We really are due for the sixth seal: Revelation 6:12

Opinion/Al Southwick: Could an earthquake really rock New England? We are 265 years overdue

On Nov. 8, a 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck Buzzard’s Bay off the coast of New Bedford. Reverberations were felt up to 100 miles away, across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and parts of Connecticut and New York. News outlets scrambled to interview local residents who felt the ground shake their homes. Seismologists explained that New England earthquakes, while uncommon and usually minor, are by no means unheard of.

The last bad one we had took place on Nov. 18, 1755, a date long remembered.

It’s sometimes called the Boston Earthquake and sometimes the Cape Ann Earthquake. Its epicenter is thought to have been in the Atlantic Ocean about 25 miles east of Gloucester. Estimates say that it would have registered between 6.0 and 6.3 on the modern Richter scale. It was an occasion to remember as chronicled by John E. Ebel, director of the Weston observatory of Boston College:

“At about 4:30 in the morning on 18 November, 1755, a strong earthquake rocked the New England area. Observers reported damage to chimneys, brick buildings and stone walls in coastal communities from Portland, Maine to south of Boston … Chimneys were also damaged as far away as Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut. The earthquake was felt at Halifax, Nova Scotia to the northeast, Lake Champlain to the northwest, and Winyah, South Carolina to the southwest. The crew of a ship in deep water about 70 leagues east of Boston thought it had run aground and only realized it had felt an earthquake after it arrived at Boston later that same day.

“The 1755 earthquake rocked Boston, with the shaking lasting more than a minute. According to contemporary reports, as many as 1,500 chimneys were shattered or thrown down in part, the gable ends of about 15 brick buildings were broken out, and some church steeples ended up tilted due to the shaking. Falling chimney bricks created holes in the roofs of some houses. Some streets, particularly those on manmade ground along the water, were so covered with bricks and debris that passage by horse-drawn carriage was impossible. Many homes lost china and glassware that was thrown from shelves and shattered. A distiller’s cistern filled with liquor broke apart and lost its contents.”

We don’t have many details of the earthquake’s impact here, there being no newspaper in Worcester County at that time. We do know that one man, Christian Angel, working in a “silver” mine in Sterling, was buried alive when the ground shook. He is the only known fatality in these parts. We can assume that, if the quake shook down chimneys in Springfield and New Haven, it did even more damage hereabouts. We can imagine the cries of alarm and the feeling of panic as trees swayed violently, fields and meadows trembled underfoot and pottery fell off shelves and crashed below.

The Boston Earthquake was an aftershock from the gigantic Lisbon Earthquake that had leveled Lisbon, Portugal, a few days before. That cataclysm, estimated as an 8 or 9 on the modern Richter scale, was the most devastating natural catastrophe to hit western Europe since Roman times. The first shock struck on Nov. 1, at about 9 in the morning.

According to one account: ”Suddenly the city began to shudder violently, its tall medieval spires waving like a cornfield in the breeze … In the ancient cathedral, the Basilica de Santa Maria, the nave rocked and the massive chandeliers began swinging crazily. . . . Then came a second, even more powerful shock. And with it, the ornate façade of every great building in the square … broke away and cascaded forward.”

Until that moment, Lisbon had been one of the leading cities in western Europe, right up there with London and Paris. With 250,000 people, it was a center of culture, financial activity and exploration. Within minutes it was reduced to smoky, dusty rubble punctuated by human groans and screams. An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 lost their lives.

Since then, New England has been mildly shaken by quakes from time to time. One series of tremors on March 1, 1925, was felt throughout Worcester County, from Fitchburg to Worcester, and caused a lot of speculation.

What if another quake like that in 1755 hit New England today? What would happen? That question was studied 15 years ago by the Massachusetts Civil Defense Agency. Its report is sobering:

“The occurrence of a Richter magnitude 6.25 earthquake off Cape Ann, Massachusetts … would cause damage in the range of 2 to 10 billion dollars … in the Boston metropolitan area (within Route 128) due to ground shaking, with significant additional losses due to secondary effects such as soil liquefaction failures, fires and economic interruptions. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of major and minor injuries would be expected … Thousands of people could be displaced from their homes … Additional damage may also be experienced outside the 128 area, especially closer to the earthquake epicenter.”

