In the last few days, the international sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program were lifted, which will allow Tehran access to $30 billion immediately and more than $100 billion will become available in short order. There are many fears about the uses Iran will put this money to, whether on the nuclear program itself, in aiding Iran’s imperial policy in the region, now proceeding with assistance from Russia, or perhaps exporting terrorism further abroad. An under-examined potential use of this money, highlighted by new sanctions the United States applied to Iran over its ballistic missile program, is to purchase weapons from North Korea. Pyongyang has already conducted what it claims is a hydrogen bomb test this year; fuelled by Iranian money the Hermit Kingdom might yet make more trouble for its neighbours and beyond. Continue reading
On Sunday night, five “nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near … Barzeh,” Damascus, were killed when their bus was ambushed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. One of the engineers is believed to be Iranian technician. Whether they were killed by gun-fire or by a bomb is unclear.
The research centre referred to is the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), and this event has an analogue in Syria: At the end of July 2013, a rebel mortar shell hit a bus carrying staff from the SSRC in Barzeh, killing six and injuring nineteen.
The SSRC is located in Jamraya in Mount Qassioun, five miles above Barzeh. The SSRC is entwined with Syria’s military-intelligence apparatus—which is to say the people running Syria before the war—and is responsible for research and production of “nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile-related technology.” Continue reading