Iran May Break Nuclear Deal

Iran suggests it is unwilling to honour nuclear deal

Image of meeting discussing Iran's nuclear programme on 30th March 2015 [United States Department of State/Wikipedia]

Foreign Ministers and other officials of P5 +1 meet with Iranian delegates to Iran’s nuclear programme on 30th March 2015 [US Department of State/Wikipedia]

The challenge raises the prospect of a confrontation with the new US administration of President Donald Trump because diplomats say Iran is only months away from reaching that cap.

The 2015 deal restricts Iran’s atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran. One restriction is on its stock of heavy water, a moderator used in a type of reactor that can produce plutonium, like an unfinished one at Arak that had its core removed under the accord.

Iran has already exceeded the 130-tonne limit on its heavy water stock twice, including under the Obama administration. The latest standoff with Washington over the issue was only defused in December when Iran shipped the excess amount to Oman, who has good relations with Iran, where the heavy water is being stored until a buyer can be found.

In a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog circulated to member states on Thursday and posted on the agency’s website, however, Iran argued that the deal does not require it to ship excess heavy water out of the country.

“Nothing in the [agreement] requires Iran to ship out the excess heavy water which is made available to the international market but has not yet found an actual buyer to which the heavy water needs to be delivered,” Iran said.

The deal says all excess heavy water “will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices and delivered to the international buyer”.

Trump is a vocal critic of the deal who has said he wants to “police that contract so tough they [the Iranians] don’t have a chance”. His administration has stuck to the previous US position thus far.

“Any excess heavy water in excess of the firm cap of 130 metric tons cannot remain in Iran,” the United States said in a statement to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting last week.

Western officials say they are concerned that Tehran continues to produce heavy water far more quickly than it is consuming or selling it. It had 124.2 tonnes of heavy water on its territory a month ago.

The IAEA, which is policing the deal, told member states at a meeting on 28 February that if Iran kept producing heavy water at the current rate, it would reach the 130-tonne limit by May, several diplomats who attended the meeting said.

A possible maintenance shutdown at its production plant might delay the timing slightly, some added. One diplomat said June was a more likely time for Iran to hit the cap.

Pakistan and India Approach Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

maxresdefaultIndia-Pakistan tensions and the threat of nuclear war

Shalini Chawla

For more than five decades, the strategic situation in the South Asian region continues to be dominated by the strained India-Pakistan relationship. While the intensity of the tensions between the two neighbours has varied, the current decade has witnessed escalation in tension levels, increasing mistrust and inability to communicate between the two nations.

Recently, General Joseph L Votel, Commander US Central Command, in his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, raised concerns about the tensions between the two countries.

He said: “India remains concerned about the lack of action against India-focused militants based in Pakistan and even responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year. We assess that these types of attacks and the potential reactions, increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both countries.”

Commenting on India’s stance on Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, General Joseph said: “India’s public policy to ‘diplomatically isolate’ Pakistan hinders any prospects for improved relations. This is especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers.”

General Joseph’s statement caught ample media attention which was not unexpected. No doubt, the situation in the region is risky with two nuclear states sharing a hostile relationship. The question here is: Is New Delhi expected to absorb continued terror attacks without any response?

 

The writer is a senior fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

Japan Prepares for Nuclear War with Korea

 Japan in first civilian evacuation drills preparing for North Korea nuclear attack

Japan holds evacuation drill ready for North Korea nuke strike

About 100 people, including 44 schoolchildren, took part in various exercises in the coastal town of Oga on Friday.

The move was aimed at fine-tuning a possible future evacuation of the area in the event of a ballistic missile attack on its citizens, after Kim Jong-un intensifies his sabre-rattling with more missile tests.

During the exercises local residents were moved to a number of shelters, including a public hall, a junior school as well as other centres around the city.

Children take part in the drill in JapanReuters

Japanese children take part in the evacuation drill
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Security supervisor Osamu Saito said: “Anything can happen these days, and it’s even more true when we cannot anticipate the behaviour of our neighbouring countries.”

The emergency drill started at 9:30 am local time in Kitaura district when the local authorities were alerted of a possible missile attack on Japan.

The government used a special service, called J-Alert, to convey the message. The evacuation was announced via loudspeakers, urging residents to take shelter.

The loudspeaker message told residents: ”The missile is seen to have landed within a 20-km (12-mile) boundary west of the Oga peninsula.

Extraordinary images show Japan’s retaliation against North Korea

A H-IIA rocket, carrying a government’s information gathering radar satellite, lifts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, Japan [REUTERS]

“The government is currently examining the damage.”

Some of the participants are however sceptical about the drills.

One resident told the Raptly news agency: ”If in case a missile falls, we will be entirely destroyed, you know?”

Hideo Motokawa, a 73-year-old participant, said: “I’ve seen missiles flying between foreign countries on television, but I never imagined this would happen to us.

“It’s a scary thing. If it did actually happen, I don’t think we can do what we practiced today. We’ll just be panicked.”

Evacuation drill in JapanAFP

Japan undertakes an evacuation drill
Oga is located across the Sea of Japan from North Korea. And although their northern neighbor wasn’t specifically mentioned as the attacking party, Tokyo has voiced concerns over the recent missile test by Pyongyang.

North Korea fired four ballistic missiles on March 5, three of which landed in Japanese territorial waters, including one just 124 miles away from Oga.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday the American “policy of strategic patience” with North Korea has ended.

He noted that military action against Pyongyang is something still “on the table” if the country’s weapons program would reach a level that “requires action.”

He expressed hopes, though, that it won’t get that far. US President Donald Trump also weighed in on the day, accusing North Korea on twitter of “behaving very badly.”

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday the missile drill was worthwhile, to help educate the public.

Nuclear Winter Is Unavoidable (Revelation 8:10)

(updated 11:37 09.12.2014)

Scientists from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research said even if a small scale nuclear war broke out in one region of the world, the entire planet would be at risk, as the planet would experience falling temperatures, less precipitation and reduced sunlight, among other grave consequences.

VIENNA, December 9 (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — In the event if a nuclear war breaks out in one region of the Earth, the entire planet would suffer grave consequences, characterized by falling temperatures, less precipitation and reduced sunlight, Mike Mills, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Sputnik Tuesday.

“Even if the nuclear war happened in one part of the planet – India and Pakistan – the whole globe would be affected by the temperatures dropping, precipitating dropping, sunlight dropping and also the amount of harmful ultra-violet would increase, because of the ozone layer,” Mills said on the sidelines of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.He described a scenario where after an initial explosion cities would be engulfed by giant firestorms, like those seen during World War II – in Tokyo and Hiroshima.

“And this would produce a tremendous amount of smoke. We looked at a scenario in which India and Pakistan each used 50 of the smallest nuclear weapons, the size used on Hiroshima – on each other’s cities. Researchers estimated this would produce about 6.5 million tons of smoke, black smoke that would absorb a lot of sunlight,” the atmospheric scientist said, citing results of his research.

Heat from the sun would encourage smoke from the fires to rise up into the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is. Since weather features like rain do not occur this high up in the atmosphere, the smoke could not be simply washed away by rain, like it would lower down. Thus it could remain in the stratosphere for years, absorbing sunlight, preventing it from reaching the surface of the Earth. As a result, temperatures at the surface would drop and precipitation patterns would be affected. This in turn would have an impact on agriculture and ecosystems, leading to reductions in crop production, which in turn could give rise to a global famine.

Mills pointed out that as long as countries possess nuclear weapons, it is not a question if they will be used, but when.

“You know that governments change, and relations between countries can change; and as long as we possess the ability to annihilate each other and pose this catastrophic risk to the survival of our species and others on the planet, if we gave as long enough time, they would be used, eventually. Right now there is an increasing number of countries with nuclear weapons and that increases the risk of conflict between different nuclear armed states exponentially,” Mills told Sputnik urging to reverse that.

He stressed that nuclear powers are not doing enough to eliminate nuclear weapons. For instance, the new START treaty signed in 2010 between the United States and Russia, did not consider the climatic consequences of nuclear war. Mills pointed out the need to raise awareness about the risks of a nuclear winter, as in his view, greater awareness would put more pressure on governments to push for disarmament.“You really can’t ignore the impact on humanity of that kind of a war, and if someone were to say – well, we don’t care what happens to human beings after nuclear war, we have to question that kind of leadership whether it is coming from the military or diplomats,” Mills said adding that the well-being of society should be at the forefront of international leaders’ minds.

The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is taking place on December 8-9 in Hofburg Palace in the Austrian capital. Its aim is to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. According to the conference’s organization committee, over 16,000 nuclear warheads still exist, many of which are on “high alert”.

Don’t Forget About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Fault Lines US

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

Monday, March 14, 2011
Bob Hennelly

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  Ramapo 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.