The Asian Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Asia’s Nuclear Future
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says is a ballistic missile in North Pyongan Province, North Korea, on March 19, 2023. North Korea says its ballistic missile launch simulated a nuclear attack against South Korea. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified.Credit: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Asia’s Nuclear Future

Even in today’s unsettled environment, the prospects for additional states to develop nuclear weapons are low. But if there is a next nuclear power, it’ll be found in Asia.

By Cheryl Rofer

April 01, 2023

It may not happen for some time, or at all, but the next nation that joins the nuclear club will be in Asia.

South America and the Caribbean are nuclear-free under the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Likewise, African countries have foresworn nuclear weapons under the Treaty of Pelindaba. The Treaty of Rarotonga covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands, and the Antarctic is covered by a treaty too. Europe is united by Russia’s imperial war against Ukraine and sits under the protection of NATO’s nuclear umbrella. 

More broadly, most nations around the world have promised, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Most of those outside the NPT are in Asia. Three of the Asian states outside the NPT are already nuclear powers: India and Pakistan, and North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT in 2003.

Several states in Asia have motives to proliferate, inspired by complex regional conflict dynamics and domestic ambitions alike. North Korea tests missiles. China builds up its nuclear arsenal and patrols the South China Sea aggressively. India, Pakistan, and China contest borders. Iran ratchets up its uranium enrichment. The mix of nuclear and non-nuclear nations and the complexity of the conflicts in Asia can make nuclear weapons look attractive. 

On the other hand, Asia has nuclear weapon free zones too. The Treaty of Bangkok covers Southeast Asia, and Central Asia has its own treaty against nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons were developed with 1940s computational and engineering capabilities. Any industrial nation is capable of building them, but an industrial-scale operation is necessary. A nuclear weapons program is expensive and requires significant development and redirection of resources. Not only must the weapons themselves be developed, but delivery systems need to be created too.

A state that wants to develop nuclear weapons would have to withdraw from the NPT, a move that would trigger considerable consequences. Alliances with other states would weaken or be broken, with, for example, sanctions or travel bans imposed. Tensions with adversary states would increase. And ultimately, nuclear weapons cannot prevent conventional conflict, as seen in the Sino-Soviet border war of 1969 and the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan.  

The world’s largest nuclear powers – the United States, Russia, and China – have an outsized influence on proliferation potential in Asia. Their activities may lead other nations to consider developing their own nuclear weapons. 

Cheryl Rofer

Cheryl Rofer is an independent scholar. She worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1965 to 2001 on a variety of projects having both scientific and policy aspects. She managed environmental cleanups and a program to develop a disposal method for hazardous waste, and worked with Estonia and Kazakhstan to clean up environmental problems left by the Soviet Union. Her publications include technical papers on chemistry, a book, magazine articles on nuclear policy and history.

US won’t be able to stop the Chinese nuclear horn: Daniel 7

US won't be able to stop Chinese nuclear development: Gen. MilleyUS Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley

US won’t be able to stop Chinese nuclear development: Gen. Milley

China has ‘intercontinental ballistic missiles that can range the United States,’ says Joint Chiefs chairman

Servet Günerigök  |30.03.2023 – Update : 30.03.2023


US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that China’s nuclear weapons capability is “bothersome” and Washington will not be able to stop its development. 

“They have a significant nuclear capability today, and they have intercontinental ballistic missiles that can range the United States,” Milley said during a House Committee on Armed Services hearing alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“We are probably not going to be able to do anything to stop slow down, disrupt, interdict or destroy the Chinese nuclear development program that they have projected out over the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. “They’re going to do that in accordance with their own plan.”

The intelligence community said in its annual threat assessment earlier this month that China may have surpassed the US in the number of nuclear warheads in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program.

The top general said China is on a “disturbing” path to becoming militarily “superior” to the US by mid-century.

“They have a national goal to be a global coequal with the United States and superior militarily by mid-century. They’re on that path to do that and that’s really disturbing. That’s really bothersome,” he added.

Regarding China, Milley said in addition to Beijing’s nuclear weapons capacity, Washington is also concerned about China’s rapprochement with Russia.

“In this particular strategic environment that we’re seeing that two of them are getting closer together. I wouldn’t call it a true, full alliance in the real meaning of that word. But we are seeing them moving closer together. And that’s troublesome,” he added.

