UN nuclear chief to visit Iran this weekend - 26 October 2017

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog will visit Iran on Sunday for talks with senior officials there, as opposition from the United States threatens to undermine an international accord to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will discuss Iran’s implementation of the 2015 agreement, the IAEA said on Wednesday.
The visit comes during a dispute between Washington and Tehran over US President Donald Trump’s decision this month not to certify Iranian compliance with the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.


In November of 2013, Hungary completed the transfer of its high enriched uranium research reactor fuel to Russia and became the ninth nation to completely remove such fuel since an initiative between the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United States and Russia, called the Russian-origin Research Reactor Fuel Return program, that began in 2002. Under the program, more than 2,000 kilograms of Russian-supplied high enriched uranium has been transferred to Russia from 14 countries in 56 shipment operations.


All 7 soviet/russian nuclear submarines sunk in accidents, the most of any nation that operates this type of vessels, left to right, top to bottom:

K-27: The only Project 645 submarine (a variant of the Project 627 November class with liquid metal cooled reactors), it was irreparably damaged by a reactor accident (control rod failure) on May 24, 1968. 9 were killed in the reactor accident. After shutting down the reactor and sealing the compartment, the Soviet Navy scuttled it in shallow water (108 ft (33 m)) in the Kara Sea on September 6, 1982, contrary to the recommendation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

K-8: A Project 627 November class submarine was lost on April 11, 1970 while being towed in rough seas following a fire on board. The submarine was initially evacuated, but 52 reembarked for the towing operation. All hands on board were lost (52), while 73 crewmen survived on the rescue vessel. Location: Bay of Biscay, 490 kilometres (260 nmi) northwest of Spain in the North Atlantic Ocean.

K-219: A Project 667A Yankee I class sub was damaged by a missile explosion on October 3, 1986, then sank suddenly while being towed after all surviving crewmen had transferred off. 6 crew members were killed. Location: 950 kilometres (510 nmi) east of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean.

K-278 Komsomolets: The only Mike-class sub built sank due to a raging fire April 7, 1989. All but 5 crewmen evacuated prior to sinking. 42 died, many from smoke inhalation and exposure to the cold waters of the Barents Sea. A total of 27 crew members survived.

Soviet submarine K-429: Sank twice, first in 23 June 1983 after a series of mistakes led to a catastrophic dive that eventually killed 16 men, latter raised, she then sank again in her moorings on 13 September 1985, where she was raised again and decommissioned. 

K-141 Kursk: The Oscar II class sub sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000 after an explosion in the torpedo compartment. See Kursk submarine disaster. All 118 men on board were lost. All except the bow section was salvaged.

K-159: The hulk of the decommissioned Soviet-era November class submarine sank in the Barents Sea on August 28, 2003, when a storm ripped away the pontoons necessary to keep it afloat under tow. Nine men died in the accident.

Being a soviet/russian nuclear submariner has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Mattis says Iran 'fundamentally' in compliance with nuclear deal
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday Iran was fundamentally in compliance with its nuclear deal, as President Donald Trump's administration weighs whether the 2015 deal serves U.S. security interests.

“ … “I believe that they fundamentally are. There have been certainly some areas where they were not temporarily in that regard, but overall our intelligence community believes that they have been compliant and the IAEA also says so,” Mattis said during a House of Representatives hearing, using an acronym for the International Atomic Energy Agency. … “

“ …  a decision that could sink an agreement strongly supported by the other powers that negotiated it, including Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union. … “

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Trump is a Fool, and his decision NOT to re-certify this agreement has NO foundation in foreign Policy Expertise!


The United Nations Office at Vienna was established on 1 January 1980 as the third UN Headquarters after New York and Geneva, and before Nairobi.

Over 4,000 employees from over 110 countries work for the Vienna-based organizations of the UN family, which include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and many more.

📷: José Otarola-Silesky / IAEA

makro-prinz  asked:

Bless.. This shit ppl seriously take this thing bb says in a rush to venom more important than the whole tritt tapes....

[ God fucking RIGHT??? Like did anyone even actually LISTEN to the fucking tapes? ISTG everyone was so excited to see John’s fall from “hero” to “villain” that they are just kind of making shit the fuck up and pulling assumptions right out their asses rather than looking at the facts.

What gets me so fucking pissed is the whole post about “John being the villain since Peace Walker” or even posts trying to claim that Huey is “innocent” and it was all John’s doing AHAHAHA?!?!!?

No. We are very explicitly told that Huey is the one who went behind John and Kaz’s backs in order to write a secondary letter to the IAEA expressing that they had changed their minds and were totally cool with the idea of them coming and inspecting Mother Base. We’re also told he’s responsible for the leak on (Diamond Dog) Mother Base and we also know that he killed Strangelove. I’m sorry there’s no blaming that shit on John, you dim fucks.

Here are the facts:

  • Motherbase getting destroyed was Skullface’s doing but ultimately Huey’s fault.
  • Paz blows up and their helicopter crashes. John falls into a coma. When Kaz himself passes out, Zero has managed to locate where they are and fucking steals both John and Venom for his plans to keep John safe. [then later he just dicks with Kaz on the phone like a fucking asshole oh m y g o d]
  • Ocelot and Zero don’t exactly see eye to eye on everything but they’re still on respectable terms with one another. Ocelot is the only one Zero trusts to be inside of the loop in taking care of John
  • Zero visits John in the hospital and BOTH Venom and John are in a coma. So either Venom fell into a coma himself (likely during transit from one hospital to the other) or his coma is a manufactured coma while they project John’s personality and memories onto our poor cinnamon bun medic.
  • When John finally does wake up, it’s about the same time Venom’s been coming in and out of it. He and Ocelot have some nice little chats.
  • in said chats we learn the plan is to use Venom as a body double for John, while John will actually serve as a body guard for his own double. That way they can keep the limelight off of John for a while since “the whole world wants him dead”. THIS MEANS JOHN DID NOT COME UP WITH THE PLAN. THE PLAN WAS ALREADY IN MOTION. THE PLAN WAS ZERO AND OCELOT’S PLAN - MOSTLY ZERO’S THOUGH, SINCE OCELOT CHANGES UP THAT PLAN LATER ON.
  • IN FACT: John actually seems initially a little hesitant about the idea, but Ocelot assures him that Venom took a BOMB for him so a) that means he ‘gave up his life for him in that moment’ (which clearly means that they can do whatever they want with him right lol?) and therefore b) he would be willing to take this on as his ‘final mission’.
  • Furthermore - we know that later on Ocelot implies ‘at some point’ (he probably assumed sooner rather than later) Venom would fulfill his purpose and have to die: he says there “can only be one” Big Boss. That there is “only room for one”. Saying that + saying Venom pretending to be Big Boss is his ‘final mission’ seems to confirm to me the idea that Ocelot didn’t anticipate on Venom being around for as long as he is. But JOHN NEVER GIVES HIM ANY ORDERS TO OFF HIM. SO. You know, again, John isn’t a 100% evil dickbag. LMAO
  • When Venom wakes up John obviously shows vested interest in keeping Venom alive, but he does not seem 100% emotionally removed from the situation like a truly evil and manipulative person would - his concern for getting Venom out of there seems pretty legitimate - he’s ANOTHER SOLDIER, and insofar as he knows, the game plan at that time is that he is supposed to play as this other soldier’s bodyguard;
  • Case and point: when they crash the ambulance John’s first course of action is to get Venom out of his buckle and help him out the ambulance - until Ocelot shows up.
  • Ocelot tells John to take his bike and lie low. I honestly feel like this was a spur-of-the-moment thing that John had no idea about because he hands him off the passport and papers like ‘this is the new game plan’, and they go off in different directions. THIS bit is speculation but: I honestly believe Ocelot didn’t feel like he could truly (make himself) forget about John if John was right there, playing body guard to his body-double. It was obviously hard enough on Ocelot to forget him in the first place, but to have John RIGHT THERE would have been murder on the poor cat’s psyche.
  • Since the original plan fell through, and now John has to go into hiding NOW is when John decides “lol I’mma make my own Outer Heaven, that sounds like a pretty good idea while I’m killing time”. I mean, why the hell not? He has dick all else to do. Venom’s keeping Cypher’s eye distracted so that allows John to do as it was his (and Kaz’s) idea to do before: to build up an army. Only this army is going to be an army-nation.

THAT is the actual rundown of facts contained within “The Truth”. OH. And to the morons who don’t get it. Big Boss did not just cast Kaz aside, either. SURPRISED? Ha, I’ve got some little bits of evidence I’d like to point out that helped me to draw this conclusion. It’s not just wishful thinking.

  • When Ocelot and John are having their little chat, Ocelot calls Kaz John’s friend. That might seem kinda Trivial, but when you compare that to the way that John reacted so vibrantly to Ocelot calling Eli his son, it kind of makes a big difference. John doesn’t dispute Kaz being his friend. He doesn’t say “no, we were never friends. I was just using him to this end.” He also didn’t elect for what happened to Venom and he isn’t responsible for mother base getting destroyed so there’s literally no reason to assume that they are on any kind of bad terms.
  • Although Ocelot is pretty quick to spin a web about Kaz hiring him to come and find him (which, Kaz might have thought to be true in a sense, since Zero DID tell Kaz that if he behaved himself he’d lead him to a series of clues which would eventually lead him to Ocelot. So Kaz very well could have been under the impression Ocelot really was legitimately on his side about finding John), Ocelot really doesn’t mention anything about Kaz’s whereabouts and location to John, meaning it’s really easy to assume John simply didn’t know Kaz was actually in trouble. Ocelot seems chill bout everything, so there’s no need to worry, right?
  • I fully believe most of Ocelot’s interactions where he is being deliberately antagonistic towards Kaz to be largely a testing “probationary” period, in a sense of the word. I’ll get to that even more in the final bullet point but - just kind of, think about it: Ocelot couldn’t even trust himself with the truth of where John was. He put himself under hypo-therapy and drugs to convince himself that Venom was actually John. If he couldn’t trust himself, then no way he’d trust Kaz - who Zero obviously doesn’t trust, so why the hell should he? Because John did. But even so, I noticed a lot of peculiar behavior from Ocelot that can’t really be explained in any other way but this: he’s testing Kaz, and the other men. Ocelot seems to be pretty keen to doing things that could potentially be putting “Big Boss” in danger. Mainly, bringing quiet on board (and electing that she be a “buddy” with him on the battlefield). His excuse of “she SAVED the Boss” is pretty flimsy, when you think that SURE AS FUCK Skullface wouldn’t care about killing off just ONE jet pilot if it meant getting a spy into mother base. Considering how much of a double, tripple, quadruple-crossing little fuck Ocelot is he would have known that. It doesn’t make sense. It’s entirely irresponsible - UNLESS You consider Venom isn’t the real Big Boss. His life doesn’t ultimately matter to Ocelot. Not the way that John’s does. If Quiet had killed him, it would have been a waste, but it wouldn’t have been the end of Ocelot’s world. THIS is the purpose of even having a body-double: to keep John safe. With THAT in mind, it makes more sense, why Ocelot pushes for some of the things that he does, while Kaz is a lot more logical (and emotional) about keeping Venom safe.
  • Just a little thing but: John wears the Diamond Dogs emblem. Kaz created Diamond Dogs. John wears the Diamond Dogs print leather Jacket. Sure Ocelot brought it for him but, do you think he’d really be sportin’ the emblem if he was like “NO DICKS TO KAZ HE CAN FUCK RIGHT OFF”. I mean, he threw The Boss’ bandana into the ocean when he was pissed at her, after having held onto it for so many years. No. This is a man of sentiment. He  is in no wise against Diamond Dogs or out to see their downfall. In fact, that would be highly counter-intuitive to his plan of creating a nation where soldiers are free to fight for their own reasons???
  • Back to the idea that Ocelot was testing Kaz; we’re not told how Kaz finds out that Venom is not the real Big Boss. But instead of denying it further or trying to brush things under the rug, at this point he decides to come clean to Kaz. A lot of people think this bit is some how a ‘ha ha John likes me better than you’ bit of vindictive spitefulness, but I actually got out of it the exact opposite: by this point Kaz had proved himself loyal and true enough to Big Boss that OCELOT TRUSTED HIM: he tells him that “The Real Big Boss” is building his Outer Heaven somewhere else, and that the two of them are to continue aiding the “Fake Big Boss” UNTIL THINGS ARE READY. UNTIL. Meaning that Big Boss STILL HAS A PLACE FOR KAZ IN THE REAL OUTER HEAVEN. I mean, why WOULDN’T he? But as if that wasn’t enough of a smoking gun - Ocelot actually proceeds to try and get Kaz to stay??? By stating “you know, sooner or later there’s only going to be one Big Boss. There’s only ROOM for one Big Boss.” he’s actually making the argument that Kaz simply needs to BE PATIENT. Bide his time like Ocelot is. They can BOTH have John to themselves again, just so long as they keep playing their roles. But it’s too late: KAZ has already made up his mind about feeling hurt and betrayed. KAZ is the one who decides “Big Boss can go to hell.”–KAZ is the one who misunderstands - LIKE EVERYONE ELSE - that John’s actions towards him are not deliberately malicious. They’re simply presumptuous. Like John and Ocelot had both assumed that Kaz would just be chill with this. But no, Kaz feels (pretty rightfully) pissed the fuck off and betrayed for having been left out of the loop. But you know, It wasn’t done JUST to hurt Kaz. Even Ocelot couldn’t trust himself; he had to alter his own memories just to be sure he could keep John safe. It all comes down to a rather nasty misunderstanding of each other’s will. And in the end, isn’t that what MGS is ENTIRELY about? All of the games major events stem from a misunderstanding of the Boss’ will, and then a massive butterfly effect of having the wrong idea follows suit.


John is actually NOT THE VILLAIN we’re painting him as. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the HERO by any means. But MGSV isn’t about black and white morals - it isn’t about heroes and villains. It’s about two very dark shades of gray. It’s something I don’t think enough people are comprehending: If John was really pitch black, he could have no redemption arc in MGS4.

Consider the main theme song which is associated with John: “Here’s To You.” -  It’s about not one, but TWO “terrorists” wrongfully convicted and put to death. TWO. One could read this as The Boss and John, although recent events could lead one to make the case for John and Venom. But either way: what happens in MGS3 is a FORESHADOWING. That John, the purported “villain”, the man that we are TOLD is the “bad guy", is doing right by his own mind’s eye. He - and Venom - still believed that together they were pursuing their own “liberty”, even though by that point in time they have completely lost sight of the very thin line of morals and ideals that they once used to have.

We will NEVER get to see a redux of MG1 and MG2, which is a TOTAL tragedy. There is SO MUCH potential there. BUT, one thing is VERY clear to me: Big Boss ain’t the PURE SATANIC EVIL DEMON MONSTER OF A MAN FROM HELL OMG THE WORST HUMAN BEING TO HAVE EVER LIVED that the fandom is makin’ him out to be.



What is it about the Iran nuclear deal that keeps them from getting nuclear weapons?

Here’s President Obama’s answer:

The Iran deal is a historic diplomatic achievement and all 159 pages are worth digging into, which you can do here. But, let me lay out how this deal will work:

Under this agreement, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon – period.

Every single pathway Iran could use is effectively blocked by this deal. Here’s how: It takes either enriched uranium or plutonium to build a nuclear weapon. The only site where Iran can create weapons-grade plutonium is at its Arak reactor. Under this deal, the core of the Arak reactor will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce weapons-grade plutonium. Furthermore, the spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country and Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years.

This deal also shuts off Iran’s uranium pathway by removing two-thirds of its centrifuges and getting rid of 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium, which – right now – is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs.

And should Iran try to build a bomb in secret, this deal effectively cuts off that covert pathway too because of a robust and unprecedented inspections regime. There will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities and, for decades, international inspectors from the IAEA will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain – from uranium mines and mills to centrifuge productions facilities. For Iran to cheat, it would need a secret source for every single aspect of that supply chain. No nation in history has been able to pull that off, especially when faced with such rigorous and constant inspection. And the IAEA will have the permanent ability to inspect any suspicious sites.

Watch my Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist himself and a negotiator who helped secure this agreement, walk through the science behind the deal.

This is not just the conclusion of those who negotiated the deal, but also of experts who have taken the time to review its details. In fact, 29 of America’s leading scientists – including Nobel Laureates – call it an “innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework.”

This deal is based on science and unprecedented verification. It offers the best opportunity we have to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. There is no better deal – and those who claim there is one are selling a fantasy.

This deal took a long time to negotiate – nearly two years – because we refused to accept any deal that didn’t meet every one of our bottom lines, and that’s what we got.

"Strong" IAEA report may pile pressure on Iran

But they said it was unclear whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would go as far as to make a firm assessment on whether it believes Iran is working to develop a nuclear missile, as Tehran’s Western foes want the agency to.The diplomats voiced skepticism about an article in France’s Le Figaro paper, which said the IAEA was preparing to denounce “the military nature of this program aimed at providing Iran with the bomb.” Figaro did not name its sources.Any conclusion by the U.N. agency, in a quarterly inspection report on Iran due early next month, giving independent backing to Western fears about Iran’s aims could strengthen the U.S. case for further punitive measures against Tehran.French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in Paris: “This (IAEA) report has not been communicated yet … and as far as we know there is still some way to go before it is being finalized."U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran on Thursday it would face the toughest possible sanctions for an alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, as Treasury officials eyed action against the Iranian central bank.Iran has dismissed the plot accusations as a fabrication designed to stir tensions in its ties with its Arab neighbors.It also rejects Western allegations that its nuclear program is a disguised bid to develop nuclear arms capability.But the report by the IAEA, tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear arms in the world, is expected to spell out in greater detail the reasons why it said last month it is "increasingly concerned” about Iran’s nuclear program.The document is being drafted by agency experts ahead of a November 17-18 meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation governing board, which has the power to report states to the U.N. Security Council if they violate non-proliferation rules.The United States and its allies have urged IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to declare plainly whether he believes that there are military aspects to Tehran’s nuclear activities.“The indications right now are that it will be a very strong report offering a good amount of detail on possible military dimensions,” one Western diplomat said.IAEA “ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA"Another envoy painted a similar picture, saying he expected the IAEA to make a fuller analysis on the basis of the information it has at its disposal about possible military aspects to its nuclear activities.The IAEA has said in previous reports that the data it has received about such issues is extensive and comprehensive, and also "broadly consistent and credible” in terms of technical detail and the time frame.But diplomats and analysts expressed doubt that Amano would make a conclusion regarding Iran as clear-cut as one about Syria in a report in May, when he said a facility bombed by Israel in 2007 was “very likely” to have been a secret nuclear reactor.“To come to a Syria-type conclusion is going to be difficult,” one nuclear proliferation expert said.For several years the IAEA has been investigating Western intelligence reports indicating Iran has melded efforts to process uranium, test explosives at high altitude and revamp a ballistic missile cone to accommodate a nuclear warhead.Iran, the world’s No. 5 oil producer, says those allegations are forged and that it enriches uranium, activity that can have both civilian and military purposes, solely as an alternative source of electricity for a growing population.But its history of concealing sensitive nuclear activity and its refusal to suspend work that also can also yield atomic bombs have drawn four rounds of U.N. sanctions, as well as separate U.S. and European punitive steps.Ali Vaez of the Federation of American Scientists, a Washington-based think tank, said he believed Amano has found himself “on the horns of a dilemma” in preparing his report.“If he publishes classified documents of a member state, in the absence of a smoking gun, he could undermine the agency’s credibility,” Vaez said.“If he simply lists a few issues of concern without hard evidence, Iran could reject the allegations out of hand and further reduce its cooperation with the agency.”

Watch on lifedebrian.tumblr.com

Japan Dumps Nuclear Waste in Pacific
with Support of IAEA

Is the Japanese government and the IAEA protecting 
the nuclear industry and not the people of Japan by 
claiming that Fukushima is stable when it is not? 

Fairewinds’ chief engineer Arnie Gundersen outlines 
major inconsistencies and double-speak by the IAEA, 
Japanese Government, and TEPCO claiming that the 
Fukushima accident is over. It is not!
U.S. hopes IAEA report clearer on Iran nuclear fears

But it is too early to say if the report about Iran’s uranium enrichment program could prompt Tehran’s referral to the U.N. Security Council, Glyn Davies, the U.S. envoy to the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Santiago on the first stop of a Latin American trip to study uses of nuclear power.“We expect the IAEA to begin to get more explicitly into the issue of what is called the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program,” Davies said. “I hope what we’ll see from the IAEA is sort of a sharpening of the case.”“We’ll see whether there’s enough there for further action by the board of governors of the IAEA,” referring to the possibility of reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council.The United States and its allies have urged IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to declare plainly whether he believes there have been military aspects to Tehran’s nuclear activities and whether such work may still be going on.Such a move by the IAEA could raise pressure on Tehran and offer more arguments for Western powers to tighten sanctions on the major oil producer.Sanctions against Iran are effective, Davies said, and have slowed the country’s nuclear program.President Barack Obama said on Thursday that an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States will prompt Washington to apply the toughest possible sanctions to further isolate Tehran.SYRIAN REACTOR PROBEDavies said he didn’t know what progress would be made at a planned meeting between United Nations nuclear inspectors and Syrian officials this month to try to kick-start a long-stalled probe into a suspected reactor site bombed to rubble in Syria by Israel in 2007.“The Syrians have said once again they’ll cooperate… I don’t know where it’s going to go,” he said.U.S. intelligence reports have said that before the Israeli raid, Dair Alzour had housed a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor intended to produce plutonium for atomic weaponry.Syria says it was a nonnuclear military facility, but the IAEA concluded in May that Dair Alzour was “very likely” to have been a nuclear reactor that should have been declared.“They (Syria) have been covering up like nobody’s business,” Davies said. “Obviously there is a bit of hierarchy of safeguard cases … and for us, Iran looms largest."Davies is also set to visit Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

Ten Things That Every American Should Be Concerned About In The Iran Deal
President Obama has resorted to a disgraceful campaign of fear to try to sell his flawed Iran deal to the American publi…
By Marco Rubio

By Marco Rubio

September 8, 2015

Ten Things That Every American Should Be Concerned About In The Iran Deal

President Obama has resorted to a disgraceful campaign of fear to try to sell his flawed Iran deal to the American public and skeptical members of Congress. His reliance on threats of “this deal or war” and his denigration of deal skeptics as “the crazies” indicate the weaknesses of the agreement itself. Last month, the Obama administration released an annotated version of the deal. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Kerry delivered a speech in Philadelphia once again outlining the deal’s parameters and claiming that no alternative existed other than an unraveling of the sanctions regime and potentially, war.

But far from offering comfort, an in-depth review of the text of the deal and the administration’s arguments only drive home the deal’s flaws. There are many things to be concerned about by Obama’s failed diplomacy with Iran. But here are the 10 things that should worry Americans the most.

1) Secret Side Deals (Article 14; Annex I)

Iran struck two secret deals with the IAEA, the international body responsible for overseeing compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. First, the White House refused to acknowledge them. Then, it said was aware of the contents. Finally, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz admitted that they hadn’t read them at all. If our chief diplomat and the administration’s top nuclear expert haven’t reviewed documents crucial to defining the inspections, what kind of confidence can we have in the deal? The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act specifically requires all associated agreements to be submitted for congressional review, something which has yet to occur despite leaks indicating that Iran may essentially be allowed to “self-inspect” a key former nuclear research site.

2) No Transparency on Past Nuclear Weapons Programs (Article 14; Annex I)

The secret IAEA agreements reportedly address two topics: inspections at the Parchin military base where Iran tested components of a bomb, and the degree to which Iran must reveal its past weaponization efforts. Without full information, including access to the individuals involved in Iran’s illicit activities, inspectors can’t truly know whether Iran is keeping its end of the bargain and whether, in fact, Iran has completely halted these activities. In fact, press reports have indicated that Iran will turn in its own samples from Parchin — like letting known steroid-using baseball players provide their own urine samples. Iran’s officials, including its nuclear negotiators, continue to falsely claim that Iran’s past nuclear activities were entirely peaceful. If Iran is not willing to be honest about its past activities, why should we believe their assurances about their activities in the future?

3) Shoddy Inspections (Article 15; Annex I)

What happens if inspectors suspect violations at an unmonitored location? They can request a visit, kicking off a 24-day process that can stretch even longer if Iran stonewalls and the issue is eventually referred to the UN Security Council. The Obama administration says this is enough time to catch a violation that involves nuclear material. But Iran can still conduct other activities, from computer modeling to explosives testing, that it could easily hide in that time period. And leading experts say that Iran could easily move a small plant of advanced centrifuges without a trace. Meanwhile, a series of senior Iranian officials have said that the agreement will not require to Iran to provide access to military facilities, directly contradicting the Obama administration’s assertions and the IAEA is struggling to get physical access to the suspected nuclear weapons research site at a military facility at Parchin, which does not bode well for access to other suspected sites in the future.

4) Sanctions Relief is Not Tied to Iranian Behavior (Articles 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Annex II)

Instead of lifting sanctions based on regular, rigorous assessments of Iranian compliance, the agreement front-loads relief. After Iran implements its initial requirements, it will not only receive upwards of $100 billion but also will receive increased access to the global economy and renewed investment from abroad. That means Iran can pocket all of those gains, violate the deal, and use its newfound wealth to thwart any U.S. attempt to reimpose sanctions. In the words of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, “Once the structure of sanctions collapses, it will be impossible to reconstruct it.”

5) “Snapback Sanctions” that will Never be Imposed (Articles 36)

The process for reimposing sanctions in the event of a violation by Iran is determined by a commission in which Washington relies on Europe to vote with it. If a European country sides with Iran, there will be no sanctions. What’s more, the deal allows Iran to break off the agreement in response to any new sanctions. A violation would have to be large and obvious for the P5+1 to risk blowing up the pact — and Iran has mastered the art of cheating on the margins. The administration claims that incremental violations will be punished but it is unclear how the United States and its partners will do so without provoking an Iranian withdrawal from the agreement. Indeed, Iran’s lead negotiator told the Iranian parliament that “sanctions can be re-imposed on Iran only in case of serious violation of its obligations and not in the case of small-scale violations” and foreshadowing how delicate the deal’s understandings are, within weeks of the agreement being concluded, Iran accused the United States of being in “material breach” of the agreement due to comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

6) The Grandfather Clause and Non-Nuclear Sanctions (Articles 26 and 37)

If Washington somehow detected a violation and snapback sanctions were eventually invoked, it is unclear what the economic impact would be. That’s because under the deal, the text appears to imply that all existing contracts signed by Iran with foreign companies are grandfathered in and would not be subject to new sanctions. That could shield billions of dollars from sanctions. The Obama administration claims that there is no grandfather clause but Secretary Kerry has written yet to be publicly released letters to his European and Chinese counterparts reassuring them about how their national companies will be affected by any reimposition of U.S. sanctions. When asked in private meetings for their interpretations of the so-called grandfather clause, European officials have expressed conflicting interpretations to Senators. The agreement also states that the United States will “refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions” and notes that Iran states that reimposition of sanctions on entities or individuals removed as part of the agreement would lead to an end to the agreement. This severely limits the ability of the United States to target Iranian entities and individuals involved in terrorism or human rights abuses, as many of the financial institutions and some of the individuals currently set to receive relief continue to be involved in other illicit activities. The Obama administration claims that Article 26 does not preclude reimposition of sanctions for other purposes. Yet administration officials have been unwilling to commit to extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of 2016, highlighting the sensitivity of this issue for Iran.

7) Iran Keeps its Nuclear Facilities and U.S. Helps Defend Them (Articles 5 and 6; Annex III)

The Islamic Republic will keep and operate multiple nuclear facilities for a theoretical civilian nuclear energy program, which experts agree it has no need for. This dangerous precedent for the global nonproliferation regime will eventually allow an international-endorsed industrial size enrichment program in one of the world’s most stable region. Iran will be allowed to continue to operate facilities that were developed in secret for military purposes, including Fordow — a fortified nuclear facility constructed in a mountain. That, and much more: the agreement doesn’t require Iran to shutter a single installation. Alongside new research and development permitted by the deal, this surviving infrastructure will, in just over a decade, allow Iran to enrich enough uranium for a bomb in mere days. Meanwhile, the United States and the P5+1 have pledged to “strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage,” undermining one of the most effective tools that has been used to slow Iran’s nuclear program over the last decade.

8) Arming Iran and Assisting its Ballistic Missile Program (Annex II)

In five years, the deal will allow Iran to buy advanced Chinese and Russian arms — arms that will likely make their way to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran’s other terrorist proxies and be used to threaten Israel and American personnel in the region. The deal does nothing to halt Iran’s ballistic missile program and three years after the arms embargo expires, restrictions on international assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program will also end. In five years, Iran can menace the region with new arms; in eight years, it can get international help for its efforts to make missiles built for only one purpose — delivering a nuclear weapon — that will eventually be able to strike America.

9) With Billions in Sanctions Relief, Iran Will Boost Terror and Threaten the Middle East

Flush with cash and arms, Iran will have even more opportunity to expand its influence across the Middle East and threaten its neighbors. As the Arab world deals with the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an empowered and enriched Iran will have an easy path to expanding its ambition and deepening the discord tearing the region apart — discord that directly threatens our interests. Even since the deal has been signed, Iranian-backed terror cells have been discovered in several Gulf countries and weapons have continued to flow to Hezbollah. This deal will result in the deaths of more Americans and Israelis and greater instability. President Obama has tried to threaten that the only alternative to this deal is war. The reality is that this deal makes conflict in an already unstable region, more, not less likely and makes any eventual military conflict to prevent a nuclear Iran more difficult.

10) Deal Sunset Guarantees a Nuclear Iran and a Polynuclear Middle East (Preamble and General Provisions)

Although certain elements of this deal last longer than fifteen years, the key restrictions on Iran’s centrifuge research and development will begin to be lifted after year eight of the agreement, allowing Iran to ramp up its enrichment capacity by year fifteen, when the remaining restrictions on enrichment disappear. This ensures that Iran will have an industrial-size enrichment capability after the deal concludes, putting Iran on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. By paving a path to Iranian nuclearization, the Obama administration has also paved a path for a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world. Saudi officials, for example, have already warned that they will try to match the capabilities we have permitted Iran, and other countries may follow — putting unstable adversaries a hair trigger away from a bomb and creating an uneasy standoff between multiple nuclear armed power, something the world has never had to deal with since the dawn of the nuclear age.

These are just ten problems with this fundamentally flawed deal. There are many more. This deal will provide the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism with upwards of $100 billion to use at it sees fit just as Iran is expanding its support for terror and instability throughout the Middle East. This deal endorses an eventual industrial-scale enrichment program that Iran has no peaceful use for and will likely lead to a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East. It establishes a shaky verification regime that does not require Iran to fully come clean regarding its past illicit activities. Iran’s leaders will be allowed to continue to lie to their people and to the world about their past activities. It abandons Americans who have been unjustly detained by the Iranian regime. It does nothing to alleviate the clerical regime’s repression of the Iranian people. The only people who benefit from this agreement are those radicals in the Iranian regime who wish Americans and our allies such as Israel harm. If Iran successfully exploits this deal over the next fifteen years, our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences as they face a nuclear-armed foe dedicated to the destruction of America and Israel.

These are the facts that Obama administration officials continue to obfuscate and respond to with the offensive assertion that the agreement’s critics are making common cause with Iranian “hardliners” who have American blood on their hands. This deal empowers one of America’s most dangerous enemies and fundamentally weakens our security. If President Obama proceeds without congressional support and I am elected President, I will reimpose sanctions on Iran on day one and ensure that this deal is discarded on the ash heap of history where it belongs.

France may not wait for IAEA on nuclear safety

France may preempt IAEA summit: President Nicolas Sarkozy wants G20 nuclear industry officials to come to Paris in May to discuss safety issues. This might rankle the United Nations, as such an event would preempt the IAEA’s summit in Vienna, planned for June. The IAEA lacks the power to force action on its recommendations, which is why nations like France may not want to wait for the U.N. body. “I suspect that this will not be appreciated on the 28th floor,” said a diplomat, referring to the office of IAEA Director General Yukiyo Amano. source

U.S. Condemns Iran's Announcement on Qom

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State  Washington, DC
January 10, 2012

The United States condemns the Iranian Government’s decision to begin enrichment operations at its Qom facility, an act contrary to its obligations under multiple United Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolutions. This step once again demonstrates the Iranian regime’s blatant disregard for its responsibilities and that the country’s growing isolation is self-inflicted.

The circumstances surrounding this latest action are especially troubling. Iran only declared the Qom facility to the IAEA after it was discovered by the international community following three years of covert construction. Iran has announced it intends to consolidate and increase its production of uranium enriched to a near 20 percent level at this facility. There is no plausible justification for this production. Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

Iran claims that this decision was necessary to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). This is false. The P5+1 has offered alternatives for providing fuel for the TRR despite Iran’s longstanding refusal to fulfill its international nuclear obligations. Iran has refused these offers.

We call upon Iran to immediately cease uranium enrichment and to comply with its international nuclear obligations. We also call on Iran to return to negotiations with the P5+1, prepared to engage seriously on its nuclear program, and urge Iran to reply to this effect to High Representative Ashton’s letter from October 2011. We reaffirm that our overall goal remains a comprehensive, negotiated solution that restores confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy consistent with its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Fukushima Failures Kept Behind Closed Doors

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision to shield the inquiry in Vienna on the Fukushima disaster behind closed doors this week ignores “blindingly obvious” need for greater transparency, said a former official in the U.K.’s Atomic Energy Authority , Malcolm Grimston. “The information coming out of Japan was backward looking and reactive. There wasn’t a sense of importance in keeping the public informed about future events.”

Tepco has been criticized for a slow response to the accident and for publishing erroneous radiation data, while the government-run Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has been blamed for not ensuring the utility heeded warnings that a tsunami could overwhelm the plant’s defenses.

“Technical organizations should be predictive and analytical,” said former IAEA Director and U.S. nuclear engineer Robert Kelley in a June 17 telephone call. “What Fukushima showed is that the IAEA is primarily a political organization beholden to its members.” The IAEA came under fire from member states in the weeks after the accident for not conducting independent analysis. Amano, a Japanese diplomat before taking over the agency in 2009, repeatedly said that the IAEA’s role was limited to corroborating what Japanese authorities reported. Kelley also said releasing weather maps forecasting where radioactive elements would be deposited could have helped the Japanese public.


Nuclear Power Generators May Be Tapped for Tougher Safety Costs, IAEA Says

The United Nations nuclear watchdog is weighing whether atomic-plant operators should be tapped to fill budget shortfalls needed to finance tougher safety reviews in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdown.

Taniguchi has been a weak manager and advocate, particularly with respect to confronting Japan’s own safety practices, and he is a particular disappointment to the United States for his unloved-step-child treatment of the Office of Nuclear Security.
—  A U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks • On Tomohiro Tanaguchi, the man who was the IAEA’s (International Atomic Energy Agency) Deputy Director General for the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security from 2001 to 2009. While another cable reveals that Tanaguchi urged fellow officials to focus more on nuclear power safety in 2008 (which seems like the sort of thing you shouldn’t need to tell the IAEA), it seems that this plea late in his career was not enough to salvage the opinion of American diplomats, who express a great degree of angst over the state of Japan’s nuclear earthquake preparedness. Tomohiro departed his position in 2009, leaving the position to another Japanese member, Yukiya Amano, who currently holds the post. source (viafollow)
Propaganda Used Ahead of Iraq War Is Now Being Reused over Iran's Nuke Program

Seymour Hersh, Democracy Now, Nov. 21, 2011
Guest: Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist at The New Yorker magazine. His latest piece is titled “Iran and the IAEA.”

AMY GOODMAN: Today the United States, Britain and Canada plan to announce a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran. ABC News and the Wall Street Journal report the sanctions will target Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry. Last weekend, President Obama warned no options were being taken off the table.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The sanctions have enormous bite and enormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already been established. The question is, are there additional measures that we can take? And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve this issue diplomatically. I have said repeatedly, and I will say today, we are not taking any options off the table.

AMY GOODMAN: International pressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the, quote, “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear activities. The IAEA said “credible” evidence, quote, “indicates [that] Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” The IAEA passed a resolution Friday expressing, quote, “increasing concern” about Iran’s nuclear program following the report’s findings.

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said yesterday Iran would review its relations with the IAEA following the report. Ali Larijani indicated it may be difficult for Iran to continue to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog.

ALI LARIJANI: [translated] If the agency acts within the framework of the Charter, we accept that we are a member of it and will carry out our responsibilities. But if the agency wants to deviate from its responsibilities, then it should not expect the other’s cooperation.

AMY GOODMAN: Iranian parliamentary speaker. Meanwhile, some Iranians have expressed the desire for increased cooperation with the IAEA.

SAID BAHRAMI: [translated] Considering the fact that the government has made plenty of clarifications, it would be better for it to expand its cooperation with the IAEA and let them see for themselves, close up, so there would be no pretext for the superpowers.

AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the Pentagon confirmed it has received massive new bunker-busting bombs capable of destroying underground sites, including Iran’s nuclear facilities. The 30,000-pound bombs are six times the size of the Air Force’s current arsenal of bunker busters.

The new sanctions against Iran also follow last month’s allegations by the United States that Iranian officials were involved in a thwarted plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. The U.S. is expected to announce today that Iran’s financial sector is of “primary money-laundering concern.” This phrase activates a section of the USA PATRIOT Act that warns European, Asian and Latin American companies they could be prevented from doing business with the United States if they continue to work with Iran.

Well, to talk more about the sanctions and the implications of the IAEA report, we go to Washington, D.C., to speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. He’s been reporting on Iran and the bomb for the past decade. His latest piece is titled “Iran and the IAEA.” It’s in The New Yorker.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Sy. Talk about what you feel should be understood about what’s happening in Iran right now in regards to its nuclear power sector.

SEYMOUR HERSH: You mentioned Iraq. It’s just this–almost the same sort of–I don’t know if you want to call it a “psychosis,” but it’s some sort of a fantasy land being built up here, as it was with Iraq, the same sort of–no lessons learned, obviously. Look, I have been reporting about Iran, and I could tell you that since ‘04, under George Bush, and particularly the Vice President, Mr. Cheney, we were–Cheney was particularly concerned there were secret facilities for building a weapon, which are much different than the enrichment. We have enrichment in Iran. They’ve acknowledged it. They have inspectors there. There are cameras there, etc. Iran’s a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nobody is accusing them of any cheating. In fact, the latest report that everybody’s so agog about also says that, once again, we find no evidence that Iran has diverted any uranium that it’s enriching. And it’s also enriching essentially at very low levels for peaceful purposes, so they say, 3.8 percent. And so, there is a small percentage being enriched to 20 percent for medical use, but that’s quite small, also under cameras, under inspection.

What you have is, in those days, in '04, '05, '06, '07, even until the end of their term in office, Cheney kept on having the Joint Special Operations Force Command, JSOC–they would send teams inside Iran. They would work with various dissident groups–the Azeris, the Kurds, even Jundallah, which is a very fanatic Sunni opposition group–and they would do everything they could to try and find evidence of an undeclared underground facility. We monitored everything. We have incredible surveillance. In those days, what we did then, we can even do better now. And some of the stuff is very technical, very classified, but I can tell you, there’s not much you can do in Iran right now without us finding out something about it. They found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization. In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities for building a bomb. This is simply a fact. We haven’t found it, if it does exist. It’s still a fantasy. We still want to think–many people do think–it does.

The big change was, in the last few weeks, the IAEA came out with a new report. And it’s not a scientific report, it’s a political document. It takes a lot of the old allegations that had been made over the years, that were looked at by the IAEA, under the regime or the directorship of Mohamed ElBaradei, who ran the IAEA for 12 years, the Egyptian–he won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work–somebody who was very skeptical of Iran in the beginning and became less so as Iran went–was more and more open. But the new director of the IAEA, a Japanese official named Amano, an old sort of–from the center-right party in Japan–I’m sure he’s an honorable guy, he believes what he believes. But we happen to have a series of WikiLeak documents from the American embassy in Vienna, one of the embassies in Vienna, reporting on how great it was to get Amano there. This is last year. These documents were released by Julian Assange’s group and are quite important, because what the documents say is that Amano has pledged his fealty to America. I understand he was elected as a–he was a marginal candidate. We supported him very much. Six ballots. He was considered weak by everybody, but we pushed to get him in. We did get him in. He responded by thanking us and saying he shares our views. He shares our views on Iran. He’s going to do what we wanted.

This new report has nothing new in it. This isn’t me talking. I talked to former inspectors. They’re different voices than you read in the New York Times and the Washington Post. There are other people that don’t get reported who are much more skeptical of this report, and you just don’t see it in the coverage. So what we’re getting is a very small slice in the newspaper mainstream press here of analysis of this report. There’s a completely different analysis, which is, very little new.

And the way it works, Amy, is, over the years, a report will show up in a London newspaper, that will turn out to be spurious, turn out to be propaganda, whether started by us or a European intelligence agency–it’s not clear. This all happened, if you remember the Ahmed Chalabi stuff, during the buildup to the war in [Iraq], all about, you know, the great arsenals that existed inside [Iraq]. The same sort of propaganda is being used now that shows up over the years, over the last decade, in various newspapers. The IAEA would look at it, rule it a fabrication, or certainly not to be supportable by anything they know. All of these old reports, with the exception of, I think, in a new study that was put out by the IAEA–there were maybe 30 or 40 old items, with only three things past 2008, all of which many people inside the IAEA believe to be spurious, not very reliable fabrications. So there you are.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Sy Hersh, you’re saying that it’s not new information. It’s a new head of the IAEA that’s making the difference here. Can you talk more about U.S. infiltration of Iran, JSOC in Iran, surveillance, as well, in Iran?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Sure. I mean, the kind of stuff they did. I could tell you stuff that was secret eight, nine years ago. For example, if there was an underground facility where we saw some digging, let’s say, in a mountain area, we would line the road with what seemed to be pebbles. In fact, they were sensors that could measure the weight of trucks going in and out. If a truck would go in light and come out with heavy, we could assume it was coming out with dirt, they were doing digging. We did that kind of monitoring.

We also put all sorts of passive counters, measures, of radioactivity. Uranium, even plutonium–most of the stuff that’s being done there is enriched uranium. They’re not making plutonium. But you can track. At a certain point, you have to move it. Once you take it out and start moving it around, you can track it. You can find Geiger counters, if you will, to use that old-fashioned term. You can measure radioactivity and see increases. We would go into a building, our troops, sometimes even with Americans, go into a building in Tehran, where we thought there was something fishy going on, start a disturbance down the street, take out a few bricks, slam in another section of brick with a Geiger counter, if you will, or a measuring device to see if, in that building, they were doing some enrichment we didn’t know about.

And we also have incredible competence at looking for air holes from the air, from satellites. If you’re building an underground facility, you have to vent it. You have to get air into it. You have to find a way to remove bad air and put in fresh air. And so, we have guys that are experts, tremendous people in the community. Some of them retired and set up a private company to do this. They would monitor all of the aerial surveillance to look for air holes, so we could find a pattern, try to find a pattern, of an underground facility. Nada. We came up with nothing.

And the most important thing is, we also–and the IA–even this new report also says–let me emphasize this: if you’re not diverting uranium, if you’re not taking uranium out of the count and smuggling it someplace so that you can build a bomb–and that, the IAEA is absolutely categorical on–everything that they are enriching, whatever percentage they enrich to, is under camera inspection, and under inspection. It’s all open, under the treaty, the safeguard treaty. Nobody is accusing Iran of violating the treaty. They’re just accusing them of cheating on the side, or some evidence they are. And there’s been no evidence of a diversion. So if you’re going to make a bomb, you’re going to have to bring it in from someplace else. And given the kind of surveillance we have, that’s going to be hard to do, to import it from a third country, bring in uranium and enrich it, or enriched uranium. It’s just a long shot.

And what you have is–as I said, it’s some sort of a hysteria that we had over Iraq that’s coming up again in Iran. And this isn’t a plea for Iran. There’s a lot of things that the Iranians do that are objectionable, the way they treat dissent, etc., etc. So I’m just speaking within the context of the hullabaloo that’s up now. And as far as sanctions are concerned, you know, excuse me, we’ve been sanctioning Cuba for 60 years, and Castro is–you know, he may be ill, but he’s still there. Sanctions are not going to work. This is a country that produces oil and gas–less and less, but still plenty of it. And they have customers in the Far East, the Iranians. We’re the losers in this.

AMY GOODMAN: How would you compare the Obama administration to the Bush administration when it comes to Iran?

SEYMOUR HERSH: I can’t find a comparison. Same–a little less bellicose, but the same thing. I have every reason to believe that, unlike Mr. Bush, President Obama really is worried about an attack. He doesn’t want to see the Israelis bomb Iran. That’s the kind of talk we’ve been getting in the press lately.

And there’s the 30,000-pound bombs built by Boeing, I think. The problem is that most of Iran’s facilities, the ones that we know about, the declared facilities under camera inspection, a place called Natanz, is about 75 to 80 feet underground. And you’d have to do a hell of a lot of bombing to do much damage to it. You could certainly do damage to it, but the cost internationally would be stupendous. The argument for going and bombing is so vague and so nil. There’s been studies done showing–technical studies, MIT and other places, and the Israeli government also has had its scientists participate in these studies, showing it would be really hard to do a significant amount of damage, given how deep the underground facilities are. But you hear this talk about it.

And there’s–you know, look, this president has said nothing about what’s going on in Tahrir Square again. We’re mute. He’s been mute on this kind of bellicosity. But my understanding is that, purely from inside information, is that he does understand the issues more. I think it’s right now a political game being played by him to look tough. You know, everybody’s chasing the independent vote. I don’t know why–what’s so important to go after people that can’t decide whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, but that seems to be the name of the game.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s turn to the response in Israel to the IAEA report. Yesterday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with CNN the time has come to deal with Iran. When asked specifically whether Israel would attack Iran, this is how he responded.

DEFENSE MINISTER EHUD BARAK: I don’t think that that’s a subject for public discussion. But I can tell you that the IAEA report has a sobering impact on many in the world, leaders as well the publics. And people understand that the time had come. Amano told straightly what he found, unlike Baradei. And it became a major issue, that I think, duly so, becomes a major issue for sanctions, for intensive diplomacy, with urgency. People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons. No other possible or conceivable explanation for what they had been actually doing. And that should be stopped.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak. Sy, your response?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, what makes me nervous is Barak and Bibi Netanyahu, are together on this. They’re not always together on many things. They both agree, and that’s worrisome because, again, it’s a political issue there. Everybody–the country is moving quickly to the right, Israel is, obviously. And I can just tell you that I’ve also talked to very senior intelligence people in Iran–in Israel, rather. If you notice, you don’t hear that much about it, but the former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, who left–who was the guy that orchestrated the attempted assassinations in Dubai, etc.–no dove–has been vehement about the foolishness of attempting to go after Iran, on the grounds that it’s not clear what they have. They’re certainly far away from a bomb. Israel has been saying for 20 years they’re six months away from making a bomb.

But I can tell you that I’ve talked to senior Israeli officers in Israel who have told me, A, they know that Iran, as the American intelligence community reported–I think it was in '07–there was a National Intelligence Estimate that became public that said, essentially, Iran did look at a bomb. They had an eight-year war with Iraq, a terrible war, 1980 to 1988. And we, by the way, the United States, sided with Iraq, Saddam Hussein at that time. Iran then, in the years after that, they began to worry about Iraq’s talk about building a nuclear weapon, so they did look, in that period, let’s say '87 to '97 to 2003, no question. The American NIE said in '07–it was augmented in 2011. I wrote about it a year ago in The New Yorker. It said, yes, they did look at a bomb, but they knew that they couldn’t–there was no way they could make a bomb to deter America or Israel. They’re not fools. This Persian society has been around for a couple thousand years. They can’t deter us. We have too many bombs. They thought maybe they could deter Iraq. After we went in and took down Iraq in '03, they stopped. So they had done some studies. We’re talking about computer modeling, etc., no building. They–no question, they looked at the idea of getting a bomb or getting to the point where maybe they could make one. They did do that, but they stopped in '03.

That’s still the American consensus. The Israelis will tell you privately, “Yes, we agree.” They stopped most of their planning, even their studies, in '03. The Israeli position is they stopped not because they saw what we did to Iraq, but they thought that they would be next. But the consensus was, yes, they stopped. And also, if you asked serious, smart, wise Israelis in the intelligence business–and there are many–“Do you really think, if they got a bomb–and they don’t have one now–they would hit Tel Aviv?” and the answer was, “Do you think they’re crazy? We would incinerate them. Of course not. They’ve been around 2,000 years. That’s not going to happen.” Their fear was they would give a bomb to somebody else, etc.

But there’s an element rationality in the Israeli intelligence community that’s not being expressed by the political leadership. It’s the same madness we have here. There’s an element of rationality in our intelligence community which says, in '07, and it has said it again last year, they don’t have the bomb. They’re not making it. It’s at NIE, 16 agencies agreed, 16 to nothing, in an internal vote, before that–they did an update in 2011 on the '07 study and came to the same place. It’s just not there. That doesn’t mean they don’t have dreams. It doesn’t mean scientists don’t do computer studies. It doesn’t mean that physicists at the University of Tehran don’t do what physicists like to do, write papers and do studies. But there’s just no evidence of any systematic effort to go from enriching uranium to making a bomb. It’s a huge, difficult process. You have to take a very hot gas and convert it into a metal and then convert it into a core. And you have to do that by remote control, because you can’t get near that stuff. It’ll kill you. So radioactive.

I mean, so, look, I’m a lone voice. And you know how careful The New Yorker is, even on a blog item. This piece was checked and rechecked. And I quote people–Joe Cirincione, an American who’s been involved in disarmament many years. These are different voices than you’re seeing in the papers. I sometimes get offended by the same voices we see in the New York Times and Washington Post. We don’t see people with different points of view. There are people inside not only the American intelligence community, but also inside the IAEA in Vienna. There are many people who cannot stand what Amano is doing, and many people who basically–I get emails–and this piece came out, was put up, I think, over the weekend. And I get emails, like crazy, from people on the inside saying, “Way to go.” I’m talking about inside the IAEA. It’s an organization that doesn’t deal with the press, but internally, they’re very bothered by the direction Amano is taking them.

It’s not a scientific study, Amy. It’s a political document. And it’s a political document in which he’s playing our game. And it’s the same game the Israelis are picking up on, and those who don’t like Iran. And I wish we could separate our feelings about Iran and the mullahs and what happened with the students from 1979, into the reality, which is that I think there’s a very serious chance the Iranians would certainly give us the kind of inspections we want, in return for a little love–an end to sanctions and a respect that they insist that they want to get from us. And it’s not happening from this administration.

AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, I want to thank you very much for being with us. His latest piece is on the blog at The New Yorker. It’s called “Iran and the IAEA.” Seymour Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize.


So, for those of you who have been in a coma for about a month, the IAEA has recently published a report raising speculation as to the ostensibly (kinda-sorta) peaceful nuclear-enrichment program of Iran. The United States and its allies have unilaterally sanctioned Iran’s “banking sector” (don’t ask me where I found the quote because I just want to post this on my blog quickly). 

Before I get to the main reason why I am blogging right now, let me just say what I think about more sanctions on Iran. They haven’t worked, and I believe these new sanctions will not work either (by “work” I do not mean economically…that seems to be working just fine, but I am referring to the goal to make Iran cooperate with the rest of the world regarding its nuclear program).

In case you do not know…the IAEA report has had a much different conclusion than did the CIA report…which claimed that Iran terminated its pursuits for nuclear weapons back in ‘03.  What I am interested in is possibly looking at how Americans (both the general population, the informed population, and the leaders likely with inside information)  treat (or may not treat?) these two centers for information regarding the same topic (what is Iran’s actions vis-a-vis its nuclear program).  I think such research may give insight as to how we may accept some information as true and other information as false…either because it came from different sources or because only part of the information fits one’s understanding (or ideals) of the world. 

I’ll look into that later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Gathering Storm | The Threat of War in Israel

            The other day, as I sat in front of my computer at work, I heard words that nearly chilled me to the bones.

            From across the room, I heard one of the editors say that Israel was going to war.

            In a newsroom, people mention story topics all the time. To hear one of the paper’s editors say that Israel was going to war made my heart stop, if only for a moment.

            In reality, he was probably making an offhanded hyperbolic comment, but the fact that his statement had such an effect is testament to the possibilities that situation could hold and how close we are to that paradigm.

            The threats that face Israel give the possibility of war global implications.

            The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency recently came out with their report on Iran, listing the findings of their investigation into the Islamic nation’s nuclear program.

            In their report, the IAEA stated that their investigation had turned up credible evidence that Iran has been actively trying to build a nuclear weapon, having created computer models of nuclear explosions and experimented on nuclear triggers.

            The report has reignited conversation around the globe, especially in the US and Israel, regarding Iran’s capabilities and intentions, as well as what could and should be done to halt those efforts.

            Though Iran is the face of Israel’s existential threats, the immediate danger lies a little closer to home.

            Israel has already begun efforts to equip their commercial airliners with laser-guided missile-defense systems. The new system will use laser-guided technology to throw off heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles.

            The project, named C-Music, has been sped up because of fears that militants in Gaza may have acquired weapons from Libya during their current civil war.

            Imagine El-Al planes, the only Israeli commercial airline, fitted with missile-defense systems and it’s absurd to think that the blockade on the Gaza Strip could even be considered illegal. Wouldn’t you be a little disconcerted if the US needed to equip Delta or American Airlines aircrafts to divert missile attacks? What kind of reality do we live in?

            In the past month, hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, leading many in Israel to contemplate a military reoccupation of the coastal strip. In most cases, these rocket attacks leave minimal damage and no casualties, but one recent attack left an Israeli man fatally injured.

            Since the 2008-09 Gaza War, which aimed to end Hamas rocket fire, nearly 2,000 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Many with experience the Israeli government have advocated for military action in Gaza. Vice Premier Silvan Shalom has warned that dramatic action will be taken against Hamas if the rocket fire continues and both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have threatened the possibility of military action. Former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter recently suggested that Israel should recapture the Gaza Strip.

            At the head of this threat is a familiar face, one that has the power to create a three-headed monster that will be very difficult to defend against.

            Iran not only poses a direct threat themselves with their nuclear efforts, but their proxies in Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon have the capability to attack Israel from both sides, leaving Israel vulnerable. For years, Iran has been supplying Hezbollah and Hamas with financial and military aid.

            Iran provides millions of dollars in funding annually to Hamas, approximately $30 million yearly and over $100 million in the past three years alone, according to The Israel Project. Iran has provided military training to Hamas militants as well as the majority of their weaponry.

            Iran provides even more to Hezbollah, giving more than $200 million a year to the militant group. Hezbollah fighters have also received tactical and combat training from Iran as well as weaponry including surface-to-air rockets and anti-tank munitions.

            War with either Hamas or Hezbollah, or both, would be challenging enough given the assistance they have been given, but a war with Iran itself would almost certainly involve all three. Not to mention the other countries in the region who would be thrilled to see Israel in a weakened position, Syria, another Iranian puppet, chief among them.

            Increasingly, western powers have been coming to Israel’s mindset regarding Iran. Though the preferred method of combat with Iran would be crippling sanctions, the efficacy of those actions would be rendered moot by Russia and China, both of whom have a vested interest in keeping Iran sanction-free. The only solution that could have any effect on Iran’s nuclear capabilities would be a military response.

            A military operation on Iranian soil would prove to be one of the most tactically difficult challenges the Israeli military has ever had to face. An attack of that magnitude would rival its closest comparison by a wide margin.

            The only experience Israel has had with destroying nuclear plants came in 1981 when the Israeli Air Force bombed an Iraqi nuclear site named Osirak outside of Baghdad.

            That attack though was much simpler than a potential attack on Iran because Iraq only had one reactor and it was well known where it was located. In the case of Iran, there are an unknown number of nuclear reactors and no way of knowing, at the moment, where all of them are. It has been suggested that some of Iran’s nuclear sites could be located underground, out of the way of Israeli missiles.

            Certainly, any strike on Iran would have to be preemptive and would absolutely provoke a strong military response. There would be a small window in which Israel could act unimpeded against all nuclear sites. After the initial attack, Iran would likely shield its remaining sites from further harm.

            There is also the possibility that the US would lend a hand in any operation against Iran. Israel’s best bet would be to convince the US to join in the operation because any action that Israel takes against Iran without the United States’ knowledge would be deemed a serious breach of allegiance and would most likely provoke widespread condemnation.

            It is with all of these thoughts in mind that the editor’s statement froze me where I sat. The possibility of war may have seemed unlikely, but its implications are very real and, unless something can be done diplomatically to stem this ever-growing tide, war in Israel may be more likely than anyone could dare to imagine.