Iran displayed various missile systems in a military parade in Tehran on Tuesday, many of which were emblazoned with slogans calling for the death of Israel. The weapons included the Russian-developed S-300 anti-aircraft missile and the Iranian-made Sayyad-3 long-range missile. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was present at the parade and addressed the crowds.
“Some of the trucks carrying weapons were adorned with banners showing a fist punching through a blue Star of David and the slogan ‘Death to Israel' in Persian," Agence France-Presse reported. Another truck at the event had “Death to Israel” emblazoned on its side in both Persian and Arabic, as well as “Down with Israel” in English and an image of the Israeli flag on fire.
Slogans calling for the death of Israel and the death of America are fixtures at public ceremonies in Iran. This past February, Iranians marked the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution by burning American and Israeli flags and waving banners reading “Death to America.” Last November, thousands of Iranians gathered in Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979 and burned Israeli and American flags, as well as Saudi ones. In July of last year, at an event called Al-Quds Day, an anti-Israel celebration, tens of thousands of people chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and also burned the two countries’ flags.
What's to review?--
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced Iran as “a leading state sponsor of terror” on Tuesday, adding that the Trump administration has ordered a review on whether continuing to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran are in the national security interests of the United States.
“When the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue,” Tillerson wrote in a letter sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R – Wisc.).
Tillerson’s letter acknowledged that as of April 18th, the administration found Iran to be in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. The administration is required by law to report to Congress on Iran’s compliance every 90 days. The language of Tillerson’s letter suggests that the White House is likely to ramp up pressure on Iran for its continued terror support in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal.
While speaking of the nuclear deal during his 2016 election campaign, President Donald Trump said that he would “tear it up,” a position the administration has since moderated. However, the terms of the nuclear deal give the administration leeway in terms of enforcement, Foreign Policy reported Monday: “The Trump White House is mulling taking a much more forceful stance on enforcing the deal to the letter.”
Last week, the Treasury Department sanctioned Sohrab Soleimani, the younger brother of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, for human rights abuses he committed as head of Iran’s notorious Evin prison. Treasury also sanctioned eight organizations linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in February.
Foreign Policy also reported that “there is growing bipartisan support for pushing back against Iran through additional sanctions,” as evidenced by two bills targeting Iran’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East, which were introduced in both houses of Congress last month.
While Iran considers the introduction or renewal of any sanctions to be a violation of the nuclear deal, members of both parties in the U.S. support imposing them for non-nuclear-related reasons, such as human rights violations and financing of terror. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry was emphatic that Iran agreed non-nuclear-related sanctions did not violate the nuclear deal at a July 2015 hearing.
Two sisters from Gaza were apprehended at the Erez crossing with explosives hidden inside tubes marked "medical materials," The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.
The sisters had obtained a permit to cross into Israel for one of them to receive cancer treatments at an Israeli hospital. The explosive materials had been “sent by Hamas and it is believed that they were meant to be used to carry out attacks in Israel in the near future,” according to the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency.
It is believed that the substances, which were discovered during a security check, were meant to be used in improvised explosive devices.
“Unfortunately, this is more proof that terror groups in Gaza are continuing to take advantage of humanitarian channels to export terror into Israel’s heartland,” Defense Ministry Crossing Points Authority head Kamil Abu Rokan said in a statement. “The security checks at the crossing worked exactly as we expect and with notable professionalism.”
Last year Israel allowed over 30,000 Gazans to cross into Israel seeking medical treatment.
There have been previous cases of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups taking advantage of medical permits to attempt terror attacks against Israel.
In one such notable case, Wafa Samir al-Biss, who had been injured in a kitchen gas explosion and was being treated for burns in an Israeli hospital, was caught in 2005, trying to cross into Israel at the Erez Crossing wearing an explosive belt. She had been recruited by a terror group with links to Fatah and had intended to detonated herself inside a crowded Israeli hospital.
Light years ahead--
In the early 1970s, when physicist Abraham Katzir was a graduate student at Hebrew University, his supervisor urged him to get into optics, the study of light. The future, he predicted, was all about lasers and optical fibers. So Katzir studied modern optics in the United States and in 1977 established the Applied Physics Group at Tel Aviv University. His many students have made significant contributions to the burgeoning optics field – which indeed became a major industry in Israel with the development of lasers and optical fibers and imaging for communications, biology, chemistry, healthcare, defense and environmental protection. Israel is world-renowned especially for its optical devices and electro-optical devices (powered by electricity) for medical and military applications. Today, more than 10,000 Israelis work in optical technologies, also called photonics. An estimated 500 optics companies in Israel contribute 5 percent of total annual exports. Almost a quarter of the exits, mergers and acquisitions in Israel over the least 15 years have been photonics related. “This is why I started a conference 12 years ago,” Katzir tells ISRAEL21c, referring to Optical Engineering And Science in Israel (OASIS) of the Israel Lasers and Electro Optics Society, held every two years in Tel Aviv. OASIS 2017 in February attracted 1,500 academics, researchers and industrialists – about 200 of them from Europe – and 60 exhibitors, half of them Israeli. American physicist William Moerner, 2014 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, was a keynote speaker. “There are very few conferences of this size in Europe, so it’s amazing for a tiny country like Israel,” says Katzir. (via Israel21c)