A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

       Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant GuardStory by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment
Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009
This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.
The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.
“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.
This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.
Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.
“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.
Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.
Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.
“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.
The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.
“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.
Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.
Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”
“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.
Training concluded Thursday.

This is When the Nuclear Wars Begin: Revelation 16

Experts fear Vladimir Putin may resort to using nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Ex-Russian minister reveals exact time Vladimir Putin will ‘probably’ use nuclear weapons

Andrei Kozyrev, who served under Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, played down fears that the irrational Russian president will imminently unleash the country’s nuclear arsenal

Ukraine: Putin sends nuclear bombers over western Russia

Dave BurkeSenior News Reporter

Vladimir Putin will only resort to using nuclear weapons if Russia faces an “existential threat” – possibly with NATO troops bearing down on Moscow – a former foreign minister has claimed.

Andrei Kozyrev, who served under Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, played down fears that the irrational Russian president may unleash the country’s nuclear arsenal any day now.

International experts are split on how likely this is, with his invasion of Ukraine not going to plan.

Mr Kozyrev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation between 1990 and 1996, told Fox News : “They could be used, but in very, very specific situations.

“If Russia or one of those countries really threatened in their hearts – existentially, that is … if NATO troops come to Moscow, then probably they will resort to nuclear weapons.”

Experts fear Vladimir Putin may resort to using nuclear weapons in Ukraine ( 

Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

But he said this scenario is a long way away at the moment.

He said: “But there is no existential threat to Russia under the present circumstances.”

At the weekend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Putin could turn to chemical or nuclear weapons.

He told CNN : “Not only me – all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried because it can be not real information, but it can be truth.”

The Ukrainian president continued: “Chemical weapons, they should do it, they could do it, for them the life of the people, nothing. That’s why.

“We should think not be afraid, not be afraid but be ready. But that is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for all the world, I think.”

The Ukrainian President says the world must be "ready" for Russia to resort to nuclear weapons

The Ukrainian President says the world must be “ready” for Russia to resort to nuclear weapons ( 

Image: Archive Photos)

These fears were echoed by Prof Nina Khrushcheva, great-granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York City, said she is fearful that Putin may turn to nuclear weapons.

She told Newsweek : “Since there are questions about how far Russia can go to create victory, and nuclear weapons have been part of the conversation on both sides, Russian and the West, the tactical atomic option is potentially imaginable.”

She added that her remarks are “not a prediction.”

Putin today said Western countries had scored an own goal by imposing sanctions against Russia over Ukraine which he said had led to a “deterioration of the economy in the West”.

Speaking on the state of Russia’s domestic economy, Putin said that inflation was stabilising and that retail demand in the country had normalised.

Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s corporate and financial system since it sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

Moscow Will Not Use Nukes – NYET

Russian foreign minister Russia Sergei Lavrov (pictured speaking last week in Moscow) has warned his country is not considering using nuclear weapons 'at this stage' of its invasion

Russia is not considering using nuclear weapons ‘at this stage’, Kremlin foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warns

  • Speaking in late January, Lavrov denied Moscow was planning an invasion
  • But less than a month after his comments, Putin ordered troops into Ukraine 
  • Speaking on Tuesday, Lavrov said Russia would not use nuclear weapons ‘at this stage’ of the invasion as Moscow said a new phase to take Donbas had begun
  • Lavrov also denied that Russian forces were targeting civilians in Ukraine
  • This is despite mounting evidence of atrocities carried out by Moscow’s troops


PUBLISHED: 10:59 EDT, 19 April 2022 | UPDATED: 10:59 EDT, 19 April 2022

Russia is not considering using nuclear weapons ‘at this stage’ of its invasion of Ukraine, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has warned.

In an interview in which he parroted Vladimir Putin’s propaganda over Moscow’s brutal military actions, Lavrov blamed the US, the West and NATO expansion for his country’s so-called ‘special operation’.

When asked by India Today whether Russia had any intention of using nuclear weapons, Lavrov said: ‘At this stage, we are considering the option of conventional weapons only,’ according to Russia’s RIA state news agency.

Lavrov, a long-time Kremlin mouthpiece and staunch ally of Putin, said in late January that Russia would not invade its neighbour. On February 24, less a month after his comments, Putin ordered Moscow’s troops into Ukraine.

Days after, Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, and threatened NATO allies with ‘consequences greater than any you have faced in history’ should they intervene in the Ukraine conflict.

This raised fears that the Russian leader would be prepared to use nuclear weapons in the conflict, something no country has done since the Second World War.

The foreign minister also confirmed today that Russia has launched a new stage of its invasion of Ukraine, in which it hopes to capture the eastern Donbas region.

Russian foreign minister Russia Sergei Lavrov (pictured speaking last week in Moscow) has warned his country is not considering using nuclear weapons ‘at this stage’ of its invasion

‘The current events are rooted in the US and West’s desire to rule the world,’ Lavrov told the Indian English-language news publication on Tuesday.

‘They wanted to show the world there would be no multipolarity, only unipolarity, and created a springboard [Ukraine] against us [Russia] at our borders. They pumped arms into Ukraine.

‘The real reason [for the war] is the complacency of most countries after World War II,’ he opined. ‘They violated their promises to Russian leadership and started moving NATO eastward after the Soviet Union disappeared. They said it’s a defensive alliance and not a threat to Russian security.’

Russia has given a variety of justifications for its invasion, such as NATO expansionism and claims that it is ‘denazifying’ the country – which has a Jewish president and where the far-right enjoy little to no public support in politics.

Lavrov also denied that Russian forces have committed war crimes, saying that Moscow’s forces are only targeting military infrastructure – despite mounting evidence on the contrary.

‘Our army has only been targeting military infrastructure and not civilians. The Ukrainian army has been using civilians as human shields.’

He added: ‘The West is not paying attention to our facts. They are placing attention on false things like what they said about Bucha. 

‘They brought up Bucha three days after the Ukrainian mayor of Bucha proudly said the city was back under their control.’

An aerial picture taken on April 18, 2022 shows coffins being buried during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Bucha, Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion

APRIL 6: A Ukrainian serviceman stands amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv. The town was the scene of heavy fighting in the early days of the war, and while Ukrainian forces destroyed several Russian tanks and other armoured vehicles, the town was overrun and occupied by Russian for around a monthZ

Pictured: A destroyed house is pictured in the village of Yatskivka, eastern Ukraine on April 16, 2022. Lavrov claimed Russian forces are not targeting civilians

Lavrov’s claim, pushed several times by Kremlin officials since Ukrainian authorities liberated Bucha from Russia’s forces, has been debunked.

Satellite imagery from commercial provider Maxar Technologies, first reported by The New York Times, proved the bodies had been there for weeks.

Since then, hundreds more have been found, and eyewitness accounts have spoken of Russian soldiers carrying out brutal rapes and executions. In some cases, civilians had their hands tied behind their backs by Russian soldiers before they were shot.

Bucha has become synonymous with scores of atrocities alleged to have been committed by Russian troops across Ukraine. The atrocities have led US President Joe Biden to accuse Vladimir Putin of genocide – a term some other Western leaders have hesitated to use.

Lavrov’s comments on nuclear weapons came after Vladimir Putin sent up strategic nuclear-capable bombers into the skies over Western Russia on Monday, amid huge pressure on the Kremlin over the calamitous sinking of the  Moskva flagship in the Black Sea last week.

Videos from Monday and Saturday caught four of the aircraft – used to carry nuclear bombs – over the Kaluga region, between Moscow and the Ukrainian border. 

The planes were believed to be Russian Tu-95s, known as Bears, and appeared to be flying in striking distance of Ukraine. The Defence Ministry in Moscow had not immediately announced the purpose of the mission.

The Tu-95s have been used a number of times to strike targets in Ukraine with non-nuclear weapons, notably Kh-55 and Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles. The super-loud Tu-95 is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber still in operational use today, and the plane first flew 70 years ago. 

Putin deployed the Tu-95s to buzz Britain at moments of high tension, for example in February this year when the Royal Air Force scrambled Typhoon fighters to escort two Bears off northern Scotland.

Vladimir Putin sent up his strategic bombers in the skies over Western Russia today amid huge pressure on the Kremlin over the sinking of the Moskva flagship in the Black Sea. The planes are believed to be Russian Tu-95s, known as Bears, and appeared to be flying in striking distance of Ukraine

Putin sends nuclear bombers over western Russia close to Ukraine

Russia is one of nine countries in possession of nuclear warheads, in addition to the US, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

With a believed 6,257 warheads, Russia has more nuclear warheads than any other nation. The US is the only country that comes close to Russia’s numbers, with 5,550.

Yesterday, former Kremlin foreign affairs minister Andrei Kozyrev said that Putin could use nuclear weapons under ‘very, very specific situations.

Speaking to The Mirror, he said: ‘If Russia or one of those countries really threatened in their hearts – existentially, that is … if NATO troops come to Moscow, then probably they will resort to nuclear weapons.’

This, he said, is currently a long way off. ‘There is no existential threat to Russia under the present circumstances,’ he added. 

In contrast, an ex-Ukrainian MP urged Vladimir Putin to use weapons of mass destruction against his own country in a Telegram post on Sunday.

Ilya Kiva, an opposition politician banned from parliament for supporting Russia‘s invasion, posted the appeal to his Telegram – just a day after Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Putin could go nuclear.

Underneath the image of a nuclear explosion, Kiva wrote: ‘REMEMBER!!! – THEY ARE AFRAID AND RESPECT ONLY POWER!!!

‘Zelensky, his entourage and Western curators, are most afraid of a [Russian] pre-emptive strike [with] weapons of mass destruction.

‘This is what can put an end to today’s confrontation, not only with the Ukrainian authorities, but with the entire West which actively and already openly takes part today in the military conflict in Ukraine…

‘If anyone thinks that this is not according to the rules, remember: the West wrote these rules in its own interests and only in order to more effectively destroy you.’

He spoke out after President Zelensky sat down for an interview with CNN in which he warned that the West needs to prepare for the possibility that Putin will resort to using nuclear or chemical weapons against his country.

Western officials fear the Russian strongman could resort to such desperate measures in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide of war in his favour after a series of embarrassing battlefield defeats.

‘They could do it,’ Zelensky said. ‘For them the life of the people [means] nothing. That’s why. 

‘We should not be afraid… but be ready. That is a question not only for Ukraine but for all the world, I think.’

His warning had been echoed days earlier by CIA director William Burns who said the threat of a Russian nuclear strike was not to be ‘taken lightly’.

‘Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons,’ he said.

‘We’re obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which nuclear conflict becomes possible.’

Tactical nuclear weapons are nukes with smaller and less-powerful warheads that were originally designed to be used on friendly territory as part of defence against an invasion where the goal is not widespread destruction.

Meanwhile, Russia launched its long-awaited all-out assault on east Ukraine on Tuesday, seizing its first town after unleashing thousands of troops in what Ukraine has described as the Battle of the Donbas, a campaign to take two provinces.

Ukrainian officials insisted their troops would withstand the new assault, which they said began overnight with massive Russian artillery and rocket barrages and attempts to advance across almost the entire stretch of the eastern front.

Western officials fear that Putin (file image) could resort to using nuclear or chemical weapons as his invasion falters in order to avoid or mitigate a humiliating defeat

In the first big reported success of Russia’s new assault, Ukraine said the Russians had seized Kreminna, a frontline town of 18,000 people in Luhansk, one of the two Donbas provinces.

Russian forces were attacking ‘on all sides’, authorities were trying to evacuate civilians and it was impossible to tally the civilian dead, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

Moscow gave few details about its new campaign, but Lavrov confirmed that ‘another stage of this operation is beginning’. 

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia was ‘methodically’ carrying out its plan to ‘liberate’ Donetsk and Luhansk, provinces which Moscow demands Kyiv cede fully to Russian-backed separatists.

The Obama-Iran Deal is Dying

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price. FILE PHOTO

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price

Amid Freeze In Nuclear Talks, US Calls Iran ‘Sponsor Of Terrorism’

8 hours ago3 minutes

Author: Maryam Sinaee

Washington signaled on Monday that it is not willing to remove terrorism-related sanctions demanded by Iran as a pre-condition to reach a new nuclear deal.

At his press briefing Monday, the US State Department Spokesman Ned Price reiterated that the administration of President Joe Biden did not want to “negotiate in public” but also said that Tehran needs to address the concerns of Washington if it wants sanctions-lifting that goes beyond the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If they want to negotiate issues that fall outside the purview of the JCPOA, then we’ll do that, but they will need to negotiate those issues in good faith with reciprocity,” Price said.

Apparently the two most important demands, unrelated to the JCPOA, that Iran has put on the table, and wants to be met as “signs of goodwill” before a deal is signed, are removing the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) from a US terror list and the release of Iranian funds frozen under US sanctions in other countries, such as South Korea and Iraq.

The IRGC, however, was sanctioned in 2019 by the Trump administration as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Washington has signaled that if Tehran wants to have this and related sanctions removed, it should provide guarantees that its regional behavior will change.

Moreover, Iranian officials have also threatened revenge against former US officials for the targeted killing of IRGC Qods (Quds) Force commander Qasem Soleimani in 2020, a factor that has made it more difficult to discuss the removal of IRGC terrorist designation.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Monday indicated that Tehran was not going to offer any guarantees not to take revenge on American officials. “Bringing these individuals to justice is a fundamental principle in Iran’s foreign policy,” he said in his weekly press briefing.

Price on Monday called the Islamic Republic the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism”. “We will use every appropriate tool to confront the IRGC’s destabilizing role in the region including working closely with our partners in Israel,” he said. This was perhaps a signal that the Biden administration does not intend to remove IRGC sanctions.

Another thorny issue has been Tehran’s insistence to have its frozen funds in third countries released, something that could be linked with freedom for several US citizens held in Iran on trumped-up political charges.

Tehran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Monday that arrangements over repatriating Iran’s funds were “none of Washington’s business.” Iranian officials have claimed in recent days that they will repatriate the funds independently of the nuclear talks, but they did not explain how if US banking sanction are not lifted.

Washington wants the releasee of its citizens currently detained in Iran as a sign of goodwill from Tehran. Beyond the nuclear deal itself, Price said Monday, Washington is focused on the release of its citizens.

Tehran has always insisted that the issue of detained foreign nationals and dual citizens is independent from the nuclear talks but is prepared to release the detainees “on humanitarian grounds”.

The Antichrist must court the political elite

"Al-Sadr will face many challenges in his efforts to brighten Iraq’s future. Even if al-Sadr is able to form a majority government, further change will be an uphill battle because reform in Iraq is a formidable task that requires tremendous effort," writes Massaab al-Aloosy.

Muqtada al-Sadr must court the political elite

Muqtada al-Sadr, the biggest winner in the recent election, aspires to implement great change in Iraq, but reform is easier said than done, writes Massaab al-Aloosy. Correcting a crisis that has been decades in the making will take the combined efforts of everyone involved

Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric who won 73 out of 325 seats in the recent election, is however promising major change. The young cleric wants to break away from the political tradition of forming a national unity government after each election where all parties representing Iraq’s sects, ethnicities, and religions share the spoils. This type of political arrangement is one of the main causes of corruption and social division.

Instead, al-Sadr wants to form a majority government that can begin implementing desperately needed reforms – beginning with controlling the unruly militias and fighting corruption. He also aims to curb foreign influence from countries like Iran and make sure Iraq remains neutral regarding divisive regional issues. But will he succeed?

Al-Sadr will face many challenges in his efforts to brighten Iraq’s future. Even if he can form a majority government, further change will be an uphill battle because reform in Iraq is a formidable task that requires tremendous effort. Furthermore, some aspects of reform might take decades.

The first obstacle that al-Sadr will face is the durability of his government. Any plan that aims to set the country on the right track must be strategic in outlook and involve the consent of most political players. In Iraq, political alliances are highly fluid, consensus on policy is rare, and a consolidated network of businessmen, militias, and politicians that benefits from corruption will fiercely resist reform.

Plenary session of Iraq's new parliament held on 09.01.2022 in Baghdad, Iraq (photo: Iraqi Parliament Press Office Handout/Anadolu Agency)

Can al-Sadr convince his political adversaries of the urgency of reforms? Despite some positive aspects of the 2021 election, such as the winning of independent voices in several Iraqi provinces and the loss of traditional political parties with armed wings, the path to reforming Iraq remains strewn with obstacles – not least its self-interested political elite

This is assuming that al-Sadr can even devise an appropriate reform plan. Militias have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the election results and attempts at forming a majority government, going so far as to attack the speaker of the parliament’s house. While al-Sadr won the plurality of votes, forming and maintaining a majority with other political parties is tenuous at best.

Another obstacle to al-Sadr’s majority government is a ruling from the Iraqi supreme court stating that a two-thirds majority quorum is required to elect a president. Despite mediation attempts, al-Sadr is unable to muster the required votes because the two main presidential candidates are from two different parties that refuse to budge on their stance, causing political deadlock.

Additionally, Iran is unlikely to cede influence over its eastern neighbour. Tehran sent General Ismael Qaani, the head of the Quds of Force, to ensure the participation of its proxies in the government, which further decreases the likelihood of al-Sadr forming a majority government.

The colossal public sector that al-Sadr will inherit is another major roadblock. The government, with its decades of populist policies, has consistently created jobs in the public sector, bloating the bureaucracy beyond acceptable numbers. The Iraqi government accounts for 40 percent of all jobs, a very large share of employment by comparison with other countries. With more and more young Iraqis entering the labour market, this strategy is utterly unsustainable. Iraq has one of the youngest populations in the world with 60 percent of its citizens below the age of 25. Despite this, youth unemployment is currently more than 25 percent. Youth unemployment is also exacerbated by the fact that more people are entering the job market than jobs are being created.

A catalyst for this high unemployment rate is Iraq’s reliance on oil. More than 90 percent of the government’s revenue comes from oil, which means that a massive economic shift is required to shore up the private sector so that more job opportunities emerge for young people. However, luring international companies into investing in Iraq requires stability and skilled labour – both of which are lacking in the country.

Violence erupts during protests in Iraq

Iraqis ushered in October with anti-government protests in Baghdad. These quickly deteriorated into violent confrontations resulting in hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths. Unease remains in several cities. By Cristina Burack


The lack of skilled labour can be contributed to the education system not preparing students well enough to compete for jobs on a global scale. Education has been on a downward trajectory for decades. The country never regained its edge in education after the Gulf War in 1991 and conditions deteriorated even further after the U.S. invasion in 2003. There are nearly 3.2 million Iraqi children not in school, while half of all schools are damaged and need remodelling.

Many of these schools operate on double shifts and the number of qualified teachers has decreased alarmingly. This does not come as a surprise as the budget for education has decreased steadily over the years and Iraq is at the bottom of Middle Eastern countries in terms of investing in education. Without proper education, children become vulnerable to exploitation by armed groups, criminal networks, child labour and child marriage.

Despite some positive aspects of the 2021 election, such as the winning of independent voices in several Iraqi provinces and the loss of traditional political parties with armed wings, the path to reforming Iraq remains strewn with obstacles. The current crisis in Iraq has been decades in the making and requires not only a long-term plan, but also assiduous efforts that encompass a deep understanding of the intricate and multivariate problems facing Iraq.

Whether al-Sadr can convince his political adversaries of the urgency of reforms remains doubtful. Unfortunately, it seems Iraq is more likely to continue on its descending path because it lacks a responsible political elite willing to set aside differences in the favour of public interest. 

Massaab Al-Aloosy

Iran Confirms They Are Nuking Up: Daniel 8

Iran confirms relocating centrifuge facility to underground site
 Natanz is an uranium enrichment facility about 250km south of the Iranian capital Tehran. Photo: Twitter

Iran confirms relocating centrifuge facility to underground site

 Associated Press|   Posted by Sakina Fatima  |   Published: 17th April 2022 4:55 pm IST

Tehran: Iran has confirmed it relocated a centrifuge facility to its underground Natanz nuclear site, state media reported, days after the U.N. atomic watchdog said it installed surveillance cameras to monitor the new workshop at Tehran’s request.

The late Saturday report by the official IRNA news agency comes as diplomatic efforts to restore Iran’s tattered nuclear deal appear stalled.

The news agency quoted the spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as saying authorities had moved the operation to a safer place.

Iran’s centrifuge facility in Karaj found itself targeted in what Iran described as a sabotage attack in June. Natanz itself has twice been targeted in sabotage attacks amid uncertainty over the nuclear deal, assaults that Iran has blamed on Israel.

“Unfortunately because of a terrorist operation that took place against Karaj, we were obliged to intensify security measures under which we moved an important part of the machines and transferred the rest to Natanz and Isfahan,” said Kamalvandi. Isfahan is the location of another Iranian nuclear facility.

On Thursday, The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said it installed cameras and removed seals from machines at the new workshop in Natanz two days earlier. Those machines will be used to make centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows, crucial parts for the devices that spin at very high speeds to enrich uranium gas.

Talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. There is concern that Iran could be closer to being able to construct an atomic weapon if it chose to pursue one.

The nuclear deal collapsed four years ago when former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States and imposed crushing sanctions on Iran. In the meantime, Iran has vastly expanded its nuclear work.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday insisted negotiations over the deal “are going ahead properly,” even after repeated comments by American officials that an agreement to restore the accord may not happen.

The nuclear deal saw Iran put advanced centrifuges into storage under the watch of the IAEA, while keeping its enrichment at 3.67% purity and its stockpile at only 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium.

As of Feb. 19, the IAEA says Iran’s stockpile of all enriched uranium was nearly 3,200 kilograms (7,055 pounds). Some has been enriched up to 60% purity — a short technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Meanwhile, Iran has stopped the IAEA from accessing its surveillance camera footage.

Kamalvandi reiterated Iran’s stance that Tehran will not provide data from the cameras to the U.N. nuclear agency if a deal is not concluded.

Iran long has insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. However, U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had an organized military nuclear program up until 2003.

U.S. envoy vows prepares the South Korean Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

U.S. envoy vows ‘strongest possible deterrent’ over North Korea weapons tests

  • Sung Kim, U.S. special representative for North Korea, watches as South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk speaks during a briefing at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Monday. | POOL / VIA REUTERS

SEOUL – The United States and South Korea will maintain the “strongest possible joint deterrent” over North Korea’s “escalatory actions,” the U.S. envoy on North Korea said Monday, amid concerns that Pyongyang is preparing to resume nuclear testing.

U.S. Special Representative Sung Kim and his deputy, Jung Pak, met South Korean officials, including nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk, after arriving in Seoul early Monday for a five-day visit.

“It is extremely important for the United Nations Security Council to send a clear signal to the DPRK that we will not accept its escalatory tests as normal,” Kim told reporters after his talks with Noh, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We agreed on the need to maintain the strongest possible joint deterrent capability on the peninsula,” he said.

Kim also said the allies would “respond responsibly and decisively to provocative behavior,” while underlining his willingness to engage with North Korea “anywhere, without any conditions.”

Kim’s arrival coincided with the start of a nine-day annual joint military drill by U.S. and South Korean troops.

The exercise consists of “defensive command post training using computer simulation” and will not involve field maneuvers by troops, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday.

North Korea has condemned the joint drills as rehearsals for war, and they have been scaled back in recent years amid efforts to engage Pyongyang in diplomacy, and because of COVID-19 restrictions.

On Saturday, North Korea test fired what state media said were missiles involved in delivering tactical nuclear weapons.

The U.S. envoy has repeatedly offered to re-engage with North Korea, but Pyongyang has so far rebuffed those overtures, accusing Washington of maintaining hostile policies such as sanctions and the military drills.

Kim was also expected to meet with the transition team for President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who takes office in May.

A spokesperson for the team said there was no meeting confirmed between Yoon and Kim, but Yoon’s foreign minister nominee, Park Jin, said he planned to meet Kim.

Kim also said at his talks with Noh that Washington looks forward to working closely with Yoon’s team.