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Iran Will Be a Full Nuclear Power By the End of 2020: No Return to the 2015 Agreement

IRAN WILL BE A FULL NUCLEAR POWER BY THE END OF 2020: NO RETURN TO THE 2015 AGREEMENT

French President Emmanuel Macron failed to promote successfully his Iranian initiative with the US administration despite the initial blessing of his US counterpart. This failure led Iran to make a third gradual withdrawal from its JCPOA nuclear deal commitment, raising two main issues. Iran has become a regional power to be reckoned with, so we can now scrap from reactions to its policies the words “submit,” or “bow to the international community”. Moreover, since Europe is apparently no longer in a position to fulfil its commitments, Iran will now be headed towards a total pull-out following further gradual withdrawal steps. Just before the US elections due in November 2020, Iran is expected to become a nuclear country with the full capability of producing uranium enriched to more than 20% uranium-235, weapons-usable and therefore in a position to manufacture dozens of nuclear bombs (for which uranium must be enriched to about 90%). However, this does not necessarily mean that this is Iran’s ultimate objective.

Industry data shows that half of the effort goes into enriching from 0.7% to 4%. If Iran reaches the level of 20%, the journey towards 90% is almost done. A few thousand centrifuges are needed to reach 20% enrichment while a few hundred are enough to cross from 20% to the 90% needed for a nuclear bomb. When Iran announces it is reaching a level which is considered critical by the west, there is the possibility that Israel might act militarily against Iran’s capability as it did in Iraq in 1981, in Syria in 2009, and in assassinating nuclear scientists. If this happens, the Middle East will be exposed to a mega earthquake whose outcome is unpredictable.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran’s FM Zarif Confirms Enriched Uranium Limit Now Breached

Iran’s FM Zarif Confirms Enriched Uranium Limit Now Breached 

It what appears to be the first known violation of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), Iran’s stockpiles of enriched low-grade uranium have surpassed the limit of 300 kg, Iran’s semi-official Fars News is reporting.

Fars noted further that the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed the stockpile measurement on Monday, after in May it had already quadrupled its production of the material, the key component to make nuclear reactor fuel – and potentially nuclear weapons. Following the Fars report which had been based on an unnamed “informed source,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was the first government official to confirm the country has exceeded the ceiling of 300kg, according to Iran’s ISNA.

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Image source: Getty

Iran’s leaders warned in the past days and weeks that it was on track to surpass the agreed upon enriched uranium limit set by the JCPOA in reaction to President Trump’s reimposed sanctions, as well as the inability of remaining signatories to deliver on their terms of the deal, which the US unilaterally pulled out of in May 2018.

The Fars report announcing the breach of the nuclear deal limits specifically cited European partners as lagging behind commitments to shield Iran from Washington sanctions, despite the new Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) going live just days ago

“For Europeans, there is still time, but if they are asking for more time, it means that whether they are incompetent or they are unwilling to deliver on their commitments,” an official with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) was cited as saying in the Fars report. 

Zarif also called INSTEX – which was officially launched by Europe as a SWIFT alternative on Friday – a “preliminary step” of the European members of the nuclear deal which only “partially delivers” on their commitments. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump To Unleash Hell On Europe: EU Announces Channel To Circumvent SWIFT And Iran Sanctions Is Now Operational

Trump To Unleash Hell On Europe: EU Announces Channel To Circumvent SWIFT And Iran Sanctions Is Now Operational

With the world waiting for the first headlines from the Trump-Xi meeting, the most important and unexpected news of the day hit moments ago, when Europe announced that the special trade channel, Instex, that will allow European firms to avoid SWIFT and bypass American sanctions on Iran, is now operational.

Following a meeting between the countries who singed the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was ditched by US, French, British and German officials said the trade mechanism which was proposed last summer and called Instex, is now operational.

As a reminder, last September, in order to maintain a financial relationship with Iran that can not be vetoed by the US, Europe unveiled a “Special Purpose Vehicle” to bypass SWIFT. The mechanism would facilitate transactions between European and Iranian companies, while preventing the US from vetoing the transactions and pursuing punitive measures on those companies and states that defied Trump. The payment balancing system will allow companies in Europe to buy Iranian goods, and vice-versa, without actual money-transfers between European and Iranian banks.

The statement came after the remaining signatures of JCPOA gathered in Vienna for a meeting that Iranian ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called  “the last chance for the remaining parties…to gather and see how they can meet their commitments towards Iran.”

Until today, Tehran was skeptical about EU’s commitment to the deal and threatened to exceed the maximum amount of enriched uranium allowed it by the deal after US had imposed a series of sanctions on the country.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Maximum Pressure in the Strait of Hormuz

Maximum Pressure in the Strait of Hormuz

Hegemons are never going to sound too sensible when they lock horns or joust in spats of childish anger.  Power corrupts, not merely in terms of perspective but language, and making sense about the next move, the next statement, is bound to be challenging.  Otherwise justified behaviour can be read as provocative; retaliatory moves duly rattle and disturb.

The Iran-US standoff is finding a surge of increments, provocations and howlers.  Since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) last year, Tehran has gnawed and scratched at the arrangements.  Threats to close the Strait of Hormuz as a retaliation for frustrating Iranian oil sales have been made.  President Hassan Rouhani last week made it clear that the Islamic republic would scale back on certain JCPOA commitments. Limits on building up stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water would be abandoned.  A 60-day period has been stipulated in the hope that the E3 (Britain, France and Germany), China and Russia provide relief for the Iranian oil and banking sector.  More suspensions of compliance orders threaten to follow if the powers do not muck in.

Despite not being part of the JCPOA anymore, the Trump administration persists in sticking its oar in the matter.  In May 3, the State Department explicitly warned it would sanction individuals and entities involved in swapping permitted uranium (enriched or natural) with Iran.  Nor would excess heavy water limits be permitted.

With such moves to strangle Iran’s economic feelers, it is little wonder that Rouhani has called on “surgery” to be performed on the JCPOA, one far more effectual than “the painkiller pills of the last year”.  Such a process, he promised, was “for saving the deal, not destroying it.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Squeezed Between Imperial Psychos and European Cowards

Iran Squeezed Between Imperial Psychos and European Cowards

Berlin, Paris and London assumed Tehran could not afford to leave the JCPOA even if it was not receiving any of the promised economic rewards.  Now the EU3 are facing the hour of truth, writes Pepe Escobar.

The Trump administration unilaterally cheated on the 2015 multinational, UN-endorsed JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed an illegal, worldwide financial and energy blockade on all forms of trade with Iran — from oil and gas to exports of iron, steel, aluminum and copper. For all practical purposes, and in any geopolitical scenario, this is a declaration of war. 

Successive U.S. governments have ripped international law to shreds; ditching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is only the latest instance. It doesn’t matter that Tehran has fulfilled all its commitments to the deal — according to UN inspectors. Once the leadership in Tehran concluded that the U.S. sanctions tsunami is fiercer than ever, it decided to begin partially withdrawing from the deal. 

President Hassan Rouhani was adamant: Iran has not left the JCPOA — yet. Tehran’s measures are legal under the framework of articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA — and European officials were informed in advance. But it’s clear the EU3 (Germany, France, Britain), who have always insisted on their vocal support for the JCPOA, must work seriously to alleviate the U.S.-provoked economic disaster to Iran if Tehran has any incentive to continue to abide by the agreement. 

Protests in front of former U.S. embassy in Tehran after U.S. decision to withdraw from JCPOA, May 8, 2018. (Hossein Mersadi via Wikimedia Commons)

Russia and China — the pillars of Eurasia integration, to which Iran adheres — support Tehran’s position. This was discussed extensively in Moscow by Sergey Lavrov and Iran’s Javad Zarif, perhaps the world’s top two foreign ministers. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump’s Vanity Will Destroy The Global Economy

Trump’s Vanity Will Destroy The Global Economy

Last year I asked the question “Will Trump torch the global economy on the bonfire of his vanity?” 

A year later we have the answer. It’s a resounding, “Yes.”

I wrote after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA:

Donald Trump wants regime change in Iran. His cancellation of the JCPOA was a decision born of his myopia. He has surrounded himself with people who reinforce his view and manipulate him via his vanity.

And the price of implementing his current plan will be a global debt crisis which no one will escape. … 

He wants to remake America and the world in his image while undoing anything President Obama touched… 

We have a leaked (yeah, right) memo explaining this is the plan. Nothing Trump has done since he’s been in office has been contra to this goal; overthrowing the theocracy in Iran…

In fact, it has been a step-wise move in this direction with each decision he’s made. 

Today Trump has pushed this plan to its extreme. He’s fomented a trade war with China and threatened sanctions on anyone doing any business will Iran outside its border, now including all strategic metals.

He’s threatened Lebanon with extinction and Iraq as well. His foreign policy mouthpieces are making pronouncements and twisting arms.

And none of this for the United States. He’s doing this for the basest of reasons. His ego. And, for him, that means doing everything to support his upcoming “Deal of the Century” between the Palestinian authorities and Israel. That it is the first step towards peace in the Middle East.

But it isn’t. 

Israel leaked the terms of the Palestinian surrender yesterday. What was whispered to be a terrible plan is actually laughable if any of this is true.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Iran has successfully navigated the first phase of its resistance to U.S. sanctions pressure. The U.S. State Department has admitted it’s goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero is not feasible.

The goal now is a 25% drop to 800,000 barrel per day. And that is no joke. It’s a big drop from where Iran was looking to produce in the coming years under the auspice of the JCPOA. 

The U.S. will not stop until all avenues have been exhausted or Trump fires his current cabinet. 

Iran’s total non-oil exports have suffered as well, since gas condensate exports have also dropped along with the crude oil numbers. 

But Iran is finding friends in other places. They are currently finalizing a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with Belarus leading the talks at the 15th meeting between their Joint Economic Committee. 

Iran’s non-oil exports, however, are still just one-fifth of their peak exports. Like Russia it is working quickly with regional partners to change that dynamic. 

It won’t be enough to overcome the U.S.’s economic pressure in the short term.

But as I always say if it survives the initial onslaught then market forces open up opportunities for change. Things like INSTEX, the EU special purpose vehicle for getting around U.S. sanctions, is a perfect example.

Bilateral trade outside of the U.S. dollar is another.

North-South Trade Routes

The completion of the North South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is also helping. For example, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran rose more than 70% last year. 

Speaking in the event, [Azeri Trade Minister] Mustafayev mentioned the 12 meetings between the two countries’ presidents during the past five years and said “that is an indication of how good the relations between the two countries are.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Warns Allies “Risk Severe Consequences” If They Violate Iran Sanctions

With the hours ticking by ahead of Washington’s re-imposition of a slew of economic sanctions on Iran, President Trump has just released a statement confirming the narrative he would prefer Americans believe.

Just hours after the European Union issued a statement Monday ahead of when renewed US sanctions are set to snap back against Iran after midnight US Eastern time, saying it “deeply regrets” the sanctions and will take immediate action to protect European companies still doing business with Iran.

Trump makes it clear that any violation (among America’s allies) will not be tolerated…

“The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.

The first set of sanctions will hit at the Iranian financial system, including Iranian government purchases of US dollars and its gold trade and government bond sales. The US’ dominant role in the world’s financial system means it has been able to pressure countries and companies into compliance, though China remains a key holdout.

“The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb,” Trump said Monday, defining that its policy as applying “maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The US denies it is seeking regime change, but rather aims to “modify the regime’s behavior,” according to an administration official.

A US administration official said the Iranian government was using financial resources freed up by the nuclear deal “to spread human misery.” The US was seeking now to address the “totality of the Iranian threat” in the Middle East.

“None of this needs to happen,” an official said on sanctions. Trump is willing to meet the Iranian leadership “any time” for talks,” the official noted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Wrong With the United States?

What’s Wrong With the United States?

Photo source jqpubliq | CC BY 2.0

Despite the myth perpetrated by United States spokespersons, the country is not, and never has been, a beacon of peace and freedom, the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’, or a democracy that is the envy of the word. It is, and always has been, a racist, imperialist society, an oligarchy and, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

Today it is living up to violent, bloody truths that comprise its existence. We will look at just a few of the circumstance today that embody that violence.

+ The U.S. has just violated an international treaty, by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement also signed by Russia, China, England, France, Germany, the European Union and Iran. The purpose of this agreement was to regulate Iran’s nuclear ambitions (such as they are), in return for the lifting of sanctions imposed upon that country. The JCPOA was signed by the U.S under President Barack Obama, but it was not an agreement between him and the other nations; it was a binding agreement under international law. By violating it, the U.S. has send a strong message to the world that its word cannot be relied upon; has betrayed some of the country’s closest and oldest allies, and may even sanction them if they continue to do business with Iran, which each of the other signatories says they will do, since Iran is and has been in complete compliance with the agreement.

Additionally, the U.S., which has been at war for 225 years of its 242 year history, and which is currently bombing seven countries and supporting terrorist groups in Syria, accuses Iran, which has not invaded another country since 1798, of being the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism. This is Orwellianism at its best.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Trump Torch the Global Economy on the Bonfire of his Vanity?

Will Trump Torch the Global Economy on the Bonfire of his Vanity?

At least it is confirmed for us.  Donald Trump wants regime change in Iran.  His cancellation of the JCPOA was a decision born his myopia.  He has surrounded himself with people who reinforce his view and manipulate him via his vanity.

And the price of implementing his current plan will be a global debt crisis which no one will escape.  The problem will be very few will see the links.

He wants to remake America and the world in his image while undoing anything President Obama touched.  Most of this I’m wholly on board with.  Obama was a vandal.  So, however, were Bush the Lesser and Bill Clinton.

We’re All Neocons Now

We have a leaked (yeah, right) memo explaining this is the plan.  But, we didn’t need this if we were being honest with ourselves.  Nothing Trump has done since he’s been in office has been contra to this goal; overthrowing the theocracy in Iran.

In fact, it has been a step-wise move in this direction with each decision he’s made.  Commentators I respect and have learned at the knee of still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.  Not me.

It’s right there in plain text.

Trump has capitalized on the insane Deep State opposition to his presidency to politicize this goal and get his base to ab-react for regime change, when he explicitly said that was off the table at his inauguration.

If the Democrats and Merkel want to stay in the deal, then the deal must be bad.  Obama Bad, Trump Good.  Trump is Orange Jesus.  He knows stuff, man.

What was a worry about Israeli influence in his administration in 2017 has now morphed into a call to duty to create chaos in Iran to assuage the American ego by saving the Iranian people from themselves.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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