Iran Nuclear Ready by 2020

Iran could enrich enough uranium for nuke in 6-8 months, says former IAEA deputy

Olli Heinonen accuses UN atomic agency of allowing Tehran to weaponize uranium, while also criticizing Trump decision to bolt deal

A former deputy head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said Wednesday that Iran is capable of producing enough enriched uranium a nuclear bomb in six to eight months.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, Olli Heinonen said that Israel and the Gulf states “have a reason to worry.”

Heinonen said that despite assertions to the contrary by the current leadership of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which he left in 2010, Tehran has not been adhering to the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran is actually weaponizing uranium enrichment without making a weapon,” he claimed.

Heinonen currently serves as a fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank that has been highly critical of the Iran deal, which was initiated by former US president Barack Obama.

He said that according to his personal, “perhaps back-of-the-envelope” calculation, Iran could amass within six to eight months the amount of enriched uranium needed to produce a nuclear weapons, “if they put in their maximum effort.”

Iranian nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi and then-deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Olli Heinonen, after talks in Tehran, July 12, 2007. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Heinonen conversation with Army Radio was a rare interview to Israeli press while he was in the country for a conference hosted by the ISDEF Defense & HLS Expo.

The former UN official also criticized the Trump administration for its decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal in May 2018, suggesting Washington’s aggressive stance toward Tehran could prove counterproductive.

“I think they felt comfortable [with the Trump decision]. They have the enrichment technology and they can create more centrifuges. Probably they [will be] able to withstand a lot of sanctions,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the head of Military Intelligence claimed that the heavy economic sanctions on Iran and their devastating financial ramifications were the driving forces behind attacks linked to the Islamic Republic on petroleum facilities last month and Tehran’s recent decision to step up uranium enrichment.

“Iran is under growing pressure that is forcing it to take actions connected to oil and to its nuclear project — though for now there are no changes to its policies,” Maj Gen. Tamir Hayman said, speaking at the Intelligence Legacy Center conference in Tel Aviv as part of the Israel Defense Expo.

On May 15, Iran announced it was stepping up its uranium enrichment program in response to the United States’ decision the year before to drop out of the 2015 nuclear deal and impose heavy economic sanctions on Iran and the countries and groups that do business with it. Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was staying within the limitations set by the 2015 nuclear accord, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water were growing.

Last month, four United Arab Emirate oil tankers were damaged in the Gulf of Oman. The United States and Israel said Iran was behind the sabotage, which Tehran denied. Days later, Houthis in Yemen — a militia that receives significant funding and assistance from Iran — carried out a number of drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

Children Starving Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Notes from GazaChild Beggars Are the Face of Poverty in the Gaza Strip

The Israeli blockade, the sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority and additional taxes imposed by Hamas are making the situation more dire

Palestinian children in Gaza City selling produce, May 19, 2019. Hatem Moussa/AP

They say everyone in Gaza goes to the beach on hot summer nights, particularly during Ramadan. That was true not only in years when the electricity supply in the Strip was limited to four hours a day – which forced us to escape our scorching, dark homes. 

But this year has been different. A few days ago, when we went to the beach after midnight, it was practically empty. Of the people who had turned out, there seemed to be fewer beachgoers than peddlers, who dotted the beachfront promenade. And people didn’t seem to be buying much from them. 

One coffee vendor was standing near his cart, chatting with a friend. They paid no attention to us, even though we were only a few meters away, but I did notice one thing. Nobody was buying coffee, although it was just two shekels (55 cents) a cup. 

 Hatem Moussa/AP

I could chalk up our economic distress in each unsold cup to three causes: the Israeli blockade, the sanctions that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has imposed on Gaza (slashing pay for state workers and halting the payment of social welfare allowances) and the additional taxes the Hamas authorities slap on various products and services. 

There’s a fine line between being a peddler and beggar. The peddlers offer bunches of fresh mint, cookies, gum and tissues. When you refuse, they plead: “Please, give me something.” 

