Iran Is Correct In Calling Israel Hypocrites

Iran’s claim that Israel has 400 nuclear weapons

By Glenn Kessler May 1 at 3:00 AM

By Glenn Kessler May 1 at 3:00 AM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

“It’s laughable that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has become everybody’s nonproliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads, nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty].”
–Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking in New York, April 29, 2015

In the debate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the unacknowledged nuclear stockpile of Israel often comes up.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Israel secretly acquired the technology and material to build nuclear weapons, frequently misleading the U.S. government about its intentions. (France was Israel’s partner in the building of the Dimona reactor in the Negev desert, while South Africa is believed by some to have assisted Israel in conducting at least one nuclear test in the 1970s.)

Zarif quickly noted that Israel (unlike Iran) is not a member of the NPT, but added: “Those who provided them with the technology were members of the NPT and violated the NPT to provide them with the technology, and we know who they were. And now they are the proponents of nonproliferation.” (Actually, France’s cooperation with Israel ended in 1966, before the NPT went into effect in 1970.)

Zarif’s estimate of Israel’s stockpile seemed rather large. Does Israel really have 400 nuclear weapons?

The Facts

For a secret and unacknowledged program, the history of Israel’s quest for nuclear weapons is relatively well-documented. Our colleague Walter Pincus recently recounted how Israel misled the Kennedy and Johnson administrations about the facility in the Negev, describing it at one point as “a textile plant” and later as “a metallurgical research installation.”

Requested inspections by U.S. experts were cursory and often postponed — Israel refused to accept visits from the International Atomic Energy Agency – and later it was learned that the Israelis had built fake walls around the elevators that led to an underground reprocessing plant, according to a 2014 account in The Guardian newspaper.

By 1968, the CIA was convinced Israel had nuclear weapons – just as negotiations on the NPT were completed and the treaty designed to thwart the spread of nuclear weapons was opened for signature by members of the United Nations. U.S. officials concluded it was too late to turn back the clock and make Israel abandon its nuclear capability.

In a private one-on-one White House meeting on Sept. 26, 1969, then President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir cut a secret deal: Israel would not test its weapons or acknowledge them, and in return the United States would end its Dimona visits and stop pressuring Israel to sign the NPT. (The actual details of the discussion are still shrouded in mystery, as no formal record of the conversation has emerged. But a memo from then national security adviser Henry Kissinger indicates Nixon pressed Meir not to visibly introduce nuclear weapons in the region.)

In 1979, a U.S. satellite (known as Vela 6911) designed to monitor compliance with the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty detected a possible nuclear test off the coast of South Africa. Then-President Jimmy Carter and other U.S. officials quickly suspected this was an Israeli test, which if true would have been in violation of the Nixon-Meir agreement.

Yet Leonard Weiss, a congressional aide at the time, wrote in 2011 that both the Carter and Reagan administrations ignored or played down intelligence information pointing to Israel. “The weight of the evidence that the Vela event was an Israeli nuclear test assisted by South Africa appears overwhelming,” Weiss said, citing the views of top intelligence and scientific officials as well as Carter’s published diary notes. But there has never been official acknowledgement, and other experts remain skeptical of the evidence and that such cover-up took place.

Okay, that’s the background. Given that some 50 years have passed, how many nuclear weapons does Israel have?

Since Israel has never officially admitted having weapons, the answer relies on a bit of guesswork, principally how much plutonium might have been produced in Dimona. A key factor is the power level of the reactor, which (according to satellite imagery) does not appear to have increased much over time.

A leaked 1999 intelligence assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, published in Rowan Scarborough’s 2004 book “Rumsfeld’s War,” estimated that Israel had 60 to 80 weapons at the time, and would have 65 to 85 by 2020. (The report also said Iran would have 10 to 20 nukes by 2020.)

In 2014, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists echoed that estimate. “We conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated,” a comprehensive report declared.
“We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.”

Other analysts believe that the number is closer to 100, and possibly a bit higher. In 2007, the Federation of American Scientists said the estimates range from 70 to 400 warheads, but it played down the high-end estimate. “Based on plausible upper and lower bounds of the operating practices at the reactor, Israel could have thus produced enough plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not significantly more than 200 weapons,” the report said.

More recently, David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, completed a report for the Nuclear Threat Initiative that re-examined the information on Israel’s weapons plutonium production. The estimate has not yet been published but he graciously shared it with The Fact Checker:

“Based on the total production of plutonium, the median for the number of nuclear weapons is about 165 with a standard deviation of 33 and a full range of about 90-290 weapons. About 80 percent of the results are within 50 of the median.”

Antichrist Threatens Babylon’s Proposal (Rev 13:18)

Shiite Cleric Threatens U.S. Over GOP Proposal to Arm Kurds, Sunnis in Iraq

Early Thursday morning, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed the $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA) by a 60-2 bipartisan vote, clearing it for consideration by the full House next month.

Section 1223 of the House Republicans’s NDAA authorizes President Obama’s $715 million request for military assistance to the Iraqi forces combatting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but with a caveat.
The proposed bill requires that 25 percent of the funds be provided directly to the Kurdish Peshmerga, the nascent Iraqi National Guard, which is made up of various Sunni militias, and the Sunni tribal forces—all of which are not truly subject to the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.

According to a summary of the bill prepared by the HASC, “the remaining 75 percent would be withheld until the Secretaries of State and Defense determine that the Government of Iraq is meeting certain conditions for political reconciliation. Should they not be able to make that assessment, 60 percent of the remaining funds would be released directly to the Kurds and Sunnis.”

The conditions that the Iraqi government has to meet are related to the “political inclusion of ethnic and sectarian minorities within the security forces of Iraq,” explains the bill’s text.

Moreover, the legislation requires that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Sunni fighters are deemed “a country,” allowing them to receive direct U.S. assistance, bypassing Iraq.

The NDAA also demands that Iraq distance itself from Iran-backed Shiite militias that have been accused of retribution against Sunnis in Iraq.

“In the event of approving this bill by the U.S. Congress, we will find ourselves obliged to unfreeze the military wing and start targeting the American interests in Iraq – even abroad, which is doable,” said a statement on Muqtada al-Sadr’s website, reports The Associated Press (AP).

Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government has also rejected the bill.

“Any weapons supplying will be done only through the Iraqi government,” said the Baghdad-based government, according to AP. “The draft law proposed by the foreign affairs committee in the U.S. Congress is rejected and it will lead to more division in the region and we urge it be stopped.”

President Obama has been reluctant to arm and provide direct military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga, some of the most effective fighters taking on ISIS on the ground in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Department of State said the Obama administration opposes providing military assistance directly to the Kurdish and Sunni fighters.

“The policy of this Administration is clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq, and that we’ve always said a unified Iraq is stronger, and it’s important to the stability of the region as well,” Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman told reporters. “Our military assistance and equipment deliveries, our policy remains the same there as well, that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts.”

“So we look forward to working with Congress on language that we could support on this important issue, but the draft bill, as you noted, in the House – this is very early in the process here for the NDAA – as currently written on this issue, of course, does not reflect Administration policy,” she added.

On deeming the Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni forces a country so that they can receive direct aid, Harf said it is the executive branch’s prerogative to recognize nations.

It is uncertain whether the NDAA provision to arm and fund the Kurds and the Sunni tribal fighters will survive through the debate process in the full House.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been demanding complete independence from Iraq for years on behalf of the Kurds who want a nation of their own, something that Iraq and the United States oppose.

The Obama administration’s opposition to directly arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Sunni fighters is in line with Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia was one of the most ardent opponents of the U.S. military during the Iraq war.

Follow Edwin Mora on Twitter: @EdwinMora83.

There Is NO Nuclear Fatwa (Daniel 8:3)


Fatwa? What Fatwa? Does Ayatollah Khamenei’s Edict Exist?

The Washington Post (“Kerry seeks to assure Arab states over Iran deal,” March 6, 2015) casually referred to an unconfirmed religious ruling by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the all-powerful supreme leader of Iran may not have made. Khamenei purportedly issued a fatwa (an Islamic sharia law edict) against nuclear weapons, yet questions about both its very existence and potential meaning go unmentioned in the article.

It’s hard to tell what the supposed fatwa says because there is no hard evidence of its publication nor is a clear date given for its issuance. According to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) paper, the fatwa was first reported in October 2003 by Tehran after August 2002 revelations that Iran was secretly building a centrifuge enrichment facility in Natanz.

The WINEP report notes the ayatollah’s ability to alter or override fatwas and his shifting rhetoric with regard to earlier declarations. These reportedly condemned the creation of nuclear weapons, but more recent pronouncements explicitly ruled out only their use.

The existence of the edict seems to be entirely of a self-referential nature—it is asserted to exist but no written evidence supports the claim. This is unusual for an order of such importance, as the WINEP report notes.

The Post referred to the supposed fatwa almost in passing: “Iran insists it does not seek nuclear arms, which the country’s supreme leader has declared are forbidden by Islam, but wants the capacity to make nuclear fuel for reactors that produce energy and medical isotopes.”

The Post’s article is not alone in claiming Khamenei declared nuclear weapons off-limits to Iran under Islamic rule. In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on September 24, 2013 President Obama stated, “the Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.”

In November, 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry made a similar claim while in Geneva, Switzerland noting, “the Supreme Leader has indicated there is a fatwa, which forbids them to do this [acquire nuclear weapons].”

Doubts about the fatwa’s existence recently appeared in an article by Andrew McCarthy (“The Khamenei Fatwa Hoax is absurd on its face,” National Review, April 16). McCarthy says that disbelief is warranted since fatwas must be written and accessible to be authoritative and the Iranian has a regime history of lying and reversing religious edicts for political expediency.Sean Durns

The Korean Nuclear Horn Running Again (Dan 7:7)


US experts: Satellite images show that a nuclear reactor in North Korea might be operating again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Satellite images taken between January and this month show a North Korean nuclear reactor that can yield material for atomic bombs may be operating again at low power or intermittently, U.S. experts said on Wednesday.

A report from David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini at Washington’s Institute for Science and International Security said the imagery also suggested that a centrifuge plant at the Yongbyon nuclear complex had been operated and that North Korea may be preparing to conduct renovations at this plant.

The ISIS think tank said last year that satellite imagery from late August and late September indicated the Yongbyon reactor may have been partially or completely shut down.
The latest ISIS analysis comes at a time of rising concern about North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities.

The experts based their latest assessment on observation of melting snow patterns on the reactor and turbine buildings at Yongbyon, indicating that the insides of the buildings may have been hot. They also pointed to signs of warm water being discharged from the reactor.

North Korea has a uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon and the reactor has previously been used for plutonium production. Both materials can be used to make atomic bombs.

In February, Albright was among experts at the U.S.-Korea Institute who presented three scenarios for North Korea’s nuclear capability, predicting its stockpile of weapons could grow to 20, 50 or 100 within five years.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that Chinese nuclear experts had warned that North Korea may already have 20 nuclear warheads and the capability to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by next year.

north korea nuclear 
ReutersMap of North Korea showing nuclear facilities in the country as of September 2013.
These estimates, relayed to U.S. nuclear specialists, exceeded most previous U.S. forecasts, which ranged from 10 to 16 bombs currently, the report said.

Early this month, U.S. Admiral William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the U.S. military believes North Korea has the ability to miniaturize a warhead and mount it on a ballistic missile, although there had been no tests.
North Korea is under an array of international sanctions for nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests. It has conducted three nuclear detonations, the most recent in February 2013.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


NO Surprise: Iran Actively Procuring Uranium (Dan 8:3)

UN Is Warned of ‘Active Iranian Nuclear Procurement Network’

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie
Britain has told a U.N. panel of experts that it is aware of an “active Iranian nuclear procurement network” linked to two Iranian companies, raising new concerns as world powers began Thursday to work out the details of a possible comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

Two U.N. sources confirmed Thursday that Britain’s warning on April 20 is included in a confidential report by the panel. The sources spoke on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.
The warning names two companies, “Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company and Kalay Electric Company,” but it gives no details. Both companies are under U.S. sanctions, and Kalay Electric Company is on the U.N. sanctions list.

World powers, including the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, are aiming for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program by June 30 with a goal of slowing any path the country might have toward developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, has not commented on the report by a panel of experts for the U.N. sanctions committee on Iran.

Iran is pushing for U.N. and other sanctions on it to be lifted as soon as a nuclear agreement with the United States and others is reached.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Thursday, “We remain concerned about their procurement, taken steps to designate entities for procurement in the recent past.” She said the U.S. has ongoing discussions with the U.N. about the issue.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security has described the Tehran-based Kalay Electric Company as being “Iran’s primary centrifuge research and development site in the late 1990s and early 2000s, until Iran moved operations to the Natanz site in 2002.” It has said the company was private until being bought by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

“The name ‘Kalaye Electric’ means ‘electric goods,’ implying that Iran kept the original name to help disguise the true purpose of the facility,” the institute has written. It added that when the International Atomic Energy Agency asked to inspect the site in 2003, Iran responded that it was a watch factory that also made a few centrifuge components.

The Treasury Department in 2011 said the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company “plays a crucial role in Iran’s uranium enrichment nuclear program. It is involved in the production of IR-1 centrifuges, the type of centrifuge Iran has used to enrich uranium and has used in facilities belonging to … Kalaye Electric Company.”

The news of the warning to the U.N. panel comes after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday for the first time since a marathon negotiating session in Switzerland ended with the declaration of an understanding.

The challenge now lies in filling in the details. Zarif told an event in New York on Wednesday that “wording problems that pertain to all issues” still need to be worked out. He said Iran and world powers would meet Thursday to start bringing together the elements of a draft agreement, with meetings starting Monday in Europe to finalize all its elements.

One concern is whether Iran has declared everything it has in its nuclear program, especially on the military side.

In a speech on Monday to a global conference to review a landmark treaty on disarmament, the head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, warned that the IAEA “is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”


Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper in Washington and George Jahn in Vienna contributed.