Arms Control with the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China's DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, shown here during a military parade in Beijing in 2019, are a component of the country's nuclear buildup. (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

December 2021
By Shannon Bugos

China is accelerating its development of strategic nuclear warheads in an effort to amass 700 by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030, more than doubling last year’s estimate, according to the U.S. Defense Department’s 2021 China military power report.

China’s DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, shown here during a military parade in Beijing in 2019, are a component of the country’s nuclear buildup. (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)Viewed alongside recent revelations about the construction of at least 250 new missile silos in northwestern China, the annual report highlights a concerning nuclear buildup. Last year, the Pentagon estimated that Beijing had a total nuclear warhead stockpile in the low 200s and projected it would at least double over the next decade. (See ACT, October 2020.)

China is “investing in, and expanding, the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms and constructing the infrastructure necessary to support this major expansion of its nuclear forces,” according to the report, which covers developments through 2020.

“Our number-one pacing challenge is the People’s Republic of China,” said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Nov. 5.

Responding to the report’s release, State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated that the Biden administration has sought to engage China on arms control. “We think all responsible countries that have [nuclear] weapons should engage in an arms control dialogue,” he told a Nov. 4 press briefing. “We remain ready and willing to do that, and we’ve made that known to [Chinese] authorities.”

President Joe Biden also raised the possibility of opening a strategic stability dialogue with China, to include nuclear issues, during a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 15.

“The two leaders agreed that we would look to begin to carry forward discussions on strategic stability,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told a virtual event at the Brookings Institution the following day. Such a dialogue will need “to be guided by the leaders and led by senior empowered teams on both sides that cut across security, technology, and diplomacy,” he added. “It is now incumbent on us to think about the most productive way to carry it forward from here.”

Beijing repeatedly rejected Trump administration demands to join trilateral arms control talks with Russia and also rebuffed previous calls by the Biden administration to open a bilateral strategic stability dialogue. The Biden-Xi virtual summit seemed to suggest that Beijing now is at least willing to consider the possibility of dialogue.

China strongly denounced the Pentagon’s report.

“The Defense Department report, just like similar reports in the past, disregards facts and is filled with bias,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Nov. 4. He emphasized that China “actively advocates the ultimate complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.”

China has an estimated 350 nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The United States and Russia have at least 10 times more, with estimated stockpiles of 3,800 and 4,500 warheads, respectively.

The report also comments on recent revelations that China is constructing at least 250 new long-range missile silos at as many as three locations in its northwestern region. (See ACT, September 2021.) Beijing “is building hundreds of new ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] silos and is on the cusp of a large silo-based ICBM force expansion comparable to those undertaken by other major powers,” says the report.

Whether China plans to fill every silo with a missile and how many warheads each missile might carry remains uncertain. At the moment, Beijing possesses approximately 100 ICBMs, which can be silo based or road mobile.

As with the report covering 2019, the 2020 report concluded that China aims to deploy roughly 200 warheads on ICBMs within the next five years, as well as to continue expanding its inventory of more than 200 DF-26 ground-launched, intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads.

In 2020, Beijing also began to deploy the dual-capable hypersonic glide-vehicle system paired with a medium-range ballistic missile, known as DF-17. The Pentagon report did not comment on the allegation by U.S. intelligence sources that China tested in July a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle, carried on a rocket, that flew through low-orbit space and circled the globe before striking within two dozen miles of its target. (See ACT, November 2021.)

China’s nuclear expansion “is certainly something that’s very concerning to us,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters ahead of the report’s publication. It “raises some questions about their intentions, because it’s one thing to observe what they’re doing, but they haven’t explained why they’re doing it.”

Caitlin Talmadge, an associate professor of security studies at Georgetown University, echoed this concern, telling the Financial Times on Nov. 3, “If this was an emoji, it would be the ‘eyes popping’ emoji.”

Yet, Rose Gottemoeller, former U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security and chief U.S. negotiator for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, emphasized during a Nov. 17 event at the Arms Control Association that “there is no need to panic.” China has “a long way to go to catch up with the United States,” she said.

The report notes that Beijing plans to carry out the expansion by increasing its capability to produce and separate plutonium, which can be used as fissile material for nuclear weapons, through the construction of fast breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities.

James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace expressed skepticism about this conclusion. Although it is “quite likely” that China will restart fissile material production, “I am not convinced by the argument in [the report] that it has already decided to do so,” he tweeted on Nov. 3.

Restarting production will require Beijing to master difficult technologies and carry “significant technical risk,” Acton wrote. “It doesn’t seem all that attractive from a military perspective.”

The report found that China has “possibly already established a nascent ‘nuclear triad’ with the development of a nuclear capable air-launched ballistic missile…and improvement of its ground- and sea-based nuclear capabilities.”

As in 2020, this year’s report highlights speculation among Chinese strategists that Beijing may need “lower-yield nuclear weapons in order to increase the deterrence value of [its] nuclear force,” although they have not defined specific nuclear yield values. China is not known to have fielded any low-yield nuclear weapons.

In addition to providing some details on China’s nuclear forces, the report describes Beijing’s nuclear policy doctrine. China has long held a no-first-use stance.

But the report notes “some ambiguity about conditions where Beijing’s no-first-use policy would no longer apply.” Some Chinese military officers have discussed using nuclear weapons first in cases when a conventional attack threatens the survival of China’s nuclear forces or of the country itself, the report said.

Although Beijing says it maintains an arsenal “at the minimum level required for national security,” the report suggested that the Chinese arsenal can more accurately be called a “limited deterrent,” which Chinese military officials have described as a level between a minimum and maximum deterrent.

“I do worry they’re going away from minimum deterrence because every indication is they are,” Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Oct. 28. “You don’t need to develop the kind of capabilities they’re developing for minimum deterrence.”

The report states that China “intends to increase the peacetime readiness of its nuclear forces by moving to a launch-on-warning…posture with an expanded silo-based force.” Beijing likely views this posture as compatible with a no-first-use policy, the report added.

It is not established that Beijing has applied this approach to the majority of its forces, as the launch-on-warning posture appears primarily associated with exercises at this stage. The report also found that China “almost certainly keeps the majority of its nuclear force on a peacetime status—with separated launchers, missiles, and warheads.” With nuclear warheads separated from delivery vehicles, Beijing would require extra time to prepare its nuclear forces for launch.

Some experts say China’s nuclear expansion reflects concerns about U.S. missile defenses. But Tong Zhao, a Beijing-based senior fellow at Carnegie, argued in a Nov. 15 op-ed for The New York Times that, although technically correct, such an assertion “misses the bigger geopolitical picture.”

“It’s clear to me that Beijing’s nuclear buildup is ultimately an attempt to force Washington to drop the perceived strategic assault and accept a ‘mutual vulnerability’ relationship—in which neither country would have the capability or will to threaten nuclear war without risking its own destruction,” Zhao wrote.

China’s evolving capabilities are geared toward strengthening its ability to “‘fight and win wars’ against a ‘strong enemy,’” a likely euphemism for the United States, the report concluded, as well as to “coerce Taiwan and rival claimants in territorial disputes, counter an intervention by a third party in a conflict along [China’s] periphery, and project power globally.”

China Pushes ‘Intelligentized’ Warfare

The Pentagon’s 2021 report on China’s military strength highlighted another alarming claim in addition to the disclosures about the country’s expanding nuclear arsenal. That is that China will have completed by 2027 the modernization and what it terms the “intelligentization” of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), thus investing it with the capacity to engage and defeat U.S. forces in a hypothetical war over Taiwan.

According to the report, the Chinese leadership has decreed a new milestone for military modernization in 2027, the 100th anniversary of the PLA’s founding, when the PLA will have achieved “the integrated development of mechanization, informatization, and intelligentization” of its forces. Once this process is completed, the report asserts, China would have access to “more credible military options in a Taiwan contingency.”

