William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MORE DANGER FROM IRAN – AT 8:58 A.M. ET:  There's a great deal of news about Iran this morning, all of it troubling.  From the Jerusalem Post: 

Iran is seeking a major expansion of its nuclear capacity, as is evidenced by an attempt to purchase 100,000 magnets used in centrifuge machines, according to report released Wednesday by Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

“They are positioning themselves to make a lot of nuclear progress quickly,” the Washington Post quoted an unnamed European diplomat as saying following the publication of the ISIS report, “Each step forward makes the situation potentially more dangerous.”

Purchase orders obtained by the Washington-based ISIS show Iran's attempt to purchase the highly specialized magnets from China in late 2011, in spite of a UN ban on export of these materials to Iran. "This large potential order by Iran in late 2011 for 100,000 ring magnets ready for use in IR-1 centrifuges implies an Iranian intention to greatly expand its number of these centrifuges," the report stated.

The ISIS called on the international community to be vigilant of Iranian companies attempting to evade sanctions, and urged the United Nations to take measures against the Jahan Tech Rooyan Pars company, as well as M. Tahmouresi, mentioned in the purchase order.

And this, from respected source Amir Taheri:

‘A strategic partnership”: So Iran and Russia describe the series of security, economic and cultural agreements they’ve signed together in the past few weeks.

Iran's Foreign Minister Ai-Akbar Salehi arrived in Moscow this week to co-chair the first annual session of the "partnership” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Days earlier, a group of officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard arrived in the Russian capital for a crash course in crowd control and civil unrest.

They’re expected to return to Iran by May and be “operational” in time for the June presidential election.

Iranian authorities are nervous about expected unrest during the elections, and so have called on Russia to help prevent an Iranian version of the “Arab Spring.” But Russia made its support conditional on signing a security treaty with Iran; Tehran complied last month.

The agreement represents a break with an old principle in Iran’s defense and security doctrines.

COMMENT:  I guess that reset button that Barack and Hillary pressed to try to improve American/Russian relations keeps breaking.  Maybe it's under warranty. 

The fact is that our "reset" with Russia, which can be hung around Hillary's neck in 2016,  is a complete failure.  We've gotten nothing for it.  The Russians are forging ahead, building themselves once more into a major, threatening power, now with alliances with both Iran and Syria.  Hey, John Kerry, welcome to the new job.

February 14, 2013