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Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear’

International Day Against Nuclear Tests Should Push Us All to Demand Global Zero

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 31, 2014

By Valerie Plame WilsonFmr. CIA covert operations officer

Valerie_Plame_Wilsonn-NUCLEAR-TESTING-large570According to the 2000 Report of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the long-lasting effects of nuclear testing can be qualified in simple scientific terms: “Radiation exposure can damage living cells, causing death in some of them and modifying others.” Translation: death, cancer and birth deformities, to name but a few.

These long-lasting effects aren’t limited to nuclear testing. They are the same horrors that afflicted victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what the rest of us should know, and need to know, is that the nuclear threat has only grown more dangerous.

Today marks an important milestone in our fight to eliminate the nuclear threat. Five years ago when the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution to declare August 29 the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, they said that “the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” reminding us that there is still much more work to be done.

The truth is, as long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not safe. The human and environmental devastation caused by nuclear weapons — whether by testing, mistake or malice — is the very reason we need to eliminate them altogether. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which in 1996 set out to ban nuclear tests, is an important step, but we need to do more — and we can.

With political will and public pressure, we can achieve a world without these weapons of mass destruction. Just 10 days ago, we saw all of Syria’s chemical weapons destroyed because of bold leadership and effective diplomacy. And as I write this, the U.S. and other P5+1 leaders are amidst talks with Iran on a final end to the Iranian nuclear-weapons impasse. What we need now is intense public pressure. We must hold leaders accountable and demand a safer future.

Global Zero, the international movement to eliminate nuclear weapons, is spearheading the effort to put this critical human-rights issue at the top of the public and political agenda. Their activists are hitting the streets with bold action, pushing world leaders to make this an urgent priority. In fact, earlier this month on the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Global Zero turned out more than 400 activists in a global day of action that spanned three continents, five countries and seven cities to commemorate one of the world’s most shattering tragedies and to demand progress toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Together, they’re calling for the first-ever Nuclear Weapons Summit. There, key nuclear and non-nuclear countries will come to the table to advance the phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2030. But that starts with a global commitment to achieve a nuclear-free world.

@HP

To learn more about how you can make a difference, including signing the Global Zero declaration to commit to a world without nuclear weapons by 2030, visithere.

 

 

 

 

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Iran to take US to international court over intercepted spy drone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 6, 2012

US-TECHNOLOGY-UNMANNED SYSTEMS DEMO-SCANEAGLEIran has threatened international legal action against Washington over its alleged interception of a US spy drone. Tehran claims it has evidence of illegal spying on Iran’s nuclear program to present to an international court.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Tuesday that Tehran now has proof of the presence of US spy drones over Iranian territory.

“We had formally protested such actions by the US and had announced that we would defend our borders by any means possible,” Salehi told national media. International law forbids the violation of national borders, which Tehran had warned the US against before, “but unfortunately they did not comply,” he said.

“We will use this drone as evidence to pursue a legal case against the US invasion at relevant international bodies,”the Iranian FM said.

In a video broadcast on Iran’s Press TV on December 4, a US ScanEagle drone recently intercepted over the Persian Gulf by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was not visibly damaged. If the drone was manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu, the lack of damage indicates it was not shot down, but was ‘hooked’ intact and brought to the ground.

IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, who made the official announcement on the drone’s capture, did not specify the exact date it had been intercepted.

One year ago, Tehran was reluctant to go to an international court when Iranian electronic warfare specialists managed to take control of the top-secret US RQ-170 ‘Sentinel’ stealth drone on a mission above the northeastern Iranian city Kashmar. The Sentinel was hacked and forced to land on an Iranian airfield, and then captured intact on December 4, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran may launch pre-emptive strike on Israel, conflict could grow into WWIII – senior commander

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 25, 2012

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Iranian military official has warned that military conflict between Iran and Israel could “turn into World War III.” He added that if Israel “is putting the final touches on attacking Iran,” a preemptive strike against Tel Aviv would ensue.

Israel “cannot imagine” the force of Iran’s response if Tel Aviv attacks it, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran’s Arabic-language television network. “It will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration,”he said.

Hajizadeh added that Iran does not see this happening at the moment because he does not believe that Israel will conduct an attack without its strongest ally – the United States.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama threatens to attack Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 21, 2012

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

US President Barack Obama has a stern warning for the country of Syria. In an address made early Monday, the commander-in-chief confirmed that he has not ruled out an offensive strike on Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

Speaking from the White House, President Obama said that if Syria were to deploy chemical or biological weapons, the United States will follow through with its threat of launching an attack.

Responding to a question about America’s current attitudes towards Assad, Obama said that the United States will not tolerate any efforts to allow Syria or any other countries to use weapons of mass destruction.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting ready for the Big One: Japan chooses disaster-alternative capital

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 16, 2012

The skyline of Osaka, Japan (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)

The skyline of Osaka, Japan (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)

The Japanese government is considering unparalleled counter-measures to withstand the inevitable earthquakes and tsunamis awaiting Japan in the future. Experts propose preparation of emergency government offices in the country’s five major cities.

One of the main anti-earthquake emergency measures proposed by the Central Disaster Prevention Council is a recommendation to be ready to transfer central government offices, as well as the Bank of Japan and other facilities, in case Tokyo is devastated by a tsunami. The country’s major cities, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Sendai are recommended as suitable substitutes because they already have some governmental facilities and branches of the Bank of Japan, Kyodo reports.

A draft report prepared by the Council says a natural disaster damaging administrative, economic and political functions of the central government would “affect our country’s future.Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran boasts it could wipe out US presence in Middle East in minutes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 5, 2012

In a picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran's Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

In a picture obtained from Iran’s ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran’s Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

Iran claims it has the capability to destroy US bases “within minutes” after concluding a massive military exercise in which it launched hundreds of missiles.

“[US] bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands [Israel] are also good targets for us,” Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard told the FARS news agency.

The three-day Great Prophet 7 training exercise wrapped up on Wednesday. It simulated rapidly releasing batteries of guided missiles and Iran-made drones at mock-ups of US bases.

Haji Zadesh claimed that 35 US bases are within the 2,000 km range of Iran’s rockets, although the actual number of bases within this area is closer to 10.

The aggressive rhetoric comes on the back of a spike in tension between Iran and the US, already locked in a long-running stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and the EU believe it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, while Tehran denies the accusations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Israel ‘super-ready’ to attack Iran – Defense Chief

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 6, 2012

Israel's F-16I fighter jet (AFP Photo/Yoav Lemmer)

Israel’s F-16I fighter jet (AFP Photo/Yoav Lemmer)

Israel is fully prepared to attack Iran if needed, declared Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, saying the military threat is one convincing method of forcing Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

According to the military chief, “the vectors of international diplomatic isolation, economic pressure and sanctions, disturbances to the [nuclear] project… and a credible military threat” make the list of factors that can influence the direction of Iran’s nuclear program.

“In order to be a credible military threat, we must be super-ready, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re super-ready,”Gantz was cited by Israeli media as saying to the country’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pentagon ‘prepared’ to attack Iran – Panetta

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta has stated that the US is ready to do everything it can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The American envoy to Israel earlier said that the military option is “fully available” and the necessary planning has been done.

“We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon,” Panetta told ABC News.

Panetta thus confirmed US Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s comments on Israel’s Army Radio on May 17, that Washington has a military contingency plan in case “diplomatic talks” fail to “pressure” Iran successfully. Shapiro said the option is not only “fully available”, but “ready.”

Now, a week on, Panetta said US officials “have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves.”

However, Panetta said that the US still hopes that the conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be “resolved diplomatically.”

Israel is the only country insisting on using military force to pressure Iran away from a suspected atomic weapon.

Tel Aviv reaffirmed its position on May 23, the first day of a new round of talks between the P5+1 group and Iran. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the negotiations only let Iran to buy time and get in the way of Washington and Tel Aviv.  Read the rest of this entry »

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IAEA: Iran moving closer to nuclear missile production

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

                                                                             Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

The IAEA suspects that Iran has raised its enrichment threshold towards weapons-grade level. The hunch is based on evidence found at the Fordo enrichment plant a day after P5+1-Iran talks ended with no agreement.

The UN’s atomic agency reportedly found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 per cent, diplomats told AP. This is seven percent higher than Iran’s known enrichment grade.

Even though this is substantially below the 85 per cent (and often higher) level normally required for weapons-grade uranium, the IAEA suspects that Iran has moved closer to producing the material needed to arm nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile, no official comments from the agency have been given.

The latest move comes a day after the group of six and Tehran failed to produce a result, as both sides refused to budge.

The P5+1 appealed to Iran to suspend its 20 per cent uranium enrichment program, which the group sees as vital to the negotiations process.

Tehran considered the Western proposal “unbalanced,” rejecting it over what it called unfair demands, which offer little in return.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Going Ballistic: Pakistan prepares nuclear-capable missile test

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 20, 2012

image from http://www.defence.pk

Pakistan will yet again test a ballistic missile by the end of the month, heating up the burgeoning arms race on the Indian subcontinent.

This is the third missile test to be conducted by the Pakistani Armed Forces in recent times.

News of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile launch broke on the Pakistani-based Geo News Saturday, Pakistan Defense reports.

Nasr, the Arabic word for “victory’, is a Battlefield Range Ballistic Missile (BRBM) that uses the solid fuel propellant system. It has an effective operation range of up to 110 miles and is capable of being armed with both nuclear and conventional high-explosive warheads.

The Pakistani military says the next generation system was specially designed to quickly react to a variety of threats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Congress opens door for US war with Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 19, 2012

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

                                                                Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution on Iran that moves the United States much closer to a war footing against Iran as many experts and diplomats warn America is ready for attack.

The vote undermines the 5+1 Iranian nuclear talks scheduled for next week, in which the US will participate and which many in the pro-war camp want to sabotage.

Ahead of the vote Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a tough critic of the resolution and one of the few who voted against it, warned that the US is “getting ready for war against Iran” with Thursday’s vote.

The non-binding resolution H.Res.568 that overwhelmingly passed 401-11, effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when it obtains “nuclear weapons capability.” The vague interpretation, critics say, already applies to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and actually any other country with a civilian nuclear program.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Keep guessing: US deploying fighter jets to the Gulf?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 29, 2012

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

The US says it has deployed a number of its most modern jet fighters to an air base in Southwest Asia. The announcement alarmed many, who suspect the base is actually in the United Arab Emirates just 200 hundred miles from Iran.

The Air Force did not specify the exact number or location of the recently-deployed F-22 Raptors, but confirmed that they had been sent to a base in Southwest Asia, a region that includes the UAE.

“Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures,” said Air Force spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura.

Numerous reports assert that the planes have been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, just 200 miles from Iran’s mainland.

The move is viewed by many as a precautionary measure ahead of crucial nuclear talks with Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellite images show activity at N. Korea nuclear site

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 28, 2012

Photo shows work at North Korea nuclear test site (Associated Press / DigitalGlobe)

Photo shows work at North Korea nuclear test site (Associated Press / DigitalGlobe)

Satellite imagery reveals an escalation in activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri atomic site in possible preparation for a third nuclear test, experts say. However, there is no clear indication from the photos when the test may occur.

The images from a US-based website highlight a chain of mining carts on piles of excavated soil. This coincides with South Korean intelligence reports at the beginning of April claiming that the North was digging a new tunnel at the Punggye-ri for the purposes of a covert nuclear test.

The US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies analyzed the photos taken between March 8 and April 18 by a private satellite operator. The most recent images suggest that 8,000 cubic meters of rubble have been excavated at Punggye-ri. North Korea carried out two atomic bomb tests at the site in 2006 and 2009.

“While it’s very clear from looking at these photos that the North has stepped up preparations for a nuclear test over the past few months, it’s unclear exactly when the blast will occur,”  Joel Wit, editor of the institute’s website said to the Associated Press.

He added that upon close examination there has been “a lot of activity at the site” where “you can clearly see vehicles” and objects being moved around. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – At the Heart of the Global Nuclear Debate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 28, 2012

By Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The word “nuclear” is often on the front pages of the press, whether you’re in Tehran, Tokyo or Tunis. In the last few weeks alone, we’ve seen international talks about Iran’s nuclear programme and united international concern that it is developing a nuclear weapon. We have also seen the DPRK rocket launch – ostensibly a failed satellite launch, but widely suspected to be part of a nuclear weapons programme. Yet at the same time we’ve seen unprecedented agreement by world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to work together to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The issue of nuclear safety was thrust onto the front pages last year during the massive emergency response to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, following the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Given our expectation that world-wide energy demand is set to double by 2050, and the stark reality that we must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, then it is clear that the debate about the peaceful uses of nuclear power and the risks of the spread of nuclear weapons is set to continue. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is at the heart of our approach to this debate.

The Treaty, borne out of fear that the Cold War era would lead to a nuclear arms race, has in many ways surpassed expectations in terms of longevity, participation and meeting its counter proliferation objectives. Today, with 189 States Parties to the Treaty, it has more signatories than any other treaty of its kind. The three non-signatories India, Israel, and Pakistan, are the only additional states believed to have gained possession of nuclear weapons since the Treaty’s inception in 1968. Read the rest of this entry »

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Grass stained: Israel slams Nobel Prize-winner over ‘anti-nuke’ poem

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

The Israeli government has slammed a poem by prominent German writer and Nobel Prize-winner Gunter Grass criticizing Israel’s stance on nuclear armament. The country labels a comparison Grass made of Israel to Iran “shameful”.

In his lyrical warning What Must be Said, published on Wednesday in the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Grass claimed it is not Iran, but “Israel’s atomic power [which] endangers an already fragile world peace,” as its nuclear program was developed without any supervision.

Grass called upon Germany to stop supplying Israel with submarines because “we [Germans] may be providing material for a crime that is foreseeable.”

In response, the Israeli Government insisted the country has never threatened any country’s security, as opposed to Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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