Pakistan And India Increase Nukes Too (Dan 8:8)

 

India, Pakistan Expanding Nuclear Arsenal Despite Global Disarmament Trend: Report

By ANI Published: 15th June 2015 03:24 PM Last Updated: 15th June 2015 03:24 PM

KARACHI: India and Pakistan are reportedly expanding their nuclear arsenal, despite a global trend towards disarmament, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said.

An annual disarmament report prepared by the Swedish institute, which is dedicated to research into conflict, armaments and arms control, said that though the number of warheads fell from 22,600 to 15,850 between 2010 and 2015 but India (90 to 100 warheads) and Pakistan (100 to 120 warheads) undertook “extensive and expensive long-term modernisation programmes,” reported the Dawn.
SIPRI researcher Shannon Kile has said that the trend demonstrated that the nuclear weapon-possessing states were still reluctant to relinquish their arsenals in the foreseeable future.

The report pointed out that the other three nuclear armed states recognized by the 1968 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, China (260 warheads), France (300 warheads) and Britain (215 warheads), were neither developing or deploying new weapon systems or have declared their intentions to do so. It added that China was the only global nuclear power that had a ‘modest’ increase in the size of its arsenal.

The institute noted that North Korea was believed to be developing its arsenal of six to eight warheads but added that it was difficult to assess ‘technical progress.’

The report came as the five nuclear powers and UN Security Council members, including the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France, along with Germany, are holding talks with Iran to persuade the country to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

The Nuclear Horns of the East (Dan 7:7)

  

North Korea’s Serious New Nuclear Missile Threat

by Peter Huessy
June 11, 2015 at 5:00 am

North Korea appears to have made significant progress in extending its capability as a nuclear-armed rogue nation, to where its missiles may become capable of hitting American cities with little or no warning.

What new evidence makes such a threat compelling?

North Korea claims to have nuclear warheads small enough to fit on their ballistic missiles and missiles capable of being launched from a submerged platform such as a submarine.

Shortly after North Korea’s April 22, 2015 missile test, which heightened international concern about the military capabilities of North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and our regional allies to restart the 2003 “six-party talks” aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and reining in North Korea’s expanding nuclear missile program.

There are some “experts,” however, who believe that North Korea’s threat is highly exaggerated and poses no immediate danger to the United States. Consequently, many believe that, given China’s oft-repeated support for a “nuclear weapons free” Korean peninsula, time is on America’s side to get an agreement that will guarantee just such a full de-nuclearization.

But, if North Korea’s technical advances are substantive, its missiles, armed with small nuclear weapons, might soon be able to reach the continental United States — not just Hawaii and Alaska. Further, if such missile threats were to come from submarines near the U.S., North Korea would be able to launch a surprise nuclear-armed missile attack on an American city. In this view, time is not on the side of the U.S. Submarine-launched missiles come without a “return address” to indicate what country or terrorist organization fired the missile.

The implications for American security do not stop there. As North Korea is Iran’s primary missile-development partner, whatever North Korea can do with its missiles and nuclear warheads, Iran will presumably be able to do as well. One can assume the arrangement is reciprocal.

Given recent warnings that North Korea may have upwards of 20 nuclear warheads, the United States seems to be facing a critical new danger. Would renewed negotiations with China, Japan, South Korea and North Korea really be able to address this threat?

Two years ago, Andrew Tarantola and Brian Barrett said there was “no reason to panic;” that North Korea was “a long way off” — in fact “years” — before its missiles and nuclear weapons could be “put together in any meaningful way.”

At the same time, in April 2013, an official U.S. assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency stated the U.S. had “moderate” confidence that “North Korea had indeed developed a nuclear device small enough to mount on a ballistic missile.”

That was followed up two years later, on April 7, 2015, when the commander of Northcom, Admiral Bill Gortney, one of the nation’s leading homeland security defenders, said the threat was considerably more serious. He noted that, “North Korea has deployed its new road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile and was capable of mounting a miniaturized nuclear warhead on it.”[1]

At a Pentagon press briefing in April, Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander of the US Strategic Command and America’s senior military expert on nuclear deterrence and missile defense, said it was important to take seriously reports that North Korea can now make small nuclear warheads and put them on their ballistic missiles.[2]

And sure enough, in April, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submerged platform. Media reaction to the North Korean test has been confused. Reuters, citing the analysis of two German “experts,” claimed the North Korean test was fake — a not-too-clever manipulation of video images.

The Wall Street Journal, on May 21, 2015, echoed this view, noting: “[F]or evidence of North Korea’s bending of reality to drum up fears about its military prowess,” one need look no further than a consensus that North Korea “doctored” pictures of an alleged missile test from a submarine. This, they claimed, was proof that the “technology developments” by North Korea were nothing more than elaborately faked fairy tales.

However, Israeli missile defense expert Uzi Rubin — widely known as the “father” of Israel’s successful Arrow missile defense program — explained to this author that previous North Korean missile developments, which have often been dismissed as nothing more than mocked-up missiles made of plywood, actually turned out to be the real thing — findings confirmed by subsequent intelligence assessments.

Rubin, as well as the South Korean Defense Ministry, insist that on April 22, the North Korean military did, in fact, launch a missile from a submerged platform.[3]

What gave the “faked” test story some prominence were the misunderstood remarks of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James Winnefeld. He had said, on May 19, that the North Korean missile launch was “not all” that North Korea said it was. He also mentioned that North Korea used clever video editors to “crop” the missile test-launch images. Apparently, that was exactly what the editors did. The Admiral, however, never claimed in his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies there had been no successful missile test.[4]

The same day, a high-ranking State Department official, Frank Rose — Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance — told a Korean security seminar on Capitol Hill that North Korea had successfully conducted a “missile ejection” test, but from an underwater barge rather than a submarine.[5]

To confuse matters further, additional pictures were released by the South Korean media to illustrate stories about the North Korean test. Those pictures, however, were of American missiles, which use both solid and liquid propellant; as a result, one photo showed a U.S. missile with a solid propellant smoke trail and one, from a liquid propellant, without a smoke trail. These photographs apparently befuddled Reuters’ “experts,” who may have jumped to the conclusion that the photos of the North Korean test were “faked,” when they were simply of entirely different missile tests, and had been used only to “illustrate” ocean-going missile launches and not the actual North Korean test.[6]

According to Uzi Rubin, to achieve the capability to eject a missile from an underwater platform is a significant technological advancement. The accomplishment again illustrates “that rogue states such as North Korea can achieve military capabilities which pose a notable threat to the United States and its allies.”

Rubin also stated that the North Korean underwater launch test was closely related to the development of a missile-firing submarine, “a first step in achieving a very serious and dangerous new military capability.”[7]

Admiral Winnefeld and Secretary Rose, in their remarks, confirmed that the North Korean test was not the “dog and pony show” some have claimed. In other words, the U.S. government has officially confirmed that the North Koreans have made a serious step toward producing a sea-launched ballistic missile capability.

While such an operational capability may be “years away,” Rubin warns that “even many years eventually pass, and it will also take many years to build up the missile defenses, so we had better use the time wisely.”[8]

Will diplomacy succeed in stopping the North Korean threats? U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to think it worth a try; so he began the push to restart the old 2003 “six-party” talks between the United States, North Korea, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan, to bring North Korea’s nuclear weapons under some kind of international control and eventual elimination.

After all, supporters of such talks claim, similar talks with Iran appear to be leading to some kind of “deal” with Tehran, to corral its nuclear weapons program, so why not duplicate that effort and bring North Korea back into the non-nuclear fold?

What such a “deal,” if any, with Iran, will contain, is at this point unknown. Celebrations definitely seem premature. If the “deal” with North Korea is as “successful” as the P5+1’s efforts to rein in Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program, the prognosis for the success of diplomacy could scarcely be more troubling.

