Thursday, April 19, 2012

IRAN. Tests Covered Up. Working With North Korea? Smuggling Arms?

Report: Two More “Accidental” Explosions at Iran Nuke Sites
Posted by Ryan Mauro On April - 4 - 2012
Michael Ledeen reports that the Natanz uranium enrichment site has been shut down after a mysterious blast happened “in the next-to-bottom level of the underground structure.” A second explosion has struck a site in Zarin Dasht that is used for producing warheads and missile fuel and 7 people are missing.
What is remarkable about these two alleged explosions is that they happened in the underground portions of the facilities—that is, the most secure parts. If foreign hands are responsible, then the Iranian regime must be panic-stricken.

An overview of these “accidental” explosions and mysterious assassinations makes it clear that a major campaign has been underway to damage the Iranian nuclear program. During the past 12 months:
Click here to read the rest of my post.
Wishful thinking about Khamenei’s anti-nuke fatwa
Posted by Ryan Mauro On March - 13 - 2012 
Opponents of a tough policy towards Iran are fond of mentioning Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s multiple fatwas against the possession of nuclear weapons. It is argued that Khamenei would not lie in an official religious ruling and wreck his credibility as an Islamic leader. As logical as that viewpoint sounds, it is wishful thinking.

It is true that Khamenei has declared the possession and use of nukes to be forbidden by Islam on multiple occasions. In 2009, he said that the ban is “because of our ideology.” In 2010, he said it is because “our religious beliefs and principles prohibit such weapons as they are the symbol of destruction of generations.” Most recently in February, he said Iran would “never pursue nuclear weapons” because it is a “grave sin.”

This sounds unequivocal and everlasting but these declarations come with caveats and are subject to change based on circumstances.

One of the reasons Khamenei said his regime is not interested in nukes is because his country can face down its enemies without them. It isn’t hard to envision Khamenei one day declaring that the possession of nuclear weapons is no longer a “grave sin” because they are needed in order to defend the country and religion. Whereas before the weapons were a “symbol of destruction of generations,” Iran’s possession of them would symbolize the saving of generations, he could argue.

After all, Khamenei’s regime has worked on technology with no possible civilian application, such as nuclear “triggers” and warheads. The IAEA report from November even disclosed that Iran has made preparations for an underground nuclear test. If Khamenei’s fatwa was unconditional, his regime would not be working on nuclear weapons capabilities in any way.

Click here to read the rest of my analysis for the Institute on Religion and Democracy.


  • Published 11:13 30.11.11
  • Latest update 11:13 30.11.11

Report: Mysterious blast in Iran's Isfahan damaged key nuclear site

London Times quotes Israel intelligence officials as saying that satellite images show this week's reported blast in Isfahan was 'no accident.'

By Yossi MelmanTags: Iran nuclear, Iran threat

According to reports by the semi-official Fars news agency, frightened residents called the fire department after the blast, forcing the city authorities to admit there had been an explosion. Residents reported that their windows shook from the explosion's force.
At first, Iranian officials denied the reports, with the governor of Isfahan later alleging that the blast was caused by an accident that had occurred during a nearby military drill.
However, a report in the Times on Wednesday alleged that the blast had not been a military accident, and that the city's nuclear facility was damaged.
The report quotes Israeli intelligence officials who based their conclusion on updated satellite images showing smoke billowing from the direction of the conversion plant.
According to the Israeli sources, there was "no doubt" that the blast had damaged the nuclear facility, and that the explosion was not an "accident."
"This caused damage to the facilities in Isfahan, particularly to the elements we believe were involved in storage of raw materials," one source told the Sunday Times.
It must be noted that the Times report was not confirmed by any other source.
The Isfahan plant went into operation in 2004, taking uranium from mines and producing uranium fluoride gas, which then feeds the centrifuges that enrich the uranium.
Since 2004, thousands of kilograms of uranium flouride gas were stockpiled at Isfahan and subsequently sent to the enrichment plant in Natanz.

Commenting on the report of an explosion in Isfahan, U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said Monday, "We don't have any information at this time other than what we've seen in the press as well. But certainly we're looking into it."
"As you know, we're somewhat limited in our ability to glean information on the ground there, but we're certainly looking into it," Toner added.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said in a television interview on Tuesday that if Israel attacks Iran, it will be dragged into a regional war.
According to Dagan, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas will respond with massive rocket attacks on Israel. In that scenario, Syria may join in the fray, Dagan said on the television program “Uvda”.

Isfahan blast - 28.11.2011
Original report of blast in Iranian city of Isfahan as appeared on Fars website, Nov. 28, 2011.

 source: HAARETZ.COM

Report: Iran held nuclear test in N. Korea
German press says Tehran, Pyongyang collaborated on possibly more than one nuclear test in early 2010-
According to the report, Swedish nuclear physicist Lars-Erik de Geer analyzed data "showing the presence of radioisotopes that betrayed an uranium bomb explosion."

Published: 03.05.12

Germany's Die Welt newspaper reported Sunday that Iran held at least one nuclear weapons test in North Korea in 2010.

The paper's report is based on "Western intelligence agencies sources," and says that the test, in fact, refutes US intelligence assessments suggesting there is no "hard evidence" that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has recently declared that its nuclear negotiations with Iran have failed.

The statement followed Tehran's decision the bar IAEA inspectors from what is believed to be keymilitary sites in the Islamic Republic.

Iran vehemently claims that its nuclear program is meant to serve civil, peaceful purposes only.

The Die Welt noted that evidence of the 2010 nuclear tests in North Korea was published in early February in Nature Magazine.

According to the report, Swedish nuclear physicist Lars-Erik de Geer analyzed data "showing the presence of radioisotopes that betrayed an uranium bomb explosion."

"After a year of work, (de Geer) concluded that North Korea carried out two small nuclear tests in April and May 2010 that caused explosions in the range of 50–200 tons of TNT equivalent.

"The types and ratios of isotopes detected… suggest that North Korea was testing materials and techniques intended to boost the yield of its weapons," the report said.


April 15, 2012

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