Iran Wants More Pallets of Cash

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I wonder if now that the Obama administration has paid the ransom “we owed” the Iranian regime, whether it will set a precedent for others to put their hands out and demand, or at least request funds from the U.S. treasury?

Heck, even before the precedent, the Israeli government asked the U.S. to bump up its annual military stipend from $3 billion to $5 billion. Those dirty, money-grubbing Jews – asking for an additional $2 billion. You might think that, but they are blaming the Obama administration for the fact that they must request it in the first place.

It seems the Middle East is poised to get a lot more dangerous thanks to the huge infusion of cash which was part of the US-Iran nuclear agreement. So thanks to Obama, Israel expects to have to spend a lot more on defense. They do have a point.

Now in, we’ll call the post-ransom period, another has come forward asking for cash. Our old buddy, “former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is asking President Obama to release nearly $2 billion in Iranian assets frozen in a New York bank account.” read more

Iran, All Bark, No Bite…Right

Let’s place this article in the “We’ll react with surprise after Israel is vaporized” file., or Move Along, Nothing to see here!
 

US downplays Iranian nuclear advancements as ‘hype’

By REUTERS, via The Jerusalem Post
 
Ahmadinejad unveils new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster; “We frankly don’t see a lot new here. This is not big news,” US responds.

The United States on Wednesday played down Iran’s latest announcements on advancements in its nuclear program, saying its reported breakthroughs were “not terribly new and not terribly impressive.”

Iran proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster.

“We frankly don’t see a lot new here. This is not big news. In fact it seems to have been hyped,” a State Department spokeswoman said.

Despite Washington’s dismissal of the nuclear advancements as unimportant, the moves appeared designed to show that increased sanctions are failing to halt Iran’s technical progress and to strengthen its hand in any renewed negotiations with the major powers.

“The era of bullying nations has past. The arrogant powers cannot monopolize nuclear technology. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a live television broadcast.

“Our nuclear path will continue.”

However, Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television said the government had handed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing readiness to “hold new talks over its nuclear program in a constructive way”.

An Ashton spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the letter, saying she was evaluating it and would consult with the United States, Russia, China and other partners among the big powers.

Iran has long refused to negotiate curbs on its nuclear program, saying it is intended to produce electricity for booming domestic demand and for other civilian uses.

The nuclear achievements proclaimed by Tehran involved a new line of uranium enrichment centrifuge and the loading of its first domestically produced batch of fuel into a research reactor that is expected to soon run out of imported stocks.

Tehran has for some years been developing and testing new generations of centrifuges to replace its outdated, erratic “P-1” model. In January it said it had successfully manufactured and tested its own fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants.

Ahmadinejad said the “fourth generation” of centrifuge would be able to refine uranium three times as fast as previously.

If Iran eventually succeeded in introducing modern centrifuges for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile enriched uranium, which can generate electricity or, if refined much more, nuclear explosions.

Last year, Iran installed two newer models for large scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz.

But it remains unclear whether Tehran, under increasingly strict trade sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in industrial quantity.

“We have seen this before. We have seen these announcements and these grand unveilings and it turns out that there was less there than meets the eye. I suspect this is the same case,” said Shannon Kile at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

However, Ahmadinejad said Iran had significantly increased the number of centrifuges at its main enrichment site at Natanz, saying there were now 9,000 such machines installed there.

In its last report on Iran, in November, the UN nuclear watchdog said there were 8,000 installed centrifuges at Natanz, of which up to 6,200 were operating.

State television aired live footage of Ahmadinejad loading Iranian-made fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor and called this “a sign of Iranian scientists’ achievements”.

The Tehran reactor produces radio isotopes for medical use and agriculture. Iran says it was forced to manufacture its own fuel for the Tehran reactor after failing to agree terms for a deal to obtain it from the West.

In 2010, Iran alarmed the West by starting to enrich uranium to a fissile purity of 20 percent for the stated purpose of reprocessing into special fuel for the Tehran reactor.

In boosting enrichment up from the 3.5 percent level suitable for powering civilian nuclear plants, Iran moved significantly closer to the 90 percent threshold suitable for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead.

Analysts remained doubtful that Iran would be able to operate the research reactor with its own special fuel.

“As usual, the announcement surely is exaggerated. Producing the fuel plates … is not so hard. But the plates have to be tested for a considerable period before they can be used safely in the reactor,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“If Iran is really running the reactor with untested fuel plates, then my advice to the residents surrounding the building would be to move somewhere else. It will be unsafe.”

Iran, No Threat to the United States

As you read this article, just keep chanting this mantra: “Iran is a small, insignificant & isolated country. They pose no threat to us.”

From The Jerusalem Post:

HAVANA – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday both Cuba-Iranian relations and Fidel Castro were in good shape after he met with the former Cuban leader and his younger brother President Raul Castro during a one-day visit to the communist island.

He said the two countries, similarly at odds with the United States though half a world apart, were closely aligned on many issues and would continue to fight “to demand the rights of the peoples.”

“Our positions, versions, interpretations are alike, very close. We have been good friends, we are and will be, and we will be together forever. Long live Cuba,” Ahmadinejad said through an interpreter at the Havana airport as he departed for Ecuador, the final stop in his Latin American tour.

Such shows of solidarity were the main purpose of Ahmadinejad’s trip to four leftist-led countries as Iran seeks support amid rising international opposition to its nuclear activities. He visited Venezuela and Nicaragua before coming to Cuba on Wednesday.

The leader of the Islamic Republic said he discussed many different issues in a meeting with Fidel Castro, 85 and mostly retired, and that he was happy “to see commandant Fidel safe and sound.” A recent flurry of rumors on social media claimed that Castro had died.

“We see that he follows all the national and international affairs in detail and with much pleasure,” he said.

Cuban President Raul Castro told reporters his brother had met with Ahmadinejad for two hours and did most of the talking. The meeting was held on Wednesday.

“It shows that he is very well, really very well,” said the younger Castro, who succeeded his brother as president four years ago and is himself 80.

About his own talks with Ahmadinejad, Castro said, “It was a good visit, we discussed quite a lot, we analyzed quite a lot, we finished very late.”

Iran and Cuba united against sanctions

Communist Party newspaper Granma said Ahmadinejad and Raul Castro confirmed their commitment to, among other things, the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

They also reaffirmed their opposition to the “application of unilateral economic sanctions.”

Ahmadinejad’s visit came as tensions escalated following the recent imposition of new US sanctions aimed at inflicting economic damage in hopes of forcing Iran to stop its nuclear program.

Iran has said it is developing nuclear capabilities only for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies accuse it of wanting to create a nuclear weapon.

On Wednesday tensions rose further when an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a car bomb in Tehran that the Iranian government blamed on Israel and the United States.

Is it wrong to Cheer?

Israel declined to comment, while the United States denied any involvement.

Ahmadinejad let government officials back in Tehran do the talking about the incident while he stuck to a relatively non-controversial script in Havana.

In a speech at the University of Havana, he said Iran had done nothing to make enemies, denounced capitalism and called for a new world order based on justice and respect for all.