Iran Continues To Build ICBMs


Iran’s Deadly Missiles Aren’t Up for Negotiation

Talks on the ballistic missile program are a dead end.

Robert Andrea

June 15, 2016

In March of this year, Iran conducted tests of two variants of the Qadr medium-range ballistic missile. Shortly afterwards, a group of GOP senators introduced new sanctions legislation which included provisions sanctioning persons and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Sound familiar?

For decades, the most contentious issue between Iran and the United States was the former’s nuclear program. Following the signing and implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), this has changed. To be sure, the nuclear deal itself still generates quite a debate, but Iran’s actual nuclear program has fallen out of the world’s attention.

Nature abhors a vacuum. It was only a matter of time before another issue took the place of the nuclear issue as the most intransigent point of contention between the U.S. and Iran. It would appear, from all indications, that Tehran’s ballistic-missile program will soon assume that dubious position.
Indeed, the missile issue seems to be picking up right where the nuclear one left off. Instead of repeating the same counterproductive diplomatic strategy, however, it’s time we learned from the past. It would be a similar mistake to approach Iran’s ballistic-missile program with the same political and diplomatic myopia that characterized both sides’ approach to the nuclear issue for decades. In fact, Iran’s missiles should not even be on the agenda at this point in time or, at the very least, they should not be an immediate diplomatic priority. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, despite rhetoric to the contrary, Tehran’s missile program is not a serious threat; none of the missiles currently in Iran’s arsenal could reach the United States. And without developing longer-range ICBMs, which would take many years, the U.S. will never be seriously threatened by an Iranian missile program.

However, many of our regional partners—namely Israel—do find themselves within range of the missiles most recently tested by the Iranians. According to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, (which runs Iran’s missile program) the Qadr-H variant has a range of 1,700 kilometers and the Qadr-F variant has a two-thousand-kilometer range. If you are inclined to believe these figures, Israel is now within range of the missiles, as Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jaafari has claimed. But merely being within range of the missiles does not necessarily mean that they are a threat, or at least not a serious threat.

Speaking to this point, Mike Elleman, a Consulting Senior Fellow for Missile Defense with the International Institute of Strategic Studies, gave testimony at a recent hearing on Iran’s ballistic missile program before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. In his testimony, Elleman explained that despite their range, Iran’s missiles are fairly inaccurate. Therefore, if Iran wanted to seriously damage a target—particularly a hardened military target— they would need to utilize a sizeable percentage of their arsenal against just one target to do so. Furthermore, as Elleman stated in his testimony, missile-defense systems would further limit the overall efficacy of Iran’s missiles. An example of such a system would be Israel’s Hetz (Arrow) program, which was developed in collaboration with the United States. The inaccuracy of Iran’s weapons is a weakness that significantly lessens the strategic threat Tehran’s ballistic-missile program poses, even to those regional states that find themselves within range of the missiles.

In addition to the risk that Iran’s ballistic-missile program poses being exaggerated, the current political situation, particularly inside Iran, is not conducive to negotiations on this issue.
First of all, the missile program is quite the touchy subject in Iranian domestic politics. Perhaps the best example of this was the to-do between Ayatollahs Khamenei and Rafsanjani. In an incident that showed that not even high-ranking Iranian Ayatollahs are immune from twenty-first-century public-relations minefields, Rafsanjani came under fire from Khamenei for a tweet the former posted in late March (roughly two weeks after the missile tests) saying that “the world of tomorrow is the world of discourse, not missiles”. In a speech soon after, Khamenei said in response to Rafsanjani that individuals who used such a phrase knowingly were “treasonous.” Rafsanjani was quick to correct his tweet, but not before enduring significant backlash from his harder-line opponents.

Whether or not the Iranian assessment of the post-deal situation is accurate is a fairly irrelevant question, however. Whatever their assessment, the fact is that the Iranian perception of the United States’ willingness (or a lack thereof) to follow through with a negotiated agreement would very likely lead them to harden their positions on the missile issue.
Not to be outdone, the American position is likely to harden as well with the new administration next January. Whichever of the two candidates is elected, it’s fairly safe to make the assumption that the American line towards Iran would be noticeably tougher in a Clinton or Trump administration than it was during the Obama administration.
In summary, you’re dealing with an Iranian side with very little flexibility and/or political will for negotiation on the missile issue and an American side with position that’s ambiguous at best, along with a new executive who will likely take an equally hard line. This would all be for negotiations on an issue that does not pose a very serious threat to the United States, nor to its regional partners.
Designating the Iranian missile program a priority under such conditions would achieve nothing except the perpetuation of the mutual enmity and gridlock that has defined U.S.-Iran relations since the revolution. The progress made towards ending (or at least reducing) the pervasive maximalism in both sides’ negotiating postures with the JCPOA should not be wasted on something that is, at this point in time, such a dead-end endeavor.

A more prudent diplomatic strategy would be to focus on an issue (or issues) where the interests of the United States and Iran are closer than they are on the missile program. One option could be narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan into Iran. Another potential option is discussing each other’s intentions in Persian Gulf waters. Whatever the choice, the specifics aren’t as important as the process. As long as it’s something that shows the other side that there is something to be achieved by negotiating with you.

Negotiating with Iran, or with the United States for that matter, will never be easy, nor will it ever be without hurt feelings. However, neither does it have to be doomed to devolve into the tit-for-tat exercise in positional bargaining that would almost surely come to pass if future negotiations between Iran and the United States are myopically focused on Iran’s missiles.

Robert Andrea is an incoming postgraduate student in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. His research primarily focuses on Iranian politics & foreign policy, diplomatic strategy, and proxy warfare as statecraft.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Stockpile Continues To Grow (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan’s growing nuclear stockpile, doctrine pose risk: Pentagon

Putin Preparing For The Inevitable (Rev 15:2)

Vladimir Putin orders Russian security council to stockpile nuclear protective equipment

  • Damien Sharkov
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his security council to assess Russia’s readiness to survive a nuclear, chemical or biological disaster and has told them to stockpile protective equipment if necessary.

The order was given during one of Putin’s regular meetings with the council that is made up of the heads of Russia’s intelligence, defence and law enforcement agencies. High-ranking ministers and the speaker of the Russian house of parliament are also permanent members of the group.

According to the government website, Putin told the council that it was important to review and potentially strengthen Russia’s defence protocols against “nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological threats, both in peacetime, and—God forbid, of course—in wartime.”

“We have to analyse to what extent they correspond to the realities of today and, if the need arises, make the required revisions,” Putin said.

The Russian president also proposed to the council that Russia should begin developing and producing personal protective equipment against nuclear, biological or chemical threats. “In the near future we should set up an inventory of individual means of protection for citizens, to determine which of them have become theoretically and technically obsolete, and develop measures to replenish stocks of such assets in accordance with modern designs,” Putin said.

During his address, Putin used the example of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan to illustrate the the need for the new defences. He also said that Moscow should be wary about the safety of nuclear power plants and businesses that handle toxic chemicals and make sure that they follow updated procedures to avoid accidents. According to the country’s state nuclear agency Rosatom, Russia has 10 nuclear power plants.

America Prepares For The Nuclear Holocaust (Revelation 16:8)


HHS Boosting Nation’s Stockpile of Burn Treatments in Case of Nuclear Attack

By Susan Jones | October 1
cnsnews.com

HHS Boosting Nation’s Stockpile of Burn Treatments in Case of Nuclear Attack
By Susan Jones | October 1, 2015 | 6:49 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – “The detonation of an improvised nuclear device would produce intense heat, resulting in many patients with severe burns,” says a September 30 news release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The announcement says HHS has contracted for the development of “four novel products to treat severe thermal burns.

The products will boost the number of treatment options in case of disaster, and they’ll also be used in “routine” burn care situations.

The four treatments — one commercially available right now and three in development — “will be added to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) or managed by vendors to help protect people from burn injuries resulting from radiological and nuclear threats,” HHS said.

The announcement notes that burns stemming from a nuclear attack may require surgial skin grafting that is “resource intensive and technically demanding.” And with only 127 burn centers nationwide, a “mass casualty” incident could “easily overwhelm the nation’s burn care infrastructure.”

“To protect health and save lives from the impacts of multiple types of disasters, we have to address critical challenges in burn care,” said Robin Robinson, Ph.D., director of HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). “These products are intended to offer greater options and help create a continuum of care in a mass casualty incident; together they have the potential to eliminate resource-intensive steps, shorten hospital stays and improve patient outcomes.”

The announcement comes at a time of heightened concern about national security in general and the threat of foreign terrorist fighters in particular.

A currently available treatment called Silverlon, manufactured by Argentum of Geneva, Ill., is described as a “long-acting, silver-impregnated nylon bandage that can be used to cover first- and second-degree thermal burns. HHS said Silverlon could help burn patients before they get surgical treatment for their injuries in the hospital. The five-year contract for delivery of Silverlon is valued at $20 million.

The other three products are being developed in federally funded clinical studies.

They include:

— NexoBrid (from MediWound of Israel), a topical gel made of pineapple-based enzymes and designed to dissolve the damaged or dead skin tissue to create a clean wound-bed for skin grafting. The five-year contract is valued at $20 million.

— StrataGraft (from Stratatech Corporation of Madison, Wis.), a cell-based skin made from living human cells that could reduce the need to remove healthy skin from the victim’s own body to graft over the burned skin; ($246.7 million contract);

— ReCell (from Avita Medical Americas, LLC of Northridge, Calif.), a topical spray derived from a small sample of the patient’s own skin. This topical spray may enhance skin growth, allowing burn surgeons to use smaller skin donor grafts, and stretch grafts over a larger burn wound. This contract has a total value up to $79.5 million.

HHS notes that since its inception in 2004, BARDA has supported the development and procurement of 16 medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, the new burn treatments and and other medical products needed for emergencies, including ionizing radiation and illnesses from anthrax, smallpox, and botulism.

Just this week, the Justice Department said that just in the past year, it has brought criminal cases against 70 individuals suspected of fomenting terrorism.

Sixty of them were charged with either supporting foreign terrorist fighters or attempting to join the group. The other 10 criminal cases were brought against individuals inspired by ISIL or other terrorist groups to commit attacks here in the United States.

“So between the 60 who wanted to join the foreign terrorist fighter groups and the 10 who wanted to commit attacks here in the United States, that’s how we have over 70 cases,” Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin’s told the Foreign Press Center on Monday.

Pakistani Horn Stockpiling Nukes (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan stockpiling nuclear arms due to fears over India: U.S. report

Tim Craig, Washington Post | August 28, 2015 12:43 AM ET
A Pakistani short range surface to surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II is test fired from an undisclosed location in 2013. The missile carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.

ISPR/AFP/Getty Images  A Pakistani short range surface to surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II is test fired from an undisclosed location in 2013. The missile carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy
 
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A new report by two American think tanks asserts that Pakistan may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually and could have the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile within a decade.

The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center concludes that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities because of fear of its arch-rival, India, also a nuclear power. The report, released Thursday, says Pakistan is far outpacing India in the development of nuclear warheads.

Analysts estimate that Pakistan has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.
In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices.

India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does. But the report says India appears to be using most of its plutonium to produce domestic energy.

Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years, the report concludes. Pakistan would then possess more nuclear weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have thousands of the bombs.

“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty ImagesIndian soldiers patrol along the fence at an outpost along the India-Pakistan border on Jan. 11, 2013. Police in Indian Kashmir warned residents to build underground bunkers to prepare for a possible nuclear war in the disputed region. 
 

Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report.

Western officials and analysts have struggled for years to get an accurate assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Several Pakistani analysts questioned the findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear weapons.

Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said he suspects that a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.

Ahmed, however, doesn’t dispute that Pakistan’s military is seeking to expand its nuclear capabilities.
“This report is overblown,” said Ahmed, who was recently named a nuclear security fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “However . . . what the world must understand is that nuclear weapons are part of Pakistan’s belief system. It’s a culture that has been built up over the years because (nuclear weapons) have provided a credible deterrence against external aggression.”

France has about 300 warheads and the United Kingdom has about 215, according to the Federation of American Scientists. China has approximately 250.

The report was written by Toby Dalton, co-director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center.

Pakistan is believed to use plutonium as well as highly enriched uranium to create nuclear warheads. Dalton noted that Pakistan recently added a fourth plutonium production reactor at its Khushab Nuclear Complex.

“We assume, maybe correctly, maybe inaccurately, with the fuel coming out of the four reactors, they are processing it as rapidly as possible to get the plutonium out,” Dalton said.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three major wars, became declared nuclear powers in 1998. Since then, Western leaders have been increasingly alarmed about the potential for a nuclear exchange between the rivals.

India has adopted a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to take a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to using the weapons should India’s larger army ever invade Pakistan.

India views nuclear weapons “as a political tool, a prestige item, not something you use on a battlefield,” Krepon said. In Pakistan, he said, nuclear weapons are seen as “things you have to be willing to use” to guarantee stability.

But Krepon and Dalton said there is still time for Pakistan to slow down the development of its nuclear arsenal. If it does, they said, the international community should consider what steps it can take to recognize it as a responsible nuclear state.

Washington Post

Iran horn pursuing nuclear weapons program (Dan 8:3)

  
Iran pursuing nuclear weapons program during talks, Pentagon warns

NCRI Iran News
Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:42

Iran is continuing to develop missiles capable of delivering a nuclear bomb in defiance of an interim agreement with the West, a Pentagon report has revealed.

The unclassified document which a copy was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon was not sent to the US Armed Services Committee until this month to avoid upsetting Tehran during its nuclear negotiations with the West.

The report states: “Although Iran has paused progress in some areas of its nuclear program and fulfilled its obligations under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), it continues to develop technological capabilities that also could be applicable to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missile development.”

It added: “Iran continues to develop its capabilities to control the Strait of Hormuz and avenues of approach in the event of a military conflict.

“Tehran is quietly fielding increasingly lethal weapon systems, including more advanced naval mines, small but capable submarines, armed unmanned aerial vehicles, coastal defense cruise missile batteries, attack craft, and ant ship-capable missiles.”

It also said Tehran had not halted its support for terrorism, adding: “Iran’s covert activities appear to be continuing unabated. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) remains a key tool of lran’s foreign policy and power projection, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.”

The IRGC Quds Force also is continuing to improve its access within foreign countries and its ability to carry terrorist attacks ‘to safeguard or advance Iran’s interests’, the report said.

It continued: “The ongoing civil war in Syria and the instability in Iraq have tested, but not fundamentally altered, this posture.

“Meanwhile, over the past year, the tone of publicity surrounding major military exercises has remained tempered, a trend that began in 2013, probably in support of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear activities.”

The report, dated January 2015, concludes that Iran has not substantively altered its military and security strategies in the past year.

It added: “However, Tehran has adjusted its approach to achieve its enduring objectives, by increasing its diplomatic outreach and decreasing its bellicose rhetoric.

“The committee remains concerned about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile development programs.

“In 2013, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) made the following statement about this system: Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”

Iran Continues To Develop Nuclear Weapons (Dan 8)

 

US: Iran may still be developing tech for nuclear arms

Pentagon assessment comes amid ongoing talks between world powers and Tehran aimed at curbing country’s atomic program

By ADIV STERMAN June 4, 2015, 9:38 am 6

As recently as last week, the US Department of Defense assessed that Iran was still developing technologies that can be used in order to produce nuclear weapons, despite the fact that the Islamic Republic has been engaged in negotiations with world powers aimed at curbing its atomic program, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Quoting an unclassified summary from a Pentagon document on Iran’s military capabilities, the report said that Tehran has been conducting research that “could be applicable to nuclear weapons,” but has nevertheless “fulfilled its obligations” to the P5+1 world powers and “paused progress” in parts of its nuclear program.

The summary was part of a report that will include other classified details regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The Pentagon report was submitted to congressional defense committees last week.

According to Bloomberg, the report further stated that aside from the alarming activity possibly linked to its nuclear program, Iran’s “covert activities [in the region] appear to be continuing unabated,” and the Islamic Republic still aims to spread its influence across the Middle East, “particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.”

The Pentagon went on to assess that Iran’s military doctrine was primarily defensive, “designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, and retaliate against an aggressor [and] force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.” The report noted, however, that the “ongoing civil war in Syria and the instability in Iraq have tested, but not fundamentally altered, this posture.”

Ahead of a self-imposed June 30 nuclear deal deadline, US and Iranian diplomats met over the weekend in what US officials described as the most substantive negotiating round since world powers and Iran clinched a framework pact in April. The sides are trying to narrow differences over how quickly to ease economic penalties against Tehran and how significantly the Iranians must open up military facilities to international inspections.

Tehran denies claims by the West and its allies, including Israel, that it is seeking nuclear weapons, and insists that it is pursuing atomic energy purely for peaceful purposes.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that the global powers taking part in the negotiations with Iran had established a mechanism of “snapping back” sanctions against Tehran in the event the Islamic Republic violates the nuclear deal. An anonymous Iranian official told Reuters there were several suggestions on the table with regard to sanctions, warning that Tehran reserves the right to resume its activities if the world powers “do not fulfill their obligations.”

The “snap back” mechanism was not explained in detail in the report, though Western officials said it would not involve a UN Security Council resolution. The US and European states want sanctions to be automatic, while Russia and China do not.

The timeline for sanctions relief has been one of the key sticking points in talks over a final agreement.

While the negotiating countries have until June 30 to reach a final, comprehensive agreement, some countries have suggested there might be a deadline extension.

Israel has warned that the deal in its current form is insufficient and may still enable Iran to to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear project will be used for peaceful purposes only.

AFP, AP, and Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

Iran’s Nuclear Stockpile Grows (Dan 8:4)

Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Geneva on Saturday. Credit Pool photo by Susan Walsh
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.”
(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.”

Iran Will Keep Their Uranium For The End (Rev 15:2)

uranium-enrichment

White House: Negotiators still working on Iran’s enriched uranium

BY: Brian Hughes March 30, 2015 | 12:02 pm
The White House Monday hit back at the suggestion that Iran had agreed to and then backed out of a deal to send its stockpile of enriched uranium abroad, saying the issue could still be overcome ahead of the Tuesday deadline for talks.
“The idea that there had been an agreement that Iran had backed away from in the last 24 hours is not true,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One, as President Obama traveled to Boston for an event honoring the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.
In terms of what’s going to happen with that stockpile, that is something our negotiators are working through, but it’s not accurate to say there had been an agreement that was then backtracked. As we’ve said all along, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.”
Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi told reporters late Sunday that his country would not send its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia for storage, which had been sought by P5+1 nations to keep Iran at least a year away from being able to develop a nuclear weapon.
Negotiators insist the Iranian position is not a deal breaker but concede that a number of issues remain with the Tuesday deadline swiftly approaching.
Critics, however, say the development is proof that Iran can’t be trusted to live up to terms of an agreement keeping it from building a nuclear weapon.
Schultz reiterated Monday that Obama would indeed walk away from the deal if the framework did not meet his conditions.

Babylon’s Lies Are Nothing New (Revelation 17:2)

Obama Straight Up Lied about Iran’s Nukes Tonight: Their Progress Hasn’t Been ‘Halted’

obama-state-of-the-union-2014
By Fred Fleitz
January 21, 2015 12:56 AM

By claiming in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that “for the first time in a decade” progress in the Iranian nuclear program has been halted and Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile has been reduced, President Obama continued an unfortunate pattern of behavior by his administration on this issue: He outright lied.

President Obama’s claims aren’t even close to being true. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has surged since 2009 and has continued to increase since an interim nuclear agreement with Iran was agreed to in November 2013.

The number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, rising from seven to at least eight over the last year.
The below chart from a recent Center for Security Policy analysis illustrates the increase in Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile and the number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium since Mr. Obama became president — no sign of the president’s proclaimed decline. (Click here to view the entire analysis.)

While it is true Iran stopped enriching uranium to the 20 percent uranium-235 level as required by the November 2013 interim agreement, and is diluting 20 percent–enriched uranium to reactor-grade, this concession has had a negligible effect in reducing the threat from Iran’s nuclear program.

Most of its enriched uranium stockpile happens to be at the reactor-grade level, and Iran can convert that material into enough weapons-grade fuel for one nuclear bomb in 2.2 to 3.5 months, only about two weeks longer than it would take to do so using 20 percent enriched uranium.

The United States has offered huge, one-sided concessions in its talks with Iran that will allow the country to continue to enriched uranium, will not force it to give up its enriched-uranium stockpile, and will not require a halt to construction of a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor.

Iran has failed to cooperate with the IAEA during the talks and cheated on the interim agreement by testing advanced centrifuges.

Based on these factors, I could only conclude in a November 21 NRO article that the Obama administration has no interest in an agreement to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and has instead quietly decided to contain an Iranian nuke program.

Congress must ignore the president’s ridiculous claim that new sanctions against Iran would set back progress made in the nuclear talks and alienate our allies. These talks were fatally flawed from the beginning and are certain to produce a weak, short-lived deal that will destabilize the Middle East.

This is why 14 national leaders signed a Center for Security Policy letter to congressional leaders last November calling on Congress to repudiate the nuclear talks and pass new sanctions against Iran until it complies with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Sanctions legislation in the House and Senate is reportedly close to obtaining veto-proof majorities. Even if President Obama vetoes new sanctions, passing legislation to impose them will send a clear message to Iran and the world that the American people do not support the nuclear talks and that a future U.S. administration is likely to ignore any agreement reached in them and start over.

— Fred Fleitz followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is now a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy.