Thursday, August 03, 2017
US,EUROPEANS PUSH UN FOR ACTION OVER IRAN ROCKET LAUNCH.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
US, Europeans push UN for action over Iran rocket launch-Letter to Security Council complains recent satellite delivery system test could also be used to carry nuclear weapon-By AFP August 2, 2017, 8:22 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
UNITED NATIONS, United States — The United States, backed by France, Britain and Germany on Wednesday pushed for action at the UN Security Council following Iran’s launch of a satellite rocket that all four countries described as a threatening and provocative step.US Ambassador Nikki Haley argued in a letter to the Security Council that the Simorgh space launch vehicle system, “if configured as a ballistic missile” would have a range of over 300 kilometers (185 miles) and enough payload capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.“This launch therefore represents a threatening and provocative step by Iran,” said the letter signed by Haley on behalf of the four countries.Iran launched the rocket on July 27, prompting the United States to impose sanctions on six companies that Washington said were linked to Iran’s missile program.“Iran’s longstanding program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and has a destabilizing effect in the region,” said the letter seen by AFP.Resolution 2231 was passed two years ago to endorse a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.Under that resolution which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran is “called upon “to refrain from carrying out launches of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”Iran has repeatedly said that it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and is not in violation of the resolution.-What action should be taken-In the letter, the United States said the technology necessary for the space launch vehicle was “closely related to those of ballistic missiles, in particular to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile.”It argued that the missile technology control regime defined any ballistic missile system with a 500 kilogram payload and a range of at least 300 kilometers as being capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.This information should “allow the council to draw informed and timely conclusion as to what action should be taken,” said the letter.Haley has repeatedly called on the council to respond to Iran’s missile tests, but Russia has said Iran is not in violation of the resolution.The four countries called on Iran to “immediately cease” all ballistic missile activities and said the international community must also “send a clear message to Iran.”They requested that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres report to the council on Iran’s ballistic missile and space launch activities.At a Security Council debate on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons, Haley accused Iran of supporting armed groups with weapons, funding and training.“Weapons don’t always just ‘fall into the hands of terrorists.’ Too often, they are pushed. This is the threat that we face today in Iran,” said Haley.“As long as we allow the Iranian regime to violate this council’s prohibitions with impunity, it will be a source of weapons to terrorist groups that will only grow in volume and destructive capability,” she said.“The United States will continue to raise this issue of Iranian non-compliance with international obligations at every opportunity.”Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday said it will continue “with full power” its missile program and criticized the US sanctions as “hostile, reprehensible and unacceptable.”Tehran has accused the US administration of seeking to weaken the nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump branded “the worst deal ever” during his election campaign.Despite criticism of the nuclear deal, the US administration has certified that Iran was in compliance with the agreement.
Jordanian king donates $1.4 million to Waqf after Temple Mount fight-Group reportedly says money will go to Islamic museum at the site and a cash bonus for its workers-By Stuart Winer August 2, 2017, 7:01 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Jordan’s king on Wednesday announced that he would donate 1 million Jordanian dinars ($1.4 million) to the Waqf Islamic Trust, which administers the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.The money is seen as a major show of support for the Waqf, which led protests against Israeli security measures at the holy site last month, ramping up tensions between Israel and the Arab world.The Waqf, a Jordan-based organization in charge of the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount, said that the money will go to the Islamic Museum in the compound and to a cash bonus of 300 dinar ($423) to each of the Waqf workers, the Hebrew media Ynet website reported.The donation comes amid strained relations between Israel and Jordan after recent violent clashes sparked following the introduction by Israel of walk-through metal detectors — later removed — at the Jerusalem holy site. New security equipment was set up in the days after a terror attack on July 