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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapon’

Fatah Official Visits Iran

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Jibril Rajoub, a senior leader in the Fatah party headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, visited Iran Tuesday, the first time a PA official has traveled to the Islamic Republic in several years.

He told Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Fatah “will not stop the resistance until the establishment of an independent Palestinian government.”

If one is known by the company he keeps, the Obama administration might want to take notice. Rajoub, whose official position is head of the Palestine Football Association, said last year that if the Palestinian Authority had a nuclear weapon, he would like to drop it on Israel.

Israeli Source: Obama No Longer Committed to Iran Attack Option

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

A senior Israeli government official has told Kol Israel this morning that he doubts the Obama Administration’s commitment to prevent Iran “at any cost” from attainting a nuclear weapon.

The official explained that the Administration’s behavior in Syria, in complete contradiction of President Obama’s declarations, shows Israel that it cannot rely on American promises.

The senior official added that Israel could execute a strike against Iran without American operational support, but such an attack would be less effective than an American operation.

Israel is extremely concerned that the U.S. might be seeking direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, leading to easing the sanctions against Iran in return for Iranian concessions that would fall short of Israel’s demands.

It’s likely that the high level official’s statement is an expression of the Netanyahu government’s anxiety over the glee with which the Obama Administration has welcomed the election of a new Iranian president. A White House statement following the inauguration of President Hasan Rouhani Sunday read:

“We congratulate the Iranian people for making their voices heard during the election. We note that President Rouhani recognized that his election represented a call by the Iranian people for change, and we hope that the new Iranian Government will heed the will of the voters by making choices that will lead to a better life for the Iranian people. We do believe that his inauguration presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. And, as we’ve said all along, should the new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations, we are ready to talk to them when they are ready to do so.”

Direct talks, as suggested by the White House statement, always begin with “confidence building measures,” and the Netanyahu government must be worried that it would be picking up the tab on the new couple’s honeymoon.

In the State Dept. daily press briefing yesterday, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was asked: “The Israeli Government said over the weekend it does not trust Rouhani because of statements which they say indicate, again, an existential threat to Israel’s existence. Is the U.S. taking that concern under consideration when it looks at how it might want to engage with Rouhani?”

Harf answered that the U.S. will take “the whole range of security concerns, the security problems Iran has presented for the region into account,” when it decides how to deal with the new Iranian Government. She reiterated that it’s important “to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon because of the threat they could pose to Israel, to the region, and indeed to us as well.” But, finally, hope sprang eternal, and Harf acknowledged that the U.S. is “waiting to talk to them when they are ready to engage substantively.” Meaning – one on one.

Harf was next asked “What’s the first step that you would want to see Rouhani take on the nuclear issue?”

“We have a proposal on the table,” she said. “We’ve had it on the table for some time and we’re waiting for a substantive response from the Iranian side on how to move forward. And we’ve been clear that that’s what needs to happen next.”

All of which suggests that the Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has played a brilliant game in picking his new “moderate” president.

Khamenei made Rouhani chief of Iran’s nuclear negotiations in 2003, for the same reason he made him president this time around – the man can talk a candy out of the western babies’ hands. Rouhani ran the negotiations between Iran and three European states in Tehran and continued later in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

Rouhani’s team back then was described as “the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry.” They prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran, and so prevented Iran’s nuclear case from going to the UN Security Council. They figured out how to temporarily suspend parts of Iran’s nuclear activities to appease the West.

And so, while building confidence, insisting on Iran’s rights, reducing international pressures and the possibility of war, and preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran Nuclear Plant Progress More Worrisome than Ever Before

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Iran’s construction of a research reactor that can produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon continues full steam, according to a UN report issued this week. And the UN International Atomic Energy Agency is now convinced that Iran has increased to a dangerous level its capacity to refine uranium, a prerequisite for constructing a bomb. And, according to the IAEA, the part of Parchin, a military site the agency insisted on inspecting, has now been paved over by the Iranians.

Obviously, the Iranians have a lot to hide, and they’re hiding it. When they finally let UN inspectors in, it would be after all traces of nuclear bomb-related research have been covered by asphalt.

Judging by what the Administration has been saying—that Iran is “advancing its enrichment program in blatant violation of its international obligations”—somebody is going to start a war over these facilities.

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters that the UN report “marks an unfortunate milestone with regard to Iran’s illicit nuclear activities.”

Ventrell added that “despite more than a decade of dedicated effort on the part of the IAEA, Iran still has not provided the requisite cooperation with the IAEA for them to complete their investigation,” and that “we’re going to continue to hold Iran accountable for its international nuclear obligations.”

According to Reuters, the West is mostly concerned about Iran’s uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow. But experts suggest the research reactor being built outside the town of Arak could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear arms.

The IAEA says Iran is planning to commission that plant in the first quarter of 2014 and expects it to become operational in the third quarter.

The UN report seems to confirm—at least indirectly—Israeli claims that Iran could produce at will a nuclear weapon as early as this summer, and could certainly accumulate a stockpile of bombs next year.

New Evidence Shows: Iran Working on Nuclear Bomb

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Associated Press on Tuesday published a diagram showing that Iranian scientist have run computer simulations that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

A.P. reported that it got the diagram from officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon.

A.P.  furthermore wrote that the International Atomic Energy Agency — the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog — last year reported that it had obtained diagrams indicating that Iran was calculating the “nuclear explosive yield” of potential weapons.

A senior diplomat who is considered neutral on the issue confirmed that the graph obtained by the A.P. was indeed one of those cited by the IAEA in that report.

This alarming news came after the publication of the latest IAEA report that was unusually outspoken about the development of a nuclear weapon by Iran.

The IAEA report contained the following information:

40.  ‘The Annex to the Director General’s November 2011 report (GOV/2011/65) provided a detailed analysis of the information available to the Agency, indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.’

Since November 2011, the Agency has obtained more information which further corroborates the analysis
contained in the aforementioned Annex.

42. As indicated in Section B above, since the November 2011 Board, the Agency, through several rounds of formal talks and numerous informal contacts with Iran, has made intensive efforts to seek to resolve all of the outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme, especially with respect to possible military dimensions, but without concrete results.

43. Parchin:…information provided to the Agency by Member States indicates that Iran constructed a large explosives
containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments…

44. As previously reported, satellite imagery available to the Agency for the period from February 2005 to January 2012 shows virtually no activity at or near the building housing the
containment vessel. Since the Agency’s first request for access to this location, however, satellite imagery shows that extensive activities and resultant changes have taken place at this location.

45. …such experiments would be strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development….the Agency notified Iran of that location in January 2012. Iran has stated that “the allegation of nuclear activities in Parchin site is baseless.”

Originally published at the Missing Piece.

Senate Overwhelmingly Endorses ‘Capability’ Red Line on Iran

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly endorsed language that sets a red line for Iran “nuclear capability.”

The non-binding resolution, introduced in February by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), says that “it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”

The resolution passed late Friday by a vote of 90-1, with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against.

The language is in line with Israel’s red lines and goes further than the Obama administration, which has set as a red line Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

It is not precisely clear what “capability” entails. A number of experts believe Iran already has crossed that threshold and is capable of manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the resolution’s passage.

“AIPAC applauds the Senate for rejecting a policy of containment of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability and calling for an increase in sanctions against the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” the group said in a statement.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar language in May, and the term “capability” has made it into other legislation, including the most recent sanctions legislation.

Israeli Minister: Iranian Crisis Will Culminate in Coming Months

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Last Friday the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz published a lengthy interview with Moshe ‘Boogie’ Ya’alon, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs.

Most of the interview dealt with Iran and the possibility that Israel will launch a military strike on the nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic.

Ya’alon is a member of Israel’s security cabinet and was Chief of Staff of the IDF during the Second Intifada. During the interview Ya’alon stated that when Israel has to choose between Iran having a (nuclear) bomb and bombing Iran, it will opt for the latter.

He also made clear that for Israel the red line is Iran’s capability to produce a nuclear weapon and not Khamenei’s order to produce a bomb. He also told Ha’aretz that there is disagreement with the US administration on this issue. Ya’alon added that Israel is not bluffing when it comes to decisive action to stop Iran and does not need an American ‘green light’ for a military strike .

Ya’alon furthermore predicted that the Iranian crisis will culminate in the coming months.

Romney Says Obama Prefers Letting Iran Have Nukes to Letting Israel Attack

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday revved up his attacks on President Obama’s Mid East policy, suggesting the president fears that Israel might attack Iran more than he fears that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Earlier this year, Romney said during a Republican debate on ABC: “If we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, they will not have a nuclear weapon…”

Speaking to members of the evangelical Christian political organization Faith and Freedom Coalition, Romney responded with ridicule when asked what he would do, as president, to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations.

“I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,” Romney said, to laughter and applause from his audience. “You look at his policies with regards to Iran, he’s almost sounded like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear.”

His audience of 250 in the ballroom of a Washington hotel responded with extended applause and cheering.

Romney’s stump speech on Iran seeks to position that country’s nuclear aspirations as marking Obama’s greatest foreign policy failure:

“What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took to the streets and say America is with you and work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents. Number two, he should have put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to agree to those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return…

“… Finally, the president should have built a credible threat of military action and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

Romney spoke over a video link from an outdoor site in Pennsylvania, against the background of his campaign bus. This was his second day of a six-state swing.

Romney said he plans to “forge a strong working relationship with the leadership in Israel. I would make it very clear that for us, as well as for them, it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation and that we’re prepared to take any and all action to keep that from happening.” Once again, prolonged applause followed his words.

Romney said he would encourage countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia to arm “the insurgents” in Syria.

“But perhaps overarching is this: I would not want to show a dime’s worth of distance between ourselves and our allies like Israel. If we have disagreements, you know, we can talk about them behind closed doors. But to the world, you show that we’re locked arm-in-arm,” he said.

Panetta Announces $70 Million for Iron Dome

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Obama administration said it would rush $70 million to Israel in order to enhance its Iron Dome missile defense system, with more money in the pipeline.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday, after meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak, that he was directed by President Obama to meet Israel’s needs for the system as indicated by Barak.

“My goal is to ensure Israel has the funding it needs each year to produce these batteries that can protect its citizens,” Panetta said. “That is why, going forward over the next three years, we intend to request additional funding for Iron Dome based on an annual assessment of Israeli security requirements against an evolving threat.”

Legislation under consideration in Congress, shaped in consultation with administration officials, would deliver $680 million to Israel for the system, which earlier this year successfully intercepted rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The system was funded in part by $205 million transferred by the United States to Israel in 2011.

Barak, in a statement, said he “greatly appreciated” the announcement, adding that “This additional funding for the Iron Dome system comes at a crucial time for the Israeli people.”

Barak is in Washington to discuss with Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton efforts to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also praised the Obama administration for its announcement.

“This funding will enable the Jewish state to better protect its citizens, thus preventing a wider conflict,” AIPAC said in a statement. “Missile defense programs are a cornerstone of U.S.-Israel cooperative programs. The two allies work together to develop innovative technologies that advance the security of both nations.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/panetta-announces-70-million-for-iron-dome/2012/05/18/

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