Iran says some sanctions under nuclear deal still in place WP, By George Jahn | AP September 26 VIENNA — Indirectly warning the United States, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said Monday that his country’s landmark nuclear deal with could be jeopardized by foot-dragging on sanctions relief, promised in exchange for Tehran’s commitment to curb key atomic activities. But a senior U.S. official said Washington is delivering on its commitments.
Iran complains that international financial sanctions are not being lifted quickly enough under the agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers that stipulates a removal of these and other penalties imposed over Tehran’s nuclear program. Tehran in turn agreed to limit atomic pursuits that could be used to make a bomb.
Nuclear agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi did not blame particular countries in comments to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference. But other Iranian officials have faulted the United States for perceived delays in lifting financial sanctions, and Salehi warned that the deal’s “durability” depended on the other side’s “reciprocal and full implementation.”
“Comprehensive and expeditious removal of all sanctions” outlined in the agreement “have yet to be met,” even though Iran is honoring all its obligations under the pact, he said…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-says-some-sanctions-under-nuclear-deal-still-in-place/2016/09/26/10e92782-83d7-11e6-b57d-dd49277af02f_story.html
Which is the Real Threat? Iranian Nuclear Program Versus Israel’s 200 Nukes.Sputnik News, 23 Sept 16 A
s Israel continues to oppose the Iranian nuclear deal, leaked emails written by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell suggest that Tel Aviv does have a sizeable cache of functioning nuclear weapons at its disposal.
While Israel doesn’t confirm nor deny the alleged existence of its nuclear arsenal, one of Colin Powell’s recently leaked emails suggests that Tel Aviv does possess 200 nuclear warheads “all targeted at Tehran”.
These revelations cast a new light on Israel’s vehement opposition to the nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 group and Iran in July 2015. Furthermore, Sabbah Zanganeh, Iranian political analyst and Middle Eastern affairs expert, told Sputnik Persian that the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal is one of the chief factors contributing to the tensions in the region. “This is all part of the US double standards policy. The Americans are well-aware of the fact that the Iranian nuclear program always was and still is peaceful in nature and poses no threat to any nation or country. The US also knows that Iran opposes nuclear weapons, and not just for moral or humanitarian reasons, but first and foremost due to its religious beliefs. Iran rejects weapons of mass destruction of any kind,” Zanganeh said. On the other hand, he argued, Israel, which enjoys absolute US support, constantly threatens other countries in the region, provoking military conflicts and instigating wars against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine……..https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160921/1045551459/tehran-israel-nuclear-weapons.html
West failing to deliver nuclear deal promises, says Iran vice-president
Ali Akbar Salehi attacks lack of progress on banking transactions and trade eight months after landmark agreement, Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 17 Sept 16, Iran has fully complied with its commitments under last year’s landmark nuclear agreement, but eight months after the official removal of sanctions, the west is failing to deliver on its promises, the country’s vice president has told the Guardian.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation, said that if the agreement was to remain intact, both sides had to meet their commitments.
The US-educated scientist, who also served as a former foreign minister of Iran, was the second most senior Iranian negotiator in nearly two years of talks between Tehran and world’s six leading powers that led to the final nuclear accord, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), in Vienna in July 2015. The deal was implemented in January, and triggered the removal of sanctions.
“As has been stated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has remained committed to its commitments,” Salehi said. “While the other side – it’s very clear now to public opinion and it’s not a secret – has not really delivered on the promises; that the sanctions would be removed and that banking transactions would go back to normal, that trade would speed up and economic relations would be enhanced. These have not been materialised to the extent that we expected.”……..
Although nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January, big European banks remain reluctant to do business with Iran. European banks are concerned about existing US sanctions relating to terrorism as well as uncertainty in the US before the election of a new president…….
The banking issue has prevented Iran from capitalising on the interest shown by western businesses in returning to the country, or finalising lucrative deals with the west, such as the purchase of planes from Airbus and Boeing. Iran’s central bank chief told the Guardian in May that Tehran was still locked out of global financial system……..
The fate of the nuclear agreement will affect the next presidential elections in Iran, which are scheduled for spring next year. President Hassan Rouhani is seeking re-election and opponents, including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have indicated their willingness to challenge him. Rouhani would have to show Iranians tangible relief from sanctions if he is to maintain their support.
Relations between Tehran and London have significantly improved since the nuclear agreement, with both sides appointing new ambassadors in their respective capitals this month after nearly a five-year hiatus. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/west-failing-deliver-nuclear-deal-promises-iran-vice-president-ali-akbar-salehi
Iran Starts Construction On Second Nuclear Plant With Russian Help Radio Free Europe, September 10, 2016 Iran has begun building a second nuclear power plant with Russian help, Iranian and Russian media are reporting.
The project, known as Busherh-2, was officially launched on September 10 in the southern port city of Bushehr. The project will cost around $10 billion and produce 1,057 megawatts of electricity. The project is expected to be completed in 10 years.
It’s Iran’s first nuclear power project since the country reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in July 2015. It will be built by Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear power company.
Iran’s sole operational nuclear reactor — also built with Russian assistance in Bushehr — produces 1,000 megawatts. It went online in 2011, and the two countries have agreed to cooperate on future projects.
The Bushehr plant is not considered a proliferation risk because Russia supplies the fuel for the reactor and takes away spent fuel that could otherwise be used to make weapons-grade plutonium….http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-bushehr-2-nuclear-power-plant-russia/27978982.html
Iran Nuclear Deal Likely to Survive Next Administration, Real Clear World, By Barbara Slavin, September 07, 2016 Barbara Slavin is the Acting Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor. This article was created in collaboration with the Atlantic Council. The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Like a car that has lost its new car smell and has a few nicks on its bumpers, the nuclear agreement reached last year between Iran and six world powers is showing some wear just nine months after its full implementation.
But the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the Iran nuclear deal is known, has survived efforts to wreck it by opponents in both Iran and the United States, and the deal is likely to endure into the next U.S. administration.
The problems with the agreement relate more to underlying hostility between the United States and Iran, which have not had normal diplomatic relations since 1980.
Seeking to prove that the JCPOA does not mean appeasement of the Great Satan, Iranian hardliners have stepped up provocative actions including arresting dual nationals, testing ballistic missiles, and harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned Iranian government officials not to negotiate with the United States on non-nuclear matters, even as senior diplomats continue to meet to review implementation of the nuclear agreement and to discuss a potential settlement to the war in Syria.
On the American side, Republicans and some Democratic hawks have been quick to pounce on any negative Iranian action as proof that the JCPOA has failed. Critics recently seized on a report by the Wall Street Journal claiming that the Obama administration paid $400 million in cash to Iran after four Iranian-Americans and a fifth American citizen were freed from custody on Implementation Day.
In fact, the payment was not “ransom” for the Americans but reimbursement to Iran for weapons that had been purchased before the revolution and never delivered. The Americans were swapped for seven Iranian nationals held in U.S. prisons for sanctions violations……..
Confronting the Islamic State group, dealing with Russia, the ramifications of British exit from the European Union, and the challenges of climate change are likely to take precedence over Iran for both candidates.
Even Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rarely mentions Iran these days; Israeli security experts privately praise the JCPOA for postponing an Iran nuclear crisis for at least another decade.
Of course, the Middle East has a tendency to insert itself into U.S. foreign policy debates in unpredictable ways. But Iran has been relatively stable in the face of the crises afflicting many of its neighbors. A President Clinton or Trump is more likely to have to deal with political turmoil in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq.
As for the future of U.S.-Iran relations, much will depend on Tehran and whether the supreme leader’s successor feels the same need to maintain animosity toward the United States as a prop to regime survival. Both countries’ citizens would benefit from restoring diplomatic relations and working toward common ground. But if real peace is not yet possible, at least the JCPOA has drastically reduced the chances for another Middle East war. http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2016/09/07/iran_nuclear_deal_likely_to_survive_next_administration.html
IAEA: Iran Not Cheating on Nuclear Deal KEVIN DRUM SEP. 8, 2016 Iran has kept to a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year limiting its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons, a report by the U.N. nuclear agency found.
The confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seen by Reuters did not point to any violations in Tehran’s observance of the deal which was opposed by hardliners inside Iran and by skeptics in the West. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/iaea-iran-not-cheating-nuclear-deal
Media Trumpet Another Phony “Secret Nuclear Deal” Story , 08 September 2016 By Gareth Porter, Truthout | News Analysis Two major media outlets — Reuters and The Washington Post — pushed another Iran “secret side deal” story last week, ignoring obvious facts that revealed it as clever political deception aimed at sabotaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Stories in both of those outlets suggested that a leading think tank had revealed a secret deal that allowed Iran to exceed various qualitative and quantitative limits placed on it under the nuclear agreement reached last year — the main current theme of political opponents of the agreement. The stories were based on claims in a report co-authored by David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, who has long been treated by corporate media as the leading “independent” expert on Iran’s nuclear program.
In fact, as Truthout revealed in 2014, Albright had abandoned any independence he had maintained on Iran as early as 2008 and had aligned his position on nuclear negotiations with Iran with those of the Bush administration and Israel…….
Albright’s attack on the Obama administration and the Joint Commission was only the latest installment in the current campaign by pro-Israeli media and political opponents of the JCPOA to claim existence of “secret side deals” between the Obama administration and Iran. Just six weeks ago, the Associated Press correspondent in Vienna, George Jahn, published a story that falsely portrayed Iran’s report to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] on its plan for implementation of the agreement as such a “secret side deal.” The agreement reached between Iran and the IAEA on the issue of alleged past Iranian nuclear work, which included arrangements for taking environmental samples at Iran’s Parchin military facility, was also treated by JCPOA opponents as a “secret side deal.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37527-media-trumpet-another-phony-secret-nuclear-deal-story
Saudis Buy 16 Nuclear Plants From The Russians, Terrorists Rejoice : http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/06/saudis-buy-16-nuclear-plants-from-the-russians-terrorists-rejoice/#ixzz4JViTS5aX ANDREW FOLLETT Energy and Environmental Reporter Saudi Arabia will buy 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion despite terrorism concerns, according to a Monday announcement from a government-controlled nuclear power company.
Saudi Arabia has a long history of terrorist attacks within its borders, and the country itself has been accused of directly funding Islamic terrorism. The planned reactors would be incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Saudi Arabia’s new reactors would not produce the weapons-grade plutonium necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but materials from them could be used to create dirty bombs. A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with conventional explosives that could contaminate the local area with high radiation levels for long periods of time and cause mass panic, though it would be millions of times weaker than an actual nuclear device. The Islamic State wants to steal this kind of radioactive material for a dirty bomb.
“There are prospects for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy,” Yury Ushakov, aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told journalists. “Our company, which has the most advanced technologies, is ready to join the project on construction of 16 nuclear power reactors in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project is provided until 2030, its cost is $100 billion,”
Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement last year to work together on “peaceful” nuclear energy projects. The stated purpose of these reactors is to generate electricity, power desalination plants and reduce domestic oil consumption so Saudi Arabia can sell the oil abroad. The reactors will be built by the Russian government controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation.
Russia has supported the development of nuclear power in other countries with terrorism problems, such as Algeria, Iran and Egypt.
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Russia expects feasibility study for Jordan in early 2017, WNN 02 September 2016
feasibility study on the construction of nuclear power plants in Jordan is to be prepared in the first half of next year, Sergey Kirienko,
director general of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said today. Kirienko spoke to reporters at the second Eastern Economic Forum that opened today in the Russian city Vladivostock…….http://tinyurl.com/hh5mgty
Ryabkov Says U.S. Sanctions Continue To Hinder Iran After Nuclear Deal, Radio Free Europe September 01, 2016 The United States has carried out its part of the Iranian nuclear deal, but unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran have remained in place and are a “big hindrance” for Tehran, a top Russian diplomat told TASS.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is visiting Tehran, told TASS on August 31 that the U.S. administration has implemented “from start to finish” everything envisaged by last year’s agreement, “but it hasn’t moved any further.”
“All the so-called unilateral sanctions that existed before an agreement was reached with Iran have stayed in place,” he said.
“These unilateral sanctions are a big hindrance,” he said. “Any deal serviced in dollars goes through corresponding controlling agencies of the United States and can be suspended.”
Despite the removal of most international sanctions against Iran, Ryabkov said European and Asian businesses continue to be cautious about dealing with Iran and as a result, “deals are fewer than one would want to see.”
U.S., partners allowed ‘secret’ exemptions in nuclear agreement for Iran to meet sanctions deadline, http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/247272885/us-partners-allowed-secret-exemptions-in-nuclear-agreement-for-iran-to-meet-sanctions-deadline Big News Network, 1 Sep 16, WASHINGTON, U.S. – Reports reveal that the U.S. and its negotiating partners agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade some restrictions from last year’s nuclear agreement so it can meet deadlines for relief on economic sanctions.
According to reports, the U.S. and five negotiating partners agreed to allow Iran to keep more low-enriched uranium (LEU) and other nuclear materials than agreed upon, so that the country could be in compliance with the deal by the January deadline.
Another exemption was also made for an undisclosed amount of 20 per cent enriched uranium, described as “lab contaminant.” President of the think tank Institute for Science and International Security, former UN weapons inspector David Albright said that “the exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favour Iran.”
The decision was made by an oversight committee which included representatives from the five permanent United Nations Security Council nations, France, Russia, China, U.K., and U.S., along with Germany and Iran, dubbed collectively as the “P5+1.”
Had the exemptions not been allowed, Iran would have failed to comply with the January deadline, forcing the P5+1 powers to keep the sanctions in place.
Further, the report also makes claims that Iran was secretly permitted to maintain 19 radiation containment chambers, or “hot cells”, which violated the terms of the nuclear deal.
Iran was also relieved from having to sell off its excess heavy water, despite a clause in the agreement that the Islamic country should reduce its stores below 130 tons, and allowed it to store excess abroad.
Meanwhile, Iran is expected to build two new nuclear power stations, with aid from Russia, in Iran’s southern city of Bushehr.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”
He added, “We will save 22 million barrels of oil per year by building these two power plants,” and continued, “In the cooperation contract with the Russians, the emphasis has been laid on making use of technical capabilities of Iran for implementation of the project.”
The cost of the project is estimated at $10 billion.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that global businesses were still wary of the effect of the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran and that the commission monitoring the implementation of the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should address the issue.
He said, “We agree with the conclusions which our Iranian friends make, namely that some countries who participated very prominently while the talks were ongoing, now at the phase of implementation, I would use the word, (they are) stuck in their position of not removing obstacles which have been created by themselves through their national legislations, through their national decisions which do not allow for an even more active result-oriented and advanced economic and trade cooperation between Iran and the rest of the world.”
UN urges Israel to ratify nuclear test ban treaty, http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-urges-israel-to-ratify-nuclear-test-ban-treaty/ Praising regional impact of Iran deal, top official calls on Jerusalem to officially adopt moratorium on atomic testing BY EDITH M. LEDERER September 1, 2016, UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel should ratify the nuclear test ban treaty within five years — and Iran should also ratify but the timing is uncertain, the head of the UN organization established to implement the treaty said Wednesday.
Lassina Zerbo said in an interview with The Associated Press that Israel should be the next key country to ratify the treaty and he hopes it takes less than five years. “I’m putting five years as the longest it should take now based on the positive sign that I’m seeing from Israel,” said Zerbo, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time during a visit there in June.
He cited the impact of last year’s Iran nuclear deal in the Middle East for “creating the confidence-building conditions in the region to help others to move forward.” Zerbo said he has met Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif several times and the Iranians participate very actively in the test ban organization. “I think in Iran it’s a matter of when, and the when will depend on the condition that will be right … for them to consider the ratification,” he said. “The only thing I say as head of the organization is I hope the when is yesterday!”
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, known as the CTBT, has 196 member states — 183 that have signed the treaty and 164 that have ratified it.
But the treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by eight countries that had nuclear power reactors or research reactors when the UN General Assembly adopted it in 1996: the United States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the treaty and Zerbo was at UN headquarters for a panel organized by the General Assembly to mark Wednesday’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests.
The Obama administration supports a worldwide ban on nuclear testing but hasn’t ratified the treaty because it doesn’t have the votes in the Republican-controlled Senate. China also reaffirmed its commitment to the treaty at Wednesday’s meeting, but didn’t say when it might ratify, Zerbo said.
He said Pakistan has shown leadership recently, talking about a “bilateral moratorium with India” on nuclear testing. “They’re waiting for a response from India,” he said.
North Korea, the only nation that has tested nuclear weapons in the 21st century, was the only country of the eight key nations whose ratifications are needed to boycott Wednesday’s General Assembly meeting. While its seat was empty, its underground explosions were criticized by Japan and many others.
Zerbo said he advocates reopening a dialogue with North Korea “one way or another,” stressing that nothing has stopped Pyongyang from carrying out nuclear tests and firing ballistic missiles.
