The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/aftershock-640x484.png?044193 

by , 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigationrates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Via Metro and NY Daily News

Images © Ed Yourdon

Indian Point Remains Primed For the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point nuclear power plant (photo: governor’s office)

New York Must Better Plan Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants; A Bill Awaiting Passage in Albany Does Just That

Manna Jo Greene

The 2020 session of the New York State Legislature has been another one for the record books, passing landmark legislation to address climate change, pandemic relief, and police reform. It’s a remarkable set of achievements, but the work of this legislative session isn’t complete yet, because there’s another pressing, high-stakes measure that can’t wait until next year: a pending bill to create a state oversight board on nuclear power plant decommissioning. 

The decommissioning process entails breaking apart and shipping radioactive nuclear plant components, addressing radioactive site contamination, and managing, storing, and/or shipping highly radioactive spent fuel inventories. The spent fuel pools of Westchester’s Indian Point nuclear plant, 25 miles from Manhattan, contain about three times the radioactivity of the entire Fukushima complex in Japan, some of which is leaking into groundwater and the Hudson.

Decommissioning decisions have profound environmental, economic, and public health consequences, and they need appropriate regulation and oversight.

Decommissioning is getting underway in New York as Indian Point shuts down. One of its reactors powered down permanently in April, the other will close next April. Other plants in upstate New York will follow suit in the years ahead.

The pending bill in the Legislature (Senate 8154/Assembly 10236), would create the first-ever Nuclear Generating Station Decommissioning Oversight Board, to be composed of representatives from relevant state agencies, diverse stakeholders, and concerned citizens. It would oversee and monitor decommissioning decisions, and provide a channel for public input into how private companies conduct decommissioning work. If the bill is enacted, the Board would be the first of its kind in the United States, and could serve as a model for other states. 

Despite the clear, vital interests state and local governments have in getting decommissioning right to protect New York’s health, safety, environment, and economy, until now the question of state authority over and input into decommissioning decisions has been murky and attenuated. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has jurisdiction over nuclear plant safety issues, but it is so close to the plant owners it is supposed to regulate (who not incidentally fund 90% of the agency’s budget) it calls them its “clients,” and is known as a prime example of “regulatory capture.” Its oversight of decommissioning has been extremely lax, riddled with waivers, exemptions, and rollbacks, essentially doing whatever the licensees want. 

And the NRC hasn’t exactly welcomed input from state or local governments or other stakeholders that want better oversight. In fact, the NRC cut Massachusetts out of the approval process to transfer the licenses of the shuttered Pilgrim nuclear plant to a subsidiary of Holtec for decommissioning. Holtec’s business model is to leverage public money rather than bring any of its own to the table, and it has a big trustworthiness problem, including a long track record of bribery and fraud. Yet the NRC refused even to hold hearings on the Pilgrim license transfer where the state could air its concerns about Holtec.  

So Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy sued the NRC, joined by 12 states including New York. In her filings she expressed skepticism about Holtec’s plan to “decommission Pilgrim on an expedited schedule never before achieved,” despite having never owned a nuclear plant nor managed a decommissioning start to finish. “Holtec’s attempt to account for contingencies and uncertainty risk is woefully deficient,” she said. She also warned Holtec might deplete the decommissioning trust fund, leaving “taxpayers to bear the financial burden and responsibility for finishing the work.” Now Holtec is applying for license approval to acquire Indian Point. The NRC is certain to wave the application through despite widespread opposition to Holtec in New York. 

The problem is bigger than Holtec alone, even if it’s the worst example of what’s wrong with the emerging decommissioning industry. In general, the industry is composed of private, for-profit, limited liability corporations with little or no capitalization and spotty experience and track records, positioning themselves as decommissioning experts and bidding to acquire the licenses and the ratepayer-financed decommissioning trust funds of shuttered nuclear plants. Their incentive is to decommission as quickly and cheaply as possible, laying claim to leftover funds and federal moneys for profit. There’s a significant danger they could use up the funds, declare bankruptcy without damaging their parent companies, and walk away, leaving the state liable for remaining cleanup costs.

As things stand now, decisions about how the decommissioning trust funds are spent, or how nuclear decommissioning will be conducted — for example whether  highly radioactive materials from Indian Point will be shipped down the Hudson by barge — are left largely up to Holtec and other private decommissioning companies, rubber stamped by the NRC. There is little or no accountability to New York State or surrounding communities.

The proposed Decommissioning Oversight Board would change that. It would bring together the state agencies that have some jurisdiction over decommissioning decisions, so they can coordinate and exert authority over the process more effectively, with input from key community members. It would make the process more accountable to state government and the public, and provide an effective counterweight to the laissez-faire regulatory attitude of the NRC. 

The bill that would establish the Board has many co-sponsors in the New York State Legislature, and strong support, but hasn’t been scheduled for a vote yet due to the unusually hectic nature of this legislative session. But it’s urgent that the Legislature pass the Decommissioning Oversight Board legislation this session. By the 2021 session most of the important decisions on decommissioning Indian Point will have already been made, so it can’t wait until next year. 

Nuclear plant decommissioning may not be as salient as the coronavirus pandemic or the fight for racial justice, but it is also extremely urgent and impactful in terms of safety, health, and justice for New Yorkers.

***

Manna Jo Greene is Environmental Action Director of the NGO Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

The New Cold War with the Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

DF-41 intercontinental nuclear missiles rolled through Tiananmen Square during a military parade in Beijing last year.Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

A New Superpower Competition Between Beijing and Washington: China’s Nuclear Buildup

By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad

June 30, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is portraying the small but increasingly potent Chinese arsenal — still only one-fifth the size of the United States’ or Russia’s — as the big new threat.

When negotiators from the United States and Russia met in Vienna last week to discuss renewing the last major nuclear arms control treaty that still exists between the two countries, American officials surprised their counterparts with a classified briefing on new and threatening nuclear capabilities — not Russia’s, but China’s.

The intelligence had not yet been made public in the United States, or even shared widely with Congress. But it was part of an effort to get the Russians on board with President Trump’s determination to prod China to participate in New START, a treaty it has never joined. Along the way, the administration is portraying the small but increasingly potent Chinese nuclear arsenal — still only one-fifth the size of those fielded by the United States or Russia — as the new threat that Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia should confront together.

Marshall Billingslea, Mr. Trump’s new arms control negotiator, opened his classified briefing, officials said, by describing the Chinese program as a “crash nuclear buildup,” a “highly alarming effort” to gain parity with the far larger arsenals that Russia and the United States have kept for decades.

The American message was clear: Mr. Trump will not renew any major arms control treaty that China does not also join — dangling the possibility that Mr. Trump would abandon New START altogether if he did not get his way. The treaty expires in February, just weeks after the next presidential inauguration.

Many outside experts question whether China’s buildup — assessed as bringing greater capability more than greater numbers — is as fast, or as threatening, as the Trump administration insists.

The intelligence on Beijing’s efforts remains classified, a senior administration official said, noting that sharing such data is not unusual among the world’s major nuclear weapons states. But that means it was given to an adversary with whom the United States is conducting daily, low-level conflict — including cyberattacks, military probes by warplanes and Russian aggression in Ukraine. And that was before reports surfaced that a Russian military intelligence unit had put bounties on American and allied troops in Afghanistan.

The American official said the administration would try to declassify and make public some of the assessment about China.

Nuclear weapons have suddenly become a new area of contention between Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China, and there are many reasons to believe that even if the three superpowers are not yet in a full-scale arms race, what is taking place in negotiating rooms around the world may soon start one.

The Russians have publicly offered a straight, five-year extension of New START, which would not require congressional approval. But Mr. Trump is clearly betting that he can find common ground with Mr. Putin in confronting the Chinese.

Without question, the Chinese are improving their arsenal, and may be rethinking the idea of holding a “minimal deterrent”— just enough to assure that if they were ever attacked they could take out cities in Russia, Europe or the United States. But they have only 300 long-range nuclear weapons deployed, compared with 1,550 each that the other two superpowers are allowed under New START. So there is the very real possibility, experts say, that in any negotiation, Beijing will insist on quintupling its nuclear force before it agrees to any constraints. So far, China has said it is not interested in discussing any limitations.

“The notion of trying to pull the Chinese into that agreement is, in theory, a good idea. In practice?Impossible,” former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said this month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The Chinese have no incentive whatsoever to participate,” said Mr. Gates, who as the C.I.A. director confronted China over its sale to Iran of missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. And if Mr. Trump continues on the current course, Mr. Gates said, he will end up essentially inviting “the Chinese to build dramatically more, far more, nuclear weapons than we think they have at the current time to get level with the United States.”

Nuclear weapons are joining the panoply of issues — including trade deals, banning Chinese students and wiring the world for 5G networks — that Mr. Trump has put at the center of a series of U.S.-China standoffs.

