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US Republicans out to destroy nuclear talks with Iran

fight Iran Sanctions Supporters Don’t Want To Improve Nuclear Talks. They Want To Destroy Them. 
Huffington Post  01/23/2015 WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to have pulled off a masterful political victory against the Obama administration Wednesday when he revealed that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the dangers of the administration’s negotiations with Iran.Coming a day after President Barack Obama threatened to veto new Iran-related sanctions legislation that he said could harm the negotiations, Boehner’s move looked like a smart way to reinforce support for such bills — a priority for the Republican-led Congress — by showing that the U.S.’s top ally in the region supported them.

Then things started to fall apart.………

Kerry’s comment altered the conversation, making it about whether Republicans want to torpedo nuclear talks with Iran. The Obama administration describes the negotiations as the only way to ensure that Iran cannot gain a nuclear weapon to threaten the very country Boehner says the administration is failing: Israel. Kerry’s message: It’s Republicans, and the Democrats who support them on new sanctions, who would fail Israel by antagonizing Iran and destroying the chance of a peaceful resolution to the years-long controversy over Tehran’s nuclear program……….

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

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran can build 2 nuclear reactors: not in violation of Joint Plan of Action

flag-IranState Dept: Iran’s New Nuclear Reactors Don’t Violate Joint Plan of Action by TheTower.org Staff | 01.15.15 Iran’s announced construction of two light-water reactors does not violate the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) signed between Iran and the P5+1 nations in November 2013, a State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon today.

“We are aware of the announcement and are reviewing the details,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak on record. However, “in general, the construction of light water nuclear reactors is not prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions, nor does it violate the JPOA,” the official said. …

“We have been clear in saying that the purpose of the negotiations with Iran is to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively for civilian, peaceful purposes,” the official said. “The talks that we have been engaged in for months involve a specific set of issues relative to closing off all possible pathways to Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb. That remains our focus.”………http://www.thetower.org/1502-state-dept-irans-new-nuclear-reactors-dont-violate-joint-plan-of-action/

January 16, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Rouhani’s and Obama’s difficult path to a nuclear compromise

RouhaniSaving the Nuclear Deal With Iran, NYT,  By  JAN. 10, 2015 Twice recently, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has acted boldly in support of his biggest political gamble, pursuit of a nuclear agreement with the major powers. In a speech last Sunday on Iran’s troubled economy, he argued that Iran will never enjoy sustained growth if it is isolated from the rest of the world. Three weeks earlier, he made clear that he would confront Iran’s hard-liners in his efforts to clinch a deal in which Iran would agree never to produce a nuclear weapon in return for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

But Mr. Rouhani is not the only leader trying to keep a potential agreement from being savaged by domestic opponents. President Obama has a similar problem in Congress, where Senators Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, are expected to introduce legislation that could torpedo any deal by imposing new sanctions on Iran, including tighter controls on its battered oil industry.

Negotiators for Iran and the major powers — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — resume their talks next week in Geneva. While they have made significant progress, they remain at odds over how large a nuclear program — geared for energy production and medical uses — Iran will be permitted to have.

Mr. Rouhani has shown his seriousness by openly challenging the Iranian hard-liners who are hostile to a deal and by appealing for support from intellectuals, academics, businesspeople and others who are open, even eager, for one. To rally political support, he has also hinted that he might bypass established power centers and submit the issue to a popularreferendum. “Our ideals are not bound to centrifuges,” Mr. Rouhani said in reference to the nuclear program.

Mr. Rouhani’s path to compromise is not easy. ……..http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/opinion/sunday/saving-the-nuclear-deal-with-iran.html

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Attempts by Mossad to assassinate more nuclear scientists were foiled, Iran claims

Iran: We foiled Mossad attempt to assassinate nuclear scientist http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.635269  Revolutionary Guards official says operation took place in last two years. By  | Jan. 4, 2015 An Iranian Revolutionary Guards official says the elite force foiled a Mossad attempt to assassinate one of the country’s nuclear scientists in the last two years, Iran’s Fars news agency reports.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the [Revolutionary Guards] security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Col. Ya’qoub Baqeri, deputy chief liaison officer of Flight Guards Corps, told Fars on Saturday.

The story noted that in June 2012, Iran announced it had arrested “all the elements” involved in the assasinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists that had taken place in the previous two years. Fars added that prior to those purported arrests, Iranian intelligence detected Mossad bases “within the territories of one of Iran’s Western neighbors” that trained and assisted the assassins.

Israel has never commented officially on these killings, but major Western media, quoting off-the-record Israeli intelligence sources, have attributed them to the Mossad. Last March, CBS News reported that the Obama administration was pressuring Jerusalem to halt such killings.

CBS national correspondent Dan Raviv, an expert on Israeli intelligence, reported that the Mossad “ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran’s top nuclear scientists. The purpose was to slow the progress made by Iran, which Israel feels certain is aimed at developing nuclear weapons; and to deter trained and educated Iranians from joining their country’s nuclear program.”

Raviv reported that at least five nuclear scientists had been killed, mostly by car bombs. “Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught, obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran – although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed,” the CBS report stated.

The CBS story added that even ahead of the pressure from the Obama administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had himself ordered the Mossad to stop the assassinations because he no longer wanted to run the risk of agents getting “captured and hanged.”

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 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

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

Criticism in Iran of Iran’s nuclear power programme

flag-IranNuclear Program Has ‘Hurt Iran More Than Iraq War’, Payvand Iran News, 18 Dec 14 
By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL Iran’s nuclear activities and ambitions faced rare, blunt criticism at a roundtable at Tehran University, where one of the speakers said the damage done by the nuclear program was greater than that by the 1980-88 war with Iraq, which left tens of thousands dead and caused much devastation.

“The imposed war [with Iraq] did not damage us as much as the nuclear program has,” professor Sadegh Zibakalam said at the December 17 roundtable, according to reports by Iranian semiofficial news agencies.

Zibakalam also criticized the lack of public debate about the nuclear issue.

Other speakers were also critical of the nuclear program and its costs for Iranians, who have come under unprecedented U.S.-led sanctions that have made life more difficult.

Speaking at the event, former reformist lawmaker Ahmad Shirzad said nothing had come out of the nuclear program, “not even a glass of water.”…….

Shirzad said that he welcomed Iran’s official line, according to which the country is against building and acquiring nuclear weapons.

The former lawmaker also seemed to suggest that Iran would be better off without a civil nuclear program. “Iran doesn’t have the primary resources and know-how for a nuclear program,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA. He said Iran could assert itself in areas such as petrochemistry and natural gas, where the country has the resources and the knowledge………….

Criticism of the nuclear issue has been a red line in Iran, where media face tough censorship rules in their news coverage.

Shirzad said the nuclear issue has turned into a matter of “honor.” “When something becomes a matter of honor, discussing it is not possible anymore. And that has been our problem for the past 11 years,” he said.

Zibakalam said that under Iran’s previous administration, criticism of the nuclear issue was impossible. “Unfortunately from 2003 to 2013, debate about the different aspects of the nuclear issue was not possible. I believe that whenever people and the press are prevented from expressing their opinions on different issues, the result is not good,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that during those years whenever he would send a slightly critical piece to the press, “the editors would dump it in the closest trash can.”………http://www.payvand.com/news/14/dec/1098.html

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Iran, opposition to nuclear | 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

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

The importance of a nuclear deal with Iran, and how it might work out

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranThe Diplomatic Effort, and What a Final Agreement Might Look Like, NYT  By NOV. 21, 2014 VIENNA — Everything about the nuclear negotiations with Iran, now approaching a crucial moment, is complex: the international politics, the implications for the Middle East, and the science of how to prevent a nuclear energy project from turning into a nuclear weapons program. Here are answers to questions about the lead up to the diplomatic effort and what a comprehensive agreement might look like……….

Q. What are the possible outcomes from negotiations?

A. One possibility is no deal at all, a complete collapse of negotiations that have been going on now for more than a year. But that would not be in anyone’s interest. Congress would most likely impose new sanctions and if the current temporary agreement, reached last year to give some time and space for these negotiations, is allowed to expire, Iran could resume producing a type of fuel that could be rapidly converted for weapons use.

So the most likely outcome is either a final agreement, some kind of muddled agreement in principle with the details to be worked out later or another extension in the talks.

Q. What has to happen in order to reach an agreement?

A. For any agreement to work, there needs to be three deals: One between the West and Iran, one between Mr. Obama and a skeptical Congress and one between the Iranian negotiators and Ayatollah Khamenei. The dynamics of the last two are murky. Mr. Obama wants to suspend sanctions bit by bit, as the Iranians deliver on their part of the deal, meaning Congress might not vote on this for years. That angers many Republicans, and even some Democrats, who say they want a vote. An even bigger mystery: Who makes the final decision in Iran? Presumably, it’s Ayatollah Khamenei’s call, but the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite of Iran’s military, will most likely have a big voice, too.

Q. What is the calculation for Iran?

A. The Iranians have a fundamental choice to make: Is the nuclear program worth it? Most ordinary Iranians tell pollsters that they support a civilian nuclear program in Iran, and very much want the West to show the kind of respect to the country that it shows to other nations with nuclear technology. And they say Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons, just what Ayatollah Khamenei has said, including a fatwa or legal opinion declaring that the country should never possess them. Iran has a young population, and it yearns for Western travel, Western education and Western respect. An end to sanctions would be a sign of a new era.

But inside the Iranian military, and among the clerics, Iran’s nuclear program is both an insurance policy and a symbol of the nation’s identity as a revolutionary state in a long struggle with the United States and its allies. Iranian leaders have periodically observed that since North Korea tested its nuclear devices, no one has dared push it to the brink. And it did not escape their notice that a decade after Libya gave up its entire nuclear program, its leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, was ousted an then killed by a combination of a national uprising and a European, Arab and American bombing campaign.

In the end, these negotiations are not only about nuclear capability, but also national pride and mutual reassurance. Iran does not want to be treated as an outlier, but rather as a great regional power. The international community needs the confidence that if the Iranians raced for a bomb, it would have plenty of notice and time to react. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-difficulties-in-reaching-agreement.html?_r=0

November 23, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Vital need for nuclear deal with Iran – otherwise Iran will link up with Russia

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranFailure to reach a nuclear deal will drive Iran into Russia’s arms, Ft.com November 20, 2014  Ariane TabatabaiIt is vital a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme is reached, writes Ariane Tabatabai

Tehran and Moscow, facing similar political and economic pressures from the west, have developed strong ties since the Islamic Revolution. More recently, as relations between the US and Moscow have soured, the links have only intensified. But for Tehran, closer ties to Moscow are not so much a choice as the only viable option – and in the run-up to the deadline for a comprehensive international deal on the Iranian nuclear programme, Moscow’s influence looms dangerously large. Decisions made in the next few days by the US, China, France, the UK and Russia, plus Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran, will determine whether that remains the case.In fact, Iran’s interests today, as in the past, overlap more with those of the US than either side is willing to admit…….

This isolation has left Tehran no option but to turn to Moscow. And, as relations between the US and Russia have deteriorated, the Middle Eastern state has the scope to become an evermore decisive and divisive factor.

Failure to reach a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, and to lay the path for more normal economic and political relations with the world, would propel Tehran into Moscow’s arms. It would foster an even more powerful Russian-Iranian axis. This would be worrying for opponents of a deal on Capitol Hill, most of whom also do not want Russian influence to grow. By blocking the way to a deal, they could facilitate and accelerate what they want to prevent.

The writer is an associate with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/af14ed0c-6e57-11e4-afe5-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Jm01599t

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia announces plans to build new nuclear reactors in Iran

Russian-Bearflag-IranRussia steps up nuclear plans in Iran as talks near deadline By Josh Levs, November 11, 2014 (CNN) — Russia has announced plans to build new nuclear reactors in Iran — a move with international repercussions as a deadline looms.

The country will construct up to eight new reactors for the “peaceful use of atomic energy” in Iran, Russian state news agency Ria-Novosti reported Tuesday.

The announcement came less than two weeks before Iran’s negotiations with Western powers over its nuclear activities are set to expire……..http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/11/world/meast/iran-russia-nuclear/

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Iran, marketing of nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

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