Questions of Iran’s Past Nuclear Program (Dan 8:4)

 iran-nuclear-program

Unsolved mystery: Possible military aspects of Iran’s atomic past

As nuclear talks with Iran approach a Tuesday deadline, some Western diplomats say questions about the country’s atomic past ought to be resolved before sanctions can be lifted.

Although Iran has not broken any terms of a 2013 interim deal, the U.N.’s nuclear agency has repeatedly asked Iran to cooperate faster with its investigation into possible military dimensions of the country’s atomic programme.

Below are the key unanswered questions raised by the IAEA, which mostly refer to activities that took place before 2003.

BACKGROUND

Iran acquired some enrichment knowledge from Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme, who confessed to providing assistance to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Some intelligence also came from a laptop smuggled out of Iran.

Iran says all of the alleged evidence is forged and dismisses any charges that it was attempting to develop nuclear weapons. However, the IAEA has said the information it has received on potential military aspects of the programme is, overall, credible and that it takes nothing at face value.

UNRESOLVED QUESTIONS

* Using cover companies for the procurement of dual-use equipment and material usable in a nuclear bomb but with civilian applications as well. This includes high-speed electronic switches, high-speed cameras and radiation measurement equipment.

* The acquisition of nuclear material, for example a uranium source for enrichment, and efforts to conceal activities involving such material.

* Possession of documents detailing how to convert uranium ore into metal and how to produce hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components which can be used in a bomb.

* The development of exploding bridge wire detonators, whose explosion times can be set to a very high degree of precision. Such precision detonators are crucial for timing the explosion of a nuclear weapon. Iran has said it needed such technology for its oil sector, according to diplomats, who also say there is no peaceful application for the degree of precision of this kind of detonator.

* Design information for a “multi-point initiation system,” technology to synchronize detonators used in some atomic bombs.

* Hydrodynamic experiments to assess how specific materials react under high pressure as in a nuclear blast. According to some information given to the IAEA by member states, an explosives chamber for such experiments might have been located at the Parchin complex near Tehran, a military site the agency has repeatedly urged Iran to grant it access to.

* Calculations on neutron behaviour that the IAEA has said has no clear civilian application. Iran has provided some fresh information on these calculations in recent weeks, but not enough to allow a breakthrough in the probe.

* Neutron initiator technology which the IAEA has said “could produce a burst of neutrons suitable for initiating a fission chain reaction,” as would be needed for an atomic bomb detonation.

* Tests to see whether high-tech detonators worked when triggered remotely from a long distance, also potentially relevant to a nuclear weapon.

* Engineering studies into missile payloads and their behaviour when launched. The IAEA has described these studies as “highly relevant to a nuclear weapon programme.”

* Work on the development of a firing system that would enable a missile payload to explode both in the air or upon impact.

* Indications that all the above mentioned areas were organised by a structured management and command chain under the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

For the IAEA’s full technical annex on these issues, click here
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla)

Axis Of Evil? (Dan 8)

  

A dissident group says Iran and North Korea are forging nuclear ties

Reuters

JOHN IRISH, REUTERS
MAY 28, 2015, 3:29 AM 494 1

PARIS (Reuters) – An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Thursday a delegation of North Korean experts in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles visited a military site near Tehran in April amid talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda. Iran says allegations of nuclear bomb research are baseless and forged by its enemies.

Iran and six world powers are trying to meet a self-imposed June 30 deadline to reach a comprehensive deal, but issues remain including the monitoring and verification measures to ensure Iran could not pursue a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said the seven person North Korean Defence Ministry team were in Iran for the last week of April. It was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

“The delegates included nuclear experts, nuclear warhead experts and experts in various elements of ballistic missiles including guidance systems,” NCRI said.

There have previously been unconfirmed reports of ties between the two countries on ballistic missile cooperation, although nothing specific in the nuclear field.

The U.N. Panel of Experts that monitors compliance with sanctions on North Korea has reported in the past that Pyongyang and Tehran were regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions.

The NCRI said the North Korean delegation was taken secretly to the Imam Khomenei complex, a site controlled by the Defence Ministry, east of Tehran. It gave detailed accounts of locations and who the officials met.

It said the delegation dealt with the Centre for Research and Design of New Aerospace Technology, a unit of nuclear weaponization research and planning center called the Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), which is under United States sanctions. NCRI said the unit researches and manufactures interior parts of nuclear warheads.

Reuters could not independently verify the allegations.

Tehran has shown no interest in giving up its drive to nuclear weapons. The weaponization program is continuing and they have not slowed down the process,” NCRI spokesman Shahin Gobadi said.

U.N. watchdog the IAEA, which for years has been investigating alleged nuclear arms research by Tehran, declined to comment. Iranian officials declined to comment. North Korean officials were not available for comment.

Several Western officials said they were not aware of a North Korean delegation traveling to Iran recently.

North Korean and Iranian officials meet regularly in general diplomatic activity, although on April 23, Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a rare meeting on the sidelines of the Asian-African summit in Jakarta.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations, Parisa Hafezi in Ankara and James Pearson in Seoul; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

The new nuclear game (Revelation 16)

 Here’s What Makes Rogue Nuclear States Really Dangerous

Rogue states lack of transparency is why the world cannot trust them.

Tom Nichols
May 16, 2015

The North Koreans may have just executed their own defense minister for “disloyalty,” which in North Korea can mean anything. Whatever his crime, the regime must have wanted to make a point, since the minister was shot with an anti-aircraft gun in front of hundreds of spectators. (Think of what a weapon meant to down a plane does to a human body.) On the other hand, some claim that he may not have actually been killed as all. As usual, then, no one seems to know what’s going on in North Korea. Was the defense minister a proponent of peace, or an advocate of war? Was he in the nuclear chain of command? Who knows?

“Who’s in charge here” is never a question anyone should have to ask about a nuclear-armed state. The issue of command and control is central to the question of what to do about a nuclear-armed rogue state like North Korea (and soon, Iran). When it comes to war and peace, international stability relies on a certain amount of transparency, especially when it comes to authority over the use of nuclear weapons.

Traditional realists argue that we can contain and deter rogue states as we did with the USSR during the Cold War. This makes a great deal of sense, especially since the alternative to deterrence is to launch preventive war, which is almost never a good idea. History-challenged Americans tend to think preventive war began with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but the concept has a long pedigree in America. In the 1950s, many prominent voices called for wiping out Stalinist Russia’s nuclear program; in the early 1960s, the Kennedy administration considered a military strike on Communist China to stop Mao Zedong from getting a bomb.

Cooler heads prevailed, obviously, but the urge to hit China in particular was rooted in the belief that Mao Zedong’s China was the rogue state of its day. No one in Washington or Moscow was quite sure who was in charge or who had final say over the use of nuclear arms. Indeed, the Chinese were mostly in danger in the 1960s in direct proportion to the degree to which their internal command and control processes were opaque. As more time passed, however, these mortal enemies all managed to send signals and provide information to establish their arsenals were secure, and these efforts helped to keep the peace.

The stability of nuclear deterrence rests on a certain amount of predictability. Contrary to what most people believe or have seen in movies, the President of the United States cannot simply go berserk and personally order a nuclear strike. Nor can Vladimir Putin, for all his talk, merely open a briefcase and rain down nuclear hell. Orders must be transmitted through civilian and military channels designed specifically to prevent such a moment.

And here we return to North Korea and Iran. We have no idea who really has the authority or the ability to launch nuclear weapons. We can’t even be certain who has custody of the actual bombs. We might have assumed, for example, that the order to use nuclear arms would have to pass from North Korea’s boy-king, Kim Jong-un, to his minister of defense. Since the minister of defense is now scattered in pieces all over a stadium in North Korea, we have to rethink that notion.

And who really runs Iran? In theory, the Islamic Republic has a “president,” but real power resides in a cabal of old mullahs. If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, who could say yes—or more important, no—to a nuclear strike?

This will matter a great deal during a crisis. Whom do we watch for signs of impending attack? With whom do we communicate? The Kim family has a capricious tendency to vanish during times of tension; this is the exact opposite of how Americans approach foreign policy, where the president’s visibility and engagement is a sign of reassurance both to allies and enemies. Likewise, if we hear bellicose rhetoric from the Iranian mullahs but reassuring words from an Iranian president, whom do we believe?

This is why it is so difficult to negotiate with rogue regimes, or to trust in their competence, if they are established nuclear powers. It’s bad enough that by their nature they seek to upend the international status quo; far worse is their own inability to define who makes vital decisions of war and peace. While we should resist preventive thinking, the opacity of these regimes during a crisis might make such a temptation overwhelming. If “who’s in charge?” becomes a pressing question, the preventive answer might be: “who cares?”

Iran Uses Babylon’s Technology Against Itself

‘Suicide Drones’ Launched By Iran, US Warship Scrambled Off Says Navy Chiefs

By Athena Yenko | December 29, 2014 4:51 PM EST
iran-copy-us-drone
The locally made suicide drone was designed to hit potential enemies on land, air and sea by dropping explosives, Iran’s Brig Gen Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said. The military drill is being participated by 13,000 Iranian military men and is the first drill conducted offshore attended by the Iranian navy. The drill also involves test fires of the country’s ballistic missiles and cyber warfare technology.

“Mohammed The Delegate of G-d” military war game is said to be an unspoken message addressed to the Houthis in Yemen. The group had been capturing towns in Yemen. Through the drill, Iran wanted to assure the group that the country is committed in helping it establish strategic positions in the region, Arutz Sheva reported.

On Dec 28, an spy plane identified to be of the United States had scrambled away from the military drill zone after stern warning from Iran’s Airborne Division of Iran’s Navy. There were also sightings prompting warnings against international warships patrolling the zone, Navy Chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said as reported by the Tehran Times.

Sayyari said that these military vessels from other countries flew the area even if it was marked for lunching missiles and torpedoes for the drills and prior warnings days before the drill started. The zone had been planted with mines to prevent “mock enemy” from entering Iran’s coastal areas. He warned that military planes and ships who exhibit hostility by refusing to leave the zone after repeated warnings should deal with “any consequences” that may arise with the situation.

Iran had been improving its navy, missile systems, drones and cyber warfare technology in past years amidst its supreme leader openly calling for the Israel to be annihilated. It had also warned of closing the Strait of Hormuz any moment that forces from Western countries hit its nuclear facilities.

a.yenko@IBTimes.com.au

Iranian Horn Testing Nuclear Detonation

Israel Accuses Iran of Testing Nuclear Detonation Technology

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AP
In what is destined to be a highly discussed development, especially as the United Nations convenes this week, Israel has accused Iran of testing technology that could only be used for nuclear detonations.

From the Jerusalem Post:

A statement from Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, issued a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — the architect of Tehran’s diplomacy with the big powers — was to address the UN General Assembly, said internal neutron sources such as uranium were used in nuclear implosion tests at Parchin. Israel, his statement said, based its information on “highly reliable information,” without elaborating.

The tests allegedly took place in Parchin, just southeast of Tehran, at a facility that Iran has long kept U.N. inspectors from investigating.

During last year’s General Assembly of the United Nations, one of the issues that dominated the agenda was Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program. At that assembly, newly minted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continued his so-called charm offensive, which ended with a historic phone call between Rouhani and President Obama, the first conversation between an American and an Iranian head of state in over three decades.

That phone call eventually turned into negotiations, which yielded a temporary nuclear deal: For six months, Iran stopped working on its eyebrow-raising nuclear program in exchange for various forms of relief from the broad sanctions that the United States had convinced the international community to impose.

Unfortunately, negotiations between Iran and six world powers have yet to produce a long-term solution. And with the world’s focus on ISIS, Syria, the Ebola virus, and (perhaps) the climate, Iran’s nuclear ambitions have receded from the global stage.

This development could easily change that.

Obama: The Novice Against The Chessmaster

Obama’s nuke test
An Iranian bomb threatens the whole world

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 4:05 AM
The Iranian Chessmaster

The Iranian Chessmaster

 
It is truth and consequences time for President Obama and leaders of five world powers in striking a deal that would definitively end Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons .The President will have to do a whole lot better than he has of late on the international front, most especially in his attempt to talk Syrian dictator Bashar Assad into surrendering his chemical weapons.Obama cut U.S. stature off at the knees last August when he suddenly backed down from missile strikes on Assad’s stockpiles and joined Russia in a tag-team deal with the strongman. While the President has pointed to successes in destroying the Assad arsenal, France and Human Rights Watch now assert that Assad used chlorine gas in attacks against his own people last month. At the same time, there is growing skepticism that Syria will fully surrender its weapons and dismantle its chemical factories.
 
Rather astoundingly, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius expressed regret that Obama failed to unleash the missiles after Assad broke the President’s infamously drawn red line. He said that France had been ready to support such an attack.
 
Here’s hoping that Obama learned tough lessons from his disastrous Syrian misadventure, because the issues at the table in the Iranian negotiations are quite parallel.
 
There, too, against even higher stakes, Obama misguidedly eased off on the weapon at hand — economic sanctions — to bring Iran to talking about reducing (not eliminating) its capacity to rapidly produce weapons-grade uranium along with a missile delivery system.
 
The negotiations, joined by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, have now reached the stage of actually putting facts down on paper. In other words, it’s reality time.
 
Unwisely beating back congressional drives to increase sanctions, Obama has vested faith that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will subscribe to a narrowly limited nuclear program — one that would get close international scrutiny and could not produce weapons without a long build-up.
 
A half-measure will not suffice on any of those fronts — and on many more. Based on the attitude of Iran’s real power, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Obama will be lucky to get even that far. Consider these recent words:
 
“They expect us to limit our missile program while they constantly threaten Iran with military action,” Khamenei said. “So this is a stupid, idiotic expectation. The Revolutionary Guards should definitely carry out their program and not be satisfied with the present level. They should mass produce.
 
Even Rouhani, too often and too easily described as a “moderate,” had this to say on the eve of the talks:
 
Iran will not retreat one step in the field of nuclear technology. We have nothing to put on the table and offer to them but transparency. That’s it. Our nuclear technology is not up for negotiation.
Up against hardliners, Obama is once more negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness. That’s why Israel, Iran’s sure target, is terrified, along with many of the Arab countries. To be sure, the administration has said that no deal is better than a bad deal. But right now, given the President’s track record, a bad deal seems more likely.

North Korea Shares Nuclear Technology With Iran

Iran shares nuclear technology with N. Korea

Iranian Missiles Courtesy of Korea

Iranian Missiles Courtesy of Korea

Iran is sharing nuclear technology with North Korea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Wednesday, as Tehran and world powers hold talks aimed at ending a decade-old standoff.

Netanyahu, who is in Japan this week for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, said Iran “would share whatever technology it acquired with North Korea,” the Mainichi Shimbun reported in a front-page piece.

Asked if Pyongyang is receiving technologies linked to nuclear and missile development from Iran, Netanyahu said: “Yes, that’s exactly the case.”

North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme is one of Japan’s major security concerns.
Despite international isolation and extensive sanctions, North Korea appears to be readying to carry out a fourth nuclear test, observers have said, and regularly makes noises about the weaponisation of its technology.

While being at the leading edge of Pyongyang’s isolation, resource-poor Japan has maintained friendly relations with oil-rich Iran through its years of ostracism, keeping up a diplomatic dialogue that many developed countries cut off decades ago.

Late Tuesday, during a meeting with Kishida, Netanyahu called both Iran and North Korea “rogue” states.

“We see a danger and a challenge posed by a rogue state arming itself with nuclear weapons. In your case it’s North Korea,” he said.

“We are faced with such a rogue state in the form of Iran and its quest to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.

Iran continues to deceive the world and advance its nuclear programme,” he said, adding “Clearly the Ayatollahs cannot be trusted.”

“And if the international community wants to avoid the spectre of nuclear terrorism, they must assure that Iran… not have the capability to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.

Kishida however “stressed…the importance of support by the international community including Israel to the framework of talks” between Iran and five UN nuclear powers plus Germany, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Abe also made a similar comment on Monday.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is intended only to generate power for civilian purposes.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are meeting in Vienna for a latest round of talks aimed at drafting the text of a comprehensive and potentially historic deal.

An accord would see Tehran’s atomic programme drastically reduced, and sanctions lifted on its lifeblood oil exports in return.