Centrifuges to Carry Iran Past Threshold within Days
NEW CENTRIFUGES MAY BRING IRAN WITHIN A MONTH OF NUCLEAR BREAKOUT: Iran is activating “hundreds” of new and advanced IR6 and IR1 centrifuges to enrich uranium, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) announced on Monday, August 1. Five hundred IR6 machines will be activated over the next 10 to 15 days, according to the announcement.
The spokesperson stated that the centrifuges were being activated as part of the “Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Protect Iranian Nation’s Interest” and to reach a minimum enrichment level of 190,000 separative work units (SWU) to meet “the level of [Iran’s] needs.” Kamalvandi added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed of the move. There has been a report that the new centrifuges were already installed in underground halls at the Natanz nuclear complex ahead of the announcement that they would be activated on Monday. In a report from December, the Institute for Science and International Security stressed that while that amount is relatively modest from a commercial vantage point, “such a program from a nuclear weapons vantage is huge for a country like Iran.” “Merely installing one tenth of that capacity of 128,000 SWU per year is sufficient to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for more than one bomb per year. With a sufficient stock of low enriched uranium, Iran could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for over five weapons per year.” (JPost / VFI News)
US TREASURY SANCTIONS COMPANIES INVOLVED WITH IRAN PETROCHEMICAL: The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against six companies linked to Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. (PGPICC) – one of the largest petrochemical brokers in Iran – on Monday, August 1.
UAE-based Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading will be sanctioned by the US Treasury for facilitating the sale of millions of dollars worth of Iranian-origin petroleum products. “The United States continues to pursue the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said. “Until such time as Iran is ready to return to full implementation of its commitments, we will continue to enforce sanctions on the illicit sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” Nelson added. In lieu of a nuclear agreement, the US government has continued its strategy of economic pressure and has sanctioned Iranian businesses and organizations tied to the Islamic Republic or the IRGC. (JPost / VFI News)
AL-QAEDA LEADER AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI KILLED IN CIA DRONE STRIKE: Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists who oversaw the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, was killed on Sunday, July 31, in a CIA drone strike in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden announced on Monday.
US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Zawahiri was killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul on Sunday morning and was hit by “hellfire” missiles from a US drone. “Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.” He said he had authorized the precision strike in downtown Kabul and that no civilians were killed. US intelligence determined with “high confidence” that the man killed was Zawahiri, a senior administration official told reporters. No other casualties occurred. (JPost / VFI News)
‘IF I HAD A GUN I’D SHOOT YOU’ – JEWISH MAN PUNCHED ON NYC SUBWAY: A Jewish man was punched while traveling on a New York City subway last Tuesday, July 26, in another incident in a spate of assaults on Jewish New Yorkers.
Fima Zlatsin said in an interview that he was on the subway when a group entered his car with speakers, and one of the men did a dance flip, landing on Zlatsin’s foot. The suspect, described by Zlatsin as an African-American man in his 20s, reportedly expressed that he thought that Zlatsin was filming with his phone following the alleged attacker’s jumping on Zlatsin’s foot. “Give me the phone, Jew,” Zlatsin said the attacker demanded. Zlatsin said that he refused the demand, and was immediately punched in the face. “There’s blood pouring out of my mouth, it’s going all over my face, it’s going all over my arms, it’s on my shirt, I’m dripping in blood and no one in the Subway is doing anything,” Zlatsin recalled in the interview. (JPost / VFI News)
GIRDING FOR RESPONSE TO ARREST OF PIJ MEMBER, IDF ORDERS CLOSURE OF GAZA-AREA ROADS: The Israeli military ordered the closure of several main highways along the Gaza border on Tuesday morning, August 2, in a precautionary step against possible attacks from the coastal enclave, hours after the arrest of a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the West Bank.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the decision was made following a situational assessment during which the army identified an uptick in activity by fighters tied to Islamic Jihad that posed “a direct threat of a possible attack on Israeli civilians.” The closed highways included Route 4 from Zikim Junction to the Erez Crossing; Route 34 from Yad Mordechai Junction to Nir Am Junction; and Route 232 from Nir Am Junction to the Kerem Shalom Crossing; and the access roads for farmers west of Route 232. The army also shut Zikim Beach near the Gaza border and began blocking traffic between Ashkelon and Sderot. (TOI / VFI News)
2 YEARS AFTER BEIRUT PORT EXPLOSION, LEBANESE PEOPLE STILL SUFFERING: This week marked the second anniversary of the Beirut port explosion. In the two years since the disaster in the heart of Lebanon’s capital city, the investigation into the blast has stalled and the Lebanese people still have not received a full accounting of, nor justice for what happened. And they are still suffering the consequences of the deadly blast.
On August 4, 2020, some 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which was stored in a warehouse at the port, exploded after an uncontrolled fire broke out in an adjacent warehouse, causing one of the most disastrous blasts in the history of the modern world. The disaster took the lives of 220 people, injured more than 6,500 and devastated the center of the city, destroying thousands of residential and commercial buildings and crippling the country, which was already suffering from an economic crisis and poor living conditions, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, the global grain market experienced a severe shortage, causing prices to soar and harming the main importers, among them, Lebanon. A Lebanese economist told the media that the blast is the reason for Lebanon’s grain shortage. “The explosion destroyed the grain silos and the grain supplies were cut off and, since then, Lebanon relies on imports of grain from Ukraine,” he said. (JPost/ VFI News)
AI-BASED TOOL FOR LUNG CANCER TREATMENT DEVELOPED IN JERUSALEM: A new innovative tool that can be used to predict the effects of immunotherapy on patients suffering from lung cancer is under development at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the Jerusalem hospital announced Tuesday, August 2.
The AI (artificial intelligence)-based technology, named I3LUNG, will make use of machine and deep learning to analyze a wide variety of patient information in order to formulate a treatment plan that is suited to the specific medical situation of every patient. The development of the new innovation is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding program, which Israel joined in 2021. Shaare Zedek was chosen to become the first and only Israeli hospital to receive such a grant. The goal, the medical center says, is to create a new tool to enhance the decision-making of medical staff and patients during the treatment of lung cancer. The I3LUNG project is headed by Oncology Department head Prof. Nir Peled and Dr. Lila Rozman, head of the hospital’s cancer research innovation department. Rozman explained that the information gathered by I3LUNG will come from a retrospective analysis of 2,000 lung cancer patients from oncology departments worldwide. “In addition, psychological research will be conducted to determine patients’ preference in regards to the project,” she said. (JPost / VFI News)
NOT ONLY IN TEL AVIV: NEW START-UPS IN THE NEGEV AND GALILEE: The recently published data by the Innovation Authority show that Israel’s Start-Up Nation is primarily centered in Tel Aviv.
The data speak for themselves: there are 2,383 hi-tech companies in Tel Aviv, whereas in all the other nine cities, including Jerusalem, Herzliya, Haifa and Ra’anana there are only 2,311 companies. Moreover, all the top ten on the list do not include any cities from Israel’s geographic periphery. Not even “Cyber Capital” Beersheba made it to the top. Currently, hi-tech remains the growth engine of the Israeli market. However, the concentration of hi-tech companies in Tel Aviv leads to the misconception that the finest minds for developing and doing business can be found only there. But there are fine minds in Ashdod and Beersheba in the south as well as in Safed and Kiryat Shmona in the north. (JPost / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff