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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘IAEA’

Iran: False Assumptions

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The Iranian Supreme Leader announced last week that further negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program are ended, asserting that “jihad” will continue until America is destroyed.

Whatever the future of a nuclear “deal” with Iran, still missing are both an analysis of what specific deal is technically required to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program compared to what is now on the table, and whether the assumptions many in the West bring for an agreement to succeed hold up under scrutiny.

To answer the first problem, an analysis by Gregory Jones of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) explores the faults with the current proposals.

First, according to Jones, Iran can still quickly produce Highly Enriched Uranium [HEU], the stuff from which nuclear weapons are built. As Jones emphasizes, “this means Iran is already a de facto nuclear weapon state.” Any agreements, therefore, must “deny Iran access to HEU either in the short or long term,” as well as prevent Iran’s Arak nuclear reactor from being “reconverted to be able to produce” plutonium from which nuclear bomb fuel can be made.

Second, under the terms of the interim deal, Iran “will have an unrestricted centrifuge enrichment program,” thus legitimizing Iran’s desire for such a program, as well as any other country that desires nuclear weapons. Jones explains that IAEA inspections also must provide for the “timely detection” of any diversion of produced nuclear fuel.

Third, Iran should therefore have no “centrifuge enrichment capability” precisely because “commercial scale centrifuge enrichment facilities can produce HEU so quickly that these facilities are unsafeguardable as timely detection of diversion is impossible.” Jones also emphasizes that just because there has not been any diversion of nuclear fuel to date, does not mean that no such diversion will ever take place in Iran in the future.

The second critical issue is whether the assumptions of those convinced an agreement with Iran is possible at all are correct. These assumptions vary but they usually fall into six categories.

1) Iran will never use a nuclear weapon, even if it has one.

2) Iran is simply trying to defend itself from a bullying United States that has a history of pushing for regime change.

3) Any use of a nuclear device would easily be detected as to the country of origin, including Iran.

4) Similarly, Iran’s ballistic missiles — designed to deliver a nuclear warhead — are simply a deterrent needed in a bad neighborhood and their use could be readily attributed to Tehran.

5) Should Iran decide to build a nuclear warhead, US intelligence will readily detect such a move.

6) There are no real options other than “diplomacy,” and if we could talk to the Soviets during the Cold War, we can certainly talk to the Iranian mullahs now.

But are these assumptions true?

On assumptions #1 and #2: Iran has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and a “world without” the United States. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former President, for example, has stated that “the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

On assumption #3: The U.S. has made progress on nuclear forensics but does not have the ability accurately to detect the origin of a nuclear explosion. Worse, an electromagnetic pulse [EMP] bomb would not leave any nuclear debris to be analyzed.

On assumption #4: Iran’s ballistic missiles can be instruments of coercion, blackmail and terror, even if never launched. Tens of thousands of Iranian-built rockets and missiles have been transferred to Hamas and Hezbollah for just that purpose.

Iran Reaches Accords on its Nuclear Program with UN Agency

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Iran reportedly will allow the United Nations to investigate possible military uses for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The agreement reported by news services on Sunday was among seven accords made by Iran during meetings with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The talks began Saturday.

Iran reportedly also agreed to provide information and access to a uranium mine, a nuclear yellowcake plant and a laser center, as well as answer questions about the Arak heavy water reactor.

Press TV, the Iranian state television network, reported Sunday that Iran and the IAEA released a joint statement reviewing progress on an agreement struck three months ago.

The negotiations are separate from Iran’s talks with the United States and other world powers, which are set to restart on Feb. 18.

Under an interim plan first agreed to in November with the world powers, Iran reportedly has frozen most of its nuclear enrichment capability, including not installing or starting up additional centrifuges or using next-generation centrifuges.

In return, the world powers have provided Iran with some economic sanctions relief. Under the deal, Iran will continue to enrich uranium up to 5 percent.

The interim deal is for six months as Iran and the world powers work to negotiate a final deal.

Arabs Launch the Great ‘Polonium Poisoned Arafat’ Hoax

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority is trumpeting a Swiss report that Israel killed Yasser Arafat with polonium, but chemists have told The Jewish Press that the basis for the accusations is “nonsense.”

Arafat died nine years ago next month, and the Palestine Liberation Organization from day one has accused Israel of murdering him. The idea that Israel poisoned him with polonium surfaced last year after when Al Jazeera reported that high levels of the radioactive substance polonium were found on Arafat’s clothing.

His body then was exhumed for an examination, but the report on the results had been postponed time and time again, without explanation, leading to the reasonable conclusion that the PA was not able to come up with the needed evidence.

Now, just in time for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to throw a screwball at the  brain dead “peace talks” that are slowly returning to the grave,  the Lancet publication has published a report by Swiss radiation experts that “support the possibility” Arafat was poisoned to death.

Raising the “possibility” gets the Palestinian Authority off the hook. It cannot prove Arafat was poisoned and in effect is saying, “Go prove that Israel did not poison him.”

The Jewish Press is proving it indeed did not.

Chemists told The Jewish Press that not only is the report ridiculous in terms of chemistry, but there also are plenty of easier and less traceable ways to murder someone.

Given the admitted disappearance of polonium over a period of years, Israel would have had to use millions of times more polonium than what remains.

The Lancet report jibes well with the entire Palestinian Authority ideology, which history eventually will show as being a pack of lies that the “objective” media report as fact.  The report in Lancet really is not much different from what Al Jazeera reported last year when it quoted Francois Bochud, the head of the Institute of Radiation Physics, who said his team “did find some significant polonium” in Arafat’s belongings before the exhumation.”

Making the Lancet report even more suspicious is that it was written by the same Swiss scientists of the Institute for Radiation Physics who did the initial testing that was published by Al Jazeera. In other words, the not-so-independent experts reviewed their own work.

Even the exhumation smelled fishy. As Elder of Ziyon pointed out last year, “A Palestinian pathologist was the only person allowed to touch the body when Arafat’s grave was opened.”

He took 60 samples for the probe. The Lancet report states that eight scientists carried out radiological tests on 73 samples, 28 from Arafat’s clothes and toothbrush, which had saliva stains, and 37 on “reference” samples of cotton clothing that had conveniently been kept for a decade.

“Several samples containing body fluid stains (blood and urine) contained higher unexplained polonium 210 activities than the reference samples,” says the case report. “These findings support the possibility of Arafat’s poisoning with polonium 210.”

It concluded that after taking into consideration polonium’s delay, the remaining levels of polonium  mean that a lethal dose would have been astronomical.

If polonium had been used to kill Arafat, his hair would have fallen out,chemists told The Jewish Press.

The scientists acknowledged this fact, without comment, except to add that “an autopsy would have been useful” at the time of his death.

Of course, the Palestinian Authority did not want to do such thing in 2004 because there was no evidence of any poisoning.

Beatrice Schaad, head of communications at the Vaudois University Hospital Center that is in charge of the Institute, told AFP that the report in Lancet simply is the scientific version of last year’s report and, “There is still no conclusion that he was poisoned.”

One chemist, who said his name cannot be used because he works for a large Israeli chemicals firm, told The Jewish Press , “Why would Israel choose polonium to kill Arafat when there are lots of other substances that can cause death a lot quicker and that are not traceable?

Dr. Avraham Rotman, said, “Polonium 210 has a half-life of 138 days; it is hard to imagine that it could be detected in a small sample after nine years.”

“Half-life” means the radioactivity of a sample drops by half during the specified period. After eight years, when Arafat’s body was exhumed, virtually nothing would be left unless it came for a natural source that could replenish the polonium or unless he had been injected with enough polonium to kill a herd of elephants.

UN Rejects Arab Anti-Israel Nuclear Resolution

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The UN’s 159 member nuclear assembly voted down an Arab League non-binding resolution that singled out Israel for its alleged nuclear arsenal and demanded that Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). There has been a recent attempt by the Arabs to use the focus on Syria’s use of chemical weapons as an excuse and an attempt to refocus the spotlight on Israel.

The resolution was voted down 51 countries to 43, the remaining countries abstained or were not present for the vote.

If it had passed, pressure would have been placed on Israel to sign the NPT and allow in IAEA inspectors.

Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) as has not openly acknowledged if it has nuclear weapons or not. It is believed that Israel has more than 80 nuclear bombs.

Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, is actively seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, has tricked IAEA inspectors, and has repeatedly stated that Israel should be destroyed.

The resolution failed to pass due to the efforts of the Israeli foreign ministry, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. For many, this is proof positive that it is possible to actively fight the anti-Israel resolutions that regularly single out Israel for attack in the UN.

 

 

‘Moderate’ Rouhani Misled West, Sneaked in Centrifuges?

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

There is a particularly interesting aspect to the video that has recently surfaced, in which Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, gloats over Iran’s success in coopting European negotiators to keep the Iranian nuclear program on track in the mid-2000s, in spite of pressure from the United States.

The video clip, from an Iranian news-program interview of Rouhani in Farsi, was published by Reza Khalili.  Ryan Mauro highlights it at the Clarion Project, tying it to a report from 31 July in which Mauro outlined Rouhani’s extensive history of using deception about the Iranian nuclear program back when he was the chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran.

The deception and Rouhani’s gloating are important (see especially his characterization of the top-cover he received from European negotiators); I will let readers visit the reports and soak in the information at your leisure.  What I want to focus on here is the timeline Rouhani refers to in the video.  If he is telling the truth – and there is no obvious reason why he would lie about the timing he refers to – the timeline he outlines for bringing Iranian centrifuge cascades online in substantial numbers makes a poignant contrast with the reporting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the time.

The contrast highlights just how in the dark IAEA was during this period, at least about the centrifuges.  (It’s also worth highlighting, in general, the timeline of what was going on during the EU-brokered negotiations Rouhani refers to in the video.)  Certainly, many in the West had an uneasy suspicion that, by the end of 2005, Iran may have accomplished more than IAEA was officially aware of.  But, as late as February 2006, IAEA acknowledged the following decisive condition:

Due to the fact that no centrifuge related raw materials and components are under Agency seal, the Agency is unable effectively to monitor the R&D activities being carried out by Iran except at the [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant],* where containment and surveillance measures are being applied to the enrichment process.

Rouhani’s timeline

The full timeline from the video develops as follows.  Rouhani summarizes it between the time hacks of 3:45 and 4:30.  His overall allusion is to the period from October 2003 to August 2005, when he was the chief negotiator for the Iranian nuclear program.

His initial discussion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr contains no surprises; it is couched in the following terms:

- First phase of Bushehr project completed – Beginning of 2004

- Next phase completed – Fall of 2004

These references are presumably to Russia’s completion of facility construction, which was noted at the time in Western reporting.

- Project completed – March 2005

This is probably a reference to an agreement between Russia and Iran, concluded in February 2005, under which Moscow would supply the enriched-uranium fuel for the light-water reactor at Bushehr.  (See here as well for a summary from 2006 alluding to the 2005 agreement.)

iran-nuc-facs

So far, so good.  Next, Rouhani speaks of the heavy-water reactor, or the plutonium reactor at Arak.

- “Production” started at the heavy-water plant – Summer of 2004

Construction of the reactor was begun in June of 2004, but Rouhani here appears to be referring to the heavy-water production plant (HWPP), a particular component of the Arak reactor system, which reportedly began operation (i.e., the production of heavy water) in November 2004.

In this walk back through the Iranian nuclear program, it is worth recalling what the official line was about Arak at the time, in the big middle of the EU-3 talks with Iran:

Iran has started building a research reactor that could eventually produce enough plutonium for one bomb per year, ignoring calls to scrap the project, diplomats close to the United Nations said on Thursday. …

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran had created a “confidence deficit” by concealing parts of its atomic program for nearly two decades and urged Tehran to improve its transparency and cooperation with U.N. inspectors. A concluding statement from this week’s IAEA governing board meeting said the 35 members unanimously said it was “essential that Iran provide full transparency and extend proactive cooperation to the agency.” …

“Iranian Agent” ElBaradei Appointed Interim Egyptian PM

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Following the military coup that ousted the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has been appointed interim Prime Minister of Egypt.

ElBaradei received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work as chairman of the International Atomic Entergy Agency (IAEA). And he was one of the Egyptian leaders that led to the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak.

But Israel has a very different and not particularly positive view of the man.

In 2011, Israeli officials made some very harsh accusations against ElBaradei, including calling him an “agent of Iran”, claiming that ElBaradei assisted Iran in covering up their nuclear program. In the past, ElBaradei  defended the Iranian nuclear program, claiming it was peaceful.

Eventually ElBaradei”exposed” some information about the Iranian nuclear program and said they “might” be attempting to build nuclear weapons, but Israel said, that none of the information he “exposed” was unknown or even new.

On his part, ElBaradei said there was a perceived double-standard in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons program and in particular, Israel’s not being a signatory to the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty). ElBaradei wants Israel to sign the NPT, which would then force Israel to open up its nuclear weapons cache (if it exists) to foreign scrutiny.

Iran is a signatory to the NPT, but that obviously hasn’t stopped them from pursuing nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei told the New York Times in 2009 that “Israel would be utterly crazy to attack Iran”.

In 2011 he also told Der Spiegel in an interview that Israel has a peace treaty with a single man [Mubarak], not Egypt.

Congratulations Egypt.

New Iran Crisis Looming

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Confirmed: Iran has installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, while continuing enrichment activities, and is creating a plutonium enrichment plant at Arak.

At a time when news headlines from the Middle East are dominated by battles in Syria, growing Sunni-Shi’ite conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and mass disturbances in Turkey, it is easy to forget about Iran’s nuclear program; but early warning indicators are signaling an impending, explosive crisis over Iran’s refusal to halt its covert nuclear weapons program.

At enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, Iran is continuing to inch closer to the point of nuclear breakout, as a report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently noted.

The report confirmed what defense analysts had been saying for months: that Iran installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, enhancing its nuclear program, while continuing enrichment activities.

Tehran has also taken steps to create a parallel path to nuclear weapons through its plutonium plant at Arak.

Iranian engineers are constructing a reactor at the heavy water plant at Arak, which could enable the production of a plutonium-based atomic bomb.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to deny IAEA inspectors access to its suspected nuclear trigger facility at Parchin, and has been busy shifting earth around the site to cover its activities. At this point, the IAEA said, even if inspectors were allowed to visit, the cover-up would mean they may not find a thing.

These developments have led leading Israeli defense experts at the Institute for National Security Institute in Tel Aviv to conclude that unless the White House soon adjusts its policy on Iran, the U.S. may end up adopting a policy of nuclear containment rather than prevention.

The analysts, Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the INSS, and Ephraim Asculai, a senior research associate, questioned President Barack Obama’s assertion that the US will know ahead of time if Iran took a decision to produce nuclear weapons. They cited historical failures by intelligence agencies, and cautioned that relying on the IAEA to identify the danger in time could prove disastrous.

Even if a timely warning were received, they said, it remains unclear that there would enough time to reverse Iran’s trajectory, or that the White House would be willing to employ force.

Most importantly, their paper said that it is now “blatantly apparent” that the diplomatic approach for solving the Iranian crisis has failed, “even though the US administration has yet to admit this.”

Their stance was echoed on Monday by the United Nation’s top nuclear diplomat, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Amano told the IAEA’s board of governors that talks with Iran are simply “going around in circles,” and described the past ten rounds of negotiations as failures.

Using unusually blunt language to underscore the dead-end situation, Amano said: “To be frank, for some time now, we have been going around in circles. This is not the right way to address issues of such great importance to the international community, including Iran.”

Iran’s intransigence, and its unwillingness to cooperate or provide assurances about the absence of nuclear material and activities were all to blame, he said.

“These activities are in clear contravention of resolutions adopted by the Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council,” Amano added.

Israel, which is more threatened by Iran’s nuclear program than is the U.S., as well as militarily weaker than Washington, has less time to make its up mind on how and when to proceed to avert a threat to its existence.

Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, reflected the urgency of the situation in a warning he sent out to the public last week. “Time is running out,” he said. “We have only a few months. The danger is a global one, which will change the face of history. Iran could have hundreds of atomic bombs and hundreds of long-range missiles.”

He added: “The danger is many times bigger than North Korea.”

Against this background, the Israeli military’s former intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, and former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James Cartwright USMC (ret.), published an analysis in the Atlantic examining what would happen if either Israel or the US launched military strikes on Iran’s nuclear program.

Yadlin and Cartwright simulated a classified phone call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, which would take place later this year. During the call, the two leaders agree that the diplomatic-sanctions route to stopping Iran has failed.

Their starting position is the current situation, and the timing of their piece is not coincidental. Their envisaged phone call may well occur sooner rather than later.

A central conclusion reached by the defense figures is that Israel has the highest moral authority to launch military action, as it faces the greatest threat.

Practically, an Israeli strike might also safeguard the U.S.’s ability to act as a broker and negotiate a permanent diplomatic solution to the crisis after a strike – a role the U.S. could not undertake if it carried out the strike itself. Nevertheless, the U.S. enjoys superior military capabilities to launch such an operation.

Iran’s response to an attack from either side could range from a limited retaliation to launching a regional war.

The other day, an Israeli defense official said the production of Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile defense systems – which intercept incoming long-range missiles in space – have been fast-tracked.

Eight months ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the international community at the United Nations that the clock was ticking for a resolution to the Iranian crisis, and that time could be up by the spring or summer of 2013.

A growing number of alarms are ringing.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/new-iran-crisis-looming/2013/06/12/

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