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Friedman: ‘Any rational person would know we can’t return to the JCPOA’

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David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, is slated to leave office Wednesday as the next administration will begin.

In a final interview before his departure, Friedman said he is concerned about the next administration and the Iran nuclear threat, according to an article by The Jerusalem Post.

“I am worried about one thing in particular: about Iran,” Friedman said.

President-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy team includes top Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state, Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser. Former secretary of state John Kerry and ex-national security adviser Susan Rice were also appointed to senior posts. This team was involved in creating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“The Iran band is back together again,” Friedman said. “You’d have to not be paying attention not to be concerned about Iran, given [their] prominent positions.”

Moreover, Biden has indicated his desire to return to the Iran deal — which President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018 — while Israel is warning against the deal.

Last week, Walla News reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is assembling a team to strategize for the first talks with the Biden administration on Iran’s nuclear program.

Also last week, Netanyahu warned against the U.S. rejoining the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If we just go back to the JCPOA, what will happen and may already be happening is that many other countries in the Middle East will rush to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. That is a nightmare and that is folly. It should not happen,” Netanyahu said.

Friedman hopes appointees will realize returning to the Iran deal now will be drastically different than how it was in 2015.

“In 2015, reasonable minds could disagree,” he said. “Someone could give the benefit of the doubt and think the Iran deal was a good idea. The premise was that Iran would self-modulate… Now we know they didn’t. They destroyed Yemen, attacked America in Iraq, attacked Israel from Syria and funded Hezbollah, Israel’s greatest risk on any border.”

Friedman added, “I’m hoping any rational person would know we can’t return to the JCPOA, but the news reports [indicate] trouble.”

Netanyahu thanked Friedman for “fixing the injustices and discrimination that the diplomatic world has subjected Israel to over the years, for establishing Jerusalem as the nation’s capital, and for many more acts that have yet to be told.”

“Over the years, I have met many ambassadors from many countries, including the US, our great ally. I can safely say that there has never been a greater ambassador than David Friedman in strengthening the deep relationship between Israel and the US,” Netanyahu tweeted Monday.

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Meta to reinstate Trump’s Facebook, Instagram ‘in coming weeks’

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Meta’s president of Global Affairs Nick Clegg announced former President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be reinstated “in coming weeks” after a more than two-year suspension.

“Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] has sufficiently receded,” Meta Clegg said in a blog post. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

Twitter restored Trump’s account in November following its takeover by billionaire Elon Musk, but the former president has not yet resumed tweeting. Therefore it is unclear if he will use any of his former social media platforms, or instead remain on his own social media platform, Truth Social.

Clegg said “We just do not want — if he is to return to our services — for him to do what he did on January 6, which is to use our services to delegitimize the 2024 election, much as he sought to discredit the 2020 election.”

New “guardrails” include new policies around restricting accounts by public figures during civil unrest. Under those policies, Meta can decide to restrict the account of a public figure that violates its community standards for a time ranging from one month to two years.

“If he now posts further violating content, that content will be removed, of course, and he could be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” Clegg said.

Posts will also be able to be limited on distribution without removing them or temporarily restricting access to its advertising tools. “Oblique references to QAnon content, for instance … is the kind of material that — even if it’s done obliquely, and doesn’t violate our community standards — we would seek to restrict the distribution of the content and/or restrict his ability to advertise,” added Clegg.

 

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