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Today’s Top Stories
1. A new IAEA report leaked to the press calls out Iran for illicitly speeding up work on its nuclear program. We’re talking about hundreds of new centrifuges and other equipment set up at the impregnable underground facility at Qom, uranium enrichment to a purity beyond necessary for civilian use. The NY Times writes:
Mr. Obama and his staff have been trying to avoid a crisis over Iran that would unfold in the last months of the presidential election. But the report, expected to be the last by the I.A.E.A. before Election Day, will lay out a stark reality: Despite increasingly painful sanctions, and a covert program called Olympic Games that aimed to slow the Iranian program with cyberattacks, Iran has made substantial progress in producing enriched uranium in recent years — from about one bomb’s worth when Mr. Obama took office in 2009 to the equivalent of about five bombs’ worth today.
“The Qassams start every year when school opens,” Alkabetz said. “We were very lucky. I hope that now we’ll have a little quiet.”
3. The story behind the Iranian invitations to both Fatah and Hamas to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit says a lot about the way Tehran’s using the Palestinians. According to Maan News, it started when Ayatollah Khameini invited Ismail Haniyeh independently of Ahmadinejad, who had already invited Abbas.
The source said Khamenei wanted to show Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi that Iran retained influence over Palestinian affairs, and that Mursi was infuriated by Iran’s position, deciding to leave the summit after his speech.
They added that Abbas feels betrayed by Iran as he had defied the US and Israel by agreeing to attend the summit in the first place.
In the end, no Palestinians attended the summit. Does anyone remember the old days when the Palestinians really owned their movement? Where have you gone, Yasser Arafat?
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• New satellite images of the Parchin facility indicate Iran’s hiding something. Israel HaYom delves into what the mysterious pink tarps are covering. Meanwhile, Western diplomats told AFP that the site has been so thoroughly sanitized, it’s “pointless” for IAEA inspectors to visit.
• Just a small, small step in the road to Mideast nuclear proliferation: If Iran becomes nuclear armed, Turks would prefer developing their own atomic deterrance rather than rely on NATO protection. Details on the the Turkish poll at Edam (pdf).
Therefore, the problem is not that diplomacy has not been attempted, but rather that the job was not done well . . . First and foremost is the simple fact that Iran is not interested in a negotiated deal because it would mean giving up its long-held goal of attaining a military nuclear capability – a goal that it is close to achieving, and for which it has paid a heavy price. This means that to get Iran to negotiate seriously, its cost-benefit calculation will have to be profoundly altered.
• Iranian Jews living in the US told the International Business Times they would support an attack on their former homeland, though they are understandably uneasy about the idea.
Fariba, 52, a member of the Mashadi congregation in Great Neck who wouldn’t give her last name, said, “I would not be happy, but if it has to be done, it has to be done.” Fariba said she came to the U.S. in 1983 from Tehran and that “the Iranian people themselves are not bad; it’s just the politicians. I would be upset both for the Israelis and the Iranians. But if Ahmadinejad has to be stopped, he has to be stopped.”