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UN nuclear watchdog IAEA recognizes ‘State of Palestine’

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June 20, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran to further scale back compliance with nuclear deal

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says Iran has ‘no intentions’ to make or use nuclear weapons

Iran has ‘no intentions’ to make or use nuclear weapons, Abe says, Aljazeera, 13 June 19
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said Iran’s Supreme Leader made the comment during a meeting in Tehran.Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has assured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Iran has no intention to make, hold or use nuclear weapons, while saying that the country will not negotiate with the United States.

Abe met Khamenei – Iran’s top decision-maker – on Thursday during a trip to Iran in an attempt to ease tensions between the Islamic republic and the US.

Following the meeting, which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to have also attended, Abe told reporters that Khamenei had told him that Iran “will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions”.

Shortly after, Iranian state news agency FARS confirmed the comment, but added that Khamenei had said Iran will not negotiate with the US and did not consider President Donald Trump “worthy” of a message from Tehran.

“I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him now or in the future,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.

The supreme leader also reportedly said that he does not believe Trump’s offer of honest negotiations and that he thinks the US president’s promise not to seek regime change in Iran is a lie.

The comments likely came as a blow to Abe, who told reporters at a joint press conference with Rouhani on Wednesday, that helping to ease tension in the region was “the one single thought that brought me to Iran”.

Abe is completing a two-day visit to Iran, becoming the first sitting Japanese premier to visit the country since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. ……….   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/iran-intentions-nuclear-weapons-abe-190613064055043.html

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Trump is more interested in helping nuclear companies to sell to Saudi Arabia, than in the well-being of Americans

WASHINGTON ,WATCH: IS TRUMP HELPING THE SAUDIS GO NUCLEAR?   https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Washington-Watch-Is-Trump-helping-the-Saudis-go-nuclear-592310,BY DOUGLAS BLOOMFIELD, JUNE 12, 2019

US President Donald Trump recently took another step toward bringing Saudi Arabia into the nuclear club. While Israeli-Saudi ties have warmed in recent years, helping the desert kingdom go nuclear – with its ongoing support for the most extreme Islamic radicals in the world – can hardly be good for the Jewish state.

Secret negotiations with the US Energy Department over many months have led Washington to “transfer highly sensitive US nuclear technology, a potential violation of federal law,” to Saudi Arabia, according to House Oversight Committee sources cited by The Washington Post.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) revealed last week that at least two transfers were approved since the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudis say they want to begin building their own nuclear power plants with their own enriched uranium, even though it could be purchased elsewhere more cheaply. That raises suspicions that their real goal isn’t producing electricity. By enriching their own uranium, they could begin diverting it to highly enriched weapons grade, especially if they bar international inspectors, as they’ve insisted.
Given its record of obeisance to Saudi demands for top technology and weapons, it is unlikely the Trump administration would object, but instead continue helping to conceal the kingdom’s plans.   Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the de facto ruler, has said that the kingdom would build nuclear weapons if the Iranians did. He may have taken encouragement from a speech in the UAE last month by Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.

The Iranians are threatening to leave the nuclear pact with the major powers – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in the wake of the Trump administration’s unilateral exit last year and imposition of sanctions to tighten the economic screws on Tehran.

There’s “no reason” for Iran to walk away from JCPOA, “unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons,” said Bolton, a decades-long advocate of regime change in Iran. Bolton offered no evidence to back his claim.

That should give MBS the rationale he seeks to develop his version of the bomb.

When he turns to Trump for help, he will remind the president that if America won’t sell it to him, there are others who will. Trump is a sucker for that pitch.

North Korea would be a good place to go shopping, since they tried helping Syria build nukes until the Israeli Air Force stopped the plan, something it had done earlier in Iraq. Then there’s Pakistan, which is believed to have built its own nuclear weapons stockpile with Saudi financial help.

THERE MIGHT BE some resistance on Capitol Hill, where Saudi support is low and sinking, but Trump has shown himself more responsive to the wishes of the Saudis than the US Congress.

Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina may moan and groan and make threatening sounds toward Riyadh, but he and majority leader Mitch McConnell are Trump’s poodles, and will make sure the president gets what he wants.

All US administrations – Republican and Democratic – have indulged the Saudi appetite for top technology and weapons. They’ve been driven by pressure from industry and its friends in the Pentagon to sell, sell, sell – and an inexplicable attitude that we need the Saudis far more than they need us. Trump has just raised this to a new level.

Trump’s latest selling spree includes 120,000 conversion kits to produce smart bombs. It is part of an $8.1 billion package that Trump labeled “emergency” to bypass Congressional review.

Most alarming is the Trump administration’s approval for the transfer of highly sensitive weapons technology and equipment to Saudi Arabia so the kingdom can produce electronic guidance systems for Paveway precision-guided bombs, according to congressional sources cited by The New York Times.

The administration assured Congress that it is confident in the Saudi ability to protect the technology, that the need is urgent and that it won’t alter the balance of power in the region – which is exactly what it is intended to do.
Look for Trump to justify massive sales to the Saudis and the UAE as also helping protect Israel from Iran. Historically, all administrations have justified arms sales around the Middle East as harmless to Israel’s qualitative military edge. But they aren’t. Especially when the US is selling the Arabs the same planes, missiles and technology it sells Israel. Trump values his oil-rich customer so much that he has rejected the findings of his own CIA that the crown prince was complicit in Khashoggi’s murder.

Saudi Arabia is the Pentagon’s favorite cash cow. Arms sales are a lucrative business for the US Defense Department, which charges commissions and other fees, and gets economies of scale for its own purchases while selling off old inventory to help pay for replacements. Military attachés around the world are top salesmen for defense contractors as they lay the groundwork for post-uniform careers. Then there are the former – and possibly future – defense industry executives at the highest levels of the Pentagon, starting with the Secretary of Defense.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) said the administration “has effectively given a blank check to the Saudis – turning a blind eye to the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi and allowing their ballistic missile program to expand.”

The United States is not allowed to sell ballistic missiles, so the Saudis have turned to China. CNN reported last week that American intelligence believes Beijing is helping enhance the kingdom’s strategic missile program. In the 1980s, it secretly bought Chinese DF-3 missiles and based them within range of Israel. It bought more advanced missiles in 2007 with the approval of then-president George W. Bush. Unconfirmed published reports suggest they also bought other missiles from Pakistan, which produces a version of the North Korean Nodong missile.

If the Saudis decide to pursue nuclear weapons, they can turn to Trump’s dear friend Kim Jong Un, whose cash-strapped regime has developed its own and the missiles to deliver them.

With Trump looking for business that will create jobs he can claim credit for – and with John Bolton rattling sabers and B-52s, and calling for regime change in Iran – can Saudi Arabia be knocking on an open door to the nuclear club?

June 13, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s foreign minister has arrived in Tehran in hopes of saving nuclear agreement

June 10, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Soon after the Saudi Arabian killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump administration authorised share of sensitive nuclear information with Saudi Arabia

June 6, 2019 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia, USA | 1 Comment

Investigation by IAEA finds no evidence that Russia is violating nuclear test ban

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

IAEA Nuclear inspectors reported Iran continued adhering to its 2015 accord with world powers

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

USA National Security Adviser John Bolton Accuses Iran of Seeking Nuclear Weapons, 

National Security Adviser John Bolton Accuses Iran of Seeking Nuclear Weapons,  TIME BY JON GAMBRELL / AP , MAY 29, 2019  (ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates) — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser warned Iran on Wednesday that any attacks in the Persian Gulf will draw a “very strong response” from the U.S., taking a hard-line approach with Tehran after his boss only two days earlier said America wasn’t “looking to hurt Iran at all.”

John Bolton’s comments are the latest amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran that have been playing out in the Middle East.

Bolton spoke to journalists in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, which only days earlier saw former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warn there that “unilateralism will not work” in confronting the Islamic Republic……..

A longtime Iran hawk, Bolton blamed Tehran for the recent incidents, at one point saying it was “almost certainly” Iran that planted explosives on the four oil tankers off the UAE coast. He declined to offer any evidence for his claims.

…….Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has repeatedly criticized Bolton as a warmonger. Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said later Wednesday Bolton’s remarks were a “ridiculous accusation.”

Separately in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani said that the “road is not closed” when it comes to talks with the U.S. — if America returns to the nuclear deal. However, the relatively moderate Rouhani faces increasing criticism from hard-liners and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the collapsing accord…….

Bolton also said the U.S. would boost American military installations and those of its allies in the region.  …..

Bolton’s trip to the UAE comes just days after Trump in Tokyo appeared to welcome negotiations with Iran. http://time.com/5597424/john-bolton-iran-nuclear-weapons/

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

President Rouhani says that Iran might hold a referendum on its nuclear programme

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Trump may use ’emergency’ powers to bypass Congress, to sell missiles to Saudi Arabia

May 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Wildfires rage in Israel during heatwave

24 May 19, JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Firefighters on Thursday battled wildfires that scorched swathes of forests in central Israel, forcing some small towns to be evacuated, during a heatwave that brought record temperatures to parts of the country.

Rescue efforts focused on a wooded area between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where ground teams and airplane tankers fought back the flames for hours. By nightfall, the fires were mostly under control, according to police……. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-wildfires/wildfires-rage-in-israel-during-heatwave-idUSKCN1ST2F1

May 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Israel | Leave a comment

Renewable energy, replacing nuclear plans with solar, is the obvious way forward for Jordan

Since renewable sources of energy are getting more promising in the country, and domestic gas production has risen, it is time to close the door on nuclear projects and rely more on other sources of energy.

Replace nuclear with renewables  http://www.jordantimes.com/opinion/editorial/replace-nuclear-renewables May 22,2019  Head of the Lower House’s Energy and Mineral Resources Committee Haytham Ziadin raised recently, and rightly so, the viability of the plan to build a nuclear plant to satisfy the energy needs of the country. Ziadin went as far as calling for ending altogether all plans to build such a plant, and called them simply as squandering of badly-needed funds.

 

The comments of the head of the Lower Houses’ Energy and Mineral Resources Committee must be seen against the backdrop of an earlier ambitious plan to construct a huge nuclear plant, by signing first an agreement to do so with Russia’s Rosaton agency in 2015 for this purpose that would cost $10 billion at a time when the country is dry of funds and nearly broke! The defunct nuclear plant project would have generated only 2,000 Megawatts of electricity anyway. The cancelled deal was replaced by a less ambitious project to build smaller nuclear reactors.

In retrospect though, the idea to go nuclear in the country was marred with strong objections from several well-informed sources in the country, which raised the spectrum of its safety and the non-availability of sufficient amounts of water anywhere in the country for cooling purpose.

The economic feasibility of any such project was always on the minds of various shades of opinion on a national nuclear plant. When Aqaba was dropped as a site for this purpose due to strong objections from different circles, the sponsors of the nuclear plant project shifted their attention to other regions of the country, despite the fact that water resources are scant and the country can ill-afford depleting whatever is left of precious water on a dubious nuclear plant.

An increasing number of developed countries with a wide experience in nuclear energy have begun to phase out nuclear energy plants for safety reasons, among them Germany, so why would Jordan opt to go the other way?

When all is considered, the limited financial resources available to the country, in addition to rising safety hazards associated with nuclear plants, Ziadin and like-minded cautious people are right in objecting to the construction of even small nuclear reactors.

According to the Minister of Energy and Minerals Resources Hala Zawati, the country is now producing 11 per cent of our electricity by renewable energy sources and is projected to produce no less than 20 per cent of its energy needs by solar and wind sources of energy by 2021.

On balance, whatever benefits that nuclear plants may have for Jordan, they are outweighed by lack of financial resources, high safety risks associated with nuclear plants, shortage of water resources in all parts of the country and the lack of an appropriate geographic area for any such nuclear project.

Since renewable sources of energy are getting more promising in the country, and domestic gas production has risen, it is time to close the door on nuclear projects and rely more on other sources of energy.

 

May 23, 2019 Posted by | Jordan, renewable | Leave a comment

Danger of war – Israel vs Russia – could lead to nuclear war

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Preparations for Middle East peace plan for June conference

Trump says US has not reached out to Iran for talks  Times of Israel 20 May 19,

UN voices concern over fiery rhetoric from Tehran and Washington, says it’s mediating with officials on both sides to calm situation…….

The White House announced Sunday that it will unveil the first phase of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan at the conference in Bahrain in late June, saying it will focus on economic benefits that could be reaped if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. The plan envisions large-scale investment and infrastructure work, much of it funded by wealthy Arab countries, in the Palestinian territories.

But officials say the June 25-26 conference will not include the core political issues of the conflict: final borders, the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees or Israeli security demands.

The Palestinians have said they will not send representatives to the conference. https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-may-20-2019/

May 21, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment