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The nuclear dangers in Ukraine energy wars: don’t miss the full article!

What’s profitable for the nuclear industry in the US and Japan is toxic for the EU, particularly its more environmental and anti-nuclear member-nations including Germany and Austria, which will have no choice but to accept this legal precedent for continent-wide fracking and a revival of nuclear power.

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Ukraine Energy Wars Are Leading To  A Fukushima-Chernobyl Debacle In Europe 
By Yoichi Shimatsu. Rense1-5-15
 full article at http://www.rense.com/general96/ukraineenenerg.html
Clashes over energy in Ukraine between the West and Russia could prompt another Chernobyl-type accident or a catastrophe on the order of a Fukushima that will complete the nuclear devastation of the Northern Hemisphere. As news media fixate on conflicts over pipelines that supply Europe with Russian gas, another energy war is erupting over control of Ukraine’s nuclear-power industry, which generates half that nation’s electricity.Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk’s campaign for “energy independence” from Russian-sourced natural gas and nuclear fuel is not a study in cost control, economic security or even national sovereignty. His corporate-giveaway policies are actually a concession to Western energy interests in return for their influence over the EU, which can provide loans to avert an imminent default on Kiev’s debt to the IMF and World Bank. With an annual budget shortfall of $15 billion and a currency collapse, Ukraine is staggering under external sovereign debt estimated at between $140 and $200 billion.

Map-Ukraine-nuke-reactors

The IMF and World Bank have halted further transfers of loan tranches to Kiev, which is now unable to make payments on its gas imports from Russia. Kiev policymakers are therefore desperately looking to expand their nuclear industry. Unfortunately two recent accidents at its largest nuclear-power plant highlight the serious risks to a nation still grappling with the long-term effects of the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown. ……….
An ongoing series of nuclear-fuel deals between Toshiba-Westinghouse and Ukraine energy monopoly Energoatom is aimed at severing Kiev’s reliance on Russian technology and Kazakh uranium. The competition to supply the global market for MOX (mixed oxides of uranium and plutonium) is pitting a consortium of Westinghouse, AREVA and their US suppliers against their Moscow-based rival Rusatom and nuclear-engineering firm TVE. Continue reading

January 7, 2015 Posted by | politics international, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin will have to comply with Canada’s new tax transparency laws

Canada transparency laws force ASX companies to disclose tax bills, The Age December 26, 2014    Business reporter Two Australian mining companies will be forced to disclose how much tax they pay in every country around the world by new transparency laws introduced in Canada.

Paladin Energy and OceanaGold, both dual-listed in Australia and Canada, will have to comply with new Canadian laws requiring all oil, gas and mining companies to report payments they make to governments overseas, including taxes, royalties, bonuses, regulatory charges and licence fees.

The Australian government is being pushed to introduce similar rules.

The legislation aims to tackle corruption and tax avoidance in poor countries, as well as payments to indigenous groups. It follows mounting global pressure by transparency organisations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to introduce a country-by-country reporting regime.

The new rules are expected to come into force by June 2015 after passing through the Canadian parliament on December 16.

Claire Spoors, a spokeswoman for advocacy group Publish What You Pay, said the Abbott government should consider introducing similar laws in line with Canada’s.

“Australia, as a mining giant, could make a real difference in helping resource-rich but poor countries prosper by ensuring there is greater transparency,” she said.

“Well-managed and properly accounted-for resource revenues can be invested in health, education and putting countries on sustainable development pathways.”……….

the Abbott government has signalled it could water down transparency laws introduced under Labor. The tax disclosure laws would mean that from July, companies with $100 million or more in turnover would have their tax information disclosed on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Fairfax Media the government would review the laws following complaints by private business owners that they could be kidnapped and held for  ransom when people realised how wealthy they were  from their published tax information.

Senator Cormann said the laws showed a “ham-fisted, ill-thought-out approach trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer”.

But advocates say greater transparency will boost confidence in the broader community that large companies are paying their fair share of tax.

Australia has endorsed the OECD’s reporting regime, which is not due to be introduced until 2018.

It has also signed up to the OECD’s common reporting standard for governments sharing tax information, after criticism that it delayed the process by consulting big business.

OceanaGold has operations in New Zealand, the Philippines and Australia. Paladin Energy has projects in Namibia, Malawi, Niger, Canada and Australia.  : http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/canada-transparency-laws-force-asx-companies-to-disclose-tax-bills-20141224-12akhd.html#ixzz3OBT5BW5V

January 7, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

For world peace, a nuclear arms control agreement between USA and Russia is vital

diplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USAflag_RussiaA Vital Nuclear Agreement, at Risk, NYT,  By  JAN. 1, 2015There’s much more to the deeply troubled Russian-American relationship than Ukraine. Under the radar, tensions have also been brewing over compliance with a number of arms control treaties that for decades have been vital to keeping the peace between the two nuclear powers and setting an example for other countries.

Washington accuses Moscow of violating at least five of these agreements. A failure to resolve the impasse could have extremely dangerous consequences for the post-Cold War order, since even 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the two sides together possess more than 10,000 nuclear weapons, more than 90 percent of what exists in the world.

The most serious dispute centers on the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans both sides from deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles that carry nuclear or conventional warheads. These were among the weapons America once stationed in Europe to demonstrate a commitment to its allies and deter the Soviets from aggression.

Under the treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, America destroyed 846 missiles and the Soviets, 1,846 missiles. Both sides had come to see the systems as unacceptably risky to their own forces…………….

Despite the dispute, it would be a huge mistake for the United States to withdraw from the I.N.F. treaty, as some congressmen have demanded. That would remove all restraints on Russia and seriously weaken a system of treaties that has been remarkably effective over decades at curbing the spread of destructive weapons.

It would also be a mistake for either side to reintroduce the banned weapons onto their own territory or elsewhere. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, recently asserted Moscow’s right to put nuclear missiles in Crimea, while Brian McKeon, a senior Pentagon official, told Congress this month that one response to Russia’s treaty violation could be to deploy American ground missiles in Europe. New deployments would reverse a trend in which the two countries have substantially reduced their huge arsenals in recent years.

The Obama administration should continue pursuing a diplomatic solution to the treaty dispute and resist the growing pressure in Congress for quick retaliation, which could make the situation worse. And it should explore other forms of pressure, like economic punishment and deployment of new defenses against cruise missiles.

So far, there is no evidence that Russia has deployed its new missiles, which would be a serious escalation. The United States and its allies should make efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the treaty, and Russia needs to know that defiance will come at a cost.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/opinion/a-vital-nuclear-agreement-at-risk.html?_

January 3, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Tentative agreement between Iran and USA

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranFlag-USAIran and US tentatively agree on formula to reduce nuclear programme http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/02/iran-us-tentative-deal-nuclear-programme-uranium-russia Washington hopes Tehran will ship enriched uranium to Russia to reduce its weapon-making ability, diplomats say Iran and the United States have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons, diplomats say.

In another sign of progress, two diplomats told Associated Press that negotiators at the December round of nuclear talks drew up for the first time a catalogue outlining areas of potential accord and differing approaches to remaining disputes.The diplomats said differences still dominate ahead of the next round of Iran six-power talks on 15 January in Geneva. But they suggested that even agreement to create a to-do list would have been difficult previously because of wide gaps between the sides.

Iran denies it wants nuclear arms, but it is negotiating with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany on cuts to its atomic programme in the hope of ending crippling sanctions. The talks have been extended twice due to stubborn disagreements.

The main conflict is over uranium enrichment, which can create both reactor fuel and the fissile core of nuclear arms.In seeking to reduce Iran’s bomb-making ability, the US has proposed that Tehran export much of its stockpile of enriched uranium – something the Islamic Republic has long said it would not do.

The diplomats said both sides in the talks are still arguing about how much of an enriched uranium stockpile to leave Iran. . It now has enough for several bombs, and Washington wants substantial cuts below that level.

But the diplomats said the newly created catalogue lists shipping out much of the material as tentatively agreed upon.The diplomats, who are familiar with the talks, spoke to the AP recently and demanded anonymity because they are not authorised to comment on the closed negotiations.

Issues that still need agreement, they said, include the size of Iran’s future enrichment output. The US insists that it be cut in half, leaving Tehran with about 4,500 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, or fewer if it replaces them with advanced models. Tehran is ready for a reduction of only about 20%, according to the diplomats.

Two other unresolved issues are Iran’s Fordo underground enrichment site and the nearly built Arak nuclear reactor. The US and its five allies in the talks want to repurpose Fordo to a non-enrichment function because it is believed impervious to a military attack from the air. The six also seek to re-engineer Arak from a model that produces enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons a year to a less proliferation-prone model.

Negotiators hope to reach a rough deal by March and a final agreement by 30 June.

January 3, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

A diplomatic deal with Iran would be the most globally significant step forward

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranA nuclear deal with Iran would mean a less volatile world, Julian Borger Guardian, 1 jan 15 There will be no greater diplomatic prize in 2015 than a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. In its global significance, it would dwarf the US detente with Cuba, and not just because there are seven times more Iranians than Cubans. This deal will not be about cash machines in the Caribbean, but about nuclear proliferation in the most volatile region on Earth.

An agreement was supposed to have been reached by 24 November, but Iran and the west were too far apart to make the final leap. After nine months of bargaining, the intricate, multidimensional negotiation boiled down to two main obstacles: Iran’s long-term capacity to enrich uranium, and the speed and scale of sanctions relief.

Iran wants international recognition of its right not just to enrich, but to do so on an industrial scale. It wants to maintain its existing infrastructure of 10,000 centrifuges in operation and another 9,000 on standby, and it wants to be able to scale that capacity up many times.

The US and its allies say Tehran has no need for so much enriched uranium. Its one existing reactor is Russian-built, as are its planned reactors, so all of them come with Russian-supplied fuel as part of the contract. The fear is that industrial enrichment capacity would allow Iran to make a bomb’s-worth of weapons-grade uranium very quickly, if it decided it needed one – faster than the international community could react.

However, the west is currently not offering large-scale, immediate sanctions relief in return for such curbs on Iran’s activity. President Barack Obama can only temporarily suspend US congressional sanctions, and western states are prepared to reverse only some elements of UN security council sanctions. The best the west can offer upfront is a lifting of the EU oil embargo.

These gaps remain substantial, but none of the parties involved can walk away from the table. A collapse of talks would lead to a slide back to the edge of conflict between Iran and Israel; the latter has vowed to launch military strikes rather than allow the former to build a bomb. It could also trigger a wave of proliferation across the region and beyond as other countries hedge their bets.

So the parties to the talks have given themselves more time – until 1 March 2015 – to agree a framework deal for bridging them and until 1 July to work out all of the details. ……http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/31/nuclear-deal-iran-cuba-proliferation

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Did America’s CIA orchestrate the coup in Ukraine?

flag-UkraineOliver Stone Says Ukrainian Coup Was Directed by CIA http://sputniknews.com/art_living/20141231/1016415810.html US film maker claims he is currently engaged in production of a documentary about Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. WASHINGTON, December 31 (Sputnik) – US filmmaker Oliver Stone is currently engaged in production of a documentary about Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country following the February coup, according to the post on his Facebook page published Tuesday.

“[I] Interviewed Viktor Yanukovych 4 hours in Moscow for new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians. He [Yanukovych] was the legitimate President of Ukraine until he suddenly wasn’t on February 22 of this year. Details to follow in the documentary,” Stone said.

According to the renowned filmmaker, in the aftermath of the coup, “the West has maintained the dominant narrative of ‘Russia in Crimea’ whereas the true narrative is ‘USA in Ukraine.’ The truth is not being aired in the West. It’s a surreal perversion of history that’s going on once again, as in Bush pre-Iraq ‘WMD’ [Weapons of Mass Destruction] campaign.”

Stone also said that the shooters, who killed killed 14 police officers, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians during the clashes in Kiev, were outside “third party agitators.”

“Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions with CIA fingerprints on it,” he stated.

Stone concluded by expressing hope that the truth about the Ukrainian coup would come out in the West soon “in time to stop further insanity.”

Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted late February following mass rallies in Kiev, triggered by the president’s refusal to sign a European Union association agreement. Yanukovych fled the country for Russia, while the protests led to the violent unrest in Ukraine, that dramatically escalated in mid-April, when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

January 2, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Lists of nuclear facilities exchanged between India and Pakistan

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear facilities Times of India 
PTI | Jan 1, 2015 NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan on Thursday exchanged the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.
This is the 24th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992. ……http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pakistan-exchange-list-of-nuclear-facilities/articleshow/45714569.cms

January 2, 2015 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Problems in Czech Republic’s Temelin NPP because of inappropriate USA nuclear fuel

Use of US nuclear fuel at Czech Republic’s Temelin NPP causes problems — experts Tass December 31, Europe advises its counterparts in other countries not to replace the nuclear fuel specifically designed for this type of reactors with unauthorized substitutes, the company ALTA said PRAGUE, December 31. /TASS/. Attempts to use nuclear fuel from the US manufacturer Westinghouse inside reactors of the Czech Republic’s Soviet-designed Temelin nuclear power plant in the past repeatedly caused many unexpected situations and problems, the provider of Russian fuel assemblies for Czech NPPs, ALTA, told TASS.

“In particular, such incidents occurred at Hungary’s Paks NPP and the Czech Republic’s Temelin,” the company said. “Europe still remembers that and advises its counterparts in other countries not to repeat their mistakes by replacing the nuclear fuel specifically designed for this type of reactors with unauthorized substitutes.”

In May 2007, the Czech Republic made a decision to remove Westinghouse fuel assemblies from the NPP Temelin’s reactors ahead of schedule because in the process of operation they had become strongly deformed, thus causing disruptions to the power plant’s operation. The worst incident occurred at Temelin in January 2007, when problems with fuel caused an emergency shutdown of the entire first unit. The reactor was restarted only three months later. In 2010, the Czech Republic’s largest nuclear power plant Temelin had to resume the use of Russia-manufactured fuel…….http://itar-tass.com/en/world/770181

January 2, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, safety | Leave a comment

Time to strengthen, not break down the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,

diplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USAflag_RussiaStop the nuclear treaty breakdown before it escalates WP, By Editorial Board December 28 THE OBAMA administration has been careful to say that some matters of bilateral interest with Russia can remain on the table despite the confrontation over Russia’s seizure of Crimea and subversion in eastern Ukraine. One such area still under discussion has been the claim made this year by the United States that Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles in Europe. Russia claims the United States also has violated the treaty. Yet this conversation is going nowhere. The treaty is valuable to both nations, and Russia, in particular, ought not to slow-walk resolution of a nettlesome disagreement.

The treaty, which entered into force in 1988, required the elimination of all the approximately 800 U.S. and 1,800 Soviet ground-launched missileswith maximum ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, as well as their launchers and associated support equipment. It was a Cold War landmark that reversed a dangerous period in the late 1970s and early 1980s when both sides were deploying nuclear-armed missiles in Europe aimed at each other. The missiles were eliminated by 1991. The treaty barred possession, production or flight tests of such weapons………http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/stop-the-nuclear-treaty-breakdown-before-it-escalates/2014/12/28/c08ef924-820c-11e4-81fd-8c4814dfa9d7_story.html

December 31, 2014 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Unfair and not sensible – USA hawks Try to Sabotage Nuclear Deal

highly-recommendedUS Iran Hawks Try to Sabotage Nuclear Deal   Iran hawks in Washington don’t want a nuclear agreement; they want Tehran to surrender its sovereignty and national rights. The National Interest Muhammad Sahimi December 24, 2014 As the prospects of a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1—the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany—brightens, Washington’s hawks seem to have gone into panic mode. They do not seem to want any agreement unless Iran says “uncle,” gives up its sovereignty and national rights within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and completely dismantles its nuclear infrastructure. They’re asking Iran to capitulate, not to negotiate. That’s an unrealistic goal—and in their dogged pursuit of it, they have overlooked serious steps Tehran’s taken that demonstrate a desire for compromise.

We see this unfortunate dynamic in an article this month by Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, published in the National Interest. Dubowitz’s main premise is that it was the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies that brought Iran to the negotiation table, and only more economic sanctions will induce it to surrender. The premise is false. While the sanctions did play a role, they were not the most important reason, or even one of the primary ones. Iran is negotiating because that is what it has wanted—contrary to Dubowitz’s assertion that “Iran does not appear to be ready to compromise.”

President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and their diplomatic team have always been interested in a compromise. …………….

What has the United States given in return for these major concessions by Iran? Very little. It has released a small amount of Iran’s own money, frozen in foreign banks as the result of the illegal sanctions. The U.S. has also lifted its (also illegal!) ban on the export of petrochemical products and a few other minor items. As President Obama stated, 95 percent of all the sanctions are still in place………….

The reality is that the Geneva Accord and its Joint Plan of Action permit Iran to continue its research on more advanced centrifuges. Iran’s obligation, which it has lived by, is not installing such centrifuges. After this was pointed out, Albright retreated, declaring that the test was in violation of the “spirit” of the Accord. Who is moving whose goalposts, again?

Washington’s hawks risk missing another chance at a sensible nuclear agreement or détente with Iran, one that would dramatically change the dynamics of the turbulent Middle East for the better. Instead, they seem to think they can drive a proud nation to surrender. They’ve been wrong before—and their latest salvo suggests they don’t realize they may be wrong again.

