The Iran Deal Is Still a Good Bargain It’s in America’s national security interest to stay in the agreement.

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The case against the nuclear deal with Iran is reminiscent of what Woody Allen once said: “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering—and it’s all over much too soon.” The agreement, critics insist, is terrible and doesn’t last long enough.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said on NPR Tuesday, “The problem is that the restrictions that the deal puts in place are automatically removed in a few years. This was the core problem of the deal from the beginning.”
If it’s not a good deal for the U.S. and Israel, shouldn’t we prefer that it be over as quickly as possible? The weird logic of the opponents is that because parts of the accord will end too soon, we should end the whole thing even sooner—right now. Their implication is that all the flaws would be acceptable if only they would remain in effect until the end of time.

At his briefing Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside a giant screen filled with two words: “Iran lied.” This assertion was a surprise on the order of finding snow in Siberia. The United States entered negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program precisely because we didn’t believe the claim that it had only peaceful purposes.
Had the Obama administration taken the Iranians to be paragons of honesty, it would not have held out for the most intrusive inspections regime ever imposed on a country. National security adviser Susan Rice said in 2015, “Our approach is distrust but verify.”
The Israelis point out that the inspectors didn’t unearth the files Netanyahu released. They didn’t need to. “All of it was information that the International Atomic Energy Agency already had and has already commented on,” Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told CNN.
“Even if the documents assembled by Israel are genuine, they do not appear to reveal that prohibited nuclear weapons research and design activities continued in an organized fashion beyond 2003,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told me.

Besides, the nuclear inspectors aren’t supposed to spend their time finding out what the Tehran government did 15 years ago. They are supposed to ensure that Iran is complying with its current obligations, and they’ve found over and over that it is.
The important part of the session was what Netanyahu didn’t say. He didn’t say Iran has violated the agreement.
The White House responded to his slide show with a statement that the disclosures prove Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people”—and then had to correct the statement to say Iran “had” such a program. Meaning: It no longer does. That would be thanks to the accord.
The deal put severe limits on Iran. It had to give up 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium, dismantle its plutonium reactor, and surrender 70 percent of its centrifuges. Inspectors can gain access to any site where they detect suspicious activity. The curbs on Iran are why Donald Trump’s own defense secretary, James Mattis, has said it’s in our national security interest to stay in the agreement.
The president, however, says it must be revised or he’ll withdraw. But why would Iran agree to changes without new concessions on our part? And why would Iran see any point in amending an agreement with a government that feels free to renege on its established commitments?
Some restrictions on Iran’s activities expire after 10 or 15 years. But if the administration would like to see those limits extended, the best hope is to abide by our obligations. Over time, Iran might grow more confident that it doesn’t need nuclear weapons and agree to longer terms.
Trump’s threats are likely to have the opposite effect. They tell the Iranian government it can’t rely on multilateral agreements and had better have a good military deterrent against its enemies.
Trump accuses Barack Obama of sticking him with “a terrible deal.” If the U.S. abandoned the deal, Iran would be free to evict the inspectors and resume the very activities that Netanyahu decried.
At that point, we would be presented with the same choice that the agreement served to avert: Allow Iran to proceed with its nuclear program or start a war to try to prevent it. Talk about a terrible deal.

By Steve Chapman/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Russia to build 2 nuclear power plants in Iran

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Russian experts will help the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) construct two new nuclear power plants in the country’s southern city of Bushehr, according to Iran’s Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

“The contract has been signed between the AEOI and Russia, and includes building two 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants, the construction of which is about to start,” said Chitchian.

can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ confirms https://www.rt.com/news/382523-russia-iran-bases-use/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome#.WNoi8dXwm_U.twitter 

Photo published for Russia can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ Tehran confirms — RT News

Russia can use Iranian military bases ‘on case by case basis,’ Tehran confirms — RT News

Russia can use Iranian military bases for airstrikes targeting terrorists in Syria on a “case by case basis,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters.

rt.com

Russian energy major Gazprom has sealed a cooperation agreement with its Iranian counterpart for the development of local gas deposits.

During his visit to Moscow last month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani highlighted the importance of the energy sector in bilateral relations and the possible creation of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union that includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Nuclear threats in US worse than previously known — study

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Conflicting with a prior industry study, a new analysis claims 96 nuclear facilities in the US are less safe than reported, citing risks such as terrorism and sabotage. The study says there remain lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Neglect of the risks posed by used reactor fuel, or spent nuclear fuel, contained in 96 above ground, aquamarine pools could cost the US economy $700 billion, cause cancer in tens of thousands of people as well as compel the relocation of some 3.5 million people from an area larger than New Jersey, a study released May 20 finds.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s study, ‘Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of US Nuclear Plants,’ is the second installment of a two-part study ordered by Congress on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. It not only cites, but also outright challenges a 2014 study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the US industry’s regulator and enforcer of safety standards.

The spent fuel, The Academies’ study recommends, is safer in dry casks rather than pools, because of the risk of leaks, drawing water away from the irradiated nuclear rods. An accident, terrorist attack or malicious employee all pose greater dangers to the pools, the study says.

Aside from calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to offer a better evaluation of the health risks posed, The Academies study conducted by 17 engineers, nuclear physicists and other scientists demands the commission fulfill a 10-year-old promise to put together an impartial review of the surveillance and security policies on spent nuclear fuel.

“Even with the recommendations that the Academies’ board has put together,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Scott Burnell responded, “we continue to conclude that spent fuel is being stored safely and securely in the US.”

“Nothing in the report causes immediate concern,” Burnell added, although the commission is planning a more formal follow-up later this year, according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Congress felt compelled to fund the study on Japan’s natural-turned-nuclear disaster to help prevent a similar accident from occurring in the US. On March 11, 2011, the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima was thrashed by an earthquake and tsunami, leaving three reactors without power or coolants, which resulted in their radioactive cores melting down.

Pure luck kept the disaster from becoming even worse, The Acadamies found. Instead of Daiichi’s highly radioactive rods being exposed to oxygen, which would have sent over 13 million people packing from as far as 177 miles south in Tokyo, a leak happened to be situated between a fuel rod pool and a reactor core, which sent just enough coolant to keep the vulnerable rods from rising above the water. In the end, 470,000 people were evacuated and the still ongoing cleanup is estimated to cost about $93 billion.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2014 study put the highest odds of an earthquake happening near spent fuel storage at one in 10 million years, boasting that “spent fuel pools are likely to withstand severe earthquakes without leaking,” while the odds of a terrorist attack or internal subversion were deemed incalculable and left out of any risk assessment.

Calling that cost-benefit analysis “deeply flawed,” The Academies panel member Frank von Hippel, also an emeritus professor and senior research physicist at Princeton University, complained that the commission’s study also left out the impact on property contamination in a 50-mile radius of an accident, tourism rates and the economy, The Center for Public Integrity reported.

The new analysis also calls for new officially designated risk assessments of safety and financial impacts at the federal level as well as what improvements aboveground dry casks may bring compared to pools. The latter is estimated to cost upwards of $4 billion by the industry.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

Netanyahu calls nuclear deal ‘mistake of historic proportions’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the nuclear deal announced by world powers and Iran on Tuesday a “mistake of historic proportions” and vowed to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

EPA ISRAEL NETANYAHU PRESSER POL GOVERNMENT ISR

Image: Ahikam SerI, EPA

“I call on all of Israel’s leaders to set aside petty politics and to unite around the most fateful issue for the security of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem later Tuesday, the Israeli leader said his nation is not bound by the deal and reserves the right to defend itself.

The deal makes the world a “much more dangerous place,” Netanyahu said, adding it will free up billions of dollars that Iran can use to support terrorism.

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Netanyahu’s Great Fear: Iran Will Comply With Nuclear Deal

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Israeli officials have loudly and repeatedly condemned the Iran deal as insufficient, but those familiar with the situation have revealed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s great fear is not Iran violating the deal, but rather them abiding by it.

“Netanyahu said at the meeting it will be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not,” noted one of the officials. This is in direct contrast to his repeated claims Iran could not be trusted on the deal.

The big problem from the Israeli perspective is that this changes the status quo over the last 35 years, where new sanctions were easy and Israel could threaten to attack Iran all it wanted.

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Netanyahu: Speech Not Intended to Disrespect Obama

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “regret” Monday that his address to a joint session of Congress has become politicized, but pledged to continue to criticize the emerging Iran nuclear agreement.

Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Netanyahu was greeted by the friendly audience with multiple standing ovations, saying he appreciates all that President Obama has done in support of his country.

“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office which he holds,” he said. Republicans invited Netanyahu to address Congress Tuesday without first consulting the White House in an breach of diplomatic protocol. The White House responded by refusing to meet with the Israeli leader, citing proximity to this month’s Israeli elections.

Netanyahu appeared to acknowledge that his address has become a distraction from the very talks he aims to criticize.

“You know never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given,” he quipped. Even attendance at the Tuesday speech has become controversial, with a number of Democratic lawmakers pledging to boycott.

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Japan extends the Fukushima clean-up deadline to 2017

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Plans to decontaminate six towns and villages close to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have to be delayed by up to three more years, officials say.

Tanks of radiation-contaminated water are seen at the Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture in this file photo released by Kyodo on 1 March 2013

Image: Reuters

The clean-up of the exclusion zone around the crippled plant was initially due to be completed by next March.

More than 90,000 people remain unable to return home.

Fukushima has been hit by a series of toxic water leaks in recent months. The latest contamination was reported on Sunday after unexpectedly heavy rain.

Water with high levels of the toxic isotope Strontium-90 overflowed containment barriers around water tanks, operator Tepco said.

The tanks are being used to store contaminated cooling water from reactors damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

Cooling systems for reactors were knocked out, causing meltdowns at three of them.

More from BBC News Asia

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