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Trump adminstration upsetting balance of power in Middle East

Iran’s Nuclear Chief Warns U.S. Against Tilting Power Balance In Middle East https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-chief-wars-us-against-tilting-power-balance-middle-east-saudi-arms-sales-/28576396.html, 24 June 17 Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who helped forge the 2015 nuclear agreement, warned the United States on June 23 against upsetting the balance of power in the Middle East by siding with arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Salehi said Tehran views a “lavish” deal U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion in weapons as “provocative.”

“This is especially the case if the national defense efforts of Iran…are simultaneously opposed and undermined,” he said, alluding to steps the Trump administration has taken to increase U.S. sanctions on Iran for developing ballistic missiles even as it has ramped up arms sales to Riyadh and its allies.

“It would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain indifferent to the destabilizing impact of such conduct,” said Salehi, an MIT graduate who has also served as Iran’s foreign minister and was a senior negotiator on the nuclear deal.

Salehi stressed that Washington’s strong tilt toward Tehran’s rivals in the Middle East not only risks setting off a regional arms race and “further tension and conflict” in the region, but it imperils the “hard-won” nuclear deal, which took two years to negotiate.

If the nuclear deal is to survive, he said the West must change course. “The moment of truth has arrived.”

Trump and the Saudis frequently blame Iran for wars ranging from Yemen to Syria, as well as for restive minority Shi’ite populations within the borders of the kingdom and other Persian Gulf states ruled by Sunni Muslims.

The Saudis, like Trump, were strongly opposed to the nuclear deal. But while Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal,” he has not so far taken any concrete steps to do so. His administration has indicated it will adhere to the deal, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, as long as Tehran continues to do so.

But Salehi’s article in the Guardian suggested that — what Iran says is — its so-far strict honoring of the deal may come into doubt in the future if the United States continues to disregard Iran’s “genuine security concerns” and “stokes Iranophobia” in the region.

Salehi urged the United States and its Western partners to “save” the nuclear deal with “reciprocal gestures” showing a commitment to engagement with Iran.

Iranian voters recently showed their preference for engagement with the West by re-electing President Hassan Rohani with his pro-Western platform, but “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone,” Salehi said.

“Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future,” he said.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-coming-war-with-iran_us_594ec1fce4b0f078efd9821c

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA’s Michael Flynn involved in a secret hare-brained nuclear scheme with Russia and Saudi Arabia

the genius idea developed by Flynn and Co. was a U.S.-Russian partnership to build and operate nuclear plants and export the dangerous spent fuel under strict controls

It would be “funded entirely by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries” The kingdom’s upfront cost? “Close to a trillion dollars” 

the Saudis would recoup their costs by selling energy to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—

MICHAEL FLYNN, RUSSIA AND A GRAND SCHEME TO BUILD NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN SAUDI ARABIA AND THE AND THE ARAB WORLD http://www.newsweek.com/flynn-russia-nuclear-energy-middle-east-iran-saudi-arabia-qatar-israel-donald-623396
BY JEFF STEIN ON 6/9/17     By the time Michael Flynn was fired as President Donald Trump’s nationalsecurity adviser in February, he had made a lot of bad decisions. One was taking money from the Russians (and failing to disclose it); another was taking money under the table from the Turks. But an overlooked line in his financial disclosure form, which he was forced to amend to detail those foreign payments, reveals he was also involved in one of the most audacious—and some say harebrained—schemes in recent memory:

In 2015 and 2016, according to his filing, Flynn was an adviser to X-Co Dynamics Inc./Iron Bridge Group, which at first glance looks like just another Pentagon consultancy that ex-military officers use to fatten their wallets. Its chairman and CEO was retired Admiral Michael Hewitt; another retiredadmiral, Frank “Skip” Bowman, who oversaw the Navy’s nuclear programs, was an adviser. Other top guns associated with it were former National Security Agency boss Keith Alexander and retired Marine Corps General James “Hoss” Cartwright, former vice chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose stellar career was marred when he was prosecuted last year for lying to the FBI during a leak investigation.

In the summer of 2015, knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek, Flynn flew to Egypt and Israel on behalf of X-Co/Iron Bridge. His mission: to gauge attitudes in Cairo and Jerusalem toward a fantastical plan for a joint U.S.-Russian (and Saudi-financed) program to get control over the Arab world’s rush to acquire nuclear power. At the core of their concern was a fear that states in the volatile Middle East would have inadequate security for the plants and safeguards for their radioactive waste—the stuff of nuclear bombs.

But no less a concern for Flynn and his partners was the moribund U.S. nuclear industry, which was losing out to Russian and even South Korean contractors in the region. Or as Stuart Solomon, a top executive along with Hewitt at his new venture, IP3 (International Peace, Power and Prosperity), put it in a recent speech to industry executives, “We find ourselves…standing on the sidelines and watching the competition pass us by.”

That the oil-rich, sun-soaked Arab Middle East would pursue nuclear energy seems paradoxical. But as The Economist noted in 2015, “Demand for electricity is rising, along with pressure to lower carbon emissions; nuclear plants tick both boxes.” And some of the region’s major players, like Egypt and Jordan, don’t have oil and gas resources and “want nuclear power to shore up the security of their energy supplies,” The Economist said.

So the genius idea developed by Flynn and Co. was a U.S.-Russian partnership to build and operate plants and export the dangerous spent fuel under strict controls. Flynn’s role would be helping X-Co/Iron Bridge design and implement a vast security network for the entire enterprise, according to an internal memo by ACU Strategic Partners, one of the lead companies involved, obtained by Newsweek.

Not only would the project revive the U.S. nuclear industry, but it would cost American taxpayers nothing, its principals asserted. It would be “funded entirely by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries,” according to the ACU memo. The kingdom’s upfront cost? “Close to a trillion dollars,” says a project insider, who asked for anonymity in exchange for discussing internal matters. Theoretically, the Saudis would recoup their costs by selling energy to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—which hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region. (Qatar doesn’t seem to be an option for the moment, since six of the Arab states, led by the Saudis, severed diplomatic relations with it on June 5 over its alleged support of terrorism.)

Left out of this grand nuclear scheme: Iran (along with Syria, its war-ravaged Shiite proxy). In fact, “it was always part of the project that Russia’s involvement…would tilt Russia away from Iran,” Fred Johnson, ACU’s chief economist, wrote in an email to his advisers obtained by Newsweek. Not only would Russia earn cash for being a dumping ground for radioactive waste, Johnson wrote, but the consortium would purchase “Russian military hardware” to compensate Moscow for losing military sales to Iran.

“Further plans to sideline Iran,” Johnson wrote, included “the development of X-Co,” the Hewitt company that Flynn was advising, “with its very visible deployment of Sea Launch,” a Russian company “that would provide a platform for rockets.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talks with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn inside of the inaugural parade reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, 

It’s unclear whether Flynn was involved in negotiating with Sea Launch. The former general, now being pursued by federal investigators probing contacts between Russian officials and Trump’s inner circle, did not respond to an inquiry from Newsweek. People associated with the Middle East project say they thought Flynn’s involvement was limited to sounding out the Egyptians and Israelis on security aspects of the enterprise. He listed no income from X-Co/Iron Bridge on his financial disclosure form and “was not paid,” except for his travel expenses, according to Thomas Cochran, a prominent scientist and nuclear nonproliferation proponent involved with the project. (The cost of business-class round-trip airfare and exclusive hotels for the trip would have ranged between $10,000 and $15,000.)

Hewitt denied that isolating Iran was part of the plan. “X-Co wasn’t created to simply ‘sideline Iran,’” he responded to Johnson and their associates in an email. “It was designed to set the conditions for stability which were the precursors to building 40 plants” and to “solidify the GCC, Jordan, Egypt under a security construct, led by two superpowers, using state of the art capability.”

But the project faced opposition from the Obama administration, Cochran says. “They didn’t want to do it with the Russians and didn’t want to do it while they were negotiating the Iran deal,” he tells Newsweek.

Trump’s embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, offered an attractive possibility. And when Flynn, who had connections to the Russians, became the candidate’s national security adviser, the ACU team, led by British-American dealmaker Alex Copson, suddenly seemed to have an inside man. Last year, Copson was touting such connections when he tried to buy an unfinished nuclear plant in Alabama in concert with the Russians, telling a Huntsville reporter that “Alabama’s two senators”—both Republicans, and one, Jeff Sessions, then a top Trump campaign adviser—“can help the next administration move this project forward.” Copson’s bid for the plant failed.

When reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, however, some of Copson’s partners and advisers decided it was time to walk away. “When Copson decided he was going to saddle up with the Trump team, that was the last straw for me,” the insider says. “I said it’s time to regroup.”

The Saudis hadn’t shown much interest anyway, the insider says. “Copson was promising the advisers lots of money if the Saudis put up money,” but it failed to materialize. “And so there’s nothing that anyone was going to gain unless the project was a success,” he tells Newsweek.

Hewitt and his associates also split from ACU to pursue their own path toward a nuclear-powered Middle East, one that would swap in China for Russia as a nuclear partner, two sources close to the project say. (Hewitt declined to discuss plans for IP3, telling Newsweek he was “working hard to create our public persona right now.”)

But the highly regarded Cochran stayed with ACU. A longtime senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he was director of its nuclear program, Cochran was the author of countless studies and articles over the decades and had initiated with Moscow the U.S.-Soviet nuclear test ban verification project in 1986. He “has extraordinary chutzpah,” a writer for Scientific American observed in 1998. “He is willing to take on what most people wouldn’t bother with because they assume it’s hopeless.”

Or nuts. In 2001, a writer for the left-wing In These Times weekly got hold of a draft proposal for a 1990s-era project that Cochran was involved in, the Nuclear Proliferation Trust, which envisioned taking control of spent fuel from reactors around the world and shipping it to Russia “on large ships mounted with an arsenal of weapons designed to ward off nuclear pirates,” wrote Jeffrey St. Clair. “The big question is what happens to the waste after it arrives in Russia.” Would NPT guards be authorized to fire on rogue Russian soldiers or Chechen rebels? And what would stop corrupt Russians from selling weapons-grade uranium to anyone who could pony up the cash?

Similar concerns are all the more reason to partner with the Russians today in an ironclad security arrangement, Hewitt says. “We’re always going to be engaged in the security of the Middle East,” he told a May gathering at the Nuclear Energy Institute. “It is in our best interests to ensure that nuclear power is introduced with all of the safety [standards of the U.S.].”

Cochran urges critics not to lose focus on the big picture, which he alternately likens to launching the U.S. Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, which tamed rivers and brought electricity and industrial development to the American South in the 1930s. “It would provide energy and jobs and so forth for countries like Egypt and others in the region,” he says, “so that these young men have got something more useful to do than go out and shoot each other.”

For a project fraught with such diplomatic and logistical minefields, however, Copson is an odd choice to lead ACU into the Middle East. “A sometime bass player with the British rock band Iron Butterfly,” according to Time, Copson once famously “described the natives of the Marshall Islands as ‘fat, lazy fucks’ when they nixed one of his nuke dump schemes” in the Central Pacific Ocean, the muckraking journalist Greg Palast wrote in 2001. (The islands are now disappearing under rising seas.)

Copson did not respond to several calls and emails asking for comment. But it’s not likely the Trump team, many of whom are under close scrutiny for their undisclosed Russian contacts, will be any help to Copson now. And the Saudis aren’t “taking the kind of steps that would be required to really get serious about setting up a civil nuclear-energy infrastructure,” says Tristan Volpe, a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

Others suspect the Saudis are up to something more nefarious because of the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran. The Saudis “have big ambitions for nuclear,” says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C. “The issue is whether they cross over into any processing or enrichment” with secret partners like Pakistan or China, he says.

Flynn once expressed deep worries about a Saudi-Iranian nuclear arms race. In a January 2016 interview with Al-Jazeera, he sounded like Cochran, the elder statesman of the nonproliferation movement. “An entirely new economy is what this region needs,” he said, especially for the millions of unemployed young men living under corrupt autocracies and tempted by extremism. “You’ve got to give them something else to do. If you don’t, they’re going to turn on their own governments.”

But that was before he hitched up with Trump, who has embraced the Saudi monarchy and ratcheted up his rhetoric against Iran. Talk of a grand scheme to create jobs in the Middle East, meanwhile, has evaporated, with the Russia scandal enveloping not only Flynn but Trump’s entire presidency.

Correction: An earlier version of this story called Thomas Cochran a onetime president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was director of its nuclear program.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Russia, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Russia sells 49 percent stake in Akkuyu nuclear project to Turkish companies

Russia’s Rosatom sells 49 percent stake in Akkuyu nuclear project to Turkish companies, Hurriyet Daily News, 19 June 17 MOSCOWRussia’s state-owned nuclear energy conglomerate Rosatom agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in a giant nuclear project in southern Turkey to Turkish investors in a preliminary agreement on June 19 on the sidelines of a nuclear conference in Moscow.

The stake in the Akkuyu project was sold for an undisclosed sum to the three Turkish companies Cengiz, Kolin and Kalyon, dubbed CKK as a consortium, which are quite active in construction and energy sectors. Each of these companies will have an equal stake.

The shareholders’ agreement will be signed by the end of the year, the consortium said in a follow-up press release. The sum of the deal is then expected to be revealed, according to the press release.

Turkey and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement to build and operate a nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin’s Akkuyu in 2010. According to the agreement, Russian companies would own a minimum of 51 percent of stake in the nuclear power plant, marking a first in Turkey.

The respective parties are planning to start construction this year. ……http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-sells-stake-in-akkuyu-nuclear-plant-project-in-turkey—–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=114520&NewsCatID=348

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

US Senate’s move to impose new sanctions on Iran contradicts the nuclear deal

Iran says US Senate bill contradicts nuclear deal http://en.trend.az/iran/politics/2765348.html, Tehran, Iran, June 11 By Mehdi Sepahvand  

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said the US Senate’s move to impose new sanctions on Iran is contradicts the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We believe such legislation is contradictory to the principle of good will and successful implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, IRIB news agency reported June 11.

Araqchi censured the legislation as “shameful” and said it shows “confusion” and “wrong policies”.
He described the U.S. Senate’s status in condemning Iran for supporting terrorism is “farcical” and “shameful”.

The US Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran.

A senior Senate aide said the Iran sanctions measure could come up for a vote as soon as next week. The legislation would impose new sanctions on Iran over its defense missile program, support for resistance movements and claims of human rights violations against the country.

To become law, the measure would have to pass the Republican-led House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. So far, Washington has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran under the new US administration in breach of a nuclear accord.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Israel’s secret plan to detonate nuclear weapon in 1967

‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display, NYT,  JUNE 3, 2017 On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Why is Trump claiming, (with no evidence) that Iran is developing nuclear weapons?

What’s Behind Trump’s ‘Baseless Claims’ About Iran’s ‘Nuclear Weapons’, Sputnik, 27 May 17, Commenting on the recent remarks of Donald Trump regarding Iran, which Tehran labelled as ‘Iranophobia’, Iranian political analyst Ali Reza Rezakhah explained to Sputnik Persian what the real purpose behind the comments of the US leader is and who he’s really talking to.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump promised that Tehran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”Iran will never have a nuclear weapon that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters before the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump’s remarks came the day after the Arab Islamic American Summit was held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where the US president said that Iran has been supporting terrorists, militias and extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the Middle East.

Tehran was quick to label Trump’s remarks as “Iranophobia,” accusing the US and its leader of “repetitive and baseless claims” about Iran.

“The American president tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia,” spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Bahram Qassemi said a day after the US President finished his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Sputnik Persian sat down with Iranian political analyst and expert in American studies Ali Reza Rezakhah to talk on the war of words between the US administration and the Iranian government.

“Tehran has never voiced its intention to possess any nuclear arms,” Ali Reza Rezakhah reminded Sputnik.

Moreover, he further explained, Iran has announced that the use of any weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear arms in particular, is banned by Islam. A corresponding fatwah (a legal opinion in the Islamic faith) on the ban of stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons has been issued by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Besides, the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program and the absence of any intentions to possess nuclear arms have been stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as Iran’s nuclear deal.

“Donald Trump’s remarks, therefore, are nothing but pure PR and bait for the mainstream media. The words have been said to please the Israeli Prime Minister,” Ali Reza Rezakhah told Sputnik.

He echoed the words of Bahram Qassemi, saying that Trump’s visit to both Riyadh and Tel Aviv and his rampant remarks are the new wave of “Iranophobia”, which the US leader is trying to spread.

He further noted that regardless his low ratings, Donald Trump might get certain success in his efforts.

“‘Iranophobia’ might become a basis for creation of a new terrorist coalition of an international caliber. And Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel come as a proof to it,” he said…….https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201705271054047376-trump-iranophobia-new-coalition/

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Sweihan mega solar project financed, Abu Dhabi

Financing agreed for Sweihan mega project in Abu Dhabi https://www.pv-magazine.com/2017/05/24/financing-agreed-for-sweihan-mega-project-in-abu-dhabi/

“Today’s financial closing is the culmination of 18 months of hard work, determination and commitment from many people, said ADWEA Chairman H.E. Abdullah Ali Musleh Al Ahbabi. “From government stakeholders, the international PV investor market, the international and local lending community, Today’s event is just the beginning. Over the course of the next two years the vision of the Sweihan PV project will become a reality.”

The joint venture of JinkoSolar and Marubeni signed a 25-year PPA for the project with ADWEA back in March, with one of the lowest electricity prices ever seen in a utility scale PV project, $0.0242/kWh.

“The financial closing of the Sweihan project is an important step forward to energizing one of the largest solar power plants in the world,” stated JinkoSolar Chairman Xiande Li. “We will continue to cultivate to the successful completion, operation and maintenance of the project, along with our partners ADWEA and Marubeni.”

May 26, 2017 Posted by | renewable, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Trump and retinue in Saudi Arabia – the main event $110 billion arms package

Saudis welcome Trump with gold medal, receive arms package, By JULIE PACE and JONATHAN LEMIRE, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP), 21 May 17  — President Donald Trump basked in Saudi Arabia’s lavish royal welcome Saturday as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington. Trump rewarded his hosts with a $110 billion arms package aimed at bolstering Saudi security and a slew of business agreements.

“That was a tremendous day, tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef……..

Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria’s civil war.

The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $350 billion over 10 years. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. The State Department said the agreement could support “tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

Trump was joined on the trip by the CEOs of several major U.S. companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis. Among them was a $15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.

The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump’s son-in law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka, both senior advisers, were also part of the official delegation………https://www.apnews.com/0f8266623c3548e1952525d93011bd56

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Election of Rouhani s good result for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal

Elysee: Rouhani reelection gives hope for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal http://theiranproject.com/blog/2017/05/21/elysee-rouhani-reelection-gives-hope-tehrans-compliance-nuclear-deal/  – The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

“The reelection of President Rouhani strengthens the hope that his government will abide accurately by the historic agreement of July 14, 2015, which allowed to regulate through the diplomatic means the disagreements on the nuclear issue and to engage in the new stage of the relations between Iran and the international community. France, in turn, will continue to exercise vigilance over the strict implementation of [the agreement’s] elements,” the statement distributed by Macron’s press office read.

In the document, the French president congratulated his Iranian counterpart on the reelection and expressed hope for the improvement of the economic, scientific and cultural ties between Tehran and Paris.

Apart from this, Macron called on Iran to contribute to the settlement of the crises in the Middle East.

“Adhering to the development of the political dialogue with Iran, France reiterates the necessity of the diplomatic regulation of the conflicts in the Middle East and urges Iran to participate in it,” the statement stressed.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

The international nuclear industry involved in education in United Arab Emirates

From The National, UAE 14 May 17  “………..The International Atomic Energy Agency worked with government agencies to launch the Nuclear Energy Management School at Khalifa University.

The curriculum includes nuclear energy policy and planning, nuclear regulation and law, operations, safety, security, emergency readiness and nuclear project management.

 Experts from IAEA, Nawah Energy, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation will give lectures at the school……..

The authority, where Emiratis comprise 62 per cent of its workforce, said the school would help to ensure the sustainability of the UAE’s power supply and support Emiratis by providing them with the necessary capabilities to manage its nuclear energy programme……

Nuclear will help to save the environment while still providing electricity,” said Mohammed Al Ali, 31, an export control specialist at Nawah Energy.

“It will also help the youth because it’s a new field and we will gain a lot more skills because it’s an industry that is constantly evolving worldwide.”……

May 15, 2017 Posted by | Education, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Iran warns on USA nuclear tests and the arms race

Iran raps US nuclear stance as provocative, warns about arms race, http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/06/520793/Iran-US–Dehqani-NPT-Conference-Nuclear-Weapons-Vienna A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official has criticized the “provocative” nuclear stance adopted by the United States, saying the world is witnessing an arms race among nuclear powers.

The director general for political and international security affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, made the remarks in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Saturday.

“The existing nuclear weapons have already endangered international peace and security and the current world cannot deal with the beginning of a new round of arms race,” Dehqani said.

“That is the reason why any attempt at [unleashing] an arms race must be ended,” he added.

He said lack of real progress towards disarmament over the past 50 years was the “biggest challenge” to the NPT implementation.

The Iranian official expressed concern about the persistence of such a situation and warned that NPT’s credibility would be undermined if no immediate action was adopted to that effect.

According to the NPT, countries that possess nuclear weapons must fulfill their legal commitments to slash their atomic arsenals “completely, immediately, with goodwill and without any precondition,” he said.

It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, which is “a big threat to the survival of humanity,” Dehqani added.

US President Donald Trump said in February that he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.

Under Article VI of the NPT, all parties to the treaty undertake to pursue good-faith negotiations on effective measures related to nuclear disarmament and the cessation of nuclear arms race.

The preparatory committee, which opened in Austria on May 2 and will conclude on May 12, is responsible for addressing substantive and procedural issues related to the NPT.

May 8, 2017 Posted by | Iran, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Lacking nuclear expertise, United Arab Emirates postpones start-up pf nuclear reactors

UAE delays launch of first nuclear power reactor, REUTERS By Jane Chung and Geert De Clercq | SEOUL/PARIS, 4 May 17  The commercial start-up of the first of four nuclear reactors that South Korea’s KEPCO is building in United Arab Emirates is set to be delayed because the local operating company is not ready to run the reactors, a nuclear industry source said.

Barakah is one of the world’s few major nuclear newbuild contracts, which Korea Electric Power Corporation(KEPCO) won in 2009, beating a rival consortium led by more established French reactor maker Areva……

a source familiar with the situation said that Nawah – the joint venture between the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and KEPCO that will operate the plant – is struggling to get an operating license, which could delay the start-up of the first plant by several months, possibly to the end of this year……

construction of Shin Kori No.3 reactor [in South Korea] was delayed three years due to a safety scandal in late 2012, and the reactor only became operational in December 2016.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters that because of the delay on Shin Kori No.3, UAE nuclear regulator FANR was not ready to give Nawah its operating license and wanted to postpone this “regardless of the construction schedule.”…….

Low oil prices are also making the start-up of the plant less urgent from the UAE perspective, the source added.

ENEC and Nawah did not respond to several requests for comment. KEPCO declined to comment.

A second source in the nuclear industry who is not directly involved in the Barakah project, said nuclear fuel had been shipped to UAE but was not being loaded into the reactor as Nawah does not yet have a license.

For years, Nawah has been training staff in power plant operation, but to get an operating license it needs to demonstrate it has the necessary management skills and can master all the systems needed to operate the reactors.

“It is not a simple undertaking. There will be some Korean staff, but they can only be in the back seat, not the front seat. The reactor has to be operated by the licensee’s staff,” the industry source said.

For KEPCO, a delay of the project increases its indirect costs, as it will force it to keep its staff of about 21,000 in the UAE for longer, the first source said……..(Reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul, Geert De Clercq in Paris and Stanley Carvalho in Abu Dhabi; Writing by Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kepco-emirates-nuclearpower-exclusive-idUSKBN1801ZD

May 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, employment, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Growing trade between Iran and European Union following implementation of the nuclear deal

A New Era for Iran: Trade With EU Grows 79 Percent on Nuclear Deal Implementation http://www.albawaba.com/business/new-era-iran-trade-eu-grows-79-percent-nuclear-deal-implementation-970660  May 4th, 2017 Iran’s exports to the European Union have increased by over 300 percent after the implementation of the historic 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete says.

Speaking at the first-ever Iran-EU Business Forum on Sustainable Energy in Tehran on Saturday, Canete added that trade between Iran and the union showed 79 percent boost following the implementation of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IRNA reported.

According to figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat in February, Iran’s exports to the EU stood at €5.494 billion in 2016 as compared to €1.235 in 2015 due to the EU resuming oil imports from Iran following the nuclear deal.

Canete expressed the 28-nation bloc’s keenness to cooperate with Iran in the nuclear energy sector and said the JCPOA prepared the ground for the resumption of Iran-EU cooperation.

The commissioner reiterated the EU’s support for the nuclear agreement and said Iran and the union started to cooperate with each other in different sectors in 2016 and managed to sign many agreements.

He urged both sides to continue to upgrade their cooperation and expressed hope that the ongoing forum in Tehran would lay the ground for interaction in clean energy. He noted that he would help European firms make more investment in Iran.

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

Following the conclusion and implementation of the JCPOA, Iran and EU member states launched cooperation and signed several agreements in various fields.

More than 50 European companies and business associations and some 40 Iranian energy companies are participating at the Tehran forum with the purpose of enabling business relations and partnerships between Iran and the EU and laying the ground for further cooperation and joint partnerships in the energy sector.

It will provide a platform for investors and businesses to look into investment opportunities for clean energy, renewable energy efficiency and energy conservation actions in Iran.

May 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency commends success of Iran nuclear deal

Nuclear Deal Gains Significant https://financialtribune.com/articles/national/63693/nuclear-deal-gains-significant, , May 04, 2017

 The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency stressed that the historic deal between Iran and major powers is a significant gain for nuclear verification.

Yukiya Amano made the statement in a message to the participants of the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which started on Tuesday, Press TV reported. Amano noted that IAEA inspectors have once again confirmed that Iran has been carrying out its obligations under the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Since the implementation of JCPOA began in January 2016, we have been verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the agreement,” he said. “Our inspectors have expanded access to sites and have more information about Iran’s nuclear program. That program is smaller than it was before JCPOA came into effect. Iran is provisionally implementing the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the agency.” Under the agreement, time-bound limits have been placed on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment