TEHRAN, Iran — A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook southwestern Iran along the Persian Gulf on Sunday, followed by at least three moderate-strength aftershocks, state TV reported.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Jordan continues to be the stumbling block to ending the 100 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs as it celebrated its founding 100 years ago on 11 April 1921 - whilst simultaneously 100 years of unbroken rule by the Hashemite dynasty has been publicly imploding.
Initially called the Emirate of Transjordan - the Hashemites - hailing from the Hejaz - now called Saudi Arabia – were anointed as Transjordan’s future rulers by Britain at the 1921 Cairo Conference as part of the machinations between Britain and France in the carve up of the territory of the defeated Ottoman Empire in World War 1.
99.99% of Ottoman-liberated territory was designated for Arab self-determination under the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon and the British Mandate for Mesopotamia - whilst the remaining 0.01% was to be set aside for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in the area today called Israel, Jordan, Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) pursuant to the British Mandate for Palestine.
Two and a half of the twelve tribes of Israel had settled in Transjordan: Gad, Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh:
Transjordan – 78% of the territory comprised in the Mandate - was however completely excluded as the site for any part of the future Jewish National Home - when Article 25 was inserted in the Mandate document unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations on 22 July 1922.
Transjordan’s exclusion from future Jewish settlement came after the exchange of the following telegrams between Britain’s State Secretary for the Colonies – Winston Churchill – and British Colonial Administrator – John Schuckburgh in March 1921: READ MORE
On Friday, Head of the Directorate for International Defense Cooperation (SIBAT), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Yair Kulas signed the biggest defense agreement to date between the State of Israel and Greece. As part of the agreement, the Israel Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems will lead the establishment of an International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force. Modeled after the Israel Air Force (IAF) flight academy, the Greek International Flight Training Center will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company, Leonardo.
The G-to-G agreement amounts to around NIS 5.5 billion and will span over 22 years. Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems will provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force's T-6 aircraft. Elbit will also provide training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli flight academy and Hellenic Airforce Academy.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israel’s defense industry and the strong relations between the defense establishments of Greece and Israel. I thank the Greek Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos for promoting the agreement, which we had discussed at the last trilateral meeting held in Cyprus. I am certain that [this program] will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels.”
SIBAT Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yair Kulas: "The strategic partnership between the Israel Ministry of Defense and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense is further cemented today, via the signing of the most expansive and one of the most significant defense agreements to date. I would like to thank the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense for choosing Israel and we look forward to future opportunities for partnership and collaboration."
President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis: “We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of training, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve readiness while reducing costs.”
Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad did it again.
After a Mossad team of about 100 men stole a large portion of Iran's secret nuclear archive from a warehouse in the suburbs of Tehran in the middle of the night in January 2018 and, after the Mossad sabotaged a new uranium facility at Natanz 10 months ago the plant was again targeted by the Mossad a week ago.
This time the electricity grid and cable infrastructure of the nuclear plant were targeted causing extensive damage to thousands of centrifuges according to the Iranians who were quick to blame Israel for the “ nuclear terror”.
The bomb that exploded in the underground facility in Natanz put the Islamic Republic's nuclear program back by at least nine months according to experts. Iran had purposely built Natanz's power plant underground, but this move failed to prevent the Mossad from blowing up the power grid.
European sources first claimed it had been a cyberattack, but sources in Iran later confirmed that a remote-controlled explosive device had been used to blow up Natanz's power grid.
The incident took place a day after Iran proudly announced it had started using two new types of centrifuges, the IR-5 and the IR-6 at Natanz.
Experts now think that the blackout destroyed mainly the thousands of old IR-1 centrifuges which are based on a Pakastani model.
The incident in Iran took place a few hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel for talks with the Israeli government. READ MORE
Saturday, April 17, 2021
The Hezbollah terror group is preparing itself for the possibility of the collapse of the Lebanese state amid a spiralling economic and political crisis, according to a report Friday.
With Iran’s announcement Friday that it has begun enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, a former top official at the UN’s nuclear watchdog said the Islamic Republic could potentially reach weapons-grade purity within the space of a week if it wanted to.
This week’s Jerusalem Lights podcast, recorded on the eve of Israel Independence Day, celebrates Israel’s 73 birthday.
Jim Long and Rabbi Chaim Richman share their perspectives and give their personal thanks to G-d for the State of Israel, recount the miracles of its rebirth, contemplate its significance in prophetic fulfillment, and reflect on its unique mission in the saga of human history.
Our hosts reflect on Israel’s role in the life of both the Jewish people and the nations, and connect the often misunderstood concepts of spiritual sensitivity found in this week’s twin Torah readings of the portions of Tazria and Metzora with our contemporary reality.
US President Joe Biden’s administration recently demanded that Israel cut down the "chatter" concerning the alleged attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities, Channel 12 News reported on Friday.
According to the report, the demand was conveyed to Israelis through "multiple channels."
The US officials reportedly told Israel that leaks by Israeli officials concerning sabotage operations against Tehran's nuclear program compromise US efforts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
The report follows this week’s explosion at the Natanz underground nuclear facility.
Iran’s top nuclear official condemned the attack on the Natanz plant as an act of “nuclear terrorism”, and hinted that Iran may retaliate.
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Israel for the incident and promised revenge.
While Israel has not officially commented on the incident at Natanz, two intelligence officials told The New York Times on Sunday there had been an "Israeli role" in the incident.
The officials also said that it could take at least nine months to restore Natanz’s production, since the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium.
Friday, April 16, 2021
Iran's announcement that it would enrich uranium up to the 60% level made waves globally at a level of magnitude far above any of its prior threats.
US troops in Iraq were targeted for the first time on Wednesday, April 14, by an explosives-packed drone which hit a US-led coalition base at the airport of Irbil, in the semiautonomous Kurdish republic of northern Iraq. Reporting this, the regional interior ministry said no one was hurt in the blast but a building was damaged. Some 20 bomb or rocket attacks have targeted bases housing US soldiers or diplomats in Iraq since US President Joe Biden took office in January. Dozens attributed to pro-Iranian Shiite militias took place over the preceding 18 months.
The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after Palestinian terrorists in the coastal enclave fired a rocket at southern Israel.
Great progress has been made in recent contacts between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, Channel 12 News reported Thursday night.
During the talks between the Likud and Yamina, senior portfolios were offered to the party - but no rotation of the premiership has been offered yet.
The proposals that came up in the negotiations that took place between the parties: the defense ministry for Naftali Bennett and the foreign ministry for Ayelet Shaked - even though the Yamina party sought the finance ministry. Netanyahu is apparently interested in keeping Yisrael Katz in the ministry, so Shaked was offered the foreign ministry instead,
In addition, Yamina is expected to receive a "smaller" portfolio - probably the culture and sports ministry - while the justice ministry is expected to remain in the hands of the Likud in any government that Netanyahu forms.
The report further states that the political establishment estimates that a proposal for a rotation in office will be offered to Bennett only if he agrees to commit from now on that he will not try to form a government with the anti-Netanyahu bloc if Netanyahu fails in the task. Both sides denied the details of the report.
The chairman of the Iranian parliament has confirmed that Iran is now enriching uranium to 60%.
In a Friday tweet, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf wrote: "I am proud to announce that at 00:40 last night ,and on the night of the pilgrimage of Sayyid al-Shuhada, young and pious Iranian scientists were able to obtain a 60% enriched uranium product."
"Congratulations to the brave people of Islamic Iran on this success; the will of the Iranian people is a miracle and will thwart any conspiracy."
On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement: "The Agency today verified that Iran had almost completed preparations to start producing UF6 enriched up to 60% U-235 at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP)."
The agency added that Iran plans to add 1,024 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to the plant
On Tuesday, the state-run IRNA news agency reported that Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that the Islamic Republic would enrich uranium to 60% purity, far above the 20% it had been enriching uranium to previously.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani sought to allay Western concerns on Wednesday over his country’s decision to enrich uranium to 60% purity, saying the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is “peaceful,” as talks over the battered 2015 nuclear deal resumed in Vienna.
Iran is almost ready to start enriching uranium to 60% purity at an above-ground plant at Natanz and plans to add 1,024 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to the plant, the UN atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came a day after Iran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, its highest level to date in response to the blackout and explosion which occurred at the Natanz nuclear facility over the weekend.
“The Agency today verified that Iran had almost completed preparations to start producing UF6 enriched up to 60% U-235 at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP),” the IAEA said Wednesday, referring to uranium hexafluoride, the form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges for enrichment.
Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers only lets Tehran enrich uranium to up to 3.67% purity. However, it has breached that limit as part of its scaling back of its compliance with the deal in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal under President Donald Trump.
The deal also says Iran can only produce enriched uranium with up to 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges at its underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz. While it has broken that rule by adding more advanced centrifuges to the FEP, until now it has stuck to the limit on the number of IR-1 machines there.
Iran’s announcement on uranium enrichment has cast a shadow over attempts by Washington to negotiate a renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal.
President Joe Biden has indicated a desire to return to the deal. Indirect talks between Washington and Tehran started last week in Vienna and ended without progress.
Despite Iran’s announcement on the uranium enrichment, the White House said on Tuesday it remains committed to nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
The attack on Iran’s nuclear center at Natanz on April 14 totally destroyed two of its three uranium enrichment halls operated by advanced centrifuges, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. Even the third the centrifuges have been put out of action by the cutoff of a steady power flow.
The Biden administration stressed its commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran during a strategic meeting with Israeli officials on Tuesday, as Middle East tensions rose and Iran announced it was stepping up uranium enrichment to unprecedented levels.