Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear program of Iran’

Another Israeli assasination? Iranian deputy minister killed

November 11, 2013

It may be just my perception. But I don’t think it is so far-fetched that Israeli foreign policy in support of its perceived security interests is supremely pragmatic and uncluttered by any ethical concerns. In matters of security of the Israeli State, it seems that ethics is just not relevant. While most of their diplomatic efforts are often channeled through friendly nations (the US or France ..) it does not seem unlikely that they also have extensive covert activities as a back-up.

That Israel conducts targeted killings as an almost routine activity does not seem implausible and has led to much speculation. The alleged poisoning of Arafat (by radative polonium) has also been put down to Israeli agents. The possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and rendering their own relatively toothless is serious enough that systematically assassinating key figures in Iran’s nuclear programme would seem justified to Israel.

This particular killing is apparently of a relatively unimportant deputy minister — but who knows?

BBC: An unknown attacker has shot dead Iran’s deputy industry minister. Safdar Rahmatabadi was driving in Tehran’s Sabalan Square late on Sunday when he was shot once in the head and once in the chest, the state news agency IRNA reported. A police officer told the agency that the attacker appeared to have been inside Mr Rahmatabadi’s vehicle and spoke to him before opening fire. …..

Assassinations of officials are not unheard of in Iran, in particular scientists connected with the country’s nuclear programme. In January 2012 a car bomb killed university lecturer Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who also worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. 

Earlier in November a public prosecutor and his driver were killed in the restive frontier province of Sistan Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, Mr Rahmatabadi, whose portfolio also included mining and commerce, was seen as a low-profile official. He served in a similar role under the country’s previous President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

The shooting comes as Iran, under newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani, engages in talks with six world powers on its nuclear programme. Tehran maintains it is enriching uranium for civilian uses but Western countries have long suspected Iran of a secret nuclear weapons programme.

France does Israel’s bidding and “spoils” nuclear deal with Iran

November 10, 2013

The French – Israeli nuclear cooperation goes back a long way to 1956. That Israel’s “secret” Nuclear Weapon’s programme has long been assisted and enabled by the French is also one of those open secrets that is never officially acknowledged.

HaaretzMay 9, 2007

Israel and France once made a secret deal to produce a nuclear bomb together, according to a new biography of Vice Premier Shimon Peres. The deal was later cancelled, but the disclosure in the book by historian Michael Bar-Zohar sheds new light on the depth of France’s involvement in Israel’s nuclear program.

Bar-Zohar told Reuters his information came from recently released documents from Israeli and French government archives relating to the key role Peres, now 83, played in launching Israel’s nuclear project more than half a century ago. The book divulges new details of how Peres served as a behind-the-scenes architect of Israel’s military might, securing weapons secretly and buying an atomic reactor from France. …

Experts believe Israel has used the Dimona reactor it built with French help in the 1960s to produce as many as 200 nuclear warheads. Israel neither confirms nor denies it has atomic weapons, saying only it will not be the first country to introduce them to the Middle East. …..

The most significant, experts say, is a secret agreement Peres signed in 1957 with then French Prime Minister Maurice Bourges-Maunoury in Paris, several months after the deal for the reactor was concluded. “It stated in so many words that the two nations would cooperate in research and production of nuclear weapons,” the book says.

France ultimately scrapped that agreement several years later under the weight of enormous United States diplomatic pressure for it to cease its nuclear cooperation with Israel.

The so-called formal scrapping of the deal has long been recognised as a public relations gesture which has little to do with actual cooperation on the ground. Now Israel probably has something in excess of 100 and maybe up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Federation of American ScientistsIn the fall of 1956, France agreed to provide Israel with an 18 MWt research reactor. However, the onset of the Suez Crisis a few weeks later changed the situation dramatically. Following Egypt’s closure of the Suez Canal in July, France and Britain had agreed with Israel that the latter should provoke a war with Egypt to provide the European nations with the pretext to send in their troops as peacekeepers to occupy and reopen the canal zone. In the wake of the Suez Crisis, the Soviet Union made a thinly veiled threat against the three nations. This episode not only enhanced the Israeli view that an independent nuclear capability was needed to prevent reliance on potentially unreliable allies, but also led to a sense of debt among French leaders that they had failed to fulfill commitments made to a partner. French premier Guy Mollet is even quoted as saying privately that France “owed” the bomb to Israel.

On 3 October 1957, France and Israel signed a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor (although the cooling systems and waste facilities were designed to handle three times that power) and, in protocols that were not committed to paper, a chemical reprocessing plant. This complex was constructed in secret, and outside the IAEA inspection regime, by French and Israeli technicians at Dimona, in the Negev desert under the leadership of Col. Manes Pratt of the IDF Ordinance Corps.

That Israel is not happy that Iran may reach a deal with the West and get sanctions lifted and be able to continue with the bulk of their nuclear program is only to be expected. That Israel would turn to France to be the spoiler in the discussions with Iran is also not surprising. And it is patently obvious that France is doing Israel’s bidding and is being intransigient at the Geneva discussions.

But how long can or will France be ready to continue in their “spoiler” role? Francois Hollande has enough troubles of his own not to also wish to be seen as Netanyahu’s poodle.

Perhaps a year?

The GuardianSunday 10 November 2013

Three gruelling days of high-level and high-stakes diplomacy came to an end in Geneva with no agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, after France blocked a stopgap deal aimed at defusing tensions and buying more time for negotiations. …

The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also sought to play down the disagreements that had surfaced with France, and the divisions between the six-nation group, known as the P5+1. ….

….. other diplomats at the talks were furious with the role of the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, whom they accused of breaking ranks by revealing details of the negotiations as soon as he arrived in Geneva on Saturday morning, and then breaking protocol again by declaring the results to the press before Ashton and Zarif had arrived at the final press conference.

But there is also a purely commercial aspect to the French “spoiling”. The animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not to be underestimated and the the French desire for being Saudi’s preferred supplier is almost without limit. Upsetting Iran gains them brownie points with Saudi. They are on much safer ground here since Saudi does not have the capability of running its own nuclear programme in any foreseeable future. Nuclear power plant in Saudi supplied by France would not pose any great threat to Israel.

But one day – when the balances are different –  Saudi  may well have enough money to buy a few warheads and I would not be surprised if France is then at the front of the pack of potential vendors.

Saudi GazetteOctober 03, 2013

French companies AREVA and EDF hosted a number of Saudi business and industry representatives at their Second Suppliers Day event held in Jeddah on Tuesday to take part in the framework of the sustainable energy program suggested by King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) focused on nuclear and renewable energy sources. …. 

Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, the French Ambassador to the Kingdom said “the aim of this meeting is very clear, France has been the first country to sign government to government agreement on nuclear and energy because we do think that taking it into account the huge program the Saudi government wants to implement in the nuclear field and France has a lot to bring in terms of the best nuclear technology in the world.”

Besancenot added that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner of France in the region and the bilateral relationship is of paramount importance in the economic field as “we are seeing that bilateral trade has doubled over the last five years.” He stressed that France is ready to be Saudi Arabia’s strategic partner in the field of nuclear and renewable energy. He also highlighted the competencies of France’s nuclear energy industry and its ability to support the Kingdom goal.

Another Iranian nuclear scientist killed

July 23, 2011

Another Iranian nuclear scientist has been gunned down and if this is the work of covert operations by governments  hostile to the Iranian nuclear programs (read USA or Israel or France) it would be a case – not for the first time – of State sponsored murder and the use of terror for political purposes.

BBC

An Iranian nuclear scientist has been shot dead outside his home in Tehran, Iranian media sources say. The Isna news agency named him as Daryoush Rezaei, 35, adding that his wife was wounded. His identity has not been officially confirmed.

In 2010, nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran. Iran blamed that attack on Israeli secret service Mossad. Israel has long warned about Iran’s nuclear programme.

Some reports said the latest attack involved assailants on a motorcycle, but this has not been confirmed. Isna said that Mr Rezaei was an expert with links to the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

The US, Israel and many Western nations have opposed Iran’s atomic programme, fearing it may be a front to creating a nuclear bomb.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes. This week, Iran said it was installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants, with the goal of speeding up its uranium enrichment process. Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear purposes, but also to build atomic bombs.

The French government condemned the move as a “new provocation”.

Related: 

Conspiracy theory: 5 nuclear experts who helped Iran’s program among 44 who died in Russian plane crash

Virus War! A taste of things to come?

September 24, 2010
Advertisement from the 1970s by American nucle...

Wikipedia:Advertisement from the 1970s by American nuclear-energy companies

(Reuters)

A computer virus that attacks a widely used industrial system appears aimed mostly at Iran and its power suggests a state may have been involved in creating it, an expert at a U.S. technology company said on Friday.

Kevin Hogan, Senior Director of Security Response at Symantec, told Reuters 60 percent of the computers worldwide infected by the so-called Stuxnet worm were in Iran, indicating industrial plants in that country were the target. Hogan’s comments are the latest in a string of specialist comments on Stuxnet that have stirred speculation that Iran’s first nuclear power station, at Bushehr, has been targeted in a state-backed attempt at sabotage or espionage.

“It’s pretty clear that based on the infection behavior that installations in Iran are being targeted,” Hogan said of the virus which attacks Siemens AG‘s widely used industrial control systems.

“The numbers are off the charts,” he said, adding Symantec had located the IP addresses of the computers infected and traced the geographic spread of the malicious code. Diplomats and security sources say Western governments and Israel view sabotage as one way of slowing Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Tehran insists is for peaceful energy purposes. It was clear the worm’s creators had significant resources.

“We cannot rule out the possibility (of a state being behind it). Largely based on the resources, organization and in-depth knowledge across several fields — including specific knowledge of installations in Iran — it would have to be a state or a non-state actor with access to those kinds of (state) systems.”

BUSHEHR CONNECTION

Siemens was involved in the original design of the Bushehr reactor in the 1970s, when West Germany and France agreed to build the nuclear power station for the former Shah of Iran before he was overthrown by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The company has said the malware is a Trojan worm that has spread via infected USB thumb drives, exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system that has since been resolved. Siemens, Microsoft and security experts who have studied the worm have yet to determine who created the malicious software, described by commentators as the world’s first known cyber “super weapon” designed to destroy a real-world target.

Israel, which is assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, has hinted it could attack Iranian facilities if international diplomacy fails to curb Tehran’s nuclear designs. Israel has also developed a powerful cyberwarfare capacity. Major-General Amos Yadlin, chief of military intelligence, last year said Israeli armed forces had the means to provide network security and launch cyber attacks of their own.

In Washington, Vice Admiral Bernard McCullough, the head of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command, told Reuters on Thursday after testifying about cyber operations before a House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee, that the worm “has some capabilities we haven’t seen before.”

On Wednesday, Army General Keith Alexander, head of the Pentagon’s new Cyber Command, said his forces regarded the virus as “very sophisticated.”

Siemens is the world’s number one maker of industrial automation control systems, which are also the company’s bread-and-butter, but it was not immediately clear whether the specific Siemens systems targeted by Stuxnet are at Bushehr.

Computer virus wars instead of mass killing would be a preferable trend to virus wars as a precursor to mass killing.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68N2DY20100924?pageNumber=1


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