Nuclear deal would leave Iran 2 to 3 weeks from The Bomb, says former senior UN nuclear official.

iran-nuclear-graphic(Washington, D.C.) — The Obama administration and the rest of the P5+1 leaders are adamant that the interim nuclear deal on the table is:

A) the best that can be accomplished; and

B) will make it much harder for Iran to build the Bomb.

Are either of these things true?

Not according to a former senior IAEA nuclear official who says Iran could break the deal at any time and be just two to three weeks away from building operational nuclear warheads.

“One day before Iran began implementing its nuclear deal with world powers, a former United Nations watchdog said the Islamic Republic would only be two to three weeks away from a nuclear weapon if the agreement were broken,” reports Haaretz.

“Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, appeared on a Sunday radio show, where he discussed recent remarks from Iran’s top nuclear negotiator,” the Israeli daily newspaper noted. “Abbas Araghchi said last week that Iran could resume enriching uranium to levels prohibited by the nuclear deal in one day’s time. Heinonen told Aaron Klein’s WABC Radio show that it would take Iran ‘two, three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon.’”….

“If [Iran] in reality [breaks the deal] tomorrow, they still have quite a substantial stock of uranium hexafluoride, which is enriched to 20 percent,” said Heinonen. “So if this all happens in the next, let’s say, weeks, this is really true. They can start to produce 20-percent enriched uranium….They have to put perhaps some 6,000 centrifuges to work in this kind of a mode.

“If they do that, which they can technically do, it will take certainly a little bit more than one night to do. But then once they have sorted it out, it would take about two, three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon,” Heinonen added.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

What has Czar Putin been up to in recent weeks? Where is he headed in 2014?

What will Czar Putin do in 2014? (photo credit: Vasily Maximov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images/NYT)

What will Czar Putin do in 2014? (photo credit: Vasily Maximov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images/NYT)

(Washington, D.C.) — Vladmir Putin sees himself not so much as Russia’s president but as an old-time Czar for the modern age. All knowing. All powerful. Unchecked power. Determined to expand his territory and grow his power and personal wealth. This is what makes him so dangerous.

What has Czar Putin been up to in recent weeks, and where is he headed in 2014? Yesterday, the New York Times published an interesting article considering such questions. I commend it to your attention.

“President Vladimir V. Putin’s freeing of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, Russia’s best-known prisoner, by swift, personal fiat capped a remarkable string of single-handed decisions of late,” reports the New York Times. “On Tuesday, he outmaneuvered the West for sway over financially troubled Ukraine with a unilateral decision to provide $ 15 billion in loans. On Wednesday, at his direction, Parliament passed an amnesty bill that could free thousands of prisoners. On Friday, he pardoned Mr. Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil tycoon and onetime aspiring political rival. That was just last week.”

Excerpts from this interesting article:

