Iranian Horn Enhances More Uranium (Daniel 8)


Tehran Nuclear Chief: Iran “Enhancing” Its Nuclear Program, Uranium Enrichment Process
Iran has been “enhancing” its nuclear program and bolstering its uranium enrichment capability, Iran’s atomic energy chief told a group of the country’s ambassadors and envoys in Tehran on Saturday.

“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, according to Fars news agency. He further asserted that the quality of the country’s process of uranium enrichment was improving, Tehran Times reported.

Salehi added that Iran’s nuclear program was on the “right path” and was “compatible with the strategic plans of the country,” according to the IRNA state news agency. He also said that Iran is beginning to sell its heavy water on the open market.

Salehi’s remarks recall a concern raised last year by Mark Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who warned that details leaked about the nuclear deal suggested that “eventually the regime could legally develop an industrial-size enrichment program, reducing its bomb breakout time to days and increasing the risk of uranium diversion to covert sites.” Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in his speech before Congress last year that the deal “creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal.”
President Barack Obama acknowledged last April that given the nuclear advances that Iran could achieve over the course of the deal, Iran’s nuclear “breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero” by the time that the accord expires.

Iran Horn Continues To Make Enriched Uranium


Iran says it is ‘enhancing’ nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment

Tehran nuclear chief Salehi hails technological progress, says Iran establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products

By TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF
May 14, 2016, 6:04 pm

Iran is enhancing its nuclear activities, and has improved its capacity to enrich uranium, Iran’s nuclear chief told a gathering of his country’s diplomats in Tehran on Saturday.

“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who was a key figure in the negotiation of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers.

Salehi spoke of advances in enrichment capability, asserting that the quality of process of uranium enrichment in Iran is also progressing, according to the Tehran Times.

Iran’s IRNA state news agency reported: “Salehi said that Iran’s nuclear program is on the right path naturally and compatible with the strategic plans of the country in a transparent way based on international factors.”

He also told the envoys, at a conference that focused on the nuclear deal, that Iran is establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products, including heavy water. “We have improved the country’s situation in the field of the civilian nuclear energy,” Salehi said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Iran is enhancing its nuclear activities, and has improved its capacity to enrich uranium, Iran’s nuclear chief told a gathering of his country’s diplomats in Tehran on Saturday.

“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who was a key figure in the negotiation of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers.

Salehi spoke of advances in enrichment capability, asserting that the quality of process of uranium enrichment in Iran is also progressing, according to the Tehran Times.

Iran’s IRNA state news agency reported: “Salehi said that Iran’s nuclear program is on the right path naturally and compatible with the strategic plans of the country in a transparent way based on international factors.”

He also told the envoys, at a conference that focused on the nuclear deal, that Iran is establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products, including heavy water. “We have improved the country’s situation in the field of the civilian nuclear energy,” Salehi said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Iran is enhancing its nuclear activities, and has improved its capacity to enrich uranium, Iran’s nuclear chief told a gathering of his country’s diplomats in Tehran on Saturday.

“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who was a key figure in the negotiation of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers.

Salehi spoke of advances in enrichment capability, asserting that the quality of process of uranium enrichment in Iran is also progressing, according to the Tehran Times.
Iran’s IRNA state news agency reported: “Salehi said that Iran’s nuclear program is on the right path naturally and compatible with the strategic plans of the country in a transparent way based on international factors.”
He also told the envoys, at a conference that focused on the nuclear deal, that Iran is establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products, including heavy water. “We have improved the country’s situation in the field of the civilian nuclear energy,” Salehi said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Salehi said earlier this week that Iran was negotiating with Russia to sell 40 tons of its excess heavy water.

The nuclear deal was designed to freeze and inspect Iran’s rogue nuclear program, in return for sanctions relief for the Tehran regime. Critics, notably including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have warned that, far from blocking Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves the way to an Iranian nuclear arsenal.

Even as the deal is being implemented, Iran’s leaders have kept up a barrage of aggressive rhetoric against the United States and Israel. Earlier this month, for instance, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States is the Middle East’s main enemy, with the “Zionist regime” a close second.

Speaking at a meeting in Tehran with the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Khamenei said that looking at the turmoil in the region in a “macro” sense, the US was clearly to blame, with Israel following closely behind.

Iran has also been testing ballistic missiles. In March, it tested what it said were missiles with a 2,000-kilometer range, capable of reaching Israel, inscribed with the words, “Israel must be wiped out.”

The Obama administration, which championed the Iran deal, has been under fire at home in recent days after a top presidential adviser, Ben Rhodes, reportedly told the New York Times he created an “echo chamber” of supportive experts in an effort to persuade lawmakers to back the deal. The article also claims Obama misrepresented the timeline of the negotiations in an effort to create a story line that bolstered the administration’s case.
AP contributed to this story.

The Korean Nuclear Horn Grows (Daniel 7:7)

  

North Korea Appears to Build 2nd Uranium Centrifuge Hall at Yongbyon Site

by ALEXANDER SMITH

North Korea appears to have made a major upgrade to its main nuclear facility that could double the country’s capacity to produce weapons-grade uranium, a defense analytics firm said Tuesday.

The secretive state appears to have put into operation a second centrifuge hall at its Yongbyon site, around 50 miles north of Pyongyang, according to analysis of new satellite images by IHS Jane’s.
Centrifuges are an essential part of enriching uranium used for nuclear energy plants and atomic bombs. North Korea is believed to have around 10 nuclear warheads but not the missile technology to deliver them.

“Lots of people are very concerned about North Korea’s nuclear program,” IHS Jane’s analyst Karl Dewey said. The apparent new centrifuge hall “could potentially double North Korea’s ability to produce weapons-grade uranium,” he told NBC News.

Dewey added such a development in the country’s nuclear infrastructure “further entrenches North Korea’s behavior” and would make “roll-back harder” were the country ever to engage with Western nations in non-proliferation talks.

The satellite images taken in January and February showed melted snow around the building which indicated heat coming from inside. The building also has similarities to an existing centrifuge hall that North Korea says is for energy production.

Kerry Is Wrong: Iran’s Nuclear Venture Increased Under Obama

 
19,000 Centrifuges Already Spinning’: Kerry Implies Iran’s Enrichment Capacity Grew Mostly Under Bush
 
By Patrick Goodenough | July 20, 2015 | 5:23 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State John Kerry said in a television interview screened Sunday that when President Obama came into office he was “dealt … a hand” of “19,000 [Iranian] centrifuges already spinning.”

In fact, most of the increase in Iran’s centrifuge numbers occurred under the current administration. And under the just-completed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, Iran will have the international community’s blessing to keep more centrifuges than it had when Obama entered the White House.

In one of a series of interviews taped Friday as part of the administration’s effort to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American people and Congress, Kerry told CNN’s State of the Union that Iran has “12,000 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium, and that’s enough if they enriched it further for 10 to 12 bombs.” (Iran in fact has 12,000 kg of low-enriched uranium).

“They had it,” Kerry continued. “That’s what Barack Obama was dealt as a hand when he came in: 19,000 centrifuges already spinning; a country that had already mastered the fuel cycle; a country that already was threshold in the sense that they are only two months away from breakout.”

Kerry’s claim does not align with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) data. Its regular Iran “safeguards reports” show that most of the growth in the number of first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Iran’s main fuel enrichment plant at Natanz occurred after January 2009, when Obama took office.
Centrifuges spin at high speeds to enrich uranium to varying degrees, providing fuel for nuclear reactors or, in the case of very high levels of enrichment, producing a key ingredient for an atomic bomb.

According to IAEA reports, the number of IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz – including those installed but not operating and those installed and being fed with uranium hexafluoride (UF6) – did climb significantly during the George W. Bush administration, reaching 2,132 in May 2007, and then 5,537 by the time Obama arrived at the White House in early 2009.

But within months they had increased to 7,216, and by the end of that year reached 8,692.
By Feb. 2012 the IAEA was reporting 9,156 IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz and by Nov. 2012, 10,414.
By mid-2013 the number had shot up to 15,416, and from May last year until the most recent report, in May 2015, the IAEA has reported an unchanged total of 15,420.

