Iran Foretells of the Nuclear Crisis to Come (Daniel 8:4)

The world will have to confront “another nuclear crisis” if the landmark 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers is scrapped, Iran’s deputy foreign minister warned.

In a speech at London’s Chatham House on Thursday, Abbas Araghchi said the “atmosphere of uncertainty” under US President Donald Trump has made it more difficult for Iran to stay with the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If we lose JCPOA, we would face another nuclear crisis, which would be very difficult to be resolved this time,” he said.

“This is a choice between security and insecurity at the world level.”

Araghchi, who served as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, also hinted that Iran could withdraw from the deal if the country fails to reap the expected benefits of the agreement.

“For Iran, we are supposed to benefit from the sanctions’ lifting,” he said. “If companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us.”

Under the deal signed in Vienna between Iran and six world powers – the US, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and China, as well as the European Union – the leadership in Tehran scaled back the country’s uranium enrichment programme.

According to UN inspectors, Iran continues to be in compliance with that condition.

In exchange of Iran scaling back its nuclear programme, sanctions on its economy were lifted, and Tehran was allowed to resume trading oil and gas on the international market. A total of $100bn in frozen Iranian assets was also released.

In his speech on Thursday, Araghchi noted that negotiators were able to resolve “a very complicated nuclear crisis” that could have turned into a “big and dangerous problem for the whole world”.

Since Trump came to power, analysts said Iranians’ attitudes towards the US have soured [AFP]

US blacklist

Following the deal, Iran has gradually opened its country to foreign investment and welcomed more foreign visitors, injecting billions of dollars into its ailing economy.

However, there are several US sanctions that remain in place.

Analysts said that makes even non-American companies and investors who want to do business with Tehran wary of being penalised and blacklisted by Washington.

As a result, the economic gains Iran expected after it signed the deal have been stymied.

“Obviously such uncertainty has had a huge impact on foreign trade as investors remain wary and big banks have continued to stay away for fear of US sanctions,” Mohammad Hashemi, a Tehran-based analyst, told Al Jazeera.

A wave of protests in recent months, widely blamed on the country’s economic woes and years of political tension and alleged corruption, have added more pressure on the administration of reformist President Hassan Rouhani to do something about the economy.

Rouhani’s administration had pinned its hope of economic revival on the nuclear deal. Conservatives, however, opposed the agreement saying the US is not a trustworthy partner.

“Now two years since the implementation of the deal it has become clear that those warnings have been true,” said Hashemi.

‘Anything but optimistic’

Hashemi said the current mood in Iran “is anything but optimistic”, adding people are angry that despite Iran’s “good faith” in complying with the deal, Trump’s policies dashed those hopes “and highlighted US antagonism towards Iranians”.

Since the 2016 US presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly vowed to rip up the nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it the “worst deal ever” signed by the United States.

In January, President Donald Trump announced unless an agreement can be reached between the US, Europe and Iran to “fix” what he called the deal’s “disastrous flaws”, he will no longer issue waivers on US sanctions, and will withdraw from the agreement as early as mid-April.

Trump said Iran should curb its ballistic missile programme and allow inspections of its military facilities, demands that are not listed in the nuclear deal.

Iran rejected those conditions saying it would not “move beyond its commitments” to the existing agreement.

The other parties to the deal, particularly the Europeans, have insisted the deal is working, and Iran has kept its part of the bargain.

Boris Johnson, the UK’s foreign secretary, also said no country has come up with a “better idea” to replace the agreement.

Leading to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India and Pakistan have ceasefire pact in Kashmir

WW3 fears after gunfire erupts at Indian posts ‘ATTACKED’ by Pakistan

PAKISTAN has sparked fears of a devastating “all-out war with frightening consequences” with a military attack on Indian posts.By Joy Basu /

TENSION: The recent firing has raised tensions between the neighbouring nations

Gunshots have been heard in the Jammu and Kashmir region, raising tensions between the nuclear-armed enemy nations, it has been reported.
In a massive breach of a 2003 ceasefire pact, Pakistani troops started the unprovoked attack, local soldiers claimed.Indian soldiers retaliated and sporadic gunfire is still being exchanged between the forces, reports Express.co.uk.

There has been a massive spike in breaks of the ceasefire pact – a key confidence-building measure between the neighbouring countries – in recent months.

Last year there were a massive 881 ceasefire violations between the two nuclear nations.The worrying figure represents a 230% rise compared with 2016 – it is also the highest count in more than a decade.Last month saw 134 violations between the two nations as tensions have continued to soar.

Meanwhile, the leaders of both nations recently received a letter from civil society groups in the area requesting the ceasefire is adhered to along the contested border, known as the Line of Control.

The document addressed to prime ministers Narendra Modi and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stressed dialogue was needed to prevent a conflict that could lead to WW3.

Executive director of Indian newspaper the Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin, said the situation was turning “from bad to worse”.He said: “The situation is going from bad to worse on the borders.“That has only increased the sufferings of people on both sides.”

Mr Bhasin is part of a petition that is pushing for an end to the frightening confrontations.

It states that if tensions persist “it will jeopardise the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war”.

Pakistan has continued to shell across the disputed border killing four Indian soldiers on February 4, prompting an outcry in New Delhi.

 

The “Zone” of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

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Rutgers Newark geology professor talks about earthquakes in northern New Jersey. Matt Fagan/NorthJersey.com

“It was a very small earthquake at a very shallow depth,” Krajick said. “Most people would not feel an earthquake that small unless they were absolutely right under it, if that.”

“To date (there) were no reported injuries or damage related to the earthquake and no Morris Plains residents reported any activity to this agency,” according to Morris Plains police Chief Jason Kohn.

On the other hand, Butler Police Lt. Mike Moeller said his department received “a bunch of calls about it, between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.”

Saturday’s earthquake was so minor that Morristown police said they received no calls from residents

.Earthquakes are generally less frequent and less intense in the Northeast compared to the U.S. Pacific Coast, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. But due to geological differences between the regions, earthquakes of similar magnitude affect an area 10 times larger in the Northeast compared to the West Coast.

The 16 tremors recorded in 2016 were minor, generally 1 or 2 magnitude, often misinterpreted as explosions, said Alexander Gates, geology professor at Rutgers University Newark campus.

“A lot of people in Butler felt them over the course of the last year, but a lot of them didn’t know it was an earthquake,” Gates said.

Butler is the borough, but also the name of the fault that sits at the end of aseries of others belonging to the Ramapo Fault, Gates said.

The Ramapo fault, Gates said, is the longest in the Northeast and runs from Pennnsylvania through New Jersey, snaking northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before coming to an end in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant.

“I’d be willing to bet that you’d have to go all the way to Canada and all the way to South Carolina before you’d get one that active,” Gates said of the area which runs from the New York state line in the Ringwood and Mahwah area down to Butler and central Passaic County, Gates said.

Of last year’s 16 earthquakes, 12 were directly associated with the faults around Butler, Gates said.

Butler Councilman Ray Verdonik said area residents are well aware of the frequency of earthquakes and agrees they are often difficult to discern.

During one earthquake, the councilman said he and his neighbors rushed from their homes.

“We thought it was from Picatinny Arsenal or a sonic boom.” he said.

Won-Young Kim, director of the  Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, which  monitors earthquakes in the Northeast, said often very shallow, the low magnitude quakes’ waves cause much ground motion. He said even though the waves don’t travel very far, they can seem more intense than the magnitude suggests.

They may not topple chimneys, he said but can crack foundations and frighten residents.

To put earthquake magnitudes in perspective, experts said each year there are about 900,000 earthquakes of 2.5 magnitude or less recorded annually by seismograph. These mild tremors are usually not felt.

There are 30,000 that measure between 2.5 and 5.4, and these are often felt, but cause minor damage.

About 500 quakes worldwide are recorded between 5.5 and 6 magnitude per year and cause slight damage to buildings and structures.

The 100 that fall within 6.1 and 6.9 may cause lots of damage in populated areas.

The 20 or so which fall within the 7 and 7.9 magnitude per year are considered major and cause serious damage.

Those that measure at 8 or greater can totally destroy communities near the epicenter and average one every five to 10 years.

The earthquake recorded in Mexico last week measured 7.1 magnitude.

Gates said he has identified most of the region’s numerous faults, but has yet to name them all. Among the unnamed include the faults responsible for last year’s quakes in the region.

Earthquakes in this region are intraplate ones, Gates said, meaning they occur within the plates. Earthquakes of this type account for more than 90 percent of the total seismic energy released around the world.

Plates are the masses of the earth’s crust that slowly move, maybe as little as a few centimeters a year to as much 18 centimeters, around the globe. Faults such as the San Andreas are interplate and occur near where two plates meet.

The plate North America rides upon runs from the Mid Atlantic Ridge to the Pacific Coast. The theory is that as plates interact with one another, they create stress within the plate. Faults occur where the crust is weak, Gates said. Earthquakes relieve the built up pressure.

Boston College Geophysics Professor John Ebel said he and a Virginia Tech colleague, believe the seismically active areas in New York and South Carolina are where some 200 million years ago, the plates tried to break off but failed. This led to a weakening of the earth’s crust which makes them susceptible to quakes.

While not predictable, the data collected seem to suggest earthquakes occur somewhat periodically, 40 active years followed by 40 less active, Gates said.

“We are over due for a 3 or 4” magnitude, Gates said. “A 4 you’d feel. It would shake the area. Everybody would be upset.”

Ebel does not fully agree. He said saying “overdue” might be somewhat misleading.  Earthquakes happen through a slow process of rising stress, “like dropping individual grains of sand on the table.”

You never know which grain will cause the table to break, he said.

Still all three experts say statistically it is only a matter time before a magnitude 5 quake is recorded in the northern New Jersey area.

The scientists said quakes in the Northeastern part of the United States tend to come 100 years apart and the last one was recorded in 1884 believed to be centered south of Brooklyn. It toppled chimneys and moved houses from their foundations across the city and as far as Rahway.

Washington D.C. experienced a 5.8 magnitude quake in 2011, which was felt in the Northeast, Gates said. That quake cracked the Washington Monument.

A similar quake was recorded in 1737 in Weehawken, Gates noted.

“Imagine putting a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Weehawken, New Jersey next to the Bridge, next to the tunnel,” Gates said. “Boy that would be a dangerous one.”

In 2008 Columbia University’s The Earth Institute posted an article titled: “Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study.”

“Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” the article’s co-author John Armbruster wrote. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling.”

The threat though, is not tangible to many, Armbruster wrote.

“There is no one now alive to remember that last one, so people tend to forget. And having only a partial 300-year history, we may not have seen everything we could see. There could be surprises — things bigger than we have ever seen,” Armbruster wrote.

The Earth Institute’s article did note New York City added earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

New Jersey also began to require earthquake-resistant standards in the 1990s. The state, following the 2011 Virginia quake, now requires lake communities to make dams able to withstand a magnitude 5 earthquake.

The issue, Gates said, is that many of the buildings were built before these codes went into effect. A “sizable” earthquake could cause much damage.

Then there’s the prediction that every 3,400 years this area can expect a quake at 7 magnitude.

According to the Earth Institute article, a  2001 analysis for Bergen County estimates a magnitude 7 quake would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone.  Likewise, in New York City the damage could easily hit hundreds of billions of dollars.

Ebel noted that depending on the depth and power of a severe quake, damage could be also be wide ranging. In 2011, Washington D.C., 90 miles away from the epicenter, which was located in central Virginia, suffered significant damage.  Cities like Philadelphia fall within that radius.

“The big one could happen tomorrow or 100 years from now. That’s the problem,” Gates said. It geological terms 100 years is just a spit in the ocean, he noted.

Then again North Jersey is more likely to be hit by hurricane in the next three years, Gates added.

Email: Fagan@NorthJersey.com

Staff Writer William Westhoven contributed to this report. 