“What I’m thinking is how can we get them to adhere to a moratorium on nuclear testing as an immediate and first step to denuclearization,” he said. “We have to find the means to do that.”
Zerbo said he thinks there’s an opportunity to open a dialogue with North Korea, similar to the six-party talks with Iran that led to last year’s nuclear deal, and possibly using the six-party talks aimed at negotiating the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula which Pyongyang pulled out of in 2008.
He said one-on-one talks with countries close to North Korea can lead to wider international discussions because “it’s the only way we can get them to stop.”
Sealing the Deal: Turkey, China Launch Nuclear Cooperation Partnership,http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160901/1044832084/turkey-china-nuclear.html , 1 Sep 16 The news follows last week’s ratification by the Turkish parliament of the Sino-Turkish Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Ankara has opted to cooperate with Beijing, ratifying an agreement which includes not only nuclear power plant construction on Turkish territory, but also joint nuclear power development with China and the US. The Chinese State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation will implement technologies obtained in collaboration with US-based Westinghouse Electric company. The potential technological tripartite arrangement could result in significant regional and global political clout, according to the Asia Times. After a successful contract with Russia in 2010 to build Turkey’s first nuclear plant in Akkuyu, Ankara made plans for a second plant, to be located in Sinop, on the Black Sea. Among potential partners were Japan, a plan which was suspended following the Fukushima disaster. Canada, China and South Korea were also considered as possible partners. Although Beijing’s financing made the Chinese option attractive, the Turkish government in May 2013 awarded the construction of the second Turkish nuclear power plant to a Japanese-French consortium.
Turkey nonetheless continued collaborating with China on energy-related issues. Beginning November 2014, Turkey and China boosted mutual cooperation, and that year signed an agreement of exclusivity with the Chinese State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) for a third nuclear plant. In June, Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, during a visit to China for the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting, signed a memorandum of understanding for the mutual development of nuclear power technologies. In August, China’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Zhang Ming, visited Turkey to express solidarity with the country’s elected government and to discuss energy issues. Ratification of a 2012 nuclear cooperation agreement with China came soon after. Currently, the Chinese State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) is close to winning the competition to construct Turkey’s third nuclear power plant, slated to cost some $25 million and have a 5,000-megawatt capacity.
The system is reportedly thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away. Independent, 31 Aug 16 Gabriel Samuels
Iran has reportedly installed a powerful missile defence system around a former underground nuclear enrichment plant now used as a science facility, in order to “protect” it from external harm.
The Fordow facility, situated roughly 60 miles south of the Iranian capital Tehran, is to be defended by a comprehensive S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system, supplied by the Russian government.
The system is thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away and track potential threats within a 200 mile radius, carried on the back of large launcher trucks.
Iranian state television broadcast footage showing the deployment of the system with General Farzad Esmaili telling reporters it was the air force’s “main priority” to protect the country’s nuclear facilities…….
Operations at the Fordow uranium plant were thought to have ceased in January following an international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions on Tehran…….
Officials have stated the site is now primarily being used for nuclear research and the production of isotopes for medical purposes, after the facility was converted into a technology and science centre.
General Esmaili said the S-300 missiles were a mobile system which would be relocated often to protect a range of site across the area.
Iran says that it has never sought nuclear arms and that the security around the site is intended to protect it from American or Israeli airstrikes.
Russia began delivering the S-300 system this year under a contract signed in 2007, and Iran says the entire system should be in place by the end of the year. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-installs-air-missile-systems-around-former-nuclear-enrichment-plant-a7216846.html
China nuclear developer, Saudi’s Falih meet on nuclear cooperation By Reuters | Aug 30, 2016,BEIJING: China’s leading state nuclear project developer China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said it met on Monday with Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih to discuss cooperation in the nuclear power sector.
Beijing is embarking on an ambitious plan to export its locally developed nuclear technology as well as its equipment manufacturing capacity, potentially worth billions of dollars.
CNNC chairman Sun Qin told Al-Falih that China is ready to cooperate fully with Saudi Arabia over nuclear power, according to a short statement posted on the CNNC website late on Monday.
The statement said the Saudi energy ministry welcomed CNNC in expanding its business in the kingdom, including research and development of nuclear technology, uranium mining and the building of nuclear power stations, but gave no further details. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on training nuclear personnel, the statement said. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53924844.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst