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Iran blames US for delays in reaching nuclear deal

Iran blames US for delays in reaching nuclear deal

Iran’s foreign minister says his country is ready to reach a lasting agreement with world powers and is blaming the latest failure to revive Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal on an allegedly “unrealistic vision” by the United States

ByThe Associated Press, 25 March 2022  BEIRUT — Iran’s foreign minister claimed Thursday that his country is ready to reach a lasting agreement with world powers, blaming the latest failure to revive Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal on an allegedly “unrealistic vision” by the United States.

Speaking during a visit to Beirut, Hossein Amirabdollahian urged the U.S. to stop “wasting time.”

Nuclear negotiations nearly reached completion on the deal earlier this month before Russia demanded that its trade with Iran be exempted from Western sanctions over Ukraine, throwing the process into disarray. Negotiators have yet to reconvene in the Austrian capital, and its unclear exactly what hurdles lie ahead…………………

On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, signaled support for Tehran’s nuclear negotiations to secure sanctions relief — a rare reference to the still-halted talks as world powers near a diplomatic turning point.

And last Friday, news of Tehran’s decision to reprocess a fraction of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium into material that can be used in medicine — instead of enriching further, to weapon-grade levels — appears to signal the negotiations may still see the parties return to Vienna and reach a deal. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/iran-blames-us-delays-reaching-nuclear-deal-83652616

March 26, 2022 Posted by | Iraq, politics international | Leave a comment

 New USA Federal Report Warns of Accelerating Impacts From Sea Level Rise.

New Federal Report Warns of Accelerating Impacts From Sea Level Rise. The
global average sea level is rising 2 inches per decade and speeding up, but
in some regions, the rate is more than twice that fast. Many residents of
coastal Southern Mexico don’t know that the sea around them is likely to
rise another 15 to 20 inches in just the next 30 years.

Those projections
were confirmed Tuesday by an updated report from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration and NASA using new satellite data and climate
models along with improved evaluations of historic data from tide gauges
dating back more than 100 years.

“What we’re reporting today is
historic,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad, who told Americans that,
on average, sea level at their coasts will climb 10 to 12 inches in the
next 30 years and 2 feet by the end of the century.

 Inside Climate News 16th Feb 2022

February 22, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Iraq, oceans | Leave a comment

Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq – largely due to depleted uranium.

In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up.

‘Everything Living Is Dying’: Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq, Decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction have devastated the country’s environment and its people. Undark, BY LYNZY BILLING, 12.22.2021 All photos by LYNZY BILLING for UNDARK  ”’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,   Miscarriages, of course, are common everywhere, and while pollution writ large is known to be deadly in the aggregate, linking specific health outcomes to local ambient pollution is a notoriously difficult task. Even so, few places on earth beg such questions as desperately as modern Iraq, a country devastated from the northern refineries of Kurdistan to the Mesopotamian marshes of the south — and nearly everywhere in between — by decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction.

As far back as 2005, the United Nations had estimated that Iraq was already littered with several thousand contaminated sites. Five years later, an investigation by The Times, a London-based newspaper, suggested that the U.S. military had generated some 11 million pounds of toxic waste and abandoned it in Iraq. Today, it is easy to find soil and water polluted by depleted uranium, dioxin and other hazardous materials, and extractive industries like the KAR oil refinery often operate with minimal transparency. On top of all of this, Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, which has already contributed to grinding water shortages and prolonged drought. In short, Iraq presents a uniquely dystopian tableau — one where human activity contaminates virtually every ecosystem, and where terms like “ecocide” have special currency.

According to Iraqi physicians, the many overlapping environmental insults could account for the country’s high rates of cancer, birth defects, and other diseases. Preliminary research by local scientists supports these claims, but the country lacks the money and technology needed to investigate on its own. To get a better handle on the scale and severity of the contamination, as well as any health impacts, they say, international teams will need to assist in comprehensive investigations. With the recent close of the ISIS caliphate, experts say, a window has opened.

While the Iraqi government has publicly recognized widespread pollution stemming from conflict and other sources, and implemented some remediation programs, few critics believe these measures will be adequate to address a variegated environmental and public health problem that is both geographically expansive and attributable to generations of decision-makers — both foreign and domestic — who have never truly been held to account. The Iraqi Ministry of Health and the Kurdistan Ministry of Health did not respond to repeated requests for comment on these issues……………………….

experts who study Iraq’s complex mosaic of pollution and health challenges say. Despite overwhelming evidence of pollution and contamination from a variety of sources, it remains exceedingly difficult for Iraqi doctors and scientists to pinpoint the precise cause of any given person’s — or even any community’s — illness; depleted uranium, gas flaring, contaminated crops all might play a role in triggering disease……………………………

This is Eman’s sixth year at the hospital, and her 25th as a physician. Over that time span, she says, she has seen an array of congenital anomalies, most commonly cleft palates, but also spinal deformities, hydrocephaly, and tumors. At the same time, miscarriages and premature births have spiked among Iraqi women, she says, particularly in areas where heavy U.S. military operations occurred as part of the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 to 2011 Iraq War. 

Research supports many of these clinical observations. According to a 2010 paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, leukemia cases in children under 15 doubled from 1993 to 1999 at one hospital in southern Iraq, a region of the country that was particularly hard hit by war. According to other research, birth defects also surged there, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001.

But few studies have been conducted lately, and now, more than 20 years on, it’s difficult to know precisely which factors are contributing to Iraq’s ongoing medical problems. Eman says she suspects contaminated water, lack of proper nutrition, and poverty are all factors, but war also has a role. In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up. The remnants of DU ammunition are spread across 1,100 locations — “and that’s just from the 2003 invasion,” says Zwijnenburg, the Dutch war-and-environment analyst. “We are still missing all the information from the 1991 Gulf War that the U.S. said was not recorded and could not be shared.”

Souad Naji Al-Azzawi, an environmental engineer and a retired University of Baghdad professor, knows this problem well. In 1991, she was asked to review plans to reconstruct some of Baghdad’s water treatment plants, which had been destroyed at the start of the Gulf War, she says. A few years later, she led a team to measure the impact of radiation on soldiers and Iraqi civilians in the south of the country.

Around that same time, epidemiological studies found that from 1990 to 1997, cases of childhood leukemia increased 60 percent in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, which had been a focal point of the fighting. Over the same time span, the number of children born with severe birth defects tripled. Al-Azzawi’s work suggests that the illnesses are linked to depleted uranium. Other work supports this finding and suggests that depleted uranium is contributing to elevated rates of cancer and other health problems in adults, too.

Today, remnants of tanks and weapons line the main highway from Baghdad to Basra, where contaminated debris remains a part of residents’ everyday lives. In one family in Basra, Zwijnenburg noted, all members had some form of cancer, from leukemia to bone cancers.

To Al-Azzawi, the reasons for such anomalies seem plain. Much of the land in this area is contaminated with depleted uranium oxides and particles, she said. It is in the water, in the soil, in the vegetation. “The population of west Basra showed between 100 and 200 times the natural background radiation levels,” Al-Azzawi says.

Some remediation efforts have taken place. For example, says Al-Azzawi, two so-called tank graveyards in Basra were partially remediated in 2013 and 2014. But while hundreds of vehicles and pieces of artillery were removed, these graveyards remain a source of contamination. The depleted uranium has leached into the water and surrounding soils. And with each sandstorm —  a common event — the radioactive particles are swept into neighborhoods and cities.

Cancers in Iraq catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005.

In Fallujah, a central Iraqi city that has experienced heavy warfare, doctors have also reported a sharp rise in birth defects among the city’s children. According to a 2012 article in Al Jazeera, Samira Alani, a pediatrician at Fallujah General Hospital, estimated that 14 percent of babies born in the city had birth defects — more than twice the global average.

Alani says that while her research clearly shows a connection between contamination and congenital anomalies, she still faces challenges to painting a full picture of the affected areas, in part because data was lacking from Iraq’s birth registry. It’s a common refrain among doctors and researchers in Iraq, many of whom say they simply don’t have the resources and capacity to properly quantify the compounding impacts of war and unchecked industry on Iraq’s environment and its people. “So far, there are no studies. Not on a national scale,” says Eman, who has also struggled to conduct studies because there is no nationwide record of birth defects or cancers. “There are only personal and individual efforts.”…………………..

After the Gulf War, many veterans suffered from a condition now known as Gulf War syndrome. Though the causes of the illness are to this day still subject to widespread speculation, possible causes include exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, and smoke from burning oil wells. More than 200,000 veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East have reported major health issues to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which they believe are connected to burn pit exposure. Last month, the White House announced new actions to make it easier for such veterans to access care.

Numerous studies have shown that the pollution stemming from these burn pits has caused severe health complications for American veterans. Active duty personnel have reported respiratory difficulties, headaches, and rare cancers allegedly derived from the burn pits in Iraq and locals living nearby also claim similar health ailments, which they believe stem from pollutants emitted by the burn pits.

Keith Baverstock, head of the Radiation Protection Program at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003, says the health of Iraqi residents is likely also at risk from proximity to the burn pits. “If surplus DU has been burned in open pits, there is a clear health risk” to people living within a couple of miles, he says.

