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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

Israeli Nuclear Technology On Display at 60th IAEA Conference in Vienna

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The Israel Atomic Energy Commission has opened a specially-dedicated pavilion to present Israel’s work in the field of nuclear applications. The pavilion, entitled ‘Rays of Hope,’ opened on Tuesday (Sept. 27, 2016) in Vienna at the 60th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference. This is the first time that Israel has made an international presentation in this area.

The Israeli pavilion highlights innovative research capabilities and their uses in various nuclear-related fields for educational, scientific and agricultural purposes, as well for the production of clean energy.

IAEC Director Brig,-Gen. Zeev Senir said at the launching of the exhibit: “The Israeli developments in the nuclear field have led to ‘Rays of Hope’ and have inspired many people. In nuclear science we are exporting essential know-how and equipment for medical treatment, agriculture, security and safety around the world. Our future in the Middle East must include cooperation and joint responsibility for the welfare of its residents. In the spirit of the IAEA, I call on our neighbors to join us and turn this vision into reality.”

The Israeli pavilion features the following content:

* Health: Radiotherapy, personalized radiotherapy, and quality improvements in nuclear medicine.

* Agriculture: Regional cooperation in pest extermination and fly eradication.

* Presentation of the Carasso Science Park in Be’er Sheva, which was established in cooperation with the IAEC and which has received over 300,000 visitors to date.

* Presentation of the Soreq Nuclear Research Center:

— SARAF particle accelerator for the production of radioisotopes and nuclear physics research;

— Space laboratory, which is the durability of components under ionizing radiation to benefit the launching of satellites;

— The Sarafim program for outstanding high school physics students, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

* Radiation detectors for various applications in the nuclear industry, medical imaging and systems that neutralize ionizing radiation, which were developed by Rotem Industries.

Hana Levi Julian

North Korea Tested Nuclear Warhead on Ballistic Missile, Is Iran Next?

Friday, September 9th, 2016

North Korean TV confirmed that the seismic event recorded Friday morning had been a nuclear test. The Yonhap news agency cited a Pyongyang government announcement that the test proved it is capable of mounting standardized nuclear warheads on strategic ballistic missiles.

Back in 1994, after North Korea had announced its intent to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States under President Bill Clinton and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework, under which Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program in exchange for aid. In 2002, North Korea reneged on the agreement.

In August of 2003, the US under President GW Bush entered the six-party talk with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea, and in 2005 North Korea pledged to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” and return to the NPT.

In 2009, though, under President Barack Obama, North Korea launched a ballistic missile and has since refused to abide by any of the agreements.

That was the US track record on negotiating treaties with a rogue nuclear state when President Obama embarked on his nuclear negotiations with Iran. So far, Iran has already launched its ballistic missile, and it appears that secret clauses in its nuclear deal will make it particularly easy to renew plutonium enrichment in 5 to 9 years, depending on who interprets the agreement.

David Israel

Report: Obama Granted Iran Nuclear Program Secret Exemptions

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and his co-author, senior policy analyst Andrea Stricker, issued a report on Thursday saying the US and other world powers have secretly allowed Iran to exceed the nuclear deal’s limits on stockpiles of enriched uranium and other dangerous materials. Albright cited key secret exemptions which were made in secret meetings of the Joint Commission that was composed of Iran, the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and the European Union.

Albright is a physicist who took part in UN weapons inspections in Iraq, and has been a self-appointed watchdog over the Iran nuclear deal. He has repeatedly raised doubts that the deal is being implemented honestly.

Albright’s report claims Iran would not have been able to meet its compliance requirements by January 16, 2016—the deal’s Implementation Day: “The exemptions and in one case, a loophole, involved the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms, some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran,” the report reveals, citing a senior knowledgeable official who stated that “if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day.”

The report also suggests “the Joint Commission allowed Iran to store large amounts of heavy water in Oman that remained under Iran’s control, effectively allowing Iran to exceed its cap of 130 tons of heavy water as it continues to produce heavy water at its Arak facility.”

“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said, noting that “these decisions, which are written down, amount to additional secret or confidential documents linked to the JCPOA.” The report also claims that “the Joint Commission’s secretive decision-making process risks advantaging Iran by allowing it to try to systematically weaken the JCPOA. It appears to be succeeding in several key areas.”

“Given the technical complexity and public importance of the various JCPOA exemptions and loopholes, the administration’s policy to maintain secrecy interferes in the process of establishing adequate Congressional and public oversight of the JCPOA,” the report said, stressing that “this is particularly true concerning potentially agreement-weakening decisions by the Joint Commission. As a matter of policy, the United States should agree to any exemptions or loopholes in the JCPOA only if the decisions are simultaneously made public.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that “the Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material In excess of its (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits that it could use in a breakout scenario,” adding his assurance that “there’s been no cutting of slack.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed the administration’s “significant objections” to the Albright report, assuring reporters that “Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it.”

The Trump campaigned quickly took advantage of the report, with a statement by retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser, who said, “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day. It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes.”

Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying,
“This latest report further confirms that the Obama Administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal. First we learned about a secret side deal that allows Iran to upgrade its centrifuges, then it was the secret $400 million ransom payment, and now these secret exemptions that allow Iran to evade restrictions on their nuclear capabilities. Simply put, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have never been straightforward with the American people about Iran. It’s clear this is a dangerous and reckless deal with the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and no one who is serious about our national security could support it.”


Iran Deploys S-300 Long Range Missiles at Fordow Nuclear Site

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Iran has deployed Russian-made S-300 long-range missiles in its Fordow nuclear facility, Tehran Times and other Iranian state-run media reported Sunday. State TV showed the missiles and other counter-strike weapons being transported to Fordow.

The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) is a uranium enrichment facility located 20 miles northeast of the city of Qom. The site is the second Iranian uranium enrichment facility, the other one is in Natanz. In January 2012 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had started producing uranium enriched up to 20%.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech at the Khatam Al-Anbia Air Defense Base, said that “malicious, treacherous, and systematically opposing our independence” are trying to weaken Iran’s defensive capabilities, and so, in response to this threat, “air defense should be in the frontline against this enemy.”

Khamenei stated: “Human will along with indigenous capability should provide a means to thwart the enemies’ plots and they should not let enemies even entertain any encroachments of our borders and sovereignty.” He condemned the “media hype” that followed Russia’s delivery of the S300 missile systems, which he insisted are merely a defensive weapon. He rebuked the US, whose “propaganda about Fordow underground facilities … revealed the very nature of an enemy who would not recognize the right to defend our people. They would only be satisfied when we are rendered defenseless and an easy prey to their invasion,” the Ayatollah stressed.

“The Air Defense base should be armed with diverse technological innovations and techniques; the enemy should understand that if it strikes, it will definitely be stricken by a yet stronger blow, with active defense turning to active assault as well,” Khamenei concluded.

A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced, also on Sunday, plans to build two more nuclear power plants in Bushehr, a city in southern Iran which already has an operational nuclear power plant, built by the Russians and completed in April 2016. The spokesman said: “We try to start construction of the next nuclear power plant in Bushehr within the next one and a half months.”


Iranian Nuclear Scientist Hanged for Spying for US

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Iran has executed a nuclear scientist convicted of selling top secrets to the US, a judicial spokesman said on Sunday.

“Shahram Amiri was hanged for revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy,” Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie announced according to Mizan news website.

Amiri, 39, an Iranian Kurdish nuclear scientist, disappeared in Saudi Arabia in June 2009 during a pilgrimage to Mecca, and in July 2010 reappeared at the Iran interests section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, seeking help to return to Tehran. A short while later he appeared at a press conference in Tehran, where he told journalists he had been kidnapped, tortured and offered $5 million to cooperate with the CIA, which he refused.

In 2009, the Iranian government accused the US government of kidnapping Amiri, because, as Iranian government media reported, he was working for Iranian intelligence. After his return to Iran, American sources confirmed he had come to the US with the help of the CIA, but insisted he had not been kidnapped, but, instead, was seeking asylum. According to a 2011 NPR News report, Amiri was recruited by the CIA, but once he was in the US he “got cold feet” and “made his way back to Iran.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Iranian authorities had threatened to hurt Amiri’s family if he did not return to Iran.

Iranian officials initially celebrated his return to Iran in 2010 but then he dropped from public view until he was arrested in 20111 and reportedly tried for treason. News of his execution surfaced on Saturday, after his mother said she had received his body with rope marks around his neck.

David Israel

AP: Secret Iran ‘Side Deal’ Allows Tehran To Accelerate Nuclear Development

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

When the P5+1 deal was first revealed the review on these pages after reading it, was “there is no other way to describe the Iran deal—it stinks!” Associated Press reporter George Jahn did something I didn’t think was possible, in an exclusive report on Monday he revealed that the Iran deal was even worse than we first thought. Jahn got hold of a secret side deal which allows to upgrade its centrifuges and increase its enriching capacity, all before the deal officially expires in 15 years. The projection is this will reduce the time for Iran to build a bomb to 6 months instead of the year time frame that was promised.

The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved both by Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.

One of items that was fuzzy in the public version of the P5+1 deal is what happens between years 10 and 15. Mr. Jahn’s scoop explains that period, “It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.” Those advanced centrifuges are about 5x more efficient than the centrifuges it now uses. They will only be allowed between 2,500-3,000 of the high-tech centrifuges but because they are better at enriching uranium, Iran will be able to enrich at twice the speed as before.

As a result, Obama’s promise that the Iran deal would ensure that Iran would need at least a year to “break out” to a bomb was (not surprisingly) a lie.

But based on a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines, if the enrichment rate doubles, that breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double, a possibility the document allows for.

The document also allows Iran to greatly expand its work with centrifuges that are even more advanced, including large-scale testing in preparation for the deal’s expiration 15 years after its implementation on Jan. 18.

(…) A U.S. official noted, however, that the limit on the amount of enriched uranium Iran will be allowed to store will remain at 300 kilograms (660 pounds) for the full 15 years as well as being restricted to a level used for reactor fuel that is well below weapons grade. Like the diplomats, he too demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the document.

In other words, the deal sets them up with the centrifuges necessary to go nuclear six months after the expiration of the deal.

In the Iran deal as first presented did not require Iran to close a single nuclear facility, not one centrifuge gets dismantled, some of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium gets “converted” but all of it stays in the country. Their entire nuclear infrastructure remains intact, they gets to continue its nuclear research, the ballistic missile program continues, the sanctions come off as Iran complies, and while there are provisions for sanctions to snap back, any such action needs to be approved through the U.N. Security Council and vetoes from Russia and/or China.

Thanks to the AP’s Mr. Jahn we learn that it also helps Iran cut the time it needs to leap to a nuclear bomb from a year to six months. And thanks to Barack Obama, the United States of America, our Sunni allies in the gulf region, and Israel are in worse danger than before.

Jeff Dunetz

One Year in: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Alleviate Global and Israeli Fears?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany—was a watershed event in international diplomacy and a key moment for U.S. President Barack Obama, who staked his legacy on the deal’s success. One year later, should world nations, and perhaps most notably Israel, still view the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat?

“In terms of compliance with the deal itself, I think it is going very well,” Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corporation, told JNS.org. “Basically, the bargain was Iran rolling back of key elements of the nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—those two key aspects of the deal have been met.”

In May, U.S. Ambassador and Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Stephen Mull said in testimony to the U.S. Senate that the Iran nuclear deal “has been implemented by all participants.”

According to Mull, Iran has completed dozens of specific actions to “limit, freeze, or roll back its nuclear program and subject it to greater transparency by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

This includes Iran disconnecting two-thirds of its installed centrifuge capacity, terminating uranium enrichment at its secretive Fordow nuclear facility, reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and filling the core of its Arak heavy water reactor with concrete.

As such, Mull concluded that these actions have increased Iran’s so-called “breakout time”—the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—from two or three months to at least a year.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told JNS.org that while the deal is “holding for now,” the Iranians “remain within the letter of the agreement but not the spirit of it.”

“They have been a little more transparent in their nuclear processes, but it has not fundamentally changed Iranian behavior,” Berman said, alluding to Iran’s continued military buildup; support for terrorist organizations; and hostility towards Israel, the U.S., and America’s Arab allies.

Many policymakers and analysts also remain concerned about the economic ramifications of the nuclear deal. One of the principle concerns had been the estimated $100-$150 billion in sanctions relief that Iran would receive as a result of the unfreezing of foreign assets once the Islamic Republic met its obligations under the agreement.

According to Berman, the deal has set in motion a “vast sanctions give away that is far more expansive than most people understand.”

“It is not only the $100 billion or so incorporated into the deal, but also measures like the White House’s attempts to facilitate Iranian access to the U.S. dollar and pressure on state governments to roll back Iranian divestment measures,” he said.

“What they set in motion was this grand reorientation of global economics in favor of Iran,” Berman added.

Despite these concerns, there are still a number of non-nuclear U.S. sanctions in place on Iran relating to terrorism, Iran’s ballistic missile program, and human rights violations—creating financial uncertainty for Iran, and making a number of international companies and banks wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic. Those sanctions are in place in large part because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, is heavily involved in Iran’s economy.

As such, with Iran not seeing the economic windfall that it had hoped for and had promised its people, Iranian leaders have publicly complained that the U.S. has not held its end of the bargain in the nuclear deal.

“On paper, the Americans say banks can trade with Iran, but in practice they act in such an Iranophobic way that no trade can take place with Iran,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in April, while accusing the U.S. of engaging in “obstruction and deception.”

Yet Berman dismissed these complaints by Iranian leaders, saying that it is important to “separate what Iran says from what it is actually doing.”

Just weeks after the implementation of the nuclear deal in January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, where both nations agreed to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Russia used the pretext of the lifting of nuclear sanctions to renew its deal to provide Iran with the advanced S-300 air defense system.

Even India, which has seen significantly warming relations with Iran’s enemy, Israel, under President Narendra Modi, signed a dozen agreements with Tehran during a visit by Modi to the Islamic Republic in May, including a $500 million deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Before the nuclear deal, Iran “didn’t lack for global ambition, but lacked resources,” said Berman. Now, he explained, “the powers of global politics are such [that] the Iranians can start thinking about what it looks like to not just be a participant in Middle East politics, but a key driver of it, [and] not just be a partner of rogue regimes like North Korea or Venezuela, but to actually be a patron of them….That’s a fundamentally new dynamic for the Iranians.”

For Israel, the nuclear agreement represented a major blow to the efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke out strongly and regularly against the pre-deal nuclear negotiations and has argued that the deal does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Yet a year after the deal was signed, there appears to be less concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions within Israel’s leadership and more of a focus on Iran’s regional ambitions, its involvement in Syria, and Iran’s support for its terror proxies.

This sentiment was clear in recent remarks by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who stated at the Herzilya Conference in June that Iran’s nuclear program “has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel.”

Similarly, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said during a speech in January that a current “decline” in existential threats to Israel comes due to a variety of emerging trends, including the Iran nuclear deal.

The Rand Corporation’s Kaye, who recently returned from a trip to Israel, said that “there is a wide consensus among Israeli analysts that the Iranians are likely to adhere to this agreement.”

But Israeli military officials are now more deeply concerned about the possible economic and military consequences that a richer and more emboldened Iran will bring forth, especially through its support for its terror proxy nations. Kaye cautioned that for Israel, attention “has really turned to Iran’s role in Syria and its relation with Hezbollah as well as a permanent Iranian presence along Israel’s northern border in southern Syria.”

Berman said that “even if you take away the existential question of Iran getting a nuclear weapon later, which is where they (Israeli security officials) still think Iran is headed. What you are looking at is a very negative cycle of economic attrition. [Israelis] expect all the proxies that Iran is funding —Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad—to have a greater resources in the near future as a result of the nuclear deal.”

As a consequence, Berman said, Israel will need to step up its security and deterrence, and spend more money on defensive weapons and technology such as the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems or anti-tunneling technology.

Nevertheless, Kaye contended that by taking the nuclear threat off the table for the time being, Israel might have more of a chance to act boldly against Iran’s terror proxies without the concern of potentially igniting a nuclear conflict with Iran.

“One of the motivations [of the deal] to begin with was to ensure that Iran would not be engaging in this type of behavior under a nuclear umbrella. I think in that context, there is some relief that Iran is at least hemmed in on the nuclear front,” Kaye said.

While it appears that Iran’s compliance with the letter of the deal has so far reduced the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran in the short term, there is continued concern among policymakers and analysts over Iran’s aggressive behavior moving forward.

“I think the focus will now only increase towards implementation as well as planning and preparation for what might happen once some of the key elements of this deal start to expire in 10 years,” Kaye said. “The only exception to that will be increased momentum and focus on the missile front. There won’t be a renegotiation on the existing agreement. But there may be a push to expand on the current agreement to include more restrictions on Iranian missile testing and development in exchange for further economic relief.”

Sean Savage

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/one-year-in-does-the-iran-nuclear-deal-alleviate-global-and-israeli-fears/2016/07/17/

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