Daily Briefing:Europe and Iran Test Each Other’s Resolve to Stay Within the JCPOA (November 15,2019)

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Table of Contents: 

Iran and Europe Play Nuclear Chicken:  Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council, Nov. 13, 2019

Iran Will Challenge Nuclear Deal ‘Every Two Months’ Unless Europe Takes Action, Ambassador Warns:  Kim Sengupta, Independent, Nov. 7, 2019

Esper Wants European Allies to Send Troops to the Gulf to Counter Iran: John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes, Oct. 24, 2019

Free Speech In Canada: It Was Bad Five Years Ago. Do You Think It’s Gotten Better Since?:  Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov. 13, 2019 


Iran and Europe Play Nuclear Chicken
Barbara Slavin
Atlantic Council, Nov. 13, 2019

Since the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, Europe and Iran have been testing each other’s resolve to stay within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This has especially been the case since the Trump administration announced in May that it would seek to impose a total embargo on Iran’s oil exports.

Iran, which had remained compliant with the JCPOA for more than a year after the US quit, began taking steps to breach limits in the deal on numbers and types of centrifuges in operation, level of uranium enrichment, stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and finally on November 6, the venue for enrichment. The steps—which have stopped short of enriching above a 5 percent concentration of the isotope U-235 or kicking out international inspectors—have been largely reversible but still increasingly worrisome.

The decision last week to resume enrichment at Fordow, an underground facility that would be difficult to destroy in a military attack, was especially provocative and triggered a tough statement November 12 by the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany—the so-called E-3 which negotiated the JCPOA along with the US, Russia, China and Iran.

Expressing “extreme concern,” the ministers went on to threaten invocation of a “dispute resolution mechanism” in the deal that could lead to the snapback of both European Union and UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.
Iran, for its part, has made clear that if snapback occurs, it will formally withdraw from the JCPOA and possibly even its commitment to remain a non-nuclear weapons state under the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told a conference in Moscow that if the Iran file was “securitized” and the country was again subjected to UN nuclear-related sanctions, Tehran would have to revisit its “nuclear doctrine” which foreswears the development of nuclear weapons. (His superior, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a similar threat last spring.)

Neither Europe nor Iran wants to see the destruction of the JCPOA, which represented for each the culmination of twelve years of hard diplomatic work, initially without US participation. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Iran Will Challenge Nuclear Deal ‘Every Two Months’ Unless Europe Takes Action, Ambassador Warns
Kim Sengupta
Independent, Nov. 7, 2019

Iran‘s resuming of uranium enrichment will be followed by similar steps every two months unless European states do more to save the country’s nuclear deal with international powers, one of the Tehran’s senior diplomats has declared.

Hamid Baeidinejad, the ambassador to the UK, also warned that influential figures in Iran are advocating leaving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in response to perceived failure by European signatories to fulfil obligations under the treaty and crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

The ambassador spoke amid rising tension with Tehran claiming that an International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) inspector stopped from entering a facility at Natanz was “tested positive for explosive nitrates” and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Iran of positioning itself for a “rapid nuclear breakout.”

Tehran has accused Britain, France and Germany — who have remained in the nuclear deal along with Russia and China after the US pulled out — of failing to establish an adequate financial structure to enable companies to trade with Iran in face of American sanctions.

Iran, said Mr Baeidinejad, has been fulfilling its obligation under Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since Washington reneged on it and brought in punitive sanctions, and was now taking form steps as a “wake-up call” to the other signatories.

The decision to inject uranium gas into centrifuges in the underground Fordaw facility was the fourth move Iran has made as part of this policy.“We cannot continue to fulfil one-sidedly so we have taken these decisions. If the other does not take the warning seriously, maybe through the use of Instex we shall be in a very difficult situation, all of us. But we hope with these steps we are conveying a strong, real and serious message to implement the nuclear deal” Mr Baeidinejad said.

Instex is the payment channel set up by JCPOA signatories UK, Germany and France to help continue trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions. “We gave ample time to our partners and then we adopted this policy. In two months we will absolutely take the fifth step after analysing the situation. Like the other steps it will be very calculated and measured. So the ball is in their court, we hope to resolve the situation.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Esper Wants European Allies to Send Troops to the Gulf To Counter Iran
John Vandiver
Stars and Stripes, Oct. 24, 2019

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday that he wants allies in Europe to send forces to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to reinforce U.S. military movements aimed at countering Iran.

Esper also pushed back against critics who said the U.S. enabled Turkey’s advance into Kurdish-held Syria and named China’s ambitions as the West’s greatest long-term concern, during a wide-ranging talk at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels.

Esper, who spoke hours before the start of high-level talks at NATO headquarters, said he was looking for “serious and credible commitments” from allies to deter Iran. Military assets such as added air defenses are among the capabilities Esper wants. “The burden cannot be shouldered by the United States alone … we urge our allies in Europe to contribute their own support to deter Iranian aggression,” Esper said.
The U.S. deployed fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing and other personnel to Saudi Arabia recently and has sent other units to the region since May, when U.S. officials said that intelligence reports indicated Iranian threats to U.S. interests and personnel.

While crises in the Middle East abound, including Turkey’s “unwarranted incursion into Syria,” such issues risk a “sap of resources” and distraction from bigger dangers, he said.
“There are new threats on the horizon that we ignore at our own peril,” Esper said.

For allies in Europe, Russia has been the top security concern in recent years, but Esper warned that China’s economic ambitions outweigh the threat posed by Moscow.
“China first, Russia second,” Esper said. And that applies not just to allies in the Pacific, but also in Europe, he said.

Both countries, Esper said, want to “reshape the world” and undermine the “rules-based order” at the expense of the West. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Free Speech In Canada: It Was Bad Five Years Ago. Do You Think It’s Gotten Better Since?
Barbara Kay
National Post, Nov. 13, 2019

What is behind cancel culture on campus? A shift in the university’s sense of its mission. The mission of free inquiry has been sublimated to the mission of social justice. For many decades, Yale University said that its purpose was “to create, preserve and disseminate knowledge.” Then, in 2016, Yale’s president announced a new mission, which no longer mentions “knowledge.” Instead, Yale is officially “committed to improving the world” by educating aspiring leaders, not only through research as in the past, but through “practice.”

What does that loaded word, “practice,” signify? It signifies ideology over inquiry, activism over erudition, illiberalism in the name of equity over intellectual freedom. All of which leads to cancel culture.

It signifies ideology over inquiry, activism over erudition.

From a cornucopia of options, I have chosen three Canadian examples of cancel culture that struck me as especially unsettling in their implications.

• Liberal Arts College is a small independent college embedded within Concordia University in Montreal. In May, the administration cancelled a slated graduation keynote address by political philosopher Harvey Mansfield, author of the book Manliness, and professor of government at Harvard University, where he has worked since 1962.
LAC has for 40 years been a bastion of classical liberal values, committed to free inquiry, with a core curriculum based in the great canon of Western civilization. It is one of the few colleges in Canada where political correctness is consciously and conscientiously opposed, and where the free exchange of ideas is a pillar of its mission. LAC has for 40 years been a bastion of classical liberal values, committed to free inquiry.

Retired founder and longtime LAC principal Fred Krantz said in an interview about the cancellation that he had believed LAC was “immune to the wave of politically correct ideology sweeping many North American campuses.” Yet a handful of alumni expressing their opposition to Mansfield because of his feminism-critical views (not the subject of his address) was enough to make the new president renege on the invitation.

So my feeling about this particular incident was one of special discouragement. The protesting alumni hadn’t been indoctrinated or cowed into submission by social justice warriors at Berkeley. They were graduates of a program dedicated to inculcating a commitment to free academic inquiry. Yet their solid education in the classical liberal tradition was no prophylactic against an illiberal zeitgeist. Cancel culture can, it seems, be taken in by osmosis. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

For Further Reference:

Europe Should Consider Renewed Sanctions on Iran, Germany Suggests Robin Emmott, Reuters, Nov. 11, 2019 –– Germany, Britain and France should be ready to consider starting moves to reinstate international sanctions on Iran over breaches of its 2015 nuclear deal, Germany’s foreign minister said on Monday.

Germany, France, UK Slam Iran Over Nuclear Breaches: DW, Nov. 11, 2019-– The three countries have said Iran’s breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal have made it “increasingly difficult” to reduce tensions in the Middle East. Top diplomats have warned they might take action against Tehran.

Happiness Through Chutzpah: The Norman Podhoretz Story: Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post, Nov.12, 2019 — Norman Podhoretz has made it. On Sunday, the pugnacious, proudly boastful and unquestionably brilliant writer and editor received an award named ­after one of a very few men, living or dead, whom he truly admires: the Theodor Herzl Prize, bestowed by the conservative Jewish Leadership Conference and named after the founder of Zionism.

A Forgotten Diabolical Nazi – And A Seven-Decade Cover Up: An Interview with Author Dean Reuter:  Eliott Resnick, Jewish Press, Oct. 11, 2019 –– Many Jews are unfortunately familiar with the names Himmler, Goering, Eichmann, Hoess, and Mengele. Virtually, no one, however, has heard of Hans Kammler even though he oversaw the construction of numerous concentration camps and headed the Nazis’ rocket and nuclear research programs.
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