The general also warned that China and Russia have the means to threaten US interests but “war with either is neither inevitable nor imminent,”

The Horns Prepare for Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Worldwide arsenal of nuclear weapons available for use rose in 2022

Pakistan, Russia, China, India, North Korea all increased stockpiles of warheads in 2022


The global arsenal of nuclear weapons available “for use” by the armed forces of the nuclear-armed states increased in 2022 as the fear of a nuclear war also surged, the latest Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor report showed Wednesday.PauseUnmute

The “fear of nuclear war surged to the highest levels since the Cold War following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said the monitor released by the humanitarian relief organization Norwegian People’s Aid.

In collaboration with the think tank Federation of American Scientists, the organization published the latest data on global nuclear forces.

“Pakistan, Russia, China, India, North Korea, all increased their stockpiles of warheads in 2022, bringing about an increase by 136 warheads from the 9,440 warheads that were available for use in early 2022 to 9,576 in 2023,” said Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

The hike was registered despite a slight annual drop in the global inventory of nuclear warheads, including in 2022, when it decreased from 12,705 warheads at the beginning of the year to the estimated 12,512 warheads in January 2023.

Old weapons dismantled

“This is only still true because Russia and the United States each year dismantle a small number of their older nuclear warheads that have been retired from service,” said Kristensen.

At the start of this year, nine nuclear-armed states had 12,512 nuclear warheads, of which 2,936 are retired and awaiting dismantlement.

That leaves 9,576 nuclear warheads available for use by the military, with a collective destructive power equal to more than 135,000 Hiroshima bombs.

The increase of weapons ready for use is “worrying” and continues a trend started in 2017, said the monitor editor, Grethe Lauglo Ostern of Norwegian People’s Aid.

“If this does not stop, the total number of nuclear weapons in the world will also soon increase again for the first time since the Cold War,” said Ostern.

She noted that all nine nuclear-armed states — China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the US, and the UK – refuse to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

“The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated that nuclear weapons do not create peace or stability,” said Henriette Westhrin, the secretary-general of Norwegian People’s Aid.

“They do not deter aggression but enable conventional wars and incentivize risk-taking that could lead to nuclear war. This report shows how urgent it is for the nuclear-armed states and their allies to take concrete steps towards disarmament.”

The report also noted that they are acting in contravention of the treaty by continuing to develop, produce, and stockpile nuclear weapons.

Still, it is not just the nuclear-armed states whose activities are incompatible with the TPNW.

Non-nuclear states contravene

Also, the report shows that 35 non-nuclear-armed states, including the world’s so-called 32 umbrella states, contravened the treaty in 2022 by assisting and encouraging continued possession of nuclear weapons. 

Europe has the highest number of countries whose actions run counter to the TPNW and that vote against the treaty of the UN.

“These states perpetuate the idea that nuclear weapons are legitimate and necessary and are a major obstacle to nuclear disarmament,” said Ostern.

Despite this, the Ban Monitor stressed that the TPNW gained strength last year.

The speed with which new countries sign and ratify the treaty accelerated following a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A significant milestone, the treaty’s First Meeting of States Parties, was held in Vienna in June 2022.

Five countries under the US “nuclear umbrella” attended the Vienna meeting as observers, showing early signs of a willingness to “engage constructively” with the treaty.

As of this month, the nuclear ban treaty has “68 states parties” and 27 countries that have signed but not yet ratified the treaty.

The monitoring group said only four more states need to join the treaty to exceed 50% of all states.

China Horn’s rapid nuclear expansion most ‘disturbing’ threat he has seen: Daniel 7

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall speaks March 14, 2023, during the service’s Total Force Integration Symposium on Joint Base Andrews, Md.

Air Force secretary labels China’s rapid nuclear expansion most ‘disturbing’ threat he has seen



STARS AND STRIPES • March 28, 2023

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers Tuesday that increased efforts by China to rapidly expand its inventories of nuclear weapons worries him more than anything he has seen in his long national security career.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything more disturbing in my career than the Chinese ongoing expansion of their nuclear force,” Kendall, a former Army officer who has spent decades in Pentagon and other national security roles, told House appropriators during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The Pentagon warned in a November report that China was working to nearly quadruple its inventory of nuclear warheads by 2035. China now holds about 400 nuclear warheads and seeks to grow that number to 700 within a few years and to 1,500 by 2035, according to the Pentagon. The United States had about 3,750 active nuclear warheads as of 2020, the last time the federal government released such information to the public. Russia is believed to hold about 4,500 nuclear weapons, according to the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based nonpartisan organization that publishes information about international arms control policy.

The Pentagon in recent years has named China its “pacing challenge,” labeling Beijing’s efforts to expand its military capabilities and grow its influence across southeast Asia and into other regions as the Defense Department’s top concern. Of all of China’s efforts to boost its power, Kendall said Tuesday that its nuclear ambitions could have the greatest impact on global security.

“For decades, they were quite comfortable with an arsenal of a few hundred nuclear weapons, which was fairly clearly a second-strike capability to act as a deterrent,” Kendall told lawmakers during a hearing to defend the Air Force Department’s roughly $215 billion fiscal 2024 budget request. “That expansion that they’re undertaking puts us into a new world that we’ve never lived in before, where you have three powers — three great powers, essentially — with large arsenals of nuclear weapons.”

The United States and Russia for years have held the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons. Tensions between Washington and Moscow have increased recently after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its announced suspension from complying with the New START treaty, the last agreement between the two powers to regulate nuclear arsenals.

Kendall, who served in various national security roles during the Cold War, said the United States and the then-Soviet Union “came close a couple of times” to nuclear war, but it was ultimately averted via high-level communication between the powers.

China, Russia and the United States, he said, now need to establish communication norms on nuclear issues, warning of growing instabilities among the top nuclear powers.

“Russia’s latest move on the New START treaty is not helping — it’s going in the wrong direction,” Kendall said. “Nobody wants a nuclear war. We do not want to go back to that [Cold War] world of 30 years ago. I thought we would never be in this position again, and here we are. So, we need to be wise. We really need to start talking to them.”

Kendall implored lawmakers to fully fund the Air Force’s top priorities, which include billions of dollars for development of its next generation of nuclear capabilities, including the B-21 Raider bomber and the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missiles. He said it was critical lawmakers pass a 2024 budget on time for the first time in years, in part to counter China’s growing military threat.

Some $5 billion of the Air Force’s 2024 budget proposal funds efforts specifically focused on countering China’s military capabilities, he said. The budget request also includes more than one dozen new programs that cannot begin without an enacted fiscal 2024 budget and authorizations bill, Kendall said.

“We must develop, produce and field [those new programs] if we desire to maintain the air and space superiority that America and our allies have counted on for decades,” he said. “In order to proceed with any of these programs, the Department of the Air Force needs timely authorizations and appropriations.”

Without them, he warned, China would continue to improve its military, while U.S. combat capabilities could erode.

“War [with China] is not inevitable,” he said. “But successfully deterring conflict is heavily dependent on our military capabilities.”


Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.


Russia to Power the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China has plans to expand its nuclear arsenal. Photo: Facebook

Russia to power China’s nuclear weapon ambitions

‘No limits’ partnership means Russia will provide China the tech and fuel it needs to tip the prevailing global nuclear bomb balance


Russia plans to provide fast breeder nuclear reactor technology to China, an agreement that could allow Beijing to significantly grow its nuclear arsenal and tip the prevailing global balance of nuclear weapons.  

This month, Bloomberg reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping announced a long-term agreement to continue developing fast breeder nuclear reactors optimized for plutonium production for nuclear weapons.  

The report notes that in December 2022, Russia’s-state owned Rosatom nuclear power company finished transferring 25 tons of highly-enriched uranium to China’s CFR-600 nuclear reactor, which analysts say has the capacity to produce 50 nuclear warheads a year.

US Department of Defense (DOD) officials and US military planners have assessed that the CFR-600 will be critical in building China’s nuclear arsenal from 400 warheads today to 1,500 by 2035.

China has rejected this assessment, however, arguing that the CFR-600 is connected to its civilian power grid and is part of a US$440 billion program to overtake the US as the world’s top nuclear energy generator by the middle of the next decade, news reports said.

Russia’s ramped up nuclear assistance to China was announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, where the two leaders announced a raft of new agreements. The two leaders declared a “no limits” partnership shortly before Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.  

Russia’s nuclear technology exports, which have surged since the invasion, are one effective way it can offset lost energy and arms exports caused by Western sanctions imposed in punitive response to the war.

The Bloomberg report notes that Russia is the world’s largest supplier of nuclear reactors and fuel, and that China’s fast reactors, which use liquid metal instead of water to moderate operations, are based on Russian technology.

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is currently involved in the construction of nuclear power generating units in China. Photo: AFP / Sputnik / Rosatom

In the 2022 book Russia-China Relations: Emerging Alliance or Eternal Rivals, Brian Carlson notes that Russia’s strategic calculus towards China was profoundly changed by its invasion of Ukraine, the imposition of unprecedented Western sanctions and the declaration of a “no-limits” strategic partnership.

In Carlson’s view, Russia’s decision to provide China with nuclear technology to significantly enlarge its arsenal shows that Moscow has set aside long-term concerns about China’s potential threat in Russia’s Far East.

The move reflects Russia’s desire for increased cooperation with China in dealing with the West and the recognition that a breakdown in Russia-China relations would adversely affect Russian interests at this critical time, Carlson says.

In terms of Russia’s energy exports to China, Thane Gustafson notes in an April 2022 article for Fortune that China may not be able to buy enough to save Russia’s previous levels of energy exports.  

Gustafson notes that Russia’s oil exports to China have little room for immediate expansion given constraints in pipelines and marine terminals and that sending oil by tankers could be difficult as traders and shippers shy away from Russian oil.

He also says that Russia’s current gas infrastructure in the Russian Far East could supply China with just a fraction of the volumes sold to Europe, noting the stalled Power of Siberia 2 pipeline and Russia’s lack of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers.

For coal, Gustafson says that a proposed European ban on Russian coal and plans to phase out coal altogether, combined with Russia’s two underfunded Pacific rail lines, are also significant issues in ramping up exports to China.

Gustafson also mentioned that Russia’s energy export infrastructure was built over the course of half a century to supply Europe, and pivoting Russia’s energy exports to China will be expensive and time-consuming. 

At the same time, the Ukraine war may have significantly undermined Russia’s defense industry, a significant source of export revenues.

The ongoing conflict has raised the possibility that foreign arms orders may be redirected to replace Russia’s battle losses, exposed Russia’s surprising dependence on Western technology and led to the imposition of financial sanctions that can prevent foreign clients from paying.

The often poor performance of Russian weapons in the war, plain for the world to see in news reports, may also have dented their appeal among foreign buyers. China may already be beyond the need to purchase Russian weapons, as its advancements, especially in terms of jet engines and semiconductors, may already have overtaken those of Russia.

Russia is rushing to replace and upgrade weaponry lost in the war. Image: Facebook

However, Russian assistance could be instrumental in China’s efforts to rapidly expand its nuclear arsenal.

In an August 2021 article for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tong Zhao discusses the factors driving China’s nuclear expansion drive. Zhao notes that evolving US missile defenses and conventional strike weapons are making China’s nuclear arsenal vulnerable and thus undermining its deterrent capability.

Zhao notes that Chinese leaders perceive Western countries as deliberately creating trouble and excuses to contain and demonize China, fearing that its rise challenges the West’s dominance of the current international system.

He also notes that any sign of weakness will encourage Western countries to destabilize China and weaken the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power, making it critical for China to enlarge its nuclear arsenal to make its rivals respect its position and exercise restraint.

China’s nuclear buildup also aims to increase the survivability of its arsenal in a potential war scenario. Asia Times noted in November 2022 that China’s nuclear force structure is optimized to ride out an adversary’s first strike rather than threaten using nuclear weapons.

Although Chinese leaders have debated changing their country’s no-first-use policy from time to time, there is no sign that China intends to change that stance anytime soon.

In a February 2023 article for Air and Space Forces Magazine, Christopher Prawdzik mentions that a larger and more diverse nuclear arsenal increases China’s second-strike capability and puts the country in a better position to brandish its nuclear weapons coercively and employ them if necessary.

Prawdzik also mentions that 700 nuclear warheads are enough for China to have a secure second-strike capability, with options for limited theater nuclear strikes. Moreover, the size of China’s nuclear arsenal, diversity of delivery systems and warhead yields expand the types of nuclear attacks China can launch and the targets it can threaten.

Russian Horn to place nuclear weapons in Belarus, US reacts cautiously

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko observe training launches of ballistic missiles as part of the exercise of the strategic deterrence force, in Moscow, Russia February 19, 2022. — Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko observe training launches of ballistic missiles as part of the exercise of the strategic deterrence force, in Moscow, Russia February 19, 2022. — Reuters 

Putin says Moscow to place nuclear weapons in Belarus, US reacts cautiously

  • It is one of Russia’s most pronounced nuclear signals.
  • Senior administration official says there were no signs Moscow planned to use its nuclear weapons.
  • ‘Russia, Belarus speaking about transfer of nuclear weapons for some time’.

Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, sending a warning to NATO over its military support for Ukraine and escalating a standoff with the West.

Although not unexpected and while Putin said the move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation promises, it is one of Russia’s most pronounced nuclear signals since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago.

The United States — the world’s other nuclear superpower — has reacted cautiously to Putin’s statement, with a senior administration official saying there were no signs Moscow planned to use its nuclear weapons.

Putin likened his plans to the US stationing its weapons in Europe and said that Russia would not be transferring control to Belarus. But this could be the first time since the mid-1990s that Russia were to base such weapons outside the country.

“There is nothing unusual here either: firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allied countries,” Putin told state television.

“We agreed that we will do the same – without violating our obligations, I emphasise, without violating our international obligations on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Tensions have grown over the war in Ukraine after heavy supplies of Western weaponry to Kyiv and Moscow shifting its rhetoric on its military operation away from “demilitarisation” of its neighbour to fighting “the collective West” there.

Some hawkish Russian politicians and commentators have long speculated about nuclear strikes, saying Russia has the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond its limits.

“Tactical” nuclear weapons refer to those used for specific gains on a battlefield rather than those with the capacity to wipe out cities. It is unclear how many such weapons Russia has, given it is an area still shrouded in Cold War secrecy.

Experts told Reuters the development was significant since Russia had until now been proud that unlike the United States, it did not deploy nuclear weapons outside its borders.

The senior US administration official noted that Russia and Belarus had been speaking about the transfer of nuclear weapons for some time.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the collective defence of the NATO alliance,” the official said.

NATO’s threshold

Putin did not specify when the weapons would be transferred to Belarus, which has borders with three NATO members — Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. He said Russia would complete the construction of a storage facility there by July 1.

“This is part of Putin’s game to try to intimidate NATO … because there is no military utility from doing this in Belarus as Russia has so many of these weapons and forces inside Russia,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists.

It was also unclear where in Belarus the weapons would be stationed. The transfer would expand Russia’s nuclear strike ability along NATO’s eastern border.

Although the Kremlin has never publicly confirmed it, the West has long being saying that Russia keeps nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, its Baltic coast exclave between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons called Putin’s announcement an extremely dangerous escalation.

“In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high. Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” it said on Twitter.

Putin said that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had long requested the deployment. There was no immediate reaction from Lukashenko.

While the Belarusian army has not formally fought in Ukraine, Minsk and Moscow have a close military relationship. Minsk allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine last year and the two nations stepped up joint military training.

“We are not handing over (the weapons). And the US does not hand (them) over to its allies. We’re basically doing the same thing they’ve been doing for a decade,” Putin said.

“They have allies in certain countries and they train … their crews. We are going to do the same thing.”

Russia has stationed 10 aircraft in Belarus capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons, Putin said, adding that it had already transferred to Belarus a number of Iskander tactical missile systems that can launch nuclear weapons.

“It’s a very significant move,” said Nikolai Sokol, a senior fellow at the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

“Russia had always been very proud that it had no nuclear weapons outside its territory. So, now, yes, they are changing that and it’s a big change.”

Like Obama, Biden missing in action as Iranians protest regime and declare ‘America is not the enemy’

March 08, 2020: A huge mural of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Iran's Supreme Leader painted next to a smaller one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (R) seen on Motahari street on March 8, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. The message on the wall reads "The power and influence and dignity of America in the world is on the fall and extermination" and on top of the building, another slogan reads "We are standing till the end".

Biden missing in action as Iranians protest regime and declare ‘America is not the enemy’

The protests could have a global impact as demonstrators call out the regime’s spending on terror ambitions

By Benjamin Weinthal | Fox News

Protests against the legitimacy of Iran’s Islamic Republic continue to sweep across the vast country triggered by a multitude of reasons including rising food prices, the collapse of a twin-tower apartment building killing at least 29 people (with more dead feared under the rubble) and a considerable loathing of the clerical regime.

As the protests continue to intensify and spread, U.S. President Joe Biden has stayed on the sidelines and not personally weighed in on the revolts against the clerical regime.

During Thursday night’s protests in the southwestern city of Abadan, where the building had collapsed, people chanted slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, saying “Khamenei is a murderer; his rule is illegitimate,” despite the deployment of riot police.

Police fired tear gas into the air to disperse the angry crowd of hundreds near the building site, online video analyzed Saturday shows. Videos shared online showed a massive crowd near the Metropol Building on Friday night, with lights shining on its facade. In a second video, demonstrators at street level are seen chanting: “Our enemy is here; they lie that it is America!” A third video showed an angry crowd with one shot heard. The person filming turned and ran, shouting: “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”

According to human rights activists and Iranians meticulously documenting the regime’s violent crackdown, at least five people have been killed and scores of demonstrators have been incarcerated.

The prominent Iran expert Alireza Nader posted video footage showing demonstrators in the city of Bushehr, located on the Persian Gulf, also declaring: “Our enemy is right here [in Iran], they lie and say it’s America.”

The chant “Death to the Dictator!” was also voiced, referring to Khamenei.

In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Senior Vice-President, on Friday, May 27, 2022, ruins of a tower at under construction 10-story Metropol Building remains after it collapsed on Monday, in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran.

In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Senior Vice-President, on Friday, May 27, 2022, ruins of a tower at under construction 10-story Metropol Building remains after it collapsed on Monday, in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran. (Iranian Senior Vice-President Office via AP)

The shocking deaths in Abadan prompted Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi to devote part of her acceptance speech to the suffering victims after winning best actress at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. Amir Ebrahimi lives in exile due to a smear campaign regarding her romantic life.

“The Biden administration and EU continue to talk about social justice but that just seems to be cheap talk for votes,” Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American journalist and human rights expert, told Fox News Digital. “That social justice does not seem to extend to everyone around the world though.”

“That Biden did not even address the disaster in Iran and the huge anti-regime demonstrations, is another sign of him wanting to cover up the Khomeinist regimes’ crimes against humanity, just so he can make his disastrous [nuclear] deal,” she added. “The Iranian people, for the most part, now consider both the Democratic Party and the European leaders as hypocrites and foes.”

Lisa Daftari, also an Iran expert, wrote on her website, The Foreign Desk, “As protests enter their third week in provinces across Iran with demonstrators calling for the death of the Iranian supreme leader and the overthrow of the hard-line, radical regime, the Iranian opposition is coming to social media in droves expressing their frustration at being generally ignored and unsupported by the international community.”

She continued, “The protesters, whose platform is mainly centered upon the government’s corruption and lack of human rights, have a global message; they’re calling out the regime spending billions of dollars on its terror ambitions and leaving the Iranian people without subsidies to purchase basic goods and live comfortable lives.”

March 08, 2020: A huge mural of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Iran’s Supreme Leader painted next to a smaller one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (R) seen on Motahari street on March 8, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. The message on the wall reads “The power and influence and dignity of America in the world is on the fall and extermination” and on top of the building, another slogan reads “We are standing till the end”. (Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

The United States government—both under Democratic and Republican administrations—has recognized Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.

Daftari, who speaks fluent Farsi, quoted one anti-regime activist saying: “I just want the international community to place themselves in our situation, and explain how they would feel. If your entire life is ruined because of a bunch of terrorists and others don’t care about you, how would you feel?”

The lack of strong condemnation of the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on dissent and of solidarity for the protesters from the international community has, according to Daftari, “to do with the desire of major Western countries to negotiate and revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.”

The US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany are desperately trying to reach a deal with Iran’s regime in Vienna to provide economic sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran promising to temporarily restrict its production of nuclear weapons.

Len Khodorkovsky, a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration and senior adviser to the U.S. representative for Iran, tweeted, “I know what President Trump said to the Iranian people during #IranProtests. President Biden, your turn.” 

Khodorkovsky embedded a tweet from Donald Trump from 2020 in which the former president declared that he stands with the people of Iran and added: “We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with senior White House advisors Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, 2020, in the Situation Room of the White House, on a further meeting about the Islamic Republic of Iran missile attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with senior White House advisors Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, 2020, in the Situation Room of the White House, on a further meeting about the Islamic Republic of Iran missile attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq.  (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On May 16, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted, “Brave Iranian protesters are standing up for their rights. The Iranian people have a right to hold their government accountable. We support their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression online and offline − without fear of violence and reprisal.”

Iran’s regime is following its playbook used in past protests against the theocratic state. Iranians in Khuzestan, Esfahan and Tehran reported significant, serious disruptions to internet access, including blockages when trying to upload images of protests to social media.

Amir Taheri, a veteran Iranian journalist who has written extensively about the Islamic Republic, tweeted: “The Khomeinist clique see use of force as sole method for calming public discontent. They are sending armed anti-riot units to make large scale arrests in Khuzestan cities: Abadan, Ahvaz, Shadegan, Dezful & Izeh. Their incompetence is matched by their violence.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Preparing for the Nuclear Apocalypse

The Iran Nuclear Deal

By Jonathan Tirone | Bloomberg

New fuel rods sit in wrapping ahead of use in a storeroom beside the main reactor hall at the Dukovany nuclear power plant operated by CEZ AS in Dukovany, Czech Republic, on Sunday, April 6, 2014. CEZ AS, the largest Czech power producer, sees potential for two new reactors at its Dukovany nuclear complex once the current four units are retired in 2035. Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

Iran’s nuclear capabilities have been the subject of global hand-wringing for more than two decades. While Iran’s leaders long insisted the country was not building nuclear weapons, its enrichment of uranium and history of deception created deep mistrust. In 2015, after more than two years of talks and threats to bomb the country’s facilities, Iran and world powers reached a deal that limits the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that had cut off oil exports and hobbled its economy. After President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the pact and reinstated sanctions in 2018, Iran began violating the deal’s restrictions and, in early 2020, said it was no longer bound by any of its limits.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, though under threat, isn’t dead yet. The other parties to it — China, France, Russia, Germany, the U.K. and the European Union — have continued to talk to Iran about preserving the deal in some form. The Trump administration, in an effort to bury it for good, pressed the United Nations to restore its sanctions against the Islamic Republic but was rebuffed by other members of the UN Security Council. Of particular U.S. concern is the UN arms embargo against Iran, which lapses in October 2020 unless sanctions are snapped back. The deal’s future could turn on the outcome of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term. His opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has said he would rejoin the deal if Iran resumes complying with it. Iran had expected the pact to stimulate an economic revival, but new and reinstated U.S. sanctions instead provoked an economic contraction. 

Iranian statements and international contacts with Pakistani scientists prompted the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to warn in 1992 that the Persian Gulf country could develop a nuclear weapon. While Iran reaffirmed its commitment to the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it wanted the country’s “right” to enrich uranium recognized before it made concessions. A breakthrough came after Iran elected a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, president in 2013. The 2015 deal he made recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, and Iran was allowed to keep 5,000 centrifuges to separate the uranium-235 isotope needed to induce a fission chain reaction. But Iran agreed that for 15 years it would not refine the metal to more than 3.7% enrichment — the level needed to fuel nuclear power plants — and would limit its enriched-uranium stockpile to 300 kilograms, or 3% of the amount it held in May 2015. The International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran eliminated its inventory of 20%-enriched uranium, which can be used to make medical isotopes and to power research reactors but could also be purified to weapons-grade material at short notice. Inspectors also confirmed that Iran destroyed a reactor capable of producing plutonium. U.S. officials under then-President Barack Obama estimated that the pact extended the time it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a bomb from a few months to a year. 

Trump administration officials say the 2015 deal emboldened Iranian activities that destabilize the Middle East and didn’t adequately address Iran’s ballistic missile program. They had some company in criticizing the deal. Middle East powers including Israel and Saudi Arabia say it empowered Iran’s theocratic regime to the detriment of regional security. And some members of the U.S. Congress say Iran can’t be trusted to make any fissile material, whether for energy, medicine or bombs. Like other enriching countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Japan and South Africa, the technology gives Iran the ability to pursue nuclear weapons should it choose to break its commitments. Supporters of the deal say Iran would never agree to abandon enrichment entirely and that a decade’s worth of sanctions failed to stop its nuclear program. Keeping an enrichment capability was important to Iran, for reasons of national pride and because it was previously denied access to uranium on world markets. Defending the agreement, Obama has said that it prevented another war in the Middle East. Without a deal, supporters say, Iran would have been left free to pursue its nuclear ambitions unchecked.

The US Must Prepare for the Iranian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) more >


Pentagon has ‘multiple options’ ready if Iran builds nuclear bomb, top U.S. general says

By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times – Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Pentagon has developed multiple military options ready for President Biden if, or when, Iran begins to build nuclear weapons, America’s top general told Congress Thursday.

The comments from Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscored the gravity of the situation with respect to Iran‘s nuclear program, which is racing forward after the Biden administration failed to revive the 2015 deal with Tehran designed to limit that program. Since the diplomatic push was largely abandoned last fall, Tehran has made stunning strides with its nuclear efforts and analysts say the regime is now just months away from producing a bomb, if it chooses.

Iran could produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks and it would only take several more months to produce an actual nuclear weapon,” Gen. Milley told the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense Thursday morning. “But the United States remains committed, as a matter of policy, that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon.”

“We, the United States military, have developed multiple options for our national leadership to consider if or when Iran ever decides to develop an actual nuclear weapon,” Gen. Milley said.

Indeed, U.S. officials have said that Iran can now produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb within about 12 days. Enrichment of about 90% is needed to produce nuclear weapons. United Nations inspectors earlier this month reported that uranium enriched up to 83.7% was discovered at Iran‘s underground Fordo nuclear site.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed by the U.S. and other major powers during the Obama administration, limited Iran‘s uranium enrichment to 3.67%, which is enough to produce nuclear power but not enough for a weapon.

Former President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of that agreement in 2018, reimposing economic sanctions on Iran that had been rolled back by the accord. Since then, Iran has steadily ramped up its uranium enrichment even as the Biden administration tried to use diplomacy to halt Tehran‘s nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors earlier this month said they struck a deal with Tehran to restore cameras and other monitoring equipment at key Iranian nuclear sites, including at the Fordo location, offering some hope of slowing Iran‘s potential march toward a bomb.

Iran‘s leaders have repeatedly denied they are seeking a nuclear weapon, saying it is against the regime’s Islamic principles.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at

Russia Widens Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Putin says Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

Updated March 25, 2023 at 7:31 PM ET

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans on Saturday to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, a warning to the West as it steps up military support for Ukraine.

Putin said the move was triggered by Britain’s decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.

Tactical nuclear weapons are intended for use on the battlefield and have a short range and a low yield compared with much more powerful nuclear warheads fitted to long-range missiles. Russia plans to maintain control over those it sends to Belarus, and construction of storage facilities for them will be completed by July 1, Putin said.

He didn’t say how many nuclear weapons Russia would keep in Belarus. The U.S. government believes Russia has about 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, which include bombs that can be carried by tactical aircraft, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery rounds.

Putin argued that by deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia was following the lead of the United States, noting that the U.S. has nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

“We are doing what they have been doing for decades, stationing them in certain allied countries, preparing the launch platforms and training their crews,” Putin said, speaking in an interview on state television that aired Saturday night. “We are going to do the same thing.”

Russia has stored its tactical nuclear weapons at dedicated depots on its territory, and moving part of the arsenal to a storage facility in Belarus would up the ante in the Ukrainian conflict by placing them closer to the Russian aircraft and missiles already stationed there.

Some hawkish commentators in Russia long have urged the Kremlin to put the tactical nuclear weapons close to the weapons to send a signal to the West about the readiness to use them.

The U.S. said it would “monitor the implications” of Putin’s announcement.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said. “We remain committed to the collective defense of the NATO alliance.”

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine had Soviet nuclear weapons stationed on their territory but handed them over to Russia after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has long asked to have nuclear weapons in his country again as a counter to NATO. Belarus shares borders with three NATO members — Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — and Russia used its territory as a staging ground to send troops into neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Putin noted that Russia helped modernize Belarusian military aircraft last year to make them capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He said 10 such planes were ready to go. He said nuclear weapons also could be launched by the Iskander short-range missiles that Russia provided to Belarus last year.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is living in exile, said the agreement to transfer the tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus “underlines the threat to regional security” from Lukashenko’s regime.

“Europe won’t be safe until Belarus dictator is removed & brought before tribunal to face justice for crimes against our country & Ukraine,” Tsikhanouskaya wrote in English on Twitter.

Lukashenko’s support of the war has drawn international criticism and sanctions. But he has publicly stood by Russia, which has pumped billions of dollars into shoring up his Soviet-style, state-controlled economy with cheap energy and loans.

Putin had initially objected to the depleted uranium rounds that Britain promised to ship to Ukraine by making the false claim that they have nuclear components.

He subsequently toned down his language, but insisted Saturday that the ammunition posed an additional danger to both troops and civilians in Ukraine by leaving a radioactive trace and contaminating agricultural land.

“Those weapons are harmful not just for combatants, but also for the people living in those territories and for the environment,” he said.

Putin added that Russia has vast stockpiles of similar ammunition but so far has refrained from using it.

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process needed to create nuclear weapons. The rounds can’t generate a nuclear reaction but they do emit low levels of radiation. The U.N. nuclear watchdog has warned of the possible dangers of exposure.

Such rounds were developed by the U.S. during the Cold War to destroy Soviet tanks, including the same T-72 tanks that Ukraine now faces in its push to break through a stalemate in the east. 

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