By means of informatization and intelligentization, the report claims, the PLA expects that the use of advanced technologies, notably artificial intelligence (AI), high-speed computing, sophisticated sensors, cyberweapons, and autonomous, or unmanned, weaponry, will enable it to prevail in high-intensity combat against a well-armed adversary, such as the United States.

“PLA strategists have stated new technologies will increase the speed and tempo of future warfare, and that operationalization of AI will be necessary to improve the speed and quality of information processing by reducing battlefield uncertainty and providing decision-making advantage over potential adversaries,” the report states. “The PLA considers unmanned systems to be critical intelligentized technologies, and is pursuing greater autonomy for unmanned aerial, surface, and underwater vehicles to enable manned and unmanned hybrid formations, [and] swarm attacks…among other capabilities.”

The PLA also is stepping up research on emerging technologies such as AI and autonomy and accelerating the incorporation of these technologies in combat-ready weapons systems, the report says. In particular, the Chinese are said to be rushing development and deployment of unmanned weapons systems, including aircraft, ships, submarines, and tanks. Such systems are intended to collect data on enemy movements and supplement the combat power of manned weapons. The PLA is developing the capacity to employ unmanned vehicles in “swarms,” using AI to coordinate the actions of multiple robotic weapons, the report added. Swarming technology has also been tested by the U.S. military, for example in the Navy’s Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem 21 exercise of April 2021. (See ACT, May 2021.)

Although the report says China is developing unmanned weapons of all sorts, it provides detailed information on only one type: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The report says that the PLA has begun deploying its WZ-7 Xianglong “Flying Dragon” high-altitude reconnaissance UAV at airfields in western China and on Hainan Island. It is also continuing to develop the Shen Diao “Divine Eagle” long-range combat UAV and to upgrade its BZK-005 Chang Ying “Long Eagle” reconnaissance drone.

Equipped with these and other advanced systems, the Pentagon report concludes, by 2027 the PLA could be capable of repelling a U.S. counterattack should Beijing decide to invade Taiwan in order to secure the island’s unification with the mainland. Many independent analysts question this assertion, insisting that U.S. military capabilities are far superior to China’s and are improving all the time, thus negating any Chinese expectations of overpowering U.S. forces in such a contest. Nevertheless, the Pentagon’s claim that China is five years away from possessing the ability to defeat the United States in a war over Taiwan is certain to fuel efforts by Congress to increase spending on weaponry supposedly intended to defeat China in any such encounter.

Iraq’s complex political landscape puts the Antichrist to the test

Iraq’s complex political landscape puts Sadr to the test | | AW


Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month shuffled the key players, with the movement of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr taking nearly a fifth of seats, according to results released Tuesday.

But without an absolute majority in the fragmented 329-seat legislature, parties will have to form alliances.

Led by firebrand Sadr, the Sadrist movement won 73 seats in parliament, expanding its haul from 54 in the outgoing parliament.

Sadr is the scion of an influential clerical family. He raised a rebellion after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and has now reinvented himself as a reform champion.

A self-styled defender against all forms of corruption, Sadr has distinguished himself from other top Shia figures by seeking distance from both Iranian and US influence.


The mercurial Sadr has yet again emerged as kingmaker following last month’s parliamentary polls.

Today, as in past years following the overthrow of former president Saddam Hussein, Iraq cannot ignore the grey-bearded preacher who once led a militia against American and Iraqi government forces.

Now he wants his Sadrist movement to lead the formation of the next government.

The composition of this government and who will be prime minister, will depend on the outcome of negotiations between Sadr and his opponents.

Sadr wants an accommodation with Iran that would allow him to compete against its allies politically without the constraints currently imposed by the “greater coercive power” of the armed pro-Iran factions, said Ben Robin-D’Cruz, a specialist in Shia movements at Aarhus University in Denmark.

“But the Iranians have been reluctant to do that, because they don’t want to empower Sadr and they don’t consider him reliable,” the analyst said.

Sadr retains a devoted following of millions among the country’s majority Shia population, including in the poor Baghdad district of Sadr City.

“He can occupy the streets. No one in Iraq can do it as well as him,” said Hamdi Malik, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Perhaps uniquely in Iraq, Sadr has “a very obedient base” which also comprises a formidable online presence attacking his rivals in cyberspace, Malik said.

“Everything is revolving around him. That in Iraq is very important,” he added.

Sadr initially said he would not take part in the parliamentary election but then reversed course, saying his movement would participate in order to help “end corruption.”

Robin-D’Cruz said Sadr “tries to position himself simultaneously in the centre of the political system while distancing himself from it.”

His religious character, the researcher added, “allows him to create this illusion of transcending politics.”

Reality check

With Sadr expected to play a key role in the defining the contours of the upcoming political landscape in Iraq, observers say that the nature of a fragmented political system, based on ethnic and sectarian quotas, means the Shia cleric will have to trade with rivals to form a coalition.

The military clout of pro-Iran militias, the observers add, ensures they will almost certainly have to be part of the equation.

Hence, they say, that it would be naive to assume that Sadr, who has always had an ambiguous relationship with Tehran, will act as an anti-Iranian force.

Pro-Iran factions

The Fatah (Conquest) Alliance parliamentary grouping, the political arm of the Shia Hashed al-Shaabi former paramilitary force, saw its representation plummet from 48 to 17 seats.

The alliance had made its debut in parliament following the last election in 2018, shortly after the Hashed helped defeat the Islamic State group.

The alliance’s leader Hadi al-Ameri also heads the Badr organisation, one of the Hashed factions.

Hashed leaders had earlier rejected the preliminary results as a “scam”, and their supporters held street protests chanting “No to fraud.”

The alliance has consistently called for the expulsion of US troops from Iraq.

Another pro-Iran faction is the State of Law Alliance, an offshoot of the Daawa Party, both led by Nuri al-Maliki, who was prime minister from 2006 to 2014.

A surprise outcome for this Hashed partner saw it strengthen its political base from 24 to 33 seats.


The all-new Alliance of State Forces brings together the groups of former prime minister Haider al-Abadi, who led the fight against ISIS and Ammar al-Hakim, who leads the moderates in the Shiite camp.

With a meagre four seats, they have lost their clout, after having earned 42 and 19 seats respectively in the previous polls.

In addition, 43 candidates unaffiliated to political parties have been elected as “independents.”

However, experts believe some may end up being co-opted by the major parties.

Sunni groups

The Taqaddum (Progress) movement, led by speaker of parliament Mohammed al-Halbussi, won 37 seats in parliament.

That makes it the second-largest force in the chamber.

He was elected speaker with the support of the pro-Iran blocs, but has cultivated relations with regional powers including the United Arab Emirates.

Taqaddum’s main Sunni competitor is the Azm (Determination) movement of controversial politician Khamis al-Khanjar, who has been sanctioned by Washington amid accusations of corruption. Azm won 14 seats.

Anti-establishment players and Kurds

Imtidad, a newly-created party representing the protest movement that began in 2019, took nine seats.

The party presents itself as “a non-sectarian, anti-nationalist, anti-racist political movement, which seeks to build a civilian state”.

It is popular in the city of Nasiriyah, the epicentre of the demonstrations in the poor Shiite south.

Autonomous Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, has long been dominated by two parties.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of the Barzani clan, won 31 seats.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of the Talabani clan took 17, under the Coalition of Kurdistan banner.

Kurdish opposition party New Generation jumped from four to nine seats.

The Antichrist: Iraq’s political, religious force

Moqtada Sadr: Iraq’s political, religious force

December 1, 2021

When he raises his index finger and frowns, Iraq holds its breath: the mercurial cleric Moqtada Sadr has yet again emerged as kingmaker following last month’s parliamentary polls.

Today, as in past years following the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq cannot ignore the preacher who once led a militia against American and Iraqi government forces.

Now he wants his Sadrist movement to lead the formation of the next government.

Final results in the October 10 parliamentary vote announced by the electoral commission gave the movement the largest bloc, 73 of parliament’s 329 seats — up from the 54 it held before.

The results were announced over seven weeks after the polls, following fierce contestation by rival Shiite blocs, some of which alleged fraud in the ballots.

The composition of the next government, and who will be prime minister, will depend on the outcome of negotiations between Sadr and his opponents.

One of them is Nuri al-Maliki, a pro-Iran figure who gained the premiership in 2006 with support from Moqtada Sadr.

But the following year the cleric, who wears a black turban symbolic of a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, ordered his followers to pull out of Maliki’s cabinet, almost bringing down the government.

It was just one of several reversals the chameleon-like figure has made over the years, including in 2008 when he suspended activities of his Mahdi Army, which had been one of Iraq’s most active and feared Shiite militias.

Now Moqtada Sadr denounces the arms held by his adversaries, parties linked to the Hashed al-Shaabi network of former paramilitary forces, with whom he must negotiate on forming a government.

“Civil peace will not be destabilised,” he tweeted days after the vote, responding to calls on social media for violence, after the Hashed lost seats in the election.

Sadr also said “arms should be in the hands of the state, and their use outside of that framework prohibited”, in a clear reference to the Hashed.

On November 18, he addressed “political forces who consider themselves the losers of these elections”, and said their defeat “should not open a path to the ruin of Iraq’s democratic process”.

An ‘obedient base’

Sadr retains a devoted following of millions among the country’s majority Shiite population, including in the poor Baghdad district of Sadr City.

“He can occupy the streets. No one in Iraq can do it as well as him,” said Hamdi Malik, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Perhaps uniquely in Iraq, Sadr has “a very obedient base” which also comprises a formidable online presence attacking his rivals in cyberspace, Malik said.

“Everything is revolving around him. That in Iraq is very important,” he added.

During youth-led protests that erupted two years ago, Sadr sent thousands of followers to support the movement.

He then called them back, and later invited them to “relaunch the peaceful reformist revolution”.

Hundreds of activists died in the protests. The movement has blamed pro-Iranian armed groups for the bloodshed.

Sadr initially said he would not take part in the parliamentary election but then reversed course, saying his movement would participate in order to help “end corruption”.

“He might look a little bit crazy because of what he does,” said Malik, but for his supporters “this craziness of withdrawing from the elections, coming back to the elections, threatening people, it’s a sign of strength, charisma for many people”.

Israel Holds War Drill Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

IDF Southern Command’s fire unit holds first war drill since Gaza conflict in May

The Fire Control Center of the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command held its first war drill since “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May, the IDF announced on Tuesday.

The large-scale exercise “included all of the lessons generated” from the 11-day conflict against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, during which 4,000-plus rockets were fired towards Israeli population centers, said the military.

The Fire Control Center brings together intelligence, air force, computing and other personnel to prepare targets for attacks.

“In the previous week, it filled up again, when the Southern Command’s reservists left their families and careers to arrive at the ‘Shield of the Land’ exercise and drilled an emergency situation in the explosive sector,” said the military on its official website.

The drill entered planning stages from “the moment we completed drawing conclusions from ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls,’ ” according to a senior military planner. “Before that, we took time to learn and enter the minds of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. To think what they would do. We tried to think about how to challenge the commanders, and during the drill, we responded in accordance to what we learned.”

An additional officer noted that “now it’s only an exercise, but in the next operation, this readiness is what will save the lives of civilians.”

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The Immutability of the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China Can Station, Launch Nuclear Missiles From Space Without Fear Of Being Intercepted – US Official Suggests

December 1, 2021

China’s latest nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon system is orbital in nature and may stay in space for a long period of time, according to a senior US Space Force official.

A statement from US Space Force Lieutenant General Chance Saltzman, the Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear during an event, giving a new twist to China’s hypersonic weapon capabilities.

The Chinese hypersonic weapon, according to Saltzman, has an orbital character, meaning it may stay in orbit indefinitely unless the user decides to deorbit it. This is the most recent piece of official information on this unique technology, which apparently employs a hypersonic glider capable of launching its own projectile in order to carry out a strike.

“I believe that the words we use are important so that we comprehend exactly what we’re talking about,” Saltzman said.

“Sometimes I hear hypersonic missiles, and other times I hear suborbital.” Anything faster than Mach 5 is usually considered hypersonic, whereas a suborbital object travels through space but does not enter any of the planet’s orbits. Intercontinental ballistic missiles are an example of such weaponry.

“Because a fractional orbit differs from a suborbital orbit, this is a fundamentally separate system,” he said. He also noted that it is a “very cutting-edge technology capability” that the Space Force must determine soon so as to counter.That description fits in line with the comments made earlier by now-retired Air Force General John Hyten, who served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “It traveled around the world and let out a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China and struck a target in China,” he told CBS News.Fractional Orbital Bombardment System A fractional orbital system is one in which a vehicle enters orbit but is returned to Earth before entirely circling the planet. However, China’s system appears to be especially innovative and has frequently been broadened to include concepts that complete one or more revolutions.Chinese missile testing; image for representational purpose only (via PLA Daily)Between 1969 and 1983, the Soviet Union used a nuclear-weapons-carrying Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS). However, the Chinese technology is unique in that it de-orbited a highly maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).According to the Outer Space Treaty 1967, no country can station nuclear weapons in orbit. The Soviet Union had then claimed that the original FOBS was legal since the warhead-carrying spacecraft did not complete a full rotation of the Earth before delivering its lethal payload.No one has articulated how China was able to launch the payload or missile at a speed of five times the speed of sound. It is believed that the latest Chinese weapon employs a hypersonic glider capable of high-speed, largely level, atmospheric flight as well as some maneuverability, rather than a conventional re-entry vehicle. theory, this would combine the defense-evading capabilities of FOBS with that of a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle.According to Financial Times, the vehicle in this new Chinese system may be capable of firing projectiles on its own, a theoretically difficult ability for anything traveling at hypersonic speeds. However, this will present a major challenge to the existing air defense systems.Additionally, Lieutenant General Saltzman made an intriguing point regarding how difficult it is to identify and monitor such a weapon’s flight. As a result, the amount of time a defender has to notice and characterize an approaching nuclear strike before deciding how to respond could be reduced.“You know, a lot of our warning is centered on ballistic missiles because that’s been the dominant concern for so long,” Saltzman said. “As a result, I believe it is incumbent on the Space Force to ensure that we are building the capacity to track these types of missiles. Ideally, before they’re launched, but also throughout their lifecycle – whether in orbit or carrying out their mission set.”Concept of Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) (Raytheon Missiles & Defense)Needless to say, the US is deeply concerned about the potential consequences of such hypersonic weapons. The good news is that the country has already awarded a contract to American companies Northrop, Lockheed, Raytheon to develop a defense system capable of detecting and eliminating hypersonic missiles.Contact the author at ashishmichel@gmail.comFollow EurAsian Times on Google News

The Iranian Horn Admits Developing Nuclear Bomb: Daniel 7

Iran: Former nuclear program chief hints initial plans to develop nuclear bombs

Hamed Saber / Wikimedia Commons

This week sees Iran and world powers meet in an effort to restart talks regarding the nuclear deal despite little expectation of any breakthrough. Iran’s former head of the nuclear program recently suggested that the Islamic nation was really set on developing its own nuclear arsenal.

Ahead of the talks that would be taking place in Vienna this week, the former chief of Iran’s nuclear program, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, suggested to the Islamic Republic News Agency that Iran has created a kind of system that would allow them to develop nuclear weapons. Abbasi-Davani also said that Israeli spy agency Mossad was responsible for killing his former colleague, scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Fakhrizadeh was assassinated on November 27 last year.

Abbasi-Davani explained that while Iran’s stance on nuclear weapons is based on the fatwa by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banning nuclear weapons, he said that Fakhrizadeh created a kind of system with a concern of the defense of the country. To note, the fatwa issued by Khamenei states Iran’s stance that its nuclear program is used for peaceful purposes.

“Although our stance on nuclear weapons based on the supreme leader’s explicit fatwa regarding nuclear weapons being forbidden is quite clear, Fakhrizadeh created this system and his concern wasn’t just the defense of our own country,” said Abbasi-Davani.

Iran was angered when the US under Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. In response, Tehran has proceeded with enriching uranium, breaching the terms in the nuclear deal. The recent talks in Vienna are the first time since Iran elected its new president, Ebrahim Raisi, back in August.

The talks this week also come at the same time Israel’s foreign affairs minister Yair Lapid and Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss have recently announced a “memorandum of understanding” aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining any nuclear weapons. The agreement would facilitate both countries to work closer on key issues such as defense, trade, and cybersecurity.

“We believe that a democracy rooted in freedom — which empowers citizens with the opportunity to innovate, create, and fulfill their dreams — is the finest form of government,” the two officials wrote in a joint piece on the Telegraph.

The Iranian Horn Literally Has A Ton Of Uranium: Daniel 8

Iran has 3,000 kgs of enriched uranium, says Israel’s former national advisor Ely Karmon

Former advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Defence Ely Karmon spoke to WION on Tuesday to present a breakdown of Iran’s uranium enrichment plan.

He said that Iranians have 3,000 kilograms of enriched uranium and are capable to produce a nuclear bomb in two months.

“Iranians, today, have the capability to produce a nuclear bomb in two months. They have 3,000 kilograms of enriched uranium, from this 120 kg is 60 per cent pure, which means that with 200 kilograms they can build a bomb. They are now probably preparing to reach 90 per cent purity,” said Karmon, who is a senior research scholar at International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

Karmon also dispelled Iran’s long-held assertion that their nuclear programme is only for civilian purposes.

“Israel has the archives of the (Iran’s) nuclear program, which clearly shows that they aim it to use for military purposes. They, however, stopped mid-way because of the threat from the US. We also understand that they are producing nuclear missiles, which has the capability to hit at the distance of 2,000 kilometres,” Karmon said.

Also read | As hopes for nuclear deal fade, Iran rebuilds and risks grow

When asked whether Iran would pause their military nuclear programme under pressure from the US, Karmon said, “US has become much weaker because it retreated from the Middle East momentarily and suffered a loss in Afghanistan and also, they didn’t arrive in any agreement with the North Koreans. So, Iranians are clearly sure that the US cannot impose their will on them.”

Karmon said that even if a nuclear agreement with Iran is reached, there is always a possibility that Tehran would restart its military nuclear programme.

 “We need a sensitive intelligence, and at the moment US is not controlling what happens on the ground. According to information from national defence forces, they have already prepared to reach 90 per cent purity, which means they want to go nuclear,” he said.

Also read | Either we agree on everything or agree on nothing: Iran warns US over nuclear deal

Currently, negotiations are underway between Iran, Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK to revive reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

The United States, which was instrumental in drafting the 2015 nuclear deal, momentarily stepped out after pressure from the then-president Donald Trump in 2018.

But then in 2019, President Joe Biden signalled his intention to rejoin the talks.

Tehran has been enriching uranium up to 60 per cent purity — a short step from weapons-grade levels of 90 per cent. According to reports, Iran has also been stepping up the use of advanced centrifuges at sites barred by the accord, and its uranium stockpile now far exceeds the accord’s limits.