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Iran Nuclear Conflicts, News & updates

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Hembo, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Sanctions-hit Iran readies ballistic missile drill

    Iran on Monday said it was readying ballistic missile war games simulating a counter-attack against US or Israeli targets in the region in the event of air strikes on its nuclear facilities.




    The three-day drill in Iran's central desert region was starting days after the European Union and the United States imposed severe new sanctions, and on the eve of another round of negotiations with world powers seeking to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

    "All units and missile bases have commenced their preparation and movement to the designated areas," the Revolutionary Guards, Iran's powerful elite military force conducting the exercise, said in a statement published by the official IRNA news agency.

    It said the "tens of different missiles" to be used included the Shahab-3, a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) capable of hitting Israel.

    The other ballistic missiles it said would be used -- the Fateh, Tondar, Zelzal, Khalij Fars and Qiam -- have lesser ranges of 200 to 750 kilometres.

    The exercise, dubbed Great Prophet 7, was to target a "replica air base" in the Kavir Desert, the statement said.

    Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards' aerospace division handling missile operations, announced the war games Sunday by saying they showed Iran "will decisively respond to any trouble" caused by "adventurous nations".

    He intimated the mock air base was modelled after US military bases in neighbouring Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

    Iran has previously warned it would target those US bases if Israel or the United States made good on threats to attack it.

    IRNA quoted Hajizadeh as saying: "If they (the Israelis) make a move, they will give us a pretext to obliterate them from the face of the Earth."

    He asserted that Israel needed US help for any military action against Iran, adding: "Since the US bases are within the range of our missiles and weapons, they (the Americans) definitely will not be pressured to go along with this regime (Israel)."

    The manoeuvres will take place during negotiations in Istanbul on Tuesday between representatives from Iran and from the P5+1 group comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany.

    The talks have faltered through three rounds held this year, with it becoming clear that a vast distance divided the two sides. As a result, they have now been downgraded from a political director level to that of experts.

    Iran chafes under the West's "carrot and stick" approach aimed at rolling back its nuclear programme through bargaining in the negotiations, and through the harder tactics of sanctions and the US threat of military action if all else fails.

    Tehran has defiantly forged on with its atomic activities, particularly its highly sensitive uranium enrichment programme, while repeatedly denying Western suspicions that it is seeking a nuclear weapon "break-out" capability.

    A sanction regime imposed by the UN Security Council and extended through punishing additional Western sanctions was reinforced last week.

    The United States on Thursday bolstered restrictions on foreign companies doing business with Iran's central bank, unless their nations were granted exemptions on the basis of reduced Iranian oil imports.

    And the European Union on Sunday enacted a bloc-wide embargo on Iranian crude that also blocked EU companies from providing insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil anywhere in the world -- a move affecting 90 percent of that market.

    Iran disputes data from the International Energy Agency that suggest the Western sanctions have already cut its vital oil exports by around 40 percent.

    Sanctions-hit Iran readies ballistic missile drill
     
  2. Gessler

    Gessler Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    List of Iranian ballistic missiles (present) -

    Ashoura MRBM (2000km) -

    [​IMG]

    BM-25 Musudan (Nodong) IRBM (3000-4000km) -

    [​IMG]

    Fajr-7 SRBM (64km) -

    [​IMG]

    Fajr-3 MRBM (2000km) -

    [​IMG]

    Fateh-110 SSM (200km) -

    [​IMG]

    Ghadr-110 MRBM (1800-2000km) -

    [​IMG]

    Khalij Fars ASBM (300km) -

    [​IMG]

    Shahab-1/2/3/4/5 (1000km-3000km) -

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran: "We could destroy" U.S. bases, strike Israel within minutes
    Iran declared Wednesday that it can destroy nearby U.S. military bases and strike Israel within minutes of an attack on the Islamic Republic, reflecting tensions over Iran's suspect nuclear program.


    [​IMG]

    In this photo released by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard celebrate after launching a missile during their maneuver in an undisclosed location in Iran, July 3, 2012. (AP/IRNA)

    The veiled threat came during a military drill that has included the firing of ballistic missiles. The elite Revolutionary Guards, conducting the war games in Iran's central desert, said that the missiles were aimed at mock-ups of foreign military bases.

    Israel and the U.S. have hinted at the possibility of military strikes against Iran if sanctions and diplomacy do not rein in Iran's nuclear development program. The West suspects Iran may be aiming to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

    Iran tests missiles, renews Hormuz closure threat as EU oil embargo kicks in - CBS News
    Iran begins series of war games with missile tests - CBS News Video
    Iran seeks "win-win" on nuke talks - CBS News

    The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Gen. Ami Ali Hajizadeh of the Revolutionary Guards as saying U.S. bases are in range of Iran's missiles and could be hit in retaliatory strikes. He referred to Israel as "occupied territories."

    "Measures have been taken so that we could destroy all these bases in the early minutes of an attack," said Hajizadeh, chief of the Guards' air-space division.

    Israeli officials refused to comment. There was no immediate comment from Washington.

    Iran holds several military maneuvers per year, but the current one coincides with the beginning of a European Union oil embargo meant to pressure the country over its nuclear program.

    Iran has balked at the EU oil embargo since it was first approved by the 27-nation bloc in January, with Tehran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz - a vital shipping channel through which a fifth of the world's oil supply passes - in retaliation.

    Iranian lawmakers appeared to renew the threat of closing Hormuz off to international tanker traffic on Monday, as a member of parliament told news media a "bill has been developed as an answer to the European Union's oil sanctions".

    CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that any closure of the Strait - regardless of brevity, would send global oil prices soaring.

    "There's saber-rattling on both sides," however, notes Palmer. "The U.S. has been building up its own military presence in the Persian Gulf as a deterrent to Iran, and also to Israel which has threatened to attack Iran's nuclear facilities."

    The danger, says Palmer, is that with the tension building and U.S. and Iranian military vessels sailing within close range of each other, "a mistake can so rapidly escalate into open conflict."

    Guards also successfully test fired an anti-ship missile that could sink U.S. warships in the Gulf, according to Gen. Hajizadeh. He told state TV that the shore-to-sea ballistic missile, called "Persian Gulf," has a range of 180 miles.

    State TV showed video of the launching of a white missile that hit a huge target in Gulf waters.

    The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain, an island in the Gulf about 120 miles from Iran, well within range of Iranian missiles.

    On Tuesday Iran said it launched a variety of missiles during the desert drill, including Shahab-3 missiles with a range of 1,200 miles that could reach Israel and southern Europe.


    Iran: "We could destroy" U.S. bases, strike Israel within minutes - CBS News
     
  4. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Netanyahu reasserts right to decide on Iran attack

    Netanyahu reasserts right to decide on Iran attack


    The Israeli Prime Minister said the decision to attack Iran was up to elected officials, and not the military. This comes amidst reports that the country’s military and intelligence are opposed to a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran.


    [​IMG]


    In separate interviews with four separate Israeli news channels, Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that the military would not have the final say on whether or not a strike on Iran was in the cards.

    “In a democracy, only the political leaders decide, and the military executes,†he told Israel’s Channel 2. “That is the way it has always been, and will always be.â€

    However, Netanyahu also stated that he has yet to decide on whether to attack Iran, but underscored that Israel had the right to "defend itself" against any threat to its security or existence.

    “I have not taken a decision,†he noted. “Israel's fate depends solely on us and no other country, however friendly.â€

    He also recalled how in 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave the go-ahead to Operation Opera – a surprise air strike during which Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction in Iraq – despite opposition from Mossad and military intelligence. While Saddam Hussein did not retaliate – as his country was already at war with Iran – both the UN Security Council and General Assembly adopted resolutions condemning the operation.

    Netanyahu’s comments came amidst a report published by the Yediot Aharonot daily that US officials believe Israel’s top military intelligence echelon to be opposed to an Israeli strike against Iran without US backing.

    One of the military leaders mentioned in the report, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, stated that he would follow orders coming from the government.

    “We tell the political echelon what we think and we will do what we are told,†Gantz said, as quoted by Jerusalem Post. “I am not in favor of discussing disagreements if there are such, but I am in favor of telling the government what I think.â€

    In April, Gantz said that he believed IranIran has not, will not build nuclear weapon

    Netanyahu is set to discuss the issue of Iran’s nuclear program with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is currently on a tour of the Middle East.

    Panetta denied reports that attack plans were on his agenda.

    “I think it's the wrong characterization to say that we're going to be discussing potential attack plans,†he told reporters shortly before departure to Jerusalem. “What we are discussing are various contingencies on how we would respond.â€

    On Sunday, Haaretz Panetta and Israel to discuss war plans against Iran? — RT saying that US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon had discussed contingency plans for a possible Israeli attack on Iran with Netanyahu during his visit to the country three weeks ago. An Israeli official later denied that report.


    Netanyahu reasserts right to decide on Iran attack — RT
     
  5. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    White House Spokesman Agrees with Netanyahu on Iran

    A spokesman for the White House seemed to agree with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, when he admitted that Iran has not yet decided to abandon its nuclear program despite the sanctions being imposed on it.


    [​IMG]
    White House Spokesman Jay Carney

    We agree with Netanyahu's assessment that Iran has not made a decision to abandon its nuclear program,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during a press briefing.

    During a meeting earlier on WednesdayWe agree with Netanyahu's assessment that Iran has not made a decision to abandon its nuclear program,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during a press briefing. During a meeting earlier on WednesdayNetanyahu said, “Neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program. America and Israel have also made clear that all options are on the table. You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program.”

    Despite agreeing with Netanyahu, Carney pointed out that “the sanctions are having a significant impact on Iran's economy. They have implications on what they can buy, including technology for their nuclear facilities. We are detecting cracks in the Iranian leadership because of the stress they're in following the erroneous decisions they made.”

    “If the Iranian regime continues to ignore its international obligations it will be held responsible,” warned Carney. “The window of opportunity for Iran to resolve the crisis by peaceful means will not be open forever. President Obama is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and all options remain on the table.”

    On Tuesday, President Barack Obama Obama's New Sanctions Target Banks that Help Iran - Global Agenda - News - Israel National Newsagainst foreign banks that help Iran sell its oil.

    The new sanctions target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranian oil or handle large transactions from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), two key players in Iran's oil trade.

    Iran Admits Sharp Drop in Oil Exports - Middle East - News - Israel National Newssince the United States and European Union first targeted its oil revenues this year, making it harder for Tehran to spend money on its nuclear program, and ramping up internal political pressures within the country.


    White House Spokesman Agrees with Netanyahu - Middle East - News - Israel National News
     
  6. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran begins stockpiling 3 month food supply

    An Iranian news agency is reporting the country has begun to stockpile a three-month supply of foodstuffs for its population.

    The Friday report by semi-official Mehr quotes deputy industry minister Hasan Radmard as saying the country has been buying wheat, cooking oil, sugar and rice for the food reserve.

    Radmard said the decision came based on a decree by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in recent weeks. Part of the purchased foodstuffs has already been imported, he added.

    Iran's trade with other countries has been hindered since the United States and the European Union imposed a banking and insurance embargo on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

    The West suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.

    Iran begins stockpiling 3 month food supply | Fox News
     
  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Iran has less military power then Iraq did plus the US has many times more men, equipment and military power in the region then it did with the Iraq war started, add the fact that there as been a major improvement in US weapons in the last ten years. Such as B2 bombers that can now drop 80 smart bombs, teen fighters that carry double the smart bomb load that they carried in the Iraq war. At the first hint onf a war, thousands of missiles will be landing on Irans missile sites, air fields, power plants and communication facilties. The US Navy alone has an airforce 30 times that of Iran. The people in Iran are ripe for a revolution as well as the Kurds are already in revolt. The Iran military dispise the Iranian Guards. Several Iranian generals have defected to the US will disks containing just about everything the Iranian military has. Iran would be out of their mind to risk a war.
     
  8. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran's new space center boosts rocket plan

    Iran is reported to be putting the finishing touches on a secret new space center to launch satellites into orbit, a step Western analysts say will move the Islamic Republic closer to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    [​IMG]


    Iranian media reports gave few details but Iranian Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi remarked in early June that the center was 80 percent completed.

    The Iranians have been very cagey about the new complex and Vahidi gave no clue about where it's located. However, it's widely believed that the new complex, to be named after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic in February 1979, is being built in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

    Until now, the Iranian Space Agency's main launch complex was at Semnan, 125 miles east of Tehran, and was inaugurated Feb. 24, 2008,

    There's another center, which includes satellite-tracking facility, at Mahdasht, 40 miles west of the capital.

    Western specialists say the new complex will be use to launch all future Iranian space missions, along the lines of the U.S. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    Jane's Information Group reported in March 2011 that satellite imagery indicated the Iranians were building the complex at a rapid pace, underling Tehran's drive to become a space power.

    This is of inestimable value in Iranian efforts to develop intercontinental missiles.

    The two-stage Safir-2B space launch vehicle that has lofted Iranian satellites into space orbit over the last few years is seen as a test bed for long-range ballistic missiles, as was the case with the Americans and Soviets in the development of their ICBMs.

    Tehran has denied any military application and said its objective is to achieve a manned mission into space by 2019.

    Western missile engineers remain convinced that the Iranian program has strategic military objectives that run in tandem with Tehran's alleged efforts to develop nuclear warheads.

    In 2011, when the Iranians were talking about launching a 132-pound Mesbah-2 surveillance satellite aboard a Safir-2B booster rocket, U.S. missile expert Craig Covalt said that operation was "designed as much to test the long-range ballistic missile capabilities of the booster as it is to perform a space mission."

    Brig. Gen. Mahdi Farahi, director of Iran's Aerospace Industries, insisted at the time that Mesbah-2 was intended to bolster telecommunications from a low-Earth, 3-year orbit.

    Israel claims Mesbah-2 is intended to spy on the Jewish state and to target Iranian ballistic missiles.

    With the data the Iranians have released about the new space center, it would seem to be capable of handling more powerful launch vehicles and larger satellites than the Iranians have been able to put into orbit so far.

    Vahidi did reveal that the first satellite to be launched from the new center will be a Tolo, the first of a new generation of reconnaissance satellites manufactured by Iran Electronic Industries. It has signal interception capabilities and is designed to conduct surveillance of Iran's adversaries.

    The launch is expected sometime this year, which provides a clue about when the new complex will be operational.

    Iran's state-controlled media has reported the Tolo will be carried into space atop an 85-ton, 89-foot Simogh SLV, a more powerful rocket than the 30-ton Safir. That's able to put a lightweight satellite of 110-220 pounds into orbit at an altitude of 300 miles.

    It's understood that Simogh can put a 130-pound payload into a 310-mile low Earth orbit.

    Iran's new space center boosts rocket plan
     
  9. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    New US intelligence report shows Iran moving closer to nuclear weapon

    A new report out of Washington shows the American intelligence community has come to adopt Israel’s view that Iran is making notable strides in its development of a nuclear weapon.

    [​IMG]

    The National Intelligence Estimate, recently presented to US President Barack Obama, includes “alarming” intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program, including marked progress on key elements of its weaponization drive, the daily newspaper Haaretz reported Thursday.

    The report is a 180 degree turn from the last NIE on Iran, in 2007, which reported that Iran had given up on its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and had not returned to it.

    The 2007 report was seen as a setback to Israel, which believes Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and has been waging a campaign for the world to cotton to its view and work to stymie Tehran.

    Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, such as energy and research.

    The new NIE, compiled by intelligence czar James Clapper and representing the view of the wider US intelligence community, has not been released to the public. Haaretz based its report on unnamed Western diplomats and Israeli officials.

    Earlier this week, Haaretz reported that new intelligence showed a surprising speeding up of military elements of Iran’s nuclear program, a view accepted by Israel, the US, Britain, France and Germany.

    New US intelligence report shows Iran moving closer to nuclear weapon | The Times of Israel
     
  10. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    US says has 'eyes' inside Iran nuclear program


    In remarks seemingly directed at Israel, Washington asserts it would know once Iran acquired the knowledge, capability and materials to build nuclear bomb; former CIA official suggests Obama may accept nuclear Iran
    In remarks seemingly aimed at Israel, the United States said Friday it had "eyes" and "visibility" inside Iran's nuclear program and would know if Tehran made a "breakout" towards a nuclear weapon.

    Washington also indicated it had not changed its view that Iran was not yet on the verge of building a nuclear bomb, despite Defense Minister Ehud Barak's statement that US intelligence now viewed the threat as more "urgent."
    White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment on intelligence matters but said that Washington and Israel were agreed about Iran's ambitions for its nuclear program.

    "I would also say that we have eyes – we have visibility into the program, and we would know if and when Iran made what's called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon."

    Breakout capability is commonly understood to be the point when a state acquires the knowledge, capability and materials to build a nuclear bomb if it wants to.

    Carney said later in his briefing that he was referring to International Atomic Energy Agency officials mandated to inspect Iran's nuclear sites because Tehran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    But many experts believe there has also been substantial infiltration and sabotage of Iran's nuclear program by Western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

    Though the Obama Administration has not taken the military option off the table, Carney said "there is time and space to pursue the
    diplomatic option that includes extremely and increasingly aggressive sanctions."

    Carney's comments appeared to be an indirect repudiation of Barak's comment on Public Radio that it was getting tougher to assess Iran's nuclear progress

    US says has 'eyes' inside Iran nuclear program - Israel News, Ynetnews
     
  11. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Talks between world powers and Iran on its controversial nuclear programme could herald a shift in Tehran's ties, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday.

    "We hope that this is a beginning of a new phase in our relations," Zarif told reporters in Geneva after wrapping up two days of negotiations that yielded a deal to meet again on November 7 and 8.

    Zarif said that the talks with the European Union-chair P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- had been "extensive and fruitful" and that they had "exhibited the necessary political will to move the process forward".

    Tehran vehemently denies international claims that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons, insisting that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, and on Tuesday made what it dubbed a breakthrough proposal to end the decade-long standoff.

    "We will not back down on our rights," Zarif said.

    "At the same time we feel there is no need for concerns about our nuclear program... It is logical to remove any concerns though," he added.

    "I am hopeful that we can reach the mutual objectives," he said, while underlining that "the detailed part is the most difficult part".

    "We need to take reciprocal steps, but this is a very important test in our eyes for the 5+1 to win back the trust of Iran. I believe an important step was taken in this round."
    Read more: Geneva nuclear talks herald 'new phase' in ties: Iran - News - World - Voice of Russia - US Edition
     
  12. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Israel urged the world to avoid a partial deal with Iran which could see a relaxing of sanctions, as a new round of nuclear talks was launched Tuesday in Geneva.

    The security cabinet warned the international community against any "partial agreement that would fail to bring about the full dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear programme...(which) could lead to the collapse of the sanctions regime."

    Iran began two days of closed-door negotiations in Geneva on Tuesday with the P5+1 countries -- the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, ending a six-month hiatus.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a media blitz in recent days, warning against concessions to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    Rouhani's conciliatory tone has raised hopes of a breakthrough in the decade-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.

    The security cabinet statement called on world powers to be wary of Iran during negotiations.

    "Iran believes it can get by with cosmetic concessions that would not significantly impede its path to developing nuclear weapons, concessions that could be reversed in weeks," the statement said.

    "In exchange, Iran demands an easing of the sanctions, which have taken years to put in place."

    The security cabinet said the P5+1 should "reject Iran's attempts to reach a deal that would leave it with the capability to develop nuclear weapons."

    An Israeli official told AFP that the seven-member ministerial committee had met on Monday night but released the statement Tuesday morning to coincide with the launch of the Geneva talks.

    Israel, it said, did not oppose Iran having a peaceful nuclear energy programme -- one which would not require uranium enrichment or plutonium production, it said.

    "Iran claims that it supposedly has the 'right to enrich.' But a country that regularly deceives the international community, that violates UN Security Council resolutions ... has no such right," it said.

    Later in the day, Netanyahu stressed that "now" was "an opportune moment to reach a genuine diplomatic solution that peacefully ends Iran's military nuclear program."

    Speaking ahead of a meeting with Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Netanyahu said that pressure in the form of sanctions is what brought Iran back to the negotiating table.

    "And it is that pressure which makes the peaceful dismantling of Iran's military nuclear programme possible," Netanyahu said in remarks relayed by his office.

    But Netanyahu reiterated in parliament that the option of a unilateral Israeli military strike should remain on the table.

    "Pre-emptive strikes must not be ruled out," he told MPs.

    "Such strikes are not necessarily called for in every case... but there are situations in which thinking about the international response to such a step is not equal to the bloody price we would pay" for the existence of a nuclear-armed Iran.

    The Geneva talks are aimed at reaching accord over Iran's nuclear programme, which Israel and the West say is aimed at developing an atomic bomb and Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only.

    The Islamic republic has been slapped with several rounds of sanctions because of its nuclear programme.

    Israel, the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power, wants Iran to meet four conditions before the sanctions are eased: halting all uranium enrichment; removing all enriched uranium from its territory; closing its underground nuclear facility in Qom; and halting construction of a plutonium reactor.

    Israel has refused to rule out military strikes against Iran, with Netanyahu telling the UN General Assembly this month that the Jewish state would act unilaterally if necessary.

    Israel warns against nuclear compromise with Iran
     
  13. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Russia has proposed a nuclear deal with Iran, involving the lifting of sanctions if Tehran agrees to put all its atomic installations under international supervision.

    Demonstrating a nimble-footed assertion of its West Asia policy — already visible in its high profile role in dousing the flames in Syria — Moscow also seems prepared to play a leading diplomatic role in resolving the enduring crisis in Iran.

    Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov pointed out on Wednesday that all sanctions against Iran should be removed, provided Tehran agrees to put its entire nuclear programme under international control. His statement followed the conclusion of two-day talks between Iran and the six global powers — the first after President Hassan Rouhani assumed office. Iran’s new administration, which includes the urbane and articulate Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, has repeatedly stated its willingness to engage with foreign partners to normalise ties with the West, which have been strained for decades.

    Moscow is insisting that any deal, if it has to materialise, must allow Iran to carry out uranium enrichment, permitted by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Tehran has signed.

    On its part, Iran has also made the right noises to support Moscow’s advocacy that sanctions, including the biting unilateral economic curbs, against Tehran must be scrapped.

    Analysts say, Iran may be willing to limit enrichment to 5 per cent, which is necessary to fire a string of atomic power plants, which Tehran plans to establish. In the past, Iran’s successful enrichment of uranium to a 20 per cent level had apparently alarmed the West, which apprehended that if it managed to enrich to a 90 per cent level, Iran would be in striking distance of developing an atomic bomb.

    Mr. Ryabkov said Russian President Vladimir Putin visualised that Iran’s “inseparable rights under the Non-proliferation Treaty should be accompanied by the introduction of full comprehensive international control over the Iranian nuclear programme”. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also supported Moscow’s position by saying, “To begin with the unilateral sanctions need to be removed.”

    Despite the string of constructive ideas that were tossed up during the Geneva talks, a sequence of steps that each side should adopt that would allow phased lifting of sanctions was yet to emerge. Mr. Ryabkov stressed that arriving at a common understanding on stages and steps that would allow the successive lifting of sanctions would emerge as a prime impediment in the talks ahead. He also alluded to the “low level of trust” between Iran and its six interlocutors — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, as an obstacle to the smooth progression of a dialogue.

    Russia pushes for level-playing field between West, Iran - The Hindu
     
  14. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    The world's positive response to the latest nuclear talks with Iran drew bitter scepticism from Israel, which warned its Western allies Thursday they risked being duped into easing sanctions prematurely.

    Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, a former foreign minister, went further, accusing the European Union and the United States of being more interested in the resumption of Iranian oil exports than with addressing an issue that Israel regards as a threat to its very existence.

    Washington, which has had no diplomatic relations with Tehran since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution, said Iranian negotiators had shown a greater level of "seriousness and substance" in this week's talks than ever before.

    But Israel, which has mounted a massive lobbying campaign to keep up the economic and military pressure on its number-one foe, insisted Iran's intentions could be proved only by concrete steps to wind down its nuclear programme, not by "sweet talk" from its new president.

    "Iran will be judged by its actions and not by its presentations," a senior Israeli official said.

    "Until significant steps are carried out on the ground which prove that Iran is breaking up its military nuclear programme, the international community must continue to impose sanctions upon it," he added.

    "The pressure of sanctions brought Iran to this point and must continue until Iran is stripped of its nuclear military programme."

    After the talks in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday, Iranian officials touted a "breakthrough" in the decade-old negotiations on allaying international concerns over its nuclear ambitions.

    They said they were hopeful of a "new phase" in Iran's relations with the world after outlining a three-step plan, including spot checks on nuclear facilities, to try to reach a comprehensive agreement "within a year."

    Although there was no official response from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's army radio quoted a source close to him as taking a hard line.

    "The Americans are the angels while the Iranians have given nothing," the source said, adding that there was "no reason for any enthusiasm."

    Writing in Israel's Maariv newspaper, Iran specialist Emily Landau said she saw no policy changes of substance from President Hassan Rouhani, the moderate cleric who took office in August and on whom the West has pinned its hopes of a breakthrough.

    "Except for the more relaxed tones and the demonstratively positive approach, there is nothing significant of substance this time that we didn't have in the previous rounds in 2012 and earlier this year," wrote Landau, an analyst at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.

    "As long as there is no indication that Iran has changed direction in its nuclear plans and has decided to give up its intent to develop a military nuclear capability, all of its proposals should be seen as tactical steps in the negotiations with the international community."

    Israel's energy minister said the international community's drive to end Iran's long isolation on the nuclear issue was primarily motivated by a concern to reduce world oil prices, driven higher by the Western sanctions on Iran's exports.

    "Diplomacy of 2013 is based, first and foremost, on the economy," Shalom told public radio.

    "The world is currently going through a financial crisis and ... the Iran issue needs to be resolved to broaden supply and bring prices down. All the rest is just empty words."

    But Eldad Pardo, senior researcher on Iran at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said Iranian oil was reaching international buyers anyway.

    "The US does not need Iranian oil, and Iranian oil goes out anyway through China and those countries who need it," he told AFP.

    Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, has repeatedly threatened to take unilateral action if necessary to keep Iran from developing the capability to build a bomb of its own.

    Netanyahu renewed the threat before parliament on Tuesday in his latest salvo against the historic overtures between Tehran and Washington.

    Israel bitter as world hails positive Iran talks
     
  15. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    “It is too early to say anything about lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran”, said the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a meeting in Rome with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

    “It is better not to enter into any agreements with Iran on its nuclear program at all, than sign a "bad deal"- Kerry said at the beginning of the meeting. He called on Iran to take concrete steps and bring clarity to its national nuclear program.

    The US Secretary of State said that words were not enough and there should be action to show commitments. Sanctions can be lifted only when there is clarity that Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, said Kerry.

    In his turn, the Israeli Prime Minister said that the international community will not approve of the "partial agreement" proposed by the "six" international mediators on Iran.

    “The negotiators must ask Tehran to stop enriching uranium, get rid of nuclear fuel and shut down its heavy water reactors”- said Netanyahu.
    Read more: Kerry feels it?s too early to lift sanctions on Iran - News - Politics - Russian Radio
     

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