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USA and Russia should not ignore Mikhail Gorbachev’s warning on the nuclear war danger of the Ukraine crisis

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-UkraineGorbachev issues new warning of nuclear war over Ukraine 9 Jan 15 Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the crisis in Ukraine could lead to a major war, or even a nuclear war. In an interview with a German magazine, he criticized both Russia and the West. In an interview with the German weekly news magazine Spiegel, 83-year-old former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said the crisis in Ukraine could lead to large-scale war in Europe or even a nuclear war. “We won’t survive if someone loses their nerves in the current tension.”

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate decried the “loss of trust” between Russia and the West as “catastrophic,” and said ties must be “defrosted.” Gorbachev accused the West and NATO of destroying the structure of European security by expanding its alliance. “No head of the Kremlin can ignore such a thing,” he said, adding that the US was unfortunately starting to establish a “mega empire.”

The man seen as a key player in the reunification of former East and West Germany in 1990 also accused Germany of interfering in Ukraine’s crisis, saying, “The new Germany wants its hands in every pie. There seems to be a lot of people who want to be involved in a new division of Europe. “Germany has already tried to expand its influence of power towards the East – in the Second World War. Does it really need another lesson?”

He said Western attempts to disempower Russian President Vladimir Putin and destabilize Russia were “very stupid and extremely dangerous.” He defended the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last year, but criticized the Russian leader’s authoritarian style of leadership. He said Russia needed free elections and “the participation of the people in free elections.

“It is simply not acceptable when someone such as the anti-corruption blogger and politician Alexei Navalny is under house arrest for speaking out.”

Recent warnings Gorbachev has warned of a nuclear war on a number of occasions in recent months. In an article for the Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, published on December 11, he warned: “The situation in Europe and the world is extremely alarming … the result of the events that took place in the last months is a catastrophic loss of trust in international relation,” which could lead to war. He urged Russia and the US as well as Russia and the EU to hold talks “without preconditions” and without fear of “losing face.”

“We must think of the future,” the former leader said.

diplomacy-not-bombsUkraine talks On Monday, January 12, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine are set to meet in Berlin to launch another attempt to break the deadlock in the Ukraine conflict.

The ministers are expected to discuss the possibility of a summit of the four countries’ leaders in Kazakhstan, which Ukraine had suggested take place on January 15.

Regarding the fragile four-month-old ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, which has been broken on a number of occasions, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter S

January 10, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

USA Congress and Senate to be dominated by Anti-Science Climate Denialists


On the heels of what looks to be the warmest year in recorded history, with the global carbon dioxide levels that drive climate change reaching unprecedented levels, 53 percent — 131 members — of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives deny the occurrence of human-caused global warming and 72 percent — 39 members — on the Senate side sing the same tune.


While 97 percent of climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is occurring and is driven by human activity, several new members of the 114th Congress assert the opposite. Just this week, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) rejected the premise that greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, remarking instead that “political correctness took over climate science,” E&E Daily reported Thursday……..

One of the loudest congressional climate deniers is Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) — the likely new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee — who was swiftly repudiated in a hearing last year for claiming the earth had experienced “no warming for the last 15 years.” In addition to Inhofe, 10 out of 11, or 91 percent, of Republicans on EPW have said climate change is not happening or that humans do not cause it.

The members of the 114th Congress who have publicly misrepresented the science behind global warming have accepted their fair share of contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The 39 climate deniers in the Senate have taken $28,152,466 in donations from the coal, oil and gas industries, while the 61 Senators who haven’t denied the science have taken $11,033,447 in career contributions, according to the CAP Action analysis. On average, Senate deniers took $721,858 from fossil fuel interests while other Senators took $180,876.

On the House side, the 131 climate science deniers have taken $35,702,245 in fossil fuel industry contributions while the remaining voting members who haven’t denied the science have only taken $24,268,787 in career contributions. On average, House deniers took $272,536 from coal, oil and gas interests while other members took $80,095.

Looking ahead, the new Republican-controlled Congress has been clear that it has no intention of prioritizing action to help combat climate change. In fact, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb carbon pollution from power plants andapprove the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Tiffany Germain is Research Manager and Kristen Ellingboe is Research Associate for CAP Action.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear war becomes a possible outcome of Ukrainian fighting

Top Russian, American and Polish Leaders Warn that Continued Fighting In Ukraine Could Lead to Nuclear War January 9th, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

The Stakes Are Too High Not to Negotiate Peace  Former Soviet leader and Nobel price winner Mikhail Gorbachev warned today that the battle in Ukraine could result in a nuclear war:

“A war of this kind would unavoidably lead to a nuclear war,” the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner told Der Spiegel news magazine, according to excerpts released on Friday.

“We won’t survive the coming years if someone loses their nerve in this overheated situation,” added Gorbachev, 83. “This is not something I’m saying thoughtlessly. I am extremely concerned.”

One of America’s top experts on Russia – Steven Cohen – has also warned that failure to negotiate a peace treaty in Ukraine could lead to nuclear war.

Former Polish president – and famed anti-communist activist – Lech Walesa has  also warned that the U.S. and Nato’s arming of Ukraine could lead to a nuclear war. And see this.

Indeed, Eric Zuesse says that the risks are so high – and the American leaders so reckless – that Russia ispreparing for an expected nuclear attack by the U.S.


January 10, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

80 miles from Sellafield nuclear facility, radiation is found in food

plate-radiationRadiation found in food 80 miles across the border from Cumbrian nuclear-plant Sellafield Daily record, Jan 07, 2015 By Jennifer Hyland

NUCLEAR waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast radioactive. RADIATION has been found in food 80 miles across the border from a Cumbrian nuclear-plant a report has revealed.

Nuclear waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast slightly radioactive.

And fish-fans in Dumfriesshire have the highest exposure to nuclear radiation of anyone north of the Border.

Despite Sellafield nuclear station being situated 80 miles away, the new report reveals that the nuclear power station is still having an impact on Scotland, reports the Daily Mail. And although the levels are within safe EU limits, Sellafield and Scottish nuclear power stations have infiltrated the food chain here.

Traces of radiation were found in fruit, potatoes and vegetables near to Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, in the far north-east of Scotland .

Whilst in Chapelcross, in Dumfriesshire, nuclear radiation has made its way into the milk.

Where as at Faslane, near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, the destination of Britain’s nuclear submarines where liquid radioactive waste is discharged into the Gareloch,

beef has been revealed to contain a small amount of radiation……..

  • The unborn children of pregnant women living within 550 yards of the Hunterston B site, in North Ayrshire – one of Scotland’s two working nuclear power stations -would received the highest dose there.

    Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “There is no safe level of radiation. Nuclear technology… poses an ongoing threat to public health.”………

January 10, 2015 Posted by | environment, health, oceans, UK | 1 Comment

Depleted uranium weapons – a propaganda victory for ISIS?

depleted-uraniumThe UK and depleted uranium, International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons,  A retired British General has urged the UK to persuade the US not to use depleted uranium in operations against ISIS in Iraq, Sir Hugh Beach argues that the use of the weapons will be a propaganda victory to their opponents. 9 January 2015 – Gen Sir Hugh Beach (Rtd)

Continue reading

January 10, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, UK | Leave a comment

Ultra religious climate change denialist to run US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

exclamation-SmFlag-USAJim Inhofe is a small-plane-flying, global-warming-denying senator. And now he’s got a gavel. WP By Ben Terris January 8“…….The senator cemented his status as public enemy No. 1 for environmentalists long ago, topping it off with his 2012 book on climate change, “The Greatest Hoax.” This year he takes over the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — the panel most associated with climate policy oversight — and says he plans to continue his role as a “one-man truth squad” on the issue……..

Climate change is certain to be a major issue for Congress in the next couple of years. Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democratic environmentalist, topped the list of campaign donors in the past election cycle; there’s still the Keystone XL pipeline to figure out; and a number of new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency are set to take effect this year. On all this, Inhofe aims to take center stage.

“Expect huge and enormous fireworks in the committee,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the committee. “[Inhofe’s] going to go after everything, and I’m going to stop him dead on the floor of the Senate. . . . The biggest denier of all is the chairman of the environment committee — that’s a cruel joke.”

In 2003, Inhofe became the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee for the first time, after nine years in the Senate. He put his mark on the post with a floor speech in which he said catastrophic global warming is a hoax.

In his speech and his subsequent writing, Inhofe argued that the debate over global warming was “predicated on fear rather than science.”…… he writes in his book, “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”…….

he’ll move on to rolling back new EPA regulations. He plans hearings on new limits on greenhouse-gas emissions by power plants and refiners, and new ozone standards. He also wants a crack at changing the Endangered Species Act.

It’s an ambitious agenda, but it’s not just the goal of a lone crusading climate-change denier. What is really worrisome to environmentalists is that while Inhofe’s rhetoric may be more extreme than that of his Republican colleagues, their objectives appear to be the same………

January 10, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Is Assad building a secret nuclear plant in Syria?

Report: Assad Building Secret Nuclear Plant, Arutz Sheva German magazine says Syrian President is building a secret underground plant with the aim of developing nuclear weapons. By Elad Benari, 9 Jan 15, Canada Intelligence suggests that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is building a secret underground plant with the aim of developing nuclear weapons, Germany’s Spiegel news magazine said Friday, according to AFP.

Citing information made available by unidentified intelligence sources,Spiegel said the plant was in an inaccessible mountain region in the westof the war-ravaged country, two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Lebanese border.

It is deep underground, near the town of Qusayr and has access to electricity and water supplies, the magazine said in a pre-released version of the story released ahead of Saturday’s publication.

It said it had had access to “exclusive documents”, satellite photographsand intercepted conversations thanks to intelligence sources.

Western experts suspect, based on the documents, that a reactor or an enrichment plant could be the aim of the project, whose codename is “Zamzam”, Spiegel said.

The Syrian regime has transferred 8,000 fuel rods to the plant that had been planned for a facility at Al-Kibar, it added.

In 2007, a bombing raid on an undeclared Syrian nuclear facility at Al-Kibar was widely understood to have been an Israeli strike, but it was never acknowledged by the Jewish state.

Since then, Western intelligence agencies detected another nuclear plant in Syria, this time in a Damascus suburb……..

January 10, 2015 Posted by | politics, Syria | Leave a comment

USA’s new rules for Nuclear power plants, gas pipelines, endangered species

New regs for Monday: Nuclear power plants, gas pipelines, endangered species The Hill, By Tim Devaney – 01/09/15 Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new energy conservation standards, protections for endangered and threatened species, safeguards for nuclear power plants and rules for interstate natural gas pipelines.

Here’s what is happening:

Efficiency: The Department of Energy is delaying a review of the energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial fans and blowers.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy last month released a provisional analysis estimating the energy savings and economic impact that would result from new energy conservation standards for industrial fans and blowers. While the agency did not propose efficiency rules at the time, it noted this review could lead to future rulemaking.

But the Energy Department said Friday it is extending the comment period through Feb. 25 to give stakeholders more time to consider the potential changes.

Gas: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is delaying new rules for interstate natural gas pipelines and public utilities……..

Endangered: The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is delaying new protections for dozens of endangered species……….

Nuclear: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering new safeguards at nuclear power plants.

The NRC announced Friday it will review a petition that requests the agency check to the structure of nuclear power plants for concrete degradation. The petitioner suggests better identification techniques.

sign-thisThe public has 75 days to comment.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

America’s federal govt to be fined by Idaho for not removing nuclear waste

wastesIdaho Plans to Fine Feds for Not Shipping Nuclear Waste Magic  9 Jan 15, IDAHO FALLS (AP) | Idaho plans to fine the federal government $3,600 a day for missing a deadline to remove 900,000 gallons of liquid nuclear waste from tanks at a southeast Idaho nuclear facility, state officials said.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said it rejected a request for another extension from the U.S. Department of Energy to go past the Dec. 31 deadline to remove the radioactive waste at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Idaho officials tell the Post Register ( ) that three 50-year-old tanks are no longer supposed to be used for storage under federal laws governing hazardous waste.

“Although DOE has had many years to complete this milestone, DOE has failed to initiate and complete treatment of the liquid wastes in the tanks or construct new tanks,” said DEQ’s Hazardous Waste Compliance Manager Natalie Clough in a letter Tuesday to Richard Provencher, manager of DOE’s Idaho Operations Office. “Completion of this work is a priority of the (DEQ), and further delays are of critical concern.”

The state said fines will increase to $6,000 a day if the waste isn’t gone by July 1.

Department of Energy spokeswoman Danielle Miller said the agency is reviewing the notice of violation it received. She declined to make additional comments…………

January 10, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Wind power record set by Denmark as it heads towards fossil-free goal

wind-turbine-oceanflag-Denmark1Denmark Sets World Record For Wind Power Production BY ARI PHILLIPS THINK PROGRESS JANUARY 8, 2015 Denmark has been long been a pioneer in wind power, having installed its first turbines in the mid-1970s when oil shocks sent the import-dependent nation on a quest for energy security. Thirty-seven years later, the country has set a new world record for wind production by getting 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from wind in 2014. This puts the Northern European nation well on track to meet its 2020 goal of getting 50 percent of its power from renewables.

The news of Denmark’s feat adds to the national records the U.K. and Germany set for 2014 and further establishes Europe as a leader in the wind power industry. This is especially true when it comes to offshore resources, as countries like Scotland, England, and Denmark build out their offshore wind farms. Wind generated enough electricity to power just over 25 percent of U.K. homes in 2014 — a 15 percent increase from 2013. In December, Germany generated more wind power, 8.9 terawatt-hours, than in any previous month.

A big source of the surge of Denmark’s wind production this year came from the addition of around 100 new offshore wind turbines. In January of 2014, the peninsular country got just over 61 percent of its power from wind. This is more than three times the overall productionof 10 years ago, when wind only made up 18.8 percent of the energy supply. The country has a long-term goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2050.

 “We have set a one-of-a-kind world record,” said Denmark’s Climate and Energy Minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen. “And it shows that we can reach our ultimate goal, namely to stop global warming.”

While Peterson may be getting ahead of himself with his enthusiastic statements — as it would be impossible for Denmark to stop global warming even if the small country had zero emissions — Denmark is nonetheless charting one of the most ambitious national paths towards greenhouse gas mitigation. The government has a goal of reducing GHGs by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990. According tothe government, they are on track to reduce emissions by 37 percent.

Through expanding wind power and converting more heat pumps and power plants to use biomass, the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building believes that the country could get 71 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. In 2000, that share was just 16 percent……..

Denmark is also benefiting economically from its early investment in wind as the country has become a leading wind power manufacturer with major firms like Vestas and Siemens Wind Power based there. Currently around nine out of every 10 offshore turbines installed globally are made in Denmark.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Denmark, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy with battery system transformed electricity system of Caribbean island Bonaire

renewable-energy-picture Caribbean Island Ditching Diesel In Favor Of Renewable Energy Clean Technica January 9th, 2015 by   Originally published on RMI Outlet.By Kaitlyn Bunker

Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference………

the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Bonaire’s Electricity System Transformation

The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40–45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind………

January 10, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Australia stands out like a sore toe, in an otherwise progressive clean energy world

Finally Some Good News About Clean Energy Investment China continues to lead the world in green investment.—By | Fri Jan. 9, 2015 Clean energy investment around the world is rebounding after a three-year decline, according to new figures released today by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Globally, the total amount of clean energy investment jumped 16 percent in 2014, to $310 billion. That number is just shy of the record amount of investment set in 2011.

BNEF produces quarterly reports that track how much money governments and the private sector are pouring into wind, solar, biofuels and other green energy projects. In 2014, the United States enjoyed its biggest investments since 2012, but it was China that once again drove the numbers. China’s clean energy spending shot up 32 percent to a record $89.5 billion, cementing its place as the world’s top market for green investment. (You can get a sense of just how impressive Chinese investment is by peaking inside the the world’s biggest solar manufacturing factory, which is run by Chinese company Yingli.)

Solar is getting the lion’s share of investment around the world, according to the figures. Almost half the money spent on clean energy this year—just shy of $150 billion—was in the solar industry. Wind investment also reached record levels—$19.4 billion globally—thanks in part to offshore projects in Europe.

Map-Abbott-climateThere was one darker patch in the numbers: Australia, where the government is trying to slash the country’s Renewable Energy Target, a policy that creates mandates for the amount of clean energy in the electricity mix. Bucking the global trend, investments there fell by 35 percent

January 10, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

2014 Renewable Energy Boom Driven by Solar Power

sun-powerSolar power drives renewable energy investment boom in 2014, Guardian, , 10 Jan 15  Global clean energy investment leapt 16% in 2014 led by solar power surge in US and China – but Europe lags behind Global investment in clean energy jumped 16% in 2014, boosted by fast-growing solar power in the US and China. Solar, whose costs have plummeted in recent years, attracted over half the total funding for the first time.

The green energy market has been gloomy in recent years and the rise in investment is the first since 2011. But despite strong growth in most regions, only a series of large offshore wind farms stopped Europe going into reverse, while the Australian government’s antipathy to renewables saw investment there tumble by 35%.

The new figures, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), show $310bn (£205bn) was ploughed into green energy last year, just short of the record $317bn in 2011. However, as green energy gets ever cheaper, the money invested in 2014 bought almost double the clean electricity capacity than in 2011.

“The investment bounce back in 2014 exceeded our expectations,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of BNEF’s advisory board. “Solar was the biggest single contributor, thanks to the huge improvements in its cost-competitiveness over the last five years.”…….

“The figures show that renewable energy is increasingly cost-competitive, with solar in particular rapidly approaching parity with fossil-fuel generation. They suggest also that investors are growing weary of increasingly volatile fossil fuel markets,” said Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

“Some developing countries have increased low-carbon investment hugely – a staggering 88% in the case of Brazil – and there is a danger that the UK, with its restrictive planning regulations for renewables, will find itself increasingly swimming against the global tide,” Black said.

“It’s encouraging to see the smart money in the world’s economic powerhouses is betting on clean energy,” said Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist. “The only disappointment is that, save for offshore wind, the UK and the EU are now lagging behind. For all the whinging about UK ‘going it alone’ on clean energy, it is increasingly clear that the bigger economic risk is being left behind as the low-carbon jobs go where political leaders show genuine commitment to a clean energy future.”

January 10, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

The distinctive “fingerprint” of the Fukushima radiation fallout

water-radiationThe real fallout from Fukushima, Maclean’s  Colby Cosh January 8, 2015 On the verge of the new year, scientists from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued the first systematic report of measurements on the spread of radioactive seawater from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor to the coast of British Columbia. …….Accurate measurements of the Fukushima plume are possible because humans wisely stopped testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere in 1980. There is still a “fallout background” of radiation lingering in the world’s oceans from these nuclear tests—and, of course, from those two nuclear explosions that did not quite have the character of tests. But every kind of radioactive isotope has a different rate of decay, usually expressed as a “half-life,” and the short-lived ones from nuclear testing are all gone.

This means that the 2011 Fukushima disaster left a distinctive “fingerprint” of fast-decaying radioactives that cannot be attributed to any other source. So that’s what the scientists measuring the plume look for—fanning out between Vancouver Island and Japan on Canadian Coast Guard oceanographic vessels, gathering up seawater from various depths, and pumping it through ion exchangers to extract the telltale radioactive cesium that spewed out of the damaged reactor.

In 2011, the measurements along the B.C.-Japan line looked just like usual. But the levels of cesium-134, which can only have come from Fukushima, suddenly increased about 1,500 km off the continental shelf when samples were taken in 2012. In 2013 the “fingerprint” of Fukushima seems to have reached the shelf itself.

Cesium-134 degrades fast. What physicists and doctors have been concerned about is the equal amount of cesium-137 spilled at Fukushima: that isotope has a half-life of 30 years, so most of whatever reaches B.C. now will be around for a while. The radiation emitted by the fallout background—the cesium-137 presently left in the ocean by past nuclear testing—works out to about one becquerel per cubic metre of seawater. That figure has now doubled. The total peak level of ocean radioactivity off Canada’s Pacific Coast is expected to reach somewhere between three to five becquerels per cubic metre before beginning to drop back down……..

Overall, the authors of the paper expect the Fukushima plume to make B.C. ocean water as radioactive as it was in the 1980s…….

 The consequences to Japan of the Fukushima accident are still being added up, and the sum is not altogether final until decades of decommissioning work is completed. …

January 10, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, radiation | 1 Comment

World needs U.S. Congress to give diplomacy a real chance in Iran nuclear deal

diplomacy-not-bombshighly-recommendedWhat’s Holding Up the Iran Nuclear Deal? The U.S. Congress must give diplomacy a real chance and not hinder nuclear negotiations with Iran. U.S. News By: Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Contributor for Al-Monitor 9 Jan 15 

Iran and the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — failed to reach a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program before the Nov. 24, 2014, deadline. However, they agreed in Vienna to a new March 2015 deadline for a political agreement and a final agreement (inclusive of annexes) by July 1. The next round of talks is scheduled for mid-January.

Informed European sources told me that the negotiators were on the verge of announcing a political agreement in Vienna, but it was blocked for apparently unknown reasons. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: “In recent weeks, we have seen new ideas surface, flexibility emerge, that could, I repeat, could help resolve some issues, that had been intractable.” Interestingly enough, just a few days after the November marathon talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that “Israel had a critical role in stopping a deal with Iran.”………

The U.S. intelligence community has clearly stated in its National Intelligence Estimates over the past seven years that Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. No one in Iran — and for that matter, anywhere — can stomach that a U.S. congressional leader would so openly follow the leadership of a foreign leader, in total neglect of the stated will and wish of his own president and national security bodies. It is unfortunate that such Israel-pleasing pronouncements by senior American statesmen only serve to further buttress the prevalent Iranian mistrust — including at the level of the supreme leader — of Washington’s serious interest in working out a mutually satisfactory deal with Iran.

Judging from my numerous recent exchanges with a wide range of informed, well-placed sources within the P5+1, I am confident that a comprehensive agreement is absolutely within reach, provided that the process is not torpedoed by the U.S. Congress and Netanyahu. The good news is that Iran and the world powers already have a common understanding on the major elements of a final deal, which would assure the maximum level of transparency and the verification of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Iranian nuclear program (all key objective guarantees related to no breakout), lift the sanctions and respect Iran’s legitimate rights on enrichment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue, as underlined by Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, would make it possible for Tehran and Washington “not to waste their energy against each other.” Without sounding unrealistically euphoric, it could be said that a nuclear deal would, in all probability, serve as the beginning of the end to decades of tension and hostility between the two estranged countries.

Obama’s recent remarks, including on the possibility of reopening of embassies, even if far-fetched at this moment, point to the direction that has to be taken, which, under the current circumstances, might take the form of quiet collaboration on fighting Salafist extremism and terrorism in the region. Such actual cooperation, preferably without fanfare, carries the potential for further expansion to include other regional hotspots and crises. It’s not an empty claim: Iran has been — and will be — an anchor of regional stability.

A diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue — the sooner the better — will remove the threat of any future military conflagration in the Middle East, already in tumult with the ongoing ugly violence in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. An ultimate failure of the nuclear negotiations, whether torpedoed by the Israel-U.S. Congress joint effort or other naysayers, would play in the hands of certain quarters in Iran to push for withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty — an eventuality that I presume few people would like to face after the North Korean affair.

With the stakes as high as they are, both with the nuclear dossier and the situation in the region, it is incumbent on the U.S. Congress to act in a way to give diplomacy a real chance and regional stability a real boost. The bottom line is clear: Both sides need each other. The United States without Iran would continue to see its problems in the region remain unresolved or even aggravated, and Iran without the United States would continue to suffer in other ways.

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. His new book is titled “Iran and the United States: An Insider’s view on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace.”

January 10, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment