Category Archives: International

North Korea Could Have Plutonium for up to 10 Nuclear Bombs

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

An 9/17/2015 article, outlining current and historical developments at the DPRK’s Yongbuong reactor site, in the Hankoreh by staff reporter, Kim Ji-hoon stated that North Korea could possess enough Plutonium to build from 7-10 nuclear weapons.

According to a 2014 South Korean Defense Ministry white paper, “North Korea is estimated to possess around 40 kilograms of weapons-grade Plutonium, and it is thought to be running a program to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU)”. Lee Chun-geun, senior analyst at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, said that “ This would be enough to make between seven and ten nuclear weapons”.

Further information is available at:

[ including a nuclear map]

and .

Coup Apparent in Burkina Faso

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Members of the RFP (Presidential Guard) on Thursday, have seized and are now holding the acting President, Prime Minister and two cabinet ministers of the West African nation of Burkina Faso. The action was takenin an apparent coup against the transitional government , formed after the former Burkinabe President, Blaise Compaore, was ousted after street demonstrations in the capital of Ouagadougou, last month.

The ruling military council has declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew, closed the nation’s air and land borders and ordered radio stations Burkina Faso to cease broadcasting until further notice.

The captured transition government officials are reportedly being held at the Presidential Palace by a group of Compore loyalists, according to an AFP report.

Shots were fired in suppression of street demonstrations that erupted in Ouagadougou in protest of the military takeover, yesterday.

Read more at Reuters.

Russia’s Syrian Operation is Both Political and Military

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

According to western experts, Russia’s military move in Syria is both geostrategic and political.

A key facet of Russian defense policy is retention of its naval supply and maintenance base at the Syrian port of Tartus, vital to its eastern Mediterranean naval operations and broader ventures.

Deployment of top-line T-14 Armada tanks, heavy artillery, modular housing units for 1000 men and a portable air traffic control unit at the Latakia Airport also suggests that Russia may seek to acquire a more permanent airbase in Syria.

Latakia , as a predominantly Alawite area of Syria is considered President Bashar al-Assad’s political base of support and the portion of Syria to be most easily held as an enclave in a worst-case scenario. Russia, acting in accordance with its foreign policy objectives, considers the Alawite sect of Islam a useful ally in possibly diverting Islamic terrorists away from the homeland towards an external battleground ( a rationale that some consider similar to that of US justification for military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ) in the context of the ongoing and centuries-old Sunni-Shiite dispute.

Russia intends to stress the Syrian issue heavily before next month’s annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has recently called for greater cooperation between Europe, the US and Russia in dealing with the Syrian situation and Russian Foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has called upon the international community to arm the Assad regime.

Read more in today’s AFP report.

DCIA Expresses Concern Over Possible Iranian-North Korean Nuclear Cooperation

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

CIA Director, Robert Brennan, has warned of possible Iranian outsourcing of Plutonium production and other forms of nuclear cooperation with North Korea.

Read the entire story here:

Given North Korea’s determination to produce Plutonium from its Yongbyong reactor site, despite an international agreement to the contrary and Iran’s ambitious nuclear program , coupled with its geopolitics and economic need to have UN sanctions lifted in order to free billions of dollars, currently frozen when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is implemented and its nuclear expertise (relative to the DPRK); this is a very possible scenario. Various sources have speculated that that increased cooperation between Iran and the DPRK may be an attempt by Iran to circumvent IAEA inspection of its nuclear facilities.

This would be a direct proportion to the degree of convergence of the Iranian and North Korean foreign policies, vis-a-vis the US. Emergence of an Iranian-North Korean Axis has been a topic of discussion in western circles for decades and can be documented from open sources

While not exactly the same design as the Chernobyl Reactor, the DPRK’s IRT 2000 is also a graphite moderated Soviet era design, not noted for its safety features. North Korea, according to various reports, has already scaled-up its Yongbyong main reactor to twice its original 4-MWth design capacity to 8 MWth.

DPRK Announcement: Restart of Yongbyong Reactor


The orginal news release from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) is given below:


