BREAKING: US Warship Heading to Yemen, Could Block Iranian Weapons Delivery

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A US warship has been despatched to the waters off the Yemeni coast just as a flotilla of Iranian ships are headed there likely to deliver weapons to Islamofascist terrorists there.

The Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is carrying its “big stick” to Yemen to intercept Iranian support for terror.

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ship movement on the record.

The Houthis are battling government-backed fighters in an effort to take control of the country. The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to Saudi Arabia-led coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week.

Is Obama strong enough to force a show down with his friends in Iran? We’ll see.

L.A., Houston Nuke Contractors Indicted for Smuggling $24M in Missile Tech to Iran

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The enemy among us. Traitors. They should tried for treason, not for “illegally exporting” technology frequently used in military systems such as surface-air and cruise missiles to Iran.

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Khosrow Afghahi, who was arrested for suspicion of illegally exporting technology to Iran.

“I saw about eight FBI agents,” said Thomas Swann, a resident in the quiet Orange County neighborhood known for luxury homes with manicured lawns.  “At first, I thought it was police. Then I looked and saw they were FBI!” Swan said.

Local resident Denise Cofey observed, as Afghahi was being hustled into a police car, that “They were wearing the green vests, they had the guns strapped, they had weapons pulled.”

CBS Los Angeles reported that in a 24-page indictment “the Department of Justice charged Afghahi and four others with facilitating the illegal export of high-tech microelectronics, uninterruptible power supplies and other commodities to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Powers Act.”

The FBI said that Afghahi and the other suspects worked for different corporations some overseas and one in Houston. Cofey said that if the allegations prove true she would not be surprised. She stated that the house “would be vacant for months on end, like three months on end, then people would show up again.”

“L.A., Houston Nuke Contractors Indicted for Smuggling $24M in Missile Tech to Iran,” Breitbart, April 17, 2015

Five individuals and four companies, including Iranian government and Centrifuge Technology company contractors, have been indicted for illegally exporting technology frequently used in military systems such as surface-air and cruise missiles to Iran. This technology is “frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including surface-air and cruise missiles,” according to the Department of Justice. $24 million worth of technology was allegedly sent to Iran starting in July 2010.

“The nine defendants charged in the indictment allegedly circumvented U.S. sanctions and illegally exported controlled microelectronics to Iran,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin. The elaborate path detailed in the indictment follows the technology on a route from the U.S. to Taiwan, then to Turkey and finally to Iran.

In a Friday Department of Justice (DOJ) release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas details the indictment and those charged, which include: Houston-based Smart Power Systems Inc. (SPS); Bahram Mechanic, 69, and Tooraj Faridi, 46, of Houston; Khosrow Afghahi, 71, of Los Angeles; and Faratel Corporation, co-owned by Mechanic and Afghahi in Iran. These individuals are described as “members of an Iranian procurement network operating in the United States.”

Mechanic and Afghahi are described in the indictment as “co-owners of Iran-based Faratel and its Houston-based sister company SPS.” The DOJ release continues: “Faratel designs and builds uninterruptible power supplies for various Iranian entities, including Iranian government agencies such as the Iranian Ministry of Defense, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Iranian Centrifuge Technology Company, according to the charges.”

Today’s unsealed indictment alleges, according to the release:

Between approximately July 2010 and the present, Mechanic and the others engaged in a conspiracy to obtain various commodities, including controlled U.S.-origin microelectronics. They then allegedly exported these to Iran, while carefully evading the government licensing system set up to control such exports. The microelectronics shipped to Iran allegedly included microcontrollers and digital signal processors. According to the indictment, these commodities have various applications, and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including surface-air and cruise missiles. Between July 2010 and the present, Mechanic’s network allegedly sent at least $24 million worth of commodities to Iran.

“The proliferation of sensitive U.S. technologies to Iran and the direct support to their military and weapons programs remains a clear threat to U.S. national security,” said Assistant Director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division Randall Coleman.

Seven foreign nationals and companies are also being added to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List in conjunction with the indictment. These individuals and companies allegedly “received, transshipped or otherwise facilitated the illegal export of controlled commodities by the defendants,” according to the DOJ release. “Those persons present a greater risk of diversion to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, terrorism or other activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”

Also charged as part of the scheme are Arthur Shyu and the Hosoda Taiwan Limited Corporation in Taiwan; Matin Sadeghi, 54, and Golsad Istanbul Trading Ltd. in Turkey.

Mechanic and Faridi are scheduled for a detention hearing Tuesday, April 21 at 10 a.m. Afghahi was taken into custody Friday and is expected to appear in the Central District of California according to the DOJ release. Sadeghi and Shya remain at large and are believed to be out of the country.

The release states, “Anyone with information is asked to contact the nearest embassy or local office of the FBI. They may also contact the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.”

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/04/l-a-houston-nuke-contractors-indicted-for-smuggling-24m-in-missile-tech-to-iran.html/#sthash.eKrRC4ZB.dpuf

List of Obama’s lies and Iranian fact sheet that completely contradicts White House

Obama-Lies-SC

When asked about the post-Iran contretemps, I said repeatedly on a number of radio shows this week that if I had to choose who was the bigger liar, Obama or Khameni, there was no contest — Obama.

Obama is a liar. Pathological. Is there anything he hasn’t lied about?

You can keep your doctor.

The Benghazi  attack was the fault of a  YouTube video.

There was no stand down order.

Islam is peace.

Obama on IRS Scandal: “Not Even A Smidgen Of Corruption”

“My position hasn’t changed” on using executive authority to address immigration issues.

Says his comment about extremists being a JV team “wasn’t specifically referring to” the Islamic State.

Afghanistan is the good war.

The “most realistic estimates” for jobs created by Keystone XL are “maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline.”

“My father served in World War II”

“No more Illegal Wire Tapping of American Citizens”

“Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts” to create a legal framework on counterterrorism.

“Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of” President George W. Bush’s policies and the recession. (Fast and Furious began in 2009,)

“The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me.”

He is a pathological liar. The Iranians may scam the talks in order to buy time to build their nuclear arsenal, but Obama is the liar.

So I ask you, who do you believe?

EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Parliament Releases “Factsheet” for Revision of Lausanne

Statement

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940126001122

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TEHRAN (FNA – Fars News Agency)- The Iranian parliament’s Nuclear Committee

on Wednesday released a factsheet to declare the revisions needed to be made

in the Lausanne statement that was issued by Tehran and the world powers as

a framework understanding at the end of their nuclear talks in Switzerland

earlier this month.

The factsheet which was presented by Head of the Nuclear Committee Ebrahim

Karkhaneyee on Wednesday stresses the necessity for respecting the redlines

and guidelines specified by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, making Iran’s decisions and undertakings

reversible to enable the country to resume its nuclear operations in case of

the other side’s non-commitment to its undertakings, and immediate

termination of all sanctions in a single step and on the first day of the

implementation of the final agreement.

The factsheet also necessitates commitment of both sides to their

undertakings based on the Geneva agreement, a fair and reasonable balance

between the gives and takes, taking good care not to impair the country’s

security and military boundaries and national interests, providing 190,000

SWUs (Separative Work Units) of nuclear fuel enrichment capability needed by

Iran to produce fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant immediately after

the end of contract with Russia, safeguarding the nuclear achievements,

actual operation of all nuclear facilities of Iran not in words, but in

action, continued Research and Development (R&D) works and scientific and

technological progress in Iran and immediate application of R&D findings in

the country’s industrial-scale uranium enrichment cycle.

The factsheet urges operation of 10,000 centrifuge machines at Natanz and

Fordo, a maximum 5-year-long duration for the deal and for Iran’s nuclear

limitations, replacement of the current centrifuges with the latest

generation of home-made centrifuge machines at the end of the five-year

period.

