60 Percent Uranium Approved

Two-Third of Iranian MPs Want Gov’t to Enrich Uranium to 60%

Two-Third of Iranian MPs Want Gov’t to Enrich Uranium to 60%
TEHRAN (FNA)- The number of signatories of a draft bill presented to the Presiding Board of the Iranian parliament to require the government of President Hassan Rouhani to enrich uranium to the 60 percent grade reached the two-third quorum on Sunday.
“The signatures to the bill to require the government to enrich uranium to the level of 60% increased to 200,” member of the parliament’s Energy Commission Seyed Mehdi Moussavinejad told FNA today.
“The plan was signed by 100 parliamentarians when presented to the Presiding Board (on Wednesday) but the number increased at the request of the legislators,” he added.
A hundred Iranian lawmakers signed the bill and submitted it to the Presiding Board on Wednesday.
“If the bill receives the (parliament) approval, the government will be required to complete the nuclear infrastructures in Fordo and Natanz (installations) in case sanctions are intensified (against Iran by the West), new sanctions are imposed, Iran’s nuclear rights are violated or the Islamic Republic of Iran’s peaceful nuclear rights are ignored,” Moussavinejad told FNA Wednesday.
Moussavinejad said that based on the plan, in case of increased sanctions against Iran and violation of Iran’s rights to use peaceful nuclear technology, “the government will be necessitated to launch Arak heavy water reactor and also increase the level of uranium enrichment to 60% to provide the fuel needs of Iranian vessels engines”.
The bill was presented after Washington breached the recent Geneva deal between Iran and the world powers by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions.
During the last year, similar bills have been compiled by smaller numbers of Iranian legislators, but they were all rejected or their verification was postponed by the Presiding Board.
In July 2012, a senior legislator declared that some MPs were discussing the plan to use nuclear fuel in Iranian vessels, and urged the government to enrich uranium to the needed levels to be used in such nuclear-powered ships.
“The government should enrich uranium to the needed level to supply fuel for the ships,” member of the parliament’s Industries Commission Allahverdi Dehqani told FNA at the time.
“Given the western states’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which include an embargo on the supply of fossil fuels to Iranian vessels, the Islamic Republic will replace the fossil fuel with nuclear fuel to counter the sanctions so that Iranian ships would not need refueling for long-distance voyages,” he added.
“The government should enrich uranium to the necessary levels to supply fuel for such ships since we cannot cut our trade relations with other countries due to the western sanctions,” Dehqani said.
After the 2012 effort, a larger number of Iranian legislators presented a new bill to the Presiding Board but it was rejected too.
Iran announced in April that it could start enriching uranium to the purity level of 50 percent if its research community declares a need to nuclear-fueled submarines, but meantime underlined that it is not enriching uranium over 20 percent of purity at present and has no such plans for future now.
“For now we have no plans for enrichment above 20 percent,” former Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoun Abbasi said at the time, and added, “But in some cases … such as ships and submarines, if our researchers have a need for greater presence under the sea, we must build small engines whose construction requires fuel enriched to 45 to 56 percent.”
“In this case, it’s possible we would need this fuel.”
Meantime, the former Iranian nuclear chief stressed that the country did not have any plan then to work on enrichment levels above 20 percent, and reminded that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never reported enrichment activities at 50 percent of purity level in Iran, “because there has never been such a thing” in Iran.
This is not the first time Iran announces that it enjoys the technical know-how to enrich uranium to purity levels above 20 percent. Abbasi had first announced in July 2012 that Iran is in possession of the technical knowledge to produce the nuclear fuel needed for trade vessels and submarines.
“We have the capability to produce nuclear fuel for ships and submarines,” Abbasi said, and added, “But currently no plan to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent of enrichment is on our agenda.”
The AEOI has no difficulty to move towards such systems and technologies, once it becomes a matter of basic need and the government makes a decision about it, Abbasi stated.
Iranian military officials had also earlier informed that the country is designing a nuclear-fueled submarine.
In 2012, a senior Iranian Navy commander stressed Iran’s high capabilities in designing and manufacturing different types of submarines, and announced the country’s move towards manufacturing nuclear-powered submarines.
Speaking to FNA at the time, Lieutenant Commander of the Navy for Technical Affairs Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini pointed to the navy’s plan to manufacture super heavy nuclear-powered submarines, and stated, “Right now, we are at the initial phases of manufacturing atomic submarines.”
He noted Iran’s astonishing progress in developing and acquiring civilian nuclear technology for various power-generation, agricultural and medical purposes, and said such advancements allow Iran to think of manufacturing nuclear-fueled submarines.
Admiral Zamini further reminded that using nuclear power to fuel submarines is among the civilian uses of the nuclear technology and all countries are, thus, entitled to the right to make such a use.

We Must Worry About The Third Horn

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Victor Davis Hanson: Bombs are not what is scary

Dec. 27, 2013   |

Leonard Pitts is on vacation. We are subbing Victor Davis Hanson.
The gangster state of North Korea became a nuclear power in 2006-2007, despite lots of foreign aid aimed at precluding just such proliferation — help usually not otherwise accorded such a loony dictatorship. Apparently the civilized world rightly suspected that if nuclear, Pyongyang would either export nuclear material and expertise to other unstable countries, or bully its successful but non-nuclear neighbors — or both.
The United States has given billions of dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan, whose Islamist gangs have spearheaded radical anti-American terrorism. Since a corrupt Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, it has been able to extort such foreign payouts — on fears that one of its nukes might end up in the hands of terrorists.
By any measure of economic success or political stability, Pakistan would not warrant either the cash or the attention it wins without nuclear weapons.
An observant Iran appreciates three laws of current nuclear gangbanging.
1. Nuclear weapons earn a reputation.
2. The more loco a nuclear nation sounds, the more likely civilized states will fear that it is not subject to nuclear deterrence, and so they pay bribes for it to behave. Gangbangers always claim that they have nothing to lose; their more responsible intended targets have everything to lose.
3. As of yet there are no 100 percent effective nuclear defense systems that can guarantee non-nuclear powers absolute safety from a sudden attack. The nuclear gangbanger, not the global police, currently has the upper hand.
Again, the actual bombs are not the problem. We do not worry about a nuclear but democratic Israel or France. We are not even bothered by a hostile but non-nuclear Cuba or Venezuela. The combination of a bomb with a rap sheet is what changes all diplomatic and strategic considerations.
It would be hard to contain a nuclear Iran with bribes, as we have so far handled Pakistan — and in the past North Korea as well. In both cases, we have had some help. Nuclear neighbor India assists in warning Pakistan to behave. A nervous Chinese overlord is amused by North Korean troublemaking — but only up to the point that North Korea might threaten China’s vital export markets.n contrast, only one of Iran’s two enemies — Israel — is nuclear. Its wealthier Sunni Saudi Arabian rival is not.
When Iran goes nuclear, one of two things will follow. Either its Arab rivals will buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan to ensure that Iran does not bully them for political concessions — on matters of oil production and pricing, autonomy for Shiite minorities, and an end to non-belligerency with Israel. Or the Sunni powers will accept Iran’s hegemony to win exemption from its episodic lunatic threats of Armageddon. Either way, the Middle East will become a far more dangerous place.
There is yet another side to the nuclear gangbangers: the reaction of non-nuclear democratic civilized states that must live with their occasional existential threats.
Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan have the expertise, but so far not the need, to become nuclear states. Up to now, they have all felt that American power was overwhelming, and its security guarantees ironclad.
In addition, nuclear China and Russia were not so threatening after the end of the Cold War. The expense, the odium and the memories of horrific wars made nuclear proliferation unimaginable.
All that could soon change. The one constant in American foreign policy over the last five years is that the administration’s game changers, red lines and deadlines proved mostly negotiable. Meanwhile, China is beginning to translate its economic success into military adventurism, in the same manner imperial Japan did in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The more nuclear powers, the less resistance to the addition of a new one. War would not necessarily be inevitable in the China Sea should there soon be five or six nuclear powers with a presence in the region, rather than the present China, U.S. and North Korea. But the odds of conflict would increase — and the ability of the United States to ensure calm would diminish even further.
So far we have talked of democratic nuclear powers containing, coaxing or bribing outlaw nuclear gangsters to be reasonable — or threatening military force to disrupt their nuclear programs before they come on line.
Yet just as likely looms the sudden growth in the nuclear family of responsible powers, who at present have no sure source of deterring nuclear renegades. Would a rich but non-nuclear Germany always count on a retrenching U.S., a fickle nuclear France, bribes or diplomacy to convince theocratic Iran to turn its missiles in a different direction? If Iran has a bomb, why not Turkey? Or, for that matter, Brazil?
In such a nuclear club of 20 or more, rather than the present nine nuclear powers, border disputes, religious rivalries, ideological antagonisms and terrorism could all escalate not just to regional wars, but to the end of 21st-century culture itself.

Iran Asking For 60 Percent

Iran Asking For 60 Percent Uranium

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Iran Lawmakers Propose Bill On Uranium Enrichment

December 26, 2013
Some 100 Iranian lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require the government to increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent if any new international sanctions are imposed on the country.
State media reported on December 25 that it is unclear when the legislature will consider the bill.
The proposed measure is being seen as retaliation for a bill introduced last week in the U.S. Senate that would authorize new sanctions if Iran fails to abide by a temporary agreement over its disputed nuclear program signed in Geneva last month.
Under that deal between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of countries — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany — Iran agreed to limit enrichment to 5 percent and neutralize its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium in exchange for an easing of some sanctions.

Anitchrist Seeks To End Sectarian Violence

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and tribes have warned Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against moving on months-long protests in Sunni-majority Anbar province, after he claimed that the site had become an al-Qaeda base and ordered demonstrators to leave before security forces move in.
Protest organizers have vowed to stand up against any crackdown on the demonstrations, which began 11 months ago.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been critical of the fellow-Shiite premier, warned Maliki against using the protests to try to settle scores against Sunni rivals, or delaying parliament elections scheduled for April.
Any move against the protesters “should not be a prelude to settle sectarian scores with the Sunnis, but must target terrorism only,” Sadr said in a statement. “This matter also should not be a reason for the delay of the upcoming legislative elections, otherwise the matter has consequences,” he warned.
Maliki’s vow to break up the sit-in followed a roadside bombing on Saturday that killed several army officers, including Mohammad al-Khuri, the commander blamed for a deadly crackdown in April on the Anbar protests that killed some 50 people.
Maliki claimed that al-Qaeda elements have infiltrated the Anbar protests and warned that an operation to clear the protest site, which has turned into a virtual tented village of sorts, is imminent.
“The sit-in tents in Anbar are part of a scheme to target the political process and they want a coup against the establishment,” Maliki claimed at a news conference in Karbala.
“It has been revealed that there are terrorists there,” declared the embattled premier, who faces opposition both by the country’s Sunnis and the autonomous Kurds in the north. He claimed that  the world was accusing the Iraqi government of being lax on al-Qaeda terrorists, while the militants had  set up their own camp in Anbar.
“It has become imperative for us to settle this matter in the next few days and we won’t allow Anbar and its people to be at the mercy of murderers,” Maliki warned.
In the meantime Iyad Allawi, former interim premier and leader of the Iraqiya Sunni bloc, echoed Sadr’s concern over elections.
“Iraq is going toward a decisive and bloody election that could be delayed or even could not be held at all,” he said in a statement.
Allawi doubted that the Iraqi political forces would be able to form a government after the election, especially in the absence of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been absent from the scene since suffering a stroke one year ago.
Maliki also announced that a massive security operation – code-named “Revenge of Commander Mohammed” in retaliation for the attack that killed Khuri and other officers – was underway in Anbar against al-Qaeda.
Anti-government protests began in Anbar in January following complaints that the Shiite-led government in Baghdad was neglecting Sunni provinces, depriving them of basic services, investment, government jobs and employment.
While protests ended in the provinces of Saladin, Kirkuk, Diyala and Nineveh, they have continued in Anbar, where Sunni leaders have denied government accusations of al-Qaeda involvement from the very beginning of the demonstrations.
Protest organizers say that Sunni tribes and other residents of Anbar have vowed to stand against any government crackdown on the protesters.
“The tribes and all the people of the province will take up arms in defense of the sit-in at the square, should Maliki, his army and militia target demonstrators,” the organizers said in a statement.
The imam and preacher of Fallujah played down threats of a government crackdown, vowing to stay at the square.
Ali Hatem al-Suleiman, the head of the Dulaim tribe who has been one of the leaders of the protesters, refused to end the protests. But he welcomed inspection by the government to ensure that the site was neither a place hiding al-Qaeda members or weapons.
– See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/25122013#sthash.vdDArg1S.dpuf

More Nuclear Material Found in Mexico

Dangerous Radioactive Material was Stolen and Found in Mexico

First Posted: Dec 24, 2013 09:53 AM EST

cobalt 60, radioactive

(Photo : Flickr)

Dangerous radioactive material, used in cancer-treating medicine, was stolen, along with the truck that was carrying the teletheraphy source containing cobalt-60. Tepojaco, a town in the central state of Hildago, was the scene of the crime. The capital, and six of Mexico’s 31 states, were put on alert on Dec. 3, and Mexican authorities were able to recover the material on Thursday of the same week, which had been abandoned in a field.
The family that came across the capsule — two centimeters in diameter — was monitored for health risks after handling the potentially dangerous device, found 0.6 miles away from the truck. The device was later isolated and taken to its original destination at a waste storage facility. However, when the family discovered the open medical device they brought it into their home, which could have potentially led to their deaths due to contamination emitted by the hazardous material.
„We will have to keep this family under medical watch for the sole reason of being near a certain distance from the source,“ The National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards operations director Mardonio Jiménez told Milenio television, without indicating how many members there were.

Five hundred meter safety perimeters were set around the hazardous material after it was found 43 miles north of Mexico City in Hueypotia. The radioactive source was called „extremely dangerous“ by U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. Two gunmen stole the truck from a service station. The theft which inadvertently led to attention being brought to potential risks that 60 grams of cobalt-60 — the amount that was stolen — which is enough to build crude „dirty bomb,“ though thieves only wanted the truck.
National Security is monitoring the situation, and authorities are still search for the thieves. Meanwhile, the 40,000-population town of Hueypoxtla was reassured that the source is far from the populous. Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said that the Mexican public is safe and will remain that way. The IAEA and CNSNS claim that there are no signs of contamination in the area.
The transport company is being blamed for the incident, failing to have a security escort with the truck as it attempted to make the drive from the hospital in Tijuana.

What is a Suitcase Nuke?

From Weapons and technology

The highest-ranking GRU defector Stanislav Lunev described alleged Soviet plans for using tactical nuclear weapons for sabotage against the United States in the event of war. He described Soviet-made suitcase nukes identified as RA-115s (or RA-115-01s for submersible weapons) which weigh from fifty to sixty pounds. These portable bombs can last for many years if wired to an electric source. “In case there is a loss of power, there is a battery backup. If the battery runs low, the weapon has a transmitter that sends a coded message – either by satellite or directly to a GRU post at a Russian embassy or consulate.” .

Lunev was personally looking for hiding places for weapons caches in the Shenandoah Valley area. He said that “it is surprisingly easy to smuggle nuclear weapons into the US” either across the Mexican border or using a small transport missile that can slip though undetected when launched from a Russian airplane. US Congressman Curt Weldon supported claims by Lunev, but “Weldon said later the FBI discredited Lunev, saying that he exaggerated things.” Searches of the areas identified by Lunev – who admits he never planted any weapons in the US – have been conducted, “but law-enforcement officials have never found such weapons caches, with or without portable nuclear weapons.” in the US.r

The Third Horn Stocks Up Nukes

Another Pak nuke threat shaping up for India?

Washington :  In what must come as a wake-up call for India, Pakistan has nearly completed external construction of a fourth reactor building at the Khushab nuclear complex that produces plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons programme, according to a US think tank.
 
The Institute for Science and International Security, which has used commercial satellite imagery to monitor developments at the Khushab complex for years, said in a report that images from November 1 clearly show that “the external construction of the fourth reactor building appears nearly complete”.
The Khushab complex, located 200 km south of Islamabad, is dedicated to the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. Pakistan is working to ramp up production at the complex so that it can build more miniaturised plutonium-based nuclear weapons, ISIS said.
The report further said Pakistan is “believed to have depended on illicit procurements” for the four reactors at Khushab.
According to an ISIS report of April 2011, Pakistan was allegedly operating an illegal network in the US to procure goods, including switching and radiation detection equipment and nuclear-grade resin, for its Chashma plant and possibly other reactors including those at Khushab. Another recent ISIS report on the “The Future World of Illicit Nuclear Trade” stated Pakistan is expected to “maintain or improve its nuclear arsenal via illicit nuclear trade”.
The Khushab site originally had one heavy water reactor in the 1990s and Pakistan began work on a second reactor during 2000-02, a third one in 2006 and the fourth one in 2011. “The expansion of the Khushab nuclear site with the addition of reactors 2, 3 and 4 appears to be part of a strategic effort by Pakistan to boost weapon-grade plutonium production,” ISIS said in its latest report. “This increased capability would allow Pakistan to build a larger number of miniaturised plutonium-based nuclear weapons in order to complement its existing arsenal of highly enriched uranium weapons,” it said.
Though work on the fourth reactor proceeded at a slower pace than predicted by ISIS, the “reactor stack and four of the six auxiliary buildings…appear complete”. Two support buildings located to the west of the reactor building are still under construction. ISIS said Pakistan has not provided any public information about three new reactors at the Khushab complex or the power output of the original one, estimated to be 50 MWth.
The three new reactors are expected to generate more power than the first one and are thus “capable of producing more weapon-grade plutonium per year”. ISIS quoted a technical consultant as saying that the power of the new reactors is “likely to be larger than the first one and that over time their power could be increased”.

Pakistan: The Third Horn

Is Pakistan’s nuclear stock safe?

Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif has assured the world after visiting the country’s nuclear control authority that the Islamic republic’s atomic weapons are protected. Some security experts, however, are not convinced.
Pakistani spectators watch the Shaheen II long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead on its launcher during the National Day parade in Islamabad, 23 March 2005 (Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
It is not the first time that a Pakistani leader has told the world that the country’s nuclear arsenal is in safe hands. Despite these repeated assurances, the West has been worried about the safety of Pakistan’s atomic weapons for quite some time. Pakistan, which conducted its only nuclear tests in 1998, is battling with a protracted Islamist insurgency which threatens to paralyze the state. In the past decade, Islamists not only attacked civilians but targeted military installations and bases as well. Some international experts say that the Taliban and al Qaeda have their eyes on Pakistan’s nuclear warheads.
Last week, Prime Minister Sharif visited the country’s National Command Center, which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. The PM was accompanied by officials from the powerful Pakistani military, which experts say has the last word when it comes to matters related to defense and security. After the visit, the premier said Islamabad wanted „peace in the region, and would not be part of an arms race.“ He said further that the country’s nuclear arsenal was „well protected.“

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks to his party workers during a seminar in Lahore, to mark the 14th anniversary of Pakistan's first successful nuclear test in 1999, May 28, 2013 (Photo: REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)PM Sharif has very little say in defense-related matters, according to experts

Islamabad-based defense analyst Maria Sultan agrees with the PM and says Pakistan’s nuclear control authorities have a strong grip on the country’s nuclear assets. „Pakistan has the capability of monitoring its nuclear weapons, and the technology it is using to do that is very sophisticated,“ Sultan told DW. She insisted that the West’s concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear safety were „unfounded.“
‚Talibanization of the military‘
Though Pakistan’s civilian and military establishments claim their nuclear weapons are under strict state control, many defense experts fear that they could fall into the hands of terrorists in the event of an Islamist takeover of Islamabad or if things get out of control for the government and the military.
„Nuclear programs are never safe. On the one hand there is perhaps a hype about Pakistani bombs in the Western media, on the other there is genuine concern,“ London-based Pakistani journalist and researcher Farooq Sulehria told DW. „The Talibanization of the Pakistan military is something we can’t overlook. What if there is an internal Taliban takeover of the nuclear assets?“ Sulehria speculated.

Pakistani Army soldiers stand guard at the check post a day ahead of general elections, in Karachi, Pakistan, 10 May 2013 (Photo: EPA/REHAN KHAN)Thousands of Pakistani soldiers have been killed in fight against the Taliban

Sulehria’s concerns are probably justified. The Taliban militants have proven time and again that they are capable of attacking not only civilians but also military bases. In August 2012, militants armed with guns and rocket launchers attacked an air base in the town of Kamra in the Punjab province. The large base is home to several squadrons of fighter and surveillance planes, which air force officials said had not been damaged in the attack. The Taliban have great influence in Pakistan’s restive northwestern Swat Valley and according to defense experts, several nuclear installations are located not too far from the area.
Despite that, political and defense analyst Zahid Hussain told DW the West was „unnecessarily worried.“
„Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests more fifteen years ago. Nothing has happened since then. Pakistan has made sure the nuclear weapons remain safe.“

Nuclear proliferation
However, Pakistan’s nuclear safety record is not as clean as Hussain claims. In 2004, the „founder“ of the country’s nuclear bomb Dr. A. Q. Khan confessed to selling nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran. Khan was removed from his post as head of the country’s nuclear program by former military dictator and President Pervez Musharraf in 2001. Khan spent five years under house arrest after Musharraf had him arrested in 2004 for his alleged role in divulging nuclear secrets. The restrictions on his movement were relaxed after a court in Islamabad declared him a free man in 2009.
The Pakistani military and civilian leaders have been accused of being too easy on Khan, but they have defended themselves, saying that the state had no role in what they say was Khan’s „individual act.“ But many in Pakistan and in the West believe Khan was only able to pass on such sensitive information with support from the establishment.
Khan is a popular figure among Islamists and common Pakistanis alike, who believe that nuclear weapons are „necessary“ for the security of the country. Pakistan’s political and religious parties invariably use nuclear rhetoric against India and Western nations.
„The atomic bomb is our protector. It guarantees our sovereignty. Nobody can harm Pakistan as long as we have this bomb, and that is the reason why the US, India and other Western countries are conspiring against it,“ Abdul Basit, a student at Karachi University, told DW.

Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan waves to journalists from the front door of his house in Islamabad in this August 28, 2009 (Photo: REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/Files)Khan has repeatedly expressed his support for right-wing ideology

Asim Uddin, a London-based Jamaat-e-Islami activist, is of the same view. He says Pakistan needs nuclear assets because it has a nuclear neighbor – India – against which it has fought three wars. „Pakistan needs nuclear weapons as a war deterrent,“ he told DW.
Sulehria, on the other hand, says that though the world needs to be more vigilant about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, its nuclear obsession is more about domestic politics than external threats.
„Politicians use nuclear rhetoric to appease the public. Since the 1980s, jihad has been part of the state doctrine. And for jihad, the country needs the ‚ultimate weapon‘ -the nuclear bomb.“
Experts like Sulehria fear that a crumbling economy, an ever-increasing Islamist threat, and a popular nuclear narrative are a perfect recipe for a nuclear crisis. They also say that the Pakistani government and the premier need to do a lot more than merely issuing official statements about nuclear safety.

Playing with THE FIRE

Proponents of Iran Sanctions Bill Are Playing With Fire

Posted: 12/20/2013 2:26 pm

Philosopher and essayist George Santayana famously said that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
How true this is right now for the United States, which after years of tragic and costly combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, now finds itself at a crossroads in its efforts to reach a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the crisis created by Iran’s nuclear program.
Last month, the Obama administration, backed by five other major world powers, reached a preliminary agreement with Iran to freeze its nuclear program and roll back some of its most dangerous components for six months. During this time, the parties will try to reach a permanent solution that would place the Iranian program under strict and enforceable limitations and constant international supervision. Such an outcome would make Israel, the Middle East and the entire world infinitely safer.
This is not good enough for some in the US Senate, who have been backed by AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee and several other organizations. Far from trusting President Obama and allowing the administration to pursue negotiations, they are actively trying to sabotage the process. The result may well put the United States, Israel and the international community back on a course with only two outcomes, both catastrophic. Either Iran will move forward to develop a nuclear weapon — or military action will be taken, not to destroy but only to delay, the Iranian program.
Of course, nobody wants to see Iran develop a nuclear weapon. But it’s been clear for years that the goal of sanctions is to bring the Iranians to the negotiating table. Now that we’ve succeeded in this, why would we be trying to drive them away?
If we have learned anything from our disastrous military entanglement in Iraq, it should be that it is easy to begin wars — but very difficult to end them or to predict where they might lead. The American people were sold a bill of goods on Iraq. We were promised a simple, clean operation aimed at destroying weapons of mass destruction, which it turned out did not exist. We were told it would be easy to topple the Iraqi dictator and replace him with a democracy. Instead, we virtually destroyed a nation, setting off a sectarian conflict which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and cost trillions of dollars and which still continues. We lost thousands of our finest men and women and condemned tens of thousands others to debilitating physical and mental trauma. And we created a political vacuum that allowed Iranian influence to expand — and Iran’s nuclear program to proceed.
Some of those who advocated most strongly for that war are behind this week’s Senate bill to „expand sanctions imposed with respect to Iran and to impose additional sanctions with respect to Iran, and for other purposes.“
The bill was introduced despite clear warnings from the administration that it risks derailing the negotiations with Iran and isolating the United States from its allies. The bill’s sponsors also ignored a letter from 10 Senate committee chairmen which stated that enacting new sanctions now simply plays into the hands of Iranian hardliners who want the negotiations to fail. Lastly, the bill’s sponsors choose to disregard the assessment of the US Intelligence Community that new sanctions undermine the chance of a negotiated end to the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Not only the bill’s timing is extremely suspect but its content is also designed to ensure the failure of the talks. The bill demands the total dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program – a demand Israel has made but one that is entirely unrealistic — as President Obama himself has stated. The goal of the talks has to be to convert the program into a peaceful, non-military endeavor under strict international supervision. The bill seeks to tie the President’s hands in many different ways. No wonder he has stated clearly that he will veto it if it ever reaches his desk.
Once again, J Street stands almost entirely alone among major American-Jewish organizations in opposing this bill. Our aim will be to persuade enough Senators to join the 10 senior committee chairs to stop the bill moving forward.
We simply must give these negotiations a chance to succeed. They are the only way to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon while avoiding the threat of war. Those advocating for new sanctions, it seems, have learned nothing from history and are determined to repeat it. It’s up to us to stop them.

Iran Plans On 60% Enrichment

Iran Plans On 60% Enrichment

 

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Because the United States again has imposed sanctions against several companies and individuals who allegedly evaded U.S. embargoes on trade with Iran, Tehran says it may increase its uranium enrichment goals to the 60 percent level, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
That would be far above the recent interim agreement reached in Geneva between the West and Iran that would limit such enrichment to just five percent.
Less than a week after obtaining an agreement with Iran, new sanctions were announced by the U.S. against a dozen companies and individuals for allegedly violating the embargoes, which were intended to disrupt the Iranian economy enough to bring the regime to an agreement.
Under that announced agreement, which was supposed to be for six months, the U.S. had said it would refrain from adding new sanctions against Iran even though members of Congress have been trying to push the Obama administration that direction.
Iranian lawmakers had warned that Tehran will defy the Geneva deal if the U.S. continues what it termed “breaching the terms of the agreement.”
Now in response to the new U.S. sanctions, Iranian lawmakers are studying a bill which would require the government to enrich uranium to the purity level of 60 percent.
“Given the method that the other negotiating side (the U.S.) has adopted during the nuclear negotiations, the legislators are working on a bill which will require the government to increase the level of uranium enrichment to over 60 percent,” Seyyed Mehdi Moussavinejad, a member of the Iranian Majli, or parliament’s Energy Commission, said in a Fars News report.
Currently, Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent and that is used for medical purposes. The five percent level, which is stated in the agreement, is all that is needed to fuel Iran’s nuclear reactors.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is entitled to enrich uranium to any level.
But under article 4 of the NPT, it is not allowed to create an atomic bomb.
Article 4 refers to a signatory’s “absolute right” to development, which Iran has embraced as a justification to continue its program despite Western sanctions.
Tehran said that it is an economic necessity that it develop nuclear energy, so that is can use its oil reserves for export only.
Israel has objected to any nuclear program in Iran, claiming its purpose is to produce nuclear weapons, which Tehran vehemently denies.
In addition, the United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on four separate occasions relating to Iran’s nuclear program out of concern that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
Nevertheless, Moussavinejad said Iran will look to enrich uranium up to 60 percent to supply nuclear fuel for its ships, including submarines.
However, Iran is not assessed to possess nuclear-fueled ships or submarines.
Last April, Iran had announced that it could start enriching uranium to a 50 percent purity level if its research community determined that it needed it for nuclear-fueled submarines.
The announcement that the Iranian parliament would direct nuclear fuel to be enriched to 60 percent suggests that Iran may have developed such a capability.
Uranium enrichment of 90 percent or better would be needed to fuel a nuclear weapon.
“We have the capability to produce nuclear fuel for ships and submarines,” said Fereidoun Abbasi, former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
While Iran will maintain the 20 percent enrichment level, Abbasi said that the AEOI would have no difficulty developing the systems and technology to produce at the 60 percent level, if it becomes a matter of basic need and the government makes a decision.
“Given the Western states’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which include an embargo on the supply of fossil fuels to Iranian vessels, the Islamic Republic will replace the fossil fuel with nuclear fuel to counter the sanctions so that Iranian ships would not need refueling for long-distance voyages,” according to Allahverdi Dehqani, who is a member of the parliament’s Industries Commission.