Unrest In Iran and Nicaragua

Grind for July 22nd, 2018
“Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour.”

– Benjamin Alire Saenz


The Headline

Iran claims to have stockpiled 950 tons of uranium

The Grind

This Wednesday, Iranian Nuclear Chief Ali Akbar Salehi claimed the country had collected 950 tons of uranium – enough to operate 190,000 centrifuge machines for uranium enrichment.

At least 400 tons have been imported since the signing of the JCPOA, an Obama-era agreement that restricts Iran’s uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The JCPOA limits uranium enrichment to 3.67% (enough for a power plant but far less than the 90% needed for a bomb), but does not block the country from collecting uranium.

The Details

Salehi also confirmed the existence of a new factory designed specifically to produce rotor blades for centrifuges.

“Instead of building this factory in the next 7 or 8 years, we built it during the negotiations but did not start it…And now that [the Supreme Leader] has given the order this factory has started all of its work.”

When President Trump pulled the United States out of the JCPOA in May, Iran promised to increase uranium enrichment capacity to pressure the remaining signatories to hold up their end of the deal.

Tehran’s claims about uranium comes just days after the Israeli government released new details about the weapons-making information it stole from Iran in January.

According to this information, Iran in 2003 was much closer to building a bomb than we thought. And while Tehran promised to cease all nuclear behavior that year, the stolen documents suggest researchers continued nuclear research in secret.

What all of this means is that the second the JCPOA’s restrictions on Iran expire, the country could have everything it needs to make a weapon that could wipe Israel off the map.


Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

The Headline

Nicaraguan troops launch full-scale attack on rebel towns

The Grind

Nicaraguan troops last weekend conducted a series of raids on rebellious towns south of the capital.

The attack follows months of violence between President Daniel Ortega’s government and civilian protestors.

Widespread protests began in April over a proposed pension reform plan. Over the past three months, more than 270 people have been killed and 1,500 injured. An estimated 838 have been detained by the government.

“We are being attacked by the National Police and paramilitaries armed with AK-47’s and machine guns in our indigenous neighborhood of Monimbo,” said resident Alvaro Gomez. “We are resisting with homemade bombs and stones.”

The Details

In June, the Human Rights Watch accused pro-government gangs of “killing protestors with total impunity in the streets” and urged world leaders to intervene. In July, the Trump Administration announced sanctions on three Nicaraguan officials for their brutality against civilians.

Last weekend’s raid came one day after pro-government gangs orchestrated a 20-hour attack on 200 students trapped in a church in Managua. Two people were killed and 14 were injured.

“The situation is serious,” said Alvaro Leiva of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights. “We need to open a corridor to evacuate the wounded.” Leiva issued calls for help to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the bishops of the Episcopal Conference, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


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