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US Hopeful on Nuke Deal While Iran Trains for War

May 7, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News
US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Crouch/Released.

US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Crouch/Released.

The United States is hopeful they can reach a nuclear deal with Iran by the deadline, while the Iranians are boasting about their preparedness in taking down American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. An Iranian naval commander, Admiral Ali Fadavi, told the Fars News Agency in an exclusive interview that the Iranians can sink US carriers in less than a minute in training exercises.

As part of that training, Fadavi said they have built replicas of US warships, including a replica of a US carrier that is over 600 feet long, which is roughly two-thirds the size of the Nimitz supercarrier. Meanwhile, the day before Fars released the report, a US spokesperson said they think they can get the nuclear deal with Iran done by July 20. … Continue Reading

Iranian Military Issues Veto Threat on Nuclear Deal

April 13, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program

Sometimes ideas that are floated end up sinking, and other times they don’t really leave the docks. That’s what happened to Iranian goals of sailing warships into the Atlantic Ocean, with the Fars News Agency confirming the ships were called back to Iran before reaching the ocean that borders the US and Europe.

But if you think that’s a sign of Iran changing its tune, a military deputy chief of staff made it clear that’s not the case – especially when it comes to the nuclear talks with world powers. That’s key, because the Iranian armed forces are the biggest concern in those talks – they’re the most likely ones who would build or use nuclear weapons, after all.
… Continue Reading

Iran, World Powers Discuss ‘All Concerns’—Deal Drafting Is Next

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

If the goal for the first set of talks between Iran and the major world powers was to discuss every concern related to Iran’s nuclear program, then consider things a success so far. Of course, it means nothing if an actual deal isn’t reached—so don’t expect the actual negotiations and drafting of a deal to be easy. But it is next.

A senior US administration official, in comments released by the State Department, said that the deal drafting stage is the next step, but, “I would caution everyone from thinking that a final agreement is imminent or that it will be easy. As we draft, I have no doubt this will be quite difficult at times.” What’s more, just as everything was discussed, everything has to be agreed upon as well. … Continue Reading

Israeli President to China: Iran Building Nuclear Bomb

April 9, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News
Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Saying it like it is—while that may be a dying art in many places, it’s not in Israel. This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres made sure he was crystal clear in telling China about Iran’s threat to the world. Speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China, Peres said, “Iran is building a nuclear bomb, threatens to destroy Israel and is developing long range missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.”

As a member of the global negotiating team trying to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and holding veto power in the United Nations, China has a big say in the nuclear talks. In Peres’ comments, which were released by his office, the Israeli politician noted that China “has a central role in the efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.” The press statement said the Chinese President said his country “understands Israel’s security concerns.” … Continue Reading

Iran: Not Waiting for US Permission to Grow Oil Exports

Iran’s oil sales are an important part of the sanctions pressuring the Iranians to make concessions on their nuclear program, but how much longer will that continue? If it’s up to the Americans, it’s going just fine as work continues on a final Iran nuclear deal. But the Iranians don’t care what the Americans think.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying, “Tehran will do its best to increase its oil exports and will not wait for a US permission to do that.”

Along those lines, the Fars report cited a Korean statement that showed Iranian oil exports to South Korea doubled in February 2014 compared to February last year. Fars said that the Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) showed that South Korea imported over 8 million barrels from Iran during February.

But despite such news, the official US line is that Iran’s rising oil exports still haven’t risen enough to threaten the sanctions plan. In comments released by the State Department, a Senior Administration Official said, “In terms of the oil exports, as we have always said, we expect there to be fluctuations. They go up and down month to month.

“What we care about is the aggregate over the period of time that’s agreed to. We have had teams talk to each of the remaining importers of Iranian oil, and we feel comfortable that in fact, they will meet the target that we have, and there’s nothing to lead us to believe otherwise at this time. We, of course, keep continuous eye on this and in continuous discussion with all of the importers.”

So despite the questions, the US is feeling good about the success of their sanctions. Not that Iran cares what the Americans think.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 7, 2014)

World Powers, Iran ‘Set the Table’ in Nuclear Talks

March 20, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News
Really moderate, or just for show? Iranian President Rouhani. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Really moderate, or just for show? Iranian President Rouhani. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

For years, we’ve heard that all options are “on the table” with regards to Iran’s nuclear program, including a military strike if necessary to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Well if all options were on the table before, that table is now being defined in the talks between Iran and the world powers.

Following technical expert meetings between the sides, a senior US administration official told reporters in a background briefing released by the State Department that they were able to delve into details in this round of higher level talks. “We understand each other’s concepts. We understand each other’s concerns. And you have to set that table to be able to really begin to negotiate. You can’t just dive into the negotiations without setting the table. I think we’ve done that,” said the official. Now comes the hard part: reaching a deal. … Continue Reading

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