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 FaheyJuly 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.”

The China nuclear horn continues to grow: Daniel 7

A 2012 satellite image shows the Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex, a large-scale nuclear facility established in 1958.

DigitalGlobe/Getty Images

China’s ‘Secretive’ Nuclear Weapons Buildup Exposed

‘[I]t is clear from imagery that China is engaged in a secretive crash buildup.’

By Jeremiah Jacques • November 23

Newly declassified United States intelligence documents reveal that China is carrying out a surreptitious strategy to rapidly increase its number of nuclear warheads and the capacity of its delivery systems.

The documents, published by the Washington Times on November 13, consist of a collection of slides that were shown during a recent briefing for members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

One slide shows that over the past two years, a plutonium production area in China’s Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex doubled in size. The plant also added a new reactor.

The revelation is significant, largely because nuclear watchdogs believed for decades that China had terminated uranium production for weapons in 1987 and had discontinued plutonium production for arms use in 1991. The expansion at the Jiuquan facility indicates that the Chinese are once again producing both materials.

A second U.S. intelligence slide is a satellite photo revealing major expansion underway at the nuclear-arms research facility in Mianyang, China. This complex is part of the China Academy of Engineering and Physics, the country’s main organization for nuclear weapons work. The recently expanded Mianyang facility is known to be where the bulk of China’s nuclear warhead production and testing take place.

A third slide is a photo showing that China has expanded its military reactor facility in Leshan by about 20 times its size. Military analyst Bill Gertz points out that besides building components for nuclear weapons and reactors, the Leshan complex also “appears to be part of China’s major buildup of nuclear-powered ballistic missile and attack submarines.

The revelations are significant in part because the Pentagon said in September that China seeks to double its number of nuclear weapons in the near term. The expansions of the Jiuquan, Mianyang and Leshan facilities (and increased activity at the Lop Nur site) appear to confirm this forecast. And it may mean the Chinese seek even to go beyond the anticipated twofold increase.

“[I]t is clear from imagery that China is engaged in a secretive crash buildup of its infrastructure,” Marshall Billingslea, the State Department’s chief diplomat for weapons control, told the Washington Times. “There is no doubt that China wants to be on par with the United States and Russia in terms of its military and nuclear capabilities.”

He added: “The world deserves to know what China is up to. They have never admitted how many nuclear weapons they have and how many they plan on building.”

China is obligated by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (npt) to openly discuss its nuclear arms, but it has so far declined to do so.

“For months now, we have been calling on the Chinese Communist Party to come to the table and negotiate in good faith,” Billingslea said. “This is not merely an ask that we have. This is an obligation of theirs. China is legally bound to honor it. The npt states plainly that all parties must pursue negotiations in good faith. China is perilously close to standing in violation of the npt due to their repeated refusals to meet.”

Meanwhile, as China’s arsenal grows, it is also developing, testing and refining the equipment needed to deliver its growing number of warheads to their targets.

Billingslea calculates that in both 2018 and 2019 China launched an astounding 225 ballistic missiles. This is more than the rest of the world combined. And as of October, it had fired 180 ballistic missiles so far this year.

Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, stressed in a September 14 talk with reporters that China’s submarine missile abilities also constitute a serious threat. He said: “China now has the capability to directly threaten our homeland from a ballistic missile submarine. That’s a pretty watershed moment.”

The darkening nuclear shadow in China may seem like a distant threat. But it should grip our attention. During His ministry on Earth, Jesus Christ prophesied that a global war would erupt that would threaten to wipe out mankind. Matthew 24:21-22 record Him saying: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive …” (New Living Translation).

When He spoke those alarming words, a war that could end the life of every “single person” was not yet technologically feasible. But today, with thousands of nuclear warheads deployed around the world, and with China engaged in “a secretive crash buildup” of its nuclear firepower, the conditions are in place for this prophecy to be fulfilled.

But as we see that tragic nuclear war looming on the horizon, there is cause for hope. In verse 22, just after Jesus says that the war at the end of our era will be so cataclysmic that it could extinguish all human life, He then gave a tremendously important detail: “But it will be shortened.”

From this detail, we know that nuclear World War iii will be interrupted. Just before mankind detonates enough weaponry to erase human life, Christ will return and bring a decisive end to the conflict. And following the age of unprecedented war and devastation, He will usher in a new epoch of unprecedented worldwide peace. Regarding this future era of peace, Micah 4:3 states: “[T]hey shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

In his booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door,’ Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry discusses humanity’s intense need for God’s help: “Only God can solve our number one problem: that of human survival. Men don’t know the way of peace. God knows—and if you keep His law of love, it will bring great joy and peace into your life.”

He continues: “We are now at the edge of this nuclear abyss! As all these horrible signs come to pass, we know Christ is about to return.”

To understand these vital Bible passages and to learn how to enjoy the “great joy and peace” that comes from abiding by God’s law today, order your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

Trump Lowers the Nuclear Threshold: Revelation 16

US withdraws from Open Skies Treaty with Russia: officials

US has one major arms treaty remaining with Russia: New START

By Lucia I. Suarez Sang , Lucas Tomlinson | Fox News

The United States officially pulled out of another arms control pact with Russia on Sunday, marking the end of a six-month notification process informing Moscow, U.S. officials told Fox News.

The Trump administration withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty, which was signed between former Cold War foes in 1992 to set up unarmed, reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory to collect data on military forces.

However, the U.S. has accused Russia of violating the agreement for years, barring flights over Russian territory, including Kaliningrad where nuclear weapons are suspected of being present and in range of major European capitals.

“On May 22, 2020, the United States exercised its right pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article XV of the Treaty on Open Skies by providing notice to the Treaty Depositaries and to all States Parties of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty, effective six months from the notification date,” Cale Brown, principal deputy spokesperson for the State Department, said in a statement. “Six months having elapsed, the U.S. withdrawal took effect on November 22, 2020, and the United States is no longer a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies.”

Earlier this summer, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that “it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in the United States’ best interest to remain a party to this treaty when Russia does not uphold its commitments.”

At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was inspired at least in part by Russian violations of the accord.

US pulling out of Cold War-era nuclear treaty with Russia, Pompeo announces

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. is pulling out of a major arms-control treaty with Russia, citing alleged violations by the country; Rich Edson reports from the State Department.

“While the United States, along with our Allies and partners that are States Parties to the treaty, have lived up to our commitments and obligations under the treaty, Russia has flagrantly and continuously violated the treaty in various ways for years,” Pompeo said in a statement. “This is not a story exclusive to just the treaty on Open Skies, unfortunately, for Russia has been a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”

The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the treaty comes at the same time the president gave remarks during the virtual G-20 summit.

Ahead of the official withdrawal, some American lawmakers also voiced skepticism about the treaty and encouraged the U.S. departure from it, Russia is the sole beneficiary because the U.S. relies on advanced spy satellites in space to gather intelligence which is not covered by the treaty. Also, the overflights are seen more as a propaganda boost for Moscow – which in the past has flown over President Trump’s Bedminster club and the nation’s capital in recent years.

Some experts believe the United States’ departure from the treaty is a sign that Trump is preparing to exit the one major arms treaty remaining with Russia: New START.

This treaty, which is set to expire in February weeks after the next presidential inauguration, limits U.S. and Russian forces from deploying no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads at a time. Trump has insisted that China must join what is now a U.S.-Russia limit on nuclear arsenals.

Democrats have expressed concern that pulling out of the treaty could harm relationships with European allies who rely on it to keep tabs on Russian activities.

President-elect Joe Biden has called Trump’s decision to withdraw from the treaty short-sighted.

Open Skies was first proposed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, but the Soviet Union refused. It was brought up again by President George H.W. Bush and negotiations began in 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union. It went into force in 2002 and now has 35 signatories.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Rich Edson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

More winds of God’s Wrath to hit Florida: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane center eyes system east of Florida with odds of becoming a tropical storm

By JOE MARIO PEDERSEN

ORLANDO SENTINEL

NOV 23, 2020 AT 1:10 PM

The National Hurricane Center isn’t taking it easy just because the end of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is around the corner as another tropical system emerged just east of Florida and has low odds of developing.

A broad area of low pressure is about a hundred miles northeast of the Bahamas and is shedding off disorganized showers to the northeast and east of its center, the NHC said in its 1 p.m. update.

The system has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm in the next two days, and a 20% chance of doing so in the next five days. The low’s odds remain minimum due to strong upper-level winds limiting development of the system Monday.

The low is later expected to merge with a cold front on Tuesday. However, the low will have another opportunity to gain subtropical characteristics if it can separate from the front while slowly moving over the central Atlantic.

If the system does become a tropical storm it will become the the 31st named storm of the year and receive the Greek letter Kappa as its name.

The final day of the Atlantic hurricane season is next Monday, Nov. 30.

Accusations before the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

As Islamabad and New Delhi Spar for Influence in Afghanistan, Nuclear Rivals Trade Accusations

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) welcomes the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan (2nd R) with a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2020. (Afghan Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Arshad Mehmood

11/22/2020

Pakistan PM Khan, during Kabul visit, pledges support for peace process

(ISLAMABAD) Pakistan will fully support efforts to end violence and establish a durable peace in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said during his first visit to the war-torn country since taking office in 2018.

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward for enduring peace, stability and prosperity in the country,” the Pakistani leader said during a one-day visit to Kabul on Thursday, reiterating his longstanding stance.

He spoke during a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

“After Afghanistan, Pakistan is the country most interested in peace in Afghanistan,” Khan continued. “Pakistan has played its role, first in getting the Taliban’s talks with the Americans started, and then on the intra-Afghan dialogue.

“We assure you that we will exceed your expectations,” Khan told the Afghan president.

Ghani, also addressing the press conference, said he had “a very productive engagement with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Our common objective is to take a leap of faith to overcome the distrust that has haunted our relationship,” Ghani continued. “A comprehensive political settlement for enduring peace within the framework of our values and our constitution is the future of Afghanistan.”

After Afghanistan, Pakistan is the country most interested in peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan has played its role, first in getting the Taliban’s talks with the Americans started, and then on the intra-Afghan dialogue

Khan and Ghani met one-on-one and discussed ways to strengthen ties between their countries.

Muhammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted: “The meeting focused on further deepening the fraternal relations between the two countries, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity.”

Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the prime minister’s commerce adviser Razak Dawood and other senior officials.

Despite frequent minor clashes between their respective security forces, relations between the two countries have significantly improved during Khan’s time in office.

Ghani visited Pakistan in June 2019. He and Khan also held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Mecca in May 2019. Senior officials from the countries have been meeting and visiting each other regularly in recent months.

Although relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan seem to be improving, Pakistani policymakers fear that India is trying to sabotage this trend.

Indian leadership has always accused Pakistan of harboring separatists in the disputed Kashmir region. On the other hand, Islamabad says Indian intelligence services are using Afghan territory to destabilize Pakistan, accusing New Delhi of being behind all acts of terrorism within the country.

In the latest recrimination on November 14, Qureshi and Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar, director-general of the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, held a press conference in Islamabad and accused India of sponsoring terrorism to destabilize Pakistan and undermining its relations with China.

“Pakistan will present its evidence to the United Nations,” Qureshi said.

Babar said that “India was training, harboring, and launching terrorists into Pakistan, from 87 training camps: 66 in Afghanistan and 21 in India.”

Following the press conference, Khan wrote on Twitter: “We expect the international community to force India to end its terrorism & bring to justice those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in Pakistan.”

The Indian Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations as “fabricated” and “figments of the imagination.”

Relations between nuclear-armed neighbors have been hostile since the Partition in 1947. The countries have fought three wars and have a long, ongoing dispute over Kashmir.

To better understand the situation as both Pakistan and India try to grow their influence in Afghanistan, The Media Line spoke exclusively with prominent experts on South Asia.

Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center in Washington, told The Media Line that “India has had deep ties with all post-Taliban governments, including a nearly decade-old strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that entails generous amounts of economic assistance as well as training programs for the Afghan Armed Forces. So India has a strong incentive to maintain influence in Afghanistan.

New Delhi’s broader goal with its influence-building in Afghanistan is to crowd out Pakistan, which has its influence in the country that can be leveraged through its close ties to the Taliban,” he continued.

“India and Pakistan share few interests in Afghanistan, which is no surprise given the bitter rivalry between the two,” Kugelman said.

However, “they do, broadly speaking, support the idea of a more stable and peaceful Afghanistan, as this would give them more space for influence-building,” he added. “Both countries support some shared concrete goals like building infrastructure. Additionally, both countries fear the spillover effects of an Afghanistan at war, including terrorism, drug trade, refugee flows and more.”

Responding to another question from The Media Line, Kugelman said, “I can certainly envision a future conflict between India and Pakistan, but I see it breaking out over Kashmir, for example large, deadly attacks on Indian forces in Kashmir that India blames on Pakistan, sparking retaliation and counter-retaliations, as opposed to over Afghanistan.

“Any India-Pakistan conflict in Afghanistan would play out in the shadows, covertly, through proxy efforts by each side to work with local partners and push back against the other,” Kugelman said.

Adil Faroque, a defense analyst based in Rawalpindi, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, told The Media Line that “Indians follow the philosophy of their political godfather Chanakya, who teaches them to maintain good relationships with their neighbor’s neighbor.

“India has no direct land link with Afghanistan, but adopting Chanakya’s philosophy, Indians further preach arm-twisting tactics using that neighbor[‘s territory as a base] to create its [India’s] hegemony and to destabilize Pakistan,” he said.

Chanakya, a teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and royal adviser who wrote the political treatise the Arthashastra, a text dated to roughly between the third century BCE and the third century CE, is considered the pioneer of political science and economics in India.

Faroque continued, “Besides this political ideology, the economic interests of India also favor a policy of maintaining influence in Afghanistan with its huge iron ore reserves, which are critical to India’s huge steel industry.

“Both countries possess devastating weapons and the outcome of a [full-blown] war would be mutually assured destruction, and nobody wants that. However, this [rivalry in Afghanistan] could intensify the ongoing hybrid warfare between the countries, which is a mixture of proxy and disinformation warfare,” Faroque said.

Faisal Raja, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, told The Media Line “there is no doubt that India has been trying to destabilize Pakistan.

“The top priority of India is to create two-front security concerns for the Pakistani military establishment,” he said. “Pakistan has always been focused on the eastern front [with India], but since India has invested in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s western front has also become active and the Pakistan security forces are actively engaged there.

“Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have sufficient proofs that cross-border terrorist activities are being planned and executed on a massive scale from Afghan soil, spearheaded by various Indian intelligence agencies,” Raja said.

Rohit Sharma, a leading New Delhi-based political and security analyst, told The Media Line: “History shows that any instability in Afghanistan leads to an increase in terror activities in India.”

“In 1999, an Indian airplane was hijacked and taken to Kandahar [in Afghanistan], and India was forced to release Maulana Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a banned Pakistani outfit. Masood subsequently led the terror activities in India and Kashmir,” Sharma said.

“Jaish training camps were run on Afghan soil and were fully managed by Pakistani Intelligence agencies, but after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, these training camps were shifted to Pakistani-controlled Kashmir areas. India’s interest in countering such activities in Afghanistan is natural,” he added.

“India does not want to increase its influence but it wants to maintain good relations with Afghanistan,” Sharma said. “India is helping the Afghan government in rebuilding and reconstructing devastated infrastructure.

Sharma continued, “Pakistan has always been trying to sideline India when it comes to the Afghanistan peace process.

“In April 2020, India was excluded from UN-backed peace talks on Afghanistan. China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were included in the list [of participants], but India was sidelined,” he said.

“It was no mere coincidence that India was excluded from the talks; it happened after extensive lobbying from Pakistan and China,” Sharma said.

He further told The Media Line that “India is a large, centuries-old market for Afghan traditional spices, dry fruits and saffron. India is also interested in investing in copper and some other metals.

“A war is not likely to happen between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, but there can be clashes of interests between India and Pakistan,” Sharma said.

“Tamanna Salikuddin, director of South Asia programs at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, told The Media Line that “both India and Pakistan have shared historic and cultural ties with Afghanistan.

“In the last several decades, given the international military and development effort in Afghanistan, both India and Pakistan have had strong strategic and national security interests in the future of Afghanistan,” she continued.

“While Pakistan may object to India’s relationship and any form of presence in Afghanistan, and India objects to Pakistan’s influence in the peace process with the Taliban, over the years both countries have tacitly accepted these realities as a feature of the Afghan war,” Salikuddin added.

She noted that “Pakistan’s recently signed statement with Afghanistan acknowledges the need for Afghanistan to have a posture of ‘multi-alignment,’ pursuing friendly relations with various regional countries, alluding to Afghanistan’s relationship with India.”

“At the same time, Afghanistan and Pakistan in this statement pledge to pursue a relationship founded on predictability, transparency, mutual and full respect for one another’s sovereignty,” she said.

“Pakistan and India share an interest in seeing a peaceful and stable Afghanistan that does not bleed terrorism, instability or chaos into the region. Finding a workable path for the region to cooperate regarding Afghanistan’s prosperity and stability is essential for both India and Pakistan,” Salikuddin said.

Biden will again succumb to Iran’s lies

Iran Vows “Quick” Return To Nuclear Deal If Biden Drops Sanctions

News Desk Nov 23, 2020 @ 2:38pm

Tehran —  Iran said Wednesday that it would “automatically” return to its nuclear commitments if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts sanctions imposed over the past two years by President Donald Trump. But even as it dangled the offer, Tehran kept the pressure on the U.S. and other countries by forging ahead with its nuclear program in violation of the 2015 international nuclear pact that Mr. Trump abandoned.

Tehran’s return to its commitments under the deal “can be done automatically and needs no conditions or even negotiations,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in comments published in the state-run Iran daily.

Decades old U.S.-Iranian tensions escalated after President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement in 2018 and reimposed, and then reinforced, crippling sanctions.

While Mr. Trump has sought to maximize pressure on Iran and isolate it globally, Mr. Biden has proposed to offer the Islamic republic a “credible path back to diplomacy.”

Mr. Biden has said that Tehran must return to compliance with the nuclear deal, but he’s been clear that if it does, his administration would “re-enter the agreement.” The president-elect has consistently argued that the 2015 accord, “blocked Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Zarif indicated to CBS News early this month, before Mr. Biden was projected to be the winner of the U.S. election, that Iran would prefer the former vice president emerge victorious, noting “more promising” statements from his campaign.

In the remarks published Wednesday, Zarif argued that “America is obligated to implement Resolution 2231 as a member of the United Nations and its Security Council,” pointing to the UNSC resolution that enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal.

“If it does carry out this resolution and sanctions are lifted and there are no obstacles to Iran’s economic activities, then Iran will carry out” its obligations under the deal, he said.

Iran, which denies it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, has since May 2019, after Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement, gradually suspended most of its key obligations under the agreement. Tehran argues that it has merely reacted to the sanctions and the inability of the other parties to the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – to provide Tehran with its promised economic benefits.

Zarif described Mr. Biden as a “foreign affairs veteran,” whom he has known for 30 years. Once in the White House, Mr. Biden could “lift all of these [sanctions] with three executive orders,” Zarif argued.

If the Biden administration does that, Iran’s return to nuclear commitments will be “quick,” Zarif said.

Washington’s return to the deal, however, could wait, he added.

“The next stage that will need negotiating is America’s return … which is not a priority,” he said. “The first priority is America ending its law breaking and rebelling.”

The New York Times reported on Monday that Mr. Trump asked top aides last week about the possibility of striking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Senior officials reportedly “dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike,” warning him that such an attack could escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency.

This October 26, 2020, satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. that has been annotated by experts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies shows construction at Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility that experts believe may be a new, underground centrifuge assembly plant. 

Planet Labs Inc./AP

One of the sites that both the U.S. and Israel have long eyed as a potential target in any strike on Iran is the Natanz nuclear facility, where Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment beyond the parameters of the nuclear deal since 2019.

On Wednesday the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a confidential report obtained by CBS News that Iran had begun feeding uranium gas into a recently installed cascade of advanced centrifuges in a fortified underground facility at Natanz, CBS News Pamela Falk reports. 

The IR-2M centrifuges will enable Iran to spin the uranium hexafluoride gas to create nuclear material enriched to more than 4% purity — over the level permitted under the 2015 agreement but well below the 90% purity required to make a nuclear weapon.

IAEA inspectors (2nd-3rd L) and Iranian technicians disconnect the connections between twin cascades for 20% uranium production at the Natanz nuclear facility in a January 20, 2014 file photo, as Iran halted production of 20% enriched uranium, marking the coming into force of an interim deal with world powers on its disputed nuclear program.

Getty

Any use of the advanced type of centrifuge by Iran is, in itself, a violation of the nuclear pact, but the country had already been using the same machinery above ground at Natanz as part of its shirking of the agreement following Mr. Trump’s unilateral withdrawal.

IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi said that while the operation of the 174 centrifuges was taking place in a new area of Natanz, it would not lead to an overall increase in the output of enriched uranium.

Israel strikes Hamas sites outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza Strip after rocket attack

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 22, 2020

JERUSALEM — Israeli aircraft on Sunday struck multiple sites in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired earlier from the Palestinian territory, Israel’s military said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

While several militant groups operate out of the Palestinian enclave, Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for all rocket fire out of the territory and usually strikes Hamas targets in response.

The Israeli military said in a statement that fighter jets and attack helicopters hit two rocket ammunition manufacturing sites, underground infrastructure and a Hamas naval forces training compound.

Late Saturday, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket toward Israel, setting off air-raid sirens in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, the Israeli military said.

Israeli police said the rocket caused damage to a structure in the Ashkelon area, roughly 6 miles north of Gaza, but there were no injuries. Israeli media said the rocket struck a factory, causing damage.

Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction, are bitter enemies who have fought three wars and numerous skirmishes since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007.