September 27th, 2012
11:09 PM ET

Netanyahu asks U.N. to draw 'red line' on Iran's nuclear bomb plans

By Michael Martinez

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exhorted the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to draw "a clear red line" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

In a theatrical gesture, Netanyahu held up a cartoon-like drawing of a spherical bomb and drew a red line below the fuse, "before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment to make a bomb," he said.

"It's not a question of whether Iran will get the bomb. The question is at what stage can we stop Iran from getting the bomb," said Netanyahu, who also accused Iran of aggression.

"I ask, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons," the Israeli prime minister said. "Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?"

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September 26th, 2012
05:52 PM ET

Iranian president accuses West of intimidation in U.N address

By David Ariosto

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his nation was committed to peace and accused world powers of double standards in pursuing an arms race, as he took to the stage Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly.

His address on day two of the general debate was widely expected to prove contentious, given the Iranian leader's history of controversial statements, but he made no mention of Israel.

At times, his remarks seemed almost conciliatory.

Speaking from the assembly's iconic green marble podium, Ahmadinejad told delegates that Iran has a "global vision and welcomes any effort intended to provide and promote peace, stability and tranquility" in the world.

However, an "arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent," he said, and Iran finds itself under threat from world powers seeking to impose their views.

"Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality," he said. "A state of mistrust has cast its shadow on the international relations, while there is no trusted or just authority to help resolve world conflicts."

It was the Iranian president's eighth and final address to the assembly, with his final term in office coming to an end next year.

As Ahmadinejad spoke, the place set aside for the U.S. delegation was empty. The Canadian delegation also did not attend the speech, and Israel's representatives were absent in observance of Yom Kippur.

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September 11th, 2012
05:19 PM ET

White House: Obama talks with Netanyahu on Iran, no meeting sought

By Barbara Starr

President Barack Obama talked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a call Tuesday night about the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program, according to a White House statement.

Obama placed the call to Netanyahu, a senior administration official told CNN.

The one-paragraph statement from the White House, which referred to the Obama-Netanyahu discussion as "a part of their ongoing consultations," followed reports earlier in the day that the White House had rejected a request by Netanyahu to meet with Obama this month to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, citing Israeli sources, reported that the Israelis were told Obama's schedule would not permit a meeting even though Israel offered to have Netanyahu travel to Washington.

Obama and Netanyahu are both due to address the United Nations in New York in late September but not at the same time.

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Filed under: Ahmadinejad • Arms Control • Iran • Israel • Military • Nuclear • Panetta • Pentagon
U.S., Russia grapple for common ground on Syria transition
June 6th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

U.S., Russia grapple for common ground on Syria transition

By Jill Dougherty and Tim Lister

It's almost a throwback to the Cold War: a toxic mixture of distrust, weapons shipments and chess moves to preserve spheres of influence. But that's how Russia and the United States have been maneuvering over Syria.

Moscow's latest gambit is to propose a regional solution that hinges on Iran and Turkey helping implement the six-point peace plan developed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  The timing of the initiative is no accident.  It was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Beijing just as the U.S.-led Friends of Syria group gathered in Washington to plan further steps to isolate and ultimately remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Turkey for an informal gathering in Turkey of the so-called "Friends of Syria."

The proposal is similar to one the Washington Post reports Annan will propose this week to the United Nations Security Council, which could include bringing Iran to the table. FULL POST

No friend of Ahmadinejad, Iranian insider still defends nuclear ambitions
June 5th, 2012
03:38 PM ET

No friend of Ahmadinejad, Iranian insider still defends nuclear ambitions

By Ashley Fantz

A former spokesman for Iran's nuclear program whose life was turned upside down when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused him of spying still vigorously defended his homeland's nuclear efforts on Tuesday.

Sayed Hossein Mousavian stressed that the West is making a mistake in believing that Iran is making a bomb, or that the country has nefarious intentions with its nuclear plan.

Mousavian, an associate research scholar at Princeton, spoke for an hour at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

He repeatedly said that the West, particularly the United States, must recognize Iran's right to build its nuclear program and that the United States and Iran would be better served if they were less suspicious of each other. He also argued that the international community should ease sanctions against Iran. FULL POST

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Filed under: Ahmadinejad • Diplomacy • IAEA • Iran • Middle East • Nuclear
Iran: What is it thinking?
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei listens to a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
February 29th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Iran: What is it thinking?

By Jamie Crawford, CNN

Throughout the course of the past year Iran has been, if anything, consistent in its delivery of provocative acts and bellicose rhetoric.

An alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States is uncovered. Threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz are followed by refusals to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors access to certain sites in the country.

Then there is the issue of alleged assassination attempts of Israeli diplomats at the hands of Iranian operatives in India, Georgia, Thailand and Azerbaijan. And let's also not forget the threats of pre-emptive military action against any country perceived as an imminent threat to the Iranian regime.

What is one to make of what of it all?

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Filed under: Ahmadinejad • Dempsey • Diplomacy • Hillary Clinton • IAEA • Iran • Israel • Khamenei • Nuclear • Secretary of State
Iran a threat to U.S. on many fronts
February 16th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Iran a threat to U.S. on many fronts

By Suzanne Kelly

Iran poses a laundry list of threats to U.S. national security, according to top officials in the intelligence community.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Iran poses a threat on a number of fronts, including its ability to develop a nuclear weapon, and the fact that any nuclear attack would likely be delivered by a ballistic missile.

"Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile force, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload," Clapper said during his opening remarks to the committee. FULL POST

Does Iran's nuclear announcement spell defiance or desire to talk?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, 270 kms south of Tehran, in 2008.
February 15th, 2012
11:14 PM ET

Does Iran's nuclear announcement spell defiance or desire to talk?

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

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Filed under: Ahmadinejad • Arms Control • Diplomacy • IAEA • Iran • Middle East • Nuclear
February 15th, 2012
05:57 PM ET

Iran flaunts nuclear advances

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.

February 15th, 2012
10:15 AM ET

Iran flaunts new nuclear capabilities

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


Filed under: Ahmadinejad • Iran • Nuclear • Sanctions
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