1. Russian Opinion Poll Shows More Sympathy Toward Iran
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Aggravation of the crisis around Iran has produced a certain effect on what people in Russia think - they are showing more sympathy for the Iranians now although they have controversial feelings about Iran's nuclear program, says an opinion poll taken by the Public Opinions Foundation (FOM).
About 40% Russians are sympathetic with Iranians, which is 9% more than last November, while the number of respondents describing Iran as an unfriendly country has reduced by 2% to 23%.
More than a third of all Russians, or 37%, are undecided in their approach to that country.
As many as 37% of those polled said they approved of cooperation with Iran in nuclear projects - a 10% increase from November, and only one respondent in five disapproved of the Iranians' nuclear endeavor.
In the meantime, 40% of those polled said they were worried by the resumption of nuclear technology research in Iran, but 43% respondents said they were unconcerned by this.
The number of respondents believing that a potential threat is coming out of Teheran stands at 35%, while 40% believe there is no such threat.
One Russian in four believes Iran is developing an exclusively peaceful nuclear program, but 35% respondents said the Iranians were most likely working to produce nuclear weapons.
Only 28% Russian would rather support UN sanctions against Iran and the same percentage of people would rather not.
Other respondents were undecided or had no answer to it.
The poll embraced more than 2,000 people in a hundred population centers across the country.
2. Failure Options. International Sanctions Do Not Frighten the Iranian Authorities
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The emergency session of the MAGATE (International Atomic Energy Agency -- IAEA) devoted to Iran's nuclear programs which is what the Eurothree (France, Great Britain, and Germany) are insisting on may be the departure point for several possible development scenarios.
According to the first, the Iranians may at the last moment announce their intention to hold fresh talks in Moscow with a view to ultimately agreeing to Russia's proposal to enrich uranium on its territory. In this event Moscow will take up the Iranians' initiative and will propose that the relevant parties delay referring the issue to the UN Security Council. This scenario is the most advantageous one for Russia. The Kremlin will be showing the West that it is precisely our flexible position that has led the Iranians to conduct themselves more reasonably. believe that the efforts of our diplomacy will be aimed at securing exactly this development of the situation.
The second option: All the members of the UN Security Council, Russia included, will vote for sanctions against Iran. But China will veto this resolution. This, too, is not a bad variant for Moscow. Admittedly, in this instance Russia may be suspected of having reached prior agreement on all this with China.
Under the third scenario, the Iran dossier will be submitted for examination by the UN Security Council inasmuch as not only the Western countries but the IAEA leadership, too, are ready for this.
The Security Council's examination of the Iran dossier can produce two results. In the first instance, sanctions are imposed on Iran, but this is no catastrophe for Tehran. Recent decades have shown that sanctions have only played their part in South Africa, where international pressure compelled the African white minority to cede power to the black population. In Iraq, nothing came of the sanctions. The famous oil-for-food program proved to contain so many gaps and loopholes that it exerted no appreciable influence on the situation in the country.
The Iranians are confident: The European countries and China want to trade with them and to invest in their country.
It is not ruled out, however, that Moscow and Beijing will veto a possible Security Council decision to impose sanctions on Iran. Such a move is capable of severely damaging Russia's relations with the West.
The Iranian leadership has put Russia in a very awkward position. For Tehran, Moscow formally remains a friend and even an ally: We are building nuclear reactors for Iran and are helping to ease the situation surrounding its nuclear program. Despite this, however, the Iranian leadership is not giving us any consideration.
It is possible that Tehran actually is seeking to create a nuclear bomb. Or, rather, that it is trying to replicate the North Korean variant and keep the world guessing: Does Iran have such a bomb or not? It is clear that the "regime of the ayatollahs" does not intend using this weapon against anyone. The Iranians understand that their bomb will not reach America. It can reach only as far as Israel. But Tel Aviv is capable of mounting a more powerful nuclear strike in response.
Tehran needs a bomb for three reasons. First, in order to join the club of great nuclear powers. The Iranians want to be the only country in the Middle (Near) East, Israel aside, to possess nuclear weapons. Second, in the wake of the Iraq operation Iran has become somewhat fearful of the United States and is not ruling out a situation whereby the Americans may launch a strike against it, too. Tehran would therefore like to have a nuclear bomb for reinsurance purposes. Third, Tehran is seeking to unite the people around the government and the spiritual leadership, which does not enjoy particular trust among the population.
The government is waging a propaganda campaign around its nuclear program so as to win the people's sympathies. The propaganda looks like this: "Look, we are developing nuclear energy. We need it. But the whole world is against us. The imperialists are not letting our country develop." On a wave of patriotism people will rally round the new authorities. (Mirskiy ends)
Russia has appealed to Iran to reconsider its decision to resume nuclear research. Mikhail Kamynin, official spokesman for Russia's MID (Foreign Ministry), has stated that Moscow is advising Tehran to revert to the moratorium regime and to pursue full and transparent cooperation with the IAEA. The diplomat also pointed out that Russia is considering the proposal to convene an extraordinary session of the IAEA Board of Governors on the Iran issue.
3. Nuclear program may turn Iran into regional leader - experts
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Iran's nuclear program may turn the country into a "leading player" in the Middle East, Russian experts said Thursday.
"Iran is striving to take a dominant position in the region, and its nuclear program is the most suitable means of achieving this," Alexei Arbatov, the head of the center for international security at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said at a roundtable on the Iranian nuclear issue.
"Iran may become an owner of nuclear weapons, but it can approach this line without crossing it," he said. "In both cases it would enable the country to dictate its own terms in the world arena."
Razhdab Safatov, an advisor for the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, said Iran was caught in the tangle of its own interests.
"The nuclear program became a national idea for the country, and no one, not even high ranking officials, can retreat from the stated position," he said.
He predicts that the Iranian "nuclear file" will be forwarded to the UN Security Council, and that in this event, the international community will be able to impose sanctions against Iran.
Some countries, led by the United States, suspect Tehran of pursuing a secret weapons program and have been pushing the referral of the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic if it is found to have been in breach of its international commitments. Iran has consistently stated that it only wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Russia, which is building an $800-million power plant in Iran, has defended the country's right to nuclear energy, but expressed its "disappointment" with Tehran's decision earlier in January to end a two-year moratorium on nuclear research and resume activity at its nuclear facilities.
In a move seen as compromise to diffuse tensions around the situation, Moscow has offered to conduct uranium enrichment for Iran on Russian territory, a proposal which Ali Larijani, the secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, welcomed on Wednesday.
4. Russia To Oppose UNSC Referral if Iran Agrees to Joint Venture
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Russia will have more valid reasons to disagree with referring the Iranian nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council should Iran agree on a joint venture with Russia on uranium enrichment and utilization of spent nuclear fuel, Russian Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin said.
"Should the approach proposed by Russia, that is, all issues related to enrichment and utilization of nuclear fuel (be carried out) jointly by Russia and Iran and should Iran live up to its obligations, I think that Russia will have valid reasons to raise the issue of not referring Iran to the (UN) SC," Stepashin said at a press conference at Interfax on Thursday in Moscow.
5. Russian Expert Says Nuclear Center To Reinforce Nonproliferation
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The establishment of an international nuclear fuel center in Russia will reinforce the nuclear nonproliferation regime, said Alexander Pikayev, a deputy sector head at the Russian Academy of Sciences'Institute of World Economy and International Relations, and a leading researcher at the Moscow Carnegie Center and WMD non-proliferation program head.
President Vladimir Putin suggested opening the center in Russia at the Wednesday summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).
The fourth article of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows countries that do not have nuclear technologies to develop the atomic energy industry, but other articles of the treaty prohibit them having nuclear weapons.
Yet peaceful and military nuclear technologies "are intertwined," the expert said. "There have been precedents, including North Korea, that legally developed atomic energy technologies in keeping with the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and then quit the accord," Pikayev said.
The creation of nuclear centers, which will provide for nuclear fuel cycle services, will prevent similar situations in the future.
"Non-nuclear states will still be able to have atomic energy industries, but the most dangerous technologies, which may be used for military purposes, primarily, uranium enrichment, will be applied at international centers under international control," the expert said.
6. Russian Lawmaker Says Iran Should Show Readiness To Set Up Nuclear Joint Venture
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It is necessary "that in the near future Iran would demonstrate its readiness to set up a joint enterprise for uranium enrichment on the territory of Russia," the chairman of the State Duma committee for CIS affairs and ties with compatriots, Aleksandr Kokoshin, told an ITAR-TASS correspondent today.
According to him, "a step of this kind from the Iranian leadership would help to resolve the crisis over this issue". "The implementation of this project, which has received broad support from the international community, would become the optimal solution to the problem of providing for Iran's needs to develop peaceful nuclear energy," Kokoshin noted.
"It would be very beneficial if this project was joined by China as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which is playing an increasingly important role in tackling the problem of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensuring international energy security," Kokoshin said. "The positive open reaction from Beijing to the relevant proposal from Russia clearly facilitates the finding of a solution to this crisis situation," he stressed.
7. Scientists say Russia nuke fuel centre proposal better than bans
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The Russian proposal to set up the system of international centres for the provision of nuclear fuel cycle services is much more effective than any bans, Director of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics Boris Sharkov said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Thursday.
``Countries with developed nuclear technologies should use their technological capabilities in order to prevent with their help the dissemination of fissile materials without a proper international control,'' said Sharkov adding that ``prohibitive measures will have zero effect in this respect.''
``It is known that all the countries seeking to develop nuclear technologies in that or other way try to get round such measures - therefore the proposal brought forward by Russia is much more effective and working than simply bans,'' the institute director is certain.
``Russia has not accidentally proposed to set up such a centre in its territory, because our country possesses most advanced technologies in the sphere of uranium enrichment,'' the scientist added.
In the view of Sharkov, ``The situation around Iran and related dispute are only the beginning.'' ``From the point of view of objective needs of humankind and changing of the 'fuel basket' structure in favour of atom for peace such situations will repeat again and again regardless of whether we want it or not,'' he believes. Therefore it is already now necessary to work out a system that under international control would ensure non-proliferation of technologies that can lead to the creation of nuclear weapons at the same time giving developing countries access to cheap energy, the scientist said. ``Otherwise not only the world's fuel crisis may emerge,'' Sharkov noted.
Director General of the Bochvar Inorganic Materials Research Institute Sergei Vostrikov pointed out, ``As of today 30 countries already possess industrial nuclear reactors, although far from all of them have the full nuclear cycle technology.'' He cited as an example Lithuania where the nuclear energy industry accounts for 70 percent of the total electric power produced and Slovakia where it exceeds 67 percent.
``The traditional fuel resources - natural gas, oil and coal will hardly be able to satisfy the growing demand of the international economy, therefore the number of countries seeking to use atomic power for peaceful purposes will be inevitably increasing,'' the scientist said.
8. Russian Official Clarifies Nuclear Fuel Proposals
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St Petersburg, 25 January: Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) chief Sergey Kiriyenko believes Iran can take part in the development of international centers for nuclear fuel production. "Our Iranian colleagues could take part on equal terms with other countries," Kiriyenko said. There is "full readiness" in Russia in this sphere.
He noted that "the Russian proposal to develop a joint enterprise with Iran to produce fuel for nuclear power engineering is not an alternative to today's proposals by Vladimir Putin, particular since it is not an exclusive one".
"The president's proposal is an order of magnitude deeper and more systematic (than the proposal for the development of a joint Russian-Iranian uranium enrichment enterprise on the territory of the Russian Federation)," Kiriyenko said.
Vladimir Putin's proposal for the development of international centers to make nuclear fuel under International Atomic Energy Agency control demonstrates Russia's global approach to resolving the problem of nuclear security in the world, Kiriyenko believes.
Vladimir Putin's proposal takes the problem of uranium enrichment beyond the problem of relations with Iran and demonstrates a "global approach", he believes. In effect, Russia has proposed how the problem "might be comprehensively resolved in the world".
"If such a network (of international nuclear centers) existed, the sort of problem that exists with Iran today would not occur," Kiriyenko believes.
Russia's proposal for the creation of a system of international centers "is not merely a proposal to resolve the Iranian problem in this way", Kiriyenko noted.
"In effect, Russia is proposing the formation of international centers which under IAEA control would maintain the regime of nonproliferation and countries' access to cheap energy resources. Russia possesses the necessary technological chain to allow such an international center to operate," he said.
"The Russian president proposed not just the idea, but he also suggested that the center be situated in the Russian Federation," Kiriyenko declared. He noted that a center of this sort "must be absolutely open and operate in a regime of non-discriminatory access for countries". "Today this proposal is addressed to Iran, but it could be addressed to any country that lacks its own nuclear fuel and wants to develop civilian atomic energy," Kiriyenko declared.
"This is a proposal on how the system of security in the nuclear energy sphere should be organized in the world in a systematic manner," he said.
The Rosatom chief said Russia had sufficient guarantees to ensure the operation on its territory of an international center for providing nuclear fuel cycle services. "The main purpose of the proposal is security," he noted.
As far as the creation of the center on Russia's territory is concerned, Russia "is completely ready and the production facilities are ready", Kiriyenko said. He noted that the location where the center is to be developed "can be discussed". Participation in the work of the international center must be on economically mutually-advantageous terms. "Participation in a center of this sort must be on a parity basis and it must involve not just obtaining services but also a proportion of the income from the center's operations," Kiriyenko said.
The Rosatom chief did not reply to a question about what countries could take part in the creation of such a center, but declared that "all wanting to do so should have this opportunity".
Kiriyenko himself could pay a visit to Iran in the last ten days of February, he told journalists.
Kiriyenko said there would be a meeting in Iran of intergovernmental commission co-chairmen. In addition, the Rosatom chief intends to visit Bushehr. "Of course I want to go to Bushehr, and plan to meet the co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission," he declared in answer to a question from an ITAR-TASS correspondent.
Kiriyenko said that the meeting in Iran would prepare for a session of the intergovernmental commission of the two countries. "Our cooperation in the sphere of the peaceful development of atomic power could be discussed," he added, noting that Russia's proposal for the creation on its territory of a joint uranium enrichment enterprise would be included on the agenda.
(Kiriyenko told journalists many countries were currently taking decisions about developing nuclear energy, according to the Interfax-AVN military news agency website, 1356 gmt 25 Jan 06. "From the point of view of the nonproliferation regime, there are two sensitive points here: nuclear fuel enrichment and processing of spent nuclear fuel," the agency quoted him as saying.
"He said Russia had presented its proposals for the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem: 'On the one hand, spent nuclear fuel will be shipped for processing in Russia, and, on the other, it has been proposed to our Iranian colleagues that they should take part in the creation of a joint enterprise for the processing of uranium on Russian territory.'"
The agency quoted Kiriyenko as saying talks would be continued during the expected visit of an Iranian delegation to Russia "in February".)
1. Pakistan may seek Russian nuclear reactors - prime minister
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Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has called on Russia to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan and invest in the Pakistani economy.
"Why not sell Russian nuclear reactors for our nuclear power plants? In the military area we have a successful record of purchasing Mi-17 helicopters," Aziz said in an interview with Russia's Vremya Novostei newspaper published on Friday.
Arms trade between Russia and Pakistan is constrained by "a special kind of relationship between Moscow and New Delhi," he said, adding that "relations between two countries should not stand in the way of relations with a third country."
2. EurAsEC Summit Agts To Guarantee N-fuel Supply For Decades
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The implementation of agreements achieved at the EurAsEC summit will guarantee stable fuel supply for Russian and foreign nuclear power plants for decades ahead and propel Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the position of indisputable world leaders in the sphere of uranium production, sources at the Russian company Tekhsnabexport have told Tass.
The company will be responsible for the practical implementation of joint projects with Kazakh and Uzbek partners in uranium mining and processing. "The terms and parameters of agreements the three countries' presidents have achieved are still to be specified by Tekhsnabexport, Kazatomprom and the Navoi mining and dressing combine in Uzbekistan," sources in the company said.
Russia has inherited 70 percent of the former USSR's nuclear power industry, but most sources of uranium are in the territory of its near neighbors, the expert recalled.
According to the Natural Resources Ministry Russia produces an annual 3,200 tonnes of uranium - approximately 30 percent of what the country's ten nuclear power plants need. The other two-thirds come from fuel reserves built up back in the Soviet era.
The Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom has recalled that a special statement was made at the St. Petersburg summit declaring the intention to draft a package of measures for the industrial integration of the countries' nuclear power complexes by May 15, 2006. The EurAsEC leaders also drew up a protocol on joint action by Tekhsnabexport and Uzbekistan's Navoi mining and ore dressing combine on the joint development of uranium, Rosatom said.
Russia and Kazakhstan share interest in the Zarechnoye uranium mining joint venture and the nuclear fuel production plant in Ulba, Rosatom said. When the enterprise achieves capacity operation, the annual production of uranium may total 500 tonnes.
Earlier, the president of Kazakhstan's nuclear power company Kazatomprom, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, said that Kazakhstan last year mined 4,300 tonnes of uranium, 30 percent more than in the previous year.
The company's management has set the task of bringing natural uranium production to 15,000 tonnes by 2010. If this target is achieved, Kazakhstan will rise to number one position on the list of uranium producers, getting ahead of Canada and Australia.
Currently one kilogram of uranium in the world market sells for 95 dollars, Tekhsnabexport said.
Russia strengthened its commitment to atomic energy on Wednesday, as President Vladimir Putin welcomed Uzbekistan into an emerging nuclear alliance. Known to have extensive uranium-ore reserves, Uzbekistan will give Russia "additional long-term possibilities for the building of a stable nuclear fuel energy base," Putin said at the Eurasian Economic Community summit in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported.
His comments came just two weeks after Putin met with his Kazakh and Ukrainian counterparts to forge a nuclear energy alliance that could follow Soviet-era lines.
"Russia is firmly determined to widen its cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Community in the field of global energy safety. One of the priorities here -- the development of collaboration in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy," Putin said.
Uzbekistan's entry brings the number of EEC members to six.
Putin pitched Russia as a site for one of a handful of international nuclear fuel cycle service centers that would be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in line with a recent proposal by the nuclear watchdog. Having a center on Russian soil could help solve domestic nuclear fuel supply issues and prove lucrative, earning Russia tens of billions of dollars, analysts said.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia inherited the bulk of the union's nuclear assets, but it has faced problems with its uranium-ore supply because most uranium mining took place in the Central Asian republics.
"Uzbekistan was a major base of uranium ore in the Soviet Union. Bringing it on board is a weighty contribution" to Russia's ability to rebuild its nuclear energy capabilities, said Gennady Pshakin, an expert on the nuclear industry who heads a nonproliferation analytical center in Obninsk, near Moscow.
A stronger CIS nuclear energy block would also help Russia lobby internationally to have a nuclear fuel processing center on its territory, Pshakin said.
Such a center would enrich uranium to be used as fuel at power stations and also recycle the irradiated waste that is produced by nuclear power stations when they burn uranium or plutonium.
Besides supporting a multibillion-dollar business with potential clients including Iran, China and India, Russia would work on diminishing its own large stockpiles of irradiated fuel, Pshakin said.
Last week, the head of the State Duma subcommittee for nuclear energy, Victor Opekunov, said Russia's nuclear power plants had almost reached their capacity for storing spent uranium. "There will be a crisis if nothing is done," he said.
Almost 2,500 tons of irradiated fuel is stored globally, according to the IAEA. While some corporate nuclear fuel cycle facilities already operate in Europe, Putin backed the idea of having international centers open to all countries.
"We have all the things necessary to accommodate a processing center, but who will be prepared to let us have it?" Pshakin said, adding that Putin's call was only "the start of a dialog." Putin will raise the idea of the processing center at the Group of Eight meeting later this year in St. Petersburg.
Russia's Techsnabexport and Uzbekistan's Navoi Mining and Metals Plant will develop uranium fields in Uzbekistan on a joint basis, the PR center of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) said.
The agency said the agreement was reached and a protocol signed on the project at the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc) summit in St. Petersburg on January 25.
The EurAsEc leaders also reached agreements on nuclear energy cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan and said in a statement that a specific set of proposals on the industrial integration of the two countries' nuclear sectors should be worked out by May 15, 2006.
Mutual interest focuses on the Zarechnoye uranium mining joint venture between Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan's Ulba Metallurgical Plant, the Russian agency said.
Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko has said he thinks it would be feasible to recreate the Soviet-era nuclear fuel cycle.
The wholly state-owned Techsnabexport is one of the world's biggest uranium-based fuel suppliers. It exports Russian nuclear industry products and services and controls an estimated 35% of the world's nuclear fuel market.
EVER since the September 11th attacks, the Bush administration has piled money into the effort to prevent nuclear weapons, materials and skills from falling into terrorist hands. It now spends $1 billion a year on the nuclear clean-up in the former Soviet Unionï¿½a sum which allies from the G8 group of richer countries have pledged to match.
But is it enough? Even before September 11th a bipartisan commission set up by the Department of Energy (DOE) recommended that it was worth finding $30 billion over eight to ten years to complete the clean-up faster. It was ignored. In its most recent report, the September 11th commission agrees: "The size of the problem still dwarfs the policy response." Congress has intervened to stop the Pentagon diverting money to other causes, most recently Iraq.
Officials at the DOE say the main obstacle is not a lack of American cash but Russian foot-dragging. A dispute about liability which held up plans for America and Russia each to dispose of 34 tons of excess weapons plutonium only ended last year after George Bush and Vladimir Putin bashed officials' heads together. Two Russian reactors still making plutonium will at last be shut down by late 2008, and a third by 2010.
In general, Russia's armed forces have been co-operative. Security upgrades at naval sites should be finished by the end of this year. The strategic rocket forces, which control nuclear warheads, have listed more of their sites, and security should be reinforced at these by 2008. The difficulty comes with Russia's civilian sites. Four-fifths of these sites, containing about half the country's highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium stocks, have had security upgrades, but Russia's Atomic Energy Agency is blocking access to four large sites.
Another risk comes from the research reactors that the old Soviet Union (like America) supplied to its friendsï¿½and which are now packed with HEU. The Americans have helped recover unused uranium fuel from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Libya, Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic and Latvia. That still leaves more than 100 research reactors in 40 countries with more than 20kg of HEU. These might eventually be converted to run on lower enriched uranium, as has happened in the Czech Republic. There are plans afoot to recover spent fuel from other countries, too.
Once again, the problem may not be money. Laura Holgate of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), an organisation involved in the clean-up, thinks the process could be speeded up if commercial contractors were allowed to handle some of the less tricky cases. NTI has been helping Kazakhstan blend down around 3,000kg of its HEU for use in civilian reactors. Kazakhstan could perhaps do this job for others, too.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced Friday it had scrapped its last strategic bomber dating back to the Soviet era in line with its international commitments.
A spokesman said the last of 60 Tu-22 Backfire strategic bombers had been dismantled in an act witnessed by the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst and defense ministry officials from both Ukraine and the United States at the Poltava Air Force Base.
Under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), Ukraine has voluntarily destroyed all it nuclear weapons and reduced strategic offensive arms. The country should also finish scrapping its Kh-22 Burya (NATO codename AS-4 Kitchen) air-to-surface missiles in May 2006.
The START treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991, five months before the collapse of the Soviet empire, which left four independent states - Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan - with significant stockpiles of nuclear weapons on their territory. In 1992 the new states became parties to the START I treaty as legal successors to the Soviet Union.
Later, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, which had inherited strategic nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, ratified joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear states.
From 1996 through 1999 Ukraine dismantled 29 Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, and 487 Kh-55 Granat cruise missiles (AS-15 Kent), with another 11 bombers (3 Tu-95s and 8 Tu-160s) and 581 missiles transferred to Russia in 2000. Two Tu-95 bombers were transformed into reconnaissance aircraft for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and other two bombers (1 Tu-95 and 1 Tu-160) were sent to an aviation museum.
The agency charged with reducing threats against American forces celebrated the opening of its new headquarters building, the Defense Threat Reduction Center, here today. The new center consolidates five separate locations and more than 1,400 people assigned to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in the Washington metropolitan area into a single, secure facility.
James A. Tegnelia, agency director and host of the ceremony, introduced Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, chief of U.S. Strategic Command, as "part-owner" of the facility in his position as the operational commander responsible for combating weapons of mass destruction. DTRA provides capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the WMD threat, and mitigate its effects.
DTRA's "new triad" mission consists of offensive and defensive strategies and infrastructure. These are underpinned by intelligence and command and control. Cartwright said all these missions continue to be critical.
Buildings are only tools, Kenneth J. Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said during the ceremony. The new facility brings together in one place the intellectual property to safeguard America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction, he said.
Sen. Richard G. Lugar, who co-authored cooperative threat reduction legislation with then-Georgia Sen. Samuel A. Nunn starting back in 1991, thanked DTRA personnel for making the world safer by being on the frontlines of fighting WMDs, the "number one security threat of the United States.".
Strategic Command is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's lead customer, Krieg said. But in the acquisition world, it's also vital to pay attention to investors. Kreig called Lugar DTRA's lead investor and said the senator "expects us to return on his investment."
Dale E. Klein, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, called DTRA the "go-to agency."
"If you have a problem with weapons of mass destruction, just dial 1-800-DTRA," he said.
Five areas will continue to be important to the mission of combating WMD as DTRA develops and grows, Klein said: situational awareness, WMD threat reduction, force protection, the leverage of global assets, and adaptability.
The DTRC's new operations center, with its increased communications capabilities and 24/7 operations, will allow the agency to more effectively support its customers, said Robert Wood, chief of DTRA's Combating WMD Operations Center. A new collaborations center, which provides the capability for real-time science and technology collaboration with DoD and non-DoD organizations, will also help the agency leverage round-the-clock situational awareness and provide decision support of worldwide WMD and related activities.
Construction on the six-story, $107 million, 317,000-square-foot DTRC building began April 1, 2003, and was completed Sept. 23, 2005. About 200 DTRA personnel and guests attended the hour-long ribbon-cutting ceremony, held in the foyer of the new building. DTRA personnel throughout the new center, and in Russia, Japan, Germany, Albuquerque, N.M., and other locations viewed the ceremony via streaming video.
1. Snezhnogorsk Wharf Completes Nuclear Sub Scrapping Order
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An expert group from the British company RWE-NUKEM has inspected how the contract to scrap a Viktor III nuclear submarine was carried out at Russia's Nerpa wharf in Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk region. The contract was financed through the British Department of Trade and Industry.
The British experts expressed satisfaction with Nerpa's work and the technical equipment of the wharf, which specializes partly in scrapping de-commissioned submarines, Nerpa's chief engineer Rostislav Rimdenok told Interfax on Wednesday.
The Nerpa wharf is located close to the site of submarines' deployment, reducing to a minimum the risk of an emergency occurring while the submarines are being towed to the wharf, Rimdenok said. The risk of transporting submarines to a similar wharf in Arkhangelsk is much higher, he noted.
Nerpa completed the order to scrap the submarine three months ahead of schedule, Rimdenok said.
In the near future, the submarine's power unit will be taken to Saida Guba to be stored, he said.
Nerpa is to carry out other international projects with Norway and Germany.
1. Chief of General Staff on changes in Russia's military policy
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On January 25, the Defense Ministry's newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda published an article on Russia's military policy written by Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General of the Army Yury Baluyevsky.
At first glance, his main points coincide with the previous statements and unclassified papers of the Russian Defense Ministry, such as its document on the "Immediate Tasks of Development of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation." But a closer look at his article reveals interesting differences.
First, Gen. Baluyevsky is more emphatic than his superior in raising the question of the realignment of forces in the world arena: "Although a large-scale war (either conventional or nuclear) is unlikely in the current situation, there have appeared a host of other threats, sometimes less predictable and tangible, against the background of the continued active geopolitical restructuring of the world. Conflicts are spreading to larger areas, including the sphere of Russia's vital interests."
Gen. Baluyevsky is clearly hinting at Ukraine, whom NATO has virtually invited to join; at Georgia, whose enthusiasm to become a member is fuelled by instructors and patrons from Washington (the reason why Russian military bases have been practically ousted from its territory); at Azerbaijan, where the U.S. is trying to deploy its military base and radars to monitor Iran and, in passing, to secure its interests in this oil-rich Caspian nation. There are also Central Asian countries, to which Moscow is not indifferent, and which have bid goodbye to the Pentagon not long ago. The U.S. still has a base in Kyrgyzstan, but it is not likely to last long. Experts qualify Bishkek's request to pay double for the deployment of U.S. pilots and aircraft at Manas airport as Kyrgyzstan's reluctance to have this base on its territory.
Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov recently visited Azerbaijan and Armenia, where he discussed closer ties in the military and MTC spheres with presidents Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan. This means that Russia and its military leaders will not remain passive as states located across the world try to infringe on the sphere of Russian national interests, all the more so since these attempts may threaten Russia's own security.
Gen. Baluyevsky made one more important point in his article: "...armed combat...has undergone substantial changes. Scientific and technical progress has produced new, smart weapons and hardware. Combat efficiency has grown; troops have acquired a strong capability for combined operations in different physical environments. Forms and methods of using the armed forces have changed, as well as the understanding of the notion 'military force'."
This statement could be considered trivial if it were not for the inspired leaks from the General Staff about upcoming dramatic changes in the military structure of the Army and Navy. These include transformation of current military districts into "operational and strategic directions"; restructuring of divisions and armies into more flexible military units with enhanced maneuverability; and formation of task forces.
Minister Sergei Ivanov repudiated these rumors the other day, and went on record as saying that there were no plans to make any serious changes in Russia's military structure until the year 2010. But he did not manage to convince experts. Task forces are already operating in the Kaliningrad Region under the name of a "special district", and on the Kamchatka Peninsular, where they are referred to as "the forces of the North-West." Moreover, the General Staff has been testing the operation of task forces on the brigade-corps level in the Leningrad Military District for over a month. Experts are familiar with the trial although its results have not been made public so far.
The United States is changing its armed forces to make them more flexible and able to adequately respond to the challenges of the modern world. NATO is transforming itself as well by reducing its numerical strength, and gaining advantages in quality instead of quantity. It is not ruled out that the Russian army brains are trying to do the same, but it's still early to report specific achievements.
It follows from Gen. Baluyevsky's article that Russia is giving up a principle of symmetry, that is, an all-out effort to preserve quantitative parity with the potential enemy (unspecified by the Chief of Staff - V. L.). It will also develop its armed forces asymmetrically, shaping priorities, which will reliably deter any threats. One of such priorities is a "search for ways of most efficient use of military hardware...in conditions of limited resources, first of all, financial and economic".
This subject should be discussed in a separate article. But an analysis of nuances in Gen. Baluyevsky's article makes it clear enough that Russia is changing its military policy before out eyes.
2. Russia General Staff Chief Proposes Asymmetrical Security Approach
(for personal use only)
The Russian army's General Staff proposes abandoning the principle of symmetry that envisages retaining quantitative parity with a potential enemy at any cost, General Staff chief General Yury Baluyevsky has said.
He said in an interview with the military daily Krasnaya Zvezda published on Wednesday that the General Staff advocated an asymmetrical approach "with determination of priorities securing real deterrence of threats".
In conditions of a widening range of threats to security and their expression in new, including non-forcible forms, the "influence of the factor of uncertainty is growing that is objectively putting forward new demands to development and use of forces and means in ensuring security of our state," Baluyevsky said.
"At the same time, needs of military organisation oriented towards yesterday's tasks (a large-scale conventional or nuclear war) have come to an apparent contradiction with financial, economic, demographic and other possibilities of the state".
"A weighed, systemic approach to ensuring security of Russia, principally new views on military building in the Russian Federation and new methods of controlling it are needed," Baluyevsky said.
He cited as priorities "the search for ways of maximisation of the effectiveness of the use of arms and the military hardware, and of military force on the whole within the boundaries of restrictions on resources, first of all financial-economic ones; the need for balanced development of military organisation on the whole and of the armed forces in particular".
"These conclusions determine the need for taking effective and asymmetrical measures to neutralise the existing and predicted challenges and threats and determine new tasks, forms and methods of using all components of the system of ensuring security of the state," Baluyevsky said.
3. Russia To Build New Strategic Nuclear Submarine
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The keel of a new Russian strategic nuclear propulsion submarine will be laid in Severodvinsk in March, when the 100th anniversary of the Russian underwater fleet is going to be celebrated, a press service official of the Severodvinsk administration told Interfax-Military News Agency Thursday.
The Borei class submarine will be built at the Sevmashpredpriyatiye enterprise based in Severodvinsk.
It is known now that the submarine will be named Vladimir Monomakh in line with the tradition to commemorate the saints of Russia.
"The final decision thereof will be made by the Russian Navy command, but the shipbuilders and we have already launched an initiative to name the new sub in honor of one of the most prominent and glorious princes merited for uniting Russia," the official said.
The submarine was designed at the St. Petersburg-based Rubin central design bureau of naval equipment.
The jigs of Sevmashpredpriyatiye, reputed to be the main center of nuclear propulsion shipbuilding in Russia, also room two fourth-generation submarines, designated the Yury Dolgoruky and the Alexander Nevsky, which are also both of the Borei class.
The two subs are expected to be set afloat in 2006 and 2007.
By that time the tests of the state-of-the-art Bulava-M missile system to arms the subs are going to be complete, the system being a sea-based analogy of the Topol-M ground-based mobile system.
According to open sources, the Yury Dolgoruky's keel laying ceremony was held back in 1996.
The sub features a displacement of 14,720/24,000 tonnes. It has a length of 170m, width of 13.5m, max submergence depth of 450m, underwater speed of 29 knots, in which it is superior to both Project 941 Typhoon subs that have merely 25 knots and Project 667 BDRM subs with 23 knots. The submarine's endurance is 100 days. It carries a crew of 107, against the Typhoon's 120 and the Project 667 BDRM's 130.
4. RUSSIA TO STOP USING UKRAINE'S DNEPR ROCKET FOR MILITARY LAUNCHES
BBC Monitoring International Reports
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The Russian Space Troops do not plan to use the Dnepr booster rocket developed in a civilian conversion programme from the world's most powerful combat missile, the RS-20 (SS-18 Satan in NATO classification) [ITAR-TASS note], for military satellite launches, ITAR-TASS was told at the Space Troops today.
"The Space Troops are not planning to use the Dnepr booster rocket for launching military-purpose spacecraft. We are not businessmen. If once there was a bias (in favour of conversion rockets - ITAR-TASS note), we are abandoning this bias," the agency's source said. He recalled that launches of the Dnepr rocket used to be carried out from a silo launcher at the launch complex under the jurisdiction of the Strategic Missile Troops at the Baykonur cosmodrome. "The Strategic Missile Troops have now prepared a launcher in the 13th missile division (in a district of Orenburg), which will be used for launches of RS-20 missiles that used to be carried out in Ukraine in order to confirm their reliability," the agency's source said.
The three-stage Dnepr booster rocket with a launch mass of over 350 tonnes uses the first and second stages of the combat missile. The third stage has been adapted to ensure it can be de-orbited after the separation of its useful load. The missile is launched from its silo using a so-called mortar start - a cartridge pressure accumulator is used to propel it to a height of 30 metres, where the main engine of the first stage is activated. The Dnepr launch complex at Baykonur consists of three silo launchers.
Five successful launches have been carried out in the framework of the Dnepr programme to date. The international company, Kosmotras, is involved in promoting Dneprs on the launch services market. In the next two years the company plans to carry out another six Dnepr launches and put 53 satellites belonging to various countries into space. All contracts for these launches have already been signed with customers.
It is planned to carry out two of the six launches from the launch area of the Orenburg missile division, and the remaining four from Baykonur.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning. On the subject of Iran, what parameters might the U.S. be willing to accept Iran having a nuclear power program? And to the extent that you've said in the past that the United States supports the Iranian people, would you support expedited legislation, or a move that would send resources to such groups in Iran that might hasten regime change or democratic reform?
THE PRESIDENT: I have made it clear that I believe that the Iranians should have a civilian nuclear program -- power program under these conditions: that the material used to power the plant would be manufactured in Russia, delivered under IEEE -- IAEA inspections -- inspectors to Iran to be used in that plant, the waste of which will be picked up by the Russians and returned to Russia. I think that is a good plan. The Russians came up with the idea, and I support it.
And the reason why I think it makes sense is because I do believe people ought to be able to be allowed to have civilian nuclear power. However, I don't believe non-transparent regimes that threaten the security of the world should be allowed to gain the technologies necessary to make a weapon. And the Iranians have said, we want a weapon.
And it's not in the world's interest that they have a weapon. And so we are working hard to continue the diplomacy necessary to send a focused message to the Iranian government, and that is, your desires for a weapon are unacceptable. Part of that is -- part of that diplomacy was to provide an acceptable alternative to the Iranian desire to have a civilian nuclear power industry.
And secondly, we will support freedom movements all around the world. I constantly talked about today's reformers will be tomorrow's leaders, and therefore, we will work with groups that demand for people to be given the natural rights of men and women, and that right is to live in a free society.
World nuclear power production"IRAN is not frightened by the threat of any country and it will continue the path of production of nuclear energy."
With those words from president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's engineers ripped off the seals on their uranium-enrichment equipment and fired up the Natanz plant in central Iran. The move came in defiance of the governments of the European Union and the US, which fear that Iran will use the findings of its research to produce material to make a nuclear bomb.
But the issue of nuclear proliferation goes much wider than Iran. The number of nuclear reactors around the world is set to rise as nations look for ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and all reactors can potentially be used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. Because of this possibility, it might be useful for countries to be able to monitor each other to make sure weapons-grade plutonium is not being made on the sly.
At the moment there is no means of doing this, but researchers believe they have the beginnings of an answer. They are building devices they claim can detect whether a facility is producing radioactive material that could be used to produce a nuclear weapon. Their work is preliminary, and it won't solve the current political crisis involving Iran. Nor for that matter will it shed any light on North Korea's nuclear activities. But the surveillance device they are working on may prove invaluable to the nuclear police of the future.
If all new reactors were required to be fitted with such detectors, it would be very difficult for a country to produce weapons-grade plutonium in secret. It could also allow nuclear powers that have reached an agreement to halt the production of new fissile material to ensure that each country is keeping to the deal, says Cliff Singer, a physicist at the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy in Washington DC, which advises the US government on science-related security issues. Discussions are under way between India, Pakistan and Israel on drawing up a treaty that could lead to such a moratorium.
At the moment, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world's nuclear inspectorate, calculates the amount of plutonium produced by each of the reactors it safeguards by monitoring the amount of fuel entering the core, the total amount of time the reactor is on and its power output. The agency monitors the reactors in almost all countries that have them, with the exception of North Korea and some reactors in India and Pakistan. Iran has agreed to allow the IAEA to monitor any reactors that it builds.
The operators of each reactor also carry out their own calculations, and both sets of figures are verified by a mixture of planned and unannounced visits by inspectors, sealed surveillance cameras and satellite images of the steam and heat the reactor emits. But there is no way to directly measure the amount of plutonium a reactor is producing, says IAEA inspector Philip Durst, who is based at the agency's headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
Plutonium is produced as a by-product of the fission of uranium, and can also be used as fuel alongside uranium. By altering the type of fuel rods used in a reactor, or the rate at which neutrons permeate the reactor, it is possible to vary the amount of plutonium produced. This extra plutonium could be diverted to build a bomb without appearing as missing on the IAEA's books. "It is a potential route for proliferators to make plutonium for bombs," says Charles Ferguson, a nuclear proliferation specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank based in Washington DC.
This is where antineutrino detectors come in. The devices would be installed near reactors to detect these "ghostly" chargeless subatomic particles, which are generated as a by-product of the fission of both uranium-235 and plutonium. But the antineutrinos produced by uranium fission have more energy than those from plutonium fission, so a detector can determine their origin. As long as you know the amount of fuel going into the reactor, the rate at which the particles stream from the core can be used as a measure of the ratio of uranium and plutonium present.
Over the course of a year-long fuel cycle, as the uranium fissions and plutonium is produced, there is a gradual and predictable reduction in the number of high-energy antineutrinos released. This is because as the uranium is spent, a growing portion of the power produced is a result of plutonium fission, which produces fewer neutrinos at the higher energies necessary to be detected. If something untoward is going on and more plutonium is being produced than expected, the number of particles will fall at a faster rate. Because stepping up the rate of uranium fission to create more power would also have this effect, all antineutrino measurements must also be compared with the power output at the time they were released. This can be measured by comparing the temperature of the water going into the reactor with that of the water flowing out.
It should then be possible to calculate exactly how much plutonium is being produced, says Adam Bernstein, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. His team has built the first prototype detector at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente, California, and is already using it to monitor the reactor (see "Doing the headcount").
Using information about the fuel used and the reactor's power output, he predicted how much plutonium would be produced. He then calculated by how much this would cause the rate of antineutrino production to decrease between June and September 2005, and showed that this was almost identical to what the detector observed.
Bernstein cautions that the team's results are preliminary, but they intend to present their results to the IAEA within the next six months. "My guess is they will be enthusiastic," he says.
The IAEA is aware of the research, and has held meetings to discuss the potential of anti-neutrino detectors. One thing that needs improvement, says Durst, is the sensitivity of the detectors, as spotting very small increases in plutonium levels is beyond their capability at present.
To this end, Michel Cribier, a neutrino specialist at the French Atomic Energy Commission, is building a pair of antineutrino detectors, known as Double Chooz, which will be installed near two reactors at Chooz in north-east France. The detectors will begin operating in 2008, and will be used to study antineutrinos in more detail in the hope that a greater understanding of the particles will help to improve detectors.
With the same goal, Joï¿½o Anjos and his team at the Brazilian Centre for Research in Physics in Rio de Janeiro is building a detector at the Angra 2 reactor near the city.
But while installing such detectors in the reactors of compliant nations would allow the IAEA to keep a more accurate record of global plutonium production, it would not help measure the output of those countries that refuse to have their facilities monitored, or which simply do not declare their reactors.
To do this, you would need detectors capable of remotely monitoring antineutrino levels, something that is not yet possible. Computer simulations carried out by Eugene Guillian, a particle physicist at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, indicate that detectors sensitive enough to pick up distant signals would weigh about 10 million tonnes and cost around $100 million to build, putting them well out of the reach of the IAEA.
But a few strategically placed detectors close to countries of interest, such as Iran and North Korea, which would be smaller and cheaper than those needed for global monitoring, would be a more realistic goal, Guillian says. "Targeted monitoring might happen," he says.
Doing the headcount
The prototype detector at the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California is the first to test the idea of antineutrino monitoring.
Adam Bernstein and his team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Nathaniel Bowden of Sandia National Laboratories, built the underground detector in 2003. It is about 25 metres from the plant.
The detector is a cubic vat 1 metre across filled with a proton-rich oil. When antineutrinos from the reactor pass through the oil, a small fraction interact with the protons, forming a positron and a neutron. This makes the liquid give off two flashes of light with signature energies, about 30 microseconds apart.
Because the researchers know what percentage of antineutrinos will interact with protons in this way, they can calculate the number of antineutrinos that enter the detector each day.
2. Stopping the Iranian Bomb ï¿½ Part II A proposal to unite the world community and restrain Iran
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Twenty-five years ago this week, the Iranian hostage crisis ended, after having tormented the American psyche for 444 days. Today, a nuclear crisis swirls around Iran, pulling Europe, the United States, Russia, China, India and others into its vortex. This crisis will last longer than 444 days and is vastly more foreboding for the entire world. We must hope that the magnitude of the nuclear challenge will inspire all actors to think beyond the drama of any given moment and, instead, reconcile Iran with international society after 28 years of estrangement.
For reconciliation to occur, of course, Iranian and American leaders must overcome their tendency to be out of phase with each other. Whenever Iranian leaders have inclined toward pragmatism and deal-making, Americans have been ideologically resistant. When Americans have tried pragmatically to reach out, directly or indirectly, to Tehran, Iranian leaders have reacted with revolutionary disdain or, perhaps, fear. Now Iran treats European leaders the same way. This irreconcilability would be banal if its consequences were not potentially so tragic.
The latest turn of the cycle of irreconcilability began in August 2005 when Iranian leaders ended suspension of work related to producing nuclear fuel. Iran had implemented this suspension in 2003 and then again, after a renegotiation, in 2004, in order to persuade IAEA members not to report Iranï¿½s case to the UN Security Council. In September, President Ahmadinejad came to New York for the UN Summit and surprised Kofi Annan and other leaders by delivering a vitriolic speech. In October Ahmadinejad further dashed international confidence by challenging Israelï¿½s right to exist. In December Iran insulted Russia by at first ignoring and later slighting Moscowï¿½s offer to bridge the nuclear positions of Iran and the international community by establishing an Iran-Russia joint venture to enrich uranium for Iran in Russia.
These Iranian steps followed a clear logic. ï¿½The Europeans are like barking dogs,ï¿½ President Ahmadinejad purportedly was overheard to say during his visit to New York, ï¿½if you kick them they will run away.ï¿½ Whether or not the president actually said this, Iranï¿½s actions from August to January amounted to kicking the dog. And at first the strategy appeared strikingly successful. Berlin, London, Moscow, Paris, Washington and other capitals did not bite back.
Now something must be done. With Iran ending its suspension of fuel-cycle activities, and showing disdain for the rules of the international community, the matter belongs in the UN Security Council. But it would be premature to seek to impose sanctions on Iran, let alone talk of military enforcement.
Some critics of sending the Iran dossier to the UN Security Council fear that Iran will judge the measure so provocative that Tehran will kick IAEA inspectors out of the country and make an open dash for nuclear weapons. Others fear that the Security Council will be so weak, due to Chinese and Russian resistance to sanctions, that Iran will expose the international communityï¿½s bluff and merrily go about producing nuclear weapons.
Both criticisms miss vital points.
Now that Iran has broken its suspension, not sending it to the Security Council could guarantee that Iran will proceed to enrich uranium and, as a result, acquire the capability to make nuclear weapons. Referring Iran to the Council has risks, but they are less clear than the risks of doing nothing or striking militarily too soon.
If Iran reacted to a Security Council referral by expelling IAEA inspectors or otherwise breaking with its acknowledged nonproliferation obligations, the country would de facto admit that it seeks nuclear weapons and end the ambiguity that has kept many key states from cooperating with France, Germany, the United Kingdom and others who seek to reverse Tehranï¿½s course. Such a break would compel Russia, for example, to break off nuclear cooperation with Iran, leaving the Bushehr reactor unfueled and other technical problems unsolved. The political will to sanction and isolate Iran would be easier to muster than it is now. With inspectors and international technical partners out of Iran, military targeting of known nuclear facilities would be easier.
Smart Iranian leaders know this. They are not going to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or take other steps that would mark their nuclear activities as a threat to international security. Hence the threat of breaking with the IAEA is either idle or self-defeating for Iran.
The concern that Russia or China would block sanctions in the UN assumes erroneously that sanctions will or should be sought at this time. In the coming days, European and US leaders should clarify, when Iranï¿½s nuclear case is sent to the Security Council, that the Councilï¿½s demand on Iran be straightforward and non-punitive: Iran should resume suspension of activities related to producing fissile materials as long as the IAEA cannot resolve unanswered questions as to whether Iranï¿½s nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. To enable the IAEA to do its job, the Council should mandate, under Chapter VII, that Iran satisfy the IAEAï¿½s call for improved and timely access to sites, individuals, and original files.
Recognizing Iranï¿½s legitimate interests in peaceful nuclear energy, the Security Council should formally state the importance of establishing mechanisms to guarantee the uninterrupted international provision of nuclear fuel services to Iran as long as Iran eschews construction and operation of uranium enrichment and plutonium separation capabilities. The Council should invite Iran and a commission of industry and other experts under the aegis of the IAEA to explore modalities for the most reliable, cost-effective provision of international fuel services to countries that forego indigenous production of fuel.
It is difficult to see how Beijing or Moscow could veto such a patient, non-punitive, by-the-book resolution by the Security Council. Of course, critics will then say that such a resolution is toothless, once again missing the strategic logic.
The goal is to induce the Iranian public and a core group of leaders to end their countryï¿½s isolation and integrate into the international system, and to show that this will happen if Iran foregoes acquiring inherently dual-use nuclear capabilities and ceases supporting organizations that conduct terrorism. To achieve this, Iranians must see that the world is unusually united. A non-punitive Security Council resolution will carry this message better than a sanctions-heavy resolution, infeasible anyway, because Iranï¿½s radicals would rally less resistance to an international community that is acting temperately. If Iran rejects the terms of even a temperate resolution, then China and Russia and other Security Council members would be more willing to ratchet up the pressure. And when the ratchet turns due to Iranian belligerence or unreasonableness, internationalists competing for power in Tehran would have a stronger basis for demanding changes in their governmentï¿½s course.
No Western politician to date has begun to prepare his or her public for the potential burdens of a protracted sanction contest with Iran or a military clash Indeed, recent calls for sanctions by senators Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh were callow, precisely because they ignored the implications behind such a demand. No leading Iranian politician has articulated how the aspirations of Iranï¿½s youthful population will be met if their country is an international pariah. As Iran and the US remember from the 1979-80 period, severe crises impose heavy burdens on society. Unless leaders prepare their populations to bear these burdens, they should not make idle threats. Good leaders build partnerships; foolish leaders blunder into isolation.
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