New Jersey’s top earthquakes

  • Dec. 19, 1737 — Weehawken, believed to be a 5-plus magnitude quake, could be very serious if occurred in same spot today.
  • Nov. 29, 1783 — Western New Jersey. Geologists are not exactly sure where it happened because area was sparsely populated. Estimated magnitude varies from 4.8 to 5.3. Felt from Pennsylvania to New England. 
  • Aug. 10, 1884 — A 5.2 earthquake occurred somewhere near Jamaica Bay near Brooklyn. The quake toppled chimneys and moved houses off their foundations as far Rahway. 
  • The biggest earthquake in the last 45 years of data available form USGS was a 3.8 quake centered in Carneys Point in Salem County on the morning of Feb.28, 1973
  • New Jersey has never recorded a fatality due to an earthquake, according to the DEP.

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Iraq Struggles to Break Away from the Iranian Horn

How Will Iraq Contain Iran’s Proxies?

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani may be the only man who can—but he’ll need help.

Ranj Alaaldin4:50 AM ET

Members of the Abbas combat squad, a Shiite militia group, carry a picture of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a parade in Basra, Iraq, on September 26, 2015. Nabil al-Jurani / AP

In June 2014, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the leading Shiite clergyman in the world, called on all able-bodied Iraqis to defend their country against the Islamic State. Iraq’s U.S.-trained armed forces had collapsed, fleeing the advance of ISIS as it seized Mosul and much of northern Iraq. Sistani’s fatwa mobilized a 100,000-strong fighting force known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), whose mostly Shiite fighters were instrumental in the fight against ISIS. The PMF is comprised of multiple Shiite militias who were established after 2014 as volunteer groups that took up arms in response to Sistani’s fatwa, filling the void left by the collapse of the Iraqi army. The majority of these groups are aligned with the Iraqi state and take their orders from the Iraqi government.

But residing within the PMF are Iran-aligned groups who have become the Forces’ most-powerful militias. While technically they have been under Baghdad’s command since 2016, in reality, they answer to their sponsors in Tehran. These groups have long exploited conflict and disorder in Iraq since the toppling of the Baath regime, while also expanding Iran’s influence in the country. They have been accused of sectarian atrocities that helped lay the groundwork for groups like ISIS and played a critical role in the bloody 2006 war between Arab Sunnis and Shiites. They have violently resisted attempts by the Iraqi state and the United States to disarm them. Since the emergence of ISIS and Sistani’s fatwa, these groups have exploited the security vacuum and the weakening of Iraq’s conventional forces to further consolidate their hold. Now, they seem poised to translate their wartime popularity into political gains in the coming elections in May, when they will contest the elections as the al-Fateh (or “Conquest”) bloc.

With ISIS vanquished and Iraq’s security forces reconstituted and reorganized (thanks to U.S. training and support), some expected that Sistani would revoke his fatwa and dismantle the PMF last December. But Sistani cannot simply dissolve the PMF, a state institution that provides livelihoods and prestige to its fighters. Doing so would spark a public backlash and undermine Iraq’s Shiite clerical establishment. Neither can he confront Iran’s proxies alone as they, and Shiite militias more generally, have proved themselves formidable actors. (The United States tried with more than 100,000 troops during the occupation and failed. )

But left untouched, Iran’s proxies will continue exacerbating sectarian tensions that could very well enable the resurgence of ISIS. Sistani will have to confront them eventually—but not by himself, and not in the way some may expect.

Essential to the Shiite militias’ survival over the years has been their capacity to adapt to the political and legal constraints imposed on them. They either attach themselves to longstanding parties or rebrand themselves as socio-cultural movements that provide social services to local, often destitute communities. Groups like Asaib ahl al-Haq, which has been complicit in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel and civilians, were established by Iran after 2003 and have since transitioned into powerful armed groups that enjoy access to state institutions and resources, yet continue to function autonomously. Iran-aligned Shiite militias have, in essence, established themselves as Iraq’s version of Lebanon’s Hezbollah: socio-cultural movements with a military and social-welfare wing that operates independently of the state.

Asaib al-Haq is not the only Shiite militia in Iraq that has benefitted from Baghdad’s resources without ever submitting to its control or to civilian oversight. Another prominent example is the Badr Brigade, an organization established by Iran during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. While it began as a militia, since 2003 it has controlled Iraq’s interior ministry, and today commands a 37,000-strong federal police force. The Iraqi interior ministry answers not to the prime minister, but to the Badr hierarchy, led by its leader Hadi al-Ameri, who fought alongside Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq war. He also now leads the PMF. While the Badr Brigade is the only Iranian proxy that controls an Iraqi ministry, this may not be the case for long.

Iraq’s army is not strong enough to confront these groups. But Sistani has the credibility to lead such an effort. He has long served as a critical check on the power of Iraq’s corrupt ruling elite. After the toppling of Saddam, he ensured that the process of writing a new constitution would be led by an elected assembly, rather than by Washington’s favored Iraqi elites. While he failed to prevent sectarian war, his call for calm, restraint, and unity, helped ensure that the conflict did not transform into a genocide against Sunnis. In August 2014, only two months after his call to arms against ISIS, he forced out then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose corrupt and authoritarian rule led to the collapse of the Iraqi army.

The Ayatollah has historically resisted Iran’s efforts to export its theocracy to Iraq. He has criticized and will continue to pressure Iran’s proxies through his sermons. While Sistani’s record suggests he’s up for combatting Iran’s proxies, he’ll need help. That may come from nationalist, anti-Iran voices like Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers. Both al-Sadr and Sistani have backed Iraq’s anti-corruption protests, which have been led by members of civil society, including human rights organizations and other NGOs. Hundreds of thousands of Sadr’s supporters, for instance, mobilized in 2016 to call for reform and an end to sectarian governance. Many chanted anti-Iranian slogans. Sadr’s visits to the Gulf have also strengthened Iraq’s ties with the Arab Sunni world. These relationships could establish cross-sectarian alliances to contain Iran-aligned factions.

The United States has an important role to play in all this. Maintaining its military presence in Iraq will help contain Iran’s proxies, so long as it does not weaken Tehran’s rivals like the Kurds and Sunnis. This is exactly what happened last October, when al-Abadi’s forces and Iranian proxies reclaimed oil-rich Kirkuk and its surrounding areas from the Kurds. Indeed, al-Abadi, who has been billed in some quarters as America’s man in Baghdad, has relied on Iran-backed militias to maintain Baghdad’s control over territories that are disputed with the Kurds.

As a result of that onslaught, Iran’s proxies now control Kirkuk and other strategically vital towns and cities. With every inch of territory Iran’s proxies acquire, their influence becomes stronger in the rest of Iraq. Al-Abadi has even contemplated an alliance with Iran’s proxies, a move that has been criticized by Sistani and the Najaf religious establishment, al-Sadr, and Arab Sunni and Kurdish factions. Washington would do well to heed the lessons of the past and avoid creating a strongman in Baghdad who may one day turn his back on the United States.

To contain Tehran, the United States could also help prevent these groups from appropriating the $1 billion allocated to the PMF from the Iraqi national budget, and curb their access to the billions of dollars that the international community intends to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq. These resources enhance the battlefield superiority of Iran’s proxies. They also allow them to shape Iraq’s political system according to their own ideologies, while molding the fabric of its society through its sophisticated propaganda.

Sistani, who champions a pluralistic, representative Iraqi state, can go a long way toward containing Iran’s proxies. On his own, however, he can only do so much.

Why Saudi Arabia will become a nuclear horn (Daniel 7)

World ‘cannot trust Iran’ over nuclear future: Saudi foreign minister

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir says Iran needs to act as a normal country. (REUTERS file photo)

LONDON: Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of foreign affairs, said on Thursday that the nuclear deal with Iran was unacceptable because Tehran could not be trusted to not produce a nuclear bomb in the future.

The so-called “sunset clause” in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) means that in eight to ten years’ time Iran could manufacture a nuclear bomb “within weeks.”
Addressing the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, Al-Jubeir said: “We believe the sunset provision is very dangerous. We don’t trust that Iran will not try (to make a nuclear bomb) eight to 10 years from now.
“By the time they kick out the inspectors and by the time the condemnations end, they’ll have one bomb,” he said. “By the time they get a resolution in the UN, they’ll have three bombs and by the time the resolution is in place they’ll have a dozen bombs. And we are right next to them.

“Our point is enough is enough. They need to start to act as a normal country. The revolution is over. If they want to be respected in the world they need to abide by the rules of the world.”

The sunset clause allows Iran to gradually increase production of centrifuges and uranium enrichment after eight to ten years.
Speaking in London at the Royal Institute for International Affairs at Chatham House a few hours earlier, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi denied that the JCPOA contained a sunset clause, saying the deal made clear Iran’s “permanent” commitment to not having nuclear weapons.

But he insisted the nuclear deal still gave Iran the right to continue its ballistic missile program.
“We — that is Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action participants — decided quite intentionally to de-link Iran’s nuclear program from any other issue. Otherwise if we had wanted to have a package — with ballistic missiles, regional issues — then we would still be in negotiations,” said Araghchi, who is also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.

“We were successful (in negotiating JCPOA) because we focused on one issue. It would be a big mistake if anyone tried to link the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to any other issue — to regional issues, to Syria or Yemen. Not only would we lose the JCPOA but it would not help those other issues.”

He accused the US of pouring “poison” on Iran by prevaricating over whether Tehran had complied with the terms of the nuclear deal.
“The US has created an atmosphere of uncertainty. This is like poison for the business community for Iran. This destructive atmosphere prevents banks, companies, entities from working with Iran.”
US President Donald Trump’s denunciations of the deal were “a violation of the letter and the text of the deal, not just the spirit.”
Iran had accepted some restrictions on its stockpiles of material as part of the deal to earn the trust of the other parties to the deal.

We have accepted these limitations to our nuclear program to build confidence,” Araghchi said. “When these restrictions are finished it doesn’t mean Iran can go for the bomb.”

Araghchi told the Chatham House audience that while the nuclear deal “is a successful story for you — the West,” Iranians had not benefited greatly from the lifting of sanctions because of what he described as the suspicion and mistrust generated primarily by the US.

More Venom from the Iranian Horn (Daniel 8:4)

Iran Will Level Tel Aviv To the Ground, Says Top Iran Official

Radio Farda

Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezai has said on February 20 that “Iran will level Tel Aviv to the ground if Israel takes any measure [against Iran].”

He was speaking at an official Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) ceremony.

The statement by Rezai, a former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), was made as a reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had said on Sunday February 18: “Israel could act against Iran if necessary.”

Netanyahu made the statement at a security conference in Munich while showing a piece from “an Iranian drone” downed in Israel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in his address at the same conference characterized Netanyahu’s speech as “a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response.”

Israel had expressed serious concern about “the establishment of Iran’s military presence in Syria” several months ago, when it accused Tehran of setting up a factory to manufacture “precision missiles” for the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Damascus and Tehran have said that Iran’s military presence in Syria is legitimate and based on mutual agreements.

Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian leader Ali Khamenei’s senior adviser for international affairs said last week that Iran’s military presence in Syria would continue based on those agreements.

According to a Mehr News Agency report, Rezai in his reaction to Netanyahu’s statement said: “We tell Israelis that they cannot do a damn thing.”

“If you decide to do anything, we would level Tel Aviv to the ground, and you will not have time even to escape,” Said Rezai.

Rezai was also a presidential candidate twice; in 2009 and 2013.

Iranian officials, including a former president, members of the Parliament and the commander of IRGC have repeatedly threatened to totally demolish Tel Aviv; a threat that led Israel to view Iran as an enemy of its existence.

Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani said on Wednesday February 14 at a commemoration ceremony in Tehran marking the death anniversary of Lebanese militant Imad Mughniyeh: “The revenge for Mughniyeh’s blood will not be firing a missile or killing one individual. The revenge would be the eradication of Israel.”

Days later even the foreign minister of Russia, Iran’s ally in the region, reacted negatively to this comment.

Sergey Lavrov said on Monday in the presence of his Iranian counterpart in Kremlin sponsored conference that Soleimani’s comment about “Israel’s eradication” was “unacceptable.”

New York Quake Overdue (The Sixth Seal) (Rev 6:12)

http://www.gothamgazette.com/graphics/2008/09/skyesfig3_cropped.gif

Won-Young Kim, who runs the seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said the city is well overdue for a big earthquake.

The last big quake to hit New York City was a 5.3-magnitude tremor in 1884 that happened at sea in between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook. While no one was killed, buildings were damaged.

Kim said the city is likely to experience a big earthquake every 100 years or so.

“It can happen anytime soon,” Kim said. “We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and chimneys.

Seismologist John Armbruster said a magnitude 5 quake that happened now would be more devastating than the one that happened in 1884.

China Is NOT a Nuclear Threat to the US (Daniel 7:7)

China, according to the Federation of American Scientists, has 270 warheads in its nuclear arsenal.

The Washington-based research group’s estimate has never been challenged by the Pentagon. It compares with an official tally of 4,480 nuclear warheads for the US. Unlike the American side, China also renounces “first use” of nuclear weapons and holds that its ability to retaliate is sufficient to deter attack.

Why, then, is Beijing’s modernization of its nuclear arsenal — something that Washington is also doing — considered a major security threat requiring a sharp turn in US policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons?

That’s part of the reasoning behind the Pentagon’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) issued on February 2. The document is a benchmark US statement on nuclear policy and is drawn up by new presidents. The Trump administration’s first policy position on the issue focuses on creating new nuclear deterrents to Russia and China, while addressing North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Deteriorating US security environment?

Unlike previous NPRs, the White House sees a rapidly deteriorating security environment for the US in which Russia and China are bumping up their nuclear capabilities. It argues the US should follow suit. Most of the analysis focuses on Russia but China is also singled out because of “its lack of transparency regarding the scope and scale of its nuclear modernization program.”

Among other things, the review spotlights China’s ability to putmultiple warheads on its silo-based ICBMs, and its development of missile submarines and strategic bombers, as evidence of a growing threat.

But critics contend the latest NPR reverses years of bipartisan consensus on the use of US nuclear weapons. The review also gives the go-ahead to develop low-yield tactical nukes and sub-launched cruise missiles in the first roll-out of new US nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. It also expands the circumstances under which the US would consider using nukes to include “non-nuclear strategic attacks” such as cyberattacks.

The review further confirms that the US has begun preliminary R&D on a new ground-launched intermediate-range missile system that, if deployed, would violate a decades-long Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.

Greg Thielmann, a nonproliferation specialist on the board of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, noted that President Obama’s prior 2010 NPR laid the foundation for reducing the role of nuclear weapons in US defense policy. He also credits Obama for seeking a one-third reduction in US nuclear strategic forces that the Pentagon says would still allow the US to meet all military contingencies.

‘Misleading characterization’

“Trump’s NPR has reversed course, calling for an increase in the role and types of nuclear weapons and essentially abandoning the nuclear arms reduction efforts to which it is legally committed by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Thielmann told Asia Times. “All this is based on a highly misleading characterization of nuclear and missile developments in Russia, China, and North Korea.”

Thielmann’s assessment is backed by other disarmament advocates. “Ever since Richard Nixon, American presidents have cut the size of the US nuclear arsenal,” Joe Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, said in an Op-Ed published by military website Defense One on February 2. Cirincione blames Trump administration hawks for the shift in US nuclear policy.

Chinese not on nuclear ‘alert’

Gregory Kulacki, the China project manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a Washington-based science advocacy group, argues that Trump’s NPR is surfacing at a time when China isn’t preparing to fight a nuclear war with the US. He says his talks with Chinese nuclear strategists indicate they don’t believe such an attack from the US is possible because the Americans know a sufficient number of Chinese missiles would survive to launch a nuclear counter-strike.

One of Obama’s Advisers is Finally Correct (Daniel 8)

 

The Trump administration has made it clear that it does not believe the nuclear deal with Iran goes far enough. One of the individuals that played a role in the negotiations of the deal, Trita Parsi, is in Louisville to talk about the deal and what might happen next.

Parsi is president of the Iran-American Council and advised the Obama White House as the nuclear deal was negotiated. He’ll speak at a World Affairs Council event Wednesday evening. I spoke to him about the nuclear deal and the future. You can hear our conversation in the player above.

Interview Highlights

On the stakes in the negotiations:

“The most important thing, again, was to see that there was such a strong desire on both sides to resolve this that they really went the extra miles. Because they all knew that if they did not succeed in reaching a deal, the likelihood of war between the two countries — between the U.S. and Iran — would dramatically increase.”

On Trump and the future of the deal:

“Now, I think the Trump administration’s opposition to this is far less to do with not trusting Iran, than the fact that President Trump himself seems to be inclined to oppose almost anything that has Obama’s name on it without much regard for what the national security implications of that would be.

“And that is, I think, a very tricky situation right now because their approach to this does make sense if you are very adamantly opposed to what Obama was doing and if you don’t trust the Obama administration. But from a national security perspective, if they even up undermining this deal to the point that it collapses, it does present a tremendously dangerous national security crisis for the U.S. because we would seriously have had an international crisis that was on the verge of a military confrontation, which was avoided by through this diplomacy. But if you kill the deal, the U.S. and Iran will be back on a track towards war with each other.”

Russia’s New Nuclear Torpedo (Daniel 7)

The “collateral damage” of the Russia investigation becomes ever more apparent. From the breakdown of American institutional norms between the executive and the legislature, to increasing distrust regarding the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus to regional crises, for example in Syria, that seem to spin increasingly out of control, the probe has brought both U.S. domestic and foreign policy making to a the point of crisis. Yet these calamities, which are largely advantageous to newspaper subscriptions and cable news ratings, may mask a deeper and more fundamental threat: the accelerating pace of a nuclear arms race [гонка ядерных вооружений] between Moscow and Washington.

Even during the relatively halcyon days of the 1990s, the Kremlin still kept its finger on the nuclear trigger, in part due to the perceived weakness of its conventional forces but also as a reaction to NATO’s new interest in “out of area” missions. The successive waves of NATO expansion that began in 1999 had the predictable effect of significantly exaggerating strategic tensions and ballistic missile defense programs made an already touchy situation worse. Thus, even as the Obama administration first talked about a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations, the Kremlin was already starting to implement a major overhaul of its nuclear forces. However, the dam was completely broken by the Ukraine crisis beginning in spring 2014. The Cold War has returned in force with the full flowering of the Russia investigation that shows few signs of easing its “death grip” on Washington, DC and U.S.-Russia relations specifically. The multitudes of Russia hawks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the Beltway, now more strident on the Left than the Right, may count the truly grotesque Status-6 Russian naval, mega-nuclear weapon as the fruit of their bellicose ravings.

This “megaton-class nuclear weapon” [ядерное оружие мегатонного класса], as described by one Russian source, is delivered by an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) and has the potential to exterminate a significant portion of the U.S. population in a single doomsday blow if deployed against the East Coast of the United States. This source explains: the Status-6 UUV is “designed to defeat important enemy economic facilities in the region of the coast and to inflict guaranteed unacceptable damage to the country’s territory by creating zones of extensive radioactive contamination unsuitable for carrying out military, economic and other activities in these zones for a long time.” [предназначен для поражение важных объектов экономики противника в районе побережья и нанесение гарантированного неприемлемого ущерба территории страны путем создания зон обширного радиоактивного заражения, непригодных для осуществления в этих зонах военной, хозяйственно-экономической и иной деятельности в течение длительного времени]. For good measure, it is additionally explained that the weapon can also be used to destroy naval bases or aircraft carrier battle groups. This edition of Bear Cave takes makes a brief examination of what Russian commentators are actually saying about Status-6.

First, however, it should be said that TNI has carried several articles that provide a good analysis of this new weapons system, including in particular, a fine exploratory piece by Dave Majumdar. He quotes CSBA undersea warfare expert Bryan Clark explaining that the system is far from an ideal weapon and may face real technical hurdles since a one-hundred megaton weapon could be exceedingly heavy and thus “difficult to control.” Monterey nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis is quoted reassuringly as saying: “I think we could build defenses against it … It should be easier than intercepting a missile, for sure.” To state the obvious at the outset: this Russian system’s main advantage is that it bypasses missile defenses altogether. Needless to say, it is a grave symptom of the new and continuously accelerating Cold War.