So even if we don’t worry much about volcanoes, we know that hurricanes and tornadoes are always possible. As for earthquakes, they may not happen in this century or even in this millennium, but it is sobering to think that if the tectonic plates under Boston and Gloucester shift again, we could see a repeat of 1755.

The rising threat of the first nuclear war is the most urgent matter in the world

Caitlin Johnstone: The rising threat of nuclear war is the most urgent matter in the world

21 Apr, 2021 21:29

There is no more urgent matter on earth than the looming possibility that everyone might die in a nuclear war. It’s madness that we’re not talking about it all the time.

US Strategic Command, the branch of the US military responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal, tweeted the following on Tuesday:

“The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.”

The statement, which STRATCOM called a “preview” of the Posture Statement it submits to the US Congress every year, was a bit intense for Twitter and sparked a lot of alarmed responses. This alarm was due not to any inaccuracy in STRATCOM’s frank statement, but due to the bizarre fact that our world’s increasing risk of nuclear war barely features in mainstream discourse.

US Strategic Command

@US_Stratcom

#USSTRATCOM Posture Statement Preview: The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.

9:09 PM · Apr 19, 2021

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STRATCOM has been preparing not just to use its nuclear arsenal for deterrence but also to “win” a nuclear war should one arise from the (entirely US-created) “conditions” which are “neither linear nor predictable”. And it’s looking increasingly likely that one will as the prevailing orthodoxy among Western imperialists that US unipolar hegemony must be preserved at all cost rushes headlong toward America’s plunge into post-primacy.

The US has been ramping up aggressions with Russia in a way that has terrified experts, and it looks likely to continue doing so. These aggressions are further complicated on increasingly tense fronts like Ukraine, which is threatening to obtain nuclear weapons if it isn’t granted membership to NATO, either of which would increase the risk of conflict. Aggressions against nuclear-armed China are escalating on what seems like a daily basis at this point, with potential flashpoints in the China Seas, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, India, and any number of other possible fronts.

STRATCOM commander Charles Richard told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that China’s nuclear capabilities are advancing so rapidly that they’re not even bothering with intelligence vetted more than a month ago in their briefings because it’s probably already out of date, urging an upgrade in America’s nuclear infrastructure. Richard reportedly testified that a portion of China’s nuclear arsenal has been recently primed for ready use.

The fact that those in charge of US nuclear weapons now see both Russia and China as a major nuclear threat, and the fact that US cold warriors are escalating against both of them, is horrifying. The fact that they’re again playing with “low-yield” nukes designed to actually be used on the battlefield makes it even more so. This is to say nothing of tensions between nuclear-armed Pakistan and nuclear-armed India, between nuclear-armed Israel and its neighbors, and between nuclear-armed North Korea and the Western empire.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has the 2021 Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, citing the rising threat of nuclear war:

Accelerating nuclear programs in multiple countries moved the world into less stable and manageable territory last year. Development of hypersonic glide vehicles, ballistic missile defenses, and weapons-delivery systems that can flexibly use conventional or nuclear warheads may raise the probability of miscalculation in times of tension. Events like the deadly assault earlier this month on the US Capitol renewed legitimate concerns about national leaders who have sole control of the use of nuclear weapons. Nuclear nations, however, have ignored or undermined practical and available diplomatic and security tools for managing nuclear risks. By our estimation, the potential for the world to stumble into nuclear war–an ever-present danger over the last 75 years–increased in 2020. An extremely dangerous global failure to address existential threats—what we called ‘the new abnormal’ in 2019—tightened its grip in the nuclear realm in the past year, increasing the likelihood of catastrophe.

In a recent interview with Phoenix Media Co-op‘s Slava Zilber, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft nuclear policy specialist Joe Cirincione described a ramp-up in weapons technology among all nuclear-armed nations in the world, the future of which he described as “bleak”:

We right now have a global nuclear arms race. Each of the nine nuclear-armed nations are building new weapons. Some are replacing weapons that are getting old. Others are expanding their arsenals. But all of these new weapons represent new capabilities for these countries. So you’re seeing a qualitative and a quantitative arms race that is completely unchecked.

 “If you look at the data that’s collected by the Federation of American Scientists, for example, you see that – since the 1980s at the height of the Cold War – we have slashed the global nuclear arsenals. We went from a world in 1986 where there were almost 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world down to where we are now where there’s just about 13,500 nuclear weapons. Tremendous progress. 85% reduction in the stockpile…

“But it’s flattened out. There really haven’t been significant reductions for years. The 2010 New START agreement was the last successful arms control agreement. That was 11 years ago. There’s been no reduction agreement since then. There’ve been no talks about new reductions agreements. Now I think the future of arms control is bleak. It’s bleak. And I see no interest really in a new round of arms control either from the United States or from Russia. So I’m pessimistic about our prospects.

As I all too frequently find myself having to remind people, the primary risk here is not that anyone will choose to have a nuclear war, it’s that a nuke will be deployed amid heightening tensions as a result of miscommunication, miscalculation, misfire, or malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war, thereby setting off everyone’s nukes as per Mutually Assured Destruction.

The more tense things get, the likelier such an event becomes. This new cold war is happening along two fronts, with a bunch of proxy conflicts complicating things even further. There are so very many small moving parts, and it’s impossible to remain in control of all of them.

People like to think every nuclear-armed country has one “The Button” with which they can consciously choose to start a nuclear war after careful deliberation, but it doesn’t work that way. There are thousands of people in the world controlling different parts of different nuclear arsenals who could independently initiate a nuclear war. Thousands of “The Buttons”. It only takes one. The arrogance of believing anyone can control such a conflict safely, for years, is astounding.

A 2014 report published in the journal Earth’s Future found that it would only take the detonation of 100 nuclear warheads to throw 5 teragrams of black soot into the earth’s stratosphere for decades, blocking out the sun and making the photosynthesis of plants impossible. This could easily starve every terrestrial organism to death that didn’t die of radiation or climate chaos first. China has hundreds of nuclear weapons; Russia and the United States have thousands.

This should be the main thing everyone talks about. There is literally no more urgent matter on earth than the looming possibility that everyone might die in a nuclear war.

But people don’t see it.

On a recent Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance, former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard did a solid job describing the horrors of nuclear war and the very real possibility that it could be inflicted upon us due to America’s insane brinkmanship with Russia. She spoke earnestly about how “such a war would come at a cost beyond anything we can really imagine,” painting an entirely accurate picture of “hundreds of millions of people dying and suffering, seeing their flesh being burned from their bones.”

Also on rt.com Stop the ‘saber-rattling’ & begin de-escalation before Russia-Ukraine conflict turns into ‘nuclear holocaust,’ Gabbard tells Biden

Gabbard is correct, and was right to give such a confrontational account of what we are looking at right now. But if you read the replies to Gabbard’s tweet in which she shared a clip from the interview, you’ll see a deluge of commenters accusing her of “hyperbole”, saying she’s being soft on Putin, and admonishing her for appearing on Tucker Carlson. It’s like they can’t even hear what she’s saying, how real it is, how significant it is.

People’s failure to wrap their minds around this issue is a testament to the power of normalcy bias, a cognitive glitch which causes us to assume that because something bad hasn’t happened in the past, it won’t happen in the future. We survived the last cold war by the skin of our teeth, entirely by sheer, dumb luck; the only reason people are around to bleat “hyperbole” is because we got lucky. There’s no reason to believe we’ll get lucky in this new cold war environment; only normalcy bias says we will. Believing we’ll survive this cold war just because we survived the last one is as sane as believing Russian roulette is safe because the guy passing you the gun didn’t die.

It’s also a testament to the power of plain old psychological compartmentalization. People can’t handle the idea of everything ending, of everyone they know and love dying, of watching their loved ones die in flames or from radiation poisoning right in front of them, all because someone made a mistake at the wrong time after a bunch of imperialists decided that US planetary domination was worth rolling the dice on the life of every terrestrial organism for.

But mostly it’s a testament to the ubiquitous malpractice of the Western media. It’s inconvenient to the agendas of the imperial war machine to have people protesting these insane cold war games of nuclear brinkmanship, so their media stenographers barely touch on this issue. If mainstream journalism actually existed, this flirtation with nuclear war would be front and center in everyone’s awareness and people would be flooding the streets in protest against their lives being toyed with as casino chips in an insane all-or-nothing gamble.

Also on rt.com Next stop, the apocalypse? The bumbling Biden administration’s claim to fame may be jumpstarting World War III

This is so much bigger than any of the petty little things we spend our mental energy on from day to day. It’s bigger than whatever your number one pet issue is. It’s bigger than your disdain for Moscow or Beijing. It’s bigger than my disdain for the US empire. It’s bigger than our political opinions. It’s bigger than whatever argument we might be having on the internet. It’s bigger than whether or not we’ve got a problem with Tulsi Gabbard appearing on Tucker Carlson.

Because once the nukes start flying, none of that will matter. None of it. All that will matter is the fact that this is all ending. If you open the door and see a mushroom cloud growing on the horizon, all of your mental priorities will rearrange themselves real quick.

We should not be in this situation. There is no good reason governments should be playing these games with these weapons. There is no good reason we can’t just get along with each other and collaborate toward a healthy world together. Only the psychopathic agendas of power-hungry imperialists perpetuate this insane balancing act, and it benefits none of us ordinary people in any way.

The rising threat of nuclear war is the most urgent matter in the world, and it’s absolute madness that we’re not talking about it all the time.

Let’s do what we can to change that.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Antichrist’s Committee to Address Christian Property

New Committee to Address Christian Property in KRG

04/21/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) moved to create an ad hoc committee to address the issue of illegal expropriation of property owned by minority ethnic and religious groups, beginning with the area’s Christians. The Committee will consist of several high-ranking officials from various departments, tasked with identifying and stopping the property seizures.

In 2016, the outcry over stolen property began in earnest. One report indicated that in Dohuk governorate alone there were 56 villages where land was illegally taken from Christian families, which amount to 47,000 acres. A joint Christian protest was also organized in front of the KRG Parliament to seek support for protection from illegal expropriation. This new committee will be responsible for investigating and verifying claims in order to create a new mapping of Christian property.

This is the second committee in the Iraq-KRG region as one formed by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in January has already begun returning homes and land to their rightful Christian owners.

Soldiers Invade Palestinian Farmlands Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Soldiers Invade Palestinian Farmlands In Southern Gaza

Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, Wednesday, Palestinian farmlands near the perimeter fence, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and fired many rounds of live ammunition.

Media sources said seven Israeli military vehicles, including bulldozers and tanks, stationed in military bases across the fence, invaded the Palestinian lands and advanced dozens of meters into the an-Nahda neighborhood, east of Rafah.

They added that the soldiers bulldozed several sections of the invaded lands, and installed sand hills, while firing smoke bombs.

The Israeli army frequently invades Palestinian lands near the fence across the eastern parts of the besieged coastal region, in addition to the constant attacks targeting the fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters.

The attacks are part of frequent Israeli violations against the Palestinians, especially the fishermen, farmers, shepherds, and workers in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, and have led to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, in addition to serious property damage and the confiscation of many boats after abducting the fishermen.

Babylon the Great Prepares for Nuclear War

STRATCOM commander calls on Congress to update US triad as China’s nuclear program advances weekly

Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testifies at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 20, 2021.

FROM A SASC VIDEO

The Chinese military’s nuclear capabilities are increasing rapidly and, for the first time, might be primed for use, the U.S. military officer in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal warned Tuesday as he urged Congress to upgrade America’s aging nuclear infrastructure.

In an effort to describe how quickly the Chinese nuclear program is advancing, Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had just ordered all briefs on Beijing’s nuclear weapons contain no intelligence information vetted more than one month earlier “because it’s probably out of date” that quickly.

Richard testified Tuesday that China is capable of accurately deploying nuclear weapons anywhere within its region, and it “will soon be able to do so at intercontinental range.”

“I can’t get through a week right now, without finding out something we didn’t know about China,” Richard told senators in a hearing alongside Army Gen. James Dickinson, who leads U.S. Space Command. Dickinson also fingered China as among his top military concerns, as it rapidly advances its space-based military capabilities.

In a stark warning, Richard told lawmakers that he had seen indications China had moved at least some of its nuclear forces from a peace-time status to a so-called “launch-on-warning” and “high-alert” posture, in which weapons are armed for launch as soon as an incoming enemy missile is detected.

Yet, even as China’s nuclear weapons arsenal has grown dramatically, Russia remains the primary nuclear threat for the United States, Richard said. While the U.S. has yet to field any recent updates to its nuclear forces, Russia is about 80% complete in modernizing its nuclear capabilities, the admiral said.

“While we are at 0% [modernization], it is easier to describe what they’re [Russia] not modernizing — nothing,” he said. “What they are [upgrading] is pretty much everything, including several never-before-seen capabilities.”

Those increases among the primary U.S. adversaries come as Congress debates funding for long-planned upgrades to America’s nuclear triad — its system of intercontinental ballistic missiles and its fleets of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft and ballistic missile submarines — and as President Joe Biden’s administration reviews the nation’s nuclear strategies, as incoming administrations typically have done.

Richard said he supported the ongoing review, but he cautioned against some lawmakers’ recent targeting of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the planned $95 billion replacement for the military’s 1970s-era Minuteman III ICBMs, as a potential cut to save money. Several Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday, have questioned the need for upgraded intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Minuteman III missiles must either be replaced by the GBSD or retired, Richard said, calling them “leftovers of the Cold War” that have become too obsolete to be life-extended with temporary fixes.

Without ICBMs, the United States would be forced to change drastically its approach to nuclear operations, Richard said. It could leave America entirely reliant on its submarine force to deter enemy nuclear activity because the United States since the end of the Cold War has not maintained bomber aircraft on nuclear alert.

“I’ve already told the secretary of defense that under those conditions, I would request to re-alert the bombers,” he told senators Tuesday, which would place some of the Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress and/or B-2 Spirit bombers armed with nuclear weapons and prepared to fly at all times.

Richard urged senators to watch the actions of the Chinese and Russians to modernize their nuclear forces as they debate the future of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

“It’s the only weapon system you don’t have to pull the trigger on for it to work,” he said of the nuclear weapons that he oversees.

dickstein.corey@stripes.com
Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

How to Start a Nuclear War: Revelation 16

How to Start a War

Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong countries appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not.

Sloppy braggadocio and serial promises of restraint can trigger wars, too. Empty tough talk can needlessly egg on aggressors. But mouthing utopian bromides convinces bullies that their targets are too sophisticated to counter aggression.

Sometimes announcing “a new peace process” without any ability to bring either novel concessions or pressures only raises false hopes — and furor.

Every new American president is tested to determine whether the United States can still protect friends such as Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Israel. And will the new commander in chief deter U.S. enemies Iran and North Korea — and keep China and Russia from absorbing their neighbors?

Joe Biden, and those around him, seem determined to upset the peace they inherited.

Soon after Donald Trump left office, Vladimir Putin began massing troops on the Ukrainian border and threatening to attack.

Putin earlier had concluded that Trump was dangerously unpredictable, and perhaps best not provoked. After all, the Trump administration took out Russian mercenaries in Syria. It beefed up defense spending and upped sanctions.

The Trump administration flooded the world with cheap oil to Russia’s chagrin. It pulled out from asymmetrical missile treaties with Russia. It sold sophisticated arms to the Ukrainians. The Russians concluded that Trump might do anything, and so waited for another president before again testing America.

In contrast, Biden often talks provocatively — while carrying a twig. He has gratuitously called Putin “a killer.” And he warned that the Russian dictator “will pay a price” for supposedly interfering in the 2020 election.

Unfortunately, Biden’s bombast follows four years of a Russian-collusion hoax, fueled by a concocted dossier paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Biden and others claimed Trump was, in the words of Barack Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, a “Russian asset.”

If Biden is seeking to provoke a nation with more than 6,000 deliverable nuclear weapons, he is certainly not backing up his rhetoric with force.

Biden may well decrease the Pentagon budget. He also seems to have forgotten that Trump was impeached for supposedly imperiling Ukraine, when in fact he sold Ukraine weapons.

While Biden was talking loudly to Putin, his administration was being serially humiliated by China. Chinese diplomats dressed down their American counterparts in a recent meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. They gleefully recycled domestic left-wing boilerplate that a racist America has no moral authority to criticize China.

If Trump was unpredictably blunt, Biden is too often predictably confused. And he appears frail, sending the message to autocracies that America’s commander in chief is not fully in control.

Biden has not, as he promised, demanded from China transparency about the origins of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan. By summer, that plague may have killed 600,000 Americans.

More disturbing, as Russia puts troops on the Ukrainian border, China is flying into Taiwanese airspace, testing its defenses — and the degree to which the United States cares.

For a half-century, American foreign policy sought to ensure that Russia was no closer to China than either was to the United States. Now, the two dictatorships seem almost joined at the hip, as each probes U.S. responses or lack thereof. Not surprisingly, North Korea in late March resumed its firing of missiles over the Sea of Japan.

In the Middle East, Biden inherited a relatively quiet landscape. Arab nations, in historic fashion, were making peace with Israel. Both sides were working to deter Iranian-funded terrorists. Iran itself was staggered by sanctions and recession. Its arch-terrorist mastermind, General Qasem Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

Under Trump, the United States left the Iran nuclear deal, which was a prescription for the certain Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon. The theocracy in Tehran, the chief sponsor of terror in the world, was in its most fragile condition in its 40 years of existence.

Now, U.S. diplomats bizarrely express an interest in restoring cordial relations with Iran, rebooting the Iran deal, and dropping sanctions against the regime. If all that happens, Iran will likely get a bomb soon.

More importantly, Iran may conclude that the United States has distanced itself from Israel and moderate Arab regimes. One of two dangers will then arise. Either Iran will feel it can up its aggression, or its enemies will conclude they have no choice but to take out all Iranian nuclear facilities.

Biden would do well to remember old American diplomatic adages about speaking softly while carrying a big stick, keeping China and Russia apart, being no better friend (or worse enemy), and letting sleeping dogs lie.

© 2021 The Center for American Greatness

Iran Horn starts enriching uranium to 60% — its highest level ever

Iran starts enriching uranium to 60% — its highest level ever

Updated 17 April 2021 Arab News April 16, 2021 10:22

JEDDAH: Iran began enriching uranium on Friday to its highest-ever purity that edges Tehran close to weapons-grade levels, attempting to pressure negotiators in Vienna amid talks on restoring its nuclear deal with world powers after an attack on its main enrichment site.

A top official said only a few grams an hour of uranium gas would be enriched up to 60 percent purity — triple the level it once did but at a quantity far lower than what the country could produce.

Iran also is enriching at an above-ground facility at its Natanz nuclear site already visited by international inspectors, not deep within its underground halls hardened to withstand airstrikes.

The narrow scope of the new enrichment provides Iran with a way to quickly de-escalate if it chooses, experts say, but time is narrowing.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran acknowledged the move to 60 percent. Ali Akbar Salehi told Iranian state television the centrifuges now produce 9 grams an hour, but that would drop to 5 grams an hour in the coming days.

“Any enrichment level that we desire is in our reach at the moment and we can do it at any time we want,” Salehi said. Israel, which has twice bombed Mideast countries to stop their nuclear programs, said it was determined to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

“We will do whatever it takes to prevent the extremists (in Iran) from succeeding, and definitely will prevent this regime from having a nuclear weapon,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told reporters on a visit to Cyprus.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, told Arab News that the region’s countries would be the first victims of Iran and its nuclear project.

“Therefore, they have the right to tell the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear deal’s signatory states that they are not interested in any new agreement with Tehran unless they can participate in it as a primary party.

“The nuclear deal is not valid unless Iran’s ballistic missile file is added to it, along with its terrorist activities vis-a-vis its regional proxies. Iran’s terrorist militias have expanded and set up camps in four Arab countries.

“The region’s countries are the ones most concerned with this Iranian threat, as they are the ones affected by it, so they are the ones who must be present during talks with Tehran.

“Otherwise, all options are available for them to protect their security and stability from Iran’s nuclear file, its interference in the region and its affiliated terrorist militias, as well as from the threat of its ballistic missiles, which it continues to supply to its militias, such as the Houthis, who have used them hundreds of times against civilians, oil installations and global energy sources in Saudi Arabia.”