WAR Main Persian Gulf Trouble thread

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
For reference.....

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jward

passin' thru
I do not understand why this thing has not been prounounced already


Jason Brodsky
@JasonMBrodsky

57m

I think #Iran strategy in Vienna this week was to appear to concede on guarantees and IRGC sanctions issues only to replace them with demand to close the IAEA safeguards probe as the shiny new object. In the process, Tehran may feel it buys more time by creating "progress."
 

jward

passin' thru


Iran International English
@IranIntl_En


#BREAKING Iran's Supreme National Security Council on Monday afternoon held an extraordinary meeting, chaired by President Raisi, where chief nuclear negotiator @Bagheri_Kan presented a detailed report about #ViennaTalks, the SNSC's Nour News reported.
"It was said in the extraordinary meeting that a wrap-up of expert opinions is being finalized," according to Nour News, the news website of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
Bagheri presented detailed explanations about contents of ideas proposed by EU's @enriquemora_ & said, "The key focus of Iran team's negotiations in Vienna was putting an end to the Safeguards-related political claims and obtaining guarantees to ensure JCPOA economic benefits."
 

jward

passin' thru






Jason Brodsky
@JasonMBrodsky


To sum it up: 1. The U.S. hasn't sent its response yet to #Iran's demands on the EU "final draft." It likely won't be a clean yes. 2. There is evidence of movement by supporters of the negotiations in Iran's system to sell deal. But Khamenei still has to decide.
And Ali Shamkhani and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have raised the prospect of both success and failure in their public remarks this week after transmitting their proposals. 3. Finally a note of caution: it's always possible Iran will raise new demands in reply to the U.S. response.

3:09 PM · Aug 19, 2022·Twitter Web App
 

jward

passin' thru
Natasha Bertrand
@NatashaBertrand


New: Iran has officially dropped its demand that Biden delist the IRGC as a terror org, senior official tells CNN—demand is not in the text Iran sent to EU on Monday that US is still reviewing. “So if we are closer to a deal, that’s why,” official says.
However, officials caution that the outcome of a deal is still uncertain as “gaps remain,” including Iran demands for assurances re: deal’s future and that IAEA probe into undeclared nuclear materials be shut down. US is entertaining neither demand.
View: https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1560743048572993537?s=20&t=z6gtXMSmC5x6G35uxXV_HA
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Then there's this.....
 

jward

passin' thru

Israel urges US to reject nuclear deal as Tehran signals will to sign​


By TOVAH LAZAROFF

4-5 minutes



National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata is expected to head to Washington this week as Israel attempts to sway the United States to walk away from the Iran deal just as Tehran hinted it may be willing to finalize the agreement.
CNN reported on Saturday that the Islamic Republic dropped one of its key demands for the revival of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran deal, designed to prevent it from producing a nuclear bomb.
The Trump administration had exited the deal in 2018, warning it emboldened rather than contained Iran. US President Joe Biden has sought to revive the deal, but until recently, negotiations had appeared to hit a standstill.
One of the sticking points had been Tehran’s insistence that the US remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terror Organizations.
Washington had refused to compromise on the issue, which made the deal’s revival seem unlikely.
According to CNN, Tehran has now dropped that demand.
A senior Israeli official told KAN news that the US has not made any final decision with respect to the deal, which was also signed with Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Still, the official said, the dynamic appears to be one that is leading to a conclusion of the indirect negotiations that the European Union has been holding between the US and Iran to revive the deal.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke against the deal on Thursday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee on the Middle East, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida).
Nides tweeted after the conversation with Lapid and Deutch that “we reiterated the US government’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security in the face of Iranian aggression.”

Israeli concerns​

Israel had always opposed the deal, but now it fears that America will make dangerous concessions in an attempt to finalize the matter.
A senior Israeli official told Ynet that it still seems possible to change the direction in which the US appears to be going.
There have been other moments when it appeared that the negotiations were in an advanced stage, the official said. The difference here is that there appears to be an Iranian willingness to finalize the talks, he said.
Iran earlier this week had sent the European Union a response to what it had called its “final” proposal to save a 2015 nuclear deal after Tehran called on Washington to show flexibility.
After 16 months of fitful, indirect US-Iranian talks, with the EU shuttling between the parties, a senior EU official said on August 8 that the bloc had laid down a “final” offer and expected a response within a “very, very few weeks.”

Iran responds to deal proposal​

Iran responded to the proposal late on Monday but none of the parties provided any details.
Washington has said it is ready to quickly seal a deal to restore the 2015 accord on the basis of the EU proposals.
Diplomats and officials have told Reuters that whether or not Tehran and Washington accept the EU’s “final” offer, neither is likely to declare the pact dead because keeping it alive serves the interests of both sides.
The stakes are high, since failure in the nuclear negotiations would carry the risk of a fresh regional war, with Israel threatening military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons capability.
Iran, which has long denied having such ambitions, has warned of a “crushing” response to any Israeli attack.
Reuters contributed to this report.
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB

Biden Drops More Crucial Demands To Get Iran Deal​


BY TYLER DURDEN
ZERO HEDGE
MONDAY, AUG 22, 2022 - 08:10 AM

Authored by Khaled Abu Toameh via The Gatestone Institute,
  • "First, Biden decided to waive the demand to include the role of Iran's terrorists in the region in the talks [in Vienna]... Biden decided not to address this issue at all, nor the role of terrorist militias affiliated with Iran in the Arab countries." — Sayed Zahra, deputy editor of the Gulf's Akhbar Al-Khaleej, August 20, 2022.
  • The second demand Biden gave up, according to Zahra, includes the issue of Iran's ballistic missile program and the threat it poses to the security and stability of the region, the US itself and its interests.
  • "The issue is not whether the agreement is signed or not.... [T]here is something more dangerous than this: Biden has completely abandoned the Arabs, allies and non-allies alike." — Sayed Zahra, August 20, 2022.
  • The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, [Kheirallah] added, is continuing to recruit hundreds of fighters.
  • "What will the Houthis do with these fighters? Are they preparing for new rounds of fighting, or is their goal limited to threatening neighboring countries, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?" — Kheirallah Kheirallah, veteran Lebanese journalist, Alraimedia, August 17, 2022.
  • The Iranian regime, [Kheirallah] wrote, cannot survive without its expansionist project. "The collapse of this project means the collapse of the regime, similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Lebanon, Iran is flexing its muscles through Hezbollah, which asserts daily that it is the ruling party. In Iraq, Iran refuses to admit that it is rejected by the majority of the Iraqi people.... Unfortunately, there is no American administration capable of understanding the meaning and repercussions of the presence of an Iranian entity in the Arabian Peninsula. Iran escalates everywhere it considers itself present through its militias. There is a question that will arise soon: Will the US administration facilitate this escalation through a deal it concludes with the Islamic Republic that provides it with large financial resources? To put it more clearly, does America consider itself concerned with the security of its allies in the region, or should these people manage their own affairs in the way they see fit?" — Kheirallah Kheirallah, Annahar, August 17, 2022.
  • "Iran still considers interference in the affairs of other countries in the region as one of its top priorities.... for the sake of regional hegemony." — Hamid Al-Kaifaey, Iraqi author, Sky News Arabia, August 14, 2022.
  • "The most striking thing about the ongoing international negotiations with the Iranian regime regarding its suspicious nuclear program is that the international community has become confident and certain that this regime is lying and engaged in all forms of deception to achieve its goals without meeting international demands.... Anyone who relies on the Iranian regime is engaged in self-deception. Western countries have completed more than three decades of practicing the policy of appeasement and alignment with the Iranian regime and provided it with many privileges without getting anything in return." — Alladdin Touran, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Elaph, August 15, 2022.
US President Joe Biden, it seems, has effectively decided to sacrifice the Arabs, their interests, demands and fears in order to appease Iran.




This view, expressed by Sayed Zahra, deputy editor of the Gulf's Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, is shared by many prominent Arab political analysts who say they are extremely worried about the possibility that the US and other Western powers may sign a new nuclear agreement with Iran's mullahs.

Referring to reports that progress has been achieved towards striking a new deal with the mullahs, Zahra said that the alleged breakthrough appears to have occurred after Biden decided to waive two pre-conditions. Zahra accused Biden of being in collusion with Iran.

"First, Biden decided to waive the demand to include Iran's terrorist role in the region in the talks [in Vienna]," Zahra wrote. "Biden decided not to address this issue at all, nor the role of terrorist militias affiliated with Iran in the Arab countries."

The second demand Biden gave up, according to Zahra, includes the issue of Iran's ballistic missile program and the threat it poses to the security and stability of the region and the US itself and its interests.

By dropping the two demands, "Biden has practically decided to acquiesce to Iran and its entire terrorist expansion project in the Arab region," the influential newspaper editor argued.

"This is a dangerous development. The issue is not whether the agreement is signed or not. This is no longer important. The issue is that the Biden administration made its choice between Iran and the Arab countries in this way. The matter is not limited to these concessions made by Biden; there is something more dangerous than this: Biden has completely abandoned the Arabs, allies and non-allies alike."

Veteran Lebanese journalist Kheirallah Kheirallah expressed frustration with the Biden administration for ignoring the mullahs' expansionist project and its tools and proxies, especially the Iranian missile and drone program.
"The program poses a threat to every country in the region," Kheirallah wrote.

"This was evident when Iran recently started firing long-range missiles and drones from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. There is an American and Iranian tendency to conclude a deal that would provide Iran with much-needed funds.
Kheirallah wrote that Iran has been working to escalate tensions in the Arab countries it occupies: Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, he added, is continuing to recruit hundreds of fighters.
"What will the Houthis do with these fighters?" Kheirallah asked.

"Are they preparing for new rounds of fighting, or is their goal limited to threatening neighboring countries, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? The US has failed to reassure its [Arab] allies in the region. When viewing the chronology events in the region since Biden entered the White House, it becomes clear that we are facing a confused administration that could not take any initiative. In light of the lack of confidence [in the Biden administration], a US-Iranian deal will raise all kinds of fears in the absence of any answer to an obvious question: What is the US position on Iran's behavior outside its borders and its missile program and drones?"

In another article, Kheirallah wrote that the Biden administration does not appear to be worried about the security of its Arab allies. This, he said, is the reason why Iran is continuing to flex its muscles to show that its expansionist project has not stopped faltered and that it is determined to take it to the end, regardless of whether or not the mullahs reach a new deal with "the American Big Satan."

The Iranian regime, he wrote, cannot survive without its expansionist project. "The collapse of this project means the collapse of the regime, similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union," Kheirallah said.

