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PBS Sept 12: U.S. Under Secretary of State, played key role in Iran deal


The Weak Tough Sell of the Iran Deal
Posted on August 28, 2015 by David Swanson

Airing on PBS on September 12 will be an interview I watched taped at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia on August 28 with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State who played the key role in negotiating the Iran agreement.


My impression was that the audience was won over by Sherman’s answers to everything she was asked.

In fact, Blackmon was about to call on me to ask a question when I had to leave to go meet with a staffer of Senator Mark Warner to urge him to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the first thing I did was give the staffer Sherman’s information and ask him to ask the Senator to call her. Warner is, of course, undecided on whether the Iran deal is preferable to the course toward war that so many of his colleagues openly prefer.

My concern, which I had most hoped to ask about, would not have been a concern for Warner, I suspect. My concern was this: the White House Press Secretary has suggested, and Politico has reported that the White House has been telling Congress, that the agreement will allow the U.S. to learn useful information about Iranian facilities that will make it easier to launch an effective war against Iran in the future if “necessary.” Sherman on Friday repeatedly violated the U.N. Charter by stating that the United States could launch a war on Iran, and that she had no doubt President Obama would do so, if “necessary” to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. How is that sort of talk heard in Iran?


Sherman was quite articulate and to-the-point and convincing in arguing every detail of the inspections. Those who want a “better deal” had better avoid listening to her at all costs if they want to maintain their belief system. But pushing for peace while threatening war is a weak sort of advocacy, even if its advocates view it as being tough. Sherman, like her former colleague Madeline Albright, brags about how much damage sanctions have done to people — in this case Iranians. She wants to be tough. But is she being strategic? What happens when the U.S. changes presidents or Congresses or some sort of incident occurs or is alleged to have occurred? The U.S. public will have been taught to think about Iran in the least helpful manner possible.


Kerry Threatens: Iran 'Will Get A Weapon' If Nuke Deal Doesn't Happen

Source: Daily Caller

Secretary of State John Kerry argued that if the Senate does not approve the Iranian nuclear deal, the Islamic republic “will get a weapon one way or the other as a result of not accepting this agreement.”

Kerry, appearing on “Morning Joe” Wednesday, stated that if the United States backs away from the deal, it will confirm the Iranian fears that “you can’t deal with the West” and that you “can’t trust the West.”

Mike Barnicle: How quickly would the Iranians get a nuclear weapon, get to a nuclear weapon without an agreement, and how quickly would money flow into Iran without an agreement?

John Kerry: Well, without an agreement, Mike, money will flow immediately. There are countries chomping at the bit obviously to do business. By the way, that’s another misstatement by the opponents. I heard Liz Cheney say that hundreds of billions of dollars would flow. That is not accurate. There is a maximum of about $55 billion, and it’s not our money, it’s their money, and we don’t hold it in American banks. That is why the money will begin to flow, and countries will begin to do business and the sanctions will fall apart because people will look at this agreement and say, “Wait a minute, the United States has been enforcing the sanctions, but they’re ones who walked away from the agreement so why should we live by the sanctions?” I can’t tell you exactly how many months it would be before Iran — it depends on how many centrifuges spin and whether they decide to dig deep near a mountain, hide their program more, try to avoid consequences. It could take them a little longer under those circumstances. What I can tell you is, if we walk away from this agreement given the suspicions that the Supreme Leader had about even entering into negotiations with us, we will have proven their worst fears. That you can’t deal with the West. You can’t trust the West. Therefore, they have to go do what they have to do to protect themselves. And they will get a weapon one way or the other as a result of not accepting this agreement.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/02/kerry-iran-will-get-a-weapon-if-nuclear-deal-doesnt-happen-video/

Kerry: US Underestimated 'How Advanced Iran's Nuclear Program Had Become,' Deal Is Last Chance To...

Source: Daily Caller

Secretary of State John Kerry said that President Obama’s proposed nuclear agreement, which Congress will begin voting on next week, is the last chance to “halt Iran’s relentless march toward” achieving a working nuclear bomb during a Wednesday press conference in Philadelphia.

Kerry also claimed that there is “a stark reality” anyone opposing the deal must face, adding that the international sanctions, aimed at keeping a bomb out of Iran’s hands, would fail sooner than later. (RELATED: Obama Gets Critical Vote On Iran Deal)

KERRY: There is an inescapable starting point. A place where every argument made against the agreement must confront a stark reality. A reality of how advanced Iran’s nuclear program had become and where it was headed… Sanctions alone were not getting it done. Not even close. They were failing to slow, let alone halt Iran’s relentless march towards a nuclear weapons capability. So President Obama acted… He made clear his determination to go beyond what sanctions could accomplish and find a way to not only stop but to throw into reverse Iran’s rapid expansion of its nuclear program.

(RELATED: Kerry Threatens: Iran ‘Will Get A Weapon’ If Nuclear Deal Doesn’t Happen)

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/02/kerry-us-underestimated-how-advanced-irans-nuclear-program-had-become-deal-is-last-chance-to-halt-march-toward-bomb-video/

There's a seven minute video from Kerry's speech with the article.

Eletrobras suspends Angra nuclear contract as contractors quit

Source: Reuters

Brazilian state-run utility Eletrobras said on Wednesday it will suspend for 60 days a contract with a consortium building its $4 billion Angra 3 nuclear plant after contractors asked to pull out of a project facing rising scrutiny from a corruption probe.

Construction firms Andrade Guitierrez and Techint Engenharia have asked Eletrobras to pull out of the ANGRAMON consortium building the power station west of Rio de Janeiro, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, as Eletrobras is formally known, said in a statement.

They join fellow ANGRAMON members Odebrecht SA and Queiroz Galvão Engenharia, which informed Eletrobras and its nuclear power subsidiary Eletronuclear of their plan to pull out of the project earlier this month.


The move by the construction companies, all under investigation as part of a giant bid-rigging, bribery and political kick-back scandal that began at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, comes as prosecutors and police launch charges against some of the executives of the companies involved.


Read more: http://www.trust.org/item/20150903004211-npgl2/?source=hpMostPopularTheWire

Pilgrim nuclear plant one step from shutdown by regulators

Source: Cape Cod Online

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is now at the bottom of the performance list of the nation’s 99 operating reactors, based on its forced shutdowns and equipment failures, and in a category just one step above mandatory shutdown by federal regulators.

Only two other plants in the country are currently in that category: Arkansas Nuclear One and Arkansas Nuclear Two. Those two, like Pilgrim, are Entergy-owned.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced the downgrade of the Pilgrim plant today. In a letter to Entergy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the downgrade was due to the plant’s failure to adequately address the issues that have caused the plant’s high number of unplanned shutdowns.

A supplemental inspection will focus on the plant’s shortcomings, “including human performance, procedure quality and equipment performance.”


Read more: http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150902/NEWS11/150909865/-1/news11

Kagoshima governor sorry for saying girls better off learning botany than higher math


Kagoshima governor sorry for saying girls better off learning botany than higher math

August 28, 2015

KAGOSHIMA--The prefectural governor here apologized for suggesting that teaching trigonometry to girls was a waste of time, saying it was just “a slip of the tongue.”

“What's the use of teaching them the sine, cosine and tangent in high school?” Kagoshima Governor Yuichiro Ito was quoted as saying during a meeting of the prefecture’s general education council on Aug. 27, referring to secondary education for female students.

“It may be better to teach them social affairs and names of plants and flowers instead.”

The next day, Ito apologized for criticism that he had demeaned women and retracted his comments.


Starfish-killing robot close to trials on Great Barrier Reef

Source: BBC

An autonomous starfish-killing robot is close to being ready for trials on the Great Barrier Reef, researchers say.

Crown-of-thorns starfish have have been described as a significant threat to coral.

The Cotsbot robot, which has a vision system, is designed to seek out starfish and give them a lethal injection.

After it eradicates the bulk of starfish in a given area, human divers can move in and mop up the survivors.


Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34129490

How the father of Indian N-bomb stalled strike on Pak nuclear sites


How the father of Indian N-bomb stalled strike on Pak nuclear sites

Srinivas Laxman,TNN | Sep 2, 2015, 01.54 AM IST

MUMBAI: In a strange twist of irony, the person who was responsible for stalling India's plan to bomb Pakistan's nuclear weapons facilities in 1983 was none other than the father of the Indian nuclear bomb, Raja Ramanna. Ramanna himself had confirmed this to TOI on two occasions in private conversations after his retirement as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1987. He passed away in Mumbai on September 24, 2004.

TOI had carried a report on Tuesday, quoting a CIA document declassified in June, stating that former PM Indira Gandhi may have considered destroying Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme when she returned to office in 1980. Though Ramanna had declined to go into specifics, he had recalled to TOI that in 1983, when he was in Vienna to attend an International Atomic Energy Agency meet, he was "warned" by ex-chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Munir Ahmed Khan that if India hit its nuclear facilities, Pakistan would launch a retaliatory strike at BARC, Trombay, in Mumbai, the heart of India's nuclear weapons programme. Ramanna immediately informed Indira about the dangerous consequences of bombing Pakistan's nuclear establishment and the operation was stopped.

The story goes that when Khan was attending the IAEA meet, he received a classified coded message about India's plans through the Pakistani ex-ambassador to Vienna, Abdul Sattar. That night, Khan invited Ramanna for dinner at the Imperial Hotel and the two arch rivals talked for a while. Then the moment arrived when Khan decided to say why he had suddenly called for the dinner meeting: it was not to exchange pleasantries but to deliver a stiff warning about the retaliatory strike on BARC.

Whether Ramanna knew of this plan earlier remains unclear. But the first thing he did on his arrival from Vienna was to rush to Indira. He conveyed to her Khan's warning and succeeded in making her scrap the ide a altogether. In the book 'Nuclear Deception' by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, it is stated that India's plan was code-named 'Osirak Contingency', after the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi nuclear weapons plant at Osirak, 18 miles south of Baghdad, in 1981.According to the book, ex-IAF chief Dilbaug Singh was to have commanded the Pakistani operation and had ordered a Jaguar squadron to practice low-level flying with 2,000-pound bombs - a squadron had been kept on standby at the Jamnagar air force base to carry out the attack at a moment's notice.

Then, when the CIA got hint of India's plans, it alerted the US administration. The US state department then flashed a strong message to India: "The US will be responsive if India persists." Ramanna's message to Gandhi quoting Khan along with the US state department warning made Gandhi evetually scrap the operation, which upset both Indian military planners and Israel.

No second nuclear plant for Callaway

Source: Missouri News Tribune

Ameren Missouri has stopped its efforts for a second nuclear unit in Callaway County.

Ameren filed for a Combined Construction and Operating License with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2008 for the second unit, but changes in vendor support for the licensing has forced the company to reevaluate its efforts, according to an Ameren Missouri statement. Other factors include, “declining costs of alternative generation technologies and the regulatory framework in Missouri.”

The company received a 20-year life extension on the plant’s license and Ameren has continued to make headway in other areas by investing in cleaner energy resources. It recently announced a partnership with ECAP, LLC and Enginuity to create new fuel resources using corn biomass.

Read more: http://www.newstribune.com/news/2015/sep/02/no-second-nuclear-plant-callaway/

An Unanswered Question About Iran's Nuclear Program


An Unanswered Question About Iran's Nuclear Program

September 01, 2015 2:53 PM ET
Michele Kelemen


"We're not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did," Kerry said this summer. "We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we're concerned about is going forward."

Even supporters of the deal, though, say Kerry was overselling that point. The U.S. believes that Iran experimented with nuclear weapons components in the past. But Iran has stonewalled international inspectors in the past and the U.S. does not have "absolute knowledge," according to a former Obama administration official, Robert Einhorn.


Einhorn, who is now with the Brookings Institution, says it was never in the cards that Iran would come fully clean on this question.

"It would be good if the Iranians made a full confession about their past nuclear work," he said. "They are not going to do that because it would contradict their narrative that they only have a peaceful program."


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