Israel forcefully rejected Thursday US President Barack Obama’s assertion that critics of the nuclear agreement with Iran have failed to present better options, arguing that a good deal is still possible if the international community, led by Washington, maintains the sanctions regime on Tehran.
“We have consistently laid out an alternative, which is a better deal that actually blocks Iran’s path to the bomb and links the lifting of restrictions on Iran to tangible changes in Iranian behavior,” a senior Israeli official said Thursday.
The official also disputed Obama’s contention that the entire international community backs the Vienna agreement, which the United States and five world powers signed with Iran on Tuesday. He also indicated that the Israeli government is convinced it can persuade US lawmakers to oppose the deal. “We believe we can win on the substance,” he told The Times of Israel.
Defending the deal at a lengthy press conference Wednesday, the president argued that critics of the agreement have not produced a better proposition on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “For all the objections of Prime Minister Netanyahu, or, for that matter, some of the Republican leadership that’s already spoken, none of them have presented to me, or the American people, a better alternative,” Obama said.
The president added that he had yet to hear about a better solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff, arguing that there are only two options: the nuclear standoff can either be resolved diplomatically, through the deal the P5+1 world powers negotiated, or through war. “Those are the options,” Obama said.
But the senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, contested that argument, saying that the international community should have “held out for a better deal” by maintaining and even intensifying the sanctions in Iran and insisting they only be lifted after it demonstrates compliance with the P5+1’s demands.
Because of the United States’ global economic power, its sanctions directly affect international economic behavior, he reasoned. “If you’re a German or a Swiss company and want to do business in Iran but in so doing have to give up on the American market, it’s a no-brainer. If forced to choose between the American or the Iranian economy, what are most rational people going to do?”
The senior Israeli official also challenged Obama’s assertion that “99 percent of the world community” believes that the Vienna agreement satisfactorily resolves the Iranian nuclear threat.
"The entire international community is not backing the deal. There is a lot of opposition to it, especially from countries in the region,” the official said. “Iran’s neighbors — those who know Iran best — are united in opposition to the deal.”
Rocket alert sirens rang out early Thursday morning in towns near the Gaza Strip after a missile was fired from the Palestinian territory. The air force struck the Gaza Strip hours later in response.
One rocket fired from the coastal enclave struck an open area near the southern city of Ashkelon after Code Red alerts went off shortly after 2 a.m.
No injuries or damage were inflicted, the IDF said, and soldiers were scouring the area for remains of the projectile.
Initial report: Sirens sounded in Lachish region, as a rocket was launched at S. Israel from Gaza. No injuries reported. IDF searching area.
The IDF said it wouldn’t tolerate any attempts to harm Israeli citizens and that it holds Hamas responsible.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice said “we should expect” that some of the money Iran gets under sanctions relief as a result of the nuclear deal “would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region” on Wednesday’s “Situation Room” on CNN.
She continued, “And then at that point, the sanctions will be suspended. And Iran will begin to be able to access its frozen accounts around the world. What do we think they’ll spend that money on? We think, for the most part, they’re going to need to spend it on the Iranian people and their economy which has tanked. And Rouhani, the president, was really elected on the hope that he would bring economic relief to the Iranian people. But yes, it is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now. But the goal here, Wolf, was never, and was not designed to prevent them from engaging in bad behavior in region. They’re doing that today.
“They’re sending money now, while they’re under sanctions. There is nothing currently that is preventing them from sending money.” Although she conceded, “They will have more money, once they have verifiably given up their nuclear weapons capacity and any ability to reconstitute it.”
The State of Texas is setting up a gold-backed bank that will allow depositors to bypass the controversial Federal Reserve System and its fiat currency in banking and commerce, according to the state representative who authored the recently enacted law. Under the measure, passed overwhelmingly by lawmakers and signed in mid-June by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Lone Star State officials will establish and operate the Texas Bullion Depository for anyone who would like to deposit and trade in precious metals. The implications are as big as Texas.
While some analysts have said the move may be another sign heralding Texas’ eventual secession from the union, or preparation for financial Armageddon, its advocates say the depository simply makes financial sense. Among other benefits, the institution will provide more options to consumers weary of the increasingly troubled traditional banking and monetary system, which is viewed by the public with growing suspicion. And experts say the effect of making it easier to use sound money in commerce could be far-reaching.
Among other immediate effects, the law creating the first state-level gold-backed bank in the nation, House Bill 483, will involve repatriating about $1 billion of Texas gold from New York. Conflicting news reports and official statements say the state’s precious metals stockpile is being held either by HSBC in New York, or by the powerful New York Federal Reserve Bank, a privately owned outfit cloaked in secrecy with immense power over the U.S. economy. First, though, officials will need to select a home for the Texas depository.
There will be many other benefits as well, according to supporters. While other states have in recent years passed legislation declaring gold and silver to be legal tender, analysts say Texas’ new depository could help supercharge the growing movement for an honest and sensible monetary system founded on real money rather than debt-based paper notes conjured into existence by a private banking cartel. Indeed, one of the chief aims of gold-and-silver-as-currency proponents is to restore sound money — and the Texas law could help pave the way.
Tenth Amendment Center chief Michael Boldin, whose organization promotes states’ rights to rein in the feds under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, called the law “an important first step towards gold and silver as commonly-used legal tender in the state.” He said the move has the potential to open the market to sound money, even in day-to-day transactions. “By making gold and silver available for regular, daily transactions by the general public, the new law has the potential for wide-reaching effect,” Boldin added.
The Tenth Amendment Center also highlighted the constitutional implications. Noting that Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution prohibits state governments from making anything other than gold and silver a tender in payment of debts, Boldin said the bill takes Texas a step toward fulfilling that long-ignored constitutional obligation. “Such a tactic would undermine the monopoly the Federal Reserve system by introducing competition into the monetary system,” he said.
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