Director of Atomic Energy Institute of DPRK on Its Nuclear Activities

Pyongyang, September 15 (KCNA) — The director of the Atomic Energy Institute of the DPRK gave the following answer to question put by KCNA Tuesday as regards the public opinion being built up over the DPRK’s nuclear activities: Of late, institutions specializing in nuclear activities and media of the Western world including the U.S. have become vociferous about nuclear activities in the DPRK, saying satellite data made them capture fresh activity in a nuclear establishment in Nyongbyon and they are concerned about it. As known by the world, the DPRK’s access to the nuclear weapons is an outcome of the U.S. hostile policy towards it. Explicitly speaking, the DPRK took the measure for self-defense in the face of the U.S. extreme hostile policy and nuclear threats towards it. As was clarified by a spokesman for the then General Department of Atomic Energy of the DPRK in April 2013, all the nuclear facilities in Nyongbyon including the uranium enrichment plant and 5 MW graphite-moderated reactor were rearranged, changed or readjusted and they started normal operation, pursuant to the line of simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of a nuclear force advanced at the historic plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. In the meantime, the U.S. anachronistic hostile policy toward the DPRK that forced it to have access to the nuclear weapons has remained utterly unchanged and instead it has become all the more undisguised and vicious with the adoption of means openly seeking the downfall of the latter’s social system. Scientists, technicians and workers in the field of atomic energy of the DPRK have made innovations day by day in their research and production to guarantee the reliability of the nuclear deterrent in every way by steadily improving the levels of nuclear weapons with various missions in quality and quantity as required by the prevailing situation. If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the DPRK and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time.

North Korea Restarts Main Reactor


By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The head of North Korea’s Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that the DPRK has restarted its main research light water Reactor #1 at Yongbyong. The graphite-moderated reactor (model IRT-2000) was originally imported in 1963 from a Soviet-era design, and was subsequently upgraded from 4 to 8 MWth.

Read more here.

A detailed account is available at:

Further technical information is available at:

To compare the IRT – 2000 design with the RMBK design (of Chernobyl fame) visit:

The original Korean Central News Agency report is available at:

This report confirms the concerns raised in a report published earlier this month.

9/16/2015 UPDATE:

Currently, North Korea can produce 6-7 kilograms of plutonium from the existing Yongbyong 5-MWth reactor. This is equivalent to one nuclear weapon/year.

Vist: for a technical report regarding North Koean nuclear weapons production.

Iran Announces Discovery of Major Uranium Reserves

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

A Potential Gamechanger?

Iran’s announcement of discovery of major Uranium reserves in the central province of Yazd has surprised western experts and could be a nuclear gamechanger.

According to Reuters, Ali Akbar Salehi, Director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) was quoted as saying, “I cannot announce ( the level of ) Iran’s uranium mine reserves. The important thing is that before aerial prospecting for uranium ores we were not too optimistic, but the new discoveries have made us confident about our reserves.” Salehi went on to say that uranium exploration had covered almost two-thirds of Iran and would be complete in the next four years, according to a September 12, 2015 posting by Iran’s state news agency, IRNA.


[ Photo: (c) 2015: Wolf von Baumgart ]

Another 9/12/2015 IRNA report, indicated that Director Salehi said that “The Iranian nuclear industry will suffer no slowdown in technical aspects due to the JCPOA.” He further stated that the recently spotted Uranium ore sources in two points of the central province of Yazd will be implemented soon. Currently, Iran’s only known working Uranium mine is an open-pit site near Bandar Abbas.

The findings apparently contradict earlier estimates of Iran’s uranium reserves made by the Carnegie Endowment for World Peace/Federation of American Scientists in an April 2, 2015 report: Iran’s Nuclear Odyssey: Costs and Risks and a February 11,2009 paper: Is Iran Running Out of Yellowcake?, published by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS); that essentially stated that Iran’s domestic Uranium reserves were too low to meet its nuclear program ambitions.

Old News?

Reports of Iranian Uranium mining activity in Yazd and other areas of the islamic state are not exactly breaking news, according to industry sources, as more detailed historical and technical information and data are available at

The uranium industry centered website specifically reported “On Feb. 9, 2003, President Khatami said that Iran has adopted plans to exploit the uranium mines 200 km off Yazd in central Iran and set up plants in Isfahan and Kashan to extract uranium composites to provide fuel for generating electricity. (IRNA 9 Feb. 2003) According to Reuters, the extraction of uranium has already started.” Extraction cost of 1 kg of U3O8 (Triuranium Octoxide) ore at the Saghand , Yazd site was estimated in the $80 – 130/kg range. [ The current world market price of 1 kg of U3O8 is $96.84, according to the wise-uranium calculator, as converted from the stated $/lb price. WvB ]

Information Gap?

On Sep 12, reported that ” Back in 2009, Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency officially announced there were some 400 uranium mines in operation nationwide. Official Iranian sources back then reported more than 36,000 tons in uranium reserves in those mines.”

Iran previously announced Uranium discoveries on Saturday 2/23/2013, together with plans to build 16 new reactor sites, days before it was scheduled to participate in talks with Western powers in Kazakhstan over its nuclear R&D program, according the 2/23/2013 Jerusalem Post.

The latest announcement came three days before an IAEA technical team is due to arrive in Tehran, on Tuesday, September 15, according to IRNA. . According to a report, Iran will allow IAEA inspectors to take soil samples at its restricted Parchin nuclear military site.

