U.S. deserves ‘benefit of the doubt’ on getting Iran nuclear deal, Kerry says BY WILL DUNHAM AND DIANE BARTZ WASHINGTON Sun Mar 1, 2015 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed the case on Sunday for completing nuclear diplomacy with Iran despite Israeli opposition, saying the United States deserves the benefit of the doubt on getting a deal that would prevent any need for military action to curb Tehran’s atomic ambitions.
Two days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to address the U.S. Congress to warn against an Iran deal, Kerry delivered a stout defense of talks that are entering a critical phase with a key March 31 deadline looming.
Kerry said he hoped Netanyahu’s speech does not turn into “some great political football” but said the Israeli leader is “welcome to speak in the United States, obviously.”
Six powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – are negotiating with Iran toward an agreement to restrain Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing economic sanctions. Netanyahu has spoken scathingly about a possible deal and says a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state.
Netanyahu was invited to speak by Republican congressional leaders, but they did not inform President Barack Obama’s administration about the speech in advance. Signs are growing that the speech could damage Israel’s country’s broad alliance with the United States.
In an interview with the ABC program “This Week,” Kerry said of the Iran negotiations: “It is better to do this by diplomacy than to have to do a strategy militarily which you would have to repeat over and over again and which everybody believes ought to be after you have exhausted all the diplomatic remedies.”
Kerry said he could not promise that a deal can be reached, but said that “we are going to test whether or not diplomacy can prevent this weapon from being created.”…..http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/01/us-usa-israel-kerry-idUSKBN0LX1HJ20150301
Iran’s Zarif says Netanyahu trying to undermine nuclear talks DUBAI Sun Mar 1, 2015 (Reuters) - Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to undermine Iran’s negotiations towards a nuclear deal with world powers in order to distract from the Palestinian question.
Netanyahu is due to speak against a potential nuclear deal between Iran and the United States before U.S. Congress on Tuesday. His planned appearance, on invitation from the Republicans, has angered U.S. officials for its partisan nature and is likely to worsen his already frosty relations with President Barack Obama as well as undermine the wider U.S.-Israel alliance…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/01/us-iran-nuclear-zarif-idUSKBN0LX1IJ20150301
Win-win nuclear deal for Rowhani and Obama, Al Arabiya News Friday, 27 February 2015 Iran and the six world powers (known as the P5+1: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China) are planning to meet next Monday to finalize the outline for the final accord. The prolonged nuclear negotiations between the two sides resumed last week in Geneva in order to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
The Islamic Republic has added Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and former foreign minister under the hardline government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Respectively, the United States has brought Ernest J. Moniz, the U.S. energy secretary, to the nuclear negotiations.
The addition of Moniz and Salehi, and the high-level official meetings, reflect the critical stage of the nuclear talks as well as the efforts of both the American and Iranian government to reach a general outline that would preserve their geopolitical, national, and strategic interests……..http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/02/27/Win-win-nuclear-deal-for-Rowhani-and-Obama.html
A new joint report produced on Monday by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian shows top secret files – correspondances with the South African intelligence services – suggesting that Mossad, the Israeli security agency, has believed since 2012 that the Islamic Republic of Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons,” according to the leak.
The revelation would seem to undermine claims by other branches of the Israeli state – including the prime minister – that Iran presented a threat to Israelis through its desire to produce nuclear weapons.
The date of the cables is particularly ironic, as it came just a month after a speech made by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly in which he called for a united global response to Iran’s threat to develop nuclear weapons – a threat which, at the time, he assured was a very real one…………http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/intelligence-leaks-suggest-israeli-secret-service-believe-iran-not-producing-nuclear-weapons
Iran blockbuster: Group claims proof of secret nuclear facility By Guy Taylor – The Washington Times – Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Claiming that Iran’s government has been lying for years to U.N. nuclear inspectors, a prominent Iranian dissident group on Tuesday asserted that scientists in the Islamic Republic have actually been running a secret uranium enrichment operation at a facility buried deep beneath the ground in the northeast suburbs of Tehran since 2008.
The facility, known as “Lavizan-3,” has been used for clandestine nuclear program research and development, as well as for enrichment with advanced IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuge machines, according to the National Coalition of Resistance of Iran, which claims that the operation’s existence has never before been revealed to international officials.
The NCRI’s claim was not immediately verifiable, and the dissident group is known for its controversial history in Washington. However, the group is seen to have deep sources inside Iran’s nuclear community and its members are credited with having made game-changing revelations about Tehran’s activities in the past.
Most notably, during the early 2000s, similar NCRI claims exposed the existence of Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy-water plutonium facility — two operations that have been at the center of international scrutiny and distrust of Tehran during the years since then.
The group said its latest claims were the result of a “decade-long, detailed, risking and complex” intelligence gathering effort by members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq. The so-called “MEK” is a main component of the NCRI, but has long drawn scrutiny in Washington because the State Department had listed it as a terrorist organization until 2012.
While the MEK is seen as virulently against the current regime in Tehran, U.S. officials have said the group’s terrorist listing was related to attacks its members carried out against U.S. interests in the Middle East decades ago……..
“The disconnection reflects Iran addressing concerns about its enrichment [of uranium],” said the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which closely tracks Iran’s nuclear program.
“The disconnection provides additional confidence that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action,” it said, referring to the 2013 agreement………. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Feb-20/288170-iran-has-stopped-questionable-nuclear-centrifuge-testing-iaea.ashx#sthash.P1yKqZWQ.dpuf
CIA-planted ‘evidence’ may force IAEA review of alleged Iranian nuclear arms program – report, Rt.com
February 21, 2015 Doctored blueprints for nuclear weapon components supplied to Iran by the CIA 15 years ago could force the IAEA to review its conclusions on Iran’s atomic program, which was potentially based on misleading intelligence, Bloomberg reports.
The details of the Central Intelligence Agency operation back in 2000 were made public as part of a judicial hearing into a case involving Jeffrey Sterling, an agent convicted of leaking classified information on CIA spying against Iran.
“The goal is to plant this substantial piece of deception information on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, sending them down blind alleys, wasting their time and money,” a May 1997 CIA cable submitted to the court reads.
The intelligence in question pertains to fake designs of atomic components that were transferred to Iran in February 2000. Now it turns out the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could be forced to reassess their earlier conclusions regarding Iran’s atomic program, the publication quoted two anonymous Western diplomats as saying. Part of the IAEA’s suspicions about the alleged Iran’s nuclear weapons program relies on information provided by multiple intelligence agencies.
“This story suggests a possibility that hostile intelligence agencies could decide to plant a ‘smoking gun’ in Iran for the IAEA to find,”Peter Jenkins, the UK’s former envoy to the Vienna-based agency told Bloomberg. “That looks like a big problem.”……..http://rt.com/news/234271-cia-nuclear-evidence-iran-iaea/
At corporations, the mentality has shifted from being willing to spend a little more money to use green power to viewing the shift to green power as a way to save money.
renewable energy—for so long a flaky, small-scale enterprise—has developed into an industrial-strength solution that affords big companies the opportunity to lock in the cost of electricity over a period of 20 to 25 years
Each of these new, large-scale transactions will displace and obviate the need for power produced from fossil fuels.
Big Solar: Renewable energy finally makes sense as a utility—and that’s why it’s becoming a threat to coal. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2015/02/apple_kaiser_permanente_solar_investments_renewable_energy_is_finally_a.html
Once the technologies were proven, and the costs began to come down, investors and operators stepped in. Companies put up plants, and then made deals with utilities to buy the output—often at a price above the cost of electricity created by coal plants. Utilities complied in part because of state requirements that they source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
Now we’re entering a new stage. Companies in sectors such as technology, health care, and consumer products—all big consumers of power—are striking deals to purchase huge amounts of renewable energy from newly constructed plants
This is different than companies putting up a solar array, or buying some carbon offsets, or making token greenness gestures. They are conjuring into existence new infrastructure that can’t help but replace coal. Continue reading
Iran nuclear talks: US accuses Israel of ‘leaks’ The US has accused Israel of selectively leaking information from the Iran nuclear talks to misrepresent its position in the negotiations. BBC News, 19 Feb 15
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Israel was “cherry-picking” information and using it out of context.
Six world powers want Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Negotiations with Iran are due to begin again on Friday.
Iranian officials said that US Secretary of State John Kerry will also be travelling to Geneva this weekend for two days of talks with Iran’s foreign minister.
On Wednesday, Mr Earnest that the US was mindful of keeping negotiations private because of selective leaks on the part of Israel.
“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterising our negotiating position have not been accurate,” he said.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that there was a “selective sharing” of information.
“I think it’s safe to say that not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks,” she said.
Unnamed US officials told The Associated Press news agency that politically motivated leaks from Israeli officials had made it impossible for the US to continue to share all details of the talks. The accusations come less than two weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to address a joint session of the US Congress on the threat from Iran.
There has been increasingly strained ties between the US and Israel over the nuclear deal with Iran……..http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31538531
Russia to help Egypt build ‘a whole new nuclear power industry’ – Putin, Rt.com February 10, 2015 Russia will contribute to building “a whole new nuclear power industry” in Egypt, President Vladimir Putin has announced as the two countries have signed a number of agreements after a meeting in Cairo.
Officials from Egypt and Russia have signed agreements to boost economic and industrial ties during Putin’s visit to Cairo. The two countries plan to build a nuclear power station, Egypt’s President El-Sissi says. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, wrapped up his two-day visit with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Tuesday, after both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant together. The power plant is expected to be made with the latest technology and have four separate blocks providing 1200 megawatts of energy each, according to Sergey Kirienko, the director general of the Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom.
President Putin stressed that “if definite decisions are made, it would not be simply about building a nuclear power plant, but about creating a whole new nuclear industry in Egypt.”
He also stressed that Moscow had only signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction, meaning that the deal had not yet been finalized…….http://www.dw.de/cairo-and-kremlin-agree-on-building-a-nuclear-power-plant/a-18248404
Israel lags in recycling and renewable energy
Israel near bottom of OECD recycling and renewable energy rankings; has largest per capita public water usage.
After meeting the heads of the country’s parliament and judiciary, Rouhani was quoted by the Mehr news agency as saying: “We have narrowed the gaps,” adding that although “some issues and differences remain … The west has realised that it should recognise the rights of the Iranian people.”
Even Ali Larijani, the parliamentary speaker and a noted hardliner on nuclear talks, declared himself “not pessimistic” about the trajectory of the negotiations.
Nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers are due to resume later this month in Geneva ahead of a March deadline for arriving at a basic framework agreement. A comprehensive permanent settlement would be reached by the end of June………
The possible compromise under consideration, according to the AP, would see most of the 10,000 centrifuges in operation left in place but reconfigured so that they would be less productive. One way of doing that would be to spin the centrifuges more slowly. Other measures would be agreed upon to reassure the west that Iran could not make a warhead quickly, such as reducing its stockpile of uranium hexafluoride gas – the form in which uranium can be enriched by centrifuge………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/03/iranian-president-nuclear-deal-west
Among other concerns, Al Fayez questions how a state with such little water will be able to cool a reactor situated more than 200 miles from the shoreline, and whether Jordan has sufficient human capital (i.e., enough nuclear physicists) to safely operate the facilities. She has also expressed dismay with the $10 billion price tag, a sum roughly equivalent to Jordan’s total 2013 annual budget
The Middle East’s Next Nuclear Power? It may not be the one you’re thinking about. Politico, By DAVID SCHENKER January 28, 2015 “…….even as Western attention has focused all around Jordan—and especially on the nuclear negotiations with Iran—in a little-noticed series of moves, the Kingdom’s been edging closer to going nuclear itself. In fact, the Kingdom of Jordan, Washington’s most reliable Arab partner, is the latest Middle Eastern state considering nuclear energy that is refusing to relinquish its right to enrich.
To prevent proliferation, the US has long held that Middle Eastern states seeking nuclear energy must forego the right to enrich nuclear material. The principle of no-enrichment has underpinned the so-called “gold standard” of US-bilateral nuclear agreements……..
—in its December 2009 agreement with the US, the United Arab Emirates acquiesced to forego enrichment and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel……….Over the past four years, the Kingdom has increasingly focused on nuclear energy, in particular the construction of two 1000-megawatt power plants…….Amman’s proposed nuclear facilities have met with opposition both at home and abroad. Washington’s stated opposition to the program revolves around enrichment. Jordan’s resolve to maintain this right has stymied efforts to reach a “123 agreement” governing US international nuclear cooperation……….
Israel, too, has taken issue with Jordan’s nuclear ambitions, primarily due to concerns about safety. Continue reading
Then things started to fall apart.………
the story had shifted as Kerry boxed the Republicans into admitting their possible true intentions — and all Boehner was left with was a promise for a Netanyahu address at the time of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in early March, by which point the administration has said it hoped to already have a framework for the deal.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu got his own rebuke as the White House revealed that it would not meet with him during that March trip. “We do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.
Ryan Grim and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.
This article has been updated to include comments from M http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/kerry-israel-boehner-_n_6527826.html
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