Analysts worry over “cascade of US concessions” as Iran talks approach deadline

 

Al Arabiya on Monday cataloged [Arabic] a series of concessions that the Obama administration is rumored to have made to Iran as negotiations approach the upcoming November 24 deadline, a week after the New York Times reported on plans by President Barack Obama to “do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on “a nuclear deal that many lawmakers have publicly worried will be inadequate to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The pan-Arab outlet suggested that lawmakers were particularly unnerved by reports of fundamental concessions across all core areas up for negotiations, including: that the U.S. has dropped its demand that Iran close its underground military enrichment facility at Fordow, that the U.S. has accepted Iran’s characterization of its enrichment rights regarding uranium, that the U.S. will permit Iran to operate the plutonium-producing reactor at Arak, and that the U.S. has delinked Iran’s ballistic missile program from the rest of its nuclear program. Iranian leaders had demanded that the West cave on those issues, which they publicly described as red lines for the regime. The Washington Post on Sunday quoted Mark Dubowitz –  executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – worrying that a “cascade” of additional U.S. concessions remained a possibility as Nov. 24 approached. Congressional legislation, alongside half a dozen binding United Nations Security Council resolutions, has long called for a full halt to Iran’s uranium, plutonium, and ballistic missile activities. Bipartisan letters from the House and Senate – signed respectively by 394 members and 83 Senators – were sent to the administration last March demanding that Iran be forced to dismantle its centrifuge infrastructure under any comprehensive deal. Bipartisan majorities in Congress had beforehand sought to pass legislation signaling future financial pressure on Iran should negotiations fail, with an eye toward providing additional leverage to U.S. negotiators. They had been stymied by a White House campaign that included heated language implying that those lawmakers were warmongers. Obama administration figures had meanwhile issued public assurances that U.S. diplomats had sufficient leverage to extract robust concessions from the Iranians. Subsequent developments broadly confirmed the concerns of skeptics, who argued that the sanctions relief provided by the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) would leave Western negotiators without the leverage they were counting on to alter Iranian calculations. News that the administration will now seek to freeze out Congress generated harsh responses from Senators from both parties, from top Democrats in the House, and from the GOP leadership.

 

The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) announced 94 new grants, totaling $3,453,332, for the 2014/2015 funding year at The Barbara S. Goodman Annual Scientific Awards evening in New York recently. Among the areas of cancer research directly sponsored by ICRF in 2014/2015 are studies in bone, brain, breast, colorectal, gastrointestinal, liver, lung, kidney, bone marrow transplantation, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and uterine cancers; anti-cancer drug mechanisms, multi-drug resistance, and target therapy. “Israel has the world’s largest concentration of international scientists and physicians but insufficient funds to sponsor all of the vital cancer research projects. With ICRF’s continued support of all areas of cancer research, I believe that many of the cures for cancer will likely come from Israel’s outstanding scientific community,” said ICRF Chairman Kenneth E. Goodman, who sponsored the annual award and donor recognition evening named in memory of his wife, Barbara S. Goodman, who lost her battle to pancreatic cancer. The mission of the Israel Cancer Research Fund is to harness Israel’s scientific talent to find a cure for cancer. Since awarding its first grants in 1977, the ICRF has now funded 2,115 grants valued at a total of $52,361,664. ICRF grantees have earned distinguished honors including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the G.H.A. Clowes Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, The Gairdner International Award, the Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research and the Israel Prize. ICRF-funded research has helped lead to the development of life-saving drugs such as Gleevec, Doxil and Velcade; the discovery of the location and chemical nature of the p53 tumor-suppressor gene; and the identification of the “Philadelphia Chromosome,” the first abnormal chromosome found in leukemia. “We are very proud of the scientific awards that have been granted this year, especially because our funding has reached a record high for 2014 -2015. We are also pleased to pay tribute to the contributors to ICRF who have funded the five major research grants categories, as well as honor the recipients of our President’s, Chairman’s and Trustee’s awards for significant unrestricted gifts to ICRF,” said Eric Heffler, national executive director of ICRF. ICRF grants are chosen by a 26-member Scientific Review Panel composed of world renowned scientists from the US and Canada. (Israel21c)