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Posts tagged ‘Enriched uranium’

US Begins Easing Economic Sanctions on Iran.

The United States will begin easing economic sanctions on Iran after the latter began shutting down its most sensitive nuclear work on Monday, the White House said.

Iran’s move was part of a landmark deal struck late last year with the United States, five other world powers and the European Union, to ease concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program and provide for the partial removal of some of the economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Iran has insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The U.N. nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed Monday that higher-level uranium enrichment at a facility in central Iran had stopped, an important step among others that together provided officials with the evidence needed to conclude that Iran was holding up its end of the agreement.

The White House, which has vowed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, hailed Iran’s actions as “an important step forward.”

“These actions represent the first time in nearly a decade that Iran has verifiably enacted measures to halt progress on its nuclear program and roll it back in key respects,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “Iran has also begun to provide the IAEA with increased transparency into the Iranian nuclear program, through more frequent and intrusive inspections and the expanded provision of information to the IAEA. Taken together, these concrete actions represent an important step forward.”

The European Union announced earlier Monday that it, too, was suspending some of the sanctions it has imposed on Iran.

Carney said the five other world powers — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China — also would begin providing relief to Iran.

At the same time, Carney said the group will continue its aggressive enforcement of sanctions that will remain in effect during the next six months, the period that Iran and the world powers will use to negotiate a final deal.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Menendez Iran Sanctions Bill Stirs Democratic Unrest.

Image: Menendez Iran Sanctions Bill Stirs Democratic Unrest

By Melissa Clyne

A fight is brewing among Democrats and the White House over a bill proposed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez that would impose additional sanctions against Iran if the country fails to make good on its promises regarding its nuclear program.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the New Jersey Democrat’s bill has drawn criticism from the White House, which fears that saber rattling over more sanctions could upset efforts to reach a final agreement with Tehran aimed at effectively ending its nuclear program. In December, a large group of Democratic Senate chairman also raised the same concern about threatening new sanctions before talks have even gotten well underway.

The U.S., along with Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia, struck a deal with Tehran to limit uranium enrichment in exchange for the easing of international sanctions for six months. Menendez and other liberal Democratic heavyweights, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, have voiced skepticism over the interim deal, arguing that it has no “end game” and is not stringent enough.

Two dozen senators – 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans – are cosponsoring the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, introduced by Menendez and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk. Writing in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post last Thursday, Menendez argued that the U.S. needs to operate from a trust and verify stance with Iran, a historically untrustworthy nation.

“The American public supports diplomacy. So do I.” Menendez wrote. “The American public doesn’t trust the Iranian regime. Neither do I.”

The same day, the White House struck back with a statement from National Security Council Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan, who accused Menendez and other critics of the deal of being stealth war hawks.

“If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action [against Iran’s nuclear development efforts], they should be up front with the American public and say so,” she said. “Otherwise, it’s not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to proceed.”

Meehan argued that the Menendez-Kirk bill would be counter-productive and “divide the international community . . . and possibly end negotiations.”

Also lining up against Menendez and his camp are 10 Senate committee chairmen, whopenned a Dec. 18 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging him to reject additional sanctions unless Iran violates the current agreement.

“We believe that new sanctions would play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see the negotiations fail,” the letter stated.

But Menendez wrote in his op-ed piece that Iran has already laid the groundwork for breaching terms of the deal reached in Geneva by doing things like firing a rocket into space and improving their ability to develop a long-range ballistic missile. Tehran has also proposed enriching uranium up to 60 percent, well beyond any potential use for peaceful purposes, according to Menendez.

His bill, he argues, “supports continued negotiations, gives the administration a year of flexibility to secure a comprehensive agreement, respects the sanctions relief Iran is set to receive and prevents any new sanctions from taking effect while good-faith negotiations are underway.”

He called measure a “diplomatic insurance policy” and “an act of reasonable pragmatism.”

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Iran Says It Is Developing New Centrifuges.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s nuclear chief says the country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but that they need further tests before they can be operational.

Under a landmark nuclear deal reached last month between Iran and world powers, Iran promised not to bring new centrifuges into operation for six months. But the deal does not stop it from developing centrifuges.

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In comments reported by state TV late Thursday, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi did not elaborate on how long the building and testing would take.

He also said Iran has a total of 19,000 centrifuges, though he did not say how many were operational. In August, Iran said it had 18,000 centrifuges.

Iran previously gave the U.N. nuclear watchdog information on the new generation of machines.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Thanks To Obama, Iran Moves Forward With Uranium Enrichment Technology.

Iran is proceeding unhindered and at full speed towards the realization of their goal of obtaining nuclear weapons capable of destroying the nation of Israel. They have one man, and one man only, to thank for their amazing progress – Barack Hussein Obama. Thanks to him, sanctions have been eased, billions of dollars unfrozen and released back to the Iranians, and best of all Israel is not going to move to destroy their nuclear facilities any time soon.

Reuters Dubai – Iran is moving ahead with testing more efficient uranium enrichment technology, a spokesman for its atomic energy agency said on Saturday, in news that may concern world powers who last month agreed a deal to curb Tehran’s atomic activities.

Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying that initial testing on a new generation of more sophisticated centrifuges had been completed, underlining Iran’s determination to keep refining uranium in what it says is work to make fuel for a planned network of nuclear power plants.


Photo shows two Iranian scientists working at Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.

Although the development does not appear to contravene the interim agreement struck between world powers and Iran last month, it may concern the West nonetheless, as the material can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if enriched to a high degree.

“The new generation of centrifuges was produced with a higher capacity compared with the first generation machines and we have completed initial tests,” Kamalvandi was quoted as saying.

“The production of a new generation of centrifuges is in line with the (Iranian atomic energy) agency’s approach of upgrading the quality of enrichment machines and increasing the rate of production by using the maximum infrastructure facilities”.

Kamalvandi said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been informed of the development.

Iran’s development of a new generation of centrifuges – machines that spin at supersonic speed to increase the ratio of the fissile isotope – could enable it to refine uranium much faster.

Under the November 24 interim accord with the six world powers, Iran promised not to start operating them or install any more for a period of six months. But the agreement seems to allow it to continue with research and development activity at a nearby Natanz pilot plant.

Iran earlier this year stoked the West’s worries by starting to install a new centrifuge – the IR-2m – at its Natanz enrichment plant. Iran is testing the IR-2m and other models at its research and development facility at Natanz.

Kamalvandi did not specify whether the new centrifuge model he was referring to was the IR-2m.

It is currently using a 1970s model, the IR1, to refine uranium at the main Natanz plant and its efforts to replace this breakdown-prone centrifuge are being closely watched.

Some experts believe the IR-2m can enrich uranium 2-3 times faster than the IR-1.

U.N. inspectors arrived in Tehran on Saturday and are due for the first time in more than two years to visit a plant linked to a planned heavy-water reactor that could yield nuclear bomb fuel, taking up an initial gesture by Iran to open its disputed nuclear programme up to greater scrutiny. source – Yahoo News.

by NTEB News Desk

Kissinger, Shultz: Judge Iranian Progress on Change, not Tone.

Image: Kissinger, Shultz: Judge Iranian Progress on Change, not Tone

By Melissa Clyne

The temporary deal struck with Iran to freeze or scale back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for lifting some economic sanctions will be meaningless if a firm and final deal is not reached quickly, say former U.S. secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.

“Standing by itself, the interim agreement leaves Iran, hopefully only temporarily, in the position of a nuclear-threshold power — a country that can achieve a military nuclear capability within months of its choosing to do so,” the two write in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “A final agreement leaving this threshold capacity unimpaired would institutionalize the Iranian nuclear threat, with profound consequences for global nonproliferation policy and the stability of the Middle East.”

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Kissinger, who served under presidents Nixon and Ford, and Shultz, who served under Reagan, outline the challenging task of negotiating with a nation that historically has been unyielding and deceptive; a government that periodically would engage in talks but never dismantle any of its growing enriched uranium stockpile or enrichment infrastructures.

Over the past decade, they say, Iran has rejected proposal after proposal while continuing to accelerate its nuclear program.

“Under the interim agreement, Iranian conduct that was previously condemned as illegal and illegitimate has effectively been recognized as a baseline, including an acceptance of Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium (to 5 percent) during the agreement period,” they write.

“And that baseline program is of strategic significance. For Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium is coupled with an infrastructure sufficient to enrich it within a few months to weapons-grade, as well as a plausible route to producing weapons-grade plutonium in the installation now being built at Arak.”

Continual lowering of the bar, by the United States and other nations, only feeds Iran’s insolent bravado, they say, noting that after the six-month agreement was reached, the Iranian negotiator described it as “giving Iran its long-claimed right to enrich, and in effect, eliminating the American threat of force as a last resort.”

Kissinger and Shultz warn that anything less than a permanent agreement, requiring Iran to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, likely would result in the nation emerging as a “de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp,” while simultaneously damaging American credibility.

“Progress should be judged by a change of program, not a change of tone,” they say.

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Gen. Hayden: Iran ‘Far Too Close to Nuclear Weapon’.

Image: Gen. Hayden: Iran 'Far Too Close to Nuclear Weapon'

By Greg Richter

With few good choices in dealing with Iran‘s push for nuclear weapons, former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said he’s OK with letting the six-month temporary deal with the country go forward.

But we should be truthful, Hayden told “Fox News Sunday.” “We have accepted Iranian uranium enrichment.”

The “red line” with Iran has clearly changed, Hayden told host Chris Wallace.

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“Right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon,” he said. “We have hit the pause button. Now we’ve got to negotiate hitting the delete button with them.”At the end of the day, Hayden said, “Iran’s going to be a nuclear threshold state.”

The deal allows Iran to have uranium enriched to 5 percent. Previous U.N. resolutions have called for a complete dismantling of its nuclear program and that all materials be shipped out of the country.

Turning to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Hayden said he has no reason to doubt reports that Snowden has a doomsday cache that will be unleashed if he is caught or punished for leaking American secrets.

“This is catastrophic for the safety and the security of the American nation,” Hayden said. Still, he doesn’t think the U.S. government should back away from pursuing Snowden.

To do so, he said, would be like “negotiating with terrorists.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Wall Street Journal: Deal Puts Iran Closer to Being a Nuclear Power.

Image: Wall Street Journal: Deal Puts Iran Closer to Being a Nuclear Power

Iranian newspapers on Nov. 25 headline the deal made with major powers over Tehran‘s nuclear program.

By Greg Richter

Despite President Barack Obama’s proclamation that the new sanctions deal with Iran “halted the progress” of its nuclear programa Wall Street Journal editorial warns it actually takes the country a step closer to being “a de facto nuclear power.”

While Iran gets sanctions relief under the deal, the Journal notes, Iran “does not have to give up its centrifuges that enrich uranium, does not have to stop enriching, does not have to transfer control of its enrichment stockpiles, and does not have to shut down its plutonium reactor at Arak.”

It cannot install or start up new centrifuges, but it already has 10,000 of them in operation.

“Why does Tehran need so many centrifuges if not to make a bomb at the time it pleases?” the Journal asked.

Iran also agreed to oxidize its 20 percent-enriched uranium, but can still enrich up to 5 percent, which isn’t difficult to re-enrich to 20.

Obama said that “Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor,” but the Journal notes that Iran has promised only that it would not fuel the reactor. It can keep doing other work there.

“That is far from dismantling what is nothing more than a bomb factory,” the editorial said.

North Korea, it noted, made the same promises in the waning years of the Bush administration and “quickly returned to bomb-making.”

While everything is supposed to be ironed out for a final deal in six months, the Journal warns that such temporary deals only begin a path for “a series of temporary deals in which the West will gradually ease more sanctions in return for fewer Iranian concessions.

“Iran will threaten to walk away from the talks without new concessions, and Mr. Obama will not want to acknowledge that his diplomatic achievement wasn’t real,” the Journal says.

Whenever a Western leader calls for an end to sanctions, he is called a war-monger, the Journal says. That gives the advantage to the country run by a dictator who doesn’t have to be concerned about public sentiment.

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