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Divisions between USA and its Western allies now deepened by Israeli claims about Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions

Israeli claims on Iran divide US, allies  WP,  May 1 JERUSALEM — The Latest on the Israel’s allegations that Iran concealed a nuclear weapons program before signing a deal with world powers in 2015 (all times local):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest accusations about Iran’s past nuclear activities have received a warm welcome in Washington but a far cooler reception in Europe.

The claims appear to have deepened divisions among Western allies ahead of President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the international nuclear deal later this month.

6:45 p.m.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says the International Atomic Energy Agency should quickly follow up on allegations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who claims that Iranian leaders covered up a nuclear weapons program before signing a deal with world powers in 2015.

Maas told the Bild daily on Tuesday that “the IAEA must as quickly as possible get access to Israeli information and clarify if there are indeed indications of a violation of the deal.”

…….. Netanyahu provided no direct evidence that Iran has violated the 2015 deal, which it signed with the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia.3:55 p.m.

Britain’s foreign minister says the alleged new evidence presented by Israel about Iranian nuclear intentions shows why the international nuclear deal with Iran must remain in place.

…… British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, however, said the presentation “underlines the importance” of keeping the deal’s constraints on Iran in place.  He says the deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions, but instead is based on verification and inspections.3:30 p.m.

The U.N. nuclear agency says it believes that Iran had a “coordinated” nuclear weapons program in place before 2003, but found “no credible indications” of such work after 2009.

The agency issued its assessment on Tuesday, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released what he said was a “half ton” of seized documents proving that Iran has lied about its nuclear intentions.

The documents focused on Iranian activities before 2003 and did not provide any explicit evidence that Iran has violated its 2015 nuclear deal with the international community.

Tuesday’s IAEA assessment, which repeated an earlier 2015 report, did not directly mention Netanyahu’s claims.

But it noted that in its 2015 report, its board of governors “declared that its consideration of this issue was closed.”

….. Trump says the discovery vindicated his criticism of the deal.


May 2, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

How the Iran nuclear deal could be strengthened, rather than scrapped May 1 Credit Israeli intelligence for another coup: Its agents smuggled 100,000 pages of documents out of Iran about that country’s nuclear program. The mullahs will now have to patch a major security leak. But  the revelations contained in those papers are not quite as newsworthy as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in a made-for-American-TV presentation on Monday. “I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time,” Netanyahu said. So what did Iranian leaders lie about? That they had a secret nuclear-development program called Project Amad … that was shelved in 2003.
No kidding. Iran’s nuclear-weapons development program was widely known — and it was, in fact, the justification for the United States, Russia, China, the European Union, Germany, Britain and France to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in 2015, imposing strict limitations on Iran’s ability to enrich and reprocess fissile material.

Netanyahu claims that Iran has violated the JCPOA, a.k.a. the “Iran nuclear deal.” But on that score his evidence is thin. “In 2017,” he said, “Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.” It’s possible that Iran did not come clean about its past nuclear activities, as it was supposed to do under the deal, but no one ever expected that the agreement would eradicate Iran’s nuclear know-how. It was only supposed to stop the actual development of nuclear weapons. Netanyahu is clearly eager to torpedo the nuclear deal, and if he had compelling evidence of Iranian violations he would have presented it — but he doesn’t and didn’t.

There is nothing in Israel’s revelations that contradicts that assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. In February, Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, stated that “the JCPOA has extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon from a few months to about one year” and that it “has also enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities.” Just last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that, after reading the entire text of the nuclear agreement three times, he was impressed that “the verification, what is in there, is actually pretty robust.”

These sober assessments hardly justify President Trump’s hyperbolic claims that the Iran nuclear agreement is the “worst deal ever.” It is, in fact, a successful deal that appears to be constricting Iran’s nuclear development — just as intended.

There were, of course, real limitations on the scope of the nuclear deal, which is why I and other critics argued that President Barack Obama should have held out for tougher terms. It doesn’t allow unfettered inspection of all Iranian military bases. It doesn’t ban Iranian nuclear development in perpetuity; the caps on centrifuges will begin expiring in 2026. It doesn’t ban ballistic missile testing. And it doesn’t prevent Iran from destabilizing its neighbors.

But that’s not an argument for blowing up the JCPOA, as Trump seems intent on doing as early as May 12 (the next deadline for reimposing sanctions lifted under the deal). That’s an argument for strengthening it. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in their visits to Washington last week, offered Trump a way to accomplish this goal by negotiating a side agreement with the Europeans. The United States and European Union could state their intent to apply sanctions on Iran if it tests ballistic missiles, continues destabilizing its neighbors, dramatically expands the number of working centrifuges, or attempts to weaponize its nuclear program at any point in the future. The United States could also declare that it will keep troops in eastern Syria to contain Iranian power — something Trump is loath to do.

The beauty of a side agreement is that it would not require the assent of Iran, Russia and China — which is unlikely — and it would give Trump the ability to boast, truthfully, that he had increased the pressure on Iran. But it would require him to cease his incessant denigration of the nuclear deal, which he seems to hate mainly because he wasn’t the one who negotiated it, and force him to admit that he failed to rewrite it.

That would be the grown-up thing to do, which is why our juvenile president is unlikely to do it. As Macron said, he is likely to “get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.” Netanyahu’s performance on Monday night, clearly coordinated with the Trump administration, is intended to give the president the excuse he needs to act on his impulse.

But has Trump thought about what comes next? Silly question, I know. If the United States reimposes nuclear sanctions on Iran, even though there is no evidence that Iran is cheating on the nuclear deal, Iran may continue abiding by its limitations — or it may not. The Europeans may go along under threat of secondary sanctions — or they may not. No one knows what will happen next, but the likelihood is that nuking the JCPOA will undermine, rather than strengthen, attempts to limit the Iranian threat.

Trump is already dealing with one nuclear crisis in North Korea. It is hard to know why he wants to start another one in the Middle East.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

France’s Macron and Iran’s Rouhani to work on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal

France’s Macron and Iran’s Rouhani agree to work on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, CNBC, 29 Apr 18

May 2, 2018 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Pompeo: Trump Will Drop Iran Nuclear Deal ‘If We Cannot Fix It’ Speaking to journalists alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while visiting Tel Aviv on April 29, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump had “directed the administration to try and fix” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) — a multilateral agreement reached in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Should that prove impossible, Pompeo said Trump was “going to withdraw from the deal.” (Reuters)

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Examining the consequences if Trump kills the Iran nuclear deal

What’s at Stake If Trump Kills the Iran Nuclear Deal? Bloomberg. By Lin Noueihed and  David Wainer, April 28, 2018, 

  • From oil to business to politics, the impact could be global
  • Trump has May 12 deadline for decision on sanctions waiver
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to perhaps fatally undermine a years-in-the-making nuclear deal with Iran, with the consequences likely to be felt from Middle East war zones to oil markets. If the U.S. refuses to continue to waive sanctions under the six-nation agreement reached in 2015, there’s a real threat Iran will also walk away. European powers are scrambling to persuade Trump to preserve the agreement, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington on Friday on the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron. So what’s at stake if the U.S. withdraws?

·         Oil Markets  A “snap-back” in Iran sanctions by the U.S. would almost certainly reduce Iran’s oil exports, further stretching an oil market that’s seen prices rise 11 percent this year. What’s more uncertain is exactly how far shipments would fall.

…….Doing Business  A resumption in U.S. sanctions could derail tens of billions of dollars in business deals. While a U.S. exit may not render signed deals illegal, new sanctions would make it risky for international companies to continue working in Iran due to potential ramifications for their U.S. business or banking transactions.

It’s not just companies involved in Iran that are worried. Privately, business leaders increasingly fret about the growing risk of conflict in the region if Iran resumes uranium enrichment in response to a U.S. withdrawal — and what that could mean for world trade…….

………Global Power Balance On the international stage, the biggest winners from a resumption of American sanctions could be two other signatories to the deal — China and Russia, whose influence has gradually spread in the Middle East as the U.S. has scaled back its engagement…….

Nuclear Risks  The collapse of the accord could hamper denuclearization efforts, and not just in the Middle East. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned this week that if the U.S. exits, his country might resume its nuclear program. Iranian officials have also threatened to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the deal crumbles. Iran denies its enrichment was ever intended to build weapons as the U.S., Israel and others had charged.

