An Iranian Official Flaunts Violations of the Nuclear Deal

According to the terms of the 2015 agreement, the Islamic Republic was required to remove the core, or calandria, of its Arak nuclear reactor and fill it with cement, thus preventing its further use. It would then be allowed to rebuild and redesign the reactor so that it could be used for research but could not easily produce weapons-grade plutonium. But in recent public statements, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, stated that these requirements had not been fulfilled. Michael Segall writes:

Salehi suggested that Iran would continue to “discover and mine” uranium . . . and continue with its activities at the heavy-water reactor in Arak. Iran has purchased new equipment for the facility and did not even fill in the core of the reactor with cement in January 2016 in accordance with the nuclear deal, because “if we had done that, there would not be a reactor.” . . .

On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors released a report, . . . which confirmed that Iran had removed and “rendered inoperable” the Arak facility’s calandria. [But] during an interview [on Iranian television] on January 22, 2019, Salehi criticized claims by the conservative camp that Iran had completely sealed the core of the reactor. He claimed that images published [of the sealed reactor in 2016] were photoshopped, and Iran was never required by the agreement to seal the core of the reactor with concrete. . . . Salehi emphasized throughout the interview [the Iranian nuclear program’s] progress [despite] the implementation of the nuclear agreement. . . .

Salehi’s words follow his statement on January 15, 2019, that Iran is capable of increasing its percentage of uranium enrichment to 20 percent within three or four days.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs

European Aid to the Middle East Is Shaped by a Political Agenda

Feb. 18 2019

The EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Unit dispenses millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance to dozens of countries every year. Although it claims to operate on principles of strict neutrality, independent of any political motivation and giving priority to the neediest cases, a look at its activities in the Middle East suggests an entirely different approach, as Hillel Frisch writes:

[T]he Middle East is the overwhelming beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid—nearly 1 billion of just over 1.4 billion euros. . . . The bulk of the funds goes toward meeting the costs of assistance to Syrian refugees, followed by smaller sums to Iraq, Yemen, “Palestine,” and North Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, receives less than one-third of that amount. The problem with such allocations is that the overwhelming majority of people living in dire poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. . . . The Palestinians, who are richer on average than those living in the poorest states of the world, . . . receive over six euros per capita, while the populations of the poorest states receive less than one-eighth of that amount. . . .

Even less defensible is the EU’s claim to political neutrality. Its favoritism toward the Palestinians on this score is visible as soon as one enters terms into the general search function on the European Commission’s website. Enter “Palestine” and you get 20,737 results. Enter “Ethiopia” and you get almost the same figure, despite massive differences in population size (Ethiopia’s 100 million versus fewer than 5 million Palestinians), geographic expanse (Ethiopia is 50 times the size of “Palestine”), and degree of sheer suffering. The Syrian crisis, which is said to have led to the loss of a half-million lives, merits not many more site results than “Palestine.”

One of the foci of the website’s reports [on the Palestinians] is the plight of 35,000 Bedouin whom the EU assists, often in clear violation of the law, in Area C—the part of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control. The hundreds of thousands of Bedouin in Sinai, however, the plight of whom is readily acknowledged even by Egyptian officials, gets no mention, even though Egypt is a recipient of EU aid. . . .

Clearly, the EU’s approach to aid allocation has nothing to do with impartiality, true social-welfare needs, or humanitarian considerations. [Instead], it favors allocations to Syrian refugees above Yemeni refugees because of the higher probability that Syrian refugees will find their way to Europe. . . . The recipients of European largesse who are next in line [to Syrians], in relative terms, are the Palestinians. [This particular policy] can be attributed primarily to the EU’s hostility toward Israel, its rightful historical claims, and its security needs.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians