Month: August 2010

Fuel loading delay in Iran’s Russian-built reactor

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.

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Sign and Sight

Worth rereading, 3 years later, at signandsight.com:

Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?

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

Right life in the wrong life

Joachim Gauck talks about Ossis and Wessis, opposition, conformism, and the long-term psychological effects of a dictatorial regime. An interview with Joachim Güntner.

Heinonen: Iran nuclear program is a threat

The Jerusalem Posquotes 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.

Iran and Russia in joint nuclear fuel proposal

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.”

Johansson: Israel “contemptible country”

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).

In a post now deleted from his Iltalehti blog, but still available in Google’s cache, Frank Johansson writes:

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.

However:

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.”


Dershowitz: Israel-Palestinian peace won’t be easy to achieve

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.

S-300s: Russia, Iran

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.