Iran Says It Will Exceed Nuclear Accord’s Limit On Uranium In 10 Days
Iran issued an ultimatum to Europe on Monday, warning that within days the Islamic Republic will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium under the 2015 nuclear accord. The violation, which Tehran said would happen within ten days, could see Iranian enrichment levels reaching up to 20 percent – just a step away from weapons-grade levels.
A spokesperson for the Iranian atomic agency confirmed that the country’s production of uranium enriched to a low level had quadrupled and its stockpile would soon surpass a 300 kilograms limit on Thursday, June 27.
In May, Iran informed signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that it would no longer comply with commitments made in the agreement. As part of the deal, the country had limits imposed on the quantities of uranium and heavy water it can produce, set at 300 kilograms and 130 tonnes, respectively.
The JCPOA does not permanently prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. To the contrary, by adhering to the terms of the JCPOA, Iran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and close to zero-breakout time in little more than a decade.
During a meeting on Monday with French ambassador, Philippe Thiebaud, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that time was running out for European countries to salvage the nuclear accord. “The current situation is very critical and France and the other parties to the (deal) still have a very limited opportunity to play their historic role for saving the deal,” Rouhani said.
The EU, which is working to save the agreement after the United States pulled out, warned that “we strongly hope, encourage, expect that Iran continues to comply with its commitment in full.”
A spokesman for the British government said that if Iran would violate its low-grade uranium stockpile limits, then the UK would look at "all options." The country’s foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, previously said that the UK would not accept any ultimatum set by Tehran.
Read More at The Tower.
Buttigieg Says He Would Not Reverse Jerusalem Embassy Move
Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that if he were elected president, he would not move the United States embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem.
The decision to relocate the embassy honored bipartisan congressional requirements first passed into law over 20 years ago in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which were subsequently reinforced in multiple bipartisan motions – most recently in summer of 2017.
“I think what’s done is done,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Axios on HBO. "Look, we need a big-picture strategy on the Middle East," he elaborated. "I don't know that we gain much by moving it to Tel Aviv."
While Buttigieg slammed the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he however expressed strong solidarity with Israel and its alliance with the United States. The mayor has defended Israel on multiple occasions in the past and has strongly rejected condemnation of the Jewish State by other progressive lawmakers.
In January, he rebuked comments made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that compared Israel with Iran, saying the remarks were "just wrong." Buttigieg, a married gay man, stressed: “People like me get strung up in Iran.”
In May 2018, the mayor visited Israel as part of a delegation led by the American Jewish Committee and, upon his return, described the Jewish State as a role model for the United States in the field of security.
“Seeing the way that a country can be on the one hand very intentional, very serious, and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness,” Buttigieg said. “I think that’s a very important lesson that hopefully Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us,” he added.
He also emphasized that the hardship suffered by the Palestinian people is the fault of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization which exercises complete political and military control over the area, as well as the lack of a unified Palestinian leadership.
Read More at The Tower.
U.S. to Send 1,000 Additional Troops to Middle East amid Iran Tensions
The United States will send 1,000 additional troops and more military resources to the Middle East amid soaring tensions with Iran, the Pentagon announced Monday.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement that the troops were being sent “for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region.
"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan noted, adding that the "United States does not seek conflict with Iran."
The Pentagon released new photos it said showed Iran was behind the attack last Thursday on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route for the world's oil supplies. The images show the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in April – removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.
The photos follow the earlier release of a video, which the U.S. military's Central Command said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing a suspected limpet mine from one of the vessels' hulls.
The BBC reported that the small patrol boats are typical of the type used by the IRGC navy forces in the region. “In recent years, the IRGC Navy has steadily supplanted Iran's conventional navy all along Iran's Gulf coast, from its border with Iraq in the north all the way down to Pakistan and the Arabian Sea,” security corresponded Frank Gardner observed. “Its forces have built up a formidable flotilla of small, high-speed, hard-to-detect attack craft armed with mines, missiles, torpedoes and drones.”
The British government also said responsibility for Thursday's attacks "almost certainly" lies with Iran. The United States and Arab allies have blamed the country for a similar attack on four vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, May 12.
Read More at The Tower.
Ford, Renault and Nissan Open Tel Aviv Innovation Labs
Underlining Israel’s growing importance as a worldwide auto-tech hub, major automakers Ford, Renault and Nissan all opened innovation facilities in Tel Aviv over the past few weeks.
Renault-Nissan’s 1,600-square-meter Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv, in an exclusive partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority, focuses on Israeli startups developing products and services for autonomous vehicles and autonomous vehicle security, such as Apollo Power, Argus, AutoTalks, BrightWay Vision, Electreon, Enigmatos, IRP systems, Karamba, Moodify, Saferide and Upstream.
“With Israel as a global innovation hub, particularly with automotive technology, this new lab is a natural next step for us and will allow the Alliance to leverage the strengths of Israel’s startup ecosystem,” said Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Alliance EVP Engineering.
Ford’s new research center will identify Israeli technology partners in connectivity, sensors, in-vehicle monitoring, and cybersecurity, said Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who was in Tel Aviv in June for the Ecomotion Conference and Exhibition.
The center’s vehicle lab will support proof-of-concept efforts and AI work conducted by SAIPS, an Israeli computer-vision and machine-learning company acquired by Ford nearly three years ago. In 2015, Ford was among the first major automakers to host a developer challenge in Israel.
“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” said Ford. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”
Other automakers that have set up auto-tech centers in Israel in the last couple of years include Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Škoda, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo.