Posts Tagged ‘JCPOA’

Arab News: Nuclear bomb ‘on Iran’s agenda’

July 19, 2018

Iran has increased its stockpile of uranium and boosted its ability to enrich it to weapons grade, the head of its atomic agency admitted on Wednesday.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the regime had imported 550 tons of uranium before the 2015 agreement to curb its nuclear program. It had acquired about 400 tons more since then, bringing the total to between 900 and 950 tons.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the new factory did not in itself break the terms of the agreement. (Reuters)

Iran has also built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges a day for uranium enrichment, Salehi said.

The announcements came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal falls apart after Washington’s withdrawal.

Under the agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

The other signatories have been scrambling to save the deal. Iran has said it will wait to see what they can do, but has signaled it is ready to put its enrichment activities back on track.

Image result for Natanz nuclear plant, photos

 

The man who may have started it all: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran from 2005 to 2013

Salehi insisted the new factory did not break the terms of the agreement. “Instead of building this factory in the next seven or eight years, we built it during the negotiations but have not started it,” he said.

Salehi said last month that Iran had begun working on infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility.

The announcements suggest that a nuclear bomb is on Iran’s agenda, Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, told Arab News

“Iran’s negotiating strategy here seems to be pegged to pressuring the EU to provide European businesses protection from complying with renewed US sanctions,” he said.

“IR-6 centrifuges are relatively complex and if Tehran moves forward with enhancing their capacity to mass-produce faster advanced centrifuges, they could easily establish a position to breakout quickly toward nuclear weapon production, if the decision is made.

“The capacity to build en masse more advanced centrifuges in the future doesn’t violate the deal itself, but it sends a strong political signal that nuclear weaponization could very well still be on the agenda in Tehran.”

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1340936/middle-east

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Iran builds new centrifuge rotor factory: nuclear chief

July 18, 2018

Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.

Image result for Ali Akbar Salehi, photos

FILE PHOTO: Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi attends the lecture “Iran after the agreement: Hopes & Concerns” in Vienna, Austria, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

The announcement came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after Washington’s withdrawal from the pact.

Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, April, 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, April, 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

The other signatories have been scrambling to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.

Iran has said it will wait to see what the other powers can do, but has signaled it is ready to get its enrichment activities back on track. It has regularly said its nuclear work is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the new factory did not in itself break the terms of the agreement.

“Instead of building this factory in the next seven or eight years, we built it during the negotiations but did not start it,” Salehi, said, according to state media.

Image result for Natanz nuclear plant, photos

The man who may have started it all: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran from 2005 to 2013

“Of course, the [Supreme Leader] was completely informed and we gave him the necessary information at the time. And now that he has given the order this factory has started all of its work.”

The factory would have the capacity to build rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges per day, he added.

Last month, Salehi announced that Iran has begun working on infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Reuters

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If Iran Gets Back to Nukes, Israel Is Better Prepared to Strike

July 17, 2018

New weapons and friends make an attack on Tehran’s nuclear facilities a more thinkable proposition.

Boom?Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In September 2012, standing at the podium before the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel made one of the forum’s more memorable appearances while holding up a placard showing a cartoon-like bomb. “At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs — that’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear program,” Netanyahu said. Then he drew a red line on the diagram just under the words “Final Stage.”

It’s an image we should bear in mind as the fate of the Iran nuclear deal hangs in the balance.

Netanyahu’s UN speech was the peak of his public diplomacy efforts to mobilize the international community to take action against Tehran’s nuclear program. The implicit threat was as clear as the red line he drew: If the world would not act, then Israel would have no choice but to carry out a military strike.

QuicktakeIran’s Nuclear Program

With the signing of the interim nuclear deal between the global powers and Iran the following year, Netanyahu’s threat never materialized.

Fast forward to today. With the possible collapse of the nuclear deal in the next few months — the result of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it — we may well see renewed threats by both Israel and the U.S. to use force against Iran. This is especially true if Tehran decides to resume its production and accumulation of enriched uranium in similar quantities and purity levels to what it produced prior to the deal.

An Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities remains a remote possibility. The Europeans may yet prove successful in saving the deal. Even if they don’t, the Iranians are unlikely to try and “break out” to the bomb; and even if they do, they are still more than a year away from producing enough fissile material for a single weapon.

But there can be no doubt that Israel is better positioned today to carry out an effective strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, and to face the certain repercussions, than it was six years ago.

This fact should be weighed in the balance as the international community — and Iran — contemplate their response to the U.S. withdrawal from the pact.

In the early years of this decade, when the military option was being seriously considered by the Israeli government, many doubted its ability to carry out an effective strike that would cause significant damage to the Iranian nuclear program.

Unlike with the Syrian and Iraqi nuclear programs, where a single strike on a single facility was enough to eliminate both countries’ nuclear potential, the Iranian program is comprised of dozens of sites spread across the country — one bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined and located 1,000 miles away from Israel.

Moreover, certain key Iranian facilities are not only protected by advanced air defense systems but are also heavily fortified. For this reason, military analysts assessed that an effective attack would require repeated waves of air strikes, possibly lasting over several days, thus requiring Israeli warplanes to travel back and forth thousands of miles in order to refuel and re-arm. That would be a challenging operation even for a superpower.

What’s more, such strikes would have set off fierce retaliation from Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, including the firing of thousands of rockets and missiles with a range covering all of Israel. At the time, Israel didn’t have effective defense systems that could address this extensive missile threat. Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept rockets with a range of up to 60 miles, only entered its operational stage in 2011. Development of the David’s Sling defense system, which is designed to intercept missiles with a range of nearly 200 miles — needed for the missiles in Hezbollah’s arsenal that threaten Tel Aviv and various strategic installations and national infrastructure — was then only in its infancy.

Finally, the aftermath of any Israeli strike would have included not only in a long war with Hezbollah but also in strong diplomatic condemnations. Israel would have needed an American diplomatic umbrella to address various hostile initiatives in the U.N. Security Council, as well as urgent military assistance to be able to withstand a prolonged conflict with Hezbollah. It is far from certain that the Barack Obama administration would have provided such protection.

Today, things are very different: Israel is better positioned in every way to carry out such a strike and to deal with its aftermath.

Operationally, the warming of relations between Israel and the Gulf countries over the past few years, first and foremost with Saudi Arabia, opens a whole range of possibilities to the Israeli Air Force. There is little doubt that Saudi Arabia would give a green light for Israeli warplanes to pass through its airspace, or that Israeli air tankers would be allowed to hover over the Arabian Peninsula in order to refuel IAF jets.

In fact, given the strategic relations that have been formed in recent years and the current alignment of interests, it’s not inconceivable that the Saudis (and potentially other Gulf countries) would go even one step further: allowing Israeli warplanes targeting Iranian nuclear targets to take off and land at Gulf Cooperation Council air bases. This could be a game changer in terms of the Israeli air force’s ability to effectively destroy Iran’s dozens of nuclear facilities.

Militarily, Israel has made a giant leap forward in recent years in terms of its ability to deliver more bombs, more accurately and to more targets in a given time period. On top of that, last December Israel declared its fleet of U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighters operational. The fleet is still small, just 12 warplanes, but Israel plans to have two full squadrons operational by 2024.

It is true that the Iranians have strengthened their defensive capabilities as well, receiving S-300 batteries from Russia that have been deployed around their most strategic facilities. However, Israel believes that it could overcome those defenses even without the use of its new F-35s, let alone with them.

In addition, the Trump administration — unlike the Obama White House — is likely to agree to provide Israel with “bunker-buster” bombs that would be essential to destroying key elements of the Iranian nuclear program, specifically the Fordow enrichment facility, which is buried in a mountain tens of meters underground.

Israel is also better positioned today to address the aftermath of such an attack. First, it’s certain that the Trump administration would provide full protection in the Security Council, while also delivering as much materiel as necessary to sustain a long Israeli military campaign.

Second, while Israel could face significant damage as a result of heavy barrages of Hezbollah’s ever-increasing supply of missiles, the proven capabilities and wide deployment of Iron Dome batteries, along with the David’s Sling system being operational, make Israel’s preparedness significantly higher than it was a few years ago.

None of this is to imply that just because Israel is now better positioned to carry out a strike on Iran means that it will inevitably do so. The chances remain low for now. There are many domestic constraints as well as international factors that could prevent Israel from eventually launching such a strike, or even make it redundant (such as international pressure forcing Iran toward restraint).

However, Israel’s enhanced capabilities do allow Netanyahu to take a more aggressive approach toward Tehran, knowing that if push comes to shove, the prospects of a strike succeeding will be significantly higher than it was when he held up that cartoon bomb at the UN.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Ilan Jonas at info@primesource.co.il

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-17/if-iran-gets-back-to-nukes-israel-is-ready-to-strike

Iran lodges complaint against US over renewed sanctions

July 17, 2018

Iran has lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the United States’ reimposition of sanctions, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The complaint was registered the previous day, spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on the ministry’s website.

© AFP | Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses economists in Tehran on July 16, 2018

The goal is “to hold US accountable for its unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy and legal obligations. It’s imperative to counter its habit of violating (international) law,” he added.

The complaint came in response to Washington’s decision in May to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Tehran says the action violates international obligations, including the 1955 US-Iran Treaty of Amity — an agreement signed well before Iran’s 1979 revolution, but which is still invoked in ongoing legal battles.

Iran and the US have not had diplomatic relations since 1980 when American embassy officials were held hostage in Iran.

Nuclear-related sanctions will be reimposed by Washington in two phases in August and November, seeking to bar European and other foreign companies from doing business with Iran and blocking its oil sales abroad.

The ICJ is already due to hear a complaint on October 8 that Iran lodged two years ago against the United States for freezing around $2 billion (1.7 billion euros) of its assets held abroad.

AFP

Mnuchin says U.S. will consider some waivers on Iran sanctions

July 16, 2018

The United States wants to avoid disrupting global oil markets as it reimposes sanctions against Tehran and in certain cases will consider waivers for countries which need more time to wind down their oil imports from Iran, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin 

“We want people to reduce oil purchases to zero, but in certain cases if people can’t do that overnight, we’ll consider exceptions,” Mnuchin told reporters on Friday, clarifying some U.S. officials’ comments that there would be no exemptions. Mnuchin’s comments were embargoed for release on Monday.

Mnuchin was talking to reporters en route from Mexico where he was part of a high-level U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet Mexico’s next president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November when the United States reimposes sanctions against Tehran, after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers, against the advice of allies in Europe and elsewhere.

Mnuchin said he would meet with counterparts from developed and developing countries on the sidelines of a G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires on July 19-22. U.S. sanctions against Iran are likely to be raised in his talks.

“We’ve said very specifically, there’s no blanket waivers, there’s no grandfathering,” Mnuchin said, “We want to be very careful in the wind-down around the energy markets to make sure that people have the time.”

He added: “The State Department has the ability to issue waivers around significant reductions in the oil markets, that’s something that Treasury and State will be doing.”

Mnuchin said Washington had made clear to allies that it expects them to enforce the sanctions against Iran “but if there are specific situations we’re open to listening.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at the weekend that Washington had rejected a French request for waivers for its companies operating in Iran, according to Le Figaro.

Paris had singled out key areas where it expected either exemptions or extended wind-down periods for French companies, including energy, banking, pharmaceuticals and automotive.

The Trump administration has said there are more than 50 foreign companies that have withdrawn their business from Iran since Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.

Pompeo, also speaking to reporters on Friday, said he had discussed U.S. plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran with “all but one” country. He did not name the country he had not yet consulted.

“What they’ve asked us to do is review how we get there and the timeline for that,” he said, “and so I’m very confident they understand.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking in remarks carried live on state television on Saturday, said Washington was more isolated than ever over sanctions against Iran, even among its allies.

His comments appeared to be trying to ease popular concerns fueled by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

The likely return of U.S. economic sanctions has triggered a rapid fall of Iran’s currency and protests by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Islamist rulers.

Trump has said he asked Saudi Arabia to raise oil production if needed to ensure global oil supplies and the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed with Russia and other oil-producing allies on June 23 to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia pledging a “measurable” supply boost, but giving no specific numbers.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

Reuters

US rejects Europe’s hopes of relief from Iran sanctions

July 16, 2018

Pompeo and Mnuchin letter insists on ‘unprecedented financial pressure’ on Tehran

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Peugeot parent PSA has already cut back its involvement in Iran rather than risk facing US sanctions © AFP

Michael Peel in Brussels

International companies active in Iran face the threat of US sanctions within weeks after Washington rebuffed a high-level European plea to exempt crucial industries that would help keep a nuclear deal with Tehran alive.

Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, and Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, have written a letter formally rejecting an appeal for carve-outs in finance, energy and healthcare because Washington wants to maximise financial pressure on Iran, according to diplomats with knowledge of its contents.

The request for exemptions was lodged last month by ministers from Germany, France and the UK, as well as their EU counterpart. The US rejection means the first wave of Washington’s Iran sanctions is due to take full effect early next month.

The action is another sign of the growing transatlantic rift between the US and Europe underscored by the bruising meeting between President Donald Trump and Nato allies last week. In an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday, Mr Trump referred to the EU as “a foe” on trade issues.

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The 2015 nuclear agreement — also signed by Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — lifted many international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear programme. Iran has said it will only stay in the deal if the Europeans guarantee it will continue to receive economic benefits.

One EU diplomat said the return of US sanctions against Tehran jeopardised both European companies with dealings in Iran and the EU’s efforts to sustain the nuclear accord after Mr Trump withdrew from the pact in May.

“We do not think it’s helpful in relation to the situation in Iran,” the diplomat said. “There are also extraterritorial risks in these sanctions for EU operators.”

Mr Pompeo and Mr Mnuchin wrote in their letter that the US wants to use sanctions to create “unprecedented financial pressure” on Iran until it makes a “tangible, demonstrable and sustained shift” in policies, according to diplomats familiar with its contents.

The US in May set out 12 demands for Iran to meet, including stopping uranium enrichment, scrapping its ballistic missile programme and ending its involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts including Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Federica Mogherini (L), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting at the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel, where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held, in Vienna, Austria on July 6, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR)

Federica Mogherini (L), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting. (AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR)

The Pompeo-Mnuchin letter said the US will allow only limited carve-outs from sanctions if Washington deems them necessary for its own national security reasons or for humanitarian purposes, diplomats added.

The rejection of the European request, which included exemptions for banking activities and the extension or adaptation of US deadlines to reimpose sanctions in August and November, comes despite signals from Mr Pompeo just last week that the US might grant waivers.

“There will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for relief . . . We’ll consider it,” he told Sky News Arabia during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

US Iran demands point to ‘regime change by back door’

EU foreign ministers are likely to hold talks on their response in Brussels on Monday. An EU spokesperson said the EU and its members would continue to resist the Trump administration’s efforts to scrap the accord.

They will “continue to underline to the US their expectation that US sanctions should not be imposed in a manner that prevents European economic operators from undertaking legitimate business with Iran in line with commitments under the nuclear deal,” the spokesperson said.

The EU is working on several measures to counter the renewed US sanctions, including non-dollar denominated finance lines, possible direct payments for oil to Iran’s central bank, and an update to a law drawn up in the 1990s to shield European companies from previous US sanctions against Iran, Libya and Cuba.

But decisions by companies including Peugeot parent PSA and French oil major Total to cut back their involvement in Iran highlight how many European companies will be reluctant to risk being targeted by the US.

Twitter @mikepeeljourno

Additional reporting by Katrina Manson in Washington

https://www.ft.com/content/6a16440a-8837-11e8-bf9e-8771d5404543

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Western globalist elite fears “peace could break out between Russia and the United States”

July 14, 2018

The announced meeting between Trump and Putin has already produced a good result by revealing the hypocrisy of the media and politicians. The meeting has been branded as the greatest danger to humanity, according to the Western globalist elite, because of the danger that “peace could break out between Russia and the United States”.

By Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

No, one of the most authoritative and respected broadsheets in the world is fearful of the prospect of peace! The Times is afraid that the heads of two nuclear-armed superpowers are able to talk to each other. The Times fears that Putin and Trump will be able to come to some kind of agreement that can help avert the danger of a global catastrophe. These are the times in which we live. And this is the type of media we deal with. The problem with The Times is that it forms public opinion in the worst possible way, confusing, deceiving, and disorienting its readers. It is not by accident the world in which we live is increasingly divorced from logic and rationality.

Image result for putin, trump, photos

Even if the outcome of this meeting does not see any substantial progress, the most important thing to be achieved will be the dialogue between the two leaders and the opening of negotiation channels for both sides.

In The Times article, it is assumed that Trump and Putin want to reach an agreement regarding Europe. The insinuation is that Putin is manipulating Trump in order to destabilize Europe. For years now we have been inundated with such fabrications by the media on behalf of their editors and shareholders, all part of the deep state conglomerate. Facts have in fact proven that Putin has always desired a strong and united Europe, looking to integrate Europe into the Eurasian dream. Putin and Xi Jinping would like to see a European Union more resistant to American pressure and able to gain greater independence. The combination of mass migration and sanctions against Russia and Iran, which end up hurting Europeans, opens the way for alternative parties that are not necessarily willing to Washington’s marching orders.

Trump’s focus for the meeting will be to convince Putin to put even more pressure on Europe and Iran, perhaps in exchange for the recognition of Crimea and the ending of sanctions. For Putin and for Russia it is a strategic issue. While sanctions are bad, the top priority for Moscow remains the alliance with Iran, the need to further strengthen relations with European countries, and to defeat terrorism in Syria. Perhaps only a revision of the ABM treaty and the withdrawal of these weapons from Europe would be an interesting offer for Putin. However, reality shows us that the ABM treaty is a pillar of Washington’s military-industrial complex, and that it is also Eastern European countries that want such offensive and defensive systems in their own countries, seeing them as a deterrents against Russia. Are they victims of their own propaganda, or are billions of dollars pouring into their pockets? Either way, it does not really matter. The most important point for Moscow will be the withdrawal of the Aegis Ashore ABM systems as well as military ships with the same Aegis system. But this is not something that Trump will be able to negotiate with his military leaders. For the military-industrial complex, the ABM system, thanks to maintenance, innovation and direct or indirect commissions, is a gravy train that too many interests intend to keep riding.

From the Kremlin’s point of view, the removal of sanctions remains necessary for the restoration of normal relations with the West.But this would be difficult to achieve, given that Moscow would have little to offer Washington in exchange. The strategists at the Pentagon demand a withdrawal from Syria, an end to support for Donbass, and a cessation of relations with Iran. There is simply too much divergence to reach a common position. Moreover, Europe’s sanctions against Russia benefit Washington, as they hurt the Europeans and thereby undermine what is a major trading competitor to the US. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be looked at in the same light, blocking US allies from doing business with Iran.

Putin will keep faith with his commitments to Syria and with his allies, unwilling to betray his word even for the recognition of Crimea. On the other hand, as already mentioned, the priority remains the removal of the ABM; and while Crimea is already under the control of the Russian Federation, Syria remains an unstable territory that risks propelling Islamist terrorism to Russia’s soft underbelly in the Caucasus. For Moscow, involvement in Syria has always been a matter of national security, and this certainly remains the same now, even with Donald Trump’s unrealistic offers.

It should be kept in mind that Putin is aiming for a medium- to long-term strategy in the Middle East, where Iran, Syria and the entire Shiite arc serves to counter Saudi and Israeli aggression and hegemony. This strange alliance has emerged as the only way to deter war and dial down the heat in the region, because the crazy actions from Netanyahu or Mohammad bin Salman are deterred by a strong Iranian military. Preventing a confrontation between Iran and Saudis/Israelis also means not making Tehran appear weak or isolated. Such considerations seem beyond the strategists in Washington, let alone in Tel Aviv or Riyadh.

While it is difficult to achieve a positive outcome from the meeting between Trump and Putin, it is important that there is a meeting in the first place, contrary to what The Times thinks. The media and the conglomerate of power that revolves around the US deep state fear diplomacy in particular. The same narrative that was proclaimed weeks before and after the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is being repeated with regard to Trump’s meeting with Putin.

Washington bases its power on force, both economic and military. But this power also rests on the posture assumed and image projected. The United States and its deep state considers negotiating with opponents to be wrong and counterproductive. They consider dialogue to be synonymous with weakness, and any concession is interpreted as surrender. This is the result of 70 years of American exceptionalism and 30 years of Unipolarity, has allowed the US the ability to decide unilaterally the fate of others.

Today, in a multipolar world, the dynamics are different and therefore more complex. You cannot always employ a zero-sum mentality, as The Times does. The rest of the world recognizes that a dialogue between Putin and Trump is something positive, but we must not forget that, as in Korea, if diplomacy does not bring significant progress, then the hawks surrounding Trump will again be in the ascendant. The tasks for Rouhani, Putin and Kim Jong-un are complex and quite different from each other, but they share in common the belief that dialogue is the only way to avoid a catastrophic war. But apparently, peace is not the best possible result for everyone.

Zero Hedge

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-13/globalist-elite-fears-peace-wants-war

Iran says EU economic proposal to save nuclear deal not enough

July 6, 2018

With US sanctions looming, European powers are looking to persuade Iran to remain in the 2015 agreement. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said a compromise before November appeared unlikely.

    
Federica Mogherini and Javad Zarif (picture-alliance/dpa/TASS/A. Shcherbak)

Foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia are meeting in Vienna on Friday with their Iranian counterpart, to discuss an economic plan that could save the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and took 12 years to negotiate.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who chairs the meeting, hopes to persuade Iran to remain in the JCPOA with a package of incentives that includes European Investment Bank lending, a special measure to protect EU companies from US sanctions and encouraging EU governments make direct money transfers to Iran’s central bank.

“We are here to listen to practical solutions, rather than slogans,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in the Austrian capital, signaling a willingness to study the options presented.

In May, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the signature accord that his predecessor Barack Obama had signed, calling it “horrible” and “defective at its core.”

The White House’s retreat from the deal dismayed the remaining five countries, who swiftly signaled their continued support for the accord. But Washington reintroduced sanctions on Iran and threatened the remaining signatories with punitive measures if they engaged in trade and investment with Iran.

The Iranian government has strongly denied planning to build a nuclear bomb and has threatened to resume uranium enrichment for civilian purposes if the deal completely collapses.

Read more: Can Europe rescue Iran as Trump’s sanctions loom?

Rouhani: Current deal not good enough

In the wake of the US withdrawal, Iran’s rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who signed the nuclear deal in 2015, has been under pressure at home from ultra-conservatives, who denounced his willingness to talk to the West and blamed him for the country’s ailing economy.

The Iranian president spoke to European leaders this week in support of saving the deal. But Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron that the current economic measures offered by Europe did not meet all of Tehran’s demands to salvage the nuclear deal, Iran’s IRNA state news agency reported.

Read more: Opinion: Khamenei’s empty threats over the Iran nuclear deal

Deal before November unlikely

Prior to heading to Vienna, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio that he thinks it unlikely that European powers would be able to put together a successful economic package to save the deal before November and asked Tehran to be more cooperative.

“They must stop permanently threatening to break their commitments to the nuclear deal,” Le Drian said.

“They must stop the threats so that we can find the solutions so that Iran can have the necessary economic compensations,” the foreign minister added.

Le Drian noted that Russia and China were working closely with the European signatories to find a suitable financial solution to US sanctions.

“We are trying to do it before sanctions are imposed at the start of August and then another set of sanctions in November. For the start August it seems a bit short, but we are trying to do it by November,” Le Drian said.

Read more: Opinion: Trump’s Iran nuclear deal exit dangerous for the world

Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas lowered Iranian expectations prior to the Vienna meeting, saying that the five signatories would not be able to mitigate all the problems created by sanctions, but said that abandoning the deal would cause Tehran more harm to its economy.

“We will not be able completely counterbalance the effect of companies that are withdrawing from Iran because their US business is threatened by sanctions,” Maas said.

“We want to make it clear to Iran today that it will continue to  benefit economically from this agreement,” Maas told reporters

jcg/ng (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)

 

US vows to keep oil lanes open after Iran threatens to block key strait

July 5, 2018

IRGC commander says Iran could halt crude going through Strait of Hormuz, after Rouhani warns of ‘consequences’ to US sanctions

 

In this Tuesday, March 21, 2017 photograph, an Omani naval vessel sails alongside the USS George H.W. Bush as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz.  (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

In this Tuesday, March 21, 2017 photograph, an Omani naval vessel sails alongside the USS George H.W. Bush as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The US military on Wednesday reiterated its promise to keep Persian Gulf waterways open to oil tankers, after an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander vowed to disrupt global oil trade if the US prevents Iran from exporting its own oil.

Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US military’s Central Command, said that American sailors and its regional allies “stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Ismail Kowsari on Wednesday appeared to clarify Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning of “consequences” if the United States convinces its allies to stop buying Tehran’s oil.

“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Kowsari said, according to the Young Journalists Club (YJC) website.

General Ismail Kowsari, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Tharallah base, seen on Al-Alam TV on September 27, 2017. (YouTube screenshot/Middle East Media Research Institute)

Rouhani said Tuesday that regional oil supply could be jeopardized if the US continues to pressure Iran.

“It would be meaningless that Iran cannot export its oil while others in the region can. Do this if you can and see the consequences,” he said according to an English-language report of his statements provided by Iran’s Press TV.

When pressured in the past, Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one-third of the world’s oil supply passes.

Since the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Washington has been pushing allies to cut oil imports from the Islamic Republic altogether by November.

The Trump administration vowed Monday to stick with its pressure campaign against Iran, affirming its strategy to change Tehran’s behavior by gutting its oil revenue and isolating the country globally.

“Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude-oil sales,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning, at a briefing with reporters.

He also suggested, however, that there would be some wiggle room to allow some countries that import Iranian oil to avoid immediate sanctions, once they are set to be re-imposed come November 4.

“We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis, but as with our other sanctions, we are not looking to grant waivers or licenses,” Hook said, in comments that were seen as a softening of the United States’ prior demands.

Iran is OPEC’s second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

Rouhani has asserted that Iran will not buckle under US pressure and urged dialogue to resolve the differences between the nations.

“Iran’s logic has not changed, one party without logic has left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the goal of putting pressure on the Iranian nation,” he said Tuesday.

“We told all our foreign parties that if they speak to the Iranian nation with the language of logic and respect, then we can get problems solved… and that threats, pressure and humiliation will never work against the people of Iran,” he said.

Notable countries that import Iranian crude include Turkey, India, China and South Korea.

Since a US State Department official first told reporters on June 26 that the US was preparing to ask allies to cut their oil imports from Iran, the price of US crude jumped more than 8 percent.

Trump subsequently expressed concern about oil prices last week, announcing in a tweet that he and King Salman of Saudi Arabia had agreed to raise daily oil production by 2 million barrels.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to high! He has agreed!

“Prices [too] high!” he said. “He has agreed!” It is not clear when that agreement will begin implementation.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-vows-to-keep-oil-lanes-open-after-iran-threatens-to-block-key-strait/
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Iran Says Donald Trump Is Damaging Nuclear Non-Proliferation and International Law

July 1, 2018
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Rouhani’s special envoy and Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi underlined that the policies pursued by US President Donald Trump have damaged the nuclear non-proliferation process and international law.

“The destructive and unilateral policies (of Trump) have even targeted the US allies, specially Canada and Europe,” Sarmadi said in a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Sunday.

FARS News (Iran)

Image result for ahmadinejad, photos

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad (2010)

He added that Trump’s policies have harmed the nuclear non-proliferation process and the international law, noting, “The two countries should seriously confront Trump’s destructive policies by increasing mutual cooperation.”

Maduro, for his part, stressed that “Venezuela will firmly support Iran on all political stages of the country’s confrontation against the US aggressions (enmities)”.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the US would no longer remain part of the JCPOA and promised to re-impose the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran in response to Tehran’s development of its nuclear program.

Later US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Iran with the “strongest sanctions in history” if it did not comply with a list of steep demands, including ending uranium enrichment.

Iran has said it will remain committed to the deal for the time being, pending negotiations with other signatories to the JCPOA to see if Iran’s interests would still be protected under an accord without the US.

Tehran’s other partners in the deal – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – have all opposed Washington’s unilateral withdrawal and said they would still live up to their commitments as part of the deal.

After Trump’s declaration, the Iranian government issued a statement, calling the US withdrawal as “unlawful”. The statement underlined Iran’s prerequisites for continuing the deal with the five world powers after the US pullout of the agreement.

“Iran, as a country that has remained committed to its legal obligations, will pursue the US Government’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA as provided by the mechanisms and provisions of the accord, and if the US withdrawal is not fully compensated and the full interests of the Iranian people are not met and guaranteed – as stated in the accord and as outlined by Iran’s Leader on 9 May – it will exercise its legal right to take whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient. Other parties to the JCPOA, and especially its three European signatories, must take necessary action to safeguard the accord and to implement their commitments – which they proved incapable of fully performing even while the US was nominally a party to the deal, due to the obstructions by the Trump Administration – and to proceed from giving pledges to taking practical action without any preconditions,” it said.

“None of the provisions or timeframes within the JCPOA, which were the subject of twelve years of negotiations, are negotiable in any manner. The US, which has through its meddling and erroneous policies ignited extremism, terrorism, destruction, war and child killing in our region, is in no position to issue any diktat about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s lawful presence within its own region nor its effective support for the peoples of Syria and Iraq in their endeavor to fight extremists. The US and its allies, which through their support for the regime of Saddam Hussein, including equipping it with chemical weapons and the most advanced military equipment while blocking Iran’s access to any means of defense victimized the Iranian people for eight years, and currently turning our region into a powder keg through their sale of hundreds of billions of dollars of useless advanced weaponry devouring the financial resources of the region, are in no position to impose restrictions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s lawful means of defense, including defensive ballistic missiles which have been designed to carry conventional weapons based on the bitter experiences of the war with the regime of Saddam Hussein. Indeed, such efforts explicitly violate the principles of international law, and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s legitimate right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter,” it added.

“As announced by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 8 May, the Foreign Minister has been tasked with the duty of taking the necessary measures to obtain required guarantees from the remaining parties to the JCPOA as well as Iran’s other economic partners, and to immediately report the results of this mission. Meanwhile, the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been tasked with taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions, using the results of the latest research and development of Iran’s brave nuclear scientists.”

“The people of Iran will with calm and confidence continue their path towards progress and development and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has foreseen all necessary measures to facilitate this under any circumstances,” the statement continued.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a secure and powerful state, which derives its security and economic development from within, relying on the prudent participation and resilience of its brave and civilized people, seeks constructive and dignified engagement with the world, and as shown by its implementation of the JCPOA despite the United States’ continuous violations, is a trustworthy and committed partner for all who are prepared to cooperate on the basis of shared interests and mutual respect,” it reiterated.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970410000344

Related:

Iran Boasts of Capacity to Make Bomb Fuel (2010)

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/world/middleeast/12iran.html

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Timeline of the nuclear program of Iran

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_nuclear_program_of_Iran