News Digest — 7/2/19

Nuclear Watchdog: Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal Key Provision

Iran has followed through on its threat to breach a central limit of its nuclear deal with major powers, accumulating more enriched uranium than allowed under the accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Monday (1st).

“We can confirm that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has informed the Board of Governors that the Agency verified on July 1 that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile exceeded the deal’s limit,” an IAEA spokesman said in a statement.

An IAEA report sent to member states and obtained by Reuters put Iran’s stock at above the deal’s limit of 300 kilograms (660 lbs.) of uranium hexafluoride (UF6).

Iran acknowledged Monday (1st) that it had broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by the 2015 nuclear deal, marking its first major departure from the unraveling agreement a year after the U.S.unilaterally withdrew from the accord.

Iran had been expected for days to acknowledge it broke the limit after earlier warning it would do so.  It held off on publicly making an announcement as European leaders met Friday (6/28) in Vienna to discuss ways to save the accord.  Iran has threatened to increase its enrichment of uranium closer to weapons-grade levels by July 7. The announcement comes as tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S.  In recent weeks, the wider Persian Gulf has seen Iran shoot-down a U.S. military surveillance drone, mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launch bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.



Netanyahu Calls For Automatic European Sanctions On Iran Over Uranium Breach

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Europe on Monday (1st) to impose “automatic sanctions” on Iran for accumulating more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

“I say again that Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office.

“On this day I also call on European countries to stand behind their commitments.  You committed to act the moment Iran violates the nuclear agreement – you committed to activate the mechanism for automatic sanctions that was set in the (UN) Security Council,” he said.

A European diplomat told Reuters there was a mechanism under the agreement to deal with “any inconsistencies,” and it would be up to a joint commission of signatories to decide next steps.

Iran’s move was the first major step in violation of the deal since the United States pulled out of it more than a year ago and reimposed tough economic sanctions on Iran.  

Two Iranian sources confirmed earlier Monday (1st) that Tehran has breached the limit of its enriched uranium stockpile set in the 2015 deal.  

“As we announced when we said our steps would continue, the stockpile has passed 300 kg,” one of the sources said.



2,000-Year-Old Pilgrimage Road Opens In Jerusalem’s City Of David – Yaakov Katz

→Archeologists in Jerusalem have identified the “Pilgrimage Road,” the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment to go up to the holy city during Judaism’s three key holidays: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

→The Pilgrimage Road goes from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.  Josephus, the Roman-Jewish historian, wrote that 2.7 million people used to visit Jerusalem during the Jewish holidays.

→The official opening of the Pilgrimage Road has far greater significance for Israel than just the opening of a new, impressive tourist site, said Ze’ev Orenstein, director of international affairs for the City of David.  It proves the long and historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

→U.S. Ambassador David Friedman said, “The City of David brings truth and science to a debate that has been marred too long by myths and deceptions.  Its findings, in most cases by secular archeologists, bring an end to the baseless efforts to deny the historic fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people.”

→Pilgrimage Road, Friedman said, “brings to life the historic truth of the Second Temple Period in Jewish history.  Peace between Israel and the Palestinians must be based upon a foundation of truth. The City of David advances our collective goal of pursuing a truth-based resolution.”

→Asked if Israel would give up the City of David in a peace deal, he said, “I do not believe that Israel would ever consider such a thought.  The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel. It would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.”



Jerusalem’s Heart – Editorial

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry referred to the unveiling of the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David on Sunday (6/30) as “Judaization activities.”  

U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt responded on Twitter: “We can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archeology show.  We can acknowledge it & you can stop pretending it isn’t true!  Peace can only be built on truth.”

Trying to erase the Bible stories and the thousands of years of Jewish history in which Jerusalem has always been the focus of prayers and yearning does nothing to add credibility to the Palestinian cause.  Just as Judaism and Christianity preceded the birth of Islam, so too do Jewish links to Jerusalem. The presence of U.S. Ambassador Friedman and Greenblatt at the ceremony Sunday (6/30) was significant for the message it conveyed that the U.S. recognizes the historic truth.



Upstate New York School Teacher Praises Hitler In Yearbook Quote

A school district in upstate New York has recalled its yearbook after a new teacher appeared to call Adolf Hitler his favorite person in history in a yearbook interview.

The student body of Whiteville Central School District, in Allegheny County, is 98.9 percent white, the Olean Times Herald  reported.

Asked his favorite person in history, first-year history teacher, Jeff Acor is quoted in the yearbook as saying “Adolf Hitler, who did many great things for Germany and their youth before the infamous Holocaust.”

The quote also said that “Adolf was outed and faced many hardships early in his life which a lot of people can relate to.  Adolf is arguably the greatest public speaker in the history of the world. Adolf made many great strides to make Germany a world superpower.”

The yearbooks were recalled two weeks ago, after the quote was discovered, according to the newspaper.

Superintendent Laurie Sanders said in a statement on the school district’s website that in the production of the yearbook, we try to give students the freedom and creative license to create and determine content.  That said, after the yearbooks were distributed several errors and oversights were found, including of our discovery that a statement from one of our new teachers was incomplete, resulting in the description of a historical figure being mistakenly taken out of context.

“Accordingly, we wanted to give the Yearbook Committee an opportunity to correct the errors and oversights, and to include a more accurate and complete quote from the teacher.”

Sanders did not explain to the Olean Times Herald in what way the statement was incomplete.

No action reportedly will be taken against Acor.