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Thread: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Does NOT boil down to money. It boils down to arming terrorists for your own reasons you fucks.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    China Is Helping to Arm Iran and Sidestep Sanctions Thanks to an Assist From North Korea

    By Reza Kahlili
    Published December 14, 2011
    | FoxNews.com


    February 2011: Iranian President Mamoud Ahmadinejad, shown in this file photo pumping his fist, reportedly has been butting heads with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in background.


    China is circumventing international sanctions against Iran by enlisting North Korea’s help in providing the Islamic state with its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles and the technical expertise to make those nuclear warhead-capable missiles operational. And now the Communist giant is threatening to come to Iran’s defense should the missile or nuclear sites be attacked.

    Referring this critical problem to the United Nations won’t work because China has veto power in the Security Council.

    The United States and the West must therefore bring all the pressure to bear against China they can — and do it immediately.


    • Aug. 2010: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

    Related Stories Time literally is running out.

    The Revolutionary Guards, under orders from the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have long been preparing for war, knowing that their nuclear bomb program could invite a preemptive strike by Israel or America.

    Media outlets quote Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong as warning that in case of attack, China should not hesitate to protect Iran, even if it means launching World War III.

    The Iranian-owned state media ran big headlines recently quoting Chinese President Hu Jintao as saying that he has ordered the Chinese Navy to prepare for war and that, in case of an attack on Iran, China will defend Iran.

    When Mohammad Ali Jafari was appointed the chief commander of the Guards by Khamenei in September 2007, he formed 31 command-and-control centers in and around Iran that could operate independently in case of war. Each center is authorized to suppress any unrest and to confront any enemy.

    Jafari also brought Iran’s Basij militia — a group of pro-government vigilantes — under Guard command to ensure greater coordination while at the same time forming thousands of Basij special units to suppress any uprisings that could arise after a possible attack.

    Expecting war, Jafari weeks ago ordered the formation of the 32nd command-and-control center just for the security of Tehran, the capital of Iran. Now the Guards have assigned two divisions to protect Tehran.

    The Guards at the same time have established hundreds of underground ballistic missile silos across Iran to achieve two goals:

    First, these missiles, which have predetermined targets, could be fired from multiple sites toward an enemy.

    Second, multiple hidden sites would make it difficult for satellites to pinpoint any launch and therefore lower the possibility of the missiles being taken out prior to launch.

    The Guards have openly announced that American military bases will be targeted in retaliation for any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Sources within Iran reveal that U.S. military bases in France, Hungary, Italy and Germany are among the targets.

    As I revealed in May, the Guards possess ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that have a range of over 2,000 miles, which could reach several capitals in Western Europe. The opposition group Green Experts of Iran now reports that the Guards have also obtained intercontinental ballistic missiles from China.

    In recent years, the Revolutionary Guards put everything they had into boosting their military capabilities by developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

    But they failed.

    They then turned to China, which delivered to Iran 11 Dong Feng 3A missiles whose range exceeds 1,600 miles.

    By 2009, concurrent with the increased in tensions between Iran and the international community, as well as the intensity of the unrest inside Iran, the Guards began talks with China and finalized an $11 billion deal in which China agreed to provide the Guards with advanced ICBMs, DF-31s, which have a minimum 4,300-mile range and can carry nuclear warheads.

    China also agreed to help design several of Iran’s missile programs and provide expert training inside Iran. The contract called for delivery of six ICBMs, six mobile units for the missiles and 40 blast chambers to be assembled by the Revolutionary Guards inside a military complex.

    Sources reveal that the missiles were delivered about a year ago, but the Guards failed in setting this missile project in motion.

    Given the mounting international pressures against Iran’s nuclear program, even China announced it cannot further cooperate in Iran’s militaristic ambitions — unless sanctions can be circumvented.

    According to the Green Experts, in order to resolve the basic problems of the missile project, a joint delegation of Chinese and North Korean experts traveled to Iran. Ultimately it was agreed that in exchange for $7 billion, hardware, installation and launch of the technology and the necessary training for the project would be handled by the North Koreans, since Pyongyang doesn’t recognize the U.N. sanctions.

    North Korea, for its part, guaranteed that it would do its utmost in bolstering the Chinese-equipped missile project, and eventually situate its experts in Iran so that in critical conditions, the missiles will remain operational.

    It is now logical to conclude that the explosions that occurred at the IRGC base 28 miles west of Tehran on Nov. 12 were due to Iranian missile experts working on the Chinese DF-31 missile.

    Sources reveal that following the explosions at the Guards’ base and the loss of many key commanders running the missile program, a meeting was organized between the Revolutionary Guards and representatives of North Korea. It was agreed at that meeting that North Korea would expedite sending their missile experts to Iran — as of Dec. 10 — to get the missile system up and running.

    With the Obama administration and European countries failing to implement crippling sanctions against Iran and openly stating that a military option could be devastating to the global economy, it seems that the radicals ruling Iran will soon not only have nuclear bombs but also the means to deliver them almost anywhere on the globe. There’s no time to waste.

    He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).


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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Geithner Gets China Snub on Iran Oil

    Thursday, 12 Jan 2012 10:07 AM

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s efforts to tighten economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program won backing from Japan a day after China rejected limiting oil imports from the country.

    “We want to take concrete steps to reduce our share in an orderly way as soon as possible,” Finance Minister Jun Azumi said at a joint press conference in Tokyo today with his U.S. counterpart. “The world cannot tolerate nuclear development.”

    Geithner’s meetings were part of a trip to Asia’s two largest economies aimed at building support for tighter Iranian economic sanctions after international monitors detected an acceleration in the nation’s nuclear development program. China, which counts Iran as one of its top petroleum suppliers, yesterday snubbed the U.S., with a vice foreign minister saying his nation “opposes imposing pressure and sanctions.”

    Crude for February delivery climbed 49 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $101.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 5:00 p.m. Tokyo time.

    JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., Japan’s biggest refiner, is in talks with Saudi Arabia and other producers to replace crude shipments in the event of an embargo, according to an official who declined to be identified, citing company policy. JX buys about 90,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, the official said.

    Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the government hasn’t made a final decision on cutting Iranian imports, and that Azumi’s pledge “is just one of several opinions.” Azumi later said he is seeking ways to make sure sanctions on Iran don’t hurt the Japanese economy.

    ‘Halfway Solution’

    “Japan will try and seek a halfway solution where they’ll try and limit imports from Iran and boost imports from other Middle Eastern countries that are also U.S. allies,” said Razeen Sally, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Given its military alliance with the U.S., Japan “is much more susceptible to U.S. pressure than China,” he said.

    The U.S. will send officials to Japan next week to discuss how the Japanese government will implement its plans, NHK Television quoted Geithner as saying in an interview. “We share a sense of urgency,” he told NHK.

    Asked about China, Geithner told NHK: “They have been actually very cooperative with the international community with this common objective because of course they share our interests in trying to make sure Iran is compliant with its international obligations.”

    ‘Quite Supportive’


    “They actually have been quite supportive in tangible ways,” Geithner said. “I heard additional evidence of their intentions on that when I was there.”

    The Obama administration’s “basic objective is to assure that China is more fully integrated into the global economy and financial system,” he said. The yuan’s exchange rate, which the U.S. claims is undervalued, is “just one part” of a broader agenda Chinese leaders are pursuing, he said.

    On the International Monetary Fund’s role in helping resolve the European debt crisis, Geithner said, “I think you’ll see the world willing to see the IMF play a supportive role. It’s done so already and it’s what the IMF exists to do. But it can only be effective in that context in support of a stronger European commitment to make sure they have in place a monetary union that can work.”

    Total Purchases

    Japan, the world’s second biggest importer of Iran’s crude after China, bought 1.09 million kiloliters, or about 6.85 million barrels, in November, or 6.4 percent of the country’s total purchases for the month, according to trade ministry data.

    “Any price spike would lead to a worsening of Japan’s trade terms,” said Azusa Kato, an economist at BNP Paribas in Tokyo. “If the price increase gets passed on to consumers, that diminishes their disposable income; if it doesn’t get passed on to consumers then it hurts corporate earnings.”

    European Union foreign ministers are scheduled to decide at a Jan. 23 meeting in Brussels whether to impose and how to phase in an embargo on Iranian oil, which is designed to force Iran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

    Iran has begun enriching uranium to as much as 20 percent U-235 at the underground Fordo site near the city of Qom, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a Jan. 9 announcement. The site is monitored by IAEA inspectors to detect any attempt to enrich uranium to the 90 percent level necessary for a nuclear bomb.

    Strait of Hormuz


    Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said Dec. 27 that his nation would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions are imposed, the Islamic Republic News Agency said. The Strait is a transit point for one-fifth of oil traded worldwide.

    Refiners in Asia, the destination for 65 percent of Iran’s oil exports, are seeking alternative sources in the event of a supply disruption from the world’s fourth-largest producer.

    Even as China rebuffed American pressure, Premier Wen Jiabao is planning a trip to alternative oil providers. Wen will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from Jan. 14 to Jan. 19 and attend an international meeting on energy, the foreign ministry said two days ago.

    “Iran is one of China’s biggest petroleum suppliers,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun told reporters in Beijing yesterday. “China hopes that petroleum imports won’t be affected as petroleum is needed for China’s development and for ensuring the needs of its people.”

    Biggest Beneficiary


    China stands to be the biggest beneficiary of U.S. and European plans for sanctions by taking advantage of the mounting pressure to demand better terms on Iranian crude, analysts said.

    “The sanctions against Iran strengthen the Chinese hand at the negotiating table,” said Michael Wittner, head of oil- market research for Societe Generale SA in New York.

    At the same time, the U.S. is bearing most of the cost of patrols and surveillance in the Strait of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels a day of crude are transported. China, the No. 2 importer of oil after the U.S., enjoys protection for the shipping lanes for free, retired Admiral Dennis Blair, a former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said in an interview.

    South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, announced Dec. 16 that it would expand sanctions against Iran and cautioned companies against importing petrochemicals. Crude oil shipments weren’t affected. The country added 99 Iranian groups and six individuals to a list of people and organizations banned from foreign-exchange transactions without central bank approval.

    Iran is South Korea’s fifth-largest supplier of crude, with a 9.4 percent share in 2011.

    “Ten percent is not a small number -- it is important to diversify” toward other providers, Vice Finance Minister Shin Je Yoon said in a Bloomberg Television interview today. South Korea is working with counterparts abroad, and “it’s too early to say” what the specific approach will be on Iran imports, he said.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    China Will Ensure Tankers Can Haul Iran Oil

    Dailyherald.com
    Fri, 16 Mar 2012 14:32 CDT



    China, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, will take steps to prevent European trade sanctions disrupting shipments from the Persian Gulf nation, said tanker operator China Shipping Development Co.

    The government has discussed ways of helping shipping companies get insurance once sanctions against Iran kick in on July 1, General Manager Yan Zhichong told reporters in Hong Kong today. The ministry of transport and National Development Reform Commission has had special meetings on the issue, he said.

    "The attitude is clear - we must make sure that the volume of our shipments will not drop," Yan said. "The government regards it as a very important issue."

    China may nominate an insurer to cover oil shipments from Iran to ensure that supplies can continue, Yan said. European Union sanctions on Iran threaten to disrupt oil shipments because about 95 percent of the world's tankers are insured against risks such as oil spills by the 13 members of the London-based International Group of P&I Clubs, according to Andrew Bardot, its secretary and executive officer.

    China Shipping Development had a fleet of 72 tankers at the end of last year. The company is part of state-controlled China Shipping Group Co., the nation's biggest sea-cargo carrier after China Ocean Shipping Group Co.

    China Shipping so far hasn't had any disruptions in its cargos from Iran, Yan said. The Asian nation is underwriting some oil shipments, according to the International Energy Agency.

    About 22 percent of Iranian oil exports go to China, according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates. The Asian nation opposes trade restrictions against Iran and said oil sanctions aren't "constructive," the official Xinhua News Agency reported Jan. 26, citing comments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The European Union and U.S. have imposed sanctions on Iran because of the nation's nuclear program. Iran has said that the project is just for civilian use.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Heard this on the news this morning.

    Guess we're gonna let them, huh?
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Exclusive: Iran helps Syria ship oil to China: sources


    Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart al-Assad pose in Tehran (Morteza Nikoubazl Reuters, REUTERS / March 30, 2012)




    Jessica Donati Reuters 4:33 a.m. CDT, March 30, 2012

    LONDON (Reuters) - Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million.

    Iran, itself a target of Western sanctions, is among Syria's closest allies and has promised to do all it can to support Assad, recently praising his handling of the year-long uprising against Assad in which thousands have been killed.

    China has also shielded Assad from foreign intervention, vetoing two Western-backed resolutions at the United Nations over the bloodshed, and is not bound by Western sanctions against Syria, its oil sector and state oil firm Sytrol.

    "The Syrians planned to sell the oil directly to the Chinese but they could not find a vessel," said an industry source who added that he had been asked to help Sytrol execute the deal but did not take part.

    The source named the Chinese buyer as Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, a state-run company hit by U.S. sanctions in January.

    A Zhuhai Zhenrong spokeswoman said: "I've never heard about this." She declined further comment.

    The U.S. State Department said in January that Zhuhai Zhenrong was the largest supplier of refined petroleum products to Iran, on which the West has imposed sanctions because it suspects Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

    China's willingness to start importing Syrian oil offers a rare break in the country's growing isolation.

    Syria, a relatively modest oil exporter, has been unable to sell its crude into Europe, its traditional destination until September last year when European Union and U.S. sanctions halted exports.

    The crude oil cargo, worth around $84 million assuming a discounted price of about $100 a barrel, could provide Assad with much-needed funds after another round of sanctions designed to further isolate the country's ailing economy were imposed by the European Union last week.

    Syria's Sytrol, which has been on the EU and U.S. sanctions list since last year, referred calls to the country's oil ministry. No one answered repeated calls by Reuters at the oil ministry. Iranian authorities were not available to comment.

    The source added Sytrol had enlisted contacts in Venezuela to help find a vessel that could pick up the cargo. The problem was ultimately resolved by the Iranian authorities, who sent the tanker M.T. Tour to take on the cargo.

    The Maltese-flagged tanker is owned by shipping firm ISIM Tour Limited, which has been identified by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a front company set up by Iran to evade sanctions.

    The M.T. Tour reached the Syrian port of Tartus at the weekend, where it loaded the 120,000 metric tonne (132,277 tons) cargo of light crude oil, according to the industry source and shiptracking data.

    Satellite tracking showed the vessel was last spotted near Port Said in Egypt, where is was due to arrive on Wednesday. Its final destination was not available but the industry source said the vessel was likely to head to China or Singapore.

    "I was asked to provide an option to ship to southern China or Singapore," the source said.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    China, Iran form 'strategic ties'

    Assured of creating complications for Washington

    WASHINGTON – Trade and security ties between China and Iran have reached a point that their leadership is declaring the relationship to be “strategic,” a development that no doubt will further complicate relations between Washington and Beijing, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

    Trade volume between China and Iran is expected to increase to $100 billion in the near future as an outgrowth of agreements struck between the two countries at the latest summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana, Kazakhstan.

    “Tehran’s economic, political, and cultural relations with Beijing and their coordination on international affairs are strategic,” said Tehran’s ambassador to Beijing, Mehdi Safari.

    Beijing doesn’t recognize the unilateral sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by the United States and other countries of the European Union in addition to sanctions which were imposed by the United Nations due to Iran continuing its nuclear enrichment program.

    According to informed sources, China’s strategic relationship with Iran actually is hampering the success of any containment policy against Iran which is asserting its influence from the Middle East to Central Asia in China’s areas of interest.

    This relationship is becoming increasingly important given the interest that China has in Afghanistan, where Iran exerts considerable influence. China also is looking to Iran to help with its own restive Islamist militant problem with the Uighurs in its western-most province of Xinjiang.

    Beijing hopes that Tehran’s Shi’ite form of Islam, as opposed to the Wahhabist militancy of Saudi Arabia, will have a more moderating influence on the Uighurs. In effect, sources say, Islam in fact could become an element that will further consolidate Sino-Iranian relations.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Iran Accepts Renminbi for Crude Oil

    Published: Tuesday, 8 May 2012 | 2:34 AM ET

    By: Henny Sender

    Iran is accepting renminbi for some of the crude oil it supplies to China, industry executives in Beijing and Kuwait and Dubai-based bankers said, partly as a consequence of U.S. sanctions aimed at limiting Tehran’s nuclear program.

    Kaveh Kazemi | Getty Images
    View of Iran's oil industry installations in Mahshahr, Khuzestan province, southern Iran.

    Tehran is spending the currency, which is not freely convertible, on goods and services imported from China.

    Most of the oil that goes from Iran to China is handled by the Unipec trading arm of Sinopec, China’s second-largest oil company, and through another trading company called Zhuhai Zhenrong, the oil industry executives said.

    The trade is worth as much as $20 billion-$30 billion annually according to industry estimates, but a share of it is in barter form. Zhuhai Zhenrong, for example, pays Iran for its oil by providing services such as drilling, these people add.

    “The global financial crisis accelerated the shift from the west to the east,” said the chief executive of one bank in Dubai. “Such measures [as the U.S. sanctions against Iran] will now enhance the acceptability of the renminbi as a transaction currency.”

    More on FT.com


    The U.S. applied sanctions on Zhuhai Zhenrong earlier this year for allegedly brokering gasoline shipments to Iran—which lacks refining capacity—a charge that the company has denied.

    Washington has also imposed sanctions that force financial institutions to choose between doing business with Iran or with the U.S. and it has spearheaded restrictions on Tehran’s central bank. The sanctions and a diplomatic push have led to a reduction in Iranian oil imports by Japan, South Korea, India and China, which together buy more than 60 percent of Iran’s crude oil exports.

    India, which already settles its oil purchases from Iran in rupees, was again urged on Monday by Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, to cut its imports further.

    More on CNBC.com


    The renminbi purchases began some months ago. Initially the non-barter portion of the transactions were settled in Beijing through renminbi accounts but now, as a result of U.S. pressure, domestic banks such as Bank of China have stopped dealing with Iran, the oil executives and bankers said.

    Instead, much of the money is transferred to Tehran through Russian banks, which take large commissions on the transactions, these people said.
    Beijing has been trying to get its trading partners to use the renminbi, in effect transferring the exchange rate risk to its counterparties, since the price of crude is set in U.S. dollars [DXC1 79.99 0.275 (+0.34%) ].

