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Today's Top News
Cheered Then Jeered at AIPAC: Sen. Levin says Strike on Iran 'Very Likely'
Also: Iran to Allow Access to Nuke Site; Powers Agree to Renewed Talks
US Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said on Tuesday that an Israeli attack on Iran "is very likely" if it does not bend to the demands being made the United States and Israel regarding its nuclear program. He made these comments to reporters after meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, who is in Washington this week to attend the AIPAC conference and meet with US officials.
The Hill reports:
Levin said the attack by Israel could occur because Iran has not stopped enriching uranium or opened facilities to international nuclear inspectors.
“I think it’s likely because Iran is not responding to the international call for it to abide by the U.N. resolutions,” Levin told reporters Tuesday. “Iran is violating six different U.N. resolutions. I think that being the case, if they continue to do it, don’t open up their uranium facilities to inspection, and don’t stop the enrichment of uranium, that I would say an attack on them by Israel is very likely.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Levin and other senators Tuesday, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference Monday evening that diplomacy and sanctions are not stopping Iran, warning that Israel “cannot afford to wait much longer.”
Levin himself spoke to AIPAC on Tuesday, and though greeted as a "great friend" to Israel by audience members, protesters had a different take:
On Tuesday, March 6, during Senator Carl Levin’s address to AIPAC, an activist with Occupy Wall Street and CODEPINK unfurled a large “Don’t Bomb Iran” banner and shouted “Don’t bomb Iran; Equal rights for Palestinians.” Responding to the theme of the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference–Shared Values–the activist proclaimed, “Nonviolence is a shared value!” She was grabbed by security and escorted out of the building. The protesters were Katie Falkenberg and Paul Talbot from New York City, who have been dedicated Occupy Wall Street activists and are members of the Revolutionary Games Collective. They worked with CODEPINK and Occupy AIPAC to coordinate the action.
As head of the Senate Arms Services Committee, Carl Levin has been pushing for every war in the last 10 years, while his constituents in Detroit are suffering from lack of funds for social services, and high unemployment. Levin has supported crippling sanctions that only hurt the Iranian people instead of listening to the military leaders who have cautioned against war on Iran. Senator Carl Levin is fiddling with war while Detroit is burning.
Iran to Allow Access to Nuke Site; Powers Agree to Renewed Talks
Iran has given consent for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit its Parchin nuclear facility. Meanwhile, the six major powers (the US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China) have agreed to renewed talks with the Iranian government, in hopes of reducing current tensions and avoiding a military conflict.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in dealings with Iran, announced Tuesday a fresh bid to allay suspicions that Iran is developing nuclear weapons after weeks of consultations with the other powers.
A date and venue have yet to be agreed for the talks, proposed by Iran after a year's diplomatic standstill that has increased fears of a slide into a new Middle East war.
Amid mounting speculation that Iran's nuclear sites could be attacked in coming months, Obama said that American politicians "beating the drums of war" had a responsibility to explain the costs and benefits of military action.
Al-Jazeera reports on renewed IAEA access to the Parchin facility:
In a separate development, Iran has agreed to grant access to the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Parchin compound.
The long-sought access to what Iran calls a military base, not a nuclear facility, came a day after the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, said his organisation had "serious concerns" that Iran may be hiding secret atomic-weapons work.
He singled out the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran.
The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted the Iranian statement as saying: "Given that Parchin is a military site, access to this facility is a time-consuming process, and it can't be visited repeatedly."
It said that following repeated IAEA demands,"permission will be granted for access once more".
The "once more" is a vital caveat to the Iranians, who remind those in the West -- who treat Parchin as super-secret facility -- that the site has been open and inspected by the IAEA in previous years, as Gareth Porter noted recently on Common Dreams. And the Tehran Times adds:
It was also mentioned... that Parchin was inspected by the [IAEA] twice in 2005.
Iran rejected requests by the IAEA delegations to inspect the Parchin military site, which is located southeast of Tehran, during their visits to Iran from January 29 to 31 and February 21 to 22.
Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said on February 24 that a framework had to be agreed on for any access or visit.
However, in an interview published on February 28, Soltanieh said that the Islamic Republic does not rule out giving the agency access to the country’s military research sites.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Fereydoun Abbasi said on February 29 that the country’s military officials should decide whether to allow the UN nuclear watchdog to inspect the country’s military sites, including Parchin.