Report: Biden tells Mossad chief US not close to rejoining Iran deal
Monday, 03 May 2021 10:02 AM [ Last Update: Monday, 03 May 2021 10:21 AM ]
A senior Israeli official says US President Joe Biden told Israel's Mossad chief Yossi Cohen that the US is not close to rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Tel Aviv opposes.
American news website Axios on Sunday cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Cohen had told Biden during a meeting at the White House on Friday that it would be a mistake for the US to rejoin the deal in its original format.
According to the report, Biden assured Cohen that the US had a long way to go in talks with Iran before it agreed to a return to full compliance with the agreement.
Biden’s alleged remarks, which apparently aim to appease Tel Aviv, come in the wake of Vienna talks between Iran and the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal that began last month.
A spokesperson for the US National Security Council said Saturday Cohen’s meeting at the White House was with adviser Jake Sullivan and other national security officials, and that Biden “dropped by to express condolences for the tragedy at Mount Meron", in reference to the stampede in the north of the occupied Palestinian territories, which left 45 people dead.
But the Israeli official disputed the account, saying the Friday meeting wasn’t “a drop in”, and was a pre-scheduled meeting to discuss Iran and lasted an hour.
Besides Biden, Sullivan and CIA director William Burns attended from the US side, Axios said. The White House declined to comment on the report.
Israel’s Channel 12 said on Friday that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had briefed Cohen in advance on the main issues to discuss with Biden.
The administration of former president Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018, and unleashed what his team called a “maximum pressure campaign” with the stated objective of forcing Iran to negotiate “a better agreement.”
Turmp’s successor has claimed that his administration is willing to rejoin the JCPOA, but has conditioned the move on Tehran’s resumption of the obligations suspended in retaliation for America’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord.
Tehran says Washington, as the first party that reneged on its commitments, should take the first step towards the JCPOA’s revival and unconditionally remove all the sanctions in a verifiable manner.
Earlier this month, Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany — held a meeting within the framework of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna.
They agreed to form expert-level working groups to discuss the sanctions Washington might remove and the nuclear curbs Tehran might observe as they try to resurrect the nuclear agreement.
China’s new nuclear-powered submarine can hit US mainland: Report
Monday, 03 May 2021 5:38 PM [ Last Update: Monday, 03 May 2021 5:43 PM ]
US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows JL-3, China’s most advanced submarine-launched nuclear missile, which has been successfully tested by Beijing.
A new report says China’s military has armed its newly commissioned nuclear-powered submarine with the country's most powerful submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which can reach the US mainland.
The report, published on Sunday by the South China Morning Post, said the Type 094A, or Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), was presented last Friday as part of the celebration to mark the 72nd anniversary of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy.
The new submarine is capable of firing the JL-3, or Julang (Big Wave) SLBM with a range over 10,000 km (6,200 miles), said a source close to the navy, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
The unnamed source added, “Before the upgrade, the submarine was armed with the inferior JL-2 that could only hit the northeast United States, but now it’s able to cover the whole American continent.”
The JL-3 is able to deliver the same multiple warheads, including nuclear warheads like the JL-2 does, the source added without giving more details.
According to Forbes, before entering striking distance of the continental United States, the Type 094A subs would have to slip past a cordon of US military bases in the Pacific dubbed the first island chain – exposing the subs to detection and attack by American P-8 anti-sub patrol planes, surface warships and other undersea reconnaissance capabilities.
Each JL-2 missile can be armed with either a single megaton-yield warhead 67 times more powerful than the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima – or three to eight smaller multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) that can each strike different targets, according to a Forbes report in May last year.
Former PLA instructor Song Zhongping did not say what type of SLBM the Type 094A was armed with, but said it would boost China’s second-strike capability – its ability to retaliate after a nuclear strike.
“The new SLBM with MIRVs with a firing range over 10,000km is the basic technical requirement for an upgraded Type 094 SSBN to cause nuclear deterrence,” Song said, adding, “China promises not to use a nuke first, but a powerful SSBN fleet will help the PLA strengthen their second-strike power against rivals.”
China has six Type 094 and Type 094A SSBNs and plans to build a further two to replace the Type 092 SSBNs, according to the source.
China's President Xi Jinping in March called on the country's military to be prepared to confront any threat in a "largely uncertain" security environment.
"The current security situation of our country is largely unstable and uncertain," President Xi said during a panel discussion attended by armed forces representatives. "The entire military must coordinate the relationship between capacity building and combat readiness, be prepared to respond to a variety of complex and difficult situations at any time."
The Chinese president's remarks come amid simmering tensions between Beijing and the new US administration. And they follow a series of similar remarks by top officials.
The Chinese president himself said last week that the United States was the "biggest threat" to China's economic and political growth and stability.
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