Many of the peddlers are children, who are up late in any event during Ramadan. They could be seen walking around after 1 A.M. hawking their small supply of wares. 

One child, dark-skinned and with an angry face, who looked no older than 8, offered us candy that he whipped out of a backpack. I bought some for my little brother. I had just purchased hot corn on the cob for myself and my brothers, and something in his eyes prompted me to offer him one. 

He took it, walked away limping on his left foot and stopped not far away. I watched him from the corner of my eye, not wanting to embarrass him. I saw him devour the corn and then resume looking for customers for his candy. 

Mohammed Abed/AFP

The boy is part of the poverty statistics that we are all familiar with, and which are only getting worse. In June 2018, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported that 53 percent of Gazans live in poverty, meaning that they have less than $4.60 a day for food, housing, clothing, health care and education. And 33.8 percent live in extreme poverty – subsisting on less than $3.60 per day, according to the agency. 

What levels have these figures reached since, I asked myself on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

There are child beggars everywhere on the city’s streets, particularly near banks, ATMs, supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, where they congregate in groups. Customers leaving any of these establishments are instantly pounced upon by children – and adults – who plead that they buy something. 

The phenomenon surfaced in recent years. It haunts us all, making us feel like we’re in a vintage Egyptian movie. A few children beg at the entrance to Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. One of the children is particularly insistent that passersby purchase his candy. Those who refuse are even met with curses. 

In recent weeks, I’ve noticed the police trying to keep them out of sight, but it isn’t quite working. When a policeman approaches, the beggars and hawkers vanish, but once the cops are gone, they come right back to their “work stations.” 

They have their own rules, one of them tells me. Every group has its own work area, and if another group tries to invade it, a brawl ensues, rather like the battles between Hamasand Fatah in 2007 in the Strip.

We are Doomed for War with Iran

Morer US talks with Iran are doomed to fail

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

The latest U.S. offer of negotiations with Iran prompts the same question with which every administration of recent decades has grappled: Is behavioral change in Tehran possible without regime change?
We Americans want to think so, but the evidence of four decades suggests otherwise. Consequently, President Donald Trump and his team may be headed toward another fruitless U.S. effort to create a better Iran. With the president concerned that growing tensions between Washington and Tehran were setting the stage for war, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the administration is ready to talk with “no preconditions.” 

That came days after the president himself sought to ease tensions by deriding National Security Advisor John Bolton’s enthusiasm for regime change. Of the Islamic Republic, Trump told reporters in Tokyo, “It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership. We’re not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”

The new U.S. offer of talks marked a dramatic change of direction for an administration that, as Pompeo announced a year ago, said it wouldn’t talk to Tehran until the regime satisfied a list of sweeping demands that included an end to its ballistic missile tests and its support of militants in Syria and Yemen.

But, when compared to other administrations, the change in direction is far less dramatic than it seems. In fact, in hopes of convincing Tehran to abandon its nuclear dreams and change its ways, Trump is pursuing the tried and true — if ultimately fruitless — approach of his most recent predecessors: to pressure the regime to change, but also to seek an accommodation to convince it to change.

Early on, President George W. Bush sought better U.S.-Iranian relations. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, his administration worked with Tehran on matters tied to Afghanistan and Iraq. Seeing no behavioral change and concerned about a terrorist-sponsoring state like Iran with nuclear weapons, however, he soon opted for pressure — refusing to rule out military action to destroy Tehran’s nuclear program, securing four UN Security Council resolutions that sanctioned Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and imposing additional U.S. sanctions.

Then, with Iran building more nuclear facilities and enriching more uranium that it could use for bombs, President Barack Obama secured more Security Council resolutions and imposed more U.S. sanctions. With Iran’s economy reeling, however, he changed direction and launched global talks that produced the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — imposing temporary restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program while providing more than $100 billion in sanctions relief that he hoped would nourish warmer U.S.-Iranian ties.

What neither Bush nor Obama — nor any of their predecessors since the 1979 Iranian Revolution — did was dissuade Iran, a radical Shia power, from continuing to sponsor terrorism, to destabilize the region’s leading Sunni governments, to threaten the United States, to pledge to destroy Israel, and to expand its nuclear and ballistic missile programs that, together, could create a nuclear-armed state.

Will Trump suffer the same fate?

For 40 years, all-too-many U.S. officials have sought to impose Western values and aspirations on Tehran rather than recognize the regime for what it is, which has only clouded Washington’s judgments. For us, Iran is what Churchill said of Russia: “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

We search for moderates in a regime that remains firmly controlled by hardliners. We see the promise of moderation in Iran’s presidents, though none of them pursue the moderate policies that would suggest a new day. We study Iran’s parliamentary elections even as ultimate power remains with a dictatorial Supreme Leader.

Not only is Iran no Jeffersonian democracy; it’s also no ordinary state that seeks to prosper within its borders. It’s aggressive and expansionist, with a revolutionary agenda of imposing its theocratic ideology across the region and beyond. Thus, its nefarious activities reflect its very essence.

From the messy aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War — which, among other things, was driven by Bush’s desire to topple Saddam Hussein — regime change has become a dirty phrase in U.S. foreign policymaking circles.

Fine. But if we’re no longer comfortable with efforts — overt or covert, military or political — to push a nefarious regime from power, we shouldn’t convince ourselves that we can change its behavior.

Four decades after it overthrew the Shah, the regime in Tehran remains what it pledged to be from the start. Rather than launch new efforts to pressure or coax it to moderation, we should accept that reality and plan accordingly.

Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is the author of, most recently, „Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the tPartnership That Created the Free World.“

Don’t Forget About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Don’t forget about earthquakes, feds tell city

Although New York’s modern skyscrapers are less likely to be damaged in an earthquake than shorter structures, a new study suggests the East Coast is more vulnerable than previously thought. The new findings will help alter building codes.

By Mark Fahey

July 18, 2014 10:03 a.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey had good and bad news for New Yorkers on Thursday. In releasing its latest set of seismic maps the agency said earthquakes are a slightly lower hazard for New York City’s skyscrapers than previously thought, but on the other hand noted that the East Coast may be able to produce larger, more dangerous earthquakes than previous assessments have indicated.

The 2014 maps were created with input from hundreds of experts from across the country and are based on much stronger data than the 2008 maps, said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. The bottom line for the nation’s largest city is that the area is at a slightly lower risk for the types of slow-shaking earthquakes that are especially damaging to tall spires of which New York has more than most places, but the city is still at high risk due to its population density and aging structures, said Mr. Petersen.

“Many of the overall patterns are the same in this map as in previous maps,” said Mr. Petersen. “There are large uncertainties in seismic hazards in the eastern United States. [New York City] has a lot of exposure and some vulnerability, but people forget about earthquakes because you don’t see damage from ground shaking happening very often.”

Just because they’re infrequent doesn’t mean that large and potentially disastrous earthquakes can’t occur in the area. The new maps put the largest expected magnitude at 8, significantly higher than the 2008 peak of 7.7 on a logarithmic scale.The scientific understanding of East Coast earthquakes has expanded in recent years thanks to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia in 2011 that was felt by tens of millions of people across the eastern U.S. New data compiled by the nuclear power industry has also helped experts understand quakes.

“The update shows New York at an intermediate level,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “You have to combine that with the exposure of buildings and people and the fragility of buildings and people. In terms of safety and economics, New York has a substantial risk.”

Oddly enough, it’s not the modern tall towers that are most at risk. Those buildings become like inverted pendulums in the high frequency shakes that are more common on the East Coast than in the West. But the city’s old eight- and 10-story masonry structures could suffer in a large quake, said Mr. Lerner-Lam. Engineers use maps like those released on Thursday to evaluate the minimum structural requirements at building sites, he said. The risk of an earthquake has to be determined over the building’s life span, not year-to-year.

“If a structure is going to exist for 100 years, frankly, it’s more than likely it’s going to see an earthquake over that time,” said Mr. Lerner-Lam. “You have to design for that event.”

The new USGS maps will feed into the city’s building-code review process, said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings. Design provisions based on the maps are incorporated into a standard by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which is then adopted by the International Building Code and local jurisdictions like New York City. New York’s current provisions are based on the 2010 standards, but a new edition based on the just-released 2014 maps is due around 2016, he said.

“The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years,” said Jim Harris, a member and former chair of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council, in a statement.

The seismic hazard model also feeds into risk assessment and insurance policies, according to Nilesh Shome, senior director of Risk Management Solutions, the largest insurance modeler in the industry. The new maps will help the insurance industry as a whole price earthquake insurance and manage catastrophic risk, said Mr. Shome. The industry collects more than $2.5 billion in premiums for earthquake insurance each year and underwrites more than $10 trillion in building risk, he said.

“People forget about history, that earthquakes have occurred in these regions in the past, and that they will occur in the future,” said Mr. Petersen. “They don’t occur very often, but the consequences and the costs can be high.”

Iran Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Former Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi “blesses” process of supplying the Palestinians with upgraded weapons, says Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei predicts “Zionist regime will disappear.”

Iran is working to arm the various terrorist organizations active in Judea and Samaria with the aim of sparking fresh hostilities against Israel, recent remarks by senior officials in Tehran reveal.

A report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Wednesday exposed a series of comments from officials showing that the Iranian regime has not abandoned its hopes of instigating a bloody uprising in Judea and Samaria.

Former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, who now serves as security adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, spoke on Quds Day – marked last Friday – and said that support for the Palestinians was a fundamental principle of the Islamic Revolution, and would continue until the “Zionist regime” was eliminated.

Safavi praised the upgraded weapons the Palestinians have been using and stressed that the “blessed” process of procuring advanced weaponry was still underway. Safavi said that in contrast to the past, when Palestinians had waged war against Israel using rocks and sticks; they were now supplied with an arsenal of rockets that would allow them to respond to “any Israeli attack.”

Safavi also referred to recent statements by Khamenei, who has explicitly called to arm the West Bank in the same manner as the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are armed, and said that the strategy of supplying weapons to the West Bank was currently being implemented.

Armed holy jihad is more popular now, both in Gaza and in the West Bank,” Khamenei has noted.

“There are growing signs that the Zionist regime will disappear from the region,” Safavi said, adding that Khamenei had declared that Israel “would not see the next 25 years.”

As early as 2014, Khamenei said that “the West Bank will be armed with rockets, like Gaza, and the security of the Zionist regime will decline from day to day.”

Iran Prepares for Nuclear Armageddon

Iran SIX MONTHS from NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Major warning to Israel

IRAN is now just months away from having the ability to spark full-scale nuclear warfare, the former head of the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog has warned.

Tehran is on schedule to develop nukes before the end of 2019, as completion to its weapons programme is expected within the next six to eight months. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has highlighted Israel as the nation most vulnerable to the increased threat of Tehran. Tensions between Israel and Iran continue to escalate due to Tehran’s presence in war-torn Syria.

Tehran has militarily backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.

Mr Heinonen told Israel’s Army Radio: “Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern.”

He added: “How will you be able to ensure your security if Iran achieves nuclear abilities?”

Iran has stepped up its nuclear weapons programme ever since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The treated aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions.

Meanwhile earlier this month Washington increased the economic sanctions and ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

donald trump news state visit

Donald Trump has discussed the threat of Iran during his three-day UK state visit (Image: REUTERS)

The US also hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.

However during his three-day state visit to the UK Mr Trump ignited the prospect of warfare with Iran insisting it was once the number one terrorist nation.

The US President told ITV: “So Iran is a place that was extremely hostile when I first came into office.

“They were a terrorist nation number one in the world at that time and probably maybe are today.”

Mr Trump also opened the door for talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but maintained there is “always a chance” of military action.

When asked if he thought he would need to take military action, he said: “There’s always a chance. Do I want to? No. I’d rather not. But there’s always a chance.”

On potential talks with Mr Rouhani, Mr Trump said: “Yeah of course. I would much rather talk.”