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The Daily TIP: Echo Chamber Returns? Former Obama Admin Officials Mobilize to Block Iran Sanctions

Posted by Tip Staff - May 16, 2017

Echo Chamber Returns? Former Obama Admin Officials Mobilize to Block Iran Sanctions
Netanyahu Welcomes U.S. Ambassador Friedman to Jerusalem "Our Eternal Capital"
In Sign of Changing Region, Gulf States Float Major Upgrade in Ties with Israel
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler Tours Israel Ahead of Farewell Tour in Tel Aviv


Echo Chamber Returns? Former Obama Admin Officials Mobilize to Block Iran Sanctions

Former top officials of the Obama administration are actively seeking to discourage Congress from imposing new sanctions on Iran, The Weekly Standard reported Monday.

The Ploughshares Fund, which was credited by the Obama administration for promoting the nuclear deal, circulated a letter on Capitol Hill that had originally written to the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The letter, drafted by former Treasury official, Adam Szubin, criticized a bipartisan Senate bill that was introduced in March to impose new sanctions on Iran. Among the sponsors of the bill are Sen. Chris Coons (D - Del.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D - Colo.), Sen. Bob Casey (D - Penn.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D - Conn.), all of whom supported the nuclear deal with Iran.

"[The legislation] would provoke a terrible reaction in Iran and with our allies," Szubin wrote in the letter. "[It] would contribute no benefit, as it would impose no additional pressure on Iran's malign activities outside of the nuclear space."

The effort to derail the bipartisan legislation comes at a time that a new group called Diplomacy Works, made up of former Obama administration officials has been launched.

The goal of the new organization is to have the United States "lead through diplomacy and dialogue – working with allies and partners," because diplomacy can "address the core causes of conflict in ways that force alone cannot."

"The same people who promised that the nuclear deal would enable Congress to push back against Iran—literally the very same people—are now mobilizing to prevent any pressure against Iran over its threats to us and our allies," a critic of the Iran deal told The Weekly Standard. He added, "The goal of the Iran deal was never to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but instead to empower Iran by giving it something to use as blackmail against U.S. pressure."


Netanyahu Welcomes U.S. Ambassador Friedman to Jerusalem "Our Eternal Capital"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted new United States Ambassador to Israel,David Friedman welcoming him to Jerusalem "our eternal capital," on Tuesday.

"Welcome. It’s a pleasure to see you and to welcome you to Jerusalem, our eternal capital. I know you went to the Kotel [Western Wall]. It's deeply appreciated by all our people," Netanyahu told Friedman.

The new ambassador responded, "There was no other place to go."

Netanyahu continued, "It was a strong gesture of solidarity. We look forward to receiving President Trump and we want to work with you and with the President these coming years to strengthen our great alliance."

"We will," Friedman assured the prime minister.

Prior to meeting Netanyahu, Friedman presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.



In Sign of Changing Region, Gulf States Float Major Upgrade in Ties with Israel

Arab Gulf states have offered to improve ties with Israel if it intensifies efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The potential steps could include allowing Israeli planes to fly over their territory, establishing direct telecommunication access to Israel, easing some limits on trade, and issuing visas to Israeli sports teams and trade delegations.

In exchange, the Gulf states would ask Israel to make another overture aimed at restarting peace talks with the Palestinians. Previously, Gulf states have conditioned improved ties on Israel inking a final peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Their position was outlined in an unpublished discussion paper circulating among several Gulf states.

"We no longer see Israel as an enemy, but a potential opportunity," one senior Arab official involved in the talks told the Journal.

Ties between Israel and the Gulf monarchies began warming in 2011, after fallout from the so-called Arab Spring helped Iran and ISIS spread their influence in the region, according to officials involved in the talks.

Israel and the Gulf states have since shared intelligence more frequently, especially about Iranian arms smuggling to its regional proxies.



Aerosmith's Steven Tyler Tours Israel Ahead of Farewell Tour in Tel Aviv

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, 68, has been signing autographs and greeting fans as he tours Jerusalem, Masada and Eilat with his girlfriend since arriving in Israel on Saturday evening.

Wednesday night, Aerosmith’s Aero-Vederci Baby! farewell tour kicks off in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park in front of an audience of approximately 45,000. Aerosmith last performed in Israel in 1994 to promote the release of the album “Get a Grip.”

At the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday, Tyler bumped into newly arrived U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and the two chatted briefly.

The Aerosmith bandmates are staying at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, where Justin Bieber stayed during his concert two weeks ago. According to Israeli media reports, Tyler requested that the hotel stock his room with organic snacks and remove all alcoholic beverages.

(via Israel21c)


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