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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Call from Iran for world nuclear disarmament

nuclear-weapons-3Iran’s foreign minister calls for world’s nuclear weapons states to disarm Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for talks on arms elimination treaty and for creation of zone free from weapons of mass destruction in Middle East, Guardian,  31 July 15, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has called on Israel and the world’s eight other states with nuclear weapons to begin disarming, in response to his country’s acceptance of strict curbs on its nuclear programme in anagreement reached earlier this month.

Writing in the Guardian, Zarif argues that by agreeing to the Vienna deal, titled the joint comprehensive plan of action, Iran was honouring the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), in which states without nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them. But he says the nuclear weapons states are not keeping their side of the bargain by disarming.

“The cold war-era asymmetry between states that possess nuclear weapons and those that don’t is no longer tolerable,” the minister writes, claiming Iran had “walked the walk” on non-proliferation.

“Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even talked the talk, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under NPT and customary international law. That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal.”

Israel does not officially confirm its nuclear arsenal, but it is believed to have about 80 warheads……….

Zarif makes three proposals: for negotiations to begin on a nuclear weapons elimination treaty; that this should lead initially to nuclear arsenals being taken off high alert readiness (for example, by removing warheads from missiles); and for the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction………..

Patricia Lewis, the research director for international security at the Chatham House thinktank, said: “Most interesting to me is that Zarif is strongly linking the nuclear deal in Vienna to the WMD-free zone. Iran used to be a thought leader in this process – a role it absconded from in recent years. It looks as if once again it may be prepared to take this on as a major issue. The fascinating thing to watch will be how Israel will respond, a country that won’t even reveal its nuclear weapons capability and remains outside the NPT.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/iran-nuclear-weapons-states-disarm-israel?CMP=share_btn_tw

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Middle East arms race? Started by Israel!

flag-IsraelIsrael, Not Iran, Started Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Claims that the Iran deal will spark a nuclear arms race in the region ignore the fact that Israel has led the race for the last 65 years. US News, By: Bruce Riedel, Columnist for Al-Monitor , 31 July 15 

The debate about the P5+1 agreement with Iran on its nuclear program has already produced a storm of angry rhetoric and a tsunami of opinion pieces. But one issue is notably absent from the debate: the fact that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems that are decades ahead of anything Iran could develop in the foreseeable future. Iran should be constrained by a global regime from getting the bomb, but the notion that Israel is a weak powerless state like Czechoslovakia in 1938 is ludicrous.

The American intelligence community first detected the development of the Israeli nuclear weapons program through U-2 overhead imagery at the end of the 1950s……….

The debate about the Iran deal should be conducted within the context of an understanding of the balance of power in the Middle East. A comprehensive and thorough discussion of the balance of power should include Israel’s real strategic situation. Hysteria is not the answer when the stakes are high. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/29/israel-not-iran-started-middle-east-nuclear-arms-race

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Beneficial effects of Iran nuclear deal on Middle East stability

Iran Nuclear Deal Will Have Positive Effect On Middle Eastern Security And Stability, Putin Assures Netanyahu, International business Times,  By Sounak Mukhopadhyay on July 30 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday that Iran’s nuclear program would improve Middle Eastern security. He also said that the outcome of the nuclear negotiations would positively influence the stability of the region.

Putin assured Netanyahu that the deal would prevent the Islamic republic from acquiring nuclear weapons. The Russian president told Netanyahu the deal would also ensure that Iran had a peaceful nuclear program.

“The Russian leader expressed confidence that successful implementation of the Joint [Comprehensive] Plan of Action will strengthen the regime of nuclear non-proliferation and will have a positive effect on security and stability in the Middle East,” said Iranian news agency Press TV, quoting a Kremlin statement.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel plans to lobby the U.S. Congress not to authorize the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. The deal came to its conclusion in Vienna earlier in July after both parties had negotiated for more than a decade.

The United Nations, the European Union and the United States are going to lift sanctions against Iran, which will help the Islamic republic revitalize its economy. In exchange, Iran will restrict its nuclear program. Israel, on the other hand, has expressed concerns that Iran will create a nuclear weapon despite the agreement………http://www.ibtimes.com/iran-nuclear-deal-will-have-positive-effect-middle-eastern-security-stability-putin-203221

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear experts explain how the Iran nuclear deal cuts off pathways to nuclear weapons

diplomacy-not-bombsI agree with Obama that the pathways [for Iran to build nuclear weapons] are cut off. … Overall, it’s very good.”

“The inspection protocol,” she said, means that “the international inspectorate is going to be inspecting all the way from mines through centrifuge manufacturing. They will see if Iran is trying to break out.”

Former LANL chemist blogs on all things nuclear By Anne Constable The New Mexican , 26 July 15One Santa Fean paying close attention to the historic nuclear deal with Iran is Cheryl Rofer, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratory chemist who has worked on environmental cleanup projects in Estonia and Kazakhstan.

On Nuclear Diner, the blog she writes with two other people, Rofer posts her own views about Iran agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for the end of United Nations sanctions, as well as topics such as civilian power reactors, nuclear weapons and nonproliferation. “I’m trying to write things other people aren’t writing that I think important,” she said in a recent interview. Continue reading

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat.

flag-IsraelInternational Nuclear Hypocrisy  JULY 21, 2015   NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??By Dr. Elias Akleh, Intifada-Palestine.com    The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been turned into oppressive tools to limit the spread of safe nuclear technology and to prevent states other than the five nuclear states (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; US, UK, France, Russia and China) from acquiring nuclear weapons. These nuclear states want to maintain its arms superiority and hegemony…….. .

In 1992 after the IAEA inspected all the Iranian sites they requested, the Director General Blixreported that all activities they observed were consistent with the peaceful use of atomic energy. In fact all the inspection reports by IAEA had stating the lack of any evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon program.

The American National Intelligence Estimate reported in 2007 that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapon program in 2003. This was again confirmed by US Intelligence Agency officials, who were interviewed by The New York Times in March 2012 stating that Iran had not restarted its nuclear weapon program. Even the Israeli Mossad shared this findings contradicting their Prime Minister Netanyahu, who never got tired of warning of the alleged Iranian nuclear bomb.

The whole world knew that Iran did not have a nuclear weapon program. Yet the Western pressure continued due to the fact that Iran opposes the Zionist Israeli project in the Middle East, and has supported Hamas and Hezbollah in their struggle against Israeli occupation. ………..

The five major nuclear powers (US, Russia, UK, France and China), who seem to enthusiastically promote the NPT are themselves the biggest violators of the NPT. Overtly they pretended to reduce their own nuclear bombs by eliminating the bulky unstable old bombs, yet covertly they develop new smaller tactical and more devastating mini-nukes. These mini-nukes are part of the US-NATO arsenal and were cleared for use in the conventional war theater by the US Senate in 2002. The US, who had nuked Japan, has also used nuclear weapons, in the form of Depleted Uranium, to devastate Iraq in 2003, contaminating Iraqi soil and water, and causing all kinds of cancer and birth deformations in the children of both Iraqi citizens and of American veterans.

Recently we see a nuclear weapons arms race between the US and Russia. When the US declared its intent to deploy a major troop force near Russian borders, Russia countered, last month (June), by announcing plans to increase its nuclear arsenal with more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. This month (July) the US revealed that US military had successfully tested an upgraded nuclear gravity bomb; B51-12 that will replace four older versions of the bomb. Hippocratic Obama’s administration is upgrading its nuclear weapons while, at the same time, is using the NPT to limit Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

The US and European nuclear states do not have the slightest genuine intention of enforcing the NPT unless when it serves them in controlling and punishing other developing countries. In 2010 the Obama administration cancelled the NPT conference that intended to discuss nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Last May 2015 Obama’s administration, again, stopped the UN’s effort to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone. The reason of course is nuclear Israel.

Most intelligence agencies, including CIA and FBI, know that Israel has been developing nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s confirming the reports of the Israeli whistleblower nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. ……………..

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??? http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2015/07/international-nuclear-hypocrisy/

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A win for non-proliferation – the Iran nuclear deal

Iran nuclear deal a win for non-proliferation THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 20, 2015  CHRIS PATTEN
THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 20, 2015   
Let us give praise where it is richly deserved. Despite all the criticism they faced, US President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, stuck doggedly to the task of negotiating a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program. Together with representatives of Britain, Russia, China, France, and Germany, they have now succeeded.

world-disarmament-1

The main terms of this historic agreement, concluded in the teeth of opposition from Israel, Iran’s regional competitors (particularly Saudi Arabia), and the political Right in the US, seek to rein in Iran’s nuclear activities so that civil capacity cannot be swiftly weaponised. In exchange for inspection and monitoring of nuclear sites, the international economic sanctions imposed years ago on Iran will be lifted.

This is a significant moment in the nuclear age. Since 1945, the terrifying destructive force of nuclear weapons has encouraged political leaders to search for ways to control them…………

We know how the Bush strategy turned out. The talks collapsed: no compromise, no agreement. Today, a deal has been concluded; but it is less good than the deal that could have been reached a decade ago — a point worth keeping in mind as the likes of former vice-president Dick Cheney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu start hollering from the sidelines.As it is, not only will an agreement add cement to the NPT; it could also open the way to the sort of understanding with Iran that is essential to any broad diplomatic moves to control and halt the violence sweeping across western Asia.

Chris Patten, a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford Project Syndicate http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/iran-nuclear-deal-a-win-for-non-proliferation/story-e6frg6ux-1227448140771

July 19, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Despite USA’s Congress, tyhe Iran nuclear deal is to become international law

highly-recommendedIran deal set to become international law  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-security-council-vote-iran-nuclear-deal-resolution-us-congress-objections/ UNITED NATIONS, 18 July 15  — The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote for first thing Monday morning on a resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal.

flag-UN-largeThe resolution was circulated to council members Wednesday by the United States. Members were also briefed by both Iran and the other countries that negotiated the landmark agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

With all five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council involved in the marathon Iran negotiations, the resolution’s adoption Monday was almost certain.

The resolution implements an intricate deal that places restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program while allowing relief from sanctions that the country’s leaders say have hurt its economy.

Monday’s vote will come despite calls from some U.S. lawmakers to delay Security Council approval until Congress reviews the deal.

CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk says the resolution will make the Iran nuclear deal international law, but will delay its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for the U.S. Congress’ consideration.

Falk explained that while Congress cannot block the implementation of the deal, if the legislative body votes against it and has enough votes to override a promised veto from President Obama, it is not clear what would happen next.

A U.S. official told CBS News that American law doesn’t “trump” U.N. resolutions, but if Congress were to vote against the measure — and garner enough votes to override a presidential veto — lawmakers could stop U.S. sanctions being lifted, which could prompt Iran to declare the U.S. as non-compliant with the terms of the deal and to back out.

If U.S. lawmakers were to decide after Monday’s vote that they wanted changes to the terms of the agreement, it would essentially be too late, because it would require the Security Council to propose a new resolution — and there would likely be little appetite for such deliberations among the other negotiating partners.

The chairman of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, Bob Corker, on Thursday wrote a letter to President Obama saying, “We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.”

But the chief U.S. negotiator in the Iran talks, Wendy Sherman, rejected that idea Thursday.

She told reporters: “It would have been a little difficult when all of the (countries negotiating with Iran) wanted to go to the United Nations to get an endorsement of this, since it is a product of the United Nations process, for us to say, ‘Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.’”

Sherman said the council resolution allows the “time and space” for a congressional review before the measure actually takes effect.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

The groundbreaking nuclear deal is of great benefit to ordinary people in Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranOrdinary Iranians the big winners in groundbreaking nuclear peace pact, Irish Independent  Mary Fitzgerald18/07/2015 The images from Tehran after news broke of an historic deal on Iran’s nuclear programme this week told their own story. Exuberant crowds took to the streets, cheering and dancing in celebration of an agreement that means their nation will now come in from the cold of international sanctions.

Many carried a large, wooden key, the symbol of president Hassan Rouhani’s election campaign two years ago, during which he put a nuclear deal on the top of his priority list.

The accord announced in Vienna was the fruit of 19 days of intense negotiations and four missed deadlines. It is designed to contain Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran has long insisted is only for energy purposes, for at least a decade, and will involve more comprehensive UN inspections to monitor its nuclear facilities.

As part of the deal, Tehran will get relief from the international sanctions that have crippled its economy for almost 10 years. The agreement is not only a victory for Rouhani, it is also a vindication of US President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement and marks Washington’s first real success in dealing with Tehran since the seizing of the American embassy there in 1979.

Anyone who has visited Iran in recent years will know how much sanctions have affected ordinary Iranians. Isolation from the international banking system and the loss of oil revenues have caused Iran’s currency, the rial, to plummet by two-thirds of its value against the dollar since sanctions were tightened in 2011.

Inflation has soared and the prices of fuel and basic foodstuffs have rocketed. Some estimates hold that the most recent round of sanctions brought Iran’s GDP down by 20pc and contributed to a jobless rate of 10.3pc, hitting young Iranians the hardest.

Between 2009 and 2013, more than 300,000 Iranians emigrated in search of better prospects elsewhere, and today, 25pc of Iranians with a post-graduate education are to be found living and working outside Iran.

By some estimates, the re-entry of Iran to the global marketplace means its economy will grow to more that 5pc GDP within a year. With the fourth-largest crude oil reserves in the world, the end to sanctions means Iran could increase its production to around 4pc of global output within months, thus lowering oil-price forecasts by $5-$15 per barrel.

The reopening of Iran and its consumer market of 78.5 million people means there will be a flurry of interest from investors. The country’s creaking infrastructure – particularly in its energy sector – means it needs all the help it can get……..

While the agreement does not mean diplomatic relations will be restored or Washington will shy away from criticising Tehran’s support for militant groups and its human rights abuses at home, it may usher in some form of coordination in relation to the battle against Islamic State in Iraq……….http://www.independent.ie/world-news/middle-east/ordinary-iranians-the-big-winners-in-groundbreaking-nuclear-peace-pact-31386064.html

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

World a little safer as deal agreed on with Iran – Obama

Obama,BarackObama praises diplomacy of Iran nuclear deal, Sky News, , 15 July 2015 US President Barack Obama has lauded a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran as vindication of his diplomatic approach and a chance for a ‘new direction’ in decades of vexed relations with Tehran.

Obama said the deal – which would curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for substantial international sanctions relief – cut off ‘every pathway’ to an Iranian atomic weapon. ‘Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,’ he said in a White House address on Tuesday.

Describing a ‘difficult history’ between Iran and the United States that ‘cannot be ignored,’ Obama shaped it as a diplomatic victory that showed ‘it is possible to change.’ ‘This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it,’ he said……..

Obama came to office vowing to talk directly to Tehran and to try to reach a negotiated deescalation – a marked shift from his predecessor, who rejected a similar deal struck by European countries. ‘This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring real and meaningful change,’ he said.

But, he warned, if Iran steps back from measures agreed in the lengthy agreement, all sanctions ‘will snap back into place.’ Obama insisted the alternative to diplomacy was more violence in a region already beset by instability. ‘Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,’ he said………

Obama said the deal was based on verification, not trust, and noted that differences between the two countries were ‘real.’

Analysts have also warned that Iran’s leaders may need to toughen anti-American rhetoric to ensure the backing of regime hardliners angered at the prospect of a deal with a power they view as the ‘Great Satan.’http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/07/15/obama-lauds-diplomacy-of-iran-nuclear-deal.html#sthash.xM86hsdW.dpuf

July 15, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear agreement finally reached between Iran and world powers

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear agreement: powerful diplomats reach a deal,news.com.au.  JULY 15, 2015 THE world’s major powers have struck a long-awaited nuclear deal with Iran after more than two weeks of intense talks in Vienna.

Iranian state television has broadcast US President Barack Obama’s statement on the deal live, only the second such occasion since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

The state broadcaster had also aired Obama’s comments on an April 2 framework accord that led to Tuesday’s historic agreement, paving the way for an easing of crippling Western sanctions and for Iran to come in from the cold…….Iranians have poured onto the streets of Tehran after the Ramadan fast ended at sundown to celebrate the historic nuclear deal…….

  • What the deal meansAfter 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, diplomats declared that world powers and Iran had struck a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.

    The agreement was designed to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another US military intervention in the Muslim world.

    The accord will keep Iran from producing enough material for a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites.

    The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was reached after more than two weeks of furious diplomacy, during which negotiators blew through three self-imposed deadlines.

    Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who conducted most of the negotiations, both threatened to walk away while trading accusations of intransigence.

  • Breakthrough came after several key compromisesDiplomats said Iran agreed to the continuation of a UN arms embargo on the country for up to five more years, though it could end earlier if the International Atomic Energy Agency definitively clears Iran of any current work on nuclear weapons. A similar condition was put on UN restrictions on the transfer of ballistic missile technology to Tehran, which could last for up to eight more years…….
  • Another significant agreement will allow UN inspectors to press for visits to Iranian military sites as part of their monitoring duties, something the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had long vowed to oppose………http://www.news.com.au/world/iran-nuclear-agreement-powerful-diplomats-reach-a-deal/story-fndir2ev-1227442050742

July 15, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia to be the big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran

The Great Debate Big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran may be Russia By Agnia Grigas and Amir Handjani, Reuters,  July 10, 2015 As Iran and six world powers edge closer to solidifying an accord that puts limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, a unique opportunity presents itself for the West. The United States and its European partners could begin to decouple the unnatural Iranian-Russian alliance to reign in Moscow’s hegemonic ambitions, as well as bring Iran back into the global economic fold. Competition between Moscow and Tehran would reduce Russia’s influence in the Middle East, unlock Iran and may even serve Europe’s future interest as it looks for alternatives to Russian gas.

Iran and Russia share a complicated history rooted in both countries’ imperial past. In fact, over the past two centuries, Iran has ceded more territory to Russia than any other country. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union destabilized and encouraged separatist movements in the province of Iranian Azerbaijan, similar to what Moscow is doing in Ukraine. As recently as the 1980s, Iran backed Afghan rebels in their conflict against the Soviet Union.

The recent Russo-Iranian alliance has been more a marriage of convenience than a genuine partnership. Russia uses Iran as a geopolitical foothold in the energy-rich Persian Gulf and to poke a finger in the eye of U.S. allies in the region. In return, Iran takes advantage of Moscow’s veto power at multinational forums such as the United Nations. An Iran that is engaged with the West in areas such as energy, trade and peaceful nuclear power generation would no longer see Russia as protector of its interests. It is a fact that Iran’s fractured and vitriolic relationship with the West has driven it to form political, commercial and military ties with Russia. Those ties are still fragile, at best.

Russian companies have signed deals that underwhelmed the Iranian market in contentious areas such as energy and nuclear power. Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear reactor was riddled by delays and cost overruns. Over the past year, Russian firms have been quick to sign all sorts of long-term agreements in aviation, commercial shipping and agricultural trade out of a fear they would be pushed aside by superior Western firms as a nuclear deal looked more likely.

Russia and Iran have competing interests in energy more so than in any other area of strategic importance. ……..The pending deal between Iran and the six world powers has the potential to be a net loss for Russia. The West should grasp the opportunity and encourage Iran’s drift away from Moscow’s economic orbit. Fostering economic competition between the two historical rivals would eventually reduce their political collaboration. In the long run, this deal may result in achieving a strategic win for the United States and Europe. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/07/09/big-loser-in-any-nuclear-deal-with-iran-may-be-russia/

July 13, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Iran developing depleted uranium weapons? Actually – NO!

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranNo, Iran probably isn’t developing depleted uranium weapons http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/no-iran-probably-isnt-developing-depleted-uranium

Suggestions that Iran’s plans to develop DU weapons had become a sticking point in the Vienna nuclear talks surfaced yesterday, which was news to us.
10 July 2015 – Doug Weir The marathon talks between Iran and the P5 plus Germany over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme appear to be reaching yet another crescendo. Details of the possible deal are few and far between but it appears that the lifting of the United Nations’ arms embargo against Iran has become a major issue in the last few days.

The Russians, would like to see it dropped – although not necessarily as part of the negotiations, as would Iran. A major feature of the embargo and discussions on Iran’s military capabilities has been ballistic missiles capable of reaching Iran’s neighbours and the sale of Russian-made S-300 air defence missiles. Iran is also keen to undertake a general modernisation programme of its military.

However on the 6th July, Bloomberg reported that it was not only an issue of ballistic missiles but also Iran’s plans to develop DU anti-tank ammunition, like those stockpiled and occasionally used by the militaries of the P5 negotiators, though not Germany, for now. The story was duly picked up by the Irish Independent and by Foreign Policy’s blog.

ICBUW has long wondered whether Iran might be tempted to develop DU weapons, given that it has an expanding stockpile of DU tails from its uranium enrichment facilities. However, this has always seemed unlikely, given its long-running and vociferous condemnation of the US’s use of DU, support for UN resolutions via its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and its official statements over the threats from the DU travelling across the border from Iraq.

Nevertheless, the Iranian military may have a different view to the government’s public line on DU and, as with many other states, including even the Swiss, may have experimented with DU kinetic energy penetrator rounds. Nor can one exclude the possibility that 125mm DU ammunition could have been sourced from Russia at some stage. From a military perspective, one could see a certain regional strategic temptation in developing advanced tank armaments but with DU that is always balanced by the stigmatisation of the weapons – as evidenced by the comparatively limited worldwide proliferation of DU ammunition.

Ironically, the closest Iran may have got to acquiring DU weapons was a proposalin the late 1970s from the Shah of Iran, who offered the use of an Esfahan firing range to the British if domestic public opposition against DU test firing proved too great.

Bloomberg’s evidence for Iran’s alleged plans to develop DU weapons purportedly came from two experts, Karl Dewey, a CBRN specialist with Jane’s and Robert Kelley, a former IAEA director and nuclear non-proliferation expert. The article also cited sources in the negotiations who said that the issue of DU ammunition had been discussed. ICBUW contacted Dewey and Kelley and found that their comments had been misrepresented in Bloomberg’s article, which has subsequently been modified in parts.

Robert Kelley told ICBUW that: “I have no evidence whatsoever that Iran has DU or natural uranium weapons. I said nothing of the kind and I am very disappointed in this article. I am asking for a retraction or clarification.

“What I said was that Iran certainly has penetrators but I never said uranium. I did say that if they decided to use tails or freshly produced natural metal for weapons they should have to declare that to IAEA and ask for a safeguards exemption. No big deal.”

So where does this leave us? Clearly the UN arms embargo has become an issue in this final(ish) round of negotiations and is doubtless causing some headaches for the P5+1. Is it all about DU tank ammunition? Probably unlikely as there are far greater concerns over ballistic missile delivery systems that could present a regional strategic threat, ditto the advanced Russian air defence systems that could inhibit a future strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is clearly keen to modernise its military, but are they dead set on developing DU weapons from their new tails stockpiles? Probably not. Should you take excitable media reports on DU proliferation at face value? Never.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Reactor – poisoning Palestinians?

Is waste from Israel’s nuclear programme poisoning Palestinians? http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/6/30/is-waste-from-israels-nuclear-programme-poisoning-palestinians  By: Anas Abu Arqoub 30 June, 2015 Israel’s nuclear programme has operated in the shadows with little international oversight. Now it appears accidents and the unsafe disposal of nuclear material could be poisoning the West Bank.

Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor may be responsible for the increase in illnesses and still-births in nearby Palestinian populations, it has emerged.

It is the one of the few nuclear facilities in the world not subject to international safety inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The reactor has already been implicated in illnesses and environmental damage among the area’s Israeli population.

Ibrahim, from a small village 11km south of Hebron, told the story of his still-born child.  “When the midwife told me my child had died at birth, I was overcome with sadness,” he said. “However, the sadness became easier to bear when I learned that my child was born with one eye and birth defects that would have stayed with him for life.”

Dr Mahmoud Saadah, the head of the Palestine branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), holds the Dimona nuclear reactor directly responsible for the increase in deformities in the area and surrounding villages. Ignoring Palestinian victims The Dimona nuclear reactor is located 10km southeast of the city of Dimona, the third-largest city in the Negev.

Dimona Israel Nuclear

Construction on the nuclear reactor began in 1958 with French assistance, and Israel has another nuclear reactor for research and medical use at the Soreq Nuclear Research Centre.

An Israeli documentary film named The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor investigated the facility. The film revealed information about Israelis affected by the reactor and the environmental damage it has caused to the surrounding area.

However, the documentary film ignored Palestinian victims, so al-Araby al-Jadeed set out to discover the harm done to Palestinians from the reactor, in addition to the reason the Israeli military allowed the disclosure of information previously classified.

Al-Araby 
met Dr Khalil Thabayneh, a nuclear physics researcher at Hebron University. Thabayneh is the only Palestinian specialist who has conducted studies over a number of years to measure radiation levels in the West Bank, using advanced equipment to detenct levels of radioactive material in water, rocks, soil and plants.

Thabayneh’s studies reveal levels exceeding international permitted averages in the Hebron governorate. The most commonly radioactive element in the southern West Bank, according to Thabayneh, is Caesium-137. Any amount of Caesium-137 in the environment is considered dangerous.

“This isotope does not exist in nature and only occurs due to nuclear activity. When found in high concentrations, the source is either nuclear experiments, radioactive leaks or the detonation of nuclear weapons,” said Thabayneh.

“The only places found to have higher concentrations than in the West Bank were after the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine in 1986 and in Fukushima in 2012. These two cases had the highest recorded levels of Cesium-137 in the world, which means the southern West Bank has the highest levels of Cesium-137 in the world if we exclude areas that have witnessed nuclear disasters,” added Thabayneh.

The dangers

Thabayneh revealed the greatest danger to humans from Caesium-137 is cancer. Other elements such as uranium and polonium aso pose great dangers to children, and can cause cancer and affect the reproductive system, causing infertility in both men and women and cause birth defects and repeated miscarriages.

Dr Saadah, of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, has been practicing medicine in the area for decades.

He confirmed Thabayneh’s findings through his personal observations. Saadah confirmed there had been an increase in birth defects among newborns in the southern Hebron region.

“The reason is not a genetic defect, because that would cause one or two cases and would be limited to a family instead of a number of families, as was discovered in the area south of Hebron,” Saadah said.

Birth defects are above average here, and in many cases children were born with only one eye, or with only one hand.

“The families usually don’t announce the issue, especially if the deformed newborn dies, fearing that other families will not marry their other daughters,” said Saadah.

Saadah and a group of volunteers conducted tests in 2005 without the knowledge of the Israeli authorities to discover the levels of radiation in the southern West Bank.

The results showed that radiation levels were four times higher than areas that had not been contaminated. Saadah attributed the high levels to either a radiation leak from the Dimona reactor or to the burial of nuclear waste. Rare cancers

The town of Yatta has the highest reading of Caesium-137 in Hebron region.