In addition to those centrifuges, Iran has also installed – during the Obama administration years – second generation IR-2m centrifuges at Natanz. It had 180 in place in early 2013, and expanded that quantity to 1,008 by Aug. 2013, the same number it has today.

And at the Fordow enrichment plant, the covertly-built underground facility first made public in the fall of 2009, Iran has installed 2,710 more IR-1 centrifuges, according to the IAEA.

Those three figures – 15,420 IR-1s at Natanz, 1,008 IR-2ms at Natanz, and 2,710 IR-1s at Fordow – together account for the roughly 19,000 (19,138) centrifuges usually cited in discussions about the Iranian program today, and the figure Kerry used in the interview broadcast Sunday.

Under the JCPOA reached in Vienna this month, Iran has agreed to reduce its total number of centrifuges to 6,104 for the next ten years.

These will include 5,060 IR-1s at Natanz, where the remaining centrifuges “will be stored under IAEA continuous monitoring,” and 1,004 IR-1s at Fordow, where only one-third of them will be allowed to operate, and with restrictions.

Iran will therefore be permitted to keep more centrifuges under the JCPOA than it possessed when Obama came into office.

Six U.N. Security Council resolutions passed between 2006 and 2010 – five under the Bush administration and one under the Obama administration – demanded that Iran suspend “all” enrichment.

However, they are all due to be replaced by a single Security Council resolution enshrining the JCPOA, with a vote expected as early as Monday.

Obama Needs To Use Red Mark Erasers (Eze 17)

 

Team Obama just crossed its own nuclear red line

By Post Editorial Board
June 19, 2015 | 7:42pm

Yet another Obama red line has been crossed. Only this time, Team Obama are the ones who crossed it.

Secretary of State John Kerry this week threw in the towel on a requirement that he long called essential to any nuke agreement with Iran: requiring Tehran to account for all of its past nuclear work.

Never mind, he now says: “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another.

“We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in,” he added.

No, we don’t — as everyone who’s worked on the issue will tell you. They’ll also tell you that, absent that accounting, it’ll be impossible to verify if Iran is complying with any deal.

Kerry’s statement is a 180 from what he said just weeks ago. Asked in April about the insistence that Iran disclose its past military-related nuclear activity, he replied: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.”

Iran’s nuke program long predates 2003, when the world first learned of it.

If we don’t know what they were doing then, there’s no way to tell if they’ve stopped. As former CIA Director Michael Hayden said, Kerry is “pretending we have perfect knowledge about something that was an incredibly tough intelligence target when I was director, and I see nothing that has made it any easier.”

Little wonder, then, that the State Department insists Kerry’s comments don’t reflect “any kind of concession or change in policy.”

For months, Kerry and President Obama promised the country — and skeptics in Congress — that they wouldn’t take a deal that didn’t include full Iranian disclosure. Now, plainly, Tehran’s refusing to go along — yet our leaders so want some deal that they’ll swallow it, and then lie.

The question is, are key leaders on Capitol Hill — we’re talking to you, Sen. Chuck Schumer — going to pretend they buy the lie?

Giving More Concessions To Iran (Eze 17)

  

Negotiators may let Iran slide on past nuclear work

BY: Charles Hoskinson June 12, 2015 | 12:52 pm

The Obama administration and its international negotiating partners appear willing to sign a nuclear deal with Iran that would not require Tehran to come clean on possible past work to develop a nuclear weapon, which experts have called crucial to ensuring any agreement can be verified.

The Associated Press, citing Western and U.S. officials, reported Thursday that members of the P5+1 group — the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China — were prepared to accept a deal that does not immediately answer questions about Iran’s past nuclear weapons program, in spite of the administration’s insistence that those questions must be resolved in any agreement.

As negotiators race to meet a July 1 deadline, this apparent concession will likely cause problems for the administration in Congress, where lawmakers have heard months of testimony from neutral experts saying this is a crucial element in verifying under any agreement that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.

Once an agreement is signed, lawmakers will have 30 days to review it and decide whether to reject it. Obama can veto any rejection. The ability to verify a deal has been a major bipartisan concern, and may sway the votes of Democrats in whose hands the fate of any agreement will ultimately rest.

Iran is required by U.N. Security Council resolutions to detail any past secret work on nuclear weapons, which is believed to have ended more than a decade ago. But the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Tehran has not complied with that requirement.

Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who has emerged as the leading Democratic critic of the deal, noted the lack of progress in a floor speech Thursday.

“We can’t trust Iran to abide by its agreements or to abide by United Nations resolutions even when they are in the midst of negotiations, when you think they’d be behaving the best,” he said. “Why do we think we can trust them if they are violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, which is the world, not the U.S., not even the P5+1, but the world, telling them ‘you can’t do these things?’”

“Iran…needs to be held responsible for its commitments — forget about its word — its commitments. There can be no slippage, no delays, no obfuscation.”

Any concession on this issue may also cause a split in the negotiating group, most notably with France, which has taken a hard line on this issue. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said May 27 that it would be a deal-breaker if Iran denies access to military sites, backing up the IAEA’s interpretation of Iran’s obligations. He was reacting to comments a week earlier by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that ruled out such access.

Obama In The Dark Again (Daniel 8:4)

obama-cluelessSurprise: Iran’s supply of enriched uranium has grown 20% since last year despite Obama’s claim that it was “frozen”

posted at 11:21 am on June 2, 2015 by Allahpundit

“Western officials and experts cannot quite figure out why,” notes the Times, despite the fact that UN inspectors have had “almost daily access” to Iranian nuclear facilities. These are the same inspectors we’ll be relying on to detect whether Iran’s cheating once the final deal is in effect. If they can’t tell why a stash of nuclear fuel right under their noses is growing, what don’t they know about projects that Iran has worked harder to conceal?

As a preface to the news, here’s a suddenly memorable quote from this year’s State of the Union: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” Over to you, NYT:

With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been “frozen” during that period…
The 2013 plan for capping the stockpile relied on Iran’s stated plan to build a “conversion plant” at its sprawling nuclear complex at Isfahan. The plant was intended to turn newly enriched uranium into oxide powder, the first step toward making reactor fuel rods. In other words, while the stockpile would not be reduced, it also should not have grown…
What remains unknown is the cause of the bottleneck at the new plant: technical problems, Iranian foot-dragging, or some combination of the two. The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington research group, wrote in an analysis on Friday that Iranian officials say the plant’s final stage “did not work properly,” prompting the delay…
Presiding over the plant’s opening last August, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran had successfully overcome industrial sabotage, a long rumored way the West has sought to slow Tehran’s nuclear program.

Says Andrew Stiles, if today’s story only “partially” undercuts Obama’s claims, what would have to happen to totally undercut it?

Two theories, then. One: Iran’s deliberately building up its uranium stockpile to spook the west and make them more amenable to concessions when the final deal is struck this month. Two: Iran’s trying to get rid of some of its uranium by converting it into nuclear fuel rods, which are harmless for bomb-making purposes — but something’s stopping them, possibly some sort of western Stuxnet-style sabotage. Except, of course, it’d be nuts for the west to prevent Iran from reducing its supply of potential bomb material; the sabotage nonsense being spouted is either propaganda designed to disguise Iran’s own technical incompetence or a convenient cover story for the fact that they’re building up their uranium supply deliberately. And the more it builds, the harder it gets for Obama to sell this final-deal abortion back home in the U.S. He’ll still get it through Congress, of course — Bob Corker’s sellout Senate bill, which allows any deal to be implemented so long as just one-third of the chamber supports it, will see to that. But the more it looks like Iran’s already cheating by making a liar of Obama on his “we stopped the program!” claims, the more politically painful making this deal will be for O among American voters. I hope that humiliation is worth it to Iran: By making a joke out of O, they’re also making it harder for Hillary to get elected next year, and Hillary’s far more likely than any Republican except Rand Paul to keep a dubious agreement with Iran intact.

The obvious question now: If their uranium stockpile is growing because there really is some innocent technical glitch at the “conversion plant,” why doesn’t Iran make a goodwill gesture to its western negotiation partners by either secretly freezing uranium enrichment until the glitch is resolved or quietly handing over the new uranium that they’re enriching to the UN for safekeeping somewhere inside the country? They wouldn’t want to do either of those things publicly for fear of losing face among the Iranian public but they could presumably do both surreptitiously, to reassure western powers until the conversion plant is functioning properly. How come they haven’t?

While you mull that, skip to 0:55 for Obama’s answer to an Israeli reporter when asked why a military solution wouldn’t be more likely to stop Iran’s program. That won’t work now, says O; all it would do is temporarily set back Iran’s program. Which is funny, because that’s all Obama’s nuclear deal would do too. Ten years from now, Iran can go right back to cranking out enriched uranium with the west’s blessing, albeit with far more efficient centrifuges than they’re using now. And really, if O’s going to nudge Israel that a military attack won’t work at this point, shouldn’t he acknowledge that it’s partly his own administration’s fault that that’s true? His deputies aren’t even coy about it. They’ll tell you flat out, when they’re not busy mocking Netanyahu as a “chickensh*t” for not bombing Iran when he had the chance.

Iran’s Nuclear Stockpile Continues To Grow (Dan 8:4)

uranium-enrichment\
Iran’s Nuclear Stockpile Grows, Complicating Negotiations
By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROADJUNE 1, 2015

WASHINGTON — With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been “frozen” during that period.

But Western officials and experts cannot quite figure out why. One possibility is that Iran has run into technical problems that have kept it from converting some of its enriched uranium into fuel rods for reactors, which would make the material essentially unusable for weapons. Another is that it is increasing its stockpile to give it an edge if the negotiations fail.

The extent to which Iran’s stockpile has increased was documented in a report issued Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations organization that monitors compliance with nuclear treaties. The agency’s inspectors, who have had almost daily access to most of Iran’s nuclear production facilities, reported finding no evidence that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon, and said Tehran had halted work on facilities that could have given it bomb-making capabilities.

Since atomic negotiations began a year and a half ago, Iran has slowly increased the size of its uranium stockpile, which can fuel either reactors or bombs.

The overall increase in Iran’s stockpile poses a major diplomatic and political challenge for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who flew back to the United States from Geneva on Monday for treatment of a broken leg he suffered in a bicycling accident, as they enter a 30-day push to try to complete an agreement by the end of June. In essence, the administration will have to convince Congress and America’s allies that Iran will shrink its stockpile by 96 percent in a matter of months after a deal is signed, even while it continues to produce new material and has demonstrated little success in reducing its current stockpile.

“From the U.S. perspective, it’s obviously less than ideal,” said Richard M. Nephew, an Iran specialist at Columbia University, who worked at the White House and State Department. Mr. Nephew said the enlarged stockpile was not a deal breaker because Iran could find a way of solving the problem, especially if it was offered sanctions relief.

A major element of the forthcoming deal, if it is completed, permits Iran to maintain a stockpile of only 300 kilograms, or about 660 pounds, of nuclear fuel, less than would be needed to make a single weapon.

That means Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, would have to rid itself of more than nine tons of its stockpile in a matter of months. One easy solution would be to ship the fuel out of the country, but that is a politically fraught topic for the Iranians — and one that their deputy negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, ruled out in March.

“There is no question of sending the stocks abroad,” Mr. Araqchi said at the time. A State Department statement released a few days later that outlined the preliminary agreement reached at a marathon session in Lausanne, Switzerland, was silent on the question of how the reduction would be realized.

Administration officials said nothing publicly about the atomic energy agency’s report. But several officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the Iranians understood that under a final agreement they would commit to giving up almost all of their fuel and maintaining a small stockpile for 15 years.

“How are they going to do it?” one senior American official said recently when asked about the negotiations, details of which Mr. Kerry and his team are trying to keep confidential. “We’re not certain. It’s their problem, not ours. But it’s a problem.”

Nonetheless, officials say they expect the radical reduction of Iran’s stockpile to happen in the opening months of any agreement, either by shipping it out of the country or changing it into a form that would make it impossible to re-enrich and use as a weapon.

Mr. Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Geneva on Saturday to discuss how the stockpile would be destroyed and other impediments to a final deal. Mr. Kerry was joined at the talks by Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, who will have to certify to Congress that the deal ensures that Iran will remain at least a year away from being able to produce a weapon’s worth of bomb fuel over the next decade, a complex calculation in which the size of Iran’s stockpile is a major factor.

Other elements of Iran’s program, however, have been frozen or rolled back. Construction has stopped on a major plutonium reactor, and it is undergoing a redesign to make it less threatening. And while Iran has installed about 20,000 centrifuges at its enrichment plants, roughly half are idle. Of the fuel that the United States worries about most — because it was enriched to a level a short step away from bomb-grade — half has been diluted, and the rest is being turned into reactor fuel.

There is little doubt that in the absence of the interim accord, called the “Joint Plan of Action,” Iran would have made even greater strides. But the numbers published Friday by the atomic energy agency show that Iran has continued to enrich uranium aggressively, even though it knew that it was not meeting its goals of converting its stockpile into reactor rods.

The question is: How much of the increased stockpile was done for political reasons, and how much is because adding to the stockpile has proved easier than eliminating it?

The 2013 plan for capping the stockpile relied on Iran’s stated plan to build a “conversion plant” at its sprawling nuclear complex at Isfahan. The plant was intended to turn newly enriched uranium into oxide powder, the first step toward making reactor fuel rods. In other words, while the stockpile would not be reduced, it also should not have grown.

As the Bipartisan Policy Center, a research group in Washington, said in February, “Iran has failed” to do the conversion. As a result, it added, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, compared with when the preliminary accord went into effect, was growing “significantly larger.”

Key developments since the United States, its negotiating partners and Iran agreed to a nuclear framework in April.
 
Saudi Arabia said it would match Iran’s nuclear capability.
  Iran’s supreme leader ruled out inspection of military sites and interviews with scientists.
  France said such inspections were essential for a deal.
  Wendy R. Sherman, the chief United States negotiator with Iran, said she planned to step down after the June 30 deadline.
  Iran began the trial of a Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, on espionage charges, perhaps as leverage in negotiations.

(A small part of the increase came from Iran’s compliance with another part of the agreement, under which it took part of its small stockpile of medium-enriched fuel, the one closest to bomb grade, and converted it to low-enriched fuel, lengthening the timeline necessary to use it for a weapon.)

What remains unknown is the cause of the bottleneck at the new plant: technical problems, Iranian foot-dragging, or some combination of the two. The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington research group, wrote in an analysis on Friday that Iranian officials say the plant’s final stage “did not work properly,” prompting the delay.

The Iranians themselves tell a more complicated story.

Presiding over the plant’s opening last August, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran had successfully overcome industrial sabotage, a long rumored way the West has sought to slow Tehran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Obama must decide when to lift the harshest of the sanctions against Iran. If he lifts the sanctions, even partially, before Iran has destroyed or shipped all but the last small amount of uranium, he might lose leverage in ensuring that Iran complies with the rest of its pledge.

On the other hand, waiting too long risks unraveling a deal, especially if ordinary Iranians see no economic benefits from cooperation.

For his part, Mr. Obama seems focused on the long-term question: Can he prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon for the remainder of his term and that of his successor?

With the stockpiles and the number of operating centrifuges reduced, “we know that even if they wanted to cheat, we would have at least a year, which is about three times longer than we’d have right now,” to react, Mr. Obama told Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times, in April, “and we would have insights into their programs that we’ve never had before.”

David E. Sanger reported from Washington, and William J. Broad from New York.

Trying To Put The Genie Back In The Bottle (Dan 8:3)

Uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, Iran

World powers look for rigid restrictions on Iran’s centrifuge development in talks

Senior German official tells Haaretz that ‘R&D is a big deal,’ so that breakout time for bomb isn’t too quick.

By Barak Ravid

Published 06:00 05.05.15
 
The six world powers negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran want the agreement to include rigid restrictions on Iran’s research and development work on advanced centrifuges, both during the agreement’s first 10 years and for some years thereafter, a senior German official familiar with the talks told Haaretz.

 

“R&D is a big deal,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the negotiations. “The final deal must include clear restrictions on R&D, so that enrichment capacity does not go through the roof.”

The official said the German government is in regular contact with its Israeli counterpart over the nuclear negotiations, at the level of both experts and politicians. National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen will arrive in Berlin today for talks, with Iran top of the list.
The issue of research and development is one of Israel’s primary concerns about the emerging nuclear deal, which is supposed to be finalized by June 30. Iran’s research on advanced centrifuges could significantly shorten its breakout time – the time it would need to build a nuclear weapon if it decided to eject UN inspectors and start enriching uranium at full speed, to the necessary level of 90 percent.
Currently, Iran’s breakout time is about two to three months. Under the emerging deal between Iran and the P5+1, its breakout time is supposed to be at least a year for the next 10 years.
Most of Iran’s centrifuges are older models, though it has a few newer models that can enrich uranium three or four times faster. Under the emerging deal, Iran would be able to use only its older centrifuges for the first 10 years.
But the Iranians are currently developing even more advanced models that could enrich uranium six to eight times faster than the older ones. Tehran is demanding that its R&D work on new centrifuges be allowed to continue unhindered. But the six powers fear that if R&D continues at the pace it has until now, then when the agreement expires, Iran will have highly advanced centrifuges that would let it enrich enough uranium for a bomb very quickly.
Two weeks ago, the nuclear negotiations resumed in Vienna for the first time since a framework deal was reached in Lausanne last month. Tehran had been furious over the fact sheet the White House distributed on the Lausanne framework. Consequently, the P5+1 had feared domestic pressure might cause the Iranians to renege on some of the understandings, the German official said. But that didn’t happen. “The last round of talks in Vienna was positive,” he said. “There were concerns that the Iranians might backtrack on some of the understandings from Lausanne, and they didn’t.
“Lausanne was a big step forward and we closed many gaps, and we have a good basis for the last steps toward a comprehensive agreement,” he added. “The feeling in Vienna was that everybody wants to get a deal by June 30, and that this is possible.”
But R&D isn’t the only unresolved issue. Another is what powers International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will have. “Inspections and transparency are crucial,” the official said. “This must not be a deal that gives Iran the benefit of the doubt. That is why IAEA inspectors will get far-reaching access. However, the Iranians know that we have red lines and that we will not give up our principles just to get a deal,” he added. “The Iranians also need a deal, they must deliver to their people.”


Babylon Blind To Britain’s Warnings (Ezekiel 17)

 Britain tells UN Iran trying to buy nuclear technology
Iran is actively trying to buy nuclear technology through blacklisted companies, according to a confidential United Nations (UN) report, citing information from the British government.
The claims — which if true would violate UN sanctions — were made to a UN panel of experts just weeks after world powers reached a framework deal with Iran on curbing its nuclear program.
“The UK government informed the panel on the 20 April 2015 that it ‘is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)’,” the report, seen by AFP, said.
“Given the late communication, the panel could not independently investigate the above information.”

The United Nations has slapped a series of sanctions on Iran over its failure to address international concerns about its nuclear program and suspicions that it could have military purposes.

KEC is on a UN list of blacklisted Iranian companies for its ties to the nuclear program.    



The report was presented to the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee on April 21, just as negotiators from the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany – began work on finalizing the nuclear deal.


The panel noted that overall there had been few reported violations of UN sanctions.
It might be linked, inter alia, to a decrease in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prohibited activities and restraint on the part of member-states so as not to affect the negotiations process” for the nuclear deal, the report said.
World powers have set June 30 as the deadline for finalizing the agreement that would end one of the most vexing disputes in international diplomacy and could open the door to revamping relations with Iran.