Muhammad Sahimi, Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science and the NIOC Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California, is the editor and publisher of the website, Iran News and Middle East Reports, and has been analyzing Iran’s political developments and its nuclear program for two decades.

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran meeting its commitments to nuclear deal with Western powers

flag-IranIran honoring nuclear deal with Western powers, IAEA report shows Jerusalem Post, 19 Dec 14, Iran has continued to meet commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a confidential UN agency report showed, though Tehran temporarily halted conversion work that makes higher-grade uranium less suitable for bombs.

The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, said Iran was not enriching uranium above a fissile concentration of 5 percent, far below the 90 percent level needed for atomic arms. It also said Iran had not made “any further advances” to its activities at two enrichment facilities and an unfinished heavy water reactor.

Under last year’s accord between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain, the Islamic Republic halted its most sensitive nuclear activity and took other steps in exchange for some easing of economic sanctions…………http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-honoring-nuclear-deal-with-Western-powers-IAEA-report-shows-385206

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran’s President committed to achieving nuclear deal, despite opposition from hawks

RouhaniIran’s President Pledges to Face Down Forces Opposing a Nuclear Deal, NYT, By  DEC. 15, 2014 TEHRAN — Risking his political standing, Iran’s president stressed on Monday that he was determined to cinch a nuclear deal and prepared to take on the conservative forces who would prefer not to see an agreement with the West, even if that means continued economic sanctions on Iran.

“Some people may not like to see the sanctions lifted,” the president, Hassan Rouhani, said as Iranian negotiators and their United States counterparts resumed talks in Geneva. “Their numbers are few, and they want to muddy the waters.”

A deadline for those talks was extended by seven months after the parties failed to conclude a deal in November. Mr. Rouhani is continuing to maintain that a deal will be concluded. His foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last month that an agreement could be reached in a matter of “weeks.”

Both men have tied their political future to the deal, analysts say. Despite the setbacks in the talks, Mr. Rouhani stays on message on what he says isIran’s bright future……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/world/middleeast/irans-president-pledges-to-face-down-forces-opposing-a-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Chinese government not happy with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program

flag-Chinaflag-N-KoreaCHINA-NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR STANDOFF  Eurasia Review By Debalina Ghoshal Even though North Korea and China have traditionally shared strong ties, their “key divergence” lies in Pyongyang’s nuclear program. China is an important ally for North Korea, but despite this, China has not reacted positively to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. China is keen on the denuclearization of Northeast Asia, and hence views North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as an obstacle to achieving this goal. North Korea, on the other hand, views its nuclear program as a “treasure sword” with which it can counter threats from the United States and its ally of South Korea.

The United States and South Korea have realized the importance of Beijing in any matter pertaining to the denuclearization of North East Asia. This was also echoed by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he opined that given its extensive trade relations with North Korea, China has “greater potential” to influence North Korea’s behavior [its nuclear ambitions that is] more than any other power……….http://www.eurasiareview.com/12122014-china-north-korea-nuclear-standoff-oped/

December 15, 2014 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran and other countries look forward to business boom when nuclear deal is achieved

diplomacy-not-bombsAnticipating Nuclear Deal and End to Sanctions, Iran Awaits a Business Boom, NYT By  DEC. 12, 2014 “……….it is almost an article of faith in business circles that the latest extension is only the postponement of an inevitable thaw between Iran and the rest of the world…………

“The world needs this deal, we need this deal,” Ms. Moghimi said. “It will happen.”

Both moderates and conservatives have expressed concerns about the unchecked rise in expectations, among the public as well as elite business classes, that a deal will be cinched. They have been warning that the enthusiasm could turn to bitter disappointment if the negotiations, set to resume in Geneva next week, should fail, possibly touching off unrest or what some clerics call “another sedition,” a reference to the revolt that followed disputed presidential elections in 2009…….

The wave of optimism began with the election of a moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, who promised to mend Iran’s ties with the world. Mr. Rouhani continues to encourage that thinking, saying just last week that the “nuclear issue would be brought to its destination.” His foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, promised after the most recent extension that a nuclear deal can happen “within weeks.”

The heightened expectations are not solely to be found among Iranians. The flow of foreign delegations to Iran continues at a steady pace, bringing eager businessmen who in conferences laud Iran’s unique geographical position, its stability and largely untapped market of middle-class consumers………http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/13/world/middleeast/anticipating-nuclear-deal-and-end-to-sanctions-iran-awaits-a-business-boom.html

December 13, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran has made major concessions towards a nuclear deal with the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-Iran  Failed Nuclear Talks Are Not Iran’s Fault, Iran News & Middle East Report  .25 Nov 14Nov. 24, the deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement between Iran and P5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — came and went without the agreement.

What happened? Iran made major concessions. It was excessive demands by the U.S. and its allies that prevented the comprehensive agreement from materializing.

The original Geneva interim agreement expired last July, but both sides agreed to extend the deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement to Nov. 24. Now, a new deadline of June 30, 2015 has been set. Both sides said that much progress was made, but some difficult issues have remained unresolved.

The agreement would have created an entirely new dynamic for the war-torn Middle East. It would have ushered in a new era of cooperation between two old nemeses, Iran and the United States, to defeat their common enemy, the Islamic State.

Given the historic significance of the agreement, why is it that a breakthrough was not achieved?

Iran’s Major Concessions

Several complex issues that had seemed unresolvable have actually been hammered out, but only because Iran was willing to negotiate with a spirit of compromise, of give and take.

The first concession concerned Iran’s uranium enrichment facility built under a mountain in Fordow, near the holy city of Qom, 90 miles south of Tehran. The West, led by the United States, had demanded that Iran dismantle the facility altogether. The facility is neither suited for military purposes, nor for large-scale industrial use; it was built by Iran either as a bargaining chip, or to preserve its indigenous enrichment technology in case the large Natanz enrichment facility was destroyed by bombing, or both.

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and a principal negotiator, has emphasized repeatedly and emphatically, “Iran would not agree to close any of its nuclear facility.” Iran has agreed to convert the site to a nuclear research facility, representing a major concession.

second concession involved the IR-40 heavy water nuclear reactor, under construction in Arak, 155 miles southwest of Tehran. When completed, it will replace Tehran Research Reactor, an almost 50-year-old reactor that produces medical isotopes for close to 1 million Iranian patients every year.

The West had demanded that Iran convert the IR-40 to a light-water reactor, due to the concerns that if the reactor, when it comes online, will produce plutonium that can be used to make nuclear weapons. But, Iran refused to go along because, first and foremost, all the work on the reactor has been done by the Iranian experts and thus the reactor is a source of national pride. Iran has already spent billions of dollars to design and begin constructing the reactor, but the West was not willing to share the cost of the reactor conversion to a light-water one.

On its own initiative, Iran has agreed to modify the design of the reactor so that it will produce much smaller amounts of plutonium. Iran also agreed not to build any reprocessing facility for separating the plutonium from the rest of the nuclear waste. This was again a major concession.

The third major concession by Iran was agreeing to stop enriching uranium at 19.75 percent (commonly referred to as 20 percent in the Western media, although the seemingly minor difference is actually quite important). After the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency refused to supply Iran with fuel for the TRR in 2009, Iran began producing the higher enriched uranium that the TRR uses as its fuel. Tehran agreed to stop producing the fuel, after stockpiling enough fuel for the remaining life of the old TRR. This was the third major concession by Iran.

The fourth major concession made by Iran is related to the issue of inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the IAEA. Although Iran had lived up to its obligations under its original Safeguards Agreement with the agency signed in 1974, the IAEA under its Director-General Yukiya Amano, who has completely politicized the agency that has contributed to the complexities of reaching the comprehensive agreement, has been insisting that Iran implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol of the SG Agreement, which Iran signed in 2003 and, without ratification by its parliament, implemented voluntarily until February 2006.

Iran set aside the Additional Protocol after the European Union reneged on its promises made to Iran in the Sa’dabad Declaration of October 2003 and the Paris Agreement of November 2004. Iran and the IAEA reached an agreement in November 2013, according to which Iran allows much more frequent and intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities, way beyond its legal obligations under its SG Agreement. Since then, the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed that Iran has lived up to its obligations.

The U.S. Excessive Demands

Three of the remaining issues concern the number of centrifuges that Iran gets to keep over the duration of the agreement, the duration of the comprehensive agreement and the mechanism by which the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and its allies would be lifted.

In fact, agreeing to limit the number of its centrifuges for the duration of the agreement is yet another significant, but unacknowledged, concession by Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran’s SG Agreement with the IAEA

The issue of the number of centrifuges, NoC, is also mostly superficial. ………http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muhammad-sahimi/iran-nuclear-talks-fail_b_6219646.html?utm_hp_ref=worldPosted: 11/25/2014

November 26, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

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