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Israel Expands Operations Against Iranian Nuclear, Military Assets

WSJ, 20 June 22, Israel is targeting a broader range of key targets in a series of covert operations, people familiar with the new strategy say, Israel is intensifying its campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear, missile and drone programs with a series of covert operations targeting a broader range of key targets, said people familiar with the effort.

The new moves are the latest evolution of a strategy that has been dubbed the Octopus Doctrine by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who aims to bring Israel’s battle against Iran onto Iranian territory after years of targeting Iranian agents and Tehran’s proxies outside the country in places such as Syria……………….. (subscribers only)  https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-expands-operations-against-iranian-nuclear-military-assets-11655726066

June 21, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran removes nuclear watchdog’s cameras after criticism

David GrittenBBC News  Iran has told the global nuclear watchdog it is removing 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities.

It comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board censured Iran for not answering questions about uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said 40 cameras would remain, but that the move posed a “serious challenge”.

Unless it was reversed within three to four weeks, he warned, it would deal a “fatal blow” to the Iran nuclear deal.

Under the 2015 agreement with world powers, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow continuous and robust monitoring by the IAEA’s inspectors in return for relief from economic sanctions.

However, it has been close to collapse since the US pulled out unilaterally and reinstated sanctions four years ago and Iran responded by breaching key commitments.

The US now wants to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to compliance, but indirect negotiations in Vienna have stalled since March……………………………  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-61719196

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Ukrainian victory not in the cards – former top US official

 https://www.rt.com/russia/556701-ukraine-us-negotiations-zelensky/ The US and its allies should persuade Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, Hugh De Santis says . Ukraine won’t be able to win against Russia, and the US must persuade Kiev to negotiate with Moscow to end the conflict, Hugh De Santis, who oversaw NATO and arms control policy planning in the Reagan administration, has insisted.

Defeating the Russian forces on the battlefield and restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including taking back Crimea, “would be condign punishment for Russia’s unprovoked invasion,” De Santis wrote in his opinion piece for The National Interest magazine on Saturday.

“But would it be worth the cost of more carnage in Ukraine, the possibility of a wider war in which chemical or tactical nuclear weapons might be used, further disruption of the world economy, and renewed European polarization?” he asked.

According to the former State Department official, the answer to that question is negative.

“A Ukrainian military victory is not in the cards, and a negotiated outcome is the only realistic goal,” he insisted.

Because of this, “the US and its allies must persuade Kiev to bring this war to an end, including by imposing limits on further military aid as leverage,” De Santis suggested.

Washington has been actively backing Kiev during the conflict, supplying it with weapons, funds and intelligence. In May, US President Joe Biden approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and “his advocates in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states” should come to terms with the fact that Ukraine will become a neutral state and that it would have to hand over the Donbass and Crimea to Russia for the peace talks to be successful, he pointed out.

Current high-ranking US and EU officials have also recently identified negotiations as the preferred outcome of the conflict as Russian forces continue their steady advance in the Donbass.

Last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that “a negotiated outcome is a logical choice, but both sides have to come to that conclusion on their own.”

A few days before that, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged the bloc to increase deliveries of weapons to Ukraine and apply even more sanctions against Russia, but explained that it should be done to help Kiev strengthen its position in future peace talks with Moscow. Just over a month ago, Borrell was insisting that “this war must be won on the battlefield” by Ukraine.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

June 9, 2022 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel warns it could act against Iranian nuclear programme

Prime minister tells atomic energy agency chief that Tehran misleading world with ‘false information’

  Irish Times,   By Mark WeissFri Jun 3 202

Israel has warned that it reserves the right to act to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb if the international community fails to do so. …………

The talks took place ahead of Monday’s scheduled IAEA board of governors’ meeting, at which the US and the E3 — Britain, France and Germany — plan to push for the nuclear watchdog to rebuke Iran following a report by Mr Grossi that Iran has enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon and has not provided credible explanations for the IAEA’s findings of violations.

Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is peaceful and condemned the UN watchdog’s report as “not fair and balanced”, saying it “does not reflect the reality of the negotiations between Iran and the IAEA”.

“We will respond firmly and appropriately to any unconstructive action at the board of governors,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh warned in a statement.

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the IAEA head’s visit to Israel was in conflict with the agency’s impartiality, Iranian media reported.,,………

talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were derailed after Russia invaded Ukraine and the decision by US president Joe Biden not to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the state department’s list of foreign terrorist organisations.

Amid the ongoing uncertainty of reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Israel’s military has stepped up preparations to strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities and on Friday concluded a wide-scale exercise, dubbed Chariots of Fire, simulating attacks against underground nuclear facilities and reacting to expected retaliation from Tehran and Iranian proxies in the region. https://www.irishtimes.com/world/middle-east/2022/06/03/israel-warns-it-could-act-against-iranian-nuclear-programme/

June 4, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran: No one can remain silent on Zionist regime’s clandestine nuclear program

program, https://en.irna.ir/news/84777256/Iran-No-one-can-remain-silent-on-Zionist-regime-s-clandestine

“As one of the original signatories to NPT, Iran calls on all to beware of further erosion of the IAEA’s credibility,” Khatibzadeh tweeted.

He pointed out that as one of the original signatories to NPT, Iran calls on all to beware of further erosion of the IAEA’s credibility.

“No one can keep mum on Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons program and then claim impartiality and talk about Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities,” Khatibzadeh added.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi arrived in occupied Palestinian lands on Thursday night for meeting with the Zionist officials.

Grossi’s visit of Israel comes after the destructive moves made by the Zionists to influence the western countries, and especially America to convince them not to revive the JCPOA.

June 4, 2022 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No Iran nuclear deal ‘worse’ than even a bad one: Israel sources

No Iran nuclear deal ‘worse’ than even a bad one: Israel sources,  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/23/no-iran-nuclear-deal-posses-more-danger-for-israel-and-its-allies

Failure to revive Iran’s nuclear accord poses much more danger even than ‘a bad’ deal, Israeli intelligence sources tell the Jerusalem Post.

Not reviving the Iran nuclear deal could result in more imminent nuclear danger for Israel and its allies, anonymous intelligence sources told the Jerusalem Post, saying Tehran was only weeks away from weaponising uranium to 90 percent.

Iran is in a position to produce not only one but as many as four nuclear bombs, the sources told the Israeli news outlet.

While Israeli leaders such as current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu have denounced a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, the sources said there are factions within Israel’s defence and intelligence apparatus that believe no deal poses a far greater risk than “even a bad deal“.

Negotiations to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers resumed in 2021 after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the historic agreement in 2018 and re-imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran.

After more than a year of negotiations, it remains unclear whether a deal can be reached to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the agreement’s official name.

The United States and Israel have expressed their commitment to work together to prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran has denied allegations that it plans to produce nuclear arms, saying there is no weapons programme operational at the moment, and the country is working on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the administration of President Joe Biden supports restoring the nuclear deal is “the best way to put Iran’s programme back in the box”, after former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from it in 2018.

Talks have stalled over a number of issues including a US “terror” designation against Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Tensions rose again on Sunday after an Iranian colonel was assassinated outside his home in Tehran by motorcycle-riding gunmen – an attack Iran suggested was carried out by Israeli operatives.

The European Union’s coordinator for the nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, visited Tehran earlier this month in an effort to facilitate the negotiations.

Israel has threatened military action if diplomacy collapses.

May 26, 2022 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Turkish nuclear plant threatened by Russian sanctions

Akkuyu nuclear power plant would be Turkey’s first, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause problems. Aljazeera, By Andrew Wilks, 16 May 2022,

Istanbul, Turkey – Unprecedented sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine have led to fresh concerns about Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which is being built by Moscow’s state-owned nuclear company.

The first reactor of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, located on the Mediterranean coast near Mersin, is due to start production next year, but potential blocks on financing and equipment from third countries have threatened to delay the $20bn project.

Rosatom, the Russian firm behind Akkuyu, has so far escaped sanctions but the option has reportedly been discussed by the United States. Banks such as Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution and a major backer of the nuclear plant, have been hit.

………  Possible sanctions against Rosatom could also affect the flow of equipment to Akkuyu, barring suppliers from providing energy industry equipment, technology and services.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV, aired on February 23, Akkuyu CEO Anastasia Zoteeva highlighted the “large amount of equipment” produced for the plant in countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and South Korea. A key component was manufactured by GE Steam Power, a branch of General Electric, in France while French company Assystem is also involved in construction supervision.

Neither General Electric, Assystem nor other third-country companies contacted for comment by Al Jazeera responded……………………………   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/16/turkish-nuclear-plant-threatened-by-russian-sanctions

May 17, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Turkey | Leave a comment

Yes, Israel Has Submarines Armed With Nuclear Weapons (We Think)

1945, Maya Carlin, Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive. 15 May 22

At the beginning of the year, Israel announced its plan to purchase three Dakar-class diesel-electric submarines for $3.4 billion dollars. Israeli media also reported that the cost of these submarines spiked in price during the negotiation process, likely due to the platform’s increased size and advanced capabilities.
. Rumors have circulated that the newly purchased submarines are equipped with a vertical launch system (VLS). When this type of system is installed on nuclear-powered attack submarines, a more significant variation of weapons can be deployed. According to Naval News, “If correct, the Israeli submarine isonly the second modern AIP (air-independent propulsion) equipped submarine in the world designed with this capability.”
Along with an advanced VLS system, this new class of submarines may be capable of launching nuclear weapons. However, these boats are mainly constructed more localized patrols, as these submarines aren’t nuclear powered. The Dolphins are significantly smaller than their counterparts in Russia and the U.S., plus its non-nuclear engines, while advanced, still limit the amount of time they can be underway safely. 

While the Dakar-class submarines will no doubt advance Israel’s Naval and deterrence capabilities, its first Dolphin-class boats imported from Germany in the late 90s should not be underestimated – as they took Israel’s nuclear deterrent and most likely placed it underwater.

…………………..   clearly, what makes these submarines truly special is what many believe is their nuclear-armed cruise missiles. While sources vary on specifics, many naval experts believe that these submarines are armed with a cruise missile that is nuclear-tipped that has a range of 1,500 kilometers.

The Dolphin-class boats are considered the most advanced and capable submarines on the globe. Additionally, the submarines are also the most expensive machinery that the IDF has acquired in its history. …….https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/05/yes-israel-has-submarines-armed-with-nuclear-weapons-we-think/         Maya Carlin is a Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Europe to Make Fresh Push to Revive Iran Nuclear Deal

Talks have hit a deadlock over Iran’s demand that Washington lift terror designation on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,  By Laurence Norman, May. 1, 2022 European officials are preparing to make a fresh push to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran, offering to send a top European Union negotiator to Tehran in an effort to break a stalemate in talks, according to Western diplomats.

Enrique Mora, the European Union coordinator of the negotiations, has told Iranian counterparts he is ready to return to Tehran to open a pathway through the deadlock, the people said. So far, Iran hasn’t responded with an invitation, the people added……. (subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-to-make-fresh-push-to-revive-iran-nuclear-deal-by-offering-to-send-top-negotiator-back-to-tehran-11651419295

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel ranked as world’s eighth largest nuclear power

20 Apr, 2022 Idan Eretz   

According to a report published by the American Federation of Scientists, Israel has 90 nuclear warheads.

According to a report published by the American Federation of Scientists entitled “Status of World Nuclear Forces,” Israel is the world’s eighth largest nuclear power.

The estimated global nuclear warhead inventories in 2022 are dominated by the US and Russia, which have 5,428 and 5,977 nuclear warheads respectively, out of 13,000 nuclear warheads worldwide. China has 350 nuclear warheads, France 290, the UK 225, Pakistan 165, India 160, Israel 90, and North Korea 20…………………………….  https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-israel-ranked-as-worlds-eighth-largest-nuclear-power-1001409769

April 21, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear negotiations at stalemate over IRGC terror listing

Iran and the United States seemingly do not want to budge over the designation of the IRGC in reviving the nuclear deal.  April 20, 2022

The talks in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have reached a stalemate, with neither side appearing to want to budge from the final sticking point regarding the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States.

In his latest comments Monday on the state of the negotiations, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “Until all issues are agreed upon, nothing is agreed upon.” He said that “the remaining issues in Vienna are clear to everyone.” Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, responding to a reporter’s question, said, “If Iran wants sanctions lifting that goes beyond the JCPOA, they’ll need to address concerns of ours that go beyond the JCPOA,” using the acronym for the deal’s official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Price’s comments about addressing other concerns were not welcomed by Iranian media. Javan, a newspaper linked to the IRGC, headlined their article on Price’s comments “Washington’s request again to negotiate beyond the JCPOA.” The story read, “Once again another recommendation to negotiate beyond the JCPOA was put on the table.” The article added that these negotiations would include not just the nuclear program but also Iran’s missile capabilities and regional role. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has repeatedly said that Iran would not negotiate on other issues within the context of the nuclear deal. Previously, long before the US exit of the 2015 deal, Khamenei had once said that if the JCPOA deal comes to fruition and all sides meet their obligations, then Iran would be open to discussing other matters — though the time for that has passed now apparently.

The Trump administration’s poison pill of designating the IRGC as an FTO has brought the talks to a standstill. Iran wants all Trump-era sanctions removed before it returns its nuclear program to levels written out in the JCPOA, especially concerning the level of enrichment and advanced centrifuges in use. The United States is insisting that the designation of the IRGC is not nuclear-related. Since the US exit in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, Iran and the United States have not negotiated face to face and instead communicate via European intermediaries. ………………………………………….   The best both sides can hope for now is at least an interim agreement of some sort.

    https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/iran-nuclear-negotiations-stalemate-over-irgc-terror-listing

April 21, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

For the Middle East, the introduction of nuclear reactors poses dangers at every turn

Should Middle East climate change be tackled with nuclear energy?……. for Middle East nations there are dangers at every turn.  Aljzaeera,  By Sanam Mahoozi, 12 Apr 2022,   If history is any indication, nuclear accidents can happen and when they do, they have deadly outcomes for humans as well as for the environment.  Chernobyl and Fukushima are still paying the price for the nuclear mishaps that exposed them to radioactive material.

……………… For most countries in the Middle East, fossil fuels play a dominant role and replacing them with cleaner sources is crucial.

But some experts say transitioning to nuclear energy represents an even higher risk.

‘Risks must be considered’

As Ghena Alhanaee, a researcher in the field of civil and environmental engineering, told Al Jazeera, “there are many layers of implications if an incident were to occur in the Gulf, given the uniqueness of the region”.

Most of the countries in the region fund their economies almost exclusively through oil and gas revenues, and any disruption to these trading activities by a nuclear accident would lead to calamitous financial losses.

About half of the world’s desalination capacity is found in the region. Studies show that Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait get more than 90 percent of their drinking water from desalination, a process that removes salt from the seawater.

“So if you get any nuclear accident in that environment you can start to say goodbye to Gulf desalination plants,” Paul Dorfman, associate fellow at the University of Sussex and chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group, told Al Jazeera.

Simply put, a nuclear incident could endanger the security of energy, water and food sectors in the region.

“All such risks must be considered by the nations sharing this very unique natural treasure,” said Kaveh Madani of United Nations University, the former deputy head of Iran’s environment department.

When it comes to nuclear power generation, “the appealing side of it is clear, as is the side that could be harmful to the health and environment of its surroundings”, Madani said.

The nuclear industry in the Gulf region is expanding, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) currently helping some countries develop their nuclear programmes. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of them.

As it stands, there are only two active nuclear power facilities in the region: the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, and the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. Bushehr has one operational reactor and another one under construction, and Barakah has two operational reactors with two more on the way.

Nuclear energy development in the Middle East is still in its early stages, but the number of plants is expected to increase given Saudi Arabia’s plans to take forward its own capabilities.

…………..   the risks may indeed outweigh the benefits if something were to go wrong with any of the facilities.

“There is this paradox about nuclear; one never knows whether it would help you or damage you,” Dorfman pointed out.

………….. Extreme weather can also damage nuclear facilities and result in radiation footprints that last thousands of years. The European heatwaves that either shut down or slowed down the nuclear reactors in France and Germany in 2003 and  2019 are evidence of this possibility.

The region is rife with rivalries between countries, also making nuclear power dangerous.

“They can use one nuclear power programme to build up the infrastructure to at least send a signal that they could eventually develop the capability for nuclear weapons, so there are strategic reasons to want to move in that direction,” Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told Al Jazeera.

When faced with the prospect of going nuclear for whatever reason, countries around the Gulf “need to always think about the unthinkable and should have a chronic unease because this technology, by its nature, is a safety-critical technology and its accident is characterised as low-probability, high consequence,” said Najmedin Meshkati, civil environmental engineering professor specialising in nuclear safety at the University of Southern California.

“If something goes wrong,” said Meshkati, “these consequences will have a punishing impact for the workers, for the company, for the country, and for the entire region.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/12/should-middle-east-climate-change-be-tackled-with-nuclear-energy

April 14, 2022 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran MPs Set Conditions for Reviving 2015 Nuclear Deal amid Stalled Talks

VOA News, 10 Apr 22, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — 

Iranian lawmakers have set conditions for the revival of a 2015 nuclear pact, including legal guarantees approved by the U.S. Congress that Washington would not quit it, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.

Iran and the United States have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna over the past year to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers which then-U.S. President Donald Trump left in 2018 and Iran subsequently violated by ramping up its nuclear program.

Negotiations have now stalled as Tehran and Washington blame each other for failing to take the necessary political decisions to settle remaining issues……………………….

The lawmakers also said that “sanctions lifted under the reinstated pact should not be reimposed, and Iran should not be hit by new sanctions.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday U.S. President Joe Biden should issue executive orders to lift some sanctions on Iran to show his goodwill towards reviving the nuclear pact.  https://www.voanews.com/a/iran-mps-set-conditions-for-reviving-2015-nuclear-deal-amid-stalled-talks/6522843.html

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks


Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks,  
The United States is responsible for the pause in talks between Tehran and world powers in Vienna aimed at reviving their 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson says.

“America is responsible for the halt of these talks … a deal is very much within reach,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference on Monday…………..https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7686412/iran-blames-us-for-halt-to-nuclear-talks/

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

USA promises Israel that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons


Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons, US promises Israel  Antony Blnken seeks to reassure Israel and Gulf allies ahead of possible renewal of nuclear deal

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Mon 28 Mar 2022  The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has sought to reassure Israel and its Gulf allies that Iran will never acquire atomic weapons, ahead of the possible renewal of the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“When it comes to the most important element, we see eye to eye,” Blinken said at a news conference on Sunday with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. “We are both committed, both determined, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Blinken’s comments came before a meeting with four Arab foreign ministers at an extraordinary summit hosted by Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett – an event that in itself shows how the landscape of Israel’s relations with some Arab states has been transformed in the past 18 months, driven partly by fears about the imminent end of Iran’s economic isolation………………………………………

Speaking in Israel, Blinken nevertheless defended the principle of trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal, saying: “The US believes that a return to full implementation of the deal is the best way to put Iran’s nuclear programme back in the box that it was in, but has escaped from since the United States withdrew from that agreement…………………. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/27/iran-will-never-acquire-nuclear-weapons-us-promises-israel

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment