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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Very serious consequences if Iran nuclear deal scrapped

U.S. warns of dire consequences if diplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USA By Nicole Gaouette  April 5, 2016 Washington (CNN)The Obama administration warned of dire consequences Tuesday should the next occupant of the Oval Office scrap the Iran nuclear deal.

The accord to curb Tehran’s program in exchange for sanctions relief has become a popular punching bag on the GOP presidential campaign trail, with one candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, threatening to tear it up on Day One of his administration.
At a Capitol Hill hearing, a top State Department official pushed back at the Republican criticism in an effort to keep its hard-won implementation on track.
Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that if the next president withdraws from the deal, it could be calamitous.
“Any effort to step away from (the deal) would reopen a Pandora’s box in that region that would be hard to close again,” Shannon said. A decision to exit the deal could trigger Iran’s return to its nuclear weapons program, Shannon said, a possibility that many analysts say could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East as Tehran’s regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia, work to match it.
A U.S. rejection of the deal “would be grasped by hardliners in Iran to assert that we were an unreliable interlocutor,” Shannon said, and would be seen as “was a clear signal that they needed to return to their nuclear program.”
With the deal in place, Shannon maintained, the pact “will allow for a program that is exclusively peaceful.”
He also argued that stepping away from the deal would send ripples through close U.S. relationships as well.
“This would be an issue of concern” for those allies who negotiated the deal with Iran alongside the U.S., Shannon said, and would send a message that the U.S. isn’t able to maintain consistent policies from one administration to another……..http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/05/politics/iran-nuclear-deal-u-s-warning-gop/index.html

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran says that its missile tests don’t violate nuclear agreement, U.N. resolution

Iran: Missile tests don’t violate nuclear agreement, U.N. resolution , USA TODAY March 10, Iran on Thursday rejected claims that missile tests conducted this week violate the nuclear agreement it reached with the U.S. and other nations or a United Nations resolution.

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said the missiles were conventional armaments for “legitimate defense” and not designed for carrying nuclear warheads, the state-controlled IRNA news agency reported……..

The nuclear deal does not directly address missile restrictions. The U.N. Security Council lifted its ban on such testing when the deal was struck, but passed a resolution that “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles … including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”……….. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/03/10/iran-missile-tests-violate-no-deals/81578348/

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Big win for Rouhani and Reform in Iran elections

Rouhani And Reformers Wins Big In First Iran’s Post-Nuclear Deal Election, Huffington Post Millions crowded polling stations on Friday to vote in the first post-nuclear deal election. 02/28/2016 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a strong vote of confidence and reformist partners secured surprise gains in parliament in early results from elections that could speed up the Islamic Republic’s emergence from years of isolation.

While gains by moderates and reformists in Friday’s polls were most evident in the capital, where they won all Tehran’s 30 seats according to early results, the sheer scale of the advances there suggests a legislature more friendly to the pragmatist Rouhani has emerged as a distinct possibility.

A loosening of control by the anti-Western hardliners who currently dominate the 290-seat parliament could strengthen his hand to open Iran further to foreign trade and investment following last year’s breakthrough nuclear deal.

A reformist-backed list of candidates aligned with Rouhani was on course to win all 30 parliamentary seats in Tehran, initial results released on Sunday showed. Top conservative candidate Gholamali Haddad Adel was set to lose his seat.

“The people showed their power once again and gave more credibility and strength to their elected government,” Rouhani said, adding he would work with anyone who won election to build a future for the industrialised, oil-exporting country.

“The competition is over and the phase of unity and cooperation has arrived,” state news agency IRNA quoted his key ally, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as saying. “The time after elections is the time for hard work to build the country”.

There was silence from the conservative camp.

The polls were seen by analysts as a potential turning point for Iran, where nearly 60 percent of its 80 million population is under 30 and eager to engage with the world following the lifting of most sanctions…..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rouhani-and-reformers-wins-big-in-first-irans-post-nuclear-deal-election_us_56d2e76ce4b0bf0dab326d46

February 29, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is abiding by nuclear agreement

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran Abiding by Nuclear Deal, UN Agency Says International Atomic Energy Agency’s report says Tehran keeping within limits of July agreement, WSJK  By LAURENCE NORMAN Feb. 26, 2016 Iran has carried out most of its commitments under the nuclear agreement reached in July, the United Nations’ atomic agency said Friday, although for a time it exceeded the permitted amount of heavy water, which can be used to produce plutonium.

In its first report on Iran’s compliance deal since the agreement went into effect in mid-January, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran’s stock of heavy water had reached 130.9 tons, above the 130 tons limited permitted by the deal, the diplomats said.

However, the stockpile fell when Iran shipped 20 tons of heavy water out of the country on Wednesday. The IAEA verified the amount that was shipped, the report said.

One diplomat said the IAEA allows for a margin of error of 1 percentage point in such measurements, which means that Iran wasn’t technically over the limit…..

The nuclear deal saw Iran agree to scale back its nuclear activities and infrastructure in exchange for the lifting of tight, related sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union and the United Nations……. http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-abiding-by-nuclear-deal-un-agency-says-1456515699

February 27, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 8 Comments

Iran has kept all its commitments on nuclear deal

flag-IranU.S. Official: Iran Has Kept Commitments On Nuclear Deal So Far, Radio Free Europe,  By Golnaz Esfandiari February 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. official says Iran so far has kept its commitments under the nuclear agreement with world powers implemented last month.

Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementing the deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on February 11 that there is no evidence that Tehran is cheating.

“Whenever we’ve detected that there may be a potential for moving away from the commitments, we’ve engaged with our Iranian counterparts, and they’ve addressed those concerns every single time,” Mull said.

Mull and John Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, testified at the first senior-level congressional hearing held on the nuclear deal since it was implemented on January 16……http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-nuclear-deal-keeping-commitments/27546065.html

February 12, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Sanctions lifted as Iran complies with nuclear deal

flag-IranIran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted, NYT, By  JAN. 16, 2016 VIENNA — The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program.

This came at the end of a day of high drama that played out in a diplomatic dance across Europe and the Middle East, just hours after Tehran and Washington swapped long-held prisoners.

……..“Iran has undertaken significant steps that many people — and I do mean many — doubted would ever come to pass,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday evening at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which earlier issued a report detailing how Iran had shipped 98 percent of its fuel to Russia, dismantled more than 12,000 centrifuges so they could not enrich uranium, and poured cement into the core of a reactor designed to produce plutonium……… http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/world/middleeast/iran-sanctions-lifted-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Against all reason, Republican hawks still trying to sabotage Iran nuclear agreement

Republican hawk (Trump)Opponents of Iran Nuclear Deal Just Won’t Quit   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-elsner/opponents-of-iran-nuclear_b_8962566.html?ir=Australia Opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers to deal with Iran’s nuclear program mounted a massive campaign last summer, spending tens of millions of dollars to sabotage the agreement.

They failed — but they have not quit.

Days after reports that Iran has dismantled one of the most dangerous parts of its program by removing the core of its heavy-water reactor in Arak and filling it with cement, Republicans in the House of Representatives are mounting a new attempt to kill the agreement that has already made the world much safer.

The “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act” would prevent the President from lifting sanctions imposed on Iranian individuals and entities unless the Administration can “certify the entity is not a terror financier, human rights abuser or involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

President Obama has already vowed to veto the bill, should it reach his desk, for the simple reason that it tangles up an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program with other issues that have nothing to do with it. The new bill is simply a poison pill, designed to kill the nuclear deal.

The deal was designed to do one very important thing — make the world safe from the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. It does not aim to tackle Iran’s role in regional conflicts, or its sponsorship of terrorist groups or its domestic human rights abuses.

There are separate sanctions imposed on Iran to confront those issues, all of which will remain in place. And the United States and its partners should remain vigilant and take appropriate action when faced with Iranian provocations — like the ballistic missile test they conducted last October which violated UN Security Council resolutions. But none of these factors have anything to do with the nuclear deal.

If the latest bill passed, the White House warned, the legislation “could result in the collapse of a comprehensive diplomatic arrangement that peacefully and verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

That would lead to the end of international inspections and monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities and leave Iran free to restart its program. It would “lead to the unraveling of the international sanctions regime against Iran, and deal a devastating blow to America’s credibility as a leader of international diplomacy,” the White House said.

Republicans have the votes to pass this bill in the House. It will be more interesting to see how it fares in the Senate, where prominent Republicans expected to face strong Democratic challengers this year, like Mark Kirk of Illinois and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have been strong backers of previous efforts to sabotage the agreement.

What opponents don’t get is that the nuclear deal is already proving itself. The Iranians have moved faster than most experts believed would happen to fulfill their part of the agreement. Notably, they shipped 25,000 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Russia, leaving them without enough material for a bomb.

“This step is vital because it is irreversible, since the low-enriched uranium is never coming back and would instead need to be produced again,” said Ilan Goldenberg, who directs the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, writing in The National Interest.

The Iranians have also removed centrifuges as required and allowed intrusive inspections of its facilities, as laid down by the JCPOA. And now they are rendering the Arak plant harmless.

It will soon be time for the United States and its partners to live up to their side of the agreement. Once the designated international authorities confirm that Iran has met its obligations, the international community must begin to lift sanctions originally imposed because of Iran’s nuclear program.

Opponents can be expected to continue their campaign to kill the agreement one way or another. That’s why supporters, and all those who believe in diplomatic solutions to tough international problems, must remain vigilant, ready to take political action whenever needed to preserve this important breakthrough.

January 13, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran has removed the core of its Arak heavy water nuclear reactor

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear deal: heavy water nuclear reactor core filled with cement, SMH, January 12, 2016  Dubai:   Iran has removed the core of its Arak heavy water nuclear reactor and filled it with cement as required under a nuclear deal signed with world powers last year, the semi-official Fars news agency has revealed, citing an informed Iranian source.

Any such move, reducing the plant’s ability to produce plutonium, might signal imminent implementation of the nuclear deal and clear the way for Tehran to receive relief from economic sanctions.

Separately, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said that EU nuclear-related sanctions on Iran could be lifted soon.

 “I can tell you that my expectation is that this day could come rather soon. The implementation of the agreements is proceeding well,” Federica Mogherini said during a visit to Prague.

The fate of the reactor in central Iran was one of the toughest sticking points in the long nuclear negotiations that led to an agreement in July between Iran and six world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under the deal’s terms, Iran accepted that the Arak reactor would be reconfigured so it could not yield fissile plutonium usable in a nuclear bomb.

China, the United States, France, Britain, Russia and Germany have agreed to participate in the redesign and the construction of the modernised reactor…….http://www.smh.com.au/world/iran-nuclear-deal-heavy-water-nuclear-reactor-core-filled-with-cement-20160112-gm3zkz.html

January 13, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran has complied with its obligations to get rid of enriched uranium – John Kerry

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear deal: Tehran on track, says John Kerry http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35191146  28 December 2015

The US says Iran has taken a “significant step” towards meeting its nuclear commitments, by sending a large quantity of uranium abroad. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke after Iran dispatched a shipment of more than 11 tonnes of low-enriched uranium to Russia.

Iran signed a deal in July with six international powers. It is designed to demonstrate that Iran is not on the threshold of being able to make an atomic bomb.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to reduce its holdings of low-enriched uranium; sharply reduce its quantity of centrifuges – used to enrich uranium – and cut its output of plutonium by re-engineering a power plant.

Mr Kerry said Monday’s shipment of low-enriched uranium to Russia had tripled the amount of time it would take to produce enough fuel for a bomb – from two or three months to nine months. “I am pleased to report that we have seen important indications of significant progress towards Iran completing its key nuclear commitments under the deal,” Mr Kerry said.

Under July’s agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency will decide when Tehran has complied with its obligations.

After this, the US and other world powers will begin to dismantle their programme of economic sanctions against Iran.

Grey line

Key areas of the nuclear deal:

Uranium enrichment: Iran can operate 5,060 first generation centrifuges, configured to enrich uranium to 3.67%, a level well below that needed to make an atomic weapon. It can also operate up to 1,000 centrifuges at its mountain facility at Fordow – but these cannot be used to enrich uranium.

Plutonium production: Iran has agreed to reconfigure its heavy water reactor at Arak, so that it will only produce a tiny amount of plutonium as a by-product of power generation, and will not build any more heavy water reactors for 15 years.

Inspections: International monitors will be able to carry out a comprehensive programme of inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Sanctions: All EU and US energy, economic and financial sanctions, and most UN sanctions, will be lifted on the day Iran shows it has complied with the main parts of the deal.

December 30, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

All of Iran’s enriched uranium removed with Russian assistance

That’s It: All Enriched Uranium Removed From Iran Under Russian Assistance http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151229/1032438231/iran-uranium-russia.html MOSCOW (Sputnik) – All of the enriched uranium in Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, accepted on July 14 in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear energy program, has been removed under Russia’s assistance, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

“Under Russia’s assistance, all of the enriched uranium falling into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been removed from Iran,” the ministry said in a statement.

The shipment comprised Iran’s nuclear material enriched to 20 percent not already in the form of fabricated fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor.

On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 group of mediators — Russia, the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany — reached an agreement on maintaining a peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Russia played a vital role in arranging for Tehran’s low-enriched uranium being shipped out of Iran under the P5+1 nuclear deal

December 30, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

IAEA concludes its probe in Iran’s history of nuclear weapons research

Global nuclear watchdog IAEA ends Iran ‘weapons’ probe , BBC News, 16 Dec 15 The global nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons.The move is seen as a key step towards lifting UN, EU and US sanctions.

The IAEA concluded that Iran conducted nuclear weapons-related research until 2003 and to a lesser extent until 2009, but found no evidence of this since.

The lifting of sanctions, agreed in a July deal with world powers, hinged on the IAEA’s findings on the issue.

Iran has strongly denied pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by the Vienna-based IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), saying it showed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

“This resolution goes far beyond closing the issue of so-called PMD (Possible Military Dimension) and cancels the 12 previous resolutions of the council of governors of the IAEA which seriously restricted our country’s nuclear programme,” Mr Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Vienna says sanctions against Iran could be lifted as early as the middle of January……………..

Key areas of the nuclear deal:

Uranium enrichment: Iran can operate 5,060 first generation centrifuges, configured to enrich uranium to 3.67%, a level well below that needed to make an atomic weapon. It can also operate up to 1,000 centrifuges at its mountain facility at Fordow – but these cannot be used to enrich uranium.

Plutonium production: Iran has agreed to reconfigure its heavy water reactor at Arak, so that it will only produce a tiny amount of plutonium as a by-product of power generation, and will not build any more heavy water reactors for 15 years.

Inspections: International monitors will be able to carry out a comprehensive programme of inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Sanctions: All EU and US energy, economic and financial sanctions, and most UN sanctions, will be lifted on the day Iran shows it has complied with the main parts of the deal. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35104715

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran helped by world powers to redesign reactor as part of nuclear deal

flag-IranWorld powers to help Iran redesign reactor as part of nuclear deal, REUTERS, 21 Nov 15 DUBAI | BY BOZORGMEHR SHARAFEDIN Six world powers will help Iran redesign its Arak heavy water reactor so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, according to a document released by the state news agency IRNA on Saturday.

The document was signed separately on Nov. 13, 17 and 18 by the foreign ministers of Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany) as well as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. It became effective on the date it was signed by all states.

The fate of the Arak reactor in central Iran was one of the toughest sticking points in the long nuclear negotiations that led to an agreement in July. Removing the core of the heavy water reactor to produce less plutonium is a crucial step before the relief from sanctions starts…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/21/us-iran-nuclear-arak-idUSKCN0TA0IK20151121#REED39oPKDuwmqS4.97

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran hastening process of dismantling uranium-enriching centrifuges

flag-IranIran starts dismantling nuclear equipment, SMH November 19, 2015 – Vienna: Iran has disconnected almost a quarter of its uranium-enriching centrifuges in less than a month, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, suggesting the nation is racing to implement an agreement restricting its nuclear activities.

