Iran threatened to refer the US to the commission that oversees compliance with the nuclear deal, as the Obama administration seeks to assure Iran it will assist them in bypassing new regulations passed by Congress. On Wednesday Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that the new measures requiring visas for individuals with Iranian citizenship or those who have recently traveled to Iran “would definitely be a breach” of the JCPOA. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly wrote to Zarif to assure him that the administration could help Iran evade the new regulations by issuing waiver exemptions to ensure that the new rules will not “interfere with legitimate business interests in Iran.” President Barack Obama signed the new bill last Friday but subsequently took issue with it after the Iranian regime told them that the bill would violate the nuclear agreement. According to the deal, the US may not impose any new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, however, the administration has repeatedly stated that the deal does not prohibit the US from imposing sanctions related to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and human right violations. The Joint Commission, a body in which the West is supposed to have a majority, risks being undermined by spurious allegations from Iran.
Lawmakers in Congress have rebuked the administration for its willingness to bypass congressional rules to placate Iran. In a letter addressed to both Kerry and the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-CA), and others expressed concern and emphasized that they “strengthened the VWP [Visa Waiver Program] in order to protect the national security of the United States.” Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) and other members of Congress wrote a letter to Kerry stating that it is “beyond belief” that Iranian anxieties about the law’s impact on local businesses “would supersede a newly-enacted U.S. law designed to protect the American people from terrorism.” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) argued that “waiving restrictions on the visa waiver program would put U.S. citizens at risk” and insisted that “the largest state sponsor of terrorism shouldn’t get to dictate U.S. visa policy.” Congress decided to require visas for individuals who visited Iran in the past 5 years due to Iran’s status as a leading state sponsor of terror. Iraq, Syria, and Sudan are also subject to visa requirements due to their status as terrorist hot spots.
Ofer Ben Ari, a 46-year-old Jerusalemite with two daughters, was wounded by police gunfire in the process of subduing two Palestinian terrorists who had begun stabbing passersby. Shaare Zedek Medical Center announced his death moments before news broke that a second victim, 45-year-old Reuven Birmacher, also died of his injuries. Birmacher was a resident of Kiryat Ye’arim and a father of seven. A third victim is in serious condition.
Palestinian media identified the attackers as Issa Asaf and Anan Abu Habseh, two 21-year-olds from the Qalandia refugee camp in the West Bank. The pair, who had previously been arrested for disturbing the peace, had reportedly left their cellphones and IDs at home before leaving for Jerusalem. They were shot and killed by policewomen after carrying out the attack.
The Times of Israel reported more:
Witnesses said one of the victims struggled with his stabber on the ground and was stabbed multiple times.
“Two people were struggling and at first I thought it was a game,” Yael, an eyewitness, told Israel Radio. “I saw [the attacker] trying to stab [his victim] with all his might.
“I saw the victim try to get away from him, but he couldn’t,” she added.
More than 20 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbing attacks since the current wave of violence began in September. Jerusalem has been one of the focal points of the violence, with multiple attacks taking place inside or near the Old City.
A recent public opinion poll revealed that two-thirds of Palestinians support knife attacks against Israelis, while 54% oppose a two-state solution. Various Israeli security experts and Palestinian activists have attributed the ongoing wave of terror to incitement from Palestinian leaders, including government officials.
Last month, the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning incitement by the Palestinian Authority. At the time, the measure’s co-sponsor Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) said, “It is well past time for President Abbas to stand up and condemn all acts of violence, rather than encouraging violence by glorifying terrorists and teaching children to view Israelis as animals.” (via TheTower.org)