Iran Digs Ditch, West Watches
IAEA REPORT: IRAN FURTHER INCREASES STOCKPILE OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s atomic watchdog, said Thursday, November 10, it believes that Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium and criticized Tehran for continuing to bar the agency’s officials from accessing or monitoring Iranian nuclear sites, American media reported.
In its quarterly report, the IAEA said that according to its assessment, as of October 22, Iran has an estimated 62.3 kilograms of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity. That amounts to an increase of 6.7 kilograms since the IAEA’s last report in September. That enrichment to 60% purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Nonproliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb. The IAEA report also estimated that as of October 22, Iran’s stockpile of all enriched uranium was at 3673.7 kilograms — a decrease of 267.2 kilograms since the last quarterly report in September, according to AP. A separate report, also seen by the AP, said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi is “seriously concerned” that Iran has still not engaged on the agency’s probe into man-made uranium particles found at three undeclared sites in the country. (INN / VFI News)
NO ROOM FOR IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL PROGRESS NOW – FRANCE’S MACRON: French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, November 14, said that he did not believe any new proposals could help revive a nuclear deal with Iran in the near future, adding that a “new framework” will likely be needed to address the matter.
Asked on a French media outlet about whether he believed talks aimed at renewing an agreement between Tehran and world powers could be revived after significant setbacks in recent months, Macron said: “I would still be very cautious.” “I don’t think there will be new proposals which can be made right now [to save the nuclear deal],” he added. Macron said the current political situation in Iran, where protests have broken out against the government, changed the situation “a lot” and “fragilized” the likelihood of reaching a deal with the country. Last week, western powers said it was “essential and urgent” for Iran to explain uranium traces found at three sites in the country. Iran has agreed to a visit by the UN nuclear watchdog this month to provide answers on the matter. (JPost / VFI News)
‘400 SECONDS’ TO TEL AVIV: IRANIAN MEDIA PUBLISHES HEBREW HYPERSONIC MISSILE THREAT: An IRGC-affiliated Iranian newspaper published a threat in Hebrew on its front page on Monday, November 14, warning that a new hypersonic missile reportedly developed by Iran could reach Israel in 400 seconds.
“400 seconds: General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Aerospace Force, said that Iran has obtained technology for hypersonic missiles,” the newspaper wrote. An article written by Hamza Pariyab, described as a “defense expert,” called the new missile a “game changer,” as it can avoid most modern-day missile defense systems. Pariyab added that the missile could be used to take out a country’s defense systems and open the way for a mass launch of drones and missiles. The defense expert also referenced a letter sent by Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the “father” of Iran’s missile program, to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, where he referenced the acquisition of a “quick response super-fast missile.” The letter also referenced efforts to develop satellite launch vehicles which eventually led to the recent development of the Qaem 100 satellite launcher, according to the Iranian newspaper. (JPost / VFI News)
‘SAVED BY A MIRACLE’: ISRAELIS DESCRIBE MOMENT OF DEADLY ISTANBUL BOMB ATTACK: An Israeli woman who survived a terror attack in Istanbul on Sunday, November 13, that killed six people and injured at least 81, said she only survived the deadly explosion because she was protected by others who took the force of the blast instead.
The explosion took place in Istiklal Street in Beyoglu Square, in the heart of Istanbul. Sharing the experience in an interview with Israeli media on Monday, Ofra Adi said she was only two meters (6.5 feet) away. “I was sitting outside and suddenly heard an explosion and people screaming… I didn’t realize what was happening as there was dust and smoke everywhere. I then saw three people laying on the sidewalk… I only realized it was a terror attack afterwards,” she said. Turkish officials said two girls aged nine and 15 were among those killed. “I was two meters away from the terrorist,” said Adi. “The people who died protected me because they took the hit — I only felt the shock wave.” An initial investigation has led Turkish authorities to believe the device, which was left on a public bench at the square, was activated remotely. Two other Israelis — Natali Swissa and Or Atedgi from Ashdod — appeared in the first published picture of the alleged terrorist. (TOI / VFI News)
IRAN ISSUES FIRST DEATH SENTENCE RELATED TO ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS: Iran on Sunday, November 13, issued its first death sentence linked to participation in “riots,” amid nationwide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, the judiciary’s website said.
The accused was sentenced in a Tehran court to death for the crime of “setting fire to a government building, disturbing public order, assembly and conspiracy to commit a crime against national security, and an enemy of God and corruption on earth,” one of the most serious offenses under Iranian law. Another court in Tehran sentenced five others to prison terms of between 5 to 10 years for “gathering and conspiring to commit crimes against national security and disturbing public order.” All those convicted can appeal their sentence, the website added.
Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also security personnel, have been killed during the protests, which the authorities have branded as “riots.” Earlier on Sunday, the judiciary said it had charged more than 750 people in three provinces for involvement in such incidents. More than 2,000 people had already been charged, nearly half of them in the capital Tehran, since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to judiciary figures. Judicial chief for the southern province of Hormozgan, Mojtaba Ghahremani, said 164 people had been charged “after the recent riots”. (TOI / VFI News)
LEBANON GRAPPLES WITH FIRST CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN 30 YEARS: Lebanon is facing yet another crisis. The Mediterranean country – already suffering from economic and political crises – has been dealing with its first cholera outbreak in the past 30 years.
A month after its first case was reported, there are now around 2,709 confirmed and suspected cholera cases in Lebanon. In the past four weeks, 18 deaths have been caused by this disease. The outbreak started on October 5 when cholera cases were confirmed in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s Akkar region, in the north of the country. Other countries in the region already were suffering from the spread of the disease that originated in Afghanistan in summer. Iraq and Syria were heavily affected since, like Lebanon, they are areas struggling with devastated infrastructure, turmoil and with large populations of people displaced by war. After Syria surpassed 20,000 suspected cholera cases and 75 deaths, the disease crossed the border and spread through the Lebanese population. “Electricity cuts, low socioeconomic levels, the absence of sewer systems in rural areas and the refugee crisis are all essential factors regarding the spread of cholera, which is transmitted by water sources contaminated by the bacteria coming from stagnant waters and infecting peoples’ stools,” said Hasan Ismail, the Amel Association’s medical coordinator. Ismail told the media: “With all preventive measures absent in most Lebanese cadasters, the infection continues to spread, especially with vegetables and agricultural products irrigated with infected waters.” (JPost / VFI News)
HISTORIC FIRST: HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TELLS HER STORY IN DUBAI SCHOOL: A unique and historic event was held Wednesday, November 9, at the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum in Dubai, where Holocaust Survivor Eve Kugler (91) told the story of her survival and experience during the Holocaust.
The event at the UAE Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, founded by H.E. Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori, was also the inaugural event of the new March of the Living Chapter in the Gulf, together with MOTL Ambassador in the Gulf, Eitan Neishlos. In addition to the event at the Museum, Eve, who was only 7 years old when the Germans broke into her home on that fateful night, visited a school in Dubai where she told her story to an audience of Jewish and Muslim children. Eve Kugler said, “I am very honored to be here in Dubai, and to have the opportunity to speak to people in the Emirates, young and old, about the horrors of those dark days, and the lessons that still must be learned today.” Speaking to the school children, she stressed, “Each story of the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust is different, but the point is always the same. We cannot allow the flames of hatred to consume our world. We cannot allow the lives of innocent people to be torn to pieces – shattered like glass on Kristallnacht. We must learn the lessons of the past and build a shared future of mutual respect and understanding.” MOTL Ambassador in the Gulf, Eitan Neishlos said, “We have made history today, in bringing the voices of Holocaust survivors to the United Arab Emirates. Under the umbrella of the Abraham Accords, we are building firm and lasting bridges of understanding and appreciation between our communities. The Holocaust stands as a unique crime against humanity, and an important part of the Jewish story and experience, that holds lessons for all of us about the importance of tolerance – which is a pillar of life here in the UAE.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAELI SCIENTISTS: BREAST CANCER RELAPSE IN MICE DOWN 88% BY ADDING DRUG TO CHEMO: Israeli scientists say they managed to slash the incidence of breast cancer relapse in lab mice by 88 percent by adding a second drug to chemotherapy.
The team of academics from Tel Aviv University say inflammation in the body, in response to chemotherapy can actually nurture renegade breast cancer cells that dodge the treatment. The use of an inflammation blocker in conjunction with chemotherapy appears to counter this effect, thus lowering the chances of the cancer returning. The peer-reviewed research by biologist Prof. Neta Erez and her team was recently published in Nature Communications. The academics believe that the method can be adapted for humans, though they expect the extra research to take 5-10 years. Erez has spent years investigating the collateral damage that chemotherapy can cause. (TOI / 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