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April 23, 2016

Iran to sell heavy water to the United States

Iran to sell heavy water to the United States

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Iran will sell 32 metric tons of heavy water (water containing the hydrogen isotope deuterium) to the United States, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiators has confirmed.

Iran’s heavy water will be bought by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for about $8.6 million, a department spokeswoman said on Friday.

Officials said the heavy water will be stored at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and then resold on the commercial market for research purposes.

Deuterium (hydrogen with an added neutron) is not radioactive but has research and medical applications and can also be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Under last summer’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany, Tehran must reduce its stock of heavy water by selling, diluting or disposing of it.

Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal means that the heavy water was already removed from Iran, ensuring that it would not be used to support the development of a nuclear weapon, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “Our purchase of the heavy water means that it will instead be used for critically important research and non-nuclear industrial requirements,” Kirby added.

The US energy department said the heavy water purchase does not go beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement, and stressed that future purchases were not automatic.



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Iran to sell heavy water to United States

Iran to sell heavy water to United States

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Iran will sell 32 metric tons of heavy water (water containing the hydrogen isotope deuterium) to the United States, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiators has confirmed.

Iran’s heavy water will be bought by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for about $8.6 million, a department spokeswoman said on Friday.

Officials said the heavy water will be stored at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and then resold on the commercial market for research purposes.

Deuterium (hydrogen with an added neutron) is not radioactive but has research and medical applications and can also be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Under last summer’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany, Tehran must reduce its stock of heavy water by selling, diluting or disposing of it.

Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal means that the heavy water was already removed from Iran, ensuring that it would not be used to support the development of a nuclear weapon, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “Our purchase of the heavy water means that it will instead be used for critically important research and non-nuclear industrial requirements,” Kirby added.

The US energy department said the heavy water purchase does not go beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement, and stressed that future purchases were not automatic.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 25, 2013

Iran to reduce nuclear enrichment in exchange for sanctions reduction

Iran to reduce nuclear enrichment in exchange for sanctions reduction

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Monday, November 25, 2013

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The negotiations in Geneva on Sunday.
Image: US Department of State.

Yesterday in Geneva, Iran and the P5+1 nations — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; United States, United Kingdom, China, France, and Russia; plus Germany — reached a six-month deal over Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme. Iran is to reduce its nuclear activities in return for a lifting of some economic sanctions.

Iran has agreed to not build any new enrichment facilities, to halt enrichment of uranium past a purity of 5%, to “neutralise” a stockpile of nearly 200kg of enriched uranium of a purity of nearly 20%, to not install new centrifuges, and to disable a number of existing centrifuges. They also have to allow access for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to a number of sites including Natanz and Fordo, as well as information on the reactor at Arak.

In return, the P5+1 is to provide “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible” relief from economic sanctions including removal of specific trade sanctions on precious metals, including gold; the automotive sector; and oil. The sanctions relief is worth around US$7 billion (about 5 billion).

In Tehran, Iran’s negotiators were welcomed home at the airport by a gathering of supporters holding placards. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians reportedly watched coverage of the negotiations through the Iranian night.

Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, told reporters, “[i]n this agreement, the right of [the] Iranian nation to enrich uranium was accepted by world powers”. The United States contests this.

US president Barack Obama welcomed the deal: “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.” He said the provisions of the deal “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb”.

British prime minister David Cameron said the deal was an “important first step” and Iran was “further away from getting a nuclear weapon”.

John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, appeared with British foreign minister William Hague at a press conference in London. Kerry told reporters: “Now the really hard part begins, and that is the effort to get the comprehensive agreement, which will require enormous steps in terms of verification, transparency and accountability”.

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, said the deal was a “historic mistake” and said the Iranians had agreed only to “cosmetic concessions” that “can be undone by the Iranians within weeks”. “Israel”, he said, “is not bound to this agreement while Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel. Israel has the right to protect itself in the face of any threat. I wish to reiterate that as the prime minister of Israel — Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear military capabilities.” He also said: “Iran is receiving billions of dollars in relief in the sanctions without paying any sort of price. Iran is receiving written approval to violate UN Security Council resolutions”.

Naftali Bennett, the Israeli economic minister, warned of the prospects of a nuclear Iran: “If in another five or six years a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York or Madrid, it will be because of the agreement that was signed this morning”.

A spokesman for President Obama stated: “the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions”. Obama phoned Netanyahu on Sunday to try and reassure him.



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October 6, 2013

Wikinews interviews specialists on South Korea military parade

Wikinews interviews specialists on South Korea military parade

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

File photo of South Korean military troops.
Image: US Military.

On Tuesday, South Korea staged a huge military parade to mark its armed forces’ 65th anniversary in a display of long-range missiles considered a direct threat to North Korea. 11,000 troops and 190 different weapons systems were on display in the parade. Wikinews interviewed several specialists about the parade’s possible significance.

Interviewees

Wikinews interviewed:

  • Robert Kelly, Associate Professor of International Relations Pusan National University (PNU) in South Korea
  • Margaret Kosal, Assistant Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Gari Ledyard, Professor Emeritus of Korean Studies at Columbia University, New York
  • Sue Mi Terry, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University in New York
  • Young-hae Chi, Instructor in Korean at the University of Oxford, England
  • Seungkwon You, Associate Teaching Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Missouri

Wikinews Q&A

File:Robert Kelly File Photo.JPG

File photo of interviewee Robert Kelly.
Image: Robert Kelly.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your job role?

Kelly: I am a Professor of International Relations at PNU.
Kosal: I am an Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly known as “Georgia Tech.” I also direct the Emerging Technology and Security Program and the Biological and Chemical Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Program.
Ledyard: I retired from my professorship at Columbia thirteen years ago; since then I’ve had no role. When I was active there since 1964, I taught Korean history and culture, emphasizing the traditional periods of Korea’s earlier history. In those years I wrote a few articles on contemporary political issues but my research has been almost all in Korea’s past.
Terry: I am a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute.
Chi: I have been teaching Korean studies at Oxford University. I am specialized in international relations of the Far East and particularly North Korean human rights and refugee issues. I worked as an analyst of security issues at the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses in Seoul between 1983 and 1988 authoring a number of policy papers for the South Korean Government.
You: Associate Teaching Professor of Korean Studies teaching Korean Unification, Korean film, Korean society [at the University of Missouri].

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is the display of cruise missiles and other weapons in a military parade by South Korea in direct response to repeated similar North Korean parades?

Kelly: Yes. I don’t actually think these sorts of demonstrations are proper in a democracy. Liberal states should not really be flashing their hardware in a strutting, provocative way like this. This is the sort of thing Putin would do. But SK’s [South Korea’s] case is rather exceptional. NK [North Korea] tries pretty regularly to bully SK, and as its nuclear and missile programs advance, SK deterrence become ever more important. So parades like this are a way of SK saying ‘don’t mess with us even though you have nukes.’

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye with United States President Barack Obama.
Image: White House.

Kosal: The “display” was multi-functional. It shows the modern, indigenous conventional military capabilities of the South Korean forces. It was also to credibly communicate — literally show to the North — possession of an adequate deterrent force, a force that is both capable and credible. The underlying capacity supports the newly announced bilateral tailored deterrence strategy between South Korea and the United States. The military parade served to transparently show, in a largely passive/non-offensive/non-reactionary way, the capacity to follow through on that strategy that is directed at North Korea’s offensive nuclear weapons, offensive chemical weapons, and offensive biological weapons programs rather than a more general deterrence strategy. There is much more to a tailored deterrence strategy, but that is one part of it. The specific declaratory policy highlights South Korea’s responsibility to “continue to build reliable inter-operable response capabilities and to develop the Korean Air and Missile Defense system.” These are largely passive defense measures to minimize the effects of a North Korean offensive attack and to reduce vulnerability of South Korean forces and civilians. It’s part of the overall strategic defense posture.
While not commonly observed in the US, parades like this are not atypical for East Asia, particularly in conjunction with significant anniversaries. In this case, the parade also marked the 65th anniversary of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] Armed Forces. In addition to the international visibility, it also serves South Korean domestic politics and advances South Korean President Park Geun-hye‘s own strong national security policies.
Ledyard: It could very well be, but I have no knowledge regarding it. It has long been routine for both Koreas to compete in the headlines.
Terry: President Park is trying to make it clear to the North that this time, under her watch, Seoul is now serious about responding to future provocations by the North. South Korea’s display of its missiles is meant to deter the North, to show the North that any provocation in the future would be met with strong retaliation.
Chi: The institution of the military parade has been a regular feature of the Armed Forces’ Day celebration in South Korea. Yet the display of the cruise missiles in the recent parade is designed to achieve specific purposes. One is obviously targeting at the North Korean regime as a warning for possible pre-emptive strikes on their conventional and nuclear missile sites. The other target is South Korean citizens who have been increasingly agitated about the possession of WMDs by its Northern counterpart and want to see some guarantee from their own government. Hence the parade is not only for displaying its military capabilities to its enemies but it is also playing a psychological game with its own people. Yet, Hyunmoo-3c, one of the cruise missiles displayed in the event, signals that the South Korean government’s perspective is no longer limited to the Korean peninsula. Hyunmoo-3c’s range of 1,500 km indicates that the Korean military oversees the entire Northeast Asian region as its strategic theatre. Such a wide strategic thinking is also behind the planned construction of the naval base in Jeju Island.
You: Not direct response. However, this parade has not been done for many years and resumed this year indicating [the] Park government would not tolerate any hostile action by North Korea.

File photo of interviewee Young-hae Chi.
Image: Young-hae Chi.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, has warned of a “very grave” threat posed by North Korea. Would a military parade like this be more likely to encourage hostile behaviour?

Kelly: Not really, because NK already engages in so much hostile behavior it is hard to know how much more restraint SK show. My own sense is that SK demonstrates remarkable forbearance in the face of NK threats. If one thinks of how, e.g., the US or Israel would respond to such threats, SK looks downright gentle. So SK needs to signal both that it does not seek escalation, but also that it cannot be bullied. It’s a tough balancing act, and this parade is to send that second message.
Kosal: Not necessarily. North Korean behavior is difficult to predict with any fidelity. The military parade, while it shows potential capacity, is a fundamentally passive (rather than active or reactive) form of behavior. Reinforces a consistent posture by the South Koreans and the US.
Ledyard: There is a sixty-year history of such back-and-forth with an impressive absence of active military conflict. It’s tit for tat, and both sides either maintain the balance or one or the other loses face. It would take much more than a parade for actual conflict to erupt.
Terry: No, not in the long run although this kind of a military parade might provoke temporary, short-term hostile behavior by the North. The North has never been ideological or suicidal. Its chief goal always has been regime survival. It knows if a war were to break out, it will definitively lose to South Korea.
Chi: The South Korean government has been implementing military parades since 1956, and as such it is unlikely to encourage or discourage hostile behaviour.
You: Could be. North Korea already criticized [the] Park government about the recent parade and very bold move by the Park Government in negotiating family reunion and resuming of Diamond Mountains. However, I do not believe that North Korea will take any hostile action since the US Secretary of State, Kerry, is proposing North Korea a peaceful dialogue.

File photo of interviewee Margaret Kosal.
Image: Margaret Kosal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Does the presence of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to this military parade show a further strengthening in the US–South Korea alliance?

Kelly: It does, but the Secretary’s presence is more for the optics than substance. The US–Korean alliance was substantially strengthened about 4 years ago by the previous SK president. This is just a refresher that looks good on TV.
Kosal: Secretary of Defense Hagel’s presence, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, shows the commitment of the United States to support its ally. The United States remains committed to the transfer of operational control (OPCON) to the South Koreans for general defense of South Korea. The US is also strongly committed to limiting proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Their presence reinforces that to the North Koreans as well as to the international community.
Ledyard: It is simple routine in the USA–ROK alliance. South Koreans depend on it and the US takes care to show support.
Terry: Yes, it further showcases the depth of Washington‘s support for South Korea against any provocation from Pyongyang.
Chi: Certainly he is there to add symbolic strength to the alliance which tended to be weakened until recently. Behind his presence is the recent agreement to reconsider the planed transfer of the war-time operation control from the UN/US to the Korean army.
You: US–South Korea alliance is strong but it is a bit more complicated since [the] US is supporting Japan in arming in naval forces to check China, which is a great concern for South Korea and [the] South Korean people. This might cause some issues in US–South Korea alliance.

File photo of interviewee Gari Ledyard.
Image: Gari Ledyard.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png North Korea’s rhetoric vows the repeated bolstering of its nuclear arsenal to what it calls US military threats. Do you think a military parade of this type backed by the US is likely to influence further hostility?

Kelly: No, because NK must be permanently hostile toward the US and SK anyway. NK has no reason to exist as a separate, poorer Korean state, just as the GDR [East Germany] had no post-cold war reason to exist, unless SK and the US can be regularly described as the enemy. So NK doesn’t want a war, but they certainly don’t want a warm peace, as then NK then loses its raison d’etre.
Kosal: No, North Korea and its leadership are responsible for its choices, which are the primary source of instability on the Korean peninsula with potential regional effects.
Ledyard: The “military threats” are more a reflection of North Korea’s fears than any concrete threats. They are more for internal DPRK [North Korea] efforts to keep its own population in tune with government policies.
Terry: No. I think it’s important to remember Pyongyang’s periodic provocations and its pursuit of nuclear arsenal are not reactions or self-defense measures against a threatening Seoul or Washington. Incapable of competing with economically flourishing South Korea, the North relies on bolstering its nuclear arsenal and on military and political brinkmanship to make up ground.
Chi: The two Koreas do the military parade almost routinely. South Korea will have a similar parade again when there is a new government in five years. It is unlikely the kind of parade to influence further hostility.
You: No, this is just symbolic. As a matter of fact, North Korea is very anxious to escape from the current gridlock and [the] US and South Korea do not give them plenty of reasons to go to the negotiating table.

File photo of interviewee Sue Mi Terry.
Image: Sue Mi Terry.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think it is likely that North and South Korea may at some point in the near future be engaged in direct military action with each other?

Kelly: Minor skirmishes are possible, indeed likely, given the border confusion in the Yellow Sea. But a major conflict is highly unlikely, no matter what bluster comes from NK. The NKs would lose such a war, decisively in fact, and the NK elite would face the hangman in the South afterward. NK is much too far behind to win. So full-scale conflict is very unlikely.
Kosal: I hope not.
Ledyard: No. A year or two ago there was a naval incident that occurred in the West Sea, but both sides separated quickly, although the North shelled an island claimed by both the DPRK and the ROK. Neither side has anything to gain from any such incident.
Terry: The North’s latest tactic — to return to diplomacy after provoking Seoul and Washington earlier this year — does not mean that the North has abandoned its timeworn brinkmanship strategy nor that it has shifted its nuclear policy. The North is likely to pursue more aggressive action down the road, attempting to ratchet up another sense of crisis, if it determines that its current peace ploy is not getting the concessions it seeks from Seoul. But while the North may provoke Seoul again with border skirmishes, or another missile or nuclear test, I think it will avoid direct military action with Seoul that will escalate to an all-out conflict. Again, Pyongyang will not risk outright hostilities that will lead to an all-out war.
Chi: You can never exclude possible exchanges of military actions within a limited range. At the time of North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island in November 2011, the South Korean Government made an official pledge to retaliate against any future military actions by North Korea. The government will face grave political consequences if it fails to live up to its own words. There is always a possibility of direct military actions but they will be more or less contained to a local level.
You: No, I would not think so. North Korea is more desperate to engage in a dialogue with South Korea and [the] US but they look for justification to go to the table. However, [the] Park government and US would not be simply welcoming them to the negotiating table. When they negotiate, they would be not generous or lenient to take all the North Korean offers.

A KPAF Ilyushin Il-76MD strategic airlifter in the mid-2000s, in Air Koryo markings.
Image: Regis Sibille.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png This parade has been described as an Anti-North deterrence, do you think this will act as such?

Kelly: Yes. NK is moving more rapidly toward nuclearization and missilization than many had expected. NK pretty clearly has no intention of de-nuclearizing. That is simply not going to happen no matter how many SK and US political figures demand it. So now, SK must show that it can keep up and match, if not outrace, the NKs. This is why there is so much focus now on SK missile and BMD capabilities.
Kosal: Yes.
Ledyard: Again, nearly sixty years of history supports the view that neither side has any interest in actual military conflict.
Terry: To some degree, yes. It’s good to remind the North of Seoul’s capabilities, although as I said before, Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, already knows any all-out conflict would result in the destruction of his regime.
Chi: South Korea’s possession of cruise missiles and other advanced technology such as drones had been an open secret. There is nothing new about this parade, hence little deterrence effect added to the existing military posture.
You: No, it would not act as such. Rather, it has domestic purpose to draw [the] South Korean public to concern more about South Korean military and national security in general. For the past decade, [the] South Korean public have been very critical of the role of military in society. Certainly, the Park government wants to rectify it.



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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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April 9, 2013

Wikinews interviews Amir Abbas Fakhravar about Iranian nuclear intentions

Wikinews interviews Amir Abbas Fakhravar about Iranian nuclear intentions

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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A file photo of Amir Abbas Fakhravar.
Image: Amir Abbas Fakhravar.

Iran has been operating a nuclear program for years and announced opening a new uranium facility on Tuesday. Its claims over nuclear enrichment are for a nuclear power program, although this requires 5% enrichment as opposed to the 20% enrichment level they claim the right to pursue which is more commonly used in nuclear bombs.

Wikinews interviewed Amir Abbas Fakhravar, the President of the Iranian Freedom Institute which is based in Washington DC, United States, also a research fellow at the The Institute of World Politics, about the Iranian nuclear program in light of recent talks with this week with the P5+1 group of countries.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your role at the Iranian Freedom Institute?

Amir Abbas Fakhravar: I am the President and Founder of the Iranian Freedom Institute.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Iran seems unwilling to give up its nuclear programme, do you think they will eventually given the UN United Nations sanctions?

AAF: The only way Islamic Regime in Iran will give up its nuclear program is either full operation and military attack by the West or total oil sanctions. 85–90% of the the Islamic Republic’s money comes from crude oil sales. This money does not go to the Iranian people, but instead funds the nuclear program, the Revolutionary Guards, basijis, Hezbollah, and other terror operations worldwide. The Islamic Republic will be forced into abandoning its nuclear program when oil sanctions dry up the money supply.

The Arak heavy water reactor nuclear facility in Arak, Iran.
Image: Nanking2012..

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you feel the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to provoke a response from the Western nations (USA, UK, France, Germany)?

AAF: A limited military response from the West which will not be for a regime change would be a gift to the Islamic Republic, and would feed the narrative of “overreaching, imperialistic Western governments” perpetuated by the regime. The IR is well aware of the rapid decline in support from the Iranian people and is looking for a way to gain back some of that support, even superficially. An attack from the west would buoy the regime and damage the work being done by the opposition.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What is the need for Iran to have a nuclear programme, are they doing it for energy or for weapons?

AAF: Iran makes clear its intentions for the nuclear program through its actions. The regime expresses desire to annihilate Israel almost daily, and has repeatedly refused negotiation and inspection of its nuclear sites. Also you can find several type of energies in Iran and at all they don’t need to have this expensive and dangerous nuclear energy. For sure Islamic republic of Iran wants to have Nuclear bomb.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If Iran does not listen and change course with regards to its nuclear program, do you think that the United Nations will apply more sanctions?

AAF: It took a very long time to sanction the Islamic Republic to the extent it is now, and since the UN continues to send negotiators to the table to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, tighter sanctions at this point in time are unlikely. It is our responsibility at Iranian opposition to inform United Nations about this regime’s threat to international community. We should move much more organize[d] and faster to cut Islamic Republic’s diplomatic relationship with the world. Our campaign on oil sanctions showed us it is possible.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think that the United States is particularly unhappy and international relations are poor considering that Iran recently captured a drone and refused to return it?

AAF: While a failure militarily and with regard to foreign policy, the captured drone incident is a relatively small event in the context of ongoing tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic.



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January 27, 2013

North Korea sends out warning following planned nuclear test

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

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The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed “high profile important state measures” in a statement on Sunday following a tightening of sanctions by the United Nations. The statement Sunday said Kim spoke at a top-level security meeting, however the official Korean Central News Agency did not say when the meeting had taken place.

The warning from Pyongyang comes after the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday condemned December’s North Korean long-range rocket tests. The security council imposed sanctions on the regime and stated North Korean must forgo further nuclear testing or the UN would take “significant action”.

North Korea sent a satellite into space on December 12 aboard a long-range rocket, a launch the United States and allies allege tested banned technology for long-range missiles.



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December 31, 2012

Iranian Navy conducts drills in Strait of Hormuz

Iranian Navy conducts drills in Strait of Hormuz

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Strait of Hormuz

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The Islamic Republic of Iran says it is conducting naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz. According to the Iranian navy’s Habibollah Sayyari, the “Velayat 91” drills — to be held for a six day period ending on Wednesday — are intended to showcase “the armed forces’ military capabilities.”

Iran’s state-run media reports that the Iranian government warns all ships to stay away until the end of the exercises. According to this report the drills — which began on Friday — are to be conducted over roughly half a million square miles (a million square kilometers) of waters stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of the Indian Ocean which includes the Gulf of Oman.

The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Scout maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz during joint training in November 2010

The Strait of Hormuz is a major shipping route of great strategic importance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 17 million barrels of oil passes through this part of the Persian Gulf per day. That is nearly 20% of the worldwide oil trade and about 35% of oil transported by sea.

This is only one in a series of major naval drills held by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Ten days of drills, “Velayat 90”, was conducted last December and “Velayat 89” a year and a half before that in May 2010. Four months ago, the United States with some of its allies also conducted a series of exercises and naval drills, concerned with keeping the strait open. Iran has said it might close the strait if its nuclear program were attacked.



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December 28, 2012

Iranian Navy conduct drill in Strait of Hormuz

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Strait of Hormuz

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The Islamic Republic of Iran says it is conducting naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz. According to Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, the “Velayat 91” or “Guardianship 91” drills—which will be held for a six day period ending on Wednesday—are intended to showcase “the armed forces’ military capabilities.”

Iran’s state-run media reports that the Iranian government warns all ships to stay away until the end of the exercises. According to this report the drills—which began on Friday—will be conducted over roughly half a million square miles of waters stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of the Indian Ocean which includes the Gulf of Oman.

The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Scout maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz during joint training in November 2010

The Strait of Hormuz is a major shipping route of great strategic importance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 17 million barrels of oil passes through this part of the Persian Gulf. That is nearly 35% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments and 20% of oil traded worldwide.

This is only one in a series of major naval drills held by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Ten-days of drills, “Velayat 90” was conducted last December and “Velayat 89” a year and a half before that in May 2010. Four months ago, the United States and it’s allies also conducted a series of exercises and naval drills. They continue to prepare for a worse case scenario of an attempt by Iran to block the major shipping route with the use of mines. This scenario is a distinct possibility as Iran has said many times that it would be a possible strategy if it ever came under attack from the west over its nuclear program.



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Iranian Navy conducts drill in Strait of Hormuz

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Strait of Hormuz

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The Islamic Republic of Iran says it is conducting naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz. According to the Iranian navy’s Habibollah Sayyari, the “Velayat 91” drills — to be held for a six day period ending on Wednesday — are intended to showcase “the armed forces’ military capabilities.”

Iran’s state-run media reports that the Iranian government warns all ships to stay away until the end of the exercises. According to this report the drills — which began on Friday — are to be conducted over roughly half a million square miles (a million square kilometers) of waters stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of the Indian Ocean which includes the Gulf of Oman.

The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Scout maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz during joint training in November 2010

The Strait of Hormuz is a major shipping route of great strategic importance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 17 million barrels of oil passes through this part of the Persian Gulf per day. That is nearly 20% of the worldwide oil trade and about 35% of oil transported by sea.

This is only one in a series of major naval drills held by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Ten days of drills, “Velayat 90”, was conducted last December and “Velayat 89” a year and a half before that in May 2010. Four months ago, the United States with some of its allies also conducted a series of exercises and naval drills, concerned with keeping the straight open. Iran has said it might close the straight if its nuclear program were attacked.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 12, 2012

North Korea successfully launches long range rocket

North Korea successfully launches long range rocket

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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North Korea has successfully launched a long range rocket. The launch occurred at 9:51 a.m. local time according to South Korea‘s Yonhap news agency, two days after the country said it might delay the launch until as late as December 29 to repair a “technical deficiency” in the rocket.

“The rocket stages fell on areas in line with its earlier announcement and the launch appears to be successful,” said a South Korean military official as quoted by Yonhap. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also confirmed the successful launch in a statement saying, “Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippine Sea. Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit.” Pieces of the rocket stages reportedly fell into the sea near the coast of the Philippines.

North Korea says the Unha-3 rocket carried a Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 weather satellite which was successfully placed into orbit. “The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center by carrier rocket Unha-3 on Wednesday. The satellite entered its preset orbit,” said the North Korean government in a statement via the Korean Central News Agency.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a Republican congresswoman representing Florida, condemned the launch saying it’s an example that North Korea is “moving ever closer towards its ultimate goal of producing a nuclear ballistic missile”.

This is the second long range rocket North Korea fired this year. In April, the country failed at an attempt to launch a multistage rocket into orbit in honor of the anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday. The government publicly acknowledged its rocket broke up in flight over ocean waters before ever making it into orbit.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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