Eye on Iran: IAEA Says Foreign Expertise Has Brought Iran to Threshold of Nuclear Capability

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WashPost: „Intelligence provided to U.N. nuclear officials shows that Iran’s government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon, receiving assistance from foreign scientists to overcome key technical hurdles, according to Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings. Documents and other records provide new details on the role played by a former Soviet weapons scientist who allegedly tutored Iranians over several years on building high-precision detonators of the kind used to trigger a nuclear chain reaction, the officials and experts said. Crucial technology linked to experts in Pakistan and North Korea also helped propel Iran to the threshold of nuclear capability, they added. The officials, citing secret intelligence provided over several years to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the records reinforce concerns that Iran continued to conduct weapons-related research after 2003 – when, U.S. intelligence agencies believe, Iranian leaders halted such experiments in response to international and domestic pressures. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is due to release a report this week laying out its findings on Iran’s efforts to obtain sensitive nuclear technology.“ http://t.uani.com/ubLfCT 

NYT: „An imminent report by United Nations weapons inspectors includes the strongest evidence yet that Iran has worked in recent years on a kind of sophisticated explosives technology that is primarily used to trigger a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials who have been briefed on the intelligence. But the case is hardly conclusive. Iran’s restrictions on inspectors have muddied the picture. And however suggestive the evidence about what the International Atomic Energy Agency calls ‚possible military dimensions‘ of Iran’s program turns out to be, the only sure bet is that the mix of sleuthing, logic and intuition by nuclear investigators will be endlessly compared with the American intelligence agencies‘ huge mistakes in Iraq in 2003. Just as it was eight years ago, the I.A.E.A., which was conceived as a purely technical organization insulated from politics, is about to be sucked into the political whirlpool about how the world should respond to murky weapons intelligence. Except this time everything is backward: It is the I.A.E.A., which punched holes in the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq’s nuclear progress, that today is escalating the case that Iran has resumed work on bomb-related technology, after years of frustration over questions that have gone unanswered by that government.“ http://t.uani.com/uk42Fr

Reuters: „The United States fears Iran’s growing military power because it is now able to compete with Israel and the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments carried by an Egyptian newspaper on Monday. Responding to a toughening stance from the United States and Israel against Tehran, Ahmadinejad accused Washington of inventing conspiracies to discredit Iran and sowing discord with its near neighbor Saudi Arabia. ‚Yes, we have military capabilities that are different from any other country in the region,‘ Egyptian daily al-Akhbar cited Ahmadinejad as saying. ‚Iran is increasing in capability and advancement and therefore we are able to compete with Israel and the West and especially the United States.‘ ‚The U.S. fears Iran’s capability,‘ he told the paper. ‚Iran will not permit (anyone from making) a move against it.'“http://t.uani.com/uEodAb

Nuclear Program & Sanctions

Reuters: „Iran is the biggest threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East, surpassing al Qaeda, which is down but not out, a senior military official said on Friday. ‚The biggest threat to the United States and to our interests and to our friends, I might add, has come into focus and it’s Iran,‘ said the official, addressing a forum in Washington… However, the official said he did not believe Iran wanted to provoke a conflict and added he did not know if the Islamic state had decided to build a nuclear weapon.“ http://t.uani.com/tvl1mf

AP: „Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. should consider even tougher penalties against Iran’s government and ‚be doing everything we can to bring it down.‘ Rice tells ABC’s ‚This Week‘ that the U.S. should never take the option of military force off the table when it comes to dealing with Iran. She says the current Iranian government is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon and has repressed its own people. Rice says ‚the regime has absolutely no legitimacy left.'“ http://t.uani.com/vGZEE6

AP: „Israel’s president says the international community is closer to pursuing a military solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program than a diplomatic one. The remarks by Shimon Peres to Israel’s channel 2 TV Friday were unusual because he is known as a dove and optimist. Peres said world leaders need to ‚fulfill their promises‘ to stop Iran ‚whatever it takes.‘ He said, ‚There is a long menu as to what can be done.‘ He did not elaborate. The interview comes days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to be seeking ministers‘ support for a strike against Iran.“http://t.uani.com/sny3W4

BBC: „Military action against Iran would be a ‚very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences‘, Russia’s foreign minister has warned. Sergei Lavrov said diplomacy, not missile strikes, was the only way to solve the Iranian nuclear problem. His comments come after Israeli President Shimon Peres said an attack on Iran was becoming more likely. The UN’s atomic watchdog is expected to say this week that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear arms capability.“ http://t.uani.com/vEWmnD

AP: „Among the many alliances of convenience in the Middle East, one is so unusual that the partners can barely hint about it publicly: Israel and the Gulf Arab states linked by shared fears over Iran’s nuclear program. While their deeper disputes on the Palestinians effectively block any strategic breakthroughs, the recent warnings from Israel and the West about military options against Iran invariably draw in the Gulf and its rare meeting of minds with Jerusalem. The Gulf states — a cornerstone for U.S. diplomatic and military pressure on Iran — are indispensable parts of any effort to confront Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. And even Israel, which has no direct diplomatic outreach to the Gulf, is likely brought into the Gulf-centric policymaking with U.S. envoys acting as go-betweens, experts say.“ http://t.uani.com/sz4cmV

 

Commerce
Radio Farda: „Iran’s homegrown airline industry was once a point of pride for the Islamic republic, which has long prided itself in its independence and followed a policy of looking ’neither East nor West.‘ But sanctions preventing the country from purchasing parts to maintain aircraft or new Western planes to update aging fleets, and denying some European refueling points on international flights, may have caused the country to swallow that pride and look abroad for help. Relief, it appears, will come from Qatar Airways, which has been tapped to take over an unspecified number of domestic flights within Iran. The unprecedented announcement was promptly followed by news that the Doha-based airline plans to greatly expand its flight offerings to Iranian cities.“http://t.uani.com/ty5E8P

JPost: „A pro-Iranian business conference slated for Tuesday in Berlin triggered sharp criticism last week and on Saturday from European-based NGOs and Mideast experts because the event seeks to promote trade with the Islamic Republic. The group EIVENT (European- Iranian Ventures) organized the conference titled ‚Economic Congress: Iranian Business Women Power.‘ EIVENT listed the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) as a sponsor. ‚For Iranian business women to be honored in Germany – while their sisters in Iran are humiliated, silenced, repressed and stoned – is a slap at human rights,‘ said Dr. Shimon Samuels, director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center… A representative from the Campus Hotel in Berlin, confirmed that the pro-business Iran conference will be held there on Tuesday. She could not tell the Post how many businesses and participants registered and said a spokesperson was not available over the weekend to comment.“ http://t.uani.com/vYYjjD

Bloomberg: „Huawei Technologies Co. confirmed it sold telecom equipment and a ‚mobile news delivery platform‘ to MTN Irancell Telecommunications Services Co., Iran’s second- largest mobile provider, while denying the gear is used for censorship. Huawei, China’s largest maker of phone network equipment, doesn’t provide „any services relating to monitoring or filtering technologies and equipment anywhere in the world,“ the Shenzhen, China-based company said in a e-mailed statement today. The company said it issued the statement on Iran in response to ‚inaccurate and misleading claims‘ about its ‚commercial activities‘ in Iran, without identifying the source of those claims. Both Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal published reports last month saying Iranian authorities use technology purchased from foreign companies to monitor dissidents.  ‚Huawei provides a mobile news delivery platform to MTN Irancell, but we have no involvement in any aspect of the content of the information that is provided on that platform,‘ the Huawei statement said. ‚Most importantly, we have absolutely no technology that can be used for news censorship.'“ http://t.uani.com/rR1srV

 

Human Rights

 

Fox News: „Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation’s supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told FoxNews.com. Iran’s secret service officials recently approached 34-year-old pastor Youcef Nadarkhani at his prison site in Rasht and presented him with a book on Islamic literature, telling him they would be back to discuss the material and hear his opinion, the sources said. FoxNews.com obtained a digital copy of the book given to Nadarkhani, a 300-page compilation entitled ‚Beshaarat-eh Ahdein,‘ meaning ‚Message of the Two Eras,‘ referring to the New and Old Testaments. Through various narratives, the book claims Christianity is a fabrication and attempts to establish the superiority of Islam.“http://t.uani.com/sZIxSH

 

Foreign Affairs

AP:
 „Iran’s presence is already visible in Iraq, from the droves of pilgrims at Shiite holy sites to the brands of yoghurt and jams on grocery shelves. But now Iraqis are bracing for a potential escalation of Persian influence as the U.S. military leaves at the end of the year. It’s a natural step, most agree, for the only two Shiite Muslim-led governments in the Sunni-dominated Mideast to expand their relationship. But it’s a fine line for Iraq to walk, with even many in Iraq’s Shiite majority wary of infringement of their country’s sovereignty and afraid of being overrun by the Iranian theocracy. From politics and weapons to pilgrims and consumer products, Iraqis have for years stood by as Iranian influence seeped in. It’s been galling for many still bitter over the destruction that Iran heaped on their homes during the eight-year war in the 1980s that left a half-million people dead.“http://t.uani.com/uEytdr

Opinion & Analysis

Avi Jorisch in WT: „In recent years, the United States has imposed a punishing sanctions regime on Iran’s banking sector. To further increase Tehran’s level of financial pain, a great number of congressional and advocacy groups have repeatedly called on the White House to blacklist the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Doing so, the thinking goes, would seriously hamper the Islamic republic’s ability to abuse international markets in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Yet unbeknownst to most lawmakers and Washington policymakers, the U.S. Treasury actually has blacklisted the CBI, and not once, but twice in recent years. The real question is why the U.S. government has not enforced its own sanctions regime. The CBI has been accused of helping fund Iran’s nuclear weapons program, facilitate money transfers to terrorist organizations and proliferate weapons of mass destruction. The Treasury Department has publicly declared that between 2001 and 2006, the CBI facilitated a $50 million payment for Hezbollah… The United States maintains a number of ‚blacklists‘ sponsored by different agencies, including but not limited to the Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce. The Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list is a broad compilation of persons and entities – a ‚list of lists‘ – administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Those on the SDN list include not only persons and entities involved in terrorism, but also weapons proliferators, drug traffickers and those designated under country-specific sanctions programs. Today, the SDN list has more than 6,000 entries, including the Central Bank of Iran. Unless specifically exempted, all U.S. persons and entities must block any property in which an SDN has an interest and report the action to OFAC. Blocked property may not be ‚transferred, withdrawn, exported, paid, or otherwise dealt in‘ without prior authorization from OFAC. If OFAC thinks a person or institution has violated the law, it has several options at its disposal, including cease-and-desist orders, civil penalties, suspension or revocation of licenses, and criminal charges… At this point, concerned parties should advocate a number of measures. The United States should ask banks that provide services of any kind to the Central Bank of Iran to cease doing so immediately. If they refuse to comply, the U.S. government should take immediate legal action in accordance with the PATRIOT Act and the U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 981, freezing any U.S.-based assets they hold and blocking their access to American markets. Moving against the Central Bank would necessitate indirect action because the bank does not appear to possess assets in America. However, the U.S. government does have the power to freeze the funds deposited in a foreign bank on behalf of the Central Bank if the foreign bank maintains an account (known as an ‚interbank‘ or ‚correspondent account‘) at a U.S. financial institution or has actual operations or property in the United States. Washington should begin implementing the SDN as soon as possible. At a minimum, Treasury should designate one or a number of the biggest offenders among those engaging in business transactions with Iran’s Central Bank. This would likely cause many, if not most, of the companies and banks currently doing business with, or on behalf of, the Central Bank to cut their ties.“http://t.uani.com/sHAMON

David Sanger in NYT: „Commuting to work in Tehran is never easy, but it is particularly nerve-racking these days for the scientists of Shahid Beheshti University. It was a little less than a year ago when one of them, Majid Shahriari, and his wife were stuck in traffic at 7:40 a.m. and a motorcycle pulled up alongside the car. There was a faint „click“ as a magnet attached to the driver’s side door. The huge explosion came a few seconds later, killing him and injuring his wife. On the other side of town, 20 minutes later, a nearly identical attack played out against Mr. Shahriari’s colleague Fereydoon Abbasi, a nuclear scientist and longtime member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Perhaps because of his military training, Mr. Abbasi recognized what was happening, and pulled himself and his wife out the door just before his car turned into a fireball. Iran has charged that Israel was behind the attacks – and many outsiders believe the ’sticky bombs‘ are the hallmarks of a Mossad hit. Perhaps to make a point, Mr. Abbasi, now recovered from his injuries, has been made the director of Iran’s atomic energy program. He travels the world offering assurances that Iran’s interest in nuclear weapons is peaceful. Even for the Iranian scientists who get to work safely, life isn’t a lot easier. A confidential study circulating through America’s national laboratories estimates that the Stuxnet computer worm – the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever deployed against another country’s infrastructure – slowed Iran’s nuclear progress by one to two years. Now it has run its course. But there is no reason to believe the attacks are over. Iran may be the most challenging test of the Obama administration’s focus on new, cheap technologies that could avoid expensive boots on the ground; drones are the most obvious, cyberweapons the least discussed.“ http://t.uani.com/vfVIzu

Yossi Melman in Haaretz: „Iran is pursuing its nuclear weapons program at the Parchin military base about 30 kilometers from Tehran, diplomatic sources in Vienna say. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to release a report this week on Iran’s nuclear activities. According to recent leaks, Iran has carried out experiments in the final, critical stage for developing nuclear weapons – weaponization. This includes explosions and computer simulations of explosions. The Associated Press and other media outlets have reported that satellite photos of the site reveal a bus-sized container for conducting experiments. Parchin serves as a base for research and development of missile weaponry and explosive material. It also has hundreds of structures and a number of fortified tunnels and bunkers for carrying out explosive experiments. As far back as eight years ago, U.S. intelligence sources received information indicating that the bunkers would also be suitable to develop nuclear weapons. According to that information, Iran conducted experiments there to examine its capacity to simulate a nuclear explosion. The Iranians rejected an IAEA request to visit Parchin, saying that IAEA rules permitted the organization’s member states to deny such visits to military bases. Now, eight years later, the site is again suspected as a location for covert military nuclear activity. Sources say that this time around, the IAEA report will contain clearer language on military aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. The report is in the final drafting stages and will need the approval of the IAEA’s director general, Yukiya Amano. According to information leaked to the media, the report will include a 12-page appendix with details including documents and satellite photos that support the contention that, in violation of its international obligations, Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons. The report is also expected to detail Iranian’s progress on uranium enrichment at its Natanz facility and state that the Islamic Republic still refuses to disclose information on various aspects of its atomic program. This in turn arouses suspicions that Iran is hiding information and is indeed developing nuclear weapons. Previous IAEA reports have said Iran already has four and a half tons of uranium at Natanz that are enriched at 3.5 percent. If such a quantity is enriched to 90 percent, something Iran has the capacity for, it will be enough to produce fissile material for four or five nuclear bombs. The report is expected to state that Iran has also begun to install centrifuges at a facility near Qom that is built underground to shield the site from an air attack. Both the Natanz and Qom sites, however, are subject to regular visits by IAEA inspectors. Any decision on moving to the final stage in a nuclear weapons program would largely be up to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with the assistance of two military advisers.“ http://t.uani.com/uktBUg

Veröffentlicht am 7. November 2011 in Empfehlungen, Medien, Meinungen, Politik, Wirtschaft und mit , , , , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert für Eye on Iran: IAEA Says Foreign Expertise Has Brought Iran to Threshold of Nuclear Capability.

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