Iran earthquakes: Tehran criticized for response to disaster
Iran Moves to Distribute Aid After Two Earthquakes Kill 307
Iran raises toll from Saturday’s earthquake to 306 dead, over 3,000 injured
Israeli Minister Asks Nations to Say Iran Talks Have Failed
Revised gov’t protocol gives PM unprecedented powers
Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran
Oil rises to near $94 on Israel-Iran concerns
Standard Chartered in talks to settle Iran laundering probe
Notable Opinion: Why Do Israeli Media Keep Predicting War With Iran?
The Guardian, “Iran earthquakes: Tehran criticized for response to disaster”
Iran’s government has faced criticism from politicians and the public over its handling of relief efforts after two large earthquakes killed 300 people and injured thousands in the north-west of the country. Although officials announced on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the disaster, that search and rescue operations had finished and all survivors had been freed from the rubble, some residents expressed disbelief that authorities could have reached some of the most remote villages so soon.
Businessweek, “Iran Moves to Distribute Aid After Two Earthquakes Kill 307”
The U.S. said yesterday it stands ready to offer assistance, according to a White House statement e-mailed to reporters. The Swiss government also expressed readiness yesterday to provide humanitarian assistance, according to an IRNA report. Russia said it, too, was ready to help, in a statement posted on the presidency’s website. Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad- Najjar said Iran had received offers from abroad and had declined them. “We will carry out relief work by relying on our domestic potential,” IRNA quoted him as saying.
AP, “Iran raises toll from Saturday’s earthquake to 306 dead, over 3,000 injured”
The death toll included some 219 women and children, Dastjerdi said, adding that around 2,000 injured people had been released from hospitals soon after the quake since they had only minor injuries. Dastjerdi said her ministry has deployed scores of ambulances and medics to the region but still needs helicopters to transfer seriously injured people quickly. Authorities say old, heavy roofs without frames were largely responsible for the death toll in the rural areas.
New York Times, “Israeli Minister Asks Nations to Say Iran Talks Have Failed”
Referring to the Iran negotiations led by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, the minister, Danny Ayalon, told Israel Radio that those nations should “declare today that the talks have failed.” After such a declaration, if Iran does not halt its nuclear program, “it will be clear that all options are on the table,” Mr. Ayalon said, not only for Israel, but also for the United States and NATO. Asked how long the Iranians should be given to cease all nuclear activity, Mr. Ayalon said “weeks, and not more than that.”
Ynet News, “Revised gov’t protocol gives PM unprecedented powers”
The government on Sunday approved amendments to its protocol which expand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s powers in an unprecedented manner in the backdrop of the Iran strike debate. Under the new protocol, the prime minister will have the power to delay motions passed by ministerial committees and the option to decide government voting orders. The prime minister’s bureau explained that the move is meant to “improve governance.” In effect, the amendments mean that Netanyahu would be able to easily secure a majority for fateful decisions.
Washington Post, “Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran”
Last month, the Justice Department announced indictments against two people, one Chinese and the other Iranian, for conspiring to acquire maraging steel and other restricted American technology. U.S. officials say the case is part of a broader effort by Iran to dramatically expand its capacity to enrich uranium — with Chinese firms serving as willing accomplices.
Businessweek, “Oil rises to near $94 on Israel-Iran concerns”
Oil prices rose to near $94 a barrel Monday as increased concerns about the possible escalation of the conflict between Israel and Iran helped crude claw back last week’s losses triggered by the International Energy Agency’s lower crude demand forecast.
Reuters, “Standard Chartered in talks to settle Iran laundering probe”
British bank Standard Chartered is trying to reach an early settlement over charges it hid $250 billion of transactions tied to Iran, backing down under pressure from U.S. regulators and shareholders. Despite chief executive Peter Sands’s strong denial of the charges leveled by New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), the bank’s U.S. legal team has got as far as discussing a settlement figure with regulators ahead of a Wednesday showdown with the DFS head Benjamin Lawsky, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Notable Opinion: “Why Do Israeli Media Keep Predicting War With Iran?”
Time’s Tony Karon analyzes the growing expectation that Israel may attack Iran before the U.S. Presidential election:
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Most Western analyses in recent months have concluded that Israel won’t scramble its bombers before November and that the sanctions that are steadily eroding Iranian living standards will be given more time to bleed Iran’s economy — although the Israeli leadership correctly points out that there haven’t been any signs, thus far, that the tightening choke hold of sanctions will prompt Iran’s leaders to capitulate to Western demands. By the logic of using the threat of military action to spur greater Western action, last week’s frenzied percussion on Israel’s war drums could be read as an attempt to challenge complacency in Washington and other Western capitals and to demand even harsher pressure on Iran in the months ahead.
Clearly, someone wants Israelis and the world to think Israel is moving closer to launching a fateful attack on Iran. Whether such a scenario has really become more likely than it was two weeks or two months ago, or the agenda is part of some game of bluff designed to change either Iranian or Western behavior, there’s a growing danger that the Israeli public’s expectations of war are being raised to a critical point. After all, as many in the security establishment have long warned, you can’t keep telling Israelis that there’s a grave and gathering danger of annihilation looming on the horizon without creating overwhelming pressure to act.