Under the July deal, sanctions against Iran will be lifted in exchange for measures including slashing the number of centrifuges in operation and reducing its stockpile of uranium.
Officials have been speculating about the speed at which Iran can dismantle the centrifuges, sensitive machines that spin at supersonic speeds to purify uranium to levels at which it can be used as fuel in power stations or, potentially, weapons.
Disconnecting and moving the machines is a time-consuming process if it is to be done without damaging the equipment, making it one of the steps most likely to delay implementation of the deal, and therefore the lifting of sanctions.
“They have been dismantling centrifuges that did not contain hexafluoride,” the senior diplomat said, referring to uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for centrifuges. “Dismantling centrifuges that have or have had hexafluoride is a much more complicated thing than the clean ones.”
A confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency to its Board of Governors said Iran had moved around 4500 centrifuges from their positions at the Fordow and Natanz enrichment sites between October 18 and November 15.
The speed at which Iran dismantles the centrifuges is central to the question of whether Tehran can implement the deal reached in July with the US, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China before parliamentary elections in February…….

http://www.smh.com.au/world/iran-starts-dismantling-nuclear-equipment-20151118-gl2jjw.html

 

November 20, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran c ontinues to comply with nuclear deal commitments, removing uranium enrichment centrifuges

diplomacy-not-bombsIran continues removing centrifuges within nuclear deal commitments 15 NOVEMBER 2015, By Umid Niayesh– Trend: Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi once again emphasized that the Islamic Republic continues removing flag-Iran, in compliance with its commitments, as stated in the recently signed nuclear agreement.

Iran began removing inactive centrifuges at the Nataz nuclear site two weeks ago, Salehi said in statements to IRIB 3 state TV Nov. 14.

Iran has 20,000 centrifuges in Natanz, half of them inactive, Salehi noted, adding that Tehran has not yet begun removing centrifuges from Fordow.

“In line with our commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we have started removing centrifuges in Natanz,” Salehi said, criticizing some hardline politicians who questioned his earlier statements on the removal of centrifuges.

On Nov. 2, Salehi announced that Iran, for the first time, has begun shutting down centrifuges under the terms of the nuclear agreement which triggered disputes in the country.

According to the JCPOA, signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries made up of the UK, US, France, Germany, Russia, and China, Tehran is committed to reducing its number of centrifuges……..http://en.trend.az/iran/nuclearp/2456707.html

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran going for renewable energy

Iran signs landmark $6 billion power deal, Press TV, 4 Nov 15   The Iranian government says it has signed an agreement worth $6 billion with a European company to build 4,250 megawatts of power capacity in the country. 

The agreement between Iran’s Ministry of Energy and the foreign firm envisages developing gas-powered plants for 3,250 MW and wind farms for 1,000 MW of electricity, Government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said.

“This big investment will be made in the current year (ending on March 20, 2016) under the existing political conditions where the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the lifting of sanctions has not started yet,” he said……..

Renewable projects 

The government is eyeing renewables as the new alternative to fossil fuels which constitute about 90% of Iran’s energy mix.

The existing renewable capacity is focused on hydro power plants which produce about 8,500 MW. Just 150 megawatts of green power plants are currently operating in the country.

The government plans to install 5,000 MW of renewable capacity, putting Iran among the likes of the UK and France in this category. The Ministry of Energy is already implementing 500 MW wind converters and further 100 MW biomass projects.

The Middle East’s first geothermal power plant, a 50-megawatt pilot project, is being built at the foot of an inactive volcanic peak in northwest Meshguin Shahr.

However, Iran’s renewable energy potential is huge where only the wind capacity is estimated at 30,000 megawatts.

Foreign projects

German companies are reportedly about to begin next year building wind farms in Iran at a cost of $331 million. In August, they signed a document for generation of 100 MW of wind power plus 400 MW of solar in the southern Khuzestan province.

Italy’s Fata, the engineering unit of leading industrial group Finmeccanica, also signed then a 500 million euro ($543 million) contract with Ghadir Investment Company to build a power plant in Iran.

A consortium of Iranian, Indian and South Korean companies further seeks to set up an energy park in the Khuzestan province in a project worth $10 billion, including generation of 1,000 megawatts of solar power. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/11/04/436250/Iran-electricity-investment-Europe-renewables

November 9, 2015 Posted by | Iran, renewable | Leave a comment

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