egypt to Lebanon, the convoy of Iranian fuel ships, which is the first that will enter Lebanon within a week. This is the only hope of the Lebanese people in the shadow of the suffocating US siege against Lebanon,” Iran’s Tasnim says. The news agency is close to the Iranian regime and the IRGC. Iran’s Fars News has the same report on the tanker. Al-Akhbar notes that the “Iranian ship is loaded with diesel, which Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced on the Ashura commemoration that it set off from Iran and that its final cargo destination will be Lebanon, entered Syrian territorial waters yesterday.” The involvement of Hezbollah and Nasrallah shows that the Iranian-backed group wants credit for this shipment. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN SPORTS MINISTER JOINS ‘ANTISEMITIC’ ATTACK AGAINST ISRAELI ATHLETES: Seyed Hamid Sajjadi Hazaveh, the newly appointed Iranian minister of sports, joined members of the Islamic Republic’s parliament in August in urging Iranian athletes from competing against their Israeli counterparts.
Hamid Sajjadi termed Israel a “child-killing and occupying regime,” sparking criticism from a highly decorated Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler. The former head of Iran’s Greco-Roman wrestling team, Sardar Pashaei, who is now an American citizen, said that “It is deeply sad for me and many other Iranian athletes such racist remarks by the Iranian authorities. Just a few days ago, members of the Iranian parliament called on the minister of sports to ban Iranian athletes from competing with Israeli athletes, and unfortunately, we now see that the minister of sports of the new Iranian government has the same message: a message of enmity and hatred.” Pashaei, who helps run the United for Navid campaign in remembrance of the murdered Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, added that “Enmity with Israel and Western values has been the fundamental policy of the regime from day one, they are alien to any peace, friendship, and humanity, and they only want to spread evil, enmity, and hatred. And sadly, they have carried out this message in the field of sports, which is supposed to be away from politics. “ Iran’s clerical regime executed Afkari in September 2020 for his participation in a demonstration against worsening economic conditions in the Islamic Republic. Pashaei noted that “We, the Iranian athletes, have been victims of the policy of hatred and enmity of the Iranian officials for a long time, we have been losing the opportunities of our lives for many years because of that, we complained to the International Olympic Committee about this. But nothing has been done yet by international sports officials and the International Olympic Committee to end this misguided policy, and athletes continue to fall victim.” The sports outlet Inside the Games reported in May that audio obtained by the London-based Iran International news organization apparently shows Iran Judo Federation President Arash Miresmaeili urging the coach of Saeid Mollaei to notify the judoka to take a defeat in order to not compete against an Israeli judoka. “The position of the regime, myself, the minister, all of us, is that he is not allowed to compete [against the Israeli rival],” Miresmaeili reportedly said. “Make him understand that he is not allowed under any circumstances. He will be held responsible for whatever decision he makes.” In April, the International Judo Federation imposed a four-year ban on Iran’s regime for its discriminatory conduct toward Israel. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAELI SCIENTISTS DISCOVER HOW TO REVERSE CELL AGING: Scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology say they have found a way to rejuvenate the aging process of the body’s immune system.
Prof. Doron Melamed and doctoral student Reem Dowery sought to understand why the elderly population is more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19 and why the vaccines seem to be less effective and wane faster among this population. The results of their work were published this month in the peer-reviewed, online medical journal Blood. The secret begins with B cells, also known as B lymphocytes. These are the cells that produce antibodies against any pathogen that enters the body. They play a key role in protecting people from viruses and diseases. “We found specific hormonal signals produced by the old B cells, the memory cells, that inhibit the bone marrow from producing new B cells,” Melamed said. “This is a huge discovery. It is like finding a needle in a haystack.” It also means that, over time, specific drugs or treatments can be found to inhibit one of the hormones in the signaling pathway and get the bone marrow to produce new B cells. He also suggested mixing vaccines, such as combining a shot of a Pfizer mRNA vaccine with an AstraZeneca booster given several months later, “which may generate better stimulation of the elderly immune system.” At the same time, clinical trials would be needed to determine how to safely inhibit the hormones to find a longer-term solution, hopefully before the next pandemic, Melamed said. (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