14 in which three Arab Israelis killed two Israeli policemen using guns that were smuggled onto the Temple Mount.Presiding over a meeting of government ministers Wednesday, Abdullah said that Amman was closely following the situation in Jerusalem. He said the challenge in keeping calm in the city was not only related to security, but diplomatic as well.He also said Jordan was continuing to push for the prosecution of an Israeli Embassy guard who killed two Jordanians during the height of tensions last month. Israel says the guard was assaulted by one of the Jordanians in a suspected nationalistic attack.Jordan, which considers itself a custodian of Jerusalem holy sites, was seen as playing a key role in lowering tensions, releasing the guard to Israel at the same time as Israel removed the metal detectors. Israel later rolled back other security measures as well, after almost two weeks of violent protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank.However, Abdullah and other Jordanians have fumed at the warm welcome the guard, Ziv Moyal, received from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon returning from Amman, with the king accusing Netanyahu of risking diplomatic ties to win political points at home.Earlier Wednesday, fisticuffs between two troublemaker legislators from Israel and Jordan on the Allenby Bridge linking the countries were avoided after Netanyahu ordered Likud MK Oren Hazan not to face off against Jordanian MP Yahya Al-Saud.Calling the ties between Israel and Jordan a “five-star hotel relationship” because groups from each side “just meet in hotels,” Saud said the showdown with Hazan was an opportunity for him to express the public’s real opinion of Israel, stripped of diplomatic niceties.“The Jordanian people totally refuse any relationship with the [Israeli] entity… we stand with the Palestinian people,” he ranted in a live-streamed Facebook tirade that lasted over an hour.The Waqf was seen as a main driver of tensions over the Temple Mount after it instructed worshipers to boycott the compound over the security measures, telling them to pray in the streets and nearby alleys rather than pass through the detectors.The Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group both called for “days of rage” against the security equipment, which Muslims deemed a change in the status quo at the Mount.The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is revered as the site of the biblical temples. It is also the third-holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina, and is known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif.Under an arrangement in place since Israel captured the Old City in the Six Day War in 1967 and extended its sovereignty there, non-Muslims are allowed access to the site but are forbidden to pray there. Under that status quo, Israel is responsible for security at the site while the Jordanian trust — the Waqf — is in charge of administrative duties.AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
IDF blockades hometown of Palestinian who stabbed grocery worker-Security forces checking all traffic coming in and out of Yatta; victim said to be in critical condition-By Times of Israel staff August 2, 2017, 7:51 pm
Security forces on Wednesday placed a cordon around the West Bank town of Yatta, hours after a Palestinian resident stabbed a supermarket worker in a central Israeli town.All traffic coming in and out of the village was being checked, the IDF said in a statement.Earlier Israeli troops raided the Yatta home of Ismail Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, 19, who was arrested after stabbing and critically wounding an Israeli man, at a supermarket in the city of Yavneh.Just before noon, Abu Aram attacked a 43-year-old employee of a Shufersal supermarket, stabbing him multiple times in the chest, neck and head. The brutal attack was captured by the store’s security camera (warning: graphic content).Abu Aram fled the scene but was tackled and pinned to the ground by civilian bystanders until police arrived and arrested him.The victim was rushed to the nearby Kaplan Medical Center with life threatening injuries, a hospital spokesperson said. He was still in critical condition after a seven-hour surgery, according to Channel 2 News.In the past two years of increased violence in the West Bank and Israel, several Palestinian terrorists have come from the village of Yatta, notably the two gunmen who carried out the Sarona Market terror attack in June 2016, in which four people were killed and over a dozen wounded.During the several-month wave of violence starting October 2015, Israeli forces regularly placed cordons around Palestinian towns after attacks, in a measure derided as collective punishment against residents.According to the Shin Bet security service, Abu Aram entered Israel illegally, without a required permit. He had no history of terror activity and was transferred to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.Police placed a gag order on other details of the investigation into the stabbing attack.An IDF spokesperson said the soldiers had not arrested anyone in Yatta, but were “conducting searches” in the house.She would not elaborate further on what the troops were looking to find.
Breaking silence, AIPAC announces support for Taylor Force Act-Day before powerful Senate panel scheduled to consider bill, powerful pro-Israel lobby says markups protecting humanitarian programs and security cooperation earn its backing-By Eric Cortellessa August 2, 2017, 7:45 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON — A day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider a revised version of a measure that would strip US funding to the Palestinian Authority over its practice of paying terrorists and their families, the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington broke its silence and came out in support of the bill.The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) urged the committee Wednesday to vote yes on the Taylor Force Act. The committee is due to meet on Thursday and the bill is on the committee’s agenda. Passage would send the bill to the entire Senate chamber.For the last several months — since South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) introduced the motion in February — AIPAC has refrained from unequivocally endorsing the bill, instead saying simply that it supported its principle objective.But after the Senate unveiled an updated version Tuesday, AIPAC was prepared to fully embrace the bill.The new text incorporates some of the concerns expressed among committee members, like allowing for continued funding to the PA for humanitarian efforts and security cooperation, but it does not include a waiver that would grant the US president the ability to disregard the law on national security grounds.AIPAC signaled on Wednesday that the provisions were critical for earning its backing.“The Taylor Force Act does not affect US funding for security cooperation, nor does it cut humanitarian programs if the US government can certify that the PA is taking credible steps to end violence against Israelis and Americans,” the group said on Twitter.The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to consider the Taylor Force Act (S.1697) tomorrow. We urge members to vote yes.— AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 2, 2017-The group sent a letter to senators urging them to support the revised bill.“We are hopeful that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup will produce a strong, bipartisan bill that will send a very clear message to the Palestinian Authority: Stop these payments to terrorists and their families or your assistance will be cut.”Other provisions of the bill call on “all donor countries” to “cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror” and requires the PA to revoke any laws that result in terrorists being compensated.The State Department, furthermore, would be mandated to put out an annual, declassified report detailing the PA’s practices regarding cash payments that reward terrorism.The bill is named after a former US army officer who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant while visiting Tel Aviv in March 2016.US President Donald Trump announced last month that he supported the bill’s goals but did not unequivocally endorse it. That was, however, before the latest version was released.“While the administration agrees with the high-level goals of the Taylor Force Act, it is currently in Congress’s hands and we will continue to closely monitor the specifics of the legislation,” a White House official told The Times of Israel last month.Initially, the administration was quiet on the bill, leaving some on Capitol Hill questioning whether Trump and his team feared it would disrupt their attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, a “top priority” for the White House.But Trump did reportedly confront PA President Mahmoud Abbas about Palestinian terror payments during their May meetings in Washington and Bethlehem.There has also been speculation that the Israeli government did not actually support the measure. Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer tried to quell those suspicions during his address to the Christians United for Israel’s annual conference two weeks ago.“Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance to any government that pays people to kill Jews,” he told a crowd at the Christians United for Israel’s annual conference in Washington. “Period.”“I can assure you that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force Act will pass,” he added. “Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass.”According to a recently published Israeli report, the Palestinian Authority’s 2017 budget for payments to inmates in Israeli prisons and so-called “families of martyrs” is equal in sum to about half of the foreign aid Ramallah expects to receive this year.Moreover, the PA Finance Ministry’s 2017 budget, published on its website earlier in July, said that salaries to incarcerated and released Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are convicted for terrorism, will amount to NIS 552 million ($153.4 million) this calendar year.The United States currently gives the PA nearly $500 million in annual aid. The legislation would allow only the portion designated for security assistance — roughly $60 million — to remain in place.
Here’s how Trump could scrap the Iran nuclear deal-US president appears to be leaning toward dismantling the accord. He has several options on how to carry that out-By Ron Kampeas August 2, 2017, 3:00 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Campaigning last year for the presidency, Donald Trump said the Iran nuclear agreement was the “worst deal” he had ever seen.It was never exactly clear, however, what he intended to do about it: Appearing at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference in March 2016, Trump said in the same speech that he planned to “dismantle” and “enforce” it.As president, Trump appears to be edging toward dismantling. His administration recertified Iran’s adherence to the deal in mid-July, but it reportedly took the better part of a day for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to convince Trump to go along. Trump said afterward that he likely would not recertify by the next deadline, in mid-October.And within days of recertification, Foreign Policy reported that Trump had set up a special White House team to provide him with a path out of the deal, seemingly sidelining Tillerson, a champion of recertification. Among those on the team: Trump’s top strategic adviser, Steve Bannon, and one of his deputies, Sebastian Gorka, both known for seeking to diminish America’s commitments to international alliances.Every path out has its perils. The signatories to the 2015 deal, which trades sanctions relief for Iran’s rollback of its nuclear program, are Iran on one side and the United States, France, Britain, German, China and Russia on the other. Key to the success of any American pullout is to what degree its four partners — and other major trading partners with Iran, like South Korea and India — join in.Should the United States walk away from the deal, the dilemma for those countries is what costs more: alienating the United States by keeping up trade with Iran, or angering domestic economic interests by going along with tough US sanctions on the oil-rich country. The less persuasive the Trump administration case is for pulling out, the likelier it is that other nations would not cooperate and would continue to do business with Iran — setting the stage for increased US isolation on the world stage.“Europeans may look to contingency and fallback options if the United States unreasonably undermines the deal,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.In a conference call organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group that backed the deal, Geranmayeh said European officials were planning to stage an all-out effort to keep the Trump administration from bolting.“The challenge in the next three months is keeping the United States and the Trump character personally with keeping the deal,” she said. “In the next 90 days you’ll see a lot of activity on the Hill, in the State Department” by European diplomats.Mark Dubowitz, who directs the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that opposed the deal, said the Europeans would likely stick with the alliance, especially if the Trump administration’s aim was not to quit the deal but to reconfigure it.“I don’t think Europeans are going to risk a transatlantic war with the administration, particularly if the administration is not looking to abrogate the deal but to improve it by addressing some of the flaws of the existing JCPOA,” he said, referring to the formal name of the pact, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.Here is a look at the possible paths out of the Iran deal for the US and what the likely consequences would be.-Just walk away-US assessments of Iranian adherence to the deal are governed by a law passed in 2015 with bipartisan backing, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. Under the act’s broad language, there may be room for the president to stop waiving sanctions on Iran simply because he sees the deal as inadequate. Parts of the law require Iran’s adherence with the JCPOA, but others are more fungible and depend on what the president determines are US national security interests.Under those circumstances, Trump has three options: * Go to the joint commission governing the JCPOA and seek to have Iran declared not in compliance. The committee has eight members — the United States, Iran, Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany and the European Union, and decisions need a 5-3 vote. Obama pitched this arrangement as a guaranteed escape hatch because five partners at the time agreed on red lines: the United States, the three European countries and the EU.Trump’s policy of distancing the United States from some aspects of the European alliance — the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, for instance — means that comity is no longer guaranteed. He would need a substantive argument that Iran is not complying — not just that he thinks the deal is bad one. * Exercise the US option to trigger the “snapback” of international sanctions. Under this complex mechanism, the US veto on the United Nations Security Council would prevent other parties from reversing the snapback and the whole deal would effectively be dead.Busting the deal just on Trump’s say-so could exacerbate tensions with US allies, experts said, and drive the other partners to establish a separate arrangement with Iran.“It will be difficult for the Europeans to defy Trump because of the close security and economic relations the Europeans have with the United States,” Geranmayeh said. “At the same time, I don’t think we should underestimate the European capacity to do so.” * Stop waiving sanctions, but don’t blow up the deal. This would have the advantage of satisfying Trump’s call to exit the deal while avoiding, for now, a direct confrontation with US allies, who would continue to do business with Iran under the terms of the deal. What’s uncertain is whether the United States would enforce secondary sanctions — that is, punishing companies and individuals in allied countries that do business with sanctioned Iranian entities.-Walk away, but explain why-There are signs that Trump is ready to make the case to the international community that Iran is not in compliance as a predicate to pulling out. Here are some strategies: * Iran is not complying with the “spirit” of the deal. A day after Tillerson first recertified the deal in April, Trump said at a news conference, “They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that.”The reference was to Iran’s continued testing of ballistic missiles, its human rights abuses, its military interventionism in the region and its backing for terrorism worldwide.The notion that Iran must abide by the deal’s “spirit” has been perpetuated for the most part by those who opposed the deal in the first place. The Obama administration, which brokered the deal, and its European partners do not see it this way: The deal, they say, was designed to remove the threat of a nuclear Iran as a means of more effectively confronting Iran in other arenas.“Show me in black and white where there’s a definition of the ‘spirit of the deal,’” Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, a group that promoted the deal, said in an interview. “The Obama administration was crystal clear that this is a nuclear deal, this is not a deal that affects Iranian behavior in other areas.”Another tack is to insist on more intrusive inspections of some Iranian military sites, which require Iranian consent under the deal. Getting backing among US allies for this gambit would require persuasive evidence that Iran is violating the deal at these sites; that’s not necessarily a given. * Iran is not in compliance with the letter of the deal.This strategy was behind a letter last month by four Republican senators — Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and David Perdue of Georgia — urging Tillerson to declare Iran not in compliance with provisions of the deal. The letter noted reports that Iran had exceeded the limits of heavy water — needed to enrich uranium — allowed under the deal, and was operating more enrichment centrifuges than permitted.The excesses have been noted by the U.N. inspection agency charged with overseeing the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, but have also been deemed not significant enough to declare Iran in violation — a posture the Obama administration embraced.Conservatives say this is typical of Iranian regime behavior, pushing the envelope as far as it can, and is dangerous.“What would be highly imprudent is to continue the Obama-era practice of offering sheepish and fainthearted certifications as a matter of course, hoping no one takes notice,” the senators’ letter said.One possible danger in pressing forward with such an approach: The international community, which places greater stock than the Trump administration does in international organizations, would see it as nitpicking and would side with the IAEA. * Provoke Iran into leaving the deal.Experts touted this strategy following Trump’s election but before he assumed office. It would involve abiding by the agreement, but increasing pressure through non-deal related sanctions, targeting Iran’s government for its missile testing and adventurism, and possibly increasing US military presence in the region. According to this theory, the resulting pressure by Iranian hardliners on the government of President Hassan Rouhani, which favors the deal, would lead Iran to pull out.The problem with this idea, said Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and an Obama administration Middle East policy veteran, is that Trump has made it so clear he wants out of the deal that it would seem by now to be disingenuous — American allies would smell a set-up.“Nobody believes he’s acting in good faith,” Goldenberg said.-Don’t leave the deal — but make the case it must be reconfigured-The Trump administration and Congress appear to be embracing this path for now, if only by default. Congress passed new sanctions last week targeting Iran’s non-nuclear activities, and Trump keeps tacking on sanctions by executive order.The strategy, as described by Dubowitz of the anti-deal Foundation for Defense of Democracies, would be to make the case that Iran is effectively violating the agreement.“You make it clear that they’ve been violating incrementally, but not egregiously — but you also make it clear the sum total ends up being egregious,” he said. “Then you waive the existing statutory sanctions but you impose very tough, economically painful non-nuclear sanctions that target Iran’s malign behavior.”That gives the United States and partners leverage to bring Iran back to the table and address the deal’s flaws, including sunset provisions that end some of the international oversight in 15 years.
Trump signs ‘flawed’ bill leveling sanctions on Russia, Iran-President says measure will make dealing with international community tougher, but lawmakers celebrate passage-By VIVIAN SALAMA August 2, 2017, 8:53 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed what he called a “seriously flawed” bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, pressured by his Republican Party not to move on his own toward a warmer relationship with Moscow in light of Russian actions.The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. The law also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.Trump said the law will “punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang” and enhance existing sanctions on Moscow.The president had been reluctant to proceed with the bill, even after it was revised to include some changes that American and European companies sought to ensure that business deals were not stifled by new sanctions. Trump has expressed frustration over Congress’ ability to limit or override the power of the White House on national security matters, saying that it is complicating efforts to coordinate with allies — a sentiment he expressed in Wednesday’s statement.Last week, the House overwhelmingly backed the bill, 419-3, and the Senate rapidly followed with a 98-2 vote. Those margins guaranteed that Congress would be able to beat back any attempt by Trump to veto the measure.The president said Wednesday that he signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.”“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” Trump said. “By limiting the executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.”Trump’s talk of extending a hand of cooperation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit his leeway. The new measure targets Russia’s energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.Those limits, backed by Republicans as well as Democrats, resulted from lawmakers’ worries that Trump might ease the financial hits without first securing concessions from Putin. Republicans refused to budge even after the White House complained that the “congressional review” infringed on Trump’s executive authority.Moscow responded to a White House announcement last week that Trump intended to sign the bill, ordering a reduction in the number of US diplomats in Russia.Top members of Trump’s administration voiced their unhappiness with the bill anew this week, echoing his sentiments that it poses more diplomatic hindrances than solutions.“Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday of the sanctions bill, which he had urged lawmakers not to approve.“We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made,” he said.Tillerson conceded that he is unable to show that the US has fulfilled Trump’s objective of a new, more cooperative relationship between the former Cold War foes, noting only modest efforts in Syria as a sign the nations share some common goals. While he said Americans want the US to get along with the nuclear-armed power, he did not address other concerns at home. US intelligence agencies have accused Moscow of meddling in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump.“The situation is bad, but believe me — it can get worse,” Tillerson said.Vice President Mike Pence, traveling Tuesday in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, sought to reframe the sanctions as a “further sign of our commitment” to counter Russian aggression in the region.“The president and our Congress are unified in our message to Russia: A better relationship, the lifting of sanctions will require Russia to reverse the actions that caused the sanctions to be imposed in the first place,” Pence said. “And not before.”Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle celebrated the passage of the sanctions bill.“It’s long overdue,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said of Trump’s decision to sign the bill nearly a week after it cleared Congress. “Hope we’ll send again a strong message to Russia that we can’t have interference in our elections going forward.”Republican Senator Bob Corker chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he hadn’t read the statement Trump issued announcing that he’d signed the sanctions bill. But Corker, who shepherded the legislation through the Senate, appeared indifferent to Trump’s criticisms. “Somebody pointed it out,” Corker said exiting the Senate chamber after a vote. “That’s fine.”But the House’s top Democrat blasted Trump for calling the bill “seriously flawed,” saying it raises serious questions about whether his administration will follow the law.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Republican-led Congress must not allow the White House to “wriggle out of its duty to impose these sanctions for Russia’s brazen assault on our democracy.”“Democrats will demand tough oversight to ensure strong and immediate implementation of the sanctions law,” she said.
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