Russia is freezing a contract to deliver S-300 air defence missiles to Iran after the adoption of the new UN sanctions against Tehran, a source told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
"It is compulsory to fulfill a decision by the UN Security Council and Russia is not an exception here," said the source in the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, which supervises Russian arms sales.
"Naturally, the contract for the delivery to Tehran of the S-300 air defence missile systems will be frozen," added the source, who was not named. There was no official confirmation of the comments.
The resolution, agreed Wednesday by UN Security Council members including Russia, bars countries from selling Iran heavy weaponry including missiles and missile systems.
Russia several years ago agreed the deal on the S-300 missile systems but has never delivered the weapons amid pressure from the United States and Israel which fear they would dramatically improve Iran's defensive capabilities.
Its failure to deliver the missiles has disappointed Iran's Islamic leadership and become a major sticking point in once strong bilateral ties.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee on Russia's lower house of parliament, meanwhile said that while weapons sales restrictions had been expanded under the sanctions they did not include the S-300s.
"Systems of a defensive nature like the S-300 are not on this list," he told Interfax.
However it does not appear that the UN Security Council resolution makes a distinction between offensive and defensive heavy weaponry.
Moreover comments by the Russia's military-technical cooperation agency are closely watched as it is directly responsible for ensuring that Russia's arms sales fall in line with international law.
The S-300 sale is particularly controversial as Western powers fear Iran would use the sophisticated systems to protect its most sensitive nuclear sites against an aerial attack and inflict heavy casualties on the enemy.
Analysts and diplomats have suggested that the delivery of the weapons so worries Israel that the Jewish state could launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran if it has intelligence that Russia was to deliver them.
There was intense speculation that the Arctic Sea cargo ship which disappeared for several days last year and Russia said was hijacked could have been carrying an illicit cargo of S-300s to Iran.
However these reports were vehemently denied by Russian officials.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iszI1VmOP5lM3PzNxk_dQToW4_Rg
A day after the UN Security Council voted on a US-drafted resolution for new anti-Iran sanctions, Tehran's IAEA envoy reiterates that Iran's nuclear enrichment will not be suspended.
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asghar Soltanieh expressed regret about the persisting trend of misleading assessments made by the West regarding Iran's nuclear policy.
"It is regretful that this small number of Western countries do not want to learn a lesson from their past mistakes…they suppose that by passing the new resolution, the Islamic Republic would falter in its decision," Soltanieh said in an interview with IRNA on Wednesday.
The Iranian envoy criticized the new sanctions resolution for not having any "legal basis," adding that it would only strengthen the Iranian nation's resolve in defending their rights to such technological achievements.
Describing the fresh sanctions as a new failure for the US, Soltanieh said, "Iran will never put a halt to its enrichment program and will continue these activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency."
The remarks were made after the United States moved firmly away from the Obama administration's promise of diplomatic engagement with Iran and pushed through a new round of UNSC sanctions against the country.
As a result, the 15-member UN Security Council voted in favor of slapping a fourth round of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday under the allegation that Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons despite repeated assurances from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the non-diversion of nuclear material in the country.
However, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran insists that it should be entitled to exercise its peaceful nuclear rights.
Soltanieh went on to criticize the UNSC resolution, saying it is of little value as a recent "statement by over 100 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) … shows that Iran enjoys the support of the majority of countries in the world."
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129839§ionid=351020104
3. US, Iran Say Nuclear Swap Deal Still on the Table
Hurriyet Daily News
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Both U.S. and Iranian officials said the nuclear swap agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil was still on the table, even after the United Nations’ decision to adopt new sanctions against Iran.
In a meeting held with Turkish media after the U.N. Security Council’s vote approving fresh sanctions against Iran, U.S. officials said they were ready to discuss the nuclear issue at a technical level if Iran answers the relevant questions.
“We do not think the door of diplomacy has been closed. There is still a chance for diplomacy regarding Iran,” the U.S. officials said.
Under the agreement signed May 17 by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Tehran, Iran committed to send 1,200 kilograms of 3.5 percent enriched uranium to Turkey. In return, it would receive 20 percent enriched uranium from Western countries to be used as fuel for the nuclear research reactor in the Iranian capital.
Asked about the possibility of military action against Iran, the U.S. officials said they were not ruling out any options.
Iran willing to continue dialogue
Iran also announced late Wednesday that cooperation with Turkey and Brazil on the nuclear swap deal would continue.
Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said the Security Council’s decision to impose new sanctions on his country would not close diplomatic channels.
“Regional and international cooperation with Turkey and Brazil will continue,” Khazaee told an Anatolia news agency correspondent in New York.
The 15-nation council passed a resolution on new sanctions on Iran earlier Wednesday. The resolution was approved with 12 votes for the sanctions, two against from Brazil and Turkey and one abstention from Lebanon.
Khazaee said the adoption of the resolution disappointed Turkey, Iran and Brazil but that the trilateral cooperation would continue. The Iranian diplomat said Iran had fulfilled its obligations under the Tehran declaration.
The diplomat also noted that Israel possesses nuclear weapons and is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He claimed that Israel is the only country in the region to have nuclear weapons.
Khazaee said Iran has the right to generate nuclear energy for peaceful means.
Available at: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=nuclear-swap-deal-still-on-the-table-us-iran-says-2010-06-10
4. U.N. Council Hits Defiant Iran with New Sanctions
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The U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions in as many years on a defiant Iran on Wednesday over a nuclear program the West suspects is aimed at developing atomic weapons.
Iran insisted it would go ahead with the uranium enrichment at the center of the dispute. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the U.N. resolution was "valueless" and should be thrown "in the waste bin like a used handkerchief."
But Russia and China, which have strong economic ties with Tehran and have at times resisted sanctions, fully backed the new U.N. move to blacklist dozens of Iranian military, industrial and shipping firms.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the sanctions, which also provide for inspections of suspect cargoes to and from Iran and tighten an arms embargo, would be vigorously enforced.
The resolution followed five months of arduous negotiations between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. With 12 votes in favor, it received the least support in the 15-nation council of the four Iran sanctions resolutions adopted since 2006.
Brazil and Turkey, angry at the West's dismissal of an atomic fuel deal with Iran that they said made new sanctions unnecessary, voted against. Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah is in the government, abstained.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the resolution a mistake and his foreign minister said he doubted the sanctions would have any impact. But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Colombia they would "slow down and certainly interfere with" Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The sanctions vote was delayed for more than an hour as the Brazilian, Turkish and Lebanese delegations awaited instructions from their capitals. Western diplomats said that Lebanon's abstention came after the Lebanese cabinet split 14-14 over whether to oppose the resolution or abstain.
The four Western powers had wanted tougher measures -- some targeting Iran's energy sector -- but Beijing and Moscow succeeded in diluting the steps outlined in the resolution.
"This council has risen to its responsibilities. Now Iran should choose a wiser course," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told the council after the vote.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking atomic weapons, insisting that it only wants peaceful nuclear energy.
Tehran's envoy to the U.N. nuclear watchdog in Vienna said the sanctions would not alter Iran's nuclear program. "Nothing will change. The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue uranium enrichment activities," Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.
China, which had hesitated for months before joining talks on new sanctions in January, called for full implementation of the new measures and urged Tehran to comply with international demands about its enrichment program.
In Washington, Obama said the new sanctions were the most comprehensive that Iran had faced and sent an unmistakable message. "We will ensure that these sanctions are vigorously enforced, just as we continue to refine and enforce our own sanctions on Iran," he said.
Israel, which has hinted it could bomb Iran's nuclear facilities the way it did Iraq's in 1981, said the new sanctions were an important step, but called for even broader economic and diplomatic measures.
Russia's Foreign Ministry may have had Israel in mind when it announced that the measures in the resolution "exclude the possibility of employing force.
The resolution calls for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programs is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.
It also blacklists three firms controlled by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as calling for setting up a cargo inspection regime like one in place for North Korea.
The resolution lists 40 companies in all to be added to a U.N. blacklist of firms whose assets worldwide are to be frozen for aiding Iran's nuclear or missile programs.
The only new blacklisted individual is Javad Rahiqi, head of an Iranian nuclear center where uranium is processed. His assets will be blocked and he will face a foreign travel ban.
SEPARATE EU, U.S. SANCTIONS
EU diplomats said major European states plan to use the U.N. move to impose their own unilateral sanctions on Iran and could agree on them very soon.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted that unilateral measures that the United States and its EU allies might approve could target Iran's oil and gas exports.
On Capitol Hill, House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman predicted the U.S. Congress would pass additional sanctions on Iran this month, without saying what they might be.
Richard Lugar, a Republican and one of the Senate's most respected voices on foreign policy, said he thought lawmakers should wait and see what the Europeans did before deciding on further U.S. sanctions.
Turkey and Brazil last month revived parts of a plan brokered by U.N. nuclear inspectors in October for Tehran to part with 1,200 kg (2,600 pounds) of low enriched uranium, or LEU, in return for fuel rods for a medical research reactor.
Iran's LEU proposal raised concerns, Russia, France and the United States said in a note to the U.N. watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, according to diplomats in Vienna.
Iran had proposed to part with no more LEU -- potential atomic bomb material if enriched to a very high purity level -- than it did under the original October deal, even though its LEU stockpile had almost doubled since then, they said. Iran had also begun refining uranium to a higher level in February.
The first two U.N. Iran sanctions resolutions, adopted in 2006 and 2007, passed unanimously. The council approved a third set in 2008 with 14 "Yes" votes and one abstention.
The three rounds of punitive measures aimed at Iran's nuclear and missile industries have hurt its economy but failed to persuade its leadership to halt its nuclear program or come to the negotiating table. Analysts said the new sanctions were unlikely to persuade Tehran to stop enriching uranium.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6575A820100609
1. No Return to Nuclear Talks Without Resolving Cheonan
The Korea Times
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A senior policymaker on North Korea made it clear Wednesday that South Korea won't return to the six-nation talks on the North's nuclear program without addressing the Communist state's torpedo attack on a Navy vessel in March.
"It is needless to start the six-party talks again if North Korea is left unpunished," Vice Unification Minister Eom Jong-sik said in a forum on inter-Korean relations, hosted by the National Unification Advisory Council in Seoul.
"The denuclearization process, even if it resumes, will be disrupted by North Korea's provocative acts at some point. We need to make it pay the price for the torpedo attack."
Eom said the government will deal firmly with any offensive behavior by the North to make it act more responsibly.
"Our foremost goal is to make North Korea give up its nuclear ambitions. The inter-Korean relations cannot move forward if it keeps ignoring international calls for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," he said. "Our North Korea policy is aimed at preventing further acts of aggression and guiding it to take the right path."
Earlier Wednesday, President Lee Myung-bak held a meeting with his security advisors at Cheong Wa Dae to deal with the aftermath of the deadly sinking of the warship Cheonan.
He has reaffirmed stern countermeasures against North Korea and vowed to strengthen defense readiness, presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said, without elaborating due to security reasons.
Topics discussed at the meeting included Seoul's plan to seek an international response to the attack, and ways to boost its defense alliance with the United States, according to participants.
Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/06/113_67377.html
2. U.S. Assures Support for S. Korea's Bid to Condemn N. Korea Over Ship Sinking: State Dept.
Yonhap News Agency
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The United States affirmed its support Wednesday for South Korea's bid to condemn North Korea at the U.N. Security Council for the torpedoeing of a South Korean warship.
"We stand by the South Korean investigation," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. Data picture
Crowley was responding to a letter by Sin Son-ho, North Korea's permanent representative to the U.N., to Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, the rotating chairman of the 15-nation Security Council, urging the council not to discuss the issue.
Sin denied Pyongyang's involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors in the Yellow Sea in March, and warned of "consequences" if the council takes up the matter.
The North Korean diplomat also demanded South Korea accept a North Korean inspection team to examine the evidence cited by an investigative team from five countries, including South Korea and the U.S.
"If such a letter has been transmitted with that message, it mirrors what they've said publicly," Crowley said.
The international team concluded last month that a North Korean mini-submarine torpedoed the Cheonan, but North Korea vehemently denies involvement and has threatened all-out war if sanctioned.
South Korea has brought the case to the Security Council, and severed all ties with North Korea, except for the joint industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong.
South Korea and the U.S. will also conduct a joint military exercise in waters near the scene of the sinking late this month in a show of force that includes the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.
A group of South Korean military and civilian investigators is due in New York later this week to explain to council members the outcome of the probe.
The council members will likely begin discussing the matter next week as they just wrapped up months-long discussions on imposing new sanctions on Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons programs.
Beijing, a veto-wielding council member, approved the Iran sanctions in diluted form, but is not expected to support any new sanctions against North Korea, which is already under U.N. sanctions imposed after its nuclear and missile tests.
China, North Korea's staunchest communist ally, has not yet officially blamed the North for the sinking of the Cheonan. China has only emphasized the need to avoid conflict and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Many analysts believe it will take considerable time before the council acts, whether it be a non-binding presidential statement or a resolution with or without sanctions. It took about two weeks for the council to adopt resolutions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-woo Tuesday called for the Security Council to take "appropriate action" against North Korea, but added that a resolution seeking additional sanctions "will not have practical benefits" as bilateral and multilateral sanctions have already been imposed on North Korea.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/06/10/65/0301000000AEN20100610000500315F.HTML
1. Japan, Vietnam to Cooperate Over Nuclear Power Generation
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Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem agreed Wednesday that their countries will cooperate on nuclear power generation in the Southeast Asian country, the Foreign Ministry said.
Khiem, who also serves as deputy prime minister, congratulated Okada over the phone for being reappointed as foreign minister in the new government led by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and looked forward to visits by both Okada and Kan later this year for meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Available at: http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/japan-vietnam-to-cooperate-over-nuclear-power-generation
Moscow and Ankara solidified their energy relationship by agreeing to cooperate in the nuclear energy sector, ministers said in Istanbul.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz signed a nuclear energy agreement with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on the sidelines of a regional summit in Istanbul, Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports.
Russian and Turkish nuclear companies under the deal agreed to cooperate in nuclear regulatory, safety and fuel exchanges.
A nuclear power plant included in the agreement will be near the Mediterranean port of Akkuyu. Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russian companies in Namibia will mine the uranium for the Akkuyu plant.
The plant will operate under international accords. Spent nuclear fuel in Turkey is subject to repatriation, RIA Novosti added.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/06/09/Russia-Turkey-ink-nuclear-deal/UPI-66361276090394/
Russia and France signed on Tuesday an agreement on cooperation in the atomic energy industry.
The agreement was signed between Russian atomic energy firm Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko and chairman of the French Atomic Energy Commission Bernard Bigot.
The agreement, which replaces the earlier 1993 and 2000 deals, aims to expand bilateral cooperation to include canvassing public opinion, setting up warning systems and emergency management.
"The agreement has paved the way for us for a partnership with France in the atomic sphere," Kiriyenko said.
He added that the two sides had worked out a schedule which includes the creation of a coordination committee to see the completion of the joint program by early fall.
Cooperation will mostly focus on the prospective technologies of recycling spent nuclear fuel and on the use of radioactive isotopes in medicine.
Russia and France will also conduct joint experiments in the field of atomic energy.
Most importantly, the two sides will cooperate on nuclear rector technologies using high-speed reactors and MOX fuel. This will involve regular mutual visits by Russian and French experts to both sides' research centers.
France, which is currently working on a third-generation reactor, has been a major exporter of nuclear reactors and fuel products in the past decade, often to the detriment of Russia's nuclear export ambitions.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20100608/159347441.html
1. Hitachi Aims to Sell More Than 38 Nuclear Plants by 2030
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Hitachi Ltd. aims to win more than 38 nuclear power plant orders in domestic and overseas markets by 2030, it said in a statement released in Tokyo.
The company targets nuclear sales of 380 billion yen ($4.2 billion) by 2020, up from 210 billion yen in 2009, it said in the statement. Hitachi estimates more than 150 new nuclear plants will be built worldwide by 2030.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=asIsuY9voMOg
The United States and France have urged Japan to sign a nuclear deal with India, a move that would clear the way for General Electric Co and France's Areva to use Japanese suppliers for nuclear projects in the country, the Nikkei reported.
Nuclear giant Areva and a US consortium led by General Electric have each won orders for two reactors in India, but Japan's technologies are deemed indispensable to completing the projects, the business daily said. Both Areva and GE use reactor vessels made by Japan Steel Works Ltd. GE, in particular, relies heavily on Hitachi Ltd in nuclear reactor projects, the daily said.
Japan has declined to sign a civilian pact with India because the nation is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), thus barring Japanese companies from supplying nuclear products to India, the Nikkei said.
The requests from the French and US governments could present a conundrum for the new government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the Nikkei said, adding that many in the government are against giving special treatment to India.
Japanese manufacturers, such as Toshiba Corp and Hitachi, are concerned that they will miss out on business opportunities in India, the daily said.
Companies from the United States, France, Russia and South Korea are scrambling to win orders for the more than 20 foreign-made large nuclear power plants that India plans to install by 2020 due to growing power demand, the Nikkei said.
Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=97265&tp=on
The Burmese ambassador to Singapore on Tuesday denied allegations that Burma has a secret nuclear program.
The denial comes after a report released last week showed a mass of new evidence that the military junta has been developing nuclear technology for years.
Ambassador Win Myin told AsiaOne News that the allegations in the report were “not true.”
“It stereotypes our country,” Myin continued. "If [we wanted to] know how to produce nuclear bombs, we need infrastructure and technology."
The release of the report last week prompted Virginia Democrat Sen. Jim Webb to cancel his planned trip to Burma, reported the Washington Times.
The nuclear report was coauthored by retired senior U.N. nuclear inspector Robert E. Kelley from information collected over five years by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a media entity run by Burmese exiles in Norway. DVB also created a documentary film on the topic available on their website.
DVB obtained thousands of military files and hundreds of color photos from former Burmese army Maj. Sai Thein Win, who was head of a secret military factory in Burma before fleeing with the documents.
The evidence shows the junta building a nuclear reactor and enriching uranium for missiles with a range of 1,860 miles, according to the documentary. The documentary also shows evidence that the junta is digging an extensive series of protective tunnels for the military throughout the country.
Expert analysts, according to DVB, show that the junta is a long way from actually having significant nuclear capability, but they clearly have nuclear intentions and are acting to carry them out in secret.
The documentary also shows long suspected support by North Korea for Burma’s nuclear program. Burmese military are also trained in Russian universities.
“A nuclear-powered Burma would be a nightmare for all neighbors and would upset the balance of power in the region,” wrote Bertil Lintner in Yale Global in 2008, a Swedish journalist and author of several books on Asia.
The production of nuclear weapons in Burma also violates the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone agreement, signed by Burma in 1995.
Available at: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/37127/
2. U.S. and Croatia to Cooperate in Preventing the Illicit Trafficking of Radioactive Materials
National Nuclear Security Administration
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The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia. The MOU will allow NNSA to help equip Croatia’s strategic points of entry—such as border crossings, airports, and seaports—with new radiation detection systems and train Croatian Customs in the use and maintenance of this equipment. The cooperation will strengthen the capability of Croatia to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials in the Balkan region.
“This agreement with Croatia is the latest example of NNSA’s commitment to work with our international partners to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear and radiological material,” NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Ken Baker said. “Croatia is an important partner in preventing proliferation and we look forward to continuing to work with them to improve border security and combat nuclear terrorism.”
NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports, and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment, plays a critical role in the U.S. effort to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.
The SLD Program also provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at over 300 sites in 40 countries around the world.
NNSA has also worked with Croatia on strengthening its export controls to prevent the illicit transfer of nuclear technologies. Specifically, the International Nonproliferation Export Control Program has engaged Croatian Customs on commodity identification and portable metal analyzer training in order to strengthen Croatian enforcement of export controls
Available at: http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/uscroatia
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