1. Hariri Says Opposes Pressuring Iran Over Nuclear Work
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Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Monday he opposed international pressure on Iran, after the New York Times quoted a leaked cable suggesting he would back military strikes to curb Tehran's nuclear work.
Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Iran, Hariri did not mention the newspaper's report of a 2006 U.S. diplomatic message, included in the WikiLeaks documents released on Sunday.
""Iraq was unnecessary,' claimed Saad. "Iran is necessary.,'" the New York Times quoted the secret cable as saying, apparently comparing the cases for military action against the two countries.
Hariri, who at the time was Lebanon's parliamentary majority leader, reportedly told U.S. officials that they "must be willing to go all the way if need be" to stop Iran getting a bomb if diplomatic efforts fail.
Washington and Israel do not rule out a military strike on Iran to stop it getting nuclear weapons, something Tehran says it is not seeking.
At a news conference on Monday, Hariri said: "Lebanon ... will never, ever consider itself as part of an international system which aims at pressurizing Iran."
"We believe that Iran reserves the right to enjoy peaceful nuclear technology. We invite the international community, based on this principle, to enter into talks with Iran," he added.
Iran has indicated its willingness to resume stalled talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, but the venue and agenda of the talks have yet to be agreed.
Hariri's visit to Iran, a strong supporter of Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, was partly to seek help to prevent political tensions in Lebanon turning violent if a U.N.-backed tribunal indicts Hezbollah members for killing his father.
"There is no doubt that the government of Iran is a friendly and brotherly government for Lebanon and it only wants Lebanon's good," Hariri said.
At a meeting with Hariri earlier on Monday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran "supports Lebanese unity and independence" but that some people were trying to create instability.
"Lebanon is a multi-religious country in which the followers of different faiths and sects have lived for a long time in peace and sympathy beside each other, but some are looking to create instability," he said, according to state radio.
Hezbollah says the investigation into Rafik al-Hariri's death is an Israeli project targeting the group, but Hariri has so far resisted its calls to repudiate the tribunal.
Khamenei encouraged the Lebanese prime minister to strengthen his relationship with Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, state radio reported.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AS27Z20101129
2. Iran Says Wikileaks Revelations "Not Valuable", Without "Legal Base"
Xinhua News Agency
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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday Wikileaks revelations on Iran's nuclear program and its relations with neighboring Arab countries are "not valuable" and lack of "legal base."
The leaks are mischievous and worthless, and are aimed at destroying Iran's relations with regional Arab countries, he said at a press conference.
The revelations are seeking a psychological war and simply have a propagandistic value, Ahmadinejad added.
Recent revelations by the U.S. Wikileaks disclosed that leaders of some Arab states, in the past years, had urged the United States to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran for following weaponry program in its nuclear activities, but Iran denies the claims, insisting that its nuclear program is aimed at civilian purposes.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/29/c_13627475.htm
Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran Monday, killing one and seriously wounding the other, state television reported.
The report did not say whether the two university teachers were directly involved in the country's highly controversial nuclear program.
State TV swiftly blamed Israel for the attacks. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in what Iran has alleged is part of a covert attempt by the West to damage its nuclear program. One of those two was killed in an attack similar to those on Monday.
The nuclear program is at the center of a bitter row between Iran on one side and the U.S. and its allies on the other. A number of world powers suspect Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons, an allegation the government denies. Tehran's refusal to limit some of its nuclear activities has brought on multiple rounds of U.N. sanctions against the country.
The assailants, who escaped, drove by their targets on motorcycles and attached the bombs as the cars were moving. They exploded shortly thereafter, the state TV report said.
The man killed Monday was identified as Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was wounded.
A second, separate attack in the capital Tehran seriously wounded nuclear physicist Fereidoun Abbasi. His wife was also in the car with him, and she was also wounded.
A pro-government website, mashreghnews.ir, said Abbasi held a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and was a laser expert at Iran's Defense Ministry and one of few top Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
The site said Abbasi has long been a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force. It said he was also a lecturer at Imam Hossein University, affiliated to the Guard.
Some Iranian media reported that Abbasi died after he was transferred to hospital. But Iran's official IRNA news agency said he was in stable condition in the hospital.
The attacks bore close similarities to another in January that killed Tehran University professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a senior physics professor. He was killed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his car as he was about to leave for work.
In 2007, state TV reported that nuclear scientist, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, died from gas poisoning. A one-week delay in the reporting of his death prompted speculation about the cause, including that Israel's Mossad spy agency was to blame.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jqCJSxc8a1xX1PIxNOWVn51gdK3g?docId=b70521b73be144be852958033c6020d8
4. Iran Obtained Missiles From North Korea: US Documents
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US intelligence believes Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea that could strike Europe, according to US documents divulged by WikiLeaks and cited by the New York Times.
The documents also show frustration among US diplomats who have been pressing for China to block shipments of missile parts from North Korea to Iran, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.
The New York Times, citing a diplomatic cable dated February 24, said "secret American intelligence assessments have concluded that Iran has obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design."
Iran obtained 19 of the North Korean missiles, an improved version of Russia's R-27, from North Korea, the cable said, and was "taking pains to master the technology in an attempt to build a new generation of missiles."
At the request of US President Barack Obama's administration, the New York Times said it had agreed not to publish the text of that cable.
"The North Korean version of the advanced missile, known as the BM-25, could carry a nuclear warhead," said the newspaper, adding it had a range of up to 2,000 miles (more than 3,000 kilometres).
"If fired from Iran, that range, in theory, would let its warheads reach targets as far away as Western Europe, including Berlin. If fired northwestward, the warheads could reach Moscow," it said, referring to other dispatches.
"The cables say that Iran not only obtained the BM-25, but also saw the advanced technology as a way to learn how to design and build a new class of more powerful engines," said the Times.
However, analysts say there is no confirmation of whether North Korea has the technology to miniaturize its nuclear weapons into a missile warhead.
In its report, the Guardian cited a "secret" 2007 diplomatic cable from the State Department giving China specific details about a missile parts shipment that was expected to transit Beijing and demanded a "substantive response."
The document said diplomats were instructed to express US concerns "at the highest level possible".
"The US believes that the proliferation of missile technology between North Korea and Iran will increase and that these two countries will attempt to conduct these transfers through Chinese territory," the document read.
It listed 11 alleged deliveries of missile-related jet vanes from North Korea to Iran that it said were shipped through Beijing's airport on North Korean and Iranian commercial airliners.
The document pointed out that then US president George W. Bush had previously raised the issue directly with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The cable said the shipments violated UN Security Council resolutions regarding both Iran and North Korea, as well as China's own export-control rules.
It was not known whether the demand led to action by Beijing, said the Guardian, which like the New York Times was given advance access to the WikiLeaks documents.
China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
China is an ally of both Iran and North Korea. It is a major importer of Iranian oil, and is the leading backer for the isolated North Korean regime.
The Guardian cable also indicated US testiness over previous requests for Chinese interdiction and said the volume of such missile trade was expected to grow "dramatically."
It said Chinese officials claimed their investigations had found no evidence of such trade. But the cable added "it appears that these shipments did occur and are continuing to transit via Beijing."
US diplomats were instructed to "explain to Chinese officials that the US carefully reviews the intelligence material that we have on shipments before we share it, and we ask that Chinese authorities respect this and act on our information accordingly and appropriately."
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jCx7QHgn9NtB2j-2f35oTQXtXE5Q?docId=CNG.050a9c8c5fd91a430d7e435fcc325b90.8a1
5. Israel Warned US Engagement with Iran Pointless: WikiLeaks
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Israel has warned its US ally that President Barack Obama's attempt to engage diplomatically with Iran over its nuclear weapons programme will fail, according to leaked memos published Sunday.
Several US cables released among a trove of secret documents secured by the WikiLeaks whistleblower site and released to newspapers, show Israel pushing for Washington to consider launching military strikes against Iran.
One memo from November 2009 recounting a meeting between senior Israeli and US military offcials, quotes Israeli defence ministry political and military director Amos Gilad describing Tehran's alleged plans as "intolerable".
"He said Iran remains determined to reach the 'nuclear option'," said the memo, which was tagged "secret" and described as an account of a meeting of the US-Israeli "40th Joint Political Military Group".
The documents were part of a trove released Sunday by the WikiLeaks website, and published in full or in part by several international dailies, including Britain's Guardian, which has the Israeli memos in full.
During the meeting, an agent of Israel's Mossad foreign intelligence service said Iran was playing for time to "avoid sanctions while pursuing its strategic objective to obtain a military nuclear capability.
"From Mossad's perspective, there is no reason to believe Iran will do anything but use negotiations to stall for time so that by 2010-2011, Iran will have the technological capability to build a nuclear weapon," he said.
And in a separate meeting in June 2009, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told visiting US lawmakers the West had only until the end of 2010 to find a way to halt the Iranian nuclear programme or face a Middle East arms race.
"Barak estimated a window between six and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable," he said, according to the leaked US cable.
"After that, he said, any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage," the memo said.
"He also expressed concern that should Iran develop nuclear capabilities, other rogue states and/or terrorist groups would not be far behind."
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g4WgTgeC0dC3LWT8FGytMZcp8zjg?docId=CNG.050a9c8c5fd91a430d7e435fcc325b90.a51
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has criticized the UN nuclear chief for disregarding the standards of professionalism and objectivism in his reports.
On Friday, the Vienna-based NAM issued a declaration, criticizing Yukiya Amano for "disregarding the standards of professional and objective reporting" and has called for this approach to be rectified.
The declaration, a part of which was obtained by ISNA, will be read by the NAM troika president this week in the UN Board of Governors' seasonal session on December 2 and 3.
The 11-article declaration has raised the question that why even though Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) in 2009 said, "Declared nuclear material in Iran remained in peaceful activities," and that the "verification of the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations remains ongoing," Amano has refrained from citing these points in his November 2010 report as well as previous reports.
Amano released his latest report to the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors on November 23, according to which all Iranian nuclear activities, including enrichment, have been under the supervision of the agency.
The report, however, accused Iran of not fully cooperating with the agency and called on Tehran to implement the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement.
The report said the protocol would allow more inspections of Iran's nuclear program, "which are essential to building confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of Iran's nuclear program and to resolving outstanding questions."
Iranian officials maintain that Tehran is "cooperating within the Comprehensive Safeguards and there is no reason to cooperate further than that."
NAM has also expressed its concern about releasing technical details of Iran's nuclear program which is not related to Safeguard Implementation Report and have asked Amano to stop this approach which leads to the revelation of sensitive and confidential information of member states.
Amano's previous report on Iran's nuclear program also drew criticism from 118 NAM member states, who criticized the IAEA chief for abandoning the "standard verification language" in the report.
NAM explained that the first report by Amano blatantly ignored Iran's cooperative efforts to address the concerns and resolve the ambiguities over its nuclear work.
In a statement, they also voiced their support for Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy after the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran on June 9.
The US, the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons, and Israel -- reportedly the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East -- accuse Iran of developing a nuclear weapons program.
Iran denies the allegations, saying its nuclear program is completely peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/153043.html
1. China's Top Foreign Policy Maker May Visit North Korea: Source
Yonhap News Agency
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China's top foreign policymaker could possibly visit North Korea soon amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula sparked by the North's abrupt attack last week on the South, a Beijing source said Monday.
China called Sunday for emergency discussions early next month among envoys to the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea and defusing high tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Beijing has reportedly decided to send a special envoy to Pyongyang at an early date.
The source familiar with diplomatic affairs said there is a greater possibility that State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who advises top Chinese officials on foreign policy, will visit North Korea to discuss the recent development of the regime's attack.
Wang Jiarui, director of the International Department of the Central Committee of China's Communist Party, was originally expected to visit North Korea as early as Monday.
"The important factor will be whether the Chinese envoy will be able to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during the visit, and the visit is likely to be arranged accordingly," the source said.
North Korea's Nov. 23 attack on Yeonpyeong Island killed two South Korean marines and as many civilians. It drew international condemnation and angered South Koreans, who came under their communist neighbor's first attack targeting civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Defying North Korea's threats of retaliation, South Korea and the United States launched large-scale naval drills off the Korean Peninsula's west coast Sunday with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington participating, in a potent show of force against the North.
China has expressed concerns on the South Korean-U.S. joint military exercise, saying it will further escalate the tensions.
Dai made an unannounced trip to Seoul on Saturday and paid a visit to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to discuss measures for easing tensions on the peninsula.
The Chinese foreign ministry released a statement on Monday, saying that Dai had a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by phone and exchanged views about the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
According to the statement, Dai stressed that China and the U.S. should play a constructive role in making joint efforts to cool down the situation, while Clinton said the U.S. side is willing to make joint efforts with China to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula.
Watchers, however, cast doubt on the effectiveness of China's proposal to hold an urgent meeting of nuclear envoys.
"The Chinese proposal to use the six-party talks for such a crisis management purpose is innovative, but probably will not be successful," said Brian Bridges, professor and head of the political science department at Hong Kong's Lingnan University.
"Created originally with the aim of solving the nuclear crisis, the six-party talks have not been used for this purpose before," he said.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/11/29/5/0401000000AEN20101129008500320F.HTML
3. North Korea Has 'Cutting-Edge Nuclear Fusion Technology'
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Nuclear fusion – where atoms are not split, as in fission, but joined together to release energy – occurs in stars and hydrogen bombs. Scientists hope to harness it in a controlled way to produce limitless clean energy.
Pyongyang is "running on the front line of technologies" in nuclear fusion, bioengineering and nanotechnology, said the Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party's newspaper, in an editorial carried by the official news agency.
"Nuclear fusion technology that has gripped the attention of the world, biological engineering and nanotechnologies are being actively developed," said the daily from the impoverished and isolated country.
Last week North Korea attacked South Korea, shelling a border island, killing four and wounding 18 in the process, its first shelling of a civilian area in the South since the 1950-53 war.
Earlier this month North Korea unveiled a modern uranium reprocessing plant to a visiting US nuclear scientist, fuelling fears it could build up its stockpile of nuclear materials that can be weaponised.
It is already thought to have enough plutonium for six to eight small bombs.
The regime first claimed in May it had carried out a nuclear fusion reaction, a process that the International Atomic Energy Agency calls "a great challenge".
South Korea, the United States, European Union, Japan, China, India and Russia are partners in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project that aims to build a fusion power plant by the mid-2030s.
North Korea walked out of six-nation aid-for-nuclear disarmament talks with the South, Japan, Russia, China and the United States and staged a second atomic weapons test in 2009.
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8167342/North-Korea-has-cutting-edge-nuclear-fusion-technology.html
4. U.S. Tackled China Over North Korea Nuclear Trade
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The United States has complained to Beijing several times over the transshipment of missile components from North Korea to Iran via China, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The report comes as China faces mounting international demands to bring its ally North Korea to heel following last week's bombardment of a South Korean island and reports it was at an advanced stage in a trying to enrich uranium, which would give it a second source of material for making atomic weapons.
On one occasion, three years ago, Washington pressed China to act "urgently" to halt a transshipment, the British daily said in report posted on its website Sunday quoting U.S. diplomatic cables -- originally released by the website WikiLeaks, some of which were made available to the Guardian and other media. r.reuters.com/buh57q
The United States has long expressed concern that the isolated North could become an illicit exporter of material for nuclear weapons, including to Iran.
The Guardian quoted an internal cable dated November 3, 2007 and signed by then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as saying a North Korean cargo of missile jet vanes destined for the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group, which runs Iran's solid-fuel ballistic missile program, was due to be shipped to Iran from Beijing the following day aboard a scheduled Iran Air flight.
Rice instructed the U.S. ambassador to raise the issue "at the earliest opportunity" and "at the highest level possible" to persuade the Chinese authorities to halt the delivery.
The newspaper quoted another cable, sent by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May, expressing concern that exports by named Chinese firms "could be used for or diverted to a CW program." Clinton asked whether the suspect transfers were approved by the Chinese government and warns that sanctions may be imposed.
"We request that the Chinese government take all steps necessary to investigate this matter and to prevent Iran from acquiring dual-use equipment and technology that could be used in its CW program."
The cable noted that the United States had raised its concerns with Chinese officials on numerous occasions and listed at least 10 instances in which it said North Korean shipments of ballistic missiles parts to Iran passed unimpeded through Beijing.
Separately, the New York Times said the leaked cables showed that U.S. and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North's economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. r.reuters.com/cuh57q
The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the U.S. ambassador to Seoul. The New York Times quoted her as telling Washington in February that South Korean officials believed that the right business deals would help salve China's concerns about living with a reunified Korea that is in a "benign alliance" with the United States.
In a report last month, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said that even though most believe China views North Korea's nuclear weapons program as destabilizing to the region, Beijing is not applying enough resources to detect and stop North Korea's illicit nuclear trade. r.reuters.com/guh57q
"As China seeks to be a global leader, it should also be willing to shoulder the responsibilities that attend such a status. Preventing nuclear proliferation is one of the most important global responsibilities," the report wrote.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AS16020101129
China quickened its diplomatic efforts to ease tensions between North and South Korea, calling Sunday for an emergency meeting of envoys to North Korean nuclear disarmament talks.
Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said chief negotiators to the six-nation talks are being asked to come to Beijing in early December for the emergency session "to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present."
"I want to stress that a series of complicated factors have recently emerged on the Korean peninsula," Wu said in a statement he read to reporters in Beijing. "The international community, particularly the members of the six-party talks, is deeply concerned."
The talks would bring together the main regional powers — the United States, Japan and Russia as well as China and the two Koreas — that have tried fitfully for seven years to persuade North Korea to relinquish its nuclear programs.
Wu's appeal is China's most public diplomatic intervention since its ally North Korea pummeled a South Korean island with an artillery barrage on Tuesday, aggravating already high tensions on the peninsula. At first slow to react, Beijing has been under pressure by the United States to use its historically strong relations with North Korea to defuse the crisis, and over the weekend picked up the pace of its diplomacy.
State Councilor Dai Bingguo, China's highest-level foreign policy official, met Sunday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul, while Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Underscoring Beijing's concern about the latest clash between the Koreas, its diplomatic initiatives come as the U.S. and South Korean military are conducting war games in the Yellow Sea. Beijing vehemently opposed such exercises four months ago during a previous spike in tensions between the Koreas, but has issued only pro forma objections this time.
Wu did not specify a date in early December for when the six nations would meet. He said they need "to exchange views on these major issues and make due contribution to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and easing the tension in Northeast Asia."
Wu said China hoped the meeting would also help relaunch nuclear disarmament negotiations.
The six-nation talks have been largely moribund for the past two years. In that time, North Korea tested a long-range rocket and exploded its second nuclear device, leaving the Obama administration questioning whether the North is interested in disarmament. South Korea also pulled back engagement with the North, especially after the sinking of a South Korean navy ship. Seoul says the vessel was hit by a North Korean torpedo, while the North denies involvement.
The U.S. envoy to the talks, Stephen Bosworth, made hurried visits to Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing last week after an American scientist reported being shown a new, sophisticated uranium enrichment facility in North Korea. Bosworth, however, played down any sense that the talks were urgent.
The emergency session proposed by China would mark new ground. The six-nation talks' senior envoys have not used the group to address broader security issues beyond North Korea's nuclear programs, though they have been discussed by lower-level officials. That potentially could help the group transform into a more full-bodied security forum for Northeast Asia — something some participants have advocated.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gR7mrKM0qkc71Mw8HI-iAiRgGsDQ?docId=c5e1f306e764410e889b7972086af4ef
6. South Korea Clarifies Objection to Early Resumption of Six-Way Talks
Yonhap News Agency
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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told a visiting senior Chinese official that Seoul was not interested in the early resumption of the six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear program as it is more urgent to deal with Pyongyang's belligerence, Lee's office Cheong Wa Dae said.
In a meeting with Lee earlier in the day, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo raised resuming the long-stalled nuclear talks that it chairs, according to senior presidential secretary for public affairs Hong Sang-pyo.
"(President Lee) made clear that it is not an appropriate time to discuss" the matter, Hong said. Hours after their meeting, the Chinese foreign ministry proposed that top envoys from six-party forum members -- the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan -- meet early next month.
Cheong Wa Dae said Lee's comments were not Seoul's direct response to Beijing's proposal as Lee expressed his view in a meeting with Dai hours earlier, in which they focused on the North's deadly artillery attack on South Korea last week.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/11/28/28/0301000000AEN20101128005600315F.HTML
The United States has led top secret efforts to remove highly enriched uranium from Pakistan for years, worried it could be used to make an "illicit" nuclear device, according to leaked US cables.
The New York Times said they were among quarter of a million confidential American diplomatic cables released by whistleblower WikiLeaks in what Pakistan condemned as an "irresponsible disclosure of sensitive official doucments".
The country's nuclear arsenal is one of the most sensitive topics for the United States as it tries to improve relations with the conservative Muslim nation on the front line in the campaign against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Parts of Pakistan's northwest is gripped by a homegrown Taliban insurgency. Its semi-autonomous wild border area with Afghanistan is subject to a covert US drone war targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders.
Islamist militants embarked on a nationwide bombing campaign across Pakistan in 2007, the same year that the Times said the secret efforts began.
In May 2009, it quoted then US ambassador Anne Patterson as saying that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts.
The Times attributed the reason to a nameless Pakistani official who said: "If the local media got word of the fuel removal, 'they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan?s nuclear weapons'".
Islamabad has been adamant that its nuclear weapons are in safe hands and US President Barack Obama has publicly concurred.
But the Times said the leaked documents showed the United States trying to remove the uranium from a research reactor, fearing it could be diverted for use in an "illicit nuclear device".
The newspaper did not elaborate on how the United States had sought to remove the uranium or the nature of any such device.
Experts estimate that Pakistan already has up to 100 nuclear weapons.
Pakistan's foreign ministry said it had been offically informed of the leaks by the US government in advance.
"At this stage we are examining the relevant documents and their contents," ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP when asked about the Times report.
The United States has longstanding concerns about proliferation from Pakistan and is reported to have set up an elite squad that could fly into the country and attempt to secure its weapons should the government disintegrate.
Pakistan announced that it had nuclear weapons in 1998, scrambling to secure the technology after India's first nuclear test in 1974.
Western analysts believe China assisted Pakistan in developing the Khushab nuclear site to produce plutonium, which can be miniaturised for cruise missiles -- presumably aimed at India.
In 2004, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's bomb, confessed to running a nuclear black market that sent secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He was put under house arrest for five years.
Although he retracted his remarks, US officials say he is still a risk.
Pakistan also opposes a proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would limit access to highly enriched uranium and plutonium used to make weapons.
Pakistan says the treaty would give a permanent nuclear imbalance to India, with which it has fought three full-fledged wars since independence in 1947.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hd3M0y10MAzyI2bMvKh_-p9xP7aQ?docId=CNG.aa68d93683d032809203948d4e74d46e.6f1
1. Bradwell: Public Meeting to Outline New Nuclear Plant Plans
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The case for a new nuclear power plant in Essex will be put forward by the Government’s head of nuclear development at a public meeting.
A campaign group fighting the plans for a plant at Bradwell will also have the opportunity to argue its case about why the site is unsuitable.
The public meeting is taking place at The Mersea Centre in High Street, West Mersea, at 7pm on Wednesday.
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, recently confirmed the Bradwell site is on the shortlist for new nuclear development.
At the meeting, the department’s head of new nuclear development, Hergen Haye, will present the Government’s argument and listen to the public’s concerns.
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (Banng) has said this meeting could be the last opportunity for the people of Essex to have Bradwell removed from the shortlist.
“The case for Bradwell is less than convincing,” said Banng chairman Andy Blowers.
“Highly-radioactive waste will be stored indefinitely on a site liable to flooding, there will be severe impacts on the Blackwater estuary from the huge cooling water requirement, and it will be more or less impossible to evacuate some local communities in the event of a nuclear incident.
“And, in this latest consultation, the Government has revealed very tall cooling towers – that would dominate the Blackwater estuary – may be required if more than one reactor were to be built.”
Strong criticisms of the Government’s proposals have been made by Colchester Borough Council and West Mersea Town Council
“It seems pretty clear Bradwell is not an option as far as communities are concerned,” Mr Blowers said. “At the meeting we intend to spell out why.”
A spokesman from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “From the detailed assessment we have carried out, we think the site at Bradwell has potential to be developed as a new nuclear power station. We launched a consultation on the revised Energy National Policy Statements on this just over two weeks ago and want to hear what local people have to say.”
Available at: http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/politics/bradwell_public_meeting_to_outline_new_nuclear_plant_plans_1_739751
2. Indian Government Gives Nod to Nuclear Power Plant in Western State
Xinhua News Agency
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The Indian government has given its nod to a controversial nuclear power plant along the Konkan coast in the western state of Maharashtra, local media reorted on Monday.
The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests has given clearance to the Jaitapu nulcear power project which is to come up in Madhban village in the state's Ratnagiri district, The Times of India reported.
The 9,900-Mega Watt Jaitapur nuclear power plant, the country's largest, will be set up in collaboration with the French firm Areva. The final contracts are scheduled to be signed in the first half of 2011.
The project has elicited a huge outcry, with mass protests by local fishermen and environmentalists who fear that it will not only destroy the rich marine biodiversity of the Konkan belt but also destroy the livelihood of the local population.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/29/c_13627168.htm
3. Iran's Atomic Chief Says First Nuclear Plant to Come on Stream by January
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Iran finished loading fuel into the country’s first nuclear power reactor and aims to start up the plant in the southern city of Bushehr by late January, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said.
The water inside the reactor’s core needs to warm gradually, and a series of tests has to be carried out, Ali Akbar Salehi said yesterday, according to state-run news channel Press TV.
“We hope the Bushehr power plant will hook up with the national grid in one or two months,” Salehi said in a report published on Press TV’s website.
Iran is restricted by international sanctions over its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies say is cover for the development of atomic weapons. Iran rejects the allegation and says it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity and for other civilian purposes such as medical research.
The country began transferring fuel to the reactor area of the plant at a ceremony held on Aug. 21 to mark the opening of the Russian-built facility. It started loading fuel into the reactor in October. Under Iran’s agreement with Moscow-based Rosatom, the state-owned Russian company will supply uranium for the plant and take away spent fuel.
Iran, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, may save 11 million barrels of crude or 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas a year by operating the Bushehr reactor, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-28/iran-says-its-first-nuclear-power-reactor-will-start-operating-by-january.html
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