Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear’

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IRAN: Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

November 16, 2009

Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

IPT News
November 13, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets

On November 12, 2009, the Justice Department dealt a major blow to Iranian nuclear ambitions and terrorist financing efforts. The announcement of an amended civil forfeiture complaint against the Alavi Foundation has the potential to cut off a significant source of funding to the Iranian government—funding which is absolutely essential as Iran continues to defy international efforts at curbing nuclear proliferation.

The amended complaint in United States v. ASSA Corp., now the largest civil forfeiture claim ever filed, is the latest in a series of moves taken by the United States government aimed at closing front companies funneling money to the Iranian government. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges, among other things, that the “Alavi Foundation has been providing numerous services to the Iranian Government,” including funneling money to Bank Melli, an institution which has been designated for its role in funding terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Bank Melli was designated under ***Executive Order 13382—aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction—on October 25, 2007. At the time of its designation, the Treasury Department explained that:

Bank Melli provides financial services, including opening letters of credit and maintaining accounts, for Iranian front companies and entities engaged in proliferation activities. Further, Bank Melli has facilitated the purchase of sensitive materials utilized by Iran’s nuclear and missile industry, and has handled transactions for other designated Iranian entities, including Bank Sepa, Defense Industries Organization, and the Shahid Hammas Industrial Group.

Following the designation of Bank Melli, the Iranian government began setting up front companies to hide its identity and continue sponsoring terrorism. Through these layers of front companies Bank Melli provided banking services to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) and the Qods force, a branch of the IRGC that has been designated under Executive Order 13224 for providing support to terrorist groups including the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Among the companies set up to mask Iranian activities were the ASSA Corporation and the Alavi Foundation, the two defendants in the recently amended civil forfeiture proceeding.

Assa Corporation is owned by Assa Company Limited, a UK entity which is wholly owned and operated by Iranian citizens who represent the interests of Bank Melli. Shortly after ASSA’s creation, on December 17, 2008, the Treasury Department designated ASSA as a terrorist financier, and the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint over ASSAs financial interests in the United States. At the time, senior Treasury official, Stuart Levey, explained “this scheme to use a front company set up by Bank Melli—a known proliferator—to funnel money from the United States to Iran is yet another example of Iran’s duplicity.”

Similarly, the Alavi Foundation has served as a front for Iran’s financing of terrorism. It began as the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit organization operated by the Shah of Iran and was later renamed the Mostazafan Foundation of New York and then finally the Alavi Foundation. Through each of these incarnations, the company has been used by Bank Melli and the Iranian government to finance terror, as detailed in the complaint. Along with ASSA Corporation, the Alavi Foundation maintains control over substantial assets and property within the United States. All would be forfeited should the government prevail at the upcoming trial in Manhattan.

The government’s action, undertaken under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, seeks forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets, including:

With Iran continuing to move forward in its plans to develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. government must use every tool at its disposal to dry up funding. The steps taken by the Justice Department this week are a strong indication that they are doing so. By closing down and seeking forfeiture of the assets of front corporations working on behalf of Iran, the U.S. can effectively curb not only the regime’s nuclear weapons program but also its continued support for terrorist organizations.

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In a related news item, the Alavi-owned Islamic Education Center of Houston has featured its own support for Iran. In a speech for the “Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution” of 1979, speaker Ghulam Hur Shabbiri prays for the victory of Islam all over the world:

This is just an opening. May Allah (swt) bless us all and forgive all sins of all life. And may Allah (swt) give Islami-Inqilab [Islamic Revolution] victory in [sic] all over the world. And may Allah give us UI that we may make this Inqilab [revolution] successful and we can join with the Imam of the age… to have a complete victory in the world and Islam, then Islam is going to be a ruling authority in the whole world and we can see the flag of Islam in the top places in this world.


VIEW THE VIDEO RECORDING @: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets#video

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Cartoon: Iran’s Nuclear Program

November 13, 2009

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How Israel Was Disarmed

October 6, 2009

Our only friend in the world is Israel.  Israel’s only friend has been and is ISRAEL.

PRAY THAT GOD WILL INTERVENE and keep us focsued on our purpose.

BUT!**

“It also appears to reverse a decades-old understanding between Washington and Tel Aviv that the U.S. would acquiesce in Israel’s nuclear arsenal as long as that arsenal remained undeclared”


D.

How Israel Was Disarmed

News analysis from the near-future. By BRET STEPHENS
Jan. 20, 2010
NEW YORK—When American diplomats sat down for the first in a series of face-to-face talks with their Iranian counterparts last October in Geneva, few would have predicted that what began as a negotiation over Tehran’s nuclear programs would wind up in a stunning demand by the Security Council that Israel give up its atomic weapons.
Yet that’s just what the U.N. body did this morning, in a resolution that was as striking for the way member states voted as it was for its substance. All 10 nonpermanent members voted for the resolution, along with permanent members Russia, China and the United Kingdom. France and the United States abstained. By U.N. rules, that means the resolution passes.
The U.S. abstention is sending shock waves through the international community, which has long been accustomed to the U.S. acting as Israel’s de facto protector on the Council. It also appears to reverse a decades-old understanding between Washington and Tel Aviv that the U.S. would acquiesce in Israel’s nuclear arsenal as long as that arsenal remained undeclared.
The Jewish state is believed to possess as many as 200 weapons.
Tehran reacted positively to the U.S. abstention. “For a long time we have said about Mr. Obama that we see change but no improvement,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. “Now we can say there has been an improvement.”
The resolution calls for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. It also demands that Israel sign the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and submit its nuclear facilities to international inspection. Two similar, albeit nonbinding, resolutions were approved last September by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
At the time, the U.S. opposed a resolution focused on Israel but abstained from a more general motion calling for regional disarmament. “We are very pleased with the agreed approach reflected here today,” said then-U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Glyn Davies.
Since then, however, relations between the Obama administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, never warm to begin with, have cooled dramatically.
The administration accused Tel Aviv of using “disproportionate force” following a Nov. 13 Israeli aerial attack on an apparent munitions depot in Gaza City, in which more than a dozen young children were killed.
Mr. Netanyahu also provoked the administration’s ire after he was inadvertently caught on an open microphone calling Mr. Obama “worse than Chamberlain.” The comment followed the president’s historic Dec. 21 summit meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Geneva, the first time leaders of the two countries have met since the Carter administration.
But the factors that chiefly seemed to drive the administration’s decision to abstain from this morning’s vote were more strategic than personal. Western negotiators have been pressing Iran to make good on its previous agreement in principle to ship its nuclear fuel to third countries so it could be rendered usable in Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. The Iranians, in turn, have been adamant that they would not do so unless progress were made on international disarmament.
“The Iranians have a point,” said one senior administration official. “The U.S. can’t forever be the enforcer of a double standard where Israel gets a nuclear free ride but Iran has to abide by every letter in the NPT. President Obama has put the issue of nuclear disarmament at the center of his foreign policy agenda. His credibility is at stake and so is U.S. credibility in the Muslim world. How can we tell Tehran that they’re better off without nukes if we won’t make the same point to our Israeli friends?”
Also factoring into the administration’s thinking are reports that the Israelis are in the final stages of planning an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who met with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Paris last week, has been outspoken in his opposition to such a strike. The Jerusalem Post has reported that Mr. Gates warned Mr. Barak that the U.S. would “actively stand in the way” of any Israeli strike.
“The Israelis need to look at this U.N. vote as a shot across their bow,” said a senior Pentagon official. “If they want to start a shooting war with Iran, we won’t have their backs on the Security Council.”
An Israeli diplomat observed bitterly that Jan. 20 was the 68th anniversary of the Wannsee conference, which historians believe is where Nazi Germany planned the extermination of European Jewry. An administration spokesman said the timing of the vote was “purely coincidental.”
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Cartoon: Iran (Snake)

September 16, 2009

IBD: 7 May 2008

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Nuclear Nightmare

June 23, 2009

55 NUKES!

Nuclear Nightmare

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | 23 June 2009

Nuclear Proliferation: Al-Qaida says it will use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons against the U.S. if it ever gets the chance. We’re not surprised. Nor would we be surprised if it eventually got the opportunity.


Read More: Military & Defense


“God willing, the (Pakistani) nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans, and the mujahedeen would take them and use them against the Americans.” So says Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al-Qaida’s top commander in Afghanistan, where the terror group has found a friend and ally in the Taliban.

If you think 9/11 was bad, just wait until al-Qaida gets a nuke, which is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Based both in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s untamed northwest frontier, al-Qaida in April launched a major offensive into Pakistan’s Swat Valley, engaging in fierce fighting with Pakistani army forces.

Swat is just 60 miles from Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. If al-Qaida beats the Pakistan army in Swat, what will keep it from marching on Islamabad and gaining control of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal — said to number as many as 55 warheads? If you said Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, guess again. It’s riddled with fundamentalist al-Qaida sympathizers.

If this isn’t frightening enough, the U.S. stands under direct threat of possible attack by a nuclear power — North Korea. That country, in the destabilizing throes of a leadership change, warns it will launch a missile on July 4 toward Hawaii — even as the U.S. shadows a North Korean ship containing nuclear contraband.

Meanwhile, the world is rightly riveted on Iran’s massive anti-government protests. But even if Iran’s corrupt religious regime falls, the potential threat of a nuclear Iran remains. Once Iran builds a weapon, which now seems certain, its traditional enemies in the region — including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and Syria, among others — will want to do the same.

This calls for leadership — the kind only the U.S. can supply. Unfortunately, the U.S. has followed a laissez-faire policy on nuclear weapons, abdicating its leadership to the entirely inept and corrupt U.N.

With the U.S. happy merely to talk, North Korea, al-Qaida and most seriously, Iran, are collectively thumbing their noses at us.

Pakistan’s recent history shows where Iran may be headed.

Despite warnings from the U.S. and U.N. in the 1990s, Pakistan acquired nuclear know-how and designs from China and the former USSR. And it bought dual-use technology from Western Europe.

A.Q. Khan, the German-educated metallurgist who served as scientific midwife to Pakistan’s bomb, then resold Pakistan’s nuclear technology on the global black market to bad apples such as Iran, Libya and North Korea.

That’s how proliferation starts. If one country gets a bomb, others want one too — and the race begins. Those who think the U.S. will be safer if it steps aside and lets countries pursue nuclear weapons are sadly mistaken.

Does anyone doubt that Pakistan — a country filled with fundamentalists like the ones who rule Iran — will help a fellow Islamic country get the bomb, as it did North Korea? Or that once Iran gets a bomb, it will make it available to terrorist clients such as Hamas, Hezbollah or even al-Qaida? We sure don’t.

Such proliferation poses a clear and present danger to the West. Yet, the U.S. seems unwilling to go beyond jawboning. Result: North Korea is busy making its nuclear threat real, while Iran is working frantically on a bomb of its own.

Al-Qaida’s threat brings us that much closer to the day when a nuclear device is exploded in a U.S. or European city because we’ve decided that talk — not action — is the way to respond.

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U.S. Chooses Four Utilities to Revive Nuclear Industry

June 18, 2009

U.S. Chooses Four Utilities to Revive Nuclear Industry

WSJ | Rebecca Smith | 17 June 09

Four power companies are expected to split $18.5 billion in federal financing to build the next generation of nuclear reactors — the biggest step in three decades to revive the U.S. nuclear industry and one that could vault the utilities ahead of some of the sector’s strongest players.

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Are We Crazy?

May 28, 2009

U.A.E Video Slows Nuclear Pact in U.S.

Wall Street Journal 15 May 09

By JAY SOLOMON

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is delaying submitting legislation to Congress on U.S. nuclear cooperation with the United Arab Emirates because of a graphic video showing an Abu Dhabi sheikh abusing an Afghan trader, officials said.

Any protracted White House delay could imperil efforts by U.S. power companies to win contracts estimated at $20 billion that the U.A.E. is scheduled to award by this fall.

General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co. are among the U.S.-based companies competing with French and South Korean firms to build the Emirates’ first fleet of nuclear reactors. The agreement authorizing cooperation between the U.S. and U.A.E. needs to be passed into law before U.S. companies can sell nuclear technologies to the Emirates.

“It would harmful for both the U.A.E.’s and U.S.’s long-term interests if American firms were to be taken out of the competition at this stage,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, the U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington. He added that several U.S. firms made it through the qualification phase and were in contention for the final contract.

The U.A.E. is seeking formal assurance from Washington in the coming weeks that U.S. firms will be able to participate.

President Barack Obama has touted the U.A.E. deal as a model for peaceful development of nuclear power and previously was expected to submit the cooperation bill to Congress last month, said officials involved in the deliberations.

However, the airing of the video on U.S. television networks in recent weeks has generated outrage among some U.S. lawmakers and led to the White House delaying the bill’s submission.

In the 2004 video, Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a half-brother of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, is seen abusing an Afghan trader who allegedly cheated him in a business transaction.

Sheikh Issa, with the assistance of uniformed men, abuses the Afghan man with a cattle prod, forces sand into his mouth, beats him with a wooden plank with a nail, and pours salt in his wounds. A sport-utility vehicle then repeatedly runs over the man in an undisclosed desert location. The man survived.

The Abu Dhabi government says it detained Sheikh Issa and opened a formal criminal investigation into the incident. It established a unit within its Public Prosecutors’ Office to investigate and prosecute human-rights complaints.

A number of U.S. lawmakers say they still doubt Emirati courts will deal with the matter properly. They have seized on the issue to question whether the U.A.E. can be trusted to safely run a nuclear-power program.

“A country where the laws can be flouted by the rich and powerful is not a country that can safeguard sensitive U.S. nuclear technology,” Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) said Wednesday.

A congressional commission on human rights convened Wednesday to focus on the Sheikh Issa video and the issue of U.A.E. human rights.

White House and State Department officials declined this week to set a firm timeline for submitting the U.A.E. legislation to Congress, saying the agreement is under review.

They also said nuclear cooperation and the U.A.E.’s human-rights record should be kept separate. “We think it’s an important agreement, but, as I said, we are right now in the stage of having consultations with Congress,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday.

U.S. officials and industry executives said they remain confident that the White House will eventually move the legislation forward, given its importance to American companies and President Obama’s wider nonproliferation agenda. Officials said the legislation could still be submitted to Congress this month.

U.S. officials praise the U.A.E.’s nuclear program because, unlike Iran, it is adhering to standards set by the United Nations atomic-energy agency.

The U.A.E. has agreed not to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium, significantly eliminating the possibility that nuclear fuels could be diverted for military purposes.

—Tim Alberta contributed to this article.