Sunday, April 18, 2021

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake shakes southwestern Iran in area of nuclear site

TEHRAN, Iran — A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook southwestern Iran along the Persian Gulf on Sunday, followed by at least three moderate-strength aftershocks, state TV reported.

At least five people were injured, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

State TV shared mobile phone pictures of collapsed walls and cracked homes in the area of the port city of Bandar Genaveh, the temblor’s epicenter.

Video shot by a bystander at a construction site near Bandar Genaveh appeared to show landslides in nearby foothills. Both state TV and the semiofficial Tasnim news agency rebroadcast the footage.

Three aftershocks of a magnitude 4 followed the initial quake, the report said.

The US Geological Survey called the initial temblor a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It said its depth was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

A magnitude 5 earthquake can cause considerable damage. Such shallow earthquakes as Sunday’s also can result in broader damage.

The quake was some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. There was no immediate report on the plant, though the facility was constructed to withstand earthquakes up to magnitude 8.

Iran is on major seismic faults and experiences one earthquake a day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

A magnitude 7 earthquake that struck western Iran in 2017 killed more than 600 people and injured more than 9,000.

Jordan reaches 100 as its ruling Hashemite dynasty implodes

Jordan continues to be the stumbling block to ending the 100 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs as it celebrated its founding 100 years ago on 11 April 1921 - whilst simultaneously 100 years of unbroken rule by the Hashemite dynasty has been publicly imploding.

Initially called the Emirate of Transjordan - the Hashemites - hailing from the Hejaz - now called Saudi Arabia – were anointed as Transjordan’s future rulers by Britain at the 1921 Cairo Conference as part of the machinations between Britain and France in the carve up of the territory of the defeated Ottoman Empire in World War 1.

99.99% of Ottoman-liberated territory was designated for Arab self-determination under the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon and the British Mandate for Mesopotamia - whilst the remaining 0.01% was to be set aside for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in the area today called Israel, Jordan, Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) pursuant to the British Mandate for Palestine.

Two and a half of the twelve tribes of Israel had settled in Transjordan: Gad, Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh:

Transjordan – 78% of the territory comprised in the Mandate - was however completely excluded as the site for any part of the future Jewish National Home - when Article 25 was inserted in the Mandate document unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations on 22 July 1922.

Transjordan’s exclusion from future Jewish settlement came after the exchange of the following telegrams between Britain’s State Secretary for the Colonies – Winston Churchill – and British Colonial Administrator – John Schuckburgh in March 1921: READ MORE

Israel and Greece sign expansive defense agreement

On Friday, Head of the Directorate for International Defense Cooperation (SIBAT), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Yair Kulas signed the biggest defense agreement to date between the State of Israel and Greece. As part of the agreement, the Israel Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems will lead the establishment of an International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force. Modeled after the Israel Air Force (IAF) flight academy, the Greek International Flight Training Center will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company, Leonardo.

The G-to-G agreement amounts to around NIS 5.5 billion and will span over 22 years. Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems will provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force's T-6 aircraft. Elbit will also provide training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli flight academy and Hellenic Airforce Academy.

Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israel’s defense industry and the strong relations between the defense establishments of Greece and Israel. I thank the Greek Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos for promoting the agreement, which we had discussed at the last trilateral meeting held in Cyprus. I am certain that [this program] will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels.”

SIBAT Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yair Kulas: "The strategic partnership between the Israel Ministry of Defense and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense is further cemented today, via the signing of the most expansive and one of the most significant defense agreements to date. I would like to thank the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense for choosing Israel and we look forward to future opportunities for partnership and collaboration."

President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis: “We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of training, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve readiness while reducing costs.”

ANALYSIS: Shadow war between Israel and Iran turns into open conflict

Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad did it again.

After a Mossad team of about 100 men stole a large portion of Iran's secret nuclear archive from a warehouse in the suburbs of Tehran in the middle of the night in January 2018 and, after the Mossad sabotaged a new uranium facility at Natanz 10 months ago the plant was again targeted by the Mossad a week ago.

This time the electricity grid and cable infrastructure of the nuclear plant were targeted causing extensive damage to thousands of centrifuges according to the Iranians who were quick to blame Israel for the “ nuclear terror”.

The bomb that exploded in the underground facility in Natanz put the Islamic Republic's nuclear program back by at least nine months according to experts. Iran had purposely built Natanz's power plant underground, but this move failed to prevent the Mossad from blowing up the power grid.

European sources first claimed it had been a cyberattack, but sources in Iran later confirmed that a remote-controlled explosive device had been used to blow up Natanz's power grid.

The incident took place a day after Iran proudly announced it had started using two new types of centrifuges, the IR-5 and the IR-6 at Natanz.

Experts now think that the blackout destroyed mainly the thousands of old IR-1 centrifuges which are based on a Pakastani model.

The incident in Iran took place a few hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel for talks with the Israeli government. READ MORE

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Hezbollah said making preparations for Lebanon’s possible collapse

The Hezbollah terror group is preparing itself for the possibility of the collapse of the Lebanese state amid a spiralling economic and political crisis, according to a report Friday.

Reuters said preparations include issuing ration cards for food supplies, stocking up on medicine and preparing to import and store fuel from Iran. It cited three sources with knowledge of the plans.

It said the plan would help protect Shiite communities Hezbollah dominates from the worst of such a national crisis, while expanding its already extensive role in Lebanese society.

As the economic hardships have mounted, Hezbollah has already been growing its clout in recent months. Stepping in where the state and financial institutions have failed, Hezbollah has been providing a vital lifeline for some Lebanese through the al-Qard al-Hasan Association, its financial arm.

In the country’s wrecked economy, everyone is desperate for hard currency and liquidity as the local currency plummets in value. At commercial banks, depositors stand in line for hours and fight with managers in vain to access their dollar savings. Most banks have stopped giving loans.

But at Hezbollah’s al-Qard al-Hasan people can take out small, interest-free loans in dollars, enabling them to pay school fees, get married, buy a used car or open a small business. They can also open saving accounts there.

The association, officially a non-profit charity, is one of the tools by which Hezbollah entrenches its support among the country’s Shiite population, even as the group has come under enormous criticism over the past year among Lebanese furious at the political elite.

With poverty rising across Lebanon, Hezbollah provides its community with low-cost schools and hospitals and distributes heating fuel to the poor. Hezbollah continues to pay its fighters and employees in its institutions in US dollars, while everyone else gets their salaries in Lebanese pounds, which lost about 90 percent of their value in the crisis.

Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis is the country’s worst in modern history, with the economy contracting 19% in 2020. Tens of thousands around the country have lost their jobs, and nearly half the population of more than 6 million is in poverty.

The crisis has been caused by years of mounting debt amid corruption and mismanagement by the country’s elites. READ MORE

Ex-IAEA official: In theory, Iran could reach weapons-grade enrichment in a week

With Iran’s announcement Friday that it has begun enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, a former top official at the UN’s nuclear watchdog said the Islamic Republic could potentially reach weapons-grade purity within the space of a week if it wanted to.

Olli Heinonen, an ex-deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stressed jumping from 60% to 90% in a week was theoretical, comparing it to the month or so needed to go from 20% to 60%. Enrichment at 20% is already a relatively short technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

However, Heinonen told the New York Times that Iran would still need months to produce a nuclear bomb even if it did so.

Heinonen also played down the significance of the latest increase in enrichment levels.

“It’s not a huge difference. At this point, this is a demonstration,” he said. “They want to show that they can do it.”

At 60% purity, Friday’s announcement marked the highest level to which Iran has enriched uranium. In January, it began enriching to 20%, a decade after its decision to begin enriching to that level nearly brought an Israeli strike targeting its nuclear facilities — tensions that only abated with the 2015 nuclear deal. Under that accord, Tehran was prohibited from enriching uranium beyond 3.67%.

The announcement came days after an attack at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility that Iran has blamed on Israel, which damaged or destroyed thousands of centrifuges. Analysts have said the explosion that hit Natanz’s power supply is believed to have set back Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at large amounts by long months.

State TV referred to the decision to enrich to 60% as a “show of power against terrorist roguery.” Mahmoud Vaezi, the chief of staff for Iran’s president, similarly said it sent the message that Iran’s atomic program ”will not be stopped through the assassination of nuclear scientists and sabotage in nuclear facilities.” READ MORE

At 73, Israel’s prophetic message for the world

 This week’s Jerusalem Lights podcast, recorded on the eve of Israel Independence Day, celebrates Israel’s 73 birthday.

Jim Long and Rabbi Chaim Richman share their perspectives and give their personal thanks to G-d for the State of Israel, recount the miracles of its rebirth, contemplate its significance in prophetic fulfillment, and reflect on its unique mission in the saga of human history.

Our hosts reflect on Israel’s role in the life of both the Jewish people and the nations, and connect the often misunderstood concepts of spiritual sensitivity found in this week’s twin Torah readings of the portions of Tazria and Metzora with our contemporary reality.

Report: US asked Israel to cut down 'chatter' on Iran

US President Joe Biden’s administration recently demanded that Israel cut down the "chatter" concerning the alleged attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities, Channel 12 News reported on Friday.

According to the report, the demand was conveyed to Israelis through "multiple channels."

The US officials reportedly told Israel that leaks by Israeli officials concerning sabotage operations against Tehran's nuclear program compromise US efforts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.

The report follows this week’s explosion at the Natanz underground nuclear facility.

Iran’s top nuclear official condemned the attack on the Natanz plant as an act of “nuclear terrorism”, and hinted that Iran may retaliate. 

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Israel for the incident and promised revenge.

While Israel has not officially commented on the incident at Natanz, two intelligence officials told The New York Times on Sunday there had been an "Israeli role" in the incident.

The officials also said that it could take at least nine months to restore Natanz’s production, since the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Aramco in "BIG FIRE". Yemeni Army hits sensitive targets in Saudi.

How bad is Iran's 60% enrichment threat? - analysis

Iran's announcement that it would enrich uranium up to the 60% level made waves globally at a level of magnitude far above any of its prior threats.

The question is whether the Islamic Republic has the capacity to actually carry out the threat as well as a threat to install an additional 1,000 first generation centrifuges for enriching uranium on top of the 5,060 it has been operating.

On Thursday, the IAEA said that Tehran was already deep into preparations to make its threats a reality.
If Iran can pull off its threat, the challenge would be very serious because the 60% level would bring it much closer to breaching the threshold for a nuclear bomb.
In order for uranium to be weaponized, it must be enriched to 90%.
Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had to stay below 5% nuclear enrichment.
However, both before the nuclear deal and since the Islamic Republic started violating the deal in 2019-2020, it has enriched some of its uranium stock to a mid-level 20%.

Even the jump to 20% set off alarms globally as taking a major additional step toward a nuclear weapon - especially since there is no viable civilian use for 20% enriched uranium.
But to date, Iran has not enriched uranium up to 60%, often referred to as the next level for jumping toward a nuclear weapon.
Former IDF intelligence chief Aharon Ze’evi Farkash told The Jerusalem Post that “I would treat the announcement at this point as a signal of intent to improve its [Iran’s] negotiating hand on the eve of returning to negotiations this week in Vienna with the EU-3.”
In other words, he was far from convinced that Iran would carry out the threat or would do it on a scale that would significantly shorten its clock to developing a nuclear weapon.
Rather, the threat or any 60% enrichment could be minimal and symbolic so as not to risk getting so close to the nuclear threshold that Israel might feel the need to launch a major preemptive strike. READ MORE

First drone strike on US base in Iraq, as Iranian proxies up attacks on US, Israeli targets

US troops in Iraq were targeted for the first time on Wednesday, April 14, by an explosives-packed drone which hit a US-led coalition base at the airport of Irbil, in the semiautonomous Kurdish republic of northern Iraq. Reporting this, the regional interior ministry said no one was hurt in the blast but a building was damaged. Some 20 bomb or rocket attacks have targeted bases housing US soldiers or diplomats in Iraq since US President Joe Biden took office in January. Dozens attributed to pro-Iranian Shiite militias took place over the preceding 18 months.

An explosion was also heard near the area and an investigation into the incident has been launched, the ministry said in an earlier statement.

“Special sources” told the Sabereen News agency, known for its contacts in pro-Iranian Iraqi militia circles that “The drone attack targeted a purported Israeli Mossad facility” in the Kurdish region. They claimed “Ten officers were killed and injured in the attack on the Mossad Center.” Three names were offered: “Manhanen Naom, Ekifa Ame and Perez Jacob” descfibed as Zionist officers [engaged in intelligence activities at the Mossad center in Irbil for several months.” The news outlet noted that it will publish further details “when necessary” to include “accurate information about the location and the type of intelligence activities of the Mossad there.” The outlet earlier reported that “unknown resistance forces” were responsible for the attack.

The Kurdish government spokesman in Irbil denied the entire report as “categorically divorced from reality.”

These events, DEBKAfile reports, carry messages from Tehran to Washington and Israel:

The Irbil drone attack warned the Biden administration to stop posing conditions for resuming nuclear talks, else the attacks on US bases in Iraq would spiral into the further use of explosive drones.

The warning to Israel came in two parts:

  1. Iranian revenge for the attack on the Natanz enrichment facility on April 3 was surely coming with targeted strikes against Israel Mossad intelligence service, especially in Iraq.
  2. The Revolutionary Guards are geared up to set loose its Iraqi militias and other proxies for precise explosive drone attacks on Israeli targets in Iraq and elsewhere.

Israel strikes Hamas targets after Gaza rocket fire

The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after Palestinian terrorists in the coastal enclave fired a rocket at southern Israel.

An Israel Defense Forces statement said fighter jets and other aircraft hit a number of sites linked to Hamas, the Islamist terror organization that rules Gaza. The targets included an armaments production facility, a tunnel for smuggling weaponry and a Hamas military post, according to the IDF.

“The attack was carried out as a response to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory earlier this evening,” the statement said.

The military did not specifically blame Hamas for Thursday evening’s rocket fire, but Israel has stressed it holds the terror group responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza.

The rocket, which was fired as Israel’s Independence Day came to an end, struck a field northeast of Gaza, causing neither injury nor damage.

The rocket attack triggered sirens in the town of Sderot and the nearby communities of Nir Am and Ibim.

The attack came amid a general lull in violence from the Gaza Strip in recent months, amid a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Last month, a rocket was fired toward Beersheba as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a campaign stop in the southern city ahead of the March 23 elections.

Report: Yamina offered Defense, Foreign Ministries

Great progress has been made in recent contacts between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, Channel 12 News reported Thursday night.

During the talks between the Likud and Yamina, senior portfolios were offered to the party - but no rotation of the premiership has been offered yet.

The proposals that came up in the negotiations that took place between the parties: the defense ministry for Naftali Bennett and the foreign ministry for Ayelet Shaked - even though the Yamina party sought the finance ministry. Netanyahu is apparently interested in keeping Yisrael Katz in the ministry, so Shaked was offered the foreign ministry instead,

In addition, Yamina is expected to receive a "smaller" portfolio - probably the culture and sports ministry - while the justice ministry is expected to remain in the hands of the Likud in any government that Netanyahu forms.

The report further states that the political establishment estimates that a proposal for a rotation in office will be offered to Bennett only if he agrees to commit from now on that he will not try to form a government with the anti-Netanyahu bloc if Netanyahu fails in the task. Both sides denied the details of the report.

Iranian parliament confirms uranium enrichment

The chairman of the Iranian parliament has confirmed that Iran is now enriching uranium to 60%.

In a Friday tweet, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf wrote: "I am proud to announce that at 00:40 last night ,and on the night of the pilgrimage of Sayyid al-Shuhada, young and pious Iranian scientists were able to obtain a 60% enriched uranium product."

"Congratulations to the brave people of Islamic Iran on this success; the will of the Iranian people is a miracle and will thwart any conspiracy."

On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement: "The Agency today verified that Iran had almost completed preparations to start producing UF6 enriched up to 60% U-235 at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP)."

The agency added that Iran plans to add 1,024 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to the plant

On Tuesday, the state-run IRNA news agency reported that Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that the Islamic Republic would enrich uranium to 60% purity, far above the 20% it had been enriching uranium to previously.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Joe Biden Will Overturn Trump’s Pro-Life Rule Defunding Planned Parenthood of $60 Million

On Wednesday, the Biden administration released a rule that will force taxpayers to fund the abortion industry through the Title X family planning program.

The rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will end a pro-life regulation that President Donald Trump put in place to ensure Title X grants are not used to subsidize the killing of unborn babies in abortions.

Because of Trump’s action, Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups left the program, choosing to prioritize abortions over actual health care. Planned Parenthood, a major recipient of Title X funds prior to Trump’s rule, was defunded of about $60 million.

“From day one, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have worked to pay back the abortion lobby that spent millions to elect them,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser responded in a statement. “President Trump’s Protect Life Rule respected both the plain statutory language of Title X and the strong majority of Americans who oppose using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion on demand. Abortion is not ‘family planning’ and Biden-Harris Democrats pursue this extreme, unpopular agenda at their political peril.”

Title X funds are not supposed to be used for abortions. The program provides family planning services to low-income individuals, and the law states that Title X grants may not be used “where abortion is a method of family planning.” READ MORE

Iran says concern about ‘peaceful’ nuke program is a ‘mistake,’ as talks resume

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani sought to allay Western concerns on Wednesday over his country’s decision to enrich uranium to 60% purity, saying the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is “peaceful,” as talks over the battered 2015 nuclear deal resumed in Vienna.

Rouhani said it was a “mistake” for Europe and the United States to express concerns that the move “means we can enrich to 90% in one go.”

“Our nuclear activities are peaceful; we are not seeking to obtain the atomic bomb,” he said in remarks broadcast on state television.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, though its leaders regularly threaten to destroy Israel and the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran had an organized military nuclear program up until the end of 2003. An annual US intelligence report released Tuesday maintained the American assessment that “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that we judge would be necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

Iran previously had said it could use uranium enriched up to 60% for nuclear-powered ships. However, the Islamic Republic currently has no such ships in its navy.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom, all parties to the nuclear deal, only hours earlier issued a joint statement Wednesday expressing their “grave concern” over Iran’s decision to increase enrichment.

“This is a serious development since the production of highly enriched uranium constitutes an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon,” the countries said. “Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.”

China and Russia also took part in the deal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called Iran’s enrichment decision a “provocative announcement.”

The talks already have been thrown into disarray by this week’s attack on Iran’s main Natanz nuclear enrichment site suspected to have been carried out by Israel. Tehran retaliated by announcing it would enrich uranium up to 60% — higher than it ever has before but still lower than weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday dismissed initial offers at the Vienna talks as “not worth looking at,” attempting to pressure the world powers. READ MORE

IAEA: Iran almost ready to start enriching uranium to 60% purity

Iran is almost ready to start enriching uranium to 60% purity at an above-ground plant at Natanz and plans to add 1,024 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to the plant, the UN atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came a day after Iran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, its highest level to date in response to the blackout and explosion which occurred at the Natanz nuclear facility over the weekend.

“The Agency today verified that Iran had almost completed preparations to start producing UF6 enriched up to 60% U-235 at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP),” the IAEA said Wednesday, referring to uranium hexafluoride, the form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges for enrichment.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers only lets Tehran enrich uranium to up to 3.67% purity. However, it has breached that limit as part of its scaling back of its compliance with the deal in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal under President Donald Trump.

The deal also says Iran can only produce enriched uranium with up to 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges at its underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz. While it has broken that rule by adding more advanced centrifuges to the FEP, until now it has stuck to the limit on the number of IR-1 machines there.

Iran’s announcement on uranium enrichment has cast a shadow over attempts by Washington to negotiate a renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal.

President Joe Biden has indicated a desire to return to the deal. Indirect talks between Washington and Tehran started last week in Vienna and ended without progress.

Despite Iran’s announcement on the uranium enrichment, the White House said on Tuesday it remains committed to nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Another Israeli ship attacked in the Gulf of Oman, Iran continues to increase enrichment

Watch: 'And I shall gather you from all corners of the Earth'

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Natanz blast wrecked more than half of its enrichment plan – DEBKAfile Exclusive

The attack on Iran’s nuclear center at Natanz on April 14 totally destroyed two of its three uranium enrichment halls operated by advanced centrifuges, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report.  Even the third the centrifuges have been put out of action by the cutoff of a steady power flow.

Our sources also reveal that the explosive material which caused the blast was planted there two years ago and awaited a remote signal to detonate. Contrary to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s claims on Monday that the attack caused only minor damage and just disrupted the old centrifuges, our sources disclose a different reality. Iran is now unable to move enrichment up to the 60pc grade as Tehran boasted because most of the advanced IR-6 centrifuges with that capability were wrecked in the blast.

This serious setback has caused a major rift in the Tehran regime, including the Revolutionary Guards leadership. Atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is being bombarded with angry accusations. He is blamed for failing to seriously address the security aspects of the nuclear program’s key facility and abandoning it to hostile penetration. How did a large explosive charge come to be planted in the heart of the facility and, moreover, be allowed to repose there unnoticed for two years? He is asked. How could this happened just nine months after the first hit on Natanz wrecked the main centrifuge produce hall?

Iran may be assumed to have launched a thorough investigation to discover the holes in its security system, as well as combing through all its nuclear sites to discover whether explosives had been planted there as well.

Ex-NSC chief to 'Post': Iran nuke maneuvering anticipates Khamenei death

Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations with the US and the world powers is being heavily influenced by the expectation that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will die soon, former Trump administration national security advisor Lt.-Gen. H.R. McMaster told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

McMaster told the Post, “I don’t think they care about it,” referring to Iran’s mentality regarding the current round of nuclear negotiations, saying that decisive powers in the Islamic Republic are focused on the post-election period and even the era “after Khamenei passes away.”

More specifically, the former national security advisor was explaining that Tehran would not make any major moves until the post-election era and that hardliners were desperate to regain the presidency in June from the pragmatists.
This does not mean that there might not be a deal at some point.
But McMaster was saying that hardline power centers believe that whoever controls the presidency will also have an upper-hand in the battle over who will succeed Khamenei himself as Iran’s true leader.
As such, the current round of negotiations could be a mere prelude to what comes post-June.
Another issue that came up with the former lieutenant-general was that Iran “is not isolated at the same level” that it was leading into the 2015 nuclear deal and that China is feeling freer to prop up Iran “because of Biden’s return to a conciliatory policy” in addressing Tehran. READ MORE

In strategic talks with Israel, US vows to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran

The Biden administration stressed its commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran during a strategic meeting with Israeli officials on Tuesday, as Middle East tensions rose and Iran announced it was stepping up uranium enrichment to unprecedented levels.

Israeli and White House officials on Tuesday held the second session of a bilateral strategic group aimed at collaborating in the effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The teams, led by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, held the meeting virtually after a previous discussion in March.

A White House statement on the US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group meeting said the two sides had discussed “opportunities to promote stability and security in the face of shared regional threats and challenges.”

“Sullivan reaffirmed the Biden-Harris administration’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon,” the statement said.

Sullivan invited Ben-Shabbat to Washington in the coming weeks for follow-up talks, the statement said. READ MORE