Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

(Ph.D. Ben-Gurion University) Former senior analyst in IDF military intelligence and the Prime Minister’s Office. Specializes in WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) proliferation in the Middle East and North Korea. Email: [email protected]

What the Smuggled Archive Tells Us About Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Project

As an apparent act of defiance against Western countries’ reluctance to support it against US sanctions, Iran has begun to enrich uranium beyond the level permitted by the nuclear deal. This fact, together with the information revealed by the smuggling out by the Israelis of Iran’s nuclear weapons program archive, belies Tehran’s oft-expressed claim that its nuclear program was always for peaceful use and shows the hollowness of the nuclear agreement.

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US Nuclear Weapons Deployment in Turkey

The American nuclear weapons that remain on European Turkish soil – an anachronistic reference to the Cold War – are tactical only. This raises questions, not only because of the deterioration in relations between Washington and Ankara, but because of security and safety risks at the Turkish base where the weapons are stored – close to the Syrian border.

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Iran Is Very Close to the Nuclear Threshold

Iran is threatening to resume its uranium enrichment effort to the point that it will be able to produce a nuclear bomb. According to Olli Heinonen, who served until 2010 as IAEA deputy director general, Iran will be in a position to acquire nuclear weapons within six to eight months.

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The Tension Between the US and Iran

In the Persian Gulf, tensions are rising over the sanctions recently imposed by the US on Iran in the wake of its refusal to comply with Washington’s demand that the nuclear agreement signed by Barack Obama be reopened. Tehran does not wish to submit to this demand, as it would suggest weakness on the part of the regime and would inhibit Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But its refusal could lead to the collapse of the Iranian economy, war, and possibly the overthrow of the regime.

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The IAEA’s Impotence vis-à-vis Iran

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at the UN General Assembly in New York in September was met with a cold shoulder. The latest IAEA report claims that Iran continues to be in compliance with the 2015 JCPOA deal restricting its nuclear activities, despite the revelations by Israeli intelligence this year that showed Tehran’s clandestine military nuclearization. The Trump administration has promised that it will press the IAEA to examine the Israeli revelations.

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Lockheed Martin’s Compact Fusion Reactor

Lockheed Martin recently registered a patent on a revolutionary design of a Compact Fusion Reactor (CFR), a mobile device small enough to be mounted on a truck. One version is designed to produce 100 megawatts, enough to power a city of 100,000 people. The CFR, which provides clean energy without producing radioactive waste, has both civil and military applications. In principle, it can be installed on large aircraft carriers, submarines, large transport planes, and probably also fighter jets and large drones. If Lockheed Martin’s hopes are realized, the fear of global energy scarcity will become a thing of the past, and mankind will have the benefit of an environment unsullied by energy pollution.

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The Palestinian Authority Joins the Chemical Weapons Convention

The recent admittance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) borders on the absurd. The PA has no access to chemical weapons technology and is not threatened by chemical weapons. Nor did it ever condemn the Halabja chemical weapons massacre of Iraqi Kurds by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1988 or the multiple chemical weapons assaults on civilians by Bashar Assad’s regime during the Syrian Civil War. If anything, the PA’s admittance to the OPCW is another step in the Palestinian campaign to win recognition from international organizations that can then serve as additional fora through which to censure Israel. Next, the PA might attempt to be accepted as a member of international nuclear organizations and conventions.

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Is Iran Considering Reactivating Uranium Enrichment at Fordow?

On April 29, satellite imagery showed irregular activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, arousing suspicion that Iran is preparing to resume its activities. The Iranians had indeed threatened to do this if President Trump followed through on his plan to quit the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA). However, the unusual activity might simply be steps towards converting the facility to a civil research center for nuclear energy and physics, which would comply with the JCPOA.

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Is Japan Considering Joining the Nuclear Arms Race?

In 2017, Pyongyang’s nuclear threat turned real, and the countries of East Asia – mainly Japan – and the US could be targets. Japan now faces a dilemma over how to deal with the threat: should it count on the US nuclear umbrella, or should it build up an independent military nuclear capability of its own?

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Israel’s Intelligence Contribution to US Security: The Cold War Years

Israel and the United States have a long history of close intelligence cooperation. Israel made a unique and particularly valuable contribution by shedding fresh light on Moscow’s nuclear-equipped intercontinental ballistic missiles threatening the US.

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