Category Archives: Uncategorized

Arab media reports Israeli airstrike on Damascus Airport

Arab media reports on Thursday night claimed that Israel attacked a weapons depot next to Damascus International Airport.

A report from one daily, Al Arabia Al Jadid, said that a series of explosions shook the airport. Al Masdar News, a Lebanese outlet, also reported that an Israeli drone attack the airport, citing a report from the Syrian military that the attack did not seriously damage the airport or its surroundings, and that there were no casualties. The report also claims that, in response, the Syrian military shot down an Israeli drone near the Israeli-Syrian border, though these claims remain unconfirmed.

Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese television station, also claimed that two rockets hit near the airport. An independent Syrian pro-Assad outlet, Muraselon, reported that three strikes hit the airport. A pro-Assad Facebook page called ”Damascus Now” claimed that a ”hostile missile” had targeted the airport.

The weapons depot that was allegedly attacked is said to be one of Hezbollah’s.

There have been no confirmations or denials from Israel, Syria or Hezbollah.

In recent weeks, Israel has launched several attacks in Syrian territory. One targeted an Assad-linked outpost that is part of a scientific research center that has worked to development missiles and chemical weapons. Earlier this week, Israel launched a Patriot missile towards and unmanned Iranian aircraft operated by Hezbollah that was reportedly attempting to enter Israeli airspace in the Golan Heights. 

Earlier this year, Israel reportedly attacked the same Hezbollah weapons depot next to the Damascus Airport. While the claims were never confirmed by Israeli civilian or military officials, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz hinted that the attack had, in fact, been an Israeli offensive; he said on Army Radio that he could ”confirm that the incident in Syria completely conforms to Israel’s policy” of preventing Iran from smuggling weapons to Hezbollah.

This is a developing story.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Arab-media-reports-Israeli-airstrike-on-Damascus-Airport-505702

Saudi cleric suspended for saying women can’t drive due to brain size

DUBAI – A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching, state television said.

Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments “diminishing human value,” the broadcaster quoted a spokesman for the governor of Asir province as saying.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.

Women in the kingdom are also bound by law to wear long robes and a headscarf and require the consent of a male guardian for most legal actions.

In a video identifying him as the head of the religious edicts department in the southern province, Hijri asked what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain.

“Would it give him a license or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?” he said.

“If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter… We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter.”

The comments sparked anger on social media, which is hugely popular in the kingdom. Twitter users shared the video, many criticizing it and making jokes about his remarks, under the Arabic hashtag “Al-Hijri_women_quarter_brain”

Some users posted pictures of Saudi female scientists and academics in response and questioned Hijri’s own intellectual capacities.

His suspension, ordered by the provincial governor, was aimed at preventing the spread of views that spark controversy and do not serve the national interest, the provincial spokesman said, according to Ekhbariya TV’s official Twitter account.

Any others who used religious platforms to preach such views would also be banned.

The government’s modernizing reforms, backed by Saudi Arabia’s business class, have sparked tensions with influential clerics upon whose support the ruling family relies. Some clerics have millions of followers on social media.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Saudi-cleric-suspended-for-saying-women-cant-drive-due-to-brain-shinkage-505710

How can negotiators in the Israeli-Palestinian talks learn from Bahrain?

The tiny Sunni Arab Gulf nation of Bahrain made front-page news in, of all places, the tiny Jewish nation this week, amid revelations that monarch Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa condemned the Arab boycott of Israel and made clear that his citizens could visit Jerusalem during a speech to a delegation of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

While more “open” than many other Muslim countries, Bahrain remains far from “free” in the western sense of the word, as the Shiite-majority Kingdom is ruled by Sunni royals who by no means hesitate to crack down on civil society and impinge on basic human and civil rights when they feel threatened. Manama has thus repeatedly been condemned by watchdog groups for stifling political dissent, imprisoning activists and essentially creating an atmosphere of fear among those who oppose the leadership’s policies.

And though the monarchy regularly targets both Shiite clerics and radical Sunni preachers generally tied to either the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood or other jihadist groups, there is, in fact, a modicum of religious liberty in the nation uncommon in the greater Islamic world.

In Bahrain, one can find a Jew praying in a synagogue, located near to a Hindu temple, located adjacent to a mosque.

To this end, Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa on September 14 attended an interfaith conference co-hosted by the Wiesenthal Center where he signed The Bahrain Declaration on Religious Tolerance and announced the Kingdom would be building a museum dedicated to this cause.

“This is not a one-time shot,” according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, but rather “it is a big thing that the king of Bahrain did this. He is small enough to be the first. The larger the country, the more difficult and the more people you answer too.

“The king is bright, with it, attuned to American culture—he is a big fan of Frank Sinatra—[and] determined to get out of the malaise of the Middle East,” he explained to The Media Line.

As per the event itself, Rabbi Hier highlighted that Israel’s national anthem was sung along with those of Arab nations, thereby reinforcing the validity of al-Kalifa’s declarations. “There were representatives from the UAE, the ambassador to Kuwait, a strong contingent of Muslims, some Arabs from Europe. The hardliners of the region need to realize this is the beginning of a new revolution,” he predicted.

In fact, the contention that any degree of moderation is to be cultivated as a potential gateway towards greater co-existence is a poignant one. After all, Jews, for example, are not even allowed to step foot in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, and were for the most part expelled through edict or displaced by violence from regional Muslim countries following Israel’s creation in 1948.

Today, religious minorities from Copts to Zoroastrians are repressed from Egypt to Iran, while thousands of Yazidis were slaughtered just a few short years ago by the Islamic State in Iraq. It is within this context that some advocate that religious freedom be viewed as being relative and along a continuum in a fundamentally intolerant the Middle East.

The prevailing question, then, is whether Bahrain should be held up, or even cautiously celebrated, as a potential model for the Muslim world; and, if so, how to go about infusing the ultra-conservative masses with same sense of acceptance demonstrated by al-Khalifa? The difficulties were perfectly exemplified when The Media Line contacted a prominent Bahraini journalist, who refused even to comment off-the-record due to the “sensitivity” of the matter. In this vein, Israel’s Foreign Ministry initially wrote on its Arabic Twitter account that, “Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa denounced the Arab boycott against Israel and has confirmed that Bahraini citizens are now free to visit #Israel”—before quickly deleting it.

In fact, the task at hand is a monumental one when it comes to the Jewish people and its state as multiple surveys conducted over the past decade show that an astounding portion of Middle Eastern Muslims harbor anti-Semitic views.

A seminal 2014 study of 53,000 people worldwide conducted by a U.S.-based Jewish organization showed that 92 percent of Iraqis hold negative attitudes towards Jews, whereas 81% does in Jordan, 80% in the United Arab Emirates and 74% in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps most disconcerting is that the highest rate of anti-Semitic views of any regional population was found in the Palestinian territories, with a full 93% of inhabitants in the West Bank and Gaza maintaining animus towards Jews.

As for Bahrain, according to the survey more than four-fifths of its citizens harbor anti-Semitic sentiments, presumably meaning that some one million Bahrainis are unlikely to take al-Khalifa up on his offer to travel to Israel. Consequently, the Bahraini monarch’s statements, while positive, constitute but a mere baby step in the right direction.

Alternatively, the foundation for widespread religious tolerance in the Middle East will likely only, if ever, be achieved when such comments start being directed by Muslim leaders to their own publics; in effect, instilling within them the principles requisite to achieving lasting peace.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/How-can-negotiators-in-the-Israeli-Palestinian-talks-learn-from-Bahrain-505616

Iran’s Rouhani takes the stage at UN to lambast ‘ignorant’ Trump

The president of Iran responded to fighting words from US President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, warning the American administration that its effort to undermine its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers would only hurt US credibility on the world stage.

Hassan Rouhani characterized Trump’s speech the day before– in which the US president referred to Iran’s government as a murderous, rogue regime– as “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric,” “ridiculously baseless,” and unfit to be heard at the august United Nations. And he said that Iran would respond forcefully if the US left the accord.

“Just imagine for a minute how the Middle East would look had the JCPOA not been concluded,” Rouhani asked. “Imagine that along with civil wars, Takfiri terror, humanitarian nightmares, and complex sociopolitical crises in West Asia, that there was a manufactured nuclear crisis. How would we all fare?”

“I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement,” he continued, “but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party. It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by ‘rogue’ newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity.”

Rouhani several times referred to the Israeli government as a “rogue Zionist regime,” and claimed that the Jewish state “threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal.” It is “audacious,” he said, for such a state to preach to the world on the need for nuclear non-proliferation.

“Throughout its history, Iran has been the bastion of tolerance for various religions and ethnicities,” Rouhani said. “We are the same people who rescued the Jews from Babylonian servitude; opened our arms to welcome Armenian Christians in our midst, and created the ‘Iranian cultural continent’ with a unique mix of diverse religions and ethnicities.”

“I represent the same Iran that has historically assisted the oppressed: centuries ago, we supported the rights of the Jewish people and today we insist on the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.

One day before, in his first speech to the UN body, Trump lambasted Iran as a top global threat and characterized its nuclear agreement with world powers– formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– as an “embarrassment” to the United States.

“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” Trump said, characterizing the Islamic Republic as an “economically depleted” nation whose main exports are “violence, bloodshed and chaos.”

Iran’s Rouhani defends nuclear deal in election debate (credit: REUTERS)

The nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration is “an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” Trump continued. “We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program​.”​

“It is time for the entire world to insist the Iranian government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” he added.

In recent days, the president has repeatedly suggested he is prepared to alter US engagement in the nuclear accord– possibly by decertifying Iran’s compliance to the deal under US law next month, a move which would allow the US to stay within the JCPOA whilst kicking off an internal congressional debate over its merits.

On Wednesday, he told reporters that he had already decided how to proceed.

“I have decided,” he said, sat alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll let you know what the decision is.”

Trump met on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss a path forward with Iran. Speaking with reporters after their meeting, Netanyahu said that the Americans are looking for ways to fix the agreement, and that his government offered them concrete proposals to consider.

In his own speech, Netanyahu praised the Trump administration’s position and called on world powers to “fix or nix” the flawed accord.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Rouhani-takes-the-stage-at-UN-to-blast-critics-claim-Iran-is-open-to-collaboration-505625

Analysis: Why is Iraq’s offensive to reclaim Hawija from ISIS important?

In the early morning hours of September 21, the Iraqi army began operations to retake Hawija from Islamic State. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the operation in the morning, as has been his custom for major operations such as Mosul over the last year.

Photos posted on Twitter showed him meeting with the key elements of the operation, the Iraqi army, the Federal Police and the Hashd al-Shaabi or ‘Popular Mobilization Units,’ a group of Shia militias.

The operation to liberate Hawija is more than just a battle to retake a city 300 km north of Baghdad. Hawija, which is around 100km long by 20km wide, is the capital of one of the last pockets of ISIS-controlled territories in Iraq.

After Mosul was liberated in July and Tal Afar in August, Hawija became the capital of ISIS in Iraq. It is only 65 km west of Kirkuk, a city run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is at the heart of a controversy between Baghdad and the Kurds over a referendum planned for September 25.

Baghdad, the Kurds and the US-led coalition fighting ISIS all planned for the liberation of Hawija without taking into account fully its implications on the referendum.

The White House and State Department have opposed the Kurdish independence referendum and sought to show it could distract from the war against ISIS. US Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk was in the Kurdish regional capital of Erbil on September 14 to discuss the Hawija operation. He described cooperation between the Peshmerga and Iraqi army as “very strong”  and that it was “important that we remain united and focused on the effort to defeat Daesh.” He also said the battle in Hawija would be very difficult.

To defeat ISIS in Hawija, the coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, launched 55 airstrikes since the beginning of the month, according to daily strike reports they have released. They destroyed 19 suicide vehicles, called VBIEDs, eight local ISIS headquarters and five fighting positions. The coalition operation was directed at “shaping the battlefield” to prepare it for the decisive strike by the Iraqis on September 21.

Hawija has been a center of jihadist attacks since 2003. It was originally a town loyal to the Ba’ath party of Saddam Hussein. It is only an hour’s drive from his hometown of TIkrit. Before the arrival of ISIS, it was also a center of opposition to Nouri al-Maliki’s Iraqi government, which many of the local Sunni Arab tribes viewed as an Iranian-backed Shia sectarian government.

Kurdish Peshmerga overlooking the road to Hawija in 2015.

Retaking Mosul from ISIS (credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

The presence of Shia militias in the Iraqi forces assaulting Hawija will only encourage feelings among locals that this is still a sectarian war. However, many in Hawija have suffered under three years of ISIS rule that has seen mass executions and kidnapping of local families.

Peshmerga who man positions to the east of Hawija were initially supposed to take part in the operation. But their participation is now thrown into doubt by the opposition of Baghdad and the coalition to the referendum. The central government in Baghdad tried to remove Kirkuk’s governor Najmiddin Karim on September 14 because of Karim’s support of the Kurdish referendum. Launching a major offensive just days before the referendum could distract from the vote.
There is also potential for conflict between the Peshmerga and Shia militias, as there has been in the past south of Kirkuk in Tuz Khurmatu and Khanaquin. The Peshmerga and the special forces around Kirkuk such as groups like Task Force Black and the local S.W.A.T units will be on high alert against ISIS attacks.

As the battle moves forward in Hawija its affects on the referendum will increase. This also depends on how quickly the several thousand ISIS fighters are defeated. If it goes quickly, as in Tal Afar, that will ease the controversy of the referendum. If it does not, it could exacerbate tensions. There will be up to 100,000 IDPs to deal with and many other plausible issues.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/ISIS-Threat/Analysis-Why-is-Iraqs-offensive-to-reclaim-Hawija-from-ISIS-important-505660

Foul play questions surround the mysterious death of Hezbollah bodyguard

Arab media reports this week suggest that Musa Muhamad Wahabi, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s personal bodyguard, who died last week, was assassinated.

The Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Jarida [The Newspaper] published an interview with an undisclosed source that claimed that Wahabi, who died a week ago, was taken out by members of his own organization. Reportedly, the reason for doing is was because he knew too much about the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Wahabi’s death then raises questions about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Hariri’s assassination.

The answers, however, might be harder to obtain now that Wahabi is no longer alive.

The death of Wahabi comes after the May 2016 death of Hezbollah military leader Mustafa Badreddine in a shelling attack at Damascus International Airport. His death was seen as a great blow to Hezbollah and yet, rumors persist that his death was planned after the International Court of Justice in the Hague requested he present himself and give testimony about the events surrounding the Hariri assassination. The logic behind the rumor is that it was Hezbollah itself that staged the attack to dispose of Badreddine before he gave the court his testimony.

Wahabi’s death was announced a mere day after the ICJ in the Hague announced that a Hezbollah member will be indicted in the case surrounding the Hariri assassination.

”Who,” wondered the source featured in the Al-Jarida interview, ”will be next after Wahabi?”

The source suggested that Hezbollah will, in fact, remove all the people who were related to the Hariri assassination to avoid the need to face up to the accusations in the Hague.

Hariri’s assassination led to the Cedar Revolution and the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. The current Lebanese Prime Minister is Saad Hariri, the assassinated leader’s son.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Foul-play-questions-surround-the-mysterious-death-of-Hezbollah-bodyguard-505666

Iran says it does not expect US to leave nuclear deal

Iran vowed on Wednesday not to be the first nation to violate the Iran nuclear deal and said it did not expect the United States to abandon it despite President Donald Trump’s fierce criticism.

Trump, who on Tuesday called the 2015 international accord “an embarrassment,” said he had made up his mind whether to keep the pact but declined to disclose his decision.

Trump must decide by Oct. 15 whether to certify that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink the deal. If he does not, the US Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the accord.

A senior US official said Trump is leaning toward not certifying that Iran is complying with the pact and letting Congress effectively decide whether to kill the agreement.

The official said Trump could always change his mind before the deadline and noted he publicly and privately has fumed about the deal, feeling the United States was taken advantage of.

A source familiar with the US discussions said the Trump administration is also considering ways to leave the agreement intact, sanction Iran for its missile tests and support for extremist groups, and then seek to strengthen the pact.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly of world leaders, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded forcefully to Trump’s pugnacious speech on Tuesday by saying Iran would not be pushed around by a relative newcomer to the world stage.

But he also said Iran desired to preserve its accord with six world powers under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program for at least a decade in return for the loosening of economic sanctions that crippled its economy.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran would respond “decisively and resolutely” to a violation by any party.

“It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by ‘rogue’ newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity,” he said in a dig at Trump, who on Tuesday called Iran a “rogue” state.

Speaking later to reporters, Rouhani said he did not think Washington would leave the nuclear deal and said any country that abandoned the pact would isolate and embarrass itself.

“We don’t think Trump will walk out of the deal despite (his) rhetoric and propaganda,” Rouhani said.

“If American officials think that they can pressure Iran by walking out of the deal, they are making a big mistake,” he added. “Either the nuclear deal remains as it is or it will collapse.”

Trump, a businessman and former reality TV star whose first elected office is the presidency, told reporters, “I have decided,” when asked if he had made up his mind after having criticized the accord in his own UN speech on Tuesday.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-says-it-does-not-expect-US-to-leave-nuclear-deal-505638

President Trump meets with Jordanian king to discuss Syria crisis

US President Donald Trump met with Jordanian King Abdullah II in New York City on Wednesday during the UN General Assembly’s 72nd session to discuss the two countries’ bilateral ties as well as the different challenges Jordan faces.

According to the White House Office Press Secretary,  Trump conveyed America’s commitment to Jordan’s security in the meeting and the two leaders discussed many bilateral agreements.

This includes humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan as well as plans to defeat Islamic State and resolve the Syrian Civil War, which has been raging for the past seven years. 

A White House press statement stressed that the talk had a specific purpose– to affirm America’s support for Jordan’s security and economic interests.

The president also praised the Jordanian king’s commitment to resisting Iran’s destabilizing effect on the region, as well as the Arab country’s commitment to fighting terrorism throughout the region.

King Abdullah II was one among a slew of world leaders the American president convened with at the UN General Assembly. Trump had also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his meeting with the latter, the president avoided the topic of Iran, the number one concern of the Israeli premier.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/President-Trump-meets-with-the-King-of-Jordan-to-discuss-Syria-505637

Trump: US will consider resuming halted military aid to Egypt

The United States will consider resuming some suspended military assistance to Eypt, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday.

The US government last month decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million over human rights concerns.

Asked if he would restart military to aid to Egypt, Trump told reporters as he began a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: “We’re going to certainly consider it.”

On Aug. 27, sources said the Trump administration decided to “reprogram” $65.7 million in fiscal year 2017 Foreign Military Financing funds and $30 million in fiscal year 2016 Economic Support Fund funds. “Reprogramming” means these funds would be used for other purposes and would not go to Egypt.

The administration made a separate decision to withhold $195 million in fiscal year 2016 Foreign Military Financing funds which, had it not acted, would have expired and ceased to be available at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30.

These sums are relatively small in comparison to us aid flows to Egypt historically. According to a March 2017 report by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service, between 1948 and 2016 the United States gave Egypt $77.4 billion in bilateral foreign aid, including $1.3 billion a year in military aid from 1987 to the present.

US president Trump meets with president of Egypt al Sisi , April 3, 2017 (REUTERS)

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Trump-US-will-consider-resuming-halted-military-aid-to-Egypt-505647

Iran’s Rouhani takes the stage at UN to lambast Trump as ‘ignorant, absurd and hateful’

The president of Iran responded to fighting words from US President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, warning the American administration that its effort to undermine its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers would only hurt US credibility on the world stage.

Hassan Rouhani characterized Trump’s speech the day before– in which the US president referred to Iran’s government as a murderous, rogue regime– as “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric,” “ridiculously baseless,” and unfit to be heard at the august United Nations. And he said that Iran would respond forcefully if the US left the accord.

“Just imagine for a minute how the Middle East would look had the JCPOA not been concluded,” Rouhani asked. “Imagine that along with civil wars, Takfiri terror, humanitarian nightmares, and complex sociopolitical crises in West Asia, that there was a manufactured nuclear crisis. How would we all fare?”

“I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement,” he continued, “but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party. It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by ‘rogue’ newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity.”

Rouhani several times referred to the Israeli government as a “rogue Zionist regime,” and claimed that the Jewish state “threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal.” It is “audacious,” he said, for such a state to preach to the world on the need for nuclear non-proliferation.

“Throughout its history, Iran has been the bastion of tolerance for various religions and ethnicities,” Rouhani said. “We are the same people who rescued the Jews from Babylonian servitude; opened our arms to welcome Armenian Christians in our midst, and created the ‘Iranian cultural continent’ with a unique mix of diverse religions and ethnicities.”

“I represent the same Iran that has historically assisted the oppressed: centuries ago, we supported the rights of the Jewish people and today we insist on the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.

One day before, in his first speech to the UN body, Trump lambasted Iran as a top global threat and characterized its nuclear agreement with world powers– formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– as an “embarrassment” to the United States.

“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” Trump said, characterizing the Islamic Republic as an “economically depleted” nation whose main exports are “violence, bloodshed and chaos.”

The nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration is “an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” Trump continued. “We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program​.”​

“It is time for the entire world to insist the Iranian government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” he added.

In recent days, the president has repeatedly suggested he is prepared to alter US engagement in the nuclear accord– possibly by decertifying Iran’s compliance to the deal under US law next month, a move which would allow the US to stay within the JCPOA whilst kicking off an internal congressional debate over its merits.

On Wednesday, he told reporters that he had already decided how to proceed.

“I have decided,” he said, sat alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll let you know what the decision is.”

Trump met on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss a path forward with Iran. Speaking with reporters after their meeting, Netanyahu said that the Americans are looking for ways to fix the agreement, and that his government offered them concrete proposals to consider.

In his own speech, Netanyahu praised the Trump administration’s position and called on world powers to “fix or nix” the flawed accord.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Rouhani-takes-the-stage-at-UN-to-blast-critics-claim-Iran-is-open-to-collaboration-505625