US and Israel Intel Officials agree Iran stopped its nuclear weapon programs years ago , despite what the politicians presently wail , nothwithstanding the sanctions program and attempts to bully other nations go onward and War is still on the table over the non existent nuclear weapon program
This new comments from intelligence agencies are more of an admission than a discovery, since again there is nothing therein we didn’t hear in late 2007. Still one hopes that this time the various hawks are actually paying attention, and will realize that their excuses for starting a major war with Iran have been exposed, yet again, as false.
JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel views the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran with greater urgency than the rest of the world, Israel's defense minister said Monday.
Ehud Barak also reiterated recent Israeli assessments that Iran's nuclear program is on the verge of becoming immune to disruptions by a possible military strike.
The remarks are likely to fuel already rampant speculation that Israel is preparing for a strike before Iran moves most of its nuclear facilities underground and beyond the reach of a precision attack.
In testimony to parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak also said that harsher international sanctions against Iran would be needed to try to pressure Tehran to abandon the suspect elements of its nuclear program.
Barak also invoked a theme that has become a recent mantra with Israeli leaders — that the Jewish state will not leave its fate to others to decide.
"The world, including the current U.S. administration, understands and accepts that Israel necessarily views the threat differently than they do, and that ultimately, Israel is responsible for taking the decisions related to its future, its security and its destiny," he said.
Barak's office released his statements to the committee in a media release.
Iran's nuclear program, Barak said, "is steadily approaching maturation and is verging on a 'zone of immunity' — a position from which the Iranian regime could complete its program without effective disruption, at its convenience."
Barak sent jitters through the world two months ago, when he first coined the "zone of immunity" phrase — a reference to Iran's movement of sensitive nuclear operations deep underground in heavily fortified bunkers, in an effort to compromise any military strike.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel hasn't yet decided whether to attack, but senior officials who advocate a pre-emptive strike say Israel, with relatively limited firepower, would have to strike by summer to be effective.
Israel, just hundreds of miles from Iran, sees a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic as the biggest threat to its survival. This has been underscored by the controversies surrounding Iran's nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated references to a destruction of the Jewish state, Iran's arsenal of ballistic missiles capable of striking Israel and its anti-Israel allies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Israel, like the West, believes the key elements of the Iranian program — primarily uranium enrichment — suggest ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as energy production.
But while the U.S. and Israel agree that a nuclear Iran must not be tolerated, they differ on how urgently military action might be needed. Israel doesn't want Tehran to reach the point where it is technologically capable of building a bomb — a point it estimates is just months away. But the U.S., with its superior firepower, thinks the tripwire could be months further down the line.
The U.S. has been urging patience, saying harsh international sanctions and additional diplomacy should be given time to work. Israel is skeptical they will be effective, especially because Russia and China have been blocking stronger action.
Also Monday, Israel's President Shimon Peres, sent Iranians his traditional greeting for the Persian new year, wishing for "peace and coexistence" despite tensions over their country's nuclear program.
Speaking first in Farsi and then in Hebrew, Peres also urged Iranian leaders not to threaten anyone or make their "children flee home" — an apparent reference to the possibility of war. The greeting for Nowruz was broadcast over Israel Radio's Farsi service, which is popular in Iran.
EXCLUSIVE-India seals deals to export 60,000 T sugar to Iran
By Mayank Bhardwaj and Ratnajyoti DuttaPosted 2012/03/19 at 10:26 am EDT
NEW DELHI, Mar. 19, 2012 (Reuters) — Indian traders have struck deals to export 60,000 tons of raw sugar to Iran for March-April delivery, three trade sources said on Monday, marking their first sales of the sweetener to Tehran since western sanctions were tightened at the start of 2012.
A laborer unloads sacks of sugar from a truck at a wholesale food market in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in this August 13, 2010 file photo. Indian traders have struck deals to export 60,000 tonnes of raw sugar to Iran for March-April delivery, three trade sources said on March 19, 2012, marking their first sales of the sweetener to Tehran since western sanctions were tightened at the start of 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files
The exports are within the ceiling of two million tons of sales already allowed by New Delhi under the open general license (OGL) scheme.
"Traders have contracted exports of 60,000 tons of raw sugar to Iran and the first vessel of 19,800 tons is being loaded at a Mumbai port," a source with the Indian unit of a global trading company told Reuters.
Confirming the deal, another source said Iran would receive the entire quantity between "now and end-April."
They said Iran could buy more sugar from India, the world's top consumer and the biggest producer behind Brazil.
"Until September, Iran needs to import about 324,000 tons of raw sugar," the first source said.
Iran is expected to import 1.6 million tons of sugar in the 2011/12 year, according to the International Sugar Organization (ISO), around 31 percent of the global surplus of 5.17 million tons estimated by the London-based agency.
The Islamic nation bought 1.8 million tons of the sweetener in calendar 2010, the ISO said.
New Delhi and Tehran have set up a mechanism to use the rupee, which is not freely traded on global markets, for 45 percent of oil dues and to pay Indian exporters in order to skirt western sanctions.
India is Iran's second-biggest oil client after China, buying around $11 billion a year, but its own exports to Tehran are worth only about $2.7 billion.
A delegation of Indian exporters has just returned from a trip to Tehran which aimed to boost overseas sales and partially redress the imbalance in trade between the two, but with no major success.
The sugar export deal, however, is in dollars through Dubai-based middlemen, the sources said.
Iran is increasingly finding it difficult to pay in dollars for its crude oil exports, its major foreign currency earner, as the United States and the European Union tighten financial sanctions in an attempt to curb its nuclear ambitions.
As an alternative, Iranian buyers are channeling import payments through unofficial routes involving several layers of middlemen based in Dubai.
Rice exporters from India, Iran's top supplier of the grain, have used the same route but some buyers in the Islamic nation have defaulted on payments.
For the sugar sales, Indian exporters have already received payments from the middlemen involved, these sources said.
Indian sugar mills produced 21.2 million tons of the sweetener between October 1 and March 15, up 14 percent from a year earlier and total output is expected to top 25 million tons. Demand is estimated at around 22 million tons for the year.
The government is considering allowing exports of another 0.5-1 million tons of sugar because of the higher output, after permitting two million tons so far in the 2011/12 season.
Iraq has come forward to offer "substantial quantities" of crude oilto Sri Lanka, as the island desperately looks for alternatives to Iranian crude, according to a news report.
Iran supplies nearly 92 percent of Sri Lanka's imported crude. But supplies have hit a snag in the face of US-led sanctions aimed at spurring Tehran to abandon its nuclear programme.
The Colombo-based Sunday Times newspaper quoted Petroleum Ministry officials saying that Sri Lanka would stop crude oil importsfrom Iran from March 29, ahead of the US June 28th deadline.
Any country importing goods from Iran after would be subject to US penalties.
Sri Lanka's refinery, built with Italian technology in 1968, can handle Iranian or Saudi light crude and talks were underway to get more Saudi oil, as well as increase refined petroleum product imports from Iraq and Oman.
India has said it will continue to import oil from Iran, joining China in refusing to bow to intensifying US pressure not to do business with the Islamic republic.
The West fears Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.
Tehran insists its nuclear programme is only for civilian use and refuses to scrap its uranium enrichment activities, ramping up its programme in the wake of recent Western economic sanctions against its finance and oil sectors.