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    Friday
    Dec042009

    Iran successfully simulates nuclear warhead detonation - report DEBKAfile Special Report

    German intelligence reports that Iranian scientists have successfully simulated the detonation of a nuclear warhead in laboratory conditions, in an effort to sidestep an underground nuclear test like the one that brought the world down on North Korea's head earlier this year. DEBKAfile's Iranian and intelligence sources report that this development is alarming because detonation is one of the most difficult technological challenges in the development of a nuclear weapon. Mastering it carries Iran past one of the last major obstacles confronting its program for the manufacture of a nuclear warhead.

    After this breakthrough, the German BND intelligence believes it will take Tehran no more than a year to perfect its expertise and stock enough highly-enriched uranium to make the last leap toward building the first Iranian nuclear bomb or warhead. DEBKAfile's military sources confirm that simulated detonation of a warhead takes Iran to the highest level of weapons development.

    Using the example of Israel and other nations, Western nuclear arms experts have claimed in recent years that since the emergence of simulated detonation technique, nuclear tests are no longer necessary.

    With this hurdle overcome, Tehran has set about restructuring its defense ministry for the coming task of actually making a weapon.

    The new Department for Expanded Technology Applications - FEDAT was set up to speed up the military nuclear program. It is divided into sub-departments for uranium mining (to increase the output of the Yazd mines), enrichment (to guarantee the quantity of high-grade uranium needed for weapons), metallurgy, neutrons, highly explosive material and fuel supply.

    Wednesday, Dec. 2, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "The Iranian nation will by itself make the 20 percent (nuclear) fuel (enriched uranium) and whatever it needs."

    President Barack Obama has reminded Tehran that it has until the end of the year for a negotiated accommodation on its nuclear program that will uphold its international obligations. However, tor Iran's leaders, progress toward a nuclear weapon is now unstoppable by any diplomatic means.

    Wednesday
    Dec022009

    CST urges Jews not to be fooled by Euro-Fascist group (SIOE)

     

    British Jewish advocacy group CST appeals to Jews not to take part in an upcoming demonstration by far right Eurofascists: Don’t be fooled by Islamophobia. A small Islamophobic group, called Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE), has called for 1,000 Jews to attend its forthcoming demonstration at Harrow mosque; and for each Jew to bring an Israeli flag. This is strikingly similar to appeals that have also been made in recent months by the English Defence League (EDL). It is also essentially the same as opportunistic attempts by British National Party leader Nick Griffin to ditch both his and his party’s antisemitic heritage, by stressing his supposed new-found support for Israel and Jews. SIOE’s appeal for Jewish participation sits alongside this grotesque Islamophobic image on its website:

    If a Jew cannot understand why the image is racist, or hateful, or bigoted then they should try imagining it as a synagogue: with blood dripping from a Star of David; with blood dripping down the rabbi’s pulpit; and with blood dripping from the mouth of a skull that wears an Israeli army helmet. …

    CST has raised awareness of the activities of extreme Islamist groups in the UK for many years. But to demonise an entire community, every Muslim and every mosque, in the way that SIOE does, shows exactly the kind of bigotry from which Jews have suffered so often in our history. For SIOE to appeal to Jews to support them shows a complete ignorance of the Jewish experience of being on the receiving end of exactly this type of politics. …

    Hatred, division, cycles of inter-communal violence, intimidation and polarisation feed the extremists on every side. They encourage social division and leave all minorities vulnerable. Anti-Muslim bigotry is a vital recruiting sergeant for both the far right, and its Islamist extremist counterparts. It generates votes for the BNP and, at the furthest ends of this political spectrum, it even provides the fuel for terrorism. British Jews should have no part of it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wednesday
    Dec022009

    Russia to sign up to Sanctions on Iran

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will join any consensus on moresanctions against Iran, a senior Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday after Tehran declared it would expand nuclear activity in defiance of a U.N. rebuke.

    It was a thinly veiled Russian warning to Iran of waning patience with its failure to allay fears it aims to develop atom bombs in secret, and hinted that Iran could no longer rely on Russia to stop tougher world action against it.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced defiance on Tuesday, saying sanctions would have no effect and that no more talks on the nuclear dispute were needed with the West. Speaking on state television, he also criticized Russian action.

    Governors of the U.N. nuclear agency passed a resolution on Friday censuring Iran for covertly constructing a second enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom, in addition to its IAEA-monitored one atNatanz, and demanding a construction halt.

    Tehran said on Sunday it would build 10 more uranium enrichment sites -- a pledge that Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was "not a bluff".

    Iran's announcement had been in retaliation for the 25-3 vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation Board of Governors, which sailed through with unusual Russian and Chinese support.

    "If there is a consensus on Iran sanctions, we will not stand aside," said the Russian diplomatic source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

    By referring to "consensus", Russia could be leaving itself an escape hatch since China has been the most resistant to punitive steps against Iran among the six world powers.

    The source made clear Moscow would not move so fast to embrace harsher sanctions as the United States and EU powers, who want to act early next year if Tehran has not begun fulfilling IAEA demands for nuclear restraint and transparency by then.

    "We will be thinking about sanctions but this is not an issue of the next few hours or weeks," he said.

    Russia did not want to complicate the situation with threats against Iran.

    "We would rather have Iran cooperating more openly and consistently with the IAEA and showing clear steps to lift concerns -- which are gaining greater foundation -- than introducing sanctions against Iran," the source said.

    AHMADINEJAD RESPONSE

    In his televised comments, Ahmadinejad dismissed the threat of sanctions and warned any "aggressor" against Iran.

    "Sanctions will have no effect. Aggressors will regret their action as soon as they put their finger on the trigger," he said.

    Israel has hinted at the possibility of attacking Iranian facilities if it deems diplomacy at a dead end.

    Ahmadinejad said Western attempts to isolate Iran were in vain and he criticized Russia.

    "Russia made a mistake by backing the anti-Iran resolution and we believe that their analysis in this regard was incorrect," he said.

    The Russian source said Iran's plan for 10 more enrichment plants did "not add optimism to talks", in a reference to talks with Tehran revived in October but stalled by disputes.

    The United States and its allies fear Iran will divert its declared civilian nuclear energy program to yieldingatomic bombs, not electricity. Tehran says it has no such intention.

    Concerns have deepened over Iran's retreat from an October deal in principle that would see its low-enriched uranium -- which is potential fissile material for bombs -- sent abroad for processing into fuel for a nuclear medicine reactor in Tehran.

    "The situation surrounding the agency is stormy now. We have a lot of difficult challenges," new IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano told reporters on his first day in office after succeeding Mohamed ElBaradei. Amano declined to elaborate.

    IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said Iran had not yet informed the U.N. nuclear inspectorate directly of its new enrichment plans and that it would seek clarification from Tehran.

    Western diplomats and analysts believe the new enrichment plan may be largely bluster, possibly a negotiating gambit by Iran, and would take many years if not decades to execute.

    But analysts said the risk remained of Iran using an array of above-board civilian enrichment plants to camouflage one or two small covert sites geared to enriching uranium to the high purity suitable for nuclear warheads.

    (Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Tehran; Andrew Hammond in Dubai; Sylvia Westall in Vienna; Writing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Charles Dick)

     

    Tuesday
    Dec012009

    Jewish groups criticise Minaret Ban in Switzerland

     

    Bern - Switzerland's biggest Jewish groups have described a far-right push to ban the construction of minarets as a "threat" to religious harmony and the integration of Muslims.  "The referendum infringes religious freedom, a concept enshrined in the constitution," the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the Platform of Liberal Jews in Switzerland said in a statement on Wednesday. 

    It "also poses a threat to peaceful relations between the religions and inhibits the integration endeavours of Muslims in Switzerland", they added.

    Swiss voters decided during a referendum on November 29 to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, a proposal launched by right-wing groups and backed by the country's biggest political party, the hard-right Swiss People's Party (SVP).

    The two Jewish groups said they "take seriously the fears of the population that extremist ideas could be disseminated in Switzerland".  "But banning minarets is no solution - it only creates in Muslims in Switzerland a sense of alienation and discrimination," they said. 

    The Swiss government and all the other major political parties were recommending a 'no' vote. In a historic move, local Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders also joined forces to reject a ban on minarets.

    In September, the Roman Catholic community joined in the call urging voters to reject the ban. Islam is the second largest religion in Switzerland after Christianity with 310,000 followers out of a population of 7.5 million. Four minarets have been built and the construction of a fifth is planned.

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    Dec012009

    Hezbollah blames U.S. for all terrorism

    Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- Hezbollah's chief on Monday announced the group's new "manifesto," which calls on all countries to "liberate Jerusalem" and declares the United States a threat to the world.

    "American terrorism is the source of every terrorism in the world," Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech from an undisclosed location.

    It was his first address since a unity government formed in Lebanon this month, ending a crisis that had left the country with no government since June's parliamentary elections.

    Hezbollah, a political party in Lebanon, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. Nasrallah does not appear in public amid concerns for his safety.

    "We invite and call on all Arabs and Muslims and all countries keen on peace and stability in the world to intensify efforts and resources to liberate Jerusalem from Zionist occupation and to maintain its true identity and its Islamic and Christian sanctities," Nasrallah said.

    Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks. It has been linked to attacks against against American, Israeli and other Western targets.

    In his remarks, which included about 80 minutes of reading the manifesto followed by answering questions from reporters, Nasrallah sought to reject the "terrorist" label, repeatedly saying Hezbollah is a "resistance" force.

    "The U.S. administration under President George W. Bush equated the concepts of terrorism and resistance to deny the right of resistance for the people," he argued.

    He praised Iran and Syria, which are Hezbollah's chief backers.

    "Iran plays a central role in the Muslim world" and "stood with courage and determination with Arab and Islamic issues, especially the Palestinian issue," Nasrallah said.

    "Damascus stood with and supported the resistance's movements in the conflict. We emphasize the need to adhere to the distinguished relations between Lebanon and Syria," he added.

    A battle to end Syria's occupation of Lebanon led to protests and confrontations in the streets in 2005, which was labeled the Cedar Revolution. Syria eventually withdrew its troops from the country.

    In his "manifesto" Monday, Nasrallah also touched on domestic issues.

    "We want a government that works for its citizens and provides the appropriate services in their education and medical care and housing to secure a decent life and to address the problem of poverty and provide employment opportunities," Nasrallah said.

    "We want a government that works to strengthen the role of women in society and enhance their participation in all fields," he added.

    Nasrallah also called for Palestinians in Lebanon to "be given basic human rights which at the same time protect their identity and their cause."

    Under Lebanese law, Palestinian refugees have no social and civil rights, limited access to public health or educational facilities, and no access to public social services, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

    "The majority rely entirely on UNRWA as the sole provider of education, health and relief and social services," the agency says on its Web site. "Considered as foreigners, Palestine refugees are prohibited by law from working in more than 70 trades and professions. This has led to a very high rate of unemployment amongst the refugee population."

    More than 422,000 Palestinian refugees are registered with the agency in Lebanon, the group says.

     

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