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Iran nuclear agreement is endorsed by Nuclear Nonproliferation Experts

Over 70 Nuclear Nonproliferation Experts Endorse Iran Agreement WASHINGTON http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150818/1025891167.html#ixzz3jCUmxWII, 18 Aug 15  — A group of more than 70 leading nuclear nonproliferation experts issued a statement on Tuesday in support of the full implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement aimed to guarantee the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program.

The signers of the statement include former senior nonproliferation officials at the US Department of State and Department of Defense, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Hans Blix, former nuclear negotiators as well as other leading nuclear specialists from around the globe.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts,” the signed statement reads.

The nuclear experts attest that the Iran nuclear deal “advances the security interests” of all negotiating parties, as well as the international community.

The nuclear agreement between Iran, and the P5+1 countries of the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany has been under review in the US Congress, which will vote to approve or disapprove the deal by September 17.

The UN Security Council and all the P5+1 countries, except for the United States, have given their support for the nuclear agreement intended to prevent Iran from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon, in exchange for international sanctions relief.

 

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

Obama can still do the Iran nuclear deal, despite Congress opposition

Obama,BarackPresident Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress rejects it Chicago Tribune, By Tribune wire reports contact the reporter , 16 Aug 15 President Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to make a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.  The September vote on the Iran nuclear deal is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Yet even if lawmakers reject the agreement,  it’s not game-over for the White House.

A congressional vote of disapproval would not prevent Obama from acting on his own to start putting the accord in place. While he probably would take some heavy criticism, this course would let him add the foreign policy breakthrough to his second-term list of accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program — at least for now.

“A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations, but limited practical impact,” says Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It would not override President Obama’s authority to enter into the agreement.”

Lawmakers on their summer break are deciding how to vote. A look at the current state of play:

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN SEPTEMBER?

With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the House and Senate are expected to turn down the deal. Obama has pledged to veto such a resolution of disapproval, so the question has turned to whether Congress could muster the votes to override him, in what would be a stinging, bipartisan vote of no-confidence against the president. And Obama would forfeit the authority he now enjoys to waive sanctions that Congress has imposed.

But Democrats and Republicans have predicted that his expected veto will be sustained — that opponents lack the votes to one-up Obama……

WHAT CAN OBAMA DO ON HIS OWN? The president could suspend some U.S. sanctions. He could issue new orders to permit financial transactions that otherwise are banned now. On the financial sector, Obama could use executive orders to remove certain Iranians and entities, including nearly two dozen Iranian banks, from U.S. lists, meaning they no longer would be subject to economic penalties……….http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iran-nuclear-deal-obama-20150816-story.html

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran has complied on key condition of the nuclear deal – submitting documents to IAEA

flag-IranIran submits nuclear activity information to UN watchdog, Yahoo News Vienna (AFP), 16 Aug 15,  – Iran has submitted documents linked to its past nuclear activity, the UN’s atomic watchdog has confirmed, a key condition of a probe into suspected efforts to create nuclear arms. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed a “roadmap” with Iran in July to investigate its nuclear programme, as part of an overall accord with major world powers.

The historic deal is aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for relief on painful economic sanctions.

The IAEA said Iran had met a key deadline by handing over the papers on Saturday.

“Iran… provided the IAEA with its explanation in writing and related documents as agreed in the roadmap for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme,” the agency said in a brief statement published Saturday.

A senior Iranian official also confirmed that the documents had been submitted.

“We have achieved our commitments as part of the deadline set out in the agreement,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

The IAEA is to issue a report on its investigation by December 15……….http://news.yahoo.com/iran-submits-nuclear-activity-information-un-watchdog-100355955.html

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran could not hide evidence of nuclear weapons work

flag-IranWhy it’s impossible to hide nuclear work in 24 days – or 24 years, REUTERS, By Yousaf Butt August 13, 2015  One of the most misleading distortions being floated by political opponents of the Iran nuclear deal is the “24-day” loophole meme: Iran would be able to hide all  evidence of any nefarious nuclear weapons work during the 24 days it may take inspectors to gain access to a suspicious site.

diplomacy-not-bombsFor starters, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would have continuous daily access to all Iran’s declared nuclear facilities. If Iran does not allow anytime inspections of any declared site, it could result in the reimposition — or “snapback” — of sanctions.

The 24-day rule applies only to undeclared suspect sites anywhere in the country. Because inspections anywhere at any time can be complicated to work out, a procedure was devised to address the problem.

Why 24 days? Iran and the atomic energy agency first would have a maximum of 14 days to come to an understanding about how to carry out the new inspections. In the absence of an agreement, the members of the Joint Commission – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran — must resolve the issue, by consensus or a vote, within seven days. Tehran would have three days to implement the decision. So, the 24 days is not a gift to Tehran that would allow it to hide potential nuclear malfeasance — it is just the maximum periodallowed to hammer out a way to inspect any undeclared suspicious facility in Iran.

More important, critics insist, Iran could use those 24 days to hide evidence of nuclear materials. This is not going to happen. It would be virtually impossible even in 240 days, let alone 24. Even a nanogram, or one-billionth of a gram, of leftover dust from nuclear-weapons related work — such as covert enrichment at a suspect site — could be detectable.

The main way the agency could find incriminating dust is with a “swipe sample” using a super-clean cotton cloth. The wipe would be applied to surfaces, especially where dust naturally collects, including corners of a room, cracks, bolt holes, equipment interiors and where walls meet the floor.

As the agency itself states: “Any nuclear process … will also produce particulate materials with particle dimensions in the 0.1 [to] 10 micrometer range. Such small particles are believed to be quite mobile and will travel several meters from their point of origin due to air currents or human activity. This mobility also makes it extremely difficult to clean up an area to such an extent that no particles remain available for swipe sampling.” [emphasis added]

The swipe samples from a suspect site would be taken to a laboratory, where the atomic energy agency can use a variety of highly sensitive methods to pick up any infinitesimal incriminating nuclear particles. Isotopic ratios, chemical forms or particle shapes can all provide clues about where the nuclear material came from and how it was produced.

One particularly powerful method is known as “fission track-secondary ion mass spectrometry.”Particles from a swipe sample are irradiated with neutrons on a Lexan (plastic) plate. If there are fissile materials in the sample, they would  become unstable and split apart; heavy fission-product particles would be produced. In sufficient quantities, these particles would leave tracks in the plate that can be viewed by acid etching……….

The bottom line is that it is almost impossible to get away with messing around with nuclear materials. Nuclear fingerprints are not removable.

“You cannot get rid of them by cleaning,” Stephan Vogt, head of the atomic agency’sEnvironmental Sample Laboratory told Reuters in 2013. “You cannot dilute them to the extent that we will not be able to pick them up. It is just a matter of time,” he stated, before the atomic energy agency detects any incriminating residue………..

Twenty-nine top U.S. scientists — including Nobel Prize winners, senior experts in arms control and former White House science advisers – wrote to President Barack Obama this past weekend to praise the Iran deal. They called it “technically sound, stringent and innovative.” Instead of listening to the complaints about the 24-day meme, Congress should pay heed to these experts. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/08/13/why-its-impossible-to-hide-nuclear-work-in-24-days-or-24-years/

August 14, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, safety | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear deal is supported by Jews in Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran’s Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.USA Today, 7 Aug 15 Reese Erlich, GlobalPost TEHRAN, Iran — Tapo, one of six kosher restaurants in Tehran, has become an informal hangout for the city’s small Jewish community. During a lunchtime rush last week customers ate savory kebabs while excitedly discussing the signing of the U.S.-Iran nuclear accord.

“There was lots of joy for us,” said Horiel, a Jewish customer who declined to give his last name. “It was not only the Jewish community that was happy. The nation was happy.”

Most Iranian Jews strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s denunciations of the accord. Horiel said his ancestors came from Jerusalem, “but I’m an Iranian Jew. Israel will get nothing with threats and war.”

Israeli leaders and conservative politicians in the U.S. have denounced the accords as too weak, saying they’ll allow Iran to eventually develop atomic weapons.

Iranians argue that they never built a nuclear bomb and have no intention of doing so. They broadly support the accord in hopes that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions and the economy will improve.

But the agreement also lessens international tensions, says Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, chair of the Tehran Jewish Committee, the country’s main Jewish organization. “There was the possibility of war,” he said. “With the deal signed, it will take war off the table and bring stability to the region.”

Najafabadi said that Israel’s opposition to the accord “has no impact on the Jewish community in Iran.”…….. Jewish leaders estimate there are between 12,000 and 30,000 Jews here today, making Iran’s the second-largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel.

But those who have chosen to stay in Iran have a long history of opposition to hawkish Israeli governments. Many consider themselves Jews but not Zionists.

The Islamic Republic of Iran allows freedom of worship for Jews and Christians, according to Siamak Morsedegh, the Jewish representative to Iran’s parliament. He points out that unlike some other countries in the region and in Europe, Jewish templesin Iran have not been attacked.

“There (is) no need for guards in front of our synagogues,” he said………..

GlobalPost Special Correspondent Reese Erlich received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for his reporting from Iran. His latest book is “Inside Syria: The Back Story of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect.”

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/08/07/globalpost-iran-jewish-community-nuclear-deal/31277653/

August 7, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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