Israel Daily News Stream 05/24/2012

Iranian Atomic Urgency


Reuters: An upcoming IAEA report will disclose that Iran may have set up 350 additional centrifuges to enrich uranium at Fordow:

Fordow, buried beneath an estimated 80 metres (265 feet) of rock and soil, gives Iran better protection against any Israeli or U.S. military strikes, and the transfer of nuclear work to the site is of particular concern for the West . . .

The new report is not expected to show Iran further increasing the production rate. But the installation of possibly hundreds more centrifuges could set the stage for that in future. Such machines spin at supersonic speed to raise the concentration of the fissile isotope of uranium.

In an LA Times op-ed, Chuck Freilich urges an interim nuclear deal that saves face for both sides and “buys time.” Freilich doesn’t consider Israeli warnings that more time will allow Iran to reach a zone of immunity. He writes:

An attack may still prove to be necessary, but if the few years can be achieved through diplomacy, this is obviously preferable.

Who needs David Baldacci when you have Al-Arabiya‘s explosive report on the “Mossad agent” executed by Iran?

But Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya, quoting Iranian opposition sources, said that Iran used Fashi as a scapegoat to please local public opinion. The opposition sources said they even doubted that Fashi was really executed, noting that the footage of his execution aired on public television was short and blurred.

The sources speculated that Iranian intelligence assassinated Mohammadi, the nuclear scientist allegedly killed by Fashi, because it had discovered that he intended to defect to the West.

Al-Arabiya said that the Israeli passport attributed to Fashi by Iran was so badly forged it “was not becoming of a country capable of building nuclear facilities.”

ABC News and the Daily Mail, among others, are picking up on this story.

Everyone’s covering the Iranian nuclear talks, which so far show little progress. Washington Post coverage suffices.

Arab Spring Winter

Looking at the Egyptian elections, a Christian Science Monitor op-ed asks if a freedom-based interpretation of Islamic law can support democracy.

Egyptians aren’t just learning about democracy, they’re learning about politics of strange bedfellows. CNN writes:

Secular democrats oppose military rule, for example, but if an Islamist candidate wins the presidency, “Some of the democrats would switch because they would rather have military rule than the Islamists,” Nawaz said.

Syria claims international sanctions have cost its oil industry $4 billion. More at AP.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Ugly spectacle in Tel Aviv as a demonstration against African migrants got violent. A lot of news services papers picked up on this, but a headline in The Guardian notably called it a “race riot.” (The Jerusalem Post called it a “riot,” while Reuters says Army Radio called it a pogrom.)

Big Media will give the issue more attention, and when it does, South Tel Aviv is going to be Beit Shemesh with a different cast of bad guys.

Mehdi Hasan, one of Iran’s biggest apologists, was named political director at Huffington Post UK. The Press Gazette adds that Hasan’s column at The New Statesman will continue.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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