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No Dates, No Nukes, No Flukes


[This is the beginnging of the end, in more ways than one.  Take a look at their faces! Tony]

DIAA HADID Associated Press Writer
1:53 p.m. EST, January 10, 2010

JERUSALEM (AP) — Two U.S. senators traveling in the Middle East said Sunday that opposition protests in Iran suggest this was the beginning of the end for Tehran’s clergy-led regime.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said the Islamic government’s days were numbered.

Interviewed while in Jerusalem on the CNN’s “State of the Union” program, he warned, “if the Iranian government chooses to try to divert the attention of the people from their domestic situation to increasing confrontation with Israel,” that could pose a danger.

Israel considers Iran a serious threat because of its nuclear program, long-range missile development and repeated references by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel, like the U.S., does not accept Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and insist that Tehran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

Another visiting senator, Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, agreed that the protests in Iran could mark “the beginning of the end of the repressive extremist regime in Tehran.”

Lieberman added, “I think we have to do everything we can, not just to put economic sanctions on Iran because of their development of nuclear weapons but to support the people of Iran, to cry out against the human rights abuses, the terrible repression of the demonstrators and just the freedom of average citizens in Iran.”

Iran has been swept with waves of opposition protests and violent crackdowns by authorities since disputed presidential elections in June. The Iranian opposition says Ahmadinejad was re-elected through fraud.

At a Jerusalem news conference, Lieberman explained a bill before the Senate that would authorize President Barack Obama to impose sanctions on Iran, including limiting its imports of gasoline.

“I’m hopeful that legislation will come up in the Senate when we go back in the session next week.”

McCain, addressing the same news conference, called for efforts to stop the Iranian regime from blocking Internet access. “That does not mean military intervention,” he said, “but it does mean speaking up every single day for the people of Iran and their struggle for freedom and democracy.”

Iran’s opposition has been heavily dependent on the Internet to organize protests, report arrests and air the views of its leaders despite repeated attempts by authorities to block access to some sites.


Obama’s top security adviser to visit Middle East


WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories, announced the White House on Monday.

“General Jones will discuss the full range of regional challenges and opportunities at this critical time in the Middle East,” said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.

The spokesman did not specify on the so-called “critical time.”

During his meetings with “key leaders” in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Jones is expected to come up with two critical issues, one is the nuclear stalemate in Iran, and the other is the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jones’ Mideast tour came as the Obama administration has been trying to implement dual-track diplomacy in the region — resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and putting sanctions on Iran for its nuclear ambition.

Diplomats of the Quartet, namely the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss a new U.S. plan to resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Meanwhile, representatives from the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) are to meet in New York at the end of this week on additional sanctions against the Iranian government.



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