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As the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program proceed — apparently with steady progress toward a comprehensive agreement — and Iran demonstrates to the world it is abiding by the interim agreement signed last fall, the usual suspects who hope to derail this progress have been relatively quiet. But we can expect the calm to end soon. That’s the longtime pattern of the U.S.-Iran relationship: spoilers never go away, they just regroup and try to despoil again and again.
The attempt by the Israel Lobby in particular to scuttle the negotiations at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu failed earlier this year. The gambit was to intimidate Congress into passing crippling conditions on the talks and indeed new sanctions, even as Iran was complying with the interim deal. The most powerful pro-sanctions group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, finally backed off, seeing that several Democratic leaders in the Senate were not going to be coerced.
So the last three months have been quiet as the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiate with Iran to reach a comprehensive — that is to say, final — deal that will constrain Iran’s capacity to “weaponize” its civil nuclear power program, to which it’s entitled under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The high probability is that a final deal will permit Iran some capacity for enrichment of uranium, also permitted under the NPT, but at levels so low that there is no danger of weaponizing. The interim deal implicitly has that provision, and Iran would not accept anything less. (Israel, not so incidentally, is not a signatory of the NPT and has up to 200 nuclear weapons.) It will be this aspect of the final agreement that will provoke the spoilers yet again, even though airtight inspection and monitoring provisions will prevent breakout toward a weapon.
But the spoilers are gearing up using a different tactic, which is to undermine the legitimacy of Hassan Rouhani, the reform-minded president elected nearly one year ago. The Wall Street Journal, owned by right-wing majordomo Rupert Murdoch, chimed in this week with an attack on Rouhani for the treatment of some prisoners in a Tehran lockup. In a piece entitled “Rouhani’s Republic of Fear” (recalling Kanan Makiya’s book about Saddam Hussein), the Journal opined:
“Perhaps a regime, and a president, that can brutalize political dissidents as a matter of routine can prove reasonable at the nuclear negotiating table. We wouldn’t count on it, and neither should the West.”
Coming from a country that has the highest number of imprisoned citizens and a shameful system of racial bias in sentencing, that’s a bit much. But the strategy is clear: disparage and delegitimize the popular Rouhani, who has pushed for more openness in society and is, by all accounts, adhering to nuclear obligations.
The Heritage Foundation has similarly been at work. In a forum last week, it raised not only the human rights issue, but Iran’s alleged support for terrorism. The longstanding protocols of arms control have always excluded extraneous issues, not because they’re unimportant, but because the challenge of nuclear restraint — filled with technical details and political compromises — is complicated enough without entering into a rhetorical contest over who is worse on other issues.
Then there’s the tempest-in-a-teapot over Iran’s naming an envoy to the U.N. who had served as a translator in the 1979-80 U.S. embassy hostage crisis. This appointment of a reformer who has long served as a diplomat was turned absurdly into a virtual new 9/11 threat. From this thin reed the right-wing Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin went ballistic:
“Iran remains a terrorist state and will manipulate international institutions to its advantage with no intention of changing the underlying nature of the regime,” she wrote on April 3. This view, she avers, “is so obviously true, one wonders why any responsible lawmaker would indulge the administration in its folly.”
So, you see, Rouhani is an abuser of human rights and a terrorist. Iran is hence beyond redemption and should not be treated as a “normal” state. The implication, of course, is that a nuclear deal of any kind — no matter how much in keeping with the NPT and how tightly regulated Iran’s nuclear program would be — is not worth pursuing.
This is classic spoiler behavior. Just about everyone sees a nuclear deal as a godsend to a region in perpetual turmoil. Such an agreement could have powerful, salutary effects on Iran’s relations with its Gulf neighbors, on possible diplomatic approaches to the Syria crisis, and other nettlesome problems. And one suspects that because it has such potentially positive effects, the deal is opposed by Israel, which has fed off the specter of a nuclear Iran for many years.
We will see more of this hysteria as an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 draws near. It would be a small miracle if the United States and Iran, who have nourished each other’s misperceptions of the other for 35 years, could ignore the spoilers and write a new narrative of a new relationship.
John Tirman is coauthor and coeditor, most recently, of U.S.-Iran Misperceptions: A Dialogue (Bloombury).
Read The Full Article Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-tirman/iran-spoilers-redux_b_5206603.html?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=WorldPost
Following up this article.. Someone turned on 4 irrelevant pumps / 203t of 37,000,000,000 Bq/m3 contaminated water transferred to wrong place [URL]
On 4/23/2014, Tepco announced the atmospheric dose beside the issued building is 10mSv/h. The surface dose of the pipes is 80mSv/h.
The worker’s exposure dose limit is 50mSv/y. It reaches this limit only within 5 hours.
The reactor coolant water, which is extremely contaminated, is transferred to a subsidiary building near reactor4 to circulate. However on 4/13/2014, Tepco found the water was transferred to the irrelevant buildings by someone for unknown reason. Tepco is interviewing with over 90 workers but they haven’t obtained any useful information yet.
This building is likely to be leaking the highly contaminated water to underground. Tepco needs to implement the investigation all around this building, however the high level of radiation is preventing them from checking. The highest dose is 10mSv/h.
Fukushima plant area still remains dangerously contaminated. It “consumes” worker’s integral dose only to investigate the plant area outside of the crippled buildings.
Related article.. Tepco considers to track workers by location information in Fukushima plant having series of suspicious “accidents” [URL2]
Iori Mochizuki You read this now because we’ve been surviving until today.
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Uprates of its existing nuclear power reactors has helped Exelon meet its self-imposed greenhouse gas emissions target seven years earlier than planned. The utility has called on US policymakers to recognize nuclear’s role in meeting the country’s emission reduction goals.
Read The Full Article Here: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/EE-Nuclear-helps-Exelon-achieve-emissions-goal-2404144.html
When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. However, heretofore the cumulative antineutrino spectrum of uranium 238 fission products was missing. Physicists at Technische Universität München have now closed this gap using fast neutrons from the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Neutron Research Facility.
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American nuclear power companies may have to pay to clean-up military enrichment sites – for the third time over. An independent association of regulators has joined industry to oppose the unwarranted ‘tax’.
Read The Full Article Here: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Regulators-fight-third-time-tax-on-nuclear-2304141.html
Exelon, which operates America's largest fleet of power reactors, continues to make the case that electricity markets and the policies that shape them undervalue nuclear plants' reliability and lack of carbon emissions. Speaking to the U.S. Energy Association Wednesday, Chief Strategy Officer…(read more)
Read The Full Article Here: http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2014/04/24/exelon-exec-reiterates-possibility-of-nuclear-plant-closures-absent-market-reforms-042402.aspx
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