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UN nuclear watchdog seeks to inspect old nuclear sites in Iran

UN nuclear watchdog seeks to inspect old nuclear sites in Iran The board of the UN atomic watchdog agency has issued a condemnation of Iran for stonewalling its nuclear inspectors.By Nathan Morley   The United Nations’ atomic agency is continuing to put pressure on Iran.

In a new resolution, the international body has insisted Iran provide access to two sites where nuclear activity may have taken place in the last two-decades.

The resolution, which was put forward by France, Germany, and Britain with support by the United States, was passed by 25 votes in favour.

China and Russia voted against while seven other countries abstained

The UN is calling on the Iranians to satisfy the Agency’s requests without any further delay. It wants access to two sites in order to clarify whether undeclared nuclear activity took place there in the past.

However, Iran has been blocking access to the sites since early 2020, a move which has fuelled a diplomatic dispute. It is reported that the sites in question are not directly relevant to Iran’s current nuclear programme.

Speaking after the vote, Kazem Gharib Abadi, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, said he strongly rejected the resolution and would respond appropriately in due course.

For its part, the IAEA said it still has the access it needs to inspect Iran’s declared nuclear facilities according to its mandate under the nuclear deal reached in 2015.

June 21, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Europe’s effort to save Iran nuclear deal

June 20, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

U.S. – China talks may cover North Korea nuclear issue

North Korea nuclear issue may be on the agenda at US-China   SCMP, 17 June 20
Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, will join the talks in Hawaii on Wednesday.

US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun will be part of the American delegation at

, suggesting the stalemate in nuclear disarmament negotiations with Pyongyang could be on the agenda.

But Chinese observers said it was unlikely that Beijing and Washington – at odds on a range of issues – would act together to break the deadlock. Tensions are mounting on the Korean peninsula after

and threatened military action against the South……….

The Hawaii meeting comes as relations between the world’s two largest economies are at their lowest point in decades and facing off on many fronts – from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the South China Sea. US officials, including President Donald Trump and Pompeo, have blamed Beijing for the coronavirus pandemic, while Beijing has accused Washington of trying to pass the buck to hide its own failings in dealing with Covid-19 in the US.

t also comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula are again escalating after Pyongyang demolished a four-storey liaison office set up near the border with South Korea in 2018 after the first summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. A major setback for the detente in the region, observers said the move reflected Pyongyang’s growing frustration over its stalled nuclear talks with Washington.

But Chinese analysts said the North Korea issue was unlikely to be a priority for Beijing or Washington as the two powers engaged in long-term and all-out strategic competition…….

June 18, 2020 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Future in Doubt amid Diplomatic Fallout over Huawai.

Telegraph 14th June 2020,  UK’s Nuclear Future in Doubt amid Diplomatic Fallout over Huawai. Boris Johnson’s now faces a test of his diplomatic and political skills against the Chinese state. Eyeing China’s crackdown on Hong Kong protesters, seeking to define the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit, and shaken by the pandemic, the UK is hardening its stance on China – and the communist superpower is responding in kind.

Expectations that the UK will reduce Chinese company Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network have been met with veiled threats that Chinese companies might pull out of building UK nuclear power plants and other infrastructure – ratcheting up tensions with potentially profound political and economic consequences.

Chinese direct investment in the UK reached almost £50bn between 2000 and 2018, while in
2018 the UK sold £22.6bn worth of goods to China and bought £44.7bn of Chinese goods. It was less than five years ago that David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping popped into the Plough in Cadsden, Bucks, to toast a “golden era” of friendship between the two nations over pints
of IPA and fish and chips.

The visit took place just two days after the Chinese nuclear power giant China General Nuclear and France’s EDF agreed to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, as part of about £40bn in business deals signed between the UK and China. Hinkley

Point C is now taking shape next to the Bristol Channel, but plans for a second plant with EDF, Sizewell C, and CGN’s own plant, Bradwell B inEssex, as well as other infrastructure investment now appear to be at risk if the UK ousts Huawei.

Plenty argue that would be no bad thing. China’s involvement in the UK’s nuclear power plants has long been controversial due to security concerns, while some experts also argue that large nuclear power plants have had their day as a source of energy. “The energy landscape has changed,” argues Paul Dorfman, of the UCL Energy Institute,
given that offshore wind power and other renewable technologies are getting much cheaper and more effective…….

June 16, 2020 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Trump’s plan for a nuclear trest – dangerous brinkmanship

A Nuclear Test Would Blow Up in Trump’s Face

The Trump administration doesn’t understand the brinkmanship concept its nuclear diplomacy is based on. Foreign Policy,


June 13, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Armenia Rejects Russian Funding For Nuclear Plant Upgrade

June 13, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

North Korea Vows to Boost Nuclear Program, Saying U.S. Diplomacy Failed

North Korea Vows to Boost Nuclear Program, Saying U.S. Diplomacy Failed  In a statement marking the second anniversary of a historic summit meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump, the North said its hopes had faded into a “nightmare.”  NYT,
By Choe Sang-Hun   SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday said that two years of diplomacy with President Trump had “faded away into a dark nightmare,” and vowed to increase its nuclear weapons capabilities.

“Even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare,” the country’s foreign minister, Ri Son-gwon, said in a statement on Friday marking the second anniversary of a historic summit meeting between Mr. Trump and the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un……. .

June 13, 2020 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Russia: commentary on its nuclear deterrence principles

Russia’s nuclear deterrence principles: what they imply, and what they do not, European Council on Foreign Relations, Commentary, Gustav Gressel  12 June 20, Russia’s nuclear policy has long been shrouded in secrecy. But a newly published presidential decree on nuclear deterrence clarifies some issues while still leaving ample room for speculation.The Kremlin took the unprecedented step last week of publishing a presidential decree setting out Russia’s policy principles on nuclear deterrence. The six-page decree sets out brief remarks on Russia’s nuclear deterrence posture, such as objectives, threshold (the point in a conflict at which nuclear weapons would be used), and command authority (which includes who decides on launching a nuclear attack). It has come as a surprise to see the paper published on the record. In the past, the relevant decree on the principles of nuclear deterrence was kept classified.

The only public statement on nuclear deterrence was a standard sentence repeated in Russia’s military doctrine and other documents stating that Russia would only resort to nuclear weapons if it was attacked by weapons of mass destruction, or if an attack threatened the very existence of the state. …..

While the existence of such an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ doctrine and other details on Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons was contested in the past, the final sentence of Article 4 of the doctrine comes closest to answering this question. It states that, once a war has started, nuclear deterrence policy is to seek to prevent it from escalating further, or from being terminated on terms unfavourable to Moscow. This is a short version of what in Russian military literature is termed ‘escalation control’. Escalation control implies that threats, demonstrations of strike capabilities, and inflicting “calibrated damage” on the enemy (which may, but does not have to, include nuclear weapons) should contain, localise, and if possible terminate a war on Moscow’s terms.  …..

Article 19 deliberates on the conditions under which nuclear weapons could be released. It explicitly mentions a ‘launch on warning’ posture. This is a signal to the US that conventional or low-yield re-entry vehicles (the latter are in development) of intercontinental missiles would be treated as a full-scale attack and that Washington should therefore not think of employing them in a tactical or limited attack close to Russia’s borders. ……….

The Russian decree does not contain any detailed provisions on force structure, weapons systems (future or present), force modernisation, or references to other nuclear powers. Much detail is lacking from what one might normally expect to see in a nuclear doctrine. Article 15 states merely that nuclear deterrence needs to be adaptable, and should leave the enemy guessing about the time, scale, and manner of the use of nuclear weapons. It also says that Russia intends to maintain the minimal force required to achieve its tasks………

Taken together, all these provisions seem surprisingly minimalist. It may well be that Russia intends to signal to the United States that, if the American-Chinese arms race takes off, Moscow does not intend to follow suit and “spend itself into oblivion”, as US assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the Treasury, Marshall Billingslea, put it. Russia is hardly likely to publicly admit that in the 21st century it will most probably be a secondary nuclear power. But, in fact, it does seem to be adapting to this role.

Finally, Article 3 notes that Russia’s nuclear deterrence is flanked by other state measures to achieve its goals, including diplomatic and “information policies” (propaganda). The publication of the doctrine and the content of Article 3 effectively represent the firing of the starting pistol on a new ‘information campaign’ in the West: expect to soon see an information operation that aims to inflate the purported capabilities of Russia’s nuclear forces and induce fear (such as the new “Wunderwaffen”, presented in March 2018), and new diplomatic overtures in the fields of arms control, in particular designed to split the alliance. At least on the latter, Putin may get assistance from the White House: Trump’s clumsy and undiplomatic handling of the INF and Open Skies issues provide more opportunities to exploit than any Russian diplomat would have ever dreamed of creating. ………

June 13, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA offers to build Britain’s nuclear reactors

US offers to build UK’s 5G and nuclear stations to end ‘coercive’ relationship with China
Mike Pompeo said the United States ‘stands ready to assist our friends in the U.K’ T
elegraph UK , By  Danielle Sheridan, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT10 June 2020 • America has offered to build Britain’s 5G and nuclear power stations so that the  “coercive and bullying” relationship with China can end, Mike Pompeo has said.

In a statement released yesterday the US Secretary of State said America stood with its “allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coercive bullying tactics”, as he sighted reports that Beijing had threatened to punish HSBC and “break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom unless London allows Huawei to build its 5G network”.

HSBC is understood to have claimed that it could face reprisals in China if Huawei was blocked from selling equipment to the next generation of networks being built by Britain’s mobile operators….  (subscribers only

June 11, 2020 Posted by | marketing, politics international, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Our existential threat – our extinction

Externalities Are Our Existential Threat, Medium, 10 June 20, It’s the “ex’s” we need to worry about the most. Externalities that create an existential threat. The ultimate threat: Our extinction.

An externality is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved”. Externalities in a global context are the consequence that everyone bears for everyone else’s actions. Externalities result in us all bearing the consequences of living out of synchronization with Nature, but unfortunately in most cases the poor and the vulnerable pay a higher price, disproportionate to their contribution to the cause. 

The negative externality consequences of most human economic activity are unaccounted; seemingly off loaded free of charge to the ecosphere. But Nature has a balance sheet — these unaccounted, costs of doing business, that are charged to Nature, are turned into debts. These debts will be settled at a later date and not in a manner of our choosing. The challenge for us is that in many cases the debts are slow to become obvious to everyone, remaining invisible or disguised for a prolonged period. Linking cause and effect is very complex and spans long periods of time, often not directly attributable. It is like a very slow moving train crash — you barely notice it happening but you’ll know when it hits, and then it’s too late. We are all aboard that slow train right now.

In developed countries, we are fortunate to not have to face the poverty, war, famine, diseases that affected humans in the pre-industrial and early industrial times. Capitalism has been an amazing wealth creating and poverty reducing system. Most of us cannot even comprehend how fortunate we are. However, there is a downside to the considerable progress we have made since the industrial revolution; the unintended consequences. Never before were humans able to have an impact on future generations aside from culture or knowledge that was passed on. Today that is different — our actions are determining the fate of billions of people, those currently alive and those not yet born. Unfortunately, we have been brewing trouble……

capitalism can only operate in the best interests of society if it is governed well. It is the good governance part that we have been lacking — unfortunately we have a corrupted, crony capitalism that stems from problems with our democratic system. Quite simply, we seem to be unable to elect leaders who actually care about the long term interests of the people.  Our entire political system is deeply corrupted by money — elected officials represent those who contribute to their campaigns, not their constituents, and that’s dominated by the very wealthy, corporations and special interest organizations, not the typical citizen. This is something that needs mainstream understanding as it is the root of all society’s problems and why they are never sensibly addressed.

The common theme is that we have proved ourselves to be incapable of acting in our collective best interests. Together we are all on that metaphorical slow train, steaming towards a cliff edge with no one in the driver’s seat attempting to steer us away from inevitable catastrophe…… Continue reading

June 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, politics international | Leave a comment

USA – resuming nuclear tests would wreck the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with no military or strategic benefit

June 11, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The last major treaty for nuclear weapons control now hangs in the balance

June 11, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear arms meeting planned, USA and Russia, – arms control expert is not enthusiastic

US and Russia to meet for nuclear arms negotiations this month Jennifer Hansler, CNN June 8, 2020 Washington  US and Russian officials will meet later this month for nuclear arms negotiations, a top US arms control official announced Monday.
Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said that he and his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, have agreed “on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June.”
The Trump administration has abandoned a number of key arms control pacts, most recently the Open Skies Treaty, in favor of seeking a three-party agreement with Russia and China. The insistence on a trilateral agreement is widely seen as a way to scuttle New START, the nuclear reduction treaty between the US and Russia that is set to expire in February 2021. Beijing has dismissed calls to participate in trilateral talks……
Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, said it is unclear what incentive China would have to join the talks, given the disproportionate size of its nuclear arsenal in comparison to that of Russia and the US. The latter two countries “possess about 85% of the world’s nuclear weapons” — “more than 10 times the deployed number of strategic nuclear warheads as China, Britain and France combined,” he said.
Moreover, Kimball noted that the administration’s escalated rhetoric toward China amid the coronavirus pandemic will not have helped bring them to the table……
Kimball told CNN that the US and Russia meeting to discuss nuclear arms control matters is “good, but this is no reason to celebrate because the Trump administration’s position seems to remain the same.”
“They’re refusing to pick up Russia’s offer to extend New START,” he said, referencing “They appear to be still demanding new agreements that can’t be negotiated before New START expires, not only with Russia, but with China. So, I’m not jumping up and down for joy.”…….
In his remarks at the Hudson Institute, Billingslea said that the administration hoped to avoid “an unnecessarily expensive buildup in a three ways arms racing context” between the US, China and Russia, but warned that the US was prepared to “spend into oblivion” to beat them………

June 8, 2020 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chinese Foreign Ministry urges US to avoid nuclear testing

Chinese Foreign Ministry urges US to avoid nuclear testing, Tass, 8 June 20

The Washington Post wrote on May 22 that “the Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first US nuclear test explosion since 1992”

BEIJING, June 8. /TASS/. China urges the United States to abide by its international obligations and abandon plans to carry out nuclear tests, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a briefing on Monday.

“We insist that the United States should strictly abide by its obligations to end nuclear testing… and we hope that it will listen to the international community,” the Chinese diplomat pointed out. “The US should abandon plans that could undermine global stability and strategic order,” she added………

June 8, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

If he wins election, Joe Biden would restore Iran nuclear deal

Biden would restore nuclear deal if he wins elections: George Washington University professor,  By Javad Heirannia Tehran Times, June 7, 2020 

“Biden would restore, or rejoin, the nuclear agreement with Iran. But now he would want an extension of the time that Iran could resume for nuclear research and have breakout capabilities,” Professor Askari tells the Tehran Times.

Professor Askari, who served as special advisor to Saudi finance minister, also says a Democratic president “would set about undoing Trump’s foreign policy errors.”

Following is the text of the interview:…………………..

Q: If Joe Biden is elected the next president of the United States, will he change his approach toward China? Also, what would be his approach to Iran and the nuclear deal in general?

A: I think a Biden, or for that matter any Democratic President, would set about undoing Trump’s foreign policy errors. Yes, he would try to chart a new course with China. Tough but with a plan that is step by step to restore workable relations. Not a series of disjointed reactions to the moment in time. He would restore, or rejoin, the nuclear agreement with Iran. But now he would want an extension of the time that Iran could resume for nuclear research and have breakout capabilities. In this way, he would appear as tough but at the same time reduce tensions in the Persian Gulf and America’s military exposure around the world.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, politics international | Leave a comment