"In Lebanon, Iran is flexing its muscles through Hezbollah, which asserts daily that it is the ruling party. In Iraq, Iran refuses to admit that it is rejected by the majority of the Iraqi people, who expressed this in the last legislative elections. Iran refuses to acknowledge the defeat of its supporters in these elections. We see it currently seeking to overturn the results of those elections, starting with disrupting the formation of a new government and political life in the entire country. In Syria, Iran, in light of Russia's preoccupation with the Ukrainian war, has become the number one player in that country. This includes southern Syria, where it is expanding daily and increasing its smuggling activity to Jordan and across it to the Arab Gulf states. But the place where Iran is most active than anywhere else is Yemen. It took advantage of the truce announced last April in order to recruit more fighters. The Houthis, and behind them Iran, are encouraged by the American fluidity in dealing with them. Unfortunately, there is no American administration capable of understanding the meaning and repercussions of the presence of an Iranian entity in the Arabian Peninsula. Iran escalates everywhere it considers itself present through its militias. There is a question that will arise soon: Will the US administration facilitate this escalation through a deal it concludes with the Islamic Republic that provides it with large financial resources? To put it more clearly, does America consider itself concerned with the security of its allies in the region, or should these people manage their own affairs in the way they see fit?"

Iraqi author Hamid Al-Kaifaey pointed out that since Joe Biden came to power, his administration has embarked on "vigorous measures" to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.

"The Democratic administration, whether under former president Barack Obama, or the current president, Joe Biden, adopts the method of diplomatic dealing with Iran and engaging in negotiations with it in order to stop its attempts to build a nuclear bomb, instead of the policy of maximum pressure adopted by the previous Republican administration... Just as the policy of maximum pressure has failed to dissuade Iran from its relentless pursuit of developing its nuclear program, so as to enable it to manufacture a nuclear bomb, the policy of negotiation and diplomacy pursued by the Biden administration has also failed so far to bring Iran back to the nuclear agreement."

The Iraqi writer said that he has no doubt that Iran is determined to build an atomic bomb, just as it is determined to develop its other offensive war industries, such as drones and long-range ballistic missiles.

"A return to the nuclear deal will enhance Iran's capabilities because it allows it to interact with the outside world, export oil and gas, and develop sectors of the Iranian economy instead of being under severe and comprehensive punishments," Al-Kifaey warned.

"The Iranian economic situation is constantly getting worse, due to the US sanctions imposed by the administration of former President Trump, which President Biden has maintained, and despite that, Iran still considers interference in the affairs of other countries in the region as one of its top priorities. Iranian interference in the affairs of neighboring countries greatly increased after 2015, the year of the nuclear agreement. While the countries of the world are trying to solve their economic problems, reduce the rate of inflation and unemployment and find alternative sources of energy, Iran is ignoring the suffering of its people and their difficult economic conditions, and is trying to exploit the current international conditions to develop its military capabilities, nuclear and conventional, and its ballistic missiles, for the sake of regional hegemony."

Alladdin Touran, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an international opposition organization based in France, warned the Biden administration and the Western powers that it would be a "big mistake" to trust the Iranian regime.

"The most striking thing about the ongoing international negotiations with the Iranian regime regarding its suspicious nuclear program is that the international community has become confident and certain that this regime is lying and engaged in all forms of deception to achieve its goals without meeting international demands... The Iranian regime has engaged in a lot of rhetoric and various childish actions in the ways and methods that it used in the nuclear talks, especially by putting forward demands unrelated to the talks in return for its efforts to remove its terrorist Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of terrorist organizations. Anyone who relies on the Iranian regime is engaged in self-deception. Western countries have completed more than three decades of practicing the policy of appeasement and alignment with the Iranian regime and provided it with many privileges without getting anything in return. The international community should know that this regime can never abide by any agreement, especially if it is not in its interest and affects its own plans. With or without a nuclear agreement, Iran will not give up its efforts to produce and manufacture the atomic bomb. Confidence in the Iranian regime is a big mistake that must be avoided."

Judging from the reactions of many Arabs to a possible revival of the Iran nuclear deal, it is obvious that America's Arab allies have lost confidence in the Biden administration and its policy of appeasing the mullahs.

The Arabs' biggest fear is that this policy will embolden Iran's mullahs and encourage them to proceed with their scheme to expand their control of the Arab countries -- an existential threat to their national security.

 
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jward

passin' thru

U.S. reacts to Iranian comments on draft nuclear deal​




VIENNA — The U.S. and Iran are closing in on an agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear deal after almost 17 months of negotiations.
The United States relayed to the EU on Wednesday its much-awaited response to Iran’s comments on the draft proposal to restore the nuclear deal, a U.S. official familiar with the matter told POLITICO.
The spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani confirmed that it had received the U.S. response via EU senior official Enrique Mora, who acts as a mediator and coordinator of the talks. Iran still refuses to talk directly with the U.S. “Iran has started reviewing the US comments, and after the review Tehran will submit its views to the coordinator,” Kanaani said.

The U.S. response is expected to focus on final sticking points related to Iranian demands for economic guarantees and sanctions relief. U.S. officials were tight-lipped about the substance of the response. When asked for details, the official familiar with the matter said the response contained “a bunch of words and sentences and paragraphs.”
A person familiar with the U.S. response said it focused on the issue of economic guarantees. The person declined to give details, but said the response “falls short of Iran’s expectations. So now we have to see if they realize this is as good as it gets or decide to push for more.”
In recent days, European officials have expressed increasing optimism they could revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted many U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict but temporary curbs on its nuclear program. Western officials say that a number of technical questions related to economic guarantees and sanctions remain open but that other main sticking points have been resolved, making an agreement more likely. But they still cautioned that it would require tough political decisions both in Washington and Tehran in order to close a deal.

On Wednesday, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, told the Spanish news agency EFE that time was of the essence: “We have only days left, a few days [to conclude the deal], because after the summer we will enter into a new political dynamic,” he said, speaking on the margins of the Quo Vadis Europa conference in Santander, Spain.
Meanwhile, Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday urged the Biden administration to abandon the talks with Iran, saying that the emerging deal failed to “meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”
Lapid also warned that the frozen funds Iran would receive as part of a restored deal — worth an estimated $100 billion — would enable the regime in Tehran to fund even more malign activities in the region.
“This money will fund the Revolutionary Guard,” Lapid said. “It will fund more attacks on American bases in the Middle East. It will be used to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”
Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, China and the United States have spent almost 17 months negotiating a revival of the 2015 nuclear accord in Vienna. The talks have been close to collapse several times.
But since the last physical meeting of the parties at the beginning of August in Vienna, some of the most complicated stumbling blocks appear to have been resolved. They were related to whether the U.S. would remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, as well as to the fate of an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency into traces of nuclear material found at three sites in Iran.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, confirmed on Wednesday that Iran dropped some key demands, allowing the two sides to make some progress.
“We are closer now than we were even just a couple of weeks ago because Iran made the decision to make some concessions,” Kirby said. But he cautioned that “a lot of gaps remain. We’re not there yet.”

Economic guarantees​

Iran is still seeking further guarantees that a future U.S. administration would not leave the deal again. The Biden administration has stressed on numerous occasions that it will uphold its obligations but cannot provide a legal guarantee for its successors.
The prospect of former U.S. President Donald Trump — or a like-minded Republican — returning to power has overshadowed the talks since they began in Vienna in April 2021. Trump, who called the original deal “horrible” and “one-sided,” left the agreement in 2018.
Iran wants assurances built into the new text to cushion the potentially negative effects on the Iranian economy should the deal collapse again.

One such guarantee that is built into the draft text, according to Western officials, would allow foreign companies to continue their operations in Iran for two-and-a-half years without fear of being sanctioned, even if this renewed agreement falls apart.
Tehran would also receive what it calls an “inherent guarantee” that enables it to ramp up its uranium enrichment capacity fairly quickly in order to discourage Washington from scuttling the agreement once more. This will be achieved in part by allowing Iran to store some centrifuges and electronic equipment inside the country under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency instead of destroying them, a Western official with knowledge of the matter said.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent purity, maintain a stockpile of 300 kilograms of uranium, and permitted to use only very basic IR-1 centrifuges — machines that spin uranium gas at high speed for enrichment purposes.

It has exceeded those limits dramatically in response to the U.S. exit from the deal.
Iran currently has a stockpile of some 3,800 kilograms of enriched uranium — some of which has been enriched up to 60 percent, which is close to weapons grade. Iran has also installed thousands of advanced centrifuges in breach of the 2015 deal, including IR-6 machines that spin much faster.
Should the 2015 deal be restored, Iran will be forced back into compliance with the previous limits — but it will be allowed to mothball the advanced centrifuges, including the electronic infrastructure needed to operate them.

Sanctions lifting​

Even if the U.S. lifts nuclear-related sanctions under a new deal, numerous other American sanctions on Iran would remain, targeting the country over its support for terrorist groups and human rights abuses.
Those additional sanctions are the result of Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, which entailed not only reimposing nuclear-related sanctions, but also adding new penalties. That has made the Biden team’s job harder as it has tried to figure out which sanctions to lift and which to leave in place.
Now, Iran wants to make sure those remaining U.S. sanctions will not deter European and other non-American companies from doing business on its soil.

One Trump move that infuriated Tehran was the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful military branch, as a terrorist group. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he would not remove the IRGC from that terrorist list. On Wednesday, the U.S. struck an IRGC compound of bunkers in Syria, as retaliation for a strike by an IRGC-affiliated militia on a U.S. base.
Complicating matters is the IRGC’s vast economic footprint throughout Iran, with major economic projects in key industries.
The current draft deal, according to Western officials, will allow European and other non-American companies to do business with entities that have “transactions” with companies owned by Iran’s IRGC.
While some critics of the deal see that language as a weak point, allowing Tehran to use proxies to conduct business, other analysts say it’s not a significant change to how the United States currently approaches such situations.
Brian O’Toole, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and sanctions expert, said that the language in the draft deal signifies no change from current rules. He says it is “just a restatement of existing rules in a more prominent place.” Similar statements have appeared in various official JCPOA documents from 2015 and 2016, according to O’Toole.

IAEA safeguards probe​

Earlier in the discussions, Iran also insisted it wanted the International Atomic Energy Agency to close a probe into the origins of multiple traces of nuclear material found at three previously undeclared sites in Iran as a precondition for its return to the nuclear deal.
Western officials suspect that conclusive proof into the origins of the nuclear material could establish that Iran had a clandestine nuclear weapons program that ran until at least 2003. Iran, however, insists its nuclear program has always been solely for peaceful purposes.

EU officials have offered a proposal that would close the IAEA investigation if Iran can offer the agency credible answers about the uranium traces’ origins before the so-called “reimplementation day” — the day the revived nuclear deal would go into effect. But the proposal would also enable Iran to block reimplementation day, should the probe remain open.
Iran seems to have agreed to this EU proposal since it did not raise the issue again in its reply last week to the final EU text, according to three senior Western diplomats.
But it also means that even if an agreement on restoring the nuclear deal is reached in the coming days, there may still be pitfalls ahead for its full implementation.
 

somewherepress

Veteran Member

ZeroHedge - On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero​

www.zerohedge.com
www.zerohedge.com

Oil Spikes After Local Media Reports 'No Iran Nuclear Deal'​

BY TYLER DURDEN
WEDNESDAY, AUG 24, 2022 - 11:37 AM
Iran's Foreign Ministry has announced that it has received the White House response to its earlier in the week submission of a finalized nuclear deal text. Al-Arabiya and other regional outlets are reporting that the US has rejected the additional conditions put in place by Iran, meaning there's no deal.

"It has also said Iran should not be allowed to enrich uranium beyond purity level of 4%, Al-Arabiya reports," according to early unconfirmed reports. "The US has rejected all the additional conditions requested by Iran, and urged Iran to lift any restrictions on international inspections," regional source Iran International writes. Oil prices are spiking on the breaking news...






The US State Department earlier announced that "Our review of Iran's comments on the EU's proposed final text has now concluded. We have responded to the EU today. We have conveyed our feedback privately to the EU. But we’re not going to detail that feedback today."

Tehran has further announced it is reviewing the US response and plans to issue formal notification to the European Union once the review is complete.



As it stands, the longer the can gets kicked down the road, and more and more conditions are made firm and out in the open - most especially the disagreement over international inspections, which Iran has demanded be dropped - the more likely there will continue to be no deal.

#BREAKING The Europeans are in contact with the parties to the Iran nuclear agreement to hold a new round of talks after receiving the US response, Al-Arabiya reports.
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) August 24, 2022
And of course, some US allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are hoping talks will ultimately fail and be cut off completely. As The Wall Street Journal emphasized Wednesday:
As Washington and Tehran edge closer to restoring the nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday slammed the agreement being negotiated, saying it wouldn’t stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon and would hand Tehran a significant financial boon.
A new nuclear deal between world powers and #Iran would allow other nations to avoid sanctions and give Teheran $100 billion a year to destabilise the Middle East, #Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday.Israel: Nuclear deal would give Iran $100 billion to destabilise region
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) August 24, 2022
developing...
 

jward

passin' thru
US Deputy Secretary of Defense: We have informed Iran that we will not tolerate attacks by groups loyal to them on our forces.
 

jward

passin' thru



EndGameWW3
@EndGameWW3


Update: US Central Command: We do not seek conflict with Iran but we will continue to take the necessary measures to defend our citizens.

(For the people out of the loop, Iran backed groups are fighting with US Soldiers in Syria and we have been responding to each attack.)
 

jward

passin' thru

U.S. reacts to Iranian comments on draft nuclear deal​




9-12 minutes



A worker rides a bicycle in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran. In recent days, European officials have expressed increasing optimism they could revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which lifted many U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict but temporary curbs on its nuclear program. | Majid Asgaripour/Mehr News Agency via AP
VIENNA — The U.S. and Iran are closing in on an agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear deal after almost 17 months of negotiations.
The United States relayed to the EU on Wednesday its much-awaited response to Iran’s comments on the draft proposal to restore the nuclear deal, a U.S. official familiar with the matter told POLITICO.
The spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani confirmed that it had received the U.S. response via EU senior official Enrique Mora, who acts as a mediator and coordinator of the talks. Iran still refuses to talk directly with the U.S. “Iran has started reviewing the US comments, and after the review Tehran will submit its views to the coordinator,” Kanaani said.

The U.S. response is expected to focus on final sticking points related to Iranian demands for economic guarantees and sanctions relief. U.S. officials were tight-lipped about the substance of the response. When asked for details, the official familiar with the matter said the response contained “a bunch of words and sentences and paragraphs.”
A person familiar with the U.S. response said it focused on the issue of economic guarantees. The person declined to give details, but said the response “falls short of Iran’s expectations. So now we have to see if they realize this is as good as it gets or decide to push for more.”
In recent days, European officials have expressed increasing optimism they could revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted many U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict but temporary curbs on its nuclear program. Western officials say that a number of technical questions related to economic guarantees and sanctions remain open but that other main sticking points have been resolved, making an agreement more likely. But they still cautioned that it would require tough political decisions both in Washington and Tehran in order to close a deal.
On Wednesday, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, told the Spanish news agency EFE that time was of the essence: “We have only days left, a few days [to conclude the deal], because after the summer we will enter into a new political dynamic,” he said, speaking on the margins of the Quo Vadis Europa conference in Santander, Spain.
Meanwhile, Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday urged the Biden administration to abandon the talks with Iran, saying that the emerging deal failed to “meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”

Lapid also warned that the frozen funds Iran would receive as part of a restored deal — worth an estimated $100 billion — would enable the regime in Tehran to fund even more malign activities in the region.
“This money will fund the Revolutionary Guard,” Lapid said. “It will fund more attacks on American bases in the Middle East. It will be used to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”
Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, China and the United States have spent almost 17 months negotiating a revival of the 2015 nuclear accord in Vienna. The talks have been close to collapse several times.
But since the last physical meeting of the parties at the beginning of August in Vienna, some of the most complicated stumbling blocks appear to have been resolved. They were related to whether the U.S. would remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, as well as to the fate of an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency into traces of nuclear material found at three sites in Iran.
John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, confirmed on Wednesday that Iran dropped some key demands, allowing the two sides to make some progress.
“We are closer now than we were even just a couple of weeks ago because Iran made the decision to make some concessions,” Kirby said. But he cautioned that “a lot of gaps remain. We’re not there yet.”

Economic guarantees​

Iran is still seeking further guarantees that a future U.S. administration would not leave the deal again. The Biden administration has stressed on numerous occasions that it will uphold its obligations but cannot provide a legal guarantee for its successors.
The prospect of former U.S. President Donald Trump — or a like-minded Republican — returning to power has overshadowed the talks since they began in Vienna in April 2021. Trump, who called the original deal “horrible” and “one-sided,” left the agreement in 2018.
Iran wants assurances built into the new text to cushion the potentially negative effects on the Iranian economy should the deal collapse again.
One such guarantee that is built into the draft text, according to Western officials, would allow foreign companies to continue their operations in Iran for two-and-a-half years without fear of being sanctioned, even if this renewed agreement falls apart.

Tehran would also receive what it calls an “inherent guarantee” that enables it to ramp up its uranium enrichment capacity fairly quickly in order to discourage Washington from scuttling the agreement once more. This will be achieved in part by allowing Iran to store some centrifuges and electronic equipment inside the country under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency instead of destroying them, a Western official with knowledge of the matter said.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent purity, maintain a stockpile of 300 kilograms of uranium, and permitted to use only very basic IR-1 centrifuges — machines that spin uranium gas at high speed for enrichment purposes.

It has exceeded those limits dramatically in response to the U.S. exit from the deal.
Iran currently has a stockpile of some 3,800 kilograms of enriched uranium — some of which has been enriched up to 60 percent, which is close to weapons grade. Iran has also installed thousands of advanced centrifuges in breach of the 2015 deal, including IR-6 machines that spin much faster.
Should the 2015 deal be restored, Iran will be forced back into compliance with the previous limits — but it will be allowed to mothball the advanced centrifuges, including the electronic infrastructure needed to operate them.

Sanctions lifting​

Even if the U.S. lifts nuclear-related sanctions under a new deal, numerous other American sanctions on Iran would remain, targeting the country over its support for terrorist groups and human rights abuses.
Those additional sanctions are the result of Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, which entailed not only reimposing nuclear-related sanctions, but also adding new penalties. That has made the Biden team’s job harder as it has tried to figure out which sanctions to lift and which to leave in place.
Now, Iran wants to make sure those remaining U.S. sanctions will not deter European and other non-American companies from doing business on its soil.
One Trump move that infuriated Tehran was the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful military branch, as a terrorist group. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he would not remove the IRGC from that terrorist list. On Wednesday, the U.S. struck an IRGC compound of bunkers in Syria, as retaliation for a strike by an IRGC-affiliated militia on a U.S. base.

Complicating matters is the IRGC’s vast economic footprint throughout Iran, with major economic projects in key industries.
The current draft deal, according to Western officials, will allow European and other non-American companies to do business with entities that have “transactions” with companies owned by Iran’s IRGC.
While some critics of the deal see that language as a weak point, allowing Tehran to use proxies to conduct business, other analysts say it’s not a significant change to how the United States currently approaches such situations.
Brian O’Toole, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and sanctions expert, said that the language in the draft deal signifies no change from current rules. He says it is “just a restatement of existing rules in a more prominent place.” Similar statements have appeared in various official JCPOA documents from 2015 and 2016, according to O’Toole.

IAEA safeguards probe​

Earlier in the discussions, Iran also insisted it wanted the International Atomic Energy Agency to close a probe into the origins of multiple traces of nuclear material found at three previously undeclared sites in Iran as a precondition for its return to the nuclear deal.
Western officials suspect that conclusive proof into the origins of the nuclear material could establish that Iran had a clandestine nuclear weapons program that ran until at least 2003. Iran, however, insists its nuclear program has always been solely for peaceful purposes.

EU officials have offered a proposal that would close the IAEA investigation if Iran can offer the agency credible answers about the uranium traces’ origins before the so-called “reimplementation day” — the day the revived nuclear deal would go into effect. But the proposal would also enable Iran to block reimplementation day, should the probe remain open.
Iran seems to have agreed to this EU proposal since it did not raise the issue again in its reply last week to the final EU text, according to three senior Western diplomats.
But it also means that even if an agreement on restoring the nuclear deal is reached in the coming days, there may still be pitfalls ahead for its full implementation.
Lara Seligman contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.
 

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Iran International English
@IranIntl_En


Israeli PM
@yairlapid
says his country’s pressure tactics on US over the Iran deal have already had some positive effects. “The Americans accepted a large part of the things that we wanted them to include in drafts. It’s a welcomed change, and we will continue dialog with them.”
Lapid’s comments came just hours following a report in Walla News claiming that Israeli officials are slightly less worried about the possibility of the US granting major concessions to Tehran following Hulata’s visit to DC,
@TimesofIsrael
reports.
 

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How will the Iran deal work? - explainer​


By LAHAV HARKOV



After months of hibernation, Iran nuclear talks woke up again last month, when the European Union presented what it said was the final draft of the deal on July 21. Since then, Iran submitted its response, continuing to make demands on the sanctions relief and guarantees front, which American diplomats and Israeli sources say Washington did not accept.
However, the sides agree on most of the overall deal based on the July 21 draft.
The EU text describes the implementation in four steps.

The four steps​

On “day zero,” the day on which the deal would be signed, the Joint Commission founded when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran nuclear deal is known, was formed in 2015, would convene without the US, which would only be able to join the commission 165 days later.
European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria June 20, 2021 (credit: REUTERS)

By that time, Iran and the West are supposed to reach an additional deal to free Western prisoners in exchange for freeing Iranian funds.
That day, US President Joe Biden would rescind three executive orders pertaining to Iran, as well as secondary sanctions on 17 banks, which would free over $7 billion belonging to Iran from South Korean banks.
Iran would stop enriching uranium to 60% and reduce enrichment to 20%, and allow for the International Atomic Energy Agency to begin the resumption of monitoring Iranian nuclear sites.
Within five days, the deal will likely reach the US Congress, under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). That law requires any agreement lifting sanctions on Iran to be reviewed by the House and Senate, and the White House would not be able to lift sanctions that were not an executive order for 30 days.

If Congress rejects the deal, Biden can veto it, except in the unlikely scenario that a veto-proof majority of two-thirds votes against it. There is, however, still a chance of a majority opposing a deal, amid growing concerns in Washington that Russia will use Iran as a conduit to avoid sanctions.
There are some who argue that because this is a return to the JCPOA and not a new agreement, INARA does not apply. However, US Iran Envoy Rob Malley said in the Senate in May that the agreement will be brought to Congress in the framework of INARA.
The next step in implementing the deal, “confirmation day” would come 60 days after “day zero.” The UN Security Council and IAEA would be notified of a return to the agreement.
The US would give a one-time sanctions exemption for Iran to sell 50 million barrels of oil and would permit business negotiations in the areas of energy and aviation.
Iran would stop enriching uranium to over 5% purity and would start a preparation period to transfer information to IAEA and allow the agency to fully resume monitoring.
Two months later, day 120, would be “reimplementation day.” Iran and the US would have to publicly declare their intention to continue to return to the deal at least seven days prior to that date.

By reimplementation day, Iran would have to fulfill its commitments to the IAEA regarding its ongoing investigation into enriched uranium found at undeclared nuclear sites in Iran. That means Iran would give the IAEA a credible response as to the source of that uranium, and the IAEA would, in turn, close the probes.
Iran would also complete all the steps required by the deal – scaling back uranium enrichment to 3.67%, reducing its stockpile, sealing and transferring centrifuges, etc. – and allow the IAEA to fully resume monitoring.
The US would remove all secondary sanctions on Iran and agreed-upon terrorist designations – this does not include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – and explain to businesses what the lifting of sanctions means.
“Completion day” would come on day 165, on which all nuclear restrictions and sanctions relief would go into effect. The US would lift the conventional arms embargo on Iran and allow further trade between the countries, and Iran would remove the remaining enrichment infrastructure.

In the coming years, the JCPOA’s original “sunset clauses” would go into effect in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2231, without any extensions.
In 2024, limitations on advanced centrifuges research and development would begin to expire and in 2025 the “SnapBack sanctions” mechanism, which brings back all sanctions on Iran if it violates the deal, would expire.
In 2026, the restrictions on using centrifuges, including advanced ones, begin to expire, gradually until 2028.
In 2030, the Iran deal expires entirely, without limits on uranium enrichment, on stockpiling, heavy water reactors, or plutonium.

Israel and Iran's nuclear deal​

With a deal seemingly inevitable, Jerusalem under Prime Minister Yair Lapid has decided to focus its efforts on several fronts.
First, to continue a dialogue with the US and to try to influence the stances of the other Western parties to the talks, with an emphasis on Britain and France.
In addition, Israel will try to convince the parties to reduce the economic benefits to Iran, by delaying or weakening sanctions relief.

Jerusalem plans to continue secret actions by intelligence agencies to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, as well as to follow closely to ensure Iran does not violate the agreement and block it from doing so, as well as from trying to destabilize the region. That will go together with building up the IDF’s capabilities to strike Iran.
Israel also plans to continue working on what the government has called its “regional security architecture” and work with Middle Eastern and other countries that border Iran.
 

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Babak Taghvaee - Μπάπακ Τακβαίε - بابک تقوایی
@BabakTaghvaee
4h

#BREAKING: #Iraq is experiencing a security crisis now. A civil war has now started in #Baghdad! These armed militias of a Shiite cleric named Muqtada Sadr (this footage) are now fighting against Iraqi security forces including #PMU militias.


View: https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1564282555716845571?s=20&t=NSnVgrTvSUU-OBSM2KGXVw



Replying to
@BabakTaghvaee
In this footage recorded this afternoon in #Baghdad you can hear exchange of fire between #Iraqi security forces and the militias of extremist Shiite cleric, Muqtada Sadr.


View: https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1564283019904618500?s=20&t=NSnVgrTvSUU-OBSM2KGXVw



Interestingly, supporters of the extremist Shiite cleric, Muqtada Sadr can be seen removing a banner showing images of the dead Commanders of #IRGC Quds Force & #PMU in #Baghdad this afternoon. Muqtada Sadr was an ally of both Qasem Soleimani and Abumahdi Al-Muhandis!


Another video shows clashes in Green Zone of #Baghdad this afternoon.


View: https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1564284721236000768?s=20&t=NSnVgrTvSUU-OBSM2KGXVw



Civil war currently on-going in #Baghdad's #GreenZone. Seraya al-Islam militias of Muqtada Sadr are fighting both #Iraqi government forces and the #PMU militias.


View: https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1564328334279983105?s=20&t=NSnVgrTvSUU-OBSM2KGXVw



Translated from Greek by
In Iraq the following news made the situation worse. Possibility of a Shiite formation in facilities with a Shiite demographic majority is a nightmare scenario.


View: https://twitter.com/JorgeWinkel/status/1564338935068860426?s=20&t=NSnVgrTvSUU-OBSM2KGXVw
 

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Clashes kill 10 as Iraq's Sadr quits politics, loyalists storm complex​


August 29, 20222:38 PM CDTLast Updated an hour ago​


Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Moqtada al-Sadr protest at the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq August 29, 2022. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

  • Summary
  • Companies
  • Loyalists of rival Shi'ite groups skirmish in streets
  • Political stalemate leaves Iraq's recovery in limbo
  • Cleric wants parliament dissolved, early elections
BAGHDAD, Aug 29 (Reuters) - At least 10 Iraqis were killed on Monday after powerful Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said he would quit politics, prompting his loyalists to storm a palatial government complex in Baghdad and leading to clashes with rival Shi'ite groups.
Young men loyal to Sadr charged the government headquarters in Baghdad's secure Green Zone, once a palace of dictator Saddam Hussein, and took to the streets outside the area where they skirmished with supporters of rival Tehran-backed groups.
As gunfire echoed over the capital, some people were seen firing guns towards the ranks of supporters of Sadr, Reuters witnesses said, while others fired into the air in a nation awash with weapons after years of conflict and unrest. Supporters of rival groups also hurled rocks at each other.

The flare-up followed a political deadlock lasting months that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet. The army swiftly ordered a curfew.
In addition to the 10 people killed, several dozen were injured, police and medical workers said.
"I hereby announce my final withdrawal," Sadr had announced earlier on Twitter, criticising fellow Shi'ite political leaders for failing to heed his calls for reform.
The clashes erupted hours after that declaration, prompting his supporters, who had already been staging a weeks-long sit-in at parliament in the Green Zone, to demonstrate and storm the main cabinet headquarters. Some jumped into a swimming pool at the palace, cheering and waving flags.

Iraq's military declared an open-ended nationwide curfew and urged the protesters to leave the Green Zone.
During the stalemate over forming a new government, Sadr has galvanised his legions of backers, throwing into disarray Iraq's effort to recover from decades of conflict and sanctions and its bid to tackle sectarian strife and rampant corruption.
Sadr, who has drawn broad support by opposing both U.S. and Iranian influence on Iraqi politics, was the biggest winner from an October election but withdrew all his lawmakers from parliament in June after he failed to form a government that excluded his rivals, mostly Tehran-backed Shi'ite parties.
Sadr has insisted on early elections and the dissolution of parliament. He says no politician who has been in power since the U.S. invasion in 2003 can hold office.

IMPASSE​

In Monday's announcement, Sadr said he would close his offices, without giving details, although he said cultural and religious institutions would remain open.
Sadr's decision ramped up dangerous tensions among heavily armed Shi'ite groups. Many Iraqis worry that moves by each Shi'ite camp could lead to new civil conflict.
"The (Iran) loyalists came and burned the tents of Sadrists, and attacked protesters," said Kadhim Haitham, a supporter of Sadr.

Pro-Iran groups blamed the Sadrists for the clashes and denied having shot at anyone. "It's not true - if our people had guns why would they need to throw rocks?" said one militia member, who declined to be identified by name.
Sadr has withdrawn from politics and the government in the past and has also disbanded militias loyal to him. But he retains widespread influence over state institutions and controls a paramilitary group with thousands of members.
He has often returned to political activity after similar announcements, although the current deadlock in Iraq appears harder to resolve than previous periods of dysfunction.
The current impasse between Sadr and Shi'ite rivals has given Iraq its longest run without a government.
Supporters of the mercurial cleric first stormed the Green Zone in July. Since then, they have occupied parliament, halting the process to choose a new president and prime minister.

Sadr's ally Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who remains caretaker prime minister, suspended cabinet meetings until further notice after Sadrist protesters stormed the government headquarters on Monday.
Iraq has struggled to recover since the defeat of Islamic State in 2017 because political parties have squabbled over power and the vast oil wealth possessed by Iraq, OPEC's second-largest producer.
 

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Exclusive: Ex-IAEA Official Says US And Iran To Sign Deal Soon​



Iran International Newsroom​


Tehran and Washington have agreed to restore the 2015 nuclear deal and will announce terms in two to three weeks, a former IAEA official told Iran International.

Speaking Tuesday, the once senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is close to the United States government, said President Joe Biden had resolved to take the step in advance of November’s mid-term US Congressional elections.

The official said Washington had informed Israel of the decision, and that four Arab states – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – had been told during Biden’s July Middle East tour that the US would help them develop nuclear technology. While the Israeli leadership has consistently opposed the 2015 agreement, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Prime Minister Yair Lapid and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu are vying over the Iranian ‘threat’ as the November 1 parliamentary election approaches.

The former IAEA official gave no indication as to how Iran and the US had resolved the differences over JCPOA restoration that have characterized 16 months of talks, both with five other world powers in Vienna, and bilaterally with European Union mediation.

Leaked information both in Iran and in Israeli media about a proposed European Union plan indicate a broad agreement on many issues, but lingering questions of Iranian demands over “guarantees”, “verification” and a lingering IAEA probe about Iran’s pre-2003 undeclared nuclear activities.

An IAEA report leaked Monday revealed Iran’s latest breach of the JCPOA with the installation at the Natanz nuclear site of additional IR-6 centrifuges, advanced models for enriching uranium barred under the JCPOA.
There have also been consistent reports of differences over enquiries by the IAEA into unexplained uranium traces found at several sites linked to work done by Iran before 2003 but not declared as nuclear-related. While the US and European JCPOA signatories have insisted the IAEA enquiry should go on regardless of what happens with the JCPOA, President Ebrahim Raisi insisted Monday that the JCPOA could be restored only once the IAEA dropped the probe, which Tehran insists results from allegations made for ‘political’ reasons in 2018 by Israel.


Finessing the wording
Earlier Tuesday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, criticized “excessive” demands made by the IAEA, while Fereydoun Abbasi, a member of the parliament’s energy committee, said Iran should enrich uranium not just to 60 percent – the highest level reached – but to 90 percent “both for scientific research and for making nuclear fuel for submarines.”
Tehran has made no public response to the latest US input in the nuclear talks, submitted August 24 through the European Union. But there have been reports of efforts to finesse a wording that would postpone the IAEA probe while the JCPOA gradually comes back into play, and IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi suggested August 23 the uranium traces might be better investigated with the 2015 deal back in place.


There have also been indications of ‘principlist’ politicians in Tehran claiming the US had made significant concessions in the talks process. Real or not, such ‘concessions’ would help suggest Raisi’s government, which took office August 2021 with talks underway, had secured a more favorable outcome than would have been possible under the centrist President Hassan Rouhani, a staunch advocate of the JCPOA.

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