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April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Iran Deal: US and Allies are the Junior Varsity (Little League?)

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

They can’t even coordinate their public descriptions of what the deal entails, that’s how bad it is.

The sort of, kind of nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran makes concrete the previous understanding that U.S. President Barack Obama has been dead wrong about almost every major terrorist threat he has encountered: Al Qaeda is not, as he intoned, “decimated”; ISIS is not a “junior varsity” terrorist network; and Iran is not a partner with whom the west can successfully negotiate.

It looks like the U.S. is the captain of the junior varsity team. And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will not sugarcoat his assessment.

This “agreement” which is not a deal, is not even the framework of a deal, is, ultimately, an attempt by the Obama administration to rack up at least one foreign policy “achievement” during its tenure.

But that “achievement” confuses an end date to a series of discussions with the attainment of even the modest goals this administration claimed it would reach.

What follows are key details which have been released about the “agreement” reached between the U.S.-dominated allies known as the P5+1 (the junior varsity) and Iran, regarding the latter nation’s nuclear program.

A quick perusal makes clear the U.S. administration’s insistence that  diplomacy would safely ensure Iran would not become a threshold nuclear power was exactly what its critics claimed: a hollow gesture which rewarded Iran with its goal of more time to continue in pursuit of achieving that status. What’s more, the deal which the parties are currently hurtling towards will not only permit but will actually legitimize Iran in its achievement of that status.

CENTRIFUGES

Iran currently has 9,000 operational centrifuges (that is the generally accepted number). The U.S. claims that, under the terms of the new deal, about 3,000 fewer Iranian centrifuges will be operational during the next 10 years, while 5,060 centrifuges will continue enriching uranium during that period.

The U.S. also claims that Iran will not use “advanced” centrifuge models for 10 years, and any development will be in accordance with P5+1 oversight. The Iranians say nuts to that, and will continue doing research and development on advanced centrifuges during the duration of the 10 year period.

Fordow, the uranium enrichment plant built in an underground bunker, will be used for “peaceful purposes.” The U.S. claims that Iran will move two-thirds of its centrifuges out of this facility and will not enrich uranium there for at least 15 years.

In other words, even according to the U.S. version of the facts, and even were one to believe that Iran will strictly adhere to its obligations under this “pre-deal,” Iran gets to continue enriching uranium, thousands of centrifuges will continue spinning, and the underground bunker will have operational centrifuges during the term of the deal.

CURRENTLY ENRICHED URANIUM

The U.S. claims that Iran’s acurrently enriched uranium will be reduced. That is already a three-step default by the allies. Initially, all enriched uranium was to be destroyed. As the result of negotiations the Iranians had allegedly agreed to instead move its already enriched uranium to Russia, where it was to be converted for non-military use.

Instead, the U.S. is reduced to bragging about a mere “reduction” in Iran’s already enriched uranium. And we don’t know what is meant by “reduction” or “neutralization” – another term used in the U.S. fact sheet.

According to a former CIA analyst, “If Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile remains in the country,” and if it is only converted to powder form, which the Obama administration had previously – erroneously – claimed meant it would be neutralized, “Iran will retain the capability to make about eight or more nuclear weapons in about three months.”  Maybe little league rather than junior varsity players more accurately describes Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team.

Iran Deal – First Thoughts

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Well, there’s no deal, but there is a framework. And what are those secret clauses anyway?

If Iran cheats, the world will know it. And then what?

Personally, I’m wondering how exactly sanctions are going to “snap back” when it’s discovered that Iran is cheating, and US companies are heavily invested in Iran. Just not happening.

Also, quite scary to officially learn that Iran is only 2 to 3 months away from a bomb – I think that’s even less time than Netanyahu thought. Who knows, maybe they have one already, and just have to assemble it.

So the bottom line is, Iran gets to keep their nuke program at a lower setting, and modernize parts of it into modern research facilities with world approval.

They get a massive investment of dollars over the coming years as sanctions get dropped to never be restored again, no matter what Iran violates.

And Iran gets to continue to aggressively take over the Middle East, but this time with more money.

While President Obama is sure we can trust Iran because of some imaginary, non-existent Iranian fatwa against nuclear weapons (a fatwa that allowed the Iranians to get within 2-3 months of having nuclear breakout capability).

Can anyone say “bad deal”?

Israel Did Not Protest Release of 1987 Nuke Report

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Israel did not protest the release of the 1987 US Department of Defense commissioned document that summarized The US’s knowledge of Israel’s nuclear and other technical programs at the time, according to a Jerusalem Post Report.

“We did inform the Israeli government of our planned release of the documents and they did not object,” Army Col. Steven Warren, director of Pentagon press operations, confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.

The report was released due to a Freedom of Information Act request a few years earlier.

The source claims Israel was informed and did not protest the document’s release, and if Israel had protested, in writing, the report would not have been released.

Israel has not publicly commented on the report.

The timing of the release, at a time of tremendous tension between President Obama and Israel, led to speculation that the timing of the release was intentional.

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.

Mr. President, Show Me the Fatwa

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Last week, in President Obama’s Nowruz statement, where the Iranian people learned they will probably be subjugated by the Ayatollahs forever, Obama mentioned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa, an official religious ruling, against the development of nuclear weapons. Obama added that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.

One teensy, beensy eensy little problem – apparently no such Iranian fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons actually exists.

There’s an Iranian press release written in 2005 that says, “The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has issued the fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons.”

But that’s not a fatwa. That’s a propaganda statement released by the Iranian government for international consumption.

In Iran, a fatwa has legal standing — and no one has ever seen this mysterious Iranian anti-nuke fatwa.

It’s never been released, because it doesn’t exist.

In 2013, the Washington Post questioned if the fatwa exists.

The Washington Post showed a similar example of another non-existent Iranian fatwa against chemical weapons.

If a chemical weapons fatwa ever existed, it was clearly ignored when Iran was forced to eventually admit that it had produced chemical weapons.

In 2013, when President Obama endorsed the fatwa, MEMRI – the Middle East Research Institute, with their trove of translators went looking for the fatwa.

They found lots of other fatwas, but no fatwa against Iran having nuclear weapons.

In short, there is zero evidence that any actual Iranian fatwa exists against the Islamic Republic’s acquisition or use of nuclear weapons.

If President Obama is going to rely in any way on this apparently imaginary fatwa, then for the sake of the American people, and the world, he had better demand the Iranians show it to all of us, in writing.

Mr. President, show me the fatwa.

A Concrete Proposal

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

The NY Times claims that Netanyahu’s speech was short on concrete proposals, but I couldn’t help but note that former Senator Sam Nunn (D) made a concrete proposal on the Iran nuclear problem, just 8 months ago, on the pages of the NY Times.

Nunn’s proposal was to set up an international nuclear fuel bank.

From Wikipedia:

Enrichment technology is primarily used to create enriched nuclear fuel, but it can also be used to create weapons-grade nuclear material. The main goal of a fuel bank is therefore to minimize the risk of further nuclear weapons proliferation by removing the need for countries to possess enrichment technology.

The proposed fuel bank would assure a back-up supply for power reactors throughout the world on a non-discriminatory, non-political basis, reducing the need for countries to develop their own uranium enrichment technologies at a time when concerns about nuclear proliferation are growing. The IAEA’s former chairman Dr. ElBaradei confirmed this, saying that the importance of nuclear fuel banks is “by providing reliable access to fuel at competitive market prices, we remove the need for countries to develop indigenous fuel cycle capabilities. In so doing, we could go a long way towards addressing current concerns about the dissemination of sensitive fuel cycle technologies.”

The concept is simple. Countries don’t need enrichment technologies if they have access to all the fuel they need. Without enrichment technologies, it is very difficult for them to make nuclear weapons – but they have as much fuel as they need for peaceful energy purposes.

Nunn writes:

“The fuel bank may be directly relevant to an Iran agreement”

And Sam Nunn is right.

Prime Minister said the alternative to a bad deal is not war, but a better deal. This would be a better deal.

If President Obama isn’t going to listen to Netanyahu, at least he should listen to the concrete proposals by members of his own Democratic party.

What Would Spock Have to Say About Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Here’s an excerpt from my favorite episode of Star Trek, “The City on the Edge of Forever”, in which Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Kirk and Spock have traveled back in time to the year 1930 in order to undo a disastrous change to history that was inadvertently caused by McCoy. After extracting the relevant information from his tricorder, Spock shows Kirk exactly how history diverged:

Spock: “This is how history went after McCoy changed it. Here, in the late 1930’s. A growing pacifist movement whose influence delayed the United States’ entry into the Second World War. While peace negotiations dragged on, Germany had time to complete its heavy-water experiments.”

Kirk: “Germany. Fascism. Hitler. They won the Second World War.”

Spock: “Because all this lets them develop the A-bomb first. There’s no mistake, Captain. Let me run it again. Edith Keeler. Founder of the peace movement.”

Kirk: “But she was right. Peace was the way.”

Spock: “She was right, but at the wrong time. With the A-bomb, and with their V2 rockets to carry them, Germany captured the world.”

In the altered version of history, a peace movement headed by Edith Keeler convinced the US government to enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany. Germany took advantage of these negotiations in order to buy time to develop and build nuclear weapons. By the time the US entered the war, it was too late: The Nazis had nuclear weapons, won the war, and conquered the world.

Kirk is startled and disturbed by the implication: By choosing to negotiate peace instead of going to war, the US allowed the world to be swallowed up by Nazism: “But she was right”, he says in his confusion. “Peace was the way.” (Kirk’s naivete is perhaps understandable, coming as it does from someone who grew up on an Earth that had been at peace for centuries.)

Spock, however, corrects Kirk’s misconception: “She was right, but at the wrong time.” Peace is the ultimate goal, but sometimes war is the only logical choice. When one is confronted with evil, it is the wrong time to negotiate peace. One does not appease evil or negotiate with it — one must destroy it, or else the repercussions may be catastrophic. Only when the threat of evil is removed is peace possible.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-would-spock-have-to-say-about-obamas-nuclear-deal-with-iran/2015/03/04/

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