The process of loading fuel into Iran’s first Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr will take another 10 to 15 days, according to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s AEO, AFP reports.
Archive for August, 2010
Worth rereading, 3 years later, at signandsight.com:
Pascal Bruckner defends Ayaan Hirsi Ali against Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash, condemning their idea of multiculturalism for chaining people to their roots.
and also the much more recent
Joachim Gauck talks about Ossis and Wessis, opposition, conformism, and the long-term psychological effects of a dictatorial regime. An interview with Joachim Güntner.
The Jerusalem Post quotes former UN chief of nuclear inspections Olli Heinonen as saying that Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to make two nuclear weapons, though “it would not be logical for it to cross the bomb-making threshold”:
Heinonen called Iran’s nuclear program a “threat” in a rare public interview, given shortly before he stepped down from his position as deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Heinonen was head of the IAEA’s nuclear safeguards arm, which monitors countries’ nuclear programs to make sure they are intended for peaceful use. Heinonen left the post in August for personal reasons.
According to AFP, Iran has proposed to Russia that the two countries should jointly produce fuel for the Bushehr reactor, and also for future nuclear plants.
“Moscow is studying this offer,” [Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's AEO] said [on Thursday]. “We (Iran) should show the world our capability in uranium production and transforming it to nuclear fuel.”
The Jerusalem Post reports that the head of Finland’s branch of Amnesty International stands by his comment that Israel is a “contemptible country” (nilkkimaa).
Ystäväni, joka työskentelee Israelissa, oli käymässä ja puita vajaan kasatessa päästiin hänen lempiaiheeseensa. Usean vuoden pyhässä maassa oleskelun jälkeen, hän on tullut siihen tulokseen, että ”Israel on nilkkimaa”. Omien vierailujeni perusteella, jotka ajoittuvat 1970-luvulle ja 1990-luvun loppuvuosille olen aika samaa mieltä.
“A friend of mine, who works in Israel, was visiting and while we were stacking firewood in the woodshed we got onto his favourite subject. After a few years of living in the Holy Land, he had come to the conclusion that “Israel is a contemptible country”. On the basis of my own visits, which took place during the 1970s and late 1990s, I am quite of the same opinion.”
The word nilkkimaa, which I’ve translated here as “contemptible country”, as it derives from the Finnish word nilkki, is actually more derogatory than that – the Jerusalem Post translates it as “scum state”, and that is not too far off, as the expression is stronger than “rogue state”.
One wonders why a regional head of Amnesty would make such a statement about an entire country and its people, yet apparently feel no shame about it. He claims to be “breaking the silence”, but is surely breaking a lot of other things as well.
Update: in the Jerusalem Post interview, Johansson appears to acquiesce in the “scum state” translation of the word he used.
In an e-mail to the Post on Wednesday, Johansson wrote, “I decided to take down my blog because I appreciate that my comments were ill-judged and appear all the more so when taken out of context, and have obviously caused offence to many people although it was not my intention, at all, to cause such offence.”
He added “I am especially conscious, and regret that my ill-judged action may be detrimental to Amnesty International’s work on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the valiant human rights work being undertaken by my colleagues working for Amnesty International in Israel.”
Writing in his JP blog, Alan Dershowitz says that the path to an Israeli-Palestinian peace in the short term will not be an easy one:
There are those who theorize that if Israel were to strike a deal with the Palestinians, that would make it easier for the Obama Administration to prevent a nuclear Iran. Whether that is true or not, the Israelis with whom I spoke want more than theorizing. They want an assurance that they can achieve real peace and safety, not only in relation to the Palestinians but also in relation to Iran, if they are to surrender control over territories they won in a defensive war.
To say that peace will be difficult to achieve is not to suggest that the parties stop trying. But in order to succeed, they must take into consideration the risks and realties on all sides.
While Russia says it has deployed the S-300 interceptor systems in Abkhazia “not only to cover the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but also to avert violations of their state borders in the air and destroy any vehicle illegally penetrating their air space, whatever the goal of its mission," (Gen. Zelin, via Reuters, Aug. 11), some analysts believe that the S-300 interceptor batteries have been placed in Abkhazia to block a possible Israeli air route to Iran.
On August 21 Russia will begin loading fuel into Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 13 Aug.’10 / 18:30
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said she was "concerned" about Russia’s announcement that it had deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia "without the consent of the government of Georgia."
"The deployment of such a weapon system in Abkhazia would be in contradiction with the six-point ceasefire agreement as well as implementing measures [agreement signed on September 8, 2008] and would risk further increasing tensions in the region," she said in a statement on August 13.
"I call on Russia to fully implement all its obligations under the ceasefire agreement. The EU reiterates its firm support for the security and stability of Georgia, based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognised by international law."
Russia’s announcement about deploying sophisticated air-defense system, S-300, in breakaway Abkhazia might not be a new development, as Russia has maintained such systems there since 2008, August war, U.S. Department of State said.
"It’s our understanding that Russia has had S-300 missiles in Abkhazia for the past two years." State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said at a news briefing in Washington on August 11.
"We can’t confirm whether they [Russia] have added to those systems or not. We will look into that. This by itself is not necessarily a new development. That system has been in place for some time," he added.
Reuters reported quoting unnamed Pentagon official that the U.S. could not yet confirm the deployment of new missiles and was seeking further information.
"But the absence of transparency and international monitoring in Abkhazia makes this difficult," the official said.