Contradicting US administration, French official says congressional rejection of Iran deal could lead to better deal


According to a report in Bloomberg View on Thursday, a senior diplomatic advisor to French President Francois Hollande told two members of Congress that if Congress rejected the deal, the P5+1 could get a better agreement with Iran. According to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), the advisor said, “If Congress votes this down… in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage.” Furthermore, according to Sanchez, the French official indicated that if Congress rejected the deal, the Europeans would refrain from doing business with Iran to evade US secondary sanctions. These statements contradict the Obama administration’s claims that if Congress rebuffs the deal, “our friends in this effort will desert us,” sanctions on Iran will collapse, and there will be no alternative to stop Iran other than war.

Security and sanctions experts including Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz and former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council Michael Singh assert that the administration’s binary choice of this deal or war is false. Singh argues that this line of reasoning underestimates our deterrent power and Dubowitz similarly claims that even if Iran ceased to comply with the deal as a result of congressional rejection, it would not trigger an Iranian attempt to break out because Iran would seek to avoid crippling sanctions or a US military strike.  

Dubowitz argues that Congress should reject this flawed deal in order to push the administration to renegotiate a better one. He says the US could use the power of secondary sanctions to “keep countries and companies from normalizing with Iran” and persuade other countries to join the United States “in demanding that key parts of the agreement be renegotiated on better terms.”  He cites several precedents in which Congress played a leading role in rejecting or modifying important arms control agreements including the Chemical Weapons Test Ban Treaty and SALT II. Singh believes that if the current deal is implemented, the next president will find it problematic because of the expiring restrictions and “will need to rebuild international support for strengthening those constraints with fewer tools at his or her disposal and in a less favorable international context than in the past.” Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has also stated, “We’re going to have to force a re-negotiation of this deal, if not now, then in the years to come.”


A terror attack early this morning that killed a Palestinian toddler and injured member of his family, apparently perpetrated by Jews, drew condemnations from across Israel’s political spectrum.18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed, and his parents and four-year-old brother injured, when their home in the village of Duma was set on fire. The family was evacuated to the hospital, where the mother and the surviving son are in critical condition.

A Star of David, as well as the Hebrew words for “revenge” and “long live the king messiah,” were spray-painted on the walls of their now-destroyed house. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “an act of terrorism,” and ordered security forces to “use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith.” His full statement is below:

I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith.

The Government of Israel is united in its strong opposition to such deplorable and awful acts. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to share in the sorrow of the family of Ali Dawabsha and wish a quick recovery to the family members who were injured.

“The arson and the murder of the Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsha is a serious terror attack that cannot be tolerated, and we condemn it outright,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said. “We will chase down the murderers until they are caught.” “Terror is terror is terror. The torching of the house in Duma and the murder of the baby is a shocking terror attack that is unfathomable,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the attack a “terrible tragedy” and a “horrifying hate crime.” Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, called the attack a “heinous act,” while Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid called the perpetrators of the attack “traitors” and added, “He who burns a Palestinian baby declares war on the State of Israel.”

Israel’s political leadership was similarly united Thursday in condemning the stabbing of six marchers in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade. Said Netanyahu:

A despicable hate crime was committed this evening in Jerusalem. In Israel everyone, including the gay community, has the right to live in peace, and we will defend that right. I welcome the Israeli religious leadership’s condemnation of this terrible crime, and I call on all those in positions of leadership to denounce this contemptible act. In the name of all of Israelis, I wish the wounded a full and speedy recovery.



Treatments for extremely rare medical conditions are few and far between. The number of cases of “orphan diseases” doesn’t justify the amount of cash needed to get a pharmaceutical developed, tested and approved.This is exactly the niche that Tel Aviv-based BioBlast Pharma was created to fill in 2012. Now its three experimental platforms are moving closer to market. Cabaletta, BioBlast’s lead product for treating two rare and currently untreatable conditions — oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) — received Fast Track approval in June from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the drug’s development, review and potential approval specifically for treating OPMD. Cabaletta is a protein stabilizer that binds to proteins to prevent harmful aggregation. It is undergoing phase 2 trials in Israel and Canada for treating OPMD, and in Israel for treating SCA3. By year’s end, phase 3 trials are anticipated to start for OPMD in North America and for SCA3 in the US and Europe. “We believe that the Fast Track designation represents an important recognition by the FDA of Cabaletta’s potential to address a significant unmet need,” says BioBlast President and CEO Colin Foster. (via Israel21c)


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