Abdul Wahab Hamed lives near the former U.S. Falcon base in Baghdad. His nephew, he says, was born with severe birth defects. The boy cannot walk or talk, and he is smaller than other children his age. Hamed says his family took the boy to two separate hospitals and after extensive work-ups, both facilities blamed the same culprit: the burn pits. Residents living near Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad also report children born with spinal disfigurements and other congenital anomalies, but they say that their requests for investigation have yielded no results.  ……………………………………… https://undark.org/2021/12/22/ecocide-iraq/

December 27, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran Simulated Attack On Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Site In Recent Wargames


Iran Simulated Attack On Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Site In Recent Wargames
, Iran International, 26 Dec 21,  Iran simulated an attack against Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor during extensive military drills this week, that included launching multiple ballistic missiles.

Fars news agency, an affiliate of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, published a video on Sunday that shows a mock-up of the Israeli nuclear site as the target of the simulated operation.

The Dimona reactor, officially known as the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, was marked as “WMD production center” in the high-resolution video.

Sixteen ballistic missiles and five suicide drones were launched against the mock target in the operation.

Rhetoric has intensified between Iran and Israel in recent weeks as nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers have stalled in Vienna. Israel has vowed that if Iran’s nuclear program reaches a statge close to production of weapons, it will act regardless of an agreement the United States and other world powers reach with Tehran……………. https://www.iranintl.com/en/202112260336

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iraq needs energy, but nuclear power is not the answer

Nuclear power won’t fix Iraq’s energy crisis, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Nils Holst | August 18, 2021  On June 29, Iran halted gas and electricity exports to Iraq over nonpayment of fees. The move left millions of Iraqis without power as temperatures soared to more than 120 degrees, turning cities into ovens and throwing the embattled government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi into yet another political firestorm. While the Iranian move was clearly designed to increase Tehran’s influence over its neighbor, it also raises questions about Iraq’s proposal last month to restart the country’s civilian nuclear program, once the subject of proliferation concern……………….

On June 29, Iran halted gas and electricity exports to Iraq over nonpayment of fees. The move left millions of Iraqis without power as temperatures soared to more than 120 degrees, turning cities into ovens and throwing the embattled government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi into yet another political firestorm. While the Iranian move was clearly designed to increase Tehran’s influence over its neighbor, it also raises questions about Iraq’s proposal last month to restart the country’s civilian nuclear program, once the subject of proliferation concern.

Iraq’s nuclear legacy. Iraq received its first research reactor from the Soviet Union in 1962, and acquired several more over the next two decades. Although these reactors were purportedly developed for peaceful purposes, Iraq launched a covert nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it signed in 1968. Concerned with Iraq’s likely nuclear weapons development, Israel bombed the Osiraq reactor complex in 1981, driving Iraq’s nuclear weapons program underground. Iraq spent the next decade experimenting with different methods to enrich uranium covertly to weapons-grade levels (typically 90 percent uranium 235), along with additional research on nuclear weapons designs.

After the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations Security Council instructed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to dismantle Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. The IAEA removed all weapons-grade nuclear material from Iraq and destroyed or disabled the country’s nuclear facilities. Iraq was reluctant to cooperate with international inspectors, however, which, coupled with then-President Saddam Hussein’s tendency to exaggerate his country’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities, led US intelligence agencies to incorrectly assess that Iraq was hiding a nuclear weapons program. This assessment led to the 2003 US invasion, after which it was discovered that Hussein had not, in fact, restarted the program.

The Iraqi government made efforts to conform to international nonproliferation norms in the post-Hussein era. Iraq ratified the IAEA Additional Protocol in 2012, giving the IAEA greater insight into the country’s nuclear activities, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 2013. The UN Security Council lifted restrictions on Iraq’s nuclear industry in 2010. Current and former government officials have routinely floated the idea of using nuclear power to solve the country’s crippling energy shortages,

which leave large parts of the country without power during the hot summer months, a major cause of political unrest in recent years.

In June, Kamal Hussein Latif, chairman of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority, said the Iraqi government is currently in talks with Russia’s Rosatom about a $40 billion plan to build eight nuclear reactors. Latif also said Iraq discussed the plan with French, American and South Korean officials. Rosatom has secured contracts to construct nuclear reactors with several of Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt, although the contract with Jordan later fell through.

The $40 billion question. Part of Iraq’s nation-building strategy is ensuring greater access to electricity, and Baghdad sees nuclear power as an attractive way to address this challenge. The proposed eight-reactor plan would provide the country with a steady 11 gigawatts of power, bridging the gap between supply and demand even during the hottest part of the year. Iraq would reduce its reliance on Iranian gas, free up more of its hydrocarbons for export, and limit its dependence on carbon-based fuel generally. Nuclear power could also boost the legitimacy of al-Kadhimi’s government, and potentially rehabilitate Iraq’s image as an upstanding member of the civilian nuclear community.


There are some problems with this plan, though. Establishing and maintaining nuclear facilities would impose a large financial burden on a government already struggling to provide basic services to its citizens. Declining oil prices in 2020 forced Iraq to 
dip into its foreign reserves to pay public-sector salaries, and to shelve a much smaller plan to repair and upgrade the country’s dilapidated transmission and distribution network. And don’t forget the $4 billion Iraq owes Iran in unpaid utility bills, the cause of the most recent blackouts sweeping the country.

Even with favorable terms, a $40 billion project would be hard to justify given the government’s difficulty meeting its current financial obligations.

Compounding the affordability problem is the fact that about two thirds of generated power isn’t paid for, due to theft or unmetered connections. The government already heavily subsidizes electricity costs, with customers only paying for about 10 percent of the actual cost of the electricity they use. As a result, the Ministry of Electricity needs $12 billion per year to balance the books. Adding nuclear energy to the mix would push the ministry even deeper into the red, depending on how much financing Iraq could get for the project.

Proliferation is another major concern. The Iraqi power grid has weathered 35 terror attacks so far this year. Introducing nuclear technology would increase the risk of nuclear material falling into terrorist hands, either through a direct attack on a nuclear facility or via a corrupt government official. Given the country’s existing abundant energy resources, Iraq’s neighbors may suspect a civilian nuclear program is once again a cover story for weapons development. With other regional states like Turkey and Saudi Arabia toying with the idea of nuclear weapons, the appearance of seemingly unaffordable reactors in Iraq could be the straw that breaks the back of the already overburdened camel that is nonproliferation in the Middle East. Uncertainty over what happens if the Iran nuclear deal is not renewed, or renewed but expires in a few years, adds to this danger.

Iraq needs energy, but nuclear power is not the answer. In the short term, Iraq must rebuild its broken transmission and distribution system, overhaul the Ministry of Electricity’s fee collection system, and remove bottlenecks in the gas pipeline network to improve generation capacity. In the medium term, the country can encourage renewable energy use and diversify its energy mix by expanding solar power projects and refurbishing existing hydroelectric facilities. These infrastructure projects will ensure Iraq has reliable and consistent power generation in the long term, and be a better use of resources than an unnecessary, budget-busting prestige project.  https://thebulletin.org/2021/08/nuclear-power-wont-fix-iraqs-energy-crisis/

August 19, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, politics | Leave a comment

Iraq’s stability depends on Iran and the US re-entering the nuclear deal


Iraq’s stability depends on Iran and the US re-entering the nuclear deal  
https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/iraq-s-stability-depends-on-iran-and-the-us-re-entering-the-nuclear-deal-47901

Reviving the nuclear deal would give Iran less of an incentive to target US positions in Iraq and support Baghdad’s sovereignty.

Iran’s Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi has emerged as president after an election with one of the lowest turnouts in the Islamic Republic’s history.

This outcome favours Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, as it consolidates power in the hands of the so-called “hardliners” in a triumvirate with the presidency and the Revolutionary Guard.

The last time such an alignment occurred was during the Bush administration and the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. Both alignments also corresponded with more antagonistic American foreign policies.

By withdrawing from the nuclear deal and undermining Rouhani’s foreign policy, Trump  confirmed the hardliner mantra that the US is fickle and cannot be trusted to honour any agreement. He also contributed to Raisi’s election, as well as what is set to be a more assertive Iranian foreign policy towards Iraq. 

But this wasn’t the case before. Former president Hassan Rouhani’s foreign policy sought to respect Iraq’s sovereignty, which was at odds with the hardliners who wanted to use Iraq as a means of challenging the US during the more bellicose Trump administration.

The consolidation of hardliners in Tehran’s leadership today means that its internal foreign policy conflict no longer exists. 

Iraq’s future is now tied to Iran and the US finding an agreement to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal.

After the September 11 attacks, Iran and the US shared enmity towards the Taliban in Afghanistan. The George W Bush administration missed a window to forge relations with what was then a conciliatory Iranian president Mohammed Khatami. Like Rouhani, Khatami sought to engage with the US.

However, the Bush administration declared that the Islamic Republic of Iran formed part of an “axis of evil,” which included Iraq and North Korea. In March 2003, American forces were on Iran’s border, having just successfully invaded Iraq, a member of the “Axis.” 

It was then that Iran offered the US a comprehensive negotiation proposal, where the Islamic Republic was willing to open its nuclear program for inspections, work to stabilise Iraq and cooperate against Al Qaeda, offering Washington what Trump later asked of Iran during his administration.

The significance of this offer was not that it occurred during the presidency of a moderate, Khatami, but that it had the blessing of Khamenei, the key decision maker in Iran.

Yet former Vice President Dick Cheney responded, “We don’t talk to evil,” and the Bush administration never engaged with the Iranian offer.

The Axis of Evil speech led to the victory of Iranian hardliners in the nation’s parliament and after the Iraq War, hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidency in 2005, an outcome that Khamenei would have favoured then in response to American belligerency.

When Washington refused Iran’s overture, the Islamic Republic then was in a position to undermine US presence in Iraq after 2005. One tool at Iran’s disposal was its support of a variety of Iraqi insurgents to target American forces.

Jump to 2021, and Iran is in a much better position to project its influence in Iraq due to its sprawling network of allied militias. This is a message that the Biden administration has surely received. 

Ultimately Iran, with its new constellation of power in Tehran, has found a way to shore up its position at home and in the region ahead of any potential renegotiations of the nuclear deal.

The future of US-Iran relations

Negotiations over re-entering the Iran deal continue in Vienna. Had these negotiations succeeded under Rouhani’s administration, it would have given the moderate faction in Iran a victory prior to the elections.

While a hardliner consolidation of power would not bode well for Iraq’s sovereignty, a resumption of the Iran nuclear deal would. It gives Iran less of an incentive to foment rocket strikes at US targets in Iraq, which only intensified in the aftermath of Trump’s withdrawal from this agreement.

Ironically, with a hardliner ascendancy today, a new deal is more likely, as there is one Iranian faction at the negotiating table rather than competing ones. This ultimately means Baghdad’s future domestic security is contingent on events in far-off Vienna and the nuclear negotiation.

Notwithstanding the hardliners in power, their legitimacy still rests on getting the Trump-era sanctions rescinded. Meanwhile, the Biden administration most likely wants to settle this issue in the Middle East to focus its efforts on China.

As Ali Vaez and Dina Esfandiary write in the New York Times, “The alternative to negotiations — an exponentially growing Iranian nuclear program — threatens to set the United States and the Islamic Republic on a collision course where there will be no winners.”

In this case there will also be another loser, Iraq, caught again between the two adversaries’ conflict.

June 29, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran refuses to give nuclear site images to IAEA


Iran refuses to give nuclear site images to IAEA

Parisa Hafezi, DUBAI, June 27 (Reuters) – The speaker of Iran’s parliament said on Sunday Tehran will never hand over images from inside of some Iranian nuclear sites to the U.N. nuclear watchdog as a monitoring agreement with the agency had expired, Iranian state media reported.

“The agreement has expired … any of the information recorded will never be given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the data and images will remain in the possession of Iran,” said Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.

The announcement could further complicate talks between Iran and six major powers on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal……………… https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-says-nuclear-site-images-wont-be-given-iaea-deal-has-expired-2021-06-27/

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraq nuclear reactor may have fuelled Saddam’s nuclear ambitions

ILeaked documents reveal secret French plans to stop Baghdad from getting nuclear weaponsBorzou DaragahiInternational Correspondent@borzou   Four decades ago, a squadron of Israeli fighter jets on a secret mission snuck over Saudi Arabian airspace and swooped in to destroy an Iraqi nuclear reactor site that was being built by French and Italian engineers just outside Baghdad. It was a surprise attack lauded by Israel’s defenders and cited as an example of effective derring-do, showing how raw military power could serve as a tool of arms control.

But a trove of previously secret United States documents release…….. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/israel-iraq-nuclear-osirak-military-b1861255.html

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, Israel, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Congenital abnormalities. Thorium and uranium, in infants and children living near an active U.S. military base in Iraq

October 1, 2020 Posted by | children, Iraq | Leave a comment

New report on Iraqi babies, deformed due to thorium and uranium from U.S. military actions and bases

IRAQI CHILDREN BORN NEAR U.S. MILITARY BASE SHOW ELEVATED RATES OF “SERIOUS CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES,” STUDY FINDS   https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/iraq-children-birth-defects-military/  Murtaza Hussain, November 26 2019,  MORE THAN A decade and a half after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, a new study found that babies are being born today with gruesome birth defects connected to the ongoing American military presence there. The report, issued by a team of independent medical researchers and published in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined congenital anomalies recorded in Iraqi babies born near Tallil Air Base, a base operated by the U.S.-led foreign military coalition. According to the study, babies showing severe birth defects — including neurological problems, congenital heart disease, and paralyzed or missing limbs — also had corresponding elevated levels of a radioactive compound known as thorium in their bodies.

“We collected hair samples, deciduous (baby) teeth, and bone marrow from subjects living in proximity to the base,” said Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the study’s lead researchers. “In all three tissues we see the same trend: higher levels of thorium.” Savabieasfahani, who has authored studies on the radioactive footprint of the U.S. military presence in Iraq for years, says that the new findings contribute to a growing body of evidence about the serious long-term health impact of U.S. military operations on Iraqi civilians. “The closer that you live to a U.S. military base in Iraq,” she said, “the higher the thorium in your body and the more likely you are to suffer serious congenital deformities and birth defects.”
The new study piles onto a growing wealth of knowledge about severe ill effects of the U.S. military on the environments in which it operates. All industrialized military activity is bad for ecological systems, but the U.S., with its enormous military engaged in activities spanning the globe has a particular large environmental footprint. Not only does the U.S. military lead the world in carbon output, but its prodigious presence around the globe leaves a toxic trail of chemicals that local communities have to deal with, from so-called burn pits on bases releasing poisonous smoke to the radiation of depleted uranium rounds mutating the DNA of nearby populations.

The suffering of Iraqis has been particularly acute. The results of the new study added to a laundry list of negative impacts of the U.S.’s long war there to the long-term health of the country’s population. Previous studies, including some contributed by a team led by Savabieasfahani, have pointed to elevated rates of cancer, miscarriages, and radiological poisoning in places like Fallujah, where the U.S. military carried out major assaults during its occupation of the country.

The study published in Environmental Pollution was conducted by a team of independent Iraqi and American researchers in Iraq during the summer and fall of 2016. They analyzed 19 babies born with serious birth defects at a maternity hospital in the vicinity of Tallil Air Base, compared with a control group of 10 healthy newborns.
“Doctors are regularly encountering anomalies in babies that are so gruesome they cannot even find precedents for them,” said Savabieasfahani. “The war has spread so much radiation here that, unless it is cleaned up, generations of Iraqis will continue to be affected.”

SOME OF THESE negative health effects of the American war in Iraq can be put down to U.S. forces’ frequent use of munitions containing depleted uranium. Depleted uranium, a byproduct of the enriched uranium used to power nuclear reactors, makes bullets and shells more effective in destroying armored vehicles, owing to its extreme density. But it has been acknowledged to be hazardous to the environment and the long-term health of people living in places where the munitions are used.

“Uranium and thorium were the main focus of this study,” the authors note. “Epidemiological evidence is consistent with an increased risk of congenital anomalies in the offspring of persons exposed to uranium and its depleted forms.” In other words: The researchers found that the more you were around these American weapons, the more likely you were to bear children with deformities and other health problems.

In response to an outcry over its effects, the U.S. military pledged to not use depleted uranium rounds in its bombing campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but, despite this pledge, a 2017 investigation by the independent research group AirWars and Foreign Policy magazine found that the military had continued to regularly use rounds containing the toxic compound.

These depleted-uranium munitions are among the causes of hazards not only to the civilians in the foreign lands where the U.S. fights its wars, but also to American service members who took part in these conflicts. The chronic illnesses suffered by U.S. soldiers during the 1991 war in Iraq — often from exposure to uranium munitions and other toxic chemicals — have already been categorized as a condition known as “Gulf War syndrome.” The U.S. government has been less interested into the effects of the American military’s chemical footprint on Iraqis. The use of “burn pits” — toxic open-air fires used to dispose military waste — along with other contaminants has had a lasting impact on the health of current and future Iraqi generations.

Researchers conducting the latest study said that a broader study is needed to get definitive results about these health impacts. The images of babies born with defects at the hospital where the study was conducted, Bint Al-Huda Maternity Hospital, about 10 kilometers from Tallil Air Base, are gruesome and harrowing. Savabieasfahani, the lead researcher, said that without an effort by the U.S. military to clean up its radioactive footprint, babies will continue to be born with deformities that her study and others have documented.

“The radioactive footprint of the military could be cleaned up if we had officials who wanted to do so,” said Savabieasfahani. “Unfortunately, even research into the problem of Iraqi birth defects has to be done by independent toxicologists, because the U.S. military and other institutions are not even interested in this issue.”

November 26, 2019 Posted by | children, Iraq, Reference, thorium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iraqi children with congenital disabilities caused by depleted uranium

September 20, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Iraqui children contaminated by thorium – birth defects

“The destruction of a society”: First the U.S. invaded Iraq — then we left it poisoned      Scientist: Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia”, Salon.com  DAVID MASCIOTRA  7 Sept 19  “………In your groundbreaking new research, you discover that the teeth of Iraqi children have 28 times more thorium if they live near a U.S. military base. What is the significance of that conclusion, and what does the presence of thorium indicate about a child’s health? What kinds of abnormalities and health problems will they experience?

The Iraqi population is potentially contaminated with depleted uranium decay products. Baby teeth are highly sensitive to environmental exposures. Such high levels of thorium simply suggest high exposure at an early age and potentially in utero.

We found uranium and thorium in these children’s teeth and hair. Uranium and thorium were also in the bone marrow of children, all of whom had severe birth defects. The magnitude of public contamination caused by these alpha-emitting radioactive compounds is a serious question to be answered. Our bone marrow data is still unpublished, but we hope to publish it separately.

Thorium is an alpha emitter and, once in the body, it can cause cancer and other anomalies. Impacts can vary depending on the timing and amount of exposure. Childhood leukemia, which has been rising in southern Iraq, is a verified outcome of thorium exposure.

In our study, children with high levels of thorium had multiple birth defects. Our studies show that, across Iraq, children exposed to U.S. war contamination suffer primarily from congenital heart defects and neural tube defects……. https://www.salon.com/2019/09/07/the-destruction-of-a-society-first-the-u-s-invaded-iraq-then-we-left-it-poisoned/

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Iraq, thorium, USA | Leave a comment

The radiation poisoning of Iraq lingers on

“The destruction of a society”: First the U.S. invaded Iraq — then we left it poisoned      Scientist: Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia”, Salon.com  DAVID MASCIOTRA  7 Sept 19

The political and moral culture of the United States allows for bipartisan cooperation to destroy an entire country, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, without even the flimsiest of justification. Then, only a few years later, everyone can act as if it never happened.

In 2011, the U.S. withdrew most of its military personnel from Iraq, leaving the country in ruins. Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Because the bombs have stopped falling from the sky and the invasion and occupation of Iraq no longer makes headlines, Americans likely devote no thought to the devastation that occurred in their name.

With the exception of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is currently polling at or below 2 percent, no candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has consistently addressed the criminality, cruelty and cavalier wastefulness of American foreign policy. Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the race, not only supported the war in Iraq — despite his recent incoherent claims to the contrary — but as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee acted as its most effective and influential salesman in the Democratic Party.

The blasé attitude of America toward the death and destruction it creates, all while boasting of its benevolence, cannot withstand the scrutiny of science. Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan and recipient of the Rachel Carson Prize, has led several investigative expeditions in Iraq to determine how the pollutants and toxic chemicals from the U.S.-led war are poisoning Iraq’s people and environment. The health effects are catastrophic, and will remain so long after the war reached its official end.

previously interviewed Savabieasfahani about her initial research, and recently acquired an update regarding her team’s latest discovery that there is a close correlation between proximity to a U.S. military base and birth defects in Iraqi children.

Average Americans, even many who opposed the war in Iraq, seem to believe that once the military campaign is over the casualties of war stop accumulating. What is the purpose of your general research regarding the toxicity of the Iraqi environment resulting from American bombs, munitions and other materials? How does the American invasion and occupation continue to adversely affect the health of Iraqis?

Bombs and bullets have been used on an extreme scale in Iraq. Dropping tons of bombs and releasing millions of bullets leaves toxic residues the in air, water and soil of the targeted population. These pollutants continue to poison those populations years after the bombing stops

What’s more, the United States imported thousands of tons of military equipment into Iraq to use in their occupation. They include, tanks, trucks, bombers, armored vehicles, infantry weapons, antiaircraft systems, artillery and mortars — some of which are coated with depleted uranium, and much more. These eventually find their way into U.S. military junkyards which remain across Iraq.

There are unknown numbers of military junkyards scattered across the Iraqi landscape.

Fluctuations in temperature facilitates the rusting and weathering of military junk, releasing toxic pollutants [including radioactive uranium compounds, neurotoxic lead and mercury, etc.] into the Iraqi environment.

Uranium and its related compounds remain toxic for millennia and poison local populations through food, air and water contamination.

The exposure of pregnant mothers to the pollutions of war, including uranium and thorium, irreversibly damages their unborn children. We found thorium, a product of depleted uranium decay, in the hair of Iraqi children with birth defects who lived in Nasiriyah and Ur City, near a U.S. military base. 

The destruction of a society does not stop after U.S. bombs stop falling. Environmental contamination which the U.S. leaves behind continues to destroy our environment and poison our people decades after the bombs have stopped falling. The U.S. has a long history of irreversibly destroying human habitats. That must end…….

Forty-four years after U.S. forces left Vietnam, there are still Vietnamese babies born with birth defects from the American military’s use of Agent Orange. How long do you believe Iraqis will continue to suffer from the American-led war?

If left unmitigated, the population will be permanently exposed to elevated toxic exposures which can impact the Iraqi gene pool.

Through the use of the scientific method, you are gaining the ability to identify a severe problem in Iraq. Considering that the problem is a result of the U.S. invasion, what could the U.S. do to solve or at least mitigate the problem?

The U.S. must be held responsible and forced to clean up all the sites which it has polluted. Technology exists for the cleanup of radiation contamination. The removal and disposal of U.S.-created military junkyards would go a long way towards cleaning toxic releases out of the Iraqi environment.

You are a scientist, not a political analyst, but you must have some thoughts regarding the political implications of your work. How do you react to the lack of substantive conversation about the consequences of war in American politics and the press, and the American establishment’s evasion of responsibility on this issue?

I expect nothing from the American political establishment or their propaganda machines which masquerade as “news media” and feed uncritically off State Department press briefings.

Fortunately, there is a movement to criminalize environmental contamination caused by war. Damage to nature and the human environment must be considered a war crime.

Scientists are currently asking international lawmakers to adopt a fifth Geneva Convention which would recognize damage to nature as a war crime, alongside other war crimes. I hope that will make a difference in our ability to protect human lives and our environment. ……  https://www.salon.com/2019/09/07/the-destruction-of-a-society-first-the-u-s-invaded-iraq-then-we-left-it-poisoned/

September 9, 2019 Posted by | environment, Iraq, radiation, social effects, USA | Leave a comment

Dramatic rise in cancer rates in Basra, where depleted uranium weapons were used

Cancer hits Iraqi oil city of Basra,   https://menafn.com/1098716339/Cancer-hits-Iraqi-oil-city-of-Basra  MENAFN – Iraq Business News) By Mustafa Saadoun forAl Monitor 3 July 19, The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.”
The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to ‘multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.’

July 4, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq | Leave a comment

USA war crimes – mass deaths in Fallujah, depleted uranium effects linger

there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children.

Ghosts of Fallujah Haunting America  http://americanfreepress.net/ghosts-of-fallujah-haunting-america/

June 21, 2019 Staff A U.S. legislator has arrogantly admitted publicly that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians in Fallujah. Will these war crimes continue to go unpunished?

By Richard Walker

The admission by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in the city of Fallujah in Iraq in April 2004 once again raises the question of whether U.S. forces committed war crimes and used chemical and other unnamed weapons during major battles in Iraq that year.

Hunter was an artillery officer in what became known as the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, a city known for its beautiful, ancient mosques 30 miles from Baghdad. It was transformed into a war zone when protesters killed four Blackwater contractors and hung their bodies from a bridge. An operation was launched to find those responsible, but it developed into a full scale engagement. What is remarkable about this First Battle of Fallujah is that it did not last long, so the revelation by Hunter encourages additional scrutiny since it was not the battle that garnered the most controversy. Nevertheless, we have now learned that one artillery unit, by Hunter’s reckoning, may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

It is worth noting that there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

While the first battle was bloody, the Second Battle of Fallujah, in November 2004, was the one that we at American Free Press focused on most, believing correctly that the mainstream media was relying too much on official accounts of what transpired and was being denied the truth. AFP followed the story conscientiously, and we continued to do so in succeeding years. We were confident our reporting would be proved accurate and that new facts would emerge to confirm the claims we made that Marines used chemical weapons and depleted uranium munitions.

The U.S. military suffered 71 dead and over 250 injured in the Fallujah battles, leading to comparisons being made with some of the major exchanges of the Vietnam War.

In November 2004, Fallujah was sealed off from the outside world and quickly became a free-fire zone. This would be the Second Battle of Fallujah. There were many Iraqi fighters in the city, but there were civilians, too, who did not want to leave or had been unable to escape.

The battle was akin to what one might associate with the Second World War battle for Leningrad, with many snipers on both sides. In Fallujah, however, Marine Corp commanders had more firepower than the Iraqi fighters and used it to devastating effect. Some might argue that they used it with abandon.

Within a month, in what was dubbed Operation Phantom Fury, 36,000 homes were leveled, as well as 60 schools and 65 mosques. The city resembled a wasteland. At the time, and later, AFP reported that the Marines used white phosphorus bombs similar to ones the Israelis used later in Gaza, but it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

In 2004, and for several years afterwards, the Pentagon admitted having used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon that should not be used against civilians but denied that DU munitions were on the battlefield.

The truth emerged in 2010, however, when a British scientist and his team revealed that levels of radiation illnesses in Fallujah were comparable to, if not higher, than those found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atoms bombs were detonated there in 1945.

It is still believed that other chemical weapons were used in Fallujah by the Marine Corps, but never identified. For example, aside from evidence of radiation, traces of mercury and other poisonous substances were found that could not be linked to known weapons.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children. The DU bullets were reported to have cut through walls like a hot knife through butter. The Pentagon has been reluctant to confirm whether experimental weapons were used on that battlefield.

Daniel DePetris, a conservative columnist, believes America has learned little from the Iraq War even though most Americans believe it was a disaster that caused thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of casualties.

He offers opinions on what our leaders should do before going to war, but perhaps his best piece of advice to them is “. . . deliver a case to the American people about why military action is appropriate and make them fully aware of what can go wrong.”

He knows, like the rest of us, that in Iraq everything that could go wrong did go wrong, especially in Fallujah.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment