New York at Risk for an Earthquake (Revelation 6:12)

A red vase sits, overturned, on a hardwood floor. Broken glass and other vases are on the floor. A table is askew. A man leans against a chair while he holds a phone to his left ear.

Tony Williams surveys damage at his Mineral, Va. home after an earthquake struck Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. Items in his home were knocked over and displaced, and the home suffered some structural damage after the most powerful earthquake to strike the East Coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to New England. The quake was centered near Mineral, a small town northwest of Richmond. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A look at New York City’s earth­quake risks


Not every New Yorker felt it when the ground shook on August 23, 2011.

When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake cracked the soil near Mineral, Virginia that day, the energy traveled through the Northeast.

Some New Yorkers watched their homes tremor, while others felt nothing.

Researchers say New York City is due for a significant earthquake originating near the five boroughs, based on previous smaller earthquakes in and around the city. While New York is at moderate risk for earthquakes, its high population and infrastructure could lead to significant damage when a magnitude 5 quake or stronger hits the area.

Unbeknownst to many, there are numerous fault lines in the city, but a few stand out for their size and prominence: the 125th Street Fault, the Dyckman Street Fault, the Mosholu Parkway Fault, and the East River Fault.

The 125th Street Fault is the largest, running along the street, extending from New Jersey to the East River. Part of it runs to the northern tip of Central Park, while a portion extends into Roosevelt Island.

The Dyckman Street Fault is located in Inwood, crossing the Harlem River and into Morris Heights, while the Mosholu Parkway Fault is north of the Dyckman Street and 125th Street Faults.

The East River Fault looks a bit like an obtuse angle, with its top portion running parallel, to the west of Central Park, before taking a horizontal turn near 32nd St. and extending into the East River and stopping short of Brooklyn.

Just outside of the city is the Dobbs Ferry Fault, located in suburban Westchester; and the Ramapo Fault, running from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a few miles northwest of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, less than 40 miles north of the city and astride the intersection of two active seismic zones.

The locations of faults and the prevalence of earthquakes is generally not a concern for most New Yorkers. One reason might be that perceptions of weaker earthquakes vary widely.

On Nov. 30, a magnitude 4.1 earthquake, centered near Dover, Delaware, could be felt in nearby states. Less than 200 miles away in New York City, some people reported on social media that they felt their houses and apartments shaking. At the same time, some New Yorkers, again, did not feel anything:


Just felt my whole building shake in the East Village, NYC #earthquake#nyc


2:51 PM – Nov 30, 2017

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Mike Baumwoll ✌️@baumwoll

So apparently we just had a small earthquake in NYC? Did anyone feel it? #NYCearthquake


3:00 PM – Nov 30, 2017

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What I referred to as “a giant ghost in the apartment shaking the christmas tree” in my texts to everyone this p.m. turned out to be my very first #earthquake in #nyc😅

— Kate Kosaya (@KateKosaya) November 30, 2017

Andrea Marks@andreaa_marks

I felt the earthquake too! I wanna be part of this! I watched the water in a water bottle go back forth for a long time after the 3 seconds of shaking. Thought about the T-rex scene from Jurassic Park and went back to work. #earthquake#nyc

3:35 PM – Nov 30, 2017 · Brooklyn, NY

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Brian Ragan@BrianRagan

Well that’s an unexpected alert. #nyc#earthquake

View image on Twitter


3:31 PM – Nov 30, 2017 · Manhattan, NY

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Marianna Schaffer@marschaffer

Just felt earthquake like thing at my desk in #NYC anyone else? Floor and chair moved #earthquake#eastcoastnotusedtothis#helpfromleftcoast


2:57 PM – Nov 30, 2017

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NYPD 19th Precinct✔@NYPD19Pct

Did you feel that?

We didn’t but The US Geological Survey reports that a 4.4 magnitude #earthquake has occurred in Dover, Delaware & was reportedly felt by some in the #NYC area. There are no reports of injuries or damage in #NYC at this time.#UpperEastSide#UES

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3:46 PM – Nov 30, 2017

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Won-Young Kim is a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which monitors and records data on earthquakes that occur in the northeast. Kim says it’s not clear who feels smaller earthquakes, as evident by a magnitude 0.8 quake in the city in December of 2004.

“Hundreds of people called local police, and police called us. Our system was unable to detect that tiny earthquake automatically,” Kim said. “We looked at it, and, indeed, there was a small signal.”

Kim says some parts of the city will feel magnitude 1 or 2 earthquakes even if the seismic activity does not result in any damage.

You have to go back to before the 20th Century, however, to find the last significant earthquake that hit the city. According to Lamont-Doherty researchers, magnitude 5.2 earthquakes occurred in 1737 and 1884. In newspaper accounts, New Yorkers described chimneys falling down and feeling the ground shake underneath them.

“1737 — that was located close to Manhattan,” Kim said. “It was very close to New York City.”

According to Kim, the 1884 quake was felt in areas in or close to the city, such as the Rockaways and Sandy Hook, New Jersey. But it was felt even as far away as Virginia and Maine.

From 1677 to 2007, there were 383 known earthquakes in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City, researchers at Lamont-Doherty said in a 2008 study.

A 4.9 located in North Central New Jersey was felt in the city in 1783; a 4 hit Ardsley in 1985; and in 2001, magnitude 2.4 and 2.6 quakes were detected in Manhattan itself for the first time.

But the 1737 and 1884 quakes remain the only known ones of at least magnitude 5 to hit the city.

Smaller earthquakes are not to be ignored. Lamont-Doherty researchers say frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones and thus can be used — along with the fault lengths, detected tremors and calculations of how stress builds in the crust — to create a rough time scale.

The takeaway? New York City is due for a significant earthquake.

Researchers say New York City is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years, a 6 about every 670 years, and 7 about every 3,400 years.

It’s been 134 years since New York was last hit by at least a magnitude 5. When it happens next, researchers say it won’t be much like 1884.

The city’s earthquake hazard is moderate, according to the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation (NYCEM), but experts agree that, due to its higher population and infrastructure, the damage would be significant.

Before 1995, earthquake risks were not taken into consideration for the city’s building code. Thus, Lamont-Doherty says many older buildings, such as unenforced three- to six-story buildings, could suffer major damage or crumble.

The damage an earthquake causes is also dependent on what’s in the ground. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, bedrock is more resistant to earthquakes than sediment.

The upper third of Manhattan has harder soil that is more resistant to shaking. Parts of Midtown are more susceptible, while Downtown Manhattan’s soil is even softer, according to the NYCEM.

Exceptions to Upper Manhattan’s strength? Portions of Harlem and Inwood — both areas consist of a large amount of soft soil. Central Park has the strongest soil in Manhattan, outside of a small segment of Inwood..

Not all boroughs are created equal. While the Bronx is also made of solid bedrock, the ground in Queens and Brooklyn is softer.

“If you go to Queens and Brooklyn, you have sediment, so there would be more shaking relative to Manhattan,” Kim said. “So, it’s not easy to say the damage would be the same.”

Analysis pins the damage from a magnitude 5 earthquake hitting New York City in the billions, according to Lamont-Doherty.

New York City is not a hotbed for seismic activity; it is not close to a tectonic plate, and it is not clear if one of the faults would be the source of a strong quake. But the predicted damage to the city has concerned many experts.

Until that day, earthquakes are isolated events for New Yorkers. Some have felt the ground move, while others have only felt shaking when subway cars travel underground.

But researchers agree: One day, the ground will wake up in the city that never sleeps, and all New Yorkers will understand what Mineral, Virginia felt when their homes rattled with the earth.

Israel is Pulling US into War with Iran: Revelation 16

People demonstrate against United States entering a war with Iran at the US Capitol on January 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C..

Hawkish Israel Is Pulling U.S. Into War With Iran

The Biden administration is appearing to endorse Israel’s escalations against Iran — a move that would necessitate U.S. involvement in a new Middle East conflict no one wants.

Murtaza Hussain

March 1 2023, 11:24 a.m.

People demonstrate against the United States entering a war with Iran at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 9, 2020, in Washington, D.C. 

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

ALMOST TWO DECADES after the U.S. launched the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the Biden administration is on the verge of sleepwalking into yet another major armed conflict in the Middle East. Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides appeared to endorse a plan for Israel to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with U.S. support. “Israel can and should do whatever they need to deal with [Iran], and we’ve got their back,” he said at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Nides’s words come after recent high-level military drills between Israel and the United States intended to showcase the ability to strike Iranian targets, as well as recent acts of sabotage and assassination inside Iran believed to have been carried out by both countries.

It was not clear whether Nides was speaking on his own behalf or outlining an official change in U.S. policy, though the Biden administration has not walked back the remarks. In a press conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the remarks reflected consistent U.S. support of Israeli security. The U.S. has continued to support Israel’s increasingly hawkish Iran policies, including its “octopus doctrine” of strikes inside Iran as well as at Iranian targets throughout the region.

Meanwhile, at first blush, the U.S. has little to lose, diplomatically speaking: The Iran nuclear deal is dead, thanks in large part to the Biden administration’s hesitance to reenter the agreement.

On closer examination, though, the Israeli escalations mean that the U.S. now faces the unsavory prospect of a major crisis flaring up in the Middle East at the exact moment when its bandwidth is already stretched thin because of a major war in Europe and its deteriorating relationship with China.

“It’s now abundantly clear that the decision to leave the JCPOA was a blunder of enormous proportions, because it allowed Iran to restart its nuclear program and raise once again the question of what the U.S., Israel, or anyone else might do about it. This is exactly what many people warned about, and it’s exactly what’s happened,” said Stephen Walt, an international relations professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, referring to the nuclear deal by the initials of its former name, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “One of the reasons that you want to try to negotiate settlements to issues in dispute is that there are always new issues that come along. Now, while the administration has its hands full in Europe and elsewhere, it is possible that they will have another major crisis to deal with in the Middle East.”

The nuclear deal was intended to avoid the Middle East confrontation now visible on the horizon. Signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, the deal traded strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for its reintegration into the global economy.

When President Donald Trump violated the deal, in an apparent fit of personal pique at Obama, this pragmatic arrangement went out the window — not only removing limits on Iran’s nuclear program, but also politically empowering hard-liners inside Iran who had balked at negotiating in the first place and helping them to victory in Iran’s 2021 presidential elections.

“From the Iranian perspective, Trump’s decision to leave the JCPOA made it look like the moderates inside Iran had simply been fooled — taken to cleaners by the Americans. They did all the things we asked them to do, they were in compliance, then we reneged on the deal,” said Walt. “That allowed the hard-liners to come in and say that we should not talk to Washington anyways because they’re untrustworthy.”

With the Iran deal buried, there is no realistic prospect of dialogue with an increasingly hermetic and repressive government inside Iran.

THE U.S. CONFLICT with Iran is, in many ways, a product of Iran’s conflict with Israel — a resolution to which was never part of the initial talks around the nuclear deal. Today, both Middle Eastern countries find themselves in a state of crisis. Iran is reeling from mass protests, economic turmoil, and domestic repression. Israel is experiencing widespread civil unrest over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the Israeli judiciary, alongside moves to formalize apartheid-style annexation and military control over millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank.

It is not uncommon for governments to deflect their citizenry’s ire by directing it at a foreign adversary — something both the Iranian and Israeli governments could benefit from.

However much the U.S. public may not want it, a conflict between Israel and Iran would inevitably draw the U.S. military into the fray, as Nides’s recent comments recognized. Far from keeping Netanyahu in check — as past administrations, including Republican ones, sometimes did — the Biden administration appears to be giving tacit approval for steps likely to lead to war.

“Israel can’t meaningfully strike Iran’s nuclear program themselves — they know they can’t, and we know they can’t. We would have to get involved.”

“What we are seeing now is the Biden administration being very relaxed about threats from Israel that they would have to pay for,” said Gary Sick, an Iran expert at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute. “Israel can’t meaningfully strike Iran’s nuclear program themselves — they know they can’t, and we know they can’t. We would have to get involved.”

With anti-government protests inside Iran ongoing, hawkish analysts in the United States recently began arguing that the Iranian people would jump at the opportunity to overthrow a government that has increasingly lost its legitimacy. A similar notion motivated Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran in the 1980s, with international encouragement. At the time, there was a widespread belief that the 1979 revolution had thrown Iran into turmoil and that many Iranians would be glad to take the opportunity to overthrow their new theocratic leaders. Despite these predictions, the regime has remained in power.

”An attack that is supposed to be the coup de grâce against the Iranian government could actually strengthen their position and help them stay in power,” said Sick. “We can have a considerable degree of confidence that that is what would happen. People may not like the supreme leader and his government, but when their friends are being bombed, they can react in a very different way.”

A conflict between Iran and Israel could have other geopolitical costs. The United States is currently expending all the diplomatic energy it can to maintain a coalition to isolate and confront Russia over its war in Ukraine, including by severing Russian access to global oil and gas markets. After a full year of war, this effort is already showing severe strain. If the U.S. finds itself dragged by its client states into a new war in the Middle East, it is unlikely to win many hearts and minds around the world, let alone at home.

“The idea of a new war in the Middle East is not really popular anywhere,” said Sick. “If Israel carries out a raid and the United States gets involved, a lot of Americans are going to be questioning why we are getting ourselves involved in another major war that we can already tell isn’t going to be a good idea.”

“I don’t see this as another Ukraine where everyone rallies to the side of the West,” he added. “It would be seen as another war of choice in the Middle East.”

Hamas Declares War Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

 Palestinian Hamas security forces display their military skills during academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, February 27, 2023 (photo credit: ATTIA MUHAMMED/FLASH90)

Hamas: Huwara riots are a ‘declaration of war,’ cross all red lines

Suhai al-Hindi: “We are required to confront this conspiracy, killing and arson, with all our might, and the occupation knows only the language of force.”


Published: FEBRUARY 28, 2023 16:17

Updated: FEBRUARY 28, 2023 22:49


Palestinian Hamas security forces display their military skills during academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, February 27, 2023

(photo credit: ATTIA MUHAMMED/FLASH90)


The settler riots that swept Huwara on Sunday are a “declaration of war” and cross all red lines, warned Hamas political bureau official Suhai al-Hindi on Tuesday.

“The results of the Aqaba Summit are more killing, blood, and destruction for our Palestinian people, and what Nablus witnessed was a joint attack, as the occupation soldiers sponsor settlers to kill the Palestinian person and burn the Palestinian house and Palestinian entity,” said Hindi to the Palestinian news outlet Al-Watan Voice.

“We, on our part as Palestinians, cannot in any way accept this equation, and we cannot raise the white flag or accept that the enemy harms the Palestinian people.”Suhai al-Hindi

“We, on our part as Palestinians, cannot in any way accept this equation, and we cannot raise the white flag or accept that the enemy harms the Palestinian people,” added Hindi. “We are required to confront this conspiracy, killing and arson, with all our might, and the occupation knows only the language of force, not the language of dialogue, agreements and meetings.”

Hindi additionally pointed to riots that have taken place in recent days along the Gaza border, saying “The message of the rebellious youth in the eastern Gaza Strip is very clear, that when the Palestinian people suffer, the settler here on the Gaza border must suffer.”

The statement came as the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, suddenly canceled on Tuesday morning a visit he had planned to Gaza for Tuesday evening.

 Buildings that were set ablaze during the Huwara riots. (credit: TZVI JOFFRE)Buildings that were set ablaze during the Huwara riots. (credit: TZVI JOFFRE)

IDF investigates upsurge in violence, terror attacks in the West Bank

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi held a preliminary investigation of the recent violence in the West Bank on Tuesday. The commander of the IDF’s Valley Brigade, Lt.-Col. Meir Biederman, presented the main lessons learned following the terrorist attack in which Elan Ganeles was murdered in the Jordan Valley on Monday.

The IDF is continuing the manhunt for the terrorists who conducted the attacks in Huwara and in the Jordan Valley.

“The recent attacks and incidents took a heavy toll on us, and we are investigating and studying them,” said Halevi. “We will thwart terrorism of any kind, and we will continue to use all operational and intelligence measures in order to capture the terrorists.”

Halevi additionally condemned the violence against Israeli security forces reported in recent days, saying “The IDF is responsible for security in Judea and Samaria. The serious riots in Huwara after the difficult attack will be thoroughly investigated as well.”

On Tuesday night, IDF Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the commander of Central Command, stressed in an interview to N12 that the riot in Huwara was “a pogrom conducted by lawbreakers.”

Fuchs admitted that the IDF was not prepared for the riots, saying that while usually small disturbances break out after terrorist attacks and the IDF had prepared for similar disturbances, “We did not prepare for a pogrom on the scale of dozens of people who came with incendiary materials, went to more than 20 locations, besides for the clashes with soldiers at a nearby junction, and torched the houses and cars of random Palestinians.”

“This event surprised us in its scale and intensity,” added Fuchs. “It was an embarrassing event of lawbreakers who acted not according to the values I was raised on and not according to the values of the State of Israel and also not according to the values of Judaism.”

Fuchs addressed the rioters in the interview, stressing that “The people responsible for security are the security forces. Even if there are people who think we’re not doing the job right, they do not have the authority to act. We are responsible for security. This is a democratic country, that’s how it works.”

Fuchs called on the leaders of settlements to work to stop the extremists who conduct such attacks, noting that the majority of settlers do not conduct acts of violence like the rioters did.

The Central Command commander additionally noted that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not currently conducting security coordination, adding “We will see what will happen in the coming days. At this time, our efforts to fight terrorism have not been harmed by the lack of security coordination.”

Fuchs also rejected calls for collective punishment against Palestinians, saying that such measures don’t help the war on terror and can even lead to further terrorism.

In an interview with KAN news, Fuchs additionally rejected claims that the split in the Defense Ministry between Yoav Gallant and Bezalel Smotrich was affecting the IDF’s ability to fight terrorism, saying that he hasn’t seen any effects from the changes.

On Monday, a number of Israelis threw stones at an IDF vehicle near Hagaz junction, lightly damaging the vehicle. IDF soldiers opened a chase after the suspects and fired into the air. After one of the suspects was caught, additional Israelis arrived at the scene and began verbally and physically assaulting the soldiers. The suspects then got into a car and drove at high speed toward the soldiers. An officer at the scene fired into the air and at the wheels of the vehicle in accordance with IDF arrest procedures.

On Tuesday afternoon, a number of Israelis threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near the village of al-Mughayir. When IDF soldiers and police arrived at the scene, they fired in the air in order to disperse the suspects who were throwing stones at a Palestinian truck.

According to Palestinian reports, the IDF continued intensive checkpoints on the roads leading to Jericho on Tuesday as part of efforts to find the terrorists who conducted the deadly shooting attack in the area on Monday.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that despite the violence in recent days he had ordered police to continue concentrating efforts to fight crime in east Jerusalem. According to the minister, 52 suspected terrorists were arrested and six illegal weapons were seized in the past four days.

Additionally, 224 checkpoints have been set up throughout east Jerusalem. “We will continue our security policy which includes initiative and determination also in the return of governance in east Jerusalem,” said Ben-Gvir.

Three Arab homes in the Isawiya and Jebl Mukaber neighborhoods of east Jerusalem were demolished by the Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday, according to Palestinian reports. 

Babylon the Great raises alarm over the Iranian Nuclear Horn

The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/File
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/File

US raises alarm over Iran being 12 days away from making fissile for nuclear bomb

WASHINGTON: Iran could make enough fissile for one nuclear bomb in “about 12 days,” a top US Defense Department official said on Tuesday, down from the estimated one year it would have taken while the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was in effect.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl made the comment to a House of Representatives hearing when pressed by a Republican lawmaker why the Biden administration had sought to revive the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

“Because Iran’s nuclear progress since we left the JCPOA has been remarkable. Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days,” Kahl, the third ranking Defense Department official, told lawmakers.

“And so I think there is still the view that if you could resolve this issue diplomatically and put constraints back on their nuclear programme, it is better than the other options. But right now, the JCPOA is on ice,” Kahl added.

US officials have repeatedly estimated Iran’s breakout time – how long it would take to acquire the fissile material for one bomb if it decided to – at weeks but have not been as specific as Kahl was.

While US officials say Iran has grown closer to producing fissile material they do not believe it has mastered the technology to actually build a bomb.

Under the 2015 deal, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, Iran had reined in its nuclear programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Trump reimposed US sanctions on Iran, leading Tehran to resume previously banned nuclear work and reviving US, European and Israeli fears that Iran may seek an atomic bomb. Iran denies any such ambition.

The Biden administration has tried but failed to revive the pact over the last two years.

China Horn is Leading a New Nuclear Arms Race: Daniel 7


Is China Leading a New Nuclear Arms Race?

EUROHenke Euro Wednesday 01st March 2023 04:34 PM REPORT

Fears of a new nuclear arms race similar to the Cold War are mounting now that China is apparently importing Russian uranium.

Why is this important?

Nuclear weapons are so dangerous that they are capable of destroying our planet. During the Cold War, the two strongest states continued to develop these weapons and there was an arms race. Given the danger of this, nuclear powers decided to conclude treaties with each other to limit and reduce nuclear arsenals. Russia pulled out of the only remaining nuclear treaty, New START, last week. Now nothing can stop a new nuclear arms race.

In the news: China is currently building the CFR-600 nuclear reactor on Changbiao Island.

  • That island is located about 220 kilometers north of Taiwan in the East China Sea and is one of the most closely monitored nuclear facilities in the world. That writes the financial website Bloomberg.
  • America suspects that the reactor will produce plutonium suitable for nuclear weapons. This would allow Beijing to quadruple its nuclear arsenal, estimated today at more than 350 nuclear missiles, in the next twelve years.
    • This would put China’s nuclear arsenal on par with those of the United States and Russia. Last December, Russian engineers delivered another huge shipment of nuclear fuel to the island.
  • It is of course still possible that this will remain just an infrastructure project. Curiously, China recently stopped reporting its plutonium stocks.
  • So the current US fear is that China is taking advantage of Russian support to expand its nuclear weapons stockpile. Particularly given the current geopolitical tensions, that would add to ongoing concerns about a new nuclear arms race. As a result, Washington can then decide to make nuclear weapons again, after which the fence is off the dam.

Proliferation again?

zoom in: On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his withdrawal from the last remaining nuclear New START treaty.

  • That deal included an agreement under which both Russia and the US inspected each other’s weapons caches and limited their arsenal. Now there is no stopping this and the way is clear to build more nuclear weapons again.
  • In 2020, the US already stated that trilateral negotiations should take place with Russia and China for a new nuclear treaty. China refused to participate at the time because it did not yet consider itself an equivalent nuclear power.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn is About to be Revealed: Daniel 8

A truck leaving the Natanz nuclear research center in Iran in 2019

Iran Can Make Material For One Nuclear Bomb In Just 12 Days: Pentagon Official

By Kent Masing
03/01/23 AT 7:01 AM EST


  • The Pentagon’s top policy official told lawmakers that Iran has made major progress in its nuclear program
  • Colin Kahl said Iran’s “breakout time” was down from 12 months in 2018
  • He said reentering the JCPOA nuclear deal could “put constraints” on Iran but is unlikely to happen

Iran could make enough material for a nuclear device in less than two weeks, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Tuesday, down from the estimated one year it would have taken while the Iran nuclear deal was in effect.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Ukraine, Colin Kahl, the under secretary for policy of the Department of Defense, discussed Iran’s nuclear progress since the U.S. pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said the country can now produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material in “about 12 days.”

“Iran’s nuclear progress since we left the JCPOA has been remarkable,” Kahl told lawmakers, ABC News reported.

“Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA, it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days,” he added of Iran’s “breakout time.”

Kahl believed the U.S. reentering the deal was better than other options because he said it could “put constraints” on Iran’s nuclear program. But he acknowledged that is unlikely to happen after talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal stalled.

But Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, told Fox News Digital that it would take a “much more drastic step” to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“At this point, when Iran is this close to achieving an interim milestone in its nuclear program, the capability to produce fissile material for a bomb 12 days or so, it would take a much more drastic step to halt Iran’s progress,” Koffler said.

Iran has produced uranium particles enriched to up to 83.7% purity, Reuters reported, citing a confidential report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seen by the outlet. It means the country is very close to producing weapons-grade uranium with 90% purity.

The report stated that Iran’s stock of uranium enriched to up to 60% had grown by 25.2 kilograms (56 pounds) to 87.5 kilograms (193 pounds) since the last quarterly report.

The IAEA said 42 kilograms (93 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60% purity is “the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded.”

The U.S.’ attempts to negotiate a “stronger” deal with Iran stalled after a series of discussions produced little progress. In June 2022, following the ninth round of talks between the U.S. and Iran, a State Department spokesperson said “no progress was made.”

The massive protests in Iran and the country’s support of Russia’s war in Ukraine also became stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

In October 2022, U.S. envoy to Iran Rob Malley said that nuclear talks with Iran are “not our focus right now,” Axios reported.

In 2015, Iran forged a deal with the U.S., U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany, agreeing to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

The Obama-Iran Deal Is Strategically and Morally Absurd

A display with missiles and a portrait of Ayatollah Ali Khamanei
A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, in 2017  (Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi / TIMA / Reuters)

The Iran Deal Is Strategically and Morally Absurd

It is less an arms-control agreement than cover for American inaction.By Reuel Marc Gerecht

MAY 4, 2018SHARE

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a debate about whether to stay in the Iran deal. Read the other entries here.

It was surely Barack Obama’s profound aversion to the use of American military power that so enfeebled his nuclear diplomacy and made his atomic accord with Iran the worst arms-control agreement since the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. I do not know whether a more forceful president and secretary of state—say a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan and George Schultz—could have gotten a “good deal” with Tehran; it just boggles the mind to believe that a better deal wasn’t possible. A stronger president and secretary of state certainly would have been willing to walk away. Neither captured by Iranian demands nor the mirage of “moderate” mullahs and engagement, more astute, less fearful men would have been more patient, and more willing to let sanctions bite deeper into the economy and political culture of the Islamic Republic.

Obama was, to borrow from The New York Times’s Roger Cohen, America’s first “post-Western” president, a man deeply uncomfortable with American hegemony and the essential marriage of diplomacy and force. By 2013, when Hassan Rouhani won Iran’s presidential election, Obama made it increasingly clear that he was unwilling to fight over the clerical regime’s nuclear-weapons ambitions. He was also unwilling to do anything to brake the Islamic Republic’s rising Shiite imperialism, which in Syria led to the massive slaughter and flight of Syrian Sunnis who’d rebelled against Bashar al-Assad’s tyranny. And what happened in 2012-2013 in Syria and Iraq—with the absence of America—triggered the rise of the Islamic State and has now set the stage for a regional conflict that we haven’t seen since Saddam Hussein was running amok.

With Iran, Obama certainly appeared to have a cause, something beyond just avoiding a fight. The Islamic Republic for Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry, too, appeared to be a left-wing “realist” dream, offering a progressive version of Richard Nixon’s opening to Communist China. The many debilitating weaknesses of the JCPOA—for one thing, the strategic and moral absurdity of paying, via sanctions relief, for Iranian imperialism in the Middle East so we can have a short surcease to the mullahs’ quest for the bomb—stem directly from Obama’s paralyzing fear of war, as well as his aspiration for a Middle Eastern détente.

The suggestion that going to war with the clerical regime is too high a price to pay to stop the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons (which is what’s implied by defending the limited, temporary utility of the JCPOA) is downright odd. Obama was, in theory, willing to do just that in the nuclear negotiations. In theory, when he uttered the mantra that “all options are on the table,” Obama was—to borrow from La Rochefoucauld—giving the homage that hypocrisy pays to virtue. The nuclear deal wasn’t just “far from ideal”: It is the hinge of America’s downsizing in the region, the guarantor of a decent interval before nuclear proliferation comes to the Middle East.

Obama’s “wishful thinking” about the region was never more fully on display than when he speculated that his nuclear agreement with Tehran ought to allow the Iranians and the Saudis time to learn “to share” the region; it has, of course, done the opposite. The agreement—and the Iranian perception of that accord as a Western green light for its continuing aggression—has thrown jet fuel on the sectarian strife that Iran’s clerical regime has so malevolently encouraged. The Syrian war went from bad to catastrophic while Obama was engaged in his secret and then open diplomacy with Tehran. Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and most probably Turkey, too—the only Muslim power in the Middle East that has the industrial capacity to check Iran’s clerical regime—will probably soon start down the nuclear path because of Obama’s accord.

Obama provided the agreement that Ali Akbar Salehi was searching for. Salehi, the MIT-educated nuclear guru and negotiator who would be better described as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s bomb maker, sought the time and money to perfect the development of high-velocity centrifuges which, once deployed in small, easily concealed cascades, will guarantee the Islamic Republic an unstoppable means to produce weapons-grade uranium. I was recently listening to John Kerry in a small gathering. To hear him tell it, the JCPOA has “permanently shut down all pathways” to an Iranian bomb. The Obamaians like Phil Gordon, who were willing to admit the deal’s significant flaws, were in a small minority.

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and so many others were just disingenuous in how they marketed the nuclear diplomacy and the final deal.  An honest approach would have been to straightforwardly enumerate the agreements many flaws and then say what we all knew to be true: This administration is unwilling to use military force to stop the mullahs’ quest for the bomb. We are unwilling to contain Iranian aggression in the Middle East. This is the best that we can do under those circumstances.

But if one were serious about non-proliferation, if one fully comprehended the consummate mendacity of the regime (as if we needed to see the nuclear archive that Mossad just snatched), why in the world would anyone agree to an accord that allows the clerical regime to develop advanced centrifuges? Why in the world would anyone agree not to put severe restrictions on ballistic-missile development in the JCPOA? Or allow the Iranians to soften the language in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, so that there is no longer a blanket prohibition against the development of long-range ballistic missiles? In one of my favorite moments in the Washington debate about Obama’s diplomacy, I asked the undersecretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, why, for Allah’s sake, were we exempting missiles from the JCPOA’s purview. There wasn’t a soul in the Pentagon or the Central Intelligence Agency (with the possible exception of John Brennan) who believed the clerical regime wasn’t developing ever-longer range ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads. Her response: We decided to put the emphasis on preventing Tehran from developing warheads.

To translate for those unfamiliar with such intelligence details: The United States was going to ignore that which is easy to detect—the design and testing of missiles—and focus on what is impossible to detect unless you get really lucky with human-intelligence penetrations or walk-ins—the development of warheads. And where have the mullahs probably put warhead design? On Revolutionary Guard Corps bases like Parchin. When we get a chance to review the Iranian archive snatched by Mossad (and I certainly hope the Israelis release all of the material), I suspect we will see in detail what we have long known: Nuclear-weapons research and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are inseparable.

In other words, the organization that is responsible for internal oppression, foreign wars, overseas terrorism, and an expeditionary army of non-Iranian Shiites is the overlord of the nuclear-weapons program. Which brings up the most comedic moment in Obama’s nuclear adventure: the remote-controlled soil sampling of earth at Parchin, where International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors were not permitted to enter. According to Obama, Kerry, Sherman, and so many others, the JCPOA granted the International Atomic Energy Agency access to Iranian military bases for inspections. But “access” here doesn’t meet the standard, say, of the Oxford English Dictionary, where it means:  “Admittance (to the presence or use of a thing or person); the action or process of obtaining stored documents, data, etc.” Not only did Obama debase American diplomacy, but his mania for a deal debased the International Atomic Energy Agency, too.

It is striking that Kerry throughout the talks was so cavalier about the clerical regime’s past “possible-military-dimension” nuclear research. If America had insisted on standard IAEA procedures (they turn over all of their paperwork and have their nuclear scientists and engineers sit down for thorough discussions with IAEA inspectors), we would have, of course, discovered the vast range of their mendacity, as well as the intimate details of the global dual-use import network that the regime has used to build clandestinely their nuclear-weapons program. Such routine discussions and verification would have exposed Salehi, Khamenei, Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, and so many others, as just stellar liars. I really don’t recall Rhodes and Kerry before the JCPOA was concluded harping on the consummate dishonesty of these people.

As my colleague, the former No. 2 at the IAEA, Olli Heinonen has pointed out, the clerical regime could have a lot of components for the clandestine production of high-velocity centrifuges, but we can’t verify their stockpiles and compliance because we can’t answer the big questions about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. At this moment, the clerical regime could have a clandestine centrifuge site in Mashhad in northeastern Iran. And we would not know it. I worked on Iranian operations for nearly a decade in the Central Intelligence Agency. I have a decent idea of what the National Security Agency can and cannot intercept. There is nothing in the JCPOA that would aid us in discovering this or any other possible secret facility.

The JCPOA, then, isn’t really an arms-control agreement; it’s just cover for American inaction, and for President Obama’s acute desire to leave the Middle East. So, let us go post-JCPOA. The deal’s defenders have understandably and quite correctly expressed dismay that the Trump administration doesn’t appear to have done much preparation for the day after. That is undoubtedly true: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis obviously didn’t want to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. When you don’t want to do something, it’s human nature not to prepare. The easier route is always to maintain the status quo. The democratic way is to punt problems down the road, to hope that the unpleasantness goes away. Then add on the Trump factor, which is discombobulating. But also let us be historically fair: Even the best of planning isn’t necessarily worth much when things get messy, as they often do in foreign affairs, which is defined by the unexpected. And withdrawing from the JCPOA is going to be messy.

So far Trump’s Iran policy doesn’t make a lot of sense. On one hand, his rhetoric is commendably harsh. His selection of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo has certainly gotten Tehran’s attention. It is always good to see a Revolutionary Guard Corps website announce about Bolton that “Trump’s Raging Bull has arrived.” As I and Ray Takeyh mentioned in our Washington Post op-ed, American resolve always convulses and paralyzes the clerical regime. It was no accident, as Rouhani himself explained, that Iran froze its just-revealed clandestine nuclear program in late 2002 because of fear of George W. Bush. And yet Trump’s commendable personnel choices and rhetoric are betrayed by his actions in Syria and Iraq, where he is, more or less, continuing Obama’s policy.

So the pro-deal argument is that if President Trump’s is going to continue his predecessor’s disastrous policies in Syria and Iraq, he should logically continue Mr. Obama’s pivotal accomplishment—the nuclear deal. They work together. We could have an even more calamitous situation develop: Trump pulls America out of Syria, Iraq, and the atomic deal. After withdrawing from the JCPOA, Trump could then do nothing to check the clerical regime as it tests whether Washington is serious economically and militarily. It is bizarre but conceivable that Trump could exempt the Europeans from the extraterritorial reach of snapped-back American sanctions against Iran. We know that French President Emanuel Macron made this pitch on his recent visit to Washington. And Trump doesn’t appear to understand how U.S. sanctions work. He suggested once on Fox News that he would allow the Europeans to continue to invest in the Islamic Republic’s heavy industries after he pulled out of the JCPOA. Needless to say, this would be nuts—Iran would still get many of the economic benefits of the deal without having to abide by its restrictions.

And yet it isn’t that hard to devise a credible post-JCPOA approach to the clerical regime. We can use America’s approach to the Soviet Union as a model: Contain, roll back, and squeeze. The Islamic Republic now resembles the Soviet Union of 1979: a police state, incapable of reforming itself while drowning in corruption and economic ineptitude, expands abroad to protect the nation and its “faith.”  Now, unlike the U.S.S.R., which in the end just had Marx’s and Lenin’s desiccated orthodoxy to sustain an empire, the Islamic Republic has a still vibrant Shiite identity. It is the only idea, mixed with revolutionary intent, that the mullahs can lock on to that can motivate the faithful and undermine critics who stopped believing in the cleric-constructed Islamic state. But as we have seen repeatedly, Iranians have been willing in significant numbers to express their disgust for this tyranny. In the nation-wide demonstrations that started last December, even those that the regime thought were loyal to the theocracy—the provincials—shouted their opposition to imperial adventures.

As long as Trump is willing to use military force against the regime’s nuclear sites, and we don’t know whether he is, then time is on our side, not theirs. America is the stronger party, by far. Let us try to crack the regime. The contradictions that gnaw at the mind, heart, and muscles of the clerical regime are as great as those that debilitated the Soviet Union. As you know, most Democrats and some Republicans went soft by the end of the Cold War. They wanted détente and cohabitation. But the hawks like Reagan and Henry “Scoop” Jackson won that struggle, not Henry Kissinger and the Carterites. I do not know whether Trump is capable of pulling this off. Odds are he is not. But we don’t get the president that we want; we get the president that the American people choose.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has served as a Iranian-targets officer in the CIA, and is the author of Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran.