Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

    Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

South Korea is Ready to Nuke Up: Daniel 7

Exclusive-Seoul mayor calls for South Korean nuclear weapons to counter threat from North

Exclusive-Seoul mayor calls for South Korean nuclear weapons to counter threat from North

World Mar 12, 2023 10:51PM ET

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea should build nuclear weapons to bolster its defences against North Korea, even at the risk of international repercussions, the mayor of its capital city said, arguing that the country cannot be bound by the goal of denuclearisation.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon added new fuel to a growing debate over how South Korea should arm itself as the North races to perfect its capability to strike the South with tactical nuclear weapons.

“North Korea has nearly succeeded in miniaturising and lightening tactical nuclear weapons and secured at least dozens of warheads,” Oh said. “We’ve come to a point where it is difficult to convince people with the logic that we should refrain from developing nuclear weapons and stick to the cause of denuclearisation.”

He has raised the issue before, saying in February that the South should keep the nuclear option available. But his new comments are his strongest yet.

Oh, an influential member of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative People Power Party, is one of the highest-profile officials to actively advocate for a South Korean nuclear weapons programme.

He is seen as a likely contender for the presidency in 2027. As mayor, he oversees Seoul’s annual civil defence drills and an integrated security mechanism aimed at protecting a metropolitan area that is home to nearly half of the country’s 51 million people.

Amid advances in North Koreas’ military and doubts over the U.S. commitment or ability to protect the South, a growing number of senior South Korean officials have raised the possibility of developing nuclear weapons or redeploying American tactical nuclear bombs and missiles, which were withdrawn from the Korean Peninsula in the 1990s.

As a candidate, Yoon proposed the U.S. redeployment option, but his administration has since said it remains committed to denuclearisation and would reinforce combined conventional defences with the U.S.

Surveys, however, show unprecedented levels of public support in South Korea for the once unthinkable idea of a homegrown nuclear arsenal.

In a poll released on March 1 by Data Research, more than 70% of South Koreans supported developing nuclear weapons with 27% opposed; 59% said North Korea would probably use nuclear weapons if war breaks out on the peninsula.

Oh said the Ukraine crisis has cemented his conviction that denuclearisation has lost its appeal, and that nuclear weapons would be the most effective deterrent against the North.

“Russia freely violates Ukraine’s airspace, flying bombers and firing missiles … but Ukraine barely attacks Russian territory because of the psychological inferiority to a nuclear state,” Oh said.

He dismissed opponents who warned of punishments from other countries, including sanctions, saying a South Korean nuclear programme would send a message to countries like China to curb the North’s military buildup.

“There may be some initial resistance from the international community, but I believe that it will gain more support eventually,” he said.

A former senior U.S. official said the increase in rhetoric from the Yoon government seems driven by a desire to pressure the United States into giving South Korea more say in nuclear planning.

Yoon has said U.S. extended deterrence is “falling short of convincing” South Koreans, and Washington has agreed to establish more information-sharing and conduct tabletop drills to enable greater allied cooperation.

In a report this month, Lee Sang-hyun, president of South Korea’s Sejong Institute, said that Yoon is not seriously considering a nuclear programme and that a return of American weapons was also unlikely.

“However, the Yoon government’s nuclear non-proliferation stance has shown small but significant signs of change in recent months,” he wrote. “If North Korea’s nuclear threat becomes more visible and South Korea takes its own path to nuclear development, it will signal the start of a nuclear domino effect in Asia.”

The Weakness of Babylon the Great: Daniel 7

A deactivated nuclear missile at a museum.

March 13, 2023

Something Is Missing From Americans’ Greatest Fears. It’s the Bomb.

By Serge Schmemann

Mr. Schmemann is a member of the editorial board.

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The announcement last month by President Vladimir Putin of Russia that his country would suspend participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States set off long-dormant alarm bells. American nuclear forces went on red alert, people rushed to restock nuclear shelters, toilet paper and powdered milk vanished from grocery shelves … at least in Mr. Putin’s dreams, given his fantasy of restoring Russia to the salad days of Cold War brinkmanship.

Yet Mr. Putin’s pronouncement was widely interpreted for what it was, saber rattling to convince his cowed citizens that the war against Ukraine really is a life-or-death clash of superpowers. Most Americans appeared to take little notice of the announcement; many probably had only a vague notion of what the New START pact, more formally known as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, was about. Some may have been surprised that there were any agreements between the United States and Russia left to rip up.

Satisfying as it may be to deny Mr. Putin the pleasure of touching off panic in the West, his move was a blunt reminder that the threat of nuclear war is still present, possibly metastasizing, and should not be lightly dismissed.

More than 30 years after the end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear obliteration simply doesn’t rank among Americans’ greatest fears. For a while after Sept. 11, global terrorism reigned in the public’s mind as the most pressing threat. According to a 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center, cyberattacks are now considered the major global menace, followed by false information, China, Russia, the global economy, infectious diseases and climate change. My grandson, a college student, told me his peers don’t see a global nuclear war as a real danger today.

Yet even the sharply reduced Russian and American nuclear arsenals are still enough to wipe out much of the world, China is pushing hard to become the third nuclear superpower, and at least six other countries, including the uber-dictatorship North Korea, have nuclear weapons (the others: Britain, France, Israel, India and Pakistan).

Perversely, the complexity of today’s world has even generated something akin to nostalgia for a time when there were only two superpowers to deal with and stability depended on mutually assured destruction. But it is hard to be nostalgic about a time when President John Kennedy urged all Americans to prepare nuclear shelters (“The time to start is now”) and nuclear nightmares were the stuff of popular movies like “On the Beach,” “Fail Safe” and “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

True, there were fears when the Soviet Union collapsed that a terrible “second nuclear age” of unchecked proliferation and nuclear terrorism would follow. In fact, since the end of the Cold War only North Korea got its own bomb, and its nuclear program began long before the Soviet Union ended. On the opposite side of the ledger, South Africa abandoned its nuclear program in 1989, and three new states that inherited some Soviet nuclear weapons — Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan — surrendered them (perhaps now to their regret).

Whether Americans are justified in no longer worrying so much about the bomb is another question. Jon Wolfsthal, a senior adviser to Global Zero, a group that advocates the abolition of nuclear weapons, and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, thinks not. “A lot of this is subjective,” he said. “In the ’60s and ’70s we believed that Russians would launch unless we were on our guard. They were sure that we would launch.” As that fear receded, he said, so did awareness of the ever-present threat. “Before, all senators had to know the language of throw-weight” — the payload of a nuclear missile. “Today, there’s not five senators who understand the issue.”

Yet nuclear arms controls are as needed today as they ever were, and not only with Moscow. Mr. Putin obliquely acknowledged that when, after saying on Feb. 21 that Russia would suspend participation in New START, Russia quickly added that the country would continue to respect the treaty’s limits on nuclear warheads and delivery systems. The alternative, he knew, could be a new arms race in which Russia was no match for America’s economic and technological abilities. In effect, Mr. Putin’s announcement extended a suspension of on-site inspections that began during the pandemic.

That is serious. But at least the principle of limiting strategic nuclear warheads (to 1,550 each) and the missiles, submarines and heavy bombers with which to launch them survives.

Even if the Doomsday Clock doesn’t move any closer to midnight, time is still running out. New START expires in three years. It’s hard to imagine negotiations on a new treaty so long as the war in Ukraine rages on. At the same time, China is racing ahead in an apparent bid to match the U.S. and Russian arsenals by 2035. So far, Beijing has rebuffed any efforts to negotiate limits with the United States, though it joined the United States, Russia, France and Britain in January 2022 in declaring that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Even if Russia and China can be brought to the table, the parties will need a new way to define how many bombs each nation needs to deter the other two.

In the meantime, China’s growing arsenal might spur India to build up its own, which could prod Pakistan to do the same. On other fronts, Iran is said to be steadily advancing its nuclear program since former President Donald Trump’s ill-advised withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And there are no contacts with North Korea, which demonstrated readiness in the past to negotiate constraints on its nuclear program.

With the war in Ukraine casting a pall on Washington’s relations with Russia, China, India and much of the global south, arms controls may seem a waste of time. But the era of arms controls began when relations between Washington and Moscow reached a dangerous low after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mr. Putin’s missile-rattling may be a signal that the Ukraine war has taken us there again.

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Serge Schmemann joined The Times in 1980 and worked as the bureau chief in Moscow, Bonn and Jerusalem and at the United Nations. He was editorial page editor of The International Herald Tribune in Paris from 2003 to 2013. 

Can Obama Still Prevent a Nuclear Iran? Daniel 8

March 8, 2023  Topic: Iran  Region: Middle East  Tags: IranNuclear WeaponsJCPOARussia-Ukraine WarDrones

Can Biden Still Prevent a Nuclear Iran?

Had the Biden administration taken a more robust approach toward the Islamic Republic, the regime would not have made such significant progress in its nuclear program. 

by Farhad Rezaei

The Islamic Republic of Iran has significantly progressed in its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently disclosed the findings of its latest inspection, indicating that the regime had enriched uranium to a purity level of 84 percent. This level is close to the weapons-grade standard of 90 percent, implying that any accumulation of such material could be employed to manufacture an atomic bomb should the regime decide to cross that line.

The emergence of this threat sparks questions about whether the Biden administration’s current Iran policy can effectively prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The more pressing concern is determining alternative strategies to address the threat if the policy falls short of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear warhead.

Based on the IAEA’s report, Iran has installed advanced centrifuges at one of its fuel enrichment plants and increased the production of enriched uranium up to 84 percent. Iran’s total stockpile of enriched uranium now exceeds the allowable limit under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the IAEA’s capacity to efficiently monitor Iran’s nuclear facilities and verify that they are solely used for peaceful purposes is compromised. CIA director William Burns has cautioned that the Islamic Republic is moving closer to obtaining the necessary components for a nuclear weapon. During testimony to lawmakers, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl stated that Iran has the capability to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear bomb in approximately twelve days.

In addition to the uranium enrichment program, Iran’s ballistic missile program has been advancing at an alarming rate. The regime has been increasing its long-range missile capabilities in recent years, which could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead. This development is a cause for concern as it suggests that Iran is steadily moving toward becoming a nuclear power with the ability to threaten regional and global security. 

Intelligence reports suggest that Iran is actively developing hypersonic missiles that have the potential to travel at speeds up to 15 times the speed of sound with remarkable accuracy. These missiles could also be configured to carry a nuclear warhead, further adding to the global concern regarding Iran’s weapons capabilities. General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the former head of U.S. Central Command who oversaw military planning for dealing with Iran, said the country has amassed “over 3,000 ballistic missiles of varying types, some of which have the potential to reach Tel Aviv.” Many of these missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. This development further underscores the growing concerns regarding Iran’s military capabilities and the potential threats they pose to regional and global security.

Moreover, Iran has likely attempted to develop the third component of a nuclear weapons program: warhead design, which involves constructing a nuclear warhead at the top of a missile. The IAEA previously reported that Iran experimented with advanced nuclear detonation technology, but regime scientists encountered technical obstacles during the experiment. It is plausible that such activities are still ongoing clandestinely, but IAEA inspectors have been unable to detect them.

Detecting a secret warhead design program is challenging because it does not require the use of nuclear materials, which are the primary focus of the IAEA’s safeguards. Warhead design can be conducted using non-nuclear means and in facilities that are not declared to the IAEA, making it harder for inspectors to detect such activities. Furthermore, accessing sensitive military-related sites is essential to detect secret warhead designs. Still, the Islamic Republic has refused to grant access to such sites to inspectors, further complicating the process.

Given the difficulty in detecting progress in this area, it is possible that the Iranian regime has continued with the project and resolved the technical challenges involved in warhead design.

Had the Biden administration taken a more robust approach toward the Islamic Republic, the regime would not have made such significant progress in its nuclear program. 

The absence of a strong and assertive response to the nuclear advancements has only served to embolden the regime and encourage it to push the administration on other matters, whether through conducting terrorist attacks within the United States or issuing threats of military aggression against the West.

According to a recent report by the Department of Justice, the regime had conspired with a transnational criminal element to assassinate American citizens, including former U.S. officials in the Trump administration. Regime officials, including the chief of the Quds Force—the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)—and the commander of IRGC Aerospace Force, have indicated their steadfast commitment to continue their malicious activities on American soil.

Given their perception of Biden’s strategy as ineffective, the Islamic Republic felt emboldened to become involved in the conflict in Ukraine without fear of a forceful U.S. response. The regime has been supplying Russia with hundreds of Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, which were manufactured in Iran. These drones have been employed by the Russian military to strike urban areas and vital facilities in Ukraine, contributing to the destruction of almost half of the country’s electricity supply and depleting Ukrainian resources.

Making the situation even more alarming, the IRGC has escalated its hostile language and threats toward Europe, claiming that it has the capability to strike Europe by expanding the range of its missiles. According to Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of the IRGC, the Revolutionary Guards has the ability to increase the range of its missiles and “strike them seriously,” although it has refrained from doing so thus far. While providing weaponry to Russia is indeed an act of hostility against Europe, the IRGC’s explicit threats and declarations of their ability to target European nations represent a more explicit threat and a clear indication of their willingness to engage in a military confrontation with Europe.

The regime’s ruinous involvement in Ukraine and the IRGC’s hostile language and threats toward the United States and Europe, as well as plotting terror attacks on American soil, ought to have solidified Western opinion and Biden’s stance that the present strategy toward Iran is inadequate and necessitates a dramatic change.

In light of the circumstances, the essential issue is what steps the United States and its European partners can take to stop Iran’s hostile actions and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

It is imperative to admit in the first place that the Islamic Republic has no intention of relinquishing its nuclear program, ending its support for the conflict in Ukraine, or halting its terrorist operations in the West and the United States. In the event of a lack of diplomatic efforts, it is crucial for Europe and the U.S. government to establish a potent and credible deterrence capable of forcing the regime to stop its nuclear pursuits. Even from the non-proliferation perspective, restoring the JCPOA at the present stage wouldn’t impede the regime’s capability to build the bomb but accelerate it. 

Additionally, the Islamic Republic is confronted with multiple crises that span social, economic, political, and environmental domains. Given the deteriorating economic conditions and the lack of hope for significant reforms in Iran, it is highly likely that a fresh wave of protests could emerge in the not-too-distant future. It is of utmost importance for the U.S. government and Europe to publicly express their support for Iranian protestors and undertake concrete actions to aid Iranians in their pursuit of democracy. 

Moreover, the IRGC is a terrorist group that is actively attempting to execute terrorist attacks in both the United States and Europe. Given that it has already been recognized as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States, the Biden administration should use its diplomatic influence to persuade European allies to also label the IRGC as such.

Finally, to exert additional pressure on the regime, it is necessary for the United States and Europe to transfer the nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council and activate the snapback provision of the JCPOA, thereby reinstating UN sanctions on Iran that were lifted after the accord’s implementation. Such a move would not only financially strain the regime but also hinder its ability to finance its repressive machinery that suppresses civilian protestors.

Any approach that falls short of implementing these measures would allow the Islamic Republic to persist with its malevolent activities. 

Farhad Rezaei is a senior fellow at Philos Project.

The Real Threat of Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Nuclear War a ‘Real Threat,’ Says Russia Lawmaker as He Urges Ceasefire


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats to the West over his war in Ukraine are “real,” according to Grigory Yavlinsky, a Russian opposition politician and founder of Moscow’s last liberal party.

Speaking to Newsweek from Moscow, Yavlinsky, 70, the founder of the Yabloko party and a fierce Putin critic who is calling for a ceasefire in the war, addressed the Russian leader’s nuclear rhetoric throughout the course of the conflict.

In September, Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War II, saying in a televised address to the nation that he’d be prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will, without doubt, use all available means to protect Russia and our people—this is not a bluff,” Putin said at the time.

Grigory Yavlinsky in Moscow
Above, then-presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky speaks during a meeting with his electorate in Moscow on February 22, 2018. Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats to the West over his war in Ukraine are “real,” according to Yavlinsky.DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

And last month, during his state-of-the-nation address to Russia’s National Assembly, Putin announced that Russia will stop observing the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement it shared with the United States. The treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that countries can deploy.

“I think that [Putin’s] nuclear threat is a real threat,” Yavlinsky told Newsweek, echoing Putin’s remarks that the warnings are “not a bluff.”

“It’s a real threat. That kind of weapon is such a serious thing…this is not [just] words, this is a real factor, which you have to take into consideration in the current situation. That’s it,” he said.

Yavlinsky ran against Putin in presidential elections twice and has voiced his opposition to Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine since the conflict began on February 24, 2022. He has described the war, for his nation, as “akin to a self-imposed nuclear strike.”

Yabloko is a social-liberal party that has deputies in five regional parliaments: Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Pskov region, Karelia and Kostroma.

The politician has urged for a ceasefire in the conflict, telling Newsweek that one must happen “before thousands and thousands of people are killed.”

Yavlinsky said his belief that Putin’s nuclear warnings are real is one of the main reasons he is calling for an immediate ceasefire. His remarks come as fears grow that a future attempt by Ukraine to recapture Crimea would be a red line for Russia and that Putin may use his country’s nuclear capabilities to defend the territory.

Putin illegally annexed the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Last month, a Ukrainian official said that his country is preparing “assault brigades” to take back its occupied territories, including Crimea.

Alexander Formanchuk, the chairman of Crimea’s Civic Chamber, told state-run news agency RIA Novosti on January 31 that he believes a global nuclear war will “immediately” break out should any attempt be made to return Crimea to Ukrainian control.

Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based think tank, assessed on February 28 that Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war are part of an “information operation” and “extraordinarily unlikely” to come to fruition, citing testimony from U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.

“ISW has assessed that Russian invocations of nuclear threats and nuclear doctrine are part of an information operation meant to discourage Ukraine and the West but do not represent any material Russian intent to employ nuclear weapons,” the ISW report said.

Boris Bondarev, a former Russian diplomat who resigned publicly in May 2022 over the invasion of Ukraine, previously told Newsweek that he believes Putin’s nuclear threats are a bluff.

“Today [Putin’s] bluffing and we know that he has bluffed about nuclear threats. Ukrainians recovered some parts of their territory, and there was no nuclear retaliation,” he said in a phone interview from Switzerland.

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli forces gather during a Palestinian protest demanding Israel to reopen closed roads leading to Nablus.
Israeli forces gather at the Huwara checkpoint near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in occupied West Bank

The Israeli army says ‘gunmen opened fire’ at an army position west of Nablus, with their soldiers responding with ‘live fire’.

Published On 12 Mar 202312 Mar 2023

The Israeli military says its forces shot and killed three Palestinian men who opened fire on soldiers in the occupied West Bank, the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the men were killed on Sunday by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami, 24, Uday Othman al-Shami, 22 and Mohammed Raed Dabeek, 18.

The Israeli army said “gunmen opened fire” at an army position near the Jit junction west of Nablus, with the soldiers responding with “live fire”.

“Three armed gunmen were neutralised during the exchange of fire and an additional armed gunman surrendered himself to the forces,” the army said in a statement, noting that none of the Israeli soldiers was wounded.

The soldiers, members of the elite infantry Golani reconnaissance unit, confiscated three M-16 rifles and a pistol used by the Palestinians, the army said.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, claimed the men who were killed as members.

Ongoing violence

Tensions between Israeli forces and settlers on one side and Palestinians on the other have escalated over the past year.

Israeli forces have arrested thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and killed more than 200 Palestinians, civilians as well as fighters. More than 40 Israelis and foreign nationals have died in attacks by Palestinians over the same period.

On Friday, an Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian man near an illegal settlement in the northern occupied West Bank.

A day before, a Hamas gunman opened fire in Tel Aviv, wounding three people, one of them critically, before being killed by police and passersby. The group said the attack was a response to an Israeli raid killing three Palestinian fighters in the West Bank earlier that day.

Israeli raids have become deadlier this year since a new far-right government came into power, empowering settler groups in the occupied West Bank, who recently rampaged through the town of Huwara in an attack that has been labelled a “pogrom”.

Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, house between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite Palestinians seeking the land as part of a future state.

The United States defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, expressed concerns about Jewish settler violence against Palestinians while on a visit to Israel on Thursday.

In a joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Galant, Austin said Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security was “iron-clad” but warned against acts that could trigger more insecurity.

Pence Warns of Another Obama-Iran Nuclear Deal

Former US Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks in Washington, February 16, 2023

Former US Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks in Washington, February 16, 2023

Revival Of Nuclear Deal With Iran Paves Way To Nukes: Pence

Sunday, 03/12/2023

Iran Nuclear

Former US Vice President Mike Pence warned the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran paves a path “in gold” to nuclear weapons.

Speaking at an event in Washington DC by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), he said: “On the day we left office, the Iranian regime was more isolated than ever before”, claiming the Biden administration is “threatening to unravel all of the progress we made in marginalizing the tyrannical regime in Tehran”.

He called the attempts to restore the deal, including waiving sanctions, “ill-advised and unwise” stressing that a new agreement would not stop the regime’s ambitions for nuclear weapons.

“A renewed nuclear deal won’t lead to peace and stability. It will lead to more terrorism, death and destruction, and destabilize the region,” he stressed. “A renewed deal won’t block Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb, it will pave it in gold.”

The Biden administration has kept all of former President Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions against Iran in place, but critics charge that enforcement has been weak, as Washington negotiated with Tehran to restore the JCPAO agreement.

Pence called for the prosecution of President Ebrahim Raisi, who has been tied to numerous human rights abuses, including the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.

“He must be removed from office by the people of Iran and prosecuted for crimes against humanity and genocide,” Pence said.

The Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and re-imposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the accord.