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Unless Iran Allows Inspectors into Its Military Sites, It Can Violate the Nuclear Deal with Impunity

Sept. 1 2017

Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the agreement to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is formally known—forbids Tehran from engaging in certain activities, and from producing or acquiring certain equipment, that would be necessary for building atomic weapons. Furthermore, it requires regular inspection of specific Iranian military sites. Yet, no such inspections seem to be taking place and, just earlier this week, an Iranian official stated outright that his government would not allow any such inspections. David Albright and Olli Heinonen explain:

Section-T verification requires the establishment of a routine inspection approach, which takes into account provisions for access to sensitive locations. Unlike the visits associated with the Parchin [research] site or past nuclear-weapons work, . . . Section-T verification should not be based on alleging violations but instead on ensuring compliance by regular IAEA monitoring. . . .

To verify Section T, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to ask Iran to describe or declare in writing its capabilities associated with [certain activities and types of equipment covered therein]. IAEA access [to the relevant sites] would be part of verifying these declarations. Iran may deny having any such capabilities, a statement which the IAEA would also have to verify. However, based on open sources and IAEA reporting, Iran is known to have engaged in activities covered by Section T. . . .

It is likely that some of the conditions in Section T are currently not being met and may in fact be violated by Iran.

Until suitable action is taken, the IAEA and the parties to the JCPOA are allowing the agreement to go unenforced, and Iran may well be developing detonation systems and other equipment necessary for a nuclear bomb—and getting away with it.

Read more at Institute for Science and International Security

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount