The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the country will soon start re-building the Arak heavy water reactor once China finishes examining the last phase of the re-designing process.
China and Iran “have had several contracts that are now operational and various steps of conceptual, basic and detailed designing are completed and after that the construction phase will begin,” Behrouz Kamalvandi said in an interview with the Young Journalists’ Club (YJC) published on Wednesday.
“According to the timetable, we have fortunately made good progress, and the detailed stage has been completed on our part and delivered to the Chinese side, which, after their approval, will enter the next stage within 2 to 3 months, that is, we’ll start the next phase of building and [installing the reactor’s] equipment,” he added.
Kamalvandi said the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would not affect the re-designing process and noted that the Chinese side has reaffirmed its commitment to the JCPOA, and the Arak reactor re-designing.
In April 2017, Iran and China signed the final version of a contract to redesign and modernize the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran, an important step in line with the implementation of the JCPOA.
According to the agreement, China undertook to review the new design of the Arak reactor made by the Iranian experts and confirm its compliance with the international safety standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran is redesigning the 40-megawatt Arak research reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium.
Elsewhere in his interview, Kamalvandi said Iran might begin uranium enrichment at Fordow facility and install new nuclear equipment at Natanz site if the JCPOA collapses.
He said that new work would begin on the nuclear program on the orders of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“Currently the Leader has ordered that the programs be carried out within the framework of the JCPOA. Once he gives the order we will announce the programs outside of the JCPOA for reviving Fordow,” he added.
Regarding activities at Natanz nuclear facility after any collapse of the JCPOA, Kamalvandi said new advanced centrifuge machines would be installed at the site.
Under the JCPOA, the Fordow plant was to stop enriching uranium and be converted into a nuclear, physics and technology center.
Last week, the head of the AEOI, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the country has begun work to prepare the infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment facility, while respecting its commitments under 2015 nuclear deal.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has said it will remain committed to the deal for the time being, pending negotiations with other signatories to the JCPOA to see if Iran’s interests would still be protected under an accord without the US.
‘We gave you uranium, you repaid us by bombing Belgrade’
When we talk about the Hillary Clinton and Russian company Uranium One transaction, we mostly meant to expose the hypocrisy behind the Deep State Democrat faction’s RussiaGate “election meddling.” It turns out, there’s something more.
Russia was actually helping the US obtain fuel for the latter’s nuclear power stations, as part of the nuclear disarmament treaties that both countries signed, about 3 decades ago.
In short, the Uranium One-Clinton transaction was actually part of a peaceful engagement by the Russians towards the West, so that the world will experience the peaceful use of nuclear power, as both China and Russia are now helping other countries to have their own nuclear energy programs, too.
For Putin to expose these details could only mean one thing, i.e. he’s really going all the way now, sans standard intergovernmental protocols. Disrespect begets disrespect. The multiple diplomatic assassinations and embassy raids in the US have finally broken the camel’s back.
Vladimir Putin has criticized the US for failing to keep their end of the bargain in a host of international disarmament agreements. He says Moscow will not exit any existing treaties, but promised an “instant, symmetrical response” if Washington decides to quit first.
‘US decided to do away with international law’
Speaking during a Q & A session at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, an annual meeting with international journalists and Russia experts, Putin began by recalling the Megatons to Megawatts program, which ran between 1993 and 2013, and saw Russia downblend enriched uranium from the equivalent of about 20,000 of its nuclear warheads into low-enriched uranium to be used as fuel by US power stations.
Putin said that as part of what he called “one of the most effective disarmament efforts in history,” US officials made 170 visits to top secret Russian facilities, and “set up permanent workplaces in them adorned with American flags.”
“From the Russian side unprecedented openness and trust were demonstrated,” said Putin, saying that through the 1990s, about 100 US officials were entitled to carry out surprise inspections of Russian nuclear facilities, as part of Gorbachev and Yeltsin-era agreements.
“What we got in return is well-known – a complete disregard for our national interests, support for separatism in the Caucasus, a circumvention of the UN Security Council, the bombing of Yugoslavia, the invasion of Iraq, and so on. The US must have seen the state of our nuclear weapons and economy and decided to do away with international law.”
‘They have no money for disarmament, but we do?’
Putin said that Washington’s hostile policies “are returning the relationship between the two countries to the 1950s” though noted that at least during the Cold War “there was at least more mutual respect” between the two superpowers.
“We can’t actively participate in several international treaties, because the US is not doing anything itself. We can’t just do it unilaterally,” said Putin, citing the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, as an example of the US taking advantage.
Last month, Russia declared that all its chemical weapons stockpiles had been disposed of – news that Western media “decided to stay silent on,” according to Putin – while the US has persistently delayed its own destruction schedule, and now plans to complete the process in 2023 at the earliest.
“We destroyed everything, and then our American partners said – ‘Not yet, we don’t have money.’ So, they have a dollar printing press, yet they don’t have money. But we, on the other hand, do?” said Putin with heavy sarcasm.
‘We will fulfill our obligations’
Putin dated a key point in the breakdown of the post-Soviet world order to the US decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002, during George W. Bush’s first term in office, to pave the way for the construction of the missile defense shield, to which the Kremlin continues to object vehemently.
“This treaty was the cornerstone of the entire international security framework in the area of strategic weapons. But despite spending years trying to persuade our colleagues otherwise, we weren’t able to hold our partners inside the agreement,” said Putin.
US President Donald Trump has criticized another treaty between Russia and the US that is still in force – New START. Signed in 2011 through to 2021, it stipulates that both sides are allowed to have up to 1,550 active nuclear warheads. Trump called it out as poor Obama-era deal in his campaign, and reportedly was annoyed with the Russian president for bringing it up in a phone conversation earlier this year.
“We are hearing that the other side is also not pleased with New START,” Putin said. “We are not going to quit it. Maybe we are ourselves dissatisfied with certain aspects of it, but there is always an element of compromise. So, we are going to fulfil our obligations.”
‘Instant and symmetrical response’
The treaty under the biggest threat is the INF, signed in 1987, which bans land-based missiles – both nuclear and conventional – with ranges between 500-5,500 km. The US has said that several of the latest Russian rockets violate the agreement.
Putin bemoaned that by not banning air-based and naval launchers the treaty allowed a loophole beneficial predominantly to NATO states, and said that it represented “another case of Russia making unilateral concessions.”
“Nonetheless, we are going to comply with its terms providing our partners do so,” Putin said. “If they decide to abandon it, however, our response will be instant and symmetrical.”
‘Others talk about nuclear disarmament when they develop newer weapons’
While Putin insisted that Russia “still wants and will pursue” new agreements with the US to achieve nuclear disarmament, these may be harder to negotiate in an era of more diverse weapons systems, being produced more states than ever before.
“Countries’ readiness to talk about getting rid of nuclear weapons is in direct proportion to their advances in other weapons systems,” said Putin, noting that both conventional and high-tech weapons delivered with modern targeting systems “offer almost as much damage, with far superior accuracy.”
“We are carefully monitoring what is happening around the world, just as our own country is acquiring these non-nuclear weapons system,” Putin said.
The US ambassador to the UN has called for inspection of the Iranian military sites to verify Tehran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has underlined that there is no need for such monitoring.
To discuss the issue, Press TV has interviewed Jim W. Dean, managing editor and columnist of Veterans Today from Atlanta, and Jim Walsh, research associate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Boston.
Jim Dean said the US authorities are trying to find a way out of the 2015 nuclear agreement in a bid to impose more sanctions on Iran and undermine its economy.
“The US wants to destroy and recoil those deals by being able to put banking sanctions in place which will kill a lot of financing, because they don’t want Iran to become an economic power,” the analyst said on Friday night.
He also said the US government is upset that Iran is absorbing foreign investments in the face of US-imposed sanctions.
“Israel and the US don’t want Iran to become a big economic power and neither do the Persian Gulf states, neither do Israel and many of the Arab states,” Dean added.
US President Donald “Trump is going to do everything he can to bust the Iran deal by finding Iran in noncompliance,” he noted.
However, he emphasized that “Iran is not about to do anything to risk ruining the nuclear deal and to put [foreign] investments at risk.”
The nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. Unlike America, other signatories to the JCPOA have stood by the accord, which called on Iran to cap on its nuclear activities in return for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
Jim Walsh, the other contributor on the panel, said US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is “acting on her own” to push forward her own position because she may have “larger ambitions” to become next secretary of state after Rex Tillerson.
“If the US pulls out of the deal, the US would be blamed for that and then Iran would have lots of strategic choices and options,” the researcher warned.
Elsewhere, he said, “Iran is playing wisely,” because the Iranians continue to stay committed to the nuclear agreement and they could have their relationship with Europe, China and Russia.
On March 21, 2017, European Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini strongly supported the nuclear deal, warning the Trump administration that renegotiation of the July 2015 agreement is not possible.
The United States has intelligence that the engines that power North Korean ballistic missiles allegedly came from Ukraine. In an interview with Sputnik, Polish journalist Janusz Niedzwiedzki said that US media reports to this effect “sound quite reasonable.”
“Since Maidan, Ukraine’s economy has been in tatters and corruption is rampant like nowhere else in the other post-Soviet states or the EU. Small wonder that some people working at Ukraine’s rocket engine enterprises could have sold the know-how to the North Koreans. I don’t think the Ukrainian government knew about this, though,” Janusz Niedzwiedzki told Sputnik Poland.
He said he was worried by the prospect of Ukraine getting lethal weapons from the US, which he fears would mean that Washington is trying to stoke up the armed conflict in Donbass.
“If President Trump decides to supply such weapons to Kiev, it could then use this as a factor in talks with Russia about Ukraine’s future. This could lead to a new escalation of the conflict,” Janusz Niedzwiedzki added.Experts believe that if Pyongyang obtains advanced rocket engine technology from Ukraine’s Yuzhmash plant this would give a boost to the country’s missile program. However, North Korea has been working on its own such rocket technologies and has achieved impressive results in this area.
The New York Times earlier cited a team of US experts as saying that North Korea could have obtained modified RD-250 high-performance liquid-propellant engines for its ballistic missiles in Ukraine.
Despite Kiev’s quick denial that these engines are actually produced in Ukraine, Washington is absolutely convinced that Pyongyang purchased their engines from Ukraine.
Russian pranksters Lexus and Vovan later got in touch with the director of the Yuzhmash plant posing as the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
During the exchange the unsuspecting Yuzhmash director admitted that their rocket engines might have found their way to North Korea via China.
“We don’t know for sure if [Yuzhmash technology] actually got to North Korea, but if it did, this would have clearly sped up the country’s development of means of delivery of nuclear warheads,” independent military expert Vladimir Novikov said during a Moscow-Beijing video link organized by Russia Segodnya news agency.
He added that if true, this technology transfer could have been a multi-stage operation.
“If [Ukraine] did sell [this know-how], this could have been done via third and fourth countries. If this is what really happened, it will help the North to develop medium- and long-range ballistic missiles and even intercontinental ones capable of flying up to 11,000 kilometers [6,800 miles] away,” Novikov continued.
He also said that it wouldn’t take long for North Korean specialists to adapt this new know-how “after decades of successful work on their missile and nuclear program.”
Yang Danzhi, the assistant director the Chinese Social Sciences Academy’s Regional Security Center, said that Pyongyang has long been at work honing its missile technology.
“There has been much talk going on about missile technology. [The North Koreans] have used foreign know-how, but they keep improving their own technology and they are making good progress too,” Yang said.He also mentioned numerous channels now existing in the world which countries can use to obtain technology.
“What is really important here is that North Korea has come a long way in this area and has accumulated a wealth of its own technological solutions. That’s why, sooner or later, they were bound to make a breakthrough and this is exactly what we can see happening now,” Yang Danzhi concluded.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said that if the reports about rocket engine technology transfers to North Korea are confirmed, this would “mean a catastrophe for Ukraine.”
Tensions around Pyongyang’s missile program have flared up in the recent weeks, following the adoption of the UN Security Council sanctions, which led to North Korea trading threats and warnings with the United States.
Most notably, Pyongyang said it might consider an attack on the area near the US territory of Guam in the Western Pacific.
Is it possible that an advanced civilization once possessed nuclear power on Earth over a million years ago?
OKLO, Africa (INTELLIHUB) — In 1972 a French factory, Pierrelatte uranium enrichment facility, was importing a rare uranium ore from an area of the Gabon Republic which experts say was home to a large-scale functioning nuclear reactor some 1.8 million years ago.
According to experts, the reactor is believed to have functioned for about 500,000 years in perpetuity and is likely man-made. A material found in the uranium ore from the area called U-234 is simply not a natural element. Not to mention the fact that a cyclic water pattern regulated the nuclear reactions, similar to a geyser.
So South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made up his mind — after his inauguration on May 10 and Pyongyang’s ICBM test on July 3.Pyongyang may also be inclined to talk — as it had already indicated. But there may be preconditions, as in the suspension of those provocative, annual US-South Korean military drills. The US will say no. Once again, it’s all about Washington.
It’s unclear whether US intelligence has 100% proof that Pyongyang, apart from the ICBM, is on the path to soon achieve other technological breaks, such as building a guidance system and a miniaturized, functional nuclear weapon capable of surviving both the missile launch and re-entry into the atmosphere.
Now for some crude, hard facts. Kim Jong-un very well knows that nuclear weapons are absolutely essential for the survival of the Kim dynasty. Beijing not only knows it — but also calculates that Pyongyang does not exactly see it as a trustful ally. During the Korean War — whose memory is pervasive all across the North — Mao’s key concern was to protect China’s borders, not the safety of its neighbor.
The open secret though is that a nuclear North Korea may represent a perennial dissuasion against the US, much more than a threat, but not against China. So that frames the case, once again, as a Washington-Pyongyang drama.Beijing’s margin of maneuver against Pyongyang is rather limited — something that President Trump as well as the US deep state still do not understand. And North Korea is not a Chinese national security priority — unless the regime would collapse and there would be an uncontrollable influx of refugees.
The only thing that matters for the Chinese leadership is — what else — trade. And as far as China-South Korean trade is concerned, business is booming anyway.
Feverish speculation in the US about a “strike” against Pyongyang is idle. Anyone with minimum knowledge of the Korean Peninsula knows that the response would be Pyongyang virtually wiping Seoul off the map. Not to mention that US intel is clueless on where all the dispersed North Korean nuclear and missile development sites are.
A minimally competent US “attack” would requires a lot of infiltrated US Special Forces, as in boots on the ground, with no guarantee of success. In a nutshell; Washington, realistically, is incapable of eliminating North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
So what to do? The only logical strategy would be to admit — just as with India and Pakistan in the late 1990s — that North Korea is a de facto nuclear power.Pyongyang’s strategy, after all, is actually a small marvel; you imprint the feeling you’re a totally unpredictable actor, and you scare the living daylights out of everyone while preventing any attempt at destabilization. As much as wishful thinking prevails, that a US surgical strike would be able to paralyze the North Korean political/military/command/communication structure, US intel is clueless when it comes to predicting Pyongyang’s actions.
A Western intel source familiar with the high stakes in the Korean peninsula adds a few stark observations; “The point that is not even touched upon is that South Korea already is within the range of North Korean nuclear bombs even if the United States is not, and can be liquidated by North Korea. We have to examine the nature of the defense alliance with South Korea. Does it mean that we can and will attack North Korea to protect ourselves when we cannot protect South Korea, triggering their destruction in our self-defense?”
The point is that if South Korea is virtually destroyed by Pyongyang’s response to American strikes, “then our allies around the world will have the uneasy feeling that they too would be sacrificed as allies should they get in the way. I would say that would be the end of the entire US alliance structure, which actually is already imaginary.”
The informed source is convinced that “the South Koreans have forced the United States to agree to forbear on any strike on North Korea, as to support such a strike would be national suicide for South Korea. The United States will do nothing.”
All this is happening just as what Seoul really wants is to do business — in a Korean variant of the China-driven New Silk Roads, renamed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Seoul wants to build a Trans-Korean Railway, and go even beyond, connecting it with the Trans-Siberian and, what else, the Chinese-built Eurasian land bridge. That happens to be the so-called Iron Silk Road concept, which South Korea has been dreaming about since an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in 2004.
“Overcoming the land divide between Asia and Europe”, connected to the vast trans-Eurasia network, means the fifth-largest export economy in the world would be getting even more business. Handicapped by North Korea’s isolation, South Korea is de facto physically cut off from Eurasia. The answer to all this trouble? The Trans-Korean Railway. If only President Moon could entice Kim Jong-un towards a connectivity dream — and make him forget his nuclear toys.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
The Clintons actually did business with the Russians and the media is ignoring it
(INTELLIHUB) — At least $2.85 million dollars flowed to the Clinton Family through a series of five Russian-backed donations after a massive uranium deal was signed off by the State Department and other agencies during Hillary’s tenure.
Shockingly, between the years of 2009-2013 Russian-backed interests assumed control of one-fifth (20%) of the U.S. uranium supply along with several highly-lucrative mines in Kazakhstan through a secret backdoor deal with the Clintons, as reported by Joe Becker and Mike McIntire in April of 2015.
The report was groundbreaking. And if you think about it, the report should have triggered the real Russian narrative. You know, the one where the Clinton’s sold America’s most strategic asset (i.e. uranium: used to produce nuclear fuel and weapons of mass destruction). Of course, such a narrative never came to pass because to the contrary the fake Trump-Russia narrative was born, sidetracking the general public from what’s really going on.
According to Becker and McIntire: “Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.”
And if that’s not enough, Mr. Clinton received an additional $500,000 from a Russian investment bank with ties to Uranium One, bringing the grand total influx from Russia to $2,800,000. To top it off, the donations went unreported by the Clinton Foundation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Clintons actually did shady business with the Russians against the best interest of the United States of America and personally benefited from doing so. They must be held accountable.
Please share this powerful report with everyone you know. Get the truth out!
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone