Iran Nuclear at a Moment’s Notice

Has Iran laid the groundwork to develop nuclear weapons on a moment’s notice?

BY JACK CARAVELLI AND SEBASTIAN MAIER, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

Hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough at its signing in July 2015, Iran’s nuclear agreement with leading members of the international community—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—has achieved some notable short-term successes, many in Iran’s favor. Most, not all, of Iran’s nuclear activities are either frozen or highly circumscribed. In exchange, Iran is reaping the benefit of receipt of billions of dollars in previously frozen assets as well as a return to international commerce where Europe and China, among others, are seeking to invigorate trade and investment with the theocratic regime. This will be a boon for Iran’s chronically mismanaged and struggling economy.

The bad news is that it is misleading to conclude that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been shuttered or that those ambitions will no longer pose a threat to the security and stability of the Middle East or beyond. This is because the agreement has finite limits, ranging from 10 years to 15 years depending on the issue.

For the time being, Iran has incentives to abide by the agreement’s terms, beginning with its financial windfall and reintegration into the international community. None of that has lessened Iran’s fervor for supporting terrorism or the murderous regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moreover, even now there are signs Iran in the long-term has no plans to abandon its nuclear program—and all that implies for the possible development of nuclear weapons.
A recent report from the highly credible Institute for Science and International Security takes note of a statement from Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. According to the Institute report and quoting Salehi, Iran “has the capability to initiate mass production of advanced centrifuges on short notice.” Centrifuges are the machinery that enriches uranium and creates the fissile material needed to make a nuclear weapon.

While Iran may make the specious claim it has the right to do so in coming years, on practical grounds there should be no reason for Iran to devote resources to this activity if it does not intend, as it so claims, to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. Mass production of advanced centrifuges, if carried out, would give Iran a decided advantage if it wanted to shorten a rush to a nuclear weapon.

Similarly, Iran continues to develop its ballistic missile program, an element of its defense regime that was left unhindered in the nuclear negotiations except for the fact that existing United Nations sanctions on the missile program are to be lifted in about six years.

The capability to deliver nuclear weapons to targets is all important; Iran recognizes this requirement and makes no secret of its commitment to maintaining and advancing its program. At present, Iran has ballistic missiles capable of attacking targets throughout the Middle East and probably beyond.

In addition, Iran also continues to defy repeated international requests to come clean on suspect activities at the Parchin military facility where suspicions for years have been high that Iran carried out high explosives testing that can only be useful in developing a nuclear weapon.

Much of the international community would be pleased to see these and related questions not resurface but they are inconvenient truths that if left unaddressed may well lead to a future crisis.

The mechanism to take up these issues is the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. Most nations around the globe are IAEA members and they merit a clear understanding of Iran’s activities, in no small measure to convince them that the international community can deal with Iran successfully and that Iranian actions can be monitored credibly.

That conclusion cannot be reached with credibility until much more is known about the pace and scope of Iran’s nuclear and missile activities. Until those questions are resolved it is fair to conclude that Iran’s actions since the signing of the JCPOA are troubling and raise new suspicions.

Jack Caravelli served on the White House National Security Council staff from 1999-2000. Sebastian Maier is an associate with the London-based corporate intelligence firm GMTL.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Ramapo

Monday, March 14, 2011

 

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Sunni and Shia Horns

The head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation, one of the architects of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, has warned the US to stop upsetting the regional balance of power by siding with Saudi Arabia.

Writing in the Guardian, Ali Akbar Salehi said “lavish arms purchases” by regional actors – a reference to the Saudi purchase of $100bn of US arms during Donald Trump’s recent visit to Riyadh – would be seen as provocative in Tehran and that it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain “indifferent”.

Salehi, an MIT graduate scientist who has also served as foreign minister, was the second most senior Iranian negotiator, dealing with technical aspects, during nearly two years of talks between Tehran and six of the world’s major powers that led to the final nuclear accord in Vienna in July 2015.

Although Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”, he has not so far taken any concrete steps to scrap it. Last month, two days before Iran’s presidential election, his administration announced that it was continuing to waive nuclear-related sanctions under the agreement despite Washington toughening up its overall Iran policy.

Salehi said it was possible to rescue the deal’s engagement if it was met with reciprocal gestures. “Often following hard-won engagement, some western nations, whether distracted by short-sighted political motivations or the lucrative inducements of regional actors, walk away and allow the whole situation to return to the status quo ante,” wrote Salehi, who is also a vice-president of Iran.

Salehi warned of “chaotic behaviour” and “further tension and conflict” if the other side disregarded Iran’s security concerns, failed to adhere to its commitments and insisted on what he called alternative facts including ideas such as the “clash of civilisations”, “Sunni-Shia conflict”, “Persian-Arab enmity” and the “Arab-Israeli axis against Iran”.

His article comes at a time of simmering tensions in the Middle East, where relations between Tehran and Riyadh, which are on opposite sides of many regional conflicts such as the wars in Syria and Yemen, have deteriorated.

Trump’s first post-election foreign trip to Riyadh tilted the regional balance, and contributed in part to the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have accused the tiny emirate of funding terrorists and appeasing Iran. Meanwhile, in Syria, Iran-backed militias and a coalition of forces led by Washington have collided a number of times in recent weeks while fighting Islamic State.

“Stoking Iranophobia” or failure to deliver on promises under the deal would jeopardise engagement, Salehi wrote. “We would all end up back at square one,” he cautioned. “Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future.”

Salehi urged the outside world to take heed of the results of last month’s Iranian presidential election and the message Iranians sent, but he said “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone”.

Korea Threatens Trump

GETTY
North Korea has threatened to instigate a nuclear war against the United States
Kim Jong-un’s nation strongly condemned the “US imperialists” for launching two bombers in the Korean peninsula and deploying a navy destroyer to float through the East Sea of Korea over the last few weeks.The North insisted those actions were provocative and displayed a show of aggression against their communist state.

Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg
Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.
The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.
The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Iran’s Nuclear Program Continues to Grow

 

By INU Staff

INU – A new report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed that Iran’s missile program has accelerated since the signing of the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between Tehran and world powers in 2015.

In a press conference on Tuesday, held at the NCRI’s Washington office, the scope of Iran’s missile program was made public, and is much more extensive than was previously imagined.

According to the report, the Revolutionary Guards, who are in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile program, have been carrying out operations at 42 locations, of which 12 were previously unknown.

The report alleges that one of the missile complexes is tied to SPND, the organization in charge of building nuclear bombs.

The information was obtained by the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who first revealed Iran’s illicit nuclear program, disclosed the NCRI.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the NCRI’s U.S. office, said in an interview with Fox News, “The findings show the first full picture of the missile program of the Iranian regime, which is very extensive and costly. It also shows a close tie between the nuclear weapons program and the missile program.”

Jafarzadeh continued,”Tehran has accelerated its missile program to make up for its domestic impotence and increasing regional isolation. The missile program of the regime is essential for its survival. Unfortunately the missile program of the Iranian regime has remained primarily unchecked.”

The nuclear accord failed to address a range of threats posed by the Iranian regime, including its involvement in other countries of the region, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights record.

The Obama administration, whose negotiations led to the deal, believed that the incentives provided by the JCPOA would curb Iran’s ambitions. Instead, Iran took advantage of the previous administration’s appeasement policy and hands-off approach to pursue its agendas, including several ballistic missile tests and launches since signing the JCPOA.

Recent developments, like last week’s passage in the U.S. Senate of a bill that, if approved by the House and signed by President Trump, will enforce new sanctions against the Iranian regime for its ballistic missile development, arms transfers, support for terrorism, and human rights violations.

The recent summit in Riyadh, where leaders of major Arab nations highlighted the menace of Iran’s ballistic missile program, and committed to confront Tehran’s subversive and destructive activities inside their countries, bodes ill for the Iranian regime.

The Iranian people deeply oppose the regime’s nuclear and missile program and its interference in the region, stated the NCRI representatives, and they called for the enactment of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s missile program and all entities that are affiliated to it. Additionally they called for the expulsion of Iran’s forces and proxies from Syria and Iraq, and for the terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guards.

Thousands of Antichrist’s Men Sign Petition

Smoke rises from the clashes between the Iraqi Army and Daesh terrorists during the operation to retake Mosul from Daesh in Mosul, Iraq on 12 June 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

Speicher massacre truth campaign attracts 1mn signatures – Middle East Monitor

A campaign led by Iraqi civil society organisations and legal and media figures to uncover the truth behind the Speicher massacre has collected one million signatures, according to the spokeswoman for the coalition driving the efforts:

“Over 55 civil society organisations, lawmakers and popular media figures formed a coalition of resolution no.38 law from the Iraqi constitution to collect one million signatures to reveal the truth about the Speicher massacre which claimed the lives of more than 1,700 people,” said Aya Mansour.

In June 2014 Daesh killed some 1,700 Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets in an attack on Camp Speicher, an Air Force College in Tikrit.

“The coalition also demands to reveal those responsible for the fall of the city of Mosul (north) into the hands of the Islamic State, ISIS [Daesh] terrorist group in mid-2014,” Mansour added.

The coalition has been able to collect 20,000 signatures over the past three days alone, she said.

Um Mohammed, the mother of one of the men missing in the massacre, said: “My son told me two days before the massacre that he and his colleagues were moved from Baiji to Speicher Base for training purposes, but until today I do not know his fate. I have been looking for him for three years now. I demand the Iraqi state disclose the fate of our children.”

Thousands of supporters of the Sadrist Movement leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, demanded last week that Iraqi Vice President Nouri Al-Malki be tried on charges of instigating the Speicher massacre, which happened when he was prime minister.

On 21 August Iraqi authorities executed 36 convicted perpetrators of the massacre inside Nasiriyah Central Prison in Dhi Qar province in south eastern Iraq.

Iran’s Hegemony n Syria

Iran’s Khamenei ordered missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria: Guards

Reuters

FILE PHOTO - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran Thomson Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered weekend missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, Revolutionary Guards said, contradicting a previous report that they were authorised by the country’s security council.

The Guards fired six mid-range surface to surface missiles from western Iran into Syria’s Deir al Zour province on Sunday night, the first attack of its kind carried out by the Islamic Republic in years.

The Guards statement, published on Wednesday by Sepah News, ran counter to a statement by President Hassan Rouhani who said earlier that the strikes were authorised by the Supreme National Security Council, which includes the heads of the three branches of government as well as the head of the Guards and other ministers.

Senior Guard commanders said on Monday that the missile strikes were intended to send a message to “terrorists” who carried out attacks in Tehran two weeks ago as well as their regional and international supporters, a reference to Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Khamenei’s personal directive for the missile strikes, as reported by the Guards, highlighted their symbolic importance.

The complex attacks in Tehran included shootings and at least one suicide bombing at the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, south of the capital. Eighteen people were killed.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for these attacks but senior Iranian officials pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic’s biggest regional rival.

Tensions between mostly Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, have ramped up in recent months as both countries compete for power and influence across the region. The two countries support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Field operatives from the Quds Force, the branch of the Guards responsible for operations outside Iran’s borders, gathered intelligence on the targets inside Syria before the strike, the Guards’ statement said.

More than 170 “terrorists” including some commanders were killed in the missile strike, their statement said. Reuters could not independently verify the claim.

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

New York’s Fukushima Back in Service

 

Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant Returns to Service

Jerry Nappi
06/22/2017

Buchanan – Indian Point’s Unit 3 nuclear power plant returned to service Thursday, generating electricity. Control room operators removed the plant from service on June 12 for a planned maintenance shutdown to replace two water seals that sit between the lid of the reactor and the reactor vessel. The seals were replaced prior to returning the plant to service.

Indian Point Unit 2 continues to operate at full power and has been online for 351 continuous days.

Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power plants, Unit 2 and Unit 3, which generate approximately 2000 megawatts of electricity for homes, business and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and nearly 13,000 employees.

The Sixth Seal Is Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

 Is New Jersey overdue for major earthquake?
Devin Loring, @DevinLoring
17 hours ago

One of the most noticeable earthquakes in New Jersey measured a 5.30 on the Richter scale — a moderate quake – and was felt throughout Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

But that was in 1783, before colossal bridges connected New Jersey and New York, and cities were pre-skyscraper and modern infrastructure.

What would happen if New Jersey was rocked by a strong, or even moderate, earthquake today?
New Jersey may well soon find out. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said 10 years ago that we’re due for at least a moderate earthquake.

The region is not really well prepared for any level of shaking,” said Vadim Levin, an associate professor in the earth and planetary sciences department at Rutgers University. “The population density is so extremely high. … Look at earthquake-related disasters. They don’t link to the large size of earthquakes, but the confluence of how close they are to people.”

There are earthquakes in Jersey?

It has been over 200 years since New Jersey experienced that historic quake in 1783, and almost 100 years since Asbury Park experienced a quake – in 1927 – that toppled chimneys and knocked items off shelves

That means New Jersey is overdue for an earthquake, at least according to a brochure published by the NJDEP, in 2005.

The agency’s data indicates that intense quakes are likely to happen in New Jersey every 100 years or less.

“Long overdue for how long, that’s the question,” said Levin. “Once in ten generations is very difficult to study. That’s the biggest challenge (because) we live inside a stable plate.”

A “stable plate,” describes New Jersey’s tectonics. Here, the Earth’s crust “fits together and doesn’t deform very much,” Levin said.
Despite the stability of New Jersey’s crust, earthquakes are felt throughout New Jersey frequently.

In fact, earlier this month, a light earthquake was very noticeable to residents in and around Morristown. It was felt as far south as Jackson, and as far north as Suffern, New York.


The big one

Researchers don’t really understand why earthquakes happen on the East Coast, especially because in New Jersey, small earthquakes happen over a diffuse area and do not form an easily identifiable zone of action, Levin said.

“What makes us slightly more nervous these days is the recent Virginia earthquake,” Levin said. “That event was rather large, there was serious damage, and of course, no prior history of such events recorded.”

In 2011, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Maine, in Michigan and Illinois, and in Canada according to the United States Geological Survey.

“That (2011 earthquake) damaged a nuclear power plant — not severely, only to the extent that it had to shut down operations,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

It points out the issue of fragility on our infrastructure,” Lerner-Lam said. “The resiliency or vulnerability of our bridges, tunnels, power lines, pipelines, is a very important feature of the overall vulnerability of the metropolitan region.”

What makes East Coast quakes all the more unpredictable is that quakes here differ from those on the West Coast, where they are more frequent. Because the earth on the East Coast has different properties than the west, shakes from quakes are transmitted farther here than they are in California, Levin said.

Getting protection

Standard homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Only 7 percent of homeowners that responded to an Institute survey in 2014 said they had earthquake insurance.

Only about 2 percent of homeowners in the Northeast have earthquake coverage, the survey revealed.

Levin said he declines to have earthquake coverage, saying hurricanes and flooding are a much greater risk in New Jersey.

“If an event is extremely unlikely, how much money is worth investing in safeguarding from it?” Levin said.

Although there is no reliable way to predict a major earthquake, let’s just say experts don’t think whole cities will crumble or be consumed by the ocean, as depicted by Hollywood.

“I’m planning to take my class to see ‘San Andreas.’ Oh my God, that’s such overkill,” Levin said.

Devin Loring; ; dloring@gannettnj.co