Jerusalem (CNN)When US President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, the conversation itself will be private, but Netanyahu has made it very clear what he wants to discuss: Iran.
Iran’s newly-appointed army chief, General Abdolrahim Mousavi, said on Monday there is no guarantee Israel will exist in the next 25 years, adding that its slightest wrong move may result in the Israeli cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv being “razed down to the ground”.
Mousavi was appointed in August as the commander of the Iranian army, an entity separate from the country’s Revolutionary Guard corps.
Speaking at an event in the holy city of Qom, he elaborated on the remarks he made last month about Israel not surviving 25 years, explaining that he never meant to say the regime would necessarily last that long.
“That we say that the Zionist regime will not see 25 years later doesn’t mean that it will certainly survive for 25 years,” he said according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
“There is a prerequisite for this famous sentence, that is if the Zionist regime makes any wrong move, Haifa and Tel Aviv will be razed down to the ground.”
Mousavi’s comments alluded to the September 2015 warning by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which he said “the Zionists” who often raised concerns over Iran’s nuclear program shouldn’t naively feel relieved for 25 years just because the comprehensive nuclear deal was agreed between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers.
Key points of the historic nuclear deal include a “long-term” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) presence in Iran that includes the monitoring of uranium ore concentrate produced by Iran for 25 years.
Khamenei also previously warned of the United States’ unswerving hostility towards the Iranian nation, saying that even after the nuclear deal was inked the Americans have been hatching plots and approved a bill in the Congress against Iran.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump warned that Washington will walk away from the deal if it concludes that IAEA is not tough enough in monitoring it. Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi responded that the greatest threat to its survival was “the American administration’s hostile attitude.”
New York Times
By SAM ROBERTS
JULY 17, 2014
Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”
The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.
“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.
Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.
“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”
Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”
He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.
A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.
“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”
Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged Monday that his South Korean counterpart inquired recently about reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, a move that could
take tensions with North Korea to a new high.
Mattis, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, confirmed that he and Defense Minister Song Young-moo discussed the weapons during an Aug. 30 visit in Washington. The Pentagon chief did not say whether he’d support such an idea, however. Song has advocated for the move, calling it an “alternative worth a full review.”
Asked about the exchange, Mattis said that “we discussed the option,” but he declined to elaborate.
“We have open dialogue with our allies on any issue they want to bring up,” Mattis said.
The United States maintained nuclear weapons in South Korea during much of the Cold War, but President George H.W. Bush ordered their removal after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991. At the time, Bush saw it as a way of bolstering demands that North Korea not pursue its own nuclear weapons.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said several times that he is against the return of nuclear weapons, but he faces opposition on that point from many conservative leaders in his country. Tactical nuclear weapons, sometimes called nonstrategic nukes, are designed to strike military targets such as bunkers and tunnels but are still considered immensely powerful in their own right and a potential gateway to larger nuclear attacks.
Some senior U.S. military officials, such as Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have advocated generally for more “small-yield” nuclear weapons, arguing that the United States needs the ability to respond to an attack using a smaller nuclear bomb with something of similar size.
But Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who oversees U.S. nuclear weapons as the chief of U.S. Strategic Command, took exception Thursday to calling even smaller nuclear weapons tactical. Speaking with reporters at his headquarters in Nebraska, he called the phrase a misnomer and “actually a very dangerous term” because there are significant consequences to using nuclear weapons in any format.
“To call it a tactical weapon brings into the possibility that there could be a nuclear weapon employed on a battlefield for a tactical effect,” Hyten said. “It’s a not a tactical effect, and if somebody employs what is a nonstrategic or tactical nuclear weapon, the United States will respond strategically, not tactically, because they have now crossed a line, a line that has not been crossed since 1945.”
“It’s simply a longstanding policy so the enemy … our adversaries never know where they’re at,” he said. “It’s part of the deterrent that they cannot target them all. There’s always a great big question mark.”
Iran will not give in to US “bullying” as Washington attempts to undermine Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
“Iran, which is a powerful nation, will not give in to pressure and will not bow,” Khamenei said in an address to police officers in Tehran on Sunday.
“The corrupt, lying, deceitful US officials insolently accuse the nation of Iran … of lying, whereas the nation of Iran has acted honestly and will continue on this path until the end in an honest manner,” said Khamenei.
