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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘International Atomic Energy Agency’

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.

Head of US Central Command: Iran Sanctions Useless

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

It’s official: the U.S. approach of mixing sanctions and diplomatic outreach in order to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program is not getting the job done. So testified the top U.S. commander in the Middle East before a Senate committee on Tuesday, describing the Iranian side as using denial and deceit while it continues “enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose.”

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, warned that he believes Iran is using the endless, ongoing negotiations simply to buy time, AP reported.

“That should not be in any way construed as we should not try to negotiate. I still support the direction we’re taking,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I’m just — I’m paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”

Mattis’ no-nonsense view should work like a bucket of icy water poured over any Western diplomat’s remaining delusions regarding the course of sanctions and talks. In fact,

Continuing international worries and uncertainty over the purpose of Iran’s enrichment programs. Tehran denies any work on, or interest in, nuclear weapons, but international leaders believe its uranium enrichment is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Yukiya Amano, the director general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Monday that he cannot guarantee that Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful. Not as long as Tehran remains uncooperative and inspectors are not allowed access to sites where they believe work on weapons development is taking place.

The Obama administration has not ruled out—at least theoretically—using military action to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon. Gen. Mattis told senators that the U.S. military has the capability of forcing Iran to shut down its nuclear business.

“There are number of means to do that,” he said, “perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that’s one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., asked what the U.S. needs to do to prove that it is serious that it will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran.

“I fear that if they (Iran) continue to use negotiations to delay, that we will be at a point where they have nuclear-weapons capability, and then it’s too late,” she said.

Gen. Mattis pointed out that Iran is still dangerously involved in the civil war in Syria, backing the Bashar Assad regime against rebel forces, and that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is directly involved in the fighting, with assistance from foreign mercenaries.

The General said chemical weapons sites in Syria are more vulnerable today, even after some of the weapons have been stored in more secure locations.

“Our planning is taking this into account to the degree that it can. And I’ll just tell you that we have options prepared,” he said.

Gen. Mattis noted that should the Assad regime fall, it would cause the “biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.” Assad’s collapse, Mattis believes, would push Iran to arm and fund militias inside Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Asked about arming the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, Mattis said he was troubled by the fact that a “significant minority” of the rebel forces has extremist Islamic views and are linked to al-Qaida.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/head-of-us-central-command-iran-sanctions-useless/2013/03/06/

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