Tag Archives: nuclear

Czechs stop potential nuclear tech purchase by Iran

UN report says Tehran attempted to buy centrifugal compressors from company in Czech Republic, using false documentation to hide destination of order.

Reuters

UNITED NATIONS/PRAGUE – The Czech Republic blocked an attempted purchase by Iran this year of a large shipment of sensitive technology useable for nuclear enrichment after false documentation raised suspicions, UN experts and Western sources said.

The incident could add to Western concerns about whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal being negotiated with world powers under which it would curb sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.

 

The negotiators are trying to reach a deal by the end of June after hammering out a preliminary agreement on April 2, with Iran committing to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and agreeing to other long-term nuclear limitations.

 

Nuclear plant in Iran's Bushehr (Photo: Reuters)
Nuclear plant in Iran’s Bushehr (Photo: Reuters)

 

Some details of the attempted purchase were described in the latest annual report of an expert panel for the United Nations Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee, which has been seen by Reuters.

 

The panel said that in January Iran attempted to buy compressors – which have nuclear and non-nuclear applications – made by the US-owned company Howden CKD Compressors.

 

A Czech state official and a Western diplomat familiar with the case confirmed to Reuters that Iran had attempted to buy the shipment from Howden CKD in the Czech Republic, and that Czech authorities had acted to block the deal.

 

It was not clear if any intermediaries were involved in the attempt to acquire the machinery.

 

There was no suggestion that Howden CKD itself was involved in any wrongdoing. Officials at Prague-based Howden declined to comment on the attempted purchase.

 

The UN panel, which monitors compliance with the UN sanctions regime, said there had been a “false end user” stated for the order.

 

“The procurer and transport company involved in the deal had provided false documentation in order to hide the origins, movement and destination of the consignment with the intention of bypassing export controls and sanctions,” it added.

 

The report offered no further details about the attempted transaction. Iran’s UN mission did not respond to a query about the report.

 

Contract worth $61 million

The Czech state official said the party seeking the compressors had claimed the machinery was needed for a compressor station, such as the kind used to transport natural gas from one relay station to another.

 

The official declined to say exactly how the transaction was stopped, provide specifications of the compressors or confirm the intended purchaser. However, he made clear it was the Czech authorities who halted the deal

 

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the total value of the contract would have been about 1.5 billion Czech koruna ($61 million).

 

This was a huge amount for the company concerned, the previously named CKD Kompresory, a leading supplier of multi-stage centrifugal compressors to the oil and gas, petrochemical and other industries.

 

The firm was acquired by Colfax Corp. of the United States in 2013 for $69.4 million. A spokesman for Colfax declined to comment.

 

The United States and its Western allies say Iran continues to try to skirt international sanctions on its atomic and missile programs even while negotiating the nuclear deal.

 

The UN panel of experts also noted in its report that Britain informed it of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to blacklisted firms.

 

While compressors have non-nuclear applications in the oil and gas industry, they also have nuclear uses, including in centrifuge cascades. Centrifuges purify uranium gas fed into them for use as fuel in nuclear reactors or weapons, if purified to levels of around 90 percent of the fissile isotope uranium-235.

 

“Such compressors can be used to extract enriched uranium directly from the cascades,” Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a nuclear expert currently at Harvard University, told Reuters.

 

“In particular, they are useful when working with higher enrichment such as 20 percent enriched uranium,” he said, adding that precise specifications of the compressors in question would be necessary to make a definitive assessment.

 

Iran has frozen production of 20 percent enriched uranium, a move that Western officials cite as one of the most important curbs on Iranian nuclear activities under an interim agreement in 2013.

 

Tehran rejects allegations by Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce atomic weapons and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

 

The IAEA and the United States have said repeatedly that Tehran has adhered to the terms of the 2013 interim deal.

New North Korea Submarine Missile Allows Covert Nuclear Strike on US, Iran will follow..

Regime tests nuclear-capable missile from underwater for first time, as officials blame Obama for allowing ‘tragedy.’
 Iran will have this next week now too…
Military submarine (illustration)

In a worrying step showing North Korea’s rapidly expanding nuclear strike capabilities, the Communist regime recently held a test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the first time it has launched a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead from underwater.

According to US defense officials cited by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday, the test took place on April 22 from an underwater test platform near the coastal city of Sinpo in the southeast of the country, and tested what the US is calling a KN-11 missile.

The test appears to have been successful, and is the third KN-11 test showing the high-priority of the nuclear missile program for North Korea. Previous tests in January and last October were from a sea-based platform not underwater and a land-based platform.

The KN-11 joins the KN-08 mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as being part of a varied North Korean missile arsenal on platforms that would be hard for the US to detect, and consequently allow a strike that would be difficult to shoot down.

Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command, admitted last month that North Korea could hit the continental US with a nuclear strike. That admission accompanied the announcement that NORAD is reopening its nuclear-EMP-proof Cheyenne Mountain bunker, apparently amid renewed concerns of an EMP attack by which a nuclear weapon would be detonated over the US, knocking out all of its electronic devices, and thereby rendering it defenseless to secondary nuclear strikes.

The latest launch test also comes after Chinese experts warned the US last month that American estimates are wrong and North Korea actually has 20 nuclear weapons, with that arsenal to double next year thanks to the regime’s higher than anticipated advanced enrichment capabilities.

Nuclear strikes the US won’t see coming

Admiral Cecil D. Haney, commander of the Strategic Command, confirmed the SLBM launch test in comments to the Senate on March 19, reports the Washington Free Beacon. The program is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Regarding the UN, it was reported last month that US President Barack Obama hid intel from the UN about North Korea transferring rocket components needed to create a nuclear missile to Iran even during the nuclear talks, to try and prevent the UN from acting on the information with increased sanctions.

Former US Defense Intelligence Agency official Bruce Bechtol, Jr. told the paper that North Korea’s SLBM program is meant to give it the ability to strike the US, and to not have the strike be detected in advance.

“With an SLBM they get both,” said Bechtol. “The submarine can get the platform to launch the missile within range of the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii. Thus, once operational, this immediately brings key nodes in the United States within range of what would likely be a nuclear armed missile.”

He noted that once the KN-11 and mobile KN-08 “systems go operational, it potentially gives North Korea a dual threat for attacking the United States with nuclear or chemical weapons – a threat generated from difficult to detect mobile platforms on both land and sea.”

Obama is bringing the US to “tragedy”

A number of American officials responded sharply to the KN-11 test, placing the blame squarely on Obama’s shoulders.

“This missile, along with the KN-08, happened on Obama’s watch and nothing has been done,” one US intelligence official told the Washington Free Beacon.

Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton added his criticism, saying, “by utterly ignoring North Korea’s growing missile threats, Obama has allowed the threat of rogue state proliferators to fall out of the center of the national political debate.”

“This is a potential tragedy for the country,” Bolton warned.

Air Force Lt. Gen. (ret.) Thomas McInerney said that the KN-08 and KN-11 programs constitute “threats to the continental United States and have been developed under the Obama administration’s leadership.”

“Leading from behind is a failed strategy as evidenced by this very dangerous strategic threat to the continental United States of nuclear attack by a very unstable North Korean government,” said McInerney.

The general also spoke about Obama’s admission that the nuclear deal being formed with Iran will allow it to obtain a nuclear weapon in under 15 years if it doesn’t breach conditions and obtain it sooner, noting that the deal “puts the United States in the most dangerous threat of nuclear attack since the height of the Cold War but from multiple threats – North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran.”

Opponents of the nuclear deal being formulated with Iran ahead of a June 30 deadline have warned it follows in the footsteps of the failed deal sealed by then-President Bill Clinton with North Korea in 1994.

Despite the deal, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, just over ten years after the agreement.