Iran tells UN it will hike uranium enrichment capacity
Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it has launched a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday.
“If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz, we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges” for uranium enrichment, said Salehi, a vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, according to conservative news agency Fars.
“What we are doing does not violate the (2015 nuclear) agreement,” he said, adding that a letter was submitted to the IAEA “yesterday regarding the start of certain activities”.
He specified that this was just the start of the production process and “does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges”.
Under the 2015 agreement, Iran can build parts for the centrifuges as long as it does not put them into operation within the first decade.
Salehi also emphasised that these moves “do not mean the negotiations (with Europe) have failed.”
European governments have been trying to salvage the agreement ever since the United States announced its withdrawal last month and said it would reimpose sanctions on foreign companies working in the Islamic republic by November.
The other parties — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have vowed to stay in the accord but many of their companies have already started to wind down Iranian operations.
On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the Europeans that “Iran will never tolerate both suffering from sanctions and nuclear restrictions” and called for preparations to speed up uranium enrichment.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian uses only, but opponents in the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia accuse it of seeking to build an atomic bomb.
Iran to increase uranium enrichment. US-Israeli strike on nuclear facilities comes closer
Iran is to inform the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Tuesday, June 6, of its decision to increase uranium (UF6) enrichment capacity in response to the US exit from the 2015 nuclear accord. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, announcing this, did not mention a date for this process to begin or the grade of enrichment. Supreme ruler Ayatollah Khamenei’s said Monday night: “I have ordered Iran’s atomic energy agency to be prepared to upgrade our (uranium) enrichment capacity” if the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers falls apart after the US withdrawal. Chairman Ali Akhbar Salehi of the atomic organization forecast this development some days ago.
DEBKAfile reported on May 24 that if Iran returned to expanded uranium enrichment, the US and Israel would prepare to attack its enrichment facilities and other key nuclear facilities to prevent the Islamic Republic from resuming its progress towards a nuclear weapon capability. Now that Tehran is taking that step, it is up to President Donald Trump to decide on America’s response. His decision will be colored heavily by his fast approaching summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12. To convince Kim that he is coming well-armed for demanding the total dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs, Trump may find it necessary to meet Iran’s decision to expand uranium enrichment with a military response. Khamenei’s step gives Trump a very tight timeline for a decision.
It was also timed to override the object of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s European trip. The European signatories of the deal, Germany, France and the UK have been scrambling to save the nuclear deal by diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to limit its ballistic missile program and expansionist activities in the Middle East. Khamenei made it clear that the two issues are non-negotiable, as Israel warned them would happen. Netanyahu therefore finds their leaders floundering for their next step.
Now the statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week that the alliance would not back Israel if it came under attack from Iran comes closer to reality than before. So too, does Khamenei’s decision on May 29, to replace the commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Headquarters Gen. Farzad Ismail, which is in charge of Iran’s air defenses, and appoint his deputy Brig-Gen. Alireza Sabahi Fard as acting commander, after two Israel F-35 stealth fighters flew over Iran’s nuclear facilities and left Iranian air space unnoticed.
In Heated Interview, Putin Says “Ask The State Department About Soros”
“There are rumors circulating now that Mr. Soros is planning to make the Euro highly volatile,” Putin said quoted by RT. “Experts are already discussing this. Ask the [US] State Department why he is doing this. The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them – rather it is Mr. Soros’ private affair. With us, it is Mr. Prigozhin’s private affair. This is my answer. Are you satisfied with it?”
Russian president Vladimir Putin gave a tense interview to Austria’s ORF television channel which at times got so heated, he spoke in German to ask host Armin Wolf to let him finish his answers.
The interview was held ahead of Putin’s Tuesday meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache during a trip to Vienna, the first since Putin’s March inauguration to his second consecutive term (and fourth term in total).
After several interruptions by Wolf, Putin asked the host to “be patient,” before switching to Wolf’s mother tongue of German to ask him to put a cork in it. “Seien Sie so nett, lassen Sie mich etwas sagen (Please be so kind as to let me say something),” said Putin.
When the topic of troll farms came up, Putin said that Moscow “has nothing to do” with them, adding that claims by Western media that a single Russian businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was able to influence the US election.
Prigozhin and Putin are associates, however Putin said he has no knowledge of his online activities. The Russian president then brought up George Soros as an example of the double standards being applied to those accused of meddling in foreign affairs.
For The First Time Since 1975, The Entire Swedish National Guard Was Just Mobilized
A few weeks back, the government of Sweden sent out a booklet to every household in the country urging citizens to prepare for war or other crises.
A few months back, they told citizens that they should be prepared to last for at least a week without any help from the government.
Last night, in the most unsettling move yet, they mobilized the entire Swedish Home Guard for an “unannounced preparedness exercise.” All 40 battalions have been activated, effective immediately.
The report is on the Försvarsmakten website, which is the official website of the Swedish Armed Forces. Here’s the English translation:
For the first time since 1975, the Armed Forces carry out an unannounced emergency preparedness control of the entire Hemvärnet. All staff around Sweden who are part of one of the 40 home war battalions and who have the opportunity to attend the evening of 5 June and during the national day will be in charge of service. The alarm is ordered by the Armed Forces and participation in the exercise is voluntary.
“We are committed to strengthening Sweden’s defense and increasing our operational capabilities. This is a way to do it. This exercise is great in several ways. We are testing the emergency chain for almost half our intervention organization, we have not done since 1975, says Micael Bydén, the commander.
Initially, staff – from north to south – will be contacted and invited to stand for service. Thereafter, relations will begin to solve tasks, such as protection, guarding and patrolling. During the national day, home care personnel will be seen in many places around the country, from ports and airports to streets and squares. Since it is a voluntary exercise, the Armed Forces can not force anyone to settle, but the chief commander shows great confidence in his staff. (source)
What this means
The Hemvärnet is the Swedish equivalent of the American National Guard.
The Home Guard – National Security Forces (Swedish: Hemvärnet – Nationella Skyddsstyrkorna) is a military reserve force of the Swedish Armed Forces. It was formally established on May 29, 1940, during World War II upon popular demand. While originally composed of former militia groups, today it comprises half of the Swedish Army, thus constituting the basis of the territorial defense of Sweden.
The Swedish National Home Guard consists mainly of local rapid response units, numbering 17,000 of the 22,000 total Home Guard strength, organized in 40 battalions, with 23 associated auxiliary defense organizations. (source)
This “unannounced preparedness exercise” may be just that – a readiness drill. But there are a few things that ring some warning bells for me:
- A “drill” of this magnitude hasn’t happened since 1975 at the height of the Cold War
- It’s occurring on the heels of two other warnings of looming war or crises
- And keep in mind that the war preparedness book that was recently sent out mentioned the possibility of re-establishing conscription (the draft), too.
The Swedish website, The Local, reports:
The exercise is part of Sweden’s national effort to rebuild its Cold War Total Defence strategy in response to an increasingly belligerent Russia. The last time Sweden’s Armed Forces called up the entire Home Guard at once was in 1975 at the height of the Cold War.
Just a week ago Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency sent out its “If Crisis or War Comes” brochure to more than four million Swedish households, advising them to stock up on water, tinned and dry food, and other essentials to increase Sweden’s resilience.
The country also last month reestablished a regiment on the Baltic island of Gotland.
In the event of an invasion, Sweden’s Home Guard is responsible for protecting the core functions of the Swedish state, guarding government agencies, airports, or ports, so that the professional army is free for front-line duties. (source)
It would be wise to be on the lookout for something to happen soon. What that “something” might be, of course, is open to speculation.
What do you think is going on?
Sweden’s New Civil Defense Guide Tells Citizens To Resist Fake News As They Would An Invasion
The country’s first such handout since the end of the Cold War tells people to make sure they can eat, drink, and avoid propaganda in a crisis.
For the first time in nearly three decades, Swedish authorities have issued a new civil defense brochure that calls on citizens to prepare for national emergencies by making sure they have adequate food, water, shelter…and access to reliable information. Though it doesn’t identify any potential adversaries by name, the strong emphasis on the potential for dangerous disinformation during a crisis is almost certainly driven by Russia’s continued overt and covert weaponization of traditional and new media and other information warfare campaigns.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, an element of the country’s Ministry of Defense, put together the new 20 page-long brochure, titled “If Crisis or War Comes,” which it unveiled in May 2018 and is also available in English. One will be sent to the almost five million residential addresses in Sweden. This isn’t the first time the agency has published one of these handouts, but it is the first time it has issued a new one since the end of the Cold War.
“Many people may feel a sense of anxiety when faced with an uncertain world. Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence,” the pamphlet says in its introduction, titled “For the population of Sweden.” “Peace, freedom and democracy are values that we must protect and reinforce on a daily basis.”
The guide is primarily meant to promote habits and preparedness for all sorts of emergencies, ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks to an outright foreign invasion. In the center, there is a checklist of suggestions for what Swedish homes should have at the ready.
These include three relatively typical categories – food, water, and warmth – as well as a miscellaneous section. Having a supply of clean water and shelf-stable, but nutritious food is good preparedness advice for people anywhere.
“Warmth,” rather than shelter more generally, is particularly important for Sweden specifically given the climate throughout the country. Average temperatures in the country’s northern regions can remain below zero all day during the winter months.
The “other” category includes various personal items, such as medicine, hand sanitizer, diapers, and feminine hygiene products. They also recommend having some spare cash in small denominations and “fuel in the tank” of the car in case you need to get out of the area in a hurry.
Elsewhere, the guide also provides information on Sweden’s national “Total Defense” doctrine, which various different agencies implementing policies that are all supposed to be fully functioning by 2025. The country’s military, which has mandatory conscription, as well as its expansive civil defense and reserve apparatus that applies to anyone between the ages of 16 and 70, are key components of this plan. Anyone in that age range could find themselves assigned one of a host of different tasks during a contingency to help defend the country. The state may requisition personnel property as appropriate, too.
In the video below, Swedish Air Force General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces discusses the country’s Total Defense doctrine among other issues.
French mayor calls for help as police are losing control over the city
“At the moment, the police are depleted, but a public presence at night can be a deterrent.”
The mayor of Toulon, Hubert Falco, has asked for police reinforcements after a “worrying outbreak of violence” in his city, France’s Var-Matin reports.
Falco asked France’s Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior for police backup after an escalating number of gang related shootings.
“At the moment, the police are depleted, but a public presence at night can be a deterrent. Of course we are worried about what has been happening at night in our cities for weeks. It happens in the cities, we listen to the people who live there, but we are not decision makers: Toulon must be helped,” the mayor says.
The most recent incident occurred last night. Two individuals on a scooter made a “round trip” in the La Beaucaire suburb, where they undertook several drive-by shootings, police sources said on Tuesday.
Departmental security was seized to shed light on this new episode. Shooting incidents are now common in cities like Toulon, against a backdrop of rivalries for the control of drug trafficking.
“I am not politicising the issue, which is too serious to do so, but the Minister of the Interior did not visit Toulon during his recent visit, yet we have the same problems as Marseille and Nice.”
Public urged to fight devious plan to ban Bible
Hearing June 12 offers only opportunity for public testimony
Californians who don’t want their lawmakers to ban the Bible, to criminalize counselors who help people with same-sex attractions and to dictate their moral values apparently will have one chance to tell them.
“This will be the only committee hearing with opportunities for public testimonies before going to the Appropriations Committee and the state Senate for a vote,” advised Liberty Counsel, which is opposed to the radical plan.
It would make counseling against same-sex lifestyles a crime by calling it “consumer fraud.”
The bill also would ban printed materials that advocate for ways to become free of unwanted same-sex attractions. And several experts contend the broadly written proposal could ban sale of the Bible.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said it would prohibit churches “from holding any ticketed events addressing topics of sexuality.”
“But it’s far more reaching than that. This means the sale of any book that states the practice of homosexuality or transgender identification as immoral actions would be illegal in California. … This could include the Bible!”
Two sponsors of the bill have been caught on video explaining their motives.
State Assembly member Al Muratsuchi admitting he wants to target people of faith.
The lawmaker argued the First Amendment “does not prohibit banning fraudulent conduct.”
“The faith community, like anyone else, needs to evolve with the times,” he charged.
And in a speech at Google headquarters, LGBT activist Samuel Brinton promised to “figure out” how to stop “pastors” and churches from offering such counseling.
“I may not be able to find every little camp … every pastor, but I can make it something that is culturally unacceptable,” he said. “Yes, it’s directly affecting mental health professionals, but by proxy, it’s affecting everyone else.”\
Liberty Counsel explained the bill declares “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” is fraudulent business practice.
“If approved, victims of sexual abuse can no longer get counseling if they develop (as often happens) unwanted urges to engage in same-sex behavior or become gender confused,” the organization warned.
The California Family Council, in partnership with the Capitol Resource Institute and the Faith and Public Policy, will hold a Day of Action on the west steps of the state capitol on June 12 to oppose AB 2943, Liberty Counsel said.
“California AB 2943 is an unconstitutional bill that substitutes the government for personal choice and is a shocking assault on freedom and self-autonomy,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The goal behind this horrendous legislation is to crush any viewpoint that does not align with the state. Many people who seek counsel to address their concerns will be harmed if this legislation passes.”
WND recently reported on a new video that poses an unwelcome truth for the California lawmakers: testimonies from eight individuals who have overcome same-sex attractions.
Could Boston Dynamics’ fearsome robots help the world? CEO Marc Raibert says his terrifying creations may act as servants rather than killing machines
It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely.
For nine years, the secretive firm – which got its start with US military funding – has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators.
In one, a life-size robotic wildcat sprints across a parking lot at almost 20 miles an hour.
In another, a small wheeled rover nicknamed SandFlea abruptly flings itself onto rooftops – and back down again.
Now, in a rare interview, Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert has shed new light on his work, claiming the machines could be used as servants rather than weapons.
Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert (pictured with his creation SpotMini) doesn’t rule out future military applications for his terrifying machines. But he has played down fears that his company’s robots could one day be used to kill
Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely