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Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Feb
03

Stating (what should be) the obvious:

Israel was supposed to surrender land and defensible borders to its neighbors to buy peace. As those neighbors have descended or risk descending into war and chaos, the folly of trading strategic territory to placate unstable dictatorships has become even more clear. And as those dictatorships are replaced by terrorist organizations with their own armies and Iranian backing, defensible borders are as necessary as ever for Israel:

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Mar
06

Netanyahu 1, Obama 0

Or maybe it is Netayahu 4, Obama 0:

Bibi’s grand slam: Boxing in Obama on Iran’s nukes

On Tuesday, Bibi Netanyahu gave the speech of his life before a joint session of Congress — and he has Barack Obama to thank for it.

Yes, the very same Barack Obama who hates Bibi, the same Obama who was furious the speech was being given at all, walked the bases full for Netanyahu and served up the sucker pitch he hit for a grand slam.

While the response to the Speech of the Year has been somewhat divided based on party lines, there is no question Bibi came out the winner. President Obama, the far Left of the Democratic Party (including the House Minority Leader) and their protectors in the media are doing their best to respond, but it is clearly damage control.

First, while House Speaker John Boehner made the original invitation, 100% of the publicity for the event was provided by the vindictive Mr. Obama and his team, and the media firestorm that followed. (For you conspiracy theorists out there — maybe the Jews really do run the world??)

All the ruckus insured the maximum possible audience for the Prime Minister, who has been known for decades as one of the best public speakers anywhere. This was his 3rd (!!) speech to a joint session of Congress so he knew what to expect. He had to give the speech of his life, and he did.

No one expects the speech will change the President’s mind, but it will do the only 3 things that are in Bibi’s power to do to improve the chances of stopping Iran: 1) influence mainstream American opinion, 2) influence some centrist Democrats in Congress and 3) help get Bibi re-elected.

President Obama started the fight, as usual. He came out it looking petty, petulant, even childish.

Netanyahu, for once, asserted himself in return, but even then made sure to be as gracious as possible by thanking Obama for what he could at the beginning of his speech. He came out looking… Presidential. He gave a powerful but rational and truth-based appeal that certainly helped sway the uninformed and the open-minded.

There is no doubt who won this one.

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Mar
04

Short and simple: Bibi nailed it:

Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a historic speech to Congress

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses both houses of Congress

A special thanks to President Obama — for making a silly, vindictive fuss over the event and therefore insuring the maximum possible audience for the speech.

Defying Obama was risky indeed for Netanyahu, but opposing a Netanyahu speech turns out to have been even more risky for the President as speechifying is Netanyahu’s top skill of all.

The speech will will almost surely help Netanyahu’s reelection hopes, will almost surely hurt Obama’s attempt to capitulate to the Iranians, and will be a minor body-blow against the Democrats in general and the anti-Israel crowd in particular.

Bibi 1, Obama 0.

Mar
05

This Associated Press report describes a case study in how nuclear equipment reaches Iran:

Early last year, a Chinese company placed an order with a Taiwanese agent for 108 nuclear-related pressure gauges. But something happened along the way. Paperwork was backdated. Plans were rerouted, orders reconfigured, shipping redirected.

And the gauges ended up in a very different place: Iran.

The story behind the gauges shows how Iran is finding its way around international sanctions meant to prevent it from getting equipment that can be used to make a nuclear bomb. At least half a dozen times in recent years, the Persian Gulf nation has tried to use third countries as transshipment points for obtaining controlled, nuclear-related equipment.

In the case of the pressure gauges, it succeeded. In the process, the Swiss manufacturer and the Swiss government were duped, a Chinese company went around its own government’s prohibition on moving nuclear-related equipment to Iran, and Taiwanese authorities showed themselves unwilling or unable to get into step with the international community.

The deal was a huge victory for Tehran, which had been seeking the gauges for months, said nuclear proliferation expert David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. It also reflected the uneven enforcement of international sanctions against Iran, at a time when the U.S. and other Western countries are pushing hard to expand them.

“The (Iranian) government looked everywhere — Russia, Europe, the U.S., and they were being thwarted by the international community,” Albright said. “It’s really unfortunate they succeeded in using this Taiwan-China connection. …This case is a wake up call of the importance of universal and timely application of sanctions on Iran.”

….The gauges, also known as pressure transducers or capacitance diaphragm gauges, …have numerous commercial applications in machines that employ pneumatic or hydraulic pressure. But experts say the large size of the order suggests very strongly that they are for centrifuges to churn out enriched uranium…

In Shanghai, Roc-Master official Liu Xiaofeng initially said he didn’t recall the transaction. But when pressed, he replied, “It’s our company’s secret information, so I don’t think we need to tell the media anything about it.”

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Mar
05

I know we have all been reading these stories for years, but Iran keeps getting closer to a nuclear bomb and sooner or later, it is going to get there:

…the US and Europe said they share UN fears that Teheran may be secretly working on developing nuclear missiles, expressing support for new sanctions if Teheran continues to defy Security Council demands.

Their comments reflected the change in tone of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under new director-general Yukiya Amano in its assessment of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Amano… expressed the possibility that Iran may be working on making a nuclear warhead, with the IAEA suggesting for the first time that Teheran had either resumed such work or never stopped it three years ago, as thought by US intelligence agencies.

Iran denies any interest in developing nuclear arms. But the report said Iran’s resistance to agency attempts to investigate for signs of a nuclear cover-up “give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”

An unusually strongly worded statement delivered by Spain on behalf of the EU to the IAEA’s 35-nation board criticized Teheran…

“The EU shares the agency’s concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” according to the statement.

Beyond making the same point, US chief delegate Glyn Davies said the IAEA is justified in being concerned that Teheran — accused of repeatedly concealing suspicious nuclear activities or revealing them only to pre-empt being found out — “about the possible construction in secret of other new nuclear facilities in Iran.”

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Feb
12

The Washington Post reports that Iran notified the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Monday that it intends to begin producing higher-grade enriched uranium. The announcement signals that Iran is moving closer to building a nuclear bomb.

The report notes that:

…Producing higher-grade enriched uranium marks a new and potentially dangerous turn in Tehran’s confrontation with the West over its nuclear ambitions.

….It means that Iran will be a significant step closer to possessing the raw material needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Indeed, Iran does not have the expertise to build the specialized fuel rods needed for the research reactor — only France and Argentina are expert at it — so the main consequence of Iran’s decision appears to be moving up the enrichment ladder. If Iran tried to fuel the reactor itself, absent international assistance, it would be risky to the reactor and for public safety, according to David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

Albright said 70 percent of the work toward reaching weapons-grade uranium took place when Iran enriched uranium gas to 3.5 percent. Enriching it further to the 19.75 percent needed for the reactor is an additional “15 to 20 percent of the way there”.

Once the uranium is enriched above 20 percent, it is considered highly enriched uranium. The uranium would need to be enriched further, to 60 percent and then to 90 percent, before it could be used for a weapon. “The last two steps are not that big a deal,” Albright said. They could be accomplished, he said, at a relatively small facility within months.

U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair told the House intelligence committee last week that “Iran has the scientific, the technical, the industrial capacity to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years and eventually to produce a nuclear weapon. The central issue is a political decision by Iran to do so.”

The Iranian government took the dramatic action just one week after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to open the door to new negotiations on fueling the research reactor. The IAEA, along with Russia, France and the United States, had offered to provide reactor fuel by using the bulk of the low-enriched uranium produced by Iran, but the negotiations broke down late last year. The countries made the gesture in hopes of reducing Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium — and because the fuel would be returned in metal alloy rods that could not be turned into weapons material.

What will it take for someone to stand up and stop Iran from getting the bomb?

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