web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

Fears Over US Iran Deal Trigger Mideast Nuclear Race, Saudi-South Korea Deal

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The race for nuclear power has begun in the Middle East in response to fears of an Iranian nuclear threat.

The move towards nuclear technology in a region where barely half of the population graduates high school, let alone matriculates in a post-secondary school institution, was triggered by U.S. reluctance to reign in Tehran and the hostility of the Obama administration towards Israel.

Possibly in response to an editorial published this week in the English-language edition of the Saudi Arabia-based Al Arabiya,

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew straight to Riyadh yesterday after talks with Iran went on a brief hiatus in Montreaux.

But the leaders of Saudi Arabia have signed a $2 billion deal with South Korea to build at least two small and medium-size nuclear reactors, according to a report Tuesday in The Korea Herald.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) calls for a feasibility study to build Korean SMART reactors in Saudi Arabia. The reactors, to be designed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, are specifically intended for the generation of electricity and desalination of sea water in Middle Eastern nations, according to the report. Completion of the feasibility study is expected by 2018. The two nations previously signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in 2011.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye met Tuesday with Saudi King Salman on ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations. Before arriving in Riyadh, Park had concluded a three-day visit to Kuwait.

Next on her itinerary are the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Washington needs Saudi Arabia’s support in the region for a host of foreign policy reasons. As a result, Kerry is now working to convince the Riyadh government that President Barack Obama will not bargain away its interests at the table with Iran.

The U.S. “will not take our eye off of Iran’s other destabilizing actions in places like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula – Yemen particularly,” Kerry told a meeting of the foreign ministers from the six Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) states.

The Secretary of State met earlier in the day with newly-crowned King Salman and deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in his efforts to reassure Saudi Arabia that the U.S. was not seeking any “grand bargain” with the Islamic Republic.

“Nothing will be different the day after this agreement,” Kerry claimed, “if we were to reach one, with respect to all of the other issues that challenge us in this region.”

US Secy of State Kerry Says ‘Demanding Iran Capitulate is Not a Plan’

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed members of the media on the progress made in talks between world powers led by the U.S. with Iranian negotiators over Tehran’s nuclear development program in Montreaux, Switzerland on Wednesday before leaving to return to the United States. Kerry responded to the speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Tuesday’s joint session of Congress, commenting sardonically that “simply demanding Iran capitulate is not a plan.” Not that Netanyahu said any such thing or implied it, contrary to the attempts by the Obama administration to characterize the prime minister’s remarks as such.

Regardless, here is the verbatim transcript of the Secretary’s remarks, which make it clear that Kerry is determined to complete a deal with Iran, perhaps “no matter what,” unless the Iranians themselves decide that even with all the concessions, the price is just too high.

“So good afternoon to all, and thank you very, very much for your patience. We’ve been involved in some long discussions over the past few days, and even well before that. And before I leave Montreux, I wanted to quickly share with you where we are.

“From the beginning, these negotiations have been tough and intense, and they remain so. And we’ve made some progress from where we were, but there are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made. The purpose of these negotiations is not to get any deal; it’s to get the right deal, one that can withstand scrutiny – the scrutiny of experts on nuclear affairs all around the world, the scrutiny of other governments, the scrutiny of people, the scrutiny of the Congress of the United States, people in America, and the scrutiny of countries in the region that are affected by it. And so we know that. We approach these negotiations with a full understanding of the test that will be applied to this and of the expectations that exist.

“We also want an agreement that is sustainable over time, and particularly that achieves the singular goal of proving that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain peaceful. We aren’t going to be distracted by external factors or politics. We will continue to be guided by our experts, our scientists, our national interests and those of our partners and allies.

“Now, for all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And we know that absent a deal, Iran will have the ability to move ahead with its nuclear program; that we know for sure, because that’s exactly what’s happened to date. We also know that any deal that we would agree to would significantly increase the breakout time, leaving Iran further – far further than it is today – from producing enough fissile material for a weapon, while it undertakes the effort of proving to the world that the program is, in fact, peaceful.

“Clearly, increased breakout time makes any nation in the vicinity or any nation of concern safer. We also know that any deal that we reach would give us the intrusive access and verification measures necessary to confirm that Iran’s nuclear facilities are indeed on a peaceful path. And that would allow us to promptly detect any attempt to cheat or to break out, and then to respond appropriately. And contrary to some public reports, we are only contemplating a deal in which important access and verification measures will endure.

“We also know that the international sanctions, which many want to simply hang their hats on – they may have gotten Iran to the table, but to date they haven’t stopped Iran from advancing its nuclear program. In fact, the first and only thing that had stopped their program from progressing in almost a decade was the Joint Plan of Action that we negotiated and we reached in November of 2013, and that has been adhered to in every single respect since then.

“And most importantly, as President Obama said yesterday, we know that no one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan, and nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position. And it’s very important to remember we have partners in this effort – France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia – all of whom have similar feelings about the importance of what must be done here.

“So we continue to be focused on reaching a good deal, the right deal, that closes off any paths that Iran could have towards fissile material for a weapon and that protects the world from the enormous threat that we all know a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

“Now, we still don’t know whether we will get there, and it is certainly possible that we won’t. It may be that Iran simply can’t say yes to the type of deal that the international community requires. But we do know that we owe it to the American people in my case, people in the world, to try to find out. And we will return to these talks on the 15th of March, recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are ticking by, and important decisions need to be made. Thank you.”

Israeli PM Netanyahu Arrives in US to Speak at AIPAC, Congress on Iran

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived Sunday in Washington ahead of his scheduled appearances at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual convention, and subsequently before the U.S. Congress.

Netanyahu is expected to speak about the dangers of allowing Iran to achieve the ability to complete its creation of an atomic weapon.

“The White House did not want Mr. Netanyahu to give this speech,” at least three television networks said bluntly during newscasts on Sunday night. The Israeli leader was invited to speak to the Congress by House Speaker John Boehner, all news anchors noted.

Netanyahu has said he will make his case for stopping the Iranians from achieving their goal both at the AIPAC podium and again before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. The issue is critical to Israel, which faces an existential threat if the deal currently on the table is signed by Tehran and world powers led by the United States.

During his speech to Congress, Netanyahu will reportedly reveal Israel’s knowledge of the details of the agreement on the table being discussed between world powers – led by the U.S. – and Tehran. A senior official traveling with the prime minister spoke with CNN, saying, “The prime minister is going to explain what they don’t know about this agreement is that it is a bad agreement.”

Netanyahu’s speech is seen as a last-ditch attempt to make America’s lawmakers understand the danger facing not only Israel, but their own nation and the rest of the world as well, before a March 24 deadline for inking any agreement with Tehran is reached.

House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner hit back on Thursday at U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who characterized next week’s address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “destructive.”

Boehner challenged her remarks, saying that in fact, the situation was quite the opposite.

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress,” Boehner told reporters on Thursday.

“I couldn’t disagree more. The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way,” Boehner said.

The invitation by the Speaker came directly, without a first pass by the White House or the State Department, which presidential staff members have censured as a breach of protocol.

The prime minister maintains that Iran’s skyrocketing nuclear development and the pending agreement being arranged by the United States and world leaders with Tehran presents Israel with a clear existential threat. As such, Netanyahu said he cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to directly discuss the danger to Israel with America’s lawmakers.

Rice said Tuesday the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address the joint session of Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

Boehner disagreed, saying, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

The Speaker insisted that it is important for the American people to hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say about the grave threats Israel faces.

“I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there” to hear it, Boehner said.

Both Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samatha Power, are expected to address the AIPAC annual convention which begins on Sunday, and where Netanyahu is also scheduled to appear.

‘5 Shades of Israel’ Debate the Issues for Anglo Votes in Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The top five political parties in Israel vied for the English-speaking vote in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a far more polite debate held at Cinema City in Jerusalem than is usually seen in Hebrew-speaking forums, in keeping with the cultural tenor of the audience.

JewishPress.com editor-in-chief Stephen Leavitt noted at the start of the event that Israel is home to nearly half a million “native English speakers” who have immigrated from countries as diverse at Australia, South Africa, the UK, Canada, the U.S. and other areas where the English language is spoken.

Representatives of the Likud, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Tnua merger parties addressed the anglo voters on a set of five core issues. Among those that has been raising blood pressure in Israel and abroad is the Iranian nuclear threat and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned trip next week to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.

Yisrael Beytenu representative Ashley Perry led off the responses by asking, “How can we take on Iran if we cannot successfully take on Hamas and Hezbollah? We can achieve a draw at best,” he said, pointing to the results of the recent operations carried out against terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

“We have to first deal with the more imminent threat on our borders,” Perry said. “We have to take the gloves off. We need to return deterrence. The next time a single rocket comes over, we need to respond with such impact that … quiet returns for generations.”

Yesh Atid representative and MK Rabbi Dov Lipman commented, “There are times when leaders speak with bravado, but create tremendous damage to Israel along the way… I see it when I travel abroad. There is a way to go about such things.” Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, Lipman contended, is “doing tremendous damage.” He insisted the Congress could have — and would have — come up with a two-thirds vote to “override” any deal with Iran that President Barack Obama would have brought before the Congress for approval. Now, he said, “Congress cannot do anything about it.”

Hillik Bar, representing the Herzog-Hatnua parties, said he believes in “smart diplomacy” and that in essence, he agreed with Lipman. “But this time I agree with Netanyahu in that we in Israel do not believe the Iranians when they say they are using their nuclear power for peace. We know better.” The difference, Bar said, was that his party differs with Likud on how to differentiate between “those Arabs who want to live with us and those who don’t — those who want to live here INSTEAD of us. With those, we should speak with them in the language of the IDF; on this we agree with Netanyahu,” he said.

Likud representative and former MK, Professor Benny Begin’s oratorial skills prompted even the moderator to lose track of his own timekeeping — for which he later apologized to the audience.

“What a miracle,” he began quietly. “I should remind you that in the last decade and up to about two years ago, everyone agreed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was exaggerating about the Iranian threat in order to keep the debate about “internal” issues. The P5+1 was claiming there was “no weapons program” there in Iran… everyone was insisting that Netanyahu was making it up.

“There was only one person who carried that banner and he carried it high. It speaks about the far-sighted ability of Netanyahu, and his courage to carry it in the face of major opposition from everyone… These guys are a menace not only to Israel but to the whole world.

US Media Avoids Iran Opposition Group Exposure of Secret Nuclear Program

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

An opposition group in Iran was slated to reveal new information Tuesday morning about the presence of a top secret parallel nuclear program being carried out at a site called Lavizan-3.

But suddenly, after first announcing the upcoming news story and the presence of the blockbuster top secret parallel nuclear development program in Iran – the headlines vanished. The briefing by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) simply did not exist.

Instead, reports vanished about the upcoming news of the secret Iranian nuclear development program being carried on right under the very noses of the American and European negotiators while trying to reach a “good faith” agreement with Tehran.

They were replaced with headlines about “leaked cables” that reportedly showed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel’s international Mossad intelligence agency “disagreed” about the extent of the Iranian nuclear threat.

Talk about the proverbial red herring.

To his credit, CNN correspondent Nick Robertson in London debunked that myth, reporting that the Mossad clarified there “is no daylight” between the view of the Mossad and the prime minister. Robertson noted that a briefing sheet distributed to journalists about the issue included one point that seemed a bit vague – “item 9” which, he said, “someone has chosen to deliberately undermine the prime minister when he goes to the United States next week.”

While the top secret parallel nuclear development program is humming away, world powers led by the U.S. are hammering out an agreement to allow Iran to continue openly its clandestine activities, aimed at achieving an atomic weapon of mass destruction.

“The U.S. and Iran are shaping the contours of a deal that would initially freeze Tehran’s nuclear program but would allow it to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make nuclear arms over the last years of the agreement’s duration,” Fox News reported on its website Monday and Tuesday.

The details of the six-power talks with Iran were still not fine-tuned, according to the report, which said restrictions on the uranium enrichment program would be lifted as part of the deal, along with sanctions, as a reward for “good behavior” by Iran.

News about the briefing by the Iranian opposition group, slated to take place at 10 am New York time, was non-existent however — and the original headline vanished as if it did not exist on both CNN and Fox News.

The original announcement remained on Yahoo! News but no follow-up was available, leading to questions of how the story had been squelched.

The nuclear development site itself has been kept completely secret from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and work there reportedly is continuing during negotiations with the P5+1 world leaders, including the United States.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran has previously provided highly reliable intelligence on Iran’s nuclear sites, however — and the U.S. representative office of the NCRI was slated to hold its news conference to reveal further information on the existence of “an active and secret parallel nuclear program in Iran,” the group said.

In the past, NCRI exposed some of the most significant parts of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, including information about the Natanz uranium enrichment and Arak heavy water sites in August 2002; Kalay-e Electric centrifuge assembly and testing facility in February 2003; Lashkar-abad Laser enrichment and Lavizan-Shian site in May 2003; Fordow underground enrichment site in December 2005; and Defensive Innovation and Research Organization SPND in July 2011.

It’s still not clear what happened with the briefing — nor is it clear how or why the U.S. news media suddenly ditched the story.

Senior US Sen. Charles Schumer Urges Fellow Democrats to Attend Netanyahu Speech to Congress

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer called on fellow Democrats to put principles above politics this week and be in their seats March 3 when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu walks to the podium in Congress.

The U.S. has always maintained a “bipartisan policy” on its relationship with Israel, Schumer said during a radio interview in New York.

“Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it; we ought to keep it that way.”

Vice President Joe Biden’s office announced that he will be “out of the country” when Israel’s leader addresses American lawmakers.

Schumer offered the opinion that House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu “could have been done in a different way.”

As the leader of an ally in the Middle East that is “helping us fight terrorism,” Schumer said, Netanyahu has “every right to come here and speak, but he ought to do it in a bipartisan manner.”

Both of New York’s Democratic senators and all but two of its Democratic representatives will attend the session.

Long-time Congress member Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) is one of the ‘won’t go’s.

“I am certain his motivation comes more from Israel than from his American friends,” Rangel told the New York Daily News — as if the Israeli prime minister should put America’s interests above those of his own nation’s citizens.

“I think that they would have to realize that this is not in the best interests of Israel, that he does this for his campaign,” he added. The remark leads one to wonder why a New York Congress member would suddenly make a reference to an Israeli national election when the address – and the topic – was arranged months earlier.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) also plans to be absent for the session, according to the report. Congress member Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) did not respond to a query by the Daily News about her plans; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the paper he is “consulting” with his constituents in Brooklyn before deciding. All other New York City Democrats plan to attend, the paper reported. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) commented that skipping the speech would be a political move. “I am not choosing to participate in those politics,” she said.

“I hope that things can be worked out to salve some of the legitimate wounds that people feel,” Schumer said. “I will go to the speech out of my respect and love for the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, Iran continues to behave in the manner predicted by Israel, which deeply concerns its leadership over the likelihood Tehran will reach a nuclear threshold.

Iran is still not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters. The agency remains unable to clarify outstanding measures of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to create nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Data in both areas were to have been provided to the IAEA by August 2014.

But this is not new behavior; Tehran long ago mastered the technique of buying time for more nuclear development by stringing along Western leaders with promises of “new talks” and “negotiations” in return for delays on sanctions. The current P5+1 negotiations, slated to end in a “new agreement” by March 24, are just more of the same.

It is precisely the danger inherent in the repeated delays – and time granted to Iran that allows it to progress in its nuclear activities – that has finally prompted Netanyahu to turn to Congress directly.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/senior-us-sen-charles-schumer-urges-fellow-democrats-to-attend-netanyahu-speech-to-congress/2015/02/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: