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Posts Tagged ‘IAEA’

What Lies? Beneath the Mysterious History of an Iranian Nuclear Site

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 23, 2012

On the northwestern edge of Tehran, a wooded hill rises abruptly out of the gray low-rise cityscape. The roads meandering to the top are lined with grills and picnic tables, and from the north slope it was once possible to peer through the trees and make out where the of the Physics Research Center used to stand. The vacant lot looked just like it did on the satellite photos.

The day I visited, in June 2004,  it was also possible to wind back down the hill and pitch up at the site itself, still surrounded by a 20-foot wall. Inspectors for the IAEA had not been there yet but Iranian demolition crews certainly had: All the topsoil had been trucked away, along with every building except a guard shack. The man inside it came out and lied to us.

“It was a municipal sports complex,” he said, speaking without losing the ash on his cigarette. “It wasn’t big enough so they demolished it. And they want to build a bigger one.”

But there are lies and there are lies. And as the Iranians apparently prepare to sign a pact promising to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate suspected military components of its nuclear program, the question is how in heaven’s name the mullahs will manage to save face for their fibs of the past. A case in point is embedded in the mysterious history of that vacant lot at the base of Lavizan Park – a trapezoid of ground that once held nearly as much interest to U.N. inspectors as the Parchin military base the IAEA is keen to revisit now, in search of evidence of nuclear triggering experiments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran Nuclear Talks: Israel Cautiously Welcomes New Negotiations

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 8, 2012

 

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM, March 7 (Reuters) – Israel on Wednesday cautiously welcomed the planned resumption of big-power nuclear talks with Iran, insisting that Tehran be denied the means to turn uranium into bomb fuel.

With Israel speaking increasingly loudly of resorting to military action to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, the talks could provide some respite in a crisis that has driven up oil prices and threatened to suck the United States into its third major war in a decade.

Tuesday’s announcement of new talks followed a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States, where President Barack Obama said the talks offered a diplomatic chance to quiet the “drums of war”.

“I’m very happy that they are opening discussions,” said Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror.

“There will be no one happier than us, and the prime minister said this in his own voice, if it emerges that in these talks Iran will give up on its military nuclear capability,” he told Israel Radio.

Taking up Iran’s offer of talks with the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the powers sought assurances on “the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy”.

A date and venue for the talks have yet to be agreed.

Past contacts with Tehran, whose often secretive nuclear projects have stirred foreign suspicions of a hidden bomb programme, stumbled in disputes over the scale of its uranium enrichment and stockpiling of the fissile material, which can power energy reactors and, if purified further, provide fuel for warheads. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran: ‘Keep Aircraft Carrier Out Of Gulf’ Tehran Warns US, As France Calls For Fresh Sanctions

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 3, 2012

Iran has warned the United States not to return an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf after Tehran conducted 10 days of military exercises conducted by Tehran.

On Monday Iran said it had completed successful tests of surface-to-sea cruise missiles, as well as shorter range and surface-to-surface missiles.

It also conducted a series of military tests and exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, a key ‘choke point’ for oil tankers in the region through which 20% of the world’s oil travels.

Following the exercises Major General Ataollah Salehi said that Iran “advises, recommends and warns” the US to keep the USS John C Stennis away from the Gulf, adding that “Iran is not used to repeating its warnings”. The ship had left the region for Dubai during the military exercises.

Quoted by the Fars news agency, General Salehi said it would not make “any unreasonable” retaliatory action, but warned it was “ready to counter any threat”.

The US Navy has not commented on the warnings.

Meanwhile, Tehran has denied that US economic sanctions designed to counter its nuclear programme were not behind its currency falling to record lows.

On Saturday US President Barack Obama signed a bill designed to attack Iran’s central bank when it comes into force in six months’ time.

The Iranian rial has since lost 12% in value, and Reuters previously quoted officials as saying it had suspended trading.

The US has imposed the new sanctions along with the UK and Canada following a report in November by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which stated that the country had carried out development tests related to nuclear weapons

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Iran’s Ahmadinejad Calls UN Nuclear Chief, Yukiya Amano, U.S. Pawn

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 9, 2011

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday criticized the head of the U.N.’s nuclear agency as an American pawn in the run-up to its expected release of a document said to document Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.

Ahmadinejad said Iran will not stop its nuclear development, adopting a defiant position in advance of the report which could spur efforts for new sanctions against his country.

“If you think you can change the situation of the world through putting pressures on Iran, you are deadly wrong. The Iranian nation will not withdraw an iota,” Ahmadinejad said.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not weapons production.

The report, expected to be issued Wednesday, suggests that Iran made computer models of a nuclear warhead and includes satellite imagery of a large steel container the IAEA believes is used for nuclear arms-related high explosives tests, diplomats told The Associated Press.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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You Say You Wanna Bomb Iran? Take a Number and Stand in Line

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 3, 2011

by 

Yes, you heard right: Britain  is preparing to bomb Iran. Well, that’s if the latest reported leaks from the British government are to be believed. The Guardian — not known, like some of its British rivals are, for frequent breathless front-page claims of imminent military strikes on Iran — reported Wednesday that Britain’s Defense Ministry has stepped up plans for military action against Iran. Not that the Brits would kick things off, of course; their contingency planning is ostensibly geared towards playing a largely symbolic support role (think “Coalition of the Willing”)  should the Obama Administration “decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities.”

Beneath the attention-grabbing headline, the story is a familiar one:  British officials believe that while President Barack Obama “has no wish to embark on a new and provocative military venture before next November’s U.S. election … the calculus could change because of mounting anxiety over intelligence gathered by Western agencies, and the more belligerent posture that Iran appears to have been taking.”

The Guardian’s sources create the impression of dramatic new developments and a ticking clock, although the consensus among the  world’s intelligence agencies that Iran remains some years away from having  nuclear weapons, and has not yet decided to actually build them even though it is assembling the means to do so. But the alarmist messaging certainly jibes with an Israeli diplomatic campaign launched to persuade reluctant governments to impose tough new sanctions on Iran if they hope to avoid a potentially catastrophic war. Israel underscored the point, Wednesday, announcing it had successfully tested a missile capable of reaching Iran — at the same time as Israeli papers were filled with stories claiming that  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking cabinet approval for bombing Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nuclear Proliferation: The Crime with No Punishment?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 16, 2011

By EBEN HARRELL

In 2003, the seizure of sensitive nuclear equipment on a ship in an Italian port played a key role in the unraveling of a vast, international smuggling ring led by the Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan that supplied nuclear technology to some of the world’s most dangerous regimes. Prosecuting those involved in this proliferation network, however, has proved difficult. Today none of the people associated with the so-called Khan network remain in prison.

This month, Swiss prosecutors announced that they were having another go at the network. They said that three central players in the Khan ring will finally face charges in the fall related to the sale of nuclear equipment and technical expertise to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The announcement follows a nearly decadelong investigation into Urs Tinner, his brother Marco and their father Friedrich that shows the complexities of nuclear-smuggling cases and the inadequacies of the legal systems in place to prevent them.(See TIME’s video “10 Questions for Mohamed ElBaradei.”)

Efforts to prosecute black-market proliferators have been hampered by disputes between governments, the reluctance of intelligence agencies to hand over sensitive evidence to prosecutors and a lack of strong export-control laws; in many places, smuggling technology related to the development of nuclear weapons is not even illegal.

In the case of the Tinners, their prosecution has been complicated by the fact that for the final few years they were in the proliferation business, the Tinners were also working as CIA spies. Urs Tinner, who like his brother and father has been released on bail pending charges, claimed in a 2009 interview with Swiss TV station SF1 that he had, with the help of Americans, sabotaged centrifuge equipment sent to Libya, and also tipped off authorities about a delivery of centrifuge parts to Gaddafi’s regime. As a result, the U.S. government actively lobbied against the family’s prosecution. In 2009, a Swiss parliamentary commission made public a 58-page report that described how the U.S. applied pressure on the Swiss government to destroy evidence collected against the Tinners, which it did on several occasions, on the grounds that the evidence, which included detailed designs of nuclear warheads, was a national-security threat.

The Associated Press has reported that, this time around, Swiss authorities may seek a shortened procedure against the Tinners, under which defendants admit the basic charges against them but face no more than five years’ imprisonment.(See more international news in Global Spin.) Read the rest of this entry »

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