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House votes 419-1 to extend Iran Sanctions Act

Posted by Tip Staff - November 16, 2016

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act by a vote of 419-1 on Tuesday.
The bill does not impose new sanctions on Iran, but does extend the life of currently-existing ones that were created in response to Iran’s support for terrorism. It also gives the president the legal means to impose new sanctions if Iran is found to be in violation of last year’s nuclear deal. Current sanctions are set to expire on December 31.
The extension of the Iran Sanctions Act now goes to the Senate; if it passes there, it would have to be signed into law by President Barack Obama before the end of the year.
Even though the nuclear deal was supposed to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, the United States “should keep looking for ways to hold Iran’s feet to the fire on all the other bad behavior issues—support for terrorism, ballistic missiles, human rights abuses and all those kinds of things,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D – N.Y), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “This legislation, I’m happy to say, fits the bill. We can provide the Administration tools to crack down on Iran and still be fully compliant with our obligations under the nuclear deal. After all, the exact language in this bill is already law on the books.”
Engel reminded the House that the law, which was originally passed in 1996, has always been reauthorized with strong bipartisan support and “demands that Iran abandon its nuclear weapons program, cease its ballistic program, and stop its support for terrorism. All of these remain threats to the United States and our allies.”

Israel  appointed a new ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday, filling a post that has been vacant since 2010.
Israel’s new envoy in Ankara will be Eitan Na’eh, who is currently deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom. Na’eh, who is considered an expert on Turkish affairs, worked as a diplomat in Turkey in the 1990s and later was ambassador to nearby Azerbaijan.
Na’eh’s appointment fulfills another step in the reconciliation deal that Israel reached with Turkey earlier this year. Turkey appointed Kemal Okem, a close advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as ambassador to Israel last month.
Ties had been strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, when a flotilla under the control of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation—a group designated as a terror organization by the Netherlands and Germany—attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. IDF troops faced an “organized and violent” assault from a group of passengers after boarding the ship, according to a UN report. Ten crew members were killed in the ensuing fight, and several Israeli soldiers were injured.
After the reconciliation agreement was reached, Israeli leaders noted the significant economic potential of closer ties. “Trade between Israel and Turkey has more than doubled from the Marmara event up until today,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, adding that the deal will bolster that growth with “joint projects in government level. People are speaking about gas and there are other issues that might emerge.”

Describing it as one more step in dismantling the “the automatic majority against Israel in the UN,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he would be visiting the South Pacific island nation of Fiji early next year.
Netanyahu’s South Asian tour next February will also include Australia and Singapore. The prime minister announced two weeks ago that he would also visit Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and countries in West Africa next year.
“Why am I going to Fiji?” Netanyahu said in a video address to the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Washington. “Because fifteen countries, fifteen islands that each one has a vote in the UN are coming to that meeting.”
South Pacific island nations are often among the only countries to vote with Israel in United Nations assemblies. For example, a vote last week to renew the mandate of a committee that investigates “Israeli practices” was opposed by only seven countries: Israel itself, the United States, Canada, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.

Celebrity endorsements are a big boon for brands. Just ask SodaStream, the Israeli company touted by Hollywood beauty Scarlett Johansson and “Game of Thrones” star Thor Bjornsson. Ask HOT, the Israeli telecom for which Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo filmed a funny TV commercial. But other stars support Israeli startups with their dollars rather than their faces, or sometimes with both. Today’s celebs no longer look down on techies, explains Gil Eyal, founder of Tel Aviv- and New York-based influencer marketing platform HyPR Brands. “It’s kind of cool to be a nerd now, and Israeli founders are a unique type of nerd because they have chutzpah; they’ll walk up to Leonardo DiCaprio and ask, ‘Do you want to invest in my startup?’ Celebrities in general are the same way, used to getting what they want,” Eyal tells ISRAEL21c. (via Israel21c)

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