This led researchers to focus on Yatta, and, in 2007, an International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War committee documented 280 cases of cancer in the town with a population of approximately 50,000.

The same committee documented 200 cases of cancer in the town al-Dahiriya, 17km away from the reactor, which had a population of 35,000 at the time of the study.

The committee also documented a case of heart cancer in the town, which occurs in five out of each 100,000 people and usually in patients over 50.

However, in that town, it was diagnosed in a young boy. This comes in addition to other rare forms of cancer that were discovered.

Burying nuclear waste

According to the accounts of villagers in the governorate, Israel buries its nuclear waste close to Palestinian towns or in areas along the green line, which Israel plans to withdraw from in return for other areas if a resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were to take place in the future.

Villagers from Beit al-Roush told Saadah that, in 1989, they saw trucks going into the mountains followed by a cement mixing truck. The trucks would be buried whole, they said. After this time, residents noticed an increase in cancers.

Al-Araby 
spoke to a number of residents in the Bani Naim area in the governorate of Hebron, who said that, about ten years ago, the Israeli army buried barrels in a cave in the Bani Naim desert – after which the cave was sealed with reinforced concrete.

Access to the area is still restricted by the Israeli army. The residents believe the area contains dangerous nuclear waste, buried in their land.

The head of the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority, Adala al-Atirah, told al-Araby that Israel prevents Palestinian environmental inspectors from visiting areas which residents complain are being used as nuclear dumping grounds by Israel.

Furthermore, Israel does not allow for the import of equipment that could be used to measure radiation – and it prevents international and UN experts in the field from entering the Palestinian territories.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

– See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/6/30/is-waste-from-israels-nuclear-programme-poisoning-palestinians#sthash.pcw6PdbY.dpuf

July 4, 2015 Posted by | health, Israel | Leave a comment

Optimism for a nuclear agreement with Iran, but big hurdles remain

Big hurdles to Iran nuclear deal as deadline looms, Reuters  VIENNA | BY JOHN IRISH AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU 26 June 15 As a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues including sanctions relief and U.N. access to Iranian sites, a senior Western diplomat said on Friday.

“The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days,” the diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity in the Austrian capital, where talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran have entered their final phase.

“The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions (to Iran’s nuclear activity) and sanctions remain extremely problematic. We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences.”

 Iran and six major powers set themselves an end-June deadline for a long-term deal that would lift sanctions crippling the Iranian economy in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program that would remain in place for at least a decade. But diplomats said the talks would likely run into July……..

Officials close to the talks say they have yet to agree on the speed and scope of lifting sanctions, how Iran will reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, the future extent of Tehran’s enrichment-centrifuge research and development program, and access for U.N. inspectors to military and other sites, as well as U.N. access to Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments.

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

The real deadline is not June 30 but July 9, diplomats say.

The U.S. delegation must present the deal to Congress by July 9 if a mandatory congressional review period before President Barack Obama can begin suspending sanctions is to be limited to 30 days. After July 9, the review will last 60 days, according to a law passed recently by U.S. legislators…………..http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/26/us-iran-nuclear-talks-idUSKBN0P623G20150626

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

France keen to save AREVA, by selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Hollande-salesFrance plans new Saudi nuclear reactors, Sky News 25 June 2015 France has confirmed it is looking into building two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, as part of 12 billion euro ($A17.31 billion) worth of deals struck between the nations.

Under one of the agreements Airbus will sell 23 H-145 multipurpose helicopters to Saudi Arabia for 500 million euros as well as launch a feasibility study into building the reactors, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday……..

The study for two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) – which France considers the safest and most advanced in the world – takes on added significance given the current efforts by Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, to develop its own nuclear capabilities.

In addition to the study, France will sign an agreement to train the Saudis on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste……

France has been reinforcing links with the conservative kingdom despite persistent criticism of its human rights record,…… http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/mideast/2015/06/25/france-plans-new-saudi-nuclear-reactors.html#sthash.tI5czLBA.dpuf

 

June 26, 2015 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

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