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Daily Briefing: A LEAKED TAPE AND AN INTELLIGENCE REPORT EXPOSES IRAN’S INTENTIONS (April 30,2021)

Israel Works To Identify 45 Killed In Lag Ba’omer Mount Meron Stampede:  Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2021At least 45 people – United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollack confirmed to N12 on Friday – including at least five minors under the age of 16, were killed on Thursday night after a stampede broke out as massive crowds gathered at the Mount Meron religious bonfire-lighting ceremony for the holiday of Lag Ba’omer, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “heavy disaster.”

Lag B’Omer and the Mystical Israeli Village of Meron: United With Israel, Apr. 28, 2021 — Meron is in the far north of Israel, near the more well-known city of Safed. It has the status of a moshav – a private cooperative village. There are many moshavim sprinkled across the country.

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Table of Contents:

Iran’s Foreign Minister, in Leaked Tape, Says Revolutionary Guards Set Policies: Farnaz Fassihi, NY Times, Apr. 25, 2021

“He [Zarif] also says that by assassinating him in Iraq, the United States delivered a major blow to Iran, more damaging than if it had wiped out an entire city in an attack.”

In a leaked audiotape that offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes power struggles of Iranian leaders, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Revolutionary Guards Corps call the shots, overruling many government decisions and ignoring advice.

In one extraordinary moment on the tape that surfaced Sunday, Mr. Zarif departed from the reverential official line on Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Guards’ elite Quds Force, the foreign-facing arm of Iran’s security apparatus, who was killed by the United States in January 2020.

The general, Mr. Zarif said, undermined him at many steps, working with Russia to sabotage the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and adopting policies toward Syria’s long war that damaged Iran’s interests.

Iran still seeks mass destruction weapons – German intelligence report:  Benjamin Weinthall, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2021

“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,”

The German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.

“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,” wrote the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for the domestic intelligence agency.

Iran Must Come Clean On Its Nuclear Deception: Richard Goldberg and Anthony Ruggiero, The Hill, Mar. 25, 2021

“Tehran’s repeated attempts to hide its activities is a troublesome sign that we do not yet know the full extent of those activities. If the Biden administration sweeps this issue away as the Obama administration did to preserve the JCPOA it will have devastating impacts on the IAEA safeguards regime.” 

President Joe Biden’s Iran policy centers on the notion of “compliance for compliance” — if Iran returns to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States will follow suit and lift its sanctions on Iran. But with recent revelations that Tehran has been cheating on the deal from day one, Biden must compel Iran to fully account for all undeclared nuclear activities before easing sanctions. Otherwise, he will irreparably harm the international safeguards regime.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi on March 1 announced that the agency visited three sites in Iran last year and discovered undeclared nuclear material at two of them. The Institute for Science and International Security stated that one of the sites was the location of a pilot uranium conversion facility and the other was used to test components for Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Don’t Forget About Iran’s Missile Program: Peter Brookes, The Heritage Foundation, Mar. 1, 2021

“few might realize that Iran has the largest missile arsenal—which includes ballistic missiles and cruise missiles—in the Middle East, posing a significant regional threat to U.S. allies, partners and, of course, American forces on duty there.”

An Iranian young boy wearing an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) uniform holds an Iran flag while Iran-made, Dezful medium range ballistic missile (Bottom) and Zolfaghar road-mobile single-stage solid-propelled liquid fueled missile are pictured in the Azadi (Freedom) square during a rally to commemorate the 42nd Victory anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, that held with motorcycles amid the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Iran, in Tehran on February 10, 2021.

With so much discussion about Iran’s provocative nuclear activities and the Biden administration’s contemplation of rejoining the problem-ridden Iran nuclear deal (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), other issues with Iran are being overshadowed.

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For Further Reference

Zarif Recordings Illustrate the IRGC’s Dominance Over Iranian Policy: Yaakov Lappin, IPT News, Apr. 29, 2021recently leaked audio recording featuring Iran’s foreign minister lamenting the dominance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in setting Iranian policies offers the latest evidence of how Iranian hardliners exclude all others in the Islamic Republic’s policies.

Kerry Faces Calls To Step Down Over Leaked Iran Tapes: Rachel Frazin and Laura Kelly: The Hill, Apr. 26, 2021John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, is facing calls for his resignation from Republican lawmakers and pundits for reportedly discussing Israeli military operations with Iran’s foreign minister when he served as then-President Obama’s secretary of State.

Ex-IAEA Official: In Theory, Iran Could Reach Weapons-Grade Enrichment In A Week:  Times of Israel, Apr. 16, 2021 – 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.

Iran Has Dropped The Fig Leaf Of A Fatwa On Nuclear Weapons: Bobby Ghosh, Mint, Feb. 14, 2021Tehran considers nukes forbidden—unless pushed to acquire them. As red herrings go, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s “fatwa”, or religious ruling, against nukes has grown funky with age. But that hasn’t stopped officials in Tehran from airing it when convenient, or kept their counterparts in Washington from breathing it in.

Iran Criticizes UN for Politicizing WMD non-Proliferation Regimes:  Tehran Times, Apr. 17, 2021Majid Takht Ravanchi made the remarks in a Friday meeting of the UN body. He described the WMDs as “the most immoral and inhumane weapons ever developed by mankind and their development, production, stockpiling and use have rightly been prohibited.”

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