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UN Nuclear Watchdog Says Iran Increasing Nuclear Fuel Production

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Monday said Iran’s nuclear material production was growing, the BBC reported, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) leader also expressed he was “worried” about the overall situation. That same day, Iran’s Foreign Minister had the audacity to point the finger at Israel’s defensive nuclear program as a threat in the region.

Per a report by the Fars News Agency, Mohammed Zarif referenced comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago outside the Dimona nuclear plant warning Israel’s enemies in general of the severe consequences of attacking Israel. That not-so-subtle self-defense rhetoric, however, pales in comparison to the Iranian comments about destroying Israel, in self-defense or otherwise. And Netanyahu pointed to that hostility in turning the tables on Zarif in comments on Monday.

“Zarif is lying again. Iran is the one that openly threatens, every day, to destroy the State of Israel. Iran continues to entrench itself militarily in Syria. And today, the IAEA reports that Iran is accelerating its nuclear program,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world.” … Continue Reading

US Sanctions Iran Nuclear Group after Threat ‘Highlighted’ by Israeli Intelligence

Israel and the US are working hard to counter Iran’s nuclear threat. Illustrative photo of Netanyahu discussing Iran’s “secret nuclear files”. Photo courtesy of: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The United States last week levied sanctions on a total of 31 persons and entities for their connections to an Iranian group believed to be a threat capable of re-launching Iran’s nuclear weapons program when the timing was right—and Israeli spycraft helped showcase that risk. The sanctions target those affiliated with Iran’s Organization for Defense Innovation and Research, known in Farsi by the acronym “SPND.” That entity, according to a background briefing from two US Senior Administration Officials published by the State Department, is headed by the founder of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and controls groups specializing in radiation, explosives, and missiles.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released from his office on Saturday, congratulated US President Donald Trump and other key figures in the US Administration for the sanctions moves, which his office said came in the “wake” of Israel unveiling an Iranian nuclear program archive in 2018.

“Iran continues to deceive the international community and lie to the world about its military nuclear program,” said Netanyahu. “The Iranian regime continues to conceal its capabilities and to strive for nuclear weapons. Iran endangers the peace of the Middle East and the entire world and must be blocked.” … Continue Reading

US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Israel Tells Europe ‘Time Has Come to Stop Talking’

US President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order on Iran Sanctions. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

United States President Donald Trump announced the first stage of renewed American sanctions on Iran on Monday, ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions at midnight on Tuesday. The anticipated move follows Trump’s decision in May to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond,” said Trump in a statement posted to the White House website. “…By exiting the JCPOA, the United States is able to protect its national security by applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The initial round of reset sanctions focuses on cars, precious metals and Iranian currency, according to Trump’s comments. In November, banking and Iran’s energy industry—including oil—will be targeted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump for making the move on Monday, calling it an “important decision.” … Continue Reading

Israel Threatens War with Iran if Critical Naval Waterway Blocked

Could Israel fight Iran at sea? Naval ship off the coast of Israel. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

With rhetoric between the United States and Iran soaring, the Iranians are making threatening to blocking key shipping lines—and Israel is now on record as threatening to militarily fight back if Iran carries through. “If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the State of Israel and all its arms,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday in comments released by his office, referring to the waterway known as the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, a key artery for international oil shipping.

The Iranians have focused their threats on the closer and more significant Strait of Hormuz that links the Persian Gulf with the rest of the world. However, CNBC reported that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have already attacked Saudi oil tankers in the Bab-el-Mandeb, through which 5 million barrels of oil are shipped per day. While that’s less than a third of what goes through Hormuz, the Bab-el-Mandeb strait is also more critical for Israel, as it links the Red Sea coast in Israel’s south to the Indian Ocean and is therefore the naval gateway for Asian trade with the Jewish State. Netanyahu specifically mentioned that Houthi attack in his comments, which were delivered to an Israeli naval officers’ graduation ceremony.

Meanwhile, the US believes that Iran is about to launch significant naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz. According to a report from Fox News, the US expects the drill to involve 100 gun boats and get underway this week. … Continue Reading

Iranian Leader Calls Israel ‘Cancer’ on Twitter; Netanyahu Warns Germany that Iran Wants Religious War in Syria

June 4, 2018 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Netanyahu and Merkel. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while visiting the country where the original Holocaust was first devised found some common ground with the host nation of Germany—opposing the current proponent of a new Holocaust, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei posted in English to Twitter, “Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” The shocking tweet included the hashtag “#GreatReturnMarch”, referencing the weekly Gaza riots near Israel’s border fence.

Speaking with Israeli ally and opponent of anti-Semitism German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Netanyahu alluded to the Holocaust in his condemnation of Khamenei’s comments. “This is amazing that in the beginning of the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel. It means destroying another six million plus Jews,” said Netanyahu in comments with Merkel released by his office. “It’s quite extraordinary that this goes on, but this is what we face.”

It’s not only Israel that faces the Iranian threat. Netanyahu warned that Iran’s grander designs in Syria include an inter-Islam religious war between Shiites and Sunnis that would lead to an even greater refugee crisis for Europe. … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Enrich Nuclear Fuel Higher than Ever If Demands Not Met

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

With the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Europeans are striving to keep the accord from collapsing. The Iranians, for now, are playing along—but on this condition: If they don’t receive the economic benefits promised them, they will not only exit the deal and go back to their old nuclear program, they’ll make it more advanced than ever. And they may just do it secretly, away from the eyes of international inspectors.

“If our interests are not materialized, we will withdraw from the nuclear deal and will enrich [nuclear fuel] to 20% degree or any level that we want out of their sight,” Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakh was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying last week.

Previously, Iran claimed to enrich uranium to 20%—a medical-research-level grade much higher than needed for nuclear energy and well on the path to the 90% enrichment needed for nuclear weapons. So exceeding the 20% threshold would actually make Iran a greater threat than before. … Continue Reading

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