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Russia still part of Iran nuclear talks, US hopes for progress, White House says

Russia still part of Iran nuclear talks, US hopes for progress, White House says,  WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Russians continue to be part of nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Biden administration hopes to make progress in those talks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Why the Iran nuclear talks have stalled

Why have the nuclear negotiations with Iran stalled?  Middle East Monitor, February 16, 2022   ””    …………………………………………………………………… Optimism about the outcome of the current negotiations remains difficult, not only because of the internal pressures — US negotiators obliged to make changes to the agreement; the Iranians calling for the complete lifting of sanctions — but also because of the other Iranian demand for a pledge that a new deal will remain in effect even when the US administration changes.

The difficulty in this is that it is not related to America’s relationship with Iran, but to the nature of the US political system, which refuses to make any agreement or treaty binding on future administrations. At the moment, the Iranian negotiator does not want to understand this, and instead insists on pressing for a guarantee which the Biden administration cannot provide.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US Grants Sanctions Relief To Iran,Inches Closer To Nuclear Deal Renewal

US Grants Sanctions Relief To Iran,Inches Closer To Nuclear Deal Renewal, Kashmir Observer 

Agencies | February 5, 2022  Washington- The Biden administration has restored a sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said on Friday, as indirect talks between the United States and Iran on returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement entered the final stretch.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The waiver was needed to allow for technical discussions that were key to the talks about return to the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a State Department official said…………..

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Movie on assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad premieres at FajrCulture

Movie on assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad premieres at Fajr Culture. Tehran Times, February 6, 2022 TEHRAN – “Henas”, a drama about the assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad, premiered at the 40th Fajr Film Festival on Saturday.

35-year-old Rezainejad was shot dead by Mossad gunmen before the eyes of his wife and little girl in front of his house in Tehran in July, 2011. The movie portrays the terrorist attack through the eyes of his wife.

We never intended to make a spy drama,” director Hossein Darabi said in a press conference after the premiere of the film.

“Due to the fact that the subject is a matter of great security sensitivity, we wanted to portray the feelings of the wife in that situation,” he added.

He noted that the story of the film has been written based on Rezainejad’s life story and has its roots in reality.

“There is no point in the film in conflict with reality,” said Rezainejad’s widow, Shoreh Pirani, who was in attendance at the screening and press conference……………………….

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Iran, media | Leave a comment

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway, Argus  31 Jan 22, Negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal made “significant progress” over the past three weeks, although differences remain on some key points, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said today.

The latest round of discussions resumed in December, with all the original parties to the deal working concurrently on issues relating to sanctions relief, Iran’s nuclear activities, verification and sequencing. The talks broke up late last week to allow delegates to return to their countries for consultations with their respective governments.

“The negotiations over the past three weeks have seen significant progress in four areas: sanctions lifting, nuclear commitments, verification and guarantees,” Khatibzadeh said, echoing some of the more positive assessments that have been made over the past few days.

Russia’s envoy to the talks Mikhail Ulyanov said last week that a deal between Iran and the US could be sealed as early as the end of February. The US has also been more optimistic in its appraisal of the talks, with White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk saying last week that we are “in the ballpark of a possible deal”…………………….

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

MOST of Iran’s nuclear facilities are vulnerable to devastating drone attacks

Iran Fukushima warning: Iran’s nuclear plants could be WIPED OUT

MOST of Iran’s nuclear facilities are vulnerable to devastating drone attacks, a report has found.

By MARCO GIANNANGELI – DIPLOMATIC EDITOR11:00, Sun, Jan 30, 2022  But using unmanned vehicles (UMVs) laden with explosives could lead to a critical Fukushima-style reactor meltdown.

The revelation comes as diplomatic efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue to flounder, with former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi last night warning: “The Iran nuclear deal is already on life-support and it is very possible that it might falter altogether due to Iran’s shameless violations.”

Detailed analysis of its 22 nuclear facilities by Dr Bahram Ghiassee, of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, found that all except the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, near Qom – built into a mountain – are vulnerable to drone strikes which could incapacitate them.

And burying the Fordow facility under 60 metres of rock does not protect it from attacks on air shafts and other external supply systems.

While many facilities would result in little overall impact if attacked, there are glaring exceptions, the report found.    These include the conversion plant at the Esfahan nuclear technology centre – a critical part of the nuclear fuel cycle – and the Bushehr nuclear power plant on the Persian Gulf.

The same applies to the Natanz enrichment facility now being rebuilt into a mountain after an explosion – believed to have been caused by Israel – destroyed the previous overland structure.

Though nuclear power plants are built to withstand light aerial attacks, Bushehr’s ancillary facilities “are highly vulnerable to aerial attacks, including drone strikes”, said the report, including by “commercially available as ‘Surface UMVs’ and ‘Submersible UMVs’, with an operating range of some 120 kilometres. “

However, Dr Ghiassee, a nuclear consultant,  added: “A synchronised attack on the cooling water facilities, external electricity supply and electricity distribution systems could lead to the overheating of the reactor core and the spent fuel ponds. 

“Under such circumstances, as in the Fukushima nuclear accident, the reactor core could melt down.”

Attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities are not a new phenomenon.

The Bushehr power plant was attacked by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, though this caused minor damage.

More recently, Iran has been the recipient of incapacitating explosions, cyber strikes and UMV attacks.

Though not confirmed by Tel Aviv, these are believed to have been carried out by Israel after it openly pledged never to allow Iran – which has threatened to blow Israel off the face of the world – to possess nuclear weapons.

We have a duty to be brave and responsible for the fate of our children and grandchildren. We have used force against our enemies in the past, and we are convinced that in extreme situations, there is a need to act using military means,” said Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Alon Schuster recently.

Actions have included the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, the explosion at Natanz in 2020 – said to have been caused by the provision of faulty materials following Mossad’s infiltration of the supply chain- and the cyber strike in 2010 using the Stuxnet virus, which reportedly infected more than 200,000 commuters and destroyed a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Iran, safety | 1 Comment

Iran nuclear negotiations reaching final stage

Iran nuclear talks reaching final stage – E3 negotiators   LONDON, Jan 28, 22 (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers are reaching their final stage and now require political input, E3 negotiators said in a statement on Friday.

Iran nuclear talks reaching final stage – E3 negotiators   LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers are reaching their final stage and now require political input, E3 negotiators said in a statement on Friday.

aJnuary has been the most intensive period of these talks to date,” said the statement from the so-called E3: France, Britain and Germany.

“Everyone knows we are reaching the final stage, which requires political decisions. Negotiators are therefore returning to capitals for consultation.”

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran releases US prisoners: Report

Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran releases US prisoners: Report

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley tells the Reuters news agency agreement ‘hard to imagine’ while four ‘innocent Americans held hostage’.  Ajjazeera, The United States is unlikely to strike a deal with Iran to save the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement unless Tehran releases four US citizens Washington says it is holding hostage, the lead US nuclear negotiator told the Reuters news agency on Sunday.

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley repeated the long-held US position that the issue of the four people held in Iran is separate from the nuclear negotiations. He moved a step closer, however, to saying that their release was a precondition for a nuclear agreement…………….

In recent years, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners, mostly on espionage and security-related charges.

Rights groups have accused Iran of taking prisoners to gain diplomatic leverage, while Western powers have long demanded that Tehran free their citizens, who they say are political prisoners.

Tehran denies holding people for political reasons……………………

The indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both countries back into full compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal are in their eighth round. Iran refuses to hold meetings with US officials, meaning others shuttle between the two sides………………………

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran ‘will consider’ direct talks with US, says foreign minister

Iran ‘will consider’ direct talks with US, says foreign minister, US administration says direct talks are ‘urgently needed’ to facilitate communication to restore the Iran nuclear deal. Aljazeera, 24 Jan 22
, Tehran is willing to engage in direct talks with Washington if negotiations to revive the Iranian nuclear deal reach an advanced stage that requires such dialogue, Iran’s foreign minister has said.

Hossein Amirabdollahian’s remarks on Monday came as United States officials have been urging direct negotiations to restore the 2015 accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)……….

Iran had previously ruled out direct meetings with the US. Instead, the two sides have been negotiating indirectly in Vienna to revive the deal, which saw Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting international sanctions against its economy………………..

Biden has pledged to restore the deal, but several rounds of talks in the Austrian capital have failed to secure a path back into the agreement so far.

The US administration says preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is one of its foreign policy priorities, but Tehran has denied it is seeking nuclear weapons………………….

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks deadlock risks dangerous vacuum

Iran nuclear talks deadlock risks dangerous vacuum, Analysis: As clock runs down on Vienna talks, key obstacles remain to be cleared by Tehran and the west. Guardian,  Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Mon 17 Jan 2022 The countdown to the end of the six-month-long talks in Vienna on the future of the Iran nuclear deal has begun. No deadline has been formally set, but if there is no progress in less than two weeks the process will come to an end leaving a dangerous vacuum.

The White House has already been rolling the pitch preparing its political lines for a breakdown by saying the US withdrawal from the agreement by Donald Trump in 2018 has proved to be a disaster. If there is no agreement, the Biden team intend Trump will take the blame…………

Those close to the talks say they think there can be an agreement, but that from a western perspective it will possibly be so limited in scope it is will be seen as temporary. If so, as Enrique Mora, the chief EU negotiator has said, it will not be for lack of trying……….

Full-scale talks will resume on Monday, with both the UK and Germany represented by new chief negotiators, Stephanie Al-Qaq and Tjorven Bellmann respectively. Detail on progress is being kept to a minimum………………….

A second issue surrounds the guarantees Iran is seeking that the US will not repeat Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in May 2018. The US cannot offer a legally binding treaty since the Senate would never agree to one. Price said: “There is no such thing as a guarantee in diplomacy and international affairs. We can speak for this administration, but this administration has been very clear that we are prepared to return to full compliance with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and to stay in full compliance with the JCPOA as long as Iran does the same.”

A UN security council resolution might be a bare minimum of comfort for Iran, but is hardly binding on the parties. Tehran wants binding commitments that if the US quits the deal, the EU will do more to defy secondary US sanctions by injecting real cash into the abortive trading mechanism Instex set up by the EU to bypass US sanctions.

A third issue is verification. What are the metrics by which Iran can verify that sanctions have been lifted in reality and not just on paper, and consequently that it must stop enriching uranium at levels of purity not allowed under the agreement? There has been loose talk that the US believes the lifting of sanctions could be verified in 48 hours, but Iran wants a longer process with benchmarks.

The final issue is how to handle both the technical knowledge, including advanced centrifuges and large amounts of enriched uranium that Iran has acquired during the period it has ended its commitments to the JCPOA.

January 18, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Former Israeli premier says notion of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities mere ‘nonsense’

Former Israeli premier says notion of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities mere ‘nonsense’Press Tv, 11 January 2022   The former Israeli prime minister has dismissed any possibility of a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the regime, saying that such a notion is “nonsense.”

Ehud Olmert made the remarks in a Monday interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news, during which he derided the idea that the Tel Aviv regime would be able to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities through a military strike.

Olmert emphasized that such a notion would be pure “nonsense,” adding, “It is unnecessary arrogance that indicates weakness, not strength.”

Olmert’s latest remarks echoed his previous assertions in an opinion piece published in Haaretz Hebrew site in which he noted that Israel did not have conventional military capabilities that enable it to strike and permanently eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities as it did in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

The Israeli regime has never stopped advertising the threat of “military action” against Iran and falsely accusing the Islamic Republic of seeking to acquire nonconventional military capability.

Iran, for its part, has repeatedly downplayed Israel’s threats against its nuclear facilities, promising crushing response to any act of aggression against the country.

On January 3, Iran’s foreign minister slammed anti-Iranian remarks by Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid, saying that the Islamic Republic will defend its interests with power.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s remarks came in a tweet in response to earlier claims by Lapid that the Zionist regime “could attack Iran if necessary without informing the Biden administration,” adding that “Israel has capabilities, some of which the world, and even some experts in the field, cannot even imagine.”……………………………

January 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Will 2022 Bring A Revived Iran Nuclear Deal — Or A Hard-Line Plan B?

Will 2022 Bring A Revived Iran Nuclear Deal — Or A Hard-Line Plan B?,  Radio Free Europe 31 Dec 21, The year 2022 could see an escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States if nuclear talks aimed at reviving the stalled 2015 nuclear deal collapse.

While analyst believe an agreement is still reachable as ongoing negotiations are entered into the new calendar, the United States and EU countries have warned that there are only “weeks” left to salvage the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).

The landmark accord, which significantly limited Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, unraveled after 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran………………

Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, says there is still a “narrow pathway” for mutual compliance with the 2015 deal, adding that it requires flexibility on both sides and a pragmatic approach by Tehran…………

Experts say the alternatives to the nuclear deal are not attractive.

“None of the alternatives are good, which is, of course, why the West has pushed to revive the deal. But Iran is leaving it little choice,” Henry Rome, a senior Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, told RFE/RL. “The most likely no-deal scenario involves a year of escalation with more Iranian nuclear progress, American and European economic sanctions, Israeli and American military threats, and popular protest and economic stagnation in Iran.”

“The U.S. is likely to pull the plug and switch to a much more coercive approach by the end of January, unless either talks make good progress or Iran’s nuclear progress slows down,” Vaez said.

A more forceful approach could include attempts by the United States to cut off Iran’s oil exports to China, which have continued despite U.S. sanctions that prevent Iran from selling its oil, a main source of revenue for the country. Such oil sales, which according to figures by the commodity analytics firm Kpler increased to almost 18 million barrels in November, have helped Tehran survive under sanctions that have crippled its economy.

There have also been talks about an interim deal under which Tehran would suspend its sensitive nuclear activities in exchange of some economic relief. Such an agreement, similar to the approach employed in working out the original JCPOA, could stave off an immediate nuclear crisis and create time and space for a future deal.

But as analyst Rome notes, Tehran is unlikely to go that route for now.

“I am doubtful there will be an interim deal next year,” Rome said. “If Iran is not keen on the economic benefits of the full JCPOA, it’s not clear why it would settle for lesser benefits under a smaller deal.”………………………

January 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran launches rocket into space as nuclear talks continue

Iran launches rocket into space as nuclear talks continue, Aljazeera, 31 Dec 21,

Iran uses satellite carrier rocket to send three research devices into space, state media reports, as talks to revive nuclear deal continue in Vienna.   

Iran has launched a satellite carrier rocket bearing three research devices into space, according to state media, as difficult negotiations over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers continue in Vienna.The reports on Thursday did not say when the launch was conducted, nor what devices the carrier brought with it. It was unclear whether any of the objects entered orbit around the Earth……………………..

January 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, technology | Leave a comment

Iran: The chance for nuclear diplomacy shouldn’t be wasted

Mahmood Monshipouri, PhD. The chance for nuclear diplomacy shouldn’t be wasted, Tehran Times, ,December 26, 2021 – With negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions—JCPOA) being disrupted and delayed for so long, the parties concerned cannot avoid very serious talks any longer. Given the ongoing the US-Russia tensions over Ukraine on the one hand and the US-China tensions over Taiwan on the other, the importance of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal cannot be underestimated. Furthermore, regional cooperation between Iran and its oil-rich neighbors is likely to increase as the prospects for the gradual U.S. withdrawal from the Persian Gulf region seem all but certain.

It is worth noting that the UAE has facilitated selling Iranian oil to China, significantly reducing the risks of regional escalation with Iran.  Many sources have recently indicated that a thaw in economic relations between Tehran and Abu Dhabi has already occurred even as U.S. sanctions on Iran continue to remain in place.  In light of these new realities, the real question persists:  Will the Biden administration stay on the current path of stalemate and trigger further tensions with Iran or will it instead act swiftly enough to avoid the very worst consequences of gamesmanship? A failed nuclear diplomacy could have profound and destabilizing consequences for the region and the rest of the world.  Needless to say, such an eventuality must be avoided at all costs. …………………………………….

What is at stake is the global economy and peace. The likely consequences of failed diplomacy—both in the immediate future and over the longer term—include military conflicts, disruption of oil shipments, and an unprecedented rise in regional tensions.  Aside from the dangers of military confrontation, which could have grave ramifications, disruption of the world’s most important oil chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz—through which over 20 million barrels of oil flow per day, or the equivalent of nearly one-fifth of global petroleum consumption—could plunge the global economy into a depression of historic proportion.  Increasing regional tensions between Iran and its neighbors and the possibility of Iranian military actions in retaliation to mounting economic and political pressures would have far worse consequences…………………….

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran Diplomat Condemns West’s ‘Psychological Warfare’ in Nuclear Deadlock

Iran Diplomat Condemns West’s ‘Psychological Warfare’ in Nuclear Deadlock, NewsWeek
  An Iranian official has fired more barbs at the Western signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, ahead of the resumption of talks to revive the accord in Vienna next week.

Iran’s ambassador to the U.K., Mohsen Baharvand, is the latest Iranian diplomat to criticize the conduct of the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. in the ongoing negotiations, which after seven rounds of talks have failed to break the deadlock.

Both European and American representatives are warning that the window to make a deal is closing. In the absence of a diplomatic solution, some reports have suggested that the U.S.—with Israeli backing—will consider military action to slow Iran’s nuclear program.

“When we do not negotiate with them, they use all their tools and hypocritically pretend to be in favor of dialogue and engagement,” Baharvand wrote on his Instagram account, as reported by Iran’s Mehr News Agency.

“However when Iran agrees to sit at the table, the Western side makes excessive demands contrary to their previous statements. They do not give the other side any rights and adopt an aggressive stance so that any negotiator with any political background regrets the constructive and positive attitude…………….

Iran and its European and American partners have blamed one another for the failure of the recent rounds of talks, both sides suggesting the other is making unrealistic demands designed to be rejected…………..

Tensions are high as representatives prepare for the next round of Vienna talks on Monday.

From Iran, Abolfazl Amouei—the spokesperson for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee—said on Friday that Western negotiators should “stop stubbornness and accept Iran’s proposals for removal of sanctions.”

December 24, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment