Saturday, February 11, 2006

Latin America:

Brazil Poised To Join Nuclear Elite
10 February 2006

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS (BRAZIL) - Brazil, Latin America's largest country, is weeks away from becoming the ninth country to produce large amounts of enriched uranium, which can be used to generate nuclear energy or to make nuclear weapons. The Resende plant will initially produce 60 percent of the nuclear fuel used by Brazil's two nuclear reactors. With a third reactor in the planning stages, the Brazilian government hopes to eventually produce enough nuclear fuel for all of Brazil's reactors and have excess for export. Brazilian energy officials said the Resende plant will make Brazil's nuclear program self-sufficient and allow the country to stay in the nuclear race with other world leading nations. Brazil needs more than 120 tons of enriched uranium a year, but Lawrence Scheinman, a former U.S. arms control official, said that need doesn't warrant an industrial facility of Resende's magnitude since global supplies of enriched uranium are running high. With Iran's controversial uranium enrichment program stirring international concern, some United States (U.S.) observers fear Brazil's Resende program will spur more countries to make nuclear fuel, thus increasing the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. However, Brazil is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has all 20 of its nuclear material facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and has worked closely with the IAEA during Resende's planning and construction contrary to Iran, also a NPT member, which hid their uranium enrichment work for 18 years and is a known state sponsor of terrorism. Originally planned for January 20, 2006, the Resende plant's inauguration was postponed due to construction delays. Brazil has the world's sixth largest deposit of uranium.

Source Reliability: 7.0

Comment: Brazil's two nuclear reactors are Angra I and Angra II with Angra III planned.

Analysis: With the most advanced nuclear program in Latin America, Brazil's will likely emerge as the region's dominant nation in the next two years with the addition of uranium enrichment at Resende.

Analytic Confidence: 8.0

Friday, February 10, 2006

Latin America:


Castro Invites Iranian President To Cuba
08 February 2006

IRANMANIA (LONDON) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Pictured: Right) accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from Cuban President Fidel Castro (Pictured: Left) in appreciation of Cuba's public support for Iran's controversial nuclear program. On Saturday, February 4, 2006, Cuba, along with Venezuela and Syria, voted against the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution referring Iran to the United Nations (UN) Security Council. The vote ended in a 27-3 decision in favor of reporting Iran the the UN Security Council. During his visit to Cuba, Ahmadinejad will attend the September 11-16, 2006, Non-Aligned Summit in Havana, Cuba.

Source Reliability: 7.0

Comment: Cuba, Iran and political ally Venezuela are all part of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), an international organization of 114 countries not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. NAM nations represent nearly two-thirds of UN membership.

Middle East:

Germans, Russian Aid Iran Arms Program
08 February 2006

REUTERS (BERLIN) - Two German businessmen, a former Russian military officer, and North Korea are among those helping Iran develop missiles that the West fears could one day carry nuclear warheads, diplomats and intelligence officials say.

Last month, two German men were formally charged with espionage by federal prosecutors and accused of "having sold a vibration testing facility in 2001 and 2002 on behalf of a foreign military intelligence procurement entity," according to a statement on the prosecutor's office website. A German official familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the case, said the country involved was Iran. The prosecutor's office did not reveal the names of the men or the German company they worked for.

Recently, US intelligence officials recovered information from a stolen laptop computer that suggests Iranian missile experts are trying to develop a missile re-entry vehicle capable of carrying a relatively small nuclear warhead, EU and US officials said.

A European and non-European intelligence official told Reuters that Russian middlemen were helping Iran get missile technology from North Korea that could bring central Europe within range of Iranian missiles. An EU diplomat, citing his country's intelligence, said Iran purchased 18 disassembled BM-25 mobile missiles with a range of around 2,500 km from North Korea.

One intelligence official said a former Russian military officer with the first name of Viktor helped Iran get Soviet-made SSN6 missile technology from Russia and North Korea, which Iran could use to improve the accuracy of its newly-bought BM-25s and increase their range to as much as 3,500 km. Iranian Shahab-3 missiles have a range of some 2,000 km. With a range of 3,500 km, the missiles could reach central Europe.

Source Reliability: 8.5

**Pictured above: Russian SS-N-6 SERB Medium-Range Ballistic Missile**

India/Pakistan:

Outside View: India And Nonproliferation
09 February 2006

UPI (PHILADELPHIA) - Nonproliferation advocates in Washington argue that recent U.S. efforts extending civilian nuclear cooperation with India would undercut global nonproliferation. One argument is that many states like Japan and Brazil either had nuclear bombs or the ability to make them but gave up that ability in return for the civilian nuclear cooperation guaranteed by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). If India now gets the same benefits outside the NPT and without being forced to give up its weapons, detractors argue, some of these countries could rethink their NPT commitments.

Another idea postulated against the US-Indian nuclear deal is that such an important deal with a NPT non-member would undermine the normative international nuclear set up. However, this argument is based on the wrong notion that the current NPT-based nuclear setup is totally rules-based without exceptions. In fact, the NPT-system by itself is defined by different treatment for different nations, largely based on global geopolitical concerns. For example, when Iraq was found to be in violation of its NPT pledge to not develop nuclear weapons following the first Gulf war in 1991, the world community came down hard on Baghdad with a tough sanctions regime. However, when China was clearly in violation of its NPT obligations when it was caught selling weapons related "ring magnets" to Pakistan in 1995, the U.S. buried the violation in order not to jeopardize the Clinton administration's efforts to forge better U.S.-China relations. Even recently, when investigations pertaining to the A.Q.Khan nuclear scandal revealed that China may have leaked a nuclear warhead design that was found in Libya, the Bush administration refused to bring China to account and went ahead with proposed nuclear reactor sales to China.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Middle East:

Annan Urges Iran To Maintain Nuke Freeze
09 February 2006

AP (UNITED NATIONS) – The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board voted on Saturday to send Iran’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council, saying it lacked confidence in Tehran’s nuclear intentions and accused Iran of violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Immediate action against Iran will not be taken, however, because Russia and China insisted that the US, Britain, France and Germany wait until March when the IAEA board meets to review the agency’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear program and compliance with board demands that it renounce uranium enrichment. The IAEA expects the report at the end of the month.

Iran also indicated that it is still interested in a Russian proposal to shift large-scale nuclear enrichment operations to Russian soil in an effort to allay suspicions. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Iran to “continue to freeze its activities…to allow talks to go forward, to allow them (the Iranians) to pursue the Russian offer, and to allow negotiations with the European three and the Russians to come back to the table.” High-level talks are scheduled to begin in Moscow on February 16. The proposal is backed by the United States and the EU as a way to provide additional oversight of Iran’s use of atomic fuel.

Meanwhile, US Ambassor to the UN John Bolton, the current Security Council president, sent a short letter to IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei on Wednesday acknowledging the receipt of the Iran file. Bolton’s letter, circulated Thursday, noted that the documents include steps required by Iran to ensure the international community it’s nuclear program is peaceful. ElBaradei’s letter said the steps include suspending all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, promptly ratifying the IAEA additional protocol which allows unannounced inspections, and reconsidering construction of a heavy water research reactor.

Source Reliability: 8.5

Russia/Former USSR

Putin Welcomes Uzbekistan Into Nuclear Alliance
08 February 2006

JOURNAL OF TURKISH WEEKLY (MOSCOW) Russia strengthened its commitment to atomic energy on Wednesday, as President Vladimir Putin welcomed Uzbekistan into an emerging nuclear alliance. Known to have extensive uranium-ore reserves, Uzbekistan will give Russia "additional long-term possibilities for the building of a stable nuclear fuel energy base," Putin said at the Eurasian Economic Community summit in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported. His comments came just two weeks after Putin met with his Kazakh and Ukrainian counterparts to forge a nuclear energy alliance that could follow Soviet-era lines. "Russia is firmly determined to widen its cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Community in the field of global energy safety. One of the priorities here -- the development of collaboration in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy," Putin said. Uzbekistan's entry brings the number of EEC members to six.

Source Reliability: 8.5

Comment: Russia is working very hard to set up nuclear cooperation in central Asia. The Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and now Uzbekistan are all on board in a partnership. The committment to nuclear power should lessen the countries' reliance on Middle Eastern oil.

India/Pakistan:

‘US N-Deal Will Affect India’s Development Of Warheads’
09 February 2006

INDIA MONITOR (NEW DELHI) - Former Indian national security advisor (NSA) Brajesh Mishra has said that the US-India civilian nuclear deal will affect India’s development of nuclear warheads, and has asked the government to re-negotiate the deal to protect its strategic interests. Also, Mishra stated that he was not opposed to a deal with the US or the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “We must have some kind of deal with the US and the NSG. It is to our advantage. The problem with this deal is that it will affect our strategic nuclear program; that is, the development of our nuclear warheads”. He continued by saying the US wanted specific Indian facilities put under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, which would lead to “curbing our capacity to maintain a credible minimum deterrent, which was envisaged in our nuclear doctrine adopted two years ago”.

Source Reliability: 6.0

Eastern Asia:


North Korea And Japan End Talks But Agree To Continue Negotiations
09 February 2006

PEOPLE’S DAILY ONLINE (BEIJING) - The talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Japan ended in Beijing Wednesday but the two sides agreed to continue negotiations at a later date. No definite date or venue for the next round of talks has been suggested, but officials announced that the two countries agreed to settle differences through diplomatic channels. Song Il Ho, ambassador of the DPRK in charge of the DPRK-Japan talks, told the press in a Beijing hotel after a 30-minute meeting on Wednesday morning that the two sides had engaged in honest and open-minded discussions. He admitted that the DPRK and Japan had discovered large differences during the five days of talks. "We need to work on to narrow the differences," he said. At a press briefing at the Japanese embassy at noon, Japanese chief negotiator Koichi Haraguchi confirmed that the two sides had reached some agreement and that they would continue to hold similar talks. During the talks, Japan reiterated the need to resolve the abduction issue before improving diplomatic ties and providing economic assistance.

Source Reliability: 5.0

Comment: Some analysts consider this a productive meeting and state there is some potential for improved diplomatic relations between the two countries. There are still a number of issues to be addressed, but the meeting was a positive starting point.

*Map Source

Eastern Asia:

South Korea Seeks Free Trade Agreement With U.S.
10 February 2006

THE KOREAN TIMES (SEOUL) – South Korean Vice Finance Minister Kwon Tae-Shin stated that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the U.S. would help ease concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. Last week, South Korea and the U.S. announced in Washington they will launch negotiations for a trade pact with the aim of concluding it in the first half of next year. South Korea also said the deal will bring the two allies politically and economically closer. Formal negotiations will begin in May, because the U.S. government is required to have three months of consultations with Congress before starting such talks.

Source Reliability: 6.0

Africa:

Koeberg Nuclear Plant Poses Power Problems For Namibia
07 February 2006

The Namibian(NAMIBIA) Namibia’s reliance on South Africa for its power is cause for concern in that country. Issues with the nuclear power station at Koeberg have knocked out power in the country at intervals for the last several months. Officials in Namibia have expressed concern over their country’s lack of independent energy production. Currently, the black outs are just an annoyance, but in the future will become a hindrance to development.

Source: Reliability: 8.0

Comment: South Africa is in the beginning stages of building a brand new, state of the art pebble bed nuclear reactor. Currently, they supply large amounts of power to Zimbabwe and Namibia, and the building of this new may be part of a bid to supply more of Southern Africa with power.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Eastern Europe/Balkans:

Slovenia Passes Radioactive Waste Management Program
06 February 2006

SLOVENE PRESS AGENCY (SLOVENIA) - The Slovenian Parliament passed a resolution on the national program for radioactive waste management and spent nuclear fuel for the period of 2006-2015 on 01 February 2006. The resolution outlines the probable scenarios of radioactive waste management and includes a proposal for technical measures. Slovenia's largest producer of radioactive waste is the country's sole N-plant Krsko (NEK). Its in-house waste management facility will reach its maximum capacity by 2010. The document describes a planned facility for storing low-medium level radioactive waste and spent fuel. The facility, built in Slovenia, will store Slovenia's share (50%) of waste produced by the NEK plant, co-owned by Croatia. Slovenian Parliament officials stated the document should define Slovenia's activity in great detail in case Croatia failed to accept its share of the waste by 2023, when NEK's life span runs out.

Source: Reliability: 8.0





Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Latin America:

Venezuela Advocates Destruction of Nukes But Supports Iran
06 February 2006

EL UNIVERSAL.COM (VENEZUELA) – On Monday, February 6, 2006, Venezuelan Foreign Integration minister Gustavo Marquez said Venezuela advocates full nuclear disarmament worldwide, preventing the construction of new nuclear weapons and the destruction of existing ones, though the Venezuela openly opposed Iran's referral the the United Nations (UN) Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Marquez said Venezuela opposes nuclear weapon production in all countries. However, Venezuela, accompanied by Cuba and Syria, voted against the IAEA resolution referring Iran to the UN Security Council on Saturday, February 4, 2006, arguing Tehran is conducting a non-military nuclear program – similar to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s plans for a Venezuelan nuclear program. Following the IAEA vote, Nicholas Burns, the United States (U.S.) Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, branded the governments of Caracas, Havana, and Damasco as "a gang of three." Marquez claimed Washington and its allies are trying to monopolize world nuclear energy production. He also claimed an IAEA report on "the peaceful use of nuclear energy" in Iran was not disclosed. Marquez said the report allegedly shows Iran does not have a nuclear program with military purposes. Marquez added that the U.S. "has said nothing" about nuclear weapons owned by Israel – saying the U.S. could have supported Israeli nuclear weapons development.

Source Reliabilty: 7.0

Comment: The Venezuelan government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a long-standing reputation for animostiy toward the U.S.

Analysis: It is unlikely an IAEA report on Iran's "peaceful use of nuclear energy" was suppressed by the IAEA. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday, February 9, 2006, the IAEA had not finished the report on Iran, but would complete it by the end of February 2006.

Analytic Confidence: 8.0

* Image Source: IAEA & IRAN.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Eastern Europe/Balkans:


Bids On Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Plant
02 February 2006

SOFIA NEWS AGENCY (BULGARIA) - Russia's Atomstroiexport and the Czech company Skoda Alliance submitted bids for the design and construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene located on the Danube River. Bulgaria will announce the winning bidder for the 2 billion euro project in about six months. According to local press reports, however, no matter which company is selected, it will be controlled to some extent by Russian giant Gazprom who's bank recently acquired Skoda JS, which is part of the Skoda Alliance consortium. Gazprombank also owns 51% of the shares of Atomstroiexport, which will use the French company Framatome as a subcontractor. The new NPP project envisions the construction of two Russian-designed VVER reactors of 1,000 megawatts each, the same as those of Units 5 and 6 at the Kozloduy NPP in Bulgaria and at the Czech Temelin NPP.

Source: Reliability: 8.0

Comment: The Belene project was approved last April to offset the drop in electricity output after the shutdown of two 440-megawatt Soviet-era reactors at the Kozloduy in December 2006 and to help sustain Bulgaria's leading position on the regional power market. The project was started in 1986 and then suspended in 1991 due to financial problems and pressure from environmental groups. The first of the two reactors is expected to become operational by 2011; the second by 2013.


**Photo Source: www.schroeter-technologie.de**

Eastern Europe/Balkans:

Italy's Nuke Re-launch Targets Slovakia/France
31 January 2006

REUTERS (MILAN) – Italy's biggest utility, Enel, aims to spearhead a nuclear re-launch and is presently seeking possibilities to strengthen its nuclear experience abroad. Enel aims to build two nuclear blocks in Slovakia where it has sealed a deal to buy major power maker Slovenske Elektrarne. It has also struck a preliminary deal to take part in France's new nuclear reactor program. Italian energy experts advised that Italy needs political will and popular support to re-launch its nuclear power, banned nearly 20 years ago, and gain energy independence in the face of gas supply problems.

Souce: Reliability: 8.0

Analysis: It is unlikely Italy's nuclear program will re-launch in the near future due to lack of public/political support and the fact that it takes 10-15 years to start up new plants. Enel has an economic interest in an Italian 'Nuclear Rennaissance", but for now it will be marketing its unwanted expertise abroad.

Analytic Confidence: 7.0

India/Pakistan:

India Will Have To Live With US Ambassador Mulford’s Statements About The US-India Civilian Nuclear Deal
03 February 2006

WEBINDIA (WASHINGTON) - Indians might be upset with US Ambassador David Mulford's linking of New Delhi's Iran vote with the Indo-US nuclear pact, but he was only articulating the official US position. Mulford's remarks led to allegations that he was trying to interfere in New Delhi's internal affairs. The Indian foreign ministry lodged a complaint, while some opposition parties demanded his recall. Ultimately, it is not Mulford's words but rather India's vote on Iran's nuclear program that is going to make or break the US-India civilian nuclear cooperation deal.

Source Reliability: 6.0

Analysis: It is likely India will vote with the United States in referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. India understands the immense importance of the US-India nuclear deal for their growing economy and will in the end do what is necessary to close the deal with the US.

Analytic Confidence: 8.0

India/Pakistan:

Iran Threatens Full-Scale Enrichment Work, India Leaning To Support Referral
02 February 2006

ABCNEWS (VIENNA) - Iran threatened to retaliate 02 February 2006 in the face of almost certain referral to the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said the dispute was "reaching a critical phase." Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and a few other nations at odds with the United States remained opposed to referral. India is leaning toward supporting the US in the referral of Iran to the U.N. Security Council.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Eastern Asia:

United States Considers Security Council Referral For North Korea
02 February 2006

MAIL AND GUARDIAN ONLINE (WASHINGTON) - North Korea's reluctance to return to the negotiating table over its nuclear weapons program has fuelled speculation the United States may seek to refer the Stalinist state, like Iran, to the United Nations Security Council. Christopher Hill, the chief US negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks, indicated on Wednesday that Washington might consider other options if North Korea stayed away from the stalled negotiations. Hill also stated that a diplomatic solution is certainly the best solution, but may not be the only solution. Some interpret Hill’s remarks as a signal to North Korea that it could face the same pressure applied to Iran if it refuses to honor its pledge to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. South Korea has continued expressing its concern about the financial sanctions the U.S. placed on North Korea. The South has recently made progress with the North and has come to odds with the U.S. over the sanctions.

Source Reliability: 5.0

Analysis: The U.S. is likely using the current situation with Iran to pressure North Korea into reconsidering its unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the world regarding its nuclear program. If the U.N. sanctions Iran, North Korea may be more willing to cooperate.

Middle East:


IAEA Delays Vote To Send Iran To Security Council
03 February 2006

REUTERS (VIENNA) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog deferred until Saturday a vote to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over fears it is seeking atomic bombs, as the European Union lobbied developing nations to back the measure.
Diplomats said a clear majority on the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board favored notifying the council on Iran, but EU diplomats needed more time to persuade as many developing states as possible to vote yes rather than abstain.
Iran warned it would curb IAEA checks on its atomic sites if sent to the council, a threat that seemed to influence efforts by developing states to soften the EU-sponsored resolution.
EU diplomats said the threat would not deter their efforts to induce the Islamic Republic to change course.
The IAEA board held a crisis session on Thursday and had planned to reconvene on Friday, before the delay was announced. The board is now due to meet at 0900 GMT on Saturday.

Source Reliability: 8.5

*Pictured above: IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei briefs the media during a board of governors meeting in Vienna's U.N. headquarters, February 2, 2006. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

Latin America:

Non-Aligned Nations Resist EU3 Over Iran
03 February 2006

MEHRNEWS.COM (IRAN) - Cuba, South Africa and Malaysia, forming the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) board (Pictured: NAM Logo), delayed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors’ meeting regarding Iran’s nuclear issue for two hours. NAM strongly disagreed with the European Union Three (EU3), comprised of Britain, Germany and France. over a draft resolution to report Iran to the United Nations (UN) Security Council. The five permanent UN Security Council members, plus Germany, seek a consensus in favor of the European Union (EU)-drafted resolution. However, Cuba and Venezuela said they will oppose moves to refer Iran to the UN Security Council. Though the IAEA traditionally achieves decisions by consensus, a vote will decide Iran’s referral to the UN Security Council if any country withholds consent.

Source Reliabilty: 7.0

Comment: The five permanent UN Security Council Members are: United States, China, Russian Federation and United Kingdom.

Russia/Former USSR:

Russia Proposes International Nuclear Center In Siberia
03 February 2006

XINHUANET (MOSCOW) -- An international center for uranium enrichment and the handling of fissile materials may be created in Siberia, the deputy chief of the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom said on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed setting up a global network of nuclear fuel cycle services including enrichment but said the network must be supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency and be accessible on a non-discriminatory basis. "We have facilities in Siberia that may fit in well with all requirements for creating an international center responsible for keeping and recycling of spent fuel, uranium enrichment and production of fuel for the nuclear energy industry," Rosatom deputy chief Sergei Antipov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Analysis: The proposed Russian international nuclear center is likely to be acceptable to the world at large and is likely to be built in the near future. President Putin's comments that the IAEA would have supervision and also that the center would provide civilian energy-level enrichment of uranium and not weapons-grade will assuage the fears of many and will be the key factor behind other nations accepting and helping the center's construction.

Africa:

SA Will Pay For Backing Iran
30 January 2006

NEWS 24 (CAPETOWN) There is concern internally in South Africa about the open backing of Iran and its decision to pursue nuclear ambitions. Douglas Gibson, Member of Parilament from the Democratic Alliance in South Africa, said openly that SA support may cost his conuntry the support from major trading partners. This allienation of leading European Union countries and the United States will have implications regarding South African standing in the international order, as well as internally. As Gibson stated, "Without the support of these vitally important countries, there is little chance that South Africa will be able to achieve the level of economic growth that is critical to roll back unemployment."

Source: Reliability: 7.0

Comment: Through its connection to the Non-Aligned Movemtn, South Africa has thrown its lot with many Third World countries in support of Iran, notably Cuba and Venezuela. This is not a first for South Africa, in the past South African politicians have shown open support of other pariah states, including: Sudan, Libya, and Zimbabwe.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Russia/Former USSR:

Germany Hails Russian Plan For Iranian Uranium Enrichment
27 January 2006

A top German official on Thursday welcomed Iran's possible willingness to set up a joint venture with Russia on uranium enrichment as a way to defuse the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme. "It looks as if a window of opportunity has been opened since yesterday," said Deputy German Foreign Minister Gernot Erler in a speech to parliament. Erler referred to comments by Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, who said Wednesday his country had a "positive" attitude to Russia's offer which is aimed at preventing Iran from setting up its own enriching facility.The IAEA will vote early next month on whether to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council where it could face the threat of sanctions. Erler and other German government and opposition politicians stressed Berlin did not want to consider a military option regarding Iran.

Source Reliability: 9.0

Comment: It is likely that the Russian plan for foreign enrichment of Iranian Uranium will be put into action in the next year, but not for any of the reasons that are being made public. For an Iranian regime which has been so completely critical of any foreign interference in their affairs, this is a very strange step. It is possible that some under-the-table deals are in process.

India/Pakistan:

US Says India Nuclear Deal May Depend On Iran Vote
25 January 2006

REUTERS (NEW DELHI) - The United States said on 25 January 2006 a nuclear cooperation deal with India may stall unless New Delhi votes against Iran next month at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) meeting. The IAEA meets on 02 February 2006 to discuss whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over a nuclear program the West says is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. US ambassador to India, David Mulford, told the Press Trust of India news agency that if India decided not to vote against Iran, "the effect on members of the U.S. Congress with regard to the civil nuclear initiative will be devastating."

Source: Reliability: 8.0

India/Pakistan:

US Close To Nuclear Deal With India
27 January 2006

REUTERS (WASHINGTON) - The United States is close to reaching a nuclear cooperation deal with India and may clinch it before US President George W. Bush visits India in March, a senior U.S. official said 27 January 2006. Details of the India-US civilian nuclear deal are still in negotiations, including a plan to separate India's civil and military nuclear facilities. Also, the deal must gain acceptance from the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the U.S. Congress.

Source: Reliability: 8.0

India/Pakistan:

Pakistan: Russian Reactors Wanted
27 January 2006

STRATFOR (MOSCOW) – Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in an interview with Russia’s Vremya Novostei newspaper published 27 January 2006 that Russia should sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan and invest in the Pakistani economy. Pakistan has a successful record of purchasing Mi-17 helicopters for military use from Russia and wants the cooperation between Pakistan and Russia to include the sale of Russian nuclear reactors for Pakistani power plants.

Source: Reliability: 8.0

Eastern Asia:

U.S. Democrats Urge Japan To Halt Plan To Reprocess Spent Nuclear Fuel
27 January 2006

JAPAN ECONOMIC NEWSWIRE (KYODO) - Six U.S. Democrats have urged Japan to suspend its plan to begin a test operation to extract plutonium at a nuclear-waste reprocessing facility in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture, Democratic congressional sources said January 27, 2005. The Democrats stated that the continued extraction of weapons usable plutonium poses significant threats to international security and nonproliferation. They are encouraging Japan to suspend plans to conduct active testing of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant. Tokyo said Japan firmly stands by its non-nuclear principles of not producing, not possessing and not allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into the country and follows domestic measures under the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The six Democratic lawmakers include Edward Markey from Massachusetts, who has expertise in energy policy and nuclear nonproliferation, and Donald Payne from New Jersey.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Eastern Asia:


Indonesia Says OPEC Should Maintain Output Due To Risks Over Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
26 January 2006

BUSINESS TIMES (JAKARTA) – Indonesian Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro stated that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should maintain its current output levels as prices are likely to stay high over geopolitical concerns in Iran. Tehran has asked OPEC to cut oil production by 1 million barrels per day from April. Indonesia is the only Southeastern Asia member of OPEC and currently is a net importer of oil. OPEC is scheduled to meet next on January 31, 2006 in Vienna.

Source Reliability: 7.0

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Middle East:

China And Iran Warm To Russian Nuclear Proposal
26 January 2006

China and Iran expressed support on Thursday for a Russian proposal to resolve Tehran's standoff with Western governments, which suspect it of secretly planning to build a nuclear bomb. Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, on a one-day trip to Beijing to seek China's support, said the Russian proposal -- that Iran's uranium fuel enrichment take place on Russian soil rather than in Iran -- needed further discussion.
Tehran has previously shown little interest in the idea, intended to ensure it does not covertly divert enriched fuel towards a weapons program. It repeatedly insists it has no plans to build bombs but has the right to enrich uranium fuel on its territory for nuclear power generation. "The Russian suggestion is a useful one, but needs to be discussed further," Larijani told a Beijing news conference. He later told Reuters Iran was willing to show flexibility but rejected the "language of force", an apparent reference to the threat of U.N. sanctions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference earlier that China wanted other countries to consider Moscow's proposal. "We think the Russian proposal is a good attempt to break this stalemate," he said. The Chinese, however, do not appear to support sending Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions. "We oppose impulsively using sanctions or threats of sanctions to solve problems," Kong said. The comments seemed to contradict the message China gave U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who left China on Wednesday after a three-day visit. Zoellick said Washington and Beijing had no major differences on the issue. Kong, the Chinese spokesman, declined to directly endorse that assessment.

Source Reliability: 8.0

**Pictured above: Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani**

Middle East:


Bush Backs Russian Nuclear Plan For Iran
26 January 2006

REUTERS (WASHINGTON) - President George W. Bush on Thursday backed a Russian proposal to resolve a nuclear stalemate with Tehran and said the United States supported democratic reformers in Iran. Washington and its European allies want Iran referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, but Russia and China have urged caution. People ought to be allowed to have civilian nuclear power, Bush told a White House news conference. But he said he did not believe nations should allow "non-transparent regimes that threaten the security of the world" to gain the technology necessary to make an atomic weapon. Bush laid out conditions for an "acceptable alternative" for Iran. "That the material used to power the plant would be manufactured in Russia, delivered under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors to Iran, to be used in that plant, the waste of which will be picked up by the Russians and returned to Russia."
"I think that is a good plan," he said. "The Russians came up with the idea and I support it."

Source Reliability: 8.0

Analysis: It is likely that the White House publicly announced its support for the Russian enrichment proposal for Iran because the success of other options is continually in doubt. First, the success of potential military strikes by the US or Israel is looking very bleak, due to the vast number of Iranian nuclear facilities that would have to be targeted. The potential success of the second option, sending Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council for sanctions, is fluctuating from day to day, as the support of the veto holders (namely Russia and China) continues to wax and wane.

Analytic Confidence: 8.5

Latin America:

Brazil Says Nuclear Program Is Peaceful
23 January 2006

AGENCIA BRASIL (BRAZIL) - According to Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) director Carlos Freire Moreira, Brazil’s first uranium enrichment factory (Pictured) in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, operated by INB, is exclusively industrial and commercial. The facility will supply fuel to Brazil’s two nuclear power plants. Moreira says Brazil is a signatory to nuclear non-proliferation treaties and the the Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Energy Application Agency (ABACC) will oversee operations at the Resende facility. He also says Brazil has a good relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Aquilino Serra, a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says competition in the field of uranium enrichment technology will be the only international concern relating to Resende. The Resende factory will enrich urnanium by 5%, the limit for industrial/commercial purposes. Serra said, "In order to make a bomb, you have to enrich to 95%."

Source Reliability: 7.0

Comment: Brazil's
two nuclear power plants are Angra I and Angra II.

Latin America:

Brazil Ready To Enrich Uranium
23 January 2006

AGENCIA BRASIL (BRAZIL) – Brazil’s first uranium enrichment facility, in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, begins operation at the end of January 2006. Operated by Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB), the factory will supply 60% of the enriched uranium needed by the country’s two nuclear power plants, Angra I and Angra II, between now and 2012 – supplying 100% of the country’s enriched uranium by 2015. The Brazilian Navy, supported by the National Institute of Nuclear Research (IPEN), developed the technology for the facilty, which cost $172 million to build. Operation at the Resende facility makes Brazil the ninth nation capable of enriching uranium on an industrial/commercial scale.

Source Reliability: 7.0