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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear proliferation’

Report: Iran Deal Reached — on Sanctions Relief

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

A tentative deal on sanctions relief may have been reached between the six world powers and Iran negotiating in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear development program.

According to a report by The Associated Press, the agreement will still require signatures by senior officials in Iran, as well as those of the U.S. and five other nations involved in the talks.

The most recent deadline set for conclusion of the talks is coming up in two more days: July 7. But that is also not a fixed date. Senior U.S. officials told reporters in Vienna that if necessary, negotiators will push past that deadline as well.

The current document under consideration outlines which sanctions will be lifted, when and how.

Despite recent proclamations by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisting that all sanctions be lifted at once, Iranian negotiators are quietly speaking a different language.

As centrifuges are disconnected, some sanctions will be lifted. As the country’s nuclear stockpile is reduced, more will be lifted. When the heavy water reactor in the city of Arak is converted to produce plutonium that is not weapons grade, then more sanctions will be lifted.

“The actual [sanctions] termination will happen on the date that Iran will have finished its work,” a senior Iranian official told The Wall Street Journal.

A determined U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry carried on with meetings in Vienna on Saturday – July 4 – together with his counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, despite the American Independence Day holiday. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was likewise engaged in talks with his counterpart, Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi as well, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Yukiya Amano, head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also told reporters in Vienna on Saturday that he had agreed to end an investigation into Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons research by the end of this year.

“With the cooperation from Iran I think we can issue a report by the end of the year on the assessment of the clarification of the issues related to possible military dimensions,” Amano said.

Since 2011, the IAEA has raised 12 sets of questions about Iran’s nuclear development program. Despite Tehran’s promises of “close cooperation” in November 2013, however, only two of the questions have ever been answered, and those only partially at that.

The Iranian government still refuses to allow IAEA inspectors to question key Iranian scientists. Nor will it allow visits to alleged nuclear sites.

It’s not clear how negotiators plan to bridge that gap to reach a deal that will allow sanctions relief for Iran, and security for the rest of the world.

Syria Asks IAEA for Help Converting Nuclear Reactor

Monday, June 8th, 2015

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has asked the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency for help with a nuclear reactor near Damascus, international media agencies reported Tuesday.

The UN agency is studying the Syrian request to help convert the reactor, which currently runs on highly-enriched uranium, into one that uses lower grade nuclear fuel.

IAEA head Yukiya Amano told reporters Monday that Syria has told the agency it would ship the higher-grade uranium abroad.

However, it is not clear where Syria would ship the higher-grade uranium — Iran is Syria’s closest ally – and neither is it clear what grade its uranium currently is.

Low enriched uranium is defined as that which is enriched to less than five percent of fissile purity. Weapons quality uranium is enriched above 20 percent but that which is used to fuel an atomic bomb is enriched to 90 percent.

Amano said the IAEA is studying the request and has yet to make a decision.

Despite “Freeze”, Iran Nuke Stockpile Mysteriously Growing

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

How does one translate the phrase “negotiating in good faith” into Persian?

Over the past 18 months, Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium – a nuclear fuel – has grown by some 20 percent, eight percent in the past two months alone, as documented last Friday in a report by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned of just such a scenario in his landmark address to the U.S. Congress in March (2015). So this probably comes as no surprise to most Israelis. However, it is making headlines across the United States, since it is seen by some as a direct betrayal by the White House.

The Obama administration had assured the American people that Iran had “frozen” its nuclear development activities while negotiating with U.S.-led world powers over a deal to limit the nuclear program and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons under President Obama’s watch. Now the talks are in their final month, with the June 30 deadline looming ahead.

Under the terms being negotiated, Iran is to possess only 660 pounds (300 kg) of nuclear fuel, less than that needed to create a nuclear weapon, once the deal is signed. The rest of its nuclear fuel stockpile is to be removed — either shipped out, transformed or otherwise destroyed.

But Tehran made it clear as far back as March that Iran has no intention of shipping the remaining 96% of its nuclear fuel out of the country. Nor has it proposed any other solution to the dilemma. This raises a rather curious question about the disposal of Iran’s mysteriously growing stockpile.

American officials don’t actually know how Iran will comply. As one official told The New York Times, “It’s their problem, not ours. But it’s a problem.”

It sure is.

One can also question how anyone in the Obama administration could claim that Iran froze its nuclear activities while Tehran has clearly been growing that stockpile – significantly.

The U.S., meanwhile, seems baffled at how an Iranian stockpile that should at least have remained static, could possibly have grown.

Here’s an even bigger problem: Under the terms of the interim agreement signed in March between Iran and the U.S.-led world powers (P5+1), Iran had allegedly been building a “conversion plant” at the Isfahan nuclear complex. There, enriched uranium could be transformed into oxide powder and then into reactor fuel rods, rather than left to become weapons-grade fuel. But they didn’t.

Iran didn’t keep its word. “Iran has failed” to make the conversion, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a research group in Washington which reported on the issue in February.

Tehran didn’t keep its end of the bargain – and the deal isn’t even signed yet.

That’s 18 months of nuclear undercover evasion (“cheating”) that the U.S. administration claims to know nothing about. It’s not clear which is more frightening: an American administration so clueless that it truly did NOT know anything about what was happening under the ground in Iranian nuclear plants, or did know and didn’t say, ‘didn’t ask and didn’t tell.’

It is also important to note that Iran will only have to maintain that minimized nuclear fuel stockpile for 15 years. The deal does not address what happens after that.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation has announced they are building a second nuclear reactor in Iran, in addition to the one they built in 2013.

The oil-rich Islamic Republic plans to build 20 such nuclear reactors, allegedly to reduce its dependency on oil.

If only Iran were building settlements instead of enriched uranium – then the Obama administration would put its foot down.

Netanyahu Addresses Obama Via YouTube, Since the Telephone is Broken

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

The entire world, except President Obama, seems to have heard Prime Minister Netanyahu’s very specific criticisms and recommended amendments and alternatives to Obama’s current nuclear proliferation deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Perhaps hoping the President will pay attention if he hears the message through a more hip venue, Netanyahu has released his criticisms and recommendations via a YouTube video.

Next time the President says he’s still waiting to hear Netanyahu’s alternative plan, just send him this link.

Netanyahu points out that Iran is continuing its support of global terrorism, while refusing to agree to even the most basic of terms, including effective inspections and dismantling its nuclear capabilities with which it can still produce nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu reiterated “again” the two main components of his alternative to Obama’s “bad deal”.

1) “A better deal would significantly roll back these [nuclear development] capabilities”, and that includes shutting down the illicit underground nuclear facilities that Iran hid from the international community for years – something, quite surprising, Obama’s bad deal doesn’t do.

2) “Instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of the restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.” – In simple terms, Iran must not have the capability right now to make nuclear weapons, and the only time it should be allowed to have that capability, and apparently even have it completely unrestricted, is when it decides to join the community of nations as a member in good standing, and not as the neighborhood thug.

Netanyahu points out that Iran needs this deal more than anyone, and as such, this is the opportunity to reassert the world’s original demands, which Obama has backed down from.

He finishes off saying the global community should not allow Iran to have an easy path to nuclear weapons which will threaten the entire world.

A very clear message.

Obama Mocks Netanyahu’s ‘Red Line’ Cartoon with Inaccurate Sketch

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The White House Wednesday tweeted a diagram promoting the nuclear deal with Iran that directly ridiculed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “red line” cartoon in the United Nations three years ago — but the White House version also was full of inaccuracies.

Netanyahu’s cartoon, which was headlined around the world, show a red near the top of a bomb to get across his point that “there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that is by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

Wise guys at the White House dreamed up a similar diagram with an opposite message and with the help of a blue line at the bottom of the bomb to illustrate that Iran has a zero chance of developing a nuclear bomb under the administration’s proposed deal.

“Under the framework for an Iran nuclear deal, Iran uranium enrichment pathway to a weapon will be shut down,” the chart reads.

There is one problem with the diagram. It is not true.

President Obama has actually bragged that Iran will be limited to “only” 6,000 centrifuges, all of which can produce uranium, which would be low-grade. The sketch accurately states that under the deal, there will be “no production or stockpile of highly enrich uranium.” Experts have said that 6000 centrifuges is enough to produce a bomb.

But a picture tells a thousand words, in and this case, they all are wrong because that little blue line clearly shows Iran would have “0%” enriched uranium, which is a lie.

The Obama administration’s diagram also claims that Iran would be 90 percent on the way to a bomb if there is no deal, but that statement only makes Netanyahu’s argument stronger as Iran is so close to achieving that, it could easily violate the deal and achieve its goal while the world argues about whether to impose stiff sanctions after the fact.

President Obama also admitted this week, that in just over a decade — with the deal, Iran would be able to get the bomb before anyone would even notice. The State Department tried to walk that one back.

Jacques Hymans, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California and an expert on nuclear proliferation, told Vox.com last year:

As long as they have those centrifuges sitting there, the deal is really walking on thin ice.

Below is the White House’s latest gimmick to sell the nuclear deal with Iran.

The White House's inaccurate sketch.

The White House’s inaccurate sketch.



