US Jewish leaders push Obama to act on Iran

US Jewish leaders push Obama to act on Iran

Several hundred Jewish leaders and activists are planning to arrive here Thursday to urge top Obama administration officials and US congressmen to take action on Iran.

They are pushing for Congress to quickly pass an Iran sanctions bill sponsored by US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and otherwise take serious economic and diplomatic steps to pressure Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear capabilities that threaten Israel.

“Congress is back, legislation is on the agenda, and this is September, when at some level decisions are being made in connection with Iran,” Anti-Defamation League Washington Director Jess Hordes said of the planning of the event.

His organization will be joining the United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the National Conference of Soviet Jewry and several other groups as part of the effort. [continued…]

U.S. says Iran could expedite nuclear bomb

American intelligence agencies have concluded in recent months that Iran has created enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid, if risky, sprint for a nuclear weapon. But new intelligence reports delivered to the White House say that the country has deliberately stopped short of the critical last steps to make a bomb.

In the first public acknowledgment of the intelligence findings, the American ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency declared on Wednesday that Iran now had what he called a “possible breakout capacity” if it decided to enrich its stockpile of uranium, converting it to bomb-grade material.

The statement by the ambassador, Glyn Davies, was intended to put pressure on American allies to move toward far more severe sanctions against Iran this month, perhaps including a cutoff of gasoline to the country, if it failed to take up President Obama’s invitation for serious negotiations. But it could also complicate the administration’s efforts to persuade an increasingly impatient Israeli government to give diplomacy more time to work, and hold off from a military strike against Iran’s facilities. [continued…]

Iran dims hopes for diplomacy

ran rejected any compromise with the West over its nuclear program Wednesday, as blunt comments from the Obama administration over Tehran’s bomb-making capability suggested that the two sides were headed toward a renewed diplomatic crisis.

Iran offered Western officials a long-awaited package of proposals to restart negotiations over its nuclear program. But diplomats who viewed the offer Wednesday said the document of fewer than 10 pages essentially ignored questions over Iran’s production of nuclear fuel and instead focused broadly on other international issues.

It made no mention of Tehran’s willingness to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities or to enter into substantive talks about the future of its nuclear program, they said. [continued…]

Russia ‘delivers SAMs to Syria’

Russia has begun deliveries of Pantsir S1 air-defense missiles to Syria, some of which are expected to be passed on to Iran, Syria’s strategic ally that has largely bankrolled the deal, according to the Interfax-AVN military news agency.

Interfax quoted Yuriy Savenkov, deputy director general of the Instrument Design Bureau, or KBP, as saying that deliveries started several weeks ago. KBP produces the Pantsir and other high-precision weapons.

Meantime, Kommersant quoted Alexei Fedorov, head of Russia’s United Aircraft Corp., as confirming the existence of a 2007 contract with Syria for eight twin-engined MiG-31E interceptors.

This aircraft, NATO codename Foxhound, can fly at three times the speed of sound and engage several targets at a range of up to 110 miles simultaneously. [continued…]

Taking Iran seriously

Given Iran’s shortening nuclear timetable and diplomatic challenges for forging an international consensus on sanctions, we urge Mr. Obama simultaneously to begin preparations for the use of military options. Now is the time for the president to reinforce his commitment to “use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” as he stated in February. We believe only a credible U.S. military threat can make possible a peaceful solution.

By showing that he has not taken the military option off the table, Mr. Obama may also be able to convince Israel to forgo a unilateral military strike while forcing Tehran to recognize the costs of its nuclear defiance. Furthermore, making preparations now will enable the president, should all other measures fail to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, to use military force to retard Iran’s nuclear program. We do not downplay the risks of this option and recognize its complications, but we do believe it to be a feasible option of last resort. [continued…]

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