Iran’s top nuclear chief confirms Russia will help improve Iran’s centrifuges; President Rouhani boasts deal will advance Iran’s nuclear technology

 

On Wednesday, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, confirmed that Russia had “announced their preparedness to cooperate and improve Iran's centrifuges to produce stable isotopes." Under the deal, Iran will be allowed to maintain more than 1,000 centrifuges in Fordow to produce various non-nuclear isotopes. However, according to the Associated Press, isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment. Furthermore, Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general of the IAEA, and Simon Henderson, the Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute, have asserted that the centrifuges in Fordow “could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”The deal also allows Iran to continue research and development of advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium, including the IR-8 centrifuge, which Iran has boasted can enrich uranium up to 20 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuge. After 8 years, Iran will be allowed to manufacture IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges. The use of advanced centrifuges not only shortens breakout time, but also requires smaller facilities, which could be hidden more easily from the international community.

Also on Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani bragged that the nuclear deal reached with the P5+1 will not only safeguard Iran’s nuclear achievements, but also pave the way for further advances in nuclear technology. The deal allows Iran to maintain much of its nuclear infrastructure and obligates the P5+1 to cooperate with Iran on civil nuclear projects. Annex III of the deal explicitly states that the P5+1 and Iran “will seek cooperation and scientific exchange in the field of nuclear science and technology.” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has stated, “The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment.” Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has warned that by the time nuclear restrictions expire, “Iran will have reduced its knowledge gap with Western nuclear scientists to such an extent that if its leaders decide to dash to a weapon, their success will owe in no small part to Western assistance.”

 

A foundation run by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stands to be a major beneficiary of lifted sanctions as part of the nuclear deal with Iran, Reutersreported Tuesday.

Khamenei has yet to publicly back the accord, which lifts some sanctions on Iran in return for limits on its nuclear program. But he does stand to benefit, thanks to his close control of one of the most powerful and secretive organizations in Iran — “Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam,” or Setad.

The deal, which is likely to go into effect after clearing a major Congressional hurdle last week, lifts U.S. secondary sanctions on Setad and about 40 firms it owns or has a stake in, according to a Reuters tally based on annexes to the deal. …

With stakes in nearly every sector of Iran’s economy, Setad built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to religious minorities, business people, and Iranians living abroad, according to a 2013 Reuters investigation, which estimated the network’s holdings at about $95 billion.

The deal “allows the Ayatollah’s shady conglomerate to jeopardize the global financial system,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R – Colo.) told Reuters. “These are bad actors who are now receiving the benefit of the bargain from the United States.”

Reuters said that Khamenei maintains “exclusive control” over Setad and its subsidiary organizations. Ghadir Investment Company, which the U.S. Treasury identified as a Setad-linked firm, signed a $565 million deal last month with the Italian defense giant Finmeccanica.

The Reuters report is consistent with an analysis done in May by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies showing that Khamenei would personally stand to benefit from the lifting of sanctions on his foundations. The study noted that Iran’s elite extraterritorial militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), also stood to accrue significant benefits from the lifting of sanctions. Reuters also reported that month that the IRGC would be a major economic beneficiary of sanctions relief.

A corruption scandal last year involving the use of medical funds to purchase luxury cars for government officials has raised questions over whether sanctions relief will benefit ordinary Iranians, rather than just the well-connected.

Groups associated with the National Iranian American Council, which have been lobbying to support the nuclear deal with Iran, also stand to benefit from the deal.

 

Volunteers from IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid spent the Jewish New Year in dramatic rescue and aid operations on behalf of refugees pouring into Europe from war-torn countries including Syria. IsraAID Director Shachar Zahavi tells ISRAEL21c that on Sunday, September 13, volunteers from his non-profit NGO sprang into action when they saw a boatful of refugees nearing the Greek shore suddenly flip over as its engine exploded. “Some of the women, children and babies didn’t know how to swim and our staff immediately jumped into the water to help them, preventing them from drowning,” says Zahavi. “After bringing everyone onto the shore safely, our medical team treated some of the sick and injured while our logistic team distributed food and water to the rest.” On that same day – the eve of Rosh Hashana — another boatload of refugees capsized in high winds as it neared a Greek island. At least 34 people drowned, including 15 babies and children. In the wake of this tragedy, IsraAID received a request from the United Nations to provide the survivors with psycho-social treatment in a refugee camp set up on the island of Rhodes. (via Israel21c)

 


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