Steve Kroft: I'm sure you realize that it is difficult for many Americans to get past the fact that President Obama has signed an agreement with a country that says, "Death to America, Death to Israel." How do you explain this? What are they to make of it? Are they to take it literally? Is this for domestic, internal Iranian political consumption? What are Americans to make of it, the language? President Rouhani: This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people. The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country. But at the same time the policies of the United States have been against the national interests of Iranian people. It's understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue. When the people rose up against the shah, the United States aggressively supported the shah until the last moments. In the eight-year war with Iraq, the Americans supported Saddam. People will not forget these things. We cannot forget the past, but at the same time our gaze must be towards the future.
Rouhani told a news conference that the deal was a political understanding reached with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, not a pact requiring parliamentary approval. The deal also says Iran would implement the terms voluntarily, he said. ... "If the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is sent to (and passed by) parliament, it will create an obligation for the government . it will mean the president, who has not signed it so far, will have to sign it," Rouhani said. "Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?" ... The president said a parliamentary vote would benefit the U.S. and its allies, not Iran.Similarly, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported, "President Rouhani underlined that the submission of the JCPOA to the Parliament would mean that the president would have to sign the JCPOA, an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided." So Iran doesn't want to be bound legally by the JCPOA.
Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran’s chief negotiator said Monday.... A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, denied later Monday that there was any secret agreement. "Any documentation associated with implementation tracks completely with what we've described," she said. "These are technical plans submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency," the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency. "We will make information available to Congress and the public as it becomes available," Harf said.Remember last fall when the Obama administration insisted it had not consented to Iran's right to enrich uranium, even though Rouhani was claiming we had consented? Q&A: Is there a 'right' to enrich uranium? Iran says yes, U.S. no How's that looking now? Again from the L.A. Times article:
Far from honoring the commitment, in which Iran said “it has decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities,” Rouhani told the interviewer that all Iran did was merely suspend “ten centrifuges” in the Natanz enrichment facility. “And not a total suspension. Just reduced the yield.”
Unimpressed, interviewer Abedini asserted that work had been suspended at the UCF — the Uranium Enrichment Facility at Isfahan. Quite the contrary, Rouhani countered, detailing the completion of various phases of work at Isfahan under his watch in 2004 and 2005. He went on to state proudly that the Iranian heavy water reactor at Arak was also developed under his watch, in 2004. ...
In our time, the biblical prophecies have been realized: As the prophet Amos said: They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them, They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil, never to be uprooted again. Ladies and Gentlemen, The people of Israel have come home, never to be uprooted again.
I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the State of Israel. We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have journeyed through time, we’ve overcome the greatest of adversities, And we reestablished our sovereign state in our ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel.... Well, Rouhani headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time, Iran’s henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Are we to believe that Rouhani, the National Security Advisor of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these attacks? Of course he did.
All eyes at this week’s United Nations General Assembly will be on Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani. Since taking office in August, he has sent encouraging signals about his willingness to engage more constructively with the West than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insisted on proceeding with Iran’s nuclear program, denied the Holocaust and seemed unconcerned as his country slipped into deeper economic distress. Mr. Rouhani’s assembly address on Tuesday gives him a chance to provide concrete evidence that his talk of change is real.https://twitter.com/michaeldweiss/status/381099542533271553 Perhaps the most important article to appear last week in the media was Iranians Dial Up Presence in Syria in the Wall Street Journal (Google search terms)
The busloads of Shiite militiamen from Iraq, Syria and other Arab states have been arriving at the Iranian base in recent weeks, under cover of darkness, for instruction in urban warfare and the teachings of Iran's clerics, according to Iranian military figures and residents in the area. The fighters' mission: Fortify the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad against Sunni rebels, the U.S. and Israel. ... The fighters "are told that the war in Syria is akin to [an] epic battle for Shiite Islam, and if they die they will be martyrs of the highest rank," says an Iranian military officer briefed on the training camp, which is 15 miles outside Tehran and called Amir Al-Momenin, or Commander of the Faithful. The training of thousands of fighters is an outgrowth of Iran's decision last year to immerse itself in the Syrian civil war on behalf of its struggling ally, the Assad regime, in an effort to shift the balance of power in the Middle East. Syria's bloodshed is shaping into more than a civil war: It is now a proxy war among regional powers jockeying for influence in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.https://twitter.com/UANI/status/380085805097971714
“There is no ideological litmus test” for an Op-Ed article, he said. In addition, he said, it is not the purpose of the Op-Ed pages to help or hurt the American government. It is to present a variety of interesting and newsworthy points of view, at least some of which will be contrary to The Times’s own point of view, expressed in its editorials. The Times has published very few Op-Ed pieces by heads of state, Mr. Rosenthal said, partly because they have their own ways of getting their messages out. ... I asked him about Mr. Putin’s statement that there is “every reason to believe” that the poison gas has been used by opposition forces, not the Syrian government – which many now do not believe to be true. Mr. Rosenthal said that “falls into the category of opinion.”The "ideological litmus test" argument is misdirection. The Times has not hesitated to refuse Op-Eds from political figures seeking to set the record straight, including John McCain and Scott Walker. it pretty much eliminated any chance that he would use attack Syria.) Rosenthal's odd assertion that a false statement could be excused as an "opinion," is beyond ridiculous. (More on this later.) A subsequent new article, As Obama Pauses Action, Putin Takes Center Stage, highlighted Putin's role in protecting Syria at America's expense.
In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times released on Wednesday, Mr. Putin laid down a strong challenge to Mr. Obama’s vision of how to address the turmoil, arguing that a military strike risked “spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders” and would violate international law, undermining postwar stability. “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” Mr. Putin wrote. “Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it.” ... Now he appears to be relishing a role as a statesman. His spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said in an interview that the Russian president was not seeking “ownership of the initiative,” but wanted only to promote a political solution to head off a wider military conflict in the Middle East.By mentioning the op-ed in the course of a news article, the Times gave the op-ed an extra boost of credibility. Now it wasn't just an opinion, but a news item promoted by the New York Times. True, the report later acknowledged that Putin's claim about chemical weapons was dubious. But by writing an article about how President Putin was becoming a statesman (at America's expense) and citing the op-ed they had just published as proof of that, they elevated an opinion article into news.
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