North Korea, which does have a nuclear arsenal, will be watching developments closely. Ditching a deal the U.S. helped shape could undermine American credibility at the negotiating table as it seeks denuclearization in the Korean peninsula. Some analysts say the upcoming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might be weighing on Trump — and leave him more inclined to preserve Iran’s agreement.

Iranian Political Dynamics A collapse of the nuclear deal would be a blow for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the reformists who championed a diplomatic settlement to the nuclear standoff that had left Iran increasingly isolated. The nuclear deal is a rare concrete achievement for Rouhani, who was re-elected last year but has been weakened by demonstrations, a currency crisis and problems in the banking sector.

Hardliners, who warned through years of talks that the U.S. was not a trustworthy partner, would emerge strengthened………

Risk of Conflict If the deal collapses and Iran restarts its nuclear program, the risk of confrontation could increase. Washington’s leading Middle East allies — Israel and Saudi Arabia — are both determined to roll back Iranian influence in their neighborhood. Israel in the past has threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites to prevent it obtaining a weapons capability.

The potential for a broader conflict is compounded by the war in Syria, which has already drawn in Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Russia, the U.S., Turkey and Israel.

Defying the U.S. The amount of turbulence, especially for businesses, will depend on how Iran, and other powers, respond to any U.S. exit. “If the Americans wind up walking away from the deal but the rest of the world is able to say ‘we are sticking to our approach,’ then this might not be so catastrophic for investments in Iran,” said Alex Vatanka, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

The ‘demonising’ of Iran, by USA and other Western powers, despite Iran’s good record on the nuclear deal

What’s behind the push against Iran nuclear deal?
Iran being ‘demonised’ for opposing western powers and their allies attempting to dominate the Middle East, experts say. 
Aljazeera, by Ali Younes, 27 Apr 18

A sustained effort by the administration of US President Donald Trump and its allies at home and in the Middle East to cancel, or at least renegotiate, the Iran nuclear deal appears to have succeeded in bringing one major European country, France, to its side.

French President Emmanuel Macron said during a visit to the United States this week that he hoped to “work on a new deal with Iran” following “frank discussions” with Trump.

The US president is a fierce critic of the landmark 2015 pact, signed between Tehran and the US, France, Russia, Germany, China, the UK and the European Union.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani swiftly countered, saying: “You [Trump], along with the leader of some European country, are deciding for an agreement reached among seven parties. Who allowed you to do that?”

Iran experts argue, however, that the real issue is not Tehran’s nuclear programme, that even if it were taken out of the picture, “Iran would still be demonised and made evil” by its regional adversaries – similar to what has been happening, they argue, since the 1979 revolution.

“The root causes of Israeli and Western animosity towards Iran has to do with its opposition to Western hegemony in the region and its support and sympathy with the Palestinian people,” said Mohammad Marandy, professor at the University of Tehran.

“Iran’s key foreign policy objectives since the 1979 revolution were its moral stance against the South African apartheid and its solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

A push against Iran

The push against Iran in Washington acquired more ammunition when Trump recently appointed John Bolton as his national security adviser.

Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN during the presidency of George W Bush, has been a vocal opponent of the 2015 deal, which was signed by the administration of President Barack Obama.

In a 2015 opinion piece at the New York Times, Bolton floated the idea of a US or Israeli bombing of Iran’s nuclear reactors.

……The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), eased sanctions on Iran in return for it agreeing that it would not develop nuclear weapons.

Fatemeh Aman, a Washington-based Iran analyst, said if Tehran “decided to make between one to three nuclear bombs, it could have made them within two, three months based on the amount of highly enriched uranium they had before they signed the agreement with the US and its allies.

“But once they signed the agreement and shipped their highly enriched uranium to Russia, Iran is now much further away from producing a nuclear bomb,” she added.

“This has put Iran nuclear programme back to 10-15 years.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified Iran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement, while the country is also a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a signatory of the Additional Protocols, which stipulate strict safeguard measures against nuclear proliferation, Aman noted……..

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter refutes the spin and deception in claims that Iran is a nuclear threat

Is Iran really a nuclear threat? Investigative journalist Gareth Porter dispels some of the myths surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme, by Mersiha Gadzo, 24 Apr 2018

“Iran is moving ‘very quickly’ towards production of a nuclear bomb and could have a weapon within two years,” the United Press International reported.

The quote was published in a 1984 article headlined “‘Ayatollah’ bomb in production for Iran” but it might as well have been published today.

For more than three decades Western politicians and the press have been claiming that Iran is a nuclear threat.

Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres echoed this claim numerous times in the 1990s, warning that Iran would build an atomic bomb by the next decade.

In the fall of 2012, Netanyahu declared at the United Nations General Assembly meeting – with his infamous bomb cartoon – that Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon by June 2013.

The following October, former US President Barack Obama followed with a new deadline – that Iran is a year away from making a nuclear bomb.

Most recently, the press reported earlier this month that Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, stated he is “100 percent certain” that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

And yet, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released eight statements over the years confirming that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments fully.

In July 2015, a landmark nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries: China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany, in which Iran agreed to reduce its enrichment of uranium, curbing its nuclear programme and ending decades of sanctions on the country.

While Iran has proved to be following its commitments, US President Donald Trump has found a new threat – Iran’s ballistic missile programme – and has threatened to scrap the nuclear agreement, which he has called the “worst deal ever”.

So how much of a nuclear threat is Iran?

Al Jazeera spoke with Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist and author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, with more than a decade of research into the topic, to learn more.

Al Jazeera: We heard yet another claim earlier this month, this time from the chief of Mossad, that Iran is planning to build a nuclear bomb. You’ve uncovered a wealth of evidence that proves Iran is not a threat. What are some of the most important pieces of evidence?

Gareth Porter: I think the most important set of documentary evidence is the so-called “laptop” documents. Those were documents that were supposedly [smuggled out] from a covert Iranian nuclear weapons research programme in the early 2000s, but I was able to show in my book that these documents were in fact passed on to Western intelligence by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), who of course were sworn enemies of the regime.

They were considered a terrorist organisation for many years, and most importantly the MEK was working hand in glove with Israel’s Mossad during the period when these documents surfaced.

The Israelis had both the motive and the opportunity to manufacture these documents that Mossad had created, a special programme to circulate “information” about the Iranian nuclear programme to other governments and the news media of the world in 2003. That was just when these documents would have been produced.

There are multiple indications that these documents are forgeries – the most important of which are the drawings of what is alleged to be in the documents, a series of efforts to make a nuclear weapon with the Iranian Shahab 3 missile.

These drawings actually show the wrong missile warhead. It’s a missile warhead that the Iranians are known now to have abandoned by the time these drawings were supposedly brought into existence. It is the most important giveaway that these documents were not genuine; they were fake.

Al Jazeera: You have previously said that to understand Iranian policy towards nuclear weapons, one should refer to the historical episode of its war with Iraq from 1980-1988. What can you tell us about that?

Porter: If you go back to the Iran-Iraq war, what was happening for eight years was that Iraq’s armed forces were hitting both military and civilian targets in Iran with chemical weapons, which caused as many as – if I remember the figure – 110,000 serious injuries and tens of thousands of deaths to Iranians because of the chemicals dropped on them by the Iraqis.

The IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) – in charge of Iran’s defences against the Iraqi attack – wanted Ayatollah Khomeini to agree to go ahead with not just chemical and biological weapons but nuclear weapons, to have programmes to prepare the capability at least to retaliate, in order to try to deter at the very least the attacks of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq.

There were those early in the war and late in the war… who hoped that Khomeini would change his mind; and the reason that he gave in both cases is quite simple – he said Iran cannot possess or use any weapons of mass destruction because it is illegal, illicit under Islam.

He was the person in charge of the interpretation of what Islam meant for policies and laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is an extremely important and supremely convincing argument for the seriousness of the Iranian refusal to have a nuclear weapons programme… There’s no real evidence to the contrary that suggests that Iran ever had a real nuclear weapons research programme.

Al Jazeera: We’ve seen over the years that Iran has acted cooperatively regarding its nuclear programme. However, in the end, there’s always a new accusation that comes up.

This time the US and allies are concerned with Iran’s ballistic missile programme. Why are they focused on Iran’s programme when other countries have ballistic missile programmes as well? Have we seen any credible evidence that proves that Iran is a threat that should be carefully watched?

Porter: It’s absolutely clear that Iran has simply used ballistic missiles as a deterrent far more than any other state in the Middle East because they do not have an air force. They do not have fighter jets or fighter-bombers that could deliver any conventional weapons as a retaliation for an attack on Iran. And that has been the case since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979.

The other major players in the Middle East, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, both have ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting Iran. This is very clearly a matter of self-defence in terms of deterrence for Iran. And I think the reason for the United States taking a position that it has, has nothing to do with the reality of the situation; this is pure politics – both international and domestic that have governed the position of US government – not just under Trump but under George W Bush and Obama as well.

Al Jazeera: Some say Iran is a threat because its leaders have allegedly stated their aim is to destroy Israel. How credible are these claims?

Porter: The Iranians have never threatened an aggressive attack on Israel. What they have said is that Israel should cease to exist as a state in which only Jews have full rights, just as South Africa had to cease to exist as a state for whites. It is the same position taken by supporters of Palestinian rights around the world.

This interview has been edited for length.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Iran, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Iran’s warnings if Donald Trump tears up 2015 nuclear deal,

Iran threatens to withdraw from nuclear weapons treaty, Tehran warns US of possible repercussions should Donald Trump tear up 2015 nuclear deal, Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan in London and Julian Borger in Washington DC 25 Apr 2018

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for a “new” deal with Iran

Trump, Macron call for ‘new’ nuclear deal with Iran  US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for a “new” deal with Iran Tuesday, looking beyond divisions over a landmark nuclear accord that now hangs in the balance. SBS News 25 Apr 18  Trump pilloried a three-year old agreement designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program as “insane” and “ridiculous”, despite European pleas for him not to walk away from the accord.

Instead, Trump eyed a “grand bargain” that would also limit Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for militant groups across the Middle East.

“I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger, maybe, deal,” said Trump, stressing that any new accord would have to be built on “solid foundations.”………

Macron, visiting Washington on a landmark state visit, admitted after meeting Trump that he did not know whether the US president would walk away from the nuclear deal when a May 12 decision deadline comes up.

“I can say that we have had very frank discussions on that, just the two of us,” Macron told a joint press conference with Trump at his side.

Putting on a brave face, he said he wished “for now to work on a new deal with Iran” of which the nuclear accord could be one part.

Trump — true to his background in reality TV — teased his looming decision.

…… Neither Trump nor Macron indicated what Iran would get in return for concessions on its ballistic programs or activities in the Middle East.Iran, meanwhile, has warned it will ramp up enrichment activities if Trump walks away from the accord, prompting Trump to issue a blunt warning.

“They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they ever had before. And you can mark it down,” he said……..


April 25, 2018 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran warns on consequences if Trump sabotages the nuclear deal

Guardian 22nd April 2018 ‘It will not be very pleasant,’ Iran warns, if Trump sabotages nuclear
deal. Foreign minister indicates Tehran could go back to enriching uranium
if US president tries to add new conditions to ground-breaking agreement.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

French President Macron urges Trump to stick with 2015 Iran nuclear accord

Iran nuclear deal: Macron urges Trump to stick with 2015 accord, 23 Apr 18   French President Emmanuel Macron has urged his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to stick with the Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no better option.

He was speaking to Fox News ahead of a three-day state visit to the US starting on Monday.

Mr Trump has threatened to abandon the deal, which limits Iran’s nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, unless it is toughened up.

He has until 12 May to decide whether to restore US sanctions against Iran.

Correspondents say such a move would effectively kill the landmark agreement between Iran and six major western powers.

The two leaders are expected to address the issue when Mr Trump hosts Mr Macron this week.

Mr Macron told Fox News he had no “plan B” for the deal if the US decided to restore sanctions, and said the US should stay in the agreement as long as there was no better option.

“Let’s present this framework because it’s better than the sort of North Korean-type situation.”

He said the two leaders had “a very special relationship” and he wanted to address ballistic missiles as part of the deal – a key demand of the US president – as well as work to contain Iran’s influence in the region.

President Trump is also demanding that signatories to the deal agree permanent restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.

He has put pressure on his European co-signatories to address these issues before the 12 May deadline, when he needs to decide whether to sign a waiver giving sanctions relief to Iran.

Under US law, passed during the Obama administration, the president needs to sign these waivers every 120-180 days acknowledging Iran’s compliance with the deal.

When Mr Trump signed the last one, in January, he said it was a “last chance” to change the accord, before the US withdraws.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned on Saturday that his country was prepared to resume its nuclear programme “at much greater speed”, if the US withdrew from the accord.

Mr Macron also appealed to the US president not to pull troops out of Syria after the final defeat of so-called Islamic State, saying that would “leave the floor” to Iran and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Magnitude-5.5 quake strikes near Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant 

Iran earthquake latest: Magnitude-5.5 quake strikes near nuclear power plant  Country sits on major fault lines and is prone to frequent tremors, Independent UK, AgencyIndependent Staff – 19 Apr 18, An earthquake has hit southern Iran just 60 miles from the country’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.

It hit on Thursday morning and was also felt in Bahrain and other areas around the Persian Gulf.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck at 6.34am GMT, some 60 miles east of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the only operating nuclear power station in the Islamic Republic.

The USGS put the earthquake’s magnitude at 5.5, while Iranian state television, citing officials, described the quake as a magnitude 5.9. Varying magnitudes are common immediately after a temblor.

Government-run TV did not report any damage at the Bushehr plant, which has seen other earthquakes in the past and was built to resist damage from the tremors………

The USGS put the earthquake’s depth at 6.2 miles (10km) below the surface. Shallow earthquakes often have broader damage.

A magnitude-5 earthquake can cause considerable damage.

Iran sits on major fault lines and is prone to near-daily earthquakes……..

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Iran, safety | Leave a comment

Crown Prince Bin Salman suggests war may happen between Saudi Arabia and Iran

War between Saudi Arabia and Iran May Happen in Just 10-15 Years – Crown Princ Wrongs Watch 30 March, 2018 (RT)* — De-facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Bin Salman has warned that Riyadh may go to war with regional nemesis Iran in the next 10-15 years if the international community fails to apply more sanctions pressure on Tehran.    30 MARCH, 2018 (RT)

March 31, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nine Iranians Charged With Conducting Massive Cyber Theft Campaign on Behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Mabna Institute Hackers Penetrated Systems Belonging to Hundreds of Universities, Companies, and Other Victims to Steal Research, Academic and Proprietary Data, and Intellectual Property, USA Department of Justice, 23 Mar 18 

An Indictment charging Gholamreza Rafatnejad, 38; Ehsan Mohammadi, 37; Abdollah Karima, aka Vahid Karima, 39; Mostafa Sadeghi, 28; Seyed Ali Mirkarimi, 34; Mohammed Reza Sabahi, 26; Roozbeh Sabahi, 24; Abuzar Gohari Moqadam, 37; and Sajjad Tahmasebi, 30, all citizens and residents of Iran, was unsealed today.  The defendants were each leaders, contractors, associates, hackers-for-hire or affiliates of the Mabna Institute, an Iran-based company that, since at least 2013, conducted a coordinated campaign of cyber intrusions into computer systems belonging to 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the State of Hawaii, the State of Indiana, the United Nations, and the United Nations Children’s Fund……..

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Iran’s president accuses US of sabotaging 2015 pact

Iran’s Rouhani: West will regret collapse of nuclear deal
Iran’s president accuses US of sabotaging 2015 pact as other officials say Tehran’s missile programme is non-negotiable. Aljazeera, 7 Mar 18

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the West will come to “regret” the day the nuclear agreement collapses, laying blame on the United States for trying to sabotage the historic deal.

Rouhani’s comment came as a senior Revolutionary Guard official vowed on Tuesday that Iran will defy pressure to scale back the country’s ballistic missile programme – part of a new push by US President Donald Trump to renegotiate the original pact signed in 2015.

Following a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Tehran on Monday, Rouhani said while Iran is ready for any “unfavourable” consequences, negotiations and diplomacy remain the best options to save the agreement.

“Remaining committed to the accord would prove to the world that the negotiation and diplomacy is the best way to solve problems, but the collapse of the deal means that political talks are a waste of time,” he said.

Rouhani stressed it is necessary for all signatories of the deal to adhere to their commitments, adding Tehran will never be the first party to violate the agreement, Tasnim News agency quoted him as saying.

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, also said Europe should compel the US to abide by the deal, “rather than trying to appease” Washington. ………


March 7, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment