New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?

Ashley Fetters

New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.

The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.

The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.

Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?

Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”

And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)

Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.

Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.

Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)

One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”

Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.

And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.

So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?

“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”

Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

Russia’s Satanic Nuclear Bomb is Ready

This file photo shows a Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system in Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2017.



By David Brennan On 7/08/19 at 6:25 AM EDT


Russia’s latest nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile—which Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed can defeat all existing American defenses—will complete its testing phase by the end of 2020, the country’s space agency has announced.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos, told reporters Saturday that the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM—known in the West by its NATO code name “Satan 2″—is already undergoing launch tests ahead of its adoption by Russian armed forces.

“Firing tests are already underway,” Rogozin told reporters, according to state news agency Tass. “The bulk of firing tests will be completed by the end of the year. We expect the closing stage of tests at the end of next year.”

Though Rogozin said the tests remain on schedule, the adoption of the RS-28 Sarmat has been beset by delays. It was originally supposed to become operational by 2016, but hold ups meant it was only even announced by Putin in March 2018 at his annual state of the nation address.

Putin said that the “invulnerable” silo-based weapon has been in development since 2001, following President George W. Bush’s decision to pull out of a 1972 U.S.-Soviet anti-ballistic missile treaty. Revealing the weapon, Putin addressed the U.S. and said he had warned Bush not to withdraw from the treaty. “You didn’t listen to our country then,” he said, “Listen to us now.

The massive 220-ton weapon will replace the Cold War-era RS-36M Voyevoda missiles. The RS-28 Sarmat will reportedly carry a nuclear payload large enough to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.

Putin said the missile “has practically no range restrictions,” though The Guardian cited state media reports detailing a range of around 6,800 miles. Regardless, the president claimed it can evade “even the most advanced missile defense systems,” such as those fielded by the U.S.

Traveling at Mach 10—around 16,000 m.p.h.—the RS-28 Sarmat can carry 10 to 15 warheads, all of which can target a different location. Putin’s announcement of the weapon was accompanied by an unsettling CGI video demonstrating its capabilities, in which nuclear warheads were shown falling on a region closely resembling the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Viktor Bondarev, the head of Russian Senate’s Defense and Security Committee, has claimed that the U.S. would need 500 missiles to defend against one RS-28 Sarmat launch.

American defense officials have warned that the U.S. must rethink its overarching military strategy, and pivot from the counter-terrorism stance adopted since 9/11 back to one of great power competition.

Hamas Prepares for War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas conducts massive surprise drill simulating IDF incursion into Gaza

Highly rare exercise appears linked to botched IDF special forces raid in November, comes a day after Israel located 18th attack tunnel under Gaza border

By TOI staffToday, 10:03 pm

Amid heightened tensions between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza-based terror group launched a highly rare training exercise Tuesday night that simulated the capture of IDF special forces operating in the territory.

Gazans reported a spike in the movement of armed personnel in the streets, including along the border with Israel, before the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in the territory announced it was a military drill.

The drill saw the sudden raising of the alert level among all security agencies throughout the Strip, a general mobilizing of reserve personnel to the security services, the deployment of roadblocks, and the closure by Hamas of all land crossings and sea ports. Fishermen were told they could not set out to sea.

It included police, intelligence units and the terror group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Iyad al-Bozm, spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza, said on Twitter: “The Interior and National Security Ministry is currently carrying out an emergency drill to simulate dealing with a sudden security threat. It is taking place in the framework of examining the preparedness of the security forces and services.”

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terrorist movement, mourn during the funeral of fellow militant Ahmed al-Zahar in the village of Al-Moghraga near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on February 3, 2016. Zahar was killed in a tunnel collapse. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Hamas officials told Arabic-language media that the exercise simulated an incursion by Israeli security forces. An Interior Ministry statement said the drill came “due to attempts by enemies to undermine security and public order.”

The exercise appears linked to an IDF special forces operation in the Gaza Strip in November that went awry after the undercover Israeli force was discovered, resulting in the death of a soldier in the ensuing gunbattle.

An IDF probe, some of whose findings were released on Sunday, identified a number of tactical errors and improper planning that led to the operation’s failure, alongside courageous actions by members of the unit who took part in the raid that prevented a greater disaster. It said the Israeli officer was killed by friendly fire by another member of the team.

The highly public, embarrassing debacle led to a series of shakeups within IDF Military Intelligence. Notably, the head of Military Intelligence’s Special Operations Division — who can only be identified by his rank and initial, Brig. Gen. “Gimel” — resigned his position last week, having decided to do so in August.

According to Hamas officials, the soldiers were from Sayeret Matkal and had been conducting a complex operation to bug the terror group’s communications equipment in Gaza. They were said to have been driving through Gaza in civilian vans, approximately three kilometers (two miles) from the border.

Israel has not confirmed any of those claims.

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car allegedly used by Israeli special forces during a raid in Gaza, which was was later destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 12, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

On Monday, the five-year anniversary of the 2014 Israel-Hamas war known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, Hamas’s military wing released a statement lauding the “ceaseless preparations and battle of the minds with Israel” underway since that round of fighting.

Israel, Hamas said, “has seen the power of the resistance in the battle in Khan Younis” — a reference to the November 11 fighting during the botched raid that also left six Hamas gunmen dead — “whose results continue to shake the foundations of the Israeli defense establishment and military.”

The statement added that “the resistance has additional powerful capabilities it has not yet revealed.”

The massive drill on the Palestinian side of the border comes as IDF forces continue to investigate the Hamas attack tunnel located deep underground Monday that crosses into Israeli territory.

IDF spokespeople said Tuesday that the tunnel appeared to be an offshoot of an old tunnel.

It was discovered by Defense Ministry officials and IDF troops working on constructing an underground tunnel barrier along the Israel-Gaza border.

Also Tuesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel “came close in recent weeks to the possibility of a military operation in Gaza, but it very much depends on what Hamas does in the coming weeks,” according to Channel 13.

Last month, Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group reached a new ceasefire agreement. An Israeli official confirmed that the country had agreed to a number of economic concessions for Gaza in exchange for an end to arson attacks and other violence along the border. Israel also agreed to extend the fishing zone off the Gaza coast to 15 nautical miles and to restore the supply of fuel to the Palestinian territory, the official said.

The agreement came after a fresh surge in serious violence between the two sides, including two nights of rocket attacks and retaliatory Israeli air force strikes.

Since the deal went into effect there has been a marked drop in the number of airborne arson attacks, though they have not stopped completely.

Why Trump’s Iran Deal is Really About Religion

Is Iranian Faith in the 12th Imam Stronger Than America’s Negotiating Patience?

By Michael Ledeen July 8, 2019

So the Iranians—through the voice of President Rouhani—are going to enrich more uranium.  My guess is that they’ve been doing it all along, and the announcement simply confirms their past behavior.  I doubt that our spies know the details, and the Iranians love to tell tall tales, if necessary for a thousand and one nights.

There’s significant nuclear traffic in and around Iran, as we just heard from the Turks:

Anti-smuggling and organized crime police in Turkey have arrested five people after 18.1 grams (0.64 oz.) of the highly radioactive element californium, were found hidden in a car.

The stash was discovered hidden under the gearshift, wrapped in a plastic bag, in a car stopped in the northwestern province of Bolu. Police had to cut through the upholstery to retrieve the material, valued at $72 million.

After seizure, the bag was sent to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority.

Californium was first synthesized by physics researchers in 1950 at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, and can be used in nuclear weapons and to help start up nuclear reactors.

Do you think our spooks are on top of all this?  Not I. I don’t even believe that our government “experts” understand what the Iranian regime is after.

I’ve been following Iran ever since the revolution of 1979 that created the Islamic Republic, which declared war on the United States and continues to wage that war today. You don’t hear a lot about it from our pundits, and virtually nothing from the policymakers, but it’s actually a religious war. Despite the manifest failure of radical Islamic ideology, and the wreckage of the country produced by a greedy, selfish and incompetent ruling class, there is a thin layer of true believers who believe Iran is destined to defeat us and they ruthlessly pursue their enemies and critics in Iran and around the world. They believe that the vanished Imam guarantees it.

To that end, Khamenei et al. are waging a multi-front assault on us and our friends and allies, from attacking shipping in the Gulf to preparing for aggressive acts against the Saudis during the Hajj, to active meddling in American politics. Isn’t that the upshot of the new “think tank” funded by George Soros and Charles Koch, to be headed by the infamous Trita Parsi? Parsi is the pro-Iranian founder of the Council on Iranian-American Relations, and one will get you ten his new operation will work in cahoots with the Tehran mullahcracy.

Meanwhile, no American president has designed a strategy to win the war. We want Khamenei to mind his manners, so we can make a new deal. We do NOT want to attack Iran directly, and this is true about both civilian and military policymakers. If you knew more about our war planning, you’d be aware that we have done very badly in war games over the years. So, no matter how many threats come from the White House, no matter how many red lines get drawn, we aren’t attacking. We want to talk to them, not change the regime.

This is evidently not due to the political or psychological foibles of one U.S. leader or another.  After forty years, we’d all conclude it’s a feature of American policy per se. But why?

Most of us were excited and inspired by the Independence Day festivities on The Mall, as the president invoked our many victories, military and diplomatic. One would think, wouldn’t one, that such a president would seek a new victory against Iran.

No way. We want Iran squeezed harder and harder, hoping that something good will come of it.  I don’t think it’s going to work. I think the ayatollahs’ faith in the 12th Imam is stronger than America’s negotiating patience.

The Antichrists Men Are Taking Over the Iraqi State From the Inside

Militias Are Taking Over the Iraqi State From the Inside

An attempt to rein in Iraq’s paramilitaries could end up making them stronger than the government.

Renad MansourJuly 9, 2019, 6:50 AM

Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Iranian-backed Badr Organization and leader of the Fateh Alliance, a coalition of Iranian-supported militia groups, speaks during a campaign rally in Baghdad on May 7, 2018. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

On July 1, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued an official decree that, at the end of this month, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) would be fully integrated into the national armed forces. To most observers, this came as a surprise. The PMF were established by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2014 in response to the collapse of the Iraqi army and the swift rise of the so-called Islamic State. Most analysts concluded that these 50 or so predominantly Shiite paramilitary groups and militias were too powerful to be integrated with other state institutions and that they would continue to pose as independent military, economic, and political actors.

Has Mahdi found a solution for what had been considered an impossible problem? He emphasized that the groups would be abandoning their individual names and other political affiliations, instead adopting brigade and battalion numbers. They will also close their economic offices and commit to following the command of the prime minister as commander in chief. Many in Iraq and across the region are celebrating the news.

It’s worth noting, that among those celebrating are the leaders of the paramilitaries themselves. Qais al-Khazali, who leads the powerful League of the Righteous (Asaib ahl al-Haq), tweeted his support for the prime minister’s decision as a step in the right direction. Similarly, the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement of support and announced the disbanding of his Peace Brigades (Saraya al-Salam). Members of Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba have also endorsed the order.

One might have expected harsh criticism from these leaders, given that their groups’ economic and political interests seemed to be directly jeopardized by the prime minister. But they seemed to understand something that most observers have not: Although the new policy mandates that the PMF integrate with the Iraqi state, it does not require their subordination. If anything, the risk may be that the state is subordinating itself to the paramilitary groups, not the other way around.

For the PMF leadership, this decree presents an opportunity to consolidate power from within the state. In my meetings with senior PMF leaders over the years, they have always insisted that one of their top goals was to gain official recognition by the Iraqi state. On one hand, there were financial incentives associated with gaining official control over ministries and government agencies. But the paramilitary groups also saw joining the state as the most promising path to public legitimacy.

PMF leaders are aware that many Iraqis have been withdrawing their support for the militias—and that includes Iraqi Shiites. During the fight against the Islamic State, Shiite Iraqis viewed the PMF as a quasi-sacred force—but once that war was over, they began criticizing the paramilitary groups. For example, in Basra, the home of an estimated one-third of PMF fighters, there were widespread protests against the PMF for operating as a parallel state. Local activists have blamed the PMF for killing 20 or so protesters on Sept. 8 and 9, 2018.

Muhandis, the group’s leader, has set the goal of transforming his organization from a wartime to a peacetime armed group by developing a clearer (and more formal) chain of command and enduring public support. His first step has been to consolidate the organization and centralize its decision-making. During the war, the PMF existed as an umbrella organization of many paramilitary groups all fighting against the Islamic State. After the Islamic State lost its territorial control, these groups began fighting one another for power, legitimacy, and resources. Muhandis therefore began a campaign to purge internal enemies, which he referred to as “fake” groups.

To complete this transformation, Muhandis’s ultimate aim has been to secure a closer connection to the state. Mahdi’s declaration this week marks a step toward that goal and toward strengthening the PMF’s internal hierarchy. He recognizes that there are still PMF groups that do not obey his command. For instance, a rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy in May was not ordered from the PMF’s central leadership, some of whom scrambled to find out how the attack happened. By gaining control over state resources—and how they are distributed within his group—Muhandis now has leverage to establish greater control over the PMF.

However, the single most important reason why the senior PMF leadership at this point supports the prime minister’s new decree is because of the prime minister himself. Unlike former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who at times worked against the PMF, Mahdi owes his power to the paramilitary groups that backed his candidacy. He does not have a political party to back him. Since his election, the PMF’s political leadership, represented via the Fatah electoral bloc, have sought to gain influence over the prime minister’s office, including by staffing it with allies. The appointment of the prime minister’s new chief of staff, Mohammed al-Hashimi, known as Abu Jihad, has given Muhandis and the PMF a strong ally in the Prime Minister’s Office. Security analysts argue that it was Abu Jihad who was internally behind this week’s decree. Indeed, weeks before it was officially announced, Abu Jihad explained the concept to me in a meeting at his office in Baghdad, pitching it as a response to criticisms about security sector reform.

The experience of the Badr Organization, which is the largest PMF unit with some 30,000 fighters, offers an instructive cautionary tale. It agreed to dissolve and integrate into the Ministry of Interior in 2004, but not only did Badr maintain a group of fighters separate from the official armed forces, it also ensured that those fighters sent into the ministry remained loyal to the paramilitary group. Today, Badr (and thus the PMF) continues to control all aspects of the ministry, from the minister to the federal police. Mahdi’s decree can similarly serve as a step for the PMF to pursue integration with the state but at the same time maintain its autonomy and the loyalty of its fighters and members.

For the senior PMF leadership, the main goal is to become part of the state as a step to consolidate power and gain control of the state. They will integrate on their own terms so as not to lose autonomy. And so, rather than reining in the paramilitary groups, Mahdi’s decree can actually be another step in the process of their empowerment.

Save the Oil and the Wine (Revelation 6:6)

Image result for iran oil pricesOil steadies as demand worries offset Iran’s new nuclear threats

ReutersPublished July 08, 2019

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) – Oil prices steadied on Monday as tensions over Iran’s nuclear program countered concerns about whether slowing global economic growth would hit oil demand.

Brent crude futures fell 12 cents to settle at $64.11 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 15 cents to settle at $57.66 a barrel.

Oil prices edged higher for much of the session, then eased ahead of settlement.

“Worries about what is going on in the Persian Gulf continue to put a bit of a bid into the market, but without any new significant developments the market dropped back toward unchanged,” Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “Worries about demand growth are holding the market back.”

Iran on Monday threatened to restart deactivated centrifuges and step up its enrichment of uranium to 20% in a move that further threatens the 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington abandoned last year.

Washington has imposed sanctions that eliminate benefits Iran was meant to receive in return for agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal with world powers. The confrontation has brought the United States and Iran close to conflict.

On Sunday, Trump issued another warning over Iran’s nuclear activities. “They’d better be careful,” he said.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday that he was very hopeful of an improvement in the country’s crude exports, state TV reported.

“We see enough possibility of military conflict to cushion renewed price declines that might be driven by mounting expectations for a major slowing in the global economic growth path,” Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note.

Oil prices remain under pressure from lingering worries about demand as the U.S.-China trade war has dampened prospects for global economic growth.

Japan’s core machinery orders fell for the first time in four months in May, the biggest monthly drop in eight months in a worrying sign that global trade tensions are taking a toll on corporate investment.

Goldman Sachs said growth in U.S. shale production is likely to outpace that of global demand at least through 2020 and limit gains in oil prices despite output curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo Editing by David Gregorio and Susan Thomas)

Iran Will Soon Be a Nuclear Horn

Image result for iran uraniumIran Moves Closer To Having Weapons-Grade Levels Of Uranium

July 8, 20197:11 AM ET

NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to Ernest Moniz, an Obama administration energy secretary and now CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, about Iran’s violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.


Iran is moving closer to having weapons-grade levels of uranium. Over the weekend, the government there announced that they will again boost uranium enrichment above the limit that was set in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from that deal last year and imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Now, though, Iran is taking another step in a series of violations designed to pressure America to back down or Europe to provide sanctions relief.

Here to talk about what all this means in practice is Ernest Moniz. He negotiated parts of the deal as secretary of energy under President Obama, and now he serves as CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Mr. Moniz, thank you so much for being with us.

ERNEST MONIZ: Thank you, Rachel.

MARTIN: So media in Iran – media with government ties are reporting that Tehran is now enriching uranium to 4.5%. Can you explain the significance of that number?

MONIZ: Yes. The Iranians, of course, have nuclear power called the Bushehr plant. And for the fuel in that plant, it has an enrichment – that is, the amount of uranium 235, which is 0.7% in nature, is elevated, or enriched, to between 3.67%, which was the cap in the Iran agreement, to about 4.5%. So they are now apparently beginning to make uranium that would also be applicable to use in that nuclear power plant.

I do want to emphasize, Rachel, that, as of now certainly, neither of their violations would be of a direct concern in terms of a nuclear bomb because the deal makes it physically impossible for them to acquire the material in less than a year. So this erodes that a bit. But the fact is the deal is giving us time, certainly, to react to that in principle.

MARTIN: But is the deal still salient? I mean, if Iran continues now to intentionally violate the terms of the deal, what’s to say that they won’t violate other terms that would make it more likely that they could head on towards a path to a nuclear weapon?

MONIZ: No, there is concern – in particular, a slippery slope that they could go on to violate what actually, I believe, is the most significant part of the agreement, which is unprecedented verification procedures. If they should not follow those procedures, which allow international inspectors to go not only to where they say they are doing nuclear activity, but even to places where we suspect they might be doing it without declaring it, that would leave us kind of blind. And that’s a slippery slope, potentially, to, perhaps in the end, military confrontations.

MARTIN: So what do you make of Iran’s play in this moment? I mean, Iran is saying that it’s going to make additional violations in 60-day intervals if they don’t get sanctions relief.

MONIZ: Well, I think what it says is they are clearly not in any dash to a nuclear bomb, if you like. What they are doing is upping the political ante, particularly for the Europeans. The Europeans are kind of stuck in the middle of this because what Iran is saying is, we were promised a set of economic relaxations, if you like – most importantly, the ability to sell oil in the international market. They are not getting that.

The Europeans say, look; we are completely with the deal. But on the other hand, we cannot violate – or our companies cannot violate the sanctions that the United States is imposing because of the role of the United States in the international financial markets. Indeed, it’s a little bit of a broader question involving more than Iran.

But what I would say is that another slippery slope – and there are many of them – is that the way the United States is, frankly, in a somewhat willy-nilly fashion, imposing all kinds of economic sanctions now on our own allies is a slippery slope to losing our dominant role in the international financial system. And that would cost us both in national security terms and also in economic terms.

MARTIN: But when we think about the Trump administration and how they are approaching Iran right now, do you think that this so-called pressure campaign, the escalating sanctions – is that likely, do you believe, to compel Iran to come back to the negotiating table with the United States?

MONIZ: I think Iran is going to be very leery, certainly at the level of the supreme leader, to get back into negotiations because their point of view is – well, been there; done that. And the United States, frankly, proved rather unreliable in terms of the agreement. So I think this maximum pressure campaign is a very dangerous approach unless, in fact, the point is ultimately to lead to a military confrontation. I believe the leaders in both sides, including President Trump, have said they don’t want a military approach.

But it’s hard to see any plan that would actually resolve our differences with Iran. And so that’s why this is – this has the potential – I do not want to sound like Chicken Little here. But the reality is this has the chance of triggering – even unintentionally, though miscalculation – a major conflagration throughout the Middle East.

MARTIN: Ernest Moniz, former secretary of energy, CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

MONIZ: Pleasure. Thank you.

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