Further statements by IAEO Director, Ali Akbar Salehi, are available at the IAEO website. The site is also a source for a variety of IAEO and IAEA publications.

State Department Comments

The Majlis (Iranian Parliament) is currently in its 9th meeting to discuss ratification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also before the US Senate. According to a recent statement by U.S. State Department spokesman, John Kirby, any new reserves of uranium discovered in Iran will be under the same monitoring as existing mines under the nuclear agreement. “Any violation of that commitment would be met with the appropriate response”, he said.

A transcript of Secretary of State, John Kerry’s Sept 2, 2015 remarks on the Iran Nuclear Agreement is available at:

Iran Again Demands Secrecy in IAEA Meeting

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Speaking before the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Thursday , September 10, 2015; Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi again delivered an official warning to the UN international inspection agency not to disclose Iran’s classified information related to its nuclear sites, regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to a 9/10/2015 IRNA report.

“Iran will not accept any heedlessness that would lead to the revelation of classified information. The demand by certain Board of Governors members to receive such information runs counter to the Agency’s standard procedures”, he declared.

Najafi underlined Iran’s necessity for the IAEA to redouble efforts to keep the information of Iran’s nuclear program “confidential and hidden to the foreign spy agencies that attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and assassinate its nuclear scientists”. This presumably includes the US Senate, currently considering the issue in the context of the Obama Administration’s apparent gathering of a veto-proof majority of Democrats and some Republican senators.

The Iranian response comes after the IAEA agency announced on Wednesday that it submitted on questions to Iran on September 8 on ambiguities regarding the information Iran provided to the IAEA on August 15, 2015, as agreed between the IAEA and Iran in the ‘Road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

Ambassador Najafi’s statement is essentially a reiteration of other “warnings” previously made by various Iranian diplomatic and military officials made during and subsequent to the JCPOA talks held in Vienna, last July.

Iranian AF Tests Smart Bombs

The IRIAF has successfully tested smart bombs, according to a 9/6/2015 IRNA report.

The tests, involving various types of munitions, dropped from Saeghe, F4, F5, Sukhoi24 and F14 jet fighters, as well as drones was part of a larger military exercise, codenamed Devotees of the Velayat at sanctuary 5 [milirary reserve] near the northern city of Isfahan.

[ NOTE: Velayat is a shortened form of the Persian term: velayat-e fahqui or “governance of the the jurist”—a Shiite concept of a mixed theocratic/democratic form of government, resurrected by Ayatolla Ruhollah Khomeni as propagated in his 1960-70’s writings and declarations. WvB ]

Sweden Demands Answers to Russian Threat

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

In a delayed and measured response to comments made by Russian Ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, called him in for an explanation a SFM spokeswoman said, yesterday. Speaking before a press conference in Stockholm, she responded to Tatarintsev’s earlier threat of retaliation and a more recent statement by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, referring to unspecified “retaliatory measures” to be taken in the event that Sweden was to join NATO, according to an 9/11/2015 AFP report.

On Thursday, July 16 Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, in an interview with the Dagens Nyheter, denounced that at what he termed as an “aggressive propaganda campaign by Swedish media.” He further stated that if Sweden were to abandon its alliance neutrality and join the Western military organization, Russia would adopt “counter measures”.

“Russia is often described as an attacker who only thinks of conducting wars and threatening others. But I can guarantee that Sweden, which is an alliance-free nation, is not part of any military plans by Russian authorities. Sweden is not a target for our armed troops,” he elaborated.

In response, Foreign Minister Wallström said, “We are an independent state and we make our own security policy decisions independently … We do not accept threats and I have summoned the Russian ambassador to ask questions and get an explanation.” [ Further details are available at: ].

In response to recent Russian military air and sea incidents in or near its territorial waters and air space, including a suspect Russian submarine incursion, Sweden has increased its defense spending and is modernizing its naval and air defense capabilities. Sweden has also announced greater military cooperation with other Nordic states, according to . In April 2015, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland reached an agreement to extend their military cooperation, as documented in a 7/18/2015 article.

A recent poll indicated an increasing trend that about 1 in 3 Swedes are currently in favor of Swedish NATO membership. and there has been considerable political debate on the issue. Sweden’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would manifest a major departure from over 200 years of a neutral and non-aligned foreign policy.

For an original Swedish news source visit: Aftonbladet.

Massive March For Catalan Independence Floods Barcelona Streets

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Barcelona Police estimate that approximately 1.4 million people participated in a march for Catalan Independence from Spain, earlier today. Catalan Day marches are an annual tradition, known as the Diadia, however, this year’s added intensity is a result of an upcoming regional plebiscite that may eventually lead to the independence of Catalonia.

