Archive for the ‘atomic’ Category

Iran Now Said to Have Enough Nuclear Material For Bomb

November 20, 2008

Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.

Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.

“They clearly have enough material for a bomb,” said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. “They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that’s another matter.”

Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display ... 
Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display in front of a large portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a square in south Tehran in September 2008. Many experts believe Iran now has enough nuclear material for at least one bomb and has delivery options with missiles.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Israel Scared, Wants U.S. More Engagement on Iran
Iran increases stockpile of uranium

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Israeli Defense Official: “We Won’t Allow Iran to Go Nuclear”

November 15, 2008

Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, has stressed to The Jerusalem Post in an unusually hard-hitting interview.

For now, Israel is backing diplomatic and economic efforts to thwart the Iranians, Gilad added, but it doubts these will work and it is keeping all options open.

By David Horovitz
Jerusalem Post 

Asked about the complexities of any resort to military action, particularly since Iran has built its facilities to withstand a repeat of the IAF’s 1981 destruction of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, Gilad replied, tellingly, that domestic critics 27 years ago said the Osirak raid “couldn’t be done. And the fact is, it succeeded.”

“Iran is a country with smart people that have capabilities,” he noted. “It really would be a considerable challenge. Come the day, if and when this or that option is adopted, what will matter is the outcome.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September ... 
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jeff Zelevansky)

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Wednesday Iran Tests Yet Another Ballistic Missile: Israel in Range

November 12, 2008

By Zahra Hosseinian

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said it test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday and that the Islamic Republic was ready to defend itself against any attacker.

Iran’s latest missile test followed persistent speculation in recent months of possible U.S. or Israeli strikes against its nuclear facilities, which the West suspects form part of a covert atomic weapons program, a charge Tehran denies.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, like outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticized the Bush administration for not pursuing more diplomacy and engagement with Tehran.

Washington said the test highlighted the need for a missile defense system it plans to base in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter threats from what it calls “rogue states.”

Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the Iranian-made surface-to-surface Sejil missile had “extremely high capabilities” and was only intended for defensive purposes.

He said it had a range of close to 2,000 km (1,200 miles), almost as far as another Iranian missile, Shahab 3. That would enable it to reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

“This missile test is in the framework of Iran’s deterrent doctrine,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

“It will only land on the heads of those enemies … who want to make an aggression and invade the Islamic Republic,” said Najjar, who did not mention any country by name.

Iran’s English-language Press TV said the Sejil missile had two stages and was of a type that used combined solid fuel.

A missile was shown soaring from a platform in desert-like terrain, leaving a long vapor trail.


It came a day after media said the Revolutionary Guards had test-fired another missile called Samen near the Iraqi border.

“They do it all the time. It’s Iranian machismo,” said Tim Ripley, an analyst at Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Two stages could increase a missile’s range, he said, noting that Iran had in the past borrowed technology from North Korea although he said he could not say if that was true this time.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs, while Iran says it only aims to generate electricity.

Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests and America’s ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.

The United States is planning to install a defensive shield in central Europe against missiles it says could be fired by states such as Iran.

“We’ve consistently pointed out that Iran’s missile program is a concern and this testing is another reminder of the importance of establishing a missile defense site in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend the U.S. and Europe against a threat that is developing in Iran,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

Moscow on Wednesday rejected U.S. proposals intended to allay its concerns about the system.

Senior officials from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany were due to meet in Paris on Thursday to discuss their next steps in their nuclear showdown with Iran.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, told a provincial rally Iran would defeat its enemies.

“The Iranian nation defends its honor and whichever power that wants to stand against the movement of the Iranian nation, the Iranian nation will crush it under its foot and slap it on the mouth,” he said in a speech broadcast live on television.

Last week, Iran’s military said U.S. helicopters had been seen flying close to Iran’s border and that it would respond to any violation, a message analysts said seemed directed at Obama more than American troops in Iraq.

It followed a cross-border raid in October by U.S. forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.

(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington and Edmund Blair; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Trevelyan in Reuters)

North Korea bans UN staff from nuke complex

October 9, 2008

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria – Diplomats say that North Korea has made all of its Yongbyon nuclear facilities off limits to international inspectors.

The diplomats say the North’s decision was made recently but declined to offer details. The diplomats demanded anonymity Thursday because their information was confidential.

The reported move expands the area that the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are no longer allowed to monitor.

Pyongyang already barred agency personnel from its plutonium reprocessing facility at Yongbyon last month, when it made good on threats to restart its weapons-producing atomic program.

Nuclear Terror is Real, But Sometimes Exagerated

January 9, 2008

By Michael Levi
USA Today
Jamuary 9, 2008

Politicians love to scare the wits out of people, and nothing suits that purpose better than talking about nuclear terrorism. From President Bush warning in 2002 that the “smoking gun” might be a mushroom cloud, to John Kerry in 2004 conjuring “shadowy figures” with a “finger on a nuclear button” and Mitt Romney invoking the specter of “radical nuclear jihad last spring….

With every week seeming to bring another nuclear bombshell, the candidates have plenty of fodder. The assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in late December has refocused attention on that fragile nuclear-armed nation. In November, a uranium smuggling operation was busted in Slovakia; barely a week later, a new intelligence report revealed that Iran had shuttered part of its nuclear program, but Tehran continued to push forward with its dangerous efforts to produce nuclear fuel. No wonder people are worried.

Given the consequence of a successful attack, we’d be fools to convert from nuclear zealots who think the sky is falling to nuclear atheists who reject the existence of a real threat.

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President Bush in Israel to push for peace

January 9, 2008
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer 

JERUSALEM – President Bush sought new footing Wednesday to pull Israel and the Palestinians toward serious negotiations that would crown his final year as president, as revived peace talks stumbled over land squabbles and fear of violence.

“We see a new opportunity for peace here in the holy land and for freedom across the region,” an optimistic Bush said upon landing in Tel Aviv.

Bush is trying to build momentum for stalled Mideast peace talks and clear up confusion about whether the United States is serious about confronting Iran….

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U.S. Presents Evidence Of Iran’s “Provocation” At Sea

January 9, 2008

Lolita C. Baldor and Sebastian  Abbot, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON – Small Iranian fast boats swarmed around massive U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, and a man speaking heavily accented English threatened, “I am coming to you. … You will explode,” according to a video released Tuesday by the Pentagon.

This image released by the US Navy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, and ...
This image released by the US Navy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, and shot Sunday, Jan. 6 from the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, shows a small blue boat, alleged to be Iranian, purportedly racing near the wake of U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. The incident, which President George W. Bush denounced Tuesday as a ‘provocative act,’ was videotaped by a crew member on the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, one of the three ships that faced down five Iranian boats in a flare-up early Sunday.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

The Iranian boats appeared to ignore repeated warnings from the U.S. ships, including horn blasts and radio transmissions, as the ships moved through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf.

In a four-minute, 20-second video, shot from the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, the small boats — including a bright blue one — can be seen racing near the wake the U.S. ships and crossing close to each other.

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Iran: U.S. Tapes of Its Boats are Faked

Atomic chief fears for security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal

January 8, 2008

BEIRUT (AFP) – The head of the UN atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei has voiced concern over the possibility that Pakistan‘s nuclear arsenal could fall into extremist hands, in statements published on Tuesday.

“I fear that chaos… or an extremist regime could take root in that country which has 30 to 40 warheads,” ElBaradei told the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat in an interview.

The head of the UN atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei has voiced ...
Mr. ElBaradei (AFP photo).

He stressed that he was “worried that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of an extremist group in Pakistan or in Afghanistan.”

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