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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘uranium’

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Wall St. Journal: Obama May Compromise on Iran’s Uranium

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The Obama administration is considering to back down and allow Iran to retains its uranium enrichment facilities, despite strong objections from Saudi Arabia and Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The world’s major powers are scheduled to meet with Iran this week in a new round of negotiations on its nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic maintains is for peaceful purposes despite vast evidence to the contrary.

If President Barack Obama goes head and compromises with Iran, he will face even stronger criticism in Congress, where a large number of bi-partisan members have demanded that sanctions remain unless Iran makes clear and open moves to stop enriching uranium, a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon.

Ten Democratic and Republican senators sent the president a letter on Friday, calling for Iran to agree to a complete freeze on enriching uranium before the United States eases sanctions.

“Iran’s first confidence-building action should be…immediate suspension of all enrichment activity,” said the letter, which was released  on Monday.

Iran against the World, Netanyahu Alone against Iran

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Iran on Thursday drew a “red line” on preserving its “right” to produce enriched uranium, less than a week before the “PT5+1” begins another round of negotiations for Iran that are expected to stretch several months, plenty of time for it to race across Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s red line.

One-minded mass media this week enthusiastically reported Iran’s offer  to limit the number of centrifuges operating, restrict its amount of enriched uranium and accept verification but has totally ignored Iran’s “red line.”

Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hossein, a senior Iranian legislator  and rapporteur of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was reported by the government-run Fars News Agency on Thursday as saying, “The Iranian nation’s right to peaceful nuclear technology and uranium enrichment up to whatever level required by the country’s nuclear industry are regarded as our red lines.”

He said that no one is allowed to cross the red lines of the Islamic system.

The road to a nuclear-armed Iran is virtually the same one used by the Palestinian Authority to tire out the West and win all of its political and territorial demands.

First, both Iran and PA  chairman Mahmoud Abbas have learned to say the right word at the right time to the right people.

Second, they have made cosmetic changes while hardening their single-track objectives.

Third, both entities deliver a message at home that is 180 degrees opposite what they tell the West.

Fourth, the United States and its allies are willing to talk and talk so long as Iran does not have the bomb.

That is what scares Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and rightly so. He said in the United Nations two weeks ago that the most dangerous situation would be allowing Iran to have the capacity for manufacturing a nuclear warhead and while sitting idly by until it decides to go ahead with a doomsday weapon, by which time it will be too late to stop it.

The Prime Minister has stayed on the good side of President Barack Obama and has not directly challenged his approach. Instead, he used his visit to the United States last week to go on a media blitz to take his case into the homes of Americans.

Now he is doing the same in Europe.

He conducted no less than six interviews Thursday with media outlets from Britain, Germany and France, three of the PT+1 countries that will meet next week with Iran in Geneva. The others are the United States, China and Russia.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, and a bad deal would be a partial agreement which lifts sanctions off Iran and leaves them with the ability to enrich uranium or to continue work on their heavy water plutonium, which is what is needed to produce nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told the London Financial Times.

Targeting his audience, the Prime Minister referred to Nazi Germany and reminded listeners  that Churchill said, “Don’t let the Nazis arm themselves. Don’t let an implacable, radical regime have awesome power. And he was right, and there is a lesson to be learned here [to] be tough, be strong, be consistent… Europe should stop looking for excuses why it does not take action against Iran. If you want to be soft, be soft.”

Netanyahu stands almost alone against Iran, but there is still one very strong force that understands that Iran and the Palestinian Authority share the same concept of “negotiate,” which to them means, “You give and we take.”

That strong force is not a country; it is the U.S. Congress.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arkansas is signing up co-sponsors to a new bill to authorize war against the Islamic Republic if it does not cease all enrichment of uranium.

There is little chance the bill will pass Congress, but a strong Congressional voice would act as brakes on President Obama’s “engagement,” just as it has acted to slow down Obama’s eagerness to give Abbas whatever he wants.

The New York Times, a regular grandstander for the president, is leading the bandwagon of “let’s trust Iran” just as it has done for 20 years to trust the Palestinian Authority, explaining that every terrorist attack only proves that Israel should surrender “land for peace” and if it turns out to be “land for war,” well, that’s Israel’s problem.

Netanyahu at UN: If Israel Must Act Alone against Iran, We Will Do So

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the United Nations Tuesday afternoon that Israel will never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons and that it will act alone to prevent a nuclear Iran if sanctions do not work.

He did not mince words in attacking the Iranian regime for being deceitful and anti-democratic, and he provided fact after fact to prove that the regime has been hiding behind “smooth rhetoric” in order to “have its yellow cake and eat it, too.”

The Prime Minister verbally knocked out Iranian President Hassan Rohani, comparing him with his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with one external difference.

“Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rohani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community, but like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rohani’s words, but we must focus on Iran’s action,” Netanyahu said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the United Nations that Rohani is a servant to a “rogue” regime that wants to annihilate Israel and that Rohani simply cannot be believed when he says he wants negotiations over its nuclear program.

He pleaded with the international community not to let up on sanctions in return for “cosmetic concessions” that would allow Iran to race ahead to develop nuclear weapons when it wants.

Iran was quick to respond to what one delegate said was an “extremely inflammatory statement.” The delegate told the General Assembly that the “Prime Minister must not dare think about attacking Iran.”

He countered Netanyahu’s warning that Israel will defend itself by stating, “He should seriously avoid miscalculation against Iran. Iran’s century-long policy of nonaggression should not be interpreted as an unwillingness to defend itself.”

The delegate then tried to turn the tables on Israel, mocking it for demanding that Iran disclose its nuclear program while Israel needs to be “educated” for being the “only non-party” to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Without refuting the Prime Minister’s carefully outlined evidence that Iran is trying to gain capability to manufacture a nuclear warhead, the delegate said with a straight face, “We reject equating the peaceful pursuit of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons.”

The only kind words Netanyahu had for Iran was for the ancient Persian empire.

“Our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran…but I want you to know that this was not always the case,” he said. “Some 2,500 year ago, the great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people…[and] proclaimed the right of Jews to return to the Land of Israel and to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.”

He said this historic tie lasted for centuries but that in 1979, “a radical regime took over Iran” and “was busy thrashing the Iranian people’s hopes for democracy” while encouraging chants of “death to the Jews.”

The central theme of Netanyahu’s speech was that Rohani is a con artist who has been up to his neck in encouraging the secret development of nuclear weapons and is also an integral part of the Iranian regime’s policies of brutal suppression of domestic opposition and support of terrorist attacks against the West.

“He was on the Supreme Council from 1989 to 2003, during which time Iran gunned down opposition leaders and murdered 85 people in the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires,” Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted. He also fingered Iran for attack that cost the lives of 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut.

As for Rohani’s speech in the United Nations last week when he patted the Islamic Republic on the back for being “democratic,” Prime Minister Netanyahu retaliated,  “The regime he represents executes dissidents by the hundreds, kills them by the thousands,” and participates in Assad’s “massacre of tens of thousands of men, women and children” while propping up the regime that uses chemical weapons against its own citizens.

“I wish I could believe Rohani but I don’t because facts are …that Iran’s savage record contradicts soothing rhetoric,” the Prime Minister added.

He reminded the United Nations that Rohani, as the negotiator for Iran from 2003 to 2005, “masterminded the strategy that allowed Iran to seek nuclear weapons behind very soothing rhetoric.”

USA Today on Tuesday published evidence to back up Netanyahu’s accusations that Rohani and his Muslim superiors are trying to pull the wool over the world’s eyes.

Last Friday, President Barack Obama gushed over Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who the president said “has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.”

However, the newspaper cited research from MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) that no such fatwa exists.

“An exhaustive search of the various official websites of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei turned up no such fatwa, either on his fatwa website or on his personal website,” according to MEMRI.

The research group “says the fatwa was first mentioned by Sirius Naseri, an Iranian representative to a meeting of the U.N.’s nuclear agency in 2005, but is not listed among the hundreds of fatwas that Khamenei has issued on his official or personal website,” USA Today wrote.

Netanyahu clearly spelled out Iran’s history of being caught “red-handed” at least twice building underground nuclear facilities and pointed out that it is developing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), which he said are for the “sole purpose of carrying nuclear warheads.”

He reiterated his demands in last year’s speech at the United Nations that Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, turn over is stockpile of enriched uranium and stop all enrichment before sanctions can be lifted.

He said sanctions are working and that Rohani was elected to remove  the sanctions while continuing to develop nuclear weapons and declared, “Rohani thinks he can get away with it because he has gotten away with it before.”

‘Moderate’ Rouhani Misled West, Sneaked in Centrifuges?

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

There is a particularly interesting aspect to the video that has recently surfaced, in which Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, gloats over Iran’s success in coopting European negotiators to keep the Iranian nuclear program on track in the mid-2000s, in spite of pressure from the United States.

The video clip, from an Iranian news-program interview of Rouhani in Farsi, was published by Reza Khalili.  Ryan Mauro highlights it at the Clarion Project, tying it to a report from 31 July in which Mauro outlined Rouhani’s extensive history of using deception about the Iranian nuclear program back when he was the chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran.

The deception and Rouhani’s gloating are important (see especially his characterization of the top-cover he received from European negotiators); I will let readers visit the reports and soak in the information at your leisure.  What I want to focus on here is the timeline Rouhani refers to in the video.  If he is telling the truth – and there is no obvious reason why he would lie about the timing he refers to – the timeline he outlines for bringing Iranian centrifuge cascades online in substantial numbers makes a poignant contrast with the reporting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the time.

The contrast highlights just how in the dark IAEA was during this period, at least about the centrifuges.  (It’s also worth highlighting, in general, the timeline of what was going on during the EU-brokered negotiations Rouhani refers to in the video.)  Certainly, many in the West had an uneasy suspicion that, by the end of 2005, Iran may have accomplished more than IAEA was officially aware of.  But, as late as February 2006, IAEA acknowledged the following decisive condition:

Due to the fact that no centrifuge related raw materials and components are under Agency seal, the Agency is unable effectively to monitor the R&D activities being carried out by Iran except at the [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant],* where containment and surveillance measures are being applied to the enrichment process.

Rouhani’s timeline

The full timeline from the video develops as follows.  Rouhani summarizes it between the time hacks of 3:45 and 4:30.  His overall allusion is to the period from October 2003 to August 2005, when he was the chief negotiator for the Iranian nuclear program.

His initial discussion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr contains no surprises; it is couched in the following terms:

- First phase of Bushehr project completed – Beginning of 2004

- Next phase completed – Fall of 2004

These references are presumably to Russia’s completion of facility construction, which was noted at the time in Western reporting.

- Project completed – March 2005

This is probably a reference to an agreement between Russia and Iran, concluded in February 2005, under which Moscow would supply the enriched-uranium fuel for the light-water reactor at Bushehr.  (See here as well for a summary from 2006 alluding to the 2005 agreement.)

iran-nuc-facs

So far, so good.  Next, Rouhani speaks of the heavy-water reactor, or the plutonium reactor at Arak.

- “Production” started at the heavy-water plant – Summer of 2004

Construction of the reactor was begun in June of 2004, but Rouhani here appears to be referring to the heavy-water production plant (HWPP), a particular component of the Arak reactor system, which reportedly began operation (i.e., the production of heavy water) in November 2004.

In this walk back through the Iranian nuclear program, it is worth recalling what the official line was about Arak at the time, in the big middle of the EU-3 talks with Iran:

Iran has started building a research reactor that could eventually produce enough plutonium for one bomb per year, ignoring calls to scrap the project, diplomats close to the United Nations said on Thursday. …

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran had created a “confidence deficit” by concealing parts of its atomic program for nearly two decades and urged Tehran to improve its transparency and cooperation with U.N. inspectors. A concluding statement from this week’s IAEA governing board meeting said the 35 members unanimously said it was “essential that Iran provide full transparency and extend proactive cooperation to the agency.” …

Digging for Uranium in the Negev Ends before It Begins

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Any chance of Israel producing uranium have come to a quick end for the time being with Israel’s Gulliver Energy company’s announcement Monday that it is giving up its search for the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon.

The company explained that findings in the area between Arad and Sodom, near the Dead Sea. the field indicated that production of any uranium that would be found is not profitable, according to Globes.

Gulliver received a one-year permit last April to explore for uranium in the area. Last month, it launched a $130,000 project to explore an existing borehole.

 

 

Uranium in the Negev?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

An Israel company is progressing with efforts to dig in the northern Negev for large amounts of uranium, a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon.

Gulliver Energy announced Wednesday it has began exploration in an existing borehole near Arad, located east of Be’er Sheva and overlooking the Dead Sea several miles further east, the Globes business newspaper reported.

Gulliver expects to complete the $130,000 project by March 24 and will announce the results and recommendation concerning further exploration by April 1.

Gulliver has a one-year license for exploring an area between Sodom and Arad.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uranium-in-the-negev/2013/02/27/

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