Local photo illustrations are available in: el Pais.

Read more in detail in an AFP story.

DE Governor’s Trade Mission to Promote Delaware to German Companies Begins Tuesday


From the Governor’s Press Office:

The Governor will meet with business and government leaders in Munich and Berlin to strengthen economic ties

Wilmington, DE – Having made it a top priority to ensure Delaware fully benefits from the global economy, Governor Markell will be in Germany beginning next Tuesday to strengthen relationships with German companies and business organizations.

The visit follows this year’s launch of the Department of State’s ‘Global Delaware’ initiative ( and focuses on the three goals of the program: paving the way for Delaware companies to increase exports, building on Delaware’s global leadership in corporate governance and as a preferred site of incorporation, and promoting the state as a place for foreign companies to expand. “Success for our state in the 21st century means looking beyond our borders for ways to create jobs and economic opportunity for Delawareans,” said Markell. “In a world where businesses have more choices than ever about where to invest and where Delaware companies have more opportunities than ever to sell their products around the globe, we must ensure that leading international business communities appreciate all that Delaware has to offer.”

The primary goal of the mission is to strengthen ties with the prospering small- and medium-sized companies (known as “Mittelstand”) of Bavaria, and its capital city of Munich, by meeting with individual businesses as well as organizations that represent and support them. The State aims to leverage its recently strengthened relationship with German companies, including the research company Fraunhofer and the manufacturer Uzin Utz, which will soon open its first U.S. plant in Dover.

“As a German company that has found Delaware to be a great place to do business, we are excited that the Governor is making this trip not only to our home country, but specifically to build relationships in the South of Germany,” said Philipp Utz, President of Uzin Utz Manufacturing North America Inc., a manufatcurer of specialty flooring installation products. “Delaware has a lot to be proud of, with a growing business community, a state-of-the-art infrastructure and the ability to offer a skilled workforce. It will be of great benefit to many other German entrepreneurs to learn about the state and Delaware companies will also have a lot to gain from better ties with Germany’s economy.”

As part of Governor Markell’s new export initiative, he will work to develop a network of trade partners for Delaware companies to build on recent success. Germany was one of four key international markets identified as part of the initiative, which focuses on countries with the most buying potential for the products and services that Delaware has to offer.

Delaware exports to Germany have grown by 28.8 percent in the last 2 years. In 2014, Delaware exported $390.4 million in goods and services to Germany. The German economy represents the world’s fourth largest, accounting for more than one-fifth of the European Union’s GDP, and Germany is the United States’ largest European trading partner, as well as the sixth-largest market for U.S. exports.

The Governor will also take advantage of the opportunity to meet with prominent leaders of Germany’s legal community to promote the advantages of forming Delaware business entities and using Delaware’s courts for dispute resolution. Significant international growth has been a chief reason that Delaware set historic highs in the number of new companies formed last year.

Finally, the Governor will discuss opportunities to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) by Germany in Delaware. Germany invests more than $270 billion per year in the U.S., making it one of the leading sources for FDI. Germany invests the fourth-most of any country in Delaware, investing more than $270 million per year as of 2013.

In addition to connecting with individual companies and entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, Markell will meet with leaders from:

•IHK’s Munich and Upper Bavaria chapter, with about 400,000 member companies; •The Bavarian Industry Association, which represents more than 100 Bavarian economic and employers’associations, as well as 30 individual companies from diverse industries; •BioM, the networking agency for the biotechnology sector in Munich and Bavaria; and •Factory Berlin, Germany’s largest start-up campus, which supports many thriving new companies, particularly in technology fields.

The State delegation, which arrives in Munich on Tuesday and returns the following Monday, will also include: •Ian Wright, Board Member of the Delaware Bioscience Association who is a German-speaking former employee of Siemens (headquartered in Munich) and an active member of the Delaware business community; •Lydia Sarson, Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia; •Andrea Tinianow, Director of Global Delaware; and •Michael Marquardt, global advisor to the Department of State

The trip is estimated to cost less than $50,000 and will be the first foreign trade mission in which the Governor is participating since he visited Israel two years ago.

The launch of Global Delaware provides an opportunity to expand on progress from the Governor’s earlier international efforts and has already produced results. The program helped recruit AB Group Packaging Inc., a 30-year-old paper bag and flexible packaging producer with plants in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom, which is slated to open its first U.S. plant in Delaware this summer, creating 87 new full-time jobs.

In addition, Global Delaware sponsored a mission to Canada so that Delaware farmers could meet with senior purchasing executives of Canada’s four largest retail chains, giving them unprecedented access to key buyers. The Canadian retailers – none of which had bought from Delaware before – all made commitments to purchase produce from Delaware growers.

Limited Russian Military Involvement in Syria Confirmed

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

IDM Confirms Russian Military Presence in Syria

Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, has confirmed an active Russian military presence in Syria. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday 9/10/2015, he said, “As far as we understand, at this stage we are talking about a limited force that includes advisers, a security team and preparations for operating planes and combat helicopters.“ He also termed the development “significant”, according to an AP report.

The move has raised US and NATO concerns. Russian foreign and defense policies are committed to preserving strategic Russian military outposts throughout the world and aquirine new ones as demonstrated bt recent Russian-Iranian naval maneuvres in the Persian Gulf, during which Russian vessels docked at an Iranian port.

Russia has a key naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus containing a naval supply and maintenance facility important to its naval operations in the eastern Mediterranean. Allthough curently, for the most part, evacuated (except for a small staff of civilian contractors) Russia does not want to lose its lease (aquired under a 1971 agreement with Ba’athist Syria) if the regieme of Bashar Assad falls to Islamic rebels.

Russia Calls Upon Other Nations to Arm Syria

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has, today, called upon various other nations to help to arm Syria to prevent a collapse of the Assad regieme according to earlier media reports, this morning.

Various Russian sources, including Foreign Minister Lavrov and Defense Ministry officials have maintained that the Russian military presence in Syria is of a technical/contractual nature in maintanence of various Russian weapons systems sold to Syria “strictly in accordance with international law” and have empasized the amount of Russian humanitarian aid also provided to Syria.

[ Read more at: ]

Other sources have claimed that the recent major Russian airlift activity in Syria includes elite combat-ready frontline units, recently reassigned from duties in the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

Is North Korea Increasing Plutonium Production?

By Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

According to an analysis [1] by William Mugford and Jack Liu, posted on, interpretation of Aug 22 commercial satellite imagery may suggest that recent increased activity at North Korea’s key nuclear R&D facility is a preliminary indication that the DPRK may be producing or preparing to produce weapons grade plutonium.


[ Photo: (c) 2015 Wolf von Baumgart ]

The site’s main reactor, located approximately 60 miles North of Pyongyang, was previously mothballed and disabled under an agreement reached at the six-party talks in October, 2007. According to the report, “Developments at Yongbyon are cause for concern and should be monitored closely by the international community to determine their purpose.” [2]

The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center consists of a 5-MWe graphite-moderated reactor (with annex), radiochemical laboratory complex, spent fuel rod receiving building, reprocessing building, chemical storage building, administration building and support buildings. [3]

Heavy vehicle tracks (indicating possible delivery of materials and/or renovation activity) between the main reactor hall, spent fuel receiving building, radiochemical laboratory and support buildings; together with the number and depth of the tracks and the presence of piles of unknown materials gives rise to speculation that North Korea may again be increasing its stockpile of weapons grade plutonium [93% Pu-239 or greater] from spent uranium fuel rods.

The analysis further stated, “Typically, a full core of spent fuel rods would be unloaded every 2-4 years from the 5 MWe reactor, producing enough plutonium for up to two additional nuclear bombs.” [4]

It must be cautioned, however, that given the limited amount of relevant commercial satellite imagery available (and its lower resolution), the lack of supporting remote sensing radiological data and ground-based intelligence confirmation, it is premature at this point to draw a dispositive conclusion. [WvB]

Based upon the limited information available, the report offers the following preliminary explanations:

(1) Significant maintenance or renovation operations are ongoing as part of a DPRK program to modernize and upgrade the Yongbyon facility.

(2) Contaminated equipment from the 5-MWe reactor is being moved to the reprocessing facility for storage or decontamination.

(3) Major vehicular traffic encompassing the 5-MWe reactor, radiochemical laboratory complex and the spent fuel receiving building may indicate preparations for unloading spent fuel rods from the reactor for the purpose of producing new plutonium.

In the event that latter scenario (3) proves to be true, it would represent an important step towards the further development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Scenario (1) would also, in some measure, possibly indicate the DPRK’s intent.

According to a recent UPI report, Voice of America reported Monday, September 7, that Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated that the IAEA has observed renovation and construction activities at various locations within Yongbyon and indicated that the international community is closely monitoring developments at the facility. “These appear to be broadly consistent with the DPRK’s statements that it is further developing its nuclear capabilities”, he said, earlier this week.

According to the 9/9/2015 Guardian, a recent report by US researchers warned that North Korea appeared poised to expand its nuclear program over the next five years and could possess 100 atomic bombs by 2020, in a worst case scenario. [5]

This could be another attempt by the DPRK’s Leader, Kim Jung Un to repeat North Korea’s historical cyclical foreign policy and geopolitical pattern of creating a crisis, extracting concessions and subsequently easing tensions until the next cycle. [WvB] [6]

There are no measurable indicators, as yet, as to what inductive political effect, if any, this will have on the ongoing approval process of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.



[1] The original report: North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility: New Activity at the Plutonium Production Complex is available at:

[2] 38 North is a Johns Hopkins University-based program of the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI) at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS )

[3] Further descriptive and historical information on the DPRK’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is available at:

[4] Comprehensive background material on DPRK fissile material stockpiles is available. A detailed report: North Korea’s Estimated Stocks of Plutonium and Weapon-Grade Uranium (8/16/2012) by David Albright and Christina Walrond of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is available at:


[6] A more political analysis on a previous restart of Yongbyon plutonium reactor is given in a 9/12/2013 New York Times article:

[7] Other media references are listed below:

Iran Says NO to Unrestricted International Nuclear Inspection

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

As the US Senate debates acceptance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, has stated flatly that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will not be allowed access to every site that it wishes.

Citing that unlimited inspections would be a violation of the IAEA and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) rules, he said that “Iran does not plan to issue permission for the IAEA to inspect every site.” , in an interview with al-Mayadeen News Network on Wednesday, September 2.

_Iranian Defense Minister_Hossein Deqan

Iranian Defense Minister, Hossein Deqan [FARS Photo]

He reiterated that Iran would not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites. “Missile-related issues have never been on agenda of the nuclear talks and the Islamic system will resolutely implement its programs in this field,” Dehqan said previously in July.

He further declared that the time had come for the Americans to realize that they were not the world’s super power and no one recognizes them as such any longer. He concluded by pointing to recent nuclear tests conducted by the US concurrent with nuclear talks in Vienna, and said, “Such measures indicate their lack of commitment to international peace and security and it is for the same reason that independent nations and governments can never trust the US.”

The Iranian Supreme Leader’s top adviser for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati , also ruled out any possibility for the inspection of the country’s military sites by outsiders. In a July 25, 2015 interview with the Arabic news service of al Jazeera TV, he stated “The access of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or from any other body to Iran’s military centers is forbidden.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei said “They (the foreigners) shouldn’t be allowed at all to penetrate into the country’s security and defensive boundaries under the pretext of supervision, and the country’s military officials are not permitted at all to allow the foreigners to cross these boundaries or stop the country’s defensive development under the pretext of supervision and inspection,” before a large public gathering in Tehran on April 9.

Other highly placed Iranian officials even called for treating foreign inspectors as spies if they attempted to ovserve Iranian military bases or activities.

Restricion of international inspection access is a major sticking point with critics of the Iran Nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA. Under the technical terms of the proposed agreement, Iran will supply all soil samples to be analyzed. This runs contrary to generally accepted basic chain of custody procedures in HAZMAT investigations – a fact readily gleaned from introductory Toxic Waste Management textbooks.

Read more on the Iranian Defense Minister’s statements regarding IAEA inpection here:

Finnish Defense Ministry Confers with European and US Defense Officials

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Finland’s Defense Minister, Jussi Niinistö, attended an informal meeting of European Defense Ministers in Luxembourg last week , from September 2-3, 2015. The meeting was mainly a defense-related follow-up to matters emergent from a European Council discussion held last June, current defense matters and preparation for the upcoming (defense) Foreign Affairs Council meeting to be held at the ministerial level in November.

It is anticipated the EUNAVFOR MED mission will be a major part the operational agenda. The mission, launched in June, is intended to address the current situation in the Mediterranean and mainly aims at preventing human smuggling in accordance with international law.

The annual Finnish/US bilateral defense meeting was held in Helsinki on September 1 and 2.

The meeting was hosted by Director General, Jukka Juusti of the Resource Policy Department in the Ministry of Defense. The American delegation was led by his administrative equivalent, Director Matthew Warren, from the US Department of Defense. Its primary focus was on defense materiel, research and development, technological cooperation and future projects. Some attention was also paid to coordinated development of Arctic capabilities.

Participants also visited the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., Aalto University and the Association of Finnish Defense and Aerospace Industries (AFDA) where they met with corporate representatives from member companies.

As part of the existing communications framework, Finland has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct annual bilateral defense policy meetings with over twenty European states.

Find Out Where US Senators Stand on Iran Nuclear Deal

By Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer has furnished a link enabling people to determine where their US Senators stand on the Iran Nuclear Deal.

People are encouraged to contact their Senators to express their opinions.

Delaware US Senators, Tom Carper(D) and Chris Coons(D) have expressed their support for the proposed Joint Plan of Action (JPOA).

Debate on Iran Nuclear Deal Intensifies

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, in a recent editorial in Politico has stated that the United States could find itself isolated from the international community if it rejects the proposed Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) with Iran, according to a L’Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.

