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.

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


Who Changed the Term “Nakba” into a Symbol of Arab Victimization?

April 19 2019

In contemporary Palestinian discourse, not to mention that of the Palestinians’ Western supporters, the creation of the state of Israel is known as the Nakba, or catastrophe—sometimes explicitly compared with the Holocaust. The very term has come to form a central element in a narrative of passive Palestinian suffering at Jewish hands. But when the Syrian historian Constantin Zureiq first used the term with regard to the events of 1948, he meant something quite different, and those responsible for changing its meaning were none other than Israelis. Raphael Bouchnik-Chen explains:

In his 1948 pamphlet The Meaning of the Disaster (Ma’na al-Nakba), Zureiq attributed the Palestinian/Arab flight to the stillborn pan-Arab assault on the nascent Jewish state rather than to a premeditated Zionist design to disinherit the Palestinian Arabs. “We [Arabs] must admit our mistakes,” [he wrote], “and recognize the extent of our responsibility for the disaster that is our lot.” . . . In a later book, The Meaning of the Catastrophe Anew, published after the June 1967 war, he defined that latest defeat as a “Nakba,” . . . since—just as in 1948—it was a self-inflicted disaster emanating from the Arab world’s failure to confront Zionism. . . .

It was only in the late 1980s that it began to be widely perceived as an Israeli-inflicted injustice. Ironically, it was a group of politically engaged, self-styled Israeli “new historians” who provided the Palestinian national movement with perhaps its best propaganda tool by turning the saga of Israel’s birth upside down, with aggressors turned into hapless victims, and vice-versa, on the basis of massive misrepresentation of archival evidence.

While earlier generations of Palestinian academics and intellectuals had refrained from exploring the origins of the 1948 defeat, the PLO chairman Yasir Arafat, who was brought to Gaza and the West Bank as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords and was allowed to establish his Palestinian Authority (PA) in parts of those territories, grasped the immense potential of reincarnating the Nakba as a symbol of Palestinian victimhood rather than a self-inflicted disaster. In 1998, he proclaimed May 15 a national day of remembrance of the Nakba. In subsequent years, “Nakba Day” has become an integral component of the Palestinian national narrative and the foremost event commemorating their 1948 “catastrophe.”

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More about: Arab World, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, New historians, Yasir Arafat