Newscast Media VIENNA—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says nuclear talks with
Iran have made good progress but there is “still work to do” to meet a July 20
deadline. Speaking after talks in Vienna between six world powers and Iranian
officials, Kerry said there have been “tough negotiations” and that “very real gaps”
remain in the positions of the two sides.
He said he still believes there is a path forward and that both sides are working in
Kerry said he is returning to Washington to consult with President Barack Obama and
Congress about the prospects for a long-term deal with Iran.
Kerry said he has told Iranian officials that the 19,000 nuclear centrifuges the
country possesses are too many.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech last week that Iran
needs tens of thousands more centrifuges.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a separate news conference on
July 15, said that although he still hopes a deal would be possible by the July 20
deadline, he believed enough progress has been made to justify an extension.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States says it is taking steps to release a
$450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds in response to Tehran meeting its
commitment under the interim deal reached with world powers in November.
State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said April 17 the move comes after a
report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that says Iran is living up to
its part of the interim nuclear deal.
“Based on this confirmation and consistent with commitments that the United States
made under the Joint Plan of Action, the Department of Treasury took the necessary
steps pursuant to the JPOA to facilitate the release of a $450 million installment of
Iran’s frozen funds,” Harf told reporters.
Under the agreement, Iran halted some of its nuclear activities in exchange for a
limited easing of some international sanctions.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media GENEVA—Israel will not be bound to any agreements reached between Iran and the six world powers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prior to his departure from Israel on Friday.
Netanyahu met with Kerry at the airport on Friday morning, just before Kerry was tocontinue on to Geneva to join the talks between Iran and the Western countries.
The meeting was described as “tense” with Netanyahu saying that Israel vehemently opposes the apparent deal that seems to come into play on the Iranian nuclear plan.
“I hear that the Iranians are walking in Geneva with a smile on their faces, and they have good reason for it,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“They got everything they wanted and gave nothing. They’ll get a decrease in sanctions but they won’t reduce their enrichment capabilities, so Iran got the deal of the century,” the prime minister added.
“Israel rejects this plan completely… Israel will not be committed to such an agreement and will do whatever is necessary to protect itself,” he said. Netanyahu also tied that sentiment to the peace process with the Palestinians, and said that Israel, on this topic as well, will “not compromise on its safety and vital interests up against international pressure.”
“No amount of pressure will make me or the Israeli government compromise on the security and national interests of Israel,” he said in that respect.
Kerry expanded his stay in the Mideast on Thursday to try and salvage the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but decided to join world powers in Geneva after an invitation by the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton.
Kerry’s eighth visit to the region started on Wednesday with shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Ramallah to overcome major roadblocks in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Newscast Media TEHRAN—The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced Wednesday that the Islamic Republic has plans to develop its nuclear program and is ready to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog on “outstanding issues.”
Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of AEOI, said that the Islamic republic has plans to construct new nuclear power plants on the Persian Gulf coast, Press TV reported.
“What we have in mind is to build (nuclear) power plants on the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea coasts, but we have prioritized the Persian Gulf shores as we are going to pave the way for desalination of water for the southern provinces,” Salehi was quoted as saying by Press TV.
He did not provide further details about the plan but reiterated earlier remarks of Iranian officials to build more nuclear power plants across the country. Renewal of the remarks is significant as the Islamic republic and some world powers are preparing for “serious” nuclear talks next month.
Salehi also said Iran will operate a production line of enriched UO2 (uranium dioxide) in three months, Tehran Times daily reported on Wednesday.
The enriched UO2 would be used to provide nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, said Salehi. UO2 is a black, radioactive and crystalline powder that naturally occurs in the mineral uraninite. It is used in fuel rods for nuclear reactors.
On Sept. 23, Iran took over control of Bushehr nuclear power plant from Russia. Salehi said that during the first two-year period, Russian engineers would provide support to Iranian technicians, who after two years would completely control the plant.
On Sept. 27, Iran expressed its willingness to reach an agreement with the IAEA over nuclear inspection after the talks between Iranian new negotiation team and the UN nuclear agency in Vienna.
The first tentative talk, after the appointment of Iran’s new negotiating team, was announced to be constructive and to continue on Oct. 28.
Reza Najafi, Iranian new ambassador to UN nuclear agency, said he was looking forward to reaching an agreement in the future with the agency.
Newscast Media GENEVA—The Obama administration is encouraged by Iran’s stated desire to improve relations with the international community, and it is seeking to “test those assurances” in talks taking place in Geneva.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva October 14, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had indicated he would be presenting a detailed proposal concerning Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, which the international community has long believed is part of a larger program for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
“We are ready to hear it, to listen to it, and to go to work, if it is substantive and concrete,” the official said.
“We will be looking for specific steps that address core issues, such as the pace and scope of its enrichment program, the transparency of its overall nuclear program, and its stockpiles of enriched uranium. In essence, we’re looking for confidence-building measures that begin to address some of our priority concerns on the way to a comprehensive agreement,” the official said.
Zarif and officials from the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are holding two days of discussions on Iran’s nuclear future. The negotiating group is known as the P5+1 because it includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
The standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities “is not just about the U.S. and Iran; this is about the international community and Iran,” the official said.
The P5+1 is seeking an agreement that will resolve the world’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, including compliance with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and U.N. Security Council resolutions, but that also respects “the rights of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”
The international community has responded to Iran’s nuclear program with economic sanctions. The official said sanctions “can be addressed if Iran addresses all of our concerns and all of their obligations and responsibilities under the NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
Because of the complexity of the issues being discussed, the official said, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached in the two days of talks.
“But if we can begin to move forward in a way that we have not been able to up until now, then we will begin to see actions that match the tone and the words,” the official said.
“The history of mistrust is very deep. But we have to start somewhere. We hope we can start here,” the official said.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Israel’s prime minister has called on the US to maintain pressure on Iran, despite what he described as “sweet talk” from Tehran. This comes days after the first conversation between US and Iranian leaders in decades.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday to call on him to keep the current economic sanctions in place, despite what may be the start of a thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran.
“If diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place,” Netanyahu said as the two leaders met in front of the media in the Oval Office.
“In fact, if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened,” Netanyahu added, referring to the resumption of talks between Iran and the P5 +1 group, made up of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, scheduled for October 15 in Geneva.
Obama sought to reassure the Israeli prime minister that “we enter into these negotiations very clear-eyed.”
At the same time, though, Obama, whose relations with Netanyahu have at times been strained, asserted that the West needed to “test diplomacy,” in efforts to get Tehran to come clean on its nuclear program. Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu came just days after the US president spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani via telephone, the first conversation between leaders of the two countries in more than 30 years.
During that conversation, Rouhani reiterated Iran’s assertion that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. However, the US and its Western allies fear Iran may be using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons. Next month’s negotiations are to be about finding ways for Tehran to provide sufficient proof about its peaceful intentions, for the US and others to drop the long-standing economic sanctions against Iran.
Obama said that while he was determined to pursue diplomacy on Iran, the upcoming negotiations would not be easy and “anything that we do will require the highest standards of verification in order for us to provide the sort of sanctions relief that I think they are looking for.”
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Retired four-star general is reportedly being investigated for leaking the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program. James Cartwright, the former second-ranking officer at the Pentagon and four-star general, has become a target in the investigation of a leak that revealed Washington’s role in an attack on Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.
According to media reports, Cartwright is being investigated for leaking classified information on a cyberattack using the Stuxnet virus on Iran’s nuclear facilities, temporarily disabling 1,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The computer worm affected control systems built by the German electronics giant Siemens. The virus exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system and quickly affected computers around the world.
NBC News and the Washington Post reported that Cartwright had been informed by the Justice Department that he was a target of the probe. Cartwright, who retired in 2011, was one of President Barack Obama’s closest security advisers.
He was later, however, mentioned as a suspect by The New York Times, which reported in 2012 that the virus had indeed been a US-Israeli attack. The New York Times pointed out that Cartwright was one of the crucial advisers to President Obama when an element of the program accidentally became public in 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and get out on the Internet.
Republican politicians said senior administration officials had leaked the details of US cyberattack on Iran to bolster the president’s national security credentials during the 2012 re-election campaign. Congressional leaders demanded a criminal probe into who leaked the information.
The investigation of the Stuxnet cyberattack leak is one of a number of national security breach investigations conducted by the Obama administration.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—For the past decade, we’ve been hearing reports that Iran is six months away from attaining a nuclear bomb. Using that logic, one could say that the Islamic Republic now has 20 nuclear bombs. If that is true, then why even attempt to stop a country that already has nuclear weapons in its arsenal? The latest news from nuclear inspectors is that Iran is already installing its next generation centrifuges at its main nuclear facility.
According to Deutsche Welle, in a report on issued Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said 180 of the IR-2m centrifuges had been either fully or partially mounted at the Natanz facility.
“On February 6, 2013, the agency observed that Iran had started the installation of IR-2m centrifuges at the Natanz plant,” the report said.
The IR-2M centrifuges can be used to enrich uranium three to five times faster than the existing centrifuges, named IR-1.
“This is the first time that centrifuges more advanced than the IR-1 have been installed at the plant,” the report said.
However the report noted that Iran had a usable stockpile below the threshold level of about 250 kilograms, the amount necessary to build one bomb. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
The US State Department meanwhile warned that the installation of such centrifuges, as reported, would be a “provocative step.” The UN Security Council has passed several resolutions demanding that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment, with a raft of US-led sanctions now in place.
“The installation of new advanced centrifuges would be a further escalation and a continuing violation of Iran’s obligations,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Nuland urged Iran to engage seriously with talks set to begin next Tuesday between Iran and the so-called P5 plus 1 group – permanent Security Council member the US, China, Russia, Britain and France, as well as Germany.
Newscast Media TEHRAN —The Iranian foreign minister has said that the six major powers have time until the Baghdad talks to show their determination to help resolve Iran’s nuclear issue through taking confidence-building measures. Ali Akbar Salehi made the remarks during a televised interview broadcast live on Jaam-e-Jam TV network on Sunday night.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) held a new round of talks in Istanbul on Saturday and agreed to meet in Baghdad on May 23.
“If they, in the remaining time to the next round of talks, show behavior which helps build confidence, it could help reduce the time needed for settling the nuclear issue,” Salehi said, adding, “They can take measures to assure us that they are determined to build confidence.”
He went on to say that Iran has shown that it is keen to engage in talks and help resolve the nuclear issue, but has not retreated from its nuclear plans.
“If the West takes steps to assure us of the settlement of the nuclear issue and the effectiveness of the talks… we will also take great steps, through employing our own mechanisms and methods, to help settle our country’s nuclear issue,” the soft-spoken minister explained.
He also pointed to the West’s concern about Iran’s nuclear program and said that Tehran will develop a mechanism to ease their worries and protect its nuclear rights.
Commenting on the Istanbul talks, the senior diplomat said that the West has been compelled to come to terms with the might of the Islamic Republic and realized Iran’s real situation, adding that they entered the talks with this attitude, which is a positive point for the settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — One of the most severe issues that will arise, should the U.S. attack Iran is that the Strait of Hormuz will be blocked, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil travels. The effects here at home will be obvious in relation to gas prices, but this is even a greater incentive for the Chinese to intervene on behalf of Iran.
The Chinese, just like the Russians are eager to study the downed drone, because the U.S. has been making a lot of noise about China, and Hillary Clinton is perceived by the Russians as someone who is interfering with Russian politics. Iran will definitely give the Chinese and Russians access to this new technology, and might even grant access to the North Koreans, who are believed to be helping the Iranians in developing nuclear technology. Nobody knows what the Iranians will ask in exchange for granting them unrestricted access to the drone. Essentially what happened is that the U.S. did the research and developed the technology, now Russia, China and Iran are getting it for free.
However, since the Iranians have been preparing for war for over a decade, it must be noted that they have advanced themselves in sophisticated weaponry especially at sea. The Iranian navy commander—Rear Adm. Sajad Kouchaki, one of the architects of the country’s naval doctrine—recently claimed that Iranian submarines continually monitor U.S. naval movements, frequently at close range, and have even passed underneath American aircraft carriers and other warships undetected. Below is a video showing the Geography of the Persian Gulf.
This video was shot before Iran captured the U.S. stealth drone—which changed the entire
dynamics about how Iran is now viewed, given its superior electronic
warfare unit that enabled it to capture and land the drone.
In my previously written articles, I indicated how the Iranians have literally taken a page out of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. In regard to the downed stealth drone, it was one of the prized possessions of the U.S. to the point where commandos were planning on entering Iran in an attempt to retrieve it, but the mission was later aborted because it would have been viewed as violation of Iranian territory, according to this FOX News report.
The Washington Institute for near east policy did extensive research on Iran’s Doctrine of Asymmetric Naval Warfare, and found that Iran has sought to improve its ability to achieve surprise attacks by employing low-observable technologies (such as radar-absorbent paints), strict communications discipline, stringent emissions control measures, passively or autonomously guided weapons systems (such as the Kowsar series of television-guided antiship missiles), and sophisticated command-and-control arrangements.
The report concluded that current Iranian naval deployments are aimed at deterring an American attack and—in the event of hostilities—entrapping and destroying U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf, at which time U.S. regional bases would be targeted with rocket and missile strikes as well. Read entire report.
One summer day in 1999, I was in Dallas, Texas driving to a meeting. Something that struck me was that the cars seemed to be stalling for almost half a mile, even though it was not rush hour. I couldn’t imagine why the traffic jam was occurring. I patiently waited to get to my exit, and as I approached it, I noticed something unusual. There were cars parked on the side of the road, right below the overpass, and the motorists were standing outside yelling something.
I found the whole spectacle intriguing, so I decided to investigate and see what all the commotion was about. Several feet above the freeway, a man is standing at the edge of the overpass attempting to grow wings. He has given up on life and wants to take his own life by leaping into the busy traffic below him. The man has one of his legs over the concrete blocks and it seems that any moment he will certainly grow wings. Behind the man is an entire squad of police officers yelling:”Don’t jump! Don’t jump!” Below him, the motorists who have stepped out of their cars are yelling at him:”Jump! Jump!”
Right now there are several voices whispering in Obama’s ear. Some are encouraging him to attack Iran, others are telling him not to do it. The voice that is most prominent, will eventually get its way. Luckily, the man in Dallas who was trying to take his life was successfully tackled by the cops, who saved him from making a fatal decision. Go to Part III and read the final installation>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. –Israel prime minister’s comments calling for a military threat against Iran to ensure it does not acquire nuclear weapons were rejected by US officials who do not consider the Islamic nation a credible nuclear threat.
“We know that they are concerned about the impact of the sanctions. The sanctions are biting more deeply than they anticipated and we are working very hard at this,” Robert Gates, US defense secretary, said on Monday.
“So I would disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions it needs to end its nuclear weapons program,” he said during a visit to Australia for security talks.
“We are prepared to do what is necessary but at this point we continue to believe that the political-economic approach that we taking is in fact having an impact in Iran.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, told US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that only a “credible” military threat can deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Israeli political sources said.
“The only way to ensure that Iran will not go nuclear is to create a credible threat of military action against it if it doesn’t cease its race for a nuclear weapon,” one of the sources quoted Netanyahu as telling Biden.
Iran has repeatedly denied it is seeking to build atomic weapons and maintains that it has a right to produce its own fuel for several nuclear power plants it’s building for civilian use.