Tackling Nuclear Terrorism In South Asia

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Flag of India with Nuclear Power Plants, courtesy  Feroz Khan and Emily Burke believe that India and Pakistan need to cooperate more closely on countering the threat of nuclear terrorism. That means regular bilateral meetings between experts and leaders, exchanging radiation data, indefinitely extending all nuclear agreements, and more.

By Feroz Hassan Khan and Emily Burke for National Defense University Press

This article was originally published in Vol. 5, No. 1 (2014) of PRISM, a journal published by the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) at the National Defense University (NDU).

Since India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in 1998, every danger associated with nuclear weapons – proliferation, instability, and terrorism – has been linked to the region. And despite nuclear deterrence and the modernization of nuclear forces, South Asia is a far cry from achieving stability. Indeed, the security situation in South Asia has deteriorated and violent extremism has surged to unprecedentedly high levels. In the past decades, both states have operationalized their nuclear deterrent forces, increased production of fissile material and nuclear delivery means, and developed plans to field a nuclear capable triad. Concurrently, both countries are expanding civilian nuclear facilities in their quests for a cleaner source of energy to combat current and future energy shortages. As tensions and violence in the region have increased, both states blame the other’s policy choices for the scourge of terrorism that has seized the region. New leadership in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan however, creates an opening to tackle the immediate scourge of violent extremist organizations and unresolved historic conflicts. Ironically the traditional stabilizing force in the region – the United States – is drawing down in Afghanistan and shifting its focus to the Asia-Pacific region and to Russia where new tensions have erupted. Within this security context, India and Pakistan will be left on their own to devise mechanisms to mitigate and eliminate the regional risk of terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s “Political Prisoner Cleansing”

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Iran Unveils New Missiles, Drones

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Aug. 24, 2014 – 03:45AM   |   By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |


A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran's defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran.
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran‘s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran’s defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran. (AFP)

TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani.

The Ghadir (Mighty), with a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles), is a ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missile, the official IRNA news agency said.

It is in the same family as the Ghader or Qader cruise missile, which has a range of 200 kilometers.

The other missile unveiled on Sunday, the Nasr-e Basir (Clear Victory), is equipped with a seeker homing head. Its range was not given. Read the rest of this entry »

The Failure of the Moscow Talks – What’s Next?

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Cascades of gas centrifuges are used to enrich...
Cascades of gas centrifuges are used to enrich uranium ore to concentrate its fissionable isotopes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

INSS Insight – Asculai, Ephraim: The Istanbul-Baghdad-Moscow talks on Iran’s nuclear program are over. As expected, they did not achieve anything of significance, besides deciding on further, lower level talks. Indeed, the P5 1 and the Iranian delegations shared one objective: they did not want the process to end, thereby necessitating a decision on different tracks. The Iranians are successfully playing for time, as they have done for so many years, and the members of the P5 1 group are also trying to delay any inconvenient decisions, each group member for its own reasons. Most noticeably, the US delegation would like to postpone any major decision until after the November 2012 presidential elections. For their part, the Iranians need time to advance their nuclear program and produce as much enriched uranium as possible. Although according to many reports the sanctions are hurting Iran, they are still not hurting Iran badly enough, and the Iranians are able to bear them.

The ultimate aims of both sides are, of course, diametrically opposite. The Iranians want to retain the capability to enrich uranium to military-grade levels and to gain the ability to produce several nuclear weapons in short order, should the Islamic Republic’s authorities so decide. The Iranian strategy is very simple: they want the world to recognize the legitimacy of the Iranian uranium enrichment program. Even under limited conditions, such recognition would enable Iran to retain its technical capabilities, to perfect the enrichment process, and to leave them a potential for a breakout (defined as the start of the process to produce military-grade enriched uranium), whenever they decide to do so. In addition, the Iranians could well construct concealed facilities and secretly produce enriched uranium to whatever levels they choose to achieve.

The P5 1 want to prevent this possibility, but their remaining options are few. It is nearly impossible to envision the Security Council taking any further action against Iran, because Russia and China would likely vote against it. The first and most probable option for the West (the P5 1 minus Russia and China) is to impose the July sanctions on oil and hope for the best. The next option is to increase the sanctions considerably and wait for the Iranians to blink. The third option is military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

What would the Iranians do? Although the present sanctions have hurt Iran considerably, there are those who think that Iran can shoulder them indefinitely and will therefore continue with its present tactics of preventing a showdown while enriching uranium. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran News Round Up June 4, 2012

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Satellite Image Of Tehran, Iran On 31st Annive...
Satellite Image Of Tehran, Iran On 31st Anniversary Of Iranian Revolution (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin

(E) = Article in English


  • Ceremonies held to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of  Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death end in disorder:
    • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei indirectly attacks Ahmadinejad:
      • “If we stop, we will be pushed back. And if we are arrogant, we will be thrown into the ground. If the authorities of the country become preys to egocentrism, arrogance… we will be dealt blows into the mouth. The path of progress is one of ‘no stop.’ We are still on the mountain slopes and there is a distance to the peak. The day when the Iranian nation reaches the peak, the enmities and evils will end…”
    • Ahmadinejad’s speech on the occasion of Khomeini’s death anniversary ends in tumult as the protesters chant slogans against Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei. According to Entekhab, the protesters chanted: “Death to Mashaei,” “Shame on you Mashaei, leave Ahmadi[nejad] alone,” “This entire army has come for the sake of the Leader [who addressed the crowds before the president.”
    • As Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, tried to deliver his speech, the crowds chanted slogans against him: “Death to the opponent of the Guardianship of the Jurist,” “The blood in our veins is a gift to our Leader,” “We are not citizens of Kufa so that the Imam would be alone,” “This entire army has come for the sake of the Leader.”
  • Rafsanjani, addressing a group of students from Azad University, attacks Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi:
    • “Relying on the people and irreplaceable role of the people in historical events is extremely important. Extremism, on the other hand, is one of the pests dealing blows to the goals of the Islamic revolution. The path of moderation and renunciation of extremism have led to the progress of the revolution. But unfortunately we on some occasions witness some people who did not believe in the struggle against the Shah, or considered that futile or unnecessary, today directly or indirectly lead extremist and radical groups and present solutions [for the problems] of the country.”
      • Mesbah Yazdi responds to Rafsanjani’s attack while addressing a group of Revolutionary Guards members from the Imam Ali Center of the Guards based in Isfahan: “At the time of the revolution, there were people who did not consider the Imam [Khomeini] as the ideologue of the revolution and solely considered him an instrument to overthrow the Shah… After the revolution, some of these people gained access to important positions in the regime and are now bidding their time as well… There are today some who are trying to monopolize the revolution to the benefit of their own interests…”


Military and Security

  • Khamenei: “The noise and threats that authorities of the usurping Zionist regime make against Iran are because of their fear, terror and powerlessness… The heads of the Zionist regime know that today they are more vulnerable than ever. Any incorrect move of theirs will strike their own heads like lightening…”

Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s nuclear shell game

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The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) presented the satellite images above on Thursday as evidence that Iran is continuing its efforts to destroy evidence of the existence of nuclear weapons development activity at its Parchin military base.

The UN nuclear watchdog stated that “based on satellite imagery, at this location, where virtually no activity had been observed for a number of years, the buildings of interest to the Agency are now subject to extensive activities that could hamper the Agency’s ability to undertake effective verification.”


Western envoys who attended Wednesday’s briefing said that two small side buildings at the Parchin military facility had been removed and ISIS said that they “have been completely razed.”


The disclosure followed inconclusive talks between Iran and six world powers in Baghdad last week to address concerns about the nature of its nuclear activities, which Iran says are aimed at generating electricity. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran News Round Up May 31, 2012

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Dr. A.Q. Khan's designed the centrifuges loose...

Dr. A.Q. Khan’s designed the centrifuges loosely based on Zippe-type gas centrifuges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin
(E) = Article in English


  • Ahmadinejad addresses newly elected parliamentarians:
    • “The cabinet never intervenes in the work of the legislature… Tomorrow you will enter the parliament and you will appoint the committees. The chairman, deputy and other positions are all within your capability. We believe in this. We do not have an egoistic, politicizing view attempting to recruit and mobilize or to engage in factionalism… There is a division of labor… Why did the revolution take place? Was the purpose to elect some executives from the southern [poorer] parts of town, the villages and distant places to come to live in northern Tehran? When these people came to office, they did not have any money for their daily needs, but they have become billionaires, factory owners and merchants. Was this the purpose of the revolution…? The head of the chief inspectorate does nothing but shouting insults against the cabinet. And when it comes to the parliament, it is not answerable to anyone but God Almighty. This is also apparent in our constitution, which may be a fault… God forbid the day when people say about elected officials: ‘Such a pity; what we wanted and what we get.'”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, says he will not run for president in 2013. He said this while participating at the funeral of brother of Mohammad Mousavi Khoeinihain Tehran

Military and Security

Nuclear Issue

Read the rest of this entry »