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    Entries in iranian nuclear program (4)

    Monday
    Dec142009

    Latest Revelations On The Iranian Nuclear Threat

    Secret Documents Reveal Iran’s Smoking Gun’ for Nuclear Bomb

     
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    (IsraelNN.com) Secret documents obtained and translated by the Times of London reveal that Iran has been working for two years on a plan to test a nuclear bomb component that triggers an explosion.

    American intelligence experts previously had denied Israeli reports on Iran’s nearing nuclear capability. They claimed that Tehran in 2003 had halted preparations to make nuclear weapons and would not resume work on the project before mid-2007. The United States earlier this year admitted its information was incorrect.

    Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told the Times, "The most shattering conclusion is that... this was an effort that began in 2007…. If Iran is working on weapons, it means there is no diplomatic solution.  

    “Is this the smoking gun? That’s the question people should be asking. It looks like the smoking gun. This is smoking uranium.”

    The technical document describes the use of a neutron that independent experts say have no use other than for a nuclear weapon, according to the Times.

    The documents have been transferred to the  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog arm of the United Nations.

    The revelation is one of a series of reports the past two years that indicate Iran’s progress in manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly has said that Israel is a "cancer” that should be “wiped off the face of the map.”

    The U.S. Congress is pressing for tougher sanctions on Iran in a bid to cripple its economy as a way to force it to allow United Nations officials to inspect its nuclear facilities. U.S. President Barack Obama has pursued a strategy of diplomatic pressure.

     

    Saturday
    Nov282009

    Iranian lawmaker: Iran could leave nuclear treaty 

    (AR) TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's parliament may consider withdrawing the country from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in response to a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog censuring Tehran over its nuclear program, a hardline lawmaker said Saturday.

    Mohammad Karamirad, a senior lawmaker, said parliament may also consider blocking inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Tehran has allowed such inspections so far.

    The threats come a day after the board of the U.N. nuclear agency passed a resolution demanding Tehran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze uranium enrichment.

    Karamirad does not speak for the government but his statements reflect hardline thinking that the government usually pursues.

    Iranian lawmakers threatened to pull the country out of the nonproliferation treaty in 2006, during another time of increased pressure by the U.N. over Tehran's nuclear program. Iran backed down, and the government has said in the past that it has no intention of withdrawing from the treaty.

    "The parliament, in its first reaction to this illegal and politically-motivated resolution, can consider the issue of withdrawing from NPT," Karamirad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency, referring to the treaty.

    "The parliament ... (also) can block the entry of IAEA inspectors to the country," he said.

    Karamirad, a member of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Iran was determined to continue its nuclear activities.

    Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, also dismissed the IAEA's fresh demands, saying Saturday on state television that Iran will limit its cooperation with the U.N. agency to its treaty obligations and will not cooperate beyond that.

    "Our first reaction to this resolution is that they (IAEA) should not expect us to do what we did several times in the past few months when we cooperated beyond our obligations to remove ambiguities," Soltanieh said.

    Soltanieh stressed the resolution won't stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium.

    He said the country's nuclear activities will not be interrupted by resolutions from the U.N. nuclear agency's board, the U.N. Security Council or even the threat of military strikes against the facilities.

    Friday's resolution — and the resulting vote of the IAEA's 35-nation decision-making board — were significant on several counts.

    Iranian officials have shrugged off the resolution's approval by 25 members of the 35-nation board, including the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The vote marked a rare measure of unity from the six world powers on Iran.

    Moscow and Beijing have traditionally cautioned against efforts to punish Iran for its defiance over its nuclear program, either preventing new Security Council sanctions or watering down their potency.

    The IAEA resolution criticized Iran for defying a U.N. Security Council ban on uranium enrichment — the source of both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

    It also censured Iran for secretly building a uranium enrichment facility, known as Fordo, and demanded that it immediately suspend further construction. The resolution noted that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei cannot confirm that Tehran's nuclear program is exclusively geared toward peaceful uses, and expressed "serious concern" that Iranian stonewalling of an IAEA probe means "the possibility of military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program" cannot be excluded.

     

     

    Thursday
    Nov262009

    Iranian Nuclear Negotiations at "Dead End"

    VIENNA (AP) -- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that his probe of allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms is at ''a dead end'' because Tehran is not cooperating.

    Mohamed ElBaradei also criticized Tehran for not accepting an internationally endorsed plan meant to delay its ability to make such weapons.

    The unusually blunt comments appeared to be a reflection of frustration four days before he ends his tenure leading an agency that has proven unable to overcome Iran's defiance and ease international concerns that it may be using a civilian nuclear program as a cover for plans to make weapons.

    ''There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program,'' ElBaradei told the opening session of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. ''We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us.''

    ''Issues of concern'' is the IAEA term for intelligence and other information available to the agency indicating that Tehran has experimented with nuclear weapons programs, including missile-delivery systems and tests of explosives that could serve as nuclear-bomb detonators.

    Since revelations of a secret Iranian nuclear program surfaced eight years ago, much of ElBaradei's energies have been spent on trying to nudge Tehran to meet international demands that it freeze uranium enrichment and cooperate on other issues meant to ease fears of its nuclear aims.

    Iran started stonewalling the agency over a year ago over the ''issues of concern,'' saying there was nothing to investigate because the allegations were false.

    ElBaradei has emphasized the need for talks instead of threats in engaging Iran. He has criticized the U.S. for invading Iraq on the pretext that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program, which has never been proven. That -- and perceived softness on the Iran issue -- has drawn criticism from the U.S. and its allies that he was overstepping his mandate.

    But ElBaradei's comments Thursday left little doubt that -- just days before his departure -- he was most unhappy with Iran.

    ''I am disappointed that Iran has not so far agreed to the original proposal'' involving removal of most of Iran's enriched stockpile, ElBaradei told the meeting.

    Tehran's approval ''would greatly help to alleviate the concerns relating to Iran's nuclear program,'' he added.

    The plan approved by the six world powers negotiating with Iran over the past few months would commit Tehran to ship out 70 percent of its enriched uranium for processing into fuel rods for its research reactor in Tehran. That would help allay international fears by removing most of the material that Iran could use to make a nuclear weapon.

    It would take more than a year for Tehran to replace the enriched material, meaning it would not be able to make a weapon for at least that long.

    Iran says it is enriching only to power a future network of nuclear reactors. But because enrichment can also produce fissile warhead material, its program has raised concerns. Iran continues enriching despite three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions meant to make it freeze that activity and has build an enriched stockpile that could arm two nuclear warheads.

    Initially, Tehran appeared to favor the plan. But in recent weeks it has offered modifications that have one thing in common -- its refusal to ship out most of its enriched stockpile. That effectively kills the plan, with the West refusing to accept anything else than an Iranian commitment to export the material.

     

    Tuesday
    Nov242009

    Iran threatens Russia over non-supply of S-300 

    TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran can take legal action if Russia refuses to fulfill its commitments to deliver an advanced missile defense system to the Islamic Republic, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

    Iranian officials have voiced growing irritation at Russia's failure so far to supply the S-300 missile system, which Israel and the United States do not want Tehran to have.

    "The Russians, surely under the pressure of the Zionist lobby and America, refuse to fulfill their commitments," the official IRNA news agency quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian as saying.

    "And because this is an official agreement it can be pursued through international legal bodies," said Mansourian, who is deputy head of Iran's air defenses.

    Moscow, which is under Western pressure to distance itself from Iran over a long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, has not followed through on proposals to ship the missiles to Iran.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Russia last month for not providing the S-300 to Iran. Like Israel, Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row over Iran's nuclear program. The West suspects Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs. Tehran says it only seeks to generate electricity.

    The truck-mounted S-300PMU1, known in the West as the SA-20, can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft. It can fire at targets up to 150 km (90 miles) away. Iranian officials say the country can produce a S-300-style system by itself, if Russia does not deliver it. Iranian media say a new anti-aircraft defense system will be tested during war games this week.

    In another possible source of strain in Moscow-Tehran ties, Russia earlier this month announced the latest delay to Iran's first nuclear power station. It said technical issues would prevent its engineers from starting up the Bushehr plant reactor on the Gulf coast by the year's end. Diplomats say Russia uses the Bushehr reactor, and major arms contracts, as levers in relations with Tehran.

    Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security council, has backed three sets of mild sanctions on Iran since 2006 over its nuclear work. But it has so far blocked any strong measures against its traditional ally. A senior MP last week said Russia was using the Islamic Republic as a "pawn" in Moscow's dealings with other powers such as the United States.

    But the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said on Tuesday that work on Bushehr was progressing as planned. "The West is trying to harm our relations with Russia ... the reactor is progressing based on our agreements and Russia is doing more than it should. The Bushehr plant will be inaugurated in 2010," ILNA news agency quoted Ali Akbar Salehi as saying.