1. Iran's Leader Calls on Muslim States to Stop U.S. Interference
Xinhua News Agency
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The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called on Muslim states on Monday to stop the interference of the "great Satan," implying the United States, in their domestic affairs, the state IRIB TV website reported.
The U.S. government is the main obstacle in the path of Islamic world to sovereignty, Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding that the obstacle should be removed, according to IRIB.
Khamenei made the remarks when addressing a group of Muslim intellectuals who are in Tehran for an "International Islamic Unity Conference."
Referring to the uprisings in the Middle East region, Khamenei cautioned the Muslim scholars and elites not to let the U.S. hijack the fruits of popular movements in the Muslim countries, said the English language satellite Press TV.
"The elites' guidance is needed to assist the people of the nations to prevent the arrogant apparatus from hijacking the glorious popular movements and stealing their uprising," he was quoted as saying.
The recent popular movements in Muslim countries resulted from a prolonged humiliation caused by the western powers and "are primarily against the dominance of arrogant powers," he said.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/21/c_13742447.htm
Brazil has announced that it will maintain its ties with Iran under new President Dilma Rousseff, continuing the cordial relationship started by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota told state television and radio on Friday that Brazil is keen on maintaining its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, AFP reported.
Iran and Brazil had friendly ties when Lula was president, and Patriota said the new government would maintain the same level of relations with Iran, stating, "Rousseff will stay on the paths of her predecessor and mentor Lula da Silva."
The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey, and Brazil signed a declaration in Tehran on May 17, 2010, according to which Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment.
The US and its European allies, however, snubbed the declaration and used their influence on the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear work.
Earlier this month, the Brazilian ambassador to Iran, Antonio Luis Espinola Salgado, hailed the Tehran Declaration and said that Brasilia is ready to increase its cooperation to help resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
He also noted that Iran-Brazil trade is on the rise, saying that bilateral trade reached a record $2.2 billion in 2010 and Brazil's imports from Iran rose five-fold last year.
The Brazilian foreign minister also lauded the efforts made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the former Brazilian president to expand relations between the two nations.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/165916.html
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the enemies of the Iranian nation have no fear of weapons, missiles and bombs yet they accuse the country of pursuing a military nuclear program.
“How can a government which possesses more than 5,000 fifth-generation nuclear bombs be afraid of this false claim that Iran may build one first generation bomb within the next few years?,” Ahmadinejad queried.
The enemies have “seen through experience that, whenever Iranians have found an opportunity, they have put forth ideas and [shown] capabilities conforming with world management [standards] and which the people of the world like,” the presidential website quoted him as saying on Saturday.
Iran has repeatedly declared the civilian nature of its nuclear program, citing reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency that have found no evidence of divergence in Tehran's nuclear activities.
Washington, however, managed to pressure the United Nations Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic's financial and military sectors in June.
Earlier in the year, Tehran invited representatives and ambassadors of different countries to inspect its nuclear facilities as a goodwill gesture.
Responding to Tehran's invitation, delegates from more than 120 countries, including representatives from the IAEA, visited Iran's nuclear sites.
After the visit the representatives published a report, which Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said served as a clear message to the world, confirming the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activity.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/166067.html
Iran has resumed research on development of a nuclear bomb, a U.S. intelligence report says.
The finding refutes a 2007 report that Iran had halted work on developing a nuclear weapon, The Washington Post said.
The report didn't say when Iran might develop the bomb and the National Intelligence Estimate said while Iran had resumed research, it described "serious debate within the Iranian regime … on how to proceed."
The new report is important because it represents the entire U.S. intelligence community, rather than a single agency, the newspaper said. But unlike the 2007 estimate, the new information will remain classified.
"Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so," said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear warhead have been slowed by international sanctions and sabotage. The newspaper described an incident in which a computer worm caused major equipment failures in centrifuge machines used in the enrichment of uranium.
A U.S. official said sanctions are causing major problems for Iran at a time when Tehran is facing increasing civilian unrest.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/19/Report-Iran-resuming-work-on-nuclear-bomb/UPI-51381298134195/
5. UN Nuclear Body May Highlight Iran Military Concerns
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The U.N. atomic watchdog may soon spell out in more detail its concerns about possible military aspects to Iran's disputed nuclear programme, Western diplomatic sources say.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is considering including an annex on the issue in its next regular report on Iran's atomic activities due this month, ahead of a meeting in early March of its 35-nation governing board, one source said.
Such a move would signal the U.N. body's growing frustration at what it sees as lack of Iranian cooperation with its probe into the country's nuclear work, which the United States and its allies fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons capabilities.
It could also give Western states additional arguments for trying to tighten their sanctions pressure on Tehran after talks in December and January between six world powers and Iran failed to make any progress in the long-running nuclear row.
Iran says its nuclear programme is a peaceful bid to build a network of atomic power plants and it has repeatedly refused U.N. demands to halt uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes.
For several years, the IAEA has been investigating Western intelligence reports indicating Iran has coordinated efforts to process uranium, test explosives at high altitude and revamp a ballistic missile cone in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who has taken a blunter approach on Iran than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, said in his first report on the issue a year ago that he feared Iran may be currently working to develop a nuclear-armed missile.
The assessment further strained relations with Iran, which said such accusations were baseless.
But in a sign of his determination to keep pursuing the issue, one diplomatic source said Amano had asked the IAEA department responsible for inspections in Iran and elsewhere "to look a bit more into the possible military dimension aspect".
He said: "I believe Amano has asked the safeguards department to look on the possible military dimensions issue and perhaps become a bit more clear on that in the following reports on Iran."
IRANIAN BOMB DEBATE?
Another source said he expected the IAEA's next report to have a renewed focus on this issue, adding he believed there was an effort to "thoroughly describe the concerns" the agency has.
There was no immediate comment from the IAEA, which issues quarterly reports on Iran to the agency's board, grouping the United States and European countries as well as developing and non-aligned states.
Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers, says its nuclear programme is meant only to yield electricity or radio-isotopes for agriculture or medicine.
The IAEA says Iran has refused to address the agency's concerns since mid-2008 and that Tehran's non-cooperation means the U.N. body cannot confirm that all nuclear material in the country is in peaceful activities.
It said in its last report in December it was essential that Iran gave it access to relevant sites, equipment, documentation and persons "without further delay".
Amano told Reuters earlier this month that the IAEA had never said Iran had a nuclear weapons programme.
"But we have expressed our concern over some activities that might have a military dimension ... Unfortunately, since 2008 our Iranians partners have not agreed with us to clarify this issue," he said.
U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iranian leaders have resumed closed-door debates over the last four years about whether to build a nuclear bomb, U.S. officials said this week.
But a recent update to a controversial 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear ambitions also says its leaders have not decided about going ahead with an atomic weapon, said the officials familiar with the latest assessment.
U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: "Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so."
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/02/19/nuclear-iran-idUKLDE71I0AK20110219
1. China's Deputy Nuclear Envoy in Pyongyang for Talks on North Korean Nuclear Standoff
Yonhap News Agency
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China's deputy nuclear envoy is visiting North Korea, an official said Monday, a possible sign that Beijing is stepping up efforts to resume six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs.
Amb. Yang Houlan arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday on a trip to accompany Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, and the two countries are expected to discuss ways to reopen the stalled six-party talks, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Sunday that Zhang arrived in Pyongyang and held talks with North Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Kim Kye-gwan.
The trip came days before Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's scheduled visit to Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday. The source said Chinese officials are expected to brief Seoul on the outcome of Zhang's trip to the North during the foreign minister's trip here.
Concern about North Korea's nuclear ambitions has escalated after Pyongyang revealed in November that it was running a uranium enrichment facility. Uranium, if highly enriched, can be weapons grade, providing Pyongyang with a second way of building atomic bombs.
South Korea has called for a tough international response to the uranium program, including taking the matter to the U.N. Security Council. But China, a veto-holding member of the Security Council, is negative about the move.
Seoul, Washington and Japan have also urged Pyongyang to take concrete steps demonstrating its denuclearization commitment and to take responsibility for last year's two deadly attacks on the South -- the March sinking of the South's warship Cheonan and the November shelling of the South's border island of Yeonpyeong -- if the six-party talks are to reopen.
The nuclear talks, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S., have been stalled since the last session in December 2008.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/02/21/47/0401000000AEN20110221001900315F.HTML
2. North Korea Sought Military Talks With US: Report
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North Korea last month offered to hold high-level military talks with the United States to discuss tensions on the Korean peninsula and nuclear disarmament, a report said Monday.
The North proposed the talks in a letter from its defence minister Kim Yong-Chun to his US counterpart Robert Gates, JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said, citing a South Korean government official.
It said the proposal was delivered to the US embassy in China on January 25, five days after Pyongyang made the same offer to South Korea, which accepted dialogue.
The United States reportedly rejected the offer, saying inter-Korean talks should come first.
The inter-Korean military talks broke down when Pyongyang officials walked out of a preparatory meeting on February 9, after Seoul demanded an apology for the deadly shelling of a border island in November.
Seoul's foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the newspaper report, saying it was a matter between the North and the United States.
Despite lambasting the United States as a potential invader, the North has long sought direct negotiations with Washington about its nuclear programmes. It also wants talks on a treaty to formally end the 1950-53 war.
The US says a peace treaty can be considered as part of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, which have been stalled since December 2008.
Inter-Korean tensions are high after the island shelling, and an alleged torpedo attack by the North on a South Korean warship last March that claimed 46 lives. Pyongyang denies involvement in the sinking.
Yonhap news agency, citing a senior Seoul official, said Sunday the North has started digging tunnels at its nuclear test site in apparent preparation for a third atomic detonation.
Asked about the report, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday it is watching the North Korean nuclear situation carefully "with all possible scenarios in mind".
The North's disclosure last November of an uranium enrichment programme -- a potential second way to make bombs -- has also raised security fears.
South Korea wants the UN Security Council to debate the programme but China, the North's sole major ally and economic prop, is resisting such a move.
China's vice foreign minister Zhang Zhijun held "friendly" talks Monday with Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun during a visit to Pyongyang, the North's official news agency said.
Zhang arrived Sunday and met first vice foreign minister Kim Kye-Gwan, the North's envoy to the six-party talks.
China wants to revive those talks to ease overall tensions on the peninsula. The United States, Japan and South Korea say the North must first mend ties with the South.
Russia is the other member of the forum.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jB4a8LbC0vzjc2wqS6Z4FzURYEIQ?docId=CNG.92c9a858b01aeeaf0f0e874dd3241370.a81
3. North Korea's Defense Minister Warns of 'Nuclear Catastrophe' in Letter to Gates: Official
Yonhap News Agency
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North Korea's defense minister warned of a "nuclear catastrophe" in a letter sent to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last month and demanded direct talks with Washington, a senior South Korean official was quoted as saying Monday.
Kim Yong-chun, the minister of the North's People's Armed Forces, stressed in the letter that the North and the U.S. should meet bilaterally because the nuclear standoff boils down to an issue between the two sides, the Seoul official said during a briefing at an annual conference of South Korean diplomatic mission chiefs, according to multiple participants.
Kim said in the letter that unless something is done about the deadlock in the North Korean nuclear issue, a "nuclear catastrophe will break out on the Korean Peninsula," the senior briefer was quoted as saying at the diplomats' conference that opened in Seoul for a five-day run.
The letter shows the North Korean situation is heading toward a "climax," the official was quoted as saying.
"After all, the next step will be either one of two things, whether it will come to dialogue or stage provocations, and I think North Korea is standing at such a crossroads," the briefer said at the conference, according to the participants.
Additional North Korean provocations could be attacks such as the March sinking of the South's warship Cheonan and the November shelling of the South's border island of Yeonpyeong, missile or nuclear tests, or acts of terrorism, the briefer predicted.
"North Korea's military is thinking of striking a big deal with the United States by bypassing South Korea while sticking to its position that it won't apologize for the Cheonan and the Yeonpyeong incidents," he said.
Pyongyang's emphasis on the past summit agreements with the South means that it is trying to win concessions from Seoul and security assurances from Washington while continuing to hold on to nuclear weapons without giving them up, the official told the conference.
The official also said the North's military appears to be the main player in its dealing with the U.S. after it started getting involved in Pyongyang's decision-making process since the North's leader, Kim Jong-il, suffered a reported stroke in 2008.
"As Minister Kim Yong-chun proposed the North-U.S. military talks, the North's military is engaged in a high level of diplomacy," he said, adding that the North's military believes the country's foreign ministry is unreliable.
The North's military has greater say in the country's decision-making than the foreign ministry and has been handling external affairs as well recently, the official said, adding that Seoul has evidence that the North's military had its hands on "a few important decisions" on inter-Korean relations.
On the health of the North's leader, the official was quoted as saying that Kim Jong-il is in "so-so" condition without his health conditions sharply deteriorating or improving, and the South plans to keep an eye on the matter in the future.
His first son, Kim Jong-nam, who has been living overseas for years, has been keeping in touch with his father, sometimes sending his wife to Pyongyang, the official said.
"It appears he feels any threat to his security," the official was quoted as saying.
The eldest son fell out of favor in the race to become a successor to the family dynasty after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport to visit Tokyo's Disneyland. His half-brother, Kim Jong-un, has apparently been named the next leader of the communist nation.
There have been rumors that the heir apparent could attempt to hurt Kim's eldest son.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/02/21/57/0301000000AEN20110221008900315F.HTML
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says he wants "genuine" talks with North Korea to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Lee spoke with reporters Sunday during a mountain-climbing trip to mark the third anniversary of his inauguration. He expressed hope that North Korea will not miss the opportunity this year to change its behavior.
Earlier this month, military officers from the two sides met for the first time after a year of tensions, but failed to reach a breakthrough. Seoul has refused to carry out higher-level talks before Pyongyang accepts responsibility for two attacks last year, which together killed 50 South Koreans.
North Korean officials have denied any connection to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, or to take responsibility for an artillery attack on a South Korean island.
Lee also said that no further talks can take place until North Korea demonstrates it is serious about getting back to nuclear disarmament talks.
South Korean news media reported Sunday that North Korea has been digging tunnels at a nuclear test site, raising concerns that it could be preparing for another nuclear test. Quoting government and military sources, the Yonhap news agency said the North has started building at least two new tunnels at Punggye-ri in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong.
North Korea conducted its two previous plutonium-fueled nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 at the site. Yonhap quoted an unidentified official as saying Pyongyang would probably conduct a third test using its available supply of plutonium, which is estimated to be enough for six to eight bombs.
The South Korean president said that while Seoul is open to talks with North Korea, it is also getting ready to respond to its provocations.
Available at: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/02/21/2011022100266.html
5. North Korea 'Appears to Prepare for Nuclear Test'
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North Korea has started digging tunnels at its nuclear test site in apparent preparation for a third atomic detonation, a report said on Sunday.
The North started building at least two new tunnels at its Punggye-ri facility in northeastern North Hamgyong province for a possible underground atomic test, Yonhap news agency said, citing a senior Seoul official.
The report comes after Pyongyang racked up tensions at the end of last year by launching an artillery barrage against a South Korean island and disclosing a new nuclear programme, before going on a charm offensive last month.
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak Sunday reiterated his calls for the North to adopt a new approach "if it can change... so that North Koreans can also have a chance to breathe".
The communist nation conducted its first two nuclear tests, in October 2006 and May 2009, at the Punggye-ri facility, the second coming the month after it walked out of six-party regional nuclear disarmament talks.
The unnamed official quoted by Yonhap said: "It is obvious evidence that it (the North) is preparing a third nuclear test."
Pyongyang is building more than one tunnel to choose the best one for possible test, as tunnels cannot be reused after a nuclear test blast, the official was quoted as saying.
The official added the possible test would probably be carried out using material from the North's plutonium stockpile, which Seoul and Washington estimate to be enough for six to eight bombs.
Cross-border ties have been icy since Seoul last May accused Pyongyang of sinking a South Korean warship and killing 46 sailors -- a charge the North angrily denied.
The tension soared further when Pyongyang's shelling of a frontier island of Yeonpyeong left four South Koreans, including two civilians, dead in November.
The same month the nuclear-armed North disclosed an apparently operational uranium enrichment plant to visiting US experts.
Pyongyang claims the programme is for peaceful energy development, but outside experts have said it could easily be converted to produce weapons-grade uranium, giving the North a potential second way of making atomic bombs.
Security concerns heightened further after recent satellite images showed Pyongyang was taking steps to test a missile that could eventually reach the US.
An image posted on the website of US defence information group GlobalSecurity.org showed a completed missile launch tower at the North's Tongchang-ri base on the west coast.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned last month that North Korea could have missiles within five years that would directly threaten the United States.
Lee told reporters that 2011 would be a good time for the international community to press the hardline communist country to change its course, stressing Seoul was ready for genuine dialogue to make that happen.
"I'd like to convey the message that this year is a good chance... I think the North is also thinking hard on the issue," he said.
Earlier this month Lee raised the possibility of a summit with the North's leader Kim Jong-Il.
But the first cross-border meeting since the shelling, held on February 9, broke down as Pyongyang officials stormed out after Seoul demanded an apology for the Yeonpyeong bombardment and the sinking of the warship.
The North said there was no need for further cross-border dialogue following the collapse of the talks, which it blamed on "traitors" in the South.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jg0NLAg291kHP6yGXJQGkPOwM6xA?docId=CNG.7a0509e93accafbdfd4785aad6cc3018.521
1. Pakistan Says It Is A Responsible Nuclear State
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Pakistan on Sunday asserted that it was a responsible nuclear weapon state with “impeccable credentials and custodial controls of its strategic assets” after National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon voiced concerns at the security of nuclear material and weapons in the neighbourhood.
Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said it was important for all regional states to live up to their responsibilities on the basis of recognised norms to promote an Asian security architecture.
Maintaining that Pakistan was mindful of its responsibilities in the context of global peace and security — particularly in “our larger Asian neighbourhood” — she said Pakistan had made a sincere gesture in reaching out to India for promoting stability and peace in South Asia.
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article1475280.ece
2. Pakistan Wants Nuclear Technology to Meet its Energy Shortage: Zardari
Associated Press of Pakistan
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President Asif Ali Zardari has said that since Japan is negotiating a deal with India to cooperate on peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the similar cooperation should be extended to his country. “If Japan is willing to cooperate with India in nuclear technology and (is) giving nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, I do not see any reason why we should not deserve the same,” Zardari said in an interview with the Japanese media in Islamabad ahead of his departure for a three-day visit to Japan, published in leading english newspapers here.
“I do not know what questions would be raised during discussion. It depends,” he said when asked if he will raise the question of nuclear technology cooperation during the visit.
President Zardari recognizes that nuclear power is a sensitive issue for the Japanese people and government.
Neither India nor Pakistan are signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and the talks between Japan and India have triggered an outcry from survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who fear such a deal will hamper global efforts to bring about a world without nuclear weapons.
Japanese firms, however, are keen to export nuclear power generation technology and related equipment to India, which plans to build 20 new nuclear power plants by 2020.
The President said Pakistan never wanted to go nuclear but it was forced to do so when arch rival India detonated a nuclear device in 1974 and again in 1998.
He denied a recent newspaper report that the number of nuclear weapons possessed by Pakistan exceeds that of India, saying, “There is always a difference between facts and fantasy.”
Asked if Pakistan seeks to expand its nuclear arsenal, the president said his government does not want to see an arms race in the region and advocates a nuclear-free South Asia.
During his visit to Japan, Zardari is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Naoto Kan and meet with Japanese business leaders and companies doing business with Pakistan.
He said he will strive to make the people and government of Japan aware of Pakistan’s situation and the challenges it faces.
President Zardari projected Pakistan as a destination for Japanese investment, calling on Japanese investors to make use of proposed economic zones in his country.
He urged leading Japanese automakers with assembly plants in Pakistan, which exclusively cater to the local market, to export locally made vehicles to markets in Asia and Africa.
There is also great potential for bilateral cooperation in the services industry, he added.
Available at: http://app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=131498&Itemid=1
3. Obama Administration Asked to Ensure Pakistan Doesn't Use Aid for Nuclear Programme
The Economic Times
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Voicing serious concerns over the increasing nuclear arsenal of Pakistan, a top US Senator has sought a clear assurance from the Obama administration that the American aid money is not used by Islamabad to fund its atomic weapons programme.
In a joint letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates , Virginia Senator Jim Webb threatened that in the absence of such an assurance, he would introduce a legislation in the Congress that would "require a certification" from the administration that US funds are not used by Pakistan for its nuclear weapons programme.
"Published reports indicate that Pakistan has steadily increased its nuclear arsenal over the past two years, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world's fifth largest nuclear weapons power," Webb, a Democrat, wrote in the February 17 letter to Clinton and Gates released to the media yesterday.
"I am writing to restate my concern that no US funds appropriated for assistance to Pakistan be used to support, expand or assist the government of Pakistan in the development of its nuclear weapons," he wrote.
In the absence of such clear assurances from the administration, Webb said he would be compelled to re-introduce the legislative amendment he had introduced in this regard in 2009.
Two years ago, Webb, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act that would have required certification that no funds appropriated for assistance to Pakistan would be used to advance programmes outside of direct US security interests, including expansion of Islamabad's nuclear weapons programme.
Following assurances of greater transparency and accountability from administration officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Webb decided not to pursue the amendment.
"Recent press reports on Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme are troubling," Webb said in his letter. "Just last week, the Washington Post reported that Pakistan has begun work on what appears to be a fourth plutonium-producing reactor, another signal that Pakistan continues ambitious efforts to modernise and expand its nuclear weapons."
"I am writing to restate my concern that no US funds appropriated for assistance to Pakistan be used to support, expand, or assist the Government of Pakistan in the development of its nuclear weapons. Absent clear assurances that this is not the case, I will feel compelled to re-introduce the amendment I offered in 2009," Webb wrote.
There was no immediate reaction from the State Department.
Available at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/obama-admn-asked-to-ensure-pak-doesnt-use-aid-for-n-programme/articleshow/7526693.cms
1. Rosatom Pressing Bulgaria to Sign Next Agreement on Belene Project
The Sofia Echo
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Russia's state nuclear energy company Rosatom is urging Bulgaria to sign another agreement related to the construction of the Belene nuclear power station, the company said in a media statement on February 20 2011.
Bulgaria will pay no funds from the state budget to build Belene, but at the same time it will keep its 51 per cent share in the project, Rosatom said.
"The project company could attract independently sufficient credit resources with a maturity date starting at the time the first reactor starts selling its electricity abroad and with a repayment period of 20 years," according to the statement.
That way, without paying anything, Bulgaria will have a nuclear power plant that will supply the country with electricity at a low price in the first 20 years of operation and bring steady profits to the budget as a beneficiary of power grid operator NEK in the next 40 years, Rosatom said.
Bulgaria picked Rosatom's unit Atomstroyexport to build the Belene nuke plant in 2006. The parties have so far signed 11 annexes to the main contract, with the 12th agreement, settling the implementation of activities in the 2011-2014 period, expected to be signed in March.
Available at: http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/02/20/1047203_rosatom-pressing-bulgaria-to-sign-next-agreement-on-belene-project
2. U.K. Companies in Talks on Indian Nuclear Project, Times Says
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U.K. companies including Rolls-Royce Group Plc, Serco Group Plc and WS Atkins Plc are interested in a project to build the world’s biggest power station at Jaitapur, on India’s west coast, the London-based Times reported, citing John McNamara, a spokesman for Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association.
A U.K. trade delegation arrives in India today to discuss the project to build six large reactors with a total capacity of 9,900 megawatts, the newspaper said.
The delegation is led by Barbara Judge, a former chairman of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, and Keith Parker, the nuclear association’s chief executive officer, the Times said.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-21/u-k-companies-in-talks-on-indian-nuclear-project-times-says.html
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