Israel: Iran must choose between the bomb and survival
A senior Israeli cabinet minister said that Iran must to choose between obtaining a nuclear weapon and survival (AFP 12/12). “We believe that in order to stop the Iranian military nuclear project, the regime in Tehran should face a dilemma — whether to have a bomb or to survive,” said Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon.
Speaking to Fareed Zarkaria, GOP presidential hopeful John Huntsman repeats the mantra that Iran has ‘already decided’ that ‘they want’ a nuclear weapon despite U.S. intelligence and the UN’s nuclear watchdog saying otherwise (Think Progress 12/12).
Nader Hashemi writes that the U.S. policy of isolating and sanctioning Iran has only served to strengthen the regime, weaken the middle class, and fuel Iran’s nuclear ambitions (Hashemi National Interest 12/12).
Central bank sanctions modified and to be voted on this week
Both the House and Senate negotiated and agreed on new Iran sanctions that they hope to pass this week. The new sanctions penalize foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank. Lawmakers from both political parties made slight changes to the legislation that would allow the option of imposing restrictions on such foreign financial institutions, instead of cutting them off entirely from the U.S. financial system. Democratic Senator Carl Levin did note that the bill is probably “96 percent” the same as legislation that passed the Senate last week (Reuters 12/12).
Meanwhile, the House will also vote today on new broad Iran sanctions legislation that includes a provision placing restrictions on contacts between U.S. government employees–including diplomats and members of the armed forces–and Iranian officials (The Hill 12/13).
Iranian military experts claim they are extracting data from the U.S. drone (Washington Post 12/12). Yesterday, President Obama requested the return of the drone (Guardian 12/12). Today Iran rejected the request (NY Times 12/13).
Israel: We don’t support M.E.K. delisting
Yesterday, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel does not support MEK’s campaign to get delisted from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list (Think Progress 12/12).
In a Huffington Post op-ed, Fariba Amini discusses the increasing war rhetoric against Iran, the dire consequences of a military attack, and the importance of diplomacy.
There is no question that the Iranian people will suffer in the short and long run and will bear the brunt of an attack. Americans will suffer in a different way: Higher gas prices at home which is not even comparable to what ordinary Iranian citizens will pay if and when a war breaks out. The damage will be irreversible.
It is only through diplomatic efforts that Iran’s nuclear program can be contained. Harsh words by the U.S. and its allies, more sanctions, including possible sanctions on oil, will only harden the regime. It is already hurting the people more so than the government.
To read the full piece click here.
Additional Notable News:
Iran says that it has discovered a huge gas field in the Caspian Sea.
The United Nation raises the death toll in Syria to over 5,000, reports Al Jazeera.