Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: French President Macron: Iran Nuke Deal is not Enough to Fight Iranian Aggression

Posted by Tip Staff - September 22, 2017

French President Macron: Iran Nuke Deal is not Enough to Fight Iranian Aggression
Former Deputy Nat’l Security Advisor: Trump Administration Unhappy with Abbas Behavior
Israeli Warplanes Strike Hezbollah Weapons Depot outside Damascus
Merkel Criticized for Meetings with Anti-Israel NGOs

French President Macron: Iran Nuke Deal is not Enough to Fight Iranian Aggression

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the Iran nuclear deal is no longer a sufficient safeguard against Iranian aggression in the region and the country’s ballistic missile tests, Reuters reported.

Macron was speaking in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. “Is this agreement enough? No.”, he stated. “It is not, given the evolution of the regional situation and increasing pressure that Iran is exerting on the region, and given increased activity by Iran on the ballistic level since the accord,” Macron told reporters in New York.

The French President also told the media that Iran’s ballistic missile program must be curtailed and suggested to open negotiations immediately on how to limit the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment after “sunset” provisions in the accord start to take effect in 2025.

Macron further warned of Iran’s malign role in the region. “Let’s be honest, the tensions are on the rise, look at the activities of Hezbollah and Iran’s pressure on Syria. We need a clear framework to be able to reassure regional countries and the United States,” the President said, adding that France was ready to mediate between the U.S. and Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke in front of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, when he addressed the threat posed by Iran. “It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” he said. The President also called the nuclear deal a failure. “The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered into,” Trump added.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CNN on Monday that America “will pay a high cost if Trump decides to leave the deal.” Defying the demands of Western powers, the Iranian President said that “We [Iran] will increase our military power as a deterrent. We will strengthen our missile capabilities.”

Former Deputy Nat’l Security Advisor: Trump Administration Unhappy with Abbas Behavior

Ahead of the UN General Assembly and the meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Israel Project (TIP) organized a conference call with Elliott Abrams on September 14 to discuss some of the issues that would dominate the agenda.

Abrams, who served as deputy national security advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush, told the audience that he did not expect any movement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“I do not see a basis for optimism in 2017,” he said. Abrams felt people in the administration “were quite unhappy with the behavior of Mahmoud Abbas during the Temple Mount incident, where he could have spoken in ways that would have ended the crisis. Instead his rhetoric was hot,” he said. He also added that Abbas “made it worse rather than better” and his behavior “really changed their [the Trump administration’s] opinion of him.”

The former deputy national security advisor moved on to talk about the Iran deal and the likelihood of President Trump decertifying the agreement in October.

“The President would like to” decertify the deal, Abrams said. “He has always said this is not a good deal. It’s a very bad deal. It’s not in the American interest.”

Iran’s non-nuclear behavior itself puts a question mark over the legitimacy of the nuclear deal. If it gives the regime “billions and billions and billions of dollars which helps finance this kind of behavior by Iran, why is it in the American national interest?” Abrams asked.

He then reflected on the situation in Syria, where Iran has built a significant presence putting at risk Israel’s security.

“In Syria, we see IRGC troops on the ground and we see thousands of Hezbollah soldiers. And we see Shiite militia, which were brought together to fight,” he said. “So absolutely no improvement in Iran’s non-nuclear behavior in the region. There is as much support for terrorism as there has ever been,” Abrams concluded.

Israeli Warplanes Strike Hezbollah Weapons Depot outside Damascus

Israeli warplanes attacked a Hezbollah weapons depot outside of Damascus in the early hours of Friday morning, The Times of Israel reported.

According to reports in Arabic media outlets, the three separate strikes were carried out near Damascus International Airport, an area which is a stronghold of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization.

“Israeli warplanes targeted with rocket fire a weapons depot belonging to Hezbollah near the airport,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Images of the alleged Israeli strikes surfaced on social media, which show fire and smoke rising from the area around Damascus airport.

There have been no confirmations or denials from Israel, Syria or Hezbollah on any of the reports.

Israel has for years carried out airstrikes in Syrian territory to contain and destroy the military infrastructure of its enemies, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, as well as Hezbollah outposts.

An Israeli air raid on a depot controlled by the Syrian regime two weeks ago hit a supply of chemical weapons being transferred to Hezbollah. Earlier this week, a Hezbollah drone was shot down by an Israeli Air Force Patriot missile, after it entered the demilitarized zone on the Israel-Syria border. In January, Israeli jets struck a military airfield near Damascus in an attempt to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining highly-accurate Iranian surface-to-surface missiles.

While the attack was never confirmed by Israeli civilian or military officials, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz hinted that Israel was behind the strike. He told Army Radio that he could ''confirm that the incident in Syria completely conforms to Israel's policy'' of preventing Iran from smuggling illicit weapons to its terror proxy Hezbollah.

Merkel Criticized for Meetings with Anti-Israel NGOs

The chairman of the German-Israel parliament group on Thursday attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government for meeting primarily with NGOs critical of Israel, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post.

Green Party MP Volker Beck said that "The balance of the discussion partners speaks not only for a special passion - the so-called Israel criticism attitude - but also for the false estimation and lack of knowledge of the situation on the ground.” He insisted that “A dialogue should also consist of talks with positions that one does not share. Otherwise it is a monologue rather than a duet."

The MP secured information from the German Foreign Ministry about official government meetings in Israel, which show that, over a nearly three-and-a-half-year period, Merkel’s cabinet met almost exclusively with NGOs critical of Israel, with some even questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish state. The data revealed that from meetings with 27 NGOs, only one NGO was from the middle or center-right of the political spectrum.

The chairman cited a speech from German President Walter Steinmeier at the Hebrew University in May. "While we Germans know and admire the diversity of democracy in Israel, we also still want to speak with as many different groups in your country and learn as many different viewpoints,” Steinmeier said.

Beck countered: "The federal government will speak with all sections of Israeli civil society. Fair enough. The federal government has a lot to do in the future, because until now the dialogue has been politically one-sided and represents everything other than the diversity of Israeli society."

In April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, over the minister’s plan to meet with representatives from the Israeli NGOs Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem.

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