Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supplying The Canadian Nuclear Horn (Dan 7:7)

Final shipment of weapons-grade uranium due at Ontario facility this year
The United States has approved what is expected to be the last shipment of weapons-grade uranium to be sent to Canada for the production of medical isotopes.


Chalk River Laboratories in eastern Ontario produces most of the medical isotopes used across North America. A final shipment of highly enriched uranium will be transported from Tennesee to Chalk River, Ont., by the end of this year.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed an export licence June 23 to transport 8.1 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Oak Ridge, Tenn., along a secret route to Chalk River, Ont., by the end of this year.

There, for what is expected to be the last time, the uranium will be used to produce target material for the aging National Research Universal (NRU) reactor to irradiate in order to produce medical isotopes used in nuclear medicine.

“The game is over for Canada’s unnecessary and irresponsible use of bomb-grade uranium to produce medical isotopes. Better late than never,” Alan Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement Monday.


The Conservative government has committed to shutting down the routine production of medical isotopes at the NRU by Oct. 31, 2016, with the possibility of the NRU retaining licences to operate until March 2018 in case of unexpected shortages. The isotope has a very short lifespan, causing it to disappear within a day of being generated and so it cannot be stockpiled.

Kuperman said that based on his analysis of past usage, the newly approved shipment should last until production shuts down.


Kuperman said Canada reneged on a pledge to convert to low-enriched uranium made in the 1990s — when it first announced its failed plan to build two new reactors that would have replaced the NRU.

Kuperman said “it’s almost fateful” that, with the pending closure of the NRU, Canada is finally abandoning highly enriched uranium.


The Chalk River reactor, which began operating in 1957, is one of five major producers of molybdenum-99, which decays into the technetium-99m isotope used in 85 per cent of nuclear medicine procedures such as bone scans and other diagnostic tests.

The other reactors, in Australia, South Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands, have either already begun, or will soon begin, using only low-enriched uranium.

“Canada is the only one of the big producers that did not commit or make efforts to convert its reactor-based production from (highly enriched uranium) to (low-enriched uranium),” Kuperman said.


Pending approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd., the subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited that operates the NRU, will keep the reactor on standby until March 2018 in case of unexpected shortages in global supply.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories did not respond to requests for comment.

Other sources, such as a cyclotron operated by TRIUMF, Canada’s national nuclear laboratory for particle and nuclear physics at the University of British Columbia, are in the works, but even that project would produce only about 20 per cent of the Canadian supply.

“We remain really quite concerned about the medical isotopes supply,” said Dr. Andrew Ross, president of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine.

The Shia Sickle Will Grow (Dan 8:8)

A Nuclear Nightmare for Lebanon
A deal with Iran would be a boon for Hezbollah and a disaster for my country.

TERROR BOOST: Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard celebrate a missile launch. Their country stands to make a windfall of up to $150 billion from a deal with the U.S. PHOTO: MOSTAFA QOTBI/IRNA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

June 29, 2015 2:25 p.m. ET

Ever since it entered the Syrian civil war, the Iranian-funded Lebanese-Shiite terror outfit Hezbollah has suffered tremendously and in many different ways. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have died in that war, and the Lebanese people’s resentment toward the group has increased. Lebanese Shiites who don’t belong to Hezbollah have also been targeted for scorn by the rest of the country, even though many of us oppose its vicious ways.

Long gone are the days when a large portion of the Lebanese population believed that Hezbollah is there to protect them and Lebanon. The mask has fallen off. Most Lebanese now see Hezbollah for what it is: a militia that works for the Iranian regime and must therefore obey Tehran’s orders. And to quiet the disenchanted voices, to make them dare not speak out, especially in the Shiite areas, Hezbollah has become more oppressive than ever.

The war in Syria has been a big financial burden on Hezbollah as well. The cash coming from Tehran is not what it used to be. In many Shiite neighborhoods, Hezbollah is asking people for donations. This has weakened the image of Hezbollah, as people see that its coffers are no longer filled as they once were.

Most young men join Hezbollah not because they believe in its talk about “resistance,” but simply because it’s the only option for the poor, unemployed and uneducated Shiites to earn a few hundred dollars a month.

The source of Hezbollah’s financial troubles is obvious: The Iranian regime has spent exorbitant sums trying to support and sustain the Assad regime in Damascus. With a population of approximately 80 million, Iran’s gross domestic product is only $369 billion. The United Arab Emirates, by comparison, with a population of nine million, has a GDP of $402 billion.

Yet despite its penurious position, Iran continues to ignore its domestic and social problems. Instead, just like the old Soviet Union, it is stretching its influence throughout the Middle East as if it were an economic powerhouse, not an economic disaster.

Furthermore, Tehran views Hezbollah’s results over the past 33 years as such a success that it is now franchising it. From Hamas in the Palestinian territories to the Sadrists in Iraq to the Houthis in Yemen, these proxy terrorist organizations are an exact replica of Hezbollah.

Now the Obama administration is negotiating a flawed nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that will see Tehran get a windfall of up to $150 billion. With so much cash on hand, Tehran would surely create new Hezbollah franchises elsewhere in the Middle East and order all these radical proxy groups to wage even more wars in the region.

At the very least, Tehran would be eager to give a good boost to its pride and joy—Hezbollah—and help it buy its way out of the problems it is facing in Lebanon now.

I recently met in Washington D.C. with senators, members of Congress and think-tank analysts. When I shared my worries with those close to the Obama administration, the response was, “Let’s get a deal now on the nuclear issue and then we’ll work out a plan on how to stand up to this Iranian invasion of the Middle East.”

When I pressed them further on the matter, I got no answers. What kind of plan are we talking about? Who would implement such a plan and confront the various Iranian proxy groups? Would the U.S. be willing to put American boots on the ground?

It has become clear to me that there is no plan. At best, if there will ever be a plan, it will be as successful as the one we see unfolding today against Islamic State. There is no doubt that a nuclear deal with Iran would be a nightmare for my beloved Lebanon and for all the other countries in the Middle East that are controlled, or could be controlled, by Iranian proxy groups.

With this deal, my Lebanon won’t be able to free itself in the foreseeable future from the control of Hezbollah. It will never again be the Switzerland of the Middle East, will never prosper and thrive again like it did in the 1960s and early ’70s. To those who say that this nuclear deal is a recipe for peace, I say that this deal is an invitation for more wars in the Middle East.

Mr. El-Assaad is chairman of the Lebanese Option Party.

The two horns of prophecy (Dan 8:3)


Iran’s Nukes are Iraq’s Moment of Truth
06.28.15 – 5:00 PM | Michael Rubin

Iranian influence in Iraq has grown greatly since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Shortly after I returned to Iraq in July 2003, I had driven with Iraqi friends down to see the marshes which Saddam Hussein had ordered drained in order to try to extinguish the Marsh Arabs’ thousands-year way of life. On our way back, we stopped at a roadside fruit and drink stand on the outskirts of Kut. Peeking out from behind a bunch of bananas was a portrait of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s revolutionary leader. A month later, I stopped unannounced at a tribal leader’s house in al-Amara. When I had scheduled a visit with him through local Coalition Provisional Authority officials a week before, he was obsequious to the Americans; when I came back unannounced, there in his reception room where he had served us tea a week before was a huge portrait of Khomeini. Then, of course, there was the time in Baghdad when I was visiting an Iraqi politician. It was getting late and so I took his offer to sleep on a couch in his living room rather than traverse Baghdad after curfew. On the other couch when I woke up? An Iranian official, who had even more reason to avoid getting caught by the American army breaking curfew. And then, there was the time when I was exploring Basra in December 2003. I stayed at a local hotel, and was wandering along the trash-strewn local canals which decades before had made Basra the “Venice of the Gulf.” Sharing the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) office was Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy.
The irony here is that, for all the attempts Iran made to infiltrate Iraq — successfully in some cases — most Iraqi Shi’ites resented them or soon came to due to the Iranian leadership’s arrogance and its deaf ear to Iraqi nationalism. The bulk of the Iraqi Army at the front lines during the Iran-Iraq War were Shi‘ite conscripts who fought honorably to defend Iraq; they neither defected to Iran out of sectarian loyalty nor were they in position to question the justice of a war which Saddam Hussein started. On January 6, Iraqi Shi‘ites alongside Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Sunnis commemorate Iraqi Army Day, celebrating the institution, not the previous regime that often abused it. Within hours after the war began, Iran violated an agreement struck between its UN ambassador (now Foreign Minister and chief negotiator) Mohammad Javad Zarif and American diplomats Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad and inserted a number of proxies and its own men into Iraq. One of their missions was to seize personnel records in the Defense Ministry and then proceed to hunt down and kill any veteran pilot from the Iraq-Iran War on the assumption that they had bombed Iran. The Iranian Red Crescent participated in this assassination wave, providing yet one more reason why the Iranian government and its NGOs should not be taken at their word.

Ever since President Barack Obama ordered a complete withdrawal from Iraq in order to fulfill a 2007 campaign pledge, Iranian influence has grown in Iraq. The reason for this has less to do with the hearts of Iraqis than their minds: Because they could no longer balance American and Iranian influence and demands in order to preserve their independent space, they needed to make greater accommodation to Tehran. It’s one thing to push back on over-the-top Iranian demands when several thousand American troops are garrisoned around the country. It is quite another to tell Qods Force leader Qassem Soleimani to shove his demands where the sun don’t shine when he has the wherewithal to kill anyone who stands in his way and every Iraqi regardless of sect or ethnicity knows that the United States really does not have their back. Hence, Iraq allowed some Iranian overflights to support and supply Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in Syria (the same regime to which Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry now appear prepared to accommodate). And Iraqis also traveled to Syria to support the Assad regime against Jabhat al-Nusra and/or the Islamic State (again, which the United States now appears to be doing, having demanded that ‘moderate’ Syrians whom U.S. forces train not target Assad). More recently, Americans have criticized the role that Iranian-backed militias play in the Iraqi security forces. This concern is certainly warranted, although every time a politician, journalist, or think-tank analyst recommends arming Sunni tribes directly, they simply drive the Iraqi public away from moderates like Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has been solicitous of American interests and concerns, and into the hands of harder-line pro-Iranian politicians.

So what can Iraq do to signal that it is not simply an Iranian proxy like so many of its critics say? Taking a public stance against the Iranian nuclear program would be a good first step. Under no circumstances, can the Iranian nuclear program be an Iraqi interest. Forget the Washington talking points: Everyone in the Persian Gulf, Arabs and Persians alike, know that the deal currently being finalized secures a path to an Iranian nuclear breakout. They also have a far more realistic assessment of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) than the Obama administration. Not only is it unlikely that the IRGC will abide by any agreement, but it is also likely that if Iran does acquire a nuclear capability, it will find itself so overconfident behind its own nuclear deterrence that it will further erode Iraqi sovereignty.

Iran may not like Iraq siding, in this instance, with almost every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council but Oman (which feigns neutrality), but certainly it must expect that any Iraqi government — even one which reflects the Shi‘ite majority of Iraq — will stand up for Iraqi national interests and oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions with the same cautionary statements heard from Saudi, Emirati, and Kuwaiti diplomats and officials.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Ramapo Fault Line of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Fault Lines US

A Look at the Tri-State's Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011
The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey's Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

"There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey," said Robinson. "There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude."

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: "The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it's still a little creaky now and again," he said.

"More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point," according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Ramapo Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

"Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault," according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Hypocrisy Of Babylon The Great (Ezekiel 17)

Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:6PM
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addressing Iran’s top officials during a meeting in Tehran on June 23, 2015. (leader.ir photo)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Glenn, political commentator in Idaho, to discuss the remarks made by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, slamming the US and its elements for conducting terrorist attacks against Iranians in the past.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: With regards to the Iranian Leader’s speech about the West hosting anti-Iran terrorists, can you explain for us the amount of hypocrisy Europe and the US is engaged in and where will such hypocrisy lead to?

Glenn: Well I think that it is mountainous the size of the hypocrisy here. The fact that the United States is making the pretenses of negotiating with Iran in what appears to be an act of good faith but at the same time has removed this one particular group the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, which was listed on the US State Department list of dangerous terrorist organizations, removed them despite the fact that the overwhelming evidence is that this is still a terrorist group, despite the fact that it may not have the manpower or the funding and the strength that it had in years past when it assisted Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

Nevertheless, the fact that the US would be cozying up and playing kissy-face with a very dangerous group, a cult of terrorists, at a time when the United States is making pretenses of negotiating with Iran, in addition to the fact as you said that the United States is constantly wagging her finger in the face of the world and lecturing the rest of the world on human rights and terrorism just underscores why the Supreme Leader’s statements are one hundred percent correct that you cannot trust America, you cannot trust the West. The drive to destroy Iran and to undo the revolution of 1979 is just as strong today as it was over 33 years ago when it originally took place.

Press TV: How much are the people of the West aware of such hypocrisy?

Glenn: Well, the people of the West do not even … if you were to ask the average American, if they ever heard of the MEK or MKO or Mujahedin-e-Khalq or these other groups that the United States has been funding now for not just for years but for decades, they would know nothing about this to their own detriment because the same group – the Mujahedin-e-Khalq  that has been listed as a terrorist group, now they are free to travel and to raise money for all of their operations and we can be rest assured that they will be put to use against Iran again, that they will be responsible for blowing things up and for killing people because at the end of the day this is what America and Israel are ought to do which is to destabilize Iran as a precursor to what they hope would be the Persian Spring that would unseat the present regime in power there.

Press TV: And can these terrorists be brought to justice?

Glenn: Well, they are going to be brought to justice but unfortunately it is going to have to come through other means other than the West or any western institution because all of these institutions in the West are firmly under the thumb of Israel. Israel is a terrorist nation that has engaged in thousands of war crimes. Has she ever been brought to justice for any of them? No. The United States has killed millions of people in the Middle East, blatant war crimes. Has the United States ever been brought to justice? No.

So unfortunately it is going to take another body, it is going to take another avenue to do this. The Iranians are possibly working closely with the Russians and with the Syrians and other world powers that have had enough of all of this warmongering and injustice. Perhaps they should start their own body of justice that will do the work that the International Criminal Court (ICC) seems to be unwilling to do.


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran Deal Likely Delayed (Ezekiel 17)


Iran Nuclear Talks: ‘Major Differences’ Remain

From left, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (second from right) at a hotel in Vienna, Austria on June 28, 2015. Carlos Barria/Reuters
VIENNA (Reuters) – The six world powers seeking to negotiate an historic agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program plan to carry on negotiating beyond a Tuesday deadline, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to leave Vienna and return to Tehran for consultations with the country’s leadership on the state of negotiations, Iran said.

European Union foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini said earlier on Sunday it was not impossible to get an accord by the self-imposed deadline but that a few extra days may be needed.
Foreign ministers from the negotiating countries were gathering in Vienna on Sunday to assess where the talks stood.

“Zarif will return to Tehran tonight and will come back to Vienna tomorrow,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency said, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

An Iranian official told Reuters that Zarif would “consult with the leadership” over the talks inVienna.

The U.S. official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said Washington was not troubled by Zarif’s decision to return to Tehran overnight, saying it was always expected that ministers would come and go from Vienna as the talks heated up.

The negotiations aim to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of U.S., European Union and United Nations sanctions on Tehran.

The United States, Israel and some Western nations fear that Iran has been trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, but Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.

In November, the seven nations involved in the talks set a late March deadline for a framework agreement, which they ultimately reached on April 2, and a June 30 deadline for a comprehensive deal.

Highlighting how much work remains, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said on arrival in Vienna that major challenges remained, including on the parameters already agreed in April.
“There are a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed in Lausanne,” Hammond told reporters.

“There is going to have to be some give or take if we are to get this done in the next few days,” he said. “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

In addition to Britain, Iran and the United States, the talks include China, France, Germany and Russia.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said too many concessions were being made to Tehran.

“We see before our very eyes a stark retreat from the red lines that the world powers set themselves only recently, and publicly,” said Netanyahu, whose country is generally believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal.

“There is no reason to hasten into signing this bad deal, which is getting worse by the day.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Rev 6:12)

US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers
New York Times
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.

The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.

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.”

Playing The Last Chess Match (Genesis 28)

Think twice

Buckling to the mullahs: Counting the many dangers in Obama’s approach to the Iran nuclear deal

Sunday, June 28, 2015, 5:00 AM
 This is the week Barack Obama is scheduled to make a go or no-go call on the most fateful international agreement of his presidency. His judgment will determine how easily Iran can acquire a nuclear weapon.

It is crucial to understand that Obama is not pressing Iran to abandon the covert and illegal atomic program by which the mullahs plan to dominate the region.

The President long ago conceded to the Iranians that he wanted only to contain their ambitions for a period of time — and offered to pay a recklessly dangerous price to get them to promise even that much.

Because Obama fancies that he can police with certainty the internal machinations of the world’s most duplicitous regime — a government whose leader vows that nuclear inspections on military bases will be forbidden — the President toys with lifting the economic sanctions that brought the mullahs to a table across which the parties two months ago supposedly nailed down a “framework” that the two sides now interpret as differently as night and day.

A President of sterner stuff and clearer vision would, even at this late date, declare Iran guilty of deal-breaking conduct.

In word and deed, Obama acts as though the radical Islamist, terror-exporting state were actually led by rational men who merely await the release of $140 billion as the catalyst for membership in the community of nations. Dream on and enter a nightmare.

As one for instance, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has written that Obama seems poised to give Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a pass on applying the massive infusion of cash as a force multiplier for conventional terror.

Despite economic sanctions targeted strictly at the mullahs’ terrorist activities — as opposed to their nuclear weaponry — Iran’s documented history of Islamist violence spans six U.S. Presidents and includes serving as the primary banker for Hezbollah and Hamas, supplying explosives to kill U.S. troops during the Iraq War, smuggling Al Qaeda warriors into Syria and abetting the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000.

While the U.S. Treasury vows to crack down on Iran’s terror-funding if and when Obama lifts sanctions, once in Iranian channels, that $140 billion in assets will be untraceable.

Still worse, Obama seems ready to turn his back on Iranian atrocities against the American citizens and soldiers who have won court judgments against the Islamic Republic for the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut. Khamenei gets $140 billion in blood money and property. The victims and families are in danger of getting zilch.

As for the terms of the nuclear deal, a seasoned group of national security experts, both Democrat and Republican, and including some former members of the Obama administration, have warned the President that the International Atomic Energy Agency must:

Have power to inspect all Iranian nuclear sites (a demand rejected by Khamenei), to interview Iranian scientists about past nuclear military program (a demand rejected by Khamenei) and to put limits on the centrifuges that enrich uranium to weapons grade (a demand rejected by Khamenei).

Finally, here’s the most horrifying expert opinion about how close Iran will be to producing a bomb as a so-called threshold nuclear power.

Obama scoffed when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran could “break out” to building a bomb within three months. The President said the world would have a year to stop the mullahs. Then Obama admitted that Netanyahu had been right about being on the brink.

Now, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, has checked all of Obama’s plans, safeguards and the nuclear materials and equipment the President plans to leave under the mullahs’ control in order to determine whether Obama would give the world one year’s breathing room.

Here’s what Kuperman wrote in The New York Times:

“Unfortunately, that claim (of one year) is false, as can be demonstrated with basic science and math. By my calculations, Iran’s actual breakout time under the deal would be approximately three months — not over a year. Thus, the deal would be unlikely to improve the world’s ability to react to a sudden effort by Iran to build a bomb.”

All evidence indicates that a Strangelovian mania has caused Obama to lose touch with the safety of the world, far beyond Israel and the rest of the Middle East.

Save The Oil And The Wine (Revelation 6:6)

How an Iran nuclear deal would impact oil prices

By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com
June 27, 2015

A deal stopping Iran’s nuclear program and lifting Western sanctions on the country would immediately push down oil prices, writes Nick Cunningham. The country has 40 million barrels of oil in storage and could ramp up production quickly.
Oil prices have leveled off in recent weeks, but with the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program bumping up against a deadline, that could change.

After crashing last year and then hitting several peaks and valleys, oil prices have traded within a relatively narrow range, with WTI bouncing around a bit above and below the $60 per barrel mark, and Brent staying near $64 per barrel. Of course, day-to-day there has been volatility as usual, but oil prices have been stable (relatively speaking) since the end of April. Even the OPEC meeting came and went without so much as a shrug from the oil markets.

But the deadline for the Iran negotiations – ostensibly set for June 30 – is only a week away and the outcome could have broad ramifications for the oil market, both in the immediate aftermath and over the long-term.

If a deal can be agreed to by both sides, Iran could bring a wave of oil production online. Western sanctions have knocked 1.2 million barrels per day offline since 2012. Although estimates vary, Iran might be able to bring 400,000 barrels per day online within a few months, perhaps as much as 700,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, growing to well over 1 million barrels per day sometime in 2016.

Also, Iran has somewhere around 40 million barrels of oil sitting in storage, a lot of which could essentially hit the market as soon as sanctions are lifted.

If news breaks that a deal is in hand, oil prices will sink on the expectation of this future volume, potentially dropping by $5 to $10 per barrel. And as Iran actually does ramp up output over time, and the rest of OPEC opts against cutting back to make room, global supplies will increase. That will keep a lid on future price gains and extend the current period of soft pricing.

Of course, supply and demand will have to balance out over time, and more Iranian crude will force a larger adjustment from U.S. shale, so U.S. oil production could see a deeper contraction.

The Australian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

India’s long-range nuclear capable Agni-V missile pictured being test-launched in 2012.

Expert warns SA that uranium supply deal with India could end up in its nuclear weapons

June 27, 2015 8:30am

John Carlson was director general of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, in the Department of Foreign Affairs, until 2010 and has held other posts on safeguarding radioactive elements.

Mr Carlson, who is pro-­nuclear, told the Sunday Mail that the treaty being worked out for Australia to sell uranium to India was flimsy, and said South Australia’s people and companies should be concerned about where the state’s uranium ended up.

India has huge demand for cheap energy, which Australian uranium can provide, but it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is developing weapons.

Mr Carlson said India had a history of disregarding commitments it had made, had refused to meet safety standards and “is actually increasing its nuclear arsenal”.

They’re basically saying ‘trust us’,” he said.

“This agreement is very different to all our other agreements. There’s much less detail in it. Only India, Pakistan and North Korea are producing weapons … you’d have to think this would be a watertight agreement (but) it’s very weak.

“I think there’s a reputational issue for the industry. There’s a problem for South Australian citizens.”
DFAT referred the Sunday Mail to current director general Robert Floyd’s comments at a recent public hearing that the safeguards were adequate.

Dr Floyd said there were processes in place if India ­violated the treaty, with the ­ultimate process being to terminate the agreement.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

US Preparing For The Great Millstone (Rev 18:21)

NASA Destroying Asteroids With Nuclear Missiles, Monitoring Russian Satellites Among US Plans For Space Emergency

By @JeffStone500 j.stone@ibtimes.com on June 25 2015 4:26 PM EDT
The U.S. government is at work on plans to monitor satellite activity as well as stopping asteroids with nuclear weapons. Here, the sky is illuminated as a meteor flies over Cancun, Mexico. Gerardo Garcia 
The U.S. Department of Defense is working with the intelligence community to develop a plan in the event of a Chinese or Russian attack on American space satellites. The plan, which includes the opening of a new operations center, coincides with the news that NASA is at work on an effort to fend off an asteroid with nuclear weapons.

“We are going to develop the tactics, techniques, procedures, rules of the road that would allow us … to fight the architecture and protect it while it’s under attack,” U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said at the GEOINT intelligence conference this week, as quoted by Defense One.

“The ugly reality that we all must now face is that if an adversary were able to take space away from us, our ability to project decisive power across transoceanic distances and overmatch adversaries in theaters once we get there…would be critically weakened,” Work said.

The new operations center, based at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Virginia, will track spy and military satellites and enable the Defense Department to “double down” on geospatial intelligence, Work said. It would also increase the military’s ability to track what’s happening in foreign war zones, as Work alluded to the social media activity of Russian soldiers in Ukraine last year.

But the satellite coordination center is just the beginning of the government’s space defense plan. NASA has been busy putting together its own unrelated plan to decimate asteroids with nuclear weapons originally meant for international warfare. Another plan hinged on the idea that a nuclear weapon could somehow be dropped into the center of an asteroid, then detonated from within. It’s not clear whether a nuke would be powerful enough to destroy an asteroid, but detonating one above an asteroid might be enough to save humanity.

“A very modest change in the asteroid’s motion (only a few millimeters per second), acting over several years, can cause the asteroid to miss the Earth entirely,” NASA said in a statement.
“However, the trick is to gently nudge the asteroid out of harm’s way and not to blow it up. The latter option, though popular in the movies, only creates a bigger problem when all the pieces encounter Earth.”

Saudis Prepare For Nuclear War (Daniel 7:7)

SA seeks nuclear deals, alliances to counter Iran


Saudi Arabia is pursuing its own nuclear projects and building alliances to counter Iran, which is days away from a potential atomic deal Riyadh fears could further destabilise the region.

The United States and other major powers will hold weekend talks with Iran in Vienna, aiming to finalise by Tuesday an agreement to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, have concerns that Iran, Riyadh’s regional rival, could still be able to develop a weapon under the emerging deal to end 12 years of nuclear tensions.

They also worry Washington is not taking their concerns about Iran’s “destabilising acts” in the Middle East seriously enough.

On Wednesday, France and Saudi Arabia announced a feasibility study for building two nuclear reactors in the kingdom.

Like its neighbour the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia wants to diversify its energy sources and has plans for 16 reactors.

The Paris pact is the third nuclear accord Riyadh has signed this year.

Last week, it reached a deal with Russia on economic, technical and scientific ties for the peaceful use of atomic energy. In March, the kingdom signed a preliminary deal for nuclear cooperation with South Korea.

“Saudi Arabia is going big with its nuclear project,” said Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran journalist and an analyst who is linked to the royal family.

“Of course officially it is a peaceful project”, but the nuclear know-how could also be used to develop weapons, he said.

In March, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, told the BBC that whatever Iran is given under a deal with world powers, Saudi Arabia and others will want as well, potentially sparking a regional nuclear race.

Under a framework pact agreed in April, Iran will reduce the number of its nuclear centrifuges for enriching uranium, in return for a lifting of international economic sanctions.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but if Saudi Arabia feels the Iranians are continuing their quest for a nuclear weapon, Riyadh will have “no option” but to pursue its own deterrent policy, Khashoggi said.

Riyadh has both “the will and the ability” to produce nuclear weapons, Saudi analyst Nawaf Obaid, a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, wrote on CNN.com last week.

But a Saudi official told AFP the kingdom “won’t take the risk” of seeking an atomic bomb.

He said Iran’s policy of “interfering” in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon poses danger, regardless of the weapons it possesses.

“I believe much of the talk about Saudi interest in nuclear weapons is posturing,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation and disarmament programme at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said their capability is still “rather low” and a better way to enhance Saudi security options is to partner with various Western nations.

“The French reactor deal provides another means of reassurance from Western partners of attention to Saudi interests,” Fitzpatrick said.

The nuclear agreement was among investments totalling about $12 billion finalised during the Paris visit by Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Improved links with France highlight a deepening of ties between the Gulf and major powers beyond the region’s traditional ally the US.

Fitzpatrick said there is still huge distrust between Washington and Tehran but they will now have channels of communication, “which is of legitimate concern to Saudi Arabia.”

Salman’s Paris mission came a week after his trip to Russia where a military pact and several other agreements were reached alongside the nuclear deal.

Russia and Iran support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh backs Sunni-led rebels in that country’s civil war.

But an editorial in the Saudi Gazette said cooperation between Russia and Riyadh will ensure “national unity and security” for both of them.

The kingdom “has to pursue its own security independently,” and cannot take American guarantees for granted, Khashoggi said.

“We are very worried about the Iranian expansionism…. The Middle East is falling apart and no one is helping to put it back in order. Saudi Arabia somehow is dancing alone there.”

Antichrist benefiting from US dithering (Rev 13)


US dithering will turn Iraq into a failed state


Following the major offensive of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq last year, the country’s key cities fell like dominos, increasing the Jihadist’s control over a vast territory spanning from Syria to Iraq. The magnitude of this catastrophe for Iraq and for the region is mind-boggling. As a direct result of the conflict, three million people have been internally displaced and eight million are now in desperate need of humanitarian support. Mass executions, systematic rape and atrocities are widespread across the country.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi assumed office in September 2014, many held high hopes that he would alter the sectarian policies of his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, who alienated the Sunni population and facilitated the rise of ISIS. Nine months into his tenure, al-Abadi’s plan for national reconciliation lies in tatters, leaving many to believe that Iraq is now a failed state. Urgently needed judicial reforms have never been implemented, nor has Abadi supported the creation of a national guard to arm and train the Sunni tribes to fight against ISIS. These are major mistakes. Instead, al-Abadi has relied upon the brutal Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, which operate outwith any official framework and openly target and discriminate against Sunnis and other ethnic minorities.
Al-Abadi’s reluctance to push the national reconciliatory agenda for Iraq may be partly explained by Nouri al-Maliki’s political resistance, which is closely tied to Tehran and maintains enormous influence over the coalition of the ruling Shi’ite political parties. A recent disturbing report in The Washington Times elaborated on how al-Maliki, who remains in government as vice-president, undermines al-Abadi at every opportunity in a bid to return to power. Khalid Mufriji, a Sunni MP who chairs the Committee on Regions and Provinces in the Iraqi parliament, told the Times that: “Maliki is still controlling a lot of the power” and further argued regarding the coalition of Shi’ite parties that: “Abadi cannot get out of the circle of what they decide.”

In the absence of a U.S. strategy in Iraq and a capable Iraqi army, the Popular Mobilisation Forces, an umbrella of Tehran-backed Shi’ite militias such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr Organisation, Hezbollah Brigades and the Imam Ali Brigades, have effectively become the leading services in the fight against ISIS under the command of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Al-Muhandis is a close affiliate of Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s terrorist Quds Force and maintains close ties with Iran. Tehran exploits the political dynamics in Baghdad through its proxies to advance its own agenda for regional hegemony and the ISIS crisis has been a pretext for the Ayatollahs to send troops, arms and funds into Iraq in order to achieve this goal.

While President Obama has yet to make up his mind on whether he should confront the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq, the mullahs make sure they do not miss any opportunity in forming new Shi’ite paramilitary forces, indoctrinating them with Khomeini’s brand of Islamic fundamentalism in order to increase their influence on the ground. The brutality and the atrocities committed by these militia forces against the people of Iraq is similar or sometimes even worse than the carnage committed by ISIS.

Washington backed the nomination of Haider al-Abadi for the premiership last year as he is seen as a moderate. However, by not having a robust strategy for ousting Iran and its proxies from Iraq, the Obama administration has effectively emboldened the extremist elements in Iraqi politics that follow the instructions of the theocracy in Tehran. In such an environment, it is virtually impossible to implement the national reconciliation process in Iraq. Some say that Washington does not wish to pick a fight with Tehran over Iraq as it is keen to reach a nuclear deal with Iran at any cost. But allowing the mullahs to advance their vicious plans and export their fundamentalism and terrorism to the rest of the region will have far greater and long-term negative consequences both for the region and the rest of the world.

Playing With The Chessmaster (Dan 8:4)


US, allies offer Iran new nuke carrot — but Khamenei still won’t bite
Monica Cantilero

25 June 2015
US, allies offer Iran new nuke carrot — but Khamenei still won’t bite
Monica Cantilero

25 June 2015

The United States and its allies have offered Iran state-of-the-art nuclear equipment if its scales back its nuclear activities to ensure it does not develop any weapon.
However, Iran continued to hang tough with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying his country will not dismantle its nuclear program unless economic sanctions are removed first, the BBC reported.

As the clocks ticks toward the June 30 deadline for a final nuclear agreement, a draft confidential document titled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation” showed bracketed text where disagreements remained, but technical cooperation was the least issue, Fox News said.

The scope of the assistance being offered by the US and its allies may further irk critics in the US Congress, who argue that too many concessions are already being offered in the negotiating table.
The draft document vows to provide Iran with light-water nuclear reactors to keep the country from using its almost-complete heavy-water facility at Arak, which would produce sufficient plutonium for several bombs a year.

The eight-page document offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild the reactor into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”

The paper also strengthens a previous tentative deal on what will be done with an underground site in Fordo, which will then be used for isotope production instead of uranium enrichment.

This compromise has been criticised by congressional opponents as isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can easily be re-engineered to enriching uranium.

It is crucial for the facility to be repurposed as it is believed to be resistant to airstrikes, with Fordo being dug deep into a mountain. Neither the US nor Israel has set aside this option in case talks fail.
An unnamed diplomat familiar with the negotiations said China will provide assistance in re-engineering the heavy water reactor at Arak while France will help in reprocessing nuclear waste. Britain, on the other hand, will help in nuclear safety and security.

However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who has the final say on all state matters, stood firm even with the deadline just days away, saying Iran will only dismantle its nuclear program if economic sanctions are first removed, BBC reported.

He accused the US of pushing for a “complicated formula” for removing US, EU and UN sanctions which have stifled Iran’s economy. The US proposed a gradual lifting of sanctions based on verification by international inspectors of Iran’s compliance of its pledges.

“Lifting sanctions can’t depend on implementation of Iran’s obligations,” Khamenei said.
Iran’s parliament has green-lit a proposed law banning access to nuclear scientists and military sites. Five such scientists have been assassinated.

Khamenei also rejected a proposed halting of research and development for a decade and inspections of military sites.

“We don’t accept 10-year restriction. We have told the negotiating team how many specific years of restrictions are acceptable,” he said. “Research and development must continue during the years of restrictions.”

“[The United States’] goal is to uproot and destroy the country’s nuclear industry,” he said. “They want to keep up the pressure and are not after a complete lifting of sanctions.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Failed Nuclear Deal (Ezekiel 17)


Deal with Iran could turn Middle East into a nuclear tinderbox

By Struan Stevenson
June 25, 2015 at 1:00 AM

BRUSSELS, June 24 (UPI) — With the deadline for signing a nuclear deal with Iran looming on 30th June, there is increasing frustration that President Obama seems to be committing to too many concessions and weakening the West’s approach to the Iranian regime.

Obama has conceded that Iran’s expanding ballistic missile programme should be left out of any nuclear deal, despite the fact that they now have missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and striking targets in Israel, Saudi Arabia or even Europe. North Korea has been an active partner with the Iranian regime in supplying weapons technology and a recent visit by senior North Korean missile experts to Tehran has confirmed fears that the regime is accelerating the size and quality of its intercontinental ballistic missile capability. Vladimir Putin has also now decided to renew a contract to deliver S-300 surface to air missile systems to Iran.

History has repeatedly demonstrated that countries that wish to undertake the vast expense and risk the international criticism of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles do so because they intend to arm their missiles with nuclear warheads and become nuclear powers. The Iranian missile programme makes no military, political or economic sense unless viewed in this context. Signing a nuclear pact with Iran on 30th June would therefore be a major mistake, which could have fatal consequences for countries in the zone and for world peace.

President Obama’s former top military intelligence official — Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency — told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in Washington in early June that any nuclear deal with Iran could only be a “placeholder” based on “wishful thinking”. He said the only way to stop Iran’s nuclear program was “regime change.” Flynn said that any nuclear deal with Iran will set off a domino effect across the Middle East, with countries like Saudi Arabia rushing to buy nuclear weapons technology from Pakistan or other nuclear nations. The Saudi ambassador to the UK has recently stated that “all the options are on the table,” including the possibility that the kingdom will take possession of nuclear weapons from Pakistan. These weapons are readily accessible to the Saudis due to their cooperation and support for Pakistan’s military programme.

But despite the warnings, there are increasing signs that Washington will agree to ending all sanctions imposed against the Iranian regime and not simply sanctions related directly to their nuclear programme. Over decades, the range of US sanctions have covered everything from nuclear technology to ballistic missile research, terrorism, human rights violations and money laundering. The impact of the sanctions on the Iranian economy, coupled with the recent collapse in oil revenues, has crippled the theocratic regime. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei is now demanding that all sanctions must be lifted the minute the agreement is signed on 30th June and Obama, desperate to achieve a legacy agreement with America’s arch enemy, seems likely to agree, in a deal that will grant the Iranians billions of dollars of relief. Obama has hinted at Iran potentially recouping $150 billion in assets that have been trapped overseas by US sanctions. Such an injection of cash would revitalise the Iranian economy and allow the regime to fulfill its nuclear ambitions rapidly.
The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, in a meeting in Israel this month, told his Israeli counterparts, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon, that any deal with Iran which released billion of dollars in assets would also enable them to provide further assistance to their “surrogates,” such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Bashir al-Assad’s bloody regime in Syria and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. General Dempsey stated: “I think they will invest in their surrogates, I think they will invest in military capability.” He continued: “If the deal is reached and results in sanctions relief, which results in more economic power and more purchasing power for the Iranian regime, it’s my expectation that it’s not all going to flow into the economy to improve the lot of the average Iranian citizen.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a conference in Israel two weeks ago: “I think there’s a belief that if Iran is more prosperous at home, it’ll be less aggressive abroad. But 50 billion dollars, 150 billion dollars and more is a lot of money. Well, the idea is that a wealthier Iran will stop funding terrorism. I think this is wishful thinking because this big money is big money for Iran’s worldwide campaigns of terror, big money for Iran’s regional aggression, big money for Iran’s unprecedented conventional arms buildup, big money for Iran’s cyber warfare programme and big money for Iran’s nuclear programme. And according to this deal, Iran gets big money regardless of its behaviour. That isn’t even mentioned in the deal.” Netanyahu concluded that if Obama thinks sanctions relief will change Iran, he is addressing the issue the wrong way round. Iran should be made to change first before sanctions are lifted, he said.

The Iranian regime is relentlessly increasing its foothold in neighbouring Iraq, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) General Qasem Suleimani is leading the Iranian armed and funded Shi’ite militias in the fight against the Islamic State. The IRGC and Suleimani are listed terrorists in the US and no doubt will welcome an end to sanctions and an end to the freezing of their international assets. Their joy at any such deal is unlikely to be shared by the wider Middle East or international community, who are increasingly agitated at the American tendency to look the other way as Iran extends its influence across the zone.

Struan Stevenson was a Conservative MEP representing Scotland in the European Parliament from 1999 until his retirement in 2014. He was President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.

Russia Continues To Rattle Babylon’s Nerves (Dan 7:7)


Russia ‘playing with fire’ with nuclear saber-rattling: Pentagon

By David Alexander
WASHINGTON | Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:04pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia is “playing with fire” with its nuclear saber-rattling and the United States is determined to prevent it from gaining a significant military advantage through violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the deputy U.S. defense chief said on Thursday.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, speaking to lawmakers in the House of Representatives, also said modernizing and maintaining U.S. nuclear forces in the coming years would consume up to 7 percent of the defense budget, up from the current 3 to 4 percent, and could squeeze other programs unless additional funding was approved.

Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee, Work said Moscow’s effort to use its nuclear forces to intimidate its neighbors had failed, actually bringing NATO allies closer. He also criticized what he called Russia’s “escalate to de-escalate” strategy.

Anyone who thinks they can control escalation through the use of nuclear weapons is literally playing with fire,” Work said. “Escalation is escalation, and nuclear use would be the ultimate escalation.”

The deputy defense chief said Russia continued to violate the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, which bans ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (315 to 3,450 miles).

Work said the Pentagon was developing options for President Barack Obama to consider to respond to the treaty violations and would not let Russia “gain significant military advantage through INF violations.”

The United States is about to embark on a costly long-term effort to modernize its aging nuclear force, including weapons, submarines, bombers and ballistic missiles. Estimates of the cost have ranged from $355 billion over a decade to about $1 trillion over 30 years.

The modernization comes as the Pentagon struggles with tight budgets and the need for other expensive weapons like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and new warships.

Work said the nuclear force modernization was expected to cost an average $18 billion per year from 2021 to 2035 in constant 2016 dollars.

The Pentagon’s annual base budget has been about $500 billion for several years.

“Without additional funding dedicated to strategic forces modernization, sustaining this level of spending will require very, very hard choices and will impact the other parts of the defense portfolio,” Work said.

Arms control groups say the U.S. nuclear force is larger than needed to accomplish the president’s strategic aims, and the Pentagon could save money by prudently trimming the size of the nuclear triad and other steps.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Paul Simao)

Iran nuclear deal slammed


U.S.: Text of Iran nuclear deal will be made public but not signed

By Laura Koran and Elise Labott, CNN
Updated 1:39 PM ET, Thu June 25, 2015

Washington (CNN)The U.S. expects that the text of any potential deal with Iran, including detailed technical annexes, will be made public but not be signed by the negotiating parties, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

The official, who briefed reporters on the eve of Secretary of State John Kerry’s travel to Vienna for a final round of negotiations, said this sort of agreement is not typically signed.

But that could open the door to critics who say the arrangement gives Iran an opportunity to violate it.

Criticism from former Obama allies

The arrangement comes as several of President Barack Obama’s former military and foreign policy advisers expressed disapproval of the terms of the deal that is coming together ahead of a June 30 deadline.

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability,” said a letter signed by 18 notable figures, including former CIA Director David Petraeus and former White House Iran adviser Dennis Ross. The letter also claims that the known terms of the deal will “fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.”

The senior administration official acknowledged Thursday that the June 30 deadline might slip but said that if the deal comes together, it will be “close” to the official deadline.

“We didn’t make March 30, and we may not make June 30,” the official noted.

But the official added that, as with the March deadline set for a preliminary deal, the parties don’t expect the talks to go past the deadline by more than a few days. The official said all parties remain committed to the deadline and that this won’t be a “piecemeal” deal with just a political understanding with annexes to follow.

The official also said that all parties are conscious of the July 9 date that Congress has set for receiving the deal in order to review it.

The official told reporters that the U.S. does require that Iran give the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the access it needs to verify Iran’s compliance with a deal and address concerns about previous nuclear work.

However, the official said that the U.S. is not looking for a “confession” from Iran on its past nuclear activities, because “we already made our national judgment.”

Iranian leader criticizes enforcement plan

On Tuesday, however, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shed doubt on Tehran’s willingness to work with IAEA inspectors. “It should not be said that you carry out the commitments, then, IAEA verifies so that the sanctions will be lifted. We will never agree with it,” he said, referring to international demands of verification of Iranian compliance before sanctions relief.

He slammed the IAEA directly, saying that “the agency has repeatedly proved that it is not an independent and fair body.

The open letter to Obama pushes for Western negotiators to take an even harder line on lifting sanctions.

The letter, published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, concludes that sanctions should not be lifted until Iran complies with all of the terms of the deal and in fact new sanctions should be prepared in the event Iran does not honor its commitments.

The signatories suggest a “good” deal would rule out a possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, curb Iran’s development of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium and would allow monitoring and verification of all Iran’s nuclear sites, including military facilities.

In addition to Petraeus and Ross, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright and two of the president’s former top proliferation advisers, Robert Einhorn and Gary Samore, also signed on.

The delegations gathering in Vienna are not planning on doing any so-called “shuttle diplomacy” — once they’re there, the plan is to stay and work towards a deal until either it’s reached or they reach an impasse.

But the official noted European foreign ministers will trickle in over the weekend at least for a “check-in,” and since those ministers are closer geographically, they can come and go while their teams remain on the ground.

Iran Hegemony Deepens In Middle East (Dan 8:4)

Iran bullies region, broadens influence outside Persian Gulf
By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times – Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Iranian diplomats have sat down for a series of cordial negotiations with the West over nuclear arms, as all handshakes and smiles were captured in network news photo ops.
On other fronts, Tehran uses a hammer, not a handshake. The Islamic regime continues unabated in its drive to dominate the Middle East and export terrorism, according to a new government report and national security experts.
In fact, Iran is broadening its influence, moving outside the Persian Gulf by sending intelligence operatives into South America and Asia. Such agents typically work to destabilize a regime or to prop up an anti-American one.
In its neighborhood, Tehran’s ruling mullahs routinely violate a United Nations resolution by arming the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with thousands of missiles. It bolsters Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who has killed thousands of his citizens. And it trains Iraqi Shiite militiamen, who have committed atrocities against Sunni Muslims in the war against the Islamic State.
Tehran’s undiminished endgame is to dominate all the states that encircle archenemy Israel, while turning the Persian Gulf into an Iranian-regulated waterway. Its top security officials openly talk of world conquest, predicting the Islamic flag one day will fly over Washington, D.C. Iranian parliament members joined in a “Death to America” chant last week.
“Tehran aims to control the entire Middle East, and the ruling mullahs espouse a theological view that leads the regime to world dominance,” said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer who is writing a book, “Never Submit,” on world threats such as Iran. “Therefore, the mullahs believe they should use every resource to accomplish dominance, including nuclear intimidation, sectarian fights, terrorism, economic pressure and religious manipulation.”
Iran’s determined agenda comes despite six years of friendly outreach by President Obama in letters and videos, as well as what appear to be amicable talks with Secretary of State John F. Kerry. In the international negotiations over Iran’s contested nuclear program, Mr. Kerry has confined the focus to atomic weapons only, not Iran’s militarism.
“Iran would be foolish not to take advantage of what U.S. allies in the region see as the Obama administration’s approach to Iran,” said Simon Henderson, an analyst at the nonprofit Washington Institute.
Its goal? “Its rightful regional hegemony in terms of population size, land mass, hydrocarbon wealth plus respect for Shiites, regarded as second-class [citizens] across much of the Middle East,” Mr. Henderson said.
‘A significant threat’
While Iran fights the Sunni extremist group Islamic State in Iraq — becoming an unspoken, and odd, U.S. ally — its foot soldiers work to dominate the majority Shia Iraqis and thus the country.
In Yemen, Tehran helped Shia rebels oust a U.S. ally from power, just weeks after Mr. Obama deemed a counterterrorism strategy in that al Qaeda-infested country a success.
Assertions that Iran is on the march do not come solely from administration critics. The State Department’s new report on world terrorism, released June 19, states: “Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished.”
Iran’s hammer is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its foreign special operations branch, the Quds Force, as well as the Ministry of Intelligence and Lebanese Hezbollah.
The State Department report said these actors “remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region.”
As a backdrop to Iran’s current interventions, there is still the fact that Iran and the Quds Force became merchants of death — American deaths — in the long Iraq War. Iran imported Iraqi Shiite militiamen and trained them in terrorism, including the building of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that they then unleashed on American service members.
Regional and global reach
Iran holds a special place in the realm of terrorism. It is one of only three countries — the others are Sudan and Syria — the U.S. has designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. This means the regime and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei actively approve and support terrorist attacks abroad.
The State Department report said that Iran:
Deploys the Quds Force to “provide cover for intelligence operations and create instability in the Middle East.” The Quds Force “is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”
• Provides financing and training “to support the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of at least 191,000 people in Syria.”
• Supports radical Iraqi Shia groups, such as Kataib Hezbollah, that have “exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians.”
• Repeatedly violates United Nations resolutions by arming Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force, said, “The IRGC and Hezbollah are a single apparatus jointed together.”
• Deploys the Quds Force to Africa, Asia and Latin America in a bid to influence political events.
• Operates a human pipeline to allow al Qaeda fighters to move west to Syria and east to South Asia.
The Persian Gulf
“Iran’s behavior remains unchanged,” said James Russell, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California, and a former Pentagon official. “This is not surprising. There is no ‘deal’ to readmit Iran to the community of nations.”
Mr. Russell added that once a nuclear deal with Tehran is signed, “I would look for Iran to start a gradual adjustment towards behaviors more consistent with internationally accepted norms. It’s not like flipping a switch, however. It will take time and strategic patience on the part of the international community.”
For now, Iran’s actions and statements show a different track.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Iranian Nuclear Equipment In Sudan


Wikileaks: Saudi officials suspect Iran shipped nuclear equipment to Sudan
By Denise Hassanzade Ajiri, Staff writer / June 24, 2015

Saudi diplomats believed Iran shipped advanced nuclear equipment including centrifuges to Sudan back in 2001, Wikileaks documents show.

In a document posted on Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia embassy in Sudanese capital Khartoum states that embassy sources say Iranian containers arrived “this week” at Khartoum airport containing “sensitive technical equipment in the form of fast centrifuges enriching Uranium.”

The short letter which is dated May 2001 and marked “top secret” adds that a second shipment is expected to arrive “this week.”

The document does not provide any name, or any evidence of the shipment. It does not also give out any details on how the equipment might have been shipped, or what Sudan planned to do with it.
Iran has been a major supplier of arms to Sudan. According to recent Wikileaks documents, Saudi Arabia reported anxiously on Iran’s military aid to Sudan, but there are no known reports of information about Iran sending nuclear equipment to Sudan, a country that has no known nuclear activities.

Neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia have reacted to the Wikileaks cable on Tehran’s alleged nuclear equipment shipment to Sudan.

Last week Wikileaks released more than 60,000 cables and documents which it says are Saudi foreign ministry papers. The website says it is planning to release half a million Saudi documents in total.
After the documents were released, Saudi Arabia warned its citizens not to distribute “documents that might be faked.”

Riyadh has previously expressed its concern over Iran’s nuclear program and repeatedly signaled its disagreement with the US efforts to seek a diplomatic solution on this matter.

According to previous Wikileaks documents, Riyadh repeatedly encouraged the US to “cut off the head of the snake” by launching military action against Iran and destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities.
On another note, in early June former officials of Israel and Saudi Arabia revealed that two countries have held several secret meetings on how to deal with Iran.

Iran and P5+1 group (China, Russia, France, Britain, and the United States plus Germany) are engaged in intense nuclear talks as the June 30 deadline for sealing a final nuclear deal approaches.
The negotiations have hit an impasse partly over the question of how much access the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors should have to Iranian military sites.

Iran and Western officials say they are willing to extend the deadline.