Category Archives: Nuclear Proliferation

Conversation: Iran Has Been Transparent and Accountable Over its Nuclear Program, Andre Vltchek

Interview of Andre Vltchek by Kourosh Ziabari

Andre Vltchek at Press Tv studios
Andre Vltchek at Press Tv studios

An acclaimed philosopher and journalist who has recently visited Iran tells Fars News Agency that the reality of Iran is absolutely different from the way it’s being illustrated in the mainstream media.

Andre Vltchek says “Iran that you see when visiting the country has nothing in common with that imaginary, terrible and cruel Iran that the West’s mass media has created.”

Commenting on Iran’s nuclear program and the international responses to it, Andre Vltchek says the majority of the Middle East nations and the global public don’t have any objections to Iran developing nuclear technology, considering Iran’s peaceful nature and its long history of non-violence.

“I am actually horrified that such countries, such colonial powers like the United States, France and the UK have their nuclear arsenal and that the world is tolerating it. These countries are responsible for loss of hundreds of millions of human lives, all over the world. But Iran! Why should anyone fear Iran? Yes, Iran is transparent and accountable over its nuclear program,” he asserted.

Vltchek who has traveled to tens of countries in five continents talks of his experience in Iran with delight, noting that without visiting Iran, “one’s knowledge of the world could never be complete.”

Andre Vltchek was a keynote speaker at the International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims held in Tehran last month.

FNA spoke to Mr. Vltchek about Iran’s relations with the West, the portrayal of Iran in the Western media and the international perceptions of the country’s nuclear program.

Q: You recently attended the International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims, which commemorated the Iranian citizens and officials murdered by the terrorist groups following the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Isn’t it ironic that while Iran says it’s been a victim of global terrorism itself, it’s being accused by some of the major powers and their allies of sponsoring terrorism?

A: Yes it is ironic, but the entire arrangement of the world is more than ironic; it is grotesque. We have a group of several, mainly Western countries, ruling the world, brutalizing all continents, reigning over entire planet using dictatorial and often criminal means, but these countries are accusing others, mainly their victims, of being undemocratic [and] even of sponsoring terrorism.

Iranian victims of terrorism
Iranian victims of terrorism

Their propaganda is extremely advanced. It was being perfected throughout the centuries. I suggest one thing: keep telling the truth and continue presenting facts. But the countries like Iran should not engage in direct debate with the West over these issues. It is because the West and its propaganda are too advanced in their ways and in the methods to manipulate public opinion through distorting the facts. Their outright lies are now more convincing than the truth.

Continue reading Conversation: Iran Has Been Transparent and Accountable Over its Nuclear Program, Andre Vltchek

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Nuclear Proliferation: Bad in Iran, Good in Ukraine?, by Tom Mysiewicz

The major problems for Russia with Ukraine’s new moves to become a major nuclear energy power in Europe (although it recently sold 40% of its leading nuclear organization to “foreign investors” at fire-sale prices) are probably more of a transparency and military nature than a safety or economic one.   This is because the pattern of contamination from future nuclear accidents would likely follow the Chernobyl pattern to Europe, which Russia is already distancing itself from by attributing any disaster solely to the supplier of the replacement rods.[i]

True, there are compatibility and reliability problems with fuel rods supplied for Russian and Soviet-era reactors by Westinghouse.  In the recent alleged case of the 100-sq.-km atomic contamination in the Ukraine, it’s claimed by some that the zirconium cladding of substitute rods had leaked at the world’s fifth largest nuke power plant—the Zaporozhye facility.[ii],[iii]  Those not familiar with nuclear energy may not be aware that a rod just can’t be pulled out and a replacement rod “slapped in”.  Putting in a fresh rod requires an exact match, not just with the physical structure but complex calculations relating to the enrichment level of existing rods.[iv]

TRANSPARENCY LOST?

Under the previous regimen, Russia handled fuel rod reprocessing and waste disposal.  Control of the nuclear cycle itself was a safeguard against the eventuality of a regime in Kiev seeking to reinstate itself as an offensive nuclear power just a stone’s throw from Russia.

In the current situation, Ukrainian managers and their Western cohorts will no doubt be tempted to leave rods in the reactor for longer periods due to monetary and political considerations (e.g., desperate attempts to supply energy to the European grid for foreign currency, an inability to get or pay for new rods, a desire to deprive Russia of reactor-supply revenues and an effort to lower power costs.)

However, rods left in for longer periods get hit by more neutrons, hence they get more enriched and can more readily produce a “critical mass” necessary for nuclear fission (so-called “criticality”)[v] risking a Fukushima-like crude explosion, or can themselves serve as a source for fissile materials in a clandestine weapons program.

In plain English, this means rods left in 25% longer than specified will have far higher enrichment to weaponizable material (at least for a crude weapon) meaning there could be a nuclear accident at the reprocessing plant OR the material could be covertly processed and the fissile material extracted for weapons.

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Ukraine so farfetched?  On September 14, 2014, Ukrainian Defence Minister Valery Geletei is reported to have openly stated: “If we cannot protect [Ukraine] today, if the world does not help us, we will have to return to creation of these weapons to protect ourselves from Russia.”[vi]

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