President Hassan Rouhani left on Sunday for the UN General Assembly in New York, where he is set to hold crucial talks on the 2015 nuclear deal, which eased international sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran’s atomic programme.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear up the deal and his administration has been looking for grounds to declare Iran in non-compliance, despite repeated UN declarations that Tehran has stuck to its commitments.
Trump must make a decision by mid-October whether to certify that Iran is complying with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If he does not, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal.
Khamenei said in his speech that “US bullying will not work on the Islamic Republic.”
“You are the liars. The nation of Iran is standing firm and any wrong move … will face a reaction by the Islamic Republic,” said the supreme leader.
Iran said last month it could abandon the nuclear agreement “within hours” if the US imposes any new penalties, after Washington ordered unilateral sanctions over Tehran’s ballistic missile tests.
Rouhani, speaking on Sunday before leaving for New York, said the US should join the countries that continue to support the nuclear deal.
The US imposed unilateral sanctions in July, saying Tehran’s ballistic missile tests violated a UN resolution that endorsed the nuclear deal, and called upon Tehran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
It stopped short of explicitly barring such activity.
Iran denies its missile development breaches the resolution, saying its missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.
Source: News agencies
12:35 September 17, 2017
Dubai: Suspected Iranian nuclear sites have remained largely off limits to IAEA inspectors tasked with measuring Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear accord it reached with world powers under the Obama administration.
A report in the Israeli daily, Haaretz said that In 2016, a few months after the nuclear agreement with Iran went into effect, a Western entity gave the International Atomic Energy Agency information regarding sites Tehran did not report as part of its nuclear programme and where, according to suspicions, forbidden nuclear military research and development activity was being conducted.
The Western entity also shared the information with a number of the six world powers who were party to the nuclear agreement, unnamed Israeli officials said.
Iran has refused the IAEA access and UN officials have been “reluctant” to confront Iran on the issue, the officials added.
The issue of Iran’s nuclear programme is expected to figure prominently during a one on one meeting between Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday.
The nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers included an oversight mechanism for a list of sites officially identified as part of Iran’s nuclear programme which include uranium enrichment plants in Natanz and Qom, as well as other sites like uranium mines and facilities for the production of centrifuges and a heavy water facility in Arak.
But Israel and some Western countries fear Tehran has hidden
However, one of the issues Israel and the West are concerned about regarding the Iranian nuclear programme regards the sites Tehran did not reveal, where there is suspected research and development for a military nuclear programme.
Though North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is grabbing headlines, the nuclear weapons evil facing the United States has multiple horns – and available responses. Undoing the harm done by the Iran nuclear deal needs to share the top of the agenda.
In mid-October President Trump will bump up against a “certification” deadline imposed by the Iran Nuclear Agreements Review Act. The prompt was intended to ensure a much closer look at Iranian behavior and the Iran nuclear deal known as the “JCPOA.”
Instead of sloughing off a threat that makes Hurricane Harvey look like an overflowing bathtub, this oversight duty must be taken far more seriously.
Obama’s JCPOA is trumpeted primarily for one alleged achievement: it bought us time. In reality, it did precisely the opposite. It bought Iran time. Instead of ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran on our terms and our timetable, Americans paid to give Iran time to hone missile delivery systems (Obama omitted from the deal) and get itself to the brink of acquiring a nuclear weapon before the JCPOA’s terrifying hourglass runs out.
On August 3, 2017 Iranian President Rouhani said Iran will be able to start enriching uranium to 20% in the Fordo facility in only five days, and reactivate the reactor in Arak because cement was never poured into its core. His remarks were repeated on August 22, 2017 by the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi.
The Iran deal was exceptional for one other characteristic: it claims to put vital aspects of U.S. national security in the hands of non-Americans, the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and our negotiation partners China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Iran.
After all, President Obama went to the Security Council to adopt the Iran deal formally, and purportedly bind the United States in international law, before he took the deal to Congress. The complex regime for reinstating the sanctions that Obama tore up is intended to put American foreign relations in serious jeopardy should we calculate the necessities of our well-being deviate from the calculations of others.
President Trump and Congress need to exercise their constitutional responsibility to move the center of gravity back where it belongs.
In August, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (and Fox News contributor) publicly provided the administration with options.
In July Senators Cotton, Cruz, Perdue and Rubio called for “a sober accounting of Iran’s JCPOA violations as well as the regime’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior.”
So where is it?
The IAEA has so far produced six reports on Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA. The agency has been careful to indicate, however, its reports are limited by “the modalities set out in the JCPOA.”
Moreover, in late August U.N. Ambassador Haley pointed to “military sites” and “undeclared sites” which the IAEA had not asked to inspect – and to which, therefore, it had not been denied access.
Even IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in March that he has no idea how many years it will take to conclude that Iran has no undeclared nuclear material and activities – because “it depends very much on the level of cooperation from Iran.” As recently as August 29, 2017, Iran’s government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht unilaterally declared military sites off limits.
Step back and recall where Obama left off with “certifying” Iran’s good behavior. In November and December 2015 the IAEA issued its final pre-JCPOA reports and found: “…the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” Obama responded by simply shutting down any further investigation of Iran’s pre-JCPOA activities.
So now, as then, we still don’t know what we don’t know.
What we do know is that the IAEA had already specifically itemized, in 2011 and 2015, Iranian “activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device…” and “specific to nuclear weapons.”
And we also know that the pre-JCPOA certification scam consisted of Iran self-reporting. It reads, for instance: “Iran will provide to the Agency [IAEA] photos…Iran will provide to the Agency videos…Iran will provide to the Agency seven environmental samples…”
Moreover, the JCPOA continues to give Iran far more than it does the United States and its allies, since it granted – for the first time – an Iranian right to enrich uranium, and legitimized a regime that had correctly been an international pariah.
The windfall that Obama gave the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and close North Korean collaborator, via the JCPOA is a sunk cost. This Congress and this president have no excuses to continue sailing the American people into a storm from which they will never recover.
Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her on Twitter @AnneBayefsky.
NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) – For the last 43 years John Armbruster has been a seismologist with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. A veteran of what he describes as “a couple of dozen” quakes, he is interested in the seismic activity throughout the Pacific region in recent weeks.
However, does the amount of plate movements around the world in recent weeks as well as years to translate to New York City being more vulnerable, “These earthquakes are not communicating with each other, they are too far apart,” said Armbruster in an interview with PIX 11 News on Wednesday.
What would a magnitude 6.0 earthquake inflict upon the city?
“I think there would be serious damage and casualties,” said Armbruster. The reason? Most of the buildings and infrastructure was not constructed to withstand earthquakes. This said, what does Armbruster think of the chances of a major earthquake catching New York City by surprise?
“We know that its unlikely because it hasn’t happened in the last 300 years but the earthquake that struck Fukushima Japan was the 1000 year earthquake and they weren’t ready for the that.
Mossad chief said pushing to ‘act now’ to prevent Iranian nuclear bomb
By RAPHAEL AHREN and RAOUL WOOTLIFF
September 17, 2017, 9:17 pm
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen is leading Israel’s “hawkish line” on Iran, calling for immediate action to ensure that Tehran cannot attain the bomb, an Israeli TV report said Sunday.
The report came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, with his focus to again be on confronting Iran.
Channel 2 on Sunday paraphrased Cohen as asserting that “Today’s Iran is the North Korea of yesterday, and so we need to act now so that we don’t wake up to [an Iranian] bomb.”
Other Israeli security officials, the report said, however, are warning that Israel should not be pushing the US into another Middle Eastern adventure, given what happened when the US tackled Iraq and Saddam’s ostensible weapons of mass destruction over a decade ago.
Netanyahu will for the first time directly address Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in his speech to the UN, Israeli sources said.
Netanyahu’s speech, scheduled for Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. Israel time, will focus on Iran and be shorter than in previous years, the sources said.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at his hotel in New York after wrapping up a trip to Latin America, Netanyahu said that the main message of his UN speech will be that “Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence on our northern borders. An [Iranian] military presence endangers not just us, but also our Arab neighbors.”
Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against Iran’s military ambitions in the area, Tehran’s bid to establish a territorial “corridor” all the way to the Mediterranean, and an increased Iranian presence on Israel’s northern border.
Earlier last week, Netanyahu said Israel wanted to see the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — which offered Iran relief from punishing sanctions in exchange for having it roll back its nuclear program — either amended or canceled altogether.
“Our position is straightforward. This is a bad deal. Either fix it — or cancel it. This is Israel’s position,” said Netanyahu in Buenos Aires.
During his scheduled Monday meeting with US President Donald Trump, Netanyahu is set to present a proposal for rolling back the two-year-old deal, signed by the Obama administration and other P5+1 powers.
Netanyahu is reportedly preparing a specific formula for either scrapping the historic deal or amending it. His proposal will detail how “to cancel or at the very least introduce significant changes” to the accord, a Channel 2 news report said.
On Monday, at 1 p.m. local time, Netanyahu will meet with Trump in the New York Palace Hotel. Both leaders will make brief statements to the press to open the meeting, before continuing their discussion behind closed doors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump during a joint press statements at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, on May 22, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Later in the afternoon, Netanyahu is set to meet the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela; the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe; and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, at the UN.
The prime minister is also scheduled to meet Brazilian President Michel Temer for the first time since the South American country rejected Dani Dayan as Israel’s candidate for ambassador there due to his past links to the settler movement. Dayan now serves as Israel’s consul general in New York. Brazil was notably left out of Netanyahu’s last week’s Latin America trip,
On Tuesday morning, the prime minister is expected to attend Trump’s first address to the UN. A few hours later, at around 1:30 p.m., Netanyahu will deliver his own speech.
Doomsday Clock moves closer to midnight
Carlyle Addy Sep 16, 2017 Updated Sep 16, 2017
The Bulletin for Atomic Scientists said in January that the hand of the Doomsday Clock had moved 30 seconds closer to midnight. Since its creation in 1945, the hand of the clock has moved several times, but it has only been less than three minutes to midnight at one other point in history.
According to the statement released by The Bulletin, this change was made to reflect threats by North Korea, as well as conflict between Pakistan and India and the statements regarding nuclear weapons by President Donald J. Trump.
Sara Koopman, an assistant professor in the School of Peace and Conflict Management who grew up in Seattle, anticipated the city to be the first hit during nuclear threats as a child. Her school treated nuclear strike drills the same way they treated fire drills.
“From about age nine and after, I was really scared,” Koopman said. “It created a lot of tension and worry among all of us.”
The first nuclear weapons used nuclear fission, a process of splitting heavy atoms in uranium or plutonium to create energy. The U.S. developed these weapons and used them against Japan in 1945.
“That was the only type that was known until around 1950,” professor Declan Keane said, who studies high-energy nuclear collisions at Kent State.
Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first and only nuclear strikes in world history, research into nuclear weapons has persisted. The Soviet Union and the United States both developed the hydrogen bomb around the same time in 1950, Keane said.
Despite posturing on both sides, neither country fired. Keane sees this posturing as reflective of the current conflict between the United States and North Korea.
Hydrogen bombs like the one the North Korean government claims to have developed are many times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan.
This is because hydrogen bombs use a different process to release energy at the atomic level. Hydrogen is a lighter element, and the energy created in hydrogen weapons is from fusion, where two hydrogen atoms combine.
It was the creation of the hydrogen bomb that drove the hand of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight in 1953.
Koopman’s concerns are about nuclear weapons impacting the community surrounding testing sites. She said that various cancers are associated with living and working near radiation, and that these diseases are discussed less than the possibility of a nuclear strike.
She said that the difference in cultural perception of nuclear weapons is interesting. Even though the Doomsday Clock was at three minutes to midnight in 1984, farther than where scientists placed it this year, nuclear threats don’t seem to be as prominent as they were at the time.
“There’s so much to be anxious about in the world right now,” Koopman said. “Not thinking about nuclear war is a coping mechanism.”
Keane said there is some science behind nuclear preparations like fallout shelters, but they may not be a priority.
“The North Koreans have quite a small number of nuclear weapons and it’s not clear that they have the capability to attack the mainland U.S.,” Keane said. “The chances of this being a really serious threat to your life is miniscule compared to a zillion other things that are of concern to you.”
The Bulletin called for leaders and civilians to act on their recommendations for avoiding both nuclear disaster and climate change progression.
“Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink,” the Bulletin wrote. “If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.”
Carlyle Addy is the politics reporter. Contact her at email@example.com.