Enrichment Program:

The period for the Join Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should be

limited to five years, in which about 10,000 active centrifuges operating at

Natanz and Fordo now will continue nuclear fuel production by enriching

uranium below the 5% grade.

The UF6 enriched reserves which are under the supervision of the

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be kept at Fordo nuclear

plant and will be turned into nuclear fuel complex based on the existing

capabilities.

During the five-year period, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to

keep the excess centrifuges installed at Natanz and Fordo or will gradually

dismantle them, and at the end of the 5-year period, it will replace all the

existing centrifuges, including the active or inactive ones, with the new

generation of (IR-N) centrifuge machines with the help of the new spaces and

infrastructures which will have been already prepared and will use them

without any limitation.

Justification:

Based on the Geneva agreement, the period for the final step should merely

include a single period which has been considered as to be five years in the

present factsheet. But in the Lausanne statement, different periods of 10,

20, 25 years and higher have been considered.

Given the Geneva agreement, the amount of enrichment should be specified

based on the country’s practical needs and the number of 10,000 centrifuges

has also been specified on this basis.

The 5-year period in this factsheet has been has been specified with respect

to the date when Iran’s nuclear fuel contract with Russia for the Bushehr

nuclear power plant will end; hence, the rules and limitations for the

components of the enrichment cycle should be set in such a way that the

Islamic Republic of Iran will be able to supply the fuel needed for the

power plant after the end of the contract with Russia.

Operation of 10,000 centrifuges and developing and having a 10-ton enriched

uranium stockpile will enable the Islamic Republic of Iran to supply the

fuel needed for the Bushehr power plant in the year when the fuel supply

contract with Russia (28-30 tons) ends.

Fordo installations:

Fordo nuclear facility will remain an enrichment and nuclear Research and

Development (R&D) center. 4 enrichment cascades with 656 centrifuges will

continue operation and production of fuel for purity levels lower than 5% by

maintaining the current chain arrangements.

If the country would need 20%-degree (enriched) uranium, the nuclear fuel

production line for purity levels lower than 5% will be altered to enrich

uranium to the 20%-grade after connecting the centrifuge cascades to each

other again.

Justification:

Based on the above, Fordo will remain an actual and active center, and the

Islamic Republic of Iran will maintain its capability to reverse its

decision and restore the 20%-grade enrichment.

Research and Development (R&D):

In a bid to use R&D findings in the country’s industrial-scale enrichment

chain, R&D should be planned in a way that the necessary possibilities and

infrastructures will be provided for replacing the first generation of

centrifuges with the latest generation of centrifuge machines (IR-N) when

the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action comes to an end after 5 years.

The R&D program should undergo no limitation before it comes into use for

industrial-scale operation.

Justification:

Accordingly, the advanced centrifuges will enter the chain of nuclear fuel

production without any restriction at the end of the 5-year deal.

Arak Heavy Water Reactor:

Given the Group 5+1 countries’ mere concern about the plutonium existing in

the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) of the Arak 40-MW heavy water reactor, the fuel

used by the reactor will be sent abroad.

The G5+1 states will be committed to cooperate and take the necessary

measures for relevant international licensing and permissions.

Justification:

Given the SNF export abroad, the insistence of the G5+1, specially the US,

on redesigning the said reactor is merely a pretext and doesn’t have any

scientific rationale.

What is more important than the heavy water nature of Arak reactor is the

core of the reactor which is due to be taken out and then be redesigned and

renovated. Such a move is irreversible in nature, and thus means crossing

the specified redlines.

Supervision and Inspection:

Supervision and inspections of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear

program should be carried out within the framework of the the

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreements.

Justification:

Once done, the principle stated by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic

Revolution – that security and military sanctities and boundaries shouldn’t

be violated and that the inspections should be carried out at conventional

levels similar to all other countries – will be respected and materialized.

Given the Islamic Republic of Iran’s opposition to the world arrogance,

endorsing and implementing the Additional Protocol will provide the world

arrogance (a term normally used for the US and its western allies) with

legal grounds to stage their preplanned plots against the Islamic Republic

of Iran.

Sanctions:

Concurrently with the start of the JCPOA, all the US and EU sanctions will

be terminated and Iran will start fulfilling its undertakings based on the

verification of the IAEA.

The UN Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran will be annulled

and all nuclear-related sanctions will be terminated and the Islamic

Republic of Iran’s case will be normalized.

The G5+1 countries, the EU and the UNSC will avoid imposition of new

nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

Justification:

By terminating all sanctions in a single step right at the start of the

implementation of the final comprehensive agreement, the Supreme Leader’s

statement that termination of sanctions is part of the agreement and not its

result will be materialized.

Based on the Geneva agreement, after the implementation of the JCPOA, all

UNSC, US and EU sanctions should be terminated and no new (UNSC) resolution

would be needed in this regard; Hence, terminating the UNSC sanctions will

close the case and no new resolution which would pave the ground for new

plots will be issued.

International cooperation:

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear cooperation with the world states,

including the G5+1 members, in areas of building nuclear power plants,

research reactors, nuclear fuel production, nuclear safety medicine and

nuclear agriculture, etc. will be possible and will improve. Based on the

JCPOA, Iran will be provided with access to the global market, trade and

finance and technical know-how and energy.

Reversibility:

In case of the two sides’ non-commitment to their undertakings, there will

be a possibility for reversing all measures.

Justification:

Based on the aforementioned proposal, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be

provided with reversible measures at the lowest level of damage and,

therefore, the G5+1’s commitment to its undertakings will be in fair balance

(with those of Iran).

Duration of the JCPOA:

After the end of the five-year period and the JCPOA exercise, all

restrictions will be lifted and based on the Geneva agreement, the case with

the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program will be similar to that of

the other NPT member states.

The Iranian Parliament factsheet for a revision to the Lausanne agreement

came after the US released a factsheet different from the joint statement

issued by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Federica

Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs

and head of the G5+1 in nuclear talks with Iran, at the end of the latest

round of Iran-world powers nuclear talks in Switzerland on April 2, known as

the Lausanne statement.

The US factsheet that was released only a few hours after the Lausanne

framework understanding caused fury in Iran, encouraging many to raise deep

doubt about the results of the talks and US accountability and

trustworthiness.

In only a few weeks, a bipartisan bill was also presented to the Congress

for vote that would give the US legislature oversight of a final deal, a

move seen by many across the globe, including both Iran and the US, as

furthering impediments to the endorsement of a final deal between Iran and

the sextet.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker, who wrote

the bill, said the White House had agreed to go along with the bill only

after it was clear there was strong Democratic support. The legislation was

passed unanimously by the committee and is expected to pass the full Senate

and then the House of Representatives.

“That change occurred only when they saw how many senators were going to

vote for this,” Corker said.

Bipartisan support for the bill had grown in recent weeks to near the 67

votes needed to override any presidential veto. But senators from Obama’s

Democratic Party did succeed in adding amendments to water down the bill,

making it more palatable to the White House.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/04/list-of-obamas-lies-and-iranian-fact-sheet-that-completely-contradicts-white-house.html/#sthash.7U9xYXj0.dpuf

‘No end to sanctions, no agreement’: Iran sticks to nuclear deal demands

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There’ll be no deal on Tehran’s nuclear program without the simultaneous lifting of all sanctions against Iran, President Hassan Rouhani stressed, echoing an earlier statement by Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht. “The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran.”

By signing the deal, Tehran wants to end its international isolation and build a “constructive interaction with the world and not confrontation,” he said.

Rouhani also stressed that Iran is in negotiations with P5+1 powers (China, France, Russia, UK, US and Germany), but not the US Congress, referring to the standoff between President Obama’s administration and lawmakers over the nuclear deal.

A unanimous vote by a Senate committee on Tuesday, which granted Congress the power to review a potential Iran nuclear deal after a June 30 deadline is a US domestic matter, he said.

Read more

Netanyahu’s biggest fear? That Iran ‘honors nuclear deal’

The vote came as a result of a compromise between the White House and the Senators, which allowed Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the agreement before it can be completed. The development was praised by Israel, which has been a persistent critic of the Iranian nuclear deal, repeatedly stating that it “would not block Iran’s path to the [nuclear] bomb. It would pave it.”

“The compromise reached in the Senate [committee] is a good one and a very important development,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio. He called the vote “an achievement for Israeli policy” after Tel Aviv has rallied its allies in the Congress in an attempt to block the Iranian deal.

Another round of talks involving Iranian and international negotiators, aimed at turning the framework agreement, reached earlier this month, into a final deal, is scheduled to begin on April 21.

Several complex technical issues will be on the agenda, including the timetable for a lifting of international sanctions.

Read more

Tehran and world powers reach solutions on Iran nuclear program

Iran said it will scale down its nuclear program and agree unprecedented inspections of its activities in the field in exchange for the removal of all restrictive measures against the country on the same day the deal is struck.

However, the world powers lean towards gradual lifting of the sanctions and want a mechanism developed to ensure they can be quickly re-imposed if Tehran violates the agreement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif may meet up with his counterparts from P5+1 powers in New York later in April to keep discussing the deal, his Ministry said.

“It could be possible that negotiations take place on the sidelines” of the review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which starts on April 27, Marzieh Afkham, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, is cited by AFP.

Iran was placed under harsh international sanctions as the West believes that it is developing its nuclear program to make an atomic bomb. The accusations have been denied by Tehran throughout 12 years of tensions, as it claims that the nuclear energy is needed purely for civilian purposes, such as cancer treatment and energy supplies.

Facing Certain Override, Obama Caves in to Congress and Reality

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Oh my, third pig-flying moment today. If you ever considered buying a lottery ticket, may I suggest that today would be the day. First this, then this, now this: “the Senate today finally threw up a roadblock in front of Obama and his mad dash to give Iran the H-Bomb. But that’s not really the headline, which is, Facing Certain Override, Obama Caves in to Congress and Reality.” (thanks to Dan F)

History was made today.

The first time since his inauguration that one of Obama’s pet policy objectives has been turned back at the door. May this set a precedent for the final years of this disastrous presidency. And may Congress go from strength to strength (DF)

The Congress is our only hope against this siege by an unstable enemy.

This afternoon, Congress took a step forward in the fight to protect the world from a nuclear Iran. A bipartisan bill that calls for congressional oversight on any final nuclear deal with Iran has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 19 to 0.(TIP)

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(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama dropped his opposition on Tuesday to a bill giving Congress a voice on a nuclear deal with Iran after members of his Democratic Party negotiated changes to the bill that had won strong support from both parties.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama, who had said he would veto the proposed bill because it could scuttle the emerging Iran deal, could accept compromises that drew bipartisan Senate support.

“What we have made clear to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is that the president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee,” Earnest said.

The compromise bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously and is expected to pass the full Senate.

It requires the Obama administration to send the text of a final agreement to Congress as soon as it is completed, and blocks Obama’s ability to waive many U.S. sanctions on Iran while Congress reviews the deal.

It allows a final vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by Congress in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear capabilities.

“The proper role for Congress in this effort is the consideration of the sanctions that Congress put in place themselves,” Earnest told reporters. “It would not be an up or down vote on the deal.”

United Nations sanctions and those imposed by other countries could be lifted if an agreement is reached on restricting Iran’s nuclear program by a June 30 target date.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker, who wrote the bill, said the White House had agreed to go along with it only after it was clear there was strong Democratic support. “That change occurred only when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this,” Corker said.

The bill that passed cut to 30 days from 60 the time in which Congress can review any final nuclear agreement and eliminated the requirement that Obama certify that Iran is not supporting acts of terrorism against the United States.

Instead, it requires the administration to send Congress regular, detailed reports on a range of issues including Iran’s support for terrorism, ballistic missiles and nuclear program.

Obama has invested enormous political capital throughout his presidency in securing an international agreement to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, relying on tight sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy and forced it to negotiate.

Earnest told reporters Obama had also insisted that there should be bipartisan agreement that this would be the only legislation governing Congress’s oversight of the Iran deal.

Some Republicans, and a few hawkish Democrats, have pushed additional sanctions to put even more pressure on Iran but those bills were put on hold while the Corker bill moved forward.

Obama had warned that allowing Congress to vote directly on a final nuclear agreement would undermine Iran’s faith in Washington’s commitment to uphold a deal.

A framework deal with Tehran reached by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States on April 2 is part of an effort to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and not to develop weapons capability, as many in the West fear.

RUSSIAN MISSILES

Russia on Monday introduced a new wrinkle into the convoluted international wrangling around the nuclear talks by lifting a self-imposed ban on delivering its S-300 missile defense system to Tehran.

The move did not formally violate international sanctions, and the State Department said the administration did not believe it would disrupt the unity at the talks, but Secretary of State John Kerry raised concerns with Moscow.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill shortly. Lawmakers will have the chance to offer additional amendments before that vote, but the White House said it would veto the bill if it were changed.

Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters said they would fight any effort to make the bill more restrictive.

“If this bill is altered in ways that threaten this once-in- a-lifetime opportunity, to deal with a looming crisis, I will use every tool at my disposal to stop that from happening,” said Senator Barbara Boxer.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Bill Trott; Editing by David Storey, James Dalgleish and Ken Wills)

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/04/facing-certain-override-obama-caves-in-to-congress-and-reality.html/#sthash.1hjHWSQa.dpuf

Obama officially asks Congress to remove Cuba off terror list

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The United States no longer wants to list Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, the White House announced. Its removal is a key step in President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize relations between the US and Cuba.

Obama submitted the legally required report and certification documents to Congress needed to officially remove Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, the White House National Security Council tweeted Tuesday.

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We will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama’s decision came after the State Department reviewed Cuba’s presence on the list, AP reported. The US has not actively accused Cuba of supporting terrorism in years.

“Put simply, [Obama] is acting to remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list because Cuba is not a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting, tweeted.

Read more

Obama, Castro in first sit-down between US, Cuban leaders in more than 50 years

The move to clear Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list comes just two days after a historic meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama.

It was the first meeting of leaders from the the two countries in over 50 years ‒ since before the Cuban Revolution, in which Castro’s brother Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban government in 1959.

In last April’s annual Country Report on Terrorism, the State Department admitted that Cuba did not belong on the list.

“There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups,” the report said. It did note that Cuba has historic ties to two regional terrorist groups ‒ the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) in Spain and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ‒ bus said the ties “have become more distant.”

Cuba was placed on the list in 1982, due to its support for armed revolutionary groups in Latin America.

“Circumstances have changed since 1982,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “Our Hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago. Our determination, pursuant to the facts, including corroborative assurances received from the Government of Cuba and the statutory standard, is that the time has come to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

In his message to Congress as he submitted the necessary documents, Obama said the government of Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism” over the last six months. He also told lawmakers that Cuba “has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) applauded the move on Twitter.

“[White House] and State Dept agree it’s time to remove Cuba from Terrorism list,” he wrote. “Good move. The list should mean something. It means more now.”

If Cuba is removed, the remaining countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism list would be Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Final removal requires congressional action within 45 days. If Congress approves, it would pave the way for the US to open an embassy in Havana, and Cuba to open an embassy in Washington, DC.