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45 nations have now ratified the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

U.N. nuclear ban treaty reaches 45 signatories. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/09/77d471f8f725-update1-un-nuclear-ban-treaty-reaches-45-signatories.htmlKYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS21 Sept 20 Malta, a Mediterranean island country, completed the ratification process for a U.N.-adopted nuclear ban treaty Monday, bringing the number of such countries and regions to 45 with a total of 50 required for the pact to enter into force, a nonprofit antinuclear organization said.The latest ratification comes on the same day the U.N. General Assembly held a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the world body’s founding.

With the addition of one more signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, hopes for an early enforcement of the pact, possibly by the end of this year.

However, the treaty’s potential effectiveness remains uncertain as all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, all of which are nuclear powers, have declined to ratify it.

Japan, the only country in the world to have experienced nuclear bombings, has not ratified the pact either, in light of its security alliance with the United States providing nuclear deterrence against adversaries.

The nuclear ban treaty, adopted in 2017, will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries and regions. According to the United Nations, 84 countries and regions have signed the nuclear ban treaty.

In a related move, a group of 56 former leaders or ministers from countries that depend on U.S. nuclear deterrence on Monday released a letter urging the leaders of their respective countries to participate in the U.N. nuclear ban treaty.

From Japan, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka and former Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka joined the petition.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran will not renegotiate nuclear deal if Biden wins US presidency, Zarif says

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia rejects USA’ s terms for extending the New START arms control treaty

September 22, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Iran a most transparent country for IAEA inspections

Tehran’s Nuclear Program Most Transparent Among IAEA Members,   https://financialtribune.com/articles/national/105333/tehran-s-nuclear-program-most-transparent-among-iaea-members , 18 Sept 20,  Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations said the Islamic Republic has the most transparent nuclear program among member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as proven through numerous inspections of the country’s nuclear sites by the UN agency.

“The fact that 22% of all global inspections done by the IAEA have been carried out in Iran proves that Iran enjoys the most transparent peaceful nuclear program among the member states of the agency,” Kazem Gharibabadi said in an address to the IAEA Board of Governors on Thursday, IRNA reported.

The envoy reminded that the high level of cooperation between Tehran and the agency had not come by easily to be “easily weakened as a result of a few parties’ myopic political interests”.

He was referring to the United States and the Israeli regime’s immense pressure on the agency to try and find fault with Tehran’s nuclear work.

Under pressure from Israel, the US’ most prominent regional ally, Washington quit a historic 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran and world powers two years ago. The US then returned sanctions that the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, had lifted, not even bothering to exempt food items and medicines from the illegal bans.

Still under Israeli pressure, the agency cited “concerns” earlier this year about two Iran-based sites. Iran first refused access to the sites, arguing that the alleged information provided to the IAEA had been cooked up by Israel’s spy agencies.

Tehran, however, later allowed access to the sites on a purely voluntary basis and only to honor its cooperation with the IAEA.

“In order for the agency’s integrity to be preserved, its members should seriously avoid exerting any pressure on it,” Gharibabadi said.

JCPOA’s “handful of enemies” came up with “baseless and unfounded” allegations about the Iranian sites after falling short of all pretexts to destroy the international agreement, he said, urging the agency and its board to avoid falling for their plots.

September 21, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US seeks to pressure Russia into nuclear weapons treaty concessions before election

September 21, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Julian Assange was offered a pardon, if he would name a source

Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears
WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told, 
Guardian,  Peter Beaumont in London, Sat 19 Sep 2020   Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

……….. The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.While Assange’s legal team first made the claim in February detailing a deal for a pardon in exchange for denying the source of the emails was Russia, Robinson’s statement – admitted as evidence by the court – provides substantial details of the meeting………

Robinson’s description of the offer suggests Trump was prepared to consider a pardon for Assange in exchange for information almost a year before a federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

If it is confirmed that the approach did indeed have the approval of Trump, it would mark the latest in a number of interventions by the US president in relation to the investigation into Russian election interference.

In her statement, Robinson said Rohrabacher and Johnson “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president”.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal – and that they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said……

Appearing to confirm that the approach had been made, James Lewis QC, for the US government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said,” adding: We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.” ……. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/18/trump-offered-julian-assange-pardon-in-return-for-democrat-hacking-source-court-told

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 1 Comment

While other nations seek conciliation, agreement, the U.S. will declare that all international sanctions are back in force

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

IAEA and China helping Saudi Arabia with its nuclear ambitions

China and IAEA are helping Saudi Arabia achieve its nuclear ambitionsAlthough Saudi Arabia has pledged that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if Iran did so. The Print JONATHAN TIRONE 16 September, 2020  Vienna: The United Nations nuclear watchdog has been working in parallel with Chinese officials to help Saudi Arabia exploit uranium — the key ingredient for nuclear power and weapons — despite its inspectors being frozen out of the kingdom.

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a document ahead of its annual conference next week showing the Vienna-based organization assisting Saudi efforts to make nuclear fuel. An institute in Beijing affiliated with the IAEA has been prospecting for uranium in Saudi Arabia……..

The Saudis have stepped up their pursuit of nuclear technologies in recent years, piquing the interest of companies from South Korea to Russia and the U.S. The kingdom is nearing completion of its first reactor, a low-powered research unit being built with Argentina’s state-owned INVAP SE. It has repeatedly pledged that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if its regional rival Iran did so.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts have long warned that without adequate safeguards, IAEA technical cooperation can unwittingly help countries develop weapons capabilities………

While Saudi Arabia has been open about its ambitions to generate nuclear power, less is known about the kinds of monitoring the kingdom intends to put in place. President Donald Trump’s administration sent a letter to Saudi Arabia a year ago setting requirements to access U.S. atomic technology. The baseline for any agreement is tougher IAEA inspections that include a so-called Additional Protocol — the same monitoring standard applied in Iran and more than 130 other nations, which allows inspectors wider access to sites including uranium mines.

The kingdom is among only 31 countries worldwide that still applies an old set of IAEA regulations that don’t allow inspections. On Monday, the agency said it was beginning a new initiative to roll back those rules because they can’t provide adequate assurance that all activity is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

“I’m approaching them, telling them that in 2020 this is no longer adequate,” Grossi said. “We have to be up to a minimum standard.”

The IAEA provided financial and technical aid to develop Pakistan’s uranium mines and improve plutonium-producing reactors even after the country tested a nuclear weapon in 1998 in defiance of a non-proliferation treaty. While that aid was intended for civilian nuclear power, scientists involved in those projects said Pakistan used uranium mined with agency help for weapons.

The IAEA similarly helped North Korea develop its uranium mines before it kicked inspectors out in 2003. Syria, under investigation since 2007 for allegedly building a secret atomic-weapons reactor, used an IAEA-built lab to produce uranium ……..https://theprint.in/world/china-and-iaea-are-helping-saudi-arabia-achieve-its-nuclear-ambitions/503674/#:~:text=The%20International%20Atomic%20Energy%20Agency,for%20uranium%20in%20Saudi%20Arabia.

September 17, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

In 2017, USA considered plans to attack North Korea using nuclear weapons

September 15, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. seeks to lower Russian uranium imports to boost U.S. nuclear industry

U.S. seeks to lower Russian uranium imports to boost U.S. nuclear industry. By Valerie Volcovici, WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday inked a draft agreement with Russia’s state

 nuclear energy company to reduce imports of uranium from Russia over the next 20 years in a bid to boost domestic mining and
 nuclear energy.

The Commerce Department and Rosatom initialed the draft amendment to the 1992 Russian Suspension Agreement to prevent

dumping, extending that deal to the year 2040 and gradually reduce the amount of uranium the U.S. imports from Russia for
enrichment from 20% to 15% starting in 2028……… https://af.reuters.com/article/usa-nuclear-russia-idAFL1N2GB1HZ

September 15, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

IAEA and SAudi Arabia in discussions on nuclear security checks

September 15, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Russian nuclear submarines ‘hunted’ by NATO forces in the Barents sea

NATO forces organized ‘a hunt’ of a nuclear Russian submarine in the Barents , Military, By Boyko Nikolov On Sep 13, 2020  MOSCOW, (BM) – NATO ships made an attempt to “take the pincers” of the Russian submarine in the waters of the Barents Sea, according to the Nation-news resource on September 12, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Several ships from the USA, Great Britain and Sweden, supported by a Danish aircraft, attempted to block the movement of a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. It is also reported that a silent American submarine Seawolf may be in the provocation zone.

It is noted that the Russian submarine, which was “hunted” by NATO forces, is equipped with nuclear warheads and means of delivering them with Poseidon torpedoes. The American submarine, in turn, has Harpoon torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles in its arsenal.

A similar incident is also reported in May 2020 in waters belonging to the Northern Sea Route. And also about the flight of a group of NATO bombers over the waters of the East Siberian Sea.

Such actions are assessed by the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation as provocative.

US and British Navy maneuvers into Barents Sea are a signal to Moscow

For the first time since the mid-80s, under the supervision of the Russian fleet, four American and one British ship entered the Barents Sea, which indicates a growing intensity of the confrontation between the great powers in the Arctic, writes The Washington Times.

According to the newspaper, the purpose of this operation was to send a signal to Moscow, as well as to check the readiness of the Navy for action in any weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Norwegian officials refused to participate in this British-American operation – which speaks of its “provocative essence.”

According to officials of the US Navy, these exercises are necessary in order for the US armed forces to be ready to operate in various climatic conditions, including in the Arctic. However, the Trump administration does not particularly hide its intentions to repulse other states – mainly Russia, but also assertive China – that are trying to establish control over strategically important Arctic territories.

As expected, Moscow was not happy about the joint British-American operation. Russian media reported that the Northern Fleet is actively monitoring American and British ships in the Barents Sea.

So far, there have been no reports of close contact between Russian and American ships – as well as news of high-profile statements by senior Russian officials. However, as The Washington Times notes, recalling that it carefully monitors what is happening, Moscow sent a clear signal that it considers this Arctic territory to be its own.

According to American officials, on May 1, they notified Russia of an impending operation in order to avoid an “unintentional exacerbation.”According to officials of the US Navy, these exercises are necessary in order for the US armed forces to be ready to operate in various climatic conditions, including in the Arctic. However, the Trump administration does not particularly hide its intentions to repulse other states – mainly Russia, but also assertive China – that are trying to establish control over strategically important Arctic territories.

As expected, Moscow was not happy about the joint British-American operation. Russian media reported that the Northern Fleet is actively monitoring American and British ships in the Barents Sea.

So far, there have been no reports of close contact between Russian and American ships – as well as news of high-profile statements by senior Russian officials. However, as The Washington Times notes, recalling that it carefully monitors what is happening, Moscow sent a clear signal that it considers this Arctic territory to be its own.

According to American officials, on May 1, they notified Russia of an impending operation in order to avoid an “unintentional exacerbation.”………….. https://bulgarianmilitary.com/2020/09/13/nato-forces-organized-a-hunt-of-a-nuclear-russian-submarine-in-the-barents-sea/

September 14, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN nuclear ban treaty needs 6 more ratifications

UN nuclear ban treaty needs 6 more ratifications,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200913_21/ An international NGO is stepping up its call for countries to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Six more ratifications are needed for the treaty to come into force.

The treaty prohibits the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons and was adopted with the support of 122 countries and territories three years ago.

Ireland and three other countries ratified the treaty last month, bringing the total number of ratifications to 44. The latest ratifications coincided with the 75th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, plans to calls on more countries to ratify the treaty in events at the UN headquarters to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on October 2 and United Nations Day on October 24.

The treaty will come into effect 90 days after the number of ratifications reaches 50.

Nuclear powers, as well as Japan and other countries protected by the US nuclear umbrella, have not signed it.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Effective nuclear arms control engagement with China – the View from Beijing

View From Beijing  https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/09/09/view-from-beijing-pub-82525,  Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow
Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy 11 Sept 20, Effective nuclear arms control engagement with China will likely require confidence-building measures by the United States and greater support from the international community.

 
All major powers must recognize that, despite their strategic competition, they have a common interest in pursuing arms control to manage that competition and minimize the risk of military conflicts. Thus, the United States should be able to engage China on arms control if it sets the right goals. But if Washington continues to present arms control as a tool to compete with Beijing, why would Beijing help?
Washington cannot coerce Beijing by threatening to start an arms race and spend China “into oblivion,” especially because Beijing is confident it can outcompete Washington in the long run. Such a threat also reinforces China’s long-standing suspicion that arms control is a concession imposed by the strong and accepted by the weak.

The United States will have to keep its public voice down while offering China concrete proposals to address the two countries’ asymmetric capabilities. If they’re to be taken seriously, these proposals should show a willingness by the United States to limit its own capabilities, particularly in areas of U.S. superiority such as air- and sea-launched missile systems and space-based capabilities.

Appeals to the United States and China by the international community for responsible behavior would also have an impact. As U.S.-China competition intensifies, both countries understand the need to win support from third parties.

Given China’s deep skepticism and outsider status in the arms control arena, engagement will require transparency and time to build confidence. One valuable starting point could be a reset of fundamental terms: China may be more eager to discuss “strategic ability” than “arms control.” Identifying cooperative measures for nuclear risk reduction would be a useful topic for initial discussions.

To proceed with substantive talks, Beijing would need reassurance that Washington accepts a relationship of mutual vulnerability and does not seek to challenge its strategic nuclear deterrence. China’s concern over U.S. missile defense, if left unaddressed, would remain the strongest external driver of its comprehensive nuclear modernization. Perhaps the two parties could agree to a joint study on the technical feasibility of making the U.S. system capable only of defending against North Korean strategic missiles without undermining China’s nuclear retaliation capacity.
In China’s highly centralized political system, in which arms control experts are scattered and do not have a strong voice, the blessing of top political leadership is key to generating momentum for arms control talks. World leaders should engage with President Xi Jinping directly: his support, even a merely symbolic endorsement of the concept of arms control, would help start a much-needed domestic discussion.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Professor Paul Rogers – a witness explaining how Julian Assange is to be extradited for POLITICAL REASONS

Julian Assange clearly political, says extradition trial witness, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/julian-assange-clearly-political-says-extradition-trial-witness/news-story/735ef7d40551d52f4f7f12d9d6c318d7      JACQUELIN MAGNAY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT@jacquelinmagnay, THE TIMES, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Julian Assange’s nomination for the Senate during the 2013 federal­ election campaign and the establishment of the WikiLeaks political party the year before­ “clearly shows’’ the WikiLeaks founder has a political view and a libertarian standpoint, a witness has told the Old Bailey.

Professor Paul Rogers, the emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University, was called as a witness by Assange’s team to persuade the judge that Assange is being targeted for ­political means, and thus an extraditio­n to the US should not be permitted under the Anglo-US extradition treaty.

In day three of the court hearing where Assange, 49, is objecting to extradition to the US, Professor Rogers said in written testimony that Assange’s expresse­d views, opinions and activities demonstrate very clearly “political opinions”. He cited how Assange had formed the political party to contest­ the Australian general election and “central of this is his view to put far greater attention to human rights’’.

He added: “The clash of those opinions with those of successive US administrations, but in particular­ the present administration which has moved to prosecute him for publications made almost a decade ago, suggest that he is regarded primarily as a polit­ical opponent who must exper­ience the full wrath of government, even with suggestions of punishment by death made by senior officials including the current­ President.’’

But US prosecutor James Lewis QC said: “Assistant US Attorney­ Gordon D. Kromberg explicitly refutes that this is a political prosecution but rather an evidence-based prosecution.’’

In documents to the court, the prosecution says the inves­t­ig­ation into Assange had been ongoing before the Trump admin­istration came into office.

“Assange’s arguments are contradicted by judicial findings, made in the US District Court of the District of Columbia, that the investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of classified information on the WikiLeaks website remained ongoing when the present administration came into office,” the prosecution says.

Mr Lewis added: “If this was a political prosecution, wouldn’t you expect him to be prosecuted for publishing the collateral murder video?’’https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/julian-assange-clearly-political-says-extradition-trial-witness/news-story/735ef7d40551d52f4f7f12d9d6c318d7

He said Assange was being extradited to face charges relating to complicity in illegal acts to obtain or receive voluminous databases­ of classified inform­ation, his agreement and attempt­ to obtain classified information­ through computer hacking; and publishing certain classified documents that contained the unredacted names of innocent people who risked their safety and freedom to provide information to the United States and its allies, including local Afghan­s and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents from repressive regimes.

Professor Rogers told the court the motivation of Assange and WikiLeaks was to achieve greater transparency and was political. The trial continues.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment