Modi Threatens Pakistan with Nukes

File photo of PM Narendra Modi. (Image: PTI)

In a Warning to Pakistan, PM Modi Says ‚Our Nuclear Button Not Only for Diwali‘

Modi said the then Congress government signed Shimla agreement (in 1972) ‚under global pressure‘ and released over 90,000 prisoners of war (PoW) instead of resolving the Kashmir dispute ‚in lieu of the PoW.‘

PTI

Updated: April 21, 2019, 9:52 PM IST

Barmer: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India missed a „golden opportunity“ during 1971 war to resolve Kashmir dispute by releasing hundreds of Pakistani troops from the Indian Army’s custody „under global pressure“.

Modi made the observation at an election rally here and said the then Congress government signed Shimla agreement (in 1972) „under global pressure“ and released over 90,000 prisoners of war (PoW) instead of resolving the Kashmir dispute „in lieu of the PoW.“

„Pak troops were in our custody. A big area of Pakistan was also captured by Indian forces during the 1971 war but the Congress government lost it on the table in Shimla agreement and they were released,“ he said.

„The government crumbled under the global pressure, signed the Shimla agreement and the matter was closed. The PoWs and the captured land were released. That was a golden opportunity to resolve the Kashmir dispute in lieu of the PoW,“ he said.

The prime minister said it was a trump card in the government’s hand but the chance was lost and the entire country is facing its repercussions today.

Modi said it was the reason why the Congress leaders do not want nationalism to be an issue.

The prime minister made the statement in the wake of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot highlighting in his recent election rallies the creation of Bangladesh by Indian armed forces after division of Pakistan during the rule of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1971.

He also said India is no more afraid of nuclear threats of Pakistan.

„Otherwise, Pakistan used to give nuclear threats. What do we have? Have we kept it for ‚Diwali‘? (Warna aay din nuclear button hai, ye kehte the. Hamare paas kya hai? Ye diwali ke liye rakha hai kya), Modi asserted.

In an apparent reference to India’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September 2016 and its air strikes at a terror facility in Balakot in February this year, the Prime Minister said Indian forces killed terrorists across the border without engaging in a war.

„This is called a strong government. We have created fear among terrorist,“ the PM said.

Modi said his government trampled Pakistan’s ego and „forced it to roam around the world with a begging bowl.“

„Hamne Pakistan ki sari hekdi nikal di. Use katora leke dunia me ghumne ko maine majboor kar diya hai,“ he said.

The prime minister said the people are happy and think the Modi government has done the right thing but it is not the case with the Congress leaders and its alliance partners, who think otherwise.

He said his government fulfilled the long-pending demands since Congress rule like One Rank, One Pension for the forces and the National War Memorial in Delhi.

„There was a long-pending demand for a war memorial but the Congress built memorial for their family. They built ‚Samadhi‘ for their family but did not build the war memorial in the memory of jawans who sacrificed their lives for the country, he said.

Referring to Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s alleged statement that „those who are hungry and do not get two-time meals get into Army,“ Modi said it was an insult of jawans and their family members.

Targeting the previous Congress government in the Centre over alleged recurrence of scams in defence sector during their tenure and the lack of modern equipments and weapons for the forces, Modi said, Therefore they (Congress) do not want to talk about the national security.

The PM said there was no progress in the Rafale deal during the Congress rule and despite the MIG planes crashing repeatedly, they did nothing to acquire new fighter jets.

Referring to the issue of Pak refugees in India, Modi said as the Hindus who are in minority in Pakistan faced discrimination there, the government of India made efforts to get Citizenship Amendment bill passed to help them.

„This chowkidaar has also made efforts to get the citizenship amendment law passed for those having the faith in the country (Maa Bharati). The people of this country who chose to live in Pakistan at the time of partition …. started facing atrocities because their faith was different, he said.

The PM said efforts will be made to complete the long-pending work after the government formation on May 23.

Modi said the polls are „very important“ also for those who are going to vote for the first time.

„I appreciate your dreams and am ready to sacrifice my dreams for yours, he added.

Babylon the Great Rejects Nuclear Reason

Sergei Fedyunin / TASS

U.S. Ignored Russia’s Nuclear War Prevention Pact – Reports

The Moscow TimesApril 19, 2019

Russia sent the United States a draft joint declaration on how to prevent nuclear war, only to never hear back from Washington, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday.

The U.S. and Russia are suspending the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty this summer. The only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed nuclear weapons — the New START — expires in February 2021.

“Nuclear war cannot be won and it must never be unleashed,” Kommersant quoted Russia’s draft joint declaration, which was sent to the U.S. in October 2018, as stating.

Similar declarations have been adopted between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly suggested a revival of the nuclear war avoidance pact ahead of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton’s visit to Russia in October 2018.

Andrea Kalan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, told the publication that Washington adheres to arms control systems with partners “that honor their commitments responsibly.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the U.S. of routinely ignoring Russia’s inroads on Friday.

Russia’s proposals to the U.S. included “strategic security and stability, cooperation in the fight against cybercrime, and so on,” Peskov said.

“All these Russian initiatives and proposals were in effect left unanswered,” he was quoted as saying to reporters by Kommersant.

Decommissioned Too Late for the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

image-2876

Entergy announces plan to sell Indian Point by 2021 to Holtec decommissioning unit

Under the terms of the sale, Holtec will gain access to funds in a decommissioning trust Entergy invested in during the years it owned the plant. That trust is nearing $2 billion.

THOMAS C. ZAMBITO | ROCKLAND/WESTCHESTER JOURNAL NEWS | 1:57 pm EDT April 16, 2019

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

• The sale will bring to six the number of nuclear reactors Holtec owns at facilities in four states.

• Buchanon’s mayor hopes the announcement will allow the property to re-open for other uses sooner

Theresa Knickerbocker, the mayor of the Village of Buchanan, talks about the Indian Point Energy Center closing and what lies ahead for the village.

MARK VERGARI, MVERGARI@LOHUD.COM

Entergy will sell Indian Point to the New Jersey subsidiary of a company that has promised to cut decades off the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant, the company announced Tuesday.

Entergy announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to sell its three reactors and spent fuel to a subsidiary of Holtec International when the last of its working reactors powers down in 2021.

“The sale of Indian Point to Holtec is expected to result in the completion of decommissioning decades sooner than if the site were to remain under Entergy’s ownership,” said Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault. “With its deep experience and technological innovations, Holtec’s ability to decommission Indian Point will benefit stakeholders in the surrounding community.”

Under the terms of the sale, Holtec will gain access to funds in decommissioning trusts for each of three Indian Point reactors, which Entergy acquired after purchasing the plant 18 years ago. During that time, the trust has grown from $738 million to $1.85 billion at the end of 2018, company officials say. They say ratepayers have not been required to contribute towards those funds while Entergy has owned the plant.

The announcement did not come as a surprise since Entergy officials, in a February earnings call, said the deal would come this year.

Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, viewed from Tomkins Cove on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

JOHN MEORE/THE JOURNAL NEWS

But the selection of Comprehensive Decommissioning International, a jointly-owned Holtec subsidiary based in Camden, was uncertain.

Last year, Entergy received federal approval to sell its Vermont Yankee power plant to New York-based NorthStar, leading some to believe the company would do the same with Indian Point.

With the announcement, Entergy has now agreed to sell off its remaining fleet of nuclear reactors to decommissioning firms.

The sale will bring to six the number of nuclear reactors Holtec owns at facilities in New Jersey, Michigan, New York and Massachusetts.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will need to approve the deal.

How we got here

In 2017, Entergy announced that it would shut down Indian Point as part of a deal reached with the state of New York and the environmental group Riverkeeper.

The shutdown is expected to have a lasting impact on Buchanan, the Town of Cortlandt and the Hendrick Hudson School District, each of which has relied on Entergy property tax revenue to balance its budgets for decades.

Local officials are hopeful the 240-acre property will be opened up to re-use in the years after the plant’s reactors are dismantled and spent fuel is stored away in dry casks or sent off to a federal repository.

“Studies have shown that there is property on the Indian Point campus that could be developed,“ said Joseph Hochreiter, the superintendent of the Hendrick Hudson schools. „Entergy made it clear that they were not interested and were going to leave that to the decommissioning company. Now that the company has been identified, I’m hopeful we can revisit the development issue and turn around some of that property.“

Holtec officials say the deal announced Tuesday could make that possible.

“Our industry-leading expertise and deep experience permit us to complete decommissioning at Indian Point decades sooner than if Entergy remained the owner and performed decommissioning itself,“ said Kris Singh, the president of Holtec International.

„The potential for the site to be released decades sooner for redevelopment could deliver significant benefits to local community stakeholders and the local economy,“ Singh added.

Buchanan and Cortlandt recently formed a citizens advisory panel to address issues raised by the decommissioning.

“This announcement is a reality check for those that still don’t believe Indian Point Energy Center is closing,” said Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker. “This is happening. It’s very sad for the local communities. Entergy was a good corporate neighbor.”

Knickerbocker hopes the announcement means the property will be opened up for use sooner than anticipated.

Theresa Knickerbocker, the mayor of the Village of Buchanan, stands is pictured outside the Indian Point Energy Center, Dec. 5, 2017.

MARK VERGARI/THE JOURNAL NEWS

“Entergy is in the business of producing energy not decommissioning,” Knickerbocker said. “With Holtec this gives our communities hope that the decommissioning can be done quicker and the property can be returned for redevelopment sooner, which of course is critical for our tax base.”

Entergy said it would have taken the company decades to decommission the plant. The work involves dismantling the plant’s three reactors — two of which are currently in use — and transferring spent fuel to steel-and-cement dry casks housed on concrete pads the size of football fields.

There currently is no federal repository for spent nuclear fuel, leaving towns and cities across the United States to act as de facto storage facilities while more and more nuclear power plants announce plans to shut down.

Separately, Holtec is developing an interim facility to store spent fuel in New Mexico, but it could be several years before the company receives the necessary state and regulatory approvals.

The company has plans to keep on Entergy employees who qualify to work on the decommissioning but it’s unclear just how many workers will remain with the company at the time the transaction is completed.

Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said she’s pleased by the announcement and hopes it will bring new jobs to the site sooner than expected.

“It will benefit our community to bring in future industry to that site and hopefully to provide jobs for people who will be losing jobs when Entergy closes,” Puglisi said. “Doing it sooner once they get through all the regulatory permits will be a benefit to our community.”

Gaza Shoots A Rocket at the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza rocket lands on electric border fence with Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A rocket launched from the besieged Gaza Strip landed near the Israel-Gaza border fence, on Saturday evening, according to the Israeli army.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that a rocket, which was allegedly launched from Gaza, landed near the northern border of Gaza, resulting in a loud explosion.

Sources added that although the explosion occurred, sirens were not sounded in Israeli communities surrounding Gaza.

Sources confirmed that the Israeli army was deployed to the area of the explosion and discovered that the rocket landed on the Israeli side of the northern border with Gaza.

In addition, a part of the electric border fence was damaged due to the explosion.

The Sixth Seal: A Stack of Cards (Revelation 6:12)

Experts Warn NYC Could Fall Like ‚House of Cards‘ With 5.0 Earthquake

A 3-D rendering of a destroyed NYC. (Pavel Chagochkin/Dreamstime.com)

By Mike Dorstewitz    |   Wednesday, 04 April 2018 06:30 PM

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake in New York City would cause an estimated $39 billion in damage after buildings topple like a „house of cards,“ according to the Daily Mail.

And the city is overdue for a quake of that size, seismologists say. The last one was in 1884 and they occur about every 100 years.

An estimated 30 million tons of debris would litter the streets after a 5.0 earthquake in NYC , and anything bigger than that would almost certainly collapse buildings and cause loss of life to the city’s 8.5 million residents.

„The problem here comes from many subtle faults,“ said Lynn Skyes, lead author of a study by seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the New York Daily News reported. „We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.“

New York City is riddled with fault lines. The largest runs down 125th Street, extending from New Jersey to the East River. The Dyckman Street Fault runs from Inwood to Morris Heights in the Bronx. The Mosholu Parkway Fault line runs a bit farther north. The East River Fault is an especially long one, running south, skirting Central Park’s west side then heading to the East River when it hits 32nd Street.

New York’s main problem isn’t the magnitude of earthquakes, it’s how the city is built.

„Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,“ New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation wrote on its website.

O Jerusalem O Jerusalem Why? (Luke 14:34)

Orthodox Christians take part in the parade in front of Al Esbat Gate of the Jerusalem’s Old City during ‚Palm Sunday‘ celebrations in Jerusalem on 14 April 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh – Anadolu Agency]

Israel bans Gaza Christians from going to Jerusalem, Bethlehem for Easter

April 18, 2019 at 11:22 am

Israeli occupation authorities refused to issue travel permits for hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Gaza who planned to visit holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem during Passover, Safa news agency reported yesterday.

Reporting Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Safa said that Israel allowed only 200 Christians from Gaza, who are over 55 years old, to travel to Jordan only and did not issue permits for those wishing to visit the Church of Nativity in occupied Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli rights group Gisha reported complaints against the Israeli occupation regarding the restrictions imposed on people who want to travel during the Jewish Passover holiday which coincides with Easter.

“This is a flagrant violation of the freedom of movement, freedom of worship and freedom of enjoying family life for the Christians in Gaza,” Gisha said, noting that Gaza is an example of a “wider Israeli racist policy”.

According to Haaretz, Gisha said that this measure aims to deepen the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

East Coast Earthquake Preparedness

By By BEN NUCKOLS

Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT

WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.

A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.

The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.

In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.

A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.

Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.

The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.

Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.

“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.

“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.

“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.

Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.

At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.

“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”

Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.

The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.

The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.

The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.

In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.

At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”

Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.

Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.

“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”

The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.

Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.

A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.

“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”

An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.

The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.

Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.

It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.

The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.

People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.

In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.

Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.

“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.

“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”

___

Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

Iran’s Hegemonic Power in the Middle East (Daniel 8:4)

Iran superior power in region

Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, Apr. 20 (MNA) – In a meeting with Iran-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri said that under the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei Iran is the superior power in the region despite of US sanctions.

Head of Iran-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group Amir Khojasteh and accompanying delegation had a meeting with Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri on Saturday.

In the meeting, Nabih Berri said that US has sanctioned Iran over the past 40 years, but Iran has succeeded in overcoming the problems by relying on popular support, guidance of Ayatollah Khamenei and national unity, and is now the region’s superior power.

Heading a parliamentary delegation, Khojasteh arrived in Beirut on Thursday for a two-day official visit.

The Iranian Parliamentarians had also separate talks with some Palestinian officials, including the deputy leader of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas Saleh al-Aruri, Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Resistance Movement Ziad al-Nakhala and Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naeem Ghasem during their two-day visit in Beirut.

Even the IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano Warns of Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano warns nuclear weapons easier than ever to get and is monitoring vital in North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia – CBS News

Updated on: April 3, 2019 / 3:32 PM

United Nations — Nuclear weapons are easier to get than ever before, and that means new risks as more countries seek to develop their programs.

„In general terms, the technology to develop nuclear weapons is an old one, dating back 70 years, and after that lots of progress has been made in technology,“ said Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). „You can get the information, you can get the material, the education. It’s available.“

The nuclear weapons club has remained small; only a handful of countries have fully developed programs. But Amano, the world’s so-called nuke chief, warns that „the current environment“ makes it „easier for countries to proliferate.“

„That is one of the reasons why we have to strengthen our activities to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and verify that all the material and equipment stay for a peaceful purpose,“ he said.

The IAEA was formed in 1957 and is charged with promoting the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology — and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Amano, a Japanese diplomat who became head of the nuclear watchdog agency in 2009, sounded one reassuring note in a wide-ranging interview with CBS News: The threat „does not keep me up at night… the IAEA is doing its job.“

Here’s how Amano sees the state of nuclear technology in three key countries: North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

North Korea’s nuclear program advancing

Amano said that over the last decade North Korea’s „nuclear program has significantly expanded.“

„Over the past year, activities at some facilities continued or developed further,“ he said.

His comments come after warnings from South Korean officials and independent analysts that, with U.S. efforts to negotiate the „complete denuclearization“ of the Kim regime stalled, North Korea has rebuilt its primary long-range rocket test site and is also operating its main nuclear research facility.

The North has explicitly warned that it could resume nuclear and long-range missile tests.

Amano said the IAEA „is the only international organization that can verify and monitor denuclearization in an impartial, independent and objective manner,“ but with the U.S. talks — the only real current dialogue with North Korea — going nowhere, there was little hope that inspectors could enter the isolated country any time soon.

Ever hopeful, Amano noted that the IAEA was ready and able to send a team of inspectors into the country „within weeks,“ if an agreement were to be reached.

Iran still sticking to nuke deal

„I don’t see activities that are contrary to the Iran nuclear agreement … but we need to monitor very, very carefully,“ Amano said of the international agreement that the Trump administration unilaterally walked away from last year.

All of the other parties to the agreement hammered out by former President Barack Obama; Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the European Union, are still trying to keep it viable.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The IAEA has said consistently since the agreement was reached that Iran continues to abide by it, and he confirmed on Tuesday to CBS News that the agency’s „inspectors have had access to all the sites and locations in Iran which they needed to visit.“

Mr. Trump had long bashed the deal as too generous to Tehran. He pulled the U.S. out for that reason — the White House has never claimed that Tehran was in violation of the deal.

„So far they are implementing“ the agreement, Amano said of Iran. He noted that the U.S. is „a very important country, so, of course, it (the U.S. withdrawal) has impact.“

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear energy bid

Saudi Arabia is eager to join the nuclear energy community, as rapid economic development has left it hungry for electricity. The kingdom is currently reviewing bids from international companies to build its two first nuclear reactors, but it is not currently held to the most rigid international standards for nuclear oversight. That, experts and the IAEA say, is a problem.

The Trump administration has appeared keen, regardless, to push ahead and secure the contract to help build a Saudi nuclear energy program for a U.S. firm. The White House has said if the U.S. doesn’t get the contract, a country with less interest in ensuring a verifiably safe and legal nuclear program may get it instead.

Westinghouse is leading a U.S. consortium competing for the contract against companies from China, France, Russia and South Korea.

In the late 90s the IAEA adopted a new, stricter monitoring program known as the „additional protocol.“ Many countries with nuclear programs, old and new, have agreed to adhere to the new oversight mechanism, but not Saudi Arabia.

Amano said the additional protocol is, „a powerful verification tool that gives the Agency broader access to information about all parts of a State’s nuclear fuel cycle. It also gives our inspectors greater access to sites and locations, in some cases with as little as two hours‘ notice.“

Saudi Arabia insists it is only pursuing nuclear energy, not weapons, but remarks by the conservative Islamic kingdom’s future king have led to concerns that it could change its mind on that point.

Last year Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told „60 Minutes“ that his country „does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb — but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.“

„I think there is indeed a danger of a slippery slope,“ Gary Sick, senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, told CBS News. He believes Saudi Arabia should be held to the same strict standard Iran has been.

The world „should insist on the same level of assurance; (that) under no circumstances will it ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons,“ Sick told CBS News.

Brett Bruen, the former Global Engagement Director at the White House, told CBS News that Saudi Arabia „is precisely the sort of country that shouldn’t have access to our nuclear technology. Even if we see the need for an alliance of convenience against Iran and ISIS, that doesn’t necessitate that we hand over the recipe for our secret sauce.“

The IAEA has been working with Saudi Arabia for several years, and even the soft-spoken Amano wants additional verification for the kingdom.

„Not only Saudi Arabia, but I am asking all the countries to implement the additional protocol. This would increase confidence,“ Amano said.

First published on April 3, 2019 / 9:33 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pamela Falk

Pamela Falk is CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst and an international lawyer, based at the United Nations

Gaza Projectiles Fired From Outside the Temple Walls (Rev 11:2)

Gazan projectiles fired towards southern Israel – report

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

Residents in southern Israel have reported hearing sounds of an explosion after a projectile were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Saturday.

The Red Alert incoming rocket siren was not activated and according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit one projectile landed in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

On Friday, the IDF struck Hamas positions in the Strip after a gunshot was fired at IDF troops deployed along the Gaza border east of the city of Deir al-Balah during weekly border riots.

“An IDF aircraft and tank attacked two military positions belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip in response to a shot that was fired a short time ago at troops near the security fence,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

Local reports put the number of demonstrators as 6,000 Palestinians in five main spots along the fence with Israel, with some rioting along the border, throwing rocks and explosive devices.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health 46 people were injured in the clashes with IDF troops who were responding to the violent protests with riot dispersal means.

With a tense calm holding, there have been no deaths in the past two weeks during the border clashes which has seen over 200 Palestinians killed by IDF fire.

The border protests began on March 30th and has seen over half a million people violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade, congregating at points along the border range between several thousand to 45,000 each day.

The one year anniversary of the border riots last week saw some 40,000 Palestinians demonstrate along the border fence and saw three Palestinians killed by IDF fire.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, border police officers thwarted a possible stabbing attack by a 20 year-old Palestinian from the village of Sanniriya at the Tapuach junction in the West Bank on Saturday.

According to a statement released by the Police the man raised the suspicion of border police officers after he arrived at a checkpoint south of Nablus and when he was approached by the officers he fled.

One officer blocked the man’s way with a car, he pulled out a knife and attempted to open the vehicle’s door to stab him. The officer shot the suspect, seriously wounding him.

The Palestinian was evacuated to Beilinson hospital for medical treatment. There were no other injuries.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip are currently under a  week-long closure for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The military announced on Thursday that following an assessment of the current security situation, all crossing to the West Bank and Gaza will be closed to Palestinians between Friday April 19 and will last until Saturday April 27th at midnight with the exception of humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases approved by the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the territories (COGAT).

Security forces regularly step up their preparedness prior to the holidays, regularly imposing closure on the West Bank in anticipation of an uptick in tensions and violence.