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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

February 10, 2015

President Obama seems poised to make a sweetheart deal with Iran---with no Congressional approval. Now's the time to speak up!

Dear Friend of FLAME:

As you know, FLAME has been sounding the alarm for more than a year about the dangers of U.S.-led negotiations failing to halt Iran's fanatical dash to acquire nuclear weapons.

We've warned against settling for a milquetoast "containment" deal with Iran---one that gives the Islamic regime the ability to continue developing its nuclear capabilities to the brink of weaponry. Such a deal would, within a few years, put Iran just months away from the ability to secretly convert its nuclear stockpiles into a holocaust of deadly warheads.

Now President Obama and the P5 + 1 nations seem poised to make just such a sweetheart deal with Iran. The White House is hinting that it's moved away from its original commitment to eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons capability to one of merely slowing it down.

Even worse, Mr. Obama is denying Congress the right to see the details of his proposed agreement until it's a fait accompli. Fortunately, a growing number of Congress members---and even mainstream media---are starting to protest loudly. We supporters of Israel should raise our voices as well.

While a nuclear-armed Iran endangers the entire world, its spectre threatens Israel's very existence---especially since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei regularly vows to annihilate the Jewish state.

One bill emerging from the U.S. Senate deserves our vocal support now. The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 has been introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D- NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). So far, 37 other Senators from both parties have joined in as co-sponsors.

Here's what you need to know: This bill would roll back previously granted sanctions relief from Iran if it fails to agree to reach an acceptable final agreement by July 6 (the current deadline is July 1). In addition, it would increase sanctions beginning in August. The President would still have the option to waive new sanctions for short periods if he believes an agreement is near.

Please call the U.S. Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 right now. Ask for the office of each of your Senators. Urge them to:

  • Become a co-sponsor of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015

  • Insist that the Senate have the right to approve any negotiated deal with Iran

  • Support increasing sanctions if Iran fails to stop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development

For more details on the issues surrounding this issue, please review this week's FLAME Hotline featured article from the editorial board of the Washington Post. This short op-ed, below, demands that President Obama give Congress oversight on any treaty he intends to sign on our behalf. It also outlines why Iran's growing influence through terror in the Middle East has risen to the crisis level.

It's critical that your Senators know of your support now. It's also critical that you enlist other concerned friends, relatives and colleagues to do the same. Pass this FLAME Hotline issue along to them and urge them to call 202-224-3121 urgently and deliver their opinions to their Senators. Please do it now.

Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


As mentioned above, a critical piece of bi-partisan legislation---the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2015--- has just been introduced in the U.S. Senate. To prevent weak-kneed appeasement in current negotiations and force Iran to definitively halt its obsessive development of nuclear weapons, FLAME has just begun publishing a new paid editorial message in media nationwide, including college newspapers, reaching 10 million readers. It's called "How Will We Stop Iran?" I hope you'll accept my invitation for a preview of this hasbarah message and pass it on to all your contacts. If you agree that FLAME's outspoken brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to help us continue to run this message, so Americans will understand the apocalyptic threat Iran poses to Israel, the U.S. and the rest of world. Please consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To contribute online, just go to donate now . Today more than ever we need your help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

The emerging Iran nuclear deal raises major concerns

By Editorial Board, Washington Post, February 5, 2015

As the Obama administration pushes to complete a nuclear accord with Iran, numerous members of Congress, former secretaries of state and officials of allied governments are expressing concern about the contours of the emerging deal. Though we have long supported negotiations with Iran as well as the interim agreement the United States and its allies struck with Tehran, we share several of those concerns and believe they deserve more debate now - before negotiators present the world with a fait accompli.

The problems raised by authorities ranging from Henry Kissinger, the country's most senior former secretary of state, to Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia's junior senator, can be summed up in three points:

? First, a process that began with the goal of eliminating Iran's potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and temporarily restrict that capability.

? Second, in the course of the negotiations, the Obama administration has declined to counter increasingly aggressive efforts by Iran to extend its influence across the Middle East and seems ready to concede Tehran a place as a regional power at the expense of Israel and other U.S. allies.

? Finally, the Obama administration is signaling that it will seek to implement any deal it strikes with Iran - including the suspension of sanctions that were originally imposed by Congress - without a vote by either chamber. Instead, an accord that would have far-reaching implications for nuclear proliferation and U.S. national security would be imposed unilaterally by a president with less than two years left in his term.

The first and broadest of these problems was outlined by Mr. Kissinger in recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The talks, he pointed out, began as a multilateral effort headed by the European Union and backed by six U.N. Security Council resolutions intended "to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option." Though formally the multilateral talks continue, "these negotiations have now become an essentially bilateral negotiation" between the United States and Iran "over the scope of that [nuclear] capability, not its existence," Mr. Kissinger said.

Where it once aimed to eliminate Iran's ability to enrich uranium, the administration now appears ready to accept an infrastructure of thousands of Iranian centrifuges. It says its goal is to limit and monitor that industrial base so that Iran could not produce the material for a warhead in less than a year. As several senators pointed out last month during a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, the prospective deal would leave Iran as a nuclear-threshold state while theoretically giving the world time to respond if Tehran chose to build a weapon. Even these limited restrictions would remain in force for only a specified number of years, after which Iran would be free to expand its production of potential bomb materials.

Mr. Kissinger said such an arrangement would very likely prompt other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, to match Iran's threshold capability. "The impact . . . will be to transform the negotiations from preventing proliferation to managing it," he said. "We will live in a proliferated world in which everybody - even if that agreement is maintained - will be very close to the trigger point."

A related problem is whether Iran could be prevented from cheating on any arrangement and acquiring a bomb by stealth. Mr. Kaine (D) underlined that an attempt by the United States to negotiate the end of North Korea's nuclear program failed after the regime covertly expanded its facilities. With Iran, said Mr. Kaine, "a nation that has proven to be very untrustworthy . . . the end result is more likely to be a North Korean situation" if existing infrastructure is not dismantled.

The administration at one time portrayed the nuclear negotiations as distinct from the problem of Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, its attempts to establish hegemony over the Arab Middle East and its declared goal of eliminating Israel. Yet while the talks have proceeded, Mr. Obama has offered assurances to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the two countries have shared interests in the region, and the White House has avoided actions Iran might perceive as hostile - such as supporting military action against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

For their part, the Iranians, as Mr. Kaine put it, "are currently involved in activities to destabilize the governments of [U.S.-allied] nations as near as Bahrain and as far away as Morocco." A Tehran-sponsored militia recently overthrew the U.S.-backed government of Yemen. Rather than contest the Iranian bid for regional hegemony, as has every previous U.S. administration since the 1970s, Mr. Obama appears ready to concede Iran a place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and beyond - a policy that is viewed with alarm by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, among other allies.

Former secretary of state George P. Shultz cited Iran's regional aggression in pronouncing himself "very uneasy" about the ongoing negotiations. "They've already outmaneuvered us, in my opinion," he told the Armed Services Committee.

While presidents initiate U.S. foreign policies, it is vital that major shifts win the support of Congress and the country; otherwise, they will be unsustainable. Yet Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested in Senate testimony that the administration intends to postpone any congressional vote on a deal indefinitely, meeting its commitments to Iran by using provisions allowing it to suspend legislatively enacted sanctions. Mr. Blinken conceded that the Iranian parliament would likely vote on any accord but said that Congress should act only "once Iran has demonstrated that it's making good on its commitments."

Such a unilateral course by Mr. Obama would alienate even his strongest congressional supporters. It would mean that a deal with Iran could be reversed, within months of its completion, by the next president. It's hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Obama wishes to avoid congressional review because he suspects a bipartisan majority would oppose the deal he is prepared to make. If so, the right response to the questions now being raised is to seek better terms from Iran - or convince the doubters that an accord blessing and preserving Iran's nuclear potential is better than the alternatives.


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