The China nuclear horn shows its military might: Daniel 7

China air force video appears to show simulated attack on island resembling Guam

By Richard Wood • Senior Journalist

11:11am Sep 22, 2020

China’s air force has released a video showing a simulated attack by nuclear bombers on an island that appears to resemble the US Pacific base on Guam amid rising tensions.

The video, released on the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Weibo account, came as Chinese military exercises near Taiwan continued as a senior US official visited the island.

The Pacific island of Guam is home to key US military facilities and would prove vital in any regional conflict.

Titled ‘The god of war H-6K goes on the attack’, the video showed H-6 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, taking off from a desert base.

Halfway through, a Chinese pilot hits a button and releases a missile at an unnamed coastal runway.

The weapon streaks towards a runway that commentators believe resembles the US Air Force’s Andersen base on Guam.

Shots from the footage appear to have been lifted from Hollywood action movies. Explosive missile scenes resemble those seen in Transformers and The Hurt Locker.

Iran threatens nuclear payback: Daniel 8

Uranium Week: Iran Threatens Retaliation

Weekly Reports | Sep 22 2020

As the uranium price continues its incremental slide, Iran threatens a reaction to nuclear program restrictions.

Iran to give a “crushing response to America’s bullying”
-Amendments to the Russian Suspension Agreement
-Weekly spot prices have fallen around -0.8% per week since May

By Mark Woodruff

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said the US “faces defeat” in its move to reimpose UN sanctions on the country as European allies called the unilateral declaration legally void, reports the BBC website.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran is allowed to enrich uranium only up to a 3.67% concentration, to stockpile no more than 300kg (660lbs) of the material, to operate no more than 5,060 of its oldest and least efficient centrifuges and to cease enrichment at the underground Fordo facility.

Another part of the deal instructs Iran not to accumulate more than 130 tonnes of heavy water, which contains more hydrogen than ordinary water, and to redesign its heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak. Spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium, which can be used in a nuclear bomb.

In a televised speech, Mr Rouhani said Iran would “give a crushing response to America’s bullying”.

The Trump administration is reimposing measures under the mechanism of a deal the US has quit. However, the UK, France and Germany insist the US had no power to carry out such a move.

The three countries – alongside China, Russia and the US – were parties to a landmark deal signed with Iran in 2015 to curb its nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency Report

New nuclear power projections released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this week finds nuclear generation trends largely unchanged from last year’s projections.

Under the high case scenario, IAEA analysts expect an increase of global nuclear electrical generating capacity to 715 GW (82%), while the low case scenario forecasts a decline to 363 GW (7%), reports industry consultant TradeTech.

“The latest IAEA annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, with global nuclear electrical capacity seen nearly doubling by 2050 in our high case scenario. Climate change mitigation remains a key potential driver for maintaining and expanding the use of nuclear power,” IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said this week.

However, according to the report, immediate and concerted action is required for nuclear power to reach a share of 11% of electricity generation by 2050, as seen in the high case scenario. In the low case scenario, the share of nuclear energy relative to global electricity production could decline to approximately 7%.

The report outlines that about two-thirds of commercial power reactors have been in operation for more than 30 years, which emphasizes the need for significant new nuclear capacity to offset retirements. However, uncertainty remains regarding the replacement of the large number of reactors scheduled to be retired around 2030 and beyond, particularly in North America and Europe.

Legislative News

A draft amendment to the Russian Suspension Agreement (RSA) was released by the US Department of Commerce (DoC) on September 11.

A notable change, noted TradeTech, was the revised general export limit includes a decreasing volume of allowed Russian uranium exports to the US equal to an average of 17% of US enrichment demand over the next 20 years. By comparison, the current agreement averages 20% of US enrichment demand.

Gaza factions respond with rockets outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Gaza factions respond with rockets to UAE, Bahrain normalization with Israel

Israel retaliates with airstrikes as Palestinian armed groups in Gaza reject normalization and weigh their next moves.

Adnan Abu Amer

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, speaking to Al-Monitor, chose his words carefully in supporting the action without claiming Hamas’ potential responsibility, saying, “The Palestinian resistance is capable of keeping the Palestinian issue at the forefront of events [in the region] at all times, despite some regional attempts to undermine it. The rocket fire came as a response to the Israeli air bombing of resistance sites. Our response was swift and accurate to deter the Israeli aggression on Gaza. We will not change the rules of battle or impose new equations. The resistance factions, namely Hamas, will continue to face the deal of the century (the US Middle East peace plan) and its repercussions, and the [Israeli] annexation plan, with all means possible.”

Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV on Sept. 16 that the “resistance fired rockets in response to the humiliating scene in Washington,” referring to the UAE and Bahrain’s signing of normalization deals with Israel.

The fact that no faction claimed responsibility for the firing of rockets into southern Israel is an unusual occurrence. It seems that at least the Palestinian factions seem to be united in sending one message to the signatories in Washington: that the real decision about Palestine comes from within the Palestinian territories, that these agreements do not mean that Israel’s occupation will not come to an end, and that Gaza will eventually be free of the blockade. The Palestinian Authority, also in an unusual move, did not condemn the rocket firing, which suggests that it tacitly approved them.

Saeed Bisharat, editor-in-chief of the Hodhod news network for Israeli Affairs, told Al-Monitor, “The escalation ended with an Israeli response to the Gaza rockets. I do not think Israel wants to further escalate the situation. The threats made by the Israeli defense minister and some army leaders are merely for propaganda at home.”

“Israel, however, could ride the wave of normalizing ties to start an aggression on Gaza, but the regional powers supporting the Palestinian resistance, i.e., Iran and Turkey, would not allow it. Should an escalation happen in the future between Hamas and Israel, I don’t think it will turn into a full-fledged open war. Israel would respond to Hamas’ strikes with targeted attacks,” Bisharat said.

Wissam Afifa, director of Al-Aqsa TV, which is close to Hamas, told Al-Monitor, “The last escalation round in Gaza has pushed the Palestinian factions to be wary of the imminent danger from the emerging alliances and partnerships in the region following the Washington agreements. The armed factions believe that they would be the first victims to such agreements, as they include military and security items targeting them. The upcoming period could also witness intelligence cooperation between these countries against the resistance.”

“The coming period will also witness increased media synchronization between Israel and its Gulf partners in such a way to condone any Israeli aggression on the Palestinians, who would be blamed for it, under the pretext of the need to dry up the sources of arms and funding for the military resistance,” he added.

The Gaza rocket-firing came as a surprise for several reasons, mainly because it targeted an area outside the Gaza envelope and reached the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, as rockets have been previously fired at open agricultural lands.

Rockets were also fired a few days after the latest escalation ended Sept. 1 through Qatari mediation. Israel was careful not to violently respond but to merely hit targets inside Gaza, seemingly because it did not want to disrupt the peace celebrations with the UAE and Bahrain.

Mohammed al-Brim Abu Mujahid, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, told Al-Monitor, “Firing the rockets at Israel was a crucial message and a significant response to the Arab normalization of ties with Israel. We also sent a message that we will keep responding in kind. We will respond to bombing with bombing. This will not change.”

“We, however, fear that the UAE-Bahrain-US alliance would carry security implications affecting the Palestinian resistance. But we are ready for the worst-case scenario. Should we need to send other messages, we will. The resistance is ready for all plausible scenarios, including any foolish Israeli military venture in Gaza,” Abu Mujahid said.

The antichrist says Israel will mark own ending if it opens embassy in Baghdad

Israel will mark own ending if it opens embassy in Baghdad: Muqtada al-Sadr

News Code : 1072002

Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says Israel will mark its own ending by opening its embassy in Iraq amid some reports about Tel Aviv considering opening its virtual diplomatic mission in the Arab country.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says Israel will mark its own ending by opening its embassy in Iraq amid some reports about Tel Aviv considering opening its virtual diplomatic mission in the Arab country.

The prominent Shia cleric made the comment during a sermon at the Friday prayers, warning the “enemy of God [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu,” who has “evil intentions” toward Iraq, about possible “coming” to the Arab country or even “thinking about establishing an embassy” there.

Sadr’s warning was an apparent reaction to some unconfirmed reports that Tel Aviv is seeking to establish its virtual embassy in Baghdad, which, in turn, allegedly wants to open its own in Israel.

Addressing the Israeli premier, Sadr further warned him that if he took such actions, he would “mark the end” of the occupying entity, “according to the Holy Quran.”

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), two Persian Gulf Arab states, have signed controversial and US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel. It took place during a ceremony in Washington on September 15.

The event was condemned by many Arab and Muslim figures as a flagrant betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

“Addressing the oppressed in the East and the West of the world, I say that normalizing ties with the Zionist regime will only bring humiliation,” further said Sadr. “Palestine is alive in our conscience.”

Earlier, the Iraqi cabinet’s spokesman Ahmed Mulla Talal had stressed that any normalization of relations with the Israeli regime is strictly forbidden under the Iraqi constitution.

The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be WaitingBy MARGO NASHPublished: March 25, 2001Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.Q. What have you found?A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault? A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.MARGO NASH

The winds of God’s wrath bringing ‘life-threatening’ rip currents to East Coast: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane Teddy bringing ‘life-threatening’ rip currents to East Coast, fall set to arrive

Storm’s size is generating dangerous ocean conditions that are reaching the U.S.

By Janice Dean, Travis Fedschun, Brandon Noriega | Fox News

Teddy will then lose its tropical characteristics as it transitions into a very strong post-tropical system as it races toward Atlantic Canada.

Hurricane Teddy can be seen passing near Bermuda on Sept. 21, 2020. (NOAA/GOES-East)

The storm will then pass over the Canadian Maritimes from Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Teddy is a large hurricane, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 70 miles of the storm while tropical storm-force winds stretch up to 230 miles.

The forecast track of Hurricane Teddy (Fox News)

The storm’s large size is generating dangerous ocean conditions that are reaching the U.S.

“We are going to see the potential for dangerous life-threatening surf and rip currents all along the East Coast,” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said on “Fox & Friends.”

LOUISIANA RESIDENTS FACE TOUGH ROAD TO RECOVERY WITH CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS AFTER HURRICANE LAURA

Life-threatening high surf and rip currents will be very dangerous along the East Coast throughout this week.

The national forecast for Sept. 21, 2020 (Fox News)

Gusty winds with some rainfall will also impact eastern Maine as Teddy moves into Canada.

In other weather news, below-average temperatures have once again arrived in parts of the Northeast.

A brisk air mass has resulted in frost and freeze advisories across the Northeast. (Fox News)

Freeze and frost advisories are up Monday morning due to this brisk airmass. 

Above-normal temperatures will return for the Western U.S. on Monday, with gusty winds bringing fire concerns for parts of the Great Basin.

Fall officially begins Tuesday morning, with the autumnal equinox at 9:30 a.m. EDT

It will be a warm start to fall across the Central and Northern Plains, with afternoon highs on Tuesday afternoon well into the 80s. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic will be in the 60s and 70s, while Phoenix will be near 102 degrees.

Babylon the Great to Resume Nuclear Testing

With Russia and China violating the CTBT, U.S. must resume nuclear testing

Countries are decades ahead in developing advanced nuclear weapons

Sept. 23, 1992 — date of the last U.S. nuclear test — 28 years ago.  

Nuclear weapon scientists and strategists are increasingly concerned about the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons, none tested in nearly three decades, obeying the unratified Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  

The CTBT was the bright idea of President Clinton and anti-nuclear ideologues, increasingly dominant in a radicalized Democratic Party that would have the U.S. lead the way toward President Obama’s “world without nuclear weapons” even though Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are not following.

Decades late, the State Department finally admits Russia and China are violating the CTBT, conducting low-yield nuclear tests (“Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments” April 2020).  

Defense Intelligence Agency Director and Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, on May 29, 2019, warned: “Our understanding of nuclear weapon development leads us to believe Russia’s testing activities would help it to improve its nuclear weapon capabilities. The United States, by contrast, has forgone such benefits by upholding a ‘zero-yield’ standard.”

Consequently, Russia and China are probably decades ahead in developing advanced nuclear weapons. Accordingly, President Trump and Senate Republicans wisely include funding in the new defense bill to de-mothball U.S. capabilities to perform nuclear testing.

Yet, despite nuclear testing by Russia, China and North Korea, House Democrats oppose funding even preparations to resume U.S. nuclear testing in an emergency. They would bind the U.S. to the CTBT and an obsolescing nuclear deterrent forever.

Democrats and their anti-nuclear allies in the Department of Energy (DOE) argue so-called science-based nuclear stockpile stewardship relying on computer models and engineering judgment is adequate to sustain the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons — without testing.

Democrats and the press trumpet recent testimony, supposedly supporting their “no testing” policy, before the Senate Armed Services Committee by chief of U.S. Strategic Command and Adm. Charles Richard: “At this time, there is no condition … where I would recommend the need for nuclear testing.”

However, Adm. Richard also testified: “But I would say though that it is important for the nation to maintain an ability to do a nuclear test should an issue arise in the future.”

Adm. Richard surely knows that a recommendation to immediately resume nuclear testing would guarantee rabid opposition and no funding from congressional Democrats. 

Left-stream media mischaracterize President Trump’s support for nuclear testing as merely a negotiating ploy. They often belittle the president for exaggerating U.S. nuclear capabilities and asserting the existence of secret nuclear superweapons superior to those of Russia and China.

Public admission by Mr. Trump and the U.S. Strategic Command that America’s nuclear deterrent is obsolete and outclassed could invite World War III. 

U.S. nuclear capabilities must deter, not Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, but Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un — whose nuclear arsenals are proven by testing.

Twenty-four years ago, the late great Floyd Spence, then-chairman of the House National Security Committee, warned cessation of nuclear testing could eventually result in U.S. unilateral nuclear disarmament in “The Clinton Administration and Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship: Erosion By Design” (HNSC Oct. 30, 1996).

Time has proven Spence was right.

John Hopkins and David Sharp, former senior scientists in the Los Alamos stockpile stewardship program, call for resumption of nuclear testing. See “The Scientific Foundation for Assessing the Nuclear Performance of Weapons in the U.S. Stockpile Is Eroding” Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2019):

• “Nuclear tests gave decisive, direct evidence about the behavior of new weapons destined for the stockpile … Virtually no comparable data exist on the nuclear performance of stockpiled weapons in their current state.”

• “Nuclear testing provided a solid foundation for the development and evaluation of scientific judgment because it unequivocally tested performance predictions.”

• ”Confidence that today’s nuclear weapons will perform properly is predicated on the assumption that there will be no surprises … The history of testing complex systems, nuclear and nonnuclear, is punctuated by unpleasant surprises.”

• “The above arguments are not ones that proponents of a continuing test moratorium or a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty wish to hear.”

DOE is trying to crush such “politically incorrect” thinking and hamstring the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC), according to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Imhofe:

“Recently, I’ve learned that individuals from the Department of Energy have worked behind the scenes with House Democrats on ill-advised legislation that would bury the Nuclear Weapons Council in unneeded bureaucracy and bring its decision-making process to a grinding halt; prohibit all cooperation between NNSA and the NWC for maintaining the safety and security of our nuclear weapons; destroy the NNSA’s congressionally-mandated independence and drag us back to the dysfunction of the Clinton years; and do lasting and possibly irreversible harm to the President’s efforts to preserve and improve our deterrent …”

Mark Schneider, former senior Pentagon nuclear strategist, observes: “Today, we do not have ‘science-based stockpile stewardship,’ but more like ‘political science-based stockpile stewardship’ while, conversely, Russia has science-based development of new and improved nuclear weapons” (“Yes, the Russians Are Testing Nuclear Weapons and it is Very Important,” RealClearDefense.com Aug. 14, 2019).

The U.S. must resume nuclear testing.    

• Peter Vincent Pry, director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, served as chief of staff on the Congressional EMP Commission, and on the staffs of the House Armed Service Committee and the CIA. He is author most recently of “The Power And The Light” (Amazon.com).

Iran is nuclear ready: Daniel 8

Iran could have material for nuke by end of year

Iran and North Korea “resume work” on long-range missiles, program increases

As Iran counts down the minutes to the end of an arms embargo so that it can begin importing much-needed technology and dual-use equipment for weapons, a senior US official alleged that it is resuming work with North Korea on long-range missiles. Iran also could have enough material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year. The report was part of a larger Reuters report about new US sanctions against up to two dozen people and entities that will be slapped onto Iran. The US has urged the UN to snap back sanctions on Iran after Washington says Iran violated a 2015 deal.

Iran has circled the wagons and brought in the Russians, China, Turkey, the EU and many other countries to oppose the US attempts to put more sanctions on. The US allegation about the long-range missile work is linked to other US claims that Iran has violated agreements linked to ballistic missile development. Iran says it can build whatever it wants. It recently put a military satellite into space.

Iran has a massive indigenous missiles program consisting of advanced solid and liquid fueled rockets, missiles and precision guided missiles. Iran has also transferred this technology to the Houthis in Yemen, militias in Iraq, Syria, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.Iran’s missile program has advanced in recent years, even under sanctions. Iran claims it makes most of its parts locally. However in the past Iran has benefited from North Korean expertise. Like most countries whose missiles are based on Soviet designs Iran has used know-how that is part of reverse engineering or basing missiles on Chinese, Russian and North Korean designs. It has then gone on to try to improve the designs, increasing ranges and precision.  Reuters says the US official spoke on condition of anonymity and that this official had said Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and had “resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea.” The official did not provide evidence.  

Iran’s missiles are potentially linked to its nuclear program because even if Iran can build a nuclear device and test it, the regime faces a problem in how to deliver the bomb. It has no long-range bombers, so Iran would have to potentially put it on a missile. There are many questions about how Iran would do that and how safe it would be. Iran shot down a civilian jetliner this year and has mined ships in the Gulf of Oman.

However, Iran showed high precision when it fired ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq and against ISIS in Syria and against Kurdish dissidents over the last years. That shows that its Zulfiqar, Fateh, Qiam and Shahab missiles are increasing in lethality. An Iranian surface to surface missile factory at Khojir was damaged in a mysterious June explosion. The Natanz nuclear facility was also damaged in July. Recent airstrikes at Safirah in Syria on September 11 may have also targeted a surface to surface missile facility. In Iraq warehouses of pro-Iranian militias have blown up several times over the last year and a half in mysterious explosions. It was not clear if they housed missiles.

Iran holds back on payback

Iran said refraining from attack on US, fearing it could help Trump’s reelection

Citing US intel reports, NY Times says Khamenei fears direct confrontation will help president’s campaign and believes Natanz attack was intended to provoke a clash

By TOI STAFF and AGENCIES

American intelligence reports indicate Iran has avoided strong military action against the US — despite an intense pressure campaign by Washington that has included tightening sanctions and rumored attacks on its installations — because it believes restraint will help prevent President Donald Trump’s reelection in November, according to a New York Times report.

The newspaper cited several American officials and US allies who were briefed on the intel reports. It said Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is hoping for a less antagonistic US administration come January, but believes a significant conflict between the countries will bolster Trump’s odds of holding on to the presidency.

The report said the Iranians believe a July explosion that damaged one of its nuclear sites in Natanz, and which foreign media reports have attributed to Israel or the US, was intended to provoke a response that would justify military strikes on the Islamic Republic.

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It also said that while Khamenei has forbidden serious military action, he has allowed extensive cyber activity and hacking attempts against US targets. Last week Microsoft said Iranian hackers have engaged in attacks on personal accounts of those associated with Trump and his campaign, in an effort to influence the 2020 election, though it said its security tools stopped most of the attempts.

On Saturday Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief said Tehran will avenge the US killing of its top commander General Qassem Soleimani in January by targeting only those involved, in an “honorable” retaliation.

The guard’s website quoted Gen. Hossein Salami as saying, “Mr. Trump! Our revenge for martyrdom of our great general is obvious, serious and real.”

Trump warned this week that Washington would harshly respond to any Iranian attempts to take revenge for the death of Soleimani, tweeting that “if they hit us in any way, any form, written instructions already done we’re going to hit them 1000 times harder.”

The president’s warning came in response to a report that Iran was plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing at Baghdad’s airport at the beginning of the year.

Salami rejected the report of an Iranian plot to assassinate Ambassador Lana Marks, but made clear that Iran intends to avenge the general’s death.

“Do you think we hit a female ambassador in return to our martyred brother?” the general said. “We will hit those who had direct and indirect roles. You should know that everybody who had a role in the event will be hit, and this is a serious message. We do prove everything in practice.”

In January, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting US soldiers in Iraq in response to the fatal drone strike.

Trump has stepped up economic pressure on Iran with sanctions since he pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.

Tehran has continued to expand its stockpile of enriched uranium and pressured other nations to offset the harm of US sanctions, while insisting it does not want to develop a nuclear weapon.

On Saturday night the United States unilaterally proclaimed that UN sanctions against Iran were back in force and promised to punish those who violate them. However Washington is almost alone on the issue: all the other great powers — China, Russia and also the US’s own European allies — have challenged the claim.

Babylon the Great snaps back at Iran

Exclusive: U.S. to slap sanctions on over two dozen targets tied to Iran arms

Syndicated Content

Sep 20, 2020 12:32 PM

Coldwater, MI, USA / WTVB | 1590 AM · 95.5 FM | The Voice of Branch County

By Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday will sanction more than two dozen people and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear, missile and conventional arms programs, a senior U.S. official said, putting teeth behind U.N. sanctions on Tehran that Washington argues have resumed despite the opposition of allies and adversaries.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea. He did not provide detailed evidence regarding either assertion.

The new sanctions fit into U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to limit Iran’s regional influence and come a week after U.S.-brokered deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, pacts that may coalesce a wider coalition against Iran while appealing to pro-Israel U.S. voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

The new sanctions also put European allies, China and Russia on notice that while their inclination may be to ignore the U.S. drive to maintain the U.N. sanctions on Iran, companies based in their nations would feel the bite for violating them.

A major part of the new U.S. push is an executive order targeting those who buy or sell Iran conventional arms that was previously reported by Reuters and will also be unveiled by the Trump administration on Monday, the official said.

The Trump administration suspects Iran of seeking nuclear weapons – something Tehran denies – and Monday’s punitive steps are the latest in a series seeking to stymie Iran’s atomic program, which U.S. ally Israel views as an existential threat.

“Iran is clearly doing everything it can to keep in existence a virtual turnkey capability to get back into the weaponization business at a moment’s notice should it choose to do so,” the U.S. official told Reuters.

The official argued Iran wants a nuclear weapons capability and the means to deliver it despite the 2015 deal that sought to prevent this by restraining Iran’s atomic program in return for access to the world market.

In May 2018, Trump abandoned that agreement to the dismay of the other parties – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – and restored U.S. sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Iran, in turn, has gradually breached the central limits in that deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including on the size of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium as well as the level of purity to which it was allowed to enrich uranium.

“Because of Iran’s provocative nuclear escalation, it could have sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this year,” the official said without elaborating except to say this was based on “the totality” of information available to the United States, including from the IAEA.

The Vienna-based agency has said Iran only began significantly breaching the 2015 deal’s limits after the U.S. withdrawal and it is still enriching uranium only up to 4.5%, well below the 20% it had achieved before that agreement, let alone the roughly 90% purity that is considered weapons-grade, suitable for an atomic bomb.

“Iran and North Korea have resumed cooperation on a long-range missile project, including the transfer of critical parts,” he added, declining to say when such joint work first began, stopped, and then started again.

Asked to comment on the impending new U.S. sanctions and the U.S. official’s other statements, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations dismissed them as propaganda and said they would further isolate the United States.

“The U.S.’ ‘maximum pressure’ show, which includes new propaganda measures almost every week, has clearly failed miserably, and announcing new measures will not change this fact,” the mission’s spokesman, Alireza Miryousefi, told Reuters in an email.

“The entire world understands that these are a part of (the) next U.S. election campaign, and they are ignoring the U.S.’ preposterous claims at the U.N. today. It will only make (the) U.S. more isolated in world affairs,” he said.

The White House declined comment in advance of Monday’s announcements.

‘SNAP BACK’ OF U.N. SANCTIONS?

The U.S. official confirmed Trump will issue an executive order that would allow the United States to punish those who buy or sell conventional arms to Iran with secondary sanctions, depriving them of access to the U.S. market.

The proximate cause for this U.S. action is the impending expiration of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran and to warn foreign actors – U.S. entities are already barred from such trade – that if they buy or sell arms to Iran they will face U.S. sanctions.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal the U.N. conventional arms embargo is set to expire on Oct. 18.

The United States says it has triggered a “snap back,” or resumption, of virtually all U.N. sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo, to come into effect at 8 p.m. on Saturday/0000 GMT on Sunday.

Other parties to the nuclear deal and most U.N. Security Council members have said they do not believe the United States has the right to reimpose the U.N. sanctions and that the U.S. move has no legal effect.

On Friday, Britain, France and Germany told the Security Council that U.N. sanctions relief for Iran – agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal – would continue beyond Sunday, despite Washington’s assertion.

In letters to the Security Council on Saturday, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun and Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia both described the U.S. move as “illegitimate” and said the U.N. sanctions relief for Iran would continue.

Also on Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council he cannot act on the U.S. declaration that U.N. sanctions had been reimposed because it was not clear whether they had snapped back.

“It is not for the Secretary-General to proceed as if no such uncertainty exists,” he said.

TARGETS INCLUDE IRAN’S NUCLEAR, MISSILE, ARMS GROUPS

The new executive order will define conventional weapons broadly as any item with a potential military use, meaning it could cover such things as speed boats that Iran retrofits to harass vessels in international waters, the U.S. official told Reuters.

It would also apply to conventional circuit boards that can be used in ballistic missile guidance systems, he added.

The more than two dozen targets to be hit with sanctions on Monday include those involved in Iran’s conventional arms, nuclear and missile programs, the official said, saying some of the targets are already sanctioned under other U.S. programs.

That could prompt criticism that the U.S. move is redundant and designed for public relations purposes to look tough on Iran, a charge critics have made about past U.S. sanctions actions.

Among the targets will be Iran’s “most nefarious arms organizations,” about a dozen senior officials, scientists and experts from Iran’s nuclear complex, members of a procurement network that supplies military-grade dual-use goods for Iran’s missile program, and several senior officials involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, the U.S. official said.

The official declined to name the targets, saying this would be made public on Monday, and stressed that the United States wants to deter foreign companies from dealing with them even if their governments believe this is legally permitted.

“You might have a split in some countries where a foreign government may claim that the U.N. sanctions don’t snap back but their banks and companies will abide by U.S. sanctions because they want to make sure they are not a future target,” he said.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Francois Murphy in Vienna; Editing by Daniel Wallis)