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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Call for a fair deal from AREVA, for Niger

Niger says seeks better uranium terms from French Areva  au news 6 Dec 13Paris (AFP) – Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said in Paris on Friday that his country wanted to renew its uranium mining agreement with French nuclear giant Areva, but on more equitable terms….. Areva’s contract to extract uranium in the west African country expires on December 31, after more than four decades of mining at two sites on the southern edge of the Sahara, with a third under development………http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/world/a/20197961/niger-says-seeks-better-uranium-terms-from-french-areva/

December 10, 2013 Posted by | Niger, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Thorough examination by European Commission nto UK’s nuclear subsidy plan

 analysts at Liberum Capital argued that the guarantees offered to EDF could prove to be “economically insane”. They said by agreeing an inflation-linked price Davey had made a huge bet the cost of fossil fuels would rocket by the time Hinkley Point starts operating in 2023.

UK-subsidyThe House of Commons’ environmental audit committee has also criticised the government for refusing to admit that the Hinkley Point deal had subsidised EDF and its consortium partners.

“The government cannot escape that clear fact by talking about ‘support mechanisms’ and ‘insurance policies’ instead of ‘subsidies’,” the committee said in a report.

European commission inquiry into Hinkley Point deal could delay project Brussels to look at UK state aid for nuclear power plant after government offers EDF Energy a set price for 35 years The Guardian, Tuesday 3 December 2013 The government’s deal to underwrite the £16bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan faces delay and possible rejection after the European commission said it was ready to launch an in-depth inquiry into the agreement.
The EU competition commissioner said Brussels was likely to investigate the deal, which guarantees a minimum power price for 35 years, to make sure it conformed with state aid rules. The commission frowns on national governments offering deals to companies that stifle competition and distort the market.

Joaquín Almunia said: “We are starting to analyse what is in the British proposal. Probably we will open a formal investigation because many people are asking the same question [whether the UK's agreement was too long].”

Energy secretary Ed Davey gave the go-ahead in October for a consortium led by France’s EDF Energy to build the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset. Its two reactors will cost £8bn each and will provide enough power to supply 7% of Britain’s homes for 60 years.

Davey agreed a minimum price of £92.50 for every megawatt hour (MWh) of energy that Hinkley Point generates – almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity. The deal with EDF was unprecedented and made the UK the first European country to offer a set price over 35 years for a new nuclear project……..

  • Almunia gave no indication of how long an investigation might take but the commission sees the government’s deal with EDF, Areva and China’s General Nuclear Power as complex and highly novel. An investigation is therefore likely to be in-depth to investigate all aspects of the proposals……..
  • The government’s proposals were always likely to receive attention from the commission but Almunia’s comments suggest they will be subjected to intense scrutiny.

    The UK wants the EU to accept that nuclear power should be given special status like renewable energy but Germany and Austria oppose such a move and Hinkley Point is likely to be considered like any other state aid case.

    Moves by the commission to block or radically alter the nuclear deal could spark a major dispute between London and Brussels. Many Conservative MPs and constituency parties are virulently opposed toEurope‘s influence over UK policy and David Cameron has pledged a referendum on UK membership of the EU if the Tories win the 2015 election……

  • The government’s case was dealt a blow a month ago when analysts at Liberum Capital argued that the guarantees offered to EDF could prove to be “economically insane”. They said by agreeing an inflation-linked price Davey had made a huge bet the cost of fossil fuels would rocket by the time Hinkley Point starts operating in 2023.

    The House of Commons’ environmental audit committee has also criticised the government for refusing to admit that the Hinkley Point deal had subsidised EDF and its consortium partners.

    “The government cannot escape that clear fact by talking about ‘support mechanisms’ and ‘insurance policies’ instead of ‘subsidies’,” the committee said in a report.

    EDF declined to comment.http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/02/european-commission-inquiry-hinkley-point-deal

 

December 3, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Popularity of new Iran nuclear deal is making critics think twice

diplomacy-not-bombsIran nuclear deal foes rein in criticism LA Times, The deal’s backers and opponents are recalibrating strategies in light of war-weary Americans’ conflicted views of Iran and strong support for the accord. By Paul Richter November 27, 2013,  WASHINGTON — As they prepare for battle over the new deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the accord’s supporters and foes are calibrating strategies based on their reading of Americans’ conflicted views about the flag-IranIslamic Republic.

American war-weariness forms a big part of the Obama administration’s campaign for the accord, a preliminary agreement to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Administration officials have said that without a diplomatic deal, the country would be on a “march to war.”

For now, the administration appears to have the upper hand. Many skeptics of the deal, who issued sharp criticism shortly after its announcement, have since muted their words.

Instead of attacking the agreement directly, opponents have pinned their hopes on continued American suspicion of Iran and its leaders. They expect the government in Tehran to fail to meet its obligations under the agreement and are poised to go on the offensive if that happens.

“Critics of the deal are reluctant to attack it too frontally because they realize how popular it is,” said Dylan Williams, legislative director for J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that supports the deal……

a Reuters-Ipsos survey released Tuesday showed 44% of respondents supported the new accord; 22% opposed it. If the deal failed, 49% would favor more sanctions, 31% wanted more diplomacy, and 20% wanted to turn to military force.

“The appetite for military engagement anywhere is very low,” said pollster Julia Clark of Ipsos. After two wars that were far longer and costlier than expected, “we in the public feel burned.”……….

The preliminary agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., was announced Sunday in Geneva. It would temporarily ease some of the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy in return for a halt to key aspects of the country’s nuclear program.

The deal is intended to allow time to negotiate a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program…….

Israeli officials have strenuously opposed the accord, and lawmakers who support Israel have been prominent among the deal’s critics. But statements from major pro-Israel organizations in the United States have been relatively mild………http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-iran-deal-20131128,0,7605298.story#axzz2m40yK2dZ

November 29, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

We don’t do nuclear investment – says World Bank

World-BankWorld Bank says no nuclear investment http://www.skynews.com.au/businessnews/article.aspx?nuke-salesmanSmid=928794  November 28, 2013 The World Bank and United Nations have appealed for billions of dollars to provide electricity for the poorest nations but say there will be no investment in nuclear power.

‘We don’t do nuclear energy,’ said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday, as he and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to make sure all people have access to electricity by 2030. Kim said $US600-800 ($A659-878) billion a year will be needed to meet the campaign target of universal access to electricity, doubling energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030. In some countries, only 10 per cent of the population has electricity.

So far, the campaign has a pledge of one billion US dollars from the OPEC Fund for International Development, Bank of America has raised $US500 million through the world’s first ‘green bond’ and Norway has committed to spend two billion krone (US$325 million) on renewable energy efforts in 2014.

Kim said the World Bank is preparing energy plans for 42 countries that would be ready in June, but said any money raised would only go to new power sources. ’Nuclear power from country to country is an extremely political issue,’ Kim told reporters.

‘The World Bank Group does not engage in providing support for nuclear power. We think that this is an extremely difficult conversation that every country is continuing to have. ’And because we are really not in that business our focus is on finding ways of working in hydro electric power in geo-thermal, in solar, in wind,’ he said.

‘We are really focusing on increasing investment in those modalities and we don’t do nuclear energy.’

Kim highlighted private financing for power expansion in Nigeria and Ivory Coast and said efforts were being made to launch a similar deal for Myanmar, where the government has launched major reform efforts. ’We are working and moving very quickly to try to ensure that Myanmar experiences a clear democracy dividend,’ Kim said. The World Bank chief said it had been difficult to find long term capital for poorer countries but insisted: ‘We will show investors that sustainable energy is an opportunity they cannot afford to miss.’

November 28, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics international | Leave a comment

Japan: Deeply enmeshed in the global nuclear industrial complex

The key is that the nuclear village retains veto power over national energy policy and citizens will not get to decide the outcome even if an overwhelming majority support phasing out nuclear energy. In addition, Washington is leaning on the Japanese government to not pull the plug on nuclear energy.

nuclear-village-

Japan: Deeply enmeshed in the global nuclear industrial complex  Abe’s Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan’s Future  安倍首相の原子力政策と日本の未来 Jeff Kingston http://www.japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/3986#sthash.CV9q1CUY.dpufhttp://www.japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/3986“……..Why has Fukushima not been a game changing event? The institutions of Japan’s nuclear village (principally the utilities, bureaucracy and Diet) enjoy considerable advantages in terms of energy policymaking and have enormous investments at stake. The nuclear village has openly lobbied the government and actively promoted its case in the media while also working the corridors of power and backrooms where energy policy is decided. Here the nuclear village enjoys tremendous advantages that explain why it has prevailed over public opinion concerning national energy policy.

Its relatively successful damage control is an object lesson in power politics. To some extent the lessons of Fukushima are not being ignored as the utilities are belatedly enacting safety measures that should already have been in place, and renewable energy capacity is increasing rapidly, but a nuclear-free Japan by 2030 increasingly seems unlikely. If the NRA approves all the applications for reactor restarts filed in July 2013, they could provide 10% of Japan’s electricity generating capacity and that could provide momentum for further restarts. The politics of nuclear power, especially under the LDP, means that the risks are being downplayed while Team Abe touts nuclear energy as the best and most cost-effective option. Indeed, the constant drum-beat about fuel import induced trade deficits and mounting power company losses, makes it seem as if restarting nuclear reactors is the only reasonable choice. Continue reading

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Japan, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Time for Japan to come clean about the issues at Fukushima

The Global Threat of Fukushima, counterpunch A Global Response is Needed WEEKEND EDITION OCTOBER 25-27, 2013  by KEVIN ZEESE AND MARGARET FLOWERS  ”…………  The Solutions The three major problems at Fukushima are all unprecedented, each unique in their own way and each has the potential for major damage to humans and the environment. There are no clear solutions but there are steps that need to be taken urgently to get the Fukushima clean-up and de-commissioning on track and minimize the risks.

The first thing that is needed is to end the media blackout.  The global public needs to be informed about the issues the world faces from Fukushima.  The impacts of Fukushima could affect almost everyone on the planet, so we all have a stake in the outcome.  If the public is informed about this problem, the political will to resolve it will rapidly develop.

text-Fukushima-2013-2

The nuclear industry, which wants to continue to expand, fears Fukushima being widely discussed because it undermines their already weak economic potential.  But, the profits of the nuclear industry are of minor concern compared to the risks of the triple Fukushima challenges.

The second thing that must be faced is the incompetence of TEPCO.  They are not capable of handling this triple complex crisis. TEPCO “is already Japan’s most distrusted firm” and has been exposed as “dangerously incompetent.”  A poll foundthat 91 percent of the Japanese public wants the government to intervene at Fukushima.

Tepco’s management of the stricken power plant has been described as a comedy of errors. The constant stream of mistakes has been made worse by constant false denials and efforts to minimize major problems. Indeed the entire Fukushima catastrophe could have been avoided:

“Tepco at first blamed the accident on ‘an unforeseen massive tsunami’ triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Then it admitted it had in fact foreseen just such a scenario but hadn’t done anything about it.”

The reality is Fukushima was plagued by human error from the outset.  An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design. On this point, TEPCO is not alone, this is an industry-wide problem. Many US nuclear plants have serious problems, are being operated beyond their life span, have the same design problems and are near earthquake faults. Regulatory officials in both the US and Japan are too corruptly tied to the industry.

Then, the meltdown itself was denied for months, with TEPCO claiming it had not been confirmed.  Japan Times reports that “in December 2011, the government announced that the plant had reached ‘a state of cold shutdown.’ Normally, that means radiation releases are under control and the temperature of its nuclear fuel is consistently below boiling point.”  Unfortunately, the statement was false – the reactors continue to need water to keep them cool, the fuel rods need to be kept cool – there has been no cold shutdown. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/the-global-threat-of-fukushima/

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and onEconomic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

USA Republicans mindless opposition to this, or any, deal with Iran

logo-Republican-USA Republicans are opposed to President Obama’s deal with the Iranians — whatever it is. WP, By ,   November 25 A couple of minutes after 9 p.m. on Saturday, word crossed the news wires that negotiators in Geneva had reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Then, at 9:08 p.m. — before any details of the pact were known — Ari Fleischer delivered his opinion on the agreement, via Twitter…….Fleischer’s instant and reflexive response — even knees don’t jerk as quickly as he did — set the tone for Republicans. Three minutes after Fleischer’s tweet came one in agreement from Ron Christie, another veteran of the Bush administration. “Precisely,” he wrote, also without the benefit of knowing what was in the agreement. “A disgraceful deal.”

An hour later — still before Obama detailed the accord in a statement from the White House — John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, had analyzed the administration’s motives in reaching the deal…… In the eyes of Republicans, the agreement with Iran has a fatal flaw: It was negotiated by the Obama administration. This president could negotiate a treaty promoting baseball, motherhood and apple pie, and Republicans would brand it the next Munich.

The opposition in this case is particularly mindless. Certainly there are reasons to be skeptical that Iran will act in good faith. But the deal is temporary — six months — and easily reversible. In the (likely) event that Iran doesn’t agree to a permanent accord to end its nuclear program, the tougher sanctions contemplated in Congress could be applied. Would it be better to go to war now without exhausting diplomatic options? We’ve been there and done that — when Ari Fleischer stood on the White House podium.

But Republicans were being reflexive, not reflective…….. In the stampede to judgment, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) risked getting trampled. He actually waited until hearing Obama speak before issuing a statement, and then declared that he would “look forward to studying details.”

A member of the opposition party who wants to think before criticizing the Obama administration?… http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-republicans-mindlessly-oppose-iran-nuclear-deal/2013/11/25/b87f65ce-5603-11e3-835d-e7173847c7cc_story.html

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

At last – some sort of nuclear agreement between Iran and the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear program deal reached with world powers during diplomatic talks in Geneva ABC News 25 Nov 13Iran has reached a deal with six world powers to curb its nuclear activities in return for the easing of sanctions imposed by Western countries.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinated the talks in Geneva, said they had agreed a “first step” towards a comprehensive solution. United States president Barack Obama hailed the deal saying: “While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back…….

Under the agreement Iran has promised not to enrich more uranium above a level of five per cent for six months. It has also agreed to halt construction of the Arak research reactor, which is feared capable of yielding potential bomb material. In return the six powers will remove the embargo on trade with Iran in precious metals while refraining from imposing new sanctions for six months.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi says the deal will help normalise relations with Iran, and “will help provide a better life for the Iranian people.”…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-24/iran-reaches-deal-with-world-powers-on-nuclear-program/5113460

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Uranium enrichment is the issue with Iran’s nuclear programme

flag-IranUranium enrichment at heart of Iran nuclear deal WP 24 Nov 13, Iran’s ability to enrich uranium — at what levels and what speed — is a cornerstone of the deal reached Sunday between Tehran and world powers. Here are answers to some important questions about uranium enrichment, the central process in turning concentrated uranium into nuclear fuel.

Q: WHAT IS URANIUM ENRICHMENT?…….
Q: SO WHY THE WORRY ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS?…….
Q: WHY WON’T IRAN GIVE UP ENRICHMENT?

A: This is what Iran has frequently called its “red line.” Iran’s leaders say they will never relinquish control over the entire nuclear cycle as a matter of national pride. Iran portrays itself as an emerging technological giant of the Islamic world. The nuclear energy program is a pillar of Iran’s self-image as a center of scientific advances independent of the West. Iran has made some other important strides, including claims of sophisticated drone development, a homegrown auto industry and an aerospace program..

Q: IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE A BOMB WITH ENRICHMENT AT 5 PERCENT OR LOWER?……..
Q: WHEN DID IRAN START ENRICHMENT?………

Q: WHERE ARE IRAN’S ENRICHMENT SITES?

A: Iran has two main uranium enrichment facilities. The oldest and largest — in Natanz, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) southeast of Tehran — is largely built underground and is surrounded by anti-aircraft batteries. Uranium enrichment began in 2006. Another site is known as Fordo, which is built into a mountainside south of Tehran. Its construction was kept secret by Iran until it was disclosed in September 2009 in a pre-emptive move before its existence was revealed by Western intelligence agencies. The area is heavily protected by the Revolutionary Guard. U.N. nuclear inspectors have visited both sites and have installed round-the-clock monitoring systems. The new accord allows for the possibility of daily U.N. inspection visits.

Q: HOW MANY OTHER COUNTRIES ENRICH URANIUM?
A: More than a dozen countries have enrichment programs, but several of those do not have nuclear weapons. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/uranium-enrichment-at-heart-of-iran-nuclear-deal/2013/11/24/fce9a86e-54cd-11e3-9ee6-2580086d8254_story.html

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Balancing act of diplomacy between Iran and the West

diplomacy not bombs 1Talks With Iran on Nuclear Deal Hang in Balance NYTBy  November 23, 2013 GENEVA — As Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from five other world powers swept into Geneva this weekend for the second time in two weeks, they struggled to complete a groundbreaking agreement with Iran that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more comprehensive accord…….

The interim accord the United States and its negotiating partners are seeking would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to 3.5 percent and would not require it to dismantle its existing centrifuges. But it seeks to constrain the Iranian program by requiring Iran to transform its stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop from weapons grade, to a form that is less usable for military purposes.

It also establishes a cap on Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, precludes new centrifuges from being installed and is expected to involve more intensive monitoring of the Iranian program, among other measures.

As to what Iran considers its “right to enrich,” American officials signaled a possible workaround last week, saying that they were open to a compromise in which the two sides would essentially agree to disagree, while Tehran continued to enrich.

The accord would last six months, allowing negotiators that period of time to work on a more comprehensive and lasting agreement.

In return for the temporary freeze, Iran would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion worth of sanctions relief, American officials say, including providing Iran with access to frozen assets. The limited relief could be accomplished by executive action, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not dismantle Iran’s nuclear program……..

Michael Mann, the spokesman for Ms. Ashton, described the negotiations with the Iranians as “intensive.” If diplomats do not succeed in sweeping away the obstacles to an accord this weekend, observers expect them to mount another try here within a few weeks. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/world/middleeast/talks-with-iran-on-nuclear-deal-hang-in-balance.html?hpw&rref=&_r=0

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Non Proliferation Treaty allows Iran to enrich uranium

flag-IranLegal right to enrich uranium  for Iran http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/112302-uranium-enrichment-is-a-right-hans-blix 23 Nov 13, TEHRAN — Hans Blix, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his interpretation of Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that uranium enrichment is a “right”.

The remarks by Blix come as Iran and the six major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the 5+1 group) are negotiating in Geneva.

Iran says its right to enrichment, as a signatory to the NPT, must be recognized by the West. 
 Blix said definition of enrichment is a matter of difference between Iran and the six powers.
 The former IAEA chief said Iran says according to the NPT uranium enrichment is its right but certain countries among the 5+1 group have another interpretation and argue that there is not something as the “right to enrichment”.
The Article IV of the NPT says:
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

A bit of a breakthrough at Warsaw climate talks

climate-changeRich vs poor deadlock broken at UN climate talks

*Agreement keeps hopes for 2015 climate deal alive

* Warsaw talks go into overtime due to deadlock

* Delegates still discussing “climate aid”

By Alister Doyle and Nina Chestney WARSAW, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Almost 200 nations kept a plan to reach a new U.N. climate pact in 2015 alive on Saturday when rich and poor countries reached a compromise on sharing out the efforts needed to slow global warming.

A two-week negotiation in Warsaw had been due to end on Friday, but was blocked over a timetable for the first U.N. climate accord that would set greenhouse gas emissions requirements for all nations. The pact is due to be agreed in 2015 and come into force after 2020.

Negotiators finally agreed that all countries should work to curb emissions – a process described in the jargon as “intended nationally determined contributions” – as soon as possible and ideally by the first quarter of 2015.

The agreement ended deadlock between rich and poor about sharing out the burden of limiting emissions blamed for causing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

Under the last climate pact, the Kyoto Protocol, only the most developed countries were required to limit their emissions – one of the main reasons the United States refused to accept it, saying rapidly growing economies like China and India must also take part.

“Just in the nick of time, the negotiators in Warsaw delivered enough to keep the process moving,” said Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute think-tank…..http://www.trust.org/item/20131123161140-rkh7z

November 24, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

USA optimism about a nuclear deal soon with Iran

diplomacy not bombs 1U.S. thinks nuclear deal with Iran is possible next week Raw Story, By Agence France-Presse Friday, November 15, 2013  A nuclear deal with Iran is possible at the next round of talks in Geneva, a US official said Friday, but warned tough issues still had to be hammered out.

“We are going to work very hard next week. I don’t know if we’ll reach an agreement. I think it is quite possible that we can. But there’s still tough issues to negotiate,” the senior administration official told reporters.

Flag-USAThe official also renewed pleas to skeptical US lawmakers not to slap more sanctions on Iran in the mistaken belief it would force the Islamic republic “to the point of capitulation” and the dismantling of all its nuclear program…….

flag-IranShooting down reports that the US and P5+1 were planning a major, valuable package of sanctions relief, he said “it would come nowhere near helping Iran escaping the hole that we’ve put them in.”

Officials from the administration of President Barack Obama have been leading what they described as “hard” discussions with US lawmakers seeking to head off a new round of American sanctions which they fear could scupper the delicate negotiations…….http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/15/u-s-thinks-nuclear-deal-with-iran-is-possible-next-week/

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran stopped expanding uranium enrichment 3 months ago, says IAEA

flag-IranIAEA: Iran has not expanded nuclear facilities in last 3 months http://rt.com/news/iran-halt-nuclear-expansion-731/ November 14, 2013   Iran has stopped expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and has not started new centrifuges in the past three months, according to a new report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The report covers the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani’s term.

The quarterly report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday said that Iran has not begun operating any of its new generation IR-2M centrifuges, and installed “no…major components” at a reactor being built at Arak, AFP reported.

According to the report, only four uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at Iran’s Natanz plant and no additional machines were operating at the Fordo facility. Iran’s stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium has thus risen only by about 5 percent since August, Reuters quoted the report as saying.

The report puts Iran’s highly enriched uranium stockpile at 196 kg, which is below the roughly 250 kg needed for nuclear weapon production capability.

Although the latest round of Geneva talks between Iran and the US, Russia, China, Britain, Germany, and France appeared to be inconclusive, it “created grounds for cooperation that will help us decide how to deal with the Iranian nuclear problem in terms of IAEA and UN Security Council requirements,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Media reports also indicated that a deal could be struck soon. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US would consider “limited, targeted, and reversible relief” of sanctions against Iran in exchange for“concrete, verifiable measures.”

Iran reiterated that stopping the uranium enrichment remains an issue “beyond discussion,” and said it is only open to discuss the details of the enrichment process.

The Geneva talks follow what seems to be a warm-up in US-Iranian relations, with President Rouhani and US President Barack Obama recently having a “historic” phone conversation by Obama’s initiative. Meanwhile, Tehran and the IAEA have reached a deal for a “roadmap for cooperation” over Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA head Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday signed an agreement on a three-month plan aimed at verifying Iran’s claim that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes only.

In the view of the possibility of Iran striking a nuclear deal with the West, Israel stepped up its scaremongering rhetoric, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could lead only to a “bad deal” or “war.”

Reacting to the IAEA report on Thursday, Netanyahu said he “was not impressed” with its conclusions.
Israel is desperately trying to block any compromise on the Iranian nuclear program, and while Netanyahu has been speaking with some of the P5+1 countries’ leaders over the phone and is coming to Moscow on November 20, Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said he will personally “lobby dozens of members of the US Congress” during his visit to the US.

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

How USA and France killed off nuclear agreement nearly made with Iran

exclamation-flag-IranWestern Backtrack on Uranium Enrichment Killed Iran Deal http://news.antiwar.com/2013/11/11/western-backtrack-on-uranium-enrichment-killed-iran-deal/US, France Sought to Change Deal at Last Minute by Jason Ditz, November 11, 2013 More details continue to emerge on the disagreements that prevented an expected weekend pact between the P5+1 and Iran, with a last minute side conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius apparently keeping it from continuing. Fabius demanded last second changes to the draft agreement, including removing a clause guaranteeing Iran’s right to civilian uranium enrichment. Kerry reportedly endorsed that demand.

Iran has, under its safeguards agreement, every right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, and has insisted they are willing to limit that enrichment, but not abandon the right outright.

That already put the talks on shaky ground, and Fabius followed it up with a demand that Iran abandon the under construction Arak reactor, which runs on unenriched uranium. Between the two demands this amounted to a de facto demand to surrender their entire civilian nuclear program, but the US and France continued to insist on only minor sanction relief. At that point though, the deal was dead and everyone just decided to meet again later this month.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | France, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

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