By Elise Labott
Iran's announcement Wednesday about the status of its nuclear program may say more about the defiance of the regime in the face of escalating sanctions than signaling any significant nuclear advances.
Before Wednesday, the question foremost on people's minds was whether the announcement would signal Iran was moving closer toward getting a nuclear weapon, crossing a red line which could force Israel to take a preemptive military strike.
That question got a lot of eye-rolling post-announcement. FULL POST
Iran flaunted a new generation of centrifuges and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.
Also announced was an intent to start production of yellowcake, a chemically treated form of uranium ore used for making enriched uranium.
United Nations sanctions ban Iran from importing yellowcake. Domestic production would further Iran's nuclear self-sufficiency.
In a speech outlining the latest developments, Ahmadinejad said Iran was willing to share its nuclear knowledge with other nations that subscribe to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The U.S. State Department, however, dismissed Iran's announcements as bluster for a domestic audience.
"We frankly don't see a lot new here. This is not big news," said spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "In fact, it seems to have been hyped. The Iranians for many months have been putting out calendars of accomplishments and based on their own calendars they are many, many months behind."
For the full story click here.
Iran is flaunting its nuclear capability, and pressing for more nuclear facilities in the country. But some see even greater concerns than Iran's nuclear ambitions.
CNN's Chris Lawrence takes a look at how Iran could use its asymmetric military capabilities in a military conflict.
By Dan Lothian
President Obama has not publicly condemned Syria in the way that he applied pressure on Egypt and Libya, but the White House dismisses criticism that the U.S. resolve in Syria is any less forceful.
“We continue to work with all friends of the Syrian people to mount pressure on Assad to get him to step aside and allow a peaceful political transition to go forward immediately,’ NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor told CNN.
But that hasn’t happened yet even though the Obama administration seems convinced that the writing is on the wall for President. Bashar Assad.
“It’s clear Assad is on his way out. His single-minded brutality has made the end of his rule of Syria inevitable,” Vietor said.
Read Dan's reporting on the 1600 Report
By Carol Cratty, with reporting from Ross Levitt and Dugald McConnell
With tensions between Iran and the West running high, law enforcement officials are concerned Iran or its surrogates could mount attacks against Jewish targets inside the United States - but there is no specific information that any plots are in the works, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by CNN.
On February 8, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI sent state and local law enforcement partners a memo titled "No Specific Threat to American Jewish Community, Despite Recent World Events." FULL POST
As the United States begins a ‘pivot’ of focus to the Asia Pacific region following a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, China's Vice President Xi Jinping sounded a message of welcome and caution. "China welcomes a constructive role by the United States in promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific,” he said. “At the same time, we hope the United States will respect the interests and concerns of China and other countries in this region."
Xi, the presumptive next president of China, also spoke about areas where the United States and China can build on their bi-lateral relationship during remarks Wednesday at a luncheon co-hosted by the US-China Business Council and the National Committee on US-China Relations.
"We should steadily enhance coordination and cooperation in international affairs and global issues,” he said. "China and the United States should enhance coordination regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue and other hot spot issues through bi-lateral and multi-lateral mechanisms. We should increase cooperation on global issues such as climate change, counterterrorism, cyber security, outer space security, energy and resources, public health, food security and disaster prevention and mitigation. “
CNN gives viewers a firsthand look at how a terrorist mastermind builds two bombs. Nic Robertson reports. This report is based on a one-year investigation by CNN into air cargo security in light of a thwarted plot by al Qaeda in October 2010 to blow up cargo jets over the United States. "Deadly Cargo" airs on CNN Presents, Saturday and Sunday February 18, 19 at 8 p.m. ET.
By Larry Shaughnessy
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday expressed dismay at the Obama administration's consideration of a major reduction in America's nuclear arsenal.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee there are internal discussions under way about the number of nuclear weapons America will have in the future. The talks, Dempsey said in his testimony before the committee, were in preparation for upcoming meetings with Russia on the matter. FULL POST
By Carol Cratty
The merger of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group with al Qaeda could "diminish support" for Al-Shabaab within the American Somali community, but it does raise concerns it could further radicalize those sympathetic to al-Shabaab's cause, according to law enforcement officials.
An intelligence bulletin, which was obtained by CNN, was issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday. It says the Somali community in the United States "likely will perceive increasing influence from an outside terrorist organization in Somalia as an impediment to stability there."
Iran flaunted mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.
Also announced were a new generation of advanced centrifuges and an intent to start production of yellowcake, a material used in enriching uranium.
United Nations sanctions ban Iran from importing yellowcake. Domestic production would further Iranian nuclear self-sufficiency.
Read the whole story here