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Iran's Nuclear Arms Work
Not Halted in '03 as Reported - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
The new IAEA report is further evidence that a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate partially made public in 2007 was wrong in stating that Iran halted all nuclear weapons work in 2003.
Regarding missile warhead development, the new report said Iran used a code-named unit called Project 111 that created 14 warhead designs in 2002 and 2003. "While the activities described as those of Project 111 may be relevant to the development of a non-nuclear payload, they are highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program."
Iran used Project 111 engineers to build a prototype firing system "that would enable the payload to explode both in the air above a target, or upon impact of the re-entry vehicle with the ground." A chart in the report assessed that all the various characteristics of the warhead were "likely" for use with a nuclear device.
The report said two member states gave the IAEA information on nuclear-arms modeling studies by Iran in 2008 and 2009.
"The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the Agency."
30,000 Palestinian and Syrian Youths Volunteer for Suicide Missions in Israel (Fars-Iran)
30,000 Palestinian and Syrian youths have signed a petition to the Damascus government expressing their readiness to conduct martyrdom-seeking operations inside Israel.
18 Ex-Senators Make Plea for Pollard's Release (JTA)
A bipartisan slate of former U.S. senators including Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and David Durenberger (R-Minn.) has urged President Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
"We do not condone espionage, nor do we underestimate the gravity of Pollard's crime," says the Oct. 26 letter released on Monday. "But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard's sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice."
French Passport Lists Residence of Israeli as "Occupied Palestinian Territory" - Yair Altman (Ynet News)
A resident of Ma'ale Adumim near Jerusalem, who also holds French citizenship, was surprised to find "Occupied Palestinian Territory" listed as his place of residence on his temporary French passport.
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- Nations Diverge on Pressing Iran - Jay Solomon
A day after the UN's nuclear agency said it had uncovered extensive evidence that Tehran has been developing the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, Russia on Wednesday formally vowed to block any move at the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against Iran, saying it wasn't convinced by the new intelligence presented by the IAEA. The French government called for "unprecedented sanctions" against Iran and a new Security Council resolution condemning its nuclear advances.
In recent days, U.S. officials have played down the chances of sanctions on Iran's central bank - viewed as the principal conduit for Iranian oil sales - arguing they could drive up global energy prices and hurt the American economy. But they haven't outlined any alternative measures that might be taken and have played down the likelihood of the UN Security Council playing a role due to the opposition from Moscow and Beijing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said, "The significance of the [IAEA] report is that the international community must bring about the cessation of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons which endanger the peace of the world and of the Middle East."
"We need to show to the Israelis that there's a sense of seriousness," said a European official. "And the U.S. is going to be key to achieving this."
Senior Iranian defense officials threatened to attack Israel's principal nuclear site at Dimona if Israel initiated any military action against Iran.
"We will witness Israel being wiped off the map," said Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of Iran's armed forces.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Security Forces Kill at Least 26 in Syria - Nada Bakri
Syrian security forces killed at least 26 people on Wednesday across Syria, while defectors clashed with armed men loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in central Syria.
At least eight people were killed in Damascus when soldiers fired at a funeral procession of a protester who was killed Tuesday.
Seven people were killed in Homs, which has been under siege for more than a week.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Egypt's Gas Pipeline to Israel Blown Up for Seventh Time
Saboteurs blew up the gas pipeline between Egypt, Israel and Jordan on Thursday in northern Sinai for the seventh time this year, Egyptian security sources said. Pumping had resumed on Oct. 24. The Egyptian government said this month it would tighten security measures along the pipeline by installing alarm devices and appointing security patrols from local Bedouin tribes.
- U.S. May Purchase Israeli Anti-Missile Batteries - Yaakov Katz
The U.S. is considering the possible purchase of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system for deployment outside forward bases in Afghanistan that could be targeted by Katyusha rockets. Another potential client is South Korea. (Jerusalem Post)
- Poll: 65 Percent of Jewish Israelis Support Wide-Scale Military Response to Gaza Rocket Fire
The Peace Index poll conducted 31 Oct-1 Nov asked: Do you support a
wide-scale military operation in Gaza in response to the firing from there? 65% of Jewish Israelis said they supported such an operation, while 31% were opposed.
70% of Israeli Jews and 72% of Israeli Arabs favor
peace negotiations between Israel and the
However, only 31% of Israeli Jews and 37% of Israeli Arabs
believe that these negotiations will lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians in
the coming years. 66% of Israeli Jews and 61% of Israeli Arabs do not see this happening.
(Israel Democracy Institute-Tel Aviv University)
- The Truth about Iran - Editorial
The International Atomic Energy Agency report is chillingly comprehensive. It says that Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on nuclear triggers and did advanced research on a warhead that could be delivered by a medium-range missile. The UN Security Council - particularly Russia and China, which have been shielding Iran - has no more excuses. It needs to quickly impose a new round of even tougher sanctions on Iran.
(New York Times)
- The Significance of the November 2011 IAEA Report on Iran - Dore Gold
Many analysts asked why Iran, which had huge oil and gas reserves, needs to invest in a program to produce electricity from nuclear reactors? Why did Iran need to build a huge infrastructure at Natanz to enrich uranium for nuclear reactors that it didn't even have? And why did it keep this industry secret if it only had civilian applications?
In February 2008, IAEA deputy director-general Ollie Heinonen gave a highly classified briefing in which he revealed Iranian documents that detailed how to design a warhead for the 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile that had to be detonated at an altitude of 600 meters. A conventional explosion at that altitude would have no effect on the ground below, but 600 meters is the ideal altitude for a nuclear explosion over a city - as it was in Hiroshima in 1945.
The November 2011 report cited documentation in Farsi detailing the safety arrangements for conducting an actual nuclear test. The Iranians also sought to obtain uranium for a secret enrichment program, that would not be under IAEA safeguards. The report shows that Iran is determined to obtain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to target.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also The New IAEA Report and Iran's Evolving Nuclear and Missile Forces - Anthony H. Cordesman (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
- A Diplomatic Intifada - Khaled Abu Toameh
The third intifada is being waged against Israel in the international arena. A Diplomatic Intifada is aimed at rallying the world against Israel in the hope of forcing it to accept all of the Palestinian Authority's demands, first and foremost a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines. The PA has concluded that there is no point in continuing negotiations because no Israeli government could give the Palestinians everything they want. PA officials are hoping that international pressure will force Israel to its knees.
PA representatives say they are planning to seek the prosecution of hundreds of Israelis for alleged war crimes against Palestinians. Talking to Palestinian officials in Ramallah, one is left with the impression that the PA is out to punish Israel more than achieve a state for its people.
By launching a worldwide campaign against Israel, Abbas now risks losing the sympathy of a majority of Israelis who support the two-state solution.
(Hudson Institute-New York)
- Tensions Grow between Egypt's Military Leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood - Eric Trager
As Egypt prepares for parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin November 28, two primary players are competing for the country's political future: the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is widely expected to win a plurality of votes. Egypt's military leadership is notoriously conservative and fears that immediately turning power over to a new parliament would result in instability. At the same time, the SCAF seems to realize that the Islamists will almost certainly take control of the legislature and make significant and irreversible changes to the Egyptian political system.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also Ahead of Vote, Egypt's Parties and Skepticism Are Growing - Neil MacFarquhar (New York Times)
To Stop Iran, Lean on China - Ilan I. Berman (New York Times)
- As Iran nears the nuclear threshold, the best way to stop it may be by punishing the Chinese companies that supply Tehran and enable its nuclear progress.
- China's ties with Iran are broad - and getting broader. In 2009, Iran ranked as China's second largest oil provider. In exchange, China has aided and abetted Iran's quest for nuclear capacity.
- China has turned a blind eye to Iranian acquisitions of sensitive technology and materiel for its nuclear program from Chinese sources. A concerted Chinese crackdown on firms involved in nuclear commerce with Iran would effectively cripple Tehran's atomic program.
- If the Obama administration is serious about halting Iran's nuclear program, it must do so by sanctioning companies like the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which has been developing Iran's mammoth North Pars natural gas field since 2006, and PetroChina (which supervises the import of some three million tons of liquefied natural gas annually from Iran). Both are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and therefore subject to penalties under existing law.
- At the same time, greater targeted sanctions and asset freezes are needed to bring to heel Chinese individuals and entities that are currently complicit in Iran's nuclear advances.
- The last, best hope of peacefully derailing Iran's nuclear drive lies in convincing Beijing that "business as usual" with Tehran is simply no longer possible.
The writer is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.
See also In Confronting Iran, Experts Say All Roads Go through China - Oren Kessler (Jerusalem Post)
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