Bloomberg’s defense writer, Tony Carpaccio, reflecting Washington’s conventional wisdom, recently wrote that of course China will rein in North Korea’s nuclear program: “What might be a bigger preventative will be the protestations of China, North Korea’s primary trade partner and only prominent international ally. Making China angry would put an already deeply impoverished, isolated North Korea in even more dire straits.”

North Korea’s Nuclear Program (Dan 7:7)

 

U.S. believes N. Korea has secret nuclear facilities

2015-06-08 08:12
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North Korea is believed to have secret nuclear facilities unknown to the outside world in addition to those at the country’s main Yongbyon nuclear complex, the State Department said in a report.

The department’s 2015 Report on Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control,

Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments also said that Pyongyang appears to have no intention to comply with its denuclearization commitments.

The Yongbyon complex houses the North’s 5-megawatt reactor and other facilities that have provided the communist regime with weapons-grade plutonium, with which the regime has conducted three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

The North also has a light water reactor under construction and uranium enrichment facilities at the complex that could provide the country with a second source of fissile material that can be used in building nuclear bombs.

In addition to these facilities at Yongbyon, the communist nation has long been suspected of running clandestine nuclear facilities in other parts of the country, such as additional uranium enrichment facilities.

“The United States believes there is a clear likelihood of additional unidentified nuclear facilities in the DPRK,” the State Department report said, referring to the North by its official name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The report also noted that the North restarted the 5-megawatt reactor in 2013 and that the light water reactor under construction could give the North “a justification to possess uranium enrichment technology that could potentially be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.”

“The United States consistently urged North Korea to respond to diplomatic efforts to create the conditions necessary for the resumption of the six-party talks, premised on a demonstrated DPRK commitment to make meaningful progress toward denuclearization,” the report said.

“DPRK statements and activities during the reporting period did not signal any intention or commitment to denuclearization.”

Nuclear Ban Conference = FAIL (Rev 16)

vanunu-iran-israeli-nukes-cartoon

Middle East nuclear weapons ban proposal stumbles at U.N.

Tue May 12, 2015 1:50am BST

By Louis Charbonneau
Western officials said Arab proposals drafted by Egypt for a major nuclear non-proliferation conference at United Nations headquarters in New York could torpedo the process and push Israel to walk away
Israel neither confirms nor denies the widespread assumption that it controls the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Israel, which has never joined the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), agreed to take part in NPT meetings Monday as an observer, ending a 20-year absence.
The head of Egypt’s delegation, Assistant Foreign Minister Hashim Badr, rejected any suggestion that Cairo was a spoiler and insisted that he wanted to move the process forward, not kill it.
“Egypt has come to New York to secure a conference (on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East), we want a conference,” Badr said in an interview. “This is a key issue for Egypt for a long time, for decades, since 1974-75.” 
Egypt, in a proposal officially backed by all Arab countries and outlined in a “working paper” submitted by Arab delegations, called for Jaakko Laajava, the U.N. coordinator for organising the conference, to be dismissed. The 2010 NPT review meeting had called for a Middle East conference in 2012, but it never took place.
Egypt’s proposal said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should convene a conference on a regional ban of weapons of mass destruction within 180 days after the NPT conference ends on May 22 and demanded that Israel immediately join the NPT as a non-nuclear arms state.
Despite the official backing of Arab delegations, several diplomats, including two Arabs, told Reuters that Saudi Arabia, Iraq and United Arab Emirates have reservations about Egypt’s proposal. “Egypt wants to be in charge,” a diplomat said.
Israel’s delegation declined to comment on the proposal.
The Jewish state has said it would consider inspections and controls under the NPT only if was at peace with its Arab neighbours and Iran.
Washington and Israel say it is Iran’s nuclear programme that threatens the region. Iran says its programme is peaceful. It is negotiating with world powers to curb it in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Finnish diplomat Laajava managed to get Israel, Arab states and Iran to attend a preparatory session in the Swiss city of Glion in October 2013. Western officials cite that as progress.
Washington has not given up hope. “We have seen significant progress in the regional consultations that have taken place,” a U.S. official said.
Arab delegates said Israel was not serious about a conference on banning weapons of mass destruction. Israel has conditioned its participation on an agenda being agreed in advance and says it wants to discuss regional security, conventional weapons and the Middle East peace process.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Grant McCool and Ken Wills)

Khamenei Probably Won’t Live To See Nuclear Deal

 
 Iran’s Khamenei says no guarantee of nuclear deal

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Thursday 9 April 2015

Tehran: A framework nuclear deal reached with world powers last week is no guarantee a full agreement will be reached by the end of June, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday.

“What has been done so far does not guarantee an agreement, nor its contents, nor even that the negotiations will continue to the end,” Khamenei, who has the final word on all matters of state, said according to his official website.

Last week, Tehran and the six powers agreed on the framework of a deal to be finalized by the end of June reining in Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.
“Everything is in the detail, it may be that the other side, which is unfair, wants to limit our country in the details,” Khamenei said.

He said he had not taken any position until now as “there is nothing to take a stance on.”

Officials say that nothing has been done yet and there is nothing binding. I am neither for nor against.”
Under the outline text agreed last week between Iran and the six powers — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany — Iran must significantly reduce its number of centrifuges in exchange for a suspension of sanctions.

The outline was a major breakthrough in a 12-year international crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, although a final deal has yet to be reached.

Khamenei said: “I have always supported and still support the Iranian negotiating team.

“I welcome any agreement that protects the interests and greatness of the nation, but having no agreement is more honorable than an agreement in which the interests and greatness of the nation is damaged.”

He said that retaining a civil nuclear industry in any agreement with the powers was vital for Iran’s future development.

“The nuclear industry is a necessity, for energy production, for desalination, and in the fields of medicine, agriculture and other sectors,” he said.

When Iran’s Nuclear Negotiations Fail (Daniel 7)

U.S. says to impose more sanctions if no Iran nuclear deal

Kerry
WASHINGTON | Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:03pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will work with Congress to impose further sanctions on Iran if a nuclear deal is not reached, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Thursday, just weeks before a deadline for a political accord.

Iran and six world powers are seeking an agreement ahead of an end-March deadline to curb Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years in exchange for a gradual end to sanctions on Tehran.

U.S. lawmakers have been concerned the White House would cut Congress out of any nuclear deal, and would treat Iran too lightly.

“Our team stands ready to raise the costs on Iran substantially should it make clear that it is unwilling to address the international community’s concerns,” said Adam Szubin, the acting head of Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Speaking before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Szubin also said the United States will remove sanctions on Iran only in stages as part of a nuclear deal, tied to Tehran’s “verifiable” steps in curbing its nuclear activities.

Even if a deal is reached, Washington still plans to keep sanctions tied to Iran’s support for militant groups, human rights abuses and other “destabilizing” activities in the Middle East, he said.
A letter signed by 47 Republican senators warned Iran that any nuclear deal with U.S. President Barack Obama could last only as long as he remained in office, in an unusual intervention into U.S. foreign policy-making.

“We are committed to working with Congress to ensure that our sanctions continue to serve our national security goals, whether to ensure that Iran abides by the conditions of a deal … or to raise the costs substantially if Iran demonstrates that further negotiations are futile,” Szubin said.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Was Just A Short Delay Of The Prophecy (Rev 16)

NPT spoof

 

BY RAMESH THAKUR

In contrast to the total and scandalous failure of its 2005 predecessor, the Eighth Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference of May 2010 was a modest success.
By the end of 2012, as reported in my Centre’s inaugural “Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play” report, much of this sense of optimism had evaporated. By the end of 2014, as our followup report “Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015″ documents, the fading optimism has given way to pessimism.
North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in early 2013 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is yet to enter into force.
Cyber threats to nuclear weapons systems have intensified, outer space remains at risk of nuclearization, and the upsurge of geopolitical tensions over the crisis in Ukraine produced flawed conclusions about the folly of giving up nuclear weapons on the one hand, and open reminders about Russia’s substantial nuclear arsenal, on the other.
As part of the Global Attitudes survey conducted by the U.S. Pew Research Center from March 17 to June 5, 2014, a total of 48,643 respondents in 44 countries were asked which one of the following five poses the gravest threat to the world: nuclear weapons, inequality, religious-ethnic hatred, environmental pollution, or AIDS and other diseases?
No Latin American country has nuclear weapons The continent’s anti-nuclear commitment was reinforced by the negotiation of the regional nuclear-weapon-free zone in 1967 under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which consolidates and deepens the NPT prohibitions on getting the bomb.
Since then virtually the entire Southern Hemisphere has embraced additional comparable zones in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Consequently looking out at the world from our vantage point, we see no security upsides by way of benefits from nuclear weapons; only risks.
Indeed it helps to conceptualize the nuclear weapons challenge in the language of risks. Originally many countries acquired the bomb in order to help manage national security risks.
As the four famous strategic heavyweights of Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry and George Shultz — all card-carrying realists — have argued in a series of five influential articles in The Wall Street Journal between 2007 and 2013, the risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism posed by the existence of nuclear weapons far outweigh their modest contributions to security since the end of the Cold War.
Viewed through this lens, the nuclear risks agenda has four components:
• Risk management.
We must ensure that existing weapons stockpiles are not used; that all nuclear weapons and materials are secured against theft and leakage to rogue actors like terrorist groups; and that all nuclear reactors and plants have fail-safe safety measures in place with respect to designs, controls, disposal and accident response systems.
• Risk reduction.
This means strengthening the stability-enhancing features of deterrence, such as robust command and control systems and deployment on submarines. As part of this, it would help if Russia and the U.S. took their approximately 1,800 warheads off high-alert, ready to launch within minutes of threats being supposedly detected.
If other countries abandoned interest in things like tactical nuclear weapons that have to be deployed on the forward edges of potential battlefields and require some pre-delegation of authority to use to battlefield commanders. Because any use of nuclear weapons could be catastrophic for planet Earth, the decision must be restricted to the highest political and military authorities.
• Risk minimization• .
There is no national security objectives that Russia and the U.S. could not meet with a total arsenal of under 500 nuclear warheads each deployed in the air (a few), on land (some), and at sea (most). And if all the others froze their arsenals at current levels, this would give us a global stockpile of 2,000 bombs instead of the current total of nearly 16,400.
Ratifying and bringing into force the CTBT, concluding a new fissile material cutoff treaty, banning the nuclear weaponization of outer space, respecting one another’s sensitivities on missile defense programs and conventional military imbalances etc. would all contribute to minimizing risks of reversals and setbacks.
None of these steps would jeopardize the national security of any of the nuclear-armed states; each would enhance regional and international security modestly; all in combination would greatly strengthen global security.
• Risk elimination.
Successive blue ribbon international commissions, from the Canberra Commission through the Tokyo Forum, Blix Commission, and Evans-Kawaguchi Commission, have emphatically reaffirmed three core propositions.
The only guarantee of zero nuclear weapons risk, therefore, is to move to zero nuclear weapons possession by a carefully managed process.

North Korea Increases Nuclear Weapons

Study: North Korea could have 79 nuclear weapons by 2020

North Korea Nuclear Missiles
By Thomas Lifson
AmericanThinker

The world is spiraling toward nuclear Armageddon, with Iran nearing nuclear weapons, and North Korea on a path toward a substantial nuclear arsenal. The crazy-sounding threats of the gangster regime in Pyongyang to inflict mortal damage in its enemies may soon be achievable. Josh Rogin and Ei Lake summarize the bad news in Bloomberg:

A new analysis of North Korea’s nuclear program by a group of top U.S. experts, led by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. The analysis, part of a larger project called “North Korea’s Nuclear Futures” being run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies, has not been previously published. Albright said the North Korean government is ramping up its production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, speeding toward an amount that would allow it to build enough nuclear weapons to rival other nuclear states including India, Pakistan and Israel.

North Korea is on the verge of being able to scale up its nuclear weapons program to the level of the other major players, so its critical to head this off,” Albright said in an interview. “It is on the verge of deploying a nuclear arsenal that would pose not only a threat to the United States and its allies but also to China.”

The regime now has four facilities churning out nuclear material, or preparing to do so.
“They are engaged in building a more fearsome nuclear arsenal. They see it as a vital part of their defense and want to make sure people are scared enough by it that they won’t try any offensive actions against North Korea,” Albright said. “You have this growing arsenal in the hands of people who are always on edge, and it creates an environment that is unstable and could lead to a very large arms race in the region.”

With the Sony hack showing that the Norks are willing to take offensive action, and with President Obama displaying weakness and speaking only of “proportional” response, there is little chance of Pyongyang correcting its course. Instead, it will be further emboldened. Expect Japan to respond by going nuclear, now that the US has reneged on its security guarantee to Ukraine when that nation gave up its nuclear arsenal. A world in which a dozen or more nations have nuclear weapons, as will result from Iran gong nuclear, is not likely to avoid nuclear war,. And once that starts, where it ends is hard to predict.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/12/study_north_korea_could_have_79_nuclear_weapons_by_2020.html#ixzz3MsRQm5YC
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Iran Wants 20 Times Their Present Uranium Enrichment Capacity

Iran’s Supreme Leader issues red lines ahead of key nuclear talks

IAEA Inspection Sites

IAEA Inspection Sites

Your Middle East

 
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated on Wednesday his country’s “red lines” in negotiations with world powers over its controversial nuclear programme due to resume next week in Vienna.

Khamenei’s intervention came as both the United States and EU confirmed that US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton would meet in the Austrian capital with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ashton will first hold bilateral talks next Tuesday with Zarif, as is customary ahead of each round of nuclear negotiations, and a three-way meeting is to be held the next day on October 15, her spokesman Michael Mann said.

Top-level US diplomats would also meet with their Iranian and EU counterparts on October 14 ahead of the trilateral ministerial talks, a US official said, also confirming the trilateral talks.

“Our focus… is determining whether it’s possible to reach an agreement by November 24 that effectively closes down Iran’s pathways to nuclear materials for a nuclear weapon,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

US officials “continue to believe that there is still adequate time to work through these issues and arrive at a comprehensive agreement that will give the international community assurances that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon,” she added.

After failing to reach an initial July deadline, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations — China, the United States, France, Britain, Russia and Germany — have set November 24 as the date to strike a deal guaranteeing that Tehran’s nuclear programme is used for exclusively peaceful means.

But talks have stalled over the issue of Iran’s future capacity for uranium enrichment and the timetable for the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

“We still don’t have an understanding of the major issues, so that’s what the purpose of the discussion is,” Psaki said, adding there would be “many more meetings” including at expert level as they seek to hammer out a deal.

An infographic published on Khamenei’s official website outlined 11 points to be observed by negotiators before Iran will sign an accord.

One of the stipulations includes “the absolute need for Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity to be 190,000 SWU (Separate Work Units)” — close to 20 times its current processing ability.

Iranian officials say this is needed to produce fuel for its Bushehr reactor, which is being provided by Russia until 2021.

The US and other Western states, however, want Iran to decrease its enrichment capability.

“Fordo, which cannot be destroyed by the enemy, must be preserved,” the text on Khamenei’s website said, referring to the uranium enrichment site built under a mountain 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Tehran.

“The work of nuclear scientists should in no way be stopped or slowed,” the text said, adding Iran had the right to pursue nuclear “research and development”.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 group signed a preliminary accord in November 2013 that froze some Iranian nuclear activities in exchange for a partial lifting of international sanctions.

Eight days of intensive talks at the end of September between Iran and the P5+1 group on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York also fell short of any final agreement, with the United States saying there were still serious gaps between the sides.