Friday, January 20, 2006

Middle East:


Iran 'Moves Financial Holdings'
20 January 2006

CNN (TEHRAN) – Fearing a threat of economic sanctions, Iran transferred its foreign exchange accounts out of US and European banks, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. The head of Iran’s Central Bank, Ibrahim Sheibani, said Iran will transfer all of its foreign accounts related to its oil income to Southeast Asian banks. The move is in response to the US and EU3-backed referral of Iran’s nuclear dossier to the International Atomic Energy Agency after negotiations with Iran broke down. Iran's Economic Minister Danesh Jafari said the transfer of funds is legal under international law.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Eastern Europe/Balkans:













Baltics Plan Nuclear Reactor
18 January 2006

MOSCOW TIMES (MOSCOW) – According to the Lithuanian Economy Ministry, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will cooperate in building a nuclear reactor. The reactor will be built in Lithuania pending the signing of an agreement in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on Jan. 26, 2006. Further details were not provided. Lithuania has pledged to close its Soviet-built Ignalina nuclear plant (Pictured) by 2010. Ignalina uses the same type of reactors as Ukraine's Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Analysis: It is likely that European/Baltic countries will seek alliances to develop a new generation of nuclear power stations over the next five years due to the recent gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine along with the renewing popularity of nuclear energy.

Analytic Confidence: 7.0

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Russia/Former USSR:

Russia Says Sanctions Not Iran Answer
17 January 2006

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) - Sanctions are not the best way to resolve international concerns over Iran's resumption of its nuclear program, Russia and China have said. Their comments revealed a lack of consensus among world powers about how to deal with the mounting crisis. The two countries, both permanent veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council, were reacting Tuesday to an announcement by Britain, France and Germany that they would call for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next month. "Sanctions are not the best or the only way to solve international problems," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday. "The question of sanctions against Iran puts the cart before the horse," news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying. Lavrov said years of international sanctions against Iraq had failed to change the behavior of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Reuters reported. "Our common goal is to ensure the inviolability of the nuclear nonproliferation regime," The Associated Press quoted him as saying. "If we all strive for this main goal, we will be able to find a collective approach to solving this issue."

Source Reliability: 9.0

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

India/Pakistan:

Will The United States Make An Exception For India Concerning Indo-US Nuclear Deal?
17 January 2006

REDIFF INDIA (NEW DELHI) - Over the last couple of months many nuclear proliferation experts gave testimonies in the United States Congress on the desirability of Congress extending special nuclear information privileges to India in the Indian-United States nuclear deal. They are concerned about the United States attempt to bypass the Non Proliferation Treaty provisions denying India, as a nonmember of the NPT, access to civil nuclear technology. A majority of the specialists are opposed to the US awarding India special privileges.

Source Reliability: 5.0

India/Pakistan:

India Replies To Iran's Attack On Indo-US Nuclear Deal
17 January 2006

EXPRESSINDIA (NEW DELHI) - Ali Larijani Iran's chief nuclear negotiator stated the India-United States nuclear deal is a case of US ‘‘dual standards’’ compared to US actions against Tehran’s nuclear program. Ali Larijani, also the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said: ‘‘Compare that to India, it does have nuclear weapons but they (US) have extensive relations in the nuclear field (with India). This dual standard is detrimental to international security.’’ India, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the NPT and has maintained that having signed the treaty, Iran must abide by its conditions. India said on 16 January 2006, as a ‘‘responsible nuclear power’’, it adhered to ‘‘international obligations’’ and other countries should do the same.

Source Reliability: 5.0

Latin America:

Argentina's New Nuclear Plant
15 January 2006

TELAM (ARGENTINA) - Eduardo Messi, president of Argentine-owned Nucleoelectrica Argentina Inc. (NASA), says the Atucha II Nuclear Power Plant (CNA II) (Pictured), under construction in the northern part of Buenos Aires Province, will be modern and safe. Messi’s statements contradict Uruguayan senator Jorge Saravia who recently said CNA II is a risk akin to a “new Chernobyl.” Messi said CNA II, designed and constructed by Siemens, is in accordance with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN), is licensable under current National Regulatory Requirements and complies with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) international regulations. Additionally, NASA has agreed on a technical assistance program with the IAEA for CNA II. Messi also cited updated security systems, NASA’s ability to incorporate new technologies in instrumentation and control into CNA II’s operations and CNA II personnel’s permanent access to training to emphasize CNA II will be much safer than the Ukrainian plant at Chernobyl. NASA, in charge of operations at Argentina’s existing power plants Embalse and Atucha, maintains a permanent relationship with the IAEA, the World Association of Nuclear Power Plant Operators (WANO) and the Group of Owners of Candu Type (natural uranium and heavy water) Nuclear Power Plants.

Source Reliability: 7.0

Eastern Asia:

China And Russia Would Fight Iran Oil Sanctions
18 January 2006

REUTERS (WASHINGTON) - Some experts believe that China and Russia have too much riding on Iran’s energy sector to let the West put sanctions on Iran to punish its nuclear ambitions. The United States (U.S.) and three European Union nations are pressing the 15-member U.N. Security Council to take up the Iranian nuclear issue, which could open the door to potential oil sanctions. But two key U.N. Security Council members that carry veto powers, China and Russia, have multibillion-dollar oil and natural gas projects hanging in the balance, and China depends on Iran's imports to quench its oil thirst. Iran has warned that oil prices would rise "beyond levels the West expects" if its opponents pursued punitive sanctions, and says it could repatriate an unknown amount of oil earnings it holds in foreign accounts.

Source Reliability: 8.0

Comment: Some experts note that Iran will not stop exporting its oil like it threatens to do so, since it is so dependent on income from its oil exports. Recently, possible sanctions against Iran and the situation in Nigeria have increased the price of oil.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Africa:

Iran Acquiring Nuclear Material In Africa
13 January 2006

UPI (LONDON) - Using yellowcake uranium acquired in Niger and South Africa in the late 1990’s, Iran may be no more than 3years away from the completion of a nuclear weapon. The latest intelligence suggests that Iran has at least 1,000 tons of yellowcake uranium and has been active in appropriating the equipment in order to build weapons.

Source Reliability: 9.0