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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Obama Trying to Convince Israel to Sign Non-Proliferation Treaty

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

An American official is in Israel to try talk with officials about a regional conference on making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

Israel is assumed to have approximately 200 nuclear warheads, if not more, but the government retains a policy of “nuclear ambiguity” in which it does not deny or admit the possession of nukes.

No other country in the Middle East has nuclear power, and Israel’s assumed nuclear stockpile is considered a strong deterrent to enemy Arab countries.

The Arab world has been pressuring American governments for years to force Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would be an admission the country has nukes and could open the door for Arab countries to insist they also want nuclear power.

Asst. Secretary of State Thomas Countryman is in Israel towards the conclusion of this month’s once-every-five years review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A Middle East conference on mass destruction weapons was supposed to take place in 2012 but never came to fruition.

Arab countries have failed to convene a regional conference with terms that are weighted against Israel, which has indicated it might join the NPT if there were peace with the Arab world.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Thursday:

The NPT review process is in its final week in New York. There’s no final text on this issue of the Middle East conference. We are working to ensure that a final text meets our interests and those of Israel. Both the United States and Israel support the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. We’re closely working with our Israeli partners to advance our mutual interests, including preserving the NPT.

 

North Korea Will Nuke US If It ‘Forces Our Hand’

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

A senior North Korean official told CNN Thursday that the country will use a nuclear weapon to strike the American mainland if the United States “forced their hand.”

The rare interview was conducted with Park Yong Chol, deputy director of the regime-linked DPRK think thank called the Institute for Research into National Reunification.

Park said North Korea needs to continue developing its nuclear arsenal, which he said can hit American soil, to “counter the U.S. threat.”

When questioned about” human rights abuses in North Korea, Park fired back, “The U.S. President and other high-ranking administration officials have acknowledged really severe forms of punishment on inmates in detention. If you talk about human rights in the DPRK, we will talk about human rights in the U.S.”

Park’s threat to use nuclear weapons if the United States “forced its hands” is particularly worrisome because of the country’s close links with Iran and Tehran’s development of a nuclear warhead. North Korea has provided technologies to Iran, and an alleged Israeli strike on a nuclear facility under construction in northern Syria four years ago killed several North Korean scientists.

Park’s claim that North Korea can nuke the United States is not accepted by many American officials, but there is no questioning the threat to U.S. bases in South Korea.

The Breaking Defense website reported that former Pentagon strategist Van Jackson said that American missile defenses in the Pacific are “woefully outgunned” and that Patriot launchers and Navy ships could not defend American bases.

Diplomacy with North Korea not only has failed but also has allowed it to become a nuclear power.

Given North Korea’s close ties with Iran, it is far from certain that the Obama administration is not repeating the same scenario with its negotiations with the Islamic Republic over the future of its nuclear program.

Iran’s Meddling in Iraq, Yemen, Bleeds into Kerry- Zarif NY Nuclear Talks

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

U.S. officials have acknowledged that Iran-supported Shiite violence in Iraq and Yemen has been influencing the talks between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program, AFP reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry said before his Monday talk with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that he was “confident that Yemen will be mentioned certainly, because Iran is obviously a supportive party to the Houthis.”

Kerry told reporters: “I will certainly urge that everybody do their part to try to reduce the violence and allow the negotiations to begin,” putting the blame for the Yemen situation on “external parties and proxies.”

Iran and the P5+1 group are negotiating against the clock, which ticks its final tock on June 30.

Kerry and Zarif met at the home of Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, after both had addressed a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Kerry told the conference that “the vast majority of the world has come to the conclusion — united around the belief that nuclear weapons should one day be eliminated. Today the race to nuclear arms that once sparked the fear of imminent Armageddon in billions of human beings and hearts, that has been supplanted in a wary but steady march… toward the promise of peace.”

That’s if one doesn’t count the Saudis, whose response to the U.S. treaty talks with Iran has been a vow to get its own nuclear weapons, most likely from Pakistan.

“If we can get there, the entire world will be safer,” Kerry insisted, not addressing the possibility of a Middle East nuclear arms race and war directly resulting from his success.

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.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-did-not-protest-release-of-1987-nuke-report/2015/03/28/

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