Obama Finally Forced to Admit Iran’s Nuclear Breakout Time ‘Zero’ in 13 Years

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

It took a lot of pressure and many more speeches and harangues by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu than anyone probably wanted to hear, but at the end of the day, it paid off:

U.S. President Barack Obama was finally forced on Tuesday to admit the truth: In 13 years – if not fewer – Iran’s breakout time to an atomic bomb will be zero.

That means the world will have practically no warning whatsoever as to when Iran actually reaches its nuclear weapons capability – if it has not already done so by then, without telling anyone.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Obama told NPR News that for the first decade following the new deal reached last week with world powers led by the United States in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tehran will be capped at 300 kilograms of enriched uranium. The president insisted this was not enough to convert to a cache of weapons-grade fuel.

But then the president said this:

What is a more relevant fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.

By then, restrictions on Iran’s enriched uranium stockpiles will have been eased for the two years prior – in Years 11 and 12 – which means there will already have been two years in which to gather enriched nuclear fuel.

The admission confirms just one of a long list of concerns that Israel’s prime minister had underlined to the U.S. Congress – and to the rest of the world – in his repeated explanations of why “an even greater danger” exists that Iran could “get to the bomb by keeping [this] deal.”

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday issued a government statement outlining “the irresponsible concessions given to Iran” in the agreement. The document also showed “how dangerous the framework is for Israel, the region and the world.”

Among the changes demanded by Israel to the current agreement between Iran and world powers prior to the June 30 final deadline (which the United States has ignored):

  • Bar further Iranian research and development on advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges;
  • Significantly reduce the number of centrifuges available to Iran for it to reactivate in violation of the deal;
  • Close down the Fordow underground enrichment facility;
  • Require Iranian compliance in detailing previous nuclear activities with potential military dimensions;
  • Ship Iran’s stockpile of lower-enriched uranium out of the country;
  • Ensure “anywhere-anytime” spot inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The document (click here for the PDF file) also made clear – as has Netanyahu, repeatedly in statements to the media – that the current agreement “ignores the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to Israel.” The prime minister emphasized that a “better deal” can and must be reached with Iran, “an enemy of the United States whose regime, even during the negotiations, continued to conduct aggression in the region and to call for the destruction of Israel.”

The document pointedly calls attention to the fact that under the current agreement:

  • Not a single nuclear facility will be shut down;
  • Iran is allowed to continued advanced uranium centrifuge enrichment research and development;
  • Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile program development is altogether ignored;
  • Sanctions that could be used to regulate Iran’s compliance are instead removed.

Included in the document are 10 questions aimed at those who negotiated this deal and support its passage into law:

1. Why are sanctions that took years to put in place being removed immediately (as the Iranians claim)? This removes the international community’s primary leverage at the outset of the agreement, and make Iranian compliance less likely.

Pressure on Iran Picking Up to Sign a Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

US Senate to Vote on Sanctions If No Iran Deal, EU Sanctions Already Reinstated

The United States Senate has threatened to impose sanctions on Iran if President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not successful in shepherding a nuclear technology deal through talks between world powers and Iran.

The European Union has already reinstated sanctions against 40 Iranian companies, including dozens of shipping firms, in order to increase pressure on Iran to sign on the dotted line.

The EU General Court lifted the sanctions on firms that were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines carrier (IRISL) in January, saying the EU had not proved the IRISL was actively supporting nuclear proliferation.

IRISL attorney Maryam Taher told the Reuters news agency the move was “purely politically motivated and not based on any proper evidence. The whole purpose of the EU sanctions is to leverage pressure on the Iranian government to come to an agreement in relation to nuclear proliferation.”

On Monday, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it could not state definitively that Iran’s nuclear program had no “military dimensions.” Issues meant to resolve suspicions of weaponization work remain, according to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in his report, despite what he called “good cooperation” from Tehran regarding the November 2013 comprehensive safeguards agreement.

However, he said, “We continue to verify the non-divergence of nuclear material declared by Iran, but we are still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful purpose.”

If international negotiators come up empty-handed this time around (they have already missed one deadline), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday at a weekly news briefing “Another heavy dose of sanctions would be an appropriate remedy.”

If an agreement is signed, the lawmakers would pass a bill requiring the president to submit the deal to Congress for its approval. The bill also contains a provision that would temporarily remove Obama’s ability to waive sanctions.

Obama says he will veto both bills.

Negotiators took a break on Friday and reconvene this week as the March 31 deadline inches closer. World leaders will try again to close a deal with a nation whose Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Saturday for “Death to America,” while its President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism that an agreement could still be reached.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pressure-on-iran-picking-up-to-sign-a-nuclear-deal/2015/03/25/

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