“If the United States rejects this deal, we would instantly isolate ourselves from countries that spent nearly two years working with American negotiators to hammer out its toughest provisions,” Powers wrote in an opinion posted late Wednesday. “We would go from a situation in which Iran is isolated to one in which the United States is isolated.”, she continued.

According to an article by Deb Reichmann, carried in the Huffington Post, President Obama has adequate authority to lift most sanctions against Iran by executive order, despite a override of his expected veto of Congressional disapproval of the nuclear agreement.

Two US Senators, Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk ( R-IL), have introduced legislation to renew the Iran Sanctions Act . Currently, 45 Democrat Senators have expressed support for the JPOA and 15 are, as yet, undecided.

Meanwhile, Secure America Now has launched a major ad campaign urging people to contact their US Senators to urge them to reject the deal.

Iran to Build a Nationwide Nuclear Science and Technology School System

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, announced last Tuesday that the agency plans to build special nuclear science and technology training schools across Iran.

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony of the new Nuclear High School in Mashad, he said, “The country’s second nuclear energy school will be constructed in Mashhad and a memorandum of understanding has also been signed among the AEOI, Khorassan Governor General Razavi ‘s Office and the Khorassan Education Department in this regard.”

The AEOI also has plans to construct a hospital with advanced nuclear medicine diagnostic and treatment facilities in Tehran, according to Salehi.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt May Discuss Syrian Crisis

Conference Expected to Convene in Moscow Next Week

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

FARS News has reported on Wed Aug 19, 2015 that there is likelihood that a multilateral conference on the Syrian situation will be convened in Moscow next week. Yury Barmin, a political analyst of Russia Direct Research Institute, stated that the concurrence of visits by senior officials from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Egypt has given rise to speculation that they might take part in joint talks on regional crises.

During a face-to-face discussion with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Moscow last week, Russian Foreign Minister,Sergey Lavrov, reiterated that Russia will not accept exclusion of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the peace talks, however, he also stated that Russia and Saudi Arabia had “agreed on practical steps to facilitate the political process in Syria.”

The Russian media had reported that Saudi King Salman would travel to Moscow on August 25 and Al-Ahram wrote that Egyptian President, Abdul Fatah al-Sissi, will travel to Russia next Wednesday, August 26.

Further details are available at:

Iran to Submit Syrian Peace Plan To UN

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

FARS News has reported that Iran will submit a new peace plan to the United Nations in favor of a political settlement in Syria.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that the plan was drafted after “detailed consultations between Damascus and Tehran” and is an amended version of an Iranian initiative presented last year.

He also was quoted as saying that “The proposal amounts to one of the most effective and serious plans on the agenda of the UN and international players.”

Fallout From Iran Nuclear Deal (2)

A Russian-Iranian Alliance?

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Recent developments in Russo-Iranian relations have some Western observers increasingly focused.

• On Wednesday August 19, 2015 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister , Mikhail Bogdanov announced that Russia and Iran have finalized an arms agreement over purchase and delivery of four advanced long-range S-300 VM (Antey-2500) mobile surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile systems by the end of 2015. [ This is presumably an Iranian effort to counter anticipated Israeli missile strikes of its nuclear R&D facilities. ]

• In the wake of lifting of UN sanctions as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, this is actually a new revision of an earlier Russian/Iranian contract for deliveries of (now discontinued) S-300 PMU ABM systems, interrupted in 2007 by the UN Arms Embargo.

• Russia and Iran have increased naval cooperation, as evidenced by docking of a Russian navy fleet docked in the northern Iranian facility of Bandar-e Anzali, on the Caspian Sea.

ValueWalk reported yesterday that there are clear indications a newly emerging axis between China, Russia and Pakistan that may also include Iran.

Read the entire article by Polina Tikhonova, as well as related topics at: ValueWalk .

Information, photos and specifications of the S-300 VM ABM system are available at: .

Bundestag Approves Third Bailout of Greece

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

After hard lobbying by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, the German Bundestag has approved a 3.2 billion Euro ($3.53 billion) bailout of Greece.

Read more at: and

Despite some opposition in the form of opposing votes and abstentions with,in the ruling CPD/CSU party coalition, the measure passed by a wide margin.

Fallout From IRAN Nuclear Deal (1)

IAEA Withholds Information From US Senate and Obama Administration

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

An official spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) claims that International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Director, Yukiya Amano, in response to direct Iranian pressure, has withheld secrets of the “Roadmap of Cooperation Between Iran and the IAEA” [an apparent separate agreement with Iran] from the U.S. Congress and Obama Administration.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, speaking in a meeting with Iranian lawmakers in Tehran on Monday August 17 declared that “If secrets of the agreement are revealed, we will lose our trust in the Agency.”, according to the FARS News Agency

The announcement as it stands can have serious implications for US Senate ratification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 (commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal).

The complete text of the FARS Monday Aug 17, 2015 6:44 posting follows:


Spokesman: Grave Consequences Discouraged Amano from Revealing Iran’s Secrets to US Senate

TEHRAN (FNA)- Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano didn’t disclose secrets of its recent agreement with Iran to the US Congress for the fear of its aftermaths, an Iranian spokesman said Monday.

“In a letter to Yukiya Amano, we underlined that if the secrets of the agreement (roadmap of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA) are revealed, we will lose our trust in the Agency; and despite the US Congress’s pressures, he didn’t give any information to them,” Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said in a meeting with the Iranian lawmakers in Tehran on Monday.

Kamalvandi said revealing the secrets of the roadmap wouldn’t have been good for him either.In relevant remarks early this month, Iran’s Envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Reza Najafi warned the UN nuclear watchdog to avoid disclosing its secret agreements with Tehran.

“The agreements signed between a member country and the IAEA are definitely secret and cannot be presented to any other country at all,” Najafi said.

Referring to the discussions at the US Congress during which the US officials elaborated on the nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany), he said, “The discussions revealed that the secret texts between Iran and the Agency have not even been provided to the US administration.”

“For the very same reason, they cannot be presented to the Senate members either,” Najafi added.

He also said that Tehran has already warned the IAEA chief against the repercussions of a disclosure of its agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

“Iran has clarified it to Amano that the text of its understanding with the IAEA cannot be presented to the Senate,” Najafi reiterated.

He further warned that “the Agency knows what it means to disclose a secret document”.

The Iranian envoy also cautioned Amano that he is duty bound now to accept possible invitations of other countries’ legislatures after he accepted to attend a US Senate meeting.

Amano and Head of the AEOI Ali Akbar Salehi signed a roadmap of cooperation in Vienna on July 14.

The roadmap contains secret arrangements stated in one or two documents entailing on the methods to be used by the two sides in their cooperation.

Senior Iranian nuclear officials have said that all IAEA member states have such secret agreements and the UN nuclear watchdog is duty bound to keep them secret to any third party individual or state.

After the roadmap was signed, Salehi announced that the new agreement would fully settle all unresolved issues pertaining to Tehran’s nuclear activities in the past.

“All past issues will be resolved completely after Iran and the Agency adopt some measures,” Salehi told reporters after signing an agreement called the Iran-IAEA Cooperation ‘Roadmap’.

He said that all agreements, including the measures decided for Parchin military site, will be implemented with full respect to Iran’s redlines.

Iran had earlier announced that inspection of the country’s military sites are one of its redlines.

“I hope that a new chapter in relations and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA will start after the settlement of the past issues,” Salehi added.

Salehi made the remarks in Vienna just a short time after diplomats acknowledged a sum-up agreement had been made between world powers and Iran.



Experts File Amicus Brief in Marshall Islands Nuclear Non-Proliferation Case Against the U.S.

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

On 4/24/2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed an Application Instituting Proceedings Against the United States before the International Court of Justice in the Hauge.

Four recognized American nuclear experts have filed a judicus amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the Marshall Islands effort to compel the United States to meet its requirements under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratified by the US Senate in 1970.

Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists; Dr. James Doyle, a nuclear nonproliferation expert fired by the Los Alamos national lab after publishing a study arguing for nuclear weapons abolition; Robert Alvarez, a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, now at the Institute for Policy Studies; and Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico are the co-signatories.

The entire Federation of American Scientists media communication is available at:

The94-page brief , filed on 8/7/15 before the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by attorney Andrea R. St. Julian, contends that the United States of America has failed to meet its international obligations under the NPT. The original case was initially dismissed in February 2015 after the U.S. government successfully argued in part that enforcement of the NPT’s requirement for nuclear disarmament negotiations was” not in the public interest”.

The actual lawsuit itself does not request compensation. Instead, the Marshall Islands seeks a binding legal requirement that the US will actually begin nuclear disarmament negotiations with other nuclear powers under , the terms of Article VI of the NPT that it signed 45 years ago.

The case may proceed to the US Supreme Court if the appeal is unsuccessful.

The amicus brief is available at:

Complete 9th Circuit Court proceedings in the Republic of Marshall Islands’ lawsuit are available at

The United States conducted extensive high-yeild nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands (assigned to it as UN Trusteeship after WW 2) from 1947- 1962, resulting in displaced persons, contaminated islands and adjacent sea and increased health risks to affected populations – most notably in the Bikini and Enewetok Atolls (Pacific Proving Grounds).