  • Earlier this month, Mr. Putin shocked Moscow’s political and media circles with a surprise announcement that he would remake RIA-Novosti, the semi-independent state news agency, under the direction of a Kremlin loyalist.       
  • The decisions demonstrate Mr. Putin’s singular ability not only to wield executive power but also to bend the legislative and judicial branches of government to his will, and to exert heavy control over the Russian news media.       
  • “What we are seeing is a president who has no limits on his power in a country that never was democratic, that never had anything called a balance of power — where one of the estates could balance the power of another,” said Vladimir Posner, one of Russia’s most prominent television journalists, with his own nightly show on Channel One, the premier government-controlled station.       
  • “There is no Fourth Estate,” he said. “And as a matter of fact there is no Second or Third Estate. There is just the First, just the presidency. That’s the way things are today in Russia.”       
  • As he prepares to begin his 15th year as Russia’s paramount political leader, Mr. Putin’s sweeping authority gives him far more leverage than his counterparts in the West to influence the course of events and, at times, to set the agenda in world affairs.       
  • In defiance of the United States, Russia granted temporary asylum to the former national security contractor Edward J. Snowden, with Mr. Putin portraying him as a whistle-blower.
  • Mr. Putin also averted an American military strike on Syria with a plan to disarm its chemical weapons.       
  • Yet all of his recent moves carry serious risks. Releasing Mr. Khodorkovsky could well set loose a vengeful rival, with the money and will to do everything possible to force Mr. Putin from power. The bailout of Ukraine could easily turn into a financial debacle, exacerbating Russia’s own creeping economic problems, should Ukraine continue stumbling toward default.       
  • And scrapping RIA-Novosti, a respected news agency, in favor of a replacement already being derided as a Soviet-style propaganda arm could undermine the credibility needed to cultivate the public image that Mr. Putin has sought for Russia as a re-ascendant power, able to challenge the West.       
  • Supporters of Mr. Putin say that his actions reflect sure-footed pursuit of a plan to build a greater Russia, evidenced by mega-vanity projects like the Sochi Olympics that will burnish the image of both the president and his country. A magnanimous gesture like freeing Mr. Khodorkovsky, they say, demonstrates his statesmanship and deflects any criticism of authoritarianism.
  • Critics say the recent moves are tactical, aimed at retaining power that is sure to slip as the flood of cash from the country’s vast fossil fuel reserves, which generated unprecedented wealth during his tenure, slowly recedes. By this view, Mr. Putin is impulsive and increasingly isolated, unchecked by opponents or even by formerly trusted advisers….
  • Experts said Russia’s slowing growth was another factor in Mr. Putin’s recent decisions, prompting him to take steps to improve the investment climate to attract foreign capital, as well as to lift his own popularity in case the economy takes a dive. In part because of a slowing economy and rising prices, Mr. Putin’s approval rating stands at 61 percent, its lowest point since 2000, the first year of his presidency, according to the Levada Center, a polling agency here.
  • Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Macro-Advisory, a consulting firm based in Moscow, said that the release of Mr. Khodorkovsky was a positive sign, but that more would be needed to reassure skittish foreign investors. “The reason investors are wary is not because of the arrest of Khodorkovsky 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s the corruption, the poor business climate, the perception that there is little respect for the rule of law.”
  • Sergei M. Guriev, a former rector of the New Economics School in Moscow, said in a telephone interview that he, too, believed that the president’s recent decisions had been dictated in part by economic challenges. “There is no external crisis, and yet the Russian economy is growing only at one-and-a-half percent a year,” he said. “Oil prices are high, and yet the Russian government is balancing the budget with difficulty. Not everything is going so well.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

FIRE IN THE HOLE! Feds Investigate Third Exploding Tesla Sedan in the Last Six Weeks

Yeah, that Elon Musk is a genius! Who else could have invented exploding, coal-powered cars and gotten you and I to help subsidize him?

The third battery fire involving a Tesla Model S in six weeks has drawn the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to multiple reports, the federal agency investigated the charred body of a Model S in Smyrna, Tenn., just outside Nashville, last week. The vehicle caught fire after a collision with a trailer hitch on Interstate 24. The driver was unharmed.

Similar incidents occurred in Kent, Wash., on Oct. 1 and Merida, Mexico, on Oct. 18… The $ 69,000 to $ 100,000 all-electric sedan earned top crash-test ratings from NHTSA and top reviews from Trend and Consumer Reports magazines.

… “Three fires is a big number out of 19,000 [sold],” said Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety, according to reports. “They have to open an investigation.”

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, speaking at a recent conference, said all three blazes were caused by crashes, not battery problems. “There’s no reason for a recall,” he said. “If you read the headlines, it sounds like Teslas have a greater propensity to catch fires than other cars. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.”

And who is Tesla founder Elon Musk? He appears to be a very clever fellow who’s built much of his fortune on the backs of the American taxpayer.

The First Street Journal summarizes the nefarious Musk-Obama alliance in stark and troubling terms.

…The federal government is, in effect, taking the tax dollars of low-and-middle-income taxpayers to subsidize luxury automobiles for wealthier people. How is that right?

Of course, Mr Musk knew that all along: his business model has been to make his profits on the margins provided by government subsidies, and has a net worth of between $ 6.7 billion and $ 7.7 billion, probably what you’d expect from a large Obama donor…

…If the government were not giving tax incentives to Mr Musk’s customers and direct subsidies to his companies, if his companies were forced to compete in the marketplace on the same basis as other automobile and energy companies, Mr Musk would (probably) not be giving such large sums — and “bundling” more donors — to candidates, and his companies would (probably) have failed.

I’ll say it again: when the complete history of the Obama administration is written, the corruption, cronyism and outright theft will make the Teapot Dome Scandal look like a stolen box of Girl Scout Cookies.

Hat tip: BadBlue Car News.

Doug Ross @ Journal

“Iran two weeks away from weapons-grade uranium”: former IAEA senior official.

Delegates from the P5+1 and Iran meet in Geneva, at the start of two days of talks regarding Tehran's nuclear program, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Fabrice Coffrini)

Delegates from the P5+1 and Iran meet in Geneva, at the start of two days of talks regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Fabrice Coffrini)

“Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build an atomic weapon within two weeks and has, “in a certain way,” already reached the point of no return in its nuclear program, a former senior International Atomic Energy Association official said Monday,” reports the Times of Israel.

“I believe that if certain arrangements are done, it could even go down to two weeks. So there are a lot of concerns out there that Iran can hopefully now address, in this new phase, both at the P5+1 [talks between Tehran and six world powers] and with the IAEA,” former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen said, confirming a report released last week by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which stated Iran could muster enough uranium for a bomb by converting all of its 20-percent enriched stockpile within 1 to 1.6 months.

Excerpts from the Times story:

  • Earlier on Monday, IAEA Director Yukiya Amano met in Vienna with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator, ahead of two days of technical talks between Iranian representatives and the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Amano described his meeting as important in addressing ‘the outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.’ Speaking to journalists on a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Heinonen contrived to sound optimistic and pessimistic at the same time.”
  • “They are forward looking,” he about the Iranian negotiators. “And I think they have realized that they don’t get away from this situation unless they answer properly the questions raised by the IAEA and concerns raised by the international community. So I’m to a certain degree hopeful. But we have to make sure that everything is covered.”
  • “Asked specifically if Iran had passed the ‘point of no return’ in its nuclear program, Heinonen, today a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, replied, “Yes, in a certain way. But we have to remember what are the capabilities of Iran. People have slightly different definitions of breakout capability.”
  • In his assessment, which appears to concur with that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a critical level is reached when the Iranians have enriched enough uranium to weapons grade, in the form of hexafluoride gas enrichment, to create a nuclear bomb.
  • “But you still don’t have a nuclear weapon,” Heinonen added. Preparing the highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb would take another month or two, “assuming that someone has all the knowledge.” After that, assembling an actual nuclear weapon that can be delivered with a ballistic missile would take perhaps another year, he said.
  • Iran continues to install hundreds of new advanced centrifuges every month, drastically reducing the so-called breakout time it would require in order to produce weapons-grade uranium if it decided to do so, he said.
  • Israel has called for Iran to be stripped of all enrichment capability, saying even low-grade uranium could be made suitable for a nuclear weapon in a short time with enough centrifuges running. “Regarding Iran, we are not impressed by the discussion surrounding the issue of 20% enrichment,” Netanyahu said Sunday, referring to reports that Tehran has been insisting on retaining the ability to enrich uranium to that level. “Its importance is superfluous as a result of the improvements the Iranians have made in the past year, which allow them to jump over the barrier of 20% enrichment and proceed directly from 3.5% enrichment to 90% within weeks, weeks at most.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

REASON ALONE TO ERADICATE OBAMACARE: IRS was targeting conservative groups as recently as two weeks ago

Bryan Preston, who’s doing yeoman’s work at PJM, explains the latest developments in IRS-gate. Remember: the completely politicized IRS will be Obamacare’s enforcers, with access to all of your most personal data.

This news emerged from Wednesday’s House hearing on the IRS abuse scandal. Not only did the agency target conservative groups, it continued surveillance of them until acting Commissioner Danny Werfel shut it down just two weeks ago.

Republicans investigating the IRS targeting scandal said Wednesday that the agency continued to conduct secret surveillance on tea party groups even after approving them for tax-exempt status.

Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said… he has halted all audits of tax-exempt organizations based on political activity as he tries to get a handle on the embattled agency… he [also said he] is troubled by emails sent by Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the targeting scandal, that raise questions about her behavior. He said he has asked internal investigators to follow up on those emails…

…In one of those emails Ms. Lerner wrote that dealing with tea party applications was “very dangerous,” and in another she seemed to indicate that she was looking for ways to deny the charitable organization label to groups without having to accuse them of political activity.

Lerner remains unwilling to testify, and on paid leave from her post at the IRS.
The investigation has also turned up evidence that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups because agents knew that President Obama wanted them to.

Just a reminder: Nixon’s Obama-like abuse of the IRS was “a high crime and misdemeanor“.

Hat tip: BadBlue News

Doug Ross @ Journal