Nuclear weapons have suddenly become a new area of contention between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Mr. Trump is no student of nuclear history, but in some ways he is replaying a moment from the 1960s, when Mao Zedong was seeking nuclear weapons. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration briefly considered inviting the Soviets to participate in a joint strike at Lop Nor, the Chinese nuclear testing site, to prevent the country from joining the nuclear club. But the Americans abandoned the idea, determining it was simply too dangerous. A top secret State Department study, since declassified, concluded in April 1964 that the risk of a Chinese nuclear capability “is not such as to justify the undertaking of actions which would involve great political costs or high military risks.”

The United States has lived with a Chinese “minimal deterrent” for 56 years.

Now Mr. Billingslea argues that new activities underway at Lop Nor, combined with China’s far greater reach in space and at sea, once again put America at risk. The Chinese, not surprisingly, blame the United States, saying the American focus on missile defenses is forcing them to develop a counterforce of new nuclear weapons and missiles.

“If Beijing’s concerns are left unaddressed, they will likely fuel more intensive Chinese efforts to modernize its nuclear forces and other strategic capabilities,” Tong Zhao, a senior fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, wrote recently.

The roots of the revival of interest in building up nuclear arsenals go back to the passage of New START a decade ago, early in the Obama administration. As the price of getting the treaty through the Senate, President Barack Obama agreed to a multibillion-dollar upgrade of the American nuclear complex, including production facilities that had been neglected for decades. At the same time, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., now Mr. Trump’s presumed opponent in the presidential election, said the administration would ask the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which Bill Clinton had signed but the Senate had never acted on.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden never sought ratification, realizing they would lose. But the past four presidents have abided by the treaty’s ban on nuclear tests. That may be coming to an end: Mr. Billingslea confirmed that the Trump administration had discussed “unsigning” the treaty and debated whether the United States should return to nuclear testing, which it has not engaged in since 1992. But he said there was no need to do so for now.

The United States conducted more nuclear tests during the Cold War than the rest of the world combined. Over decades of experimentation, and more than 1,000 tests, its bomb designers learned many tricks of extreme miniaturization as well as how to endow their creations with colossal destructive force. Compared with the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima, the nation’s first explosive test of a hydrogen bomb, in 1954, produced a blast 1,000 times as powerful.

Because of that history, many nuclear experts now argue that if Mr. Trump begins a new wave of global testing, it would aid American rivals more than the United States.

“We lose more than we gain,” Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico and now a professor at Stanford University, said in an interview. Beijing had conducted only 45 tests, he noted, and would welcome a resumption of testing to “increase the sophistication or perhaps the diversification” of its arsenal, “and that can only come back to be a national security risk for the United States.”

Activity at the desert testing site in Nevada has soared in recent years. There is new drilling, construction, equipment, employees and periodic “subcritical” tests, just below the threshold of producing a nuclear explosion.

For years, some Republicans have urged preparations for a test and poured money into the effort. One instrument now being prepared for the Nevada complex costs $800 million; it would test the behavior of plutonium.

Today, Republicans are still urging more upgrades and speedups, including at the Nevada complex. This month, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, offered an amendment to a defense bill that would add at least $10 million to “carry out projects related to reducing the time required to execute a nuclear test.”

Top Democrats in the House told the Pentagon and the Energy Department in a recent letter that the idea of a renewal in nuclear testing was “unfathomable,” as well as “shortsighted and dangerous.”

But Mr. Billingslea thinks he succeeded in getting the Russians to think about what is happening in China, not in the Nevada desert. During his meeting last week, the Russians were taking copious notes on China’s buildup, while reviewing classified slides. He insists they want to sit down and talk more later in the summer.

They will do so without the Chinese.

The Trump Administration and Arms Control

David E. Sanger is a national security correspondent. In a 36-year reporting career for The Times, he has been on three teams that have won Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2017 for international reporting. His newest book is “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age.” @SangerNYT • Facebook

William J. Broad is a science journalist and senior writer. He joined The Times in 1983, and has shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues, as well as an Emmy Award and a DuPont Award. @WilliamJBroad

Radiation Leak in Europe Points to a Possible Russian Weapons Test

RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRYGETTY IMAGES

This isn’t the first time Europe’s detected radiation leaks likely originating from Russia.

By Kyle Mizokami JUN 29, 2020

• Radiation monitoring stations across northern Europe have detected above normal—but still safe—levels of radioactivity.

One of the radioactive isotopes detected, Iodine 131, is generated by nuclear fission.

• Russia has denied being the source of the radioactivity, but the country had similar leaks in 2017 and 2019. The radiation may be due to the testing of a new nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Radiation detectors across northern Europe have picked up a short-lived, non-dangerous release of radioactivity experts believe came from Russia. Authorities believe the leak, which was first detected in early June, is coming from western Russia. One possibility is that the test is in some way related to a new nuclear-powered cruise missile, which caused an accident in 2019 and several deaths.

The Associated Press reports that officials in Finland, Norway, and Sweden detected man-made radionuclides—that is, radionuclides that do not naturally occur in nature. According to the Barents Observer, Iodine 131 was detected by air monitoring stations at Svanhovd and Viksjøfjell, Norway, as well as a nuclear weapons monitoring facility at Svalbard. Analysis by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health indicates the source of the radiation is western Russia.

Iodine 131 is a radioisotope created as a result of nuclear fission, which is why scientists believe the radiation release is the result of an accident at a nuclear facility. According to the CDC, exposure to large amounts of Iodine 131 can cause burns to the eyes and skin. Iodine 131 ingested into the human body accumulates in the thyroid gland, causing thyroid cancer. Iodine 131 has a half-life of eight days, meaning it can disappear from the environment relatively quickly.

The amount of Iodine 131 released is considered “tiny” and not dangerous.

Finnish authorities also reportedly detected small levels of cobalt, ruthenium and cesium in mid-June. In late June, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, an international organization that monitors the globe for signs of nuclear weapons tests, detected radioactive isotopes across southern Sweden.

Russia has denied it is the source of the radiation, stating its two nearest nuclear power plants are operating normally. Russia however has a history of radiation leak—and covering them up. An October 2017 leak released “extremely high levels” of a radioactive isotope in Russia, an incident Moscow never did own up to. In 2019, U.S. intelligence determined that another radiation leak was the result of the Russian government recovering the remains of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile. Unlike other cruise missiles, which use turbine engines that run on aviation fuel, first-of-its-kind Burevestnik uses an onboard nuclear power plant for propulsion.

Even if nearby Russian nuclear power plants are still functioning properly the radiation came from somewhere. Russia is still committed to developing Burevestnik and the missile’s development has been marred by accidents and delays.

Khamenei’s Prayers Are About to be Heard (Revelation 18:10)

Representative Of Iran’s Supreme Leader Delightedly Preaches ‘Death to America’ ‘Being Heard From Mouths Of The Americans Themselves’

Hank BerrienJun 29th, 2020

Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On June 19, an ayatollah who represents Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, noting the rioting in American cities and the concurrent leftist attacks on American history, delightedly delivered a sermon in whichhe chortled that now Americans themselves are saying. “Death to America!”

As MEMRI translated and reported, Iranian Ayatollah Lotfollah Dezhkam, who represents Khamenei in the Fars province, stated:

The entire world has seen with its very eyes that today, America cannot be the main decision-maker when it comes to strategic matters in the world. We are unequivocally informing the American administration, Republicans and Democrats alike: If you’ve shut your ears with cotton balls, remove them [so you can hear].

The sound of America being shattered and of its collapse, is being heard all over the world. The shout of the Iranian nation, which has been leading the fight against America for 40 years, is being heard from mouths of the Americans themselves: Death to America!

The audience repeated: “Death to America! Death to America! Death to America! Death to America!”

The movement to replace the traditional perspective on American history with a fundamentally anti-American one, whether articulated by leftists such as Howard Zinn or those who seek to destroy monuments dedicated to true American heroes, has gained a strong foothold among some Americans.

 

Henry Olsen, writing in The Washington Post, noted the principle articulated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, then pointed out the malignity of protesters tearing down statues to the men who fought for those principles:

Protesters who tear down statues to brave warriors who fought to more fully implement that principle mock and dishonor the idea that enables us to become a more perfect union. George Washington owned slaves, but he also founded a nation dedicated to the idea whose incompatibility with slavery made its eradication inevitable. Defacing or toppling his monuments dishonors the country.

More than any man save Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant destroyed the Confederacy with his magisterial generalship. As president, he tried to extend the Civil War’s purpose by presiding over the Reconstruction of the South, an effort that was abandoned only after he left office. Toppling his statue — as protesters did in San Francisco, citing a slave whom Grant was gifted and later freed before the war — is ahistorically ludicrous.

Last September, after the attacks on two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia that destroyed 5% of the world’s oil supply, prompting accusations from the U.S. government that the attacks were launched by Iran, a top Iranian general boasted that U.S. sites were in range of Iranian missiles and Iran was ready for a “full-fledged” war.

Amirali Hajizadeh, who heads Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace, bragged, “Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” adding “Iran has always been ready for a ‘full-fledged’ war,” as quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency and reported by Reuters.

The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

Babylon the Great Puts More Pressure on Iran

Pompeo urges UN arms embargo on Iran’s `terrorist regime’

EDITH M. LEDERER and MATTHEW LEE , Associated Press

If the arms embargo is lifted, he said “Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000-kilometer radius

UNITED NATIONS — Calling Iran “the world’s most heinous terrorist regime,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to extend the U.N. arms embargo against Tehran, which expires in October, and reject “extortion diplomacy.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif countered calling President Donald Trump’s administration “an outlaw bully” that is waging “economic terrorism” on his country to satisfy domestic constituencies and “personal aggrandizement.”

He called for the U.S. to compensate the Iranian people for the damage and vehemently opposed any extension of the arms embargo, warning that Iran’s options “will be firm” if it is maintained and the U.S. will bear full responsibility.

The United States has circulated a draft Security Council resolution to extend the arms embargo indefinitely, and Pompeo said the United States’ “overwhelming preference” is to work with its 15 members to adopt it.

But he indicated that if the resolution isn’t approved, which is likely because of Russian and Chinese opposition, the U.S. will move to invoke a provision of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers to re-impose all U.N. sanctions against Iran. The Trump administration pulled out of the deal in 2018.

Pompeo spoke at a virtual open meeting of the council on implementation of resolution 2231, which was adopted in 2015 to endorse the Iran nuclear deal. The arms embargo is included in the measure.

Zarif told the council later that the U.S. violated all provisions of the deal by its withdrawal and insisted that the arms embargo be lifted completely on its Oct. 18 expiration date. “Any attempt to change or amend the timetable” for lifting the embargo is tantamount to undermining the entire resolution, he said.

Pompeo noted that Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani recently declared that “Iran will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended.”

Zarif didn’t, but the foreign minister told the council: “The international community in general — and the U.N. Security Council in particular — are facing an important decision: Do we maintain respect for the rule of law, or do we return to the law of the jungle by surrendering to the whims of an outlaw bully?”

Pompeo seized on findings in a report this month by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said the United Nations has determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the U.S., and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and an international airport.

The report also said some of the items seized by the U.S. in November 2019 and February 2020 “were identical or similar” to those found after cruise missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in 2019.

Pompeo also blamed Iran for other actions, including an attack on U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq in January using its advanced missiles, and supplying Shiite militia forces who have launched dozens of rocket attacks since last year against U.S. and coalition forces fighting Islamic State extremists.

– putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.”

Pompeo said Iran would be free to upgrade and expand its submarine fleet, to purchase advanced technologies for its Middle East proxies including Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and Yemen’s Houthi Shiite rebels.

And it will be free “to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan,” he said.

Zarif refuted many of the findings of the report and accused the U.S. of “maliciously” raising matters extraneous to the nuclear agreement, “such as Iran’s defensive capabilities and regional policies,” which are also “parroted by a handful of its allies and clients.”

He said these issues were deliberately left out of the deal because both sides disagreed on certain issues. He pointed to the U.S. unwillingness to address “our grave concerns over its unfathomable level of arms sales and build-up in our neighborhood” and its interventions in the Middle East.

Pompeo said he detailed only a fraction of “the overwhelming evidence” against Iran and told the council that the U.S. call to maintain the arms embargo is backed by Middle East countries from Israel to the Gulf “who are most exposed to Iran’s predations.”

The Trump administration has won only tepid support from allies for the U.S. draft resolution to maintain the arms embargo, and European countries are expected to present a counter-proposal that would extend at least parts of the embargo for six months. It is not clear if the U.S., Russia or China would support such a proposal.

Zarif said the U.S. has no rights under resolution 2231 “nor can its enablers try to save its face via so-called middle-ground formulas.”

The council meeting took place a day after Iran issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad earlier this year. Trump faces no danger of arrest and Interpol later said it would not consider Iran’s request.

However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 and re-imposed crippling U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

The five other powers that signed the nuclear deal — Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany — remain committed to it, saying the agreement is key to continuing inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Massive demonstration outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Massive demonstration in Gaza against annexation

Hundreds of Palestinian citizens formed a human chain across Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to protest Israel’s annexation plan.

The protesters waved Palestine flags and raised banners condemning the annexation and affirming that the West Bank and Jordan Valley are Palestinian land.

Israel intends to annex the Jordan Valley and large parts of the West Bank next July, amid warnings that the move would undermine efforts for peace and a two-state solution in the region.

The intended annexation will include over 30% of the West Bank’s area, according to researchers.