    It also frees Beijing of the need to hold as many dollars in its reserves.
    Iran sells 21 percent of its crude oil exports to China, making Beijing crucial to Tehran’s ability to withstand unilateral U.S. sanctions.

    In March, amid growing efforts to isolate Iran, Sinopec renegotiated its contracts and successfully pressed for larger discounts, though “both sides are under strict orders not to talk and nobody knows the exact terms”, one industry source said. There was a sharp drop in Chinese oil imports from Iran in January and February but analysts expect a recovery over the course of the year.

    Sinopec, Zhuhai Zhenrong and Iran’s central bank declined to comment on the renminbi for oil trading.


    Iran Trade Partners – Graphic of the Day

    Iran castigated its US adversary on Tuesday over new financial measures to disrupt Iranian commerce, and a default on payment for rice purchases highlighted the encroachment of sanctions on the staples of everyday life. Today’s graphic analyzes Iran’s trade partners based on imports and exports.

    It also lists Iran’s top 10 crops produced as well as the inflation rate over the last 10 years.



    08 Feb 2012Thomson Reuters

    Sanctions against Iran have caused trade with China to increase, endangering Western economies


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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Russia supplies the centrifuges via nuclear plants it sets up like the Bushehr plant.

    China supplies the technology via North Korea.




    Why Iran Already Has the Bomb

    If North Korea has the bomb, as this week’s nuclear test indicated, then for all practical purposes, so does Iran

    By Lee Smith|February 14, 2013 12:00 AM


    People watch a TV broadcast reporting North Korea’s nuclear test at the Seoul Railway station on Feb. 12, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)


    The White House and President Obama’s supporters insist that he’s making his first trip to Israel next month to assure the Jewish state that if push comes to shove with Iran, he’ll have Israel’s back. But North Korea’s nuclear test Tuesday morning could indicate that it’s already too late for that. If North Korea has the bomb, then for all practical purposes Iran does, too. If that’s so, then Obama’s policy of prevention has failed, and containment—a policy that the president has repeatedly said is not an option—is in fact all Washington has.

    If this sounds hyperbolic, consider the history of extensive North Korean-Iranian cooperation on a host of military and defense issues, including ballistic missiles and nuclear development, that dates back to the 1980s. This cooperation includes North Korean sales of technology and arms, like the BM-25, a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Western Europe; Iran’s Shahab 3 missile is based on North Korea’s Nodong-1 and is able to reach Israel. Iran has a contigent of Iranian weapons engineers and defense officials stationed in North Korea. Meantime, North Korean scientists visit Iran. And last fall, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding regarding scientific, academic, and technological issues.

    Given all this, there’s a great deal of concern that, as one senior U.S. official told the New York Times, “the North Koreans are testing for two countries.” The classic case of testing for another country is when the United States tested for the U.K. under the 1958 U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defense Agreement. The situation with the Hermit Kingdom and the Islamic Republic is different: The North Koreans certainly aren’t going to make the cooperation quite so explicit, but they’re also not hiding it. In January, Kim Jong-un boasted that the United States was the prime target for Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests. Earlier this month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rejected the idea of nuclear negotiations with the United States. So, neither North Korea nor Iran believe the White House can do much to stop their march—one that they seem to be conducting in lockstep.

    Nuclear-proliferation experts I spoke with are reluctant to push the conclusion quite that far. “There’s no evidence of direct cooperation on nuclear tests,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at Monterey Institute, told me. “And it would be hard to know,” he added, given the paranoid, secretive nature of both regimes. Unless or until the North Koreans or Iranians volunteer that information, it is going to be hard to prove definitively that the North Koreans would give the bomb—or blueprints for one—to Iran.

    For North Korea, the incentive to transfer technology, or an actual bomb, in exchange for money, or whatever else the regime needs, is powerful. The only world power capable of discouraging them from proliferating is China, but the Chinese are not going to push much harder than offering stiff rhetoric. The Chinese don’t necessarily want North Korea to have a bomb, but what they fear even more is destabilizing their neighbor such that the regime falls, the Korean peninsula is reunited, and they wind up with a pro-American government hosting 50,000 U.S. troops on their border. Beijing prefers to have a buffer.

    Pyongyang’s nuclear program is the crown jewel of the North Korean state enterprise, a carefully guarded secret to which they have given only Iran access. Given how extensively the Iranian nuclear program has been penetrated by foreign intelligence services—which foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi openly admitted in 2010—the North Koreans surely understood they were taking an enormous risk by letting Iranians in the door. Whatever they’re getting from Iran in exchange—oil, money, or scientific cooperation on complicated issues—must be crucial. If Tehran has paid for access to Pyongyang’s program, it will also pay for a bomb. At this point, it could be only a matter of haggling over the price.

    “Some of us have been saying this is something to worry about for five or six years,” said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, D.C. “The North Koreans have been cooperating with Iran for about a decade on nuclear and missile issues, and the Iranians have several full-time weapons engineers on site in North Korea. Neither the North Koreans or the Iranians have made a secret of this. The Iranians were reported at North Korea’s last nuclear test as well. It’s hard to believe they had no access to the most recent test.”

    North Korea’s previous test, its second, in May 2009 yielded an explosion half the size of Tuesday’s. The preparatory commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization measured Tuesday’s test as 5.0 in magnitude, which according to Sokolski is about half the size of the Hiroshima blast.

    The fact that this is the third test, said Sokolski, is significant. “Either the North Koreans want to give the international community a nuclear Bronx cheer, or they’re testing something more advanced than they tested the first two times. If you’re trying to improve your technology you don’t keep testing the same first generation device over and over again.”

    While details are still unclear, the widespread belief is that the North Koreans tested an enriched uranium device this time, while the first two tests used plutonium. The al-Kibar nuclear site in Syria, which the North Koreans helped design—and which the Israelis bombed in 2007—was a plutonium facility. Some experts suspect that if the bomb detonated Tuesday was using enriched uranium, this is yet another piece of evidence that Iran is likely “using North Korea as a backdoor plan for their own nuclear program.”

    Lewis, who has written about the ties between Iranian and North Korean scientists, agrees that there has definitely been some coordination in the past on numerous defense issues. “Last fall North Korea and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding regarding science and technology issues. The North Koreans published a list of officials who signed the document, including the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization and its defense minister. We should be concerned about them exchanging information, and there are precedents for states passing on designs. The Chinese passed on designs to the Pakistanis who handed them off to the Libyans.”

    Pakistan and Qaddafi’s Libya are open societies in comparison to Iran and North Korea. The regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran are highly ideological, where major policy decisions are made in a tight circle around the man on top—Kim Jong-un of North Korea and Ali Khamenei of Iran. Both regimes have made nuclear weapons a vital strategic interest, in spite of sanctions that have sent the Iranian currency plummeting and brought North Korea to the brink of starvation. But sharing nuclear information gives both a way out. North Korea will get billions that Iran will happily pay for a bomb or blueprints. Iran, once in possession of the bomb, will see Europe and perhaps even the United States relax their sanctions regimes in the hopes of getting Iran to the negotiating table by playing nice.

    If this is the case, Obama will go down in history as the American president who presided over global nuclear proliferation, including rogue regimes. After four years of restraining the Israelis, he may now be going to visit them next month for a good reason: to apologize.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    ‘Iranian nuke chief was in N. Korea for atomic test’

    Apparently successful detonation indicates both countries on the cusp of ability to assemble atomic warhead, Sunday Times reports


    By Times of Israel staff February 17, 2013, 5:22 am


    In this photo released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), an Iranian Shahab-3 missile is launched during military maneuvers outside the city of Qom, Iran, Tuesday, June 28, 2011 (photo credit: AP/ISNA, Ruhollah Vahdati)



    According to the report Sunday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi very rarely leaves Iranian soil due to fear that Israel’s Mossad will make an attempt on his life, following an alleged pattern of previous assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

    Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi is currently pursuing technology that would enable his country to assemble a nuclear warhead compact enough to be fitted to the ballistic missile technology in its possession, Western intelligence sources reportedly said.

    North Korea’s test last week, during which it detonated a nuclear device at a remote underground site, was a key step en route to just such a prototype, South Korean defense officials and Japanese government sources were quoted as saying.

    “The atomic bomb appears to have been made compact enough to be placed on a missile,” a Japanese source reportedly said.

    The test was roundly condemned the world over — even Iran issued an ostensible scolding – with US President Barack Obama calling it a “highly provocative act” that threatened security and international peace.

    Meanwhile, North Korea’s official state media said the test was aimed at coping with “outrageous” US hostility that “violently” undermined the North’s peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites.

    Evidence of military cooperation between Iran and North Korea has been compounded by satellite images showing distinct similarities between an Iranian missile launch pad and a North Korean missile facility, the report said.

    Iran’s Shahab-3 long-range missile is based on the North Korean Nodong-1 and is estimated to have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. In December, Iranian agents were reportedly on hand in North Korea for a long-range missile test.

    Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, the Iranian nuclear official, reportedly may have traveled to Pyongyang through China, an ally of North Korea that has also allegedly provided nuclear and military assistance to Tehran.

    Iran, like North Korea, is under stiff sanctions, and negotiations with the West over its nuclear program have similarly stalled.

    Iran maintains the program is peaceful, for generating energy and for medical research, not for weapons.

    According to Western assessments, the capacity to assemble a nuclear warhead that can be delivered via Shahab missile technology is one of the last remaining obstacles to an Iranian nuclear strike capability.

    Experts say Iran already has enough enriched uranium for several weapons if it is further enriched. Last week, Tehran showed off new-generation centrifuges that can enrich uranium four to five times faster than its present working model.


    U.S. institute: North Korea upgrading rocket launch site, possibly with Iran's help


    A South Korean army soldier walks by a signboard showing the distance to North Korean capital Pyongyang and that for South's capital Seoul from Imjingang Station near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP / Ahn Young-joon)

    Matthew Pennington, The Associated Press
    Published Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 6:18AM EST
    Last Updated Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 1:33PM EST

    WASHINGTON -- North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.

    A successful satellite launch in December and a nuclear test on Tuesday, both in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, have intensified concern that North Korea is moving toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on an intercontinental missile.

    An analysis written for 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, indicates that North Korea has made significant progress since October in constructing a new launch pad and other facilities at Tonghae, on the country's northeast coast.

    The assessment is based on commercial satellite photos, the latest taken in January.

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    A structure which an analyst says is an unfinished rocket launch site, top right, and other major new facilities at the Tonghae launch complex are seen near the village of Musudan-ri on the northeast coast of North Korea, Aug. 29, 2012. (DigitalGlobe)

    It says design features, including a flame trench covering that protects large rockets from the hot exhaust gases they emit on takeoff, is similar to one at a launch complex in Semnan, Iran, and hasn't been used by the North before.

    The analysis also identifies activity at an older launch pad at Tonghae, last used for a long-range rocket in 2009, but says it's unclear if that indicates preparations for another launch there.

    The North's most recent long-range launches -- a failed attempt to put a satellite into space atop an Unha-2 rocket in April, then a successful effort in December -- were conducted at a newer site, Sohae, on the west coast.

    38 North estimates that construction at Tonghae's new launch pad could be completed by 2016. It says tanks installed last fall in support buildings that would be used to store fuel propellant prior to a launch would be big enough for rockets three or four times larger than the Unha.

    Assessing the intentions of North Korea's secretive regime and the nation's technical capabilities is notoriously difficult. Analysts doubt the North has yet mastered how to miniaturize a nuclear device to mount on a long-range missile and attain its goal of being able to directly threaten the United States.

    "This analysis is just another piece of the puzzle indicating North Korea's intention to field increasingly capable long-range missiles able to carry nuclear warheads," said Joel Wit, a former State Department official and editor of 38 North.

    He said it hinted at "the cozy relationship between the North and Iran as both move forward with developing weapons of mass destruction."

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday drew a direct connection between North Korea and Iran, saying both cases demonstrated the need for international resolve against proliferation threats. He did not touch on whether they could be co-operating on missile and nuclear development.

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    Default Re: China's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    China, Iran Boost Cyber Attacks on U.S., Lawmaker Says



    China and Iran are intensifying cyber assaults against the U.S., the head of the House Intelligence Committee said as he pressed for legislation to encourage companies to share information on hacker threats.

    China’s cyber espionage effort targeting U.S. industrial secrets “has grown exponentially both in terms of its volume and damage it’s doing to our economic future,” the intelligence panel’s chairman, Mike Rogers, said at a hearing yesterday. “We have no practical deterrents in place today.”




    Analysts work in the Security Operations Center at the Dell SecureWorks office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Cybersecurity has gained renewed attention in recent weeks with revelations about a security breach of a U.S. Federal Reserve website, intrusions at the New York Times and other news organizations attributed to Chinese hackers, and a wave of attacks on websites of U.S. banks. Photographer: Stephen Morton/Bloomberg


    5:10

    Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, talks about President Barack Obama's executive order boosting U.S. cybersecurity. He speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)



    China’s cyber espionage effort targeting U.S. industrial secrets “has grown exponentially both in terms of its volume and damage it’s doing to our economic future,” the intelligence panel’s chairman, Mike Rogers, said at a hearing today. “We have no practical deterrents in place today.” Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg

    In a separate report on cyber risks to government computers, the Government Accountability Office said yesterday that cybersecurity incidents reported by U.S. agencies increased almost ninefold, to 48,562 in fiscal 2012 from 5,503 in 2006.

    The incidents have “placed sensitive information at risk, with potentially serious impacts on federal and military operations; critical infrastructure; and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive government, private sector, and personal information,” the report said.

    The GAO report found continuing weaknesses in the government’s ability to assess cybersecurity risks and develop effective controls.

    The Homeland Security Department has made “incremental progress” in coordinating the federal response to cyber incidents, while challenges remain in disseminating information among federal agencies and critical-infrastructure owners, and developing analysis and warning capability, the report said.

    House Bill


    Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and the committee’s top Democrat, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, reintroduced a bill on Feb. 13 to give legal protection for companies that share cyber threat information with each other and the government.

    The bill passed the House last year but failed to advance in the Senate after President Barack Obama’s administration threatened a veto, saying the measure didn’t go far enough to boost cyber defenses and failed to protect privacy of consumer data.

    Obama issued an executive order this week directing the government to develop voluntary cyber standards for companies operating vital assets such as power grids and railway systems. It also instructs U.S. agencies to share more threat information with industry.

    Cybersecurity has gained renewed attention in recent weeks with revelations about a security breach of a U.S. Federal Reserve website, intrusions at the New York Times and other news organizations attributed to Chinese hackers, and a wave of attacks on websites of U.S. banks.

    ‘Inevitable’ Breach

    “It is reasonable to assume that, if an advanced attacker targets your company, a breach is inevitable,” Kevin Mandia, chief executive officer of Mandiant Corp., an Alexandria, Virginia-based threat detection company that has investigated intrusions at the Times and Washington Post, said at the congressional hearing yesterday.

    “That surprises many people, but it is the undeniable truth, and a direct result of the gap between our ability to defend ourselves and our adversaries’ ability to circumvent those defenses,” Mandia said.

    Referring to the denial-of-service attacks against banks, Rogers said that in discussions with the private sector, “I heard nothing to dissuade me from the conclusion that the Iranian government is behind these attacks.”

    “You begin to see a pattern of steady, asymmetric, and often lethal Iranian attacks on the United States and our interests,” Rogers said.

    Sharing Information

    Companies lack strong legal protections for sharing and receiving cyber threat information as well as guidance on how such information-sharing may be treated under antitrust laws, which hinders exchange of threat data within and across industries, John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. chief executive officers, said at the hearing.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and other digital-rights groups renewed criticism of the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, saying it allows companies to share sensitive personal information with the government, including military agencies. Rogers said his bill has “strong restrictions and safeguards” to protect privacy.

    Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, declined to comment on the bill, saying the administration doesn’t want to prejudge the legislative process before a bill is ready for a vote.

    Information-sharing improvements are essential and must include “proper privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the appropriate roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections,” Hayden said in an e-mail.


    Russia: “Should Anything Happen to Iran … This Will Be a Direct Threat to Our National Security”

    Posted on January 14, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

    Russia and China Would Consider An Attack On Iran – Or Syria – As An Attack On Their National Security


    RT notes:

    The escalating conflict around Iran should be contained by common effort, otherwise the promising Arab Spring will grow into a “scorching Arab Summer,” says Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister and former envoy to NATO.

    *“Iran is our close neighbor, just south of the Caucasus. Should anything happen to Iran, should Iran get drawn into any political or military hardships, this will be a direct threat to our national security,” stressed Rogozin.
    Here’s what Rogozin is talking about (notice how close the Southern tip of Russia is to Northern Iran):




    A Chinese general has also allegedly said that China would launch World War III if Iran is attacked. And see this.

    While many Americans still believe that our government would not be crazy enough to attack Iran, economic – not national security – considerations may be driving the warmongers.

    In addition, Iran and Syria have had a mutual defense pact for years. And China and Russia might also defend Syria if it is attacked. So an attack on Syria could draw Iran into the war … followed by China and Russia.

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    Default Re: China and Russia's strategic alliance with Iran is off most radar screens

    Iran, China Hold Joint Military Drills in Persian Gulf

    20 Jun 2017
    332

    State sponsor of terror Iran and communist China began holding a joint military exercise in the Persian Gulf this week, where provocative clashes between the U.S. Navy and ships from the Islamic Republic have escalated in recent years.

    Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump slapped sanctions against individuals and corporate entities in both countries for assisting Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

    In November 2016, the Islamic Republic announced that it had signed a military cooperation agreement with China, vowing to hold drills and “create a collective movement to confront” the threat of terrorism.

    The U.S. Navy has experienced provocative interactions with both countries.


    “The military drill comes at a time of heightened tension between the Iranian and U.S. military in the Gulf and is likely to be a cause of concern for Washington,” it acknowledges, adding:

    An Iranian destroyer and two Chinese destroyers are among the vessels that will participate in the exercise, which will take place in the eastern portion of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, according to IRNA. Some 700 Iranian navy personnel will be participating in the drill.

    President Trump has taken a more confrontational approach to Iran than his predecessor.

    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has deemed Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”


    Meanwhile, the president has signaled a new approach towards China, willing to cooperate with the country when possible.

    In May, Trump’s Treasury Department designated Chinese national Ruan Runling for sanctions, arguing that he “provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of Iran’s Shiraz Electronics Industries.”

    Shiraz supplies the Iranian military with missile guidance technology.

    http://www.breitbart.com/national-se...-persian-gulf/

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