In blow to verifiable deal, Iranian Supreme Leader rejects military site inspections, interviews with nuclear researchers

 

On Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated Iran's refusal to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of military sites and interviews with nuclear scientists, undermining the verification regime of any potential deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The White House’s parameters of the framework agreement from April state that “Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites.” The Obama administration has made a strong verification regime a central tenet of his argument for a deal with Iran. Nuclear scientists and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have insisted that anytime, anywhere inspections are a crucial part of any future deal with Iran.

Despite UN Security Council resolutions, Iran has refused to allow interviews or visits to sites linked to the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Iran continues to stonewall the IAEA, having only provided a partial explanation to 1 of the 12 outstanding weaponization and atomic research issues.

If not allowed to speak to nuclear scientists, the IAEA may lack full knowledge of Iran’s past atomic research, undermining the agency’s ability to design an effective verification system and calculate how fast Iran could develop a nuclear weapon. Michael Singh, Managing Director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has asserted that “without insight into the full extent of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities, no amount of monitoring and inspection can provide true confidence that Iran lacks a parallel program beyond inspectors’ view.”

Moreover, illicit nuclear activity is most likely to take place at military facilities. Iran has built secret nuclear sites on military facilities in the past. The previously concealed centrifuge plant at Fordow was built on an IRGC military base. Iran’s refusal to allow inspections of military sites would make a deal unverifiable as it would be impossible to detect a covert attempt to break out. David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security, has warned that to evade inspection, “Tehran could declare a suspect site a military base and thus off limits.”

 

Thousands of Gazans receive treatment in Israeli hospitals every year, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. According to the report, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) has issued roughly 27,000 permits for Gaza residents—including both patients and their families—to receive medical treatment in Israel and elsewhere. According to the World Health Organization, in 2013, the most recent year for which there are statistics, 3,840 Gazans were treated in Israel.

The AP story focuses on teenagers Ahmed and Hadeel Hamdan, who require kidney dialysis and have been treated at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa since 2012. When not at the hospital, they receive treatment at home with equipment provided by the hospital. Their mother has been trained in how to use the equipment. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the AP that despite the frequent rocket launches and terror attacks launched by Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza, Israel's efforts to treat the ill is a humanitarian matter. The arrangements for the medical care are made with the Palestinian Authority.

Over the past year, a number of relatives of Hamas officials have been treated in Israeli hospitals, including the mother-in-law and daughter of prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and the sister of spokesman Moussa Abu Marzouk.

Gazans were admitted for care in Israel even while Hamas was firing barrages of rockets at Israel last summer during Operation Protective Edge. During that time, Israel set up a field hospital on the border with Gaza, but Hamas prevented Gazans from accessing the hospital. (via TheTower.org)

 

Nir Peled’s edgy graffiti-inspired fashion and graphic design is on Puma jackets, Absolut bottles, and Coke ads. Better known as Pilpeled, his professional art signature, this Tel Aviv-based artist is quietly attracting – and dressing — a global audience. Pilpeled combines illustration, graffiti and graphics in his designs, which also usually boast a towering spoonful of dark humor.  Pilpeled has collaborated with major brands including Puma, MTV, Coca-Cola and Absolut.  His designs and artworks are on walls and canvases around the world. They’re on billboards and posters, CD covers and clothes. His clothing designs give new definition to the term “wearable art.”

It wasn’t long before major brands sought him out for his outstanding black-and-white images. Peled was the first Israeli artist to design a bottle for Absolut vodka, joining the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. The bottle, released in 2013 in limited edition, features the city’s famous ficus-tree-lined boulevards at night. Coca-Cola came knocking on Peled’s door this year, commissioning him for a Zero advertising campaign currently running across Israel. “Coca-Cola is one of the biggest companies in the world, and this is my greatest achievement till now,” he announces. Peled repeatedly credits Tel Aviv and the local music scene as sources of inspiration for him. (via Israel21c)


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