AP exposes new concession allowing Iran to ramp up nuclear activities earlier than anticipated


According to the Associated Press (AP), in the final years of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, restrictions and verification measures would be lifted to “allow it [Iran] to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make nuclear arms over the last years of the agreement’s duration.” In the final stages of a deal, restrictions would be gradually relaxed giving Iran greater freedom with its nuclear program. Additionally, the agreement contains a “sunset clause” that serves as an expiration date for when the agreement ends, however; a relaxation of restrictions even before an expiration date could serve to shorten Iranian breakout time.  As talks began in November 2013, the U.S. sought a 20-year period, while Iran wants the agreement to last only three to five years. Current reports suggest that at the end of the negotiated period, the restrictions on Iran would be lifted. The Islamic Republic could acquire an unlimited amount of centrifuges, enrich unlimited amounts of uranium with no controls on the level of enrichment, and grow its program to a size of its choosing. Additionally, all U.N. Security Council restrictions would be rescinded and the limitations on Iran’s heavy water reactor for plutonium production would be removed. Essentially, Iran would be viewed as any other state with a civilian nuclear program, such as Germany or Japan, despite the fact that it has been in constant violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and pursuing a clandestine nuclear program for 30 years. The sunset clause, coupled with the early reduction on the limitations over Iran’s nuclear program, shortens the time for Iran to “ramp up” its nuclear capabilities, in the event it decides to break-out and build a bomb, while providing international legitimacy to its program. Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argue that by the U.S. accepting a sunset clause “eventually the regime could legally develop an industrial-size enrichment program, reducing its bomb breakout time to days and increasing the risk of uranium diversion to covert sites.” Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy warns that the restrictions and monitoring regime put in place “should be lifted based on Iran's performance…that decision should also be linked to major changes in Iran's behavior abroad, particularly its support for violent extremist and terrorist groups.”


Have you ever tried to “ask Siri” a question on your smartphone and received a ridiculous answer? Or been informed by “her,” or ‘him” that what you are saying doesn’t compute?Have you ever been in your car and tried to phone someone by using your voice instead of your fingers on the screen – and reached the wrong person? This has happened to many of us. Though “voice recognition” may be one of the cooler functions we have on our digital equipment, it is often quite faulty due to a number of factors, chief among them background noise. But there’s good news on the horizon. An Israeli startup called VocalZoom Systems has just made a technological breakthrough that is about to put an end to this particular frustration. Even its president and active chair Yechiel Kurtz, a serial angel investor with many exits under his belt, calls the innovative gadget a “bit like science fiction.” In its laboratory in Yokneam, the VocalZoom team – with funding from the 3M Corporation, Motorola Solutions and Jerusalem-based VC OurCrowd – has been working since the company’s inception in 2010 to develop a microphone built to eliminate extraneous noise from the source. Kurtz explains their innovation – for which VocalZoom won the MIXIII 2014 WOW startup competition for best Israeli innovation — as follows: “When you talk into a regular acoustic microphone, your voice creates sound waves,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “The microphone picks up these sound waves, but it also picks up background noise. Our microphone does something completely different. It uses an optical laser beam to measure the vibrations of the facial skin of the person speaking.” The laser (which he assures is “very eye-safe”) — is directed at the face of the person talking, and it measures vibrations “in the order of tens and hundreds of nanometers — so small that nothing else can pick them up.” These micro-measurements of the skin are converted into audio. And because of their precision, aim and novel method of sidestepping sound waves, no other surrounding noise interferes with the clarity of the voice. (via Israel21c)

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