Nuclear Iran Watch

Friday, October 14, 2005

Lebanon Daily News - Santorum Sells out to the Weather Lobby - Bad for the People of Pa

Lebanon Daily News - Editorials: "Stormy weather
Lebanon Daily News

AccuWeather, the Pennsylvania based, for-profit weather-forecasting service, caused a flurry of activity this week on the home-heating futures market when it forecast a colder-than-normal winter for the Northeast.
A day or so later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration � the federal agency that includes the National Weather Service � announced its own projections. The NWS agreed with AccuWeather�s prediction of warmer-than-normal temperatures for the Midwest (goody for the Midwest � it doesn�t help us) but not with the part about the cold in the Northeast.
There�s no surprise that forecasting agencies don�t agree in lockstep with one another�s predictions. In fact, the whole long-range forecast game appears to us to be a little dicey. Whether you get your months-away weather prognostication from AccuWeather or the NWS � or the Old Farmer�s Almanac, Punxsutawney Phil or woolly-bear caterpillars � is all pretty much the same, as we see it.
What struck us is that the weather forecasts were far more than weather forecasts. AccuWeather�s had an immediate effect on business markets, particularly those involving energy, which is something on everyone�s minds these days as the temperatures start to dip and heating season encroaches. And the NWS forecast was included in a doom-and-gloom story about how bad heating prices are going to be this winter, news about as welcome as a dose of the flu.
Weather is an ubiquitous entity. It has significant effects on many facets of our lives. Everyone wants to know, at least in general terms, what to expect from the weather in the immediate future. Sometimes, as in the case of hurricane tracks and funnel-cloud sightings, the information is a matter of life and death. Sometime, it�s a matter of "

U2 Lashes Out at Rick Santorum's Sleazy Fund-Raising

U2 Lashes Out at Politicians' Fund-RaisingOct 14, 2005
U2 isn't too happy about politicians using premium tickets to its concerts as a lure for fund-raising efforts.
The lure of sitting in a luxury box and watching U2 play live reaches across the aisles, as both Democrat Hilary Clinton and Republican Rick Santorum are using tickets to U2�s upcoming shows as part of a fund-raising package: Donate a bunch of money to the party, meet a senator then rock out in the most expensive concert seats of your life.
�U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician,� a statement from the band read. �They are rock concerts for U2 fans.�
They�re also fundraisers for U2, with tickets starting at $50." / World / Middle East & Africa - Call for openness over Iran nuclear programme / World / Middle East & Africa - Call for openness over Iran nuclear programme: "Call for openness over Iran nuclear programme
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: October 14 2005 18:00 | Last updated: October 14 2005 18:00

Life goes on for Mohammad Atrianfar, who recently broke a public taboo in questioning whether Iran should have a comprehensive nuclear programme.

“Radicals are using the nuclear issue for domestic reasons,” Mohammad Atrianfar, editor-in-chief of Shargh newspaper, told the FT. “If the west pushes on human rights or Palestinian-Israeli peace, many Iranians might agree. But people strongly support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy.”

So does Mr Atrianfar. But he questions whether it is in Iran's national interest to pursue a full nuclear fuel cycle. The country faces international opposition and the likelihood that the IAEA - which found Tehran in "non-compliance" with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty - will refer Iran to the UN security council next month for possible sanctions.

"We need to discuss this openly," he said. "There has been a failure to clarify what will happen if we insist on this technology."

An IAEA team was in Tehran this week seeking greater transparency in Iran's nuclear programme, including access to military sites. But hopes for renewed talks between Tehran and Europe remain stuck due to the insistence of fundamentalist president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad’s new government that Iran has a "national right" to enrich uranium. The enrichment of uranium is a process that could produce the technology for a bomb.

Mr Atrianfar has been no stranger to controversy since he was jailed by the Shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Shargh was briefly closed last year after publishing an open letter from reformist parliamentarians questioning the role of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Atrianfar supports Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president defeated by Mr Ahmadi-Nejad in June's election, but is careful not to portray Mr Rafsanjani as a saviour in the current crisis.

He believes those in charge can be persuaded to change course. "This is a matter both of public opinion and officials," he said.

Not all Rafsanjani allies share his optimism. Growing pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme and role in Iraq has confirmed their fears of a drift towards confrontation, said an official close to the former president. "Speaking out on the nuclear issue seems to break a consensus here," he said.

Since his election defeat, Mr Rafsanjani has been cautious. In late September, he warned Europe and the US that “the field is mined and dangerous if you fail to move through it properly, you will inflict a heavy cost on yourself, the region and world”.

But he also advised Iran to "avoid sloganeering and focus on wisdom (and) negotiations".

Such scepticism suggests that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad and his fundamentalist allies are not able to impose their will on Iranian policy.

Disagreements between Mr Ahmadi-Nejad and Mr Rafsanjani have many sources.

Mr Ahmadi-Nejad represents a younger generation, strong in the Revolutionary Guards, and resentful of the economic sway of the Rafsanjani camp, which they argue has subverted the egalitarianism of the Islamic Republic. The new president speaks of fighting an "oil mafia" and distributing oil income among the people.

Politically, Mr Ahmadi-Nejad dislikes the pragmatism of Mr Rafsanjani and his allies. The president replaced Iran's nuclear negotiators because he believes two-year talks with Europe produced no benefit.

But while Mr Ahmadi-Nejad has dismissed the threat of UN sanctions as "not important" private business, which generally supported Mr Rafsanjani in June's election, he expresses concern.

Hossein Salimi, of Iran's chamber of commerce, recently said “a glance at North Korea, Cuba and Libya will indicate the effect sanctions could have”.

“This is not a question of left versus right,” said Mr Atrianfar. “It's a question of being realistic.”"

Friday, August 19, 2005

Daily Times - Enriched uranium in Iran came from outside: IAEA

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Enriched uranium in Iran came from outside: IAEA

VIENNA: The UN nuclear agency has concluded, pending checks by independent experts, that highly enriched uranium particles found in Iran were from imported equipment and not from work in making what can be the raw material for atom bombs, diplomats said on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has since February 2003 been investigating Iran on US claims that Tehran, which says its nuclear programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity, is secretly developing atomic weapons. The latest finding “will be seen by those in favour of Iran as another checkmark in their column” to back up Tehran’s rebuttals, a diplomat close to the IAEA said. The atomic agency has for several months been carrying out sampling for uranium traces on centrifuge parts that Pakistan had shipped to the IAEA to compare with particles found on parts Iran acquired from the black market, allegedly also Pakistan.

“The conclusion shows the highly enriched uranium appears to emanate from Pakistan,” a diplomat close to the IAEA said.

But the diplomat said the results on cases of low enriched uranium (LEU) contamination, which is below weapons-grade, were “murky” and that the “LEU issue will probably never be solved.” Enriched uranium, refined by passing a uranium gas through a series, or cascade, of centrifuge machines, can be fuel for civilian nuclear power reactors or, in highly enriched form, the raw material for atom bombs. afp"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Netanyahu warns West: Halt Iran's nuke plans

WorldNetDaily: Netanyahu warns West: Halt Iran's nuke plans: "GLOBAL JIHAD
Netanyahu warns West:
Halt Iran's nuke plans
Advises Tehran will back radical Islamists
by providing groups with 'nuclear umbrella'

Posted: July 10, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005
With London's subway tunnels still smoldering from Thursday's explosions, Israel's finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, used his address at a London conference to warn the West that Iran's continued progress toward nuclear weapons could one day provide radical Islamic groups with "a nuclear umbrella" to cover their terrorist acts.

Netanyahu said the West must do more to oppose Tehran's growing nuclear threat, particularly following June's election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

"The Iranian regime supports terror, both ideologically and operationally," he said. "I think the regime will go as fast as it can to develop nuclear weapons, regardless of who leads it."

The former prime minister went beyond the direct threat an atomic Iran could pose by noting Tehran could be in a position to provide cover – "a nuclear umbrella" – for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, the London Times reported.

Netanyahu called for cancellation of planned shipments of Russian nuclear equipment and nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr plant, still under construction.

"This is not an Israel problem – this is a world problem that concerns everybody, including Russia," he said. "There has to be a common solution here: first to prevent the transfer of nuclear technology or fuel, secondly to punish regimes that deviate from this and, thirdly, to put pressure on the Iranian regime, in all avenues possible, to stop this program."

When asked if a military response would be required to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Netanyahu answered, "I don't know. I am not aware of any plans, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, for example in America."

Noting Libya's decision to shut down it's own nuclear program after the U.S. attacked Iraq, the finance minister said, "The deterrent effect has worked on some, but so far has not worked on others," he said."