Thursday, August 31, 2006

IAEA Director General Releases Iran Nuclear Safeguards Report

On August 31, 2006, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei released his report Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The report was prepared at the request of the United Nation's Security Council.

The July 31, 2006 Security Council Resolution 1696 requested "by 31 August a report from the Director General of the IAEA primarily on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in this resolution, as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board and with the above provisions of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration".

The Institute for Science and International Security has obtained a copy of International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei's August 31, 2006 Report on Iran nuclear safeguards. You can download it as a pdf by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shirin Ebadi Underscores Dangers of Military Interference in Iran

Even in the face of Iranian government discrimination, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate and Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi underscores the dangers of international punishment or military interference in Iran in an interview with the German paper Der Spiegel online. Dr. Ebadi states, “It's the people of Iran that have to gain their own freedom and human rights improvements. Military action or other punishments against Iran will make the situation for political reformists and human rights advocates in Iran a lot more difficult. I don't think that Iranian human rights advocates need help of that sort from the governments of the West. But I expect people in the West to support freedom-seekers in Iran.”

On August 3, 2006, the Iranian Interior Ministry announced that Dr. Ebadi’s organization, the Center for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), is an illegal organization and violators will be prosecuted.

The Iranian Interior Ministry claims that Center for the Defense of Human Rights has not obtained a proper permit. As Dr. Ebadi stated in her response to the threats, under the Iranian Constitution, non-governmental organizations operating peacefully and within the law are not required to obtain permission in Iran. Even so, Dr. Ebadi actually applied for a permit four years ago and never heard back from the government until now.

Iran has a responsibility to uphold its obligation to protect human rights defenders under the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which declares that individuals and associations have the right “to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” to “develop and discuss new rights, ideas and principles, and to advocate for their acceptance.” Iran is also a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As such, Iran should reverse the threat to the Center for the Defense of Human Rights and other human rights defenders, allowing them to carry out their activities, free from intimidation and prosecution, according to Iranian and international law.

August 31 Deadline Approaches

The Washington Post reported on August 30, 2006 that Iranian nuclear specialists have begun enriching a new batch of uranium. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency plan to formally disclose the new enrichment work, as well as additional Iranian nuclear advances, in a report due out on August 31, 2006. The officials, who revealed the information on condition of anonymity, stressed that the Iranians are working at a slow pace with small quantities of uranium, and that they are enriching the material to an extremely low level that could not be used for nuclear weapons. Still, it is unlikely that the Iranians will stop the work in time to meet the Security Council's August 31 deadline.

Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns said, “We've seen no indication that Iran intends to comply with the U.N. Security Council's condition of suspending its nuclear program. Should it not comply by Thursday, and should the IAEA report confirm Iran's continued efforts to enrich uranium, the U.S. will move to begin sanctions discussion at the United Nations, and we expect a sanctions resolution to be passed.”

On August 29, Britain's UN ambassador Jones Parry said that he expects the UN Security Council to take up the Iranian nuclear issue in mid-September if Iran does not comply with demands to suspend uranium enrichment activities by August 31. According to Parry, “I would expect the dossier to come back into the council shortly, but only after a further period of discussion among capitals. I would expect activities here to resume toward the middle of September.”

Meanwhile, on August 29, 2006, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad declared support for Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear technology. In a meeting with the visiting head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi in Kuala Lumpur, the former Malaysian prime minister said that Iran is being prevented access to peaceful nuclear technology by the very countries which possess the biggest nuclear arsenal. Mohammad said, "They are opposing Iran because they believe that they have the sole right to this knowledge.”

In related news, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a press conference on August 29 to focus attention on his challenge to the president of the United States: a face-off in a live televised debate. Mr. Ahmadinejad also found himself challenged by local reporters who questioned the government’s economic program and its tolerance of a critical press.

Rumsfeld Says US Able to Take on New Fight

On Monday, August 28, 2006, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned potential adversaries that the US is still capable of responding to military threats at home and abroad, despite ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking to troops at an airfield in the Nevada desert, Rumsfeld responded to a question about military options for dealing with Iran. According to Rumsfeld, “We are capable of dealing with other problems were they to occur. It would be unfortunate if other countries thought that because we have 136,000 troops in Iraq today, that we're not capable of defending our country or doing anything that we might need to do.” While noting diplomatic efforts to solve Iran’s nuclear program, Rumsfeld again accused Iran of funding, training and supplying terrorist groups, including Hizbollah. Pentagon officials also claim Iran is supporting the insurgency in Iraq.

Rumsfeld seemed not to acknowledge a military that is showing signs of stress and argued instead that military evacuations of some 15,000 people from Lebanon during the war between Israel and Hizbollah, as well as its role in responding to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina last year, prove the military’s ability to respond to new missions.

Meanwhile, the Army and Marine Corps must spend tens of billion of dollars to replace and repair equipment. Army officials have said the combat readiness of many units and their ability to take on new missions have suffered. And, recruiting levels for new troops are also down.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Trita Parsi and James Walsh on Iran's Response to the P5+1 Proposal

On August 22, 2006, Iran formally responded with a 21 page memo to a proposal from the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, United States + Germany) seeking to resolve the dispute over the country’s nuclear program. Click here to download an MP3 recording of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation’s press conference with experts Dr. Trita Parsi and Dr. James Walsh. (Please Note: This recording is only available for download until August 31, 2006.)

About the Experts

Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Triangle - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007). Dr. Parsi is one of the few people in the US - if not the only one - that has traveled both to Iran and Israel and interviewed top officials in these countries on the state of Israeli-Iranian relations. He has conducted more than 110 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American officials in all three countries. He is fluent in Persian/Farsi. Dr. Parsi earned a Master's Degree in International Relations at Uppsala University, a second Master's Degree in Economics at Stockholm School of Economics and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

James Walsh has traveled to Iran and is engaged in direct discussions with Iranian leaders. In July 2006, Dr. Walsh testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Iran’s nuclear program. Dr. Walsh is a Research Associate at the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he is leading two series of dialogues on nuclear issues, one with leading figures in Iran and another with representatives from North Korea. Dr. Walsh is a member of the Board of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Before joining MIT, Dr. Walsh was Executive Director of the Managing the Atom Project at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was also a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Previously, he was named a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar by the United States Institute for Peace and won the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship from the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The End of the Diplomatic Process?: Experts Offer Analysis of Iran’s Response to the P5+1 Proposal

On August 22, 2006, Iran formally responded to a proposal from the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, United States + Germany) seeking to resolve the dispute over the country’s nuclear program. What does Iran’s response mean for the future of negotiations? Was the proposal from the P5+1 fair and adequate? How is the United Nations Security Council likely to respond? How should the US respond?

The Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation hosted a press conference on August 22 with Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, and Dr. James Walsh Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the press conference, Trita Parsi said, "The Iranians will likely agree to negotiations that may lead to at least a temporary suspension, but not agree to this as a precondition. As disappointing as this response may be for Washington, it should not be seen as the end of the negotiating track.” Dr. Parsi is the author of the forthcoming book Treacherous Triangle - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007).

Dr. Walsh said a US rush to impose sanctions could also split the fragile alliance built up over the issue among the permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. According to Dr. Walsh, "You can tell by Iran's comments in advance of this response that they are seeking to divide the Europeans and the Americans. Any appearance on the part of Iran that it is willing to be serious about negotiations will give the Chinese, the Russians and to some extent the Europeans reason to want to avoid escalating the political crisis, and that means at this point voting for sanctions.”

More on the press conference soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Words Not War: Military Leaders Speak Out on Iran

On August 17, 2006, 22 military leaders and diplomats released a statement calling on the Bush administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to resolve the Iranian nuclear program.

Words not War

A Statement on Iran

August 2006

As former military leaders and foreign policy officials, we call on the Bush administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to help resolve the current crisis in the Middle East and settle differences over the Iranian nuclear program.

We strongly caution against any consideration of the use of military force against Iran. The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq, and it would inflame hatred and violence in the Middle East and among Muslims elsewhere.

A strategy of diplomatic engagement with Iran will serve the interests of the U.S. and its allies, and would enhance regional and international security.


Ambassador Harry Barnes, Former Ambassador to Chile, India, and Romania

Lieutenant General Julius Becton, U.S. Army (Ret.); Former commander, VII

Corps, and Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Parker Borg, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy; Former Ambassador to Iceland and Mali; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotic Matters; Deputy Director of the Office for Combating Terrorism, U. S. State Department

Ambassador Peter Burleigh, Former U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations; Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives; Ambassador and Coordinator of the Office of Counter-Terrorism; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and South Asia

Ambassador Ralph Earle II, Former chief negotiator of the SALT II Treaty and Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, U.S. Army (Ret.). Former Deputy Inspector General, U.S. Army

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs, Charge/Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy (Bangkok; Beijing); and Director, Chinese Affairs, Department of State

Morton Halperin, Senior Fellow of the Center for American Progress; Director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute; Former director of Policy Planning, Department of State

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army (Ret.); Former military assistant to the Secretary of Defense; president, National Defense University. Currently Senior Military Fellow, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

General Joseph P. Hoar, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.); Former Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command

Brigadier General John Johns, U.S. Army (Ret.); Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Professor Frank N. von Hippel, Former Assistant Director for National Security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Lawrence Korb, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Installations and Logistics

Major General Frederick H. Lawson, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret.); Former Reserve Division Commander

Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, U.S. Army (Ret.); former Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence

Lieutenant General Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army (Ret.); former Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee

Ambassador Edward L. Peck, Former Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania; Deputy Director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism; Deputy Coordinator for Covert Intelligence Programs and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State; Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Brig. Gen. Maurice D. Roush, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Dr. Sarah Sewall, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance; Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator George J. Mitchell

Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Former Director of the Center for Defense Information and currently Chairman, Military Advisory Committee, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities

LTG James M. Thompson, U.S. Army (Ret.). Former Chief of Military Mission to Turkey (JUSMMAT); Chief of Staff, Allied Forces, Southern Europe

Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Former Commanding Officer of Flagship on Commander Middle East Force; Northern NATO Desk Officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Security Affairs; and Commander, Iceland Defense Force

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To War or Not to War?

As Iran considers a proposal from the EU3 + 3 (Britain, France and Germany + China, Russia and the United States), it is important to consider what Iran needs to get in return for giving up its uranium enrichment program. One of Iran’s most serious concerns is the possibility of attack by the United States and/or Israel, but the EU3+3 proposal includes no such security assurances. Meanwhile, recent reports in the media suggest that Iran does indeed have something to be worried about.

In the August 21, 2006 issue of the New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh writes that Israeli officials visited the White House earlier this summer to get a “green light” for an attack on Lebanon. According to Hersh, the Bush administration approved, the war in part to remove Hezbollah as a deterrent to a potential US bombing of Iran. Hersh further writes, “President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is also openly arguing for regime change, “I think there should be a very aggressive track of trying to undermine and replace the dictatorship. I mean, I have zero hope that we will diplomatically get anywhere with the Iranians.” Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) has said the US should not rule out military options with Iran.

But is invading Iran the answer? National Public Radio (NPR) reported in its August 12, 2006 Weekend Edition that the Pentagon held a secret war game this spring and looked at the ripple effects of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. According to NPR, “the Pentagon found that the effects of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities would be more Iranian-sponsored terrorism, a disruption in the world's oil market, direct attacks on US troops and supply lines in the Middle East. One participant said the consensus was that diplomacy, however difficult, remains the answer.”

As Paul Starr wrote in a May 2006 editorial in the American Prospect, “The logic of an attack on Iran has such palpable flaws that many observers cannot believe that Bush would undertake it. Even if successful in hitting the major weapons-related sites, an airstrike would set back Iran's nuclear program only for a time while reinforcing the regime's resolve to carry it out. Our use of nuclear weapons would seemingly legitimate their use against us someday. And instead of undermining the regime, an attack would likely help consolidate its power by inflaming Iranian nationalism.”

In a July 31 Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Henry Kissinger argued that “America has an obligation to explore every honorable alternative.” Although the nuclear issue is pressing and important, Kissinger also urged for negotiations to go beyond just talks about Iran’s nuclear program and adress broader issues that would include inviting Iran to return to the broader world.

For its part, the US realistically can’t afford another war with its already overstretched military in Iraq. It would indeed be most beneficial to the US to take a leadership role in working to resolve Iran’s nuclear program diplomatically. Any meaningful proposal to begin successful negotiations must include assurances that the US will not attack Iran.

Zarif vs. Brownback: Iran’s Rights or Iran’s Folly?

On August 14, 2006, CNN published opposing editorials from Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif, which outlined their views on Iran’s rights to develop civilian nuclear energy and implications for a nuclear weapons program.

In his editorial, Javad Zarif argues that UN Security Council Resolution 1696, which was passed on July 31 and calls on Iran stop all uranium enrichment by August 31, is unwarranted and unhelpful. Zarif argues that the mandatory suspension of uranium enrichment is inconsistent with international law and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a treaty to which Iran is a member. Zarif notes that Iran has an inalienable right to develop a civilian nuclear program under the auspices of the NPT and the international community and Iran has opened up its nuclear facilities for inspection.

Zarif states that while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that it is not yet in a position "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran," the IAEA has also acknowledged that reaching such a conclusion is a time-consuming process. He also rightly points out, “Also ignored is the recent IAEA report that 45 other countries are in the same category as Iran, including 14 European nations and several members of the Security Council.”

Zarif concludes that the rush to pass a Security Council resolution while Iran was considering a package of incentives offered by the so-called P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, United States + Germany) threatens to hamper negotiations and a peaceful resolution to the issue. He writes, “The lack of any genuine ground suggests that involving the Security Council was aimed at imposing pressure on Iran to abandon its rightful program. This is a shortsighted policy, as it would, in the process, undermine the NPT by depriving its members from drawing rightful benefits from their membership. This is particularly troubling while non-members are rewarded for their intransigence.”

Meanwhile, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) claims that Iran does not need a civilian nuclear program because of its “huge oil resources,” and the country is using the program to develop nuclear weapons in order to oppress its own people and threaten its neighbors.

Brownback compares Iran’s leaders to the leaders of the Soviet Union stating, “History shows the folly of such arrogance. Soviet leaders presumed their nuclear arsenal gave them the ability to operate with impunity and would allow them to remain in power indefinitely. They eventually discovered that nuclear weapons did not ensure the success of their military adventures, and they ultimately realized their nuclear arsenal could not conceal the repression of their people. Despite thousands of warheads, Soviet communism crumbled.”

Brownback argues that the US should stand up to the Iranians as it did to the Soviets. He says “the US should not rule out military options, there is much we can do without firing a shot.” At the core of his argument, Brownback urges the US to move the conversation about Iran’s nuclear program to a discussion of democracy, human rights and terrorism. According to Brownback, “If we discuss only nuclear weapons, we play into the hands of the brutal rulers in Tehran. If we take every opportunity to remind Iran's leaders and the rest of the world of the Iranian government's repression of its people, its terrible human rights record, and its support for terrorism, we can demonstrate that even a nuclear arsenal would not excuse the regime's arrogant and reckless behavior.”

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Iran and the Midterm Elections

This week on IRC Right Web, Council for a Livable President John Isaacs explores whether or not the midterm elections will spell an end to military escapades, particularly in the Middle East.

In his analysis, Isaacs writes:

“For more than five years, the Bush administration's aggressive and unilateral national security policies have been triumphant in the United States. But the increasing realization that the United States is enmeshed in a quagmire in Iraq, a faltering struggle in Afghanistan, unresolved crises over Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions, and the latest crisis in the Middle East has brought these policies into serious question.

Indeed, the results of the November 2006 midterm elections may put a final stake in the heart of George W. Bush's muscular foreign policies. If so, the desire of neoconservatives to spread “democracy” to Iran and Syria the same way they have in Iraq might die, too.”

Iran Nuclear News: August 10, 2006

“If Pressure Continues, Iran Can Change Mind on NPT – President Ahmadinejad: The U.S. and the EU will regret their ‘miscalculation,’” The Hindu – Thursday, August 10, 2006

Providing the clearest indication yet of Iran's intention to resist mounting Western pressure on its civilian nuclear program, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has said that any attempt to take away the rights his country had under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) could force it to reconsider its adherence to the NPT. Mr. Ahmadinejad said that he still believed in dialogue, despite last week's United Nations Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Tehran. Iran was “in the very middle of studying'” the European package of incentives and was trying its best to come up with an answer by August 22, the date it had always said it would respond by.

“Apocalypse Now? Is Iran planning a cataclysmic strike for August 22?,” National Review Online – Thursday, August 10, 2006

Is Iran planning an apocalyptic strike against Israel and/or the United States for August 22? If so, what should the U.S. do to protect Americans and our ally? Such questions are worrying a growing number of officials in the White House, at the CIA, and at the Pentagon, and for good reason. As a devout Shiite Muslim, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is telling colleagues in Tehran that he believes the end of the world is rapidly approaching. This article argues that the Iranian nuclear threat is now far worse than the Iraqi threat of having or obtaining weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. first invaded Baghdad.

“Why don't you write? Iranian leader asks Bush,” The Buffalo News – Courtesy of the Associated Press – Thursday, August 10, 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized President Bush for failing to respond to his overture made in a letter in May, warning that "those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate." In the May letter, the hard-line leader declared that liberalism and democracy had failed, and he lambasted Bush for his handling of the response to the September 11, 2001, attacks and a host of other issues ranging from the invasion of Iraq to U.S. support for Israel.

“CBS' Wallace Interviews Iran President ,” The Orlando Sentinel – August 10, 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an interview to U.S. television network CBS in which he criticized U.S. President George W. Bush's handling of the international response to Iran's nuclear program. CBS on Wednesday released two short excerpts from the interview, which comes amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions over Iran's nuclear program and the Israeli-Hizbollah war. A portion of Wallace's interview, conducted Tuesday at a crucial time in the Mideast with Israel fighting the Iran-backed Hezbollah, will be shown Thursday on the “CBS Evening News.” A complete report will air on Sunday's “60 Minutes.” In the interview, Ahmadinejad said of the Bush administration, “see how they talk down to my nation.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mayor of Nagasaki Criticizes Nuclear Weapons States and India, Israel, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea

On August 9, 2006, during a commemoration marking the 61st anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Mayor Itcho Itoh criticized Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs and faulted the United States for failing to halt nuclear proliferation.

Mayor Itoh told a crowd of mourning people in Nagasaki, "The time has come for those nations that rely on the force of nuclear armaments to respectfully heed the voices of peace-loving people, not least the atomic bomb survivors. The nuclear weapon states have not demonstrated sincerity in their efforts at disarmament. The United States of America in particular has issued a tacit approval of nuclear weapons development by India. At the same time, nuclear weapons declarant North Korea is threatening the peace and security of Japan and the world as a whole. In fact, the very structure of nonproliferation is facing a crisis due to nuclear ambitions by various nations including Pakistan which announced its possession of nuclear arms, Israel which is widely considered to possess them, and Iran.”

On August 9, 1945 at 11:02 am, the United States dropped “Fat Man,” a Plutonium-239 implosion bomb on the city of Nagasaki. It had a yield of approximately 20 kilotons of TNT. Some 35,000 to 40,000 persons died immediately, and a total of some 75,000 persons died from the bombing by the end of 1945.

At the commemoration on August 9, 2006, the names of 2,831 people who died recently were added to the list of victims, bringing the total number recognized by the city to 140,144. A few thousand names are added each year.

Iran Nuclear News: August 9, 2006

“Russian Atomic Energy Agency Expects Delegation of Iran,” Kommersant – Russian Daily – Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iran is ready to proceed with a detailed discussion of the proposal on uranium enrichment in Russia, according to Sergey Kirienko, head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, said as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Iran to Announce New Nuclear Policy Soon,” The Journal of Turkish Weekly – Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iran will announce its new nuclear policy within weeks, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Deputy Director for International Affairs Mohammad Saeedi said, MNA reported. Commenting on a recent statement issued by the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) that Iran will reconsider its nuclear policy following the UN Security Council resolution, Saeedi said, “ The policies are being studied and will be announced in a couple of weeks.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader orders Muslims to support Hezbollah,” Iran Focus – Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered on Tuesday Muslims across the world to support the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in its ongoing battle against Israel. “Today, the most important duty of all the followers of the Islamic faith is jihad for the cause of God”, Khamenei told a gathering. “Supporting and defending Hezbollah is a duty for all Muslims”, he said.

“Wall Street Journal – Editorial - Does Iran have something in store?,” Opinion Journal – Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Bernard Lewis is said to be the greatest living Western scholar of Islam, someone with deep sympathy for the Muslim world, without forgetting its dark side. Writing in the Wall Street Journal online edition yesterday, Lewis now expresses deep concern over an apocalyptic Iran armed with nukes. This article in interesting since it offers the viewpoint that the best current guess is Iran does not yet have a nuclear device, based on the public record, although Tehran could have the ingredients of a dirty bomb. Iran’s neighbors (Israel, especially), like the Saudis, are beginning to arm themselves with anti-missile systems. According to Lewis, these neighbors should put themselves on high alert very soon.

“After Lebanon, There’s Iran – Opinion Piece,” by Vali Nasr, Yahoo! News – Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Another good opinion piece that discusses Iranian/Hizbullah ties.

“China Backs Up Russia in Iran’s Nuclear Case,” Kommersant – Russian Daily – Monday, August 7th, 2006

China has backed up Russia’s initiative on nuclear fuel reprocessing. This proposal gives the chance to ease tension around Iran’s nuclear case, said spokesman of China’s foreign ministry.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Iran Nuclear News: August 8, 2006

Congo Brands Reports of Uranium Shipments to Iran a ‘Great Big Lie,’” Resource Investor – Courtesy of Business Day – Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government strongly denied yesterday that a uranium shipment left its territory bound for Iran last year. However, a United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in Congo. The report said the uranium came from a closed mine in Lubumbashi, was then driven via Zambia into Tanzania, and uncovered during a scan at the port of Dar es Salaam. According to Congolese government spokesman Henri Mova Sakanyi, “It’s a great big lie.”

“Kremlin Warns U.S. Arms Sanctions Could Hurt Ties,” – Courtesy of Reuters, Moscow – Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On August 8, the Kremlin branded U.S. sanctions against two leading Russian arms exporters "an unfriendly act" and warned they could rebound on U.S.-Russia relations. The United States announced sanctions on Aug. 4 on seven firms from Russia, India, North Korea and Cuba for selling restricted items to Iran, which Washington fears is trying to make nuclear weapons. The U.S. State Department said it imposed the sanctions after Washington received information the companies had transferred materials to Iran that could contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction or missiles.

“Sharansky: The World Needs Israel to Defeat Hezbollah,” All Headline News – Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Senior Israeli politician and former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky says the fate of the Jewish state and the Western democratic world rests on the outcome of Israel's war with Hezbollah. Sharansky fears that Hezbollah may soon represent an arm Iran may use against its enemies both in the West and in Israel – and soon, these terrorists may benefit from Iran’s current nuclear research.

“Outside View: Lebanon's sectarian aftershocks,” United Press International – Outside View Commentaries – Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This article examines the manner in which America's efforts to build friendships in the Middle East have often created new enemies. According to this commentary, some Iraqi Shiite army officers have stated that they believe Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia are trying to weaken America's commitment to rebuilding war-torn Iraq because those Sunni nations are jealous of Iraq's future potential and fearful of its strength. The perception of a hostile Sunni bloc backed by the United States and arrayed against Iran could also further bolster domestic support for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's goal for moving forward on his nuclear program and more broadly increasing Iranian influence in the region.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Iran Nuclear News: August 7, 2006

Iran: India and Pakistan Gas Offer not Enough, Tribune News Service – Friday, August 4th, 2006

On Friday, India, Pakistan and Iran disagreed over the price of natural gas to be supplied through a proposed $7.4 billion pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan, but agreed to set up a nine-member committee with three members from each country to look into the matter and report back. Iran is seeking a price of $7.2 per million British thermal units, with a 3 per cent annual increase while India is not prepared to pay more than $4.25 per million British thermal units at its border. Sources said Teheran was hard-selling the formula, saying that it could get $7.8 per mBtu price for the gas if it liquefied it and sold it to the USA and Europe as LNG. The National Iranian Gas Export Co (NIGEC) in a presentation stated that LNG prices by 2010, the time the pipeline is to come, would firm up to $8-9 per mBtu.

Iran Agrees to Consultant for Pipeline Pricing (following Friday’s disagreements), The Financial Express – Saturday, August 5th, 2006

On Saturday – a day after the three countries (India, Pakistan, Iran) disagreed over the price of natural gas to be supplied through the proposed tri-nation pipeline – Iran agreed to India and Pakistan’s proposal to appoint an independent consultant that would suggest “a range of reasonable prices” that could form the basis for further negotiation between the three on the price of natural gas to be exported through the pipeline. Simply put, the third party consultant – to act as neutral umpire – would use LNG price paid by Japan and work backwards to arrive at the gas price at Iranian wells. It would also work out and add Iran’s cost of transporting it to Pakistan border to arrive at the price for India and Pakistan.

Iran: UN Resolution Destroyed Incentive Package – Will Not Suspend Uranium Enrichment, The Journal of Turkish Weekly – Monday, August 7th, 2006

In Tehran, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani confirmed on Sunday that Iran will not suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the recent UN Security Council resolution. He said the resolution is politically motivated and thus invalid. As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran will continue its activities under the eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency and no country can deprive it of its rights. The article goes on to portray Iran’s argument that nuclear technology has become a “national demand” and that the Iranian people will not compromise on their inalienable rights to search for different fuel alternatives. Of particular significance is Iran’s contention that economic sanctions will prove to hurt other countries more than it will hurt Iran.

Oil Futures: Higher (BP Oilfield Shutdown, Iran’s Defiance), Cattle Network/Dow Jones – Monday, August 7th, 2006

This morning, crude oil prices in London traded higher - mostly as a result of BP's Alaskan Prudhoe oil field shutdown over the weekend. Participants also said the defiant Iranian comments in response to the U.N. resolution against Tehran's nuclear enrichment program also set the stage for this early Monday rally. Dow Jones also argues that Iran's bold comments on its commitment to go ahead with the nuclear enrichment plan, rejecting the latest U.N. resolution against Tehran's plan, is also providing a strong base to the prices.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Iran Nuclear News: August 4, 2006

“Iran Cleric: Shut down Security Council,” Reuters, August 4, 2006
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council, said on Friday that the U.N. Security Council should be scrapped for trying to make Iran halt its atomic work while failing to stop Israel's offensive against Lebanon. Some hardline student groups and Islamic militiamen vowed to attack the British embassy in Tehran after Jannati's sermon.

“China calls for continuing diplomatic efforts to solve Iran’s nuclear issue,” People’s Daily Online, August 4, 2006
Chinese Deputy Representative to the UN Liu Zhenming stressed that a belated appropriate solution to Iran's nuclear issue is due to lack of trust among main parties involved, and that Security Council cannot handle this issue single-handedly. “Dialogue and negotiations are the only way out,” he said, “The IAEA should always be the main mechanism for dealing with this issue.” Liu stressed that it is essential for Iran and all the parties concerned not to take any steps that will harm diplomatic efforts and may lead to complication or even loss of control.

“Israel would be safer in a nuclear-free Middle East,” Telegraph, August 4, 2006
Sir Alistair Horne, a former British intelligence officer, assesses the current crisis in the Middle East, saying it is potentially more dangerous than Yom Kippur, 1973, because it carries with it the “threat of unquantifiable escalation.” This threat of escalation is immediate, he claims, with the ultimate danger being an Iran equipped with nuclear weapons. He calls for a nuclear-free zone for the Middle East, questioning the overall value of the “nuclear deterrent” outside America. Such an initiative, plus the guarantee of the essential protective blanket to cover a denuked Israel, can only come from the White House. This may be the only way, he argues, that a nuclear attack in the Middle East can be forestalled.

“Not a war between US and Iran,” Channel 4 News, UK, August 3, 2006
In an exclusive interview, the UK’s Channel 4 news asked Iranian National Security Advisor Ali Larijani whether the Israel-Lebanon crisis was a proxy war. Larijani responded that the Middle East crisis was not “a war between the US and Iran.”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Henry Kissinger on Iran

On July 31, 2006, Henry Kissinger wrote an article in the Washington Post entitled "The Next Steps with Iran: Negotiations Must Go Beyond the Nuclear Threat to Broader Issues." Kissinger writes:

“A modern, strong, peaceful Iran could become a pillar of stability and progress in the region. This cannot happen unless Iran's leaders decide whether they are representing a cause or a nation -- whether their basic motivation is crusading or international cooperation. The goal of the diplomacy of the Six should be to oblige Iran to confront this choice…

We must learn from the North Korean negotiations not to engage in a process involving long pauses to settle disagreements within the administration and within the negotiating group, while the other side adds to its nuclear potential. There is equal need, on the part of America's partners, for decisions permitting them to pursue a parallel course…

A geopolitical dialogue is not a substitute for an early solution of the nuclear enrichment crisis. That must be addressed separately, rapidly and firmly. But a great deal depends on whether a strong stand on that issue is understood as the first step in the broader invitation to Iran to return to the wider world…

In the end, the United States must be prepared to vindicate its efforts to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons program. For that reason, America has an obligation to explore every honorable alternative.”

State Department "Responds" to Question Regarding the Nuclear Option

On June 19, 2006, fifteen Democratic Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to not use nuclear weapons to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. The letter was spearheaded by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and was signed by Representatives Howard L. Berman (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Jr., Pete Stark (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Diane E. Watson (D-CA), Rush D. Holt (D-NJ), Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL).

The letter to President Bush states, “As you will recall, on April 18, 2006, you were asked ‘Sir, when you talk about Iran and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike?’ Your response to this question was ‘All options are on the table.’” The Representatives go on to urge the President “to make it clear that the U.S. is not actively considering first use of nuclear weapons against Iran in response to its efforts to obtain uranium enrichment capabilities,” noting that they believe there is still time for diplomacy.

On July 31, 2006, State Department Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Jeffrey T. Bergner responded to the Representatives’ inquiry. Bergner writes in his response that the White House had asked the State Department to respond on its behalf.

According to the letter, “Iran’s wanton disregard for the norms of international behavior remains a serious foreign policy concern for the United States.” The letter concludes, “We have sought to build a consensus that sends a strong message to the Iranian regime: it must work on a solution or become further isolated from the international community. We will continue to work with the international community to seek an end to Iran’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and to counter Iran’s support for terrorism in Lebanon and elsewhere.”

The letter, however, does not directly answer the primary question raised by the 15 Democratic Representatives; that is whether or not the nuclear option is on the table. While the letter does not repeat what President Bush said on April 18, 2006, that “all options are on the table,” the letter also does not explicitly address the nuclear option, or the full spectrum of options being pursued by the US, for that matter. However, it is significant that the letter reiterates that “Both the President and Secretary Rice have said that the United States is committed to a peaceful, multilateral, diplomatic resolution to the issue.”

Iran Nuclear News: August 3, 2006

Iran’s president voices new optimism,” Associated Press, August 3, 2006

On the sidelines of a Muslim leaders' summit in Malaysia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced optimism that the dispute over his country’s nuclear ambitions could still be settled through “dialogue and negotiations,” which he claimed Iran has desired from the beginning. “In the shadow of negotiations, it is possible to settle any dispute,” Ahmadinejad said, “It is possible to settle all the issues.”

Iran tells Japan UN resolution weakens trust,” Agence France Presse, August 3, 2006

At a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie said Iran was “seriously considering” the comprehensive package of incentives. But Mashaie also said that “the Security Council resolution heightens mistrust and strengthens the belief that Western countries are attempting to take away Iran's rights through pressure rather than dialogue.” Aso told Mashaie and reporters that Iran “needs to make a swift response” to the package of incentives.

Russia urges Iran to comply with UN resolution – ministry,” RIA Novosti, August 3, 2006

Russia expects Iran to honor a UN Security Council demand to halt its uranium enrichment program, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. “We expect that the Iranian side will heed the call and no additional measures will be required on the part of the UN Security Council,” the ministry said in a statement.

Iran working with N. Korea on missiles: Institute,” Reuters, August 3, 2006

North Korea has been working closely with Iran to develop its long-range ballistic missiles, possibly using Chinese technology, a South Korean state-run think tank said. The Taepodong-2 is the product of a joint effort between North Korea and Tehran, coinciding with Iran's development of the Shehab-5 and 6 missiles. “It is highly possible that design and technology from China, which has an arms trade with Iran, were used,” the report said. Iran’s scud-based arsenal, which it received from North Korea during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, also continues to be a threat because, through modification, the weapons “have achieved leaping progress in terms of precision, high mobility and quick firing rates.”

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Brent Scowcroft on Iranian Nuclear Program

In the Spring 2006 issue of The National Interest, Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, made "A Modest Proposal" regarding the Iran nuclear situation. Scowcroft wrote:

“The permanent five members of the Security Council should be prepared to make the following offer to Iran. Acknowledging that Tehran has every right to exploit nuclear energy for civilian use, Iran should be guaranteed an adequate supply of nuclear fuel for its reactors (under a use-and-return system such as that proposed by Russia) in return for abiding by all IAEA regulations. This, in turn, should serve as the basis for a new international fuel-cycle regime that applies to all countries. Any approach to stemming nuclear proliferation that singles out specific countries--such as the Bush Administration is doing with Iran--is not likely to succeed.”

Iran Nuclear News: August 2, 2006

“Money Can’t Buy Us Democracy,” The New York Times, August 2, 2006

Akbar Gangi, an investigative journalist in Tehran, explains the internal complexities of the democratic movement in Iran. Referring to Secretary Rice’s request for $75 million to help Iran’s democratic opposition in February, Gangi writes that Iran needs not foreign aid, but “conditions that would allow [Iranians] to focus all of our energies on the domestic struggle and to rest assured that no one is encouraging the regime’s oppression.” He claims that “deals with the regime that give it financial support or psychological succor” serve to hinder the Iranians fight for freedom. Finally, he writes that he believes the American policy of confrontation on the Iranian nuclear front is “correct.” But, he says, “The West’s double standard on non-proliferation is not defensible”; and he calls for a nuclear-free zone throughout the entire Middle East.

Iran VP: Country still considering offer,” Associated Press, August 2, 2006

During a meeting with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Iranian Vice President Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee said Wednesday that Iran was still considering the Western incentives package offered to Iran. But Mashaee also accused the West of “using pressure, not dialogue, to try to deny Iran its rights.”

Iran’s Threat to Cut Oil Flow in Nuclear Dispute May Backfire,” Bloomberg, August 2, 2006

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hameneh in June both threatened to disrupt oil supplies in any confrontation with the U.S. and Europe over its nuclear program. But this article suggests that a halt to oil exports would rapidly backfire on Iran’s economy and its people. Cutting off the flow of crude would deprive Iran of about $5 billion a month -- by far the main contributor to the country's budget -- at a time when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on a spending spree to deliver on promises that brought him to power last year. Should Iran declare an oil embargo, the West could retaliate by cutting gasoline exports to Iran. The nuclear issue has already hit several parts of Iran's economy, and Ahmadinejad's power in Iran ultimately may be tied to the nuclear issue.

Iran’s Top Leader Praises Hezbollah,” Associated Press, August 2, 2006

On August 2, 2006, Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Hezbollah and vowed Iran will stand with Lebanon in the fight against Israel. “Iran ... will stand by all the oppressed nations especially the dear people of Lebanon and the combatant Palestinian nation,” he said in remarks broadcast on state-run television, condemning the “aggressions” and “evil acts” of the United States and Israel against Lebanon. Khamenei also said “The behavior and the aggressive nature of America and Israel will revive the spirit of resistance more than before in the Islamic world and will further demonstrate the value of Jihad [holy war].”

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

When Will Iran Get the Bomb?

This week, The New Yorker, is featuring a Q&A with reporter Steve Coll, who is publishing an article in the August 7, 2006 issue about the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and the international trade in nuclear-weapons technology and equipment. In the Q&A, Coll discusses Iran’s nuclear program.

BLAKE ESKIN: What did Pakistani scientists provide to Iran?

STEVE COLL: This is a question at the heart of continuing investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency and by a lot of governments that are worried about Iran’s nuclear program. What’s known is mainly the product of I.A.E.A. interviews with Iranian officials who have given an account of the history of their contacts with Khan and Pakistan. I lay out that forensics because a fair amount of what we know about Iran’s history with Pakistan comes from Iran, and might be regarded with some skepticism.

What’s undisputed is that contacts had begun by 1987, with discussions about a sale of blueprints and other materials that would allow Iran to build a capacity for enriching uranium. Those discussions produced at least one document that appears to be a kind of shopping list from Pakistan to Iran. The discussions and transactions continued from 1987 until at least 2003, when Iran first acknowledged the existence of its secret enrichment program. The history of those contacts from the beginning to 2003 is a subject of this article. In that narrative lies a whole series of mysteries: How much progress has Iran made and how fast will it be able to finish a nuclear weapon?

The question of how fast can’t be answered definitively, but could you give us a sense of the estimates and how reliable you think they are?

John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, has said, in his most recent public assessment, that the American intelligence community believes that Iran may acquire a nuclear capacity some time in the next decade, meaning from 2010 or 2011 onward. From my reporting, I gather that in private briefings the Bush Administration’s intelligence analysts focus on a five-to-seven-year window, although they emphasize that there’s a fair amount of uncertainty about this estimate. I think the one assertion that the intelligence community seems comfortable with is that it’s not this year or next year and probably not the year after that. However, the more that is discovered about Iran’s research, the more some analysts wonder whether Iran might be able to move faster than the official forecast indicates.

And this basically depends on the Iranians’ use of centrifuges to enrich uranium?

As far as is known, yes. Of course, in assessing a country’s efforts to secretly acquire a nuclear weapon, you have to be conscious that there may be aspects of its endeavor that are unknown to anyone but itself. Enriching uranium or acquiring plutonium, the fissile materials that provide a bomb’s explosive force, is the hardest part of building a nuclear bomb. In this case, Iran has been attempting to master this centrifuge technology for years; from what is known, they have struggled. It’s a really complicated technology: it’s not only difficult to operate but to even set it up. The Iranians have just barely started to operate these machines. The question is: How much progress can they make in building a fully operating plant that would be required to make enough material for a bomb?

Once the centrifuges are working, how long will it take to make enough material for a bomb?

It depends on how many centrifuges you put into your plant. The math is fairly straightforward: a cascade of a hundred and sixty-four centrifuges can produce so many grams of highly enriched uranium in so much time if the centrifuges are operating around the clock. Iran has said that it intends to install three thousand of these centrifuges by the end of this year. That seems like an ambitious goal, but let’s assume the Iranians could achieve it. If they did, they could manufacture enough highly enriched uranium for a couple of bombs within a year if they operated those centrifuges around the clock. Most people don’t think they can pull that off, but that’s the scale of their operation at this point.

For more information on the timeline of Iran's nuclear program, see Iran Nuclear Timeline.

Preventing a Nuclear Iran: US Policy Options

On July 20, 2006, Dr. James Walsh, a nuclear non-proliferation expert who has recently returned from direct discussions with Iranian leaders in Stockholm, testified before the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Iran.

In his testimony, Dr. Walsh said that Iranian development of a nuclear weapon, while not the end of the world as some have suggested, would adversely affect US, regional, and global security, and would add to the risk that nations or non-state actors might one day use nuclear weapons. This outcome can be avoided, in part, by a smart US nonproliferation strategy. On the other hand, ill-conceived or poorly executed US actions my have the counter-productive effect of making an Iranian bomb even more likely. The importance of getting this right and the complexity of the challenge are apparent but all the more obvious given recent events in Israel and Lebanon. His full testimony is available on the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation’s website.

Dr. Walsh is a board member of the Council for a Livable World and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

Congress Votes to Continue Imposing Sanctions on Iran

On July 27, 2006, the US House of Representatives approved by voice vote to extend the Iran Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (ILSA). ILSA was set to expire on August 5, 2006. H.R. 5877, the bill introduced by House International Relations Committee member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), provides a simple extension of ILSA until September 29, 2006. On July 31, 2006, the Senate passed the House version of H.R. 5877. In the Senate, H.R. 5877 was read twice and then passed by unanimous consent.

During the House floor debate on H.R. 5877, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said an extension of the original ILSA would give the House and Senate “the additional time to finalize the text of the Iran Freedom Support Act.” The Iran Freedom Support Act (IFSA) passed in the House on April 26, 2006 and still awaits approval by the Senate. IFSA would eliminate sanctions on now-friendly Libya and impose stiffer sanctions on Iran. It would also provide funding for political opposition forces within Iran in promotion of regime change.

Text of H.R. 5877

2d Session

H.R. 5877
To amend the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 to extend the authorities provided in such Act until September 29, 2006.


July 25, 2006 Ms. Ros-Lehtinen (for herself, Mr. Lantos, Mr. Hyde, and Mr. Ackerman) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Ways and Means, and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL To amend the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 to extend the authorities provided in such Act until September 29, 2006. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITIES UNDER THE IRAN AND LIBYA SANCTIONS ACT OF 1996. Section 13(b) of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-172; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended by striking "on the date that is 10 years after the date of the enactment of this Act'' and inserting "on September 29, 2006''.

Iran Nuclear News: August 1, 2006

Iran Nuclear News: August 1, 2006

“UN sets deadline on Iran’s nuclear work,” The L.A. Times, August 1, 2006
The Security Council voted Monday to give Iran until August 31 to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" or face potential economic and diplomatic sanctions. UN Resolution 1696, approved by a 14-1 vote with Qatar dissenting, is the first by the Security Council that is legally binding on Iran and includes the threat of sanctions for noncompliance. However, sanctions would not be automatic. The Security Council would have to vote again to impose punitive measures. Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador, played down the possibility of sanctions.

“China calls for restraint on Iran nuclear issue,” Reuters, August 1, 2006
China, which has just voted in favor of a U.N. resolution demanding Iran suspend its nuclear activities, on Tuesday still held out hopes for a compromise. “We hope that the Security Council resolution helps the on-going diplomatic efforts,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was quoted as saying in a statement on the ministry's Web site. "We call on all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint and keep pushing for the early resumption of talks," Liu said.

“Iran blasts ‘worthless’ nuclear deadline,” Agence France Presse, August 1, 2006
The UN resolution passed on Monday was decried as “destructive and totally unwarranted” by Iran's UN ambassador, Javad Zarif. Parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel also expressed outrage at the resolution saying, “While the Security Council does not dare to condemn the Qana massacre (in south Lebanon) ... it feels alarmed by Iran's nuclear activities and adopts a resolution that is worthless in the eyes of people.” Kazem Jalali, spokesman for the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs commission, was quoted as saying, “The Americans must be sure that Iran will not take part in a game which it will lose.” Several editorials and articles in various hardline Iranian papers also slammed the UN resolution, calling on Iran to quit the NPT and attack U.S. bases, among other things.