By Magnus Newth
Explosion at Fordow?
Iran denies Israeli allegations that an explosion has damaged one of its most important uranium enrichment sites. The site at Fordow produces uranium at 20 percent fissile purity and is suspected of being central to the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons capacity. The reports about the supposed explosion are a propaganda effort designed to influence the upcoming nuclear negotiations, according to the deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Saeed Shamseddin Bar Broudi.
Successful space launch
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced on state television that a monkey had been successfully launched into orbit in an Iranian space capsule and that it had survived reentry. The worry that Iranian space technology could be used in ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads led the UN Security Council to impose an embargo on space technologies to Iran in 2007.
Senator Kerry on Iran
Secretary of State nominee Senator John Kerry discussed Iran policy in his Senate confirmation hearing, saying “The president has made it definitive – We will do what we must do to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Sen. Kerry maintained there the window for diplomacy is still open, but urged Iran to address concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear program
Pyongyang continues threatening to carry out nuclear tests after the UN Security Council approved a resolution to condemn its recent missile tests. Recent images of the Punggye-ri site, where nuclear tests occurred in 2006 and 2009, suggest that North Korea is getting ready to carry out these threats. While it looks like the site is being prepared for testing, it may be difficult to determine the exact purpose, as the test will be carried out underground.
Despite recent North Korean claims of targeting the United States with its nuclear program, experts note North Korean nukes seem to pose no direct threat, due